10.30.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

The inherently social nature of technology, the always political heart of science, hide behind a host of commodities—and commoditized ‘service’ relations—that seem to announce their supremacy in the same terms that a dust storm or a blizzard make their own statements about reality that our social or political inputs can’t do much about, yet precisely the political economy of lack of access and the social networks of empowering democratic communication depend on ripping away any façade of ‘this is the way things are: get used to it.’

Quote of the Day
  • Nothing could have been more obvious to the people of the early twentieth century than the rapidity with which war was becoming impossible. And as certainly they did not see it. They did not see it until the atomic bombs burst in their fumbling hands.
HG_Wells_playing_to_Little_Wars
HG Wells playing to Little Wars Public Domain Samuel Begg (1854–1919)
This Day in History
antioch
Patriarch of Antioch; Unknown; via Wikimedia Commons

Tonight is Mischief Night in the United States; thirteen hundred seventy-seven years ago, following the Battle of Iron Bridge, Muslim armies accepted Antioch’s surrender, leading to over three centuries of Islamic rule;a thousand two hundred fifty-six years prior to the present pass, Persians joined Arab pirates in the sacking of Canton, China; the Siege of Tunis and the Eighth Crusade came to an end seven hundred seventy-four years back by the mutual agreement of the combatants’ leaders; precisely seven decades later, combined Portuguese and Castilian military forces stopped a Berber beachhead’s formation in the Iberian Peninsula, at the Battle of Rio Salado; Cesare Borgia’s banquet that included scores of prostitutes and courtesans to entertain guests took place five hundred thirteen years back, the so called Ballet of Chestnuts; British supremacy in Jamaica resulted from the Spanish failure at the Battle of Ochos Rios to retake the Island from the English interlopers; Venezuela first experienced Simon Bolivar’s rule a hundred ninety-seven years ago; Nat Turner, one hundred eighty-three years before the here-and-now, fell into the hands of his pursuers as the bloody uprising that Turner led in Virginia came to an end; Cecil Rhodes a hundred twenty-six years back established his Central African presence with concessions from local leaders in Matabeleland, and the baby boy who would grow up to become poet and fascist sympathizer Ezra Pound was born; Czar Nicholas inaugurated Russia’s first constitution a hundred nine years ago, after a period of uprising that bordered on revolt; a baby boy came into the world ninety-nine years ago who would mature as journalist and broadcaster Fred Friendly; the First World War ended in Southwest Asia ninety-six years back with the surrender of Ottoman forces to the allies; a broadcast of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds over the radio seventy-six years ago caused a panic among some listeners, who believed that a space invasion had actually begun; just a year later, the female infant who became the Jefferson Airplane’s lead singer, Grace Slick, took her first breath; sixty-nine years back, Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the color barrier in professional sports; two years after that, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which held sway for almost half a century, took effect as a way of administering international commerce; sixty-one years ago, Dwight Eisenhower signed a National Security Council Directive that stipulated the U.S.’s ongoing commitment to maintaining and expanding its nuclear arsenal; the largest-ever atmospheric nuclear test, a 50 megaton hydrogen bomb, took place over a Russian island at the far Northeast corner of Europe fifty-three years ago, and Soviet overseers removed Stalin’s tomb from its proximity to Lenin’s remains; forty-nine years ago, establishment historian Arthur Schlesinger died; thirty-one years back, Argentina held elections for the first time after seven years of junta rule by military terrorists;

myth
Joseph Campbell books – Jay Mann – Flickr

world famous mythologist Joseph Campbell breathed his last twenty seven years prior to this day; nineteen years ago, Quebec’s voters for a second time narrowly rejected secession from Canada; seventeen years ago, the famed and prolific filmmaker and screenwriter Samuel Fuller died; eight years later, a project in Germany completed the rebuilding of Dresden’s Frauenkirche, one of thousands of structures that burned to ashes in the massive firestorm of the bombing of Dresden during World War Two; at age one hundred one, five years back the great anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss died.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

“people power” OR “grassroots democracy” OR “participatory democracy” science technology access literacy OR instruction OR learning history analysis = 298,000 Citations.

TOP OF THE FOLD

PRESS-FREEDOM’S SINE QUA NON
http://www.nytimes.com A moderate and yet powerful and timely demand, or strong plea might fit better, from The Times in regard to the creation of a strong ‘Journalistic Shield Statue,’ protocol, whatever is necessary to permit an absolutely bedrock function of democratic media to continue, a hoped-for development that this ‘progressive’ Presidency has steadfastly resisted: “Instead of retaining straightforward language telling prosecutors not to ‘impair the news-gathering function’ from the previous set of guidelines, new wording unveiled with release of the overhauled guidelines in February calls for avoiding the issuance of subpoenas that ‘might unreasonably impair ordinary news gathering.’ The change by Mr. Holder and his aides could invite prosecutors in the future to claim that news gathering that entails the disclosure of classified information (as national security reporting typically does) is out of the ‘ordinary’ and, therefore, exempted from the guidelines.”

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The non-profit arm of the National Writers Union is collecting stories, especially those of low-wage workers. Members Esther Cohen, Terry Schwadron, Ed Murphy, and Chris Rhomburg, who is also a Fordham University professor, work with interns from the school, who help conduct the interviews in New York City.

Read more at http://workerstories.org and http://nwu.org/

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

BIG NSF TO-DO IN BALTIMORE

http://www.nsf.gov/ Coming December 8, an annual NSF-Day that ought be part of every city’s regular round: “NSF Days provide insight and instruction on how to compete for and secure NSF funding for science, engineering and education research. This day-long workshop will provide background on the Foundation, its mission, priorities, and budget. During the day, we will give an overview on proposal writing, NSF’s merit review process, and programs that fall within our seven scientific and engineering directorates, as well as funding opportunities that cross disciplinary boundaries.”

RIGHT AROUND THE BEND AT LOC

http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2014/14-185.html An amazing afternoon program for writers, a week from today at Library of Congress: “Presented by The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress, along with four area-studies divisions at the Library—Hispanic, African and Middle Eastern, Asian, and European—the event will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6 in the Montpelier Room, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The showcase is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.”

AWESOME MIAMI OPPORTUNITY

http://www.mediabistro.com For an experienced video writer and producer, a fantastic chance to join Associated Press in Miami.

A FED WEBINAR

https://www.stlouisfed.org/ A phone conference about the process and background of obtaining ‘non-traditional’ loans for small businesses in “underserved areas,” from the St. Louis Federal Reserve–next Wednesday: “Participation loans are a way that small businesses in
underserved areas can often secure a loan that both a traditional finanicial
institution and an alternative lender—such as microlenders, community loan
funds, and community development financial institutions issue together. These
loans can be an important part of the credit market picture, allowing both
lenders to lend in ways that suits their institutions and underwriting policies
while also providing much-needed capital to small businesses.”

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

ELECTORAL SOUL-SEARCHING IMPETUS

http://www.csmonitor.com/ A Christian Science Monitor assessment of a recent report , and general trends, in regard to the fate of the Democratic Party in the South, one upshot of which ought to be some serious analysis and gut-checking on the part of scrappy scribes and citizens: “Black voters, the Center study found, are a major factor in 17 competitive races for governor and the US Senate. But to help Democrats offset a steady out-migration of white Southern voters away from the Democratic Party, African-Americans would have to be highly mobilized on Tuesday for Democrats to win those races. Instead, Democrats are likely to fare best in places like Kansas, Wisconsin, and Colorado, where the black voter pool is smaller and whites are more strongly engaged with the Democratic message, the report found.”

CITIZEN SCIENCE ESSENTIAL

http://democracyeducationjournal.org A report from Democracy Education Journal about the potential to implement, and the parameters of implementing usefully, citizen science initiative, critical analysis for scrappy scribes in innumerable ways, from researchers in Georgia and Indiana: “We explore the roots of this movement and some current projects to underscore the meaning of citizen science in science and schooling. We show that citizen science, as it is currently conceptualized, does not go far enough to resolve the concerns of communities and environments when considered holistically and when compared with more dynamic and multidimensional ideas for characterizing science. We use the examples of colony collapse disorder (CCD) and emerging trends of nanotechnology as cases in point.”

SCIENCE AS PROGRESSIVE PROGRESS

http://www.psmag.com/ A cool examination of the impacts of scientific thinking and protocols, in relation to political POV in particular, from the geniuses at Pacific Standard: “(George)Will clearly perceives scientists as untrustworthy, their conclusions skewed by self-interest and preconceived notions. While this view is obviously self-serving—he really should check out the psychological notion of projection—it raises disturbing questions about whether science has become hopelessly politicized. So are scientists—as conservatives suspect—more likely to be liberals? Recently published research suggests they are, but—contrary to the implication left by Will and his colleagues—this is not because political progressives are more intrinsically inclined than right-wingers to choose a scientific career. Rather, according to a research team led by Harvard University psychologist Christine Ma-Kellams, immersion in the world of science tends to shifts students’ attitudes toward the left side of the political spectrum.”

MEDIA BRANDS FOR SCRAPPY SCRIBES

http://www.themediabriefing.com/ A double dose of salubrious possibility, on the one hand from this source, The Media Briefing, which here gives access to a range of data and analysis about the coming crash of print-revenue-streams, and on the other hand from Guardian Media, which in may ways–such as its Contributoria project–is leading the charge among corporate sources to make the shift to digital in a way that actually supports writers and communities: “Speaking to TheMediaBriefing at developer gathering MozFest in London, Pilhofer said it’s not simply that the decline is inevitable, but that it will happen quicker than many expect. Making a full shift to digital before that happens is something all newspapers, including the Guardian, need to do, and quickly. Pilhofer says the collapse won’t be gentle, and with reference to this Clay Shirky article, says quite how harmful that fantasy can be: ‘It is that dangerous. [Most newspapers] have not made the full shift to digital, neither has the Guardian, that’s what we are focusing on right now. The danger is that print revenue isn’t going to just decline gradually. Never in the history of ever has that ever happened, revenue just gradually tailing off to zero.'”

ART FROM VIOLENT, CHAOTIC DEATH

http://wagingnonviolence.org From Waging Nonviolence, a briefing about the resilience that attends even the most horrific circumstances, most recently what is transpiring through U.S. agency and Israeli intention in Gaza: “In a statement to Electronic Intifada, Sliman Mleahat, the curator of the exhibition, explained: ‘Barakat’s work connects the audience with the recent past and that of their ancestors. The juxtaposition of ancient cave-like paintings of people and animals with modern images of war machinery makes eerie viewing … silhouettes of helicopters and parachutes — are often surrounded by etchings of animals in flight and people scurrying for safety.'”

E-MAIL’S UTILITY & NUANCES

http://digiday.com Sponsored Content here from Digiday of arguably central import nevertheless for scrappy scribes who hope, either individually or collectively, to manifest a best-practices, state-of-the art approach to humble, essential e-mail: “Not many digital formats will survive, not to mention thrive, for more than 40 years. Yet email has. To understand how the Internet’s beloved and belittled communications workhorse continues to command our attention, let’s consider its history.”

HISPANIC POLITICAL FACTORS

http://thehill.com A warning that will only be dire, spelling doom incarnate, if the likes of scrappy scribes ignore it, from The Hill about the totally expected and in terms of current contexts inevitable disaffection of Latino citizens from the crap that passes as ‘progressive Democratic Party immigration policy’ and such: “‘There’s no question it’s going to affect Democrats in this midterm. There’s no one to blame but Democrats themselves, said Arturo Carmona, executive director of Hispanic engagement group Presente Action. A Pew poll out Wednesday revealed Democrats suffered an 8-percentage-point drop in support from Hispanic voters nationwide since 2010, down to 57 percent. Meanwhile, Republicans gained 6 points over the past four years, with 28 percent now saying they support a generic Republican House candidate.”

STATE ‘SECRETS’?? DO WHAT???
http://fas.org/ An important overview and contextualization from Federation of American Scientists that represents both a useful node of contacts for scrappy scribes itself and gives indications of the wealth of possible contacts available in court filings, in this instance about an Orwellian U.S. argument in a lawsuit against United Against Nuclear iran: “The U.S. Government asserted the state secrets privilege last week in a private lawsuit to which the government is not a party and moved for dismissal of the case. Greek businessman Victor Restis had filed a lawsuit last year against the private advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), alleging that the group had falsely and maliciously accused Restis of engaging in illict commerce with Iran. UANI, whose advisory board includes numerous former government officials, said the Restis complaint was’meritless.'”

ANOTHER GUARDIAN GEM LEAD

https://source.opennews.org/ An additional two-sided coin, both of which could assist scrappy scribes, the first to an aggregation of breadth and impact, the second–this article–to a Guardian initiative to engage readers and journalists in its U.S. website redesign efforts: “A new version of theguardian.com is being unleashed today, and its launch marks an important moment in open development—because, for many readers, the new site isn’t new at all. It was developed entirely in the open, with the code in a public GitHub repo and the design being refined in a public beta and detailed in a project blog that discusses design concepts, the team’s collaboration with an ouside information architecture agency, various rounds of testing, and more. I spoke with some of the project’s leaders this week in the run-up to the release, and they were uniformly enthusiastic about the open development process. Wolfgang Blau, director of digital strategy at Guardian News and Media, emphasized that the Guardian’s deep commitment to open journalism is far from new, and that product development at the newspaper is built to reflect that reality.”

GEOGRAPHIES OF MEDIA EVOLUTION NOW

https://gigaom.com From GigaOm, an incisive analysis about the current unfolding of media’s real-time evolution, with implications aplenty for scrappy scribes and their organizations: “So for example, in the analog world in which newspapers, magazines and other forms of publishing controlled the distribution platform and therefore the channels through which content flowed, they also controlled much of the value. But new platforms have emerged — such as Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and dozens of others — and they have accumulated much of the value and market power that used to accrue to publishers and media companies.”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

Deadlines Beat Breadlines! Check in next time.

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

Deadlines Beat Breadlines! Check in next time.

RECENT HAPPENINGS

Deadlines Beat Breadlines! Check in next time.

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

Deadlines Beat Breadlines! Check in next time.

10.29.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

The wrinkles of our technical existence, though they seem at once as foreign as distant stars and as seamless as our blinking, have coevolved with our own physical manifestations, a notion that is both spooky and thrilling, which calls for our grappling with the apparently insoluble paradox of a deep acceptance of all that technos brings to our world and an absolutely radical critique, deconstruction, and even willingness ruthlessly to eliminate those technological miracles that we find wanting or deficient, whether for practical or aesthetic or any other reasons.

