9.30.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

From the sweetest song to the most clumsy, poisonous prose, the words that we utter and write show nothing other than everything that memory tells us about certain matters, a combination of paradoxical nonsense and delightful fancy all at once, with every possible shade of meaning in between these poles of the sublime and the ridiculous.

Quote of the Day

I continued writing the bad plays which fortunately nobody would produce, just as no one did me the unkindness of publishing my early novels.” Patrick White, Nobel Literary Laureate: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/patrick_white.html.

This Day in History

Today is International Translators Day; eight hundred seven years before the moment now unfolding, the infant male who matured to become the famous Persian poet Rumi came into the world; four hundred seventy-three years back, Spanish plunderer Hernando de Soto led a group of his compatriots into Western Arkansas against tremendous indigenous resistance; the first performance of The Magic Flute opened in Vienna two hundred twenty-three years back, Mozart’s last opera to debut, and Maximilien Robespierre and his cohorts took control of the French revolutionary process; a hundred fifty-four years ago, England’s first tram operation opened in Birkenhead on the Mersey River; Thomas Edison’s first electric power plant opened a hundred thirty-two years ago under the leadership of Thomas Edison and began producing electricity in Appleton, Wisconsin; ninety years back, the infant who grew up to become prominent author Truman Capote was born; eighty-six years before the present pass, the baby boy who underwent the Holocaust and became Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel came into the world; seventy-nine years prior to this point, the official dedication of Hoover Dam took place on the Colorado River; the League of Nations unanimously, seventy six years ago, condemned and outlawed “intentional bombings of civilian populations;” seventy-five years back, the National Broadcast Corporation broadcast the first televised football game; twenty-four years before the here-and-now, Nobel Prize literary laureate Patrick White died; two years ago, the ecologist and thinker Barry Commoner died.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

failure success “cultural product” OR “literary output” OR “narrative output” objective subjective popularity unpopularity = 8760 Citations.

TOP OF THE FOLD

FRAUDULENT SUSTAINABILITY

http://www.theguardian.com/ A report from the Guardian about a much-cited and much-criticized report about the amount of political donations from ‘sustainable’ corporate enterprises to ‘climate-denying’ members of Congress, the citers a group that implies hypocrisy, the critics mainly the companies themselves, nitpicking to evade culpability: ” For some companies, these contributions may be working directly against their core business. Two major contributors, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway – which gave $1,189,612 to climate deniers in Congress – and Norfolk Southern Railway – which gave $1,032,610 – could both profit from stricter climate regulation. Rail, after all, produces the least emissions per freight mile of any form of surface transportation, and policies that push lower emissions would also, likely, improve their business. Both companies declined requests to be interviewed for this story.”

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Solidarity Forever’s second radio show is available to download at LINK.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

NEW VISIONS AWARD

http://www.leeandlow.com A chance to participate without paying for cash and prizes for a children’s publisher that specializes in fantasy and science fiction.

OUR STORY PROJECT

http://ourstoryproject.herokuapp.com/pages/contest The Stories of Resilience opportunity, offering three winners cash prizes for stories about coping with domestic violence.

NEW INQUIRY’S PITCH-PAGE

http://thenewinquiry.com/submit-to-tni/ A chance to publish something in the November issue, about Californiaboth physically and psychically.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

HOUSTON DEATH PENALTIES
http://www.govexec.com A chilling report from GovExec that ten U.S. Counties account for over one quarter of all executions in the United States, to say the least anomalous and provoking all sorts of unasked and unanswered questions: “Texas’s Harris County, which includes Houston, is far and away the leader in executions during that period. That district has handed out 122 death sentences that were carried to completion, more than double the next highest. Harris County alone is responsible for more executions than any state besides Texas.”

STEVEN SALAITA FOIA
http://coreyrobin.com/Updates from Corey Robin about the ongoing crimes and misdemeanors against Professor Steven Salaita, here with a focus on mysteriously disappeared documents that implicate University of Illinois leadership in conspiracy: “It is hard to believe that Chancellor Wise would have thrown out the two-pager on Professor Salaita given to her by a donor at a meeting that was important enough for her to email details about to top Illinois fundraising officials at midnight, unless there’s a reason she didn’t want it to be made public,’ she told The Electronic Intifada. ‘The two-pager might indicate a more organized effort to go after Salaita, and it will be one of the many documents we’ll seek in litigation,” LaHood added. Under the Illinois State Records Act, documents received by Wise and the university are the property of the state. As a public official, Wise is legally required to preserve such records, which may not be disposed of except under conditions set out in the law.”

AMAZING CHESS

http://www.slate.com/articles A story about a chess tournament that portrayed the most crushing dominance by a player ever, with pleny of additional interesting bits and pieces about the game, its personalities, and the administration of such affairs: “FIDE is, by all accounts, comically corrupt, in the vein of other fishy global sporting bodies like FIFA and the IOC. Its Russian president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has hunkered in office for nearly two decades now, was once abducted by a group of space aliens dressed in yellow costumes who transported him to a faraway star. Though I am relying here on Ilyumzhinov’s personal attestations, I have no reason to doubt him, as this is something about which he has spoken quite extensively. He is of the firm belief that chess was invented by extraterrestrials, and further ‘insists that there is ‘some kind of code’ in chess, evidence for which he finds in the fact that there are 64 squares on the chessboard and 64 codons in human DNA.’”

CRAZY WORLD RUMINATIONS

http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/i Another powerful moral, spiritual, cultural contemplation from The Lefsetz Letter, about the predatory, out-of-control acquisitiveness that rules everything, including the author’s beloved music: “I’m never gonna have an app, I’m never gonna make it big in tech. Because I don’t want to. I want to use the tools, but I don’t want to throw my life away in pursuit of riches. I’m not a 1’s and 0’s guy, I want to color outside the lines, I’m looking for something messier, like love. You remember love? Not the porn-infused one you experience on the internet, but the one between two real people? Who have imperfections, who don’t always get along, whose experience is enriched as time goes by. We’re on a train to nowhere. We’ve sacrificed culture in the name of influence. Money is all that matters.”

JOURNALISTS RESOURCE
http://journalistsresource.org/ A pathway to Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, which provides research-based data about ‘beats,’ issues, and such, which advances the contention that a tool for writers that does the compilations would be helpful, especially in developing “good public policy reporting.”

PSYCHIC MUSICAL DECONSTRUCTION

http://thetalkhouse.com An astounding interview with the lead singer of Perfect Pussy, from The Talkhouse, via MediaREDEF: “Unfortunately, I’ve met more of those boys since then. They’re the pretentious boys who, when they meet a girl who likes metal, only find it fair to insist she recite the Slayer discography in reverse chronological order. If she likes comic books, she has to know every character’s origin stories as well as subsequent changes and how they correspond to different decades and illustrators. The same boys who, a year later, when I was 15 years old, still on dial-up and not yet part of the world, scoffed when they found out I had never heard of a website called Pitchfork. They were 18 and I was just young and stupid, I clearly wasn’t a real music fan. The ridicule and questioning were constant.”

CRAIGSLIST AS TEMPLATE

pando.com/2014/09/19 A lovely paean to Craigslist from Pando Daily that presents the site as a seedbed for authors, entrepreneurs, thinkers, and actors on the world’s stage: “Yet there’s something explosive that often happens when a new company replicates a specific kind of transaction that occurs on Craigslist, but does so with an elegant layer of software and design on top of it. And according to Bessemer Venture Partners’ Jeremy Levine, our guest at last night’s PandoMonthly in New York, that makes Craigslist a well of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs searching for the next billion dollar idea.”

RECIPES FOR SUCCESS

http://www.fastcompany.com/3036011/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/the-first-100-days-of-clickhole-how-creativity-and-george- A look at ClickHole by Fast Company that provides a brief about the website’s explosive popularity, including skewering one popular science nerd–ten million followers–and getting him to like the treatment, after which an interview with two founders shows up: “It was a masterstroke of viral manipulation, but, if you’ve been paying attention to the site at all, it also wasn’t very surprising. Since launching in June, ClickHole has been on a tear, earning praise from just about every corner of the Internet. In just about 100 days, the site has surgically ethered everyone from horny Redditors to evangelical Christians to Beyoncé stans. It also posted the entirety of Moby Dick.”

CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT

http://katekrontiris.com/Simple brilliance from a blogger and citizen that hit the road with a set of questions for people about government, which uncovered predictably astonishing ignorance, an incapacitation that ought to be frightening but most folks would probably find a little humorous, like the inability to respond intelligibly to a query about one’s “last interaction with government:” “Do the police count? Do parking tickets count? Does my health insurance count? In essence, people are asking if they have correctly identified what government is. These are people who took public transportation earlier that day to get to work, or whose kids are completing third grade. While the answers to other questions surface a variety of complicated trends about Americans’ relationship with civic duty – as one might expect from a country as colorful and many-minded as the United States – the responses to this one question are unitary. I find this astounding.”

‘BIG-DATA’ CONTEXTUALIZATIONS

http://www.saramwatson.com More simple blogging brilliance with a launch of Living With Data, a series that introduces items like “Stalked by Socks” and more, such as backing from Al Jazeera and an interest in engagement, with fluent Chinese: “I’m really excited to work with Al Jazeera on this project, given their dedication to being ‘with the people — we tell real stories.’ But I need your help! This series starts with you. Share your personal stories, your questions and your encounters with data.”

TECHNOLOGICAL CHIMERAS

http://www.technologyreview.com A briefing from MIT Technology Review about Peter Thiel’s most recent work, Zero to One, followed by an interview about his thinking: “But he’s convinced that technological progress has been stagnant for decades. According to Thiel, developments in computers and the Internet haven’t significantly improved our quality of life. In a new book, he warns entrepreneurs that conventional business wisdom is preventing them and society as a whole from making major advances in areas, such as energy or health, where technology could make the world a better place—though he doesn’t offer detailed answers about how we might unlock such breakthroughs.”

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

SECRECY BLOG
http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/ The Secrecy Blog, a regular trove of information, data, and analysis from the Federation of American Scientists that on any given day will provide multiple puzzle pieces that will help a variety of scrappy writers.

SOCIAL MEDIA RESEARCH

http://journalistsresource.org/ An installment from JournalistsResource of recent studies and other useful items in relation to digital media, social media, and more.

COMBINING FORCES

http://www.niemanlab.org A look at what has to become a trend among journalism producers, combining forces, like renters who move in together when the cost of paying the landlord gets too high, in this case an examination of a recent combo in St. Louis that is making a signficant impact in community radio: “(The team leader’s) work shows off a kind of reporting and production muscle that might not have been possible for St. Louis Public Radio when these investigations started just a few months ago. Last December the NPR-affiliate merged with the St. Louis Beacon, a local nonprofit outlet founded by former St. Louis Post-Dispatch editors. Combining the two organizations’ newsrooms, plus adding a number of new hires, has more than doubled the size of their joint newsroom, which kept the St. Louis Public Radio name. ‘To maintain the kind of commitment it takes to stay with that story would’ve been really difficult previously,’ said St. Louis Public Radio editor Margaret Wolf Freivogel, the founding editor of the Beacon. In May the station even joined in a lawsuit with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Missouri chapter of the ACLU seeking information on executions that they alleged the state was withholding.”

PROVOCATIVE COPYRIGHT ANALYSIS

http://torrentfreak.com/letter-copyright-monopoly-140921/ A bourgeois but provocative case against copyright, which never really grapples with the notion that ‘property’ itself might be under any sort of indictment, focusing instead on civil liberties: “The story of ‘the letter’ deals with just how big and vital civil liberties have been sacrificed in the transition from analog to digital at the tenacious insistence of the copyright industry for the sake of their bottom line. The analog letter was the message sent the way our parents sent them: written onto a physical piece of paper, put into an envelope, postaged with an old-fashioned stamp and put into a mailbox for physical delivery to the intended recipient.”

COMMUNITY JOURNALISM IMPLICATIONS

http://www.pbs.org/ Just a fabulous installment from Public Broadcasting System’s MediaShift, about issues and opportunities in relation to community engagement that arise as ‘hands-on-journalism’ comes to the fore: “Hands-on journalism also creates new opportunities for artists, technologists and journalists to collaborate. For example, to help visualize an investigation about Wisconsin dairy land and farm waste, Wisconsin Watch shared their reporting data with artist Carrie Roy who created sculptures representing the stories. The Center for Investigative Reporting has worked with young people in the Off/Page project to create poetry from their reporting. And in 2013, RadioLab created an easy-to-build soil-sensor kit and distributed it to listeners to build, so they could monitor the emergence of cicadas in the Northeast.”

CORPORATE JOURNALISM TSUNAMI

http://www.mondaynote.com/ A Monday Note contextualization that analyzes and warns about the coming tsunami of ‘corporate journalism,’ a phenomenon that others her on DL and out in the world have also reported: “In short, while the journalistic staffing is shrinking dramatically in every mature market (US, Europe), the public relation crowd is rising in a spectacular fashion. It grows in two dimensions: the spinning aspect, with more highly capable people, most often former seasoned writers willing to become spin-surgeons. These are both disappointed by the evolution of their noble trade and attracted by higher compensation. The second dimension is the growing inclination for PR firms, communication agencies and corporations themselves to build fully-staffed newsrooms with editor-in-chief, writers, photo and video editors. That’s the first issue. The second trend is the evolution of corporate communication. Slowly but steadily, it departs from the traditional advertising codes that ruled the profession for decades. It shifts toward a more subtle and mature approach based on storytelling. Like it or not, that’s exactly what branded content is about: telling great stories about a company in a more intelligent way versus simply extolling a product’s merits.”

PROTECTING JOURNALISTS

http://www.theguardian.com/media A plea from the Guardian to respond earnestly to the deadly recent barrage of attacks on reporters, the only non-violent crime that yields quite so many death sentences: “I met the photojournalist John Cantlie in 2012, at a Frontline Club discussion of journalists’ safety. The raw power of the images he showed me was impressive but I was also struck by the passion with which he spoke about the need for reporters to take safety seriously. It seems ironic now and desperately sad that we were discussing how the industry could come together to better protect freelancers like him. A few weeks later, John was kidnapped in Syria for the first time along with a Dutch colleague. He was later shot in the arm as they escaped.”

LITERARY NETWORKING

http://www.niemanlab.org/ Oh boy! A back-to-school session from Nieman Journalism Lab with a fellow who has decades of experience as a real-live publisher and advises many start-ups and virtual outlets to get in touch with what that entails if they want to achieve a viable position in the ‘marketplace of ideas:’ “As you’ll see, Rose is highly critical of the bevy of small magazine founders working today. His is a very distinct perspective, one shaped by his nearly two decades in a struggling business. But the clarity of his advice — and his general optimism — are both refreshing and useful. This is less a lesson in innovation than a pragmatic exhortation to return to basics.”

SCRAPPY WRITERS’ OPPORTUNITY

http://www.poynter.org An announcement from Poynter about a Center for Public Integrity initiative already noted here on DL, but important enough to give another shout-out about, involving hiring a reporter in every State to cover the legislature and use data to shape stories with real potential impact: ‘The last project resulted in more than 1,100 stories and led to reform measures passed in seven states, according to the the Center for Public Integrity. It was a 2013 finalist for Harvard’s Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize. Participants will work part-time starting in fall and through early 2016 and will be expected to answer 200-300 questions using data during the first two months of the project. Pay is $7,000.”

FUSION PLATFORMS

pando.com/2014/09 A profile by Pando Daily of new ‘enterprise software’ that permits an organization to contextualize and deploy data in powerful new ways, something that might conceivably serve scrappy writers and their organizations: “Amid its battles with disgruntled employees and overzealous tech bloggers in search of scandal, LucidWorks has been heads-down for the better part of a year designing its next generation enterprise search platform. Today the company debuted Fusion, a machine learning and signal processing engine built on top of the open source Apache Solr search platform that promises to allow corporations to ‘translate massive pools of data into actionable insights faster than ever.’”

LITERARY MAG’S BEST-PRACTICES

http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/09/the-new-inquiry-not-another-new-york-literary-magazine/ An examination by Nieman Journalism Lab of the five year old online literary phenom—started as a Tumblr when long-form narrative was plausible there—New Inquiry(http://thenewinquiry.com/), a template and an opportunity for scrappy writers to ponder: “’At the time, Tumblr was was considered social media, and we were doing longform writing on it. It was a photo platform. Because we were early on it, we got a lot of followers,’ (NI’s publisher) told me. ‘It became really interesting to me to figure out how authority was conferred and how something became culturally significant.’ The cultural significance of The New Inquiry has grown since then — today they have around 25,000 followers on Twitter and the same number of likes on Facebook. ‘What we seemed to be doing felt original and felt vital,’ says Rosenfelt. As she recruited new writers via social media — many of whom were figures on the periphery of academia in the pre-Occupy Wall Street days — confidence in the magazine’s editorial mission grew.”

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

PRINT MEDIA OUTLOOK

http://www.theguardian.com A dispiriting if very real analysis from The Guardian about the continued daunting prospect that all publishers, especially in print, face in the coming period: “Moody’s senior credit officer Carl Salas wrote in the report: ‘Companies will make some gains against this decline from ongoing investments in digital platforms, but not enough to prevent most publishing companies’ performance from eroding.’ But magazines may do better than newspapers because, says the report, ‘readers still demand glossy weekly and monthly magazine publications that target their interests.'”

SCOTUS RAP GUIDE

http://www.slate.com/articles A close look from Slate about a key bullying-and-threat in social media case, in which some of the legal points turn on the cultural status of rap: “The case, which I wrote about in the spring, is a big test of the standard used to scrutinize threats to determine whether they are protected by the First Amendment. But it’s also become something of a referendum on the question of whether rap lyrics are an art form. The case involves Anthony Elonis of Pennsylvania, who began putting darker and darker posts on Facebook after his wife took their kids and left him. His posts were often in the form of rap-style lyrics about shooting up kindergarten classes, dismembering his former wife, or killing the female FBI investigator who came to his door.”

FASTEST INTERNET

http://readwrite.com A richly interlinked summary and overview from ReadWrite, conveyed by MediaREDEF, about the fastest speeds and best locations around the world to obtain superior access to the web, the results of which suggest that almost everywhere in the U.S. is not even close to competitive.

INFORMATION POLITICAL RESERVE

http://motherboard.vice.com/ For those inclined to believe conspiracy facts, whatever the trope now that decries ‘conspiracy theorists,’ a wonderful report from Vice MotherBoard about a new service that will publish one’s secret scoops if one comes to a bad end or finds oneself in prison for one’s whistleblowing derring-do: “With all the conspiracy theories surrounding some high-profile deaths in recent years, how can you, theoretical whistleblower with highly sensitive documents, be assured that your information gets leaked if you’re murdered in some government conspiracy? A new dark web service says it’s got your back. ‘Dead Man Zero’ [deep web link] claims to offer potential whistleblowers a bit more peace of mind by providing a system that will automatically publish and distribute their secrets should they die, get jailed, or get injured.”

MIT BITCOIN LITIGATION

http://www.wired.com A Wired briefing about a case that pits MIT undergraduates against the U.S. Government, which is seeking both its source code and any users of it, all of which deals with ‘mining’ BitCoins: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation is representing 19-year-old MIT student Jeremy Rubin and three classmates in a remarkable case that stands out for the measure of aggression the state is using to obtain the code and identify anyone who might have tested the mining tool.”

TECHNOLOGY’S FUTURE DEBATE

http://www.nytimes.com A report about what is arguably a critically important crossing of intellectual swords, in which a Libertarian Peter Thiel and an anarcho-syndicalist-Marxist-anthropologist David Graeber debate what’s up and ‘what is to be done:’ “Mr. Thiel is a libertarian who has supported candidates like Ron Paul and causes like the Seasteading Institute, which wants to create experimental floating cities in the middle of the ocean, beyond the reach of existing governments. Mr. Graeber is a professor at the London School of Economics and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World who believes that both the nation-state and capitalism need to be replaced entirely.”

GORE-JAZEERA FIGHT

http://www.bloomberg.com An oh-my update from Bloomberg about the present pass in the litigation between a former Vice President and Qatari’s Al Jazeera Network, where questions of contract-breach and access to $65 million of escrow money are some of the issues in dispute: “An audit of AT&T’s agreement found the former owners violated a promise to provide the most favorable contract terms to distributors, according to today’s Al Jazeera’s filing. ATT, the largest U.S. phone company which also provides cable TV to subscribers in states including Texas and California, sued Al Jazeera over those violations and refused to carry the network’s U.S. channel. While Al Jazeera and AT&T ultimately settled the suit — with AT&T agreeing to air Al Jazeera America — the Qatari company noted in the filing it incurred a year’s worth of litigation expenses and ‘loss of access to AT&T subscribers.’ Gore and Hyatt also tried a ‘shakedown’ of the broadcaster prior to any court action by threatening to sue if the former Current TV owners weren’t given access to the $65 million, Al Jazeera said.”

COMMUNITIES VERSUS ISP’S

http://www.truth-out.org A TruthOut report about the hideous and self-serving idiocy of Internet Oligopolists’ arguments against community owned broadband: “Bradley County is a digital desert on the edge of an internet oasis. Internet service with modern connection speeds is not available in much of the area, and some parts of Bradley County have no internet service at all. Less than half a mile down the road from Coltrin’s nursery, however, is the end of a fiber optic cable that supplies internet connections with speeds up to 200 times the national average.”

‘FAST-LANE’ BRIBERY

http://benton.org/ A summary of a WaPo media report from Brian Fung, made available through Benton.org, in which the web-father Tim Berners Lee unequivocally condemns the idea of ‘Fast Lanes’ as a concept.

WAR-ON-DRUGS’ INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES

http://motherboard.vice.com Another ‘first-strike’ by Vice’s MotherBoard, a ‘better-living-through chemistry’ joke that simultaneously invalidates much of the intellectual foundation of the so-called ‘War-on-Drugs’ and shows the underpinnings of ‘intellectual property’ in fine relief: “Counterfeit drugs are proliferating for a few different reasons. One is that regulators actually started looking, so they’re finding more and more producers, Bate said. But a scarier reason is that the drug cartels previously making cocaine and heroin have switched to legal drugs. ‘It’s getting worse [in part because of] the war on drugs, meaning narcotics,’ Bate said. ‘If you’re the Cali Cartel, it makes sense to get into pharmaceuticals,’ because the penalties for producing legal drugs are much lighter than those for narcotics. Plus, Bate adds, you have a new, larger market of people who will buy your product.

Making the drugs themselves isn’t very hard. To get the chemical recipe for Viagra, one of the most widely counterfeited medications, anyone can see the patent that Pfizer initially filed in a document called a monograph, held at the US patent office. The steps for synthesizing the drug are even on Wikipedia.”

COPYRIGHTING GRAFFITI

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/09/can-graffiti-be-copyrighted/380323/ For something ‘entirely different’ in regard to copyright, a report-and-analysis from Atlantic about a recent bevy of lawsuits that seek injunctions and damages for the use of mural and graffiti art by corporate designers and brand-fanatics: “Anasagasti is not the only graffiti artist to seek protection for his work: In August, a spate of other artists with street murals filed suits against various corporations for copyright infringement. One targets Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli for creating clothing, bags, and shoes that allegedly misappropriate a San Francisco street mural as its background print. Three street artists sued film director Terry Gilliam and several film companies to block his new movie, The Zero Theorem, from release in U.S. theaters this month because its set design allegedly copies their Buenos Aires mural. Another artist filed suits against apparel company Coach, Sony Music, and the singer Sara Bareilles for allegedly copying her New York City street mural. All the artists claim their artwork was created legally and registered for copyright.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

BRAZIL PRESIDENTIAL POLLS

http://www.reuters.com   A report from Reuters about the first round of Brazil’s hotly contested Presidential race, in which both candidates are women and ‘far to the left,’ by U.S. standards but in which the sitting top official is much more oriented toward working class perspectives and policies, and hence is as popular as scorpion sandwiches among the bourgeoisie: “After four years of sluggish growth and heavy-handed state intervention in the economy under the left-leaning Rousseff, investors are hoping the election will bring in a new president who will push for pro-market reforms that economists say are needed to lift Brazil out of its current rut.   Silva, a former senator and environment minister, surged in the polls after being thrust into the race last month following the death of her party’s original candidate in a plane crash. She had been Vice President on the ticket before the crash.  Recent polls have showed her support eroding, but she still looks like the best-placed challenger to unseat Rousseff.”

 

BOLIVIA DRUG POLICY
http://fpif.org/   A tepid glance from Foreign Policy in Focus about the criminally corrupt and ineffectual—and that’s on a good day—U.S. ‘war-on-drugs’ fraudulence, in this case an examination of Bolivia’s leadership in instituting rational programs that the U.S. has roundly punished: “Once again, Washington claims Bolivia has not met its obligations under international narcotics agreements.  For the seventh year in a row, the U.S. president has notified Congress that the Andean country “failed demonstrably” in its counter-narcotics efforts over the last 12 months.  Blacklisting Bolivia means the withholding of U.S. aid from one of South America’s poorest countries.  The story has hardly made the news in the United States, and that is worrisome.  While many countries in the hemisphere call for drug policy reform and are willing to entertain new strategies in that vein, it remains business-as-usual in the United States.”

U.S. UKRAINE IMPERIALISM

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com  Another nuanced and down to earth deconstruction of the U.S. self-induced quagmire in Ukraine, from Garden of the Saker’s resident genius in matters Slavic and geopolitical: “OUN and Ukraine are basically synonyms from this parochial perspective.  Who makes policy?  Zbigniev Brzinski is a Pole from Galicia. Nuland/Nudelman has a father from Odessa.  The real danger I see comes when America loses.  As nothing at all has been invested walking away would not have to be hard.  But pride may not allow that. Being humiliated by Rooskies may be even harder to stomach than defeat by cave-dwelling 7th century ragheads.  And the expats are going to scream.  For most purposes American democracy has stopped responding to anything but cash.  When the millions of East European expats scream they may be heard.  I will not expect a response smarter than Plan A or Plan B.”

POLISH-UKRAINIAN COMBAT COLLABORATION

http://www.wsws.org    A ‘Hello, Mom; I’m-off-to-drop-the-bomb’ prelude here, in which World Socialist Website incisively presents and analyzes the underpinnings and risks of a new joint-Ukrainian/Polish combat unit, which could easily serve as an excuse for engendering a NATO ‘declaration of war:’ “The formation of the unit was announced in the wake of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s bellicose speech before a joint session of the US Congress and the ratification of the Association Agreement by the European and Ukrainian parliaments.  After the deal was officially inked by the three countries’ defense ministers, Komorowski said that the tripartite unit was ‘part of a wider plan to support Ukraine, among others, in the area of modernization.’  A spokesman for the Polish Defense Ministry also told reporters that while the unit would initially function as a peacekeeping force, it could serve as the nucleus for the development of a NATO battle group at some point in the future.”

UKRAINE CEASEFIRE ANALYSIS
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info  An analysis that shows the real motivations on the ground and further afield, and how the U.S. agenda either has to shift, or war will be the result: ” After the Boeing disaster, the Russians have made peace in Ukraine their priority.  Paradoxically, this called for more Russian involvement. From the beginning, State Department claims notwithstanding, Putin did not want the war in the Ukraine, and still less he wanted a war with Ukraine.  He would prefer the Ukraine remain neutral and friendly.  This dish was not on the menu as the US intended to fight Russia by Ukrainian hands, or at least, to strengthen its hold over Europe by using Russian scarecrow.  Still Putin procrastinated hoping things will sort out.  He miscalculated: he did not count on Poroshenko’s military ardour, on the new Kiev ruler’s readiness to inflict huge civilian casualties and to sacrifice his own army.  This was unexpected development – after peaceful transition of Crimea, Putin could expect Kiev will honour Donbass desires.  Putin could not leave Donbass in flames and forget about it.  One million refugees from Ukraine already crossed into Russia; continuation of Kiev’s war in Donbass could dislodge up to five million refugees, too much for Russia to swallow ”

CRS IRAQ RESEARCH
http://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43725.pdf  Another civic-relief-service from Federation of American Scientists, publicly funded and published research from Congressional Research Service that is not readily available to citizens except through the largesse of FAS, in this instance output that looks at Visas for Iraqi and Afghan vets from those countries and then proffers additional links.

BLINDING LASER WEAPONRY

http://thebulletin.org/ Goodness gracious: more hideous excrescense of imperial arrogance, empowered to main and kill, in the form of a report about continuing development of illegal laser weaponry by the U.S.: “The subject gets little publicity nowadays, but until the mid-1990s, the US Air Force openly funded research on how to destroy human eyeballs at a distance with lasers.  At the time, the justification was that such a technology—causing permanent blindness—was no worse than burning people with napalm, irradiating them, or blasting them to bits with bombs. …Researchers may have been careful to say that they were trying to protect US soldiers, but their logic could be interpreted as a fig leaf to get around the ban, which went into force in 1998.  In interviews in 2000, Air Force-funded researchers admitted that it would be easy to turn their work to protect American soldiers around and use it to blind the enemy.  It seems that at least part of the military rationale behind the technology is that a dead soldier is just dead, but a blinded one needs the help of others, thus tying up several enemy soldiers at once—similar to the thinking behind the use of landmines to blow off legs and arms.”

 

STEVEN SALAITA ANALYSIS

http://www.wsws.org/ : “The political victimization of Steven Salaita, whose appointment as a tenured professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) was revoked because he tweeted outraged protests against the slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, is a chilling attack on core democratic rights, including freedom of speech and academic freedom.”

FANTASY-GAMES’ GAMBLING

http://www.theatlantic.com   From the pages of Atlantic, an assessment of the ‘ideal’–from the perspective of established stakeholders–combination of tournament, speculation, and monetized nothing, none of which threatens any impact of real production and people, an intersection between fantasy games and gambling: “In 2011, Peter Jennings, now 26, had just graduated college and was making a living playing online poker.  ‘After Black Friday,’ Jennings said, ‘I went straight into finance as a stockbroker, working at Charles Schwab.  But I quickly realized that daily fantasy was beginning to boom and the market was inefficient.  I went with fantasy because I realized this was going to be a better opportunity.  Instead of competing against the whole market, you are just competing against a few other people, and it’s all based on your sports knowledge and research.’  Jennings’s choice has paid off.  He has won FanDuel’s $150,000 football championship prize, and just raked in $1 million at DraftKings fantasy baseball championship in the Bahamas.”

DARREN WILSON TESTIMONY

http://www.wsws.org/   An update from World Socialist Website about police officer Darren Wilson’s appearance before a Grand Jury that can file criminal charges: “Midday on August 9, Wilson fired ten rounds from his pistol, hitting Brown with at least six bullets.  Multiple witnesses have described Wilson opening fire as Brown attempted to flee — pausing when Brown stopped, turned around, and raised his hands in surrender — and then finishing the young man off with multiple rounds.”

 

POLICE KILLING CITIZENS

http://www.wsws.org/ A compilation of crowdsourced investigations of police murder of civilians, provided here by World Socialist Website, an assessment that the fifteen-hundred-corpses-a-year rate that currently prevails is worsening: “In August, US police killed 104 people nationwide, according to a compendium of local press reports compiled by volunteers on Wikipedia.  Dozens more have been killed in the first half of September alone as the wave of police violence continued.  These killings are part of a general pattern of abuse carried out by an increasingly militarized police force.  These notes are the first in a series on the World Socialist Web Site documenting police violence in America.”

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

U.S. MASS SHOOTINGS
http://www.govexec.com A multimedia presentation from GovExec  about how, as crime seems to be dropping, mass homicides are expanding quite a lot.

 

NATIONAL CHILDREN’S STUDY

http://www.nap.edu/ An installment from National Academies Press that ought to be mandatory reading for all citizens with pulses, an annual National Children’s Study that reveals some of the social implosion that affects young people and the planet’s future at one.

TUITION EXPLOSION

http://www.motherjones.com  A by-the-numbers informational piece from Mother Jones, about the collapse of citizen expectations in the context of exploding college costs, student indebtedness, etc., unfortunately without the analysis that these are systematic expressions of policy the purpose of which is to enrich the already surfeited billionaire cohort while driving everyone else into penury.

INEQUALITY’S TRANSPARENCIES

http://truth-out.org/   A powerful analysis from TruthOut about the obvious points about inequality–that is is worsening; that it is systemic; that it is systematic; that it eviscerates democracy; that it leads to war and imperial mass murder–that are ‘opaque’ only to plutocrats who find ignoring the obvious convenient: “There should be no doubt what that means.  The purpose of the Fed’s raising interest rates is to slow the economy to keep people from getting jobs.  By keeping the unemployment rate up, the FOMC will be reducing workers’ bargaining power and keeping them from getting pay increases.  This disproportionately hurts those at the bottom of the income distribution, but puts downward pressure on the wages of most workers.”

FRAUD OF CHARITY
http://truth-out.org   Explication of the distorted, dishonest, and duplicitous self-dealing inherent in ‘reform-through-charity’ schemes, deconsructed here by TruthOut: “The super-wealthy of the world can undoubtedly feel good about their big-heartedness.  Some might even see the private accumulation of massive wealth as morally justified, even in the face of profound inequality – that is, justified so long as they can somehow claim that their great individual wealth will inevitably ‘trickle down’ to the have-nots.  Of course, very few economists today would have the temerity to defend trickle-down economics.  This is why the latter idea has to be reconfigured in more positive terms.  Instead of trickle-down economics, we now have the rich speaking openly about ‘corporate social responsibility’ and broadcasting their beneficence through charitable foundations.”

CIA ‘AI’ INTERROGATIONS

http://motherboard.vice.com/   Crack candy here from Vice MotherBoard of CIA experimentation with Artificial Intelligence as a mediator of interrogation, in 1983, which has much that is fascinating and at least a bit that is important to note, in addition to providing possible premises for all manner of ‘retro’ fiction: “The CIA has notoriously been, well, “innovative” in developing new interrogation techniques (if you consider waterboarding an innovation, at least).  Newly declassified documents reveal that willingness to experiment is nothing new: 30 years ago, the spy agency pitted one of its own agents against an artificial intelligence interrogator.  The documents in question, written in 1983 and titled “Interrogation of an Alleged CIA Agent,” describe a series of experimental tests conducted in the early 1980s in which the CIA repeatedly interrogated its own agent, referred to in the report as Joe Hardesty, using a primitive AI called Analiza.”

DRONE SHTICK 

http://nr.news-republic.com/  A look at a John Oliver Last Week Tonight installment that manages to make people laugh while eviscerating the conscious policy of mass murder—primarily of civilians—that 65% of U.S. citizens continue to support.

 

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

http://www.nap.edu/  A fiftieth anniversary compilation of essays from National Academies Press about the NAP/NSF program that has placed engineers and others in real world ‘laboratories’ to come up with solutions to community problems, thereby ‘making a difference’ in a tangible way.

SPANISH LANGUAGE IMPACTS

http://journalistsresource.org  Another useful contextualization from Journalists Resource, about the growing presence of Spanish speakers in the United States and what academic researchers are saying about that phenomenon, how they are conceptualizing it, and so forth: “While U.S.-born Hispanic and Asian children make up most of the growth, they’re part of a broader shift in the United States toward being a majority-minority nation.  But how do such changes influence public opinion and attitudes?  Do they create a perceived threat among white Americans, hardening attitudes toward immigration and minorities?  Or does greater interaction between groups have the potential to increase tolerance?  Social scientists have been working to more precisely study such questions, testing how the Spanish language itself may take on political overtones and even experimenting with randomized control trials in everyday situations.”

 

CONTRA-COCAINE COVER-UP

http://consortiumnews.com/   No surprise here, a Consortium News historical update about one of U.S. history’s more innovative crimes and cover-ups, the Iran-contra guns-for-drugs scandal, officially documented  by all manner of government agents and blithely ignored by corporate media’s plutocracy at the same time, except by such reporters as Gary Webb, who ended up with a “pair of pellets in the brain pan” for his service to humanity: “Entitled ‘Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story,’ the six-page report describes the CIA’s damage control after Webb’s ‘Dark Alliance’ series was published in the San Jose Mercury-News in August 1996.  Webb had resurrected disclosures from the 1980s about the CIA-backed Contras collaborating with cocaine traffickers as the Reagan administration worked to conceal the crimes.  Although the CIA’s inspector general later corroborated the truth about the Contra-cocaine connection and the Reagan administration’s cover-up, the mainstream media’s counterattack in defense of the CIA in late summer and fall of 1996 proved so effective that the subsequent CIA confession made little dent in the conventional wisdom regarding either the Contra-cocaine scandal or Gary Webb.”

 

WWII SYRIA HANDBOOK

http://www.slate.com/    A Slate archival retrieval in its blog, The Vault, that looks at historical documentation, here in the form of a pamphlet that gives advice to U.S. soldiers and operatives in the Levant–or Syria–during World War Two: “For all its age, the booklet’s prescription for mission success sounds thoroughly modern: ‘A big part of your job is to make friends for your cause—because this is a war of ideas, just as much as of tanks, planes and guns.'”

ISIS-AL QAEDA FRANKENSTEINS

http://www.counterpunch.org/  The U.S. as an implicit co-creator of Islamic State in Iraq & Syria, richly documented and incisively analyzed to show unfolding history by Counterpunch: “The CIA first aligned itself with extremist Islam during the Cold War era.  Back then, America saw the world in rather simple terms: on one side, the Soviet Union and Third World nationalism, which America regarded as a Soviet tool; on the other side, Western nations and militant political Islam, which America considered an ally in the struggle against the Soviet Union.”

9.29.2014 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

To speak and have others hear, to insist and have others acknowledge, to hope and have others help: these are fundamental aspects of a good life, yet, more than ever perhaps as levels of alienation rise toward comprehensive application, they represent difficult eventualities to bring to pass in the span of a few score years.

Quote of the Day

“All men are lonely. But sometimes it seems to me that we Americans are the loneliest of all. Our hunger for foreign places and new ways has been with us almost like a national disease. Our literature is stamped with a quality of longing and unrest, and our writers have been great wanderers.” Carson McCullers: http://thinkexist.com/quotes/carson_mccullers/.

This Day in History

Today is International Coffee Day, encompassing a favorite observance of many scrappy writers; seven hundred eighty-seven years ago the Roman Pope excommunicated the Holy Roman Emperor for refusing to play a part in crusading; the baby boy who would have such a life of adventures that he would conceive Don Quixote four hundred sixty-seven years back first came into the world, with the name of Miguel Cervantes; Henry Robinson, a crusader for access to information and communications channels, three hundred sixty-four years ago opened his Office of Addresses and Encounters in London; two hundred twenty-five years back, the United States first established a regular army that consisted of under a thousand troops, and Congress first adjourned; for the first time in over two centuries, a hundred sixty-four years prior to the present pass, the Catholic Church reestablished its official presence in England; one hundred twenty-nine years before the present, the world’s first economically viable electric trolley opened in Blackpool, England; a hundred sixteen years ago, the Ukrainian baby who would grow up to become the tricky and false biologist, Trofim Lysenko, was born; three years later, the Italian baby who became the monumental scientific thinker Enrico Fermi first took an independent breath; one hundred three years ago, Italy declared war on Ottoman Turkey; ninety-nine years back, the male infant who became the renowned historian, Oscar Handlin, was born; ninety-one years prior to the here-and-now, the British Mandate for Palestine came into force; the Munich accords that allowed German occupation of Czechoslovakia took effect seventy six years back, though neither Czechs nor Soviets could attend the conference that issued the ‘agreement;’ seventy-three years back, the Babi Yar massacre started in Ukraine; seventy-one years back, the boy child who became Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa was born; sixty-five years ago, the Communist Party of China composed the Common Programme for the Peoples Republic of China; Duke played University of Pittsburg on national TV in the first such game sixty-three years back; sixty years before now, the European Organization for Nuclear Research formed, which we know by the acronym CERN; fifty-four years prior to this moment, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev obstreperously took part in Security Counsel debates in New York; two years later, Canada launched its first satellite; forty-seven years ago, the lyrical storyteller Carson McCullers died; twenty-three years after China became communist, forty-two years back, Japan established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic; forty-one years back, poet W.H. Auden breathed his last; seventeen years before this point, modern artist Roy Liechtenstein died; six years ago, Lehman and Washington Mutual went belly up and the stock market lost plus-or-minus ten percent of its value.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
"capacity building" engagement communication media "political economy" movement collaboration OR alliance = 805,000 Hits

TOP OF THE FOLD

ZIONIST FAULT-LINES

http://coreyrobin.com/2014/09/27 A powerful blog post from a writer who both spins a popular narrative and provides a scholarly, contemplative foundation, in this case about Zionism and the difficulties attendant on maintaining a Zionist stance and simultaneously advancing human capacity and progress.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

http://www.meetup.com/ONA-SF/events/196389562/ A portal to the Online News Association’s upcoming meeting in the Bay Area the weekend of October 10-11.

http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/wri/4668492144.html Bilingual journalists sought in Grand Rapids, MI

http://austin.craigslist.org/wri/4690795308.html Industry Research/Writer for website Software Advice. Boasts great pay + benefits; Austin, TX

http://lafayette.craigslist.org/wri/4647214579.html Ostensibly, pays 3,500 for writing articles about celebrities for a game

http://neworleans.craigslist.org/wri/4684685343.html Part time managing editor

http://okaloosa.craigslist.org/wri/4649686098.html Grant writer in North Florida

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN
http://www.insidephilanthropy.com Funding for fundamental thinking here, conveyed by Inside Philanthropy, about the process and prospect for ‘becoming human,’ and how to understand those things: "Which came first, our upright stance or our big brains? Are primates naturally prone to murderous aggression? These are the kinds of big questions the Templeton Foundation loves, which is why it has dropped $4.9 million on one research institute studying the origins of humanity."

NSF’S STEM PATH

http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries Another National Science Foundation Discoveries blog, in this case about local initiatives to advance science, technology, engineering, and math teatching.

CHOMSKY & ROBERTS’ TRANSCRIPTS
www.opednews.com Examining the world through the lens of large experience and powerful analytical capacity, the conversation that recently took place on OpEd News between Noam Chomsky and Paul Craig Roberts.

AMAZON TEMPTATIONS
http://www.crowdsourcing.org Crack candy from Amazon, in the form of literary ‘popularity contests’ that likely won’t have much to do with narrative merit, but which follow other Amazonian initiatives: "Now, Amazon is beginning to take the same approach to book publishing. The Digital Reader recently unearthed a thread discussing the forthcoming program on the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing forum. In it, a member shared an email received from Amazon about a program that will ask authors to send in their books, for crowd validation. The highest-rated books will be screened by Amazon’s team for potential publication."

SNOWDEN LAURELS
www.commondreams.org/news A wonderful gesture of validation, meanwhile, for Edward Snowden, reported by Common Dreams: "The Right Livelihood Award Foundation, which stated that it will fund legal support for Snowden, said his honorary award recognizes ‘his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights.’"

HEART OF ART
http://quietbabylon.com/2014/ A contextualization of the nitty-gritty of creation, which involves political economy and social networks at every turn: "On the last day during the last session, talk turned to Money or: the How Do You Make It Work conversation. I have never been to a conference with artists that did not involve this conversation. Sometimes it is on the programme. Sometimes it is there informally, in the corner of a bar. The recurring cast includes: jobs that don’t leave you too exhausted to make art, alternative income schemes, health care, getting by, trust funds, grants, barter, debt."

PRESIDENTIAL FAINT PRAISE
http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/ A heartfelt Jewish reply, in the form of a critique, to a Presidential Rosh Hashanah greeting: "The problem is this: if there is one people President Obama, together with the larger American Jewish community, need to collectively extend an apology toward this holiday season, it is Palestinians. Unfortunately, Obama’s remarks, rather than offer such an expression, are actually an extension of our continued wronging of Palestinians, a wronging for which our government should apologize."

CLIMATE JUSTICE

which gave a platform to children, women and indigenous people suffering the effects of climate change. However the outcomes don’t match the hype. There were specific examples of progress: the president of Peru outlined a strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation that he said would put the country on a path to sustainability by reaching out to indigenous groups and securing a vast area of land under indigenous rights."

TOLEDO’S TOUGH TIMES
http://www.govexec.com/state-local A Toledo warning about times not far afield in which attrition, triage, and selective abandonment of human values might be the best we can expect, from GovExec about threats to the city’s water supplies.

