Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’
being an addendum to these Supersized ICFA Weekend Links
* On that “asking questions about Russia” NYT op-ed I linked yesterday: Getting an op-ed into the New York Times is notoriously difficult, as the paper’s editors treasure its selectivity and prestige, for the obvious reason that a NYT byline confers an extraordinary amount of credibility on the writer. Thus the Times makes particular choices about the voices that are worth listening to, and the voices that are not. And by printing the Mensch op-ed, the Times has said that Mensch is a person whose thoughts ought to be in the paper. But one can only think this if one has abandoned all standards for what constitutes reasoned opinion on Russia.
* Democratic elites are delusional — you can’t subdue the reactionary right without a robust alternative political vision. Politicking Without Politics.
* More than 200 civilians killed in suspected U.S. airstrike in Iraq. We have been bombing this country nearly continuously for nearly thirty years.
* As Spencer shows, it is these seemingly anodyne conceptual commitments, combined with their structural expression, that bind contemporary architecture to the imperatives of neoliberalism, a term for which Spencer develops a coherent and persuasive account. Pushing against the conception, developed by theorists such as David Harvey, of neoliberalism as simply the latest step in the developmental “logic of capital,” Spencer sees it as something much more intentionally and insidiously cultivated: it is “a school of economic thought,” he writes, “that has consciously directed itself, through key individual thinkers, as a project to remake the mentality and behaviour of the subject in its own image.” Following Foucault, Spencer argues that neoliberalism — characterized primarily by its valorization of the free market — is a form of “governmentality” involved not just in the shaping of economies but in the “production of subjectivity.” Neoliberalism does not impose itself on us coercively, via punitive measures or structures of discipline, but gently shapes our common-sense understandings of the world and ourselves through the medium of our everyday experiences, turning us into competitors, entrepreneurs, and round-the-clock workers. We are not exactly subjugated by neoliberalism, as one is subjugated by totalitarianism; instead, we are “subjectified” by it. Rather than its victims, we learn to become its willing participants; and architecture, argues Spencer, becomes one of our key instructors. What Exists is Good: On “The Architecture of Neoliberalism.”
* Paul Ryan Failed Because His Bill Was a Dumpster Fire. Why Obamacare Defeated Trumpcare. GOP wonders: Can it get anything done? Trump the Destroyer. Sidelined Democrats let grass roots ‘resistance’ lead the way on health care fight.
* Is a billionaire-funded coup to rewrite the Constitution on the verge of happening? Trump is president and the Senate still exists. I say take the deal and then fight for a real democracy at the convention. You’ll never get it this way.
* Tressie Mcmillan Cottom talks Lower Ed at Dissent‘s “Belabored” podcast.
* On this episode of Left of Black, Professor André M. Carrington (@ , author of Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction (University of Minnesota Press), joins host Mark Anthony Neal (@NewBlackMan) in the Left of Black studio. Carrington was at Duke University to deliver a keynote address at the Black Is, Black Will Be: On Black Futures symposium.
* Survey Finds Foreign Students Aren’t Applying to American Colleges. So that about wraps it up for American universities I suppose.
* Also in Marquette news! Marquette to host ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ conference in April.
* Becoming a parent forces you to think about the nature of the problem — which is, in a lot of ways, the problem of nature […] the realities of aging and sickness and mortality become suddenly inescapable. […] [My wife] said something during that time I will never forget. “If I had known how much I was going to love him,” she said, “I’m not sure I would have had him.” Mark O’Connell on transhumanism and immortality.
* From the great Ali Sperling: Reading Lovecraft in the Anthropocene. And this review of Alan Moore’s Jerusalem from the great David Higgins!
* The liberal arts at Harvey Mudd College, whose graduates out-earn Harvard and Stanford.
* Chaos, again. This is fine. Even James Comey. Twilight of Reince Preibus. Ten Questions for President Trump. Ten More Questions for President Trump. Remember when it was scandalous that Obama, years before he became a politician, once sold his house?