Quote of the Day

Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
Muhammad Ali

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/muhammad_ali.html#vF3xzTVc4BoVIwFR.99

This Day in History
from Wikipedia – la Chute de Babylon

More or less two thousand five hundred fifty-three years ago, Persia’s initial emperor, Cyrus, entered a conquered Babylon and gave leave for Jews to return to their homeland; six hundred twenty-four years back, almost two millennia later, Paris’ first trial for witchcraft led to the execution of three hapless residents; Walter Raleigh, just four years shy of four centuries back, loses his head for allegedly conspiring against England’s King; three hundred forty-nine prior to the present moment, Portuguese military adventurers defeated indigenous forces in Africa, the Kongo Army, and decapitated the leader of those forces; the baby boy who would grow up to become renowned author and thinker James Boswell was born two hundred seventy-four years back; Mozart’s acclaimed Don Giovanni opened in Prague two hundred twenty-seven years ago; the International Red Cross a hundred fifty-one years back first came into existence in Geneva; the Constantinople Convention guaranteed one hundred twenty-six years before the here-and-now that neither war nor other human intervention would close the Suez Canal(HA!); economist and single-tax theorist Henry George completed his lifespan one hundred seventeen years ago; a hundred three years back, Hungarian-American media mogul Joseph Pulitzer died; ninety-six years ago, German Sailors initiated a year of revolutionary upsurge in post-war Germany when they mutinied; three years subsequently, the Sacco and Vanzetti murder trial began, after a first conviction in a different case issued on an attempted robbery and attempted murder charge; Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel ninety-two years ago appointed Mussolini Prime Minister a day after fascist gangs had occupied government buildings; a year later, with the formal dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey became a Republic; eighty-five years back, ‘Black Tuesday’s’ market crash inaugurated the ‘official’ start of the Great Depression; sixty-six years prior to this point precisely, Israeli Defense Force soldiers took part in a massacre of civilians at Safsaf, a Palestinian village in Galilee; eight years later, IDF forces invaded Sinai to initiate the Suez Crisis; a year hence, fifty-seven years ago, Louis Mayer, the iconic American producer from Belarusia, ended his days on Earth; Cassius Clay, who would later change his name to Muhammad Ali, fought his first professional bout fifty-four years back in Louisville; one year later to the day, Syria exited the United Arab Republic, which it had formed with Egypt; forty-seven years back, Montreal’s Expo ’67 ended after fifty million people had attended its run; two years after that the first hard-wired computer network opened, ARPANET, a lineal precursor to the Internet; a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Galileo mission craft twenty-three years prior to the present passed close by an asteroid, the first such instance of human investigation of a non-planetary object; sixteen years back, the Apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission report issued, and John Glenn, at 77, became the oldest astronaut ever to fly a space mission; ten years ago, Al Jazeera released a video report in which Osama Bin Laden claimed credit for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center; just last year, Turkey’s government began operation of a tunnel beneath the Bosphorus that connected Europe and Asia by land in the Mediterranean region.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

evolution technology “science, technology, and society” history analysis OR deconstruction OR investigation “political economy” critique = 269,000 Citations.

TOP OF THE FOLD

DIXIE DISENFRANCISEMENT REDUX
http://thinkprogress.org/ Merely the most recent instance of the vicious fraudulence rife in Dixie in relation t the ballot box, this time from Georgia, as is all too typical throughout the land with the active collusion of various court systems, all of which leads to bracing questions indeed about political power and engagement: “Though early voting is well underway in the state, Judge Brasher called the lawsuit ‘premature,’ and said it was based on ‘merely set out suspicions and fears that the [state officials] will fail to carry out their mandatory duties.’ Angela Aldridge, an organizer with the group 9 to 5 Atlanta Working Women who has been working to register voters for several months, told ThinkProgress she was ‘furious’ when she learned of the outcome: ‘That impedes people’s rights,’ she said. ‘People need information before they go out to vote and they don’t even know if they’re registered or not. They were discouraged, upset, kind of frazzled, not really knowing what was going on. What can you even say to people who want to vote but possibly can’t? They might get disengaged and say, ‘Why vote? It doesn’t matter.’ It’s really disheartening.’ The New Georgia Project, who spearheaded the voter registration drive and brought the lawsuit against the state, vowed Tuesday to ‘continue to pursue all legal avenues available.’ But with the election mere days away, there may be little remedy for the tens of thousands of people who submitted all necessary documents, but have still not received a registration card.”

 JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

Fulltime reporter in Cleveland, OH – Bring your courts coverage experience to one of the premier court reporting jobs in the country where you’ll have the opportunity to cover a beat that has regularly produced high-impact, high interest news.

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

Geminid Press is seeking emerging and professional sci-fi writers to submit original short stories to three forthcoming sci-fi anthologies, tentatively called, Take Me to Your Leader; Space Opera; and Conspiracy Hour.

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/101192806306/geminid-press-needs-sci-fi-stories-for-three-upcoming
Copyright © WritingCareer.com – Used with permission

Washington City Paper (est. 1981) has opened submissions to its 3rd annual Fiction Issue, which the company will release in time for the new year to commemorate the start of 2015.

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/101190035166/washington-city-paper-needs-stories-for-special-fiction
Copyright © WritingCareer.com – Used with permission

POSH SEVEN Magazine (est. 2007), an online and print publication catering to parents and career-minded women in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, is accepting articles for the Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015 issue.

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/98983832456/posh-seven-magazine-needs-articles-on-womens-issues
Copyright © WritingCareer.com – Used with permission

Daily Links 10.28.14

A Thought for the Day

Every electrical miracle or mechanical marvel in some sense serves to reduce one’s exposure to elemental risk, in one way or another acting to pacify nature’s impassive and entropic toothy hunger for one’s blood and substance, yet a host of paradoxes attend one’s access to and facility with all such devices, not the least of which is the blithe unconcern that typifies our thinking as we come to take more and more for granted that we can actually manage the unstoppable force of nature’s power, on the one hand, even as, on the other hand, we lose most of our strength and acuity, through lack of real practice, in surfing along the waves of whatever tsunamis an ultimately untameable wild serves up.

Quote of the Day
 

“For where is the man that has incontestable evidence of the truth of all that he holds, or of the falsehood of all he condemns; or can say that he has examined to the bottom all his own, or other men’s opinions? The necessity of believing without knowledge, nay often upon very slight grounds, in this fleeting state of action and blindness we are in, should make us more busy and careful to inform ourselves than constrain others.”

John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

This Day in History

Byzantine forces one thousand forty-five years ago captured the outlying fortifications around Antioch, at the border of modern Syria and Turkey, in preparation for occupying the city three days hence; just under four centuries later, Crusaders captured Smyrna, in what is now Turkey, six hundred seventy years back; five hundred ninety-four years prior to the present pass, Beijing became the Ming Dynasty capitol, more or less simultaneously as Ming builders complete the construction of the Forbidden City there as a seat of government; boats under the command of Christopher Columbus five hundred twenty-two years ago, first happened upon the islands of Cuba; the first institution of higher learning in the Western Hemisphere opened four hundred seventy-six years back on the Island that now includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti; three hundred seventy-six years prior to just this point, Huguenots surrendered to French Catholic forces at New Rochelle; eight years thereafter, across the Atlantic, Massachusetts Court officials acceded to the founding of the college that became Harvard; John Locke breathed his last three centuries and one decade ago; two hundred thirty nine years back, as the American British colonies slid toward open war, British military orders forbade residents from leaving Boston; Abigail Adams, wife of the President, died a hundred ninety-six years ago; one hundred seventy-nine years before this point in time, Maori indigenous people in New Zealand declared their ‘nationhood,’ impelled by British diplomatic efforts to freeze out French incursions; the first Spanish railroad, with its terminus in Barcelona, started operations during the revolutionary year that took place a hundred sixty-six years ago; in New York Harbor a hundred twenty-eight years back, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty; the premier performance of Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique symphony took place a hundred twenty-one years ago in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer took his own life; the inventor of the media-and-news-transforming linotype machine, Ottmar Merganthaler, ended his days a hundred fifteen years ago; four years closer to the present day, the infant boy who grew up to become writer and critic Evelyn Waugh uttered his first cry; ninety six years back, Czechoslovakia stood on its own on the same day that Poland assumed command of Western Galicia; a single year following that, Congress overrode Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the start of Prohibition; two years further on, Benito Mussolini marched at the head of a fascist mob that took over Italy’s government; a Swiss chemist sixty-six years ago received the Nobel Prize for his promulgation of DDT as a pesticide; the Cuban missile crisis ended fifty-two years back when Premier Khrushchev ordered the dismantling and removal of missiles from Cuba; two years later, the U.S. denied involvement in bombing North Vietnam, a lie; one year beyond that juncture, Pope Paul VI signed a proclamation that forsook holding Jews responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion; thirty-two years ago, the Spanish government came under the sway of the first socialist party in the modern era, as the Socialist Workers Party took control; sixteen years back, the husband of Sylvia Plath, the poet Ted Hughes, drew his last breath; eight years prior to this exact point in time, Ukrainians commemorated the deaths of their forebears at the hands of Soviet executioners outside Kiev; Kristina Kirchner a year subsequently became Argentina’s first female President, a post that she continues to hold.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

police oppression purpose OR intention OR plan history OR origin analysis OR explanation = 42,700,000 Hits.

TOP OF THE FOLD

SNITCH CULTURE’S INEVITABLE WAGES
http://theconversation.com/ A disturbing and yet irresistible piece from The Conversation, at once horrifying and fascinating as exemplification of the ‘friendly-fascist’ police state writ large: “The woman was left traumatised when she discovered that the man who had fathered her first child had lied to her about his identity throughout their relationship. It’s a case that casts light on some of the deeply unethical behaviour that has gone on in undercover policing over the years. Undercover Metropolitan police officers spent years penetrating protest groups in the UK. They assumed false identities and gained positions of trust within the groups. Some were arrested and even prosecuted while maintaining their cover as activists. Some went into a string of relationships with women in the groups they were investigating and some, as in this case, even fathered children. Then they disappeared, leaving the women feeling bewildered and upset. Only years later did the woman in this particular case discover that her ‘boyfriend’ was in fact an undercover officer.”

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

FRANK COMMUNICATION RE ABORTION

documenting her own abortion earlier this year. Letts, along with Texan Sherry Merfish and her daughters Beth and Brett Merfish, founded the Not Alone project, an online community where women and men are encouraged to share their abortion stories through written and video submissions. Letts hopes her own video shows other women that most abortions aren’t scary or complicated.”

EMPIRICAL VOTING ANALYSIS

http://www.newyorker.com/ A New Yorker piece analysing electoral votes : “You start out by running for school board or city council. From there, you go to state representative or state senator, and that positions you to run for Congress.’ But nearly fifty per cent of small cities and forty-four per cent of medium-sized ones rely on at-large municipal elections, in which minority voters are dispersed among the general electorate—not counted as part of a particular ward or district, where their appeal would be more concentrated. This means that minority candidates have to win over more white voters, who still tend to favor white candidates. As a result, McDonald says, ‘Many minority candidates have a harder time getting onto the bottom rung of the ladder.’ And that doesn’t take into account the dynamics that influence whether someone chooses to run in the first place. ‘There are a lot of decisions that are made before you even see someone’s name on a ballot,’ Brenda Choresi Carter, the director of the Reflective Democracy Campaign, says. Cracking the network of donors, influential allies, supportive labor unions, and PAC’s is daunting to any political aspirant. It is far more so to groups that are already underrepresented. …We need look no further than Congress to recognize that there may be strength in numbers, but numbers alone do not automatically translate into strength.”

TRUTHY TRUTH, FOX HORSESHIT

http://cnets.indiana.edu/ An Indiana University blog rescuing the Truthy project from the grime of ignorance, including occasional bracing doses of true ‘balanced reportage‘ : “The platform is not informed by political partisanship. While it provides support to study the evolution of communication in all portions of the political spectrum, the machine learning algorithms used to identify suspicious patterns of information diffusion are entirely oblivious to the possibly political partisanship of the messages. 8/28/2014 Update: Despite the clarifications in this post, Fox News and others continued to perpetrate their attacks to our research project and to the PI personally. Their accusations are based on false claims, supported by bits of text and figures selectively extracted from our writings and presented completely out of context, in misleading ways. None of the researchers were contacted for comments before these outlandish conspiracy theories were aired and published. There is a good dose of irony in a research project that studies the diffusion of misinformation becoming the target of such a powerful disinformation machine.

GERMAN EXHIBIT’S DECONSTRUCTION

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk A Morningstar article about a Nazi exhibit : “The Nazi period is dealt with largely in terms of the Holocaust and the extermination of the Jews, with no mention of the mass extermination of Slavs, Gypsies, gays, the disabled, socialists, trade unionists and communists. Nor is the role played by big business in Hitler’s rise mentioned and historical processes and key events are given only superficial coverage or ignored altogether. That the setting up of the Federal Republic of Germany in the western sectors in 1949, soon followed by the introduction of a separate currency, was in contravention of understandings laid down in the Potsdam Agreement is totally ignored and the establishment of the GDR and the introduction of its own currency in response to the former is glossed over.”

FREELANCER’S RUN FOR CONGRESS IN ARIZONA

http://www.opednews.com/ A gift, both text and podcast, to scrappy writers from OpEd News about one of our own deigning to seek a Democratic House of Representatives seat in Arizona, well worth a look.

STANDING FOR OUR RIGHTS NOW

chieforganizer.org A Chief Organizer blog about intimidation of workers at the ballot box : “Months ago when he called he said he was working on a story about something called BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, a political outfit with a huge footprint but a small public profile, funded not surprisingly by business and industries including of course the Koch Brothers. I wasn’t very helpful other than to contribute the information that the name was surprisingly close to the Louisiana-based LABI, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, which had led one fight after another over the last 40 years in Louisiana against unions, most notoriously in their signature victory at forcing through the right-to-work law in the mid-1970’s. Turned out, as Spencer and I talked and searched the web simultaneously, that LABI in fact was directly affiliated with BIPAC, so one could just imagine the mischief and mayhem that such a ruthless outfit could create. Woodman’s story is now out and that turns out to have been the tip of the iceberg. It’s available now on Slate.com and elsewhere and worth a look, if you worry, like I do about what happens when a company’s so-called ‘freedom of speech’ crosses the line and becomes coercive in these difficult and dangerous economic times for workers.”

BORN DIGITAL ARCHIVES & E-MAIL

http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation Wow! A new amazing story regarding the repository of email from Library of Congress : “As archives increasingly process born-digital collections one thing is clear; processing digital collections often involves working with tons of email. There is already some great work exploring how to deal with email, but given that it is such a significant problem area it is great to see work focused on developing tools to make sense of this material. Of particular concern is how email is simultaneously so ubiquitous and so messy. I’ve heard cases of repositories needing to deal with hundreds of millions of email objects in a single collection. Beyond that, in actual practice people use email for just about everything, so email records are often a messy mixture of public, private, personal and professional material.”

OPTIMISM & ACTION

http://www.govexec.com/ An overview and interview from GovExec : “But if positive thinking is such a game-changer, why do people often have such a hard time quitting smoking, losing weight, finding a new job, or maintaining a regular gym routine? If positive thoughts somehow birth great outcomes, why do we often struggle to reach personal and professional goals? While being upbeat and optimistic clearly isn’t the worst thing we can do for ourselves, it seems like it’s not exactly spurring behavior change, either. Dr. Gabriele Oettigen, a New York University psychology professor and researcher, has been studying the effects and realities of positive thinking for over 20 years. In her new book, Rethinking Positive Thinking, she points out that while optimism is a critical component of conceiving goals, it can also be crippling when it comes to actually working toward them.”

