Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘truth and reconciliation commissions

Saturday Morning Post-SFRA Links! All! Tabs! Closed!

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* SFRA is over, but ICFA season has only just begun! The theme for ICFA 2019 is “Politics and Conflicts” and the special guests are Mark Bould and G. Willow Wilson.

* And keep saving your pennies for SFRA 19 in Hawaii! Stay tuned for more information soon.

* Ben Robertson put up his SFRA talk on the MCU and abstraction as well as his opening statement for the Avengers vs. Jedi roundtable (which coined the already ubiquitous term “naustalgia”). My opening statement was this image, more or less…

* Other piping hot SFRA content at #SFRA18! It was a great conference.

The Economics of Science Fiction.

* A book I’m in won a Locus Award: Check out Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler! Congratulations to Alexandra and Mimi.

* Black Women and the Science Fiction Genre: an interview with Octavia E. Butler from 1986.

* CFP: TechnoLogics: Power and Resistance. CFP: Childhoods of Color.

The early career academic: learning to say no.

The Humanities as We Know Them Are Doomed. Now What? Jobs Will Save the Humanities.

* Revised Course Evaluation Questions.

Essentially total victory for John McAdams over Marquette at the WI Supreme Court. I don’t talk about “Marquette stuff” on here because of the slippery nature of my status as an agent of the university, but noted for history. More here. Marquette “agrees to comply” but doesn’t concede wrongdoing.

“The undisputed facts show that the university breached its contract with Dr. McAdams when it suspended him for engaging in activity protected by the contract’s guarantee of academic freedom,” states the ruling, written by Justice Daniel Kelly.

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union. So good.

Since it isn’t, a simple question arises: where’s all the fucking money? Piketty’s student Gabriel Zucman wrote a powerful book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations (2015), which supplies the answer: it’s hidden by rich people in tax havens. According to calculations that Zucman himself says are conservative, the missing money amounts to $8.7 trillion, a significant fraction of all planetary wealth. It is as if, when it comes to the question of paying their taxes, the rich have seceded from the rest of humanity.

* If Elon Musk can save the trapped Thai soccer team though I’ll definitely forgive him for everything else, for at least a couple weeks. In the meantime… 

* Trump’s ethnic cleansing operation is blowing past boundaries that would have been considered utterly sacrosanct only a few years ago. The Trump administration just admitted it doesn’t know how many kids are still separated from their parents. “In hundreds of cases, Customs agents deleted the initial records in which parents and children were listed together as a family with a “family identification number,” according to two officials at the Department of Homeland Security.” The teenager told police all about his gang, MS-13. In return, he was slated for deportation and marked for death. Toddlers representing themselves in court. USCIS is Starting a Denaturalization Task Force. Trump’s Travel Ban Has Torn Apart Hundreds of Families. Trump’s catch-and-detain policy snares many who have long called U.S. home. At 9 He Lost His Mom to Gang Violence. At 12 He Lost His Dad to Trump’s Immigration Policies. After being released from custody in El Paso on Sunday, the parents have now learned the whereabouts of their children, a shelter director said. But there are more hurdles before they’re reunited. Lawful permanent resident freed nearly three weeks after arrest. Sick Child Couldn’t Walk After U.S. Took Him From His Mom. Painful memories of Michigan for immigrant girl, 7, reunited with mom. The Awful Plight of Parents Deported Without Their Children. From behind bars, a father searches for one of the 2,000 kids still separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Dad, I’m Never Going to See You Again. Feds failing to put migrant parents in touch with separated kids. Former Seattle Chief Counsel sentenced to 4 years in prison for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft scheme. “At night, Andriy sometimes wakes up screaming in the bunk bed he shares with his mother and baby brother.” “My Whole Heart Is There.” “My son is not the same.” “Are You Alone Now?” There was a pilot program. Transport Fees. A Migrant Mother Had to Pay $576.20 to Be Reunited With Her 7-Year-Old Son. Letters from the Disappeared. Listen. Border Agent Threatened to Put Immigrant’s Daughter Up for Adoption, ACLU Says. A New Border Crisis. Separated Parents Are Failing Asylum Screenings Because They’re So Heartbroken. A Twitter Bot Has Joined the Immigration Battle to Fight ICE With Facts. A Twitter Bot Is Posting the Names and Locations of Immigrant Detention Centers Across the U.S. Over the course of three weeks, a major U.S. defense contractor detained dozens of immigrant children inside a vacant Phoenix office building with no kitchen and only a few toilets. The Immigrant Children’s Shelters Near You. Supreme Court just wrote a presumption of white racial innocence into the Constitution. The Trump administration is not answering basic questions about separation of migrant families. Immigration Attorney Says ICE Broke Her Foot, Locked Her Up. This is what Trump and ICE are doing to parents and their children. A practice so cruel that the United States ended it for a quarter-century. It’s only going to get worse. Torn apart. Don’t you know that we hate you people? (Only) 17 states sue Trump administration over family separations. News outlets join forces to track down children separated from their parents by the U.S. We might not even have ever known. New 1,000-Bed ICE Lockup Set to Open on Site of Notorious ‘Tent City’ in South Texas. Potemkin camps. Research suggests that the family of Anne Frank attempted to escape to the U.S., but their efforts were thwarted by America’s restrictive immigration policy. Exclusive: Trump administration plan would bar people who enter illegally from getting asylum. We’re Going to Abolish ICE. Woman Climbs Statue of Liberty to Protest Family Separations, Island Shut Down. How to Abolish ICE. And just for fun: ICE Training Officers in Military-Grade Weapons, Chemical Agents. Dogsitting.