SALVADORAN SOLIDARITY

http://fpif.org/fight-keep-toxic-mining-world-bank-el-salvador/ A different sort of water crisis, in its source-specificity if nothing else, in which Salvadorean communities are seeking the right to exclude corporate vomitus from their environs without the commitment to best-practices, clean-up, and restoration that have never so far been forthcoming, from Foreign Policy in Focus.

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

FOUNDATION’S OF POETRY

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com A slam-up chance to seek help in providing help to teens, which is one sort of ‘tool-kit‘ that scrappy writers might reach out to engage, in this case from the folks at Inside Philanthropy: "The empowering nature of slamming, and the ways that empowerment can translate into other spheres of life, explain why a group of funders are putting up some $10 million over the next seven years to support nonprofits that work with teenagers in writing and performance."

FUNDRAISING OPTIONS
http://www.crowdsourcing.org/ Yet one more opportunity to come out pitching, designed specifically for writing and related cultural projects, with yet other chances to seek a budget for journalists, all from the good folks at CrowdSourcing: "Niche platforms generally offer three advantages over their bigger, more eclectic platforms. First, lower service fees — being smaller outfits, they need less money to sustain themselves. They also claim to better serve their projects. Since they host fewer campaigns which are all , they can give more attention to each one. And finally, they provide features that a general platform may not, as they only focus on specific kinds of campaigns. On the other hand, the niche platforms are not as well-trafficked, meaning campaign owners will need to do more promotion to get people to visit their campaign. They also don’t have the same brand recognition, and potential donors may be reluctant to give money to a platform they’ve never heard of. One niche platform that’s hoping to have a big year is Pubslush, a portal for writers. The platform was created to help authors who have a hard time getting their foot in the door. After all, J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, was rejected by a dozen publishing houses before finally getting picked up, while The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, was rejected 60 times, Amanda Barbara, Pubslush’s cofounder and vice president, reminded Crowdsourcing.org. Presumably, many other potential greats never even get a chance to see the light of day."

OLIVER’S HUMOROUS TRAVAILS
http://www.rollingstone.com/tv A ‘funny-is-money’ deconstruction, enough fluff to make quick work of the reading, yet still a few bon mots about culture and context, in the graphically rich and highly readable style of Rolling Stone.

ONGOING PITCHES
http://www.crowdsourcing.org/ CrowdSourcing, that would under certain circumstances of backing and engagement, allow an IndieGoGo project to continue raising funds, a point that the best-practices folks at CrowdSourcing amplify with advice about respecting and satisfying those whose funds come one’s way : "If and when the feature is extended to cover all campaigns, it will only become available to those campaigns that have already reached their goal; so, campaign owners will not be able to select an ‘Indefinite Funding’ option from the get-go. It’s far from certain that the feature will attract much use, but there are clearly some benefits for campaign owners. Arguably the biggest is retaining the exposure the campaign has already gotten. Generally, crowdfunding campaigns tend to show up high in search rankings, and any press mentions link back to the crowdfunding page. Put simply, campaign owners will be able to keep everything in place, and continue to see pledges come in."

FREE SPEECH LEGACIES
http://www.commondreams.org A hearkening back a half-century to Berkeley’s ‘free speech’ struggle, which this piece from Common Dreams explains both in terms of what was at stake then and what has transpired in the interim to make such an uprising horribly difficult: "Some powerful Californians had gotten fed up with the equal employment picket lines and the farm worker boycotts that they believed emanated from the campus. The traditional student groups grasped as quickly as the radicals that this was a matter of free speech, not litter. Through months of negotiations, expulsions and arrests, everyone from Socialists to Methodists, from the Sorority Council to Cal Students for Goldwater stuck together to demand that UC students be allowed to exercise the freedoms guaranteed by the first and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution. …Here’s how this increased inequality works itself out at the University of California: When I went to Berkeley it cost me $62.50 a semester. That covered registration, lab fees, health care, and a student body card. My tuition was free. (It was $600 for out of state students.) Today in-state tuition is $12,872."

INVITING BIAS
http://www.theverge.com A nice touch from The Verge, though perhaps a more political look might also be swell, about the inherent inclinations that are part and parcel of any writing or other expression: "As exciting and fun as my work often is, however, it can also prove dispiriting and exasperating when I’m accused of being biased. Of course I’m biased, that’s the whole point. We all have preferences and partialities that accrue over our lifetimes and become embedded in our judgment of anything new. To prefer cyan over hot pink is a bias. Do you like the feel of soft-touch plastic better than aluminum, rounded corners better than chamfered edges, or stock Android over its skinned cousins? All of those are forms of prejudice, but it gets worse still. Your hands can be a source of bias, too! The only way to judge the size and comfort of the latest phone is by reference to your own dimensions; thus, someone like Shaquille O’Neal might describe a 5.5-inch phone as small while I deride it as being too large."

PEDAGOGY OF SHYNESS
http://ideas.ted.com/2014/09/02/how-to-teach-a-young-introvert/ A TED Talk follow-up that makes the point that should be stupefyingly obvious to everyone but pharmaceutical reps, which is to say that medicating or other wise managing ‘disorders’ that are merely preferences or expressions of variation ought to be strongly criticized: "There’s research that shows that if a student has no friends at all — zero friends — that is problematic and should be addressed. But a student who has one or two or three friends, and prefers to go deep with their friendships instead of being one of a big gang, there’s nothing wrong with that at all, in terms of it being a predictor for adulthood. That style of socializing is perfectly fine. So we should identify problems when they are there — like a student who would really love to make friends but doesn’t know how. But at the same time, we shouldn’t make problems when they aren’t there by saying, ‘You should be more social.’ If the kid is perfectly happy the way they are, they need to get the message that the way they are is cool."

CHEATING BILLIONAIRES
http://pando.com/2014/09/24 A different sort of conspiracy against skilled workers, this time by animation and special effects giants, which Pando Daily here briefly introduces en route to linking to more extensive coverage.

ADAPTIVE ARTISTRY
https://www.academia.edu/ A research report that draws from anthropology, evolutionary psychology, and cognitive science, to start, in creating a set of parameters for discussing art’s evolutionary role: "What benefits are presumed (rightly or wrongly) to accrue to this excess activity?

Nor do we marvel too much at the bone spear-throwers that helped Paleolithic hunters fell prey at greater distances, but when we see that the handle of a spear-thrower has been exquisitely carved to represent a leaping horse or an ibex turning to watch herself give birth, we want to know why. How can a species as successful as Homo sapiens have evolved to devote so much time and energy to ‘somersaults’ like sculpture, song, and story, rather than stalking steadily after food or mates?"

PATHWAYS
http://kairos.technorhetoric.net Rhetorical contextualization in which the journey is one of vision and multiply mediated steps, in addition to words, from Kairos about the nature of learning persuasive writing and speech.

UNDERSTANDING ‘PERFECTION’S’ PITFALLS
http://communication.usf.edu/faculty/bochner/perfection.pdf Conceptualizing how one might study and learn and know, in a world in which moral judgment is at best an attenuated eventuality, by a critical and insightful English scholar of text and persuasion: "

One of the most important issues provoked by Perfection is the question of whether we can afford to place the future of mortality and the phenomenology of death and dying in the hands of a medical science unrestrained by questions of virtue. Can medical science be trusted? In three different books, Hyde has unceasingly pressed the case for the importance and necessity of answering ‘the call of conscience.’ But does medical science have a conscience? If it doesn’t, and there is ample evidence to warrant concern, then we are in a world of trouble. What we do know is that medical science as a human practice is not devoid of temptation, confusion, or corruption. It is an industry and an institution knotted to other industries with powerful profit-motives such as drug and insurance companies who pay for research and benefit from its results. At the heart of the debate over biotechnology are such matters."

THEN’S FUTURE NOW
http://www.pewinternet.org Pondering the Internet nearly a decade ago, providing a Pew Research contextualization from 2006 of the Future of the Internet, and food for thought aplenty on the part of scrappy writers who are wrestling with how to bring justice and virtuality into close alignment.

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
CROWDFUNDING COGITATION
http://www.crowdsourcing.org A pitch primarily, but a useful introduction nevertheless, to the issues of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding and their management and tools and practices that can assist scrappy writers and their organizations in this regard.

PRIVACY’S RESEARCHERS
http://www.mediapost.com/ Media Post’s look at FaceBook’s and OKCupid’s ‘experiments’ on their customers, which the Maryland Attorney General looks askance at, to say the least: "These tests violated a 2002 law requiring researchers to obtain people’s informed consent before running tests on them, Grimmelmann and Henry argue. ‘Facebook and OkCupid are in blatant violation of Maryland law,’ they said yesterday in a 10-page letter to Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler."

FEMALE COMPUTER PIONEERS

http://fortune.com/2014/09/18/walter-isaacson-the-women-of-eniac/ Looking back to ‘diversity’ at the beginning of the virtual age, an overview of and excerpts from a monograph about the teams that developed ENIAC, the world’s first fully programmable computer, so large it was only useful for military applications like the targeting of armaments from naval ships, which in its prototype phase relied on women ‘switch monitors,’ or programmers.

INCULCATING CODE
http://www.wired.com/2014/09/exercism A contemplation of a ‘just enough’ approach to coding instruction, via web interactions, that can lead both to a vastly richer understanding or even real employment opportunities, presented by Wired: "It’s a simple idea. But it could help the legions of people out there trying to learn to code well enough to land a job in this fast-growing field. In recent years, we’ve seen the arrival of so many tools that help turn anyone into a programmer, and this is one step towards widespread code literacy.’"

NET NEUTRALITY TESTIMONY
http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo Testimony about Net Neutrality and more from the Senate Judiciary Committee document that presents a union actress and her reasoned examination of why a level playing field and ‘affirmative’ steps to insure such an eventuality are essential.

HISTORICAL CULTURAL CONTEXTUALIZATION

http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hsdept/ Portraying the biases–both gendered and colored–in regard to ornamentation and fashion, and the textual and formal proscriptions against tattoos and revealing dress and more that were prevalent a century ago, with a case study of the ideas in these matters of a prominent architect: fascinating stuff from the Federation of American Scientists and Harvard.

RHETORICAL PATHFINDERS

http://kairos.technorhetoric.net Making of ‘writing’ something bigger and broader, more graphic and multimodal, another pathway from Kairos that indexes thinking and persuasion as an agglomeration that is much more than merely textual.

LITERARY SIN

http://theconversation.com/ Literary assessments and condescending compression, oh my, richly deconstructed by a writer whose bona fides are indisputable, that shows how an insistence on experimentation and ‘lit-crit-shit’ is an indefensible bias that we must discard: "I’m just not a fan of experimental form, in novels or anything else – it’s a matter of taste. I explained all this. ‘Oh,’ said my conversation partner, condescendingly. ‘That means you couldn’t get through the first chapter.’ Aside from the fact that I don’t think Cloud Atlas actually has chapters, this made me smile. As someone who lectures in creative writing, has published three novels, and has an English degree from Oxford, I don’t often feel patronised when talking about books. These days, I know that I know my stuff, so I can shrug it off. But it made me realise just how much snobbery there is out there about literature."

COMMODITIES PAST

http://blog.americanhistory.si.edu/ Examining the past with National Museum of American History, here in terms of the scents and perfumes of a 111 years back, an entirely novel way of imagining and truly sensing the past, perhaps.

DEMOCRACY’S FCC DEFENDER

http://www.mediapost.com An incisive overview from Media Post from a stalwart advocate of democracy on the Federal Communications Commission, who has of late been analyzing and criticizing the notion that the FCC can do nothing other than act passively in regard to attacks on the Internet as a ‘level playing field.’

RECENT HAPPENINGS
TERROR’S POLITICAL UTILITY
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/ A look at a Senate race in the context of militarism and terror-mongering, from The Hill, in which a New Hampshire GOP hopeful seeks to bring sophisticated saber-rattling and threat-elevation to a winning strategy.

HONORING BIRMINGHAM INNOVATORS
http://www.govexec.com/state-local Birmingham’s pitch for itself, on the surface anomalous given recent infrastructure and fiscal disasters, but not out of the ordinary as more and more communities seek the edge of presenting themselves as cutting edge in their ‘tech orientation,’ from the columns of GovExec: "The event, sponsored by groups like Birmingham Business Alliance, Tech Birmingham, Birmingham Venture Club and Alabama Launchpad, kicked off on Monday with a ribbon cutting at the Innovation Depot, a tech incubator located in the heart of Alabama’s largest city. ‘Not every community has a world-class research institution like [the
University of Alabama at Birmingham] or [the Southern Research
Institute]. Not every community has a world-class business incubator like the Innovation Depot,’ ."

MANAGEMENT MACHINATIONS
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ A vicious ploy, all to common, uncovered in WaPo about a union drive in Illinois, in which owners implicitly threatened their Hispanic drivers with ‘La Migra’ if they voted for representation : "[T]here can be no dispute that the Employer is responsible for his translation of Burch’s prepared remarks, having designated Rojas to perform that service. The record, moreover, fully supports a finding that Rojas’ statement warned that the Union would call a strike and that the Employer would respond by hiring ‘legal workers.’ This is the credited testimony establishing what employees were told, as opposed to the account cited by our dissenting colleagues, in which the Employer simply states its legal right to hire replacement workers in the event of a strike and innocuously announces its intention to comply with the law. The credited evidence hardly constitutes a ‘mere mention of [the] legal requirements.’"

MORAL MONDAY MANDATES
http://www.popularresistance.org/ Moral Monday’s broadening reach, here all the way from North Carolina to Indiana, as reported and interlinked by Popular Resistance.

POLICE KILLER’S IMPUNITY
http://www.theguardian.com/world/ Murder permitted, and uprising seeded, the subtext of this Guardian investigative report from Ohio, where police shot down an unarmed man at WalMart just prior to Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, all of which has led to a sense of nervousness and a willingness to insist on justice from Federal authorities: "The Justice Department’s civil rights division and the FBI will carry out a ‘thorough and independent review of the evidence’ relating to the death of John Crawford III in Beavercreek last month, it was announced on Wednesday. Carter Stewart, the US attorney for the southern district of Ohio, said in a statement that authorities would ‘take appropriate action if the evidence indicates a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes.’"

DENVER STUDENT POWER

http://www.denverpost.com/ Empowered students near Denver, reported from the Denver Post and further afield, who so stridently reject ‘sanitized history’ and free-speech restrictions that they walked out en masse from their classes: "Community members are angry about an evaluation-based system for awarding raises to educators and a proposed curriculum committee that would call for promoting ‘positive aspects’ of the United States and its heritage and avoiding material that would encourage or condone ‘civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.’"

NAKED INCRIMINATION
http://www.wired.com/2014/09 Imprisonment for invasion of privacy in Arizona, according to Wired, for those who knowingly forward hacked erotic, revealing, or otherwise privacy-invading depictions of celebrities.

BOMBING’S REAL RATIONALE
www.opednews.com/articles A depiction of political reality from an expert in the realities of politics, Denis Kucinich, that with powerful analysis and precise data point out that the only credible explanations for our actions–in terms of the results on the ground that we seek–is to insure a continuing malleability of Iraqi governance and to foster outright overthrow of Assad in Syria: "Nothing better illustrates the bankruptcy of the Obama administration’s foreign policy than funding groups that turn on the U.S. again and again, a neo-con fueled cycle of profits for war-makers and destruction of ever-shifting ‘enemies.’ The fact can’t be refuted: ISIS was born of Western intervention in Iraq and covert action in Syria. This Frankenstein-like experiment of arming the alleged freedom-seeking Syrian opposition created the monster that roams the region. ISIS and the U.S. have a curious relationship — mortal enemies that, at the same time, benefit from some of the same events."

BOMBING’S LEGAL FRAMEWORK
http://justsecurity.org/15479/ Pondering the technical legality of bombing Iraq and Syria, from Just Security, which clearly point to possible problem areas in the U.S. tactical approach, not to mention bringing to the fore possible strategic shortcomings .

MYSTERIOUS ISRAELI SILENCE
http://pando.com/2014/09/24/ A look at an anomaly, in a powerfully reasoned essay from the War Nerd for Pando Daily, a ‘where’s Israel?’ examination of what’s happening these days in Syria: "Israel sent a message about how it views the US campaign against IS without using words at all. On the same day that American forces were attacking IS bases in Syria, Israel shot down a MiG-21 from Assad’s Alawite forces over the Golan Heights. Quite a moment in Middle Eastern military history: While the US was intervening to attack the Sunni jihadis, the IDF underlined its view of the real enemy by knocking down one of Assad’s antique fighters out of the sky. That ancient MiG wasn’t downed because it was a threat to Israel, or because it was over the line. It was downed as a gesture. Bibi and his Likud allies are sulking, because the way they see it, we’re bombing the wrong Syrians. The Israeli elite has always wanted the US to intervene in the Syrian Civil War—but not against the Sunni jihadists, as we’re doing now. They want American planes and drones to obliterate the other side–the Alawites’ Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its Hezbollah allies. Nobody ever seems to mention it, but the supposedly fearsome IS now owns the ground right under Israel’s Golan Heights fortifications, after moving in in June 2014 when the weary SAA, tired of being shelled by the IDF, moved out."

CHILEAN RADICALISM
http://www.telesurtv.net/ Working class militancy way down South, in a TeleSur microbriefing about a Chilean miners’ second strike after owners failed to keep promises about safety and working conditions.

SUBCONTINENT SPACE SALLIES
https://theconversation.com India’s Mars program here on display, from The Conversation, in a posting that points out matters of national pride and the benefits of extending capacity for space exploration, but focus on matters of budget, which are spectacularly in favor of the Indian Space Research Organization: "At an advertised cost of US$72m, it is a small fraction of the cost of the US$671m MAVEN mission. A part of the reason for the frugality is the cost of instruments. Although the underlying lure of Mars is scientific, Mangalyaan is primarily a technology demonstration. Its camera, for instance, will not match that of other Martian probes. Similarly it will not match MAVEN’s ability to measure the rate at which certain chemicals are lost from Mars’ atmosphere. But the instruments on a space mission, such as those on the planned European rover ExoMars or Curiosity, cost about 10% of the overall mission cost. So, even if that is factored in, Mangalayaan’s shoe-string budget remains striking."

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS
FRATERNAL TOXICITY
http://www.rollingstone.com/ A typically thorough look at the Koch brothers, whose joint $80 billion net worth is responsible for social and political mayhem throughout the U.S., from Rolling Stone, which manages to peel back some of the obscuring cover of the brothers’ operations: "But Koch Industries is not entirely opaque. The company’s troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations, Department of Justice consent decrees, civil lawsuits and felony convictions – augmented by internal company documents, leaked State Department cables, Freedom of Information disclosures and company whistle­-blowers, combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire whose profits finance the modern GOP. Under the nearly five-decade reign of CEO Charles Koch, the company has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties. And in 1999, a jury handed down to Koch’s pipeline company what was then the largest wrongful-death judgment of its type in U.S. history, resulting from the explosion of a defective pipeline that incinerated a pair of Texas teenagers."

WHEN IRRESPONSIBILITY = CAPITALISM
http://theconversation.com The Conversation’s apprehension of organizations that seem as indispensable as they are threatening, as necessary to a way of life that includes things like the Internet as they are destructive of a way of life that includes prosperity and human rights, and what some affiliate researchers from U.K. and elsewhere propose in such a pass: "In a new book, Fighting Corporate Abuse: Beyond Predatory Capitalism, a group of academics from Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Essex, London and myself, from Leicester, put forward policy proposals to deal with this state of affairs. We document the abuses, but have also offered a manifesto which suggests what should be done in the UK and elsewhere."

GREEK UNION GRIT
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk Figuring out an entirely different approach, from Morning Star Online in Greece, that critiques those elements of academia and the union movement that see big business as collaborators or ‘stakeholders’ to honor, rather than forces to regard with suspicion and a strictly ‘arms-length’ negotiating stance: "By their acceptance they have cultivated the perception that the capitalist classes and their political parties are the ‘social partners’ with which the working classes can negotiate, losing sight of the fact that these are class enemies against whom our class has to constantly struggle. As a result, the reformist perceptions of social partnership, cross-class collaboration and social dialogue have become dominant within the Greek working classes and associated layers of society, weakening the previously dominant principles of class struggle, workers’ demands and the class emancipation of exploited layers of society."

RESIDUAL RADIATION DEATH
http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/ Tikkun’s soulful take and empirical contextualization of the results of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, and of the entire ‘Nuclear Fool Cycle,’ sickness and death from beginning to end, the defenders of which insist on discredited scientific models and painstakingly slow or exclusionary compensation practices: "The impact of nuclear contamination on an individual is generally estimated as the result of the dose of radiation received and the duration of exposure, using the Linear No-Threshold Model (LNT). The hypothesis was adopted for regulatory purposes about sixty-five years ago and has no scientific evidence to support its validity in the years since then. It is vehemently rejected by the health and epidemiological communities in the face of abundant data refuting its validity. Sex, age, race, culture, occupation, class, location, and simultaneous exposure to additional environmental toxins are also significant, but often overlooked, factors that contribute to the health effects on a particular ‘downwind’ community. The United States Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is a federal statute providing for the monetary compensation of people, including atomic veterans, who contracted cancer and a number of other specified diseases as a direct result of their exposure to atmospheric nuclear testing undertaken by the United States during the Cold War, or their exposure to high levels of radon while doing uranium mining. The 1990 act provided the following remunerations… . but its application is often difficult in otherwise clear-cut cases."

RADICAL IMPERIAL CRITICS
http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com A powerful twenty-odd minute video that lays the basis for an understanding of Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, and Syria that is very different from what is fodder for the corporate press, in analysis that provides rich evidentiary and analytical bases for believing that the U.S. empire’s leaders are playing with end-of-the-world fire as if it was a game of darts : "With Bryzinski, the insanity is essentially unlimited."

COMPREHENDING THE URBAN
http://www.govexec.com/state-local/ Portraying the empirical basis for urban life, a research and empirical operations video that mixes metaphor with algorithm to examine and provide an overview about the nature of urban life and both why citizens and scientists need to understand urbanity and how they can do so.

WATER FAR AWAY
http://www.theverge.com/ Far flung cases of the conditions that could support life and its expression here, from The Verge, reporting on recent discovery of a huge planet with lots of water light years away from us, with the prospect of more refined instruments in the relatively near future that will likely discover even more likely examples: "Of course, a Neptune-sized planet is still about four times larger than Earth. But this discovery, made using instrumentation on the Hubble Space Telescope, bodes well for Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, which is due to be launched in 2018. The JWST will carry sensitive instruments and also have a much larger mirror than the Hubble, which means it will be able to detect signals that are currently too faint to analyze."

WEIRD GENDER DIFFERENCES
http://www.govexec.com/management/ Gendered research from National Institutes of Health investigators, provided in the form of a briefing from GovExec, in which significant differences in the uptake and filtering out of drugs appear between male and female mice.

SCOTLAND’S TRIDENT STALL
http://theconversation.com A side-effect, toxic and possibly tragic, whether intended or not, of Scotland’s recent referendum, proffered by The Conversation, about the nuclear weapons policy of the United Kingdom and by extension the United States, which–given the fiscal cost of continued annihilation policies and the real certainty of the use of such weapons again if their deployment continues–is unfortunate, to put the matter in mildly British terms: "Since work on the new submarines will not start until 2016 at the earliest, a Yes vote might have sunk these plans before they had even begun. It would also have forced the UK government to look long and hard at the nuclear issue, and would have propelled the question right into the heart of public debate. Instead, at a crucial moment, the No vote has papered over the cracks that are starting to appear in the nuclear rationale. The Scottish result is therefore an important victory for those committed to making sure the UK has an independent nuclear deterrent for decades to come – and a missed opportunity for those opposed to it."

MATRIMONIAL SIDE-EFFECTS
http://www.govexec.com One of those items that often proves irresistible, about mates and success in life, from GovExec, with findings that show a significant if not gigantic payoff to one’s having a "conscientious" spousal unit.

PRO-POT POTENTIAL
http://www.thedailybell.com/ A set of powerful Libertarian and ‘market-based’ arguments for legalizing marijuana, with accompanying debunking about the supposed ‘harm’ of pot usage, yet another indicia–even leaving aside the lack of data here from savings that would result from decommissioning much of the prison-industrial complex–of the useful facts and reasoning that so often show up in such Libertarian pages as these, despite the apparent madness of plenty of what they conclude about their data and analysis: "The U.S. stands to gain, according to our calculations, $3,098,866,907 in state and local taxes per year — that’s more than twice the entire budget of the Small Business Administration in 2013. California could gain the most from taxes on sales of marijuana. The state stands to take in $519,287,052, which almost covers the 2013 budget for the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

To estimate this value, we used data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration detailing the percentage of marijuana smokers ages 25 and over in each state and multiplied that percentage by the state’s population older than 25 to get the number of users in each state. We then took the state’s users as a percentage of total users over 25 in the U.S. and multiplied that by the total marijuana market estimate (sized at $14 billion by Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron) to determine the market size in each state."

9.26.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

The mottled, moldy coil of rope that looks like a rattlesnake causes the mind to panic and the heart to race as much as the palpable serpent that prepares to strike; with this difference, of course: the hemp will never harm us unless we throttle ourselves and strangle our sensibilities with the fear that it can induce.

Quote of the Day

“Are we not all confused? … When you stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and asking questions, always new question, then it is time to die” Lillian Smith: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/86785.Lillian_E_Smith.

This Day in History

Today is the European Day of Languages; six hundred forty-three years ago, Serbian fighters battled Ottoman forces at the Battle of Maritsa; perfectly revealing the criminal absurdity of large-scale private property, five hundred twenty-one years ago, Pope Alexander issued the second of his Bulls of Donation that “granted” to Spain and Portugal most of the “New World” of the Western Hemisphere; Sir Francis Drake completed his trip round the world four hundred thirty-four years ago; three hundred twenty-seven years back, Amsterdam’s City Council voted to back William of Orange’s invasion of England, the so-called ‘Glorious Revolution;’ two hundred forty years back, the infant destined to become ‘Johnny Appleseed’ was born; two hundred twenty-eight years ago, protesters occupied and closed Massachusetts’ Springfield Courthouse to begin Shays’ Rebellion; two hundred twenty-five years prior to our present pass, the United States initial administrative appointments began, including Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State and John Jay as the Supreme Court’s first Chief Justice; two hundred twenty-two years ago, accusations that Robespierre intended to arrogate dictatorial powers to himself began to emerge; explorer and politician Daniel Boone died one hundred ninety-four years ago; a hundred twenty-six years before this moment, the boy baby who grew up to win the Nobel Literature Laurels as poet and critic T.S. Eliot was born; the infant who became Martin Heidegger followed one year later; three years after that, the infant who turned into sociologist R. Staughton Lynd was born; a hundred seven years back, England declared both New Zealand and Newfoundland as Imperial Dominions; a century ago exactly, the Federal Trade Commission began its operations; the most deadly battle in U.S. military history began ninety-six years ago with the inception of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive; eighty-one years prior to this point, Machine Gun Kelly surrendered to FBI agents and called them ‘G-Men’ for the first time, and ten inmates at Indiana’s State Prison escaped using guns that John Dellinger had smuggled behind bars; U.S. military combatants, with a smattering of help from United Nations contingents, recaptured Seoul from North Korean fighters sixty-four years back; fifty-four years ago, the first televised debate took place in a U.S. Presidential election, between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, and Fidel Castro announced Cuba’s alignment with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; forty-five years before the here-and-now, the Beatles issued Abbey Road; thirty-one years ago, a Soviet missile officer avoided the likely extinction of humankind when he correctly identified information of an incoming U.S. nuclear attack as a computer error; a year later, England gave Hong Kong, China back to the Chinese; tens of thousands of protesters, demonstrating at the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, became violent outbursts fourteen years ago; six years ago, Paul Newman died; four years later, historian Eugene Genovese followed him offstage.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
power consciousness “social democracy” “human survival” = 13,300 Citations

TOP OF THE FOLD

http://ecpr.eu/Filestore/PaperProposal/62c8666d-81d7-4aff-b098-a9fd9a1a566e.pdf A potent and evocative examination of Cuban democratic forms as models interesting to ponder, as, in the words of Chinua Achebe, ‘things fall apart’ with such regular alacrity: ”

The problem with this approach is that the proposed solution to the Cuban enigma is the impostion of a capitalist rationality, based on individualism and competitive exchange, on a socialist structure which emphasizes social need and planning. From the perspective of certain groups in Cuba, including the leadership around Fidel Catro, such an analysis is misguided and ideologically motivated, ignoring the social basis of individuals’ existence. They would also highlight the growing inequality in Latin America and the concomitant upsurge in independent popular democrative initiatives throughout the continent as people try to politically insulate themselves from the fallout of the global ‘individualist’ competitive economy. …In this context, …the Cuban emphasis on participatory democracy aims to give power to people in the social control of their existence, as opposed to democracy based on elite representation that is typically unable or unwilling to respond to popular need.”

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

National Writers Union Joins Historic People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21

Submitted by News_post on September 23, 2014 – 9:56am

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
http://digiday.com/event/digidayagencysummit2014/ A gateway to DigiDay’s “Agency Summit” in Austin, October 20-22–I’m not saying it’s the best, but ‘I’m just saying…”

http://loc.gov/teachers/ Library of Congress’s portal for teachers, tutors, and others who use texts and teaching to instruct or to learn, listing upcoming webinars.

http://www.loc.gov/poetry/events/ The Library of Congress itinerary for the rest of the year’s poetry events, most or all of which are free, and some of which include additional contextual links and so forth.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
http://www.rollingstone.com An interview with Naomi Klein about the emotional and psychological consciousness–in particular in relation to ideologies of freedom and markets–that accompanies the present moment and how we can use our awareness of such matters to act: “The Right understands this better than most Liberals, and that is why they deny climate change so vehemently. The more hardcore Conservative you are, the more tightly identified you are with defending the interest of capital as an interest of the system, based on hyper-competition, the more likely it is that you vehemently deny climate change. Because if climate change is real, your worldview will come crashing down around you. It just comes down to this core question: ‘Is hyper-competition going to rule our world, or is cooperation going to rule our world?'”

http://www.thecrimereport.org  Oh my! An overview of one of those tricky, insidious government studies, which assume so many premises that one is hard put to figure out what the point of it all is, here from The Crime Report about rampant drug use–ten percent of the populace in any given month–and even more prevalent “mental disorders,” to which one response is that nature has designed us to seek different ‘highs’ now and again, and that anyone not crazy in some sense is probably not paying attention, though this is obviously not the official assessment .

http://digiday.com/publishers/toast-ortberg-disruption/ Background and an interview from DigiDay about a new, up-and-coming feminist-and consciousness platform and publisher, Toast, with loads of ‘data’ about the matter and a chance to listen to the founder: “The site is as comfortable riffing on “Galaxy Quest” as it is on sending up every Canadian novel ever. Only a year old, it averages 600,000 global uniques per month, according to Quantcast, and it has 15,600 Twitter followers and 12,600 Facebook likes. It may be dwarfed by women’s blog Jezebel, which commands 8 million average uniques, according to comScore, and The Hairpin, with 900,000 monthly global uniques, but it has already carved out a niche for itself as a publication that serves the needs of its very particular audience.”

http://nccdglobal.org/sites A National Council on Crime and Delinquency peek at the horrifying numbers in regard to our children–especially if ‘our’ families are poor or have darker skin–whom we are depositing in hellholes of ‘detention’ at alarming rates, with some very modest and some might say far too weak suggestions about what to do about such ‘trends(https://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/billfs.txt).’

http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/ : “The value of online education at the college level has been a subject of much dispute. But at The Daily Dot, Cabell Gathman considers the role of the Internet in teaching high school kids — and raises larger questions about how online resources might amplify some inequities even as they lessen others.”

http://www.veteransforpeace.org An opportunity to listen to the true ‘experts’ on mass-murder-as-social-policy, the veterans who overwhelmingly are at least cautious about the wisdom of adopting another profiteering campaign of plunder and murder to accomplish ends that are not apparent on the surface: “Veterans For Peace members have witnessed the brutality and the futility of war, including the war in Iraq. We were sent to a war based on lies and we became part of the killing of a nation, along with as many as one million of its people. We watched as U.S. policy makers consciously stirred up ethnic and religious divisions, creating the conditions for civil war today. Veterans know from first hand experience that you cannot bomb your way to peace. More bombing will ultimately mean more division, bloodshed, recruitment for extremist organizations, and a continual cycle of violent intervention.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ A chance to check out a ‘Southern group,’ quite likely not of the sort that yours truly would embrace warmly but nonetheless a presence for writers in the South, profiled here by Forbes, curated by MediaREDEF: “‘We decided early on to just say ‘no’ to advertising,’ says Reece. ‘We knew if we tapped into a Southern sensibility that is way richer than ‘Honey Boo Boo’ and ‘Duck Dynasty’ that our community would support us.’ Reece, the voluble editor-in-chief, is mum about just how much money has made it into ‘Bitter Southerner’ coffers. But he says it’s enough to start paying contributors and there’s enough cash in the kitty for part-time salaries for his partners and himself.”

www.rcfp.org The gateway here for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, on the one hand a source of information and facts as well as opportunities and networks, along with being a promoter of legal action to defend First Amendment and related rights.

http://www.govexec.com/ From the ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?’ department, and right on time, from GovExec, a briefing about a likely upcoming program for the friendly Post Office employees, in which USPS will ‘deliver’ a lot more than mail to busy people who could use some logistical support: sublime.

http://lp.talkpoint.com/rs/talkpoint A bunch of capitalists, but doing interesting work, and here proffering metrics for best practices in webcasting and like engagement work of import to scrappy writers and their union.

http://blogs.loc.gov/ An arguably centrally important point for a union of scrappy writers, from Library of Congress’ Digital Preservation Blog, in an interview with the archivist from the Rockefeller Foundation , to wit, “We’re all digital archivists now,” here contextualized by an invitation to visit an archive of thousands of digitally available tools and resources in various issue areas.
WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS


AUTOMATION’S DRAWBACKS

http://www.theverge.com    A review essay from The Verge, as in we are on ‘the verge’ of an age of moronism as a result of the way that automation intersects with the political economy–leaders love dumbos–and social relations–isolation makes stupidity less noticeable–of the current pass: “Nicholas Carr warns about(all of this) in his new book, The Glass Cage, which gives automation the same skeptical treatment that his 2010 book, The Shallows, gave the internet.  He paints a scary picture.  Planes are crashing as pilots are lulled into a stupor by autopilot.  Financial markets flirt with disaster as traders place too much faith in algorithms they barely understand.  Doctors are acting like robots themselves as they rotely click through prompts on diagnostic and billing software.  And something more ineffable is taking place, Carr worries, as automation subtly cuts us off from the world. ‘When tasks get automated, people space out.’  Much of Glass Cage is concerned with flight, where the combination of risk, speed, and tedium made it an early target for automation.  Today, autopilot technology has progressed to the point that humans hold the controls for only three minutes or so on a typical passenger flight, and this, the FAA acknowledges, poses some novel problems.  When tasks become heavily automated, people space out — ‘automation complacency,’ Carr calls it — and their skills grow rusty.  Several recent crashes have been attributed to pilots reacting badly when forced to take over the controls in an emergency.'”

HIP-HOP FEMINISM+
http://www.vice.com/    A frequent sort of profferal from Vice, in the form of a ‘right-on-time’ contextualization from a grassrootsy point-of-view, in the form of an overview and interview that, whatever its analytical chops, offers readers and thinkers and scrappy writers plenty of ‘food for thought’ about hip-hop and gender and color and more: “The time felt right.  There’s a lot to celebrate and discuss when talking about women, race, and hip-hop these days.  In 2013, no black artists topped the Billboard 100 charts, while a white artist like Macklemore nabbed the Grammy for Best Rap Album.  This year, magazines claimed that Aussie newbie Iggy Azalea and her interpretation of a Southern black drawl ‘run hip-hop.’  Not to mention, we’ve seen plenty of white asses in Sports Illustrated get celebrated, while an album cover featuring a single bulbous black ass wearing a pink thong caused controversy and uproar across the web.  So instead of high-fiving everyone at the conference over how awesome hip-hop is, I took the time to ask a bunch of rap’s female OGs about gender in hip-hop and the impact of the so-called ‘white-washing’ of the culture.  This week we have my very practical conversation with one of the most accomplished entertainment lawyers in the game, Lisa Davis.”

JOURNALISM TUITION HIKE
http://www.dailycal.org  An announcement from the student newspaper at University of Southern California, UCLA’s counterpart in Los Angeles, contextualizing the likely tuition hike of $10,000 per year that faces students who seek advanced degrees in journalism: “‘Why would someone want to pay so much money to get a degree that’s worth so little on the market?’ Palomino said.  ‘It’s what we love, but this is still discouraging for people in the lower or middle classes — people who don’t have the financial means.’  About 75 percent of the school’s students borrow money to finance their graduate education, and the new fee would add at most $152 per month to a 10-year repayment plan, according to Wasserman’s email.  But the largest portion of revenue from the supplemental tuition would be allocated to financial aid and fellowships in an attempt to mitigate the increased cost burden.”

LAW @ LOC
http://blogs.loc.gov/    A Law blog from Library of Congress that consists mainly of an interview with one of the information geniuses in residence at the Law Library of Congress: “Unless the law is freely available, we can’t be expected to know and obey it.  I help put old laws online by providing the descriptive keywords to make them findable.  It isn’t glamourous work, but it is important that we be able to read and understand our history and the laws that govern us.”

‘ANOMALY-DETECTION’
http://www.techrepublic.com    A hyper-cool Tech Republic introduction to one of those topics about which many people, such as this humble correspondent, know very little, in this case the algorithms that underpin–replete with flow charts–‘anomaly detection,’ a key method for uncovering and stopping virtual hijackings of various sorts.

ADVERTISING HISTORY/NEWS
http://blogs.loc.gov/now-see-hear   Key context for scrappy writers who want to understand the true political economy of media–which in the good old U.S.A. means advertisers–from Standard Oil subsidiary Esso, which sponsored News in the Air, which passed along United Pressfindings from around the globe, from Library of Congress to readers and viewers from the Now See Hear blog, in which the documentary advertisement puts most of today’s ‘sponsored content’ to shame: “Of course, Standard Oil didn’t present Your Esso Reporter out of a sense of civic obligation; their goal was to sell more product.  So, just like Blame It on Love and The Ordeal of Thomas Moon, two other ‘sponsored’ films we’ve featured in ‘Now See Hear!’ posts, News in the Air was shown to community organizations like the YMCA in an attempt to bring more listeners to Your Esso Reporter, and hence to Esso service stations.  Standard Oil’s overall strategy for the program is explained quite thoroughly in the March 1947 issue of Sponsor magazine; it’s worth reading to see how the company used the sponsorship of a localized radio news program as part of its national advertising campaign.”

WHEN-TO-QUIT
http://magazine.good.is   An apt presentation for scrappy freelancers, to say the least, from Good magazine, about the desire to quit jobs that support corporate bottom lines but contribute little more than inadequate compensation to our hopes and dreams: “Earlier this week, Alaskan TV news reporter Charlo Greene very publically resigned, proclaiming, ‘Fuck it, I quit,’ on air during a broadcast about a local medical marijuana organization.  Greene dramatically revealed herself as the mysterious owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, which connects marijuana patients with growers, and announced that from then on her time would be spent on ‘freedom and fairness,’ rather than whatever it is that broadcast journalists do during the workday.  Simultaneously telling your employer to shove it and announcing your entrée into the weed business may not be everyone’s idea of following your bliss, but at one point or another, we’ve all considered quitting our jobs to pursue our dreams.”

WORDPRESS LONGREADS
http://en.blog.wordpress.com   The top-ten for the month from WordPress’ “Longreads” agglomeration, with plenty to think about, model, and investigate for any scrappy scribe who practices something akin to non-fiction or literature.

WWI’S CULTURAL IMPACT
http://theconversation.com/ A powerful presentation from The Conversation that makes as tangible as bodies blown apart, soldiers’ leaking their vital essence, the cultural impact of World War One, something for every cultural producer to ponder in the context of an empire that seems hellbent on World War Three: “But by 1916, the question was no longer one of what the war meant for art, but what art could contribute towards the war.  Britain and Canada, for example, had schemes for employing official war artists.  These emphasised younger painters with direct experience of war service – the soldier-artists.  Many of the most important paintings in these schemes were commissioned as memorials to the war, or history paintings.  To some extent these schemes rescued artists from the war.  If they had not returned from the front line to make official art, the chances of artists such as Paul Nash or Wyndham Lewis surviving would have been sharply reduced.  Official employment got them out of the firing line.”

FREELANCING SUCCESS
http://beyondthenewyorker.wordpress.com/  An overview of and interview with a successful freelancer who churns out vast troves of high-quality text and in her own story capsulizes a strategic vision for a union of scrappy scribes: “I did a lot of performance arts.  So I was a violinist, and I danced a lot.  I did a lot of theatre.  And I always wrote.  I was somebody who read and spoke and all that very early and was kind of precocious in that area.  I was an English major at college, but really had no idea what I was going to do.  I thought I was going to do something more performance-oriented rather than writing.”

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
ALTERNATIVES TO YOUTUBE

http://digiday.com/platforms/ DigiDay service to those who seek media context, about a crowing slate of video providers who proffer to marketers different options to those available from YouTube, which marketers criticize for the way that the platform distances providers from audience and hatebecause of its non-negotiable scooping of nearly half of revenues: “The biggest drawback for publishers is YouTube’s revenue-sharing split, in which the video streaming platform scoops up 45 percent of all advertising fees.  That is non-negotiable, even for the largest channels on the platform.  ‘YouTube exists to drive video views for itself, so its objectives and the content owners’ objectives may not be aligned,’ said Simon Jones, solutions marketing director at Ooyala.  ‘When you, as a company, use somebody else’s platform as a distribution method, you are kept one step away from the customer.'”

DAVID BOWIE RETROSPECTIVE

http://www.rollingstone.com    A combination of ‘personalty’ profile and event review–of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art’s program–of David Bowie, always evocative and provocative and likely good for a laugh: “Over his multi-dimensional, culture-encompassing five-decade career, David Bowie has proved himself many things: glamorous rock star, sultry singer, boundary-pushing performance artist, sexual icon.  But upon experiencing David Bowie Is – the massive delight of a retrospective art exhibition on Bowie that opens in the U.S. today at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago – one walks away with a perhaps unexpected conclusion: Bowie was, well, a bit of a hoarder.”

ABU DHABI URBANITY
http://www.theverge.com   Goodness!  A City-of-the-Future meets Gulf-State-Strange in this offering from The Verge, about an under-construction ‘paradise’ that Gulf-States money is marketing as the coming thing in urban living: “Clearly there are some things about all this Masdar business that feel spectacularly sci-fi, so recently a group of explorers calling themselves Quartier Libre did us all a favor and took advantage of that fact, shooting a video of some of the the eerie, barely furnished sections of Masdar and dropping in a delightfully spooky soundtrack.”

CHINA’S VIDEO POLICY
http://www.loc.gov/ A Library of Congress LawWeb Blog that gives an overview, from the perspective of statutory text and administrative procedure, of new aspects of China’s approach to the control of video distribution and access.

SOTOMAYOR’S ORWELLIAN PREDICTIONS

http://arstechnica.com/ An Ars Technica  “Tech Policy” column about a Supreme Court Justice’s worries concerning invasive technologies such as surveillance videos and more: “The justice’s remarks about drones comes as California is close to joining 10 other states requiring the police to get a court warrant to surveil with a drone.  Those states include Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. California’s bill is pending, awaiting action from Gov. Jerry Brown.  ‘If the police send a drone to surveil communities, they should get a warrant to do that,’ Rebecca Farmer, an American Civil Liberties Union spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview Friday.”

COURTS’ DOCUMENTARY ACCESS
http://fas.org/sgp/jud/statesec/gulet-091514.pdf   A godsend of a gift from Federation of American Scientists again, about a Federal Court’s insistence that it has the need and right to review documents that are at the heart of this and other U.S. cases against private parties but which the Feds say is unavailable for reasons of ‘national securtiy:’ “This case involves complex and unsettled issues pertaining to the respective roles of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.  As discussed in the Court’s Memorandum Opinion…Plaintiff’s claims raise issues concerning the extent to which and the methods by which a citizen’s freedom of travel and associated liberties can be curtailed in the name of national security, given the fundamental interest of all citizens in being protected from terrorist violence.  One central issue is the extent to which the War on Terrorism may expand the ability of the executive branch to act in ways that cannot otherwise be justified.”