NECESSITY & ACTION

www.truthdig.com A Truth Dig piece about action and organizing : “I developed more of an organizing perspective, focused on bringing people together to build collective power and take collective action, through my experiences in social movements. The global justice movement was especially pivotal for me. In 1997, when I was in college in Olympia, Washington, I traveled with friends to participate in in the protests against the Vancouver summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. In Vancouver, I was very inspired by the ways in which many activists grounded their efforts in solidarity with Indigenous resistance and movements in the global South. Two years later, I collaborated with others along the West Coast in launching the Direct Action Network (DAN), which became the organizing hub for the surprisingly successful mass direct action against the Seattle Ministerial of the World Trade Organization in late November 1999.”

ANARCHIST ORGANIZER WRITER INTERVIEW

http://truth-out.org/ A Truth Out piece about an anarchist organizer : ” If, as Saul has written, we have undergone a corporate coup d’état and now live under a species of corporate dictatorship that Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” if the internal mechanisms that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible remain ineffective, if corporate power retains its chokehold on our economy and governance, including our legislative bodies, judiciary and systems of information, and if these corporate forces are able to use the security and surveillance apparatus and militarized police forces to criminalize dissent, how will change occur and what will it look like? Wolin, who wrote the books “Politics and Vision” and “Democracy Incorporated,” and Saul, who wrote “Voltaire’s Bastards” and “The Unconscious Civilization,” see democratic rituals and institutions, especially in the United States, as largely a facade for unchecked global corporate power. Wolin and Saul excoriate academics, intellectuals and journalists, charging they have abrogated their calling to expose abuses of power and give voice to social criticism; they instead function as echo chambers for elites, courtiers and corporate systems managers. Neither believes the current economic system is sustainable. And each calls for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

VIDEO-AS-ESSENTIAL MARKETING TOOL

http://www.mediapost.com A Media Post analysis about video as marketing tool : “Whether the intent is to inform, entertain or persuade, video is wildly popular with consumers and can’t be overlooked. Publishers recognize the opportunity, yet struggle to offer a steady flow of high quality, original video to their audiences. The cost of quality video production is prohibitive for many, but that’s just one of the obstacles for publishers. Video creation and editing technology evolves rapidly and talent is much in demand. Further, distribution at any scale requires video compatibility across hundreds of different systems.”

PRICEY BUT DANDY KINDLE

http://www.theverge.com A Verge analysis about the Voyage’s viability, an assessment that other reviewers endorse : “I won’t dwell on software, because the Voyage’s is essentially unchanged — it’s a simple touch-centric UI that gets the job done. Amazon is adding a couple cool new features that are coming to all recent Kindle models: Word Wise, which automatically shows brief definitions of difficult words between the lines of text, and a more flexible search function that will search across your library, Goodreads, and the Kindle Store. What you’re really paying for with the Voyage, which starts at $199, is the hardware.”

FOSTERING BRAINSTORMING

www.govexec.com A Government Executive piece about brainstorming : “‘Most people go through brainstorming sessions in which only half of the ideas that exist in the room get expressed,’ says Loran Nordgren, an associate professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School. ‘Very often the best ones don’t get expressed, and participants walk out feeling like it was a productive meeting.’ With that in mind, Nordgren recently designed the mobile app Candor as a handy way to generate, capture, organize, and evaluate ideas while bypassing some of the main obstacles posed by traditional brainstorming. With Candor, ideas are generated in advance and then discussed and evaluated in person—which increases the number and diversity of ideas that are brought to the table. This process often feels counterintuitive or unnatural for people raised on group idea generation, but Nordgren is trying to overcome their resistance by showing them how effective the process can be. ‘You want to let people think before they see what other people have thought about, and then you give them an opportunity to explain what they came up with,’ Nordgren says.

GLOSSARY OF THE WEB

http://the-toast.net/ A Toast analysis about the web, including massively hilarious commentary: “FFS/ burn it all down/ I don’t want to live on this planet anymore = ‘when things are slow at my boring desk job I browse dumb news sites that reliably get me riled up so I can feel something, anything’ …I weep for my generation = Even if I’d lived in the time period I claim to admire, I would have hated what was new/popular/challenging then as well because I am fundamentally a small-minded and fearful person who likes to shore up my insecurities with an ill-founded sense of moral and cultural superiority rooted in misconceptions about a past which never existed.”

A KNIGHT FOUNDATION GRANT GUIDE

http://www.niemanlab.org A Knight Foundation guideline : “That makes this post by Knight’s Andrew Sherry useful — it outlines the various routes to funding currently available. The three most important to journalism types (emphasis mine):

If you have a news or information idea you want to develop and test, the Knight Prototype Fund may be for you. This Media Innovation initiative provides $35,000 to turn ideas into prototypes. There are several cohorts of winners each year; the most recent winners can be seen here. The next application deadline is Nov. 1…

The Knight News Challenge, which will next open for applications in early 2015, is Knight’s best known way of funding media innovation. Challenges usually have a theme — libraries, strengthening the Internet, Open Gov, networks — and the number in a year may vary. Increasingly, though, we’re emphasizing the Prototype Fund as the gateway for news and information projects

Separate from Knight’s grantmaking, the Knight Enterprise Fund provides early-stage venture funding for media innovation. The fund invests in for-profit companies that can strengthen the news and information ecosystem. Along with investment, the fund brings Knight’s media industry network and knowledge to the table. The fund is drawn from Knight’s endowment, not its grantmaking budget.”

WRITING & DEPRESSION

http://arstechnica.com/staff A poignant and powerfully argued piece about depression with some of which at least some scrappy scribes–this one included–could profoundly take issue, both in relation to contextual, historical, scientific elements and with the huge pitch for ‘medication’ on page two, but which nonetheless could stand as a true invitation to dialog in the right environment: “Last November, my father took his own life. I’m frequently aware of the fact that the depression which helped drive him to that dark fate lives on in my genes. That’s a doozy of a legacy to inherit, but it’s one that has not been wholly negative for me. Getting to the point where I could write this article involved a series of debates. I debated talking about my father’s suicide; I debated ‘outing’ myself as a depression sufferer; I debated not talking about it and what that meant. I decided in the end that I would be the worst kind of hypocrite if I believed that dialog about depression was essential but was unwilling to start that dialog myself. I hope that my story can help others understand why the traits that cause depression have been both a plague and a gift to so many.”

PODCASTING AS PLATFORM

http://www.pbs.org A PBS piece about podcasting, incuding plenty of audio: “Podcasting is quickly becoming a breeding ground for inventive content creators and radio producers striking out on their own. The medium has ebbed and flowed in popularity and presumed viability since its creation, but is having a heyday as key figures from radio are crossing over, striking out on their own, and even making money.”

AN AWESOME TOOL FROM PURDUE

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/05/ The Online Writing Lab from Indiana’s Purdue University, with both broad categories and a rich search function that helps students, writers, thinkers, anyone to contextualize their scribbling, here helping to deal with the notion of “Marxist Criticism:” “Based on the theories of Karl Marx (and so influenced by philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel), this school concerns itself with class differences, economic and otherwise, as well as the implications and complications of the capitalist system: ‘Marxism attempts to reveal the ways in which our socioeconomic system is the ultimate source of our experience.’ Theorists working in the Marxist tradition, therefore, are interested in answering the overarching question, whom does it [the work, the effort, the policy, the road, etc.] benefit? The elite? The middle class? And Marxists critics are also interested in how the lower or working classes are oppressed – in everyday life and in literature.”

JUST PUBLISHED–ASIMOV ON CREATIVITY

http://www.technologyreview.com/ Asimov on creativity : “CONTEXTThe company was an MIT spinoff that originally focused on the effects of nuclear weapons on aircraft structures. The company received a contract with the acronym GLIPAR (Guide Line Identification Program for Antimissile Research) from the Advanced Research Projects Agency to elicit the most creative approaches possible for a ballistic missile defense system. The government recognized that no matter how much was spent on improving and expanding current technology, it would remain inadequate. They wanted us and a few other contractors to think ‘out of the box.’ …Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. We are most interested in the ‘creation’ of a new scientific principle or a new application of an old one, but we can be general here. One way of investigating the problem is to consider the great ideas of the past and see just how they were generated. Unfortunately, the method of generation is never clear even to the ‘generators’ themselves. But what if the same earth-shaking idea occurred to two men, simultaneously and independently? Perhaps, the common factors involved would be illuminating. Consider the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.”

JOURNALISM’S ‘WHIMPERS’

https://medium.com : “What happened in Roanoke — gradual financial decay punctuated by bouts of firing — is the normal case at papers all over the country, and more is coming. The next wave of consolidation is already upon us; big media firms like Tribune and Gannett are abandoning their newspapers (‘spinning them off,’ in bloodless business parlance.) If you are a journalist at a print publication, your job is in danger. Period. Time to do something about it. Journalists have been infantilized throughout the last decade, kept in a state of relative ignorance about the firms that employ them. A friend tells a story of reporters being asked the paid print circulation of their own publication. Their guesses ranged from 150,000 to 300,000; the actual figure was 35,000. If a reporter was that uninformed about a business he was covering, he’d be taken off the story.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

WHITE PRIVILEGE, FETISHIZED

http://www.mediapost.com/ A Media Post posting about media : “Stewart dutifully mentioned “Killing Patton” at the outset of his sitdown with O’Reilly, but quickly dispensed with it in favor of this “white privilege” debate topic. “You have said, you have stated this: ‘I don’t believe there is a thing called ‘white privilege’,” Stewart said to O’Reilly, although Stewart never specified when, or in what context, O’Reilly said this. However, O’Reilly was game to play along, probably because he is as shrewd as Stewart, and also because the two probably colluded on this choice of topics in the first place. Like Stewart, O’Reilly was well aware that such a conversation would have an afterlife — one that he too could exploit on his own show. He did do that, commenting on it Thursday on “The O’Reilly Factor”. “Stewart and I always have lively debates and there are no hard feelings,” O’Reilly said on Fox News Channel on the day after.”

GETTING REAL ABOUT NET-NEUTRALITY & MAJORITY RULE

http://www.theverge.com/ A Verge account that citizens should feel a lot of anger toward Congress as well as the FCC : “Congress … has largely turned net neutrality regulation into a partisan charade that occasionally results in threats to the FCC’s budget and authority via Congress’ telecommunications benefactors. The FCC’s dithering on net neutrality has been enabled for years by this nonsense and it’s now reflected even by the agency’s bench, which seats some commissioners who have advocated stripping themselves of power to avoid going against corporate interests. Even the FCC’s chairman is intimately familiar with those corporate interests; Tom Wheeler is a former telecom lobbyist and was appointed by a president who promised that lobbyists wouldn’t run his administration in a distant magical time called ‘Before He Was Elected.'”

DETROIT HOPE-BUILDING STORY

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com An Inside Philanthropy story about Detroit : “Anderson was prepared for all of this, having developed environmental models and computer mapping techniques as an instructor at Wayne State, where he also received undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering. Later, through the Wayne State University Center for Urban Studies, he mapped other forms of demographic data. And herein lies another point worth noting: The more degrees someone has from an institution, the higher their loyalty tends to be, and any campus development office worth its salt should be able to easily identify these multiple degree holders and cross-check that info with giving capacity. Throw in a long attachment to the university’s home base and you get a guy like Anderson: A wealthy local booster who owes everything to his alma mater.”

WHAT’S TO BECOME OF NEWS

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ A BBC blog about the fate of the news : ” We are setting out to ask what audiences will want of the news in 2017, 2022 and 2027. We are looking at the future of news through three interwoven strands: technology, stories and people. What will new devices, networks and platforms enable us to do? How will we report and tell stories and, what, indeed, will count as a story? And, where and how will people live – what will they want and expect from their news? The aim, plainly, is not to provide a definitive or limited answer to the question of what will be the future of news. Instead, we want to start a discussion – amongst ourselves, with our audiences, with people across the industry we work in. The Future of News report will sit alongside a patchwork of different ideas and opinions, some from within the BBC, many from outside. We have started interviewing a long list of people externally. We have invited newspapers, television and digital media to participate. We are drawing ideas from everyone from Vice to the ONS, Birmingham University to Twitter. We are not giving ourselves a great deal of time. Stanford University in California has kindly agreed to host us for two weeks, where we will hold a series of seminars, meet with some of the leading new media businesses, collate the interviews and information we have to date and set out a framework for the Future of News. We will look to draw the ideas together in a first draft by Christmas. We will then host a day to discuss the thoughts, findings and challenges raised by the Future of News towards the end of January.”

HUGE MEXICAN FILM FEST

http://www.telesurtv.net/ A TeleSur piece about a huge Mexican film fest : “During the festival, that will run from October 17-26, more than 87 movies will be screened in four different categories: local films, Mexican documentary, Mexican shorts, and Mexican films. In total, 12 Mexican films are in the running for the festival’s best movie prize. In its 12th edition, the festival gathered four international special guests: French actress Juliette Binoche, Israeli director Amos Gitai, Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawilikowski, and French cinema celebrity Pierre Rissient.”

WHISPER DEATH-SENTENCE? NAUGHTY GUARDIAN??

http://www.cjr.org/ Whoa!: “Whisper users aren’t so anonymous after all. The company tracks its users’ locations, even when they’ve turned off geolocation, according to The Guardian. It stores their messages—even deleted ones—indefinitely, despite promising to hold them only for ‘a brief period of time.’ And then there’s this: … .

Separately, Whisper has been following a user claiming to be a sex-obsessed lobbyist in Washington DC. The company’s tracking tools allow staff to monitor which areas of the capital the lobbyist visits. ‘He’s a guy that we’ll track for the rest of his life and he’ll have no idea we’ll be watching him,’ the same Whisper executive said.”

FAUX SCIENCE & SELLING THINGS

http://www.newswise.com A Newswise piece about faux science : “Published this week in Public Understanding of Science, the Cornell Food and Brand Lab study found trivial graphs or formulas accompanying medical information can lead consumers to believe products are more effective. ‘Your faith in science may actually make you more likely to trust information that appears scientific but really doesn’t tell you much,’ said lead author Aner Tal, post-doctoral researcher at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. ‘Anything that looks scientific can make information you read a lot more convincing.'”

TOM WHEELER’S STANCE

http://transition.fcc.gov An FCC government listing about opening with a quotation from Mr. Dylan about swimming if one doesn’t want to “sing like a stone:” “But you may have noticed that not everyone is swimming alongside that effort. There are those who seek to block the competitive forces that can produce faster, cheaper, better broadband; those who make it difficult to build out the infrastructure necessary for the broadband future; and those with which both you and we have to contend that would use changes in technology as an excuse to sidestep the responsibilities network operators have always had to their users. Today, I would like to visit about our responsibility to overcome this resistance and ensure that our nation has the networks necessary for the jobs, economic growth, and quality of life that will determine our nation’s place in the 21st century. Yes, that is a dramatic statement; yes, it is that important; and, yes, I know it is easier to say than to do.”

