Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘worst financial crisis since World War II

Sunday Reading!

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* Some late-breaking academic jobs (in Europe)! Assistant Professor Gender Studies & Postcolonial Studies. Tenure-track vacancy in Anglophone Literature.

* CFP: Call for Papers: Spanish Science Fiction. (couldn’t find a link)

Science Fiction Studies invites contributions to the monographic issue on Spanish SF (guest editors: Sara Martín and Fernando Ángel Moreno). By ‘Spanish SF’ we mean SF novels and short fiction written specifically in Spain, excluding other Spanish-language areas. We are particularly interested in articles dealing with writers Gabriel Bermúdez Castillo, Rafael Marín, Rodolfo Martínez or Javier Negrete and with SF women writers (excluding Elia Barceló). All submissions must be in English and conform to SFS submission policies, which includes a rigorous peer-reviewing process. Abstracts (150-200 words) are due by March 30, complete papers by 1 September (maximum 7000 words). Please, email your proposals to Sara Martín (Sara.Martin@uab.cat).

There were apparently no answers to these questions.  But the trend is clear. Without restored public funding, the New Normal means the permanent downgrading of all levels of public higher education, and the reversion of top-quality learning and research to small elites.  Unless we restore cut public funding, California will continue to pioneer educational post-democracy.

Are CEOs overpaid? Not compared with college presidents.

* Mount St. Mary’s now in trouble with its accreditor. Good! I can’t see how they can possibly retain accreditation with this leadership still in place.

Emails Show Michigan Aides Worried About Flint’s Water a Year Before Acting. When is someone going to go to jail over this? How the Flint River got so toxic.

* Riffing a bit more on this (“A presidential run by Michael Bloomberg could plunge the country into a constitutional crisis”), it seems to me there’s a real possibility of GOP leaders doing this on purpose, if they think a third-party run can keep both Clinton and Trump under a majority and thereby throw the whole thing to a presumably GOP House. Meanwhile: GOP elites “verging on panic.” Trump and the fake-university fraud. (Even the right-wing National Review, etc!) And then there’s just this morning. But you don’t have to take my word for it…

Jeb: An Elegy!

* Alas, Bernie.

* I don’t remember who said it, but someone on Twitter was remarking just the other day about how well Trump has turned the ignore-facts-trust-only-me ethos of Fox against Fox itself. And behold.

bdjones_2016-Feb-28* In your heart, you know she’s right.

* Meanwhile, on the other side of the cable news swamp: Melissa Harris-Perry Is Probably Not Coming Back to MSNBC. Scratch that “probably.”

Dow Chemical Co. said it agreed to pay $835 million to settle an antitrust case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death reduced its chances of overturning a jury award.

The Great Pennsylvania Government Porn Caper.

* Finland, education, and equality.

Ron visited the Burrow after he had gotten clean. He was dismayed to see how many photos of Hermione his mother kept on the walls. Harry Potter and Your Twenties.

* Truly, the cruelest month: Mississippi Governor Proclaims That April Is Now ‘Confederate Heritage Month.’

* …what is the best strategy for dealing with a body of thought that, on one hand, is riddled with internal contradictions and tensions and yet, on the other, is highly coherent and effective (for example, through the transformation of human subjects into financialized forms of capital)? Should we seek to destabilize neoliberalism by exposing its internal inconsistencies, or reject its market rationalities by embracing forms of sociality and politics that cannot be reduced to economic principles such as price, or perhaps both? These questions are, to some extent, left hanging, and the book leaves one with the feeling that the battle against neoliberalism is being lost, and perhaps even that there is an air of inevitability about where things are heading. This book, then, is at the same time enlightening and disheartening: it provides a brilliant insight into some of the darkest developments of our times while at the same time providing little hope for social and political change of a different kind.

* “The Big Short is, in one sense, about our protagonists’ search for a villain as formidable as the crisis they identify.”

* Parenting corner: Are picky eaters born or made? Given how terrible I was about this when I was a kid, and how relentlessly I’m being handed back every inch of it now, I’ve got to say there’s a genetic component to it, or at least a karmic one.

Shazam for Plants Will Identify Any Plant From a Picture.

Space is the Place: The Architecture of Afrofuturism.

What Life on Minimum Wage Actually Looks Like in 2016.