The Central American Child Refugee Crisis: Made in U.S.A.

I’ve Been Reporting on MS-13 for a Year. Here Are the 5 Things Trump Gets Most Wrong.

* I feel pretty confident the buried story here is that Trump blackmailed Anthony Kennedy by threatening to destroy his son’s life; I suppose it’ll all come out during Truth and Reconciliation in the 2040s. Anyway this is just about the final end of America, buckle up.

* Down we go.

* All of American history fits in the life span of only three presidents.

Trump Confidant Floats Crazy RBG-For-Merrick-Garland SCOTUS Swap. I am a huge proponent of this deal but you’ll have to confirm Garland first. You understand.

* How democracy ends.

* There’s no returning to a golden age of American democracy that never existed. Donald Trump, the resistance, and the limits of normcore politics.

* What can we learn from 1968?

* Trump Inauguration Day rioting charges against 200+ people abruptly dropped by U.S.

* A major Republican leader in the House has been accused of facilitating the sexual abuse of huge numbers of children in his previous career as a wrestling coach. No, not him, this is a new guy.

* Clown car.

Farmers in America are killing themselves in staggering numbers.

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Debt to Me.

* In the richest country in all of human history.

* A country of empty storefronts.

* $117,000/year is now considered low income in San Francisco. Class and America.

* How Flint poisoned its people.

* The thing about peace.

* ‘A way of monetizing poor people’: How private equity firms make money offering loans to cash-strapped Americans. With special appearance by Obama Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner!

* Onward to Venezuela!

* Sure, why not.

* Twilight of UW.

* Rosa Parks’s Arrested Warrant.

The Beautiful, Ugly, and Possessive Hearts of Star Wars.

* Every parent’s secret suspicion confirmed: She was worried how a ‘teacher of the year’ treated her 5-year-old son. So she made a secret recording.

Lows of 80 degrees and higher, now commonplace, were once very rare. They occurred just 26 times from 1872 to 1999 or about once every five years. Since 2000, they’ve happened 37 times or twice every year on average. Probably nothing.

It’s So Hot Out, It’s Slowing Down the Speed of Stock Trades.

* Flood insurance is completely broken.

Companies buying back their own shares is the only thing keeping the stock market afloat right now.

* @jack is a collaborator.

* Facebook destroyed online publishing, then quit the business.

The US Left Has Only Four Tendencies.

Students in Detroit Are Suing the State Because They Weren’t Taught to Read.

* Doesn’t seem like a great sign, no.

* A great ideas as long as you know nothing about either writing or computers.

Turns out that’s an easy question to answer, thanks to MIT research affiliate, and longtime-critic of automated scoring, Les Perelman. He’s designed what you might think of as robo-graders’ kryptonite, to expose what he sees as the weakness and absurdity of automated scoring. Called the Babel (“Basic Automatic B.S. Essay Language”) Generator, it works like a computerized Mad Libs, creating essays that make zero sense, but earn top scores from robo-graders.

To demonstrate, he calls up a practice question for the GRE exam that’s graded with the same algorithms that actual tests are. He then enters three words related to the essay prompt into his Babel Generator, which instantly spits back a 500-word wonder, replete with a plethora of obscure multisyllabic synonyms:

“History by mimic has not, and presumably never will be precipitously but blithely ensconced. Society will always encompass imaginativeness; many of scrutinizations but a few for an amanuensis. The perjured imaginativeness lies in the area of theory of knowledge but also the field of literature. Instead of enthralling the analysis, grounds constitutes both a disparaging quip and a diligent explanation.”