OPEN-PATENT PLEDGES FROM GOOGLE

http://www.techpolicydaily.com/ A Tech Policy Daily piece about Google : “While patent protection is critical for defending innovation from rapacious copyists, sometimes other concerns trump the need to bolster intellectual property. Take Google’s ‘Open Patent Pledge,’ a program whereby Google has dedicated some 250 of its patents to the public in an effort to promote open-source (OS) software and the interoperability of its products with others. The Open Source Initiative characterizes OS software as ‘software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process’ in order to provide ‘better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.'”

‘FOURTH-ESTATE’ TRAGEDIES

www.commondreams.org A Common Dreams piece about journalism, though desperately in need of some political economy of media context: “Obsessed with maintaining access to power, the mainstream media just keeps handing their megaphone to the powerful and self-interested. Rarely do we hear from people who opposed the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq or rightly predicted thechaos that would result from NATO intervention in Libya. The few anti-war voices who manageto slip into the dialogue are marginalized and later silenced. Let’s face it: fear sells, violence sells, war sells. The vicious ISIS beheadings, discussed ad infinitum, attracted large audiences. So did talk about exploding toothpaste. People whipped into a state of fear always want to know more. Sadly, the public is not getting what it deserves: a well-rounded debate about the pros and cons of military action. Why has a decade of support for the Iraqi army and years of covert CIA support for the Syrian opposition been so fruitless? How much might this intervention cost? (So far, the bill has been more than $1bn.) How will Middle East monarchies that funded extremists suddenly become exemplars of democratic values? What is the endgame in Syria? Will Bashar Assad still be in power? What are the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East? (The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the US bombings already have attracted 6,000 more recruits to Isis.) And most important of all: what are the alternatives to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians? The voices of people proposing political solutions other than slaughter are the voices the public deserves to hear.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

‘SLAVE PATROL’ EXECUTIONS

http://www.truth-out.org/ A Truth Out piece about executions : “The ten minute clock begins running out of time as he steps outside the door and the security camera changes from color to black and white, where the silent footage is of body language, is of laughter and play and ease, making this confluence of uncertainty with the inevitable more cruel still. Uncertainty, because we will never know what happened in the ten minutes after Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18, carried his turkey sandwich out of frame and into the last ten minutes of his life. Two wildly divergent narratives have emerged: One, told in very carefully crafted language with particulars to this incident sprinkled with assertions of the officer’s feeling afraid for his life and his almost reckless waiting for the suspect to fire three rounds his way before dispatching what turned out to be a seasoned and precise lethal response. Myers has been portrayed as a troubled, repeat offender from the wrong side of the tracks. The other narrative, from eye witnesses, most of them black, some of them having themselves been previously fingerprinted, pointing their fingers at a rogue cop out to ‘put down’ a young ‘suspicious’-looking black male, their voices minimized and cheapened by the state-sponsored press coming out of St. Louis.”

‘WAR-ON-DRUGS’ CORRUPT & VICIOUS REALITY

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com A Stockman’s Corner piece about war on drugs : “On September 26, students at the teachers’ college rallying against cuts to their budget came under fire from local police: 6 were killed and 25 wounded. Forty-three of the teacher trainees were abducted, handed over to the local crime syndicate, Guerrero Unido, and executed. According to witnesses, the bodies were then burned. Parents and their fellow students organized a mass protest, demanding that the government investigate police corruption and reveal what happened to the missing students. The search for the students has become a national issue, with search parties made up of volunteers combing the countryside – and coming up with a lot more than anyone bargained for.”

FASCIST ELECTORAL TACTICS

http://portside.org/ A Portside piece about electoral tactics : “But the courts have mostly dealt blows to voting rights of late. In the span of ten days, the Supreme Court overturned lower-court decisions reinstating a week of early voting and same-day registration in Ohio, and reinstated a ban on same-day registration and out-of-precinct balloting in North Carolina that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down days earlier. A cruel irony: if not for the Shelbydecision, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in her dissent, ‘these measures likely would not have survived federal preclearance.’ Six days after the North Carolina decision, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal court ruling by Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos striking down Texas’ voter-ID law as ‘an unconstitutional poll tax.’ Gonzales Ramos had found that 600,000 registered voters in the state did not have a voter ID and that proponents in the Legislature were ‘motivated…because of and not merely in spite of the voter-ID law’s detrimental effects on the African-American and Hispanic electorate.’ Voters in fifteen states will face new restrictions for the first time in a major election when they go to the polls in November, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Many are in states with highly contested Senate and gubernatorial races, like Arkansas, Kansas and Wisconsin.”

FUSION STILL FANTASTICAL

http://theconversation.com/ A Conversation about Fusion Energy Conference, at least not yet: “I recently returned from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Fusion Energy Conference in St Petersburg, Russia, the world’s leading conference on the development of fusion power. There was no announcement of research by Lockheed Martin, and the company did not field any scientists to report on their claims. Lockheed Martin claims that its technology development offshoot, Skunk Works, is working on a new compact fusion reactor that can be developed and deployed in as little as ten years. The only technical details it provided are that it is a ‘high beta’ device (meaning that it produces a high plasma pressure for a relatively weak magnetic field pressure), and that it is sufficiently small to be able to power flight and vehicles. This isn’t enough information to substantiate a credible program of research into the development of fusion power, or a credible claim for the delivery of a revolutionary power source in the next decade.”

MH-17: UKRAINIAN MILITARY BASE, NOT RUSSIA

http://consortiumnews.com A Consortium News piece about MH-17, while many other sources are talking about matters both more critically practical and more socially oriented: “But some U.S. intelligence analysts offered conflicting assessments. After Kerry’s TV round-robin, the Los Angeles Times reported on a U.S. intelligence briefing given to several mainstream U.S. news outlets. The story said, ‘U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.’ [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mystery of a Ukrainian ‘Defector,’”] A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that some analysts had concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appeared Ukrainian government forces were to blame, although possibly a unit operating outside the direct command of Ukraine’s top officials. The source specifically said the U.S. intelligence evidence did not implicate Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko or Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk but rather suggested an extremist element of the armed forces funded by one of Ukraine’s oligarchs.”

REGIONAL NUCLEAR WAR’S GREATEST LIKELIHOOD

http://www.wsws.org/ A big, “Gulp!!” Plus-or-minus a hundred million dead ahead? An examination of the reality on the ground between India and Pakistan, by World Socialist Website: “Adopting rhetoric similar to that Israel routinely employs before launching some new aggression, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley declared Thursday that India is ‘a responsible state,’ and ‘never an aggressor.’ Then, invoking the ‘paramount duty of defending’ the Indian people and its territory, Jaitley vowed that, ‘if Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will continue to fight and make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable.’ New Delhi is refusing to have any talks with Pakistan until it is satisfied that all cross-border firing has ended. This includes, at least for the moment, ruling out ‘flag talks’ between frontline military officers. Such talks have been commonly employed to reduce border tensions between the two nuclear-armed states. Islamabad, for its part, is pledging to meet fire with fire. ‘We do not want the situation on the borders of nuclear neighbours to escalate into confrontation,’ said a Pakistan Ministry of Defence statement. ‘India must demonstrate caution and behave with responsibility.'”

ISRAELI PROGRESSIVES’ SELF-DEFENSE

http://972mag.com/ A 972 Mag piece about Israel : “Thursday and Saturday nights in downtown Jerusalem have become terrifying. On those days, a group of youth gathers in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square, often next to a permanent pop-up stand manned by members of anti-miscegenation group Lehava. The youth meet there and then take to the streets chanting ‘Death to Arabs,’ harassing and assaulting Arab cab drivers, women in hijabs and businesses that employ Arabs. Since they became active, fewer and fewer Palestinians have been stepping foot in this part of the city. The few left-wing activists who dare to be out on the streets on these nights usually walk alongside the youth, quietly, documenting their actions and calling the police – but without getting involved, knowing full well that the violence could at any moment be directed at them. Recently, however, they decided to change their approach. Last Thursday, around 200 of them gathered in Zion Square to stand up to the violence. That night marked the (temporary) crystallization of left-wing self defense groups in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other cities in Israel. Not many could have known, but among those 200 protesters were a few dozen who came prepared for the possibility of a violent confrontation with right-wing extremists.”

MURDER-POLICY’S IMPRIMATUR AGAINST ISIS

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39926.htm claims that Syrians under siege by ISIS have pleaded, ‘Please bomb us! We’d rather be bombed and dead, than raped by ISIS.’ For Zumwalt, the only good Muslim is one who has been violently dispatched to his anticipated paradise. Shaffer refines that message by suggesting that good Muslims display their virtue by begging for the US government to kill them. ‘Kill them all, for God will know his own,’ recommended the religious adviser to the pious Crusaders laying siege to the castle at Beziers, setting their minds at ease over the prospect of killing orthodox Catholics along with Albigensian heretics. That mandate, adapted to a literary level suitable for ‘reality’ television, was recently renewed by Duck Dynasty patriarch (and, therefore, theological heavyweight) Phil Robertson with application to Muslims: ‘In this case, you either have to convert them – which I think would be next to impossible … or kill them.’ Yes, Robertson was referring specifically to the much-dreaded and nearly omnipotent ISIS, but his core audience consists of people who have been convinced that all Muslims are, at best, latent Jihadists who seethe with unconsummated and irrepressible lust to slit the throats of all infidels.”

SECURITY-COUNCIL VENEZUELA

http://whowhatwhy.com A piece about Venezuela, in which, according to many metrics–such as health-care access, right to water, and capital punishment, Venezuela stands above U.S. practices: “To the mainstream American media, the term ‘human rights violations’ refers to events in which a country commits violations that the United States does not. Samantha Power’s diplomatic rhetoric is to be expected, and hypocrisy is part of the game in such a setting. What is more telling is the American media’s complacency with a double standard that pretends to objectivity where there is none. To ignore the very real criticisms coming from the U.N. and other countries about human-rights violations in the U.S. is to perpetuate a failure to see ourselves as others see us—a failure that can prove self-defeating to any nation that seeks to advance its interests in an international forum it does not control.”

BOLIVIA’S PROBLEMS & PROSPECTS

http://www.rogerannis.com/ a Roger Annis piece about Bolivia : “Almost half of the ALP members will now be women, as the new Constitution requires each party slate to include gender parity. …’Bolivia has experienced unprecedented economic prosperity, the benefits of which have largely been redistributed to the country’s poor and indigenous majority. Morales’s state-led economic policy, emphasizing the re-nationalization of strategic sectors divested by past neoliberal governments (including hydrocarbons, telecommunications, electricity, and some mines), has vastly increased revenues for public works, infrastructure improvements, social spending, and economic benefits.’ …The 57-page Program for Government of the MAS-IPSP(the latter initials standing for “Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples,” the party’s full name), outlined 12 major objectives it hoped to achieve by 2020. Bolivian blogger Katu Arkonada summarizes.”

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

ARMS SALES PROFITEERS
http://www.commondreams.org A Common Dreams piece about arms sales profiteers : “As latest U.S. airstrikes hit targets inside Syria on Sunday, Fisk wrote, ‘Share prices are soaring in America for those who produce the coalition bombs and missiles and drones and aircraft participating in this latest war which – for all who are involved (except for the recipients of the bombs and missiles and those they are fighting) – is Hollywood from start to finish.’ In addition to new bombings by U.S. warplanes, and despite public objections by Turkey’s government, the U.S. military over the last twenty-four hours has air-dropped machine guns, anti-tank weapons, ammunition, food, and medical supplies to Kurdish fighters inside the Syrian city of Kobani as they continue to fight off an assault by Islamic State (or ISIS) militants.”

PRISONS IN LIEU OF MENTAL HEALTH HELP

http://truth-out.org/ A portal to a new film : RELATED STORIES–“Prison Industries: ‘Don’t Let Society Improve or We Lose Business’ By Dina Rasor, Truthout | News Analysis; Prison Crisis: Local Solution? By George Lavender, National Radio Project | Radio Report; Prison Profiteers Are Neo-Slaveholders and Solitary Is Their Weapon of Choice By Chris Hedges, Truthdig | Op-Ed

REDEFINING, ‘REFINING’ CAPITAL

http://www.nytimes.com Fatuously self-serving conceptualization and presumptions of hyper-commodification’s ‘benefits’ aside, an interesting : “Consider Kimberly Kaye, a disabled 30-year-old New Yorker who says she has been able to stay in her home only because of Airbnb. In Ms. Kaye’s own words, ‘for a few days each month, we vacate our one-bedroom apartment, bunk with a friend or family member and rent out our place.’ She reports that her earnings from the service are ‘modest,’ but they help her pay the bills and stay connected to the outside world. ‘It’s the difference between keeping our chins above water and drowning.’ Technically, Airbnb — like Uber, Lyft and other innovative companies — is helping people like Kimberly Kaye by tackling the problem of ‘dead capital.’ This term, coined by the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, refers to potentially productive assets owned by ordinary people who could use them if they could only find a way. As Daniel M. Rothschild of the Mercatus Center points out, there are 1.5 bedrooms for every man, woman and child in the United States. The owners or renters of many of these dormant bedrooms could use extra money in a lousy economy.”

BALLOONING MILITARILY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

http://whowhatwhy.com A piece about the military industrial complex : “What’s happening now—the government’s search for self-justifying excuses to claim broader powers against a menace it says is ubiquitous—is a cycle that’s been repeated since America launched its first ‘War on Drugs’ in the 1930s. Today’s on-going proliferation of the national security state has created a new profit center for a large number of American companies with deep ties to military and intelligence agencies. And as bureaucracies and profits have grown, personal liberties have suffered their biggest contraction in a century, thanks to the Patriot Act and other legislation designed to increase surveillance in the name of eternal vigilance. And here’s the irony: It all began before 9/11, with the kind of bipartisan commission usually convened to bury a hot-potato issue beneath a slurry of platitudes. In 1998, President Bill Clinton tasked former Senators Gary Hart, a Colorado Democrat, and the late Warren Rudman, a New Hampshire Republican, to chair the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century. The Commission panel was a cross-section of the military-industrial-media complex. Its members included Leslie Gelb, longtime New York Times correspondent and editor; Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed-Martin; and Army General John Galvin.”

GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONAL REALITY

http://blogs.loc.gov/ A Library of Congress piece about operational reality : “I have previously written about the budget process and appropriations. Now, I am turning to authorization legislation. In theory, process for funding the government is an orderly one in which each year the President proposes a budget; the U.S. Congress passes appropriations legislation; the enrolled bills are sent to the President for signing; and voila, government agencies and programs are funded. However, in practice the funding process is more complicated; and the exigencies of the real world frequently mean the process, as it is laid out, is not followed. For example, existing provisions in the relevant legislation call for the passage of an annual budget resolution before Congress debates and passes appropriation legislation. And yes, there is yet another step in the process: authorizing legislation should be passed before Congress proceeds to consider the annual appropriation bills.”