* This is still the best story.

This Is What Darth Vader’s Theme Would Have Been If He Had Been The Hero

* If you want a vision of the future.

* And it certainly is pretty: Licensing agreement reached on brilliant new blue pigment discovered by happy accident.

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Class of ’98

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One of the odder side effects of my long time in graduate school has been missing the financial apocalypse that’s otherwise completely screwed over my age cohort.

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Monday Links

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* Welcome to the future: Another grandmother gives birth to her own grandchild.

* Whiteness and Breaking Bad: America isn’t flooded with pure meth, and it’s not because our chemists are too ethical. The illegal drug market simply doesn’t reward peerless expertise in the same way celebrity cooking shows do.

The white guy who enters a world supposedly beneath him where he doesn’t belong yet nonetheless triumphs over the inhabitants is older than talkies. TV Tropes calls it “Mighty Whitey,” and examples range from Tom Cruise as Samurai and Daniel Day Lewis as Mohican, to the slightly less far-fetched Julia Stiles as ghetto-fabulous. But whether it’s a 3-D marine playing alien in Avatar or Bruce Wayne slumming in a Bhutanese prison, the story is still good for a few hundred million bucks. The story changes a bit from telling to telling, but the meaning is consistent: a white person is (and by extension, white people are) best at everything.

* Paging Kim Stanley Robinson: NASA seems to have violated its own Prime Directive by failing to consult its Planetary Protection Officer on the Curiosity mission.

Teachers are striking in Chicago. Meanwhile: How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party. Thank goodness Obama’s winning, so he can finally crush the teachers’ unions once and for all!

* Solitary confinement in schools? Jesus Christ.

* Richard Posner is making sense: The notion of using the criminal law as the primary means of dealing with a problem of addiction, of misuse, of ingesting dangerous drugs — I don’t think that’s sensible at all.

* Debt Collectors Cashing In on Student Loan Roundup.

“I couldn’t believe the accumulated wealth they represent — for our industry,” the consultant, Jerry Ashton, wrote in a column for a trade publication, InsideARM.com. “It was lip-smacking.”

Meanwhile, America’s defaulted student loans total more than yearly tuition at public colleges.

* Star Trek 2 has a title: Star Trek Into Darkness. Early returns: Pretty terrible! Star Wars on Poverty. Lord of the Rings That Bell.

* James Cameron always envisioned Avatar as 19 films.

I have an idea for a fourth. I haven’t really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na’vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world. Because when we drop in, even in the first film in ‘Avatar 1,’ as it will be known in the future, we’re dropping into a process that’s 35 years in to a whole colonization.

But what happened before that? And before that? And…

* The director of Looper has a metaphor for a model of time travel logic I don’t think I’ve seen before: the universe as a body with an immune system that seeks to push out foreign objects.

The problem isn’t that this is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen in my life; the problem is that it’s seven of the worst films I’ve ever seen in my life glued together haphazardly, their inexorable badness amplified by their awkward juxtaposition. Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski wanted to make a movie unlike any other, and they certainly did: Cloud Atlas is a unique and totally unparalleled disaster.

*  Study: There is enough wind on this planet to meet our entire energy needs.

* Tressie McMillan Cottom reviews the captivating documentary The Queen of Versailles, which I caught at the local independent movie house this weekend. It’s quite good—a stunning portrait of the wealthy’s perspective of the “normal” workings of the economy and of the 2008-2009 economic collapse.

* And when polls fail: Do 15% of Ohio Republicans really think Romney killed bin Laden? Probably not.

Wednesday Links

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DAVID BROOKS: Okay, so our act starts with us inflating a giant internet bubble. Then that collapses, taking the country’s economy with it, just as we massively cut taxes on millionaires because, we say, if we don’t the government will have too much money. Right after that we blow off warnings about terrorism and let 3,000 Americans get slaughtered. We use that as a chance to lie the U.S. into invading a country that had nothing to do with the attack, killing hundreds of thousands of people and turning millions into refugees. In the middle of all that we borrow torture techniques from the Inquisition and use them on people in secret sites around the planet. Then we make billions off another financial bubble, the biggest in human history, and do nothing as it collapses, plunging the world into the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression. To fix that we open up the national bank vault and shovel out money as fast as possible to all the criminals who made it happen in the first place. Then—as the amazing finale—we refuse to prosecute anyone for that, for the war, or for torture, and we start killing U.S. citizens with flying death robots.