GERMAN WWII FILMS
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/09/24/tff2-s24.html  A typically powerful and insightful review essay from World Socialist Website, about two movies from the recent Toronto Film festival, worth a look for all sorts of reasons, mandatory for history or cinema buffs: “Christian Petzold’s Phoenix and Italian-born Giulio Ricciarelli’sLabyrinth of Lies are both skillfully made, intelligent films that delve, in quite different ways, into the legacy of fascism.”

COMPUSERVE’S START
http://www.mediapost.com/    A media-and-Internet historical background from MediaPost, crossposted from the Poynter Institute, about the initiation of Compuserve thirty-odd years ago in the Bay Area: “The Poynter account includes video of a sweet TV news story from a station in San Francisco touting that now, the ‘the two to three thousand’ residents with a computer in their home could access both of San Francisco’s papers.  That is except for the ads, the photos, comics, maps or anything resembling a graphical touch.  This was a wire machine, really.”

AI & MUSIC
http://www.techrepublic.com/   A Tech Republic outtake on the growing influence and implications of artificial intelligence techniques in musical production and distribution: “What exactly that means at the moment, is still solidifying. On one end of the spectrum, for example, is Landr, a technology that uses basic AI to master audio tracks.  On the other end, Stefan Oertl, founder and CEO of Re-Compose GmbH talked about AI creating loop-based music that could play a role in music psychology and be used in a wellness sense.  He said his company doesn’t looks at AI as automaton or assistants, but as something that could be a part of a new experiential platform in music for those making it and listening to it.”

CIRQUE DRONES
http://techcrunch.com  Whoa!!  A look at the expansion of drones’ presence into the oddest corners of our lives, from Tech Crunch, in this case ‘under the big tent’ with Cirque-du-Soleil.

WIZARD BEACHFRONT SCREENING
http://www.ocweekly.com/  Double Whoa!!!!  A precis about tonight’s seventy-fifth anniversary showing, oceanside, of Wizard of Oz.

CUBA ROCKING!!
http://www.telesurtv.net A mini-brief from TeleSur about what will turn out to be a huge event, the first ever rock festival in Cuba, focusing on the Latin scene and culture and their gigantic and growing impact: “The organizers of the event also announced the presence of Horacio Gonzalez, director of the National Library of Argentina, who will present an ‘audiovisual piece paying homage to Luis Alberto Spinetta, precursor of the Latin-Rock scene, which talks about his life and works.'”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

BITCOIN TROPES

http://www.theverge.com   An examination of one of the recent BitCoin happenings, that focuses on recent Federal crackdowns but also proffers some minimal background: “Back in 2009 when bitcoin first appeared, anyone could run the mining software on an ordinary laptop and crank out 50 bitcoins in a day.  As bitcoin became more popular, mining got more competitive.  Soon miners started using more powerful graphics cards to mine bitcoin.  Then serious miners began to devote racks of computers, like small personal data centers.  Because there were so many miners chasing after the same bitcoins, mining got more and more expensive and the returns on investment got smaller and smaller.  The bitcoin protocol is also designed to increase the difficulty of mining as time goes on, which further cut into miners’ profits.  In June of 2012, Butterfly Labs became one of the first pop-up companies to announce a breakthrough in mining technology: application-specific integrated circuits, or ‘ASICs,’ designed specifically to mine bitcoin 1,000 times faster.  At least two other companies cropped up, promising similar machines.  Miners rushed to place preorders.”

HOLDER FERGUSON CONTEXT

http://www.thecrimereport.org/  A very ‘inneresting’ piece about Department of Justice Ferguson investigations, in the context of A.G. Holder’s resignation, from The Crime Report: “The Ferguson investigation continued to expand.  At a press conference, Holder said, ‘people consistently expressed concerns stemming from specific alleged incidents, from general policing practices, and from the lack of diversity on Ferguson’s police force.’  According to the Washington Post, Holder said the investigation will examine the department’s record of traffic stops, searches and arrests, and its treatment of people detained in the city jail.  Interestingly, the probes will include the Civil Rights Division, which has the authority to file suit and seek judicial remedies to force law enforcement agencies into reform; and the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which seeks to work collaboratively with police departments to pursue reform.”

MEN’S ANTI-RAPE CAMPAIGN
http://thinkprogress.org/   An essay about an “only-do-it-with-consent” campaign among undergraduates, all of whom in thisThink Progress report are male and very committed to ‘only-fully-consensual’ intercourse, as it were.

NFL’S TAX ESCAPE

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/    Hat tip to Karen Ford for this Yahoo News blog about the background of the multi-billion dollar NFL’s getting away scot-free on taxes: “(A)1966 tax law amendment …allows sports leagues to identify as tax-exempt nonprofit organizations.  Coburn introduced a bill last year that would take away the tax-exempt status for any sports league making over $10 million in annual revenues.  The bottom line, he argues, is that ‘real charities ought to get a tax-exempt [status], non-charities shouldn’t.’”

 

NUCLEAR INSANITY

http://www.nytimes.com/ An editorial briefing from the Times that ought to frighten anyone who has an interest in humanity’s survival, about certain anomalies in regard to matters nuclear that concern U.S. actions, policies, expenditure, and more: “President Obama has talked about working toward a world without nuclear weapons.  Yet his administration is now investing tens of billions of dollars in modernizing and rebuilding America’s nuclear arsenal and facilities, as The Times reported in detail on Monday.  And after good progress in making nuclear bomb material more secure around the world, Mr. Obama has reduced his budget requests for that priority.  This is a shortsighted and disappointing turn.

 

U.S. UKRAINIAN PROPAGANDA
http://consortiumnews.com/  A Consortium News excoriation of U.S. propagation of distortion and falsehood and half-truth in relation to what’s been happening in Ukraine: “.”But the Ukraine crisis has been a textbook case of the U.S. mainstream media misreporting the facts of a foreign confrontation and then misinterpreting the meaning of the events, a classic case of ‘garbage in, garbage out.’  The core of the false mainstream narrative is that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis as an excuse to reclaim territory for the Russian Empire.  While that interpretation of events has been the cornerstone of Official Washington’s ‘group think,’ the reality always was that Putin favored maintaining the status quo in Ukraine.  He had no plans to ‘invade’ Ukraine and was satisfied with the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych.  Indeed, when the crisis heated up last February, Putin was distracted by the Sochi Winter Olympics.  Rather than Putin’s ‘warmongering’ – as the Times said in the lead-in to another Mondayarticle – the evidence is clear that it was the United States and the European Union that initiated this confrontation in a bid to pull Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence and into the West’s orbit.”

 

EGYPTIAN HUNGER STRIKERS
http://www.nytimes.com/    An essay analysis of recent Egyptian prison hunger strikes, from the Times‘ opinion pages, like a cry to a union of scrappy writers to do something to help them and journalists whom the regime there imprisoned for doing their jobs: “For the last four months, Mr. Soltan has been too weak to walk unassisted.  Recently, his family says, a police officer told him to make a choice: ‘End your hunger strike, or stop drinking water so you would die and get it over with.’  Mr. Soltan, a dual American-Egyptian citizen, has now staged the longest hunger strike recorded in Egyptian prisons, but he is not alone.  Thousands of suspected political dissenters — not all of them followers of the Muslim Brotherhood — are currently in prison, and scores have gone on hunger strikes to protest inhumane conditions there and the denial of access to justice.”

SYRIAN BOMBING CONTEXT

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39765.htm   An assessment of the U.S. bombing campaign supposedly against Islamic State in Iraq & Syria, in which the Information Clearinghouse crossposting from The Intercept strongly calls into question U.S. actions and policies and the reality behind them: “Six weeks of bombing hasn’t budged ISIS in Iraq, but it has caused ISIS recruitment to soar.  That’s all predictable: the U.S. has known for years that what fuels and strengthens anti-American sentiment (and thus anti-American extremism) is exactly what they keep doing: aggression in that region.  If you know that, then they know that.  At this point, it’s more rational to say they do all of this not despite triggering those outcomes, but because of it.  Continuously creating and strengthening enemies is a feature, not a bug.  It is what justifies the ongoing greasing of the profitable and power-vesting machine of Endless War ”

 

ILLEGALITIES OF BOMBING

http://consortiumnews.com/   An examination from Consortium News about the ‘innovative legal theories’–read, violations of international law–of the U.S.’s attacks in Iraq and Syria: “Yet, beyond the danger to world order if such an expansive theory is embraced by the international community (does anyone remember how World War One got started?), there is the hypocrisy of the U.S. government and many of those same Gulf allies arming, training and funding Syrian rebels for the purpose of preventing the Syrian military from controlling its territory and then citing that lack of control as the rationale to ignore Syria’s sovereignty.  In other words, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and other enemies of Syria covertly backed the rebels inside Syria and watched as many of them – including thousands of the U.S.-preferred ‘moderates’ – took their newly acquired military skills to al-Qaeda affiliates and other terrorist organizations.  Then, the U.S. and its allies have the audacity to point to the existence of those terror groups inside Syria as a rationale for flying bombing raids into Syria.”

SYRIA PSEUDO-DEBATE

http://www.nytimes.com/   A Times room for debate feature that unfortunately illustrates all too well GIGO–Garbage In, Garbage Out–in that all of the opinions here about bombing Syria assume the premises of empire and analyze next-to-nothing useful, worth reading anyway as another accusatory bit of data about corporate media, if nothing else.

MORE SYRIA CONTEXT

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info An Information Clearinghouse report from a former State Department staffer, which stringently questions the U.S. story in regard to bombing of Syria and Iraq: “A big lie.  Big time.  ISIS was created and is armed and funded by Washington, ravaging Syria and Iraq since 2007, under different names and compositions as convenient to confuse the MSM audience.  ISIS was and is advised by CIA and NATO agents on how to proceed to divide the Middle East.  So it can be easily conquered.  Case in point is the destruction of Libya–through NATO’s ‘humanitarian air raids.'”

GREEK RAPPER’S MURDER

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/09/24/gree-s24.html  An important piece of reportage for scrappy writers, from World Socialist Website, that deals with police brutality in Greece against workers and freelancers commemorating the murder by a fascist thug of a popular rapper from Athens a year ago: “According to demonstrators who spoke to the Greek daily I Efimerida Ton Syntakton (Ef.Syn.), the violence was initiated by police provocateurs who had infiltrated the demonstration.  The newspaper reported that ‘demonstrators removed a police ID from a person who had his face covered and was causing damage at the Keratsini Citizens’ Assistance Centre.'”

 

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS
CHARTER SCHOOL BILLIONAIRES
http://www.insidephilanthropy.com An Inside Philanthropy article that looks at a billionaire who has made Charter Schools his bailiwick, who has made all manner of corporate and top-down ‘experts’ his allies: “Loeb is the chairman of Success Academy Charter Network in Brooklyn and co-founded and serves on the board of StudentsFirstNY, the New York branch of the national ed reform group founded by Michelle Rhee.  Also on the board at StudentsFirstNY are fellow billionaires Carl Icahn and Paul Tudor Jones, who are known as well for their education philanthropy.  Loeb has also been a trustee at Prep for Prep since 2004.  The outfit has received around $1.5 million from the foundation over the years and appears to be one of the foundation’s biggest benificiaries along with Success Academy Charter Schools, which received nearly $800,000 in 2012 alone.”

JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORMS

http://www.thecrimereport.org/  A presentation about the fortieth anniversary of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Protection Act, which has had a mixed record at best of either preventing delinquency or protecting juveniles, from The Crime Report: “The Act, which marks its 40th anniversary this month, set federal standards for states dealing with locked-up juveniles. In exchange for complying with the guidelines, the states receive funding to help put these rules into action. This has been vital to improving conditions for youth offenders, because it puts federal muscle behind state reforms.  Nevertheless, a review by The Crime Report of the Act’s accomplishments shows that while the JJDPA has spurred meaningful change and has drawn national attention to the dire conditions facing imprisoned youth, several of the most important issues the legislation aimed to address have persisted.”  Nevertheless, a review by The Crime Report of the Act’s accomplishments shows that while the JJDPA has spurred meaningful change and has drawn national attention to the dire conditions facing imprisoned youth, several of the most important issues the legislation aimed to address have persisted.”

MINORITY REDLINING

http://chieforganizer.org/   A dispositive evidencing, from the Association for Communities Organized for Reform Now, of the continuing use of ‘redlining’ discrimination against people of color who seek loans, and of the deleterious impacts of such behavior: “The Federal Reserve report on the continued decrease in lending to African-American and Hispanic families is unambiguous.  In 2013, 4.8% of total home loans were to African-Americans, 7.3% were to Hispanics.  In 2012, the numbers were only marginally better at 5.1% and 7.2% respectively.  As recently as 2006, before the real estate meltdown the numbers were almost 50% higher when combined, exceeding 20% of the total loans.  The other thing that is clear in the total failure of the Obama Administration to provide any real relief.”

FREEDOM STRUGGLE REALITIES

http://www.commondreams.org/   A contextualization of the reality, versus the fantasy, of ‘non-violence’ in the Civil Rights Movement, in particular in this Common Dreams essay, in Freedom Movement Mississippi: “We see this in how the import of the mid-20th-century civil rights struggle has been reduced.  Julian Bond once succinctly and pointedly quipped that currently the public’s understanding of that struggle boils down to ‘Rosa sat down; Martin stood up.  And then the white folks saw the light and saved the day.’  To state the obvious, we need to know a lot more about what took place and why if we are going to find and apply the most useful lessons of movement history to 21st-century life today.  Consider what Dave Dennis, Mississippi project director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in the early 1960s, told me about C. O. Chinn of Madison County, who became one of the most important figures in the Mississippi Freedom Movement.  He barely exists in conventional movement history and scholarship although in 1962 at just 44 years of age he was already almost a legend when young CORE field secretaries began working in the county.  C. O. Chinn was one of the first to embrace these CORE workers and the emerging local movement; they probably would not have survived without him.  As the county sheriff, Billy Noble, once said of Chinn, ‘There are only two bad sons of bitches in this county; me and that nigger C. O. Chinn.’  Many whites in the county feared Chinn. CORE field secretary Mateo “Flukie” Suarez, said of him: ‘Every white man [in the county] knew you didn’t fuck with C. O. Chinn.  He’d kick your natural ass.’  And as his wife Minnie Lou Chinn once said of her husband, ‘He’d fight the devil out of hell if he had to.'”

RENEWABLE ENERGY ADVANTAGES

http://ecowatch.com/    An EcoWatch look at the boosting of solar electricity and energy technologies, which are on the uptick despite a preponderance of funding that more ‘traditional’ sources scoop up, particularly nuclear or ‘fuel-based’ methods: “Across the nation, American businesses, families and communities are embracing clean, renewable energy that is homegrown, healthy, and can never run out.  By finding alternatives to fossil fuels that pollute our air and disrupt our climate, they are showcasing the single most practical way to tackle climate change, starting now.”

 

BIO-FUEL POTENTIAL

http://www.nsf.gov/  A National Science Foundation Discoveries blog about ‘fuel-based’ energy production possibilities, from Arizona State University researchers’ work: “They offer a promising renewable resource as a replacement for nonrenewable fossil fuels, and a way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being pumped into the atmosphere as a result of our use of conventional petroleum-derived fuels.  They could help the United States take major steps to reduce the country’s dependence on oil from other parts of the world.”

 

WOMB-RENTAL DEBATES

http://www.nytimes.com/   A Room-for-Debate feature about ‘outsourcing’ of the birthing process, whereby busy, well-to-do women essentially rent the reproductive capacities of poorer women to carry the well-off women’s fetuses to term.

 

SAUDI 9/11 INVOLVEMENT

http://www.counterpunch.org   A revisiting of the heretofore only partially reported Saudi anomalies in the period prior to and immediately after 9/11, which arguably point to unnamed but powerful Saudi citizens as possible co-conspirators in events then: “Lawrence Wright tells how the Bush administration deleted 28 pages in the 2002 report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry on 911 probably because they describe in detail the Saudi connection to the Al Qaeda attack and Saudi financing of its operatives in the United States—people who knew two of the hijackers, and may well have been used as conduits for Saudi cash.  Some of the money may have come from the royal family through a charity.  In removing the 28 pages Bush said the publication of the information would damage American intelligence operations.  The Saudis deny all of this.  In fact no one would be talking about it now were it not for families of victims of the attack and insurers, who are suing the Saudis.”

DISEASE CONTAINMENT STRATEGIES

http://www.technologyreview.com/   One of those fascinating science-nerd narratives from MIT Technology Review that examines the way that epidemiologists seek to figure out ways to reduce the spread of pathogens in an epidemic.

CONTEMPLATING URBAN LIFE

http://www.govexec.com   Drawing on the ideas of Jane Jacobs and others, whose Life and Death of Great American Cities remains a seminal work in the field of urban studies, a lyrical look from Gov Exec at current graphic and data-infused ways of defining the patterns and prospects of humans’ clustering together in large groups.

http://www.truthdig.com/ A video from TruthDig that presents a delicious ‘dish’ by Chris Hedges, in a give-and-take with Libertarians, about the ascendancy of corporate power, a fact that one needs to ponder and act on whatever one’s ideological proclivities.

SCIENCE VERSUS SCIENTISM

http://theconversation.com   Another lovely installment from the Brits at The Conversation, this time about the meaning and import of science, and the necessity to criticize scientistic thinking, in which the idea of knowledge becomes a reified realm only available to self-defined priests-of-science, those who can ‘do the right experiments’ and so forth: “Gobry gives the following working definition of science: “Science is the process through which we derive reliable predictive rules through controlled experimentation.”  That sounds quite narrow, but then scientists predict things and they do experiments right?  But he continues with: “Because people don’t understand that science is built on experimentation, they don’t understand that studies in fields like psychology almost never prove anything, since only replicated experiment proves something.”  No scientist would claim that an experiment ‘proves’ a theory, only that the theory proposed has not be shown to be false.  It’s a ‘put it up and try to knock it down’ version of science in which all scientific models are wrong, but some are more useful than others.  However, it’s Gobry’s view of statistics which leads us to very strange territory.”

9.25.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

No matter how easily one may utter nonsense and non-sequitur to justify murder and injustice, no matter how freely one propagates the fatuous foolishness of propaganda and distortion, no matter how stubbornly one rationalizes depredation and plunder, eventually the voice of reason has a say, and ultimately, if humanity survives its own tendencies long enough, an adequate number of people will want to listen to common sense and basic compassion—for themselves as well as others—to transform the way that folks do business with each other.

Quote of the Day

“(A)ll of a sudden the drab gray of my wretched surrounding is touched with magical radiance and color. How unutterably thrilling are the expressions of sympathy and devotion from other precious human beings; I am overwhelmed with an answering love and gratified and the profound desire to be worthy of the beautiful tribute with which they have honored us! In all humility, I pledge my self anew, to the unceasing war against man’s inhumanity to man, in whatever shape, manner or form it may rear its ugly brute’s head. Nor shall I never sell short the priceless trust and faith they have reposed in me for a questionable reward of a “mess of pottage”; else shall I have lived my life for naught!” Ethel Rosenberg, letter to her husband both in and from prison: http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/Rosenberg_Trial.pdf/$file/Rosenberg_Trial.pdf.

This Day in History

Nine hundred forty-eight years back, Viking incursions into England effectively ended at the Battle of Stamford Bridge; seven hundred seventy-seven years back, the Treaty of York fixed the agreed-upon border between England and Scotland; six hundred eighteen years ago, a Christian army suffered a defeat in Greece against forces led by Ottoman Emperor Bayezid I; the initial and only edition of the first newspaper of the British Colonies came out in Boston three hundred twenty-four years before the here-and-now; the just-born United States Congress two hundred twenty-five years ago passed twelve amendments to the Constitution including the ten whose ratification formed the Bill of Rights; a hundred twenty-four years back, Congress designated an area of the California Sierras as Sequoia National Park; one hundred seventeen years ago, a boy child came into the world who would chronicle the South and win the Nobel Prize as William Faulkner; a hundred thirteen years prior to the present, the baby boy who grew up to become preternaturally French filmmaker Robert Bresson was born; one hundred two years ago, Columbia University opened its School of Journalism; three years later the female baby opened her eyes and cried who would live thirty-eight years as Ethel, marrying Julius Rosenberg along the way, before the United States electrocuted her for espionage; eighty-eight years prior to this juncture, the League of Nations put into force a converntion to end slavery and the slave trade, which continues as an international agreement that now has ninety-nine signatories; eighty-five years ago, the infant who became journalist and newscaster Barbara Walters was born; a year later exactly, the baby boy who would produce children’s stories as Shel Silverstein came into the world; eighty one years ago, much beloved journalist and essayist Ring Lardner died; sixty-seven years prior to our present plight, the infant male who would become poet Adam Saroyan drew his first independent breath; sixty-five years back, the male child who grew into iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar was born; fifty-eight years back, the first submarine transatlantic telephone cable became operational; fifty-four years ago, the scribe of the socially apropos, Emily Post, discreetly exited her life; the great chronicler of war, Erich Maria Remarque, died forty-four years ago; forty-two years ago, Norway voted not to join the European Union; eleven years back, both historian Edward Said and journalist George Plimpton died; the popular psychological writer M. Scott Peck died nine years before today; eight years back, poet and writer John M. Ford breathed his last.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
"mass media" democracy "media literacy" necessity OR component conflict power OR empowerment citizen OR citizenship = 169,000 Hits.

TOP OF THE FOLD

http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/pdd/pdd-62.pdf Presidential Directive 62, which lays out the basis for coordinating, expanding, and implementing a ‘counter-terrorism-and-security establishment at the top of the U.S. executive branch, put into place by Bill Clinton in 1995 and classified ‘Secret,’ a tendency to make things secret that even in relation to stated legal requirements to declassify information lead to exceptions and continued official justification for keeping citizens ignorant.

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sunday at eleven P.M., the Solidarity Forever radio half hour will take place, the second show in what could be a long run.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs From the National Science Foundation, the protocols for submitting English-American collaborative proposals in relation to earth-sciences grants.

http://www.mediabistro.com A call for a video producer from WebMD in Atlanta.

http://www.uccmediajustice.org An announcement from the United Church of Christ that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler will be delivering the annual Everett C. Parker lecture at Washingon’s Newseum on October 7.

http://blogs.loc.gov/catbird/ An announcement and background about tonight’s initial presentation at the Thomas Jefferson Theater by incoming poet Laureate Charles Wright .

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
http://www.dazeddigital.com A poet-laureate-of-the-people video from "George-the-Poet," definitely a mandatory listen and contemplation: "You see, the soil is not infertile, but the flower can only blossom when the sun shines."

http://knowledge-commons.net/ An organization that looks at a range of ideas and possibilities, from copyleft thinking to open copyright and more, in connection with the collective production and common ownership of certain aspects of knowledge, information, and other sorts of intellectual property, which is often enough the topic for academic and public discussion and the topic of monographs and studies , which ironically enough are not commonly available.

http://www.citylab.com An installment form City Lab about a recent survey of citizens that had found a fairly high level of superficial security and satisfaction alongside deeply felt doubts: "For instance, while suburbanites displayed more faith than urban or rural residents in their local public schools, only about one-third of each group expressed “a lot” of confidence in those institutions. And while suburbanites registered slightly more faith than urban or rural residents in their local government, the larger message may be that fewer than one-fourth in each group expressed “a lot” of confidence."

http://blogs.loc.gov One of those irresistible offerings from Library of Congress about teaching and engagement, in this instance a post about teaching the economic context of the Constitution through the provision to students of early American currency.

http://www.techrepublic.com o deliver ‘all the data, all the time,’ in the context of providing a brief review of a book on hate crimes in cyberspace: "Just consider: police posted surveillance video on YouTube, asked the public to help identify suspects, and the public responded online, ultimately leading to said suspects ‘lawyering up.’ The fact that someone was able to connect the people on the video to a local restaurant using a public Facebook search is frankly staggering: it’s a reminder that we’re leaving data exhaust behind us as we move through the material world in ways we’re only beginning to appreciate. (If you missed "Actual Facebook Graph Searches" last year, browse through to think through more potential implications.)"

http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/ The gateway to the United Nations Climate Summit web presence, from which a visitor might follow different pathways for information, networking, and more, just one of the top-level organizations now buying in to the idea of engaging mass publics in ‘climate action .’

https://www.byliner.com/ An entry point to a new sort of literary experience and reading opportunity, including all sorts of titles in e-book form from well-loved authors to up-and-coming storytellers, a slightly different approach from the online and print literary periodical or from the strictly virtual story-portal that may offer writing tools as well.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info A powerful look at the current moment, a prophecy of doom except if we are willing to look at things as they are and act on what we see: "The people are angry, we can’t live with each other, we can’t live with ourselves, so everybody is medicated…"

http://www.commondreams.org/ A call to action from Common Dreams in regard to likely Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose world views and premises may not be those that most scrappy writers in a National Writers Union prescribe: "Clinton begins by asserting that Kissinger’s view of the world is in line with hers and Obama’s because it “largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century.” She continues in this same vein later, proudly stating that “what comes through clearly in this new book is a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.”"

http://pando.com/2014/09/12/ A Pando Daily overview and profile of Dodo, which the author believes is doing cutting edge work in laying out the best-practices for creating engagement, exchange, and knowledge about the environment, using both fluff and depth: "’I don’t think you can build a brand without both,’ Lerer told me over the phone. And now with $4.7 million in new funding from RRE Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Softbank Capital, and Discovery, the Dodo will expand its editorial team to produce even more investigative reporting. In addition to being an investor, Discovery will also launch a content partnership with the Dodo, trading stories and posting on one another’s sites. ‘I think that we can help Discovery a lot in the social web aspect in the world, and I think they can help us in the video aspect,’ Lerer says. The Dodo, which launched in January, has arrived at an uncertain time for environmental reporting. Despite mounting warnings over climate change by scientists around the world, not to mention the fact that nine of the ten hottest years since recordkeeping began in 1880 have occurred in this century, newspaper coverage of climate change has dropped significantly since 2009."

pando.com/2014/09 Boy, howdy! An introduction to a brilliant thinker who is capable of the deepest and most provocative contextualization, in this instance about the termination by Ottoman forces of the Siege of Vienna three hundred thirty-odd years ago, one of those historical instances seldom understood and frequently misused: "The only consolation for sentimental Central Europeans was that the Ottomans were decaying even faster than the Poles or Austrians, well on their way to status as the ‘sick man of Europe,’ cynically propped up against the Russians by the French and British. The real power was moving to the edges of Europe — the British Empire in the West, Russia in the east — isolated, impregnable empires, just like the Risk board. Now all that remains of the brief glory of September 12, 1683 are cheesy attempts by reactionary Europeans to connect their midget-fascism to what happened outside Vienna that day. (The Norwegian mass murderer)Breivik is typical of the breed — childless weirdos lamenting the decline of the European birthrate, would-be crusaders whining that they’re not given the latest Playstation games in their cushy prison cells. It’s a long way since 1683, and downhill all the way."

masspeaceaction.org/5725 An open letter from Mass Peace Action calling Senator Elizabeth Warren to account for her support of Israel in light of a litany of facts that call that sort of backing into question, to say the least.

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu A critical portal for citizens and many scrappy writers to the life and impact of Martin Luther King, from Stanford, which houses many of his papers, in an Encyclopedia of a man and a movement.

http://www.shareable.net An introduction from Shareable to a ‘vitual think tank’ that encourages collaboration and networking for the likes of scrappy writers in all sorts of ways, including workshops: "The sharing that takes place in the knowledge commons drives innovation, fosters collaboration, and embodies the idea that we can accomplish far more by working together than alone. As this knowledge commons grows, it could become even more important to advances in medicine, education, and science. The goal of the workshop is to show there may be a better way to manage knowledge commons that’s outside of the usual market and state formulations. Another simple and sweet profferal from The Conversation, which in the event discusses and clarifies the intertwined and yet distinct meaning of causation and correlation: "Two quantities are said to be correlated if both increase and decrease together (‘positively correlated’), or if one increases when the other decreases and vice-versa (‘negatively correlated’). Correlation is readily detected through statistical measurements of the Pearson’s correlation coefficient, which indicates how tightly locked together the two quantities are, ranging from -1 (perfectly negatively correlated) through 0 (not at all correlated) and up to 1 (perfectly positively correlated)."

http://www.cjr.org/ An arguably critical piece of reportage from Columbia Journalism Review, the implication of which is that the citizens of the world need a ‘freedom-of-information act’ process with the all-too-often opaque and inaccessible United Nations: "Yet the toughest stories to squeeze out of the UN are not just about crises discussed there, but investigations into the UN itself, where journalists enter an environment with different rules and procedures than any other government institution they might have covered. The fact that the UN operates outside of local laws—its New York City headquarters are technically a separate territory—makes the work of journalists even more crucial as one of the organization’s few external checks and balances. Investigations into the institution have unearthed the likes of the failure of UN peacekeepers in Darfur and diplomats’ use of immunity to dodge parking tickets. But as with other mammoth institutions, investigative work is an uphill challenge, especially when there’s no recourse to freedom of information law. ‘They are almost institutionally designed to only show what they want to show,’ said Pamela Falk, president of the UN Correspondents Association and a CBS reporter at the UN for 13 years. ‘The immunity does give the UN impunity.’"

http://www.nytimes.com/ A culture analysis from the Times about the growing capacity of e-book readers to manage poetry assiduously: "Of all the literary genres, poetry has proved the most resistant to digital technology, not for stodgy cultural reasons but for tricky mechanical ones. Most e-readers mangle the line breaks and stanzas that are so crucial to the appearance and rhythm of poetry. As a result, many publishers have held back on digitizing poetry, and works by some major poets still are not available as e-books, including Ezra Pound’s ‘The Cantos’ and poems by Jorie Graham, Tracy K. Smith, Elizabeth Bishop and Czeslaw Milosz. ‘The line is the unit in which poetry is communicated, and the technology of most e-books is unfriendly to that unit,’ said Jeff Shotts, executive editor of Graywolf Press."

http://www.washingtonpost.com An overview from WaPo that presents a critical notice for all citizens and many scrappy writers, to the effect that public court records and other taxpayer-created-documents that PACER hordes behind a paywall, many argue should be freely available–what got Aaron Schwarz in trouble initially–though quite the opposite of accessibility is fact, an arguable travesty that some activists are seeking to circumvent .

http://www.salon.com/2014 A torrid critque of both the culture of expertise and the validity of much that is supposedly authoritative: "Nearly every aspect of this argument annoyed me. To suggest, for starters, that people in Washington are—or were, until recently—ignorant or contemptuous of academic expertise is like saying the people of Tulsa have not yet heard about this amazing stuff called oil. Not only does Washington routinely fill the No. 1 spot on those “most educated cities” articles, but the town positively seethes with academic experts. Indeed, it is the only city I know of that actually boasts a sizable population of fake experts, handing out free-market wisdom to passers-by from their subsidized seats at Cato and Heritage."

http://www.counterpunch.org/ Another treasure for scribes from Counterpunch, a list of the top-one-hundred novels translated into English.

http://www.pen-international.org/ A call for solidarity from PEN International about an affiliated writer from China’s Western provinces who faces life in prison for the ‘crime’ of writing and thinking and speaking and organizing about his beliefs in his ethnic identity.

http://www.niemanlab.org A model case, from the perspective of scrappy writers who do much of their work virtually, in which New Zealand’s courts are suggesting that defining bloggers a journalists makes a lot of sense, like Duh!!: "In the case of Slater v. Blomfield, Justice Raynor Asher found that a blogger can be legally defined as a journalist. Likewise, a blog can be journalism, even if the work is carried out for a non-mainstream media outlet. The definition is particularly important because it affects who the court can grant certain protections to. In Cameron Slater’s case, the issue related to whether he could call himself a journalist and his website news media, and thereby claim “shield law” protection in a defamation case."

http://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/ A mandatory read for scrappy writers, regarding the Reporters Committee(http://www.rcfp.org/) for the Freedom of the Press’ stepping into the growing void that lower media revenues has caused in relation to litigation on topics absolutely central to freedom of speech and public mediation: "Although the RCFP has provided legal assistance to journalists for nearly 45 years—developing media law guides, filing amicus briefs, issuing statements, answering questions, making referrals to outside counsel—not since the 1980s has the RCFP itself been active as a litigant. It is re-entering that arena now to help fill a void created as news outlets, strapped for resources, have retreated from some legal battles."

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
http://www.umsl.edu A fascinating monograph from the University of Missouri at St. Louis, An Evolutionary Paradigm for Literary Study, that introduces ways of thinking about and investigating literature that are coming out of evolutionary psychology and related fields: "The central concept in both evolutionary social science and evolutionary literary study is ‘human nature’: genetically mediated characteristics typical of the human species."

https://gigaom.com/ In a post related to recent decisions by the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, above, an analysis from GigaOm about the increasing default position of technology-firms as publishers, without any requisite commitment to stick up for public rights to knowledge or social interests in related matters: "This raises the question of who will fund high-stakes public interest battles instead. Will it be the tech giants, like Google and Twitter, whose platforms have largely supplanted the newspapers as a daily source of information? Or does the tech industry’s fixation with growth and data control preclude it from truly taking up the public interest torch? Opinions are mixed. Some think an important element of public interest advocacy will disappear with the newspaper industry. Others, meanwhile, express hope that companies born of the digital world are already learning to step up as advocates of the public interest."

http://www.thestar.com A Toronto Star profile, hat-tip to MediaREDEF, and assessment of a McGill University professor who is one of the few–some say the only–media expert on the libertarian activist group Anonymous, which is doing real public service in much of its work: "Coleman is an anthropologist. Had she been a different kind of scholar, her experience might have been different. But just as traditional anthropologists might live amid a village or tribe to observe their customs, Coleman spent years ‘living’ online, logging long days and sleepless nights in a quest to understand the language, culture and ethical codes of a notoriously amorphous group. As Anonymous evolved from pranksters to political ‘hacktivists,’ taking on targets from the Church of Scientology to African autocrats, she was one of a tiny few watching courtside."

https://gigaom.com/ A wonderfully clear and complete background and explanation from GigaOm about what is at stake in Spectrum Auctions where only in a context of mutuality and technical compatibility will smaller and community service providers and options stand a chance against monopoly power, sort of like interurban rail networks where no locally owned alternative are possible because the trunk lines use a rail-guage that no one else has the right o borrow: "C Spire, like many rural and regional carriers, bought licenses in a portion of the 700 MHz band called the A block, expecting to fully participate in the LTE revolution of the last several years. It was sorely mistaken. Verizon Wireless and AT&T essentially carved out private little empires in their portions of the 700 MHz band, over which their devices – and their devices alone – would work Many smaller carriers like C Spire and U.S. Cellular found themselves stranded on their own island of 4G spectrum called Band 12. And if their networks don’t interoperate with the big carriers that means the devices they use are incompatible as well. To this day, Apple still hasn’t built an iPhone that works on a Band 12 network, despite commitments from AT&T and Sprint to back interoperability."

http://chronicle.com/article/Is-Artificial-Intelligence-a/148763/ A useful essay from the Chronicle of Higher Education about the parameters–threatening and liberating–of Artificial Intelligence: "The thought experiment is, of course, exaggerated, but, according to Bostrom, the dangers of artificial intelligence and advanced technology are not. He’s made a career of studying the threats that could wipe out humankind and says the likely culprit will not be a natural disaster."

https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-first-record-producers-909c85d99427?curator=MediaREDEF Fluff in history and fluff as history, with some contextualization of media and culture in the mix, from Medium, curated by MediaREDEF: "The exact difference between British and American pop can be found by comparing Meek’s and Spector’s productions. Meek sped things up, worked at a frenetic pace, as if it was the best way to keep warm in his cramped North London flat. Spector’s sound was panoramic, as big as Meek’s but warmer, more luxurious; it used the finest ingredients, the greatest singers and musicians from New York and California, while Meek’s seemed gaudy, straight out of Woolworth’s. Meek could turn out three singles in a week, but Spector took time, expensive LA studio time, perfecting his sound. Songwriter Jeff Barry remembered working on Spector’s 1963 Christmas album as a physical and mental endurance test: ‘I stood there for days and days and days, just playing shakers.’ Both had traumatic childhoods, simultaneously bullied and cosseted by their families; both were convinced other people were out to steal their ideas."

http://www.dailydot.com/politics/lobbyists-net-neutrality-fcc/ An investigative peek behind the curtain that separates citizens who insist on a free and open Internet and from bureaucrats who operate otherwise, a wall that essentially exists because of interests, once public, now vested in some of Earth’s most lucrative enterprises, who pay to have things their way : "Going back to 2005 (when the phrase ‘net neutrality’ first shows up in lobbying disclosure reports), the principle’s biggest opponents (Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and their allies) have lobbied against net neutrality about three times as hard as the biggest proponents of neutrality (Level 3, Google, Microsoft and their allies).

To better understand the lobbying dynamics around net neutrality, we took the long view and tallied up the 20 lobbying organizations that mentioned ‘net neutrality’ or ‘network neutrality’ most often in their lobbying reports between 2005 and 2013. In the top 20, we found an even split: 10 pro-neutrality organizations and 10 anti-neutrality organizations. But when it came to intensity, the lobbying was far from balanced. The top pro-neutrality organizations filed 176 lobbying reports mentioning net neutrality. But the top anti-neutrality organizations far outpaced them, filing 472 reports that mentioned net neutrality."

http://www.fastcoexist.com A detailed analysis from FastCompany about the political economy and monopoly underpinnings of a suboptimal and inefficient approach to web access, speed of operation, and so forth, which, no shit, comes down to profit: "To date, legislatures have passed industry-backed laws in 20 states that either ban or severely restrict a city’s options, including North Carolina, which passed a law in 2011 after Wilson had built its service. Now, even though many surrounding communities are asking Wilson to expand its Greenlight service to their towns, its hands are tied and the other towns are just stuck. According to the Institute for Local Self Reliance, the FCC ranks North Carolina last in the nation in terms of households subscribing to basic broadband service, because TimeWarner, CenturyLink, and AT&T won’t upgraded their networks to modern standards. So far, the cable and telecom industry have fought to thwart municipal broadband competition around the country, both in response to specific proposals and in an effort pass more proactive laws like the North Carolina bill. The most common argument they cite–beyond their desire for less competition in an industry with even the very minimal amount of competition is now under threat–is that city-owned fiber networks are a bad investment for taxpayers and a waste of government funds. A Comcast representative reached for comment, for example, sent back this statement: ‘We’ve been supportive of public private partnerships where tax dollars aren’t competing against private investment capital. In general, cities have extensive infrastructure needs like roads, bridges and schools, and we think especially in times of fiscal tradeoffs that taxpayer money should be focused on those needs rather than competing with the private sector.’"

http://www.niemanlab.or An analysis from Nieman Journalism Lab of one of media’s stodgier brands, and more power to them, The Baffler, and how a cautious embrace of virtuality is happening anyhow: "’Innovation is an ideology,’ Summers likes to say, as well as ‘Storytelling sells.’ He believes that the new media industry is a distraction and dismisses it as ‘cheerleading,’ complaining that ‘journalism isn’t for anything anymore,’ a view that’s vividly on display in a recent post on the website. Given all of that, The Baffler might be expected to have a digital strategy more in keeping with that of Harper’s“Fuck the Internet.” But despite its skepticism, The Baffler has decided to embrace its new web identity, to allow some of its carefully wrought commentary to make its way freely across the web. Prestige alone is not enough, Summers decided, if you want your words to have an impact. ‘Would I continue to write 5,000-word pieces if I couldn’t send a link to my friends?’ he asks. ‘No, I would not.’"

http://www.theguardian.com An assessment from the Guardian that looks at a recent case filed before the European Court for Human Rights , which concerns British intelligence’s arrogation to itself of the right to investigate all journalists all the time: "The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has gone straight to Strasbourg in a bid to get a finding that domestic law is incompatible with provisions in European law which give journalists the right to keep sources confidential from police and others. Its application was filed on Friday and has been accepted by the ECHR, which has indicated in the past it will expedite cases on surveillance through its legal system. The move follows concerns arising out of Edward Snowden’s revelations last year that GCHQ had been secretly gathering intelligence from the country’s largest telecoms companies using a secret computer system code-named Tempora without the knowledge of the companies."

RECENT HAPPENINGS

Technology
http://www.dazeddigital.com Oh my! Whether at heart a story about mercenary infighting among tech constituencies, or about mercenary and sexist amorality on the part of tech companies, one in particular, or about the shame and fetishism that surround human bodies, or something else altogether, a fascinating read : "’Whoever’s running that website, is trying to frame us,’ one user said, ‘and they’re making the entire internet and world believe that we somehow hate Emma Watson… Which is fucking ridiculous. Everyone on 4chan should be concerned that someone else might be trying to frame us and take us down." ‘It’s the SJWs (social justice warriors),’ explained another. ‘4chan stands among few places for people to openly speak up about the bullshit SJWs spew and they want to discredit this website entirely by making up ridiculous bullshit like this.’ SJW, by the way, is 4chan‘s word of choice for someone who campaigns online for LGBT rights, anti-racism and… oh yeah, feminism."

Post Office

http://www.ajc.com Another story about mass murder in America, in which a UPS facility in Birmingham stands in here for ‘going postal.’

http://www.govexec.com A relatively glorious update and report from GovExec, about a big win by the American Postal Workers Union, that will soon be adding over 9,000 currently non-union, part-time workers back on to union rolls.

Michael Brown Murder

http://www.washingtonpost.com A WaPo opinion essay that deconstructs the hideous, if farcical, aspects of much of local government’s ‘management’ of Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri : "The latest evidence that the fix is in came this week from The Post’s Kimberly Kindy and Carol Leonnig, who discovered that McCulloch’s office has declined so far to recommend any charges to the grand jury. Instead, McCulloch’s prosecutors handling the case are taking the highly unusual course of dumping all evidence on the jurors and leaving them to make sense of it. McCulloch’s office claims that this is a way to give more authority to the grand jurors, but it looks more like a way to avoid charging Wilson at all — and to use the grand jury as cover for the outrage that will ensue."

Gaza

http://www.telesurtv.net/ A mini-briefing from TeleSur about humanitarian aid that Ecuadoreans have sent to Palestine: "The campaign, under the slogan ‘We are all Palestine,’ is a ‘show of solidarity with the people of Gaza’ and ‘identification’ of Ecuadorians with the Palestinians, according to the ambassador."

http://www.counterpunch.org A hard-hitting analysis from Counterpunch about the failure of the liberal regime yet again, in particular in regard to donations as a way to ameliorate Gaza’s plight: "The irony is that Israel has never met the conditions it compelled the donors to impose, not just in order to proceed with the reconstruction of Gaza, but also on the PA in general. Israel has never renounced violence. It repeatedly wages war and unleashes its instruments of state terrorism against the Palestinians under occupation. It has flagrantly and repeatedly violated every agreement signed with the PLO. It has not even reciprocated the PLO’s recognition of Israel, nor has it officially acknowledged the Palestinians’ right to establish a Palestinian state. Currently, the occupation authorities are threatening to dissolve the Palestinian national reconciliation government if it does not assert its full authority over Gaza. The message was driven home by PA Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa, who said that there would be no reconstruction unless his government can fully assert its control over Gaza."

Syria

http://www.counterpunch.org Patrick Cockburn’s contextualization of the Syria bombing, from Counterpunch, as imperial absurdity at best: "At the moment, the political landscape in Syria must look good from the point of view of IS. Its opponents are divided. The US is backing a group of moderates who barely exist and wants to weaken the Assad government. In the past week some of the heaviest fighting in Syria has been IS’s attack on the Kurdish enclave of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, close to Turkey. It is defended by the fighters of the YPG Kurdish militia who are the Syrian branch of the mainly Turkish Kurd PKK which the US labels as ‘terrorist.’ US policy has an Alice in Wonderland absurdity about it, everything being the opposite of what it appears to be. The so-called ‘coalition of the willing’ is, in practice, very unwilling to fight IS, while those hitherto excluded, such as Iran, the Syrian government, Hezbollah and the PKK, are the ones actually fighting. A truce between the government and moderate rebels in Syria would enable both to devote their resources to fighting IS, as they need to do quickly if they are to avoid defeat."

War

http://justsecurity.org/ In yet another clearly argued legal briefing, an assessment from Just Security of the "unwilling or unable" justifications for attacking a non-aggressor country that has ‘bad guys’ on its territory, one of thousands of worthy recent digging into the parameters of the present extension of the U.S.’s ‘eternal war’ in Southwest Asia.