WICKED GOVERNMENT PROBLEMS

http://www.brookings.edu/ A review-essay that, if such a notion actually is achievable, lays out the idea of having government networks heal themselves: “Tackling Wicked Government Problems explores how enterprise leaders use networks of trusted, collaborative relationships to respond and lead solutions to problems that span agencies. It also offers several approaches for translating social network theory into practical approaches for these leaders to build and leverage boundary-spanning collaborative networks and achieve real mission results. Finally, past and present government executives offer strategies for systematically developing enterprise leaders. Taken together, these essays provide a way forward for a new cadre of officials better equipped to tackle government’s twenty-first-century wicked challenges.”

AMERICA’S DECLINING RELIGIOSITY

http://priceonomics.com/ rich in charts and graphical information : “According to Pew Research Center, which gathered the survey data in this bar chart, 81% of all Americans aged 30 and older, and 88% of American septugenarians (aged 70 and older), identify as Christian. Young Americans, on the other hand, are pretty singularly secular in comparison. Only 68% of adults under 30 identified as Christian. 25% of adults under 30 didn’t affiliate with any religion whatsoever.”

ISRAEL POLICY REALITY

http://972mag.com/ A 972 mag piece about Israel : “What is interesting in the above quote is the light it sheds on the idea of a Palestinian state: Netanyahu and his government were willing to sign onto something that would be called a state (they can call it the Palestinian Empire for all Ya’alon cares), but never an independent state, the way the world understand this term. So even if the Kerry process would have ended with an agreement, it could not have ended the occupation. And nothing the Palestinians say or do can change that. Regarding Gaza, Ya’alon has the same idea – maintaining the conflict.”

MURDER & DECLINE AS POLICY: LIBYA

http://www.globalresearch.ca A Libya piece : “In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands. After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped. The militias variously local, tribal, regional, Islamist or criminal, that have plagued Libya since NATO’s intervention, have recently lined up into two warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own Prime Minister, parliament and army.”

ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL CLIMATE ANALYSIS

http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com From BBC, via Forbidden Knowledge TV, an assessment of cycles of hot and cold that anyone who cares about climate issues must see, unless he just prefers to be ignorant, of course, for whatever reason that might be.

Daily Links 10.27.14

A Thought for the Day

Depending on technology, an inevitable aspect of modern existence, entails such feelings of frustration and actual dangers when things go awry that something akin to escape strategies or backup plans ought to be part of every writer’s and citizen’s daily routines, so as to minimize the potentially horrific and always discomfiting aspects of one’s inherent dependence on what cannot always perform seamlessly.

Quote of the Day

  • You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it technically tick… You’re back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps in the works of the poem so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash, or thunder in. The joy and function of poetry is, and was, the celebration of man, which is also the celebration of God.

This Day in History

Today is the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage; thirteen hundred four years back, Sardinia faced an invasion by Saracens from across the Mediterranean; the City of Amsterdam marks today as the seven hundred thirty-ninth anniversary of its founding; not always a venue noted for tolerance, Geneva four hundred sixty years before the here-and-now burned scientist, humanist, and polymath Michael Servetus at the stake for the unforgiveable crime of study and knowledge; Philadelphia came into existence three hundred thirty-two years ago; two hundred nineteen years back, the young United States and Spain signed a treaty in Madrid to establish borders between the U.S. and Spanish colonies; fifteen years further on, the U.S. annexed West Florida; a hundred seventy six years prior to the present pass, Missouri’s Governor issued an extermination order which threatened to murder all Mormons who did not leave the State; at the battle of Metz one hundred forty-four years back, nearly 150,000 French soldiers surrendered to German armies in France’s greatest defeat of the Franco Prussian War; one hundred ten years ago, the first New York subway line that ran underground opened; a century ago precisely, the baby boy who matured into poet Dylan Thomas was born; Rhodesia ninety-two years prior to this day rejected a union with South Africa; eighty-two years ago, the infant female who wrote the chilling poetry of Sylvia Plath uttered her first cry; sixty-two years back, the boy infant who became philosopher and teacher Francis Fukuyama was born; only a year after that, England conducted its second nuclear weapons test in Australia; fifty-three years ago, meanwhile, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration carried out its first launch of a Saturn Rocket; a year later, while flying a U-2 spy plane over Cuba during the Missile Crisis, a U.S. pilot dies when a surface to air missile destroys his aircraft; just two years subsequently, Ronald Reagan launched his political career with a speech that extolled Republican Presidential aspirant Barry Goldwater; forty-seven years back, Daniel Berrigan led a group of four protesters to pour blood on Selective Service records in Baltimore; a Soviet submarine ran aground off Sweden thirty three years ago; Ronald Reagan, toward the end of his second Presidency, twenty six years before this moment ordered the razing of the U.S.’s Moscow embassy because of listening devices implanted in its walls; nine years back, riots erupted in Paris to protest the killing by police of two Muslim youth; three years ago, famed critic and psychologist James Hillman came to his end; two years later, iconic singer-songwriter Lou Reed breathed his last.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
technology culture society interdependence reliance OR inherent OR dependence history OR origins analysis "political economy" = 67,200 Results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

A HOST OF HITS FROM CRS
http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2014/10/aq-affiliated/ Thanks to the good folks and stalwart defenders of information access from Federation of American Scientists, a list of recent offerings–all paid for with tax dollars and published by an arm of Congress–on various topics of interest to citizens and scrappy scribes both.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

ORGANIZING CULTURE, CULTURAL ORGANIZING

http://chieforganizer.org/2014/10/19/ A blog about organizing culture : "The first panel has now gone up. We’re working with a serious artist! I understand it’s meant to convey the forces aligned against us and the fight for justice and power. It’ll be interesting to see this develop, but it’s a ‘buckle the seat belt’ and ‘hope for the best’ proposition. Will people run into the building and the coffeehouse or run away from it once it’s done? What do a bunch of organizers know about art? We know what we like, but…. So, yes, … we do ‘absorb culture,’ and we try to integrate it into the work, but it’s not easy, and too often it’s not sustainable except on the margins, when we find artists as scrappy and committed as organizers."

PEOPLE POWER VERSUS ‘VOLUNTOCRACY’-&-NGO’S

http://www.commondreams.org/ Just a critical essay, from Common Dreams, (http://civicus.org/index.php/en/): "(T)he organization I lead, exists to strengthen civil society and citizen action throughout the world. Yet, I signed my name to an open letter that is critical of civil society; that says that our work has begun to reinforce the social, economic and political systems that we once set out to transform; that we have become too institutionalized, too professionalized, co-opted into systems and networks in which we are being outwitted and out-manoeuvred. This issue of civil society “co-option” matters so much because we are losing the war – the war against poverty, climate change and social injustice. Many courageous, inspirational people and organizations are fighting the good fight. But too many of us – myself included – have become detached from the people and movements that drive real social and political change. The corporatization of civil society has tamed our ambition; too often it has made us agents rather than agitators of the system."

‘RISE-UP!’ NGO MESSAGE

http://civicus.org/images/stories/SOCS%202014.pdf Rising up : "Having read this year’s State of Civil Society Report, which documents a new wave of discontent around the world and some serious shortcomings in global governance, I fear that the world is wasting a lot of time, money and carbon without making a dent in the issues that matter most. In this report, we argue that we need to redress a ‘double democratic deficit.’ At the national level, growing numbers of people – including in countries that look democratic on paper and show excellent economic growth rates – are angry about a lack of voice, inequality, corruption and environmental destruction. This “second wave” of citizen uprisings – from Brazil to Turkey – is here to stay unless something is done to improve governance and accountability at the national level. Meanwhile, in a world facing multiple crises, global governance is not working. Many of our international institutions and processes are out of date, unaccountable and unable to address present-day challenges."

HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/ Assange Human Rights Festival : "The film recounts Wikileaks’ adventure through the Middle East up to finding the former soldier Chelsea Manning, who revealed the human rights abuses of the U.S. army in Iraq and Afghanistan. The festival, now in its sixth year, showcases the best of national and international cinema that draws attentions to, and in some cases denounces, global humanitarian issues. This year, over 120 full-length and short films will be screened, drawn from countries including India, Greece, and Korea. All films center around the defense of human rights, from transsexuality, feminism and education, to repression, the right to a home, and international conflicts."

SCRAPPY-SCRIBE WI-FI MODELS FROM EUROPE

https://gigaom.com/2014/10/15/ Wi Fi : "Sweden’s Instabridge just raised $1 million to help it grow its network of free crowdsourced Wi-Fi. Creandum, a European VC that backed Spotify and iZettle early on, led the seed round while GP Bullhound and angel investors also participated. Instabridge bears a resemblance to crowdsourced Wi-Fi provider Fon in that it creates a network of home and business access points anyone in its community can access."

KEY NEW LABOR BOOK

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17250/a_post_political_labor_movement An overview of Stanley Aronowitz’s work, and his most recent work, The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward a New Workers’ Movement, along with an interview from In These Times: "From the 1950s through the 1970s, Aronowitz—a lifetime New Yorker in spirit even when temporarily absent—was a factory worker, union organizer, civil rights advocate, influential contributor to New Left organizations, and a vivid, often flamboyant debater in a tumultuous political period. Since 1983, however, he has been a prolific sociology professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, writing or editing 25 books. His latest, The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward a New Workers’ Movement, out from Verso this fall, expands his decades-long argument that unions need bigger goals and more direct action to succeed, or even survive. Aronowitz spoke with In These Times Senior Editor David Moberg about his strategies for reviving the labor movement."

PIKETTY INADEQUACIES, CRITICIZED

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2014/patnaik171014.html A lengthy and somewhat technical account from M.R.Zine that provides a thorough critique of Thomas Picketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, no matter how impressive its empirical research, for at least three or four reasons, including imperial migration of capital, as it were: "In the era of globalization, capital is far more mobile internationally than it has ever been in its entire history. In fact, the colonial period was characterized by a segmentation of the world economy where capital from the north did not move freely to the south, despite being juridically free to do so, except to certain limited spheres like plantations and mines; and labour from the south was not allowed to move freely to the north. While labour is still not allowed to move freely from the south to the north, capital is more mobile from the north to the south, including to areas like manufacturing, than it has ever been in the past. But then the fact that the growth rate of population in the twenty-first century in the advanced capitalist countries will slow down ceases to be a matter of any great consequence for the capital of these countries themselves. Capital of these countries can go on accumulating, unconstrained by any labour scarcity, despite the slowing down of their domestic population growth (in "efficiency units"), simply by migrating to the third world economies which are saddled with massive labour reserves. (These reserves themselves were created by the encroachment of advanced country manufactured goods into their markets, which displaced pre-capitalist producers through a process often referred to as "deindustrialization".)"

SONNTAG BIOGRAPHIES

http://forward.com/ Sonntag : "Very soon, Sontag would draw inspiration from a series of Jewish mentors and friends, or as Schreiber puts it, the ‘dominant, exotic European-Jewish father figure to whom Sontag was attracted throughout her career.’ These include the political philosopher and classicist Leo Strauss and the sociologist Philip Rieff with whom she studied at the University of Chicago— she married Rieff at age 17. At Harvard, Sontag was taught by another sociologist, Jacob Taubes; his wife Susan’s fascination with the French Jewish philosopher Simone Weil inspired one of Sontag’s ardent campaigns to get the American reading public to heed hitherto overlooked writers and thinkers. Her publicization of ‘the achievements of such authors as Walter Benjamin, Elias Canetti, Paul Goodman, and Leonid Tsypkin, who wrote the novel “Summer in Baden Baden,’ are among Sontag’s most sympathetic labors."

CITY TYPOGRAPHIES

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/ Math is important : "The study’s authors concluded that the 131 cities they mathematically modeled fell into only four categories of urban design: medium-sized rectangular blocks, like Buenos Aires (which is the only city in this category); small blocks with a diversity of shapes, like Athens; larger, more balanced blocks with a diversity of shapes, like New Orleans; and finally, a mosaic of small squares, like Mogadishu."

PHILLY STUDENT-TEACHER SOLIDARITY

http://wagingnonviolence.org/2014/10 Philly Student benefits : "At a surprise meeting called on Monday, the School District of Philadelphia unceremoniously cut its ties with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, of PFT, which is the American Federation of Teachers local representing around 15,000 teachers in the district. Since 2001, the School District of Philadelphia has been controlled by a state-appointed, five-person committee rather than an elected school board. Three members are appointed by the governor to serve for five years, and two by the city’s mayor to serve for four years each. At least 200 students across four high schools staged a walk-out of their classes on Wednesday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The group’s Facebook page explains that they are striking ‘because every single teacher in the district’s benefits are at risk and being played with through politics.’ Students stood outside of their schools chanting, with signs reading ‘Students for Teachers’ and ‘Save Our Schools.’"

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

A LONGREADS SELECTION

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/longreads-best-of-wordpress-vol-6/ A very interesting offering from longreads Wordress

ARTIST’S NOTE FROM AUSTRALIA

https://schoolforbirds.wordpress.com/ Australia edgy arts : "Often, we will pay for the hard work ourselves, either because we want to showcase our talents or because we believe so strongly in the work that we want to give it to an audience. But some works require financial backing beyond the capacity of a part-time cafe job. That’s where funding comes in. …(S)o what does the(average taxpayer’s) $28 get them? Reporting from the last 6 years shows funding being distributed to professional theatre companies around Australia, which subsidises ticket prices for the audience; to art galleries to facilitate free entry; to tours of performances and festivals to regional Australia, ensuring arts access is not restricted to major urban areas. It has facilitated new work from musicians – both classical and contemporary; from writers – both literature and performance; from actors, dancers, visual artists, jewellers, sculptors, circuses and more. All of this work was available to Australian audiences in return for that $28 of their tax revenue."

NOBEL KUDOS & FAME & ‘CELEBRITY’

http://theconversation.com/ A story that the modern celebrity actually has its genesis, not with the invention of the 20th-century film star, but with the 19th-century cult of the Romantic genius coupled with new print technologies. Literary authors ranked high on the early lists of celebrity. By the mid-19th century, for example, statues of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron had sprung up alongside forms of ‘fan fiction’ that are strikingly similar to what we find across social media today. My own work on the German context supports this. Such public appropriations of writers were facilitated by the industrial revolution as well as the political desire for credible cultural figureheads for the nation. Writers seem to function particularly well as figureheads for shared cultural values: in a recent paper, Jessica Goodman notes that Voltaire and Rousseau were the only two who stayed buried in France’s Pantheon for 11 of the first 15 years of its existence, while a series of political figureheads were ritually interred and disinterred around them. In his will of 1895, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the prize be awarded to the writer who has produced ‘the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.’"

HORRIFYING ENGLISH BELLWETHER

http://theconversation.com/ Political journalist sources very interesting : "Quite aside from the fact that the consequences of his being hacked have been devastating for Newton Dunn’s sources – four police officers lost their jobs – the endangering of the confidentiality of journalist’s sources is an issue of grave constitutional importance. The journalist-source relationship is enshrined both in English common law and European Human Rights jurisprudence. Leading media law QC, Gavin Millar has said that in his opinion police use of RIPA to obtain journalists’ phone records to find confidential sources is ‘completely illegal … But the evidence suggests they have started to do this without compunction.’"