* It is through the Justice Department that the administration is likely to advance its nationalist plans — to strengthen the grip of law enforcement, raise barriers to voting and significantly reduce all forms of immigration, promoting what seems to be a longstanding desire to reassert the country’s European and Christian heritage. It’s not an accident that Sessions, who presumably could have chosen from a number of plum assignments, opted for the role of attorney general. The Department of Justice is the most valuable perch from which to transform the country in the way he and Bannon have wanted. With an exaggerated threat of disorder looming, the nation’s top law-enforcement agency could become a machine for trying to fundamentally change who gets to be an American and what rights they can enjoy.
* The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”
* An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the American government has been detained for more than two days after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed on Saturday. Profiles of immigrant arrested in Austin. Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws. (Note this lawsuit was filed in 2014.) This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World. And if it were a book, it’d seem laughably contrived: A letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Resisting ICE. Here we go again.
* And while we’re on the subject: The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation. I think this is a very good reminder of the need to stay calm and detached from the chaos of the news cycle.
* Instead, a new model is proposed: the president keeps everyone in a constant state of excitement and alarm. He moves fast and breaks things. He leads by causing commotion. As energy in the political system rises he makes no effort to project calm or establish an orderly White House. And if he keeps us safe it’s not by being himself a safe, steady, self-controlled figure, but by threatening opponents and remaining brash and unpredictable— maybe a touch crazy. This too is psychological work, but of a different kind.
* Democrats keep trusting demographics to save them. It hasn’t worked yet — but maybe this time…
* Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place.
* No! It can’t be! Researchers have found strong evidence that racism helps the GOP win.
* “These devices don’t have emotional intelligence,” said Allison Druin, a University of Maryland professor who studies how children use technology. “They have factual intelligence.” How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants.
But these second-order obstacles aren’t enough to explain the current collapse of poll-driven political certainty. They’re just excuses, even if they’re not untrue. Something about the whole general scheme of polling—the idea that you can predict what millions of undecided voters will do by selecting a small group and then just simply asking them—is out of whack. We need to think seriously about what the strange game of election-watching actually is, in terms of our relation to the future, our power to choose our own outcomes, the large-scale structure of the universe, and the mysteries of fate. And these questions are urgent. Because predictions of the future don’t simply exist in the future, but change the way we act in the present. Because in our future something monstrous is rampaging: it paces hungrily toward us, and we need to know if we’ll be able to spot it in time.
When I said that opinion polls are sibyls and soothsayers, it wasn’t just a figure of speech. Opinion polling has all the trappings of a science—it has its numbers and graphs, its computational models, its armies of pallid drones poring over the figures. It makes hypotheses and puts them to the test. But polls are not taken for what they are: a report on what a small number of people, fond of changing their minds, briefly pretended to think. Instead, we watch the tracking graphs as if the future were playing itself out live in front of us. The real structure of the electoral-wonk complex is more mystical than materialist: it’s augury and divination, a method handed down by Prometheus to a starving and shivering humanity at the faint dawn of time. Behind all the desktop screens and plate-glass of his office, the buzz of data and the hum of metrics, Nate Silver retreats to a quiet, dark, and holy room. He takes the knife and slits in one stroke the throat of a pure-white bull; its blood arcs and drizzles in all directions. He examines its patterns. And he knows.
* There’s a never-ending fount of stories you can write about when someone is breaking away from canon or not, and create many controversies all the way through preproduction and production and even until a movie opens, about whether or not they’re breaking canon. Is it a blasphemous movie or not? At some point, you gotta stop and say, Is there this expectation that it’s like we’re doing Godfather Part I and II, only it’s going to nine movies? And we’re just gonna cut them into this kind of Berlin Alexanderplatz that never ends? We’re gonna suddenly take a moment to really savor the fact that these movies exist in an identical tone? The reality to me is that you can’t have interesting movies if you tell a filmmaker, “Get in this bed and dream, but don’t touch the pillows or move the blankets.” You will not get cinema. You will just get a platform for selling the next movie on that bed, unchanged and unmade. James Mangold on Logan.
Martin Luther King, Jr., famously said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” We can take this to be the standard liberal-progressive way of looking at the arc of history.
There are two other possible variations:
the reactionary right: “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward vengeance.”
the revolutionary left: “The arc of history is long and it’s going to keep getting longer unless we put a stop to it.”
* Enrollment trends place different facilities pressures on institutions of different sizes, the report found. Many small institutions that recently borrowed money to renovate or build in a bid to attract more students are now facing enrollment declines. They have seen enrollment drop by 3 percent since 2012 even though they’ve increased facilities development by 4 percent. Comprehensive institutions are opening new space just as they’re hit by enrollment stagnation — they increased their space by almost 14 percent cumulatively since 2012 but only posted a 1 percent enrollment increase over the same time period.
* Thus the nation-state is not with the common people – it is an enemy of the peoples. Some timely political theory from Abdullah Ocalan.
Essentially, the nation-state is a militarily structured entity. Nation-states are eventually the products of all kinds of internal and external warfare. None of the existing nation-states has come into existence all by itself. Invariably, they have a record of wars. This process is not limited to their founding phase but, rather, it builds on the militarization of the entire society. The civil leadership of the state is only an accessory of the military apparatus. Liberal democracies even outdo this by painting their militaristic structures in democratic and liberal colours. However, this does not keep them from seeking authoritarian solutions at the highpoint of a crisis caused by the system itself. Fascist exercise of power is the nature of the nation-state. Fascism is the purest form of the nation-state.
* Democrats: we’re with him.
* Democrats shouldn’t assume their “Trump loves Putin” argument is a political winner. Oh, I think that ship has sailed.
* Let’s Geek Out Over All The Fascinating Technology Used In Rogue One. Rogue One and the troubling promise of one Star Wars film per year every year until you are dead. And I think Wired has the best “let’s try to figure out what Rogue One was originally going to be like” breakdown yet.
* Just in time for my animals book, Wes Anderson makes it official: his next movie is Isle of Dogs.
* “Trump is a paradox: he is really a centrist liberal, and maybe even in his economic policies closer to the Democrats, and he desperately tries to mask this. So the function of all of these dirty jokes and stupidities is to cover up that he is really a pretty ordinary, centrist politician.” Meanwhile: Susan Sarandon: I’m more afraid of Hillary’s war record than Trump’s wall.
* And he’s will have had always had my vote: This Candidate for President Claims He’s Traveled Through Time.
* Over the past decade numerous stories have come out about Soviet and American military personnel who were given orders to fire nuclear weapons between the 1960s and 1980s. Their conscience stopped them, only to learn later that it was a mistaken order. We now have another horrifying story to add to that growing list of possible post-apocalyptic futures.
Former Air Force airman John Bordne is now an elderly man. But in the early morning hours of October 28, 1962 he and his fellow airmen nearly launched their nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Air Force has only now given Bordne permission to tell his story of how America nearly started World War III.
* Time travel short film of the day: “Therefore I Am.”
* Bullets dodged: Aaron Sorkin once pitched a Pixar movie about talking office supplies.
* The book includes diary entries about the tensions between Mrs. Bush and Nancy Reagan (“Nancy does not like Barbara”) and his private comments about Michael S. Dukakis, his 1988 opponent (“midget nerd”). It reports that as defense secretary for the elder Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney commissioned a study of how many tactical nuclear weapons would be needed to take out an Iraqi Republican Guard division, if necessary. (The answer: 17.)
* Meanwhile, back at the ranch: The Most Militarized Universities in America.
* Prose and poetry—all art, music, dance—rise from and move with the profound rhythms of our body, our being, and the body and being of the world. Physicists read the universe as a great range of vibrations, of rhythms. Art follows and expresses those rhythms. Once we get the beat, the right beat, our ideas and our words dance to it—the round dance that everybody can join. And then I am thou, and the barriers are down. For a while. Ursula K. Le Guin, y’all.
* Students suspended or expelled over allegations of sexual assault rarely succeed in lawsuits against the institutions that punished them. That’s starting to change.
* “What’s your secret?” ““Oh, we just kick out the bad ones.”