ISIS

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ An important investigative report for those who want neither to be vicious ignoramuses nor imperial apologists, in regard to the hypocritical murder that the U.S. government is currently raining down from the sky on Iraq and Syria: "Double standards? In the course of the last three years, no Western leader made any statements in regards to these atrocities committed by ‘Muslim extremists.’ They passed virtually unnoticed. No concern was expressed by the international community in this regard. With some exceptions, these beheadings were barely the object of media coverage. Is it because the ‘freedom fighters’ integrated by ISIS and Al Nusrah forces were beheading Syrian civilians rather than Westerners. Was it because the victims of these atrocities were opposed to the bloody ‘pro-democracy revolution’ sponsored by US-NATO against the government of Bashar Al Assad? Why are Western leaders only appalled now? Is it because now Westerners rather than Syrians are being decapitated? These recent beheadings of American and British nationals, whether authentic or not, are obviously exploited to pave the way for a military intervention in Syria. This is a basic propaganda technique used time and time again to gather support for war, and the mainstream media is there to convey this propaganda. The mainstream media’s role is not to inform people but to appeal to their emotions and manipulate them into approving what they would otherwise refuse."

Ukraine

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/217613-pressure-grows-for-obama-to-arm-ukraine Proof positive from The Hill that imperialism and its murderous, plundering ways are a ‘two-party-system,’ in relation to calls to arm and otherwise deepen U.S. intervention in Ukraine: "Many Republicans have long pushed for lethal aid to Ukraine but a growing number of lawmakers from the president’s own party are joining those calls. They believe Poroshenko’s visit can help ramp up pressure on the administration."

http://www.telesurtv.net Whoa! An interesting case of ‘driving without a license,’ in which the protofascist government of Paraguay detained the Russian ambassador for several hours for being behind the wheel without proper documents.


GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

Secession in America
http://www.govexec.com/state-loca Gulp! A Dixie neo-fascist organization’s heartened sensibility about ‘secession,’ in the wake of Scotland’s close vote, proffered by GovExec: "’This development should encourage other nationalist and independence movements in Europe, America, and elsewhere to keep on pushing toward their goals,’ said Michael Hill, president of the League of the South, a secessionist movement that advocates for a ‘free and independent Southern republic.’ The Southern Poverty Law Center designates the League of the South as a neo-Confederate hate group."

Vietnam
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/ One of those documents that is required reading for basic citizenship, MLK’s Beyond Vietnam presentation, in which he warned of the blowback of empire’s depredations, which were as much psychic as material.

Nazi Germany

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Tur A goose-bump moment, especially for anyone who has read Hans Fallada‘s Every Man Dies Alone, a gripping and tragic tale of a German in the mid-1940’s who tries to ‘blow the whistle’ on the Nazis, and ends up losing his head to a ‘see-something, say-something’ snitch, which is now the central tenet of U.S. policy in regard to our mutual relations: "(If you’re a whistleblower wanting to snitch on government wrongdoing, however, forget about it–the government doesn’t take kindly to having its dirty deeds publicized and, God forbid, being made to account for them.) For more than a decade now, the DHS has plastered its ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign on the walls of metro stations, on billboards, on coffee cup sleeves, at the Super Bowl, even on television monitors in the Statue of Liberty. Now colleges, universities and even football teams and sporting arenas are lining up for grants to participate in the program. This is what is commonly referred to as community policing. Yet while community policing and federal programs such as ‘See Something, Say Something’ are sold to the public as patriotic attempts to be on guard against those who would harm us, they are little more than totalitarian tactics dressed up and repackaged for a more modern audience as well-intentioned appeals to law and order and security."

War

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com A very reactionary examination of ‘revisionist’ thinking about war, as in ‘free-market,’ libertarian analyses that provide tons of useful facts and then leave out other crucial items and draw conclusions that are at best anomalous, important to ponder for all sorts of reasons, both in terms of the ‘useful facts’ and in terms of improving one’s own scrappy assessment.

Fukushima and Ferguson

http://www.counterpunch.org/ : "I thought of Ferguson and Fukushima and the Financial Crisis as several big branches of the capitalist system but it’s hard to see how they are connected. That’s why we call it a system. There is a big suck from Ferguson to Fukushima to Wall Street. The “convenience store” is but a tiny particle in that suck of “the fruits of earth” from the Ninety-Nine to the One Per Cent. As an historian I find that it’s sometimes easier to understand the mutual re-inforcements of disparate elements in rendering profit, interest, rent to the great possessioners or the One Per Cent by returning to the origins of those elements."

Modern Nationalism

www.opednews.com/ An interesting an open-ended analysis from OpEdNews that contextualizes Iraq’s and Scotland’s recent place ‘at the top of the charts’ as a sign of the "decline of the nation-state," a rational opinion that here seems to have little connection with the rise of corporate or imperial imprimatur: "MODERN NATIONALISM, like any great idea in history, was born out of a new set of circumstances: economic, military, spiritual and others, which made older forms obsolete. By the end of the 17th century, existing states could no longer cope with new demands. Small states were doomed. The economy demanded a safe domestic market large enough for the development of modern industries. New mass armies needed a base strong enough to provide soldiers and pay for modern arms. New ideologies created new identities."

Labour

http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5 An implicit call, in the form of an at best bleak report for labor’s coming prospects, from the International Labor Organization for the ‘workers of the world to unite,’ unless they like stretch-outs that pay little and kill us young.

Energy

http://www.nytimes.com A clarion call from the Times, though the ‘paper-of-record’ wouldn’t put the matter thus, for citizens to notice what is happening in Germany’s electricity sector, where solar-based supply methods willl soon surpass providing a third of the nation’s electric energy, this at the time when the U.S. policy still relies of the Nuclear Fool Cycle, despite incisive and conscious criticisms of such insanity.

http://www.fierceenergy.com/ A Fierce Energy exclamation point in support of such a contention, in the form of a report about the prevalence of ‘construction delays’–read "safety issues"–in building fission devices to boil water: "’Delays in construction — some of them multiyear — are a key factor behind rising costs and the clear trend of the shrinking share of nuclear energy in the world’s power production, which declined steadily from a historic peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013,’ said Mycle Schneider, Paris-based international energy and nuclear policy consultant lead author of the report. This is likely to continue as construction delays persist among the relatively small number of new reactor projects around the globe. However, this scenario is nothing new."

Terrorism

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/17/the-state-department-and-the-cuban-five/ In the latest installment from the Hypocrisy News Channel, from Counterpunch, an examination of one of the thousands of cases of the U.S. being ‘soft on terror’–hell, the U.S. is the number one practitioner by a fair margin over everyone else on Earth combined–this time in relation to providing background on the matter of super thug Luis Posada, a darling of the local anti-Castro Gusanos in South Florida: "In a later diplomatic note referenced in the second cable, the US again urges the Cubans to share information and promises:

“If the Government of the Republic of Cuba furnishes the necessary information and evidence of US-based criminal wrongdoing, the United States Government will take the appropriate law enforcement steps.”

The reality is that they did not. Fast forward less than a year later to June 1998 when Cuban State Security finally did share the evidence it had gathered with the FBI during three days of meetings in Havana. The FBI promised to investigate and report back to the Cubans. Instead, three months later, they arrested… not the terrorist plotters but the Cuban intelligence agents who’d helped uncover their plots. Luis Posada Carriles? He still walks the streets of Miami, a free man."

http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_l205404129_text A Global Legal Update from Library of Congress, here in the form of a new statute from Greece, along with context and links, a law that criminalizes Genocide-denial, "hate-speech, and other acts of racism."

9.24.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

The possibility that both fate and will, predestination and intention, might coexist seems no more plausible than a merry-go-round that swirls us both backward and forward simultaneously; yet this is precisely the social and psychic plight of being human, to be like light, both wave and particle in our flight, to resemble Schrodinger’s cat, at once alive and dead at the very same moment—to wrap our minds around this madness and embrace both fortune and choice as if they both belonged to us, despite all evidence and intuition to the contrary, is the most beautiful and terrifying thing in the universe, to pretend to matter and to exist as if this mad fakery could truly make the future come to pass, which in an odd, paradoxical way it actually does.

Quote of the Day

"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. …Either you think — or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you." F. Scott Fitzgerald; http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/F._Scott_Fitzgerald.

This Day in History

Three hundred sixty-nine years ago, a royalist army under King Charles’ direct command suffered defeat at the hands of a roundhead force; three hundred fifty years back, New Amsterdam became English territory after the Dutch acceded to English rule; the just-constituted United States two hundred twenty-five years back passed the Judiciary Act, which created the office of Attorney General and established the composition of the Supreme Court; one hundred seventy-eight years ago, forces under Zachary Taylor captured Monterrey in the War with Mexico; one hundred forty five years back, Jay Gould’s and James Fisk’s machinations in the gold market cause a panic in the marketplace; a hundred twenty-four years prior to the present pass, the Mormon Church officially renounced polygamy; a hundred eighteen years back, the baby boy who would pour forth novels-of-his-times as F. Scott Fitzgerald was born; Indian leaders such as Mohatmas Gandhi eighty-two years before now ratified the Poona Pact to assign certain legislative seats to ‘untouchables’ and other “depressed classes;” Universal Studios lost its founder seventy-five years ago when Carl Laemmle died; sixty-nine years back, the inventor of the Geiger Counter, Hans Geiger, died; Presidential advisers sixty-eight years back advised Harry Truman that a policy of so-called “containment” would be strategically best in regard to the Soviet Union; sixty-six years ago, Honda Motor Company incorporated; under orders from President Eisenhower, the 101st Airborne Division fifty-seven years ago went to Little Rock to enforce school desegregation; the United States fifty-four years ago launched the U.S.S. Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier; fifty-two years prior to this juncture, Federal courts ordered the University of Mississippi to admit a Black student, James Meredith; with a service that offered consumers their first chance to send e-mails, thirty-five years ago, Compuserve launched the Internet age; twenty-one years ago, Theodore Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss drew his last breath; eighteen years back, over seventy nations signed a treaty that banned all explosive tests of nuclear weapons.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
paradox language communication choice fate "being human" = 1.44 Million results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

http://human-nature.com A research project and contribution to a conversation about science and knowledge and how technology and understanding might differ under different conditions from the more or less comprehensive dominance of finance capital: "Still, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, there are signs of both profound political disenchantment with various aspects of capitalist ‘technoscience’ and some academic discomfort with the narrowness of recent inquiry into the historical and social studies of science. We may then ask:

· Under what conditions might these tendencies begin to coalesce into another wave of radical critique and struggles around science’s social relations?

· What form might they take, and where would they most likely flourish?

· To what extent can a Marxist perspective help us not only to understand the origins and fate of radical science’s first two moments but to encourage and enrich its third incarnation as well?

· If history repeats itself — first as tragedy and then as comedy (if not farce) — then might this be a case of ‘third time lucky’?

These are the questions which I hope my paper will help us to address."

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

For anyone who wants, the very first Solidarity Forever radio program is still available as a free download.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
http://www.federalreserve.gov/ A request form the Federal Reserve, the bank, to hear from scrappy writers and such about community reinvestment practices, alternative finance and banking models, and more, with a link to the Federal Register step-by-step instructions for submission by November tenth.

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/ For any scrappy writer who wants to have a shot at participating in an Earth Sciences program that has funding rounds in January and June, 2015, a notice in that regard from the National Science Foundation, without any attached notice that all such grant proposals, no matter how far removed from a scribe’s normal output, nonetheless require an English-language, written submission.

http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers A portal to a free Library of Congress webinar about analyzing images, using them to teach, and finding them at LOC, that took place yesterday but for which a free audio download will soon be available.

http://dspplab.com/join-the-team/ An opportunity for highly qualified writers to obtain post-doctoral funding from the Center for Data Science and Public Policy at the University of Chicago, with a few additional opportunities in the mix as well.

Emerging journalists who desire to launch a successful career have less than two weeks to apply to Mother Jones magazine’s Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program. – See more at:http://writingcareer.com/#sthash.Xz49Tg4v.dpuf
Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/
Copyright © WritingCareer.com – Used with permission

Belt Publishing (est. 2012) (publishers of Belt magazine) is soliciting stories for a commemorative anthology called Car Bombs To Cookie Tables: The Youngstown Anthology—stories about thepast, present and future of Youngstown, Ohio – See more at: http://writingcareer.com/#sthash.Xz49Tg4v.dpuf
Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/
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Writers still have time to submit works of fiction and nonfiction to Midnight Breakfast, a relatively new literary journal that debuted with Issue 0 earlier this year. – See more at:http://writingcareer.com/post/98227693021/midnight-breakfast-is-seeking-fiction-and-nonfiction#sthash.H0w7S2wN.dpuf

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ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
www.courier-journal.com/ / An article that decries the resurgence of Black Lung disease, an often preventable work-related disorder of coal miners, whose jobs a carbon-free future threaten massively, and who might conceivably be necessary to consult about precisely how to accomplish such carbon-free, and Black-lung absent, future: "Only 15 years ago, progressive massive fibrosis — an advanced form of black lung for which there is no cure — was virtually eradicated, health researchers say. But now, the prevalence of the disease in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia is at levels not seen in 40 years. ‘Each of these cases is a tragedy and represents a failure among all those responsible for preventing this severe disease,’ wrote researchers for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health whose taxpayer-funded study costs a scrappy writer twenty bucks to view."

http://www.spiralboundmovie.com/ Another knocking-incessantly opportunity to join, network with, or otherwise engage a bunch of scrappy students, every single one of whom is a writer: "Spiral Bound is a documentary about the unlikely union of eight creative high school students from a youth development program and a group of liberal arts college students over the course of one summer. Together, these education activists are seeking social justice not only in the public school system but also in the higher education arena. On this journey, both groups learn the power of the arts in giving a voice to those who need it the most, including themselves. From the inner city streets of Charlotte and the quaint college town of Davidson to the bustling steps of the U.S. Capitol, these young people stand together to change the face of education through their courageous narratives."

https://msds.open.ac.uk The introductory entry to England’s Open University, where, among other things one might take a wide variety of courses for credit or otherwise.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/ A well-intentioned but perhaps wildly inadequate invitation from TruthOut and the Institute for Policy Studies to join in advocating the Democracy for All Amendment in the Senate, an opportunity which might appeal in its own right to some and could represent for a more expansive dialog about power in any event.

http://www.brookings.edu/ A powerful, practical, and accessible ‘Lunch Hour’ podcast–thirty minutes, in other words–from the Brookings Institution about the foundation’s recent research and writing about billionaires and what we can do about them.

http://read.stlouisfed.org An interactive, multimedia presentation by the St. Louis Federal Reserve about the agency’s undying commitment to community development that serves people, places, and small businesses, all of which are applicable both to scrappy writers and their unions, though one would sympathize with a certain sense of chariness about reaching out to such folks, but ‘there ya go!’

https://www.jacobinmag.com A beautiful political economic analysis from Jacobin of the bullshit inherent in most of the accolades for such "sharing" ventures as Uber, whose employees are among the only workers more exposed to exploitation than freelance writers, and who have to lie about how happy they are to boot: "G. …, an LA Uber driver, also lies. ‘We just sit there and smile, and tell everyone that the job’s awesome, because that’s what they want to hear,’ (she) said …, who’s been driving for UberX, the company’s low-end car service, since it launched last summer. In fact, if you ask Uber drivers off the clock what they think of the company, it often gets ugly fast. ‘Uber’s like an exploiting pimp,’ said A…, an Uber driver in LA who asked me to withhold his … name out of fear of retribution.’ Uber takes 20 percent of my earnings, and they treat me like shit — they cut prices whenever they want. They can deactivate me whenever they feel like it, and if I complain, they tell me to fuck off.’ In LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York, tension between drivers and management has bubbled over in recent months."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39729.htm A ‘funny-is-money’ bit of genius from Information Clearinghouse, albeit stated so as to border on scientism–which is a way of doing science that is more destructive than fundamentalist religion–about the way that science commands a more thoroughgoing commitment than religion generally does, in that one can’t believe in atomic theory for only gases, say, or accept planetary motion everywhere but the solar system, which leads to some interesting ideation: "This has led to a bizarre paradox: The Creationist with an iPhone or respectively the Anti-Vaxxer in a Prius. Utilizing science and all its comforts and advances, while being selectively skeptical about what science actually has to offer. Using technology to deny science takes some skilled compartmentalizing. It’s saying you have faith in science enough to post cat gifs on Facebook but not enough for science to contradict your convictions."

www.peri.umass.edu/ The foyer to U.Mass. Amherst’s Political Economic Research Institute, where scrappy writers might find useful information that doesn’t intentionally slant in the direction opposite their interest, or might encounter researchers with a willingness to ponder burning questions of the political-economic variety, and more.

www.nsf.gov/discoveries/ A National Science Foundation Discoveries blog about a Science by, of, and for the People project to support environmental health and ecosystem restoration in Puerto Rico, beset by all manner of environmental injustice, where many Spanish writers reside too.

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

chronicle.com/article/Scholar-Behind-U-of-Illinois/148907/ A real-deal contextualization of a fed-up moment and how a scrappy writer can make a big difference in such situations, from the Chronicle of Higher Education in regard to Corey Robin, who was a driving force in organizing a still-mushrooming boycott of University of Illinois for its likely criminal and definitely immoral withdrawal of Steven Salaita’s tenured position because he tweeted about Israel’s actions in a critical way: "(Robin) suggested that scholars in every field begin organizing public statements refusing to accept any invitations to speak on any campus of the University of Illinois—a serious disruption of academic business. ‘Nobody’s gonna do this,’ Mr. Robin remembers telling his wife, who was reading in the bedroom of the Park Slope apartment that the couple shares with a daughter and five cats. To his surprise, they did. Philosophers, citing CoreyRobin.com, took up the challenge. The boycotts snowballed. English professors. Political scientists. Anthropologists. All signed on, and Mr. Robin blogged each fresh step."

http://www.theverge.com A ‘best-of’ installment from The Verge, this time in relation to to-do-list applications, which in this case is Wunderlist, which is free to download and gets an 8.9 out ten.

http://www.ft.com/ An evocative and useful assessment from Financial Times about the curse and marvel and context of e-mail, an inevitable writer’s tool: "There are few general-purpose solutions for email management, other than using automated methods such as spam filtering or email archiving. The way each business, and each person, uses email is too individual for technology to solve the challenge on its own. ‘Email is a symptom, not the root cause,’ says Mark Tonsetic, managing director for IT at CEB, the business advisory company. ‘The root cause is information overload.’"

http://longform.org/app/ The ‘application’ portal for the LongForm app, a very useful tool for those who use smaller screen devices.

http://pando.com/2014/09/20/ A ‘whoa, daddy!’ moment, or something similar, from Pando Digest, in the shape of a writer who composed Star Trek episodes with a social consciousness because he couldn’t help himself: "There was also a sizeable homeless contingent sprawled about the scenic coastline, and it was the interaction between these groups that struck Behr, and prompted him to write the “Past Tense” episodes of DS9, first broadcast in 1995. ‘People were just ignoring them completely… stepping over them to get better views through their cameras. I found it very disturbing. It was like now the homeless aren’t even considered dangerous. They’d reached the point of not even existing,’ he says. In “Past Tense,” an African American Star Fleet Captain, British Arab ship’s Doctor and Trill symbiont Chief Science Officer find themselves stranded at the Embarcadero Bart station in San Francisco, 2024. Captain Sisko and Doctor Bashir are picked up by shotgun-wielding police officers…"

http://www.opednews.com/ A mandatory read for writers who can imagine ever being on the wrong side of the powers-that-be, about the brutal, arrogant, and repressive treatment meted out to an activist, journalist, and former CIA analyst for the crime of expressing his opinion about Hillary Clinton: "The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund is pleased to announce an important victory in the ongoing case of peace activist Ray McGovern, the former CIA analyst, who was brutalized and arrested by officers in 2011 for standing in silent protest during a speech given by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The PCJF filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Mr. McGovern, challenging the arrest and brutality, and seeking an injunction against the State Department related to its issuing a ‘Be On the Look-Out’ (BOLO) alert against Mr. McGovern which directed agents to stop and question him on sight."

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29249996 Oh-oh! A very quick overview from BBC, with avenues for learning more in several directions, about an attack on a news crew "by at least three men" in Southern Russia.

http://www.rollingstone.com/ Another amazing article, replete with interview, about the inveterate poet and wordsmith and singer, Leonard Cohen, again from Rolling Stone: "Patrick said that part of the process of working together was stripping out any excesses or fripperies. Yes, both in the music and in the lyric. We were both, I think, quite compassionately savage about our vision. Pat, because he has such an abundance of musical ideas, he’ll sometimes overproduce. But he’s quite aware of that. So sometimes we’ll just say we don’t need a chorus here, we don’t need horns here, you know, we need to break it down here. And same with the lyric: If something’s obscure or just on the wrong side of accessible, then Pat will mention that and I’ll happily redirect. How do you know when a song’s working?
You can pretty well tell. We play it for select people, like my daughter – there’s a few people who aren’t afraid to tell you that it isn’t working. We had another song on the album, which was called ‘Happens to the Heart’" which will be on the next album. It’s a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn’t nail it. So we didn’t put each other on about it – not for more than a week or two. ‘You know, this song really doesn’t make it.’ ‘Thank God you said that, Pat, because I can’t stand it.’"

http://www.mediapost.com A Media Post overview of a recent lawsuit against Linked-in, by users who don’t want the service pestering their contacts interminably, which LI maintains is a free speech right: "’As a platform for creating professional networks of people, LinkedIn promotes the rights of speech and association guaranteed by the First Amendment,’ the company says in a new motion seeking dismissal of the lawsuit. Accordingly, reminder emails, which refer recipients to communications from LinkedIn members expressing their desire to connect … facilitate associations among people and therefore concern matters of public interest.’"

digiday.com/agencies/agency-people-grumpy/ An ‘Is-Everybody Happy?‘ passage from DigiDay, about the difficult pass of advertising just now, that might serve readers best by asking a different question–‘Can Everybody Say, Capitalism?‘: "One agency president describes it as an air of “pessimism” that pervades the entire industry that has gotten worse. ‘The problem is that we haven’t spent enough time developing any culture,’ he said. Andrew Benett, global CEO of Havas Worldwide puts it this way: For organizations whose biggest capital is people, agencies don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to make people happy. Decreasing job satisfaction levels and general unhappiness are not unique to agencies. Ever since the recession, satisfaction rates have been declining steadily. But there seems to be certain systemic problems that make the malaise worse in adland. ‘The agency world is hyper-competitive because everyone’s fighting for the same thing,’ said Andrew Wefald, a professor at Kansas State specializing in job satisfaction issues."

http://blogs.loc.gov/ A really powerful Digital Preservation blog from Library of Congress, which takes the reader back to the basics of how we can document the things that we want to say, which turns out to be really important in relation to access to and preservation of ancient e-mails, which happens to be a specialty of LOC partners: "(A professor long ago) asked us to name a few documentary genres, along with our opinions as to their relative value. We shot back: ‘Photographs, diaries, reports, scrapbooks, newspaper articles,’ along with the type of ill-informed comments graduate students are prone to make. As our class rattled off responses, we gradually came to realize that each document reflected the particular viewpoint of its creator–and that the information a source conveyed was constrained by documentary conventions and other social factors inherent to the medium underlying the expression. Settling into the comfortable role of skeptics, we noted the biases each format reflected. Finally, one student said: ‘What about correspondence?’ Dr Zupko erupted: ‘There is the real meat of history! But, you need to be careful!’"

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
www.change.org/p/ A heartfelt cry from the grassroots for networking about reaffirming that something like a ‘right-to-privacy’ could conceivably still be useful and actually, like, our right, about which the author here asks for a simple signature in affirmation, a chance if nothing else to stand in solidarity with another scribe.

http://pando.com/2014/09/22/ And arguably iffy argument from Pando Daily, nonetheless persuasively made, about how to manage online conversations when Islamic State in Iraq & Syria supporters show up, which might be more manageable as a ‘barring-war-criminal’ process than as either ‘ignore-them-till-they-go-away’ or ‘reason-with-them-till-they-see-the-light-of-day’ protocol: "’When these people go online, they needed to be treated like trolls, and we keep feeding the trolls,’ Amenullah told the outlet. Part of the US’ counter-propaganda strategy is to argue with pro-ISIS accounts on social media. But as anyone who’s spent even a little time on Twitter and in comments sections knows, the best way to fight people who post untrue, purposely incendiary and insulting things on the Internet is to ignore them. That’s not to say the United States should ignore ISIS’s propaganda. But without a sophisticated strategy to combat it, Amanullah argues that the US is only legitimizing ISIS by responding to it in this way. ‘There’s nothing these people like more than to see the US government specifically acknowledging and interacting with them online,’ Amanullah tells the Guardian. ‘They turn right around to their followers and say, ‘See? We’re every bit as powerful as we say we are, the US government is proof.’"

http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power A review-essay from Yes! magazine that contends–and one might hazard a big, "Yeah, Baby!!" in regard to that contention–that the Hunger Games series can serve as a consciousness raising and organizing tool and needn’t just be a decontextualized propaganda exercise: "Critiquing the state, however, shouldn’t only be the province of the right. Anarchists have taken aim at it for centuries, and anti-war movements dating back to the Mexican War and even beyond have condemned the United States for overstepping its bounds abroad. From police brutality and militarization to costly, seemingly endless wars to near-ubiquitous government surveillance of the population, there are legitimate reasons—across the political spectrum—to be skeptical of mounting state power. Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, has even said coverage of the Iraq War and her own family’s military involvement were major inspirations for the series. Disapproving of state violence also needn’t be lumped in with contempt for the welfare state or any other hard-won movement victories. Echoing Lenin, political philosopher Hannah Arendt made the point that, ‘Only the unlimited accumulation of power could bring about the unlimited accumulation of capital.’ While not expressly anti-corporate in its orientation, Catching Fire offers viewers a striking illustration of wealth inequality bound up with political centralization and authoritarianism."

http://www.commondreams.org/ Another take on Julian Assange’s recent critique of Google, that it is essentially a behemoth ‘private’ simulacrum of the National Security Agency: "’Google’s business model is to spy,’ Assange told the BBC. ‘It makes more than 80 percent of its money collecting information about people, pooling it together, storing it, indexing it, building profiles of people to predict their interests and behaviors and then selling those profiles principally to advertisers, but also to others. … The result is, in terms of how it works, its actual practice, is almost identical to the National Security Agency or GCHQ,’ he said."

http://pando.com/2014/09/22/ A Pando Daily update about just-passed legislation from California, awaiting Governor Brown’s signature, which somewhat strictly limits the rights of drone-space proponents to pepper the skies with spies and police, the latter plausibly heavily armed, a position that a growing number of other states is following: "I’ve written a lot about the privacy implications of allowing any of these companies to fill the skies with unmanned vehicles that can take excellent pictures of basically anything under them. Here’s just one example of the kind of mischief companies could pull off with these drones up in the air:

Maybe the company could use aerial imagery to see that the paint on top of someone’s car has started to peel, a perfect opportunity for an auto shop to advertise its painting service. Perhaps it could monitor the users accessing its networks and determine who is spending time with whom without either of them ever mentioning it on Facebook. Then the company could use its vast databases to figure out that this person is spending more time with someone who isn’t his wife and use that information to advertise chocolates and lipstick remover. (It could also display an ad for a private investigator to the user’s wife — coincidentally, of course.)

http://www.rollingstone.com A ‘Please-say-it-ain’t-so-Joe’ article, with a video interface, from Rolling Stone, about some fairly young and hip folks from Iran whom the moral-police there sentenced to a year in prison, plus ninety-one lashes for the crime of making a ‘happy-dancing video’ that is mildly sexy and drinking something alcoholic, the carrying out of which the court suspended so long as the perpetrators don’t stray again for the next three years: "The jail time is reportedly punishment for taking part in the video, while the 91 lashes result from "ignoring Islamic norms." Rofugaran says one defendant received an additional six-month suspended sentence on charges of alcohol possession, which is illegal in Iran – though he notes that the alcohol in question was industrial alcohol, which his client needed for work."

digiday.com/publishers An update from DigiDay about its Digital Publishing Summit, and the opinions of some heavy-hitters in said realm about digital media’s "biggest misconceptions."

http://www.mediapost.com/ A ‘fetishization-deluxe’ set of arguments about paying YouTube stars six and seven figure sums for their popular work, which is no less insane than paying bankers nine-figure sums for fleecing us or for paying men and women eight-figure salaries for hitting little balls with clubs, but which doesn’t even call into question how we budget creativity, how we ought to encourage and reward it at all levels, let alone failing even to ponder half a dozen obvious political economic issues about such matters: "Adweek reports on the upcoming Smosh movie. Defy Media and AwesomenessTV are teaming with Lionsgate to produce what I think would be the most out-front motion picture–the kind that will be showing at the Cineplex 4000 sometime soon. Starring Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox (they are Smosh), it also features other YouTubers, like Grace Helbig and Jenna Marbles among others. (Helbig is also in line for a talk show at E!) It could be a horrible movie–the best Smosh episodes are hilarious, the worst make you wonder how they ever got 30 million subscribers. (In that, they’re very much like every episode of Saturday Night Live since 1975.)"

http://dssg.uchicago.edu A report from University of Chicago about the results of its first set of Data Science for Social Good fellowships, listing what the fellows accomplishes and where they’ll go from here and so forth.

www.telesurtv.net/ A TeleSur minibriefing from the Caracas Film Festival, where a roundtable of performers in the industry there lauded the work that is coming out of Venezuela now, which cynics and those who hate the legacy of Hugo Chavez and such will decry as fatuous, and optimists and supporters of Hugo’s legacy will, at least cautiously, laud, but which everyone should want to check against the work that these folks are actually producing.

http://www.forbes.com Fluff but fun, an assessment of so-called ‘mega franchises’ that considers an analysis to be talking strictly about the surface of things and not pondering any sort of comparison or deconstruction: "Now that Hollywood knew that licensing and product diversification could be paired with the ‘event’ movies of the summer, the comics industry presented a wealth of characters and stories that were created under Work For Hire clauses in that industry. Hollywood studios didn’t have to deal with a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Gene Roddenberry or George Lucas to make their on-screen adaptations, since characters like Batman were made by Bob Kane but owned by a conglomerate that didn’t care if Batman was silly on television or a way for outsider director Tim Burton to express himself in 1989′s Batman, which was a counterpoint to the colorful Donner Superman. In the early and mid 1990s, Hollywood was unsure what to do with successful blockbusters outside green-lighting more sequels promising to deliver more of the same. This would lead to creative floundering more often than not and a whole generation of teenagers who could pass time debating the handful of sequels that stood up to the original."

RECENT HAPPENINGS

Catalonia
http://www.nytimes.com/ And now, an "Apres Moi, c’est la Deluge(FIX)" interlude, in relation to a Times breaking news brief about the newest from Catalonia, where regional tensions run high, and a secession attempt may be imminent without the same protocols perhaps that applied in Scotland: "Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Mr. Rajoy’s deputy, said at a separate news conference that the lesson from Scotland was that voting worked when it was done legally, within a country’s own democratic rules. ‘British democracy has its own organization,’ different from that of Spain, she said. Catalonia has a distinct language and sense of cultural identity, and has generally done better economically than the country as a whole. A widespread belief that Catalans are made to pay unfairly to subsidize the rest of Spain has helped fuel separatist sentiment. Leaders of Mr. Rajoy’s center-right Popular Party insist that any question of separation must be put to a vote of all Spaniards, not just Catalans. Santi Rodriguez, a Popular Party member of the regional Parliament, told The Associated Press on Friday, ‘There are not just seven million of us who would be affected by this. There are 47 million.’"

Hamas
http://www.nytimes.com/ A Times news analysis here, about recent litigation that found Arab Bank liable for damages that resulted from Hamas attacks, because of its clients among the organization’s leadership: "The burden of proof was high: The plaintiffs had to prove that the terrorist attacks were indeed conducted by Hamas, and that the bank’s support of Hamas was the ‘proximate cause’ of the events. In addition, the plaintiffs had to demonstrate that their injuries were ‘reasonably foreseeable’ as a consequence of the bank’s acts. After 10 years of litigation and a five-week trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, the jury apparently found that the plaintiffs met the legal threshold, and ruled that the bank was liable. A separate hearing will be held to determine damages. Arab Bank’s ability to defend itself was hampered by an earlier ruling that punished the bank for not turning over a large number of the requested documents in the case, citing the privacy laws of the countries where it does business. As a result, a judge who had overseen the case issued a sanction: Arab Bank would not be allowed to tell the jury why it had withheld those documents, though the plaintiffs were free to tell the jury that the documents had been held back."

Ukraine

http://www.stuff.co.nz/ A breaking news report from a few day’s back about continuing violence and massive explosions in Eastern Ukraine, ceasefire or no ceasefire.

MH – 17

http://www.onderzoeksraad.nl/ The preliminary report from the Dutch investigation into the destruction of Flight MH-17 and the murder of nearly three hundred civilians, which cited verifiable Russian evidence, verifiable Ukrainian evidence, and plenty of testimony to determine that ‘no complete explanation is possible,’ without mentioning that the United States has proffered no evidence whatsoever, in spite of which the U.S. ‘pundit-class’ is full of passionate proponents of arming the Ukrainians with the latest murder tools so that they can ‘defend’ themselves .

Mexico

www.telesurtv.net/ A TeleSur hyperbriefing about a Mexican law enforcement narcotics administrator who faces ten years in prison for accepting as much as $300,000 per month in hush money from large dealers.

United Nations

http://justsecurity.org/15308/human-rights-groups-petition-drone-strikes/ A report and briefing from Just Security about a United Nations hearing on drone strikes where civil and human rights groups have petitioned for redress about and reform of drone strikes whose victims end up being plus-or-minus fifty percent women, children, and the elderly: "The letter’s submission coincides with a special panel today at the UN on targeted killings and drone strikes. Today’s panel follows from extensive reporting on targeted killings by UN Special Rapporteurs (see here and here). The letter to the Council builds upon prior joint human rights group letters sent to President Obama, which set out key concerns with respect to U.S. targeted killings practices, policies, and legal interpretations."

NSA

http://www.globalresearch.ca "The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, General William Odom recently remarked, “by any measure the U.S. has long used terrorism. In 1978-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the U.S. would be in violation.”

During the 1970′s the CIA used the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a barrier, both to thwart Soviet expansion and prevent the spread of Marxist ideology among the Arab masses. The United States also openly supported Sarekat Islam against Sukarno in Indonesia, and supported the Jamaat-e-Islami terror group against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan. Last but certainly not least, there is Al Qaeda.

Lest we forget, the CIA gave birth to Osama Bin Laden and breastfed his organization during the 1980′s. Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies. Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda, which literally means an abbreviation of “the database” in Arabic, was originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan."

ISIS

http://www.washingtonpost.com An analysis from WaPo of the recent ‘landslide’ vote in favor of bombing Islamic State in Iraq & Syria, a discursive process that entailed a few hours, unlike the month’s of debate in 2003, about which at least a dozen lawmakers–half GOP, half Democrat–are upset and demanding a more thorough accounting: "The sentiment was expressed Friday in a stern letter from a dozen lawmakers — six Democrats and six Republicans — who wrote to House leaders in both parties, ‘The time has come to take up and debate an authorization regarding U.S. military operations in Iraq.’"

Mass Murder Florida

www.nytimes.com/2014/09/20 Another hideous mass-murder that is as is often the case ‘all in the family,’ in a context of poverty, abuse, drug-addiction and a cycle of desperation: "A close friend of Ms. Spirit, who lives in Bell and spoke on the condition of anonymity because she feared reprisals in her tight-knit community, said Ms. Spirit had a good heart but was always struggling to support her family and keep it together. ‘Her life was a mess,’ the friend said. ‘She had no job. She couldn’t work with all them kids. Every time I turned around, something bad was happening to her.’ Ms. Spirit was 15 when her father, an ex-convict, accidentally shot and killed her brother Kyle during a hunting trip. Mr. Spirit was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm, and for that he was sentenced to three years in prison, records show."

Economic Wellbeing of Households

http://www.federalreserve.gov/ A look by the Federal Reserve at the Economic Well Being of Households for the quarter ended July, 2014, with the result being that 3/5 consider themselves well off or okay, while the other forty percent are somewhere between barely getting-by and desperate: "42 percent reported that they had delayed a major purchase or expense directly due to the recession, and 18 percent put off what they considered to be a major life decision as a result of the recession. Just over half of respondents were putting some portion of their income away in savings, although about one-fifth were spending more than they earned."

Education

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com A to-say-the-least refreshing report about a relatively small-funder’s choice to address school achievement problems without blaming teachers or unions or supporting Charter Schools’ right to plunder, which is to say in something akin to best-practice fashion: "You won’t find this foundation backing charter networks or bashing teachers unions or chanting the mantra of ‘choice’ and ‘accountability.’ Instead, Haas believes progress lies in boosting early learning, strengthening school leadership, and better engaging parents and communities in the public schools as ‘essential partners.’"

Journalism

http://pando.com/2014/09/12/ A typically hard-punching essay from Pando Daily that takes the economist to task, understandably, one might note, for labeling ‘brand journalists’ as ‘thought leaders’: "(One company)was oxymoronically called ‘Journalist (Brands),’ and it sought a candidate with journalistic instincts to uncover insights and influencers, helping brands in the development of native ads and other ‘content marketing’ gambits. While the job itself is something I would never want to do, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a news outlet hiring someone to help brands, which are paying for most of this journalism anyway, to better connect with readers or whatever. News outlets have hired sales and marketing teams to do just that for decades. My issue was with calling this a ‘journalism’ job. Journalists work on behalf of the public, not brands. Storyful Executive Editor David Clinch responded to my concern tweeting, ‘I’m just saying we need journalists to do this job properly and that journalism is a key part of, not all of, the process.’"

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

Food Distribution

http://www.nsf.gov A Discoveries blog from National Science Foundation that examines two food banks in North Carolina and how NSF engineering inputs help make them more efficient and effective in their delivery of services and food to people in need.

Feminism

http://magazine.good.is A celebration by Daily Good of the real character behind the Parks and Recreation feminist administrator, who by all accounts is a real feminist who takes real actions both in terms of facilitating female power and fostering a consciousness of powerful women.

UAW
http://chieforganizer.org An examination from the Chief Organizer’s Blog of the Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now that deals with what’s happening in Chattanooga, which may be a struggle but is possible to view in very positive terms, but also possible to conceive of more critically as well: "What we cannot debate is that the current UAW strategy of taking the half of loaf they can win now for their members is much, much better than walking away without a slice, which most old school unions would do. They stand closer to the prize, which is winning rights to represent the whole workforce in coming years, and cracking the anti-union foreign automaker transplants in the south. Patience and persistence will win them more and more."

Prison
http://www.counterpunch.org A worrisome report indeed from Counterpunch that calls into serious question any belief that the United States is truly encouraging ‘decarceration’ instead of continuing with the political economy of a ‘prison industrial complex:’ "In fact, this miniscule upswing in prison population likely highlights much deeper contradictions that were there all along. Fourteen states hit new record high prison populations in 2013, while 31 states recorded an increase in prison admissions. To make matters worse, several icons of decarceration recorded population upturns. Texas with the largest prison system in the country, has been perhaps the most widely marketed example of decarceration, dropping its prison population by 3.5% from 2011 to 2012 alone. Yet for 2013 the Lone Star State led the reverse trend, with its count rising from 157,900 to 160,295 prisoners. Similarly, California, the second biggest state system and also a leading driver of population decrease in previous years, showed a slight expansion, from 134,211 to 135,981. For, Judy Greene, Director of the anti-mass incarceration research group Justice Strategies, the figures for Texas and California reflected that the changes in previous years had been ‘narrowly felt in a handful of states.’ She pointed out that between 2010 and 2012, more than 90% of the prison population reductions took place in three states, California, New York and Texas."

American Empire
http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/ A blast from the radical Libertarian side, as usual in the case of Contra Corner, richly detailed and amply documented, full of insight and ideas whether one buys the whole picture presented or not, about the imperial hubris present and likely devastation in store for the United States: "The only rival to such longevity is the British empire, on which the sun was never supposed to set. Well, it did set, but not before the Anglo-Saxons had spread their rule and their progeny to the very ends of the earth, taking up the so-called White Man’s Burden and lifting half the world up on their broad shoulders – until the sheer effort eventually dragged them down. The British passed the baton to us in the wake of World War II, and we have been holding it – somewhat unsteadily – ever since. How long we can continue to wield this imperial scepter is the subject of my talk today, but before I launch into that, let’s back up a bit and set the context, the background of how the world’s most improbable empire came to be."

Education

www.truth-out.org/ A radical critique of the current higher education policy of the United States, a set of indictments both questioned and echoed far and wide, by TruthOut, which in estimable fashion approaches the question historically and comparatively: "Just a few decades ago, prior to the advent of this new regime, accumulating debt in and as a result of attending college was virtually unheard of. The University of California charged only $647 in tuition annually in the 1960s, and there was little need or even the opportunity to go into massive amounts of debt. After World War II, when the GI Bill provided free tuition for veterans, higher education could be seen as a public good and a way for empowering the population to create a better world with ideas and ideals in mind. This is not to say that the United States government had such aims in mind for its massive investment in higher education. But a significant shift to conceiving education as a personal career opportunity occurred after and as a response to the social movements and organizing of the 1950s through the 1970s. During the 1960s especially, the structures of governmental authority were challenged to their core. In every segment of American society people were questioning authority and acting on that questioning of authority."

Police

www.washingtonpost.com A thoroughgoing condemnation by WaPo of what "civil forfeiture" has become, which essentially has been to turn police forces into extortion rackets: "Then, in 1986, the concept was expanded to include not only cash earned illegally but also purchases or investments made with that money, creating a whole scheme of new crimes that could be prosecuted as “money laundering.” The property eligible for seizure was further expanded to include ‘instrumentalities’ in the trafficking of drugs, such as cars or even jewelry. Eventually, more than 200 crimes beyond drugs came to be included in the forfeiture scheme."

Leveraged Loan Markets

www.nakedcapitalism.com/ Naked Capitalism‘s viewpoint–which as always is rational and evidence based, perhaps dispositive–about the ‘leveraged-loan’ market as a disaster in the making: "This primitive state of affairs results from the fact that loans are not securities and thus are not subject to the tender ministrations of the SEC, including its rules on settlement. And the Fed and OCC have politely not taken any apparent interest in this market. Why does this matter? One large investor segment in leveraged loans is retail chumps, um, mutual funds. Investors in bond funds expect to be able to sell them readily. That isn’t the case with funds that invest in leveraged loans:

“It’s a critical issue,” said Beth MacLean, a money manager at Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co., which oversees $1.97 trillion, including the world’s biggest bond mutual fund. “Any single retail fund not being able to meet their redemptions would have a ripple effect on the whole market.”….Mutual funds bought 32 percent of new loans last year, up from 15 percent in 2012, LSTA data show."

https://bigpicturereport.files.wordpress.com A graphical representation of imperial insanity, a lovely cartooning moment of disaster and criminality.

ISIS

http://www.atimes.com Another brilliantly written and incisively reasoned analysis and evidencing of the hideous idiocy of U.S. ‘ISIS policy,’ unless enriching the armament industry and risking world war is wisdom: "Meanwhile, in Paris, President General Francois Hollande is itching to deploy his Rafales and get into a new war – considering that’s about the only thing that could lift the mood of a wretched president, whose administration has barely survived a ‘confidence’ vote; compare that ‘confidence’ with the nasty epithets with which his team is showered by largely unemployed, taxed to death or swamped by red tape Parisians. Obama has already sent 475 extra military ‘advisers’ to Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan. There are at least 1,600 US military already on the ground in Iraq. That’s how Vietnam started. The CIA, supported by unmatched ground intel, swears there are exactly 31.785 jihadis fighting for The Caliph."

Syria

warontherocks.com/2014/09 A podcast from the ‘real-politick,’ soldier-driven War on the Rocks folks, that is if for no other reason than it insists on strategic thinking, interesting: "In the military, we talk about two kinds of plans–those that won’t work, and those that could work; with us in Iraq with a might work and in Syria with a won’t-work."