CROWDFUNDING AS ‘BITCOINIFICATION’

http://techcrunch.com/ The fascinating world of bitcoin : "In exchange for his money, the Kickstarter investor gets access to a pre-order or T-shirts and other various ‘goodies.’ Crowdfunding platforms powered by blockchain technology remove the need for this trusted third party. They allow startups to raise funds by creating their own digital currencies and selling ‘cryptographic shares’ to early backers. In more intelligible words, this means that investors in a crowdfunding campaign get tokens that represent shares of the startup they support and can actually benefit from the token value appreciation. You would never see an Oculus Rift situation with such crowdfunding platforms. This is why the bitcoin community refers to bitcoin-powered crowdfunding as real crowdfunding."

GOOGLE AS CLASSROOM

http://www.techrepublic.com/article Classroom by Google shows power of Google : "Adopting Classroom lightens teachers’ loads… literally (pun intended). Teachers no longer have to carry student work scrawled on paper between home and school. Instead, a teacher comments on — and grades — a Google Doc online. To use Classroom, you need a Google Apps for Education account. If you’re a teacher, sign up for Classroom at http://classroom.google.com. Be sure to select ‘Teacher"’ — not ‘Student’ — when you sign up. Account capabilities differ: Teachers create and manage classes, while Students join and participate in these classes."

ANOTHER LEFSETZ ‘TOUGH-CUSTOMER’ REVIEW

http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/nConstellation Viral Phenomena : "Turns out the girl is not the focus, but the war is. A war most Americans, including myself, know nearly nothing about. What happens when you’re caught in the crossfire, victimized by circumstances, when everything you believe in no longer matters. Never mind your possessions, but how about electricity, and morality, and…Everything is up for grabs. But we all remain human and we all soldier on in the face of adversity. Sonja basks in her self-satisfaction. Akhmed lives for art but medicine is his profession. This is the conundrum facing so many in today’s society, do you do what’s expected of you or what you feel inside. And forget getting rich following your heart’s desire, no one’s getting rich in Chechnya, and the young girl has never seen a fat person, they don’t exist….And you should check A Constellation of Vital Phenomena out. Because if you’re alive, if you can pull yourself away from your smartphone, if you know the vagaries of love, the hardship of struggle, if you question the meaning of life, if you wrestle with your sense of duty, your eyes will bug out as the rest of the world fades away and you end up with a new understanding of those who are not privileged to live in the United States and a desire to journey to their homeland to feel alive."

COMPARISON HELLHOLES

http://coreyrobin.com George Lakoff and hellholes : "GEORGE LAKOFF–The freedom to control one’s life and participate in our democracy is what unites progressives. Yet, very few progressives actually say this out loud. Progressives are bad at communicating the interdependence of issues and hence the links among forms of freedom. COREY ROBIN–If there is to be a true realignment—not just of parties but of principles, not just of policy preferences or cognitive frames but of deep beliefs and ideas—we must confront conservatism’s political philosophy. That philosophy reflects more than a bloodless economics or narrow self-interest; it draws from and drives forward a distinctly moral vision of freedom, with deep roots in American political thought. COREY ROBIN: What am doing wrong?(to be so much less prominent)"

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REGIMENS

http://www.google.com/ A dissertation from Australia that considers Freedom of Information laws to be a ‘democratic rite of passage’ and then compares approaches to Keeping the Bastards Honest: "In the last decade the number of countries that have enacted Freedom of Information (FOI) laws have increased dramatically. In many respects FOI laws have become a democratic ‘right of passage’. No FOI, no ‘proper’ democracy. The promises of FOI regimes are far-reaching: access to personal information and increased transparency in the form of third-party independent access to government-held information will prevent corruption and maladministration and encourage the public to participate more fully in the political process. But are the promises borne out by the practice of FOI?"

TEACHING EDITING SKILLS NOW

http://www.google.com/ A National Center for Educational Research overview and literature review as regards editing and revising writing, how to instruct that in the digital and ubiquitous online realms, and more.

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

NEWSPAPER HISTORY LESSONS

http://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5318&context=etd From George Gallup himself, in the form of his 1928 dissertation, a contextualization of the business of news between the party-and-faction-dominated 19th century and modern trends toward corporate organizations completely dependent on advertising: "In the majority of cities today, one or two newspapers exist where formerly there were many times this number. The modern newspaper is read by all sects, classes, and polltloal groups. It represents an Investment of thousands of dollars, in many oases of millions of dollars, due In great part to the development of advertising. Its editor may know the reading tastes of a few groups; but it is ineoneelvable that he should know the Interests of all classes. … (A fatigued office or factory worker) does not look so much for serious instruction in his newspaper as for entertainment. If he falle to find It in his a newspaper he will look elsewhere. A newspaper which isn’t read is worthless from an advertising point of view; and & newspaper without advertising would he unable to exist under present day conditions. In this sense all means of entertainment — the radio, the moving picture show, the automobile — which take the time ordinarily devoted by a reader to his paper, are competitors of the paper."

NET-NEUTRALITY VIA LITIGATION?

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/ A Bits Blog from The Times, with a nifty little video, that: "’There will be blood,’ said Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor who coined the term network neutrality in a 2003 academic paper. Which is to say, he added, ‘there will be litigation.’ After discussion and debate at six Federal Communications Commission roundtables stretching over 24 hours, a consensus has finally emerged on net neutrality: Whatever rules the F.C.C. adopts, someone will take it to court."

MOOC FUTURES & EDUCATIONAL EVOLUTION

http://blogs.hbr.org : "Something is clearly wrong when only 11% of business leaders — compared to 96% of chief academic officers — believe that graduates have the requisite skills for the workforce. It’s therefore unlikely that business leaders are following closely what’s going on in higher education. Even the latest hoopla around massive open online courses (MOOCs) amounts to more of the same: academics designing courses that correspond with their own interests rather than the needs of the workforce, but now doing it online. But there is a new wave of online competency-based learning providers that has absolutely nothing to do with offering free, massive, or open courses. In fact, they’re not even building courses per se, but creating a whole new architecture of learning that has serious implications for businesses and organizations around the world. It’s called online competency-based education, and it’s going to revolutionize the workforce."’

MONA LISA OVERDRIVE FUTURES

http://motherboard.vice.com/ A review essay here in which MotherBoard takes readers : "Such a sobriquet is intended to be complimentary, of course, but Gibson is so much more than a futurist trend-spotter. He’s a great writer, one of our best. The way he thinks about the future is rooted in a deep and nearly reverent understanding of the past—and a keen awareness that history, in its unknowability and its capacity to adapt to the narrative requirements of whoever controls the way it’s taught, is as speculative as the most science-fictional future. The Peripheral, his first new novel in four years, will be released at the end of this month. It’s the first of his novels to take place in the future in over a decade, and Gibson compensates for this by stacking the story with not one, but two distinct future timelines. One is near-term and relatively recognizable; the other is a profoundly changed world marked by the consequences of our present-day hubris."

GREEK JOURNALISM & EXPRESSION, EVISCERATED

http://www.truth-out.org/ a massive decline to roughly 100th place among nations : "Troktiko’s success abruptly ended on the early morning of July 19, 2010. That morning, a team of masked assassins lured journalist Sokratis Giolias out of his home in Athens and shot him 16 times at close range. Though this was common knowledge to many within the media industry, the general public soon found out that Giolias was the cofounder and administrator of Troktiko. At the time, he was the general manager of news radio station Thema 98.9 FM in Athens. It was the first murder of a journalist in Greece in 25 years, and responsibility for the attack was soon claimed by a group calling itself the ‘Revolutionary Sect.’ Almost four years later, no arrests have been made in connection with the attacks, and no criminal investigation has been launched. Furthermore, Greek police have reportedly refused to collaborate with Cypriot police forces in the investigation of a likely suspect in the assassination of Giolias."

LAST CONVERSATION WITH GARY WEBB

A commemoration of the life of Gary Webb, whose Dark Alliance set the CIA back on its heel for a minute, from CounterPunch, which deals with the meaning and sacrifice that underlie honest mediation: "(A)s Joseph E. Levine said, ‘You can fool all of the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough.’ The passion for truth and justice is not a sprint. It’s a long-distance run that requires a different kind of training, a different degree of commitment. Our eye must be on a goal that we know we will never reach in our lifetimes. Faith is the name of believing in the transcendent, often despite all evidence to the contrary. But what are the options? Webb knew what he was up against. He said of the CIA, “Richard, these are the worst people on earth that you’re dealing with – they lie, plant stories, discredit and worse for a living and have the resources and the experience."

HATERS-GOTTA-HATE RESEARCH

http://www.washingtonpost.com Not that this program is estimable in all its aspects, but a look from WaPo that is execrable in its reactionary tone and the notion that government funding might study right-wing thugs as well as everybody else on planet Earth: "The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem ‘social pollution’ and to study what they call ‘social epidemics,’ including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? ‘Political smears,’ so-called ‘astroturfing’ and other forms of ‘misinformation.’ Named “Truthy,” after a term coined by TV host Stephen Colbert, the project claims to use a ‘sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models’ to distinguish between memes that arise in an ‘organic manner’ and those that are manipulated into being."

GOOGLER-IN-CHIEF

https://gigaom.com/2014/10/17/ Michelle Lee win : "The choice of Lee, a former patent counsel for Google who is the current Deputy Director of the USPTO, was praised by the legal community, including respected professor and blogger Dennis Crouch, and by groups representing Silicon Valley. Lee’s nomination comes after the White House pulled back on an earlier proposal to nominate an outspoken opponent of patent reform to be Director, a move that touched off a backlash from the tech industry. Patents, which are supposed to promote innovation, have become a source of controversy in recent years as so-called “patent trolls” have gamed the system by acquiring old patents, and then shaking down entrepreneurs and productive companies with extortionate legal tactics."

MOVING FROM CABLE

http://recode.net/2014/10/17 Reason TV guys moving to web : "Sounds confusing, but it’s pretty straightforward: Adding an ‘over the top’ service — one that uses a Web connection instead of a cable box — gives TV networks more buyers, which gives them more leverage. And they’ll try to use that leverage to get concessions from pay TV distributors, so the networks can improve their existing businesses, even as they build out new ones. Some of the TV networks that are heading to the Web will even say this out loud. ‘Just the threat of going [over the top] gives us added leverage’ HBO CEO Richard Plepler said on Wednesday, at the investors conference where he announced his plans to sell HBO on the Web."

CONTINUING DIGITAL REVOLUTIONS

http://hbr.org/2014/11/ Digital Ubiquity : "In 2011 GE responded with a multibillion-dollar initiative focused on what it calls the industrial internet. The company is adding digital sensors to its machines, connecting them to a common, cloud-based software platform, investing in modern software development capabilities, building advanced analytics capabilities, and embracing crowdsourced product development. All this is transforming the company’s business model. Now revenue from its jet engines, for example, is tied not to a simple sales transaction but to performance improvements: less downtime and more miles flown over the course of a year. Such digitally enabled, outcomes-based approaches helped GE generate more than $800 million in incremental income in 2013; the company expects that number to reach at least $1 billion in 2014 and again in 2015. GE’s industrial internet is based on the newfound ubiquity of digital connectivity. Most information work is already digitized through the use of connected laptops and mobile devices. Now, with the growth of the ‘internet of things,’ the pervasive deployment of digital sensors is extending digitization and connectivity to previously analog tasks, processes, and machine and service operations."

RECENT HAPPENINGS

NSA ELECTIONEERING AGENDAS

http://thehill.com/policy/ Too interesting : "Americans consistently rate economic issues as the most important problem facing the country. In the more than 15 months since Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA, the public outrage about U.S. spying has notably dropped off. Add to that the rising fears about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which have muted some calls for surveillance reform, and Udall’s focus could be falling on deaf ears. In Colorado, Gardner and Udall have focused their attacks largely on women’s health and energy issues. On the rare instances when Gardner has been asked about Udall’s strong support for civil liberties, he has come across as supportive of the senator’s stance. ‘This is not really an issue that’s in contention here in Colorado,’ explained Peter Hanson, a political science professor at the University of Denver. ‘It’s not an area where there’s a great deal of daylight between the candidates.’"

MARIJUANA’S CURRENT CONTEXT

http://www.brookings.edu/ An overview from Brookings Institution from a White Paper about the potential for a rational polity, along with the files for a conference call(http://connect.brookings.edu/register-to-watch-international-impacts-legal-marijuana?hs_u=spindoctorjimbo@gmail.com&utm_campaign=Governance+Studies&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=14536005&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-86YNeStANxNjZx-QLQyvBy5fEGk9VdrilZN59FqCVfyR1gbf1r1C-kYisYwE28oRdaWZYwJ4OvEDcbaOzbKlfY_jw9gw&_hsmi=14536005), to avail itself of opportunities to recraft ‘drug llaws,’ which of course means the U.S. is unlikely to do so: "To avoid a damaging collision between international law and changing domestic and international consensus on marijuana policy, the United States should seriously consider narrowly crafted treaty changes. It and other drug treaty partners should begin now to discuss options for substantive alterations that create space within international law for conditional legalization and for other policy experimentation that seeks to further the treaties’ ultimate aims of promoting human health and welfare."

BIG FINANCE’S REALITIES

http://www.bloombergview.com For any scrappy scribe or intrepid citizen who wants even a vague shot at understanding the current scheme of things, a research analysis from Bloomberg View, in this case an examination of Bank of America’s last quarter results, which were fifty per cent likely to have been slightly above zero: "A bank is a collection of reasonable guesses about valuation. It is a purely statistical process. There is no objective reality. At best, there is a probability distribution, a reason to reject the null hypothesis with some level of confidence. If a $100 billion bank announces $5 billion of earnings this quarter, there is a high (not 100 percent!) probability that it made more than zero dollars. If a $2.1 trillion bank announces $168 million of earnings, that probability is like 50.1 percent. Did Bank of America make money last quarter? Maybe! It’s an ever-so-slightly biased coin flip. And that’s ignoring the accounting thing! In addition to being a collection of guesses about valuation, a bank is also a collection of conflicting accounting regimes. Even if you assume that all of Bank of America’s guesses about valuation are 100 percent correct, you can’t really answer the quiz. Like, right in the headline, there’s the $168 million in GAAP net income, but also a loss of $0.01 per share — or negative $70 million of income applicable to common shareholders. Which should you care about? Both? Neither? After those two conflicting numbers on the Consolidated Statement of Income, you can turn the page and get the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income, which is more comprehensive. (But shorter!) It has a different number: Bank of America’s comprehensive income was negative $636 million. Basically the difference comes from the fact that banks have three different types of assets."

