Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Voting Rights Act

A Few for Friday

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* It is hard to overstate: This country, in its current condition, has no other option but something close to full employment. Our pathetic social safety net, even absent the contracting effect of austerity measures, can’t fill in the gaps caused by the demise of ubiquitous employment. Even the counterrevolution has no other idiom; the most common epithet directed toward Occupy protests, after all, was “Get a job!” That the near impossibility of getting a job was the point for many who were protesting was too destabilizing a notion to be understood. In the short term, I have no doubt that the unemployment rate will fall. The question is the long-term structural dependability of a social contract built on mass employment.

Lincoln Memorial, 2013, Anon, latex emulsion.

Lincoln himself, no more than a marble titan cut in his image, does not feel the change. And yet there it is, crawling across him, slithering toward his magisterial tumescence. The artist’s liquid hand is more than mere vestigiality; it is a spiritual kinship with the primitive, making its presence felt in the numinous historiography of neoclassicism, a soupçon of Jung melting into Kantian grandeur. But each is as lurid as the other in its own mythopoeia of the human mind.

* Supreme Court’s Gutting of Voting Rights Act Unleashes GOP Feeding Frenzy. The focus here is on the truly atrocious bill the North Carolina General Assembly passed yesterday.

* Congrats to Forbes’ Top 25 Best Public Colleges in 2013! Too bad one-fifth of them — including the very top three — are currently under fire for allegedly failing to report rape and generally sucking at dealing with sexual assault.

* Ken MacLeod remembers Iain M. Banks.

A Pox on Optimists!

The new Community syndication trailer understands that the show is really about hot girls with boobs.

* And is Arrested Development coming back again? Mitch Hurwitz says “Definitely.”

Thursday Night Links

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* Thank a Boomer: the North Pole is now a lake.

Three-Quarters Of Young, Independent Voters Describe Deniers As ‘Ignorant, Out Of Touch Or Crazy.’

* Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought.

* MOOCs enter the “Sure, they’re a complete disaster, but what if they weren’t?” phase of the hype cycle.

* College enrollment fell 2 percent in 2012-13, the first significant decline since the 1990s, but nearly all of that drop hit for-profit and community colleges; now, signs point to 2013-14 being the year when traditional four-year, nonprofit colleges begin a contraction that will last for several years. Better hire some new assistant under-deans to tackle this problem.

* Why would CPS throw more money into recruiting recent college graduates with five weeks of training and no teaching certificates into the district when it lets go of highly-qualified, certified, veteran teachers? What’s the Difference Between Teach For America, and a Scab Temp Agency?

* What’s the Matter With North Carolina? Meanwhile, Eric Holder tries to reignite the preclearance provision of the VRA under Section 3.

* Scientists believe they have successfully implanted a false memory into a mouse.

* Sleep is a standing affront to capitalism.

* There’s no such thing as black-on-black crime.

* Ally-phobia: On the Trayvon Martin Ruling, White Feminism, and the Worst of Best Intentions. White People Fatigue Syndrome.

* “Summer Vacation Is Evil”: the ultimate #slatepitch.

* Today in coffee-is-good-for-you news: Coffee drinking tied to lower risk of suicide.

* A unique defense: Lance Armstrong says it doesn’t count if everyone should have known you were lying.

* And tonight’s poem: “Rape Joke,” by Patricia Lockwood.

All the Wednesday Links!

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“Universities do not seem to care if staff and faculty are parents unless legally obligated to do so,” said my colleague Richard King, a professor of critical culture, gender, and race studies at Washington State University. “Do the work. Have kids on your own time. Any conflict is your responsibility to manage so long as you prioritize us over them.”

What Do 2,358 College Administrators Do? More at reclaimUC.

The UC administration constitutes a parasitic bureaucracy that grows and expands by consuming those elements of the university that remain outside of it. It can only survive by extracting tuition from students and wages from university workers. In return, it does not grow the university—it grows only itself. While budget cuts at the state level are an important piece of the crisis of higher education, the administrative bureaucracy at both campus and system level is by no means an innocent actor. It is the UC administration that must be held responsible for expanding, intensifying, and accelerating the processes of privatization.

* Misogyny nightmare at USC.

  • [USC student Tucker] Reed, the lead complainant, said USC dismissed her claim that her ex-boyfriend had raped her, despite her providing audio recordings of him admitting to it. At one point, Reed said, a USC official told her the goal was to offer an “educative” process, not to “punish” the assailant.
  • When a student went to the DPS to report a sexual assault at a frat, an officer told her and a friend, also a sexual assault survivor who had accompanied her, that women should not “go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped.”
  • A DPS detective told one student that the campus police determined that no rape occurred in her case because her alleged assailant did not orgasm.

Why I Didn’t Go to Dubai.

A university is not a bubble to which you invite the best faculty members and the best students from all over the world and expect to share and produce cutting-edge knowledge. A university that is cut off from its immediate environment, that has no links with neighboring institutions of higher learning, that does not engage with the social, economic and political problems of the society in which it is embedded does not deserve the title of  “university.” Sadly, I believe that most U.S. universities working in the Gulf suffer from these fatal problems: They are hermetically sealed establishments that have little or no contact with the societies they are in. The latest episode of censorship belies this philosophy. It is as if the UAE government is saying “You can have the most impressive campuses, with cutting edge scientific labs, libraries and sports facilities, but you have no right to discuss the pressing political and cultural issues of the society just beyond the campus gates.”

* Shock! Horror! Emails show Detroit’s emergency managers always intended to declare bankruptcy.

* America Has a Stadium Problem: Despite every number suggesting they shouldn’t, why do American cities keep building sports stadiums funded with public money? They’re even promising to save the stadiums even as they let the rest of Detroit go under.

The NCAA’s History With Concussions: A Timeline.

Over the past half century, in the United States and other developed nations, children’s free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, and young adults. This article documents these historical changes and contends that the decline in play has contributed to the rise in the psychopathology of young people. Play functions as the major means by which children (1) develop intrinsic interests and competencies; (2) learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self-control, and follow rules; (3) learn to regulate their emotions; (4) make friends and learn to get along with others as equals; and (5) experience joy. Through all of these effects, play promotes mental health.  Key words: anxiety; decline of play; depression; feelings of helplessness; free play; narcissism; psychopathology in children; suicide

This is a perfect demonstration of why the entire budget battle is nothing more than an excuse to slash necessary programs for average people. There’s always money for military boondoggles whether it’s “missile defense” or border security or another already obsolete piece of expensive hardware.

They Finally Tested The ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ On Actual Prisoners. The true finding of game theory is that the most sociopathic people in society become economics theorists.

* Full faith and credit: Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage.

When we say we want to critique privilege, we mean that we want to critique the privilege of ordinariness. How awkward that sounds. Even impossible. But it is what we mean. More concisely, we want to critique the experience of “ordinariness” that permits daily life, permits civic engagement, even permits civil disobedience. And it becomes difficult to critique the experience of “ordinariness” because it is a moving target: ordinariness experienced in one location is not the same as ordinariness in another. My ordinariness in Nairobi is not the same as my ordinariness in Baltimore, although both depend on the presence of majority black populations.

* SyFy is destroying America: the only thing worse than a pointless 12 Monkeys TV series would be Warriors of Oz.

* North Carolina not even bothering to pretend post-VRA-evisceration.

Hollywood Actress Has Played a 17-Year-Old for Over 17 Years.

Francis Ford Coppola’s potential cast list for The Godfather.

* I know I link to it a lot, but Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal consistently has the best SF going.

* And we’re gonna need a bigger moral panic: science demonstrates poverty is much worse for babies than crack cocaine.

Fourth of July America Links USA USA

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milwaukee 2010How to Spot a Communist Using Literary Criticism: A 1955 Manual from the U.S. Military. And they say literary criticism is useless.

* DHS immediately begins implementing green cards to gay couples, without stalling or dragging its feet or needing to be sued. Amazing. I’d have never predicted it.

* Heat maps of poverty in US cities, 1980-2010. At right: Milwaukee in 2010. “Whites are in blue; blacks yellow; Hispanics green; and Asians red.”

* Today in NCAA insanity.

So far this offseason, around 450 Division I basketball players have announced they’re changing schools. This turnover has imperiled the sport, says Marshall University basketball coach Tom Herrion, who calls it a “transfer epidemic.” Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski says that “[k]ids don’t stick to the school that they pick and they want instant gratification.” South Carolina’s Frank Martin agrees: “Kids are not being taught to stay the course, be patient, to learn how to work and improve.” Adds Alabama’s Anthony Grant, “I don’t think it’s something any coach will tell you is good for the game.”

GREEDY NCAA PLAYERS DEMANDING RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHICH GROUP OF MILLIONAIRES WON’T PAY THEM FOR THEIR LABOR PLEASE CALL POLICE

India has officially recognized dolphins as non-human persons, whose rights to life and liberty must be respected. Dolphin parks that were being built across the country will instead be shut down. 

An Open Letter to New Teach for America Recruits.

Many of you no doubt believe you are joining a progressive education justice movement, that is the message TFA sells so well. But I want you to understand clearly, TFA is not progressive. The kind of limited data-driven pedagogy, the fast-track preparation, the union-busting, the forced exploitation of your labor, the deep-pocketed affiliation with corporate education reform are all very conservative, very anti-progressive ideas. Look no further than TFA’s list of supporters/donors. The largest donations are from groups like the Walton Foundation, of Walmart fortune, which has a vested interest in the status quo of inequality, breaking unions, and keeping wages low and workers oppressed. Or notice the many partnerships with JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, the very institutions which caused the financial collapse and threw millions of Americans-including your future students’ families-into foreclosure, bankruptcy, and deeper poverty. These organizations choose to donate to TFA because TFA supports their agendas. If TFA was truly pushing back on the status quo of educational inequality, these types of donors would not only refuse financial support, they would be attacking a group which threatens their earning potential.

* Meanwhile, making the rounds again: Gates Foundation Funding Wrist Bracelets to Monitor Teaching Effectiveness. How to Write a Conservative Article about Education.

* The Humanities, Declining? Not According to the Numbers. Well, you know, you can prove anything using facts.

* “This is text from an actual email from an actual coursera professor to actual coursera students.”

* More than 260 colleges and universities in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have students who are more likely to default on their loans than full-time freshmen are to graduate, an analysis of federal data shows.

* Bummer Watch Lightning Round: Fox News adopts George Zimmerman. Kevin Clash’s (One) Day in Court. Gitmo Detainees to Be Force-Fed at Night Out of Respect for Ramadan. The street value of black market ivory in China — up to $1,300 a pound — rivals that of cocaine or gold. And, of course, North Carolina. Oh, North Carolina.

* In New York, Blasi said, his security personnel did not have the police’s powers of arrest and don’t have the power to arrest and shoot lawbreakers, and the city police did not believe they had the power to enter this private space. During the Zuccotti crisis, Blasi said he dreamed of turning on fire hydrants, letting loose German shepherds and deploying blow torches. Ralph Blasi is a director of security for a real estate company. Fire hydrants, German shepherds, blow torches.

The marshmallow test became an important part of psychology canon. But a study in 2012 suggests that the children in the experiment did not necessarily differ in their ability to resist temptation. Instead, it was their trust in the researcher to return with the promised marshmallow that differed. 

“Now, it seems that senior (well-paid) managers are giving explicit orders to senior editorial staff to deliberately take advantage of young job-seekers in order to cut costs.” Gasp!

* And the headline reads: Human head transplants? Neurosurgeon says ‘we have the technology.’ All right, damnit, I’m in.

Sunday Night Links

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MoMAPS1_051013_0425-Matthew_Septimus-800x340* Olafur Eliasson’s immersive installation Your Waste of Time presents massive pieces of ice that broke off from Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. The oldest ice in the glacier is estimated to have originated some 800 years ago, around AD 1200. Presented as sculptures that visitors can walk around and contemplate, their continued presence is made possible by refrigerating the gallery space to maintain a temperature below freezing. The physical experience of centuries-old ice from the glaciers of Eliasson’s native Iceland makes tangible a history that extends beyond the human life span—time that is measured in thousands of years rather than mere decades.

* Jodi Dean drops some knowledge in the war on higher education.

The whole attack on jargon is barely masked anti-intellectualism. No one worries about the jargon of particle physics, neuroscience, or custody law. In fact, we recognize that knowledge takes multiple forms and speaks to multiple audiences. Not every audience needs to be (or wants to be) addressed the same way — and, again, it’s thinly veiled anti-intellectualism to imply that everything should be accessible to everyone. For example, I can’t read and understand a paper in theoretical physics, but I can read and follow a popular book on, say, black holes. That popular book would be worthless, however, without the real science backing it up. And, again, we shouldn’t expect that the same people who carry out the experiments, make the observations, and do the equations will necessarily be the ones to write the popular books.

You know, the real problem is this language of ‘costly’ — it points to what I already mentioned, namely, that the one percent has decided that it no longer wants to fund higher education for the majority. Why is it that tenure is costly but Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon are not? Their salaries in a single year –alone –would more than cover the salary of the entire faculty where I teach. Let’s not pretend that there is some kind of objective analysis of education going on here. It’s class war, plain and simple.

Student Loan Interest Rates On Verge Of Doubling.

* “Gentlemen do not read each others’ mail.” The Criminal N.S.A.

So here’s your nickel summary. If a law is passed on a party-line vote, has no justification in the historical record, and is highly likely to harm black voting, that’s OK as long as the legislature in question can whomp up some kind of neutral-sounding justification. Judicial restraint is the order of the day. But if a law is passed by unanimous vote, is based on a power given to Congress with no strings attached, and is likely to protect black voting, that’s prohibited unless the Supreme Court can be persuaded that Congress’s approach is one they approve of. Judicial restraint is out the window. Welcome to the 21st century.

The drone will go down in history as the crucial invention that made war a managerial decision.

* Universal is building a Cabin in the Woods haunted house.

* And Sorority Girl Buying Bottled Water Ends Up Spending Night in Jail. Of course the innocent have nothing to fear.

Saturday Links!

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Take the Impossible “Literacy” Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters in the 1960s. My friend @ch3chia‘s characterization is the best I’ve seen: “weaponized nonsense.”

* During a five-year period when the state cut the University of Florida’s funding by $230 million, the university cut full-time tenure and tenure track faculty by 9.4 percent and increased part-time and non-tenure faculty by 9.8 percent.

At the same time, the number of executive and administrative positions grew by almost 57 percent, a statistic Tigert Hall said is distorted by a reclassification of people already in existing positions.

Statewide, the university system saw a 20.8 percent growth in administration and a 5.7 percent drop in full-time faculty during that period.

* An old story, but new to me: When the CIA helped jail Nelson Mandela.

* Valences of the Bert and Ernie cover: For. Against.

* Do chimpanzees mourn?

Iowa Supreme Court to Reconsider Case of Woman Fired for Being ‘Irresistible.’

North Carolina Becomes First State To Eliminate Unemployment Benefits.

* And the best Pixar movies (as chosen by children). Who asked them, anyway?

In Which Antonin Scalia Sets Out to Completely Break My Spirit, and Succeeds

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Today’s hearing on the Voting Rights Act featured some of Scalia’s most breathtaking anti-textualist and ad-hoc reasoning ever. The argument is literally that the Supreme Court is tasked to strike down popular laws because otherwise they’ll be continually reauthorized in perpetuity because people want them. Like the Founders intended!

Just astounding.

More here and here. My sole consolation here is @studentactivism’s shocking discovery that Scalia’s entire term on the Supreme Court is null and void by the well-known Constitutional principle that it doesn’t count if it was unanimous. Article 1. Look it up.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 27, 2013 at 3:38 pm