Ukraine

http://www.opednews.com/articles/ A characterization by an analyst at OpEd News, backed up and persuasively reasoned, that ought to scare the socks off of anyone who is paying attention, a determination that what is in play in Ukraine and elsewhere as ‘competing capitalisms,’ which twice during the last hundred years have resulted in World Wars and a thinning of the herd that next time could result in its extinction: "Similarly, the current conflict in and around Ukraine has been variously characterized, from the battle of Ukraine to wrest itself from the control of a "rapacious" Russia, to a battle of the Russian-speaking Ukrainians of the Eastern part of the country to preserve their culture and a certain degree of political independence, to an attempted takeover by Russia of Eastern Ukraine, beyond the Crimea and its naval base at Sevastopol (which just happens to be Russia’s most important warm-water port and has been in Russian hands for centuries)."

9.23.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Whether of the most serene and calm or fierce and chaotic nature, a previous minute of one’s existence, were one to attempt comprehensively to reconstruct it, would necessitate plus-or-minus all the matter and energy in transit since the beginning of time, which makes intuitive sense, since just such an unfolding evolution was requisite for one’s little moment’s actual occurrence.

Quote of the Day

"During this long journey(fleeing fascists, riding through the Andes) I found the necessary components for the making of the poem. There I received contributions from the earth and from the soul. And I believe that poetry is an action, ephemeral or solemn, in which there enter as equal partners solitude and solidarity, emotion and action, the nearness to oneself, the nearness to mankind and to the secret manifestations of nature. And no less strongly I think that all this is sustained – man and his shadow, man and his conduct, man and his poetry – by an ever-wider sense of community, by an effort which will for ever bring together the reality and the dreams in us because it is precisely in this way that poetry unites and mingles them. And therefore I say that I do not know, after so many years, whether the lessons I learned when I crossed a daunting river, when I danced around the skull of an ox, when I bathed my body in the cleansing water from the topmost heights – I do not know whether these lessons welled forth from me in order to be imparted to many others or whether it was all a message which was sent to me by others as a demand or an accusation. I do not know whether I experienced this or created it, I do not know whether it was truth or poetry, something passing or permanent, the poems I experienced in this hour, the experiences which I later put into verse.

From all this, my friends, there arises an insight which the poet must learn through other people. There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song – but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny." Pablo Neruda’s Nobel Prize lecture, recounting his escape from persecution on horseback through Patagonian mountains: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1971/neruda-lecture.html.

This Day in History

Today, Lithuania remembers the Holocaust with a Memorial Day: six hundred seventy-six years back, the first naval engagement took place that involved the use of cannon, at the start of the Hundred Years War; six hundred five years ago, Mongol fighters scored their second major victory over Ming Chinese forces; three hundred seventy-two years prior to just this point in time, Harvard College graduated its first class of matriculants; two hundred eleven years ago, the Second Anglo-Maratha war commenced between the British East India Company and the Indiana Maratha Empire; two hundred eight years back, Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis from their perambulations throughout the upper Western United States; one hundred seventy-six years prior to just this point-in-time, the baby girl who grew up to run for President and advocate free love as Victoria Woodhull had just entered the world; a hundred sixty-nine years back, the first team began to play baseball under recognizably modern rules as the Knickerbockers Baseball Club; one hundred twenty-five years back Nintendo came into existence as a commercial entity to market Japanese playing cards, and the infant child who grew up to become renowned journalist Walter Lippman was born; Jaroslav Seifert, Czech poet and journalist and Nobel Laureate, one hundred thirteen years ago was a just-emerged infant boy; a hundred five years before now, Phantom of the Opera first appeared in serialized form in Gaulois Magazine; eighty-four years back, a baby boy was born who grew up to become the legendary Ray Charles; under U.S. and British guidance eighty-two years ago, two small Arabian Peninsula kingdoms formed the basis of Saudi Arabia; the activist and Black Panther leader George Jackson seventy-three years back was a just-born Black infant; sixty-two years back, Richard Nixon delivered his denial of corruption accusations in a televised presentation of what people soon called the “Checkers Speech;” fifty-five years ago, an Iowa farmer hosted Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in a visit; forty-one years prior to the present pass, Juan Peron returned to power in Argentina, and Chilean Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda died; forty-two years ago, the female infant destined to blog and write as Ana Marie Cox entered the world; twelve years ago, Mozilla released the first iteration of Firefox; fourteen years back, journalist and commentator and activist Carl Rowan died.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

poetry song story survival evolution "natural selection" importance OR important OR crucial OR necessary explanation theory analysis anthropology = 3.15 Million Hits.

TOP OF THE FOLD

http://www.govexec.com One of those issues: an examination of women’s right to access to birth control without discrimination or extra cost, which is now the official policy of the National Tricare program.

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

A substantial turnout for the People’s Climate March emanated from the National Writers Union, with several of those dozens having trekked from different spots on the At-Large map.

Thanks to adroit maneuvering at the National level, no dues increase is likely necessary to accommodate the United Auto Workers’ vote for a 25% across-the-board increase; however, the discussion will continue about an elective hike of our fees, with some sort of decision due at the November National Executive meetings: thus, if more than the seven or eight people who’ve contacted me would like to have a say in the matter, they need to be in touch before November.


JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/ A gateway from Inside Philanthropy of especial note to writers and cultural producers in Minnesota or New York, where the Jerome Foundation focuses most of its largesse, but which also suggests both a model and networking opportunities: "That’s why the recent rounds of grants and fellowships from the Jerome Foundation are so interesting. The Jerome Foundation is one of the few organizations that provide support for writers early in their careers and they’ve been doing this for 50 years now."

aggregateconference.com A digital leaders’ forum, $150, next weekend in Louisville: "A mix of workshops, panels, and keynotes presented by recognized leaders from across the digital industry. From exploring case studies to providing clearly defined action steps that you can implement, you’ll walk away inspired and equipped with ideas for improving your digital strategy."

http://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org A download for one of two upcoming Rauschenberg Foundation opportunites for ‘activist artists,’ this one due October 13, the other starting November 10: "Selected applicants will receive up to $100,000, with travel and research grants being offered from anywhere between $2,500 and $10,000. According to the press release, the program’s ‘central goal is to ensure such artists have the kind of flexible support required to execute ambitious creative projects intended to move the needle on the critical issues of our times.’"

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
http://www.truth-out.org/video/item/ A TruthOut summary of The Cost of War, a recent documentary from Brave New Films that examines the political economic foundations of the militarization of police forces and the social consequences of these patterns.

http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/ A program that sounds like a cross between a democratic wet dream and a CIA trick, but certainly interesting and worth a look: "The Program on Independent Journalism cooperates with a number of private and governmental donors, and other Open Society programs and foundations. The program has focused on Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Mongolia. Activities have also begun to expand to Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Southern and Western Africa."

http://www.snd.org/2014/0 A series of tools for writers and journalists and such, all a result of the collaborative nexus of the folks at the Society for News Design, at the head of the column here a ‘Timeline-and-hyperlinked-attachment tool,’ with a way to overlay video with text and graphics and a method for splitting video into segments and do the same sort of contextualization, or an app that makes small-screen scannability more viable, as well as a way of re-linking socially mediated piece of articulations back into the pieces themselves.

http://actionsouth.blogspot.com A portal to the New South Action Network that and War Resisters League that both has interesting data, as well as ideas, and an opportunity for general networking with progressive Southerners, not to mention the reality that these folks could really use some help from scrappy writers, though one of their posters is a former member from Western North Carolina.

http://www.theverge.com An evocative essay from The Verge about the community-enabling empowerment of Linux, and the nerdy boys and girls who were there in the early days and still see its value, even if they now utilize many other means as well: "Linux is doing just fine right now, and it’s not going anywhere. The idea that just five people in the world use it — a notion that holds some pretty unfortunate sway — is patently false. Nevermind that it basically won mobile… globally. Technically. So I want fawning coverage of the next kernel release. We should have lengthy Voxsplainers on why Tux is the Linux mascot. And we really need more love from mainstream developers, because Netflix is just a start and emulators aren’t enough. Linux matters. Period."

http://lefsetz.com/wordpress A gem of an album analysis, a forte of Bob Lefsetz, in this case about the Grateful Dead’s iconic American Beauty: "And that’s the secret to the Dead’s success. There was no plan, they didn’t know what they were doing, they just followed their heart. They did these two country rock records and then never replicated the formula again. Their records became less important to the legend, never mind the enterprise. They kept truckin’ along, gaining new fans along the way, who couldn’t believe this scene existed in corporate America. But it did!"

http://www.globalresearch.ca A critically important examination, from Global Research, of aspects of ‘climate-thinking’ that generally do not receive notice, such as the role of militarism and war and other ‘programmatic’ inputs in the atmospheric carbon content and more, with something akin to an anarchistic bent, but hey…: "With this in mind, the purpose of such artificial dissent is arguably to repackage the threat of extreme weather that has been manufactured by military and government programs over the years as the basis for strategic socio-political and economic changes to which the public would never freely submit. To curb humankind’s environmental excesses, today’s state-backed corporatism mistakenly decried as capitalism must further expand into the everyday lives of individuals, where an ‘internet of things’ will inevitably catalog, regulate, and control all consumable resources and biological entities. ‘A really efficient totalitarian state,’ Aldous Huxley once observed, ‘would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.’"

http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation A gotta-go, gotta-go-now, piece from Library of Congress’ Digital Preservation blog, in the form of both a brief about the virtual journal of rhetoric, Kairos, and an interview with its publisher and editor: "Webtexts are texts that are designed to take advantage of the web-as-concept, web-as-medium, and web-as-platform. Webtexts should engage a range of media and modes and the design choices made by the webtext author or authors should be an integral part of the overall argument being presented. One of our goals (that we’ve met with some success I think) is to publish works that can’t be printed out — that is, we don’t accept traditional print-oriented articles and we don’t post PDFs. We publish scholarly webtexts that address theoretical, methodological or pedagogical issues which surface at the intersections of rhetoric and technology, with a strong interest in the teaching of writing and rhetoric in digital venues."

http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com A to-say-the-absolute least intriguing and provocative half-hour documentary on White privilege, race, and color and power issues in the current moment, thanks to the aggregators at Forbidden Knowledge TV, and the producers who probably have a bigger project in mind in creating this short.

http://www.citylab.com/design A graphically rich essay from CityLab about the Houston housing project that won a MacArthur grant , a story that has to be bigger than either what shows up here in CityLab or than what has made the cut into the press releases, but in any case an amazing yarn: "While Lowe received one of the highest recognitions any artist can hope for this week, the climb was long. (‘You have to bang your head against the wall a lot,’ he says.) Born in rural Alabama, Lowe studied at Columbus College in Georgia and Texas Southern University in Houston. (He didn’t graduate.) He fell in with a crowd of artists and advocates working in Houston in the 1980s—modern, figurative artists like James Bettison and abstract painters like Floyd Newsum. This community would be transformative for both Lowe’s work and Houston, as Lowe has explained to the Houston Chronicle. In 1993, with a group of artists, he acquired 22 derelict houses in one of Houston’s oldest black neighborhoods. The move came at a time when both Lowe’s practice and the market for contemporary art were changing. Japanese buyers were paying unimaginable prices for paintings by artists like Eric Fischl and Julian Schnabel. Lowe was trained as a painter, but he took his work in a different direction. ‘Project Row Houses is an art project. I always tell people, creating anything, it’s art, especially if it’s something experimental. If it’s new, it’s always hard,’ Lowe says. ‘To bring a painting into being on a blank canvas—if you think about it, that’s impossible. How can that happen?’"

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/ An amazing article from Inside Philanthropy that both further supports the value of IP work and introduces readers to new initiatives in the arts from the Rauschenberg Foundation, which is basically to support art-as-activism: "We bring up this anecdote in the context of recent news that the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has launched a new grant program that supports artist activism. Titled ‘Artist as Activist,’ the program will offer two-year fellowship programs as well as small ongoing grants for travel and research to artists and designers whose practice focuses on social issues. The foundation website announced an open call for proposals through October 13. A second open call, which will support efforts to address climate change, will launch November 10, with others to follow over the next six months."

http://www.citylab.com/tech/2014/09 A photo-essay and brief about a renewable energy isle off the coast of Scotland that underwent some lively debate recently in the independence vote but which in any case consists of citizens who consider themselves and their community as an interesting model to ponder in regard to sustainability and social justice and so forth.

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

http://www.literacytrust.org.uk On my! One of those literature reviews that, even if massively flawed, simply must be part of the contextualizing conversation, in this case in regard to reading and writing and early television habits, as presented by English researchers, in many senses similar to a White Paper, Reading at Risk that came out at almost the same side in the U.S.: "A priority of the National Literacy Trust is to understand the relationship between language development in children from birth to age three and later literacy development. As television is a central feature of modern western culture, the Trust wished to understand the effects of television viewing on children’s language development and wider literacy. The literature review was intended to provide informational support for the Trust’s Talk To Your Baby campaign. The review, however, was to be based on an objective assessment of available research evidence and not on any prior agenda of the organisation."

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/ A ‘they cannot-make-this-shit-up’ moment from the Times Technology ‘Desk,’ which concerns the interesting nuances in regard to this year’s ‘hush-hush’ gathering of Jeff Bezos’ writer pals, at a gig called CampFire, which may not be as warm and fuzzy this year because of the Hachette stinkstorm, all of which is awe-inspiring about what we are: "But this kind of openness is not for everyone. Some writers, when contacted about their past attendance and asked whether they were going this year, reacted with something akin to terror. One writer begged not to be mentioned in any way, insisting that it was a private, off-the-record event and should remain so, lest Mr. Bezos be offended. The Amazon mogul does not make attendees sign nondisclosure forms. His team just cautions them that the weekend is off the record. Even those who like to share their every thought on Twitter and Facebook have kept it that way."

http://www.economist.com/node/18712755 "Slime Slinging Flacks" from the Economist, courtesy of the folks at Monday Note, in a necessary capsulization for all writers to consider : "Journalists may grumble privately about practices such as BM’s badmouthing of Google, but few would be as brave as Mr Soghoian in exposing them, thereby jeopardising their relationship with a powerful PR agency. The incident shows how the upheaval in the news business is working for, and against, the PR firms. Newspapers and other old media are losing influence—and thus becoming less worth lobbying. But job cuts and online obligations mean journalists are also more desperate for copy, making them a softer touch. Research by Jamil Jonna of the University of Oregon (originally for a book, “The Death and Life of American Journalism”, but since updated) found that as newsrooms have been slimmed and PR agencies have grown fatter, for each American journalist there are now, on average, six flacks hassling him to run crummy stories."

http://www.technologyreview.com An MIT Technology Review product profile of a Dartmouth-developed phone app that has yielded one of several prototype data-gathering functions that can somewhat accurately assess ‘depression’ or stress: "’Intervention is the next step,’ he says. ‘It could be something simple like telling a person they should go and engage in conversations to improve their mood, or that, statistically, if you party only three nights a week you will get more decent grades.’ Campbell is also working on a study testing whether a similar app could help predict relapses in people with schizophrenia. A startup called Ginger.io with an app similar to Campbell’s is already testing similar ideas with some health-care providers. In one trial with diabetics, changes in a person’s behavior triggered an alert to nurses, who reach out to make sure that the patient was adhering to his medication (see “Smartphone Tracker Gives Doctors Remote Viewing Powers”)."

http://m.cacm.acm.org/magazines A crack-laced essay from the Communications of the Association of Computing Machinery, concerning Alan Turing and his famous ‘test’ and the issue of ‘machine intelligence’ more generally, a thorny thicket for writers these days: "In my opinion, Turing’s original question ‘Can machines think?’ is not really a useful question. As argued by some philosophers, thinking is an essentially human activity, and it does not make sense to attribute it to machines, even if they act intelligently. Turing’s question should have been ‘Can machines act intelligently?,’ which is really the question his paper answers affirmatively. That would have led Turing to ask what it means to act intelligently. Just like Popperian falsification tests, one should not expect a single intelligence test, but rather a set of intelligence tests, inquiring into different aspects of intelligence. Some intelligence tests have already been passed by machines, for example, chess playing, autonomous driving, and the like; some, such as face recognition, are about to be passed; and some, such as text understanding, are yet to be passed. Quoting French, ‘It is time for the Turing Test to take a bow and leave the stage.’ The way forward lies in identifying aspects of intelligent behavior and finding ways to mechanize them

"

http://www.slate.com/blogs/ A Fahrenheit 451-anyone? blog from Slate, very concise, leaving all manner of questions unanswered, about a robotic ‘cheetah’ that is now prowling MIT’s campus in Cambridge, from Slate in partnership in collaboration with several partners.

http://digiday.com/publishers Oh my! A DigiDay examination of an apparently research-based conclusion of many platforms, publishers, and ‘plublishforms’ online–that ‘good news sells,’ which encourages outlets to ‘accentuate the positive’ and, who knows? ‘eliminate the negative:’ "Publishers are realizing today that, if they want to increase traffic and attract readers, it helps to look on the sunny side. This month, The Washington Post launched The Optimist, an email newsletter dedicated to stories that uplift and inspire. Available only to the Post’s digital subscribers, The Optimist features Washington Post stories about sacrifice, creativity and people who are making the world a better place. ‘The Post produces thousands of stories a week, but what grabs the biggest headlines are stories about Ferguson, Gaza and the Ukraine,’ said David Beard, director of content at The Washington Post. ‘We don’t want to shift coverage; we just want to take a different snapshot of what we’re already doing.’"

http://www.mediabistro.com A status report from Media Bistro and Fishbowl New York about the brewing battle between the Newspaper Guild and Time, which doesn’t look like a good prospect for working writers: "Time Inc.’s proposal to hollow out its own company is simply not acceptable,’ said O’Meara. ‘Management wants the ability to send 160 editorial jobs overseas, which would be a massive blow to some of the nation’s most important and respected magazines. Many of Time Inc.’s proposals are not only outrageous, we believe they’re illegal. We are filing charges over these labor law violations to force management to return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith.’"

http://riaa.com/blog.php An important piece, primarily because it illustrates one set of upper-class, capitalist opinions in contradistinction to another set of equally privileged viewpoints, none of which develops a perspective that is optimal from the perspective of workers who are writers or writers who want to support workers: "Whether we like it or not, not all societies will make the same decisions as we do. Individual choice is non-linear, messy and inefficient. And we will sometimes disagree with choices that are made by societies—even democratic ones. But we need to recognize that other societies may not make the same decisions that we would–some for bad reasons (suppressing political dissent), and some for understandable ones (preventing hate speech in societies that have been torn apart by racial, ethnic or religious violence). Guarding against censorship will require us to make distinctions among measures employed by states. And we must all be vigilant in resisting theories premised on technological determinism that are removed from human choices. As Jaron Lanier has so clearly articulated in ‘You are not a Gadget,’ technology does not have wants. Information doesn’t want to be free, or to be expensive, because information itself has no volition. Schmidt and Cohen paint a picture of societal bliss and self-fulfillment if only we would get out of the way of technology and let ‘it’ grow organically without man-made obstacles. But morality and law are man-made and not machine readable. We must organize and advocate for an open and free internet. But let’s not make the mistake of defining openness and freedom as the non-application of laws. Effectively combating censorship will require diligence and dedication married with cultural sensitivity, and is poorly served by rhetoric which fails to make critical distinctions in judging the conduct of state actors. As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner observed in his keynote address at the State of the Net conference in 2012: ‘We do not need to reinvent international human rights law, or our enduring principles, to account for the Internet. No deed is more evil — or more noble — when it is committed online rather than offline.’"

http://www.theverge.com The latest salvo in the ‘battle’ among Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu, a conflict in which writers’ abilities or inputs are key components and which must suggest to thoughtful scrappy scribes alternative models for articulation, in this case in regard to a Stephen King nine hour series for Hulu based on his novel, 11/22/63.

http://www.collegemediamatters.com One of those days: another see-it-to-believe it item, from College Media Matters, about an ongoing loggerheads between an Alaska University Paper’s editors and professors who have claimed sexism and sexual harrassment, in apparently ongoing litigation that has caused the university to advise the paper to remove the offending articles, which the outlet has so far refused to do: "As I previously posted, a University of Alaska, Fairbanks, professor waged a dogged 10-month campaign against The Sun Star student newspaper for publishing a pair of stories in April 2013 that she believed ‘constituted sexual harassment and created a hostile work environment.’ The first article was a satire included in the paper’s annual April Fools’ ‘Fun Star’ issue. The pretend piece announced the grand opening of a new building on campus that, ahem, is shaped like a vagina. As one faux student is quoted saying, ‘I’m excited about the many layers of the building that will unfold upon its release.’ It is an obvious riff on the dominant female enrollment numbers at the school and male chauvinism worldwide (‘The world is a giant penis building’). The article was also apparently tied to a previous ‘Fun Star’ satire on a penis-shaped campus building."

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
http://www.technologyreview.com/ The physics and chemistry and machinery of soon-to-come miracles, from MIT Technology Review about a Turkish demonstration of concept for carving tunnels and portals and other fissures in silicon to permit all manner of fantastical electrical, and eventually more gadget-impacting, outcomes: "The technique that makes all this(earlier miniaturization) possible is photolithography, which allows engineers to build on or etch the surface of silicon in very precise patterns. The devices—whether electronic, fluidic, or optical—are built up layer by layer. Everything is done in two dimensions on the surface of silicon and then added together to create 3-D shapes. But what if it were possible to carve out structures beneath the surface of silicon, to create 3-D caves of almost any shape? Today, Onur Tokel at Bilkent University in Turkey and a few pals say they have developed just such a technique that can create networks of pipes and tunnels beneath the surface without any discernable change to the silicon surface."

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles A film review and history lesson from World Socialist Website, examining an animated feature from Japan, Grave of the Fireflies, about the firebombing of Japanese cities in the lead-up to Hiroshima and Nagasaki: "The operation began in early March with hundreds of B29s dropping tonnes of napalm, phosphorus and other incendiary bombs on scores of cities. These were aimed at sparking massive firestorms that the inadequate Japanese emergency services were incapable of fighting, destroying the country’s urban infrastructure and maximising civilian casualties. ‘Killing Japanese didn’t bother me very much at that time,’ USAF commander LeMay later chillingly admitted, but ‘I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.’"

http://www.theverge.com A preview of a forthcoming Jean-Luc Godard movie, Adieu Au Language, which is definitely not rated "G" and is technically advanced according to this Verge review, and at least watchable for its edginess: "Most 3D films either look almost indistinguishable from 2D, or they don’t do much more than apply a basic layering effect between the foreground and the background. Godard, on the other hand, manages to film the world in 3D very much as we see it, using a long depth of field that makes the film’s world extend far into the distance. On top of that, many of the scenes are deeply layered, making the 3D effect more prominent than usual. In one scene, there’s a good seven layers from front to back (not counting the actors): a potted plant, a chair, a bike, a barrier, a house, another house, and finally some trees. It’s one of the first times in a 3D film that the image truly looks like it has depth."

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/ An interesting deconstruction of life among Facebook ‘Like Farms,’ : "The likers from the like farms are even more strange. While the number of likes gathered from Facebook campaigns increase slowly over time, the numbers from most like farms jump suddenly in steps. ‘With AuthenticLikes, we observed likes from more than 700 profiles within the first four hours of the second day of data collection,’ say De Cristofaro and co. After that, there was not a single additional like. The team say this is likely to be the result of automated bots operating a set of fake profiles. Just why Facebook is unable to prevent this kind of activity is not clear."

http://www.mediabistro.com/ A brief update from Media Post and TV Newser about the Al Gore lawsuit against Al Jazeera, in which AJ has countersued Gore over the escrow funds that both parties want to call their own, and more, no doubt.

http://www.mediapost.com/ An overview from Media Post about the Federal Communications Commission huddle that is taking place in the aftermath of nearly four million comments about keeping the internet playing field level and open, a topic about which the agency itself has recently blogged, and which the Senate Judiciary Committee has addressed in recent hearings led by Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a passionate proponent of an open and levelly graded process.

http://transition.fcc.gov FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s testimony last week before a House Committee on Small Business that responded to questions about the agency’s service to rural and other ‘markets’ less-than-adequately served in the current context, one question among many that Tim Wu and his collaborator addressed in their recent open-Internet testimony .

http://blogs.loc.gov/law/ One of those crack-laced confections from Library of Congress, in this case a graphically rich and historically linked account of two early legal bibliographies, all of which is full of implications about media, intellectual property, the public or common realm, access and more.

http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com Just an astounding ten minutes or so of video from Open University and a brilliant emeritus nuclear physicist about the logic behind the certainty that we cannot possibly know everything and that acknowledging the limitation of knowledge, of the scientific or any other variety, is more than just honorable humility, and is in fact a key component of intellectual honesty.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/ A brutally compelling story from Yes! magazine that includes a review essay about Troy Davis, whom the State of Georgia murdered a couple of years back for something that he didn’t do, which was to kill a White police officer–something that a police informant carried out before fingering Troy–and the book that a human rights activist in the campaign to free the innocent Mr. Davis has written, I Am Troy Davis, along with an interview with the author about a growing movement to use the text and the horrific facts of this case to combine media and language with action to demand a world in which justice is not an impossible fantasy: "The story goes like this: In 1989, white police officer Mark MacPhail was fatally shot outside a convenience store in the racially charged city of Savannah. Troy, who had earlier left the scene, remembered hearing the shots. But he was shocked when he was convicted of firing them, based solely on the testimonies of a few witnesses (all but one of whom later recanted). For more than 20 years, the Davis family—and their advocates around the world—exhausted every avenue to overturn the sentence and free their brother, son, uncle, and friend."

www.newsweek.com A powerfully argued and incisively presented essay from Newsweek that demonstrates that, whatever the predictions of cultural meltdown and creeping idiocy among web-users everywhere, so-called longform reportage is having something akin to a resurgence that augurs well for writing, thinking, and social survival: "Into this fire, a young man named Max Linsky eagerly strode. While a student at Wesleyan University, he and another undergraduate, Aaron Lammer, decided they would create a website that would be nothing more than a collection of ‘arcana of long-form journalism,’ full of ‘stories originally published in the ’60s and ’70s’ according to a New York Observer profile that called them two of journalism’s ‘subterranean saviors.’ That same article suggested that Longform and similar sites were leading a ‘mini-renaissance’ of journalism that was serious, journalism that was long, journalism that never pandered with click-bait. They were not creating longform journalism, but they were championing it, staking their livelihoods and reputations on the supposedly dying form."


RECENT HAPPENINGS

Post Office Shortage
http://www.govexec.com/oversight An ‘it’s-not-too-late’ wake-up call from GovExec in the form of a map and a briefing about U.S. Postal Service’s planned 7,000 job cuts, which citizens of a democracy might consider to be a diminution of social capital that doesn’t make sense.

Senate
http://thehill.com/blogs A blog from The Hill, which talks blithely and superficially about political pretense in regard to ‘cheapskate’ politicians, which would be laughable except that their expenditures threaten to annihilate the entire human population, Jack Kingson–whose Senate campaign in Georgia is a featured item–a perfect example, inasmuch as he’s voted for every military appropriations bill that he’s ever seen, to the tunes of tens of trillionsof dollars in outlays for death and debt, which is like calling Caligula a prude.

Fracking
http://www.carolinapublicpress.org A heartening briefing from Carolina Public Press, about the fourth of four fracking hearings around the State, all of which have featured a massive majority opposing the proposed rules for extracting fractured-rock gas, in this case an outpouring of unanimity in the testimony against fracking, though a few "Frack Yes!" T-shirts were in evidence in the crowd.

Nuclear
http://www.nytimes.com/ A perfect example of what Herbert Marcuse, whose One Dimensional Man an entry in yesterday’s DL reviewed, called the "irrationality of rationality," a report from the Times about the Obama Administration’s massive increase in spending to kill every single human being and most of the animal life on Earth, all very rational and calculated: "This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for ‘a nuclear-free world’ and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy. The original idea was that modest rebuilding of the nation’s crumbling nuclear complex would speed arms refurbishment, raising confidence in the arsenal’s reliability and paving the way for new treaties that would significantly cut the number of warheads. Instead, because of political deals and geopolitical crises, the Obama administration is engaging in extensive atomic rebuilding while getting only modest arms reductions in return."

ISIS
http://www.govexec.com An investigative research briefing about the vote to bomb Islamic State in Iraq & Syria, which shows two things: first, that those politicians who voted yes received on average nearly fifty percent more contributions from defense lobbies; second, that a handful of companies stand to make billions of dollars off this campaign.

http://www.thedailybell.com A perfect indication that, whatever principled disagreements one might have with the Libertarian likes of Ron Paul, he is at least not generally or universally a blatant liar like so many who claim to speak honestly in government, from the Daily Bell, the text of Paul’s recent speech to Congress: "The limited mission the president promised just weeks ago has already greatly escalated, and now threatens to become another major regional war. In reality, however, this is just a continuation of the 24 year US war on Iraq that President George Bush began in 1990 and candidate Obama promised to end as President.

Under last week’s authorization bill, the president would have authority to train 5,000 fighters in Saudi Arabia for insertion into the civil war in Syria. This is in effect a re-arrangement of the deck chairs. To this point the training was carried out by the CIA in Jordan and Turkey. Now, the program will be moved to the Pentagon and to Saudi Arabia. The CIA training of the rebels thus far has resulted in a direct pipeline of weapons from ‘vetted moderates’ to the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front and to the very ISIS that the administration claims to be fighting. In July, a full brigade of 1,000 fighters from a US-backed rebel group joined ISIS! Of course they took their US-provided weapons and training with them, some of which will certainly be used against the rapidly increasing US military personnel in the region.

That Saudi Arabia is considered a suitable place to train Syria’s future leaders must be some kind of sick joke. While ISIS was beheading two American journalists – as horrific as that is – the repressive Saudi theocracy was beheading dozens of its own citizens, often for relatively minor or religious crimes. If we want to stop radical terrorists from operating in Syria and Iraq, how about telling our ally Saudi Arabia to stop funding and training them? For that matter, how about the US government stops arming and training the various rebel groups in Syria and finally ends its 24 year US war on Iraq."

Israel
http://www.telesurtv.net/english A briefing from TeleSur that notes how Israeli police and military have trained not only U.S. police forces around the country, but also Mexican gendarmes, since the Chiapas uprising in 1994.

Nicaragua
http://chieforganizer.org/ A very personal blog about rural roots and urban shoots and the way that revolution bursts pretensions of certainty about ‘third worlds’ and more, from the Chief Organizers Blog of the Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now, about a recent sojourn to Nicaragua and the hard work and amazing developments in evidence there since U.S.-backed murderers no longer hold all the power: "In fact all of us found ourselves surprised and impressed with the urban infrastructure of Managua. The buildings may have not been the tall towers of other Latin American capitols in the rebuilding from a revolution, boycott, and earthquake disasters, but it was solid. The airport was amazingly efficient. I have never been through customs and baggage pickup more quickly anywhere in the world, including the USA. The airport was modern without being ostentatious, and clean as a whistle, so I had better add this on the front end of these notes, that I cannot remember a cleaner country from the city to the countryside than Nicaragua. The bustle of Leon, when we visited there, and some trash on the side streets almost came as a relief, that these were people of our same species!"

Albania
http://www.stuff.co.nz/world A report from New Zealand Stuff about Pope Francis’ recent speech in Albania, a nation of multiple intertwining religious and ethnic threads, where the pontiff begged for peace and forbearance and condemned the use of religion to justify war and mass murder: "Francis paid tribute to these martyrs(of totalitarian Albania) and those from other faiths, saying they showed witness to their faith even under persecution. ‘Recalling the decades of atrocious suffering and harsh persecutions against Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims, we can say that Albania was a land of martyrs,’ he said in his homily. Deviating from his text, Francis thanked Albanians for their ancestors’ sacrifice, recalling the national symbol of the eagle. ‘Do not forget your wounds, but don’t avenge them,’ he said. ‘Go forward, flying on the hopes of a great future.’ Francis has a busy schedule in Tirana: In addition to the address to Albanian authorities and Mass, he was meeting with leaders of different faiths, celebrating a vespers service and visiting children cared for by charitable groups."

Galt’s Gulch
http://www.vice.com/read Wow! Compulsory Reading for all Libertarians, an investigative report from Vice about a ‘Randian’ fantasy development in Chile that has ended up a morass of fraud and mismanagement, all of which would be simply hilarious but for the fools who actually sunk life-savings into the chimera of ideology and duplicity: "Even now, everyone I spoke to who had been involved in Galt’s Gulch Chile said they want to see the original idea come to fruition. ‘Almost all the investors, buyers, and myself are incredibly passionate about making this work and we are doing everything possible to do so,’ Berwick wrote in an email. ‘There is only one person who stands in the way of any chance of GGC’s potential success and that is [Johnson].’ Berwick is sticking to his libertarian principals and not taking part in any legal action against his former partner. He’s resigned to taking a heavy loss in this affair, but he can evidently afford to do so. Kirley says there are people who have sunk their life savings into buying land in the Gulch, and he’s determined to make sure all the investors get the land they paid for. The commodities trader, who is perhaps less of an anti-statist, has retained two Chilean law firms and intends to use the courts to force Johnson to give up control of GGC, after which the investors could attempt to work out the zoning issues and eventually live on the land, finally establishing their long-sought Randian paradise. According to him, Johnson asked for $5 million in exchange for handing over control of GGC, but Kirley balked at the price. When I tried to confirm this account with Johnson, he said only, ‘There’s been different talks.’"

War on Drugs

http://www.telesurtv.net A briefing from TeleSur about the mountains of evidence that the Peruvian narcotics police are in fact an extortion racket that resells the drugs that they seize on the open market, a typical result of the ‘War on Drugs’ that is actually a war on the people of the planet.

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

G20
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/ Another heartfelt and brilliant attempt on the part of Naked Capitalism to clothe itself in something other than fantasies and rags, in this case dealing with recent confessions among many of the ruling institutions of the era that things are seriously awry, but in so doing advancing only the most "tepid" solutions, which the author here contends would be possible to improve significantly if a few political problems would just go away, perhaps a sign of hope, perhaps a sign of such systemic distemper that something ‘altogether different’ will prove necessary: "The general outline of findings won’t come as much of a surprise to the cognoscenti. What is novel is having such authoritative bodies state in such an unvarnished manner how bad things are. For instance: The deep global financial and economic crisis and slow recovery in many G20 countries has resulted not only in higher unemployment but also in slow and fragile wage gains for G20 workers… The stagnation in wages cannot be explained solely by weak economic growth. This trend also reflects a widening gap between growth in wages and labour productivity. In the advanced G20 economies, the gap began before the crisis and has not narrowed since, apart from a short reversal during the depth of the crisis in 2008. The gap has grown wider since 2010, as wages in many advanced economies continue to stagnate while productivity has recovered in the group as a whole."

Finance Banking
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/09/22/boti-s22.html A dramatic article about policy, in which World Socialist Website reveals the ‘dying words,’ more or less of one of Spain’s top bankers, who typifies both the opportunistic plunder of successful financial organizations and the political agenda of such individual billionaires as a class: "Botín’s Milan meeting is a clear example of the overwhelming political power exerted by the financial and business oligarchy. He transformed his regional, family-controlled bank, based in his home town of Santander, into a major bank by buying up failing banks for knock-down prices and then selling them at a profit after slashing labour costs and updating technology. Santander’s assets rose under Botín’s chairmanship from €20 billion in 1998 to €1.1 trillion last year, roughly equal to Spain’s gross domestic product. Over three-quarters of the bank’s activities now take place outside Spain—in Latin America, the UK and the US. It has 102 million customers and more than 186,000 employees."

New Zealand
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/09/22/nzin-s22.html A World Socialist Website digest of interviews from working class New Zealanders about the result of the recent elections, which returned ‘moderate’ conservative John Key to office and buried labor in a deep, deep hole.

Federal Reserve
http://inequality.org/inequality-usa-nation-denial/ Stringent recriminations from Inequality.org against the Federal Reserve and the financial establishment, which have created an economy that works very well indeed for those whose assets are worth billions but that operates as a grinding drudgery or utter despair for the majority of working people, all of which yields a ‘nation in denial’ according to the author: "For the first time ever, activists converged on Jackson Hole — to let the Fed’s central bankers know, as protest organizers put it, that ‘it’s not just the rich who are watching them.’ Over 70 groups and unions backed the protest and signed onto an open letter that calls on America’s central bankers to start nurturing an economy that works for workers. At one point, early on in the Jackson Hole gathering, protesters actually had a brief exchange with Federal Reserve Board chair Janet Yellin."

Education
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post A critically important analysis of the political economy of profiteering education, the upshot of which is that this systematic plundering cannot continue, one way or another: "While the for-profit business model has generally served investors well, it has failed students. Retention rates are abysmal and tuitions sky-high. For-profit colleges can be up to twice as expensive as Ivy League universities, and routinely cost five or six times the price of a community college education. The Medical Assistant program at for-profit Heald College in Fresno, California, costs $22,275. A comparable program at Fresno City College costs $1,650. An associate degree in paralegal studies at Everest College in Ontario, California, costs $41,149, compared to $2,392 for the same degree at Santa Ana College, a mere 30-minute drive away."

http://www.truthdig.com A review essay of A Chronicle of Echoes, an educator’s impassioned cry that both names the companies as well as the individuals who are in the process of finalizing the destruction of American education, and demands reform and justice in our schools, which administrators and investors are remaking as factories to churn out profit along with ‘disciplined’ graduates who will never ask too many questions: "Finally, almost all the reforms are the work of non-educators—and not only non-educators, but non-educators who look upon traditional educators with undisguised contempt. Those few reformers who did teach, like Michelle Rhee, Frederick Hess or the founders of the much ballyhooed KIPP charter schools, did so for only two or three years before, like the God of Genesis, they set out to remake American education in their own image and that of their billionaire backers."

http://www.nytimes.com/ A Times opinion essay by a longstanding "instructional coach" in the New York City schools, who argues primarily about the psychic and social aspects of poor students’ struggles to achieve, though she is also well aware of the empirical components of the crumbling possibility for those below to rise: "In spite of our collective belief that education is the engine for climbing the socioeconomic ladder — the heart of the ‘American dream’ myth — colleges now are more divided by wealth than ever. When lower-income students start college, they often struggle to finish for many reasons, but social isolation and alienation can be big factors. In “Rewarding Strivers: Helping Low-Income Students Succeed in College,” Anthony P. Carnevale and Jeff Strohl analyzed federal data collected by Michael Bastedo and Ozan Jaquette of the University of Michigan School of Education; they found that at the 193 most selective colleges, only 14 percent of students were from the bottom 50 percent of Americans in terms of socioeconomic status. Just 5 percent of students were from the lowest quartile."

Labour
http://www.salon.com An interesting, if ultimately "confused" piece of thinking from Salon, confused because it sees the gulf between ‘White men and unions’ as the result of mistake or error rather than as a systematic eventuality of this moment in the history of the United States, an intellectual inadequacy that does not eliminate the article’s utility and even fascination: "It used to be that belonging to a labor union made you a Democrat. Now, being a Democrat is more likely to make you a union member. Blacks are more likely to be unionized than whites. College-educated whites are more likely to be unionized than non-college whites. Public sector employees are more likely to belong to unions than private sector employees. Teachers and librarians vote overwhelmingly Democratic, not because they’re union members, but because the combination of low pay and intellectual inquiry in those professions attracts liberals. And since most union members now work in the public sector, the war on unions has become a front in the larger conservative war on government."

History
http://www.blackagendareport.com/node/14422 A straightforward and accurate–and therefore hard for many people to swallow–account of the down-to-earth reality of U.S. history, our constant romanticization and distortion of which at least contributes in some small way to our fatuous beliefs about the current sociopolitical and political economic plight: "The most celebrated political figures in this country, including those called blue blooded, elite or patrician, were mostly criminals. The descendants of the Mayflower ought to be ashamed of their heritage instead of bragging about their ancestors who began the genocide of indigenous people. The earliest American presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison, earned their wealth through slave holding. Their successors in the office of the presidency either acquiesced to the slave holding interests or actively protected them until a bloody civil war put an end to their dirty work. The Roosevelt family was no exception to this pattern of gaining wealth through thievery and then parlaying it into positions of influence for themselves. These are simple facts but the American desire to believe in cherished myths is not easily ended."

Environment and Soap
http://www.npr.org/ A hear-it-to-believe-it podcast and narrative from NPR, about what a lot of people–including yours truly–are undoubtedly clueless about, that soaps and ‘personal products’ have extremely tiny pieces of plastic in them that are threatening entire bodies of water such as Lake Erie and other Great Lakes, to the extent that legislation to ban use of the little beads, since the protection of waterways and the life in them is more important than a few more profits.

Charity Funds
http://www.nytimes.com A welcome announcement from a ‘philanthropic’ agglomeration of Rockefellers and other scions of the super-rich–funny how that operates; the plutocrat donates money to ‘charity’ and his great-grandkids still run the place–that it will be divesting itself of carbon-based investments and putting its money in ‘alternative’ energy sources: "At the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, there is no equivocation but there is caution, said Stephen Heintz, its president. The fund has already eliminated investments involved in coal and tar sands entirely while increasing its investment in alternate energy sources. Unwinding other investments in a complex portfolio from the broader realm of fossil fuels will take longer. ‘We’re moving soberly, but with real commitment,’ he said."

Ayahuasca
http://www.vice.com/read Just a mondo article from Vice, about a reporter who took Ayahuasca and went down that tunnel and returned to tell us all about it: "For what felt like three days, I went from bathroom to floor and back again. When I finally got it together enough to wobble onto the balcony and smoke a cigarette, I realized I’d only been under for four hours. Ayahuasca, yagé, the truth vine, the madre, or whatever you call it was not only the strongest drug I’ve ever tried but easily the most powerful experience I’ve ever had.

9.22.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

At the edges of math and science—in Heisenberg’s uncertainty theorem and Kurt Goedel’s masterful incompleteness theorems for example—rest all manner of irrefutable wisdom that counsels humility, that suggests hesitation, that indicates caution, despite the fact that the ‘expert’ flacks for industry and finance arrogate to themselves the ‘authority’ to determine just what the unknowable, uncertain, indefinable, future will be as if they had access to complete data that are and will always be unattainable, not only for any individual, but also for any aggregation of particular persons no matter how large.
Quote of the Day

"In so far as such developments utilise the natural energy running to waste, as in water power, they may be accounted as pure gain. But in so far as they consume the fuel resources of the globe they are very different. The one is like spending the interest on a legacy, and the other is like spending the legacy itself. … [There is] a still hardly recognised coming energy problem." Frederick Soddy; Nobel-Prize Chemist, author of An Interpretation of Radium, 1911: http://todayinsci.com/S/Soddy_Frederick/SoddyFrederick-Quotations.htm.

This Day in History

Today is both One Web Day, a celebration of Internet interconnection and awareness, and Hobbit Day, which always occurs as a part of Tolkien Week Two thousand four hundred ninety-four years ago, Greek sailors and soldiers defeated a Persian fleet at the battle of Salamis; four hundred sixteen years back, playwright Ben Jonson killed an actor in a duel and faced charges of manslaughter; three hundred twenty-two years back, the last hangings for witchcraft in British North America, in Massachusetts Bay, took place, although several additional accused died in prison; just before the Equinox three hundred three years prior to the present pass, Tuscarora Indians rose up against depredations by European colonists and initiated the bloodiest colonial war on Carolina soil, from which the British ultimately emerged victorious, with most of the Tuscarora people’s deciding to return to upstate New York in the aftermath; Nathan Hale died in a noose for treason two hundred thirty-eight years ago; two hundred twenty-eight years back, the United States established the office of Postmaster General, and a Russian-led combined Austrian-Russian army of about 20,000 crushed an Ottoman force near the Rymnik River in present-day Romania, killing half of them, and expelling the Turks from most of Austria-Hungary; one hundred forty-five years back, Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold premiered in Vienna; National Geographic one hundred twenty-six years back initiated its continuous publication till the present day; a hundred six years before the here-and-now, Bulgaria ratified its independence from the crumbling Ottoman Empire, as other ‘Great Powers’ plotted taking over different additional pieces of the Turkish realm; one hundred four years ago, England’s first ‘moving-picture-house’ opened in Brighton; ninety-five years ago, a steel strike in Pennsylvania rapidly spread to the entire United States; ninety-four years before now, the boy baby who later founded Amnesty International as Eric Baker was born; eighty-three years back, the girl child who grew to become the popular author Faye Weldon came into the world; three years later, a collier explosion in Wales killed two hundred sixty-six miners, in one of the worst industrial accidents in the history of the United Kingdom; seventy-five years before the present Red Army and Nazi troops parade together in triumph through the streets of Brest-Litovsk after the conquest of Poland; SS Einsatzgruppe C seventy three years ago slaughtered six thousand Jews and Communists near Vinytsia, Ukraine, on Rosh Hashanah, completing the murder of nearly 30,000 people over the course of a week; fifty-nine years back, British television channel ITV first broadcast its signal; Frederick Soddy died fifty eight years prior to this moment, after a lifetime of nuclear chemistry and political economy; fifty-six years back, the female infant who became the song-writer and singer Joan Jett was born; forty-nine years ago, the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War ended after the United Nations declared a ceasefire; thirty-five years ago, the so-called Vela Incident took place, a suspected nuclear test may have occurred near Antarctica, conducted by Israel, South Africa, or both, about which many of the investigative documents remain classified; thirty-four years back, Iraq invaded Iran to begin many years of bloodletting in which the U.S. armed and provided intelligence support to both sides; twenty three years ago, the Huntington Library made the Dead Sea Scrolls available for public viewing for the first time; fifteen years back, George C. Scott died.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
uncertainty incompleteness epistemology knowledge implications = 1.1 Million Results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

http://ecowatch.com A pair of items that show the interconnections among things, as well as having their own points to make, the second one–here:

–an examination of the demographics of the recent Scottish vote against secession and what it indicates about buying in to the current scheme of things, the first a review of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus Climate Change, which basically indicates that those who want to maximize chances for non-disastrous climate ups and downs had better be willing to consider radical economic transformation: "The opportunity is to remake that economic system, which, even before it went berserk on Earth’s climate, wasn’t really meeting human needs very efficiently or very equitably—for all the reasons Klein has explicated in her previous two best-selling books, No Logo and The Shock Doctrine."

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

With less than two months to go until the National Executive Boards and Committees meet in New York in mid-November, members might ponder what message that they’d like their open-eared and open-minded Chapter Chair to take with him on the road to Manhattan.

Last night was the first installment of a weekly radio program, Solidarity Forever, that is part of what our Chapter Chair does, every Sunday night at eleven, which is now freely available for download: LINK.

National Writers Union provided a decent sized contingent to yesterday’s huge climate march in New York City, with updates and images?? available at http://www.nwu.org.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
http://careers.journalists.org/jobs/6476990 A chance to make a move to Southern California or to find gainful employment if one is already there and looking, a combination digital editor, webmaster, and curator position with U-T Digital Services, for which an intermediate amount of experience is necessary and a passion for sports is advisable.

https://afscposter.wufoo.com A chance to submit a poster to American Friends Service Committee’s traveling exhibit of contemporary and historical posters that promote, protest, or otherwise facilitate democratic and community power and agendas in the form of "economic activism."

http://www.itu.int/en/plenipotentiary/2014/Pages/default.aspx An upcoming International Telecommunications Union event, its 19th Plenipotentiary in Busan, Korea.

Scranton, PA – The Times-Tribune, a 55,000 circulation daily newspaper located in Scranton, Pa., has an opening for a business reporter who will thrive creating breaking news and enterprise stories for an award-winning business section.

Pierre, SD – Our Capital City newspaper needs a Sports Writer/ Editor.

Las Vegas NV DISCOUNT RETAIL STORE SERVICES is seeking a highly talented and experienced copywriter with the ability to generate content on demand for various industries and clients.

Baton Rouge LA – Script Developer, To perform this job successfully, an individual must have a deep understanding of instructional principles and adult learning; basic knowledge of the fundamentals of CBT and WBT Instructional Design; word-processing software experience; and some industry experience in order to ensure regulatory compliance in all aspects of safety and industrial-related projects.

Charlottesville – Our Financial Research firm located in downtown Charlottesville is looking to expand our team. We would like to find someone to work with institutional investors to obtain verified news and information to update our global database and other products.

Akron OH – Established Akron non-profit organization looking for a full time Grants Writer.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
http://pando.com/2014/09/17/ A fun and informative Pando Digest brief about the First Amendment and its support by youth as compared to its acceptance by adults: "In addition to a disconnect between high schoolers and adults in general, there was also a disconnect between students and teachers. For example, 61 percent of students say student newspapers should be allowed to cover controversial issues without the approval of school authorities. Meanwhile, only 41 percent of teachers agree with this same statement."

http://journalismgrants.org/showcase/breaking-the-digital-wall/ A series of grant reports and updates from the European Journalism Center, the first a look at three programs that seek to "break the digital wall" that divides poorer users and communities from full access and power in the virtual realm, the second a look at an Ecocide series, the third a presentation regarding the use of richly contextualized graphic interfaces in reporting.

http://unmanned.warcosts.com/ A gripping and important film about the serial murder that the United States practices in its drone programs, from a group of highly scrappy writers and producers.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read An interesting take on ‘the future’ in the context of global warming, as presented by the Weather Channel and the United Nations: "It all may skew a bit hokey, though I will give it this: It is as slick as a sci-fi short produced by the Weather Channel that features a PSA from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon can possibly be. It’s still an effective, internet-friendly educational tool, and viewers of the cable channel will get a kick out of seeing the familiar faces gamely deliver the gloomy future forecast."

http://fpif.org/capitalist-north-korea/ A posting from Foreign Policy in Focus that reviews what it terms a fantastical and improbable book by a Swiss businessman, about his many years as a sort of missionary in North Korea, which now has transitioned to a ‘mixed economy:’ "Like any good businessman, however, Abt quickly adapts to the local realities. He jumps at the opportunity to provide flower pots adorned with PyongSu’s label for the annual exhibition of the flowers named after North Korea’s first two leaders: Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia. ‘Of course, the press spun my commentary into an entertaining propaganda twist, but I didn’t mind,’ he writes. ‘On the contrary, it helped boost our sales more than any advertising campaign could ever have achieved.’ See, Abt tells us: there often is a fine line between the propaganda of a regime and the advertising of capitalism."

http://act.aflcio.org/c/18/p/dia A video excerpt from a speech by Richard Trumka that stresses that racism and other divide-and-conquer tricks will not succeed if we’re aware of them and resist them, with an action component as well.

https://storify.com/Danict89/summer-digital-media-gala-ona-jerusalem A series of ‘Storify’ tweets from the Online News Association’s recent Jerusalem conference.

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/ A pair of Common Dreams analyses of recent happenings that involve the United Nations, on the one hand an examination of the corporate hijacking of the U.N. climate change agenda, and in the featured position an update about a recent General Assembly vote heavily in favor of action against predatory lending and the actions of so-called ‘vulture’ hedge funds: "The resolution passed by a super-majority vote of 124-11 with 41 abstentions. The US voted no along with 10 other countries. The bankruptcy process could make it more difficult for hold-out investors to block countries from debt restructuring and could limit future defaults. ‘The strong majority vote shows how powerful the global consensus is to stop predatory financial behavior,’ noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious debt relief organization, Jubilee USA. ‘If we are going to solve what global leaders believe is the root cause of inequality, we need a bankruptcy system in place.’ LeCompte serves on UN expert groups working to create an international bankruptcy process."

www.vanityfair.com/business/2014/10/media-industry-disrupters A paean from Vanity Fair that presents the exploits of a group of ‘media-industry-disruptors,’ in the listed ranks of whom one might find all manner of networking and other engagement possibilities.

of the conference has Villalba reminding viewers that Ravelo led the fight against right-wing paramilitary domination in Barrancabermeja, also that the charge against him of involvement in the 1991 murder of a municipal official rested entirely on accusations by two paramilitary chieftains. These were serving long prison sentences because Ravelo had implicated them in the 1998 massacre of 32 people in Barrancabermeja. The state evidently took advantage of their lust for vengeance."

http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/hazlitt/ A marvelous excerpt from a recent Random House book about Kim Philby, in this case a section about a possible German defector in 1943 whose experiences reveal deep structures about the current pass: "The Plettenburgs were deeply implicated in the anti-Nazi resistance, as were the Vermehrens. Adam von Trott zu Solz, a German Foreign Office official who would become a key player in the plot to oust Hitler, was Vermehren’s cousin. The marriage of Erich and Elisabeth thus brought together two wings of the secret anti-Nazi resistance—which was, in part, a family affair. In this small band of German resisters, religious and moral outrage fused with politics. These were not liberals: they were deeply conservative, often wealthy, fiercely anti-communist, old-fashioned German families, fearful that Hitler was leading Germany into a calamity that would usher in rule by the godless Bolsheviks. The plotters dreamed of ousting Hitler, making peace with Britain and the US, and then defeating the Red menace from the East, to create a new German state that was democratic, anti-communist, and Christian. Erich and Elisabeth Vermehren decided, along with a handful of like-minded conspirators, that Hitler must be destroyed, before he destroyed Germany."

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

http://www.mediapost.com/ A MediaPost brief about a Federal Communications Commission decision not to pursue Yahoo in relation to undoubtedly accurate allegations that its employees–without disclosing their Y paychecks, had been raving about a company application on i-Tunes.

http://www.theverge.com Whoa! An overview from The Verge about a recent video short, Circle of Abstract Ritual, that indeed delivers the unsettling, evocative, and at once maddeningly seductive and supremely scary experience that the reviewer promises, all in the context of also informing readers about crowdfunding, art, mediation, and the production of art and culture and meaning.

motherboard.vice.com/read/ A Vice Motherboard installment about the latest hyper-groovy scheme to cease and desist on the part of young folks of the trust-funded sets, in a Canadian Woods freelancers’ paradise of parties and super-fast connectedness, at a price not likely to exceed the annual interest on a modest inheritance: "Thus, the sensible thing to do is for all the young, connected artsy types to pack up and leave their hellish apartments to live together in tiny houses in the woods, hippie commune-style. But, you know, with an internet connection, Macbooks, and freelance graphic design jobs."

http://pando.com/2014/09/11/ Golly Moses! Another Pando Daily bombshell, in the form of Dropbox’s recent "Transparency Report," which reveals that ‘law enforcement’ requests for tapped or otherwise snagged data eighty percent of the time include requests not to tell users of the invasion: "Dropbox’s transparency report is a stark reminder of just how little we still know about what information law enforcement seeks from tech companies more than a year after many of the government’s surveillance programs were first revealed. It’s also the perfect opportunity to discuss the company’s decision to appoint Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, to its board of directors earlier this year, given Rice’s fondness for warrantless wiretapping."

www.journalism.co.uk/news/ A report from Journalism.co in England about a BBC project that will revolutionize life for many writers and media organizations, by making archived audio material searchable via a cloud-based hosting service: "Due to launch next spring, it will be made available to third parties who are sitting on decades of interviews, documentaries and news reports that are gathering dust, poorly labelled or hard to search."

and others have come to call ‘media mentors’ for children and families."

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/R43714.pdf Another gift from Federation of American Scientists of federal publications that should be freely available without such intervention, here a key compilation for many writers about the current law and status of trade-secret protections, gathered together by Congressional Research Service.

http://www.archives.gov/isoo/ A gateway from the National Archives to the Information Security Oversight Office’s recent facilitation of non-compliance with automatic declassication , which became policy in quarter-century time spans during Clinton’s first administration, but which ISOO has recently helped such interesting sources of data as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of H-Bombs, er, Energy to opt themselves out of this process of making things public.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion A lovely TruthOut review essay on the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the difficult and essential Herbert Marcuse monograph, One Dimensional Man, a treatise on the paradoxes and possibilities inherent in late capitalism’s hegemonistic extension of the ‘marketplace’ to everything possible in existence: "His basic argument is that false consciousness, Marx’s concept, has deepened in post-WWII capitalism, diverting people from their alienation and manifesting in false needs. Shopping both soothes the soul and produces profit as we shift from saving to spending in what John Kenneth Galbraith called the ‘affluent society.’ One-dimensional thought is episodic and sticks to the surfaces of things. It is short news cycle thinking, jumping from the missing Malaysian airliner to nude photos hacked off celebrity cellphones. One-dimensional thought accepts the status quo, even loving fate (Nietzsche), a deepening of false consciousness achieved through the various culture industries of radio, television, film and now the internet. We pierce such thought by imagining utopia, ever the desideratum of left thought beginning with Marx’s early writings in which he anticipates self-creative work or praxis."

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/ More or less a ‘trending-media’ update from Poynter, which notes a still infrequent but possibly growing tendency for broadcasters to hire print journalists in order to bolster the textual interface between users and the station on websites: "’It’s still relatively rare,’ said Chip Mahaney, senior director of local operations television for Scripps Digital. ‘But it is happening. As local media outlets, including broadcasters, invest more in their digital products, they’re seeking skills that experienced newspaper reporters often possess, namely long-form writing and in-depth beat reporting.’"

http://www.theguardian.com/world A Guardian visit down under, where a parliamentary joint committee just recommended no exceptions or exemptions for journalists who disclose, ‘State secrets,’ even if in so doing they are advancing democracy, uncovering crimes against nature and society, and so forth.

http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation Just an awesome overview, and interview, from Library of Congress’ Digital Preservation blog, about the processes, protocols, and salvaging long term benefits of YouTube produced educational, study, and publishing ventures, as usual richly interlinked.

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
http://digiday.com/publishers/whos-really-blame-ad-fraud/ DigiDay’s perspective on a red hot topic at the moment, the notion that much of digital advertising either entails fraud or invites perfidy at some level: "This much is for sure: ad fraud, and your definition of what constitutes it may vary, has gone from being viewed as a basic cost of doing business to becoming one of the biggest issues facing the online ad industry. The credibility of the medium is at risk. Anywhere from 30 percent to 60 percent of impressions are fraudulent, depending on who you ask (and who has a stake in boosting the severity of the problem)."

http://pando.com/2014/09/16 A media business investment analysis from Pando Daily that makes a strong, four-pronged argument ‘not to worry just yet’ about a tech bubble: "This week, venture capitalist Bill Gurley warned of signs of dot-com-era risk, like costly 10-year leases. Other signs have been around for a while – lavish parties, arrogant behavior among execs, ceos offering reporters friends and family shares in IPOs. As anecdotal evidence, these are all troubling, yet there still aren’t enough of them to allow for more than speculation about the possibility of a bubble somewhere down the line. Irrational behavior is always a part of the stock market. For now, at least, it hasn’t become the rule."

jimromenesko.com/2014/09/12 An update from Jim Romenesko about Digital First Media’s likely selling of its print properties, this time with an embedded memorandum from the company CEO.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ A WaPo essay, part of its Plum-Line Blog, about elections as horse-racing exercises in statistical analysis, in which two ‘giants’ of the field are having a public spat about whose predictive models are superior: "Political science tells us that campaigns are about driving elections towards or away from a natural outcome. When modelers make models, they are trying to predict a ‘natural’ endpoint. There is always the possibility of biasing your actual calculation. Adding in assumptions like fundamentals could be right and could be wrong, but what they represent is basically a hypothesis about where the race ought to be. Making a model like that is a good political science experiment, but we should be clear that we are adding assumptions on top of the polls."

thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/technology A thinly disguised ‘pundit’ blog by a likely industry-backed non-profit spokesperson who wants to drive interest and advocacy away from any possibility of reclassifying Internet Service Providers as common carriers.

http://itu4u.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/ A blog from what is now a U.N. agency and started out as a transnational industry-and-best-practices group, the International Telecommunications Union, about what ITU calls the mandate for "open and inclusive collaboration" as we move forward: "There remain many goals that we all have yet to achieve in bringing the benefits of the connected world to everyone. We must for instance prioritize bringing the Internet to the more than four billion people still without access to this global resource; we need to bridge the digital gender gap, which currently stands at 200 million less women than men online; we must ensure accessible ICTs are available to the nearly one billion people living with disabilities; we must work to ensure that young people everywhere in the world are not only tomorrow’s users, but tomorrow’s creators and innovators; we must enable a safe and secure internet so that everyone, including the most vulnerable segments of society, can enjoy it with confidence and trust, and so it can continue to innovate and grow and increasingly spread its benefits to all corners of the globe. These goals cannot be achieved by any single individual or organization. We can only succeed if we work together and at ITU we are committed to working with all interested stakeholders in translating this vision into reality."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs Just a lovely piece of reporting from The Switch blog at WaPo, in the form of a photo-essay that provides a historical background on the origins and evolution of mobile telephony.

http://benton.org/node/202014 A Benton.org summary of an AdWeek item about kid’s TV viewing habits,not altogether ‘warm-and-fuzzy’ in regard to the consciousness of the young.

http://benton.org/node/201960 From Benton.org, a thorough and absolutely essential to follow and act on analysis, legal and limited but generally comprehensible, about the reasonableness of a lifting of state bans on municipal broadband networks.

http://whatstrending.com/news A whorl of contextualization, apology, self-justification, superficiality, and depth from What’s Trending, about a recent registered Reddit subdomain, thefappening, which has had a boatload of controversy recently about young people’s photos and such.

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/ An overview of India’s print media industry that proposes that the optimism of even a few years ago about ‘continuous growth’ are proving to be false: "The era of the newspaper is over. For the first time, Indian newspapers have registered decaying readership. A survey in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the latest one for 2013 show this for the top three English dailies. The Times Of India has fallen from 7.6 million to 7.2 million readers, the Hindustan Times is up from 3.8 million to 4.3 million while The Hindu is down from 2.1 million to 1.4 million. This is fine and English readership has been more or less stagnant for a long time. The hammer blow has come in languages. In 2013, Dainik Jagran was 15.5 million (down from 16.3 million), Hindustan was 14.2 million (up from 12.2 million) and Dainik Bhaskar was 12.8 million (down from 14.4 million)."

RECENT HAPPENINGS

Student Debt
www.commondreams.org/news/ A pair of as-usual awesome analyses by Common Dreams, in this case an update on the Rolling Jubilee’s cancellation of student indebtedness to the current tune of over $4 million, and in the featured link a report on a recent lawsuit against a for-profit college for a permanent injunction: "Students are mandated to start repaying genesis loans while still enrolled in school at more than double the federal interest rate. With a high default rate of 60 percent of students within three years, the company then uses aggressive and illegal tactics to collect debts. This includes taking students out of class, denying them their education, and withholding diplomas. According to the Bureau, students took out approximately 130,000 of these private loans for expenses at Corinthian’s Everest, Heald, and WyoTech colleges, with a total outstanding balance of $569 million. The lawsuit is seeking relief for these students. ‘We want to put an end to these predatory practices and get relief for the students who are bearing the weight of more than half a billion dollars in Corinthian’s private student loans,’ said Bureau Director Richard Cordray."

CIA
http://www.truth-out.org/news Evidence from TruthOut, crossposted from McClatchey, about the continuing dispute between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Senate over the upper chamber’s having its computers hacked by the CIA: "’I continue to be incredibly frustrated with this director,’ said Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. ‘He does not respect the role of the committee in providing oversight, and he continues to stonewall us on basic information, and it’s very frustrating. And it certainly doesn’t serve the agency well.’ Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said he was “renewing my call” for Brennan’s resignation."

ISIS
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ A reactionary militarist account of a recent Senate Armed Service Committee hearing, in which the presumptions of both the author and Republican Senators that the United States should crush and destroy yet another democratically elected President, in the person of Bashar Assad, is the only thing worth talking about in regard to Islamic State in Iraq & Syria and planned attacks against it.

Department of Defense
https://www.youtube.com/watch A long trailer about the Department of Defense’s F-35 ‘Fighter-of-the-Future’ acquisition program, considered one of the most monumental boondoggles in history, but that for its pork-barrel boosting of the military-industrial-complex will likely remain a bottomless pit into which to pour the treasure of U.S. citizens.

War on Drugs
http://www.truth-out.org/news A powerful and basically terrifying investigative assessment from TruthOut, crossposted from Philadelphia’s independent outlet, The Declaration, about a call intercept program that is much broader and more invasive than anything that the National Security Agency has ever attempted, all to support the fraudulent and criminal ‘War on Drugs.’

Iran Nuclear
http://fas.org/wp-content/uploads A report from an independent Task Force of the Federation of American Scientists about the "verification requirements" that would be necessary to have a workable agreement with Iran about its nuclear program.

Israel
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info A pair of Information Clearinghouse reports, here crossposted from Cyberkast News Service that both ‘boots are already on the ground,’ and ‘partners’ are often non-existent, and from the featured position, that Iranian military sources believe that ISIS is largely a creation of U.S. and Israeli support, crossposted from Federal New Service.

Iraq
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/ A news-analysis from the Times that indicates that the Iraqis agree with the Iranians about the origins of ISIS: "The demonstration on Saturday was the latest in a series of signals from Shiite leaders or militias, especially those considered close to Iran, warning the United States not to put its soldiers back on the ground. Mr. Obama has pledged not to send combat troops, but he seems to have convinced few Iraqis. ‘We don’t trust him,’ said Raad Hatem, 40. Haidar al-Assadi, 40, agreed. ‘The Islamic State is a clear creation of the United States, and the United States is trying to intervene again using the excuse of the Islamic State,’ he said."

European Economy
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/ A mandatory assignment from TruthOut, an interview from Greek Radio with John Perkins, author of Diary of an Economic Hit Man, about the current targeting of European wealth and assets by international financiers: "Men like Perkins were trained to squeeze every last drop of wealth and resources from these sputtering economies, and continue to do so to this day. In this interview, which aired on Dialogos Radio, Perkins talks about how Greece and the eurozone have become the new victims of such ‘economic hit men.’"

War Economy
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news An overview of the shadowy, lucrative, and deadly realm of war-fighting of non-wars in the current context, in which the U.S. has soldiers all over the planet but won’t account for which one are or soon might be involved in their operational purpose, to kill people and blow stuff up: "SOCOM admits to having forces on the ground in 134 countries around the world. That doesn’t mean its forces are carrying out capture or kill raids in every country, but it’s almost impossible to know where and when different operations are taking place. That’s especially true when it comes to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), an operational command within SOCOM that operates with an enormous amount of autonomy and secrecy — and, some would say, little accountability. Founded after the failed mission to rescue American hostages in Tehran in 1980 and designed to handle similarly complex operations in the future, JSOC was a classified and little used command on Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, it’s more than tripled in size, received an ever-increasing share of funding, and has conducted operations in dozens of countries. (Journalist Jeremy Scahill wrote in depth about JSOC in his 2013 book, Dirty Wars)"

Ukraine
http://www.globalresearch.ca/ A pair of articles that return a reader’s attention to the suddenly off-the-radar situation in Ukraine, in one case an account of the economic plunge that has resulted following the Maidan coup in February, with 20% of Gross Domestic Product gone missing, and in the featured case an update on the Dutch MH-17 investigation, which basically is reporting that it can’t draw any firm conclusions: "The report specifically mentions information collected from Russia, including air traffic control and radar data – both of which were publicly shared by Russia in the aftermath of the disaster. The report also cites data collected from Ukraine air traffic controllers. The United States however, apart from providing technical information about the aircraft itself considering it was manufactured in the US, provided absolutely no data in any regard according to the report."

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

http://www.brookings.edu/research Another pairing, on the one hand an account of the "Nuns-on-the-Bus" phenomenon, directed at plutocracy generally and in their most recent ride against the influence of money in elections, and in the the featured position a link to a Brookings Institution monograph on the billionaires who essentially either own or have mortgages on most of what exists on Earth: "The top one percent own about one-third of the assets in America and 40 percent of assets around the world. This concentration of financial resources in many countries gives the ultra-rich extraordinary influence over elections, public policy, and governance."

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/middle-class-asset-poor#.VBl-HSzOed8.twitter A briefing from MarketPlace about recent indications that the poverty rate has for now stabilized, but any crowing about how the so-called, fatuously-named ‘middle-class’ is somehow okay again is nonsense, since most people in this position of being actual wage-earners and members of the working class have few-or-zero assets or negative net-worth.

http://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2014/09/federal-budgets-past-present-with-a-look-back-at-1805/ A simply delightful Inside Adams blog from Library of Congress, in the form of a richly documented and widely linked look at the Federal Budget of 1805, which provides a stark contrast to the present pass indeed.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/five-ways-occupy-wall-street-is-still-fighting-20140917?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=daily&utm_campaign=091714_1601&utm_medium=email&email=spindoctorjimbo@gmail.com A Rolling Stone update on Occupy Wall Street that examines the five strategic areas in which Occupy activists are still actively focusing and developing their work, which has led to some very powerful forms and articulations(https://debtcollective.org/) about such matters as debt.

http://hds.harvard.edu/news/2014/08/29/why-religious-studies-matters?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=hag&utm_content=aad_comm_all_alumni_2014-09-17 A richly-linked briefing from Harvard’s Divinity School on the topic of the rationale for and benefits of religious studies: "’Isn’t it interesting that some of the words that we use for our academic work—uncover, push, explore, wrestle—these words remind us of the materiality of the stuff of our studies. These objects, these ideas, and these persons offer themselves for our consideration. Let us in return offer ourselves to the work and of examining and understanding studying them for their own sakes and for the sake of this dear, troubled, beautiful world that we inhabit,’ she said."

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26120-workers-are-constantly-on-the-edge-of-the-knife A TruthOut overview about the hideous pass that most workers face in regard to the most basic issues of scheduling their lives in the context of having no secured ‘work schedule,’ and an interview with Representative George Miller who has recently sponsored legislation with essentially zero chance of passage to address the issue.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/astronomers-found-a-unique-star-system-40-years-after-it-was-first-theorized A quick contextualization from Vice Motherboard of an odd corner of the astrophysics realm, dealing with the recently confirmed speculation that under certain circumstances of binary star systems that have essentially run through fuel supplies, one stellar object would more or less exist inside an ‘envelope’ provided by the other.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/17/6338403/zero-calorie-blood-sugar-risk?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Verge%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=The%20Verge%20Newsletter%20-%209%2F17%2F2014 A presentation about a recent study in rodents, from The Verge, that confirms that imbibing zero calorie sweeteners cause blood sugar fluctuations because of the way that the supplements interact with intestinal bacteria.

http://justsecurity.org/15106/problems-dod-directive-definition-unprivileged-belligerency-response-ryan-vogel/ http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/09/11/isis-911-and-terrorism-time-loop An important update from the watchdogs at Just Security, who had been wrestling with troubling and not necessarily clearly defined implications of recent changes in a Department of Defense Directive putatively aimed at revising its detention policies, a discussion to which a DOD spokesman recently contributed reassuring words: "Professor Vogel emphasizes that the Directive is intended to apply only to govern DoD detention operations, and not to affect other important practices—most importantly, targeting. I have no reason to question his representation that that was the intent of those who worked on the Directive. Unfortunately, however, the definition of ‘unprivileged belligerent’ not only includes at least one potentially significant legal problem related to detention itself, but also, by its terms, could reasonably be read to reflect DoD views on other important matters, as well, such as who can be targeted and who can be criminally prosecuted (i.e., who lacks ‘combatant immunity’) for their belligerent acts."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39652.htm An Information Clearinghouse transcript of a speech in London, "What I Saw and Experienced in Gaza," by a Palestinian Member of Parliament: "What happened is beyond description. Even describing it as an act of disproportionality is an insult to humanity. Describing it as an imbalance of power is also an insult. After slaughtering thousands of people and destroying thousands of homes and to speak about reconstruction and to immediately allow Israeli companies to make a profit from this is also an insult to humanity. What happened in Gaza, as has happened before in the West Bank is nothing but war crimes and crimes against humanity. What happened was nothing but massacres against the civilian population and Israel couldn’t have done that without a feeling of impunity and without having impunity from international law, and this couldn’t have happened if so many Western world leaders hadn’t been complicit in what happened."

http://theconversation.com/the-big-winners-from-swedens-for-profit-free-schools-are-companies-not-pupils-29929 An analysis from The Conversation of recent developments in Swedish Education, which have decentralized all Swedish schooling and privatized about a fifth, investigations of which process have shown some indication that sixteen-year-olds who have taken the ‘private’ path perform slightly better for a year or so and then differentiate themselves no further, but research about all of which has demonstrated greater social exclusion and segregation that have resulted from this privatizing drive, in the context of all of which the profits of the company schools have mushroomed.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/09/18/corporate-personhood-ebola-climate-change/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=bc7b9edb1a-Top_News_9_18_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-bc7b9edb1a-85925037 Oh my! More free market nonsense from ‘progressives’ who ought to know better, in this case an assessment from EcoWatch that if we only had a "real free market," which unsurprisingly has never existed and inferentially therefore never can or will exist, we’d all have solar collectors, and the actual monopolistic, imperial behemoths that have evolved out of the marketplace’s real political economic and historical operation instead of the fantasy worlds of so-called ‘progressives’ would not have almost total control of our lives.

9.19.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

The desire to win, or at least have an advantage, arises from our deepest animal reflexes: to eat and to mate and to live; yet in either its individualistic form or its multifarious ‘team’ manifestations, this longing for victory assassinates human viability, which necessitates compassion and mutuality and compromise, thus expressing a conundrum that we must resolve unless we like the prospect of extinction.

Quote of the Day

"Attempting to liberate the oppressed without their reflective participation in the act of liberation is to treat them as objects that must be saved from a burning building. …Liberation is thus a childbirth, and a painful one. …(for)(t)he oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors."

This Day in History

One thousand three hundred eighty years ago, the Siege of Damascus ended with Rashidun Arabs’ capturing the city from its Byzantine overlords; three hundred thirty-eight years back, Nathaniel Bacon’s legions burned Jamestown down; Giles Corey three hundred twenty-two years prior to this point in time refused to make a plea, so the authorities in Salem, Massachusetts crushed him for his silence; the Continental Congress two hundred thirty-eight years back passed an initial U.S. budget; George Washington, warning of foreign wars, bid the nation farewell two hundred eighteen years ago in an open letter to Americans; one hundred forty-four years ago, the new Italian Army occupied Rome and besieged the Vatican, and Prussian forces initiated the Siege of Paris; a hundred thirty-three years back, James Garfield died as a result of an assassin’s attack two month’s prior; New Zealand women, a hundred twenty-one years before today, first gained the right to vote; a hundred and three years ago, the baby boy who would win a Nobel Prize as William Golding came on the scene; ninety-three years prior to the present, the male child who turned into the revolutionary educator Paulo Freire was born; Witold Pilecki seventy four years back allowed Germans to capture him so that he could smuggle out information from Auschwitz that would help start a resistance movement; seventy-two years ago, Conde Montrose Nast, who founded Conde Nast Publications, died; Finland and Russia seventy years ago agreed to peace; sixty-nine years before just this moment, British jurists sentenced William Joyce, also known as Lord Haw-Haw, to death for treason; sixty-eight years ago, Winston Churchill inaugurated the Council of Europe in a speech at the University of Zurich; sixty-five years ago, a baby boy who grew into Innocence Project founder Barry Scheck entered the world; Charlie Chaplin sixty-two years back found himself banned from returning to a blacklist-enthused United States; fifty-seven years ago, the U.S. conducted its first underground nuclear explosion; two years after that, Ukrainian revolutionary and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev could not go to Disneyland because of security fears; thirty-nine years before now, the infant girl who became blogger Gina Trapani was born; thirty-three years back, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel reunited for a Central Park concert; the first documented use of emoticons happened thirty-two years ago on the Carnegie-Mellon University Bulletin Board System; three years following that, Italian author Italo Calvino died, and Tipper Gore—wife of Al—and other parents formed the Parents Music Resource Center as Frank Zappa and other performers testified before Congress about obscenity in song lyrics; twenty three years before this point, German alpine tourists came upon a thousands-of-years-old corpse which scientists dubbed “the iceman.”

SEARCH OF THE DAY
"popular education" freire empowerment engagement necessity reflection OR praxis analysis participation "political economy" = 10,200 Citations.

TOP OF THE FOLD

https://www.academia.edu/ A relatively recent monograph that pulls together background resources that range from radical psychiatry to participatory democracy and popular eduction, in order to facilitate our conversations about human survival: "We live in a time of unprecedented planetary ecocrisis, one that poses the serious and ongoing threat of mass extinction. What role can critical pedagogy play in the face of such burgeoning catastrophe? Drawing upon a range of theoretical influences—including Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, Herbert Marcuse, traditional ecological knowledge, and the cognitive praxis produced by today’s grassroots activists in the alter-globalization, animal-and-earth liberation, and other radical social movements—this book offers the foundations of a philosophy of ecopedagogy for the global north."

RECENT BLOG-POSTS

A Pre-Equinox Briefing: LINK.

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The inaugural episode of Solidarity Forever airs this Sunday at 11:00 P.M. Eastern: LINK.

The People’s Climate March is also this Sunday, and events will be happening in the days before and after as part of this process–LINK.

New Copyright Office announcements have recently been forthcoming, both about rulemaking in regard to recordation, and about proposed changes and public engagement about the new approaches.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs From National Science Foundation, announcements and protocols about the Graduate Research Internship Program

http://journalismgrants.org/ A gateway to the European Journalism Centre’s two-or-three times annually granting process, closed for 2014, but a chance to scope out winners and begin to contemplate how to proceed in 2015.

http://careers.journalists.org/jobs/6476958 A tremendous opportunity for a not-quite-entry level reporter who excels at outreach through social media and has a capacity to mentor, posted by the Online News Association for the Denver Post.

http://careers.journalists.org/jobs/6479476 An awesome opening, albeit one that requires either a Ph.d. or a Communications/Journalism Masters plus loads of experience, for a tenure-track Associate Professor’s position teaching Multiplatform Journalism at the University of South Carolina, available thanks to the Online News Association.

http://www.loc.gov/poetry/events/ The overall poetry programming schedule at the Library of Congress, from a full slate through Thanksgiving and some events’ continuing through January: next up–National Students Poets’ readings this afternoon, and an initial Poet Laureate presentation next Thursday.

http://www.loc.gov/folklife/civilrights/ In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, a Symposium, "Organizing Across the Boundaries," all day next Thursday, as one of Library of Congress’ civil rights gatherings.

https://www.urgencynetwork.com/marsone Well!? A "Ticket to Rise" chance to win a trip to space in support of a group that wants to have human colonies on Mars by 2025

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
http://www.hugeinc.com/ideas/ A research report from Huge that represents a marketing POV but that has tons of important data and insight along the way, which in many different forms is available from multiple agency sources now, including entire downloadable files that show the breadth of the content and concepts that are driving advertising at this critical point in history.

http://chieforganizer.org One of several recent posts from the Chief Organizer’s Blog about a trip to Nicaragua, in this case an evocative profile of a priest who has organized–always with access to land a central component of his work–all over the Western Hemisphere, as well as on the subcontinent, and who has always counted his time alive in terms of tangible work to build people power: "Once pushed out of West Virginia by church hierarchy, he ended up working in Kentucky and then at the Highlander Center on seminal research being done by John Gaventa on land control and taxes throughout Appalachia. In the wake of the Nicaraguan revolution, he went to see how to help and in 1988 ended up assigned to work in a cooperative in Arenal, a rural community of 700 families and a combination of five villages with 7000 residents, where he watched and waited, endured the hurricane, and in his words, ‘farmed for 8 years.’ When the cooperative asked him to expand his organizing the result was the creation of a network of education, youth, and other groups that called themselves GRUDESA (Go de Solidaridad-Arenal, the Arenal Solidarity Group)."

http://america.aljazeera.com/ An Al Jazeera America report about Bernie Sanders’ "unabashedly liberal pitch" in exploring his options for a run for President, with a fair number of comments and plenty of fodder for those who might wonder what being a Democrat in an erstwhile democracy means.

http://magazine.good.is A Good Magazine article that implies a premise about human language, that it is a precious thing that we oughtn’t toss aside when its users, like Massachusetts indigenous inhabitants over time, decline in numbers, a notion with which the profiled woman would agree as she has reconstructed the tongue of the folks who live in Massachusetts Bay prior to European incursions: "Today, after regaining their tribal identity in 1928, there are 2,000 Wômpanâak in southern Massachusetts. And one of them, Jessie Little Doe Baird, has found a way to bring their language back to life. Born in 1963 in the Mashpee (Massippee) band of Cape Cod, Baird claims when she was 30 she began having visions of her ancestors, pushing her to revive the tongue. She started the Wômpanâak Language Reclamation Project in 1993, eventually composing her Master’s thesis on Algonquian Linguistics at MIT."

whowhatwhy.com/ An overview and itinerary of WhoWhatWhy founder Russ Baker’s presentations at an upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the Warren Commission, which has elicited voluminous critiques over the years, including from the U.S. Congress and from Mr. Baker himself, whose work has implicated George Herbert Walker Bush, in 1963 a CIA agent hidden from view, as a likely accessory–at least–in JFK’s assassination.

feedproxy.google.com A Naked Capitalism crossposting of what is essentially a listing of actually spoken rationalizations for belittling and further impoverishing poor people–mostly coming down to they’re too stupid, so they deserve it; which NC’s Yves Smith calls "class bigotry," which is worse than rampant among those born into the upper strata, although both the commenters and Ms. Smith herself demonstrate that it is not a universal affliction: "When I was young, the more vitriolic expression of economic hatred presented below, and its more sanitized cousins, would have been rejected in polite company. It might not elicit a rebuttal, but it would get the stony silence of disapproval, as if someone had just revealed they were fans of ethnic cleansing. But we are pretty much talking about the same thing, except along class rather than ancestral lines. Not all that long ago, saying you hated the poor was seen as an admission that you were the functional equivalent of poor white trash, so insecure in your own social standing that you saw it not just as reasonable but important to kick those below you so as to assure your clearly precarious economic foothold. I don’t know how to instill a sense of shame in those who attack people who are struggling to survive as signaling that they are not all that successful themselves (otherwise they wouldn’t cavil about their tax bill), but it worked once and it seems a more fruitful course of action than trying to reason with class bigots."

http://blog.wan-ifra.org A profile of and kudos for Investigative Reporters Project Italy , which is doing groundbreaking work in cross-border collaboration and investigation about organized criminal enterprises and organized enterprise criminals: "Economies are globalising. Corporations are globalising. Organised crime is globalising. And so, too, must investigative journalism go global. Without cross-border collaborations, the fourth estate’s traditional scrutiny of corruption will likely languish, unable to map hidden trails of money and influence as they become so much broader and more complex."

http://www.collegemediamatters.com A summary of a Harvard Crimson editor’s belief , based on a solid empirical foundations , that she has little choice but to forgo a career as an investigative journalist, simply because she’s a woman: "In March 2013, an article in the Columbia Journalism Review articulated the need for more women in investigative journalism. It spoke of common fears and barriers that many aspiring female journalists like me face, including the fear of sexual assault, susceptibility to subordinate gender norms, and lack of mentorship and guidance."

http://www.wsws.org/ A service to humanity from World Socialist Website, in the form of a summary and analysis of recent health literature, documents released from lawsuits, and more, all concerning the nearly one-third of the overwhelmingly working class professional football players who end up brain-damaged, with significant diminution of life expectancy and general function, as a result of their ‘sporting-for-profit:’ "The NFL’s acknowledgement that 30 percent of its players will suffer from a variety of brain-damage diseases could serve as a criminal indictment of how professional sports, owned and controlled by billionaire owners, willingly and knowingly endangers the health and lives of athletes for its main purpose under capitalism, the amassing of enormous profits."

http://america.aljazeera.com/ Both a personal and an organizational profile, of the leader of a union of domestic workers, particularly in New York State, who just won the creative-genius-who-helps-humanity MacArthur prize for her painstaking work, which has in the past few years began to yield improvements after thirty years of effort: "The stories Poo heard … unveiled a hidden world of exploitation. While some received decent salaries, many were paid below the minimum wage, had no benefits or compensated time off and suffered verbal and physical abuse by their employers. Conditions tended to be worse for live-in workers, who were on duty 24 hours a day, and undocumented immigrants vulnerable to trafficking and threats. And this was not a small sector: There are an estimated 200,000 domestic workers in New York state and 2.5 million nationwide. Over months, then years of outreach, nannies excited by DWU contacted other nannies, and the organization slowly, painstakingly grew. With her team of volunteers and organizers, Poo met workers late at night and on weekends and holidays, breaking only for the early-morning yoga."

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

http://www.theverge.com/ A profoundly important story from the Verge that is all too easy to overlook because it is so obviously ubiquitous, growing slightly more pervasive everyday, as if writers were frogs sitting in slowly boiling pots: "’Communication in the 21st century has become increasingly multimodal,’ says Professor Carmen Lee, co-author of Language Online: Investigating Digital Texts and Practices. While the text-based Craigslist may still look the way it did in the late ’90s, the rest of the web now relies on images, both moving and still, to convey much of its information. MIT social scientist Sherry Turkle worries, however, that this is coming at the cost of literary fiction and conversations, which ‘deepen our empathic skills, the ability to identify with characters, and put yourself in the place of others.’ The web of today is full of stories, both fictional and real, but moving from reading ‘to a world where we share memes does not guarantee the same results. A life of visual memes is not enough.’"

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com A richly portrayed profile of a Chilean artist, whose work evokes everything of life–the luscious and the loathesome, the carnal and the catastrophic, the beautiful and the bloody–and death, from The Creator’s Project at Vice Media: "While, given the images present in the exhibition, ‘Maps’ may seem like a disconnected title, Jacobsen explains he chose the name to reflect a process of ‘mapping the feelings and wishes of the sitters.’ Adding digital manipulation processes to reveal what is beyond the original photograph, Jacobson explains, ‘The color, the textures, are endless possibilities to transform mixed with a traditional approach to photography. The tension between the real and the imaginary generates my interest in further exploring the digital format.’"

http://benton.org/node/ A Benton.org summary of a WaPo media blog about rescuing or at least imagining the protection of orphan e-mails from snooping, except with a warrant, obviously just one aspect of the invasiveness of current regimens of observation, which vastly exceed what government does to include almost every keystroke that some people make in the virtual world

http://lefsetz.com/wordpress Another gift from MediaREDEF, in the form of an introduction to the Lefsetz Letter, nominally about music but also incorporating everything in the virtual real, here a contextualization in a few incisive paragraphs of a lot that makes the current moment feel like a fall into a bottomless well: "(S)eemingly everybody I follow on Twitter rarely tweets anymore. Albert Brooks used to be a constant. Michael Moore had a presence. Now it’s more like beating your head against the wall and so many huge players have given up because they don’t believe it pays career dividends. They’re worn out. I’m worn out too. And so are you. Which is why we turn to filters. Which is why radio is still the most powerful medium to break music. … because it’s comprehensible. You only play a few tracks over and over again, you believe these are the ones I want to hear, so I listen. And those not on radio hate this. Because they believe they’re entitled to equal attention, they actually believe they’re entitled to radio airplay. So we’ve got people yelling louder and the rest of us just tune out, we can’t stand the noise. Where are we going? To greater concentration. That’s what the future looks like. Sure, you’re going to drive down deep into the niches that stimulate you, but in most categories you only want the guaranteed hits. …(N)ow, in an era where you can reach everybody with a click, it’s even harder to get their attention and to keep them focused. That’s your challenge."

http://www.theverge.com Who knows? A review of the new high-end Kindle that characterizes it as "shockingly good," something that savvy scrappy writers must watch and sample, as their output needs to fit such formatting options, one of various recent reviews of ‘mandatory’ technology items, for organizations as well as individuals, necessary in the current context .

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com A deconstruction that might, for all one knows, emanate from sour grapes, which does not make it any less thought-provoking, whatever the case may be, concerning the ‘lottery’ model of rewarding hard work and powerful insight, from Inside Philanthropy, so a credible source, critiquing in particular the ‘superstar’ paradigm apparently in favor at the MacArthur Foundation, in terms of its ‘genius grants.’

www.fiercetelecom.com/ A giant ‘Duhhh!!’ and yet important nonetheless, from Fierce Telecom, about the higher economic output, social wellness, and general well-being in communities that have access to very fast Internet speeds, a point that the Federal Communications Commissions denizens who are not reactionary cretins make in a more nuanced and richly narrative fashion

http://www.icij.org/blog A report-and-analysis from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the implications of which could be earthshaking for an organization of scrappy writers, in terms of finding the resources–only available from the likes of us from communities in common–to increase access to the data and information on which our growth and viable scrappiness depends: "Technology has opened very exciting opportunities for journalists willing to dig into data, but it also brings a new challenge: scale. When documents are produced in the form of PDFs, when they are handwritten and are not structured in a way that allows a computer to analyze them, reporters have no choice but used the old method of entering the data manually. Last May, the Argentinean newspaper La Nación completed the digitization of two years of expenses of the National Senate in two months with the help of the broader community. ‘The key for these projects is the relationship the newspaper has with the community’ said Gabriela Rodriguez, a programmer and former Knight-Mozilla fellow at La Nación, who worked on the project."

http://blogs.loc.gov / A trove of audio resources from Library of Congress, in support of ‘media convergence,’ magnificent for any writer with a bent toward music, criticism, media, or fiction that involves any of these.

http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/ A three part series from the Global Investigative Journalism Network, about the impacts, problems, prospects, and prognoses of digital media in relation to journalism and reportage, one of those sets of documents that is requisite for those who would discuss a topic: "Digitization has become a watershed for good and average journalism. One journalist, Bernard Poulet, said that ‘digitization has the same effects on journalism that globalization has on the middle class,’ comparing digitization with the death of the middle class of journalists. Mr Poulet projected that the profession of journalism will split into two distinct groups: a majority of ‘blue-colla’” underpaid journalists, performing routine tasks and ‘feeding the machine,’ and a few high-ranking journalists with great expertise and a unique personal style, whose names might even become brands."

www.snd.org/2014/09 Proceeding from the pretty irresistible premise that creating excellent content requires a system for managing the creation process and then designing and distributing what follows, a brilliant invitation from the Society for News Design to join the conversation, so to say, in particular at their next free annual gathering in Boston, which they pitch by listing the real live tools that resulted from their last get-together: "

  • Backstory is a tool that contextualizes the pieces of a story over time.
  • Moving Stories is a tool that helps readers with variable amounts of free time consume video content at their own pace.
  • Project Skim is a tool that improves readability of long-form stories on mobile devices.
  • Sluice is a prototype javascript app to track, surface and leverage social conversation around a story.