TEXAS TASER DEATH

http://www.wsws.org/en/ Texas Taser death : "The deputy tasered Garcia a second time as his brother tried to tell the deputy that he had a heart condition. The deputy then handcuffed Garcia and placed him in the back of his squad car, where he collapsed moments later. ‘There was no reason for them to have done that. Tased him twice? His heart stops,’ said Janie Pena, Garcia’s sister. ‘They screwed up. The department screwed up.’ (Meanwhile, up Interstate 35)–Milwaukee police officer who killed homeless man fired–Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn announced this week that the department has fired a police officer who shot a mentally-ill homeless man to death in a city park. Officer Christopher Manney, 38, instigated a confrontation with the man, then fired 14 rounds at him at point blank range."

BITCOIN ROTTEN APPLES

https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com Oh my! Revelations from sources that have to be reliable because these are ‘admissions against interest’ that the CEO of BitCoin Exchange is a notorious scammer, a perfect ‘freedom-punctuation’ for the Randian folks (https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/extropian-roots-bitcoin/?curator=MediaREDEF) at the core of this phenomenon: "After all of this information came forth, Alex Green himself took to the keyboard and admitted the name change, putting all suspicions to rest.

“I will not be commenting on the majority of the allegations surrounding me, other than to say that some of the latest ones are getting rather ridiculous, and I deny the vast majority of them.”

“My name was legally changed from Ryan Kennedy to Alex Green, in an attempt to start my life over and have some peace.”

Green then announced that Moopay LTD was insolvent, blaming another ‘bug’ in the system. No proof was provided to verify this, but Green claims Moopay will enter into liquidation. No one knows where he is currently. There are reports that he is still in Japan, but there are also reports that he is in the United Kingdom."

CASTRO PRAISED BY KERRY??

http://thehill.com/policy A robustly commented briefing from The Hill about Cuba’s extending olive branches in relation to treating Ebola outbreaks : "In an article published in the Communist Party daily Granma on Saturday, Castro said that his country is pleased to be working with the U.S., the Associated Press reports. ‘With pleasure we will cooperate with U.S. personnel in that task,’ Castro wrote in the paper about the communist-led Caribbean island."

‘ABSURD CLAIMS,’ BUT THEN…

http://www.globalresearch.ca An overview from Global Research that presents without qualification accusations by a Liberian doctor that the U.S. has caused the Ebola outbreaks in Africa lately, all of which sounds predictably crazy, until one considers the recently uncovered fact indisputable and horrific, that the U.S. oversaw the conscious infection of many hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis, at about the same time as the infamous ‘Tuskegee experiments,’ which promulgated the same murderous impunity: "After all, the U.S. government has been experimenting with deadly diseases on human beings for a long time; history tells us so. One example is Guatemala. Between 1946 and 1948, the United States government under President Harry S. Truman in collaboration with Guatemalan President Juan José Arévalo and his health officials deliberately infected more than 1500 soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and even mental patients with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chancroid (a bacterial sexual infection) out of more than 5500 Guatemalan people who participated in the experiments. The worst part of it is that none of the test subjects infected with the diseases ever gave informed consent. The Boston Globe published the discovery made by Medical historian and professor at Wellesley College, Susan M. Reverby in 2010 called ‘Wellesley professor unearths a horror: Syphilis experiments in Guatemala.’ It stated how she came across her discovery: Picking through musty files in a Pennsylvania archive, a Wellesley College professor made a heart-stopping discovery: US government scientists in the 1940s deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea in experiments conducted without the subjects’ permission."

WHAT LEADERSHIP LOOKS LIKE

http://www.nytimes.com/ PUtin in Milan : "For Mr. Putin, the helter-skelter blitz through Milan was only the latest demonstration of an unpredictable, often theatrical, diplomatic style that he has employed during the Ukraine crisis to throw his rivals off balance. This time he kept Ms. Merkel waiting late at night. Last month he upstaged President Obama on the eve of a NATO summit meeting focused on Russian aggression when he unexpectedly announced a seven-point peace plan for Ukraine — written on the back of a napkin as he flew for a state visit in Mongolia."

PUTIN’S WARNING TO U.S.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39978.htm An Information Clearinghouse overview of Vladimir Putin’s recent interview with Politika, Serbia’s analytical reporter, a text that citizens should read as they ask themselves how ready they are for mass collective suicide: "‘Together with the sanctions against entire sectors of our economy, this approach can be called nothing but hostile. …We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability.’ If we don’t all die from nuclear blasts, radiation, and nuclear winter, it will be because of the humanity and common sense–both of which are missing in Washington–of the President of Russia. Look around you. The economies and stock markets of Western civilization are in retreat. Stupid and incompetent public authorities have brought ebola into America. And what is Washington doing? The energies of the Exceptional Government are focused on combating the Islamic State, a creature created by Washington itself, and on demonizing Russia. Has any country, anywhere on the fact of the earth, at any period of history been so totally misruled as the United States?"

SPANISH STUDENTS’ TOUGH-MINDED GRIT

shows how, on October 8, just before the lecture was due to begin, members from the neo-Nazi Svoboda (Freedom) Party stormed into the lecture hall carrying Ukrainian flags and banners. They chanted ‘Stepan Bandera’ (the Ukrainian nationalist leader who collaborated with the Nazis in World War II) while assaulting and threatening students. In response to the disturbance, outraged students responded by chanting ‘Fascists, get out of here!’ and drove them off the campus, where they were spotted beside a white van that was registered with diplomatic corps of the Ukrainian Embassy. An RIA Novosti report states that the Ukrainian Embassy ‘confirmed’ that an embassy representative was attending as a member of the public. El Pais revealed that the Ukrainian ambassador, Serhii Pohoreltsev, had met with the University dean José Carrillo Menéndez expressing ‘deep concern’ over the photographic exhibition and asking the university to cancel it because it was ‘Russian propaganda’ and of ‘obvious anti-Ukrainian nature.’ According to News Rin, this is not the first attempt by ‘Ukrainian neo-Nazis’ to disrupt the photographic display about the Odessa Massacre. Similar provocations have taken place in Warsaw, Brussels, Vienna and Graz, Austria."

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

WORST DEATHS

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/scientifically-what-is-the-worst-way-to-die An article from Vice’s Motherboard that poses a question about ranking horrible deaths and then suggests we’ll all experience near-to-the-worst, alone, surrounded by machines, without a trace of humanity about: "We spend a lot of energy warding it off or putting it out of our heads, so I’m sorry to be the one to tell you: Death is inevitable. And even though it’s been happening, either on purpose or by accident, since before humans were even human, there’s been no real scientific consensus as to what kinds of deaths we should try the hardest to avoid."

COMMODIFY THIS! SCREWING WORKERS IN THEIR SLEEP
http://theconversation.com A ‘see-it-to-believe-it piece from The Conversation, : "For those in need of more specialist skills, or for those on the go, help is also at hand from self-help sleep manuals through to the services of sleep clinics and consultants, to the provision of sleep stations, sleep pods and sleep chairs designed more often than not for the busy worker in need of a ‘recharge.’ Not that this makes getting a sufficient amount of sleep any more acceptable. As Max Weber once observed, right from its inception the culture of capitalism viewed ‘more sleep than is necessary for health’ as not only unproductive, but worthy of ‘absolute moral condemnation.’"

PAST’S PRESENT-DAY SOUTHERN LABOR LESSONS

http://thesouthlawn.org/2014/10/18/ Souther Labour history : "It is easy to forget the long history of Southern radicalism and labor organizing when it seems like any particularly strident comment against the contemporary labor movement comes from a Southern politician. And, to be sure, the labor heroes of the late 19th through the mid 20th centuries faced an implacable enemy as well, given that the neo-chattel economy of the immediate postbellum period depended on easy access to cheap labor. Cities like Kannapolis, North Carolina; Bogalusa, Louisiana; and West Blocton, Alabama stand as testament to the attempts by the capitalist class to control every aspect of their workers’ lives, and they were assisted all too willingly by white supremacy and the state. But the efforts put forth by the Southern radicals of yore was successful to the degree that they were because of an assessment and engagement with working-class communities across the region: the story of the Black organizer during Operation Dixie who would disappear into the Black communities of north Mississippi so effectively that even his closest fellow organizers could not locate him stands as a humorous, yet important, example of that. There was a recognition that in order to be successful, leftists and labor organizers could not simply go to the shop floor or to friendly enclaves on college campuses or liberal towns and conduct their organizing there; they had to have a plan to engage in a mass mobilization of the public to see their goals realized. They had to take their message of working-class solidarity out to places like the Mississippi Delta and North Alabama and organize the farmers; they had to organize in the coal mining communities of Walker County, Alabama and eastern Kentucky; they had to let the packinghouse workers in Winston-Salem know, ‘Yeah, we not only got your back, but we will connect your cousin down the road to legal services since we know he was fired without cause.’ Because Southern society is relational, many times to a fault, and it is important that people understand that you are here for them and theirs."

PREDATORY OUTSOURCING

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26867-pay-to-prey-governors-facilitate-the-predatory-outsourcing-of-us-public-services : "Since Aramark took over Michigan’s $145 million food service contract – eviscerating the stable middle class jobs of some 370 public workers – one stomach churning scandal followed another. The state fined Aramark $98,000 in March for food shortages, ‘unauthorized menu substitutions’ and sexual relations between kitchen workers and inmates, and another $200,000 in August after problems persisted. All the while, the Snyder administration has stood behind the company and the state prison director secretly waived the $98,000 fine soon after it was imposed. Perhaps Snyder will reconsider this position given new allegations that an Aramark worker has asked a prisoner to assist him with the murder of another inmate. While Aramark’s failed outsourcing of prison food services is a dramatic example of the harms that can arise from the America’s public services and assets, this report, Pay to Prey: Governors Facilitate the Predatory Outsourcing of America’s Public Services, contains many other cases of outsourcing run amok generating worse outcomes for the public, often higher costs, lawsuits and scorching headlines."

ALIENATION AND FATUOUS DATA

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/opinion/sunday/a-paradox-of-integration.html?emc=edit_ee_20141018&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=66212615 A generally superficial assessment about contemporary trends, particularly in education, in which equity is supposedly on the rise and disparity is headed downhill, but, golly, minority actors think things suck anyway, which means either that the supposed improvements are false or that the actors themselves have some little, like, psychological issues, uh huh: "In America, we are experiencing a similar phenomenon. By the numbers, our campuses look more racially integrated than ever. Yet we’re hearing quite a bit about just how uncomfortable minority students feel. This year, 47 percent of Harvard’s freshmen identified as minorities, including a record number of African-Americans and Latinos. But earlier this year, “I, Too, Am Harvard,” a multimedia project created by a biracial sophomore, demonstrated how, on elite campuses, students of color continue to feel alienated. This came on top of the advent of “microaggression” blogs on which minority students from all over the country record the subtle denigrations they experience on campus."

WORLD AWAY FUKUSHIMA EMPATHY

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/world-news/fukushima-legacy-25000-who-cannot-go-home-again.25565035 as well as materials that bring the voice of Dr. Helen Caldicott(http://ecowatch.com/2014/10/16/caldicott-fukushima-ronald-reagan/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=7e831293b0-Top_News_10_18_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-7e831293b0-85925037) into the fray : "(A news analyst) added: ‘In Japan the catastrophe is continuing. Three years on, it is impossible to calculate the full dimensions of this disaster and its terrible consequences for the people. This is a catastrophe that will cause untold suffering for decades to come.’ More than 1,600 deaths have been attributed to the nuclear accident by the Japanese authorities, mainly amongst elderly evacuees due to acute stress, suicides, or shortages of medical care. Any long-term health damage from the radioactive contamination will take many years to show up. It is a tragic disaster that is getting worse, according to Ikuko Hebiishi, a green councillor in Koriyama city, 34 miles from Fukushima Daiichi. The evacuations have torn families and communities apart, making people sick and depressed, she said. ‘The next Fukushima disaster could happen anywhere and anytime in Japan as long as nuclear power plants exist in our country. The co-existence of nuclear power and human beings is totally impossible.’"

U.S. ISLAMIC POLICY FAILURES

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/fault-lines/articles/2014/10/15/military-historianuspolicyinislamicworldhasbeenafailure.html?utm_campaign=wklynewsletter101614&utm_medium=email&utm_source=editorialnewsletter A ‘better some context than no context at all’ interview with a military historian, : "How would you describe the American motivation to ally with certain groups in this conflict? I would place this third Iraq war, if we want to call it that, in a much wider context. And the wider context is an effort on the part of the United States, dating back to 1980. We set out on this undertaking back in 1980 with only the thinnest understanding of the religious, political and cultural dynamics within that part of the world—a remarkable level of naivete on the part of American policymakers. Our efforts to impose stability inadvertently fostered greater instability, and we have been trying to catch up ever since. And I would argue that down to the present moment, policymakers still do not have a proper grasp of those religious, social, cultural fault lines that actually explain why there is continuing conflict in the region."

JEWISH HAVENS…IN PAKISTAN

http://forward.com/articles/207415/when-jews-found-refuge-in-pakistan/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=The%20Forward%20Today%20%28Monday-Friday%29&utm_campaign=Saturday-and-Sunday_Daily_Newsletter%202014-10-18 : "The story begins in 1933, when Kahan’s parents, Hermann Selzer and Kate Neumann, left Nazi Germany separately for Italy, where Jews were allowed to study medicine. Hermann and Kate (who had briefly met in Berlin years before) met again in Rome and married in 1935. As Europe became increasingly dangerous for Jews, they decided to leave the continent. Most Jews migrated to British-controlled Palestine, but Kahan’s parents made their decision of where to go on a whim. At a dinner party in Rome, an Italian monsignor suggested that they move to Lahore, Pakistan, which was then still part of British India and a city that had an exotic reputation as a crossroads for travelers and traders. ‘He said to them: ‘Why are you thinking of going to Palestine?’ Kahan said. ‘You’re young, you’re cosmopolitan, you have medical degrees; in India they need European doctors. Go to India.’”

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER’S FEARS OF DEATH-INVESTMENTS

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/10/14/disturbing-expansion-military-industrial-complex : "The European Union and many of its countries, which used to take initiatives in the United Nations for peaceful settlements of conflict, are now one of the most important war assets of the U.S./NATO front. Many countries have also been drawn into complicity in breaking international law through U.S./U.K./NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and so on. It is for this reason that I believe NATO should be abolished and that steps be taken towards disarmament through non-violent action and civil resistance. The means of resistance are very important. Our message that armed groups, militarism and war do not solve our problems but aggravate them challenges us to use new ways and that is why we need to teach the science of peace at every level of society."

MOON OWNERSHIP

theconversation.com/who-owns-the-moon-32721?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+17+October+2014+-+1990&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+17+October+2014+-+1990+CID_e2d81e996d6263897622230a891b3fb6&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Who%20owns%20the%20Moon :An ‘Is this a joke? post that apparently is not, : "Whether you’re into mining, energy or tourism, there are lots of reasons to explore space. Some ‘pioneers’ even believe humanity’s survival depends on colonising celestial bodies such as the moon and Mars, both becoming central hubs for our further journey into the cosmos. Lunar land peddlers have started doing deals already – a one-acre plot can be yours for just £16.75. More seriously, big corporations, rich entrepreneurs and even US politicians are eyeing up the moon and its untapped resources. Russia has plans for a manned colony by 2030 and a Japanese firm wants to build a ring of solar panels around the moon and beam energy back to Earth. We need to be clear about the legal validity of extraterrestrial real estate as the same ideas that were once used to justify colonialism are being deployed by governments and galactic entrepreneurs. Without proper regulation, the moon risks becoming an extra-planetary Wild West."

10.24.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

However gloomy the horizon or bright the firmament might appear at a particular moment, one can assert with certainty that something will shift that seemingly solid state of matter and energy eventually: thus, the task of each practitioner of the arts of life—who hopes to attain some measure of power and happiness in any event—is to ascertain the nature of this ebb and flow, the dialectic of the dynamism of existence, as it were, and then to act on that understanding so as to ripen the living possibilities that intersect with the breath and vision and hopes and dreams of the observer who in the first place worried about the darkness or gloried in the light.

Quote of the Day
Rosaparks
Unknown – USIA / National Archives and Records Administration Records of the U.S. Information Agency Record Group 306

People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

Rosa Parks and James Haskins, Rosa Parks: My Story (1992)

 

 

 

 This Day in History

Today is United Nations Day and World Development Information Day; eight hundred sixty-seven years ago, in what is now Portugal, knights under the flags of crusaders ended a months-long siege to reconquer Lisbon and ended Muslim control of the city; four years more than three quarters of a millennium back, Baibars, a captive sold into slavery by Mongols, killed Egypt’s sultan and assumed that post for himself, where he continued his martial magic against both Crusaders and Mongols alike; exactly a century later, more or less, a brief respite took place in the Hundred Years War, marking the highest point of English advance into the continent before the resumption of hostilities for eight more decades; four hundred twenty-four years back, John White, after a fruitless search for the ‘lost colonists’ of Roanoke, journeyed back to England; three hundred eighty-two years back, the boy child who would help advance microscopy and science as Antonie von Leeuwenhoek drew his first breath; the Commonwealth of Lithuania-Poland ended two hundred seventeen years ago as Russia, Prussia, and Austria divvied up the territory; fiery politician and thinker Daniel Webster one hundred sixty-two years ago drew his final breath; a hundred fifty-three years back, the Pony Express’ death knell sounded when the final portions of the U.S.’s first intercontinental telegraph were in place; one hundred ten years ago, the infant who matured to direct and write dramas as Moss Hart came into the world; the baby girl who grew up to become the poet Denise Levertov was born ninety one years back; the ‘Black Thursday’ stock-market meltdown occurred eighty-five years ago, with the largest proportionate loss in the history of U.S. equities trading; seventy-one years prior to the present pass, an independent Indian government declared war on both England and the United States; the United Nations had its first day of operations sixty-nine years ago in New York; a year later, the first photos of Earth from space happened aboard a U-2 rocket; three hundred sixty-five days subsequently, Walt Disney testified before the House Unamerican Activities Committee, naming employees whom he suspected of Communist membership or sympathies; sixty-five years back, the cornerstone of today’s United Nations building was in place on Manhattan; President Dwight Eisenhower six decades ago pledged U.S. support for the government of South Vietnam, at the time still primarily a French colonial operation; forty-four years back, renowned historian Richard Hofstadter ended his days on Earth; twenty-four years ago, the President of Italy admitted, and made public documentation of, his country’s maintaining a force of commandos whose purpose was to mount ‘terror attacks’ that Italy and other European countries could blame on Communist and Anarchist plotters; a mere year hence, the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenderry, died; six years beyond that, the acclaimed poet, Denise Levertov, died on her birthday; nine years back, iconic civil-rights activist Rosa Parks breathed her last; six years before the here-and-now, many world stock markets experienced their worst day in history.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

tumult OR upheaval OR revolt OR rebellion OR insurrection necessity OR benefit OR inherent evolution OR development society OR humankind analysis history OR origins =129,000 Matches.

TOP OF THE FOLD

DISAPPEARING DEMOCRACY

http://www.truth-out.org/ A Truth Out piece about the new forms of colonizations that erode democracy : “True democracy is a demanding ideal, and no current democratic country is a true democracy. In fact, it can be argued that all contemporary democracies are relatively far from the ideal of true democracy. But one main problem nowadays is that many democratic countries are moving further and further away from this ideal. In many places, people’s control over the decisions that affect their well-being and freedom is becoming weaker than it was just a few decades ago. Democracy is evaporating. This is due to many factors. With the increasing globalization of economic processes, many important decisions affecting the freedom and well-being of people living in one country are taken by the politicians, judges or bureaucrats of another country. For example, in recent years German politicians have taken important decisions affecting the lives of Greek people, and obviously it is virtually impossible for the people of Greece to exercise popular control over the actions of German politicians. Similarly, in recent months a federal judge in New York has taken important decisions affecting the lives of Argentinian people, and it is virtually impossible for the people of Argentina to exercise popular control over the actions of US federal judges.”

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS SPOT

http://www.rwjf.org/ Senior communications officers are professional staff responsible for creating, developing, implementing and managing communications for and about the Foundation’s initiatives to improve the health of all Americans. Their primary responsibility is to work with team/portfolio directors and fellow officers to design and implement communications strategies that promote the over-arching objective of the Foundation: to build a Culture of Health in America

UPCOMING POETRY EVENTS, LOC

http://www.loc.gov/poetry/events/ including a piece in a couple weeks on Writing Programs: “INTERNATIONAL WRITING PROGRAM SHOWCASE–An afternoon-long event featuring 2014 residents of the famed program, which since 1967 has brought over 1,400 writers from more than 130 countries to America. Selected residents will participate in readings/moderated discussions, organized according to the Library’s Area Studies Divisions.”

STS PROGRAM SOLICITATION

http://www.nsf.gov/ A National Science Foundation Science, Technology & Society program solitication : “The solicitation revises the characterization of the program to emphasize that it studies the full range of scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) disciplines, including medical science, using historical, philosophical, and social scientific approaches; and that it focuses on the intellectual, material, and social facets of STEM. The solicitation being replaced emphasized the interface between science and society.”

PEW STATE CAMPAIGNS OFFICER

http://www.mediabistro.com This position, based in Pew’s Washington, DC office, will report to the Director, State Campaigns. Working closely with project directors, Government Relations and Communications staff and other Pew colleagues, the Officer will be responsible for ensuring that Pew’s state and local campaigns are well-planned, strategic and effectively implemented.

SCIENCE-TEACHERS COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

http://www.mediabistro.com/ The Communications Coordinator will be responsible for extensive outreach and successfully communicating and marketing the program (including advertising) through a number of identified channels to ensure maximum registrations and participation nationwide.

10.23.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

From conception’s joyous miracle through youth’s florid flower, we may have the fortune and grit to lay the basis for the power of a prime from which springs whatever propagation that we have to proffer, thereby preparing a smiling decline into dotage, and eventual exit, to where all our achievements are beyond either our ken or our control, which is why our contributions while conscious determine whatever memorial that we merit.

Quote of the Day

The anti-slavery cause had come to break stronger fetters than those that held the slave. The idea of equal rights was in the air. The wail of the slave, his clanking fetters, his utter need, appealed to everybody. Women heard. Angelina and Sara Grimki and Abby Kelly went out to speak for the slaves. Such a thing had never been heard of. An earthquake shock could hardly have startled the community more. Some of the abolitionists forgot the slave in their efforts to silence the women. The Anti-Slavery Society rent itself in twain over the subject. The Church was moved to its very foundation in opposition.” Lucy Stone; feminist leader and organizer of the 1850 National Woman’s Rights Convention–http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Lucy_Stone.

This Day in History

A thousand nine hundred seventy-two years ago, Roman Senator Brutus killed himself after his adherents lost the Second Battle of Philippi to the troops of Mark Antony and Octavian; just over a thousand years after that, in 1086, Muslim invaders of Spain won out over Castillian King Alfonso VI; seven hundred nineteen years ago, the first incarnation of the Auld Alliance took place between Scotland and France against England; three hundred seventy-three years ago, a major rebellion broke out in Ireland; for the first time, the Parliament of Great Britain met in session three hundred seven years back; two hundred nine years ago, a baby boy who would grow to become historian and renowned wordsmith John Russell Bartlett was born; a hundred sixty-four years prior to the present pass, the National Women’s Rights Convention assembled in Worcester, Massachusetts; Abraham Lincoln suspended rights of Habeas Corpus eleven years after that, in any case that related to the rebellion against the Union; one hundred forty-four years ago, the Prussians emerged from peace negotiations with an overwhelming victory against the French during the Franco Prussian conflict; one hundred eight years back, the first heavier-than-air flight in Europe occurred; just five years subsequently, Italian forces that were fighting Ottoman armies in North Africa’s Turco-Italian War used pilots to observe enemy lines; just four years later, tens of thousands of women marched in Manhattan in favor of suffrage; two years further on, meanwhile, Vladimir Illyich declared that the October Revolution had begun; eighty-five years prior to the present, the sense of a panic in the stock market took hold in New York; three quarters of a century ago, iconic Western writer Zane Grey spent his last day among his friends and family; fifty-eight years back, the demonstrations that led to an uprising in Hungary against Soviet rule began, subsequently crushed by Russian direct intervention; sixty-eight years ago, the United Nations met in session for the first time in New York City; forty-nine years ago, a joint U.S. Airborne and South Vietnamese Army offensive began in Pleiku; forty-two years back, a five month bombing campaign, Operation Linebacker, against North Vietnam ended; a year later, Richard Nixon agreed to turn over taped recordings of his Watergate scandal conversations, and the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in the Yom Kippur War between Syria and Israel; one decade precisely further on, two hundred odd Marines died in Lebanon, leading to the U.S. withdrawal of expeditionary forces there; a quarter century ago, the Republic of Hungary replaced Soviet oversight of the country; just one year hence, Frankfurt School thinker Louis Althusser died, just days after his sixtieth(??) birthday.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

“social equality” “sexual equality” justice inextricably intertwined OR interconnected history OR origins analysis OR examination OR assessment OR hypothesis = 570 Connections.

TOP OF THE FOLD
Frida Kahlo image on Taller Siqueiros, the workshop and gallery of artist Yescka in Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo (c) Jen Wilton

Revolutionary Graffiti A Contributoria piece narrating the new developments in revolutionary arts in Oaxaca, Mexico: “Today, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, a new street art phenomenon has taken root. When walking around Oaxaca City, the quality of art that can be found in the streets is striking. More than just beautifying these spaces, many of the pieces provide pointed sociopolitical commentary. They remind passers-by of some of the worst problems Oaxaca, and Mexico more generally, are facing right now – political repression, grinding poverty, the perils of migration, threats to Indigenous people and environmental damage, to name a few. They also point to solutions and offer inspiration to take action.”

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
  • BROOKLYN FILM & ARTS FESTIVAL BROOKLYN NONFICTION PRIZE

DEADLINE: November 15
PRIZES: $500
DETAILS: Creative nonfiction set in Brooklyn, New York, and
renders the borough’s “rich soul and intangible qualities through
the writer’s actual experiences.” 2,500 words maximum.
ONLINE/ELECTRONIC ENTRIES: Yes, required
CONTACT: Brooklynfa
WEBSITE: http://brooklynfilm.blogspot.com/

  • COMMONWEALTH SHORT STORY PRIZE (UK)

DEADLINE: November 15
PRIZES: £5,000 for overall winner; £1,000 for each of four regional
winners
DETAILS: Author must be citizen of a Commonwealth region (Africa,
Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, and Pacific) but need not be
resident in the Commonwealth. Fiction 2000-5000 words.
ONLINE/ELECTRONIC ENTRIES: Yes, required
E-MAIL: writers
WEBSITE: http://www.commonwealthwriters.org/enter-2015-prize/

  • EDGAR AWARDS (MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA)
    Deadline: November 30
    PRIZES: Prestigious award
    DETAILS: All books, short stories, television shows, and films [and
    plays] in the mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue fields are
    eligible in their respective category if they were published or
    produced for the first time in the U.S. during this calendar year.
    Books from non-U.S. publishers are eligible if they are widely
    distributed in the U.S. and are readily available on the shelves in
    brick-and-mortar stores for the first time during the judging year.
    Works should be submitted by the publisher, but may also be
    submitted by the author or agent. Fiction and nonfiction
    categories. Includes categories for children’s and young adult
    fiction.
    ONLINE/ELECTRONIC ENTRIES: No
    CONTACT: MWA National Office, 1140 Broadway, Suite 1507, New York
    NY 10001
    WEBSITE: http://mysterywriters.org/edgars/
  • The Register-Guard in Eugene, OR, is seeking to hire a full-time sports copy editor.
  • The Decatur (AL) Daily has an opening for a copy editor. The 10-person copy desk edits, designs, paginates, writes headlines and posts to the web sites for the news and sports sections of both the Decatur Daily and the (Florence, AL) TimesDaily
  • The Minot Daily News, a 15,000-circulation, seven-day newspaper in northwest North Dakota, seeks a full-time sports reporter.

10.22.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Anyone who believes that–in environs like Cyberspace where certain gatekeepers have a true gatekeepingfunction and power–easy privacy will soon be something that average members of human society can attain is either on drugs, delusional, or so optimistic as to express an equivalence to Pollyanna’s attitudes, at the same time that geeky sorts and government agencies will dangle the promise of such anonymity before all and sundry as a way to sell both stuff and agendas.

Quote of the Day

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted much sustained inquiry.” Harry Frankfurt, Princeton University Philosophy Professor, On Bullshit(Princeton University Press): LINK.

This Day in History

One thousand five hundred and sixty-three years before this point in time, the Chalcedonian Creed declared that Jesus possessed both a divine and a human nature; well over a thousand years later, three hundred eighty-one years ago, Dutch Christians lost out to forces of the Ming Dynasty in seeking to conquer part of China for their commercial purposes; two hundred sixty-eight years back, as the College of New Jersey, Princeton University first came into existence; Russia first founded a colony on Kodiak Island in Alaska two hundred thirty years ago; just six years hence, in what would become Indiana, Miami Tribe warriors defeated U.S. troops during the Northwest Indian War; one hundred seventy-eight years back, Sam Houston became the Republic of Texas’ first President; seven years after that, a Frenchman became the first person recorded to have made a parachute jump, from approximately three thousand feet above the city of Paris; in a Great Anticipation one hundred seventy years back, followers of William Miller readied for the second coming of Jesus, which, when it didn’t transpire caused the “Great Disappointment;” a hundred forty-eight years ago, a popular vote ratified two acquisitions that were the foundation of the nation of Italy; Thomas Edison flipped a switch one hundred thirty-five years before this day that introduced the world’s first practical incandescent light bulb; the baby boy who became the radical writer of Ten Days That Shook the World first entered the world a hundred twenty-seven years ago; a hundred seven years back, the Panic of 1907 began, which necessitated J.P. Morgan’s rescue of the U.S. economy, among other things; ninety-five years ago, the baby girