Posts Tagged ‘wiretapping’
The first thing I want to do, then, is slow us down a bit, and go through the last year with a bit more care than we’re usually able to do, to do a “close reading” of the year of the MOOC, as it were. Not only because I have the time, but because, to be blunt, MOOC’s only make sense if you don’t think about it too much, if you’re in too much of a hurry to go deeply into the subject.
* IRS Sent Same Letter to Democrats That Fed Tea Party Row. Gasp! You mean this whole scandal isn’t?
* Adam Kotsko on the US as a party state.
The really disturbing thing is that the party duopoly renders both parties above the law. We can see this in the IRS scandal that is currently unfolding: although there are very good reasons to suspect Tea Party organizations of being less than completely upright when it comes to taxes, the formal state apparatus is likely to back down and sanction the agents who carried out those investigations, because the appearance of neutrality vis-à-vis the two parties is more important than the rule of law. Similarly, one cannot prosecute Bush-era war crimes, because that would be an illegitimately “partisan” move. Given that Clinton and Obama have both committed similar atrocities, one might have some sympathy with the inevitable Republican whining that would accompany a Bush prosecution — it genuinely wouldn’t be “fair.” But it’s when one asks why we don’t just prosecute Bush and Obama that we realize that the two parties are truly above the law — a bipartisan agreement on foreign policy trumps even the most sacred norms of international law.
In the US, it’s common to think of sickle cell anemia, a genetic condition, as a “black disease,” and in fact statistics on prevalence bear that out — black Americans are far more likely than whites to carry the sickle cell gene. But that fact, it turns out, is a result of ethnicity and history, not race.
Sickle cell is common in some parts of Africa, and some parts of Europe, but not others. As it turns out, most American blacks have ancestral origins in areas of sickle-cell prevalence, and most American whites do not. But if the geographic distribution of Americans’ ancestors were different — if, for instance, the country had been settled by South African blacks and Sicilian whites — the incidence of sickle cell in the white population would be higher than the incidence in the black population.
Race is a form of shorthand, in other words. It’s an approximation. In some situations, for some purposes, it’s a useful approximation. If you’re trying to tell someone which of your several friends named Jim you’re referring to, specifying that you mean “the white Jim” may be helpful, and if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck in a sickle-cell awareness media campaign, targeting black media may have merit.
But the fact remains that Nelson Mandela is at less risk of sickle cell than Al Pacino.
See also Race and IQ: That Old Canard.
* Even the Onion wouldn’t stoop this low for a bit: Soldier In Charge of Sex Assault Prevention Accused of Abuse, Pimping.
* zunguzungu: We Cannot Afford to Protect the Anuses of the Condemned.
Yesterday, as the Washington Post put it, the Supreme Court “upholds jail strip searches, including for minor offenses”; as the New York Times wrote “Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest”; and as the AP headlines it: “People arrested on minor charges can be strip searched, Supreme Court rules.” And I’m interested in these headlines because the words “offenses,” “arrests,” and “charges” are all ways of demarcating the moment the state judges a person to be in custody without saying anything in particular about the reason why. The fact of being in custody becomes the only important fact, to which all others are subordinate. This is the logic of the decision, but its also the logic that the headlines obey, flattening all possible juridical categories into a single one: the condemned.
More on this from Glenn Greenwald, who notes (no surprise) Obama’s DOJ is completely on board.
* Elsewhere in the rule of law: Fifth Circuit Judges Now In Full Wingnut Mode.
* …we would need a $9.92-per-hour wage, more than $2 above the current federal minimum, to match the buying power of the minimum wage in 1968.
* UNC study: We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion. The consistent pattern of results found across multiple studies employing multiple methods and samples demonstrates the robustness of the findings.
* Romney Zippergate: Too juvenile, or not juvenile enough?
* And science proves 33 is the happiest age. Bring on 2013!
* Rortybomb with three ways of looking at the student debt crisis.
* Inhofe on climate change: “‘I Thought It Must Be True Until I Found Out What It Cost.” Sure, that’s how facts work.
* Rick Perlstein argues the problem isn’t that conservatives are crazier than they were fifty years ago; the problem is they’re exactly as crazy as they were fifty years ago. Via LGM.
* After less than three full days of deliberations, the five men and seven women of the jury found Dharun Ravi, 20 years old, guilty of invading the privacy of his 18-year-old roommate, Tyler Clementi, and his dorm-room date.
* So much intercepted information is now being collected from “enemies” at home and abroad that, in order to store it all, the agency last year began constructing the ultimate monument to eavesdropping. Rising in a remote corner of Utah, the agency’s gargantuan data storage center will be 1 million square feet, cost nearly $2 billion and likely be capable of eventually holding more than a yottabyte of data — equal to about a septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.
* I miss Linsanity. Those were simpler times.
* Americans used public transformation twice as much in 1940. That’s per capita. That’s nuts.
* Louis C.K. Withdraws as Host of Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner. Who invited him in the first place? What a terrible choice for the gig.
* Obama comes out against Amendment One. Hey, me too!
* Al Gore endorses filibuster reform. Hey, me too!
* And today in Settlers of Catan news: A Dutch public broadcasting network last month offered its viewers a board game featuring Israeli settlers who use “Jewish stinginess” and “the Anne Frank card” to colonize the West Bank. Hours of fun for the entire family!
Sorry about the slow blogging yesterday—the end of the semester can catch up on you. A few transition links:
* Change! What we need is a liberal shock doctrine, says Rick Perlstein.
* Good has a visual accounting of the first 100 days of various presidents.
* How to get tickets to the inauguration.
* 59% of Americans look forward to one-party rule.
* And marriage equality destroys marriage in Connecticut today.