“It makes absolutely no sense,” he says, shaking his head. “There is no meaning. It’s not real writing.”

But Perelman promises that won’t matter to the robo-grader. And sure enough, when he submits it to the GRE automated scoring system, it gets a perfect score: 6 out of 6, which according to the GRE, means it “presents a cogent, well-articulated analysis of the issue and conveys meaning skillfully.”

Winners of the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest.

* Pruitt 2024!

* Utter lawlessness.

In 1934, an American professor urged that Jews be civil — to the Nazis.

* California reconsiders felony murder.

* Scholarship for dark times.

William Shatner kicks off July 4th by implying that UW-Madison & Penn should consider firing 2 kid lit professors for disagreeing with him about whether it’s appropriate to note racism in Little House of the Prairie.

* Six decades after being told her mother was dead, she found her — 80 minutes away and 100 years old.

Between 1984 and the mid-1990s, before better HIV drugs effectively rendered her obsolete, Ruth Coker Burks cared for hundreds of dying people, many of them gay men who had been abandoned by their families. She buried more than three dozen of them herself, after their families refused to claim their bodies. For many of those people, she is now the only person who knows the location of their graves.

* How Universities Facilitate Far-Right Groups’ Harassment of Students and Faculty.

* Video games and fatphobia.

* A location scout’s view of California.

* Not all heroes wear capes: How an EPA worker stole $900K by pretending to be a CIA agent.

How Pixar’s Open Sexism Ruined My Dream Job (Guest Column).

* Reality Winner pleads guilty.

* When copyright goes wrong, EU edition.

* Academic minute: Geoengineering.

Anglo-Saxon Studies, Academia and White Supremacy.

* The Millennial Socialists Are Coming. How Ocasio-Cortez Beat the Machine. A Conversation with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fights the Power. Next: Julia Salazar Is Looking to Land the Next Blow Against the New York Democratic Machine. The socialists are coming! But huge, if true.

The clearest lesson, which holds now as it did then, is that to rearrange international order in an egalitarian way, you need an egalitarian and internationally oriented domestic politics in the richest and most powerful countries. Otherwise, your best-laid plans can be scuttled by something like what happened then—the neoliberal revolt of capital, the crushing of the labor unions, the turn to the construction of the current international regime of relatively free flow of goods, services, and capital, but not people. Today’s nationalist revolts, most notably the catastrophe in the United States, are another body blow to progressive internationalist aspirations. Ironically, they are directed in part against some of the pieties of the neoliberal order—although certainly not in any constructive or progressive direction.

A Subreddit Dedicated to Thanos Is Preparing to Ban Half of Its Users at Random.

* lol

* Hard pass, thanks.

* The UK is committing national suicide to satisfy a laughably illegitimate referendum that never should have happened in the first place and no one is going to stop it.

Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind.

* If there is hope, it lies with the Juggalos.

* Luke was a Boomer.

It is tragic. I’m not a method actor, but one of the techniques a method actor will use is to try and use real-life experiences to relate to whatever fictional scenario he’s involved in. The only thing I could think of, given the screenplay that I read, was that I was of the Beatles generation—‘All You Need Is Love’, ‘peace and love’.

I thought at that time, when I was a teenager: ‘By the time we get in power, there will be no more war, there will be no racial discrimination, and pot will be legal.’ So I’m one for three. When you think about it, [my generation is] a failure. The world is unquestionably worse now than it was then.

* The first superhero movie is more than 100 years old.

* Rest in peace, Harlan Ellison. Rest in peace, Steve Ditko.

* Anatomy of a superhero.

NASA’s Policies to Protect the Solar System From Contamination Are Out of Date. We’re not going to is the thing.

Space is full of dirty, toxic grease, scientists reveal.

Man suspected of killing 21 co-workers by poisoning their food.

* There could be as many as 7000 tigers living in American backyards.

“When I Was Alive”: William T. Vollmann’s Climate Letter to the Future.

* Remembering Google Reader, five years on.

* Very cool: If you use Gmail, know that “human third parties” are reading your email.

* A classic edition of “our brains don’t work”: that’s because your freaking visual system just lied to you about HOW LONG TIME IS in order to cover up the physical limitations of those chemical camera orbs you have on the front of your face.

* Sports corner! The Warriors Are Making A Mockery Of The NBA Salary Cap. A Literary Lineup for the World Cup. We Timed Every Game. World Cup Stoppage Time Is Wildly Inaccurate. Catching “the world’s most prolific criminal fixer of soccer matches.”

* Physics says that our perception of smoothly flowing time is a cosmic accident. So why do we think the future always comes after the past?

* A Dunbar number for place: At any point in life, people spend their time in 25 places.

* Some monkeys in Panama may have just stumbled into the Stone Age. Don’t do it, guys, it’s not worth the hassle.

I was basically my own editor for 25 years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And then the publisher decided he didn’t like what he saw.

* Life as a professional dungeon master.

* Naked Japanese hermit forced back into civilization after 29 years on deserted island.

* An Oral History of ASSSSCAT.

* Peyton Reed (director of Ant-Man and the Wasp) remembers writing Back to the Future: The Ride.

* The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA, July 7, 1978.

* Readystolen.

* Someone in the club tonight is stealing my ideas.

* The arc of history is long but seriously they really took their time with this.

* What should we read if we want to be happy?

* And Incredibles 3 looks wild. Don’t miss Old Man Incredible! I’m here for it.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 7, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Resolved: Thursday Links Will Take All Our Links

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* Tonight! DC! 6:30! Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs!

* Help, University Administration Is Terrible! Kids these days.

Statement by PROFS in response to JFC omnibus motion #521, item #39. Foxes in the Henhouse: The Republican Takeover of the University of Wisconsin System. A turning point for the UW Colleges.

* Han’s wife shot first.

Forgetting Lolita: How Nabokov’s Victim Became an American Fantasy.

* Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth: Time for a Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track.

How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes.

Every United Airlines flight was grounded this morning in the US.

More People Work at Fusion Than Are Reading Its Most Popular Post.

The problem is that the IRB system is so fundamentally misconceived that it is virtually a model of how to regulate badly.

French Court Rules It Is Unconstitutional To Cut Off Water To Anybody.

Teen got arrested after cop tried to pick her up, failed. Warrants issued for people who cheered at Senatobia graduation. In the last seven years at least 29 police K-9s have sweltered to death after officers left the dogs inside hot patrol vehicles.

School kitchen manager fired for giving lunches to hungry students.

* Sepp Blatter resigns. Something something joke about George Lucas character names.

The Secret 1949 Radiation Experiment That Contaminated Washington.

How Ridic Are the New Scrabble Words?

* How Ridic Are Call-In Shifts?

Alternative Idea for Resolving Sexual-Assault Cases Emphasizes Closure. “Administrators promised to keep her charges confidential and to protect her from retaliation.” For what it’s worth, I had some general thoughts on Title IX earlier this week that I Storified on the off-chance anyone is interested. I don’t think the outlook is good.

The inside story of how the Clintons built a $2 billion global empire. Is Hillary Clinton in trouble?

* Draft, uh, let’s say Bloomberg.

* The Tampon: A History.

* Google NBA Jam truth.

New Study Confirms Self-Evident Truth: Time Warner Is Literally The Worst.

* Hell is working at the Huffington Post.

* Teach the controversy.

* And the arc of history is long, but Arrested Development season five will air in spring 2016.

Spring Break Monday Links

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Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney. What a story. I bawled.

* Apocalyptic flooding scheduled for Wisconsin.

Hampton, Florida, the little town so corrupt even the rest of Florida thinks it’s gone too far.

* Women run just a quarter of the biggest art museums in the United States and Canada, and they earn about a third less than their male counterparts, according to a report released on Friday by the Association of Art Museum Directors, a professional organization.

* The greatest secret of American manhood is: We are afraid of other men. Masculinity as Homophobia.

Union research document says Obamacare will hasten income inequality. When job creators create lousy jobs.

At best, job creation is merely an inadequate palliative for years of deep recession. At worst, it’s an active strategy for redirecting wealth upwards and further immiserating the working class. Quantify that.

Not even climate change will kill off capitalism.

* Millennials in adulthood. Millennials and college degrees. The Self(ie) Generation. College Grads Taking Low-Wage Posts Displace Less Educated. Are Millennials different?

* “You stole the documents we were hiding from you which proved we were lying, so we spied on you to find out how you did that.”

* Annals of Obama negotiating with himself.

* A theory of neoliberalism: Wages versus Assets.

* Democrats are really starting in with the surrender-to-hopelessness blitz EARLY this cycle. Meanwhile.

A rare sociological analysis of Federal Reserve policy confirms what many economists already knew: top central bank officials missed the oncoming crisis because they failed to make the connection between housing, the banking industry and the economy. I don’t know; my rule is never attribute to incompetence what can be adequately explained by soulless millionaires cynically cashing out.

What happens to our financial safety net when we are already renting out our couches, giving rides after work, and running tasks on the weekends just to stay afloat?

If you pirate a digital copy of The Triple Package, use the find and replace function. Find “successful cultural group” replace with “bourgeoisie” and then the book will become a coherent and honest provocation, rather than the triple package of neurosis, projection, and obfuscation that it really is.

Maternal mortality rates are falling in every industrialised nation – except for the United States.

* The latest for the “every cop is a criminal” file.

* The latest for the “lolz you didn’t write the laws right” file.

* Do I read this right? An off-duty cop shot somebody and the other guy got charged with assault?

* The unrelenting gaze of the police never wavers in Milwaukee.

Detroit Scam City: How The Red Wings Took Hockeytown For All It Had.

Idaho Governor Poised To Sign Totally Insane, Obviously Disastrous Bill Allowing Concealed Guns On College Campuses.

* de Blasio vs charters in NYC. How charter schools get students they want. In the great efforts they are expending to exclude the students that are the most difficult to educate, charter schools are lending more credence to my argument about the arrow of causation in our perception of school quality than I could ever generate.

The real problem is that a very few, very wealthy individuals override the voices of thousands upon thousands of experienced educators and parents.

* Mother Canada? Is that a thing? Displays of Canadian nationalism always seem off to me. Letting down the side, Canada.

* South by Southwest’s unpaid labor problem: Why it’s risking a class action lawsuit.

* Cartoonist Chris Ware on outsider art, reading aloud and the Common Core.

* Climate change is the modern fully realized, the modern as tending towards undoing its own conditions of existence.

* I had no idea just disintegrating in midair was something that could just happen to planes. I wish I didn’t know it now.

* Wages for Sea World animals: Yes, California Can Really Ban Shamu, Legal Experts Say. Can’t they just argue exploiting whales and making their lives miserable is free speech? That’s how it works with humans.

* I was saying this weekend (1, 2, 3) that voting for Rand Paul is not as irrational as it might seem at first glance, given the unilateral powers the executive branch has in the U.S. and his stated opposition to the war on drugs and the war on terror. What’s interesting is that Rand Paul himself absolutely does not want me to hold this opinion.

* Can We Learn About Privacy From Porn Stars?

* 11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox.

* A brief history of nonsense.

* Too late! We already designed modern cities around it.

Great walls to end tornadoes in our time? What could possibly go wrong?

* Truth and reconciliation in Guatemala.

* Towards White History Month.

In 2007, Gary Younge (he is an ally) suggested that what we all needed is a White History Month. Gary reminded us: “So much of Black History Month takes place in the passive voice. Leaders ‘get assassinated,’ patrons ‘are refused’ service, women ‘are ejected’ from public transport. So the objects of racism are many but the subjects few. In removing the instigators, the historians remove the agency and, in the final reckoning, the historical responsibility … There is no month when we get to talk about [James] Blake [the white busdriver challenged by Rosa Parks]; no opportunity to learn the fates of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who murdered Emmett Till; no time set aside to keep track of Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, whose false accusations of rape against the Scottsboro Boys sent five innocent young black men to jail. Wouldn’t everyone–particularly white people–benefit from becoming better acquainted with these histories?”

* And Rebecca Onion has a 1940s Board Game for French Kids Taught Tactics for Successful Colonialism.

FinalColonizationGame.jpg.CROP.original-original

Written by gerrycanavan

March 10, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Why Obama Flinched

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President-Elect Obama’s advisors feared in 2008 that authorities would revolt and that Republicans would block his policy agenda if he prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a law school dean who served as one of Obama’s top transition advisers.

University of California at Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley, Jr., left, the sixth highest-ranking member of the 2008 post-election transition team preparing Obama’s administration, revealed the team’s thinking on Sept. 2 in moderating a forum on 9/11 held by his law school (also known as Boalt Hall). Edley sought to justify Obama’s “look forward” policy on Bush-era lawbreaking that the president-elect announced on a TV talk show in January 2009.

But Edley’s rationale implies that Obama and his team fear the military/national security forces that he is supposed be commanding. It suggests also that Republicans have intimidated him right from the start of his presidency even though voters in 2008 rejected Republicans by the largest combined presidential-congressional mandate in recent U.S. history. Edley responded to our request for additional information by providing a description of the transition team’s fears, which we present below as an exclusive email interview. Among his important points is that transition officials, not Obama, agreed that he faced the possibility of a “revolt.”

Via @zunguzungu.

Truth and Reconciliation in Hogwarts

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At such a moment of deliverance, it is natural to feel elation and closure — to allow ourselves the brief comfort of imagining that the drama, so meticulously documented by J.K. Rowling, is over. But if history teaches us anything (consider the bitter legacy still lingering from the 17th-century Goblin Wars or the recent experience of American Muggles in Iraq and Afghanistan), it is that the defeat of Voldemort by Harry Potter may have been the easy part. Indeed, one might even say it was child’s play. The hard work of postwar stabilization still lies ahead.

Surviving Death Eaters will have to be brought to justice or reintegrated into magical society. Long-standing rifts among magical communities that the war widened must be healed. Most of all, we must ensure that the values that triumphed in the final battle — tolerance, pluralism, and respect for the dignity of all magical and non-magical creatures alike — are reflected in the institutions and arrangements that emerge from the conflict. What ultimately matters is not just whether something evil was defeated, but whether something good is built in its place.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Sunday Night

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* Game of the night: Entanglement.

* The Declaration of Independence, in American.

When things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

* “Reconciliation” has become a darling of political theorists, journalists, and human-rights activists, especially as it pertains to the rebuilding of postwar and post-genocidal nations. Nowhere is this more so than in the case of Rwanda. Numerous books and articles on the topic—some, though not all, inspired by Christian teachings—pour forth. It can plausibly be argued, of course, that in Rwanda—and in other places, like Sierra Leone and the Balkans, where victims and perpetrators must live more or less together—reconciliation is a political necessity. Reconciliation has a moral resonance, too; certainly it is far better than endless, corpse-strewn cycles of revanchism and revenge. Yet there is sometimes a disturbing glibness when outsiders tout the wonders of reconciliation, as if they are leading the barbarians from darkness into light. Even worse, the phenomenological realities—the human truths—of the victims’ experiences are often ignored or, at best, treated as pathologies that should be “worked through” until the promised land of forgiveness is reached. This is not just a mistake but a dangerous one; for it is doubtful that any sustainable peace, and any sustainable politics, can be built without a better, which is to say a tragic, understanding of those truths.

* And how we nuked ourselves, 1945-1998.

Still OoT But With Unexpected Hotel Wifi Links

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* Ripped from the pages of Infinite Jest, a playable version of Eschaton. (via)

* Via Pete Lit, federal government to use its immense buying power to benefit society.

By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

This looks to me like perhaps a first case of the end-runs Obama will have to make around our broken legislative institutions if he hopes to avoid a failed presidency. Another good sign: the final embrace of sidecar reconciliation to finish the job on health care.

* Of course, that headline in the New York Times gets it wrong, as Steve Benen has been desperately trying to explain to anyone who will listen: Democrats don’t need to pass health care via reconciliation because health care already passed through the regular order. Regardless, the Republicans are promising a full-on freakout if reconciliation is used; what might they do?

* “Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages’ worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood.” Hey, thanks for admitting it! Of course we won’t prosecute you; you were just protecting the homeland!

* Eliza Dushku to ruin another Joss Whedon production.

* The pornography of infinity: China Miéville on J.G. Ballard.

* J.D. Salinger v. Raiders of the Lost Ark.

* Wikipedia’s list of landings on other planets. Did the Soviets think there was life on Venus? They certainly seem to have thought there was something there. Via Boing Boing.

* Secret origins of the cellar door line from Donnie Darko.

* FantasySCOTUS.

* Really good reading of the U.K. version of The Office that focuses on Gervais’s critique of celebrity culture to explain, among other things, how David Brent could possibly have won a promotion on a 5-2 vote of the company board or been hired by a consulting firm—as well as why the U.S. version, in dropping this thematic angle, will always be intrinsically inferior.

* If I were a Brigham Young student, here’s the process I would have to undertake to grow my beloved beard.

* Students at the University of Mississippi want Admiral Akbar as their new mascot. I wholeheartedly endorse this effort.

* Also Via MeFi: Personal pop-culture rules. “No Robin Williams” and “anything involving dinosaurs” are two I think I follow.

* And Matt Yglesias selfishly takes a stand against one of our most-beloved cultural institutions. No special rights for late-in-the-alphabet people!