[LONG PAUSE]

AGENT: …That’s a hell of an act. What do you call it?

DAVID BROOKS: The Aristocrats!

* Male privilege watch: For anyone who’s unfamiliar with her plight, Sarkeesian wanted to start a project to cover a subject that’s not exactly radical: the portrayal of women in video games. Her YouTube account, in which she explains the project, was flooded with comments equating her to the KKK, calling her a “fucking hypocrite slut,” comparing the project to an act of war, and flagging the video as promoting hatred or violence. Her Wikipedia page was vandalized, her picture replaced with pornographic images, and people tried to get the Kickstarter proposal Sarkeesian was using to raise money to support the project shut down. More from MeFi.

* To whit.

“The ability to see him as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear,” he said. “He literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building him up and just when he gets confident, we break him down again.”

In the new Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones will suffer. His best friend will be kidnapped. He’ll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape him.

“He is literally turned into a cornered animal,” Rosenberg said. “It’s a huge step in his evolution: he’s forced to either fight back or die.”

Patent for a wristwatch that tells you how much longer you could expect to live.

Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises. Inconceivable!

* Wes Anderson: genius! Wes Anderson: fraud!

* People say M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” is an impossible space, but nothing is impossible with LEGO.

* North Dakotan communists rename racist mascots, endorse the existence of property tax.

* First as farce, then as…?: Romney Touts Presidential Salary Plan That Was Literally A Saturday Night Live Skit.

Goodfellas‘s famously ambiguous ending finally resolves: Henry Hill has died.

* And the kids are all right: Belief In God Plummets Among Youth. Update: Or not.

When It Smells Like It, Feels Like It, and Looks Like It, You Call It What It Is

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Krugman: It’s time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression. True, it’s not a full replay of the Great Depression, but that’s cold comfort. Unemployment in both America and Europe remains disastrously high. Leaders and institutions are increasingly discredited. And democratic values are under siege.

Thursday Night

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* Breaking Trust: The Past and Future of the University of California.

We are at a tipping point for determining whether or not the university is indeed fulfilling its constitutional mandate to “encourage by all suitable means” the “general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence…essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people.” As such, perhaps shifting attention away from the autonomy of the regents allows for consideration of the public trust that structures that autonomy. How, exactly, does the (temporarily withdrawn, but still looming) threat to raise tuition and fees 81% express a will to further the public’s interest? How does decimating language programs, student services, and the core teaching missions of the university promote the public good? Allowing “joint” research projects with massive corporations to direct the course of university scholarship for decades to come? Permitting the UC president to wield “emergency powers” for two years and counting, depriving faculty of a voice in shaping the university?

* We pretend that 2 degrees C is our threshold. Yet the climate scenarios and plans presented to policymakers do not actually reflect that threshold. As Anderson and Bows say, “most policy advice is to accept a high probability of extremely dangerous climate change rather than propose radical and immediate emission reductions.”

* Josh Marshall has been all over Mitt vs.Newt today. You can tell he’s really enjoying this.

* Meanwhile, Bill Kristol is still waiting for Godot Jeb.

* If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, Newt Gingrich is from the planet Trantor, a fictional world created by Isaac Asimov in his classic Foundation series about galactic empire. UPDATE: Retort! Krugman is from Trantor; Gingrich ain’t.

Over 46 Million Americans On Foodstamps For The First Time Ever.

* Duke Energy has been fined by the NRC for installing the wrong circuit breakers at its Oconee Nuclear Station.

The 40-year-old nuclear station just outside Seneca installed the system, called a standby shutdown facility or backup control room, about 30 years ago as an added safety precaution.

On June 1, an engineer discovered that breakers associated with the system would have tripped if exposed to high ambient heat — likely in an emergency. The breakers have since been replaced with fuses not susceptible to the heat problem.

* Why New New Twitter? Because “we can and have an obligation to reach every person on the planet.” That’s why.

* And Geoff Nunberg says “Occupy” is 2011’s word of the year. Seems hard to argue there.

Why Is Everyone So Mad?

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