#SNDMakes is free to attend, we simply ask for two things: 1) A full commitment to the entire weekend. 2) An RSVP indicating that you plan to join us in Boston! RSVPs are due no later than Monday, October 6, but you’ll want to register sooner as space is limited!"

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
http://www.theverge.com A who-would-have-thunk-it moment, concerning a group of researchers who used text-messaging engagement to gain rich data and, possibly, some fairly deep insights into what constituted ‘moral behavior’ and how people responded to observing the moral world, published as "Morality in Everyday Life :" "And the results they’ve obtained so far are pretty revealing. For one thing, they found that the moral acts that people described tended to be based on caring, whereas immoral acts were more diverse and centered around harm, unfairness and dishonesty. The researchers also found that regardless of religious or nonreligious affiliation, participants responded positively to the survey and described a morally relevant situation about 29 percent of the time. ‘The main finding is that morally relevant phenomena happens fairly often," Wisneski says. "And being religious, or nonreligious, doesn’t change that frequency.’"

http://benton.org/node A Benton.org precis of a Broadcasting and Cable article that suggests that cord-cutting among all cohorts, the likelihood of abandoning cable, is on the rise and approaching a point where a majority will foreseeably go through such a snipping process, with sports aficionados an exception to this rule.
http://www.theatlantic.com/ An Atlantic assessment of the mental health of start-up entrepreneurs that finds over half of those in charge suffer bouts of severe anxiety and depression, which is certainly interesting but as a premise may have less to do with stress in a particular realm and more to do with the collapsing promise of late-stage-capitalism: "Severson learned that he wasn’t alone in his anxiety, or in his fear of admitting it. Seven months ago, he and developer Nick Ciske co-founded Startups Anonymous, a forum in which people in the tech industry can post questions and concerns anonymously and receive positive feedback. So far, he says, about half of the submissions have been about anxiety and depression. In tech circles, depression is ‘more prevalent than anyone really talks about,’ Brad Feld, managing director of the venture capital firm Foundry Group, and co founder of TechStars told me. Building a company involves long hours, late nights and an enormous amount of stress. The competitive nature of the startup industry—less than 10 percent of ventures succeed—discourages people from talking about their problems and feeds into the myth that successful founders are confident and in charge at all times.."

http://www.thewrap.com/ A ‘can’t-make-this-shit-up-moment’ from The Wrap about noted tattletale journalist Nikki Finke, whom a group of those whom she’d offended, and with whom she was fighting about business deals, stalked her in order to reveal things about her that they released on a website, causing a ‘stinky’ uproar in Hollywood (http://nikkistink.com/).

http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries A report about the interface of computers and speaking naturally, in which a National Science Foundation Discoveries blog gives a state-of-the-art update about recent research and developments, with an eye toward significant improvements soon to come.

http://www.mediapost.com A briefing and an update from Media Post about Google’s regulatory and legal woes in the European Union, and even stateside, in relation to longstanding accusations–some of which have resulted in threats of multi-billion dollar fines, which the company has heretofore avoided by promising to mend its ways, which News Corp executive director Robert Thompson says has not happened.

digiday.com/publishers/publishers-video-headaches/ An ‘insiders’ report about the protocols that print publishers are learning to follow in seeking to make gains in and derive revenues from video, both as original content and as ancillary material to textual product: "’Legacy publishers seem to have internal difficulties shifting to a multi-format content model that is committed to each distribution platform from dot-com to social to apps,’ said Paul Kontonis, executive director of the Global Online Video Association. ‘Shared services is a way to get a publisher to dip their toe in video without overhauling the existing hierarchies, politics, and comforting bureaucracies.’"

http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/ A Dazed Digital profile of Meadham Kirchoff’s SS15 show and profile of the artist, whose work is dazzling and provocative at once, creating a narrative as twisted as some of the work appears to be.

http://hkspolicycast.org/post/ A podcast from Harvard’s Kennedy School about Net Neutrality, basically a rudimentary introduction to the topic and the perspective of the ‘independent entrepreneur’ in the struggle, one of the Crimson’s many audio files on current topics, in a context in which everybody from Comcast to the FCC has something to offer on these matters.

http://thequietus.com/articles Another gift from MediaREDEF, which contextualizes the death of Biggie Smalls in a way that shows the complexity and uncertainty that prevailed, just shortly after Tupac’s murder, in a volatile and highly competitive business environment: "Less understandably, and more troublingly: he’d been warned, both informally and though somewhat more official channels, that he and his Bad Boy Records family’s high-profile presence in Los Angeles wasn’t perhaps the safest strategy considering the specific tensions that were evident in the city in those months following 2Pac’s murder. Perhaps he was emboldened by the realisation that his and his labelmates’ every move was being shadowed by FBI agents: you could perhaps understand some sense of indomitability that might spring from that. Who would be the fool who’d try something with the Feds looking on? The irony – and the tragedy; not to say the horror – of the situation is, that we may never know the answer."

http://digiday.com/brands/radio-not-dead/ One of DigiDay’s "Five Charts" briefings, in this case showing underlying data that explains radio’s resilience and pitching advertisers to reconsider a medium that inhibits just ‘skipping’ what to most owners of media is the most important part of the experience, which is to say the irresistible exposure of audience members to messages that pitch products.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com A Times DealBook report about China’s Internet marketing gatekeeper’s Initial Public Offering, which generated almost $22 billion on the strength of the presumption that as more Chinese citizens and consumers get online, more of them will buy stuff as a result of their being part of the virtual bazaar.

RECENT HAPPENINGS

Energy
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:h.res.727: A Congressional ‘Energy’ resolution that Library of Congress has made available, that shows precisely the retrograde choices and political economic assumptions that contemporary policy discussion allows, which is to say jobs and well-being depend on ‘all carbon all the time,’ and ‘fracking till the cows come home.’

http://www.fierceenergy.com/story A Fierce Energy briefing meanwhile about Duke Energy’s increasing its North Carolina solar investment by sixty percent, leaving aside that this is a boost ‘from next to nothing’ to a little bit more while it is putting billions into nuclear and coal.

Hillary Clinton
http://thehill.com/blogs/ In another Duh!! moment, this time from The Hill, a report about Hillary Clinton and how the so-called ‘left’ does not find her enchanting, which, even if it should be obvious, is nice to get in writing, with a look behind the screen, so to speak: "Clinton’s too much of a hawk, too cozy with Wall Street, hasn’t spoken out enough on climate change, and will be subject to personal questions and criticisms, members of the group stated in the emails. The existence of the group was reported earlier this year by the conservative outlet MediaTrackers.org, but this is the first time the emails have become public. ‘[A] Clinton presidency undos [sic] all our progress and returns the financial interests to even more prominence than they currently have,’ Melissa Byrne, an activist with the Occupy Wall Street movement, said in a November 2013 email."

Military
blog.uber.com/ubermilitary An Uber official blog, in which it celebrates the creation of UberMilitary, which promises to hire plus-or-minus fifty-thousand ex-military personnel as drivers over the next eighteen months, which will almost certainly serve as a divide-and-conquer mechanism among working people whose prospects in the current pass are lackluster at best.

about the present path, none of which examines the blood and terror of what these airstrikes mean, but a companion brief of which does note the upper chambers approval, 78-22, of the President’s request to bomb away , something that at least a few progressive voices are debating fiercely.

https://beta.cironline.org A Center for Investigative Reporting article that details the way that over three hundred U.S. sheriff and police departments have sent staff to Israel for seminars, demonstrations, and other ‘teaching’ about crowd-control, in similar fashion as other police are receiving instruction from Blackwater and other Private Security Contractor Mercenaries as ‘best-practice’ methods that may not sound to friendly for Americans generally: "Israel’s use of less-lethal munitions in crowd control received international attention in 2009, when American activist Tristan Anderson was struck in the face with a high-velocity tear gas canister during a West Bank demonstration against Israel’s border wall. His skull was shattered, leaving him in a coma for months. Now, he uses a wheelchair."

IM Bank
http://thehill.com/policy An overview and update from The Hill about Alan Greenspan’s opining in the fractious dispute among upper-crust minions about the Ex-Im Bank that it should close its doors.

MH – 17
fpif.org/u-s-leadership-russia-crippled-hypocrisy/ An exercise in the promulgation of horse manure from Foreign Policy in Focus, that without evidence of anything other than politics-as-usual labels Russia as an invading agent-of-repression in Ukraine, ignoring mountains of actual data, for example, that prove Moscow had nothing to do with MH-17, while only portraying the United States as troubled by hypocrisy, as if a primary point of empire were not precisely the sorts of double-dealing and overreaching that the author here points out, most of which moral travail according to the narrative has nothing to do with U.S. ‘noble’ hopes in Ukraine, where so many authoritative examinations have pointed out the presence of fascists and corruption as part of the SOP, with full knowledge of upstanding Yankee politicos and entrepreneurs and such.

Russia
http://www.nytimes.com A fascinating account from the Times ‘World Desk,’ about the arrest of a multi-billionaire in Russia for money laundering, which the paper of record accounts for as probably a combination of crony-capitalism and official plutocracy, a very plausible characterization, albeit the fellow so-charged has apparently been on friendly terms with U.S. media for many years: "More than a Khodorkovsky-like affair, the arrest of Mr. Yevtushenkov may fit a more familiar story line drawn from crony capitalism, in which an oligarch threatened by an investigation agrees to sell assets to a politically connected firm for a fraction of their value. ‘You give up your assets, the Russian government is happy that you leave, and you can stay free,’ Mr. Guriev said. The ties between politics and business have grown vastly during Mr. Putin’s 14 years in power, during which the state-run energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft have risen and some of Mr. Putin’s oldest allies, who control the state companies, have been enriched."

ISIS
http://america.aljazeera.com/ An Al Jazeera America analysis that points out the tension with Iran that is already resulting from U.S. policy evolution in regard to ISIS, a contention not completely at odds with official U.S. assessments , with Tehran’s accusing the U.S. of aligning with the Gulf States in an attempt to isolate and weaken its role in the region: "Khamenei decried the Paris conclave as a dangerous effort by the United States and Arab countries hostile to Iran to use the challenge of ISIL as an opportunity to promote an anti-Tehran agenda in Syria and throughout the region. ‘Iran sees this as an effort by Saudi Arabia and its allies and the United States to exert leverage and pressure on Iranian interests to degrade or weaken Iranian influence in Syria,’ said Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council."

Scotland
http://www.france24.com/ A breaking news brief from France24 that calls the vote for independence in favor of the "Better Together" side of things, noting that Alex Salmond had conceded the outcome, while positing testy times still to come in the aftermath, as a result of promises to the Scottish government about greater autonomy and more.

Argentina
http://www.nytimes.com An opinion essay in the Times that views Argentina’s plight sympathetically while it casts the politicians there in familiar roles of either bumpkins or tricksters, and the people as resigned and hapless, without mentioning empire or globalization or debts that were not legal in the first place, inasmuch as they derived from times of fascist coups welcomed by the ‘free market:’ "Argentines have a weakness for defiant characters. The writer Jorge Luis Borges said the country sympathized with ‘good outlaws,’ those who fought unjust laws. Mrs. Kirchner has assumed the role with aplomb: Like the Argentine literary character Martín Fierro, she’s the outlaw with good intentions, the heroine who never betrayed the people and was willing to defy the capitalists. Argentines have become skeptics about the usefulness of world markets. ‘Here, there’s never been a market god,’ says Mauricio Corbalán, 46, an urban planner who lives in Buenos Aires. ‘They no longer trust the neoliberal expert that says you have to pay, no matter what.’"

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

Religion
opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/ Another interesting exchange from a Times Opinionator debate, in which the authors mull over why or whether one ought to take a stance on an almighty arbiter named God.

Air Force
.

Surveillance
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/07/23/blacklisted/ A presentation by The Intercept about the U.S.’s increasing the likelihood of placing people on ‘Do-Not-Fly’ lists and other forms of ‘blacklisting,’ all approved by President Obama in Spring, 2013: "The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither ‘concrete facts’ nor ‘irrefutable evidence’ to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept."

Cecily McMillan

wagingnonviolence.org/ A Waging NonViolence blog that updates readers on Cecily McMillan’s release on probation and gives an overview of her case and then interviews her about her life and where she sees all of this leading: "Recently released on probation, McMillan’s activism continues, as she works to advocate for the women incarcerated at Rikers Island and across the country. Last week, I got the chance to catch up with Cecily about her activism, her experiences with the criminal justice system and the myriad ways that gender shaped both her own experiences and those of incarcerated women."

Voting Rights
http://www.propublica.org/ One of Pro Publica’s signature multimedia profferals, in this case about a state-by-state assessment of the status of voting rights in the jurisdiction.

A-Bomb
http://www.counterpunch.org/ An NWU At-Large member’s examination of the situation among Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Crews in the aftermath of recent scandals concerning training, protocols, and faked test results, among other things, still not a pretty picture.

Nuclear
http://www.fierceenergy.com/ A Fierce Energy briefing about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s finalization of revised spent-nuclear-wast storage rules, a contentious process that the account here does not deconstruct.

CitiBank
https://ir.citi.com/ An initially private report on the energy industry from CitiBank that notes the ‘disruptive’ environment likely to prevail in coming decades, in which price will be a volatile and ruling issue, though the monograph-sized report does not consider the potential impacts of democratic policy making on these issues.

Finance
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/ A crossposting from one of the frequent savants at Naked Capitalism, in which the deconstruction of the notion of finance’s being a ‘predictable’ science is one point and a development of a more nuanced and historical basis for analysis is another idea, among many others: "I recently read a paper by the anthropologist David Graeber entitled ‘The Sword, The Sponge, and the Paradox of Performativity: Some Observations on Fate, Luck, Financial Chicanery, and the Limits of Human Knowledge‘. Graeber sent it to me because we are hoping to write an article on the emergence of probability theory and its application in the financial markets. The working title of our paper is ‘The Betrayal of Freedom and the Rise of the Future Machines’. The basic idea is to show that the predictive powers of social sciences — including economics and finance — were shown to be fairly vacuous in the 1960s from a variety of different directions. The response by the horrified professions was to bury the evidence and double down on probabilistic prediction. This coincided with the rise of finance and the whole thing produced the weird world of meaningless numbers and extreme instability that we face today."

China
http://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33534.pdf "China’s Historic Rise," presented by Congressional Research Service, as usual only available as a result of the intervention of the Federation of American Scientists.

Health
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18845 A ‘children-at-risk’ offering from National Academies Press, a richly documented worldwide study of health and well-being and prospects of youth worldwide.

Afghanistan
http://time.com/3379066/ A digesting of a fascinating narrative about Afghanistan, by the account’s author, for Time Magazine, developing the notion that Afghan girls suffer immense difficulty in attaining even basic human rights such as a decent schooling, so much so that young females often assume a male identity: "The Underground Girls of Kabul explores the reasons for, and the consequences of, this longstanding practice, which has affected many Afghan girls and women. It also offers a glimpse into the situation for women there, which remains precarious."

Urban
http://www.citylab.com/ A contextualizing introduction from CityLab to a new series of stories in which innovators and leading thinkers will tell what they’re doing to improve outcomes in urban areas around the world.

9.18.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

The energetic motion of a few score elements, all of which have originated from the fusion of hydrogen with itself, account for everything tangible in existence: literally all of the world of ideas and emotion and belief—consciousness and desire and government and rhetoric and more—exists as a function of this underlying dynamic chemistry, and yet we feel, from the inside out, that so much more is in play, no matter what we make of it a combination of the most terrifying existential nightmare and the most sublime experiential delight, all of which nonetheless comes down to tiny bits of moving matter that join together in interesting ways.
Quote of the Day

“But the perfect case of journalistic knavery, Mr. Sinclair proceeds, ‘the case which in the annals of history will take precedence over all others, past or present,’ is the case of Russia. …’All the lying power of our journalism was turned against the Russian Soviets; and if you have read this book without skipping, you know what that lying power is. No tale was too grotesque to be believed and spread broadcast.’” A review of Upton Sinclair’s Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism, from the May, 1920 issue of Current Opinion: http://books.google.com
This Day in History

Today is National Day in Chile, in celebration of the founding in 1818 of the country’s first junta independent of Spain; five hundred twelve years back, the sailors of Christopher Columbus’ fourth and last voyage first set foot in what is now Honduras; three hundred seventy-nine years ago, Austria’s Holy Roman Empire declared war on France; three hundred thirty-five years prior to the present day, New Hampshire became a County of the Massachusetts Bay Colony; three hundred five years back, the baby boy who became Ben Jonson entered the world; the Treaty of Belgrade two hundred seventy-five years back ceded the city and its Yugoslavian surrounds to the Ottoman Empire; two hundred twenty-one years back, George Washington personally oversaw the placement of the Capitol Building’s first cornerstone; a grassroots movement both bourgeois and working class one hundred seventy-six years ago emerged as the Anti-Corn-Law League, lobbying parliament for free trade legislation; one hundred sixty-four years ago, the Fugitive Slave Law took effect, an attempt to ameliorate secessionist factions in the South that feared Abolitionists and the tide of history; the ‘paper of record’ issued its first edition a hundred sixty-three years back as the New York Daily Times; a hundred forty-one years ago, the ‘Panic of 1873’ initiated one in a long string of ‘Great Depressions’ to afflict Capital and its adherents; Hull House, an embodiment of ‘progressive’ social work and community organizing opened its doors a hundred twenty-five years back in Chicago; six years later, in Atlanta, Booker T. Washington delivered his ‘bootstraps’ speech , the so-called ‘Atlanta Compromise,’ which eschewed political or social equality in favor of economic activity; over 25,000 protesters gathered on the streets of Amsterdam a hundred four years ago to demand universal suffrage; in Kiev a year later, ‘terrorists’ detonated a bomb that killed Russian premier Stolypin, whose ‘neckties’ had been responsible for the deaths of untold thousands of Ukrainian activists and revolutionaries; eighty-seven years before this point in time, the Columbia Broadcasting Corporation began operations; eighty-three years ago, on the pretext of defending itself, Japan invaded and annexed Manchuria; eighty-one years ago, the baby boy who went on to become country sensation Jimmie Rodgers was born; seventeen years after its formation, the Soviet Union joined the United Nations eighty years ago, and a writer who had championed Russia’s cause was running for Governor of California on a pledge to End Poverty in California, truly an EPIC campaign; seventy-five years back, the British expatriate known as Lord Haw-Haw began broadcasting for the Nazis; in Minsk, seventy one years ago, German and local fascist forces began the extermination of Minsk’s Jews and Communists; Douglas MacArthur seventy-one years back moved his headquarters to Tokyo; sixty-seven years prior to the present pass, the Air Force became a separate branch of the military, and the National Security Act formed the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency; sixty years ago, an infant boy destined to become cognitive scientist Steven Pinker was born; the male child who would grow up to become Chris Hedges entered the world fifty-eight years back; Fidel Castro led a Cuban delegation to the United Nations fifty-four years ago; fifty-three years back, U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold died in a plane crash as he sought to mediate conflicts in Central Africa; fifty years before this moment in time and space, North Vietnamese forces first started obviously to infiltrate South Vietnam; forty-four years ago, Jimi Hendrix overdosed and passed away; thirty-nine years ago, FBI agents arrested Patty Hearst after she had spent a year on the most-wanted-list, following her conversion to the Symbionese Liberation Army; thirty-four years back, popular journalist and critic Catherine Anne Porter died; thirty-two years ago, Christian militias in Lebanon began to execute over six hundred Palestinians; billionaire media magnate Ted Turner seventeen years ago donated a billion dollars to the United Nations; sixteen years back, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers first formed.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
"free press" OR "press freedom" "freedom of ideas" OR "freedom of speech" history OR background OR origins analysis critique OR criticism "political economy" = 4.84 Million hits.

TOP OF THE FOLD

https://archive.org/details/cu31924026364251 Upton Sinclair’s The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism, which deconstructs the ‘free press’ in a way that provides the only basis for understanding contemporary media conflicts and conundrums, as well as being a delightful and instructive read on all sorts of additional levels: "’I am happy to see you always so burning with energy, but your next book prepares for you some rude combats. It requires a bold courage to dare, when one is alone, to attack the monster, the new Minotaur, to which the entire world renders tribute: the Press. I return to Paris in a few weeks. Reaction there holds the center of the walk. It speaks already as master, and perhaps it will be master before the end of the winter. The wave of counter-revolution, of counter-liberty, passes over the world. It will drown more than one among us, but it will retire, and our ideas will conquer.’" (A letter to Sinclair from French literary Nobelist Romain Roland, with which the author begins his study)

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The first episode of the to-start monthly Solidarity Forever Internet radio program is this Sunday at 11:00 P.M., which will begin a tradition of getting rowdy on the air better to understand our lives and times: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/solidarityforevernwuat-large.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
http://creativetimereports.org/ An invitation to participate, about "the most challenging issues of our time," addressed to artists generally, inclusive of writers.

www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014 An invitation from the National Science Foundation for sociology Ph.d.’s to apply for funding to ‘improve their dissertations,’ a process that some scrappy writers might find themselves in, and with which other scribes might conceivably play a helpful role.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
www.brookings.edu/blogs/fixgov/posts From Brookings Institution, an overview of this Summer’s Netroots Nation Conference in Detroit and interview responses from Jim Dean and Charles Chamberlain, who attended as part of the Democracy for America contingent.

www.breathlesspress.com/index.php The overall portal for Breathless Press, which is open to all sorts of romance fiction and represents a chance to put one’s slippered or naked foot in the door, as it were, for writers with the right bent.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3034747/ A Fast Company ‘lesson’ in classical economics that clearly deconstructs a lot of ‘self-help’ and liberal-outreach approaches to social improvement, in its assessment of a Starbucks ‘pay it forward chain’ that ‘customer 379’ supposedly broke, when in actuality the company cut the cord: "So, what is this chain? It isn’t people “paying it forward.” It’s people congratulating themselves on employing a generous-sounding rhetorical device. The chain here was broken when a person said ‘I’ll pay for myself’ instead of ‘I’ll pay for someone else,’ even though, economically, that meant the exact same thing. (And where does the leftover money actually go, once the chain is ‘broken’ and $5 is still sitting in Starbucks? Unclear.)"

mail01.tinyletterapp.com/ianschafe A direct and forceful expression from the e-mail newsletter, The Miscellanian, of an argument that much more frequently than not filmic storytelling and comic books will end up at odds, a straightforward and decently documented contention that may or may not mess contextualizing elements of key import, in any event a presentation that led to hundreds of comments.

http://qz.com/252456 A cool review essay from Quartz that looks at a critical examination of the web as a way of understanding ourselves and society: "Harris is the author of ‘The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection,’ a new book about how technology affects society. It follows in the footsteps of Nicholas Carr, whose ‘The Shallows‘ is a modern classic of internet criticism. But Harris takes a different path from those that have come before. Instead of a broad investigation into the effects of constant connectivity on human behaviour, Harris looks at a very specific demographic: people born before 1985, or the very opposite of the ‘millennial’ demographic coveted by advertisers and targeted by new media outlets."

http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/ A Tikkun essay from a participant in the original, ‘Freedom Summer’ version of Jackson Rising, where she heard powerful thinking and persuasive leadership from Ella Baker that define a crux of the issues that we’ve faced all along: "In 1969, Ella Baker, SNCC’s great mentor, pointed us in the direction of meaningful action when she said, ‘In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become a part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed.’ This means that we are going to have to learn to think in radical terms. I use the term radical in its original meaning – getting down to and understanding the root cause. Baker continued, ‘It means facing a system that does not lend itself to your needs and devising means by which you change that system.’"

www.globalresearch.ca/ A linked briefing about the historical and ideological roots of Zionism and the tasks of Jewish progressives to find ways to diminish its sway: "This does not mean that Israelis lack the right to equality in their native land. It does not mean abandoning our ties to that land. However, we must pay attention to how legacies of power make certain forms of exclusion and subordination seem normal. We must remain vigilant against our own chauvinism and listen to others. Do not believe that Israel lacks partners for peace and do not stand with those who demonstrate to Palestinians that they lack such partners."

www.truthdig.com/report/item/ A brief contextualization from Informed Comment’s chief genius, crossposted in TruthDig, of the Steven Salaita case, that continues to garner attention both provocative and political economic, as well as such lovely portrayals as here, in which a fired victim of McCarthyism speaks eloquently for Professor Salaita: "Of course some sufficiently strong partisans of the Israeli government are sorry to hear his criticism, and might deplore his presence on your faculty. You are not obliged to bow to them. They are asking you to violate the security of an academic position– in this case, a position firmly promised though not yet taken up. Even if you could justify breaking your University’s commitment to Prof. Salaita –which you can not– you should reject with indignation the calls to wrench him from the community. He is an active opponent of anti-Semitism and other bigotry, as you must know from his writings. We need him by our side."

http://blogs.loc.gov/ A Now See Hear blog from Library of Congress that conveys multiple pathways to the sounds that Studs Terkel brought working people, in particular a Labor Day broadcast from 1974 full of feisty, plaintive, whimsical, and solidarity-laced songs of the working class.

http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com Whew! A profferal from Forbidden Knowledge TV that is one of those ‘got-to-see-it-to-believe-it’ items, an RT documentary excerpt, "American Democracy: Murder Spies & Voting Lies," that will convince any who see it whose souls are not already bought and sold.

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2014/08/ A Library of Congress Teacher’s blog that introduces a leading archivist, whose commitment is to help people–writers and citizens–shape their own stories by making available to them elements of the past that otherwise would make little sense or appear in distorted perspective: "In The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Edward rides with transient men on the railroad. Young children may have no concept of hopping a rail car, or even of regular train travel, and photographs may help them visualize what these experiences might look like. This photograph shows both a man and a train to illustrate life on the trains, while this one shows two hobos who have been put off a train."

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/ A must read brief and series of profiles from Editor & Publisher about the necessity of publications’ finding engagement and income ‘beyond the printed page,’ with four instances in which such innovation appears to be having a useful impact on both readers and cash-flow: "The following pages contain just a handful of these ideas—each of them a testimony that newspapers will continue to expand on the innovation that originated on the printed page and have now expanded into new territories."

blogs.loc.gov/law/2014/08/an-introduction-to-congress-gov/ An introduction from Library of Congress to an absolutely mandatory tool, for every single non-fiction writer–without a single exception–and many other scribes besides, Congress.Gov, to which each NWU member might consider subscribing for free.

http://www.ninapapaconstantinou.gr An exhibition catalog to an artist-and-writer’s work, Instead of Writing, which can be dense in a ‘lit-crit-shit’ kind of way but is well worth the exercise of going and thinking through what is here: "Thus, Papaconstantinou’s textual drawings narrate the adventure and storyof writing. In the process, time is of vital importance. Each drawing is a proof of the time that was needed for its production. The inner time of text transcription mingles with the inner time of the narrative, as well as with the time put by the viewer to view and read the works."

http://www.theverge.com/ A contextualization from the Verge that might be critical to individual scrappy writers and is indubitably essential to their organization, speaking as it does to the meaning and evolution of blogging, which the author views as critically important to the survival of the writing dialog, as it were: "Today everyone in the media world is launching email newsletters. Jason Hirschorn, Ian Schafer, Ann Friedman, Lauren Sherman — as I’m typing these words I see that Dan Shanoff is soliciting signups for his forthcoming dailyish email (I signed up) — my inbox fills anew each day with emails. So many emails. Great. But what I miss from emails is the sense of community, the shared experience of shared linking in real time. Obviously Twitter replaced parts of that; Facebook others. Still, it’s a far noisier conversation these days, and perhaps there’s something to be said for good old blogging itself."

https://source.opennews.org/ An OpEd News item, via the Nieman Journalism Lab, in turn via Source, that speaks to the security concerns of writers, especially journalists, in a second installment in a series, in a way that is at once practical and evocative: "After you answer these questions you will be able to make a security plan, a set of practices that everyone involved in the story must understand and follow. A security plan might involve specific software tools, but security doesn’t come from software. It comes from understanding your security problem thoroughly, and successfully executing a plan to mitigate your specific risks. Think process, not technology."

http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/08 A report from Nieman Journalism Lab about an invitation only project from the "entrepreneur-in-residence" at Atlantic Media, a link-sharing exercise called This that only allows users to offer one single contribution per day: "That said, I asked a few of the beta users (full disclosure, I’m one) what they thought, and the reviews are mostly positive. The New York Times’ Jenna Wortham says it ‘encourages me to digest,’ though she wishes the links shared were ‘weirder’ and ‘less expected.’ The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal sees This as part of larger trend toward slowing down the Internet, comparing the project to Electric Objects and Cowbird. Chalkbeat’s Elizabeth Green has been using the site to bookmark articles for later reference, but says she also enjoys the high bar the site sets for what other people share. ‘I seem to be going to the site when I have time to read something and I don’t want to read crap,’ she says."

http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/21/ A short overview of where and why in the United States one might obtain ‘blazing fast’ Internet, thanks to a CNN-Money column that contains both text and grapics.

digiday.com/agencies/agencies-magazine-publishers/ An assessment of the free-for-all jungle that has evolved as the ecosystem of writing under finance capital, where all are doing everything–brands, platforms, agencies, publishers, here an examination of five attempts at publishing by formal agencies, well-financed competitors whose thinking and performance ought to interest scrappy writers: "’We don’t just talk the talk, but also walk the walk,’ Tom O’Reilly, Huge’s director of content, said. ‘We advise our clients to be publishers, so we should do the same thing.’ While their publication schedules vary, most agency publications consider themselves to be platforms for stimulating conversation and for ‘thought leaders’ to engage and share their insights with the industry. Some agencies say their audiences and clients demand it; others say it’s a way to attract potential clients."

op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/ A writer’s look at what scribes inscribe and citizens say about drought and dryness, the more epic the more visceral: "Take out the reference to studies, and much of this could apply a hundred years ago — take out the cars and baseball and you could make it a thousand. And indeed, a lot of what’s written on drought today harkens back to an earlier era. At San Diego Magazine, Clare Leschin-Hoar remarks on how little we still know: ‘While the National Weather Service uses everything from a variety of atmospheric models to weather balloons and drone planes to gather information, scientists still can’t predict precisely when a region will get rain, or how much. That means water officials need to constantly plan for what’s ahead.’"

http://www.niemanlab.org/ A nuanced and insightful analysis about the way that ‘web-practice’ has affected writers and publishers and the practice of inscription and professional communication: "Journalists started to receive detailed feedback from their reading public. Editors began to track in real-time the number of clicks, uniques, likes, and tweets. Editorial departments increasingly relied on web analytics. One of the most popular analytics programs, Chartbeat, is now used by more than 3,000 sites in 35 countries. This irruption of web metrics in editorial practice did not go unnoticed. Some welcomed this evolution as the empowerment of the audience … . But most reactions have been critical. Writers are described as being on a hamster wheel of incessant updates geared towards traffic maximization. Scholars have analyzed the negative effects of this ‘culture of the click.’ The obsession with clicks is said to be responsible for a degradation of online content: clickbait headlines, listicles of best burger places, and videos of adorable kittens that do little to turn readers into enlightened citizens(a descriptive assessment that the author contends is more ‘complicated,’ even if reasonably accurate)."

http://www.is.wayne.edu A classic from Wayne State University that should be in every scrappy writer’s toolkit, a ninety-four year old examination of American journalism by Upton Sinclair, Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism.

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
safeenergy.org/2014/08/14/citigroup-the-revolution-will-not-be-televised/ A summary and abstract of a major report on energy by GreenWorld, in which the often hidden data and ‘eyes-only’ mediation of these matters is part of the story, in which folks need to pay attention just to get the gist of things.

fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43684.pdf A look at "Do Not Call" regulations, in the form of an overview, legislative and administrative history, and description of practice from Congressional Research Service, only easily available thanks to the Federation of American Scientists.

www.theguardian.com/media/2014/aug/23 An assessment from the Guardian of the estimable potency of the Vice ‘brand’ with younger viewers, which other corporate outfits would like to replicate, with a particular focus on Vice’s presentation about Islamic State, which I will bet a substantial sum is as much a P.R. video as it is anything akin to legitimate ‘news,’ if for no other reason than what one BBC correspondent noted about the producers’ "impressive access" to these folks who, after all, go around beheading journalists.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119012/nfl-profits-college-football-ruining-education-universities A look at the cultural and business mediation that takes place in college football, here in what New Republic presentation provides as an excerpt of a popular book about the subject, Against Football : "’Yeah,’ Evan said, unconvincingly. ‘There was this part of me that realized that players were getting hurt, and ripped off, and that football wasn’t the proper purview of a world-class university. But there was this other part of me that just felt unmitigated glee when they won. And those two parts of me are often not talking to each other. ‘Evan said his passion for Michigan had started to ebb—until his son became a fan. Three years ago, they took a trip out to Ann Arbor to see the Wolverines beat Ohio State, an experience both of them look upon as a kind of holy pilgrimage. Why begrudge them this? After all, I still bond with my dad over sports. It’s a language to which we can always safely return. But it’s also true that I now often wish we had found more personal ways to connect, ways that didn’t do such harm to our principles."

www.indiewire.com/article An overview from IndieWire, via MediaREDEF, about and interview with one of film’s top cinematographers, who often shoots multiple films a year, which is like running multiple marathons over the same period; fascinating stuff and good models for when a scrappy writer hits the big time, so to speak.

www.wetmachine.com/t A big-data visualization and placing in perspective of the first million and a half or so of the FCC’s Docket 14-28 Net Neutrality commentary: "Perhaps most tellingly, the number of individual comments opposing net neutrality regulations as unnecessary and overly burdensome government regulation of the Internet is so small as to be statistically irrelevant to data visualization analysis.Those people who are engaged on this and care enough to comment all run one way — they want the FCC to adopt rules that prohibit paid prioritization and protect an open Internet."

http://www.techrepublic.com/article A compulsory assignment for scrappy writers and citizens from Tech Republic that distinguishes between "FaceBook ‘Free’" and "Open-Source ‘Free,’" the former in the nature of a trick and the latter only attainable in the context of communities that in practice are socially democratic: "’Be careful what you wish for,’ runs the adage. ‘You might just get it.’ In the case of the internet, or, at any rate, the world wide web, this is exactly what happened. We wanted exciting services – email, blogging, social networking, image hosting – that were ‘free’. And we got them. What we also got, but hadn’t bargained for, was deep, intensive and persistent surveillance of everything we do online.’"

http://www.theawl.com/2014/08/the-lost-section?curator=MediaREDEF An overview from The Awl, passed along by MediaREDEF, that considers what has happened as the Times has in a sense disappeared an entire section of the paper, and not just chopped liver, but the Tech section, which the author here places in an interesting context that nevertheless raises many more questions than it answers.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2014/db0822/DOC-328977A1.pdf A Federal Communications Commission FAQ about rural broadband that asks and provides responses to basic questions about rural broadband support, funding, and operational protocols, all of which many analysts (http://www.telecompetitor.com/rural-gigabit-boom-expected-thanks-to-gpon-upgrades/) view as a significant, though primarily technical, success story.

www.nytimes.com/2014/08/22/ Wow! One of those stories that requires an organization like The Times, just in order to be able to report it, of the firing–possibly for reasons that included currying political and trade favors–by a major German publisher of a Chinese blogger whose thinking was very frequently highly critical of Beijing: "’It doesn’t have anything to do with an evaluation of what she wrote,’ a Deutsche Welle spokesman, Johannes Hoffmann, said in a telephone interview from Bonn. ‘It’s just that she tweeted about internal issues about the Deutsche Welle in a way that no company in the world would tolerate. We warned her, and she continued to do it.’ Many commentators on Chinese-language social media, however, see more at work, especially because Ms. Su was one of the most prolific bloggers on Deutsche Welle’s widely read Chinese-language website, and often very critical of Chinese government policy. In recent months, they say, more pro-Beijing voices have been given greater prominence."

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/22/magi-a22.html An analysis of Woody Allen’s most recent effort, Magic in the Moonlight, that World Socialist Website finds "very distant from life" and lacking in much vibrancy or insight on top of that: "Banking on a reputation achieved through comic-artistic success years ago, Allen continues to be able to attract some of the leading actors of the day. But to what end? Over the past decade or so, the writer-director has engaged many talented and intriguing performers, and wasted their talents for the most part on one trivial project after another."

http://www.publicintegrity.org A modest but nonetheless forceful critique of the activities of large Internet Service providers and telecommunications giants in the crushing of at times essential actions by communities in improving their access to affordable high speed Internet, a bludgeoning of democracy that is possible because of the power that the corporations maintain in every State Capitol in the country, despite the manifest benefits to the towns themselves: "Employment in Tullahoma lagged statewide job growth before theLightTUBe was turned on. Since the recession ended in 2009, two years after the city began offering broadband, the city has outpaced job growth in Tennessee. The city added 3,598 jobs from April 2009 to April 2014, a 1.63 percent annual growth rate, about double the statewide rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."

RECENT HAPPENINGS

India

fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43679.pdf A research report from Congressional Research Service, thanks to the intervention of Federation of American Scientists, on India’s new government, whose leader is visiting the U.S. this month, with a focus on the leverage and opportunities for U.S. financial and media interests in particular.

Ukraine
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/14/huma-a14.html Ukraine again, an examination of the costs of empire and the imprimatur of fascist politics as the battles have hypothetically wound down in the nation’s Eastern regions: "Class forces will out, and this petty-bourgeois fraternity has found fitting partners in Ukraine. They embraced the right-wing, pro-EU protests on the Maidan in Kiev that culminated in the February 22 putsch and the installation of a far-right government. Now, they find themselves aligned with the white supremacist snipers, ex-convicts, and admirers of Ukrainian Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera inside Right Sector who are serving as imperialism’s foot soldiers, massacring civilians in east Ukraine."

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/16/hiding-ukraines-neo-nazi-reality/ An updated analysis of the same phenomenon, with nearly identical conclusions and a strong condemnation of both the imperial elite and the willfully–if also understandably–ignorant citizenry, who blithely overlook the fascists and accept the most blatant and hypocritically self-serving imperial hypocrisies: "’The Crimean authorities have relied on the well-known Kosovo precedent, a precedent our Western partners created themselves, with their own hands, so to speak. In a situation absolutely similar to the Crimean one, they deemed Kosovo’s secession from Serbia to be legitimate, arguing everywhere that no permission from the country’s central authorities was required for the unilateral declaration of independence. ‘The UN’s international court, based on Paragraph 2 of Article 1 of the UN Charter, agreed with that, and in its decision of 22 July 2010 noted the following, and I quote verbatim: ‘No general prohibition may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council with regard to unilateral declarations of independence.’"

Afghanistan
http://www.rollingstone.com A welcome-to-the-future of a freed Afghanistan piece from Rolling Stone, which would be ironic or even mildly amusing except for the journalists executed with pistol shots to their heads and ‘foreign aid workers’ slaughtered willy nilly: "It seemed a clear message to the internationals: You are not safe on our streets. You are not safe in our restaurants. You are not safe in Kabul. But the La Taverna massacre was just the first in a series of escalating and baffling attacks against civilians, of which Horner’s own murder would just be the next in sequence. The blows came one after the other, like a hammer setting a nail: six attacks in four months. By the end of April, more foreign civilians had been killed in Afghanistan this year than foreign soldiers."

Immigration
http://justsecurity.org/15147/ A moderate critique, from Just Security, of the bloviations of Senator Ted Cruz, who wants to strip citizens of their Constitutional rights to claim their citizenship if they step too far out of a line that he wants to draw: "But the Constitution requires that before anyone loses his citizenship, the government must establish that the individual knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally relinquished his right – just as courts must establish that an individual knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally waived his trial rights before accepting a guilty plea."

European economy
feedproxy.google.com/~r/NakedCapitalism l A general contextualization from Naked Capitalism of the still moribund European economy–the social costs of which are balanced very precariously on the point of spinning off toward who knows what mayhem–and a recent speech by Europe’s Central Bank President in Jackson Hole, which may have implied a slight loosening of the cautious-to-the-point of reactionary fiscal policies predominant ‘at the top’–i.e., in Germany–across the Atlantic: "The ECB has appeared to be in the past a center of what Paul De Grauwe calls balanced-budget fundamentalism. Traditionally ECB briefings would not be complete without a ritual call for governments to undertake structural reforms and to continue with fiscal consolidation. The big news is that Draghi does not (at least now) believe in balanced-budget fundamentalism. Instead this speech follows the line taken by Ben Bernanke, who made public his view that fiscal consolidation in the US was not helping the Fed do its job."

Media
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news A presentation from Poynter.org that could easily be a Writers’ Issue or Media entry, as well as belonging here, concerning as it does the intersection of police violence, citizen uprising, media and reportage, and law, in the event a look at a Journalism Professor list of important issues that will be a part of his Fall classes: "They include: access to information (including when documents should be released); free expression on social media (including who gets to decide when people can’t be on social media, such as Twitter removing @TheAnonMessage after it threatened St. Louis County police and hacked the police website); how the web has been useful in spreading information; what it means to peacefully assemble and what role journalists play in that; and what rights journalists and citizens have when they assemble."

Michael Brown
http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/08/21 Tikkun’s contextualization of Ferguson as an assault on democracy and citizenship and community that is the result of an embrace of violence and not a political outcome of oppression and injustice, important if only because of how attractive this erroneous point of view is among liberals: "The deeper, uncomfortable truth is, we will never see the end of these confrontations and this violence and this anguish (if you have seen the interviews of Michael Brown’s mother you know what I mean) until and unless we realize that we are creating a violent culture and set our faces against it. The militarization of our police force is but one inevitable step in a long process that involves the promotion of violence for ‘entertainment,’ violence as the only escape from the unfulfilling, if not hopeless lives that many lead in a materialistic culture, and violence as the means to stem the tide of that violence which is thus created. "

Education
http://www.citylab.com/crime/ A research summary from CityLab that shows another context in which ‘policing’ has often been increasingly out of hand of late, in the nation’s schools, a significant majority of which now deploy so-called School Resource Officers whose violence and officiousness has made headlines in recent years, which has in turn elicited significant limitations on their authority in some progressive districts: "It clarifies that enforcing school disciplinary codes is a responsibility for teachers and administrators, not the police officers assigned to patrol district high school, middle and elementary campuses. The policy also states that these officers should exhaust alternatives to arrest—warnings, counseling, community service, mediation—before slapping the cuffs on a kid busted for ‘low-level’ offenses like fights or possession of alcohol or marijuana."

Abortion
http://thinkprogress.org In an absolutely nauseating piece from Think Progress, in which the specter of fascist reaction looms ever nearer the surface of our lives, affecting women like the subject of this article–who faces decades in prison for ending her pregnancy–a conclusion that ought to necessitate citizens to ponder on which side they are and what they’re going to do about such things: "On top of that, reproductive rights advocates and legal experts point out that Indiana’s ‘feticide’ law was never intended to be applied to pregnant women themselves. It was originally written as a way to crack down on illegal abortion providers. Critics say Patel fits into a disturbing trend; similar ‘fetal homicide’ laws are in place in at least 38 states, and they’re increasingly used to punish women who end up having miscarriages or stillbirths. ‘Once again targeting a woman of color, prosecutors in Indiana are using this very sad situation to establish that intentional abortions as well as unintentional pregnancy losses should be punished as crimes,’ Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which tracks these cases closely, said in a recent statement about Patel’s case. ‘In the U.S., as a matter of constitutional law and human decency, no woman should be arrested for the outcome of her pregnancy.’"

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

Uranium

fas.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ A Federation of American Scientists profferal of a presentations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory about the risks and costs and possible smaller expense of using highly-enriched Uranium in Naval vessels’ reactors, of which dozens are in operation all over the world.

U.S. H-bomb arsenal
http://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R43685.pdf Another aspect of the Nuclear Fuel(Fool?) Cycle, in relation to the apparently central government priority of being able to exterminate humanity from the Earth several times over, a Congressional Research Service report–thanks again to Federation of American Scientists–of the issues and approaches to manufacturing plutonium pits–or triggers–for the U.S. H-bomb arsenal, which is constantly in need of reloads and which many politicians want to ‘upgrade’ as their corporate constituents cry out for even more lucrative government contracts.

History
http://fas.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08 A commemoration of a speech that John F. Kennedy gave at American University fifty one years ago, five months prior to his assassination, in which he both warned that either ‘one world’ would happen, or we’d have no world with people in it, and decried pessimism about the human prospect, because we do have the capacity for transformation: "’Too many of us think … that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.’ But he insisted that ‘human destiny’ remained in human hands. A durable peace, said JFK, could be constructed ‘not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions … World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor. It requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement.’"

Education
www.wsws.org/en/articles An examination of Atlanta’s ‘cheating scandals’ and their prosecution and mediation as an attack especially on teachers, as well as a disservice to students and communities and an undermining of public education, by World Socialist Website: "The rank-and-file teachers who have been accused are guilty at most of succumbing to the enormous pressure to conform to the expectations generated by the school testing frenzy set in motion by the NCLB legislation and continued under Barack Obama’s Race to the Top (RTTP) program. Many of the teachers have stated in their defense that the policy set by Hall and other top administrators made it almost impossible for them to continue in their jobs without going along with the test cheating."

Bitcoin
www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com A short video from Forbidden Knowledge TV, that defends Bitcoin without even defining it, a highly articulate hodge-podge of trust-fund anarchy and elite perspectives, with a ‘free-speech block chain’ and ‘peace’ a result that these speakers promise, without noting even vaguely how this will transpire, the upshot being that observers receive a P.R. exercise that is literally devoid of one substantive analytical perspective: "Bitcoin is not intended to be integrated; Bitcoin is meant never to be regulated."

Homeland Security
personalliberty.com/dhs-says-law-enforcement-prepare-citizen-enemies/ A blast from an at least reactionary and frequently protofascist ‘liberty-lobby that speaks of matters that are undeniable, that the U.S. Government, under the guise of ‘Homeland Security,’ is preparing to attack its own citizens, though most of these assaults will be the sort that took place in Ferguson, as an articulate portrayal from an investigative reporting service also made clear, warning of coming ‘counterinsurgency’ operations on U.S. Soil, a first since Bloody Kansas and John Brown’s raids.

Fascism
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/14/pers-a14.html A depth analysis from World Socialist Website about the conjunction of fascist militancy, imperial wars, and preparations of national militaries for urban warfare and conflict scenarios in their own territories: "By their own admission, these fascist militias have attracted neo-Nazi and white supremacist recruits from a number of other countries, including Sweden, Italy, France, Canada and Greece. While there has been a hue and cry about the alleged danger of European Islamists going to fight in Syria and then returning to Europe, no such concerns have been raised about those gaining combat experience in eastern Ukraine. Under conditions of rising social tensions on the continent, there is undoubtedly among some layers of Europe’s ruling elite a feeling that battle-hardened fascist thugs may prove useful in the not too distant future. The closest attention to the events in Gaza and Ukraine, however, is being paid by the Pentagon, which is up to its elbows in blood in both of these wars. The US military has the closest relations with the Israel Defense Forces, which Washington funds to the tune of $3 billion annually. The Pentagon recently asked Congress for another $19 million—on top of $23 million already allocated—to train and equip Ukrainian National Guard units. In the midst of the ‘anti-terror’ offensive in the east of the country, the US military last month rushed a team of specialists in ‘strategy and policy’ to Kiev to evaluate this bloody campaign. Both of these conflicts provide real-life laboratories for what is increasingly a top priority of the Pentagon—the preparation of US forces for urban warfare."

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18817 Supporting ten billion people and attendant ecological and economic issues, all contextualized by this National Academies Press monograph that applies primarily quantitative tools to the determination of where danger points and paradoxes lurk for policy makers going forward.

European Economy
feedproxy.google.com/~r An assessment both from the grassroots and at the most macroeconomic level, which compares the interlinked and difficult fates that the likes of Greece and Finland face in the context of an again deepening economic crisis that portends and even more volatile social unraveling, posted by Naked Capitalism from an internationally recognized University of Athens economist: "The euro crisis, which was the inevitable result of the global Crash of 2008, and of the Eurozone’s flimsy architecture, has, thus, caused considerable strain within the European Union, setting one proud nation against another. Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt insist that the Euro Crisis is now abating. Economic reality, on the other hand, begs to differ. Europe’s real social economy is continuing to fragment, and Europe’s integrity and soul are imperilled by our elites’ gross denial of the systemic nature of the crisis."

Panama
blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2014/08/ A Library of Congress Inside Adams blog that interweaves locating directions and electronic links for LOC’s multiple collections that can help researchers who want to investigate one of the most blatant thefts of the past thousand years, the removal of Panama from Colombia in order to guarantee U.S. imprimatur in the Canal Zone and more.

Guatemala
http://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R42580.pdf? A Federally funded estimate of Guatemala’s restive and volatile social situation, the predominance of extractive industries, and what all of this means to "U.S. interests," more or less exclusively from a U.S. upper-class perspective, from Congressional Research Service, as a result of the tireless efforts of the Federation of American Scientists.

Mexico
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/08 Another magnificent deconstruction via Naked Capitalism, through the offices of a Spanish financial expert whose task here has been to show the Spanish ‘reconquesta’ of its American holdings through the ‘deregulatory’ fervor that has wreaked havoc with Mexico’s control of its own resources of late: "As an exposé by the Mexican financial blog Sin Embargo has revealed, one of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s seven senior advisors, Jesús Ramirez Stabros, has been moonlighting as a member of the advisory board of Iderdrola Mexico since July 2013. As such, while Ramirez has been playing a key role persuading congress and the senate to pass the government’s land mark energy legislation, he has also been doing his level best to ensure that the Spanish company he serves in his spare time gets its fair share of the spoils. Ramirez is not the only senior Mexican political figure at Iberdrola’s service… . The ritual courting of the Mexican political elite – and the subsequent subversion of Mexico’s already deeply corrupt political culture – is now a widespread practice among many Spanish firms. Spanish telecoms behemoth Telefonica, which now controls over a quarter of Mexico’s mobile phone market, appointed Francisco Gil Díaz, a former Mexican Minister of Finance as its executive president for Mexico and Central America. One of the starkest examples to date is the Spanish construction firm OHL whose Mexican division is fronted by José Andrés de Oteyza, the former secretary of industry and development in the PRI government of José López Portillo. …(thereby) manag(ing) to obtain seven public works contracts worth over €2 billion in the last 18 months – more than twice the amount in contracts awarded to Mexico’s three largest construction firms (ICA, Tradeco and Carso) combined."

Nuclear
www.fierceenergy.com/story A briefing from Fierce Energy about China’s likely tripling of its nuclear power plants over the next quarter century and plausible substantial domination of the world nuclear market in the process.

9.17.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Whatever one thinks about the Declaration of Independence, it did recognize the two things that everyone on Earth who is not psychotic does want more than anything else, personal power and individual happiness, neither of which, interestingly enough, is attainable outside a general context of mutuality and collective engagement and general commitment to serve the human prospect itself.
Quote of the Day

"I had crossed the line of which I had so long been dreaming. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom, I was a stranger in a strange land, and my home after all was down in the old cabin quarter, with the old folks, and my brothers and sisters. But to this solemn resolution I came; I was free, and they should be free also; I would make a home for them in the North, and the Lord helping me, I would bring them all there." Harriet Tubman, resolving to start an ‘Underground Railroad:’ http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Harriet_Tubman.

This Day in History

Eight hundred thirty-eight years ago, Turkish Muslims at the Battle of Myriokephalon Pass dispositively removed the threat of a Byzantine reconquest of Central Anatolia; four hundred thirty-seven years back Catholic King of France Henry III concluded the Peace of Bergerac with Huguenots; three hundred eighty-four years prior to the present point in time, the city of Boston came into being; Antonie van Leeuwenhoek wrote the Royal Society three hundred thirty-one years ago about his discerning ‘little animals’—protozoa—under his microscope; Marquis Condorcet, the mathematician and political philosopher, grew from a boy baby born two-hundred seventy-one years back; two hundred thirty-eight years before the here-and-now, Spaniards founded the Presidio of San Francisco in the Bay Area; the U.S. Constitution came into effect with formal signature from Conventioneers two hundred twenty-seven years ago; what has since become Finland two hundred five years back became part of Russia in a treaty concession by Sweden; Francis Scott Key completed his Defense of Fort McHenry two hundred years ago today; Harriet Tubman one hundred sixty-five years back escaped from her enslavement to help lead the United States to abolish this crime against humanity; one hundred fifty-six years ago, the slave Dred Scott died at age sixty-three; in the Philippines a hundred fourteen years back, rebel forces defeated an American detachment in a major battle; a hundred six years ago, a passenger flying with Orville Wright became the first fatality of the age of mechanized flight; a mere eight years after that, Baron Richthofen on this day participated in the first aerial dogfight, on his way to becoming World War One’s greatest ‘ace,’ and across the English Channel the infant girl who became author Mary Stewart was born;’ ninety-one years back, a baby boy came into the world who grew into the iconic country music writer and singer, Hank Williams; ninety years ago, the newly formed nation of Poland formed its ‘defense corps’ against Soviets who were infiltrating the country in order to raise a ruckus, a few years after the defeat of the Pole’s invasion of Ukraine en route to taking over Moscow from the Reds, which didn’t quite work out; seventy-nine years ago, the boy-child who became beat-and-counterculture author Ken Kesey drew his first independent breath; seventy-five years prior to the present pass, meanwhile, Russia invaded Eastern Poland as the Nazis took the nation from the West in the first Blitzkrieg; sixty-six years back, the so-called Stern Gang—including future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir—assassinated Swedish United Nations mediator Folke Bernadotte who was seeking to facilitate Palestinian-Jewish dialog; thirty-eight years ago, the first space shuttle, Enterprise, flew its inaugural mission; both Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization thirty-six years ago signed the Camp David Accords; after weeks of wildcat strikes in Gdansk, Poland, thirty four years before this moment the organization Solidarity formed, and assassins murdered deposed Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza in Asuncion, Paraguay; the first version of Linux issued for use via the Internet twenty-three years ago; twenty years ago, philosopher and conservative activist Karl Popper died; thirteen years back, the stock market reopened after its 9/11 hiatus; three years prior to now, Occupy Wall Street started up.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
media knowledge consciousness OR awareness power democracy empowerment OR grassroots OR "community engagement" = 17.8 Million Results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

https://gigaom.com/2014/09/16/journalism-isnt-just-about-informing-readers-its-also-about-helping-them-take-action/ A sweet contextualization from GigaOm about extending our consciousness of what journalism, or even reporting as a human phenomenon, must become to serve humanity’s prospect, which is to consider engagement, empowerment, and solutions rather than merely the provision of ‘information,’ all of which applies especially to local situations: "Ironically perhaps, this is something that members of online communities like Reddit understand instinctively, and their ability to tap into and empower users who want to raise money for worthwhile causes can be seen in cases like the campaign for a Kenyan orphanage or a terminally ill cancer patient. Whether you agree with those specific goals isn’t really the point — the point is to recognize the value of that ability to connect with readers around an issue."

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The National Organizing Committee met last night and discussed many interesting options for advancing our little union of scrappy writers.

This Sunday, the National Writers Union will send a contingent to the 100,000 people or so who gather in New York City for one of many People’s Climate Marches that are taking place around the world.

This Sunday night at eleven, the inauguration of the blog-talk radio monthly program, "Solidarity Forever," takes place, with the At-Large Chapter Chair as host and chances to sing and call in and listen and ponder: LINK.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants An invitation to apply for one of plus-or-minus sixteen fellowships–funded at $60,000-110,000–that support social justice, half of which will assist advocacy efforts and half of which will facilitate media work, all of which will require writers.

Morristown, NJ – Reporter for award-winning northern New Jersey weekly newspaper group.

Company:Cox Media Group Newspaper Shared Services; Position: Sports copy editor – part-time; Location: West Palm Beach, Florida

Pierre, SD – Our Capital City newspaper needs an experienced page designer. Are you a copy editor/designer/writer who thinks like a reader when editing copy and designing pages?

Las Vegas NV – DISCOUNT RETAIL STORE SERVICES is seeking a highly talented and experienced copywriter with the ability to generate content on demand for various industries and clients.

Salt Lake City, UT – Grant & resource coordinator. Under the supervision of the Chief Development Officer, assists in the development of new funding opportunities through local, state, and federal grants, partnerships with business and other philanthropic sectors, and obtains funds from public and private sources.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39696.htm

An important posting from a passionate labor supporter and close observer of the ebb and flow of politics and empire, from Information Clearinghouse, in this instance an argument that the two-part-system is a shell-game that we continue to honor at our most immediate and mortal peril: " Wake up! Clinton and Bush together(at a program in New York) like Mutt and Jeff from the comics? Well, they should be, because the two of them did so well serving the empire and its masters. Clinton made sure NAFTA and GATT and the WTO trade alliances were set and ready to help destroy our labor force. He signed the repeal of Glass Steagall, which opened the door to the Wall Street banksters and their sacking of any financial regulations worth their salt. His Telecommunications Act (or the signing of such) gave us all the obscene cable bills we now have… along with other disgraces the phone and cable industries get away with. His cutting of the safety nets for the underprivileged helped further destroy the family values both parties rail about. As far as his successor, the guy he sat and laughed with, hand on knee, well, it would take a book to capture all of his crimes."

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item An opinion essay from TruthOut that updates the situation in Steven Salaita’s case and shows the obduracy and viciousness of the University of Illinois Urbana Champagne Board in this matter, in which a union of scrappy writers ought to be playing a supportive role: "What is most troubling about this case is the utter arrogance of Wise and the Board of Trustees. And this arrogance puts the lie to any claim they make toward ‘democracy’ and ‘community’ and, yes, ‘civility,’ which after all regards citizenship and being a member of a society, bound by its rules, customs and shared values. In their actions the Board and Wise effectively and willfully placed themselves outside of decent academic society. They are, indeed, outlaws, and should be treated with disdain, distrust and high contempt, for the contempt they themselves have shown for academic freedom. They placed the emails they received from fewer than a hundred complainers above the following(thousands of) organizations and groups, which taken together form a veritable Who’s Who of US higher education."

http://epic.org/epic/EPIC-2014-Brochure.pdf A link to the 2014 Electronic Privacy Information Center brochure, which details the Center’s efforts in court, before administrative forums, in the intellectual commons, in lobbying legislatures, to derail the comprehensive disregard for anyone’s having anything that he can keep to himself, that she can elect not to share.

http://www.narconews.com/ A key to the archives of NarcoNews, progenitor of the School of Authentic Journalism that helped to train Gary Webb and more, and, given the strategic importance of the repression and militarism inherent in the so-called ‘War on Drugs,’ ought to be in every scrappy writer’s virtual rolodex.

A dated but nonetheless incisive White Paper about journalism’s ‘watchdog’ role and the threats to this important function and aspects of approaches to retaining a vibrant and independent reporting capacity: "Investigative reporting also threatens to upset the cozy relationships between media owners and their friends among the upper crust of business and politics. Press proprietors are wary that hard-hitting exposés might turn off advertisers. Given these obstacles, the only way that investigative reports can make any headway in the media free market is to show that they can sell newspapers and news programs and that there is an audience for serious reporting."

http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/09 Another item that extols the work of Jacobin, although to an extent tongue in cheek and in some cases damning-with-faint praise, but generally a Nieman Journalism Lab profile that shows the socialist agenda and effective organizing and reporting and writing that is emanating from this vibrant media upstart: "Jacobin is involved with projects beyond publishing analytical essays. They coordinate a nonfiction series via Verso Books. They’ve also done a lot of work around the Chicago Teachers Union, including some political organizing and printing a pamphlet. Jacobin has a clearly stated political mission — for Sunkara, the goal has always been to centralize and inject energy into the contemporary socialist movement. To that end, he’s interested in expanding local Jacobin reading groups nationwide, including the hiring of two full-time organizers."

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item A powerfully argued opinion piece from TruthOut that insists that citizens who feel a sense of injustice, unfairness, oppression, or decline ought to ponder the possibility of a socialist alternative, in which the obvious and tangible connections among all of our difficulties–whether in Gaza or Ferguson, so to speak–militated our working together for governance that stemmed from popular power: "Young activists, and many older ones as well, are increasingly making connections between different issues. It used to be that protest organizers would frown on attempts to try to raise different issues at a conference or demonstration, because this would supposedly ‘detract from the message.’ But at many marches these days, interconnectedness is the central message–from Gaza to Ferguson to fast-food workers to migrant kids trying to cross the border. We are learning that casting an individual struggle in a larger context doesn’t diminish its importance, but magnifies it. We are rediscovering solidarity."

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/ A portal from Library of Congress that introduces readers and writers–especially teachers and tutors–to the rich resources of LOC in regard to primary sources–ranging from photos to letters, from news and periodical articles to government documents, from speeches to mediated entertainment, from advertisements to political broadsides.

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com A stinging rebuke from the Peterson Institute for Inside Philanthropy’s opinion essay about the amount of corporate and partisan money that Peterson was receiving, which the Vice President for Communications and Research from P.I. does an effective job of rebutting, at least in terms of any simplistic conclusion that the organization only did what its funders would most desire, a notion that the author of the original piece responds to in a mild-mannered and nuanced way in his one comment.

http://www.govexec.com/excellence/ For any wordsmith who imagines writing self-improvement, and for some scribes who like to stay abreast of what others are putting into print in this realm, a listing of top recent titles from GovExec briefly annotated: "14. Building a Better Teacher by Elizabeth Green (August 4)

Great education is the foundation of a flourishing society, and it depends on great teachers. Green, a leading education journalist, offers strong evidence and compelling cases to illuminate what it takes to get children to pay attention, sharpen their reasoning, and contribute to insightful discussions."

http://blog.bookbaby.com A basic and somewhat simplistic and yet thorough and undoubtedly useful guide to the standard approach to workmanlike production of texts–knowing one’s audience, writing to its expectations, developing feedback loops to gain insight as the process unfolds, and more–a methodology that is common because it often works–hence the utility.

http://www.newrepublic.com/ A resuscitation of Ned Ludd from the New Republic, but without any romanticism, with the grit and clarity that Daily Links has seen in other recent posts about the dubious beneficence of computerization and the next-generation of robots, which are already starting to make writers redundant, for example, a trend ubiquitous enough to have turned even many erstwhile tech-supporters against any reflexive backing for further automation: "This resentment is intensified by rising social inequality. Everybody now knows that neoliberalism did not deliver the promised ‘trickle-down’ effect; rather, it delivered trickle-up, because, even since the recession began, almost all the fruits of growth have gone to the rich. Working and middle-class incomes have flatlined or fallen. Now, it seems, the wealthy cyber-elites are creating machines to put the rest of us out of work entirely. The effect of this is to undermine the central argument of those who hype the benefits of job replacement by machines. They say that new and better jobs will be created. They say this was always true in the past, so it will be true now. (This is the precise correlative of the neoliberals’ ‘rising tide floats all boats’ argument). But people now doubt the ‘new and better jobs’ line trotted out—or barked—by the prophets of robotization. The new jobs, if there are any, will more probably be serf-like attenders to the needs of the machine, burger-flippers to the robot classes."

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home A provocative briefing from Inside Philanthropy that profiles a program ‘from the Googleplex’ in support of mainly technical projects that deal with computer science and engineering but occasionally provide funding to online learning and other areas that might fit with a writer’s work, and in any case all of which requires a rhetorical interface of some sort, persuasive words in support of a scope of work.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/ A contextualization of contemporary journalism best-practices, by the Guardian, which looks at ways that innovators are permitting reader inputs to shape how drafted articles develop, correcting mistakes, providing different points of view, and letting multiple voices have a stake in the story itself: "Quartz is using ‘annotations,’ which allow the readers to update and even correct stories. Instead of leaving reader comments at the end of an article out of context, Quartz allowed readers to comment – even make corrections – right next to specific points in articles, and share those views with colleagues and friends. ‘We look at every new annotation,’ Quartz advises. ‘That’s because we want to absorb all your wisdom, respond when appropriate, and remove stuff that’s off-topic or abusive. We approve any annotation that makes a substantive contribution, and we don’t shy away from criticism.’"

http://www.salon.com/2014/09/03 An examination of Orwell’s "Politics and the English Language", which has appeared on the Daily Links before and has provoked plenty of thought and friction over the years, in particular here a focus on a recent critic of latter-day promoters of Orwell’s POV, and a response by this author, who believes a misreading of George’s points is taking place: "Orwell, Self protests, is invoked by present-day ‘language police’ who seek to impose ‘good old-fashioned prejudices’ on a ‘living, changing’ tongue. This is a wild — and one can only assume willful — misinterpretation of the Orwell essay in question, a famous piece written in 1945, “Politics and the English Language.” The essay, which is always worth revisiting, specifically addresses political writing and attacks such bad habits as ‘stale or mixed images,’ ‘prefabricated phrases,’ ‘needless repetitions’ and ‘humbug and vagueness generally.’ Orwell calls instead for prose that reaches for fresh metaphors and that is precise and concrete. He also argues that getting rid of the ‘bad habits’ of abstraction, pretension and verbal obfuscation will help everyone to ‘think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration.’"

http://www.journalism.co.uk/news A heartening analysis from England’s Journalism.co about a Dutch aggregator that has become extremely popular, ‘wildly’ so apparently, by helping papers and institutions gain access to content that might otherwise pass them by, insodoing articulating both a business model and a social and media service of significant import: "The platform is the brainchild of journalist Marten Blankesteijn, who was frustrated that he could not share links to articles he had written for Dutch publications, the vast majority of which do not publish content online for free. …’The problem is not that people don’t want to pay for [journalism], the problem is that it’s too hard right now, to have a decent micropayment system where it’s very easy to pay for articles.’"

http://www.netnewscheck.com A potent essay that contends that cutting back on copy-editing may be self-destructive for media outlets–full disclosure: I’m a copy editor–given the frantic pace of mediation these days and verifiably accurate assessments that indicate that readers judge reliability of articulation based on its correctness and fluency.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/new Arguably a critical issue for both scrappy writers and their organizations, especially when as individuals and groups they want to counteract idiocy and fight repression and stupidity, in the event a report from MiddleEastEye about Egypt’s recent banning of Al Jazeera TV, adding insult to injury after the egregious imprisonment of three AJ journalists three months ago.

http://www.theverge.com/201 A note-taking application for those who need words at the ready, in this case for Androids, allegedly the best available, according to Verge, which also reviews the best application for taking notes on an i-Phone as well.

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

http://pando.com An analysis brom Pando Daily that looks at the current reality of tech and intellectual-property companies–Silicon Valley is one way to say this–and issues a strong caution about the real danger of a bubble that–if the metrics involved are an indication, as one would think–could easily dwarf 1999, in which the problem of ‘overvaluation’ of ‘properties’ is less the central matter of concern than is the so-called ‘burn-rate,’ the ratio of cash–most of it from investors–spent up or burned, and the identifiable, ultimately bankable value creation that results, which is at levels that encourage both incautious spending everywhere and a huge likelihood of all that cash’s doing a disappearing, merry dance down unidentifiable rabbit holes: "But where Gurley and Wilson seem to agree is that this spending needs to be commensurate with the return on that capital that the company can reasonably expect generate independent of the infusion of future rounds of venture cash. There will always be those that argue that Silicon Valley is in a bubble, or that startups valued in the multiple-millions of dollars are out of touch with economic realities. But when two of the luminaries of the industry begin to agree, and not only agree but do so publicly and loudly, it may be time to sit up and take notice."

http://thehill.com/special-reports Another version of Senator Patrick Leahy’s letter to the FCC in defense of an open Internet, this time with Congresswoman Doris Matsui as a co-contributor, a position of rejecting ‘fast lanes’ and generally attacking the openness of the web that almost all commentators supported, including many journalists and press organizations.

http://justsecurity.org/15018/ A Just Security notice that the F.B.I. is requesting and seems on track to obtain a rewriting of the U.S. criminal code to obtain the right to hack anyone’s computer and copy or otherwise manipulate in conjunction with any ‘criminal investigation’ about anything, which the author here believes will pose a special danger of abuse in so-called extraterritorial seizures of this sort.

http://www.marketplace.org/ A chilling report from MarketPlace about the data-collection colossus gobbling up everything quantifable about students, an investigation that shows the connections among governments, the $8 billion ed-tech industry, and huge storage of this output from a "24/7 data collection monster" that holds on to ‘disciplinary notes,’ testing and performance results, the counselors that the youngster visits, the medications, everything, a totalized invasion of people that has horrifying implications and wonderful opportunities at the same time.

http://digiday.com/publishers/aol-become-digital-video-powerhouse/ Whoa! A scary and fascinating glimpse from Digiday of America Online’s AOL Originals’ new season of outpourings, most of which are fetishized vomitus but some of which actually manage to engaged in real conversations, with plenty of celebrity, loads of high heels, sexualized young kids, and plenty more besides: "The formats are familiar, too, with most shows sticking to reality TV and documentary techniques. AOL says the thematic through-line across its original programming is ‘authentic voices and remarkable storytelling.’ But there’s an even more apparent commonality: well-established names. That makes AOL’s programming suite very attractive to advertisers looking to move more dollars over to digital. ‘Every piece is in unison, from talent and production to distribution, monetization, and measurement,’ Paul Kontonis, executive director of the Global Online Video Association, told Digiday."

http://thedissolve.com/features A look at ClickBait as a social phenomenon, from The Dissolve, via Media REDEF, that decimates what the author describes as the the worst example of ludicrousness in the whole field, all of which serves to emphasize the triviality of human existence just now but which may evoke actual critical thoughts about media and bullshit, which would be a lovely thing: "It’s not a matter of whether I will be insulted by obnoxious Internet time-wasters, but just how dramatic that insult will be. There’s a distinct element of masochism in this: Some part of me must desperately want to have my intelligence affronted, and it’s willing to slog through oceans of amateurish prose to have that curious need satiated."

http://www.latimes.com/nation/ An L.A. Times briefing about Politico’s recently acquired executive editor, whose track record made him a legitimate ‘journalistic heavy-hitter,’ and his receiving the sack from top management after eleven months on the job, which happened "without acrimony" and because of different visions of how to succeed: "In his own memo to staff, Berke said, ‘I saw a clear path to help them take Politico to the next level, but as time went on, it became clear that our strategies were diverging.’ He said his departure involves ‘no acrimony and no drama’ and praised the journalists he has supervised for the last several months."

http://online.wsj.com/articles An important story from Wall Street Journal, if only because its clearly one-sided storytelling makes a strong case for Venezuela’s ongoing suppression of free speech and public information, a case that, perhaps, a more nuanced approach might at least recognize that others see in a different light.

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/5047/ A review essay from NarcoNews of the forthcoming film, Kill the Messenger, about the life and death of Gary Webb, whose San Jose Mercury News series in 1996 established incontrovertibly that Central Intelligence Agency operatives were directly responsible–despite the "this can’t be true nature" of the story that the SJMN early generation website put all the documentation online–for importing cocaine into the U.S., insodoing also about CIA influence on and threats to democratic information and so forth: "When in the summer of 1996 the San Jose Mercury News published Gary’s investigative series on CIA cocaine trafficking, I had previous knowledge that it was all true but honestly thought that it was old news. Ten years prior, first-term US Senator John Kerry had held hearings and issued a 1,100-page report that had reached the same conclusion. The nation’s major news outlets gave the Kerry Committee Report scant attention, but the record had been established. It was an airtight case. The Central Intelligence Agency had broken US law by brokering planeloads of cocaine into the United States, and millions of dollars in those drug profits were used to fund the Contra army seeking the violent overthrow of the Nicaraguan government. The CIA did so to get around the US Congress, which had voted to ban US funds going to that terrorist organization. The Reagan administration, even as it ramped up the ‘Just Say No to Drugs’ campaign at home, entered the cocaine business through private contractors coordinated by the CIA."

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18849&page=1 A National Academies Press summary of a National Academy of Science and other agency project to study international research systematically in terms of cultural influences on and complexities in multinational collaboration.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology A Technology column that provides a news analysis of the paradox of stringent anti-piracy enforcement–reduced innovation and lower profits despite less illicit downloading–in Australia, from New Zealand’s Stuff: "They find the ‘vast bulk’ of additional revenues earned through any anti-piracy scheme would flow to overseas companies because most of the programs Australians download illicitly are owned by overseas companies. They also argue that illicit downloading can have economic benefits for rights holders – for example, more people seeing a movie can stimulate demand for associated video games or memorabilia."

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/09/05 A cheeky deconstruction from Dish, proffered from MediaREDEF, about the "Great Pacific garbage dump" of the Internet, in which the author–probably correctly–impugns the value of the vast majority of what passes for news, data, or insight on the web: "So let’s get into this a bit more. Here are the primary types of garbage content that lots of money – money that could be spent on making good things – is currently being spent on producing: No-value-added news blogging. This is ‘aggregated picayune garbage,’ and it is the primary pollutant in the Great Pacific garbage patch of the Internet. It is just mass-produced debris, utterly valueless, thoughtlessly sent into the world without regard for quality, but solely because it fills the short-term need to have some sort of piece of content on which to sell ads. This makes up 75 percent(author’s intuition) of the content on TIME’s “Newsfeed” (“Chris Pratt Messes Up First Pitch at Cubs Game, Is Completely Charming About It,” “43.5 Socks Removed from Dog’s Stomach During Surgery“), with similar numbers at the Huffington Post, and the newsblogs of AOL and Yahoo and MSN. That’s just the general-interest news media. In other fields, it’s frequently worse, largely because shrinking budgets have decimated everything that isn’t cheap aggregation. Music and pop culture sites in particular are full of semi-identical news nuggets (“Kate Bush’s House in Danger of Falling Into the Sea,” “Kate Bush Is Literally Living Life on the Edge,”, “Kate Bush’s House Might Fall Into the Ocean”), as are sites dedicated to film, comics, and entertainment in general."

http://pando.com/2014/09/03/ A Pando Daily briefing about GoFundMe’s applying a different standard, on the one hand, to a policeman’s seeking funding to defend himself from eight rape charges, which it stopped after the fellow had raised seven thousand dollars, and on the other hand to Michael Brown’s killer Darren Wilson, who pulled in almost a quarter million dollars, though Wilson has yet to face charges, and then stopped his own campaign but which GFM has allowed to continue at will.

RECENT HAPPENINGS

ISIS
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39694.htm Remarks of Russia’s foreign minister, a bit roughly translated perhaps, but clear, via Information Clearinghouse, that Minister Lavrov made at last week’s Paris Conference on Iraq’s security, thinking that any citizen with a brain and a desire not to ignite World War Three ought to attend carefully:"The resolve to fight with all forms and manifestations of terrorism without distinguishing between ‘bad’ and ‘good’ terrorists has always been at the centre of international anti-terrorist efforts. Regrettably, in the Middle East and North Africa this cornerstone principle began to fail and was repeatedly sacrificed for a desire to change a regime in this or that country. In Libya some of the countries represented in this room closed their eyes on the rise of extremists in the fight to topple Muammar Gaddaffi and even supplied arms to them and went to war on their side. …The fact that Bashar al-Asad was hastily declared ‘illegitimate’ more than three yeas ago, has prevented a timely and adequate response to terrorist groups in Syria. … As a result, many things happened, including the ISIL consolidation of its forces and its action in Iraq and Syria."

Nuclear
http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments An Ecologist blog that examines a recent assertion from BBC that longstanding environmental advocate Friends of the Earth had decided that nuclear might be necessary after all, which the author here labels a blatant falsification, before he goes on to uncover deep ties between British Broadcasting and the nuclear industry.

http://www.reuters.com/article/ A report from Reuters about the mourning family of Steven Sotloff, the recently decapitated journalist who had gone to the Levant to ‘give voice to the voiceless’ and instead faced cruel murder, and the family’s spokesman, an Islamic scholar who calls the ISIS theology fraudulent and doomed: "Barfi ended the statement with off-the-cuff remarks in Arabic, saying ‘Steve died a martyr for the sake of God.’ He then challenged Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to debate Islam, saying, ‘Woe to you. You said the month of Ramadan is the month of mercy. Where is your mercy? God does not love the aggressor,’ added Barfi, who is an Arabic scholar and research fellow at the New America Foundation think tank in Washington. He went on, ‘I am ready to debate you with kind preachings. I have no sword in my hand and I am ready for your answer.’"

Scotland

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/09/16/pers-s16.html

A World Socialist Website presentation that digs deeply to understand both what is behind the Scottish referendum on Thursday and to assess what the likely impacts will be, ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ explication that one may question but which is a far cry from more superficial presentations(http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/16/project-panic-british-leaders-make-last-ditch-offers-spoil-scottish-independence) that are present elsewhere, none of which(http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/26226-scotland-is-seeking-independence-from-the-political-establishment) contains the overall thoroughness characteristic of WSWS: "This is not confined solely to the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the UK. The Labour Party has been unable to pose as an alternative to these parties, let alone offer a reason for Scotland to stay within the UK, because it is widely hated for its support for the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, its avid promotion of free-market nostrums, its 2008 bailout of the banks, and the vicious austerity measures it began to impose before being forced out of office in 2010. …No other European party is in a better situation. They will all be looking with trepidation at the scale of discontent and opposition, however inchoate, to the existing set-up. (However), the separatist agenda(‘s) … .emergence is entirely regressive. Scottish nationalism articulates the interests of a faction of the bourgeoisie, …intoxicated at the prospect of … tens of billions of pounds in oil and tax revenues, and securing relations with the major corporations by offering low business taxes and stepped-up exploitation of the working class. The same rapacious elements are in control of the separatist Northern League in Italy, Vlaams Belang in Belgium, the Catalan and Basque nationalists in Spain… .But separatism is reactionary …because of the class that will rule. For the working class … separatism would spell disaster. … the Balkanisation of the entire continent, with workers pitted against each other in every country and in the tiniest regions in a fratricidal race to the bottom. …The nationalists of the pseudo-left are doing the dirty work of the capitalists. Their lies about the progressive potential of an independent Scotland are offered up in opposition to a struggle for socialism, which they privately fear and oppose and publicly dismiss as an impossibility."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/ A much briefer but powerfully-reasoned examination of this issue by Billy Bragg, who notes that the thinking that ‘all nationalists are fascists is akin to the belief that all who want social improvement are Stalinist,’ and makes a persuasive case that, far from being completely beholden to corporate interests, the ‘Yes’ campaign is a real and honest expression of a grassroots uprising against England’s still-imperial imprimatur: "Support for Scottish self-determination might not fit neatly into any leftwing pigeon hole, but it does chime with an older progressive tradition that runs deep in English history – a dogged determination to hold the over-mighty to account. If, during the constitutional settlement that will follow the referendum, we in England can rediscover our Roundhead tradition, we might yet counter our historic weakness for ethnic nationalism with an outpouring of civic engagement that creates a fairer society for all."

Ukraine

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com One of those Naked Capitalism pieces that either one reads or one accepts that one’s ability to comprehend certain matters will be inadequate to a citizen’s duties and more, in this case a look at the recent International Monetary Fund’s half a billion dollar liquidity gift to Ukraine, after it had extended $17 billion dollars earlier this year, all of which was, to say the least, not according to the SOP protocols that the Bank pretends to pay attention to: "In April 2014, … less than a month before the May 2 massacre in Odessa, the IMF approved a $17 billion loan program to Ukraine’s junta. Normal IMF practice is to lend only up to twice a country’s quota in one year. This was eight times as high. Four months later, on August 29, just as Kiev began losing its attempt at ethnic cleansing against the eastern Donbas region, the IMF signed off on the first loan ever to a side engaged in a civil war, not to mention being rife with insider capital flight and a collapsing balance of payments. Based on fictitiously trouble-free projections of the ability to pay, the loan supported Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia, long enough to enable the oligarchs’ banks to move the money quickly into Western hard-currency accounts before the hryvnia plunged further and was worth even fewer euros and dollars. This loan demonstrates the degree to which the IMF is an arm of U.S. Cold War politics. The loan terms imposed the usual budget austerity, as if this would stabilize the war-torn country’s finances. The financings obviously were devoted mainly to rebuilding the army."

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/05 A Times news-analysis that examines the several hundred thousand Ukrainian refugees that have fled to Russia as their lives and communities blew up in the war that some would see as promulgated by Kiev’s forces.

Prison Injustice

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08 An utterly horrifying news analysis from the Times of the North Carolina case in which two mentally-impaired teens spent a combined sixty years in prison for a crime that they never committed, one of them on death row, and for which the only evidence against them were illegally obtained confessions–DNA analysis played a huge role in freeing them last month–about all of which the aged, vicious zealot who railroaded them to jail for most of their lives remains unrepentant, insisting that, facts or no, "they are absolutely guilty:" "Their release concluded a judicial horror story in which the two men were sent to death row though no physical evidence linked them to the murder. At the same time, a serial sex offender who lived less than 100 yards from the crime scene — and who, a few weeks after that murder, would kill a teenage girl nearby in strikingly similar circumstances — was never pursued as a suspect. But if the case was finally closed, the episode reopened ugly memories of what critics say was a merciless criminal justice system that ran roughshod over helpless people for decades in this poor, sprawling, racially volatile county sometime known as the Great State of Robeson."

Veterans

http://www.govexec.com/management/ A look at an Executive Order from President Obama about mental health care for veterans, which critics from such organizations as Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans of America have labeled as primarily cosmetic and unable to engage with both structural and engagement problems that are putting traumatized former soldiers at risk of becoming yet another self-destructing veteran.

Military

http://www.govexec.com/defense/2014/09/pentagon-congress-face-stark-budget-choices/93200/?oref=govexec_today_nl Another GovExec report, with yet another aspect of the spiral of doom that militaristic political economy makes something like inevitable, as Pentagon budgets call for ever-expanding support for the technology of mass murder while Congress has cut just about everything else to the bone, meaning that ‘something’s got to give,’ as it were.

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

Knowledge
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39688.htm An excerpt from The Chomsky Reader, via Information Clearinghouse, that deals with the fetishization and diversion of energy and passion and knowledge, so that people rarely apply themselves to things that actually matter in their lives–though the same citizens who talk authoritatively and analytically about games and sports and so forth might easily comment and engage with realer and more necessary conversations had we a different system for doing such things:"And I think that this concentration on such topics as sports makes a certain degree of sense. The way the system is set up, there is virtually nothing people can do anyway, without a degree of organization that’s far beyond anything that exists now, to influence the real world. They might as well live in a fantasy world, and that’s in fact what they do. I’m sure they are using their common sense and intellectual skills, but in an area which has no meaning and probably thrives because it has no meaning, as a displacement from the serious problems which one cannot influence and affect because the power happens to lie elsewhere. Now it seems to me that the same intellectual skill and capacity for understanding and for accumulating evidence and gaining information and thinking through problems could be used — would be used — under different systems of governance which involve popular participation in important decision-making, in areas that really matter to human life."

Nuclear
http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/ Another reason to care deeply about elections that otherwise present little in the way of dynamic choices, the promise by Republicans to resuscitate the failed Yucca Mountain high level nuclear waste storage project that has completely fallen apart in the past several years, as presented by The Hill in summary fashion.

Social Responsible Capitalism
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/ An analysis of the pretensions of ‘socially responsible investors’ that at once acknowledges the systematic nature of the problems that these actors seek to address by ‘consumer activism’ and yet boosts such activities as meritorious, which is at best a dubious proposition, for all its easiness on the eyes of accountants and others attached to capitalism.

Workers Self Direected Enterprises
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2014/wolff140914.html A very different contextualiization from MRZine, that sees a future of solidarity and enough of everything in Workers Self Directed Enterprises, a presentation by a professor of political economy who has been on plenty of factory floors: "A socialism that includes and emphasizes WSDEs entails workers transforming their lives. Such a socialism finally places the basic economic power (producing and distributing the surplus) in the workers’ hands. It is a formidable barrier to the undemocratic minority power that has haunted capitalisms and socialisms over the last 150 years. It is necessary if merely formal political democracy is ever to mature beyond corrupt and ritualized elections into a reality. This redefined kind of socialism can attract, inspire, and mobilize a social movement capable of ending capitalism’s hegemony."

Police Murder
http://www.truth-out.org/news/i A TruthOut essay that bookends the murder of Emmett Till with the murder of Michael Brown, and ponders what people can rise up to command our self-appointed leaders to do to stop such murderous social relations: "Will the memory of the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown play a role that is similarly catalytic to that of Emmett Till’s murder and the acquittal of his killers? Brown’s murder has sparked protests throughout the country. It is a remarkable outpouring of anger and frustration. Powerful sentiments are being expressed; the question is, how do they translate into specific changes that will alter social conditions and laws that exploit and oppress people? As the great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass once said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.’"

Poverty
http://www.citylab.com/work/2014/09/ Oh my! A disturbing report from Atlantic Media’s CityLab, an adjunct to its State of the City Poll, which digs out data about how city-dwelling parents are feeling about the management of their lives with kids, discovering that almost one out five consistently have less than enough to pay for basics and over half often struggle to ‘make ends meet:’ "The breakdown when comparing parents and non-parents across all types of geographical areas, however, was much more consistent, indicating that urban parents feel they’re shouldering unique burdens by living where they do."

Public Health
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18756&page=1 A National Academies Press workshop summary about the impact of inadequate ‘health literacy’ on public health, of arguable import given that plus-or-minus ninety million adults here may qualify as less-than-fully literate in this realm, in the development of which, unfortunately, little attention shows up to structural impediments, conflicts of interest, or other dynamics that have arguably as powerful an impact on matters as ‘literacy.’

Education
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/ A look at a new ed-tech start-up, from the Times, Panorama Education that has defined a niche on the basis of getting survey feedback from students that yield verifiable useful data for improving teacher performance, which as a method has proponents who hope it will ‘revolutionize’ education, about which a scrappy writer and many scrappy teachers may have some doubts: "Mr. Feuer became fascinated by student surveys when he was attending an urban high school in Los Angeles in which about half of incoming freshmen did not graduate. Mr. Feuer is a computer enthusiast with an appetite for data, so he naturally searched for numbers to explain his school’s low performance, but found few hard statistics. He became active in student government, eventually becoming president of the California Association of Student Councils. In that role, he persuaded California’s Legislature to pass a law that would encourage schools to solicit student feedback."

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/09/ A fairly fascinating piece from Harvard Business Review that in simple language, with down-to-earth examples, shows that both math-skills and social-skills have become more important in ‘success’ in the past thirty years, with the combination of both aptitudes at an even greater premium, something that, some analysts have suggested, represents a natural conjunction of advanced cognition and adroit social navigation, all of which leaves aside any possibility of mutuality, egalitarian engagement, or such as these, but of course this is HBR.

ISIS
http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/ Another powerful punch from Contra Corner, this time in relation to the divided and repressive societies of the Gulf, such as Qatar and Kuwait, that are funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to groups that then convey the funds to groups like Islamic State in Iraq & Syria, yet these regimes–which brutalize women and generally practice barbaric politics–are the best friends of both governmental and corporate elites: "And then, of course, there is the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia. Much of the world was rightly repulsed when Isis beheaded the courageous journalist James Foley. Note, then, that Saudi Arabia has beheaded 22 people since 4 August. Among the ‘crimes’ that are punished with beheading are sorcery and drug trafficking. Around 2,000 people have been killed since 1985, their decapitated corpses often left in public squares as a warning. According to Amnesty International, the death penalty ‘is so far removed from any kind of legal parameters that it is almost hard to believe,’ with the use of torture to extract confessions commonplace. Shia Muslims are discriminated against and women are deprived of basic rights, having to seek permission from a man before they can even travel or take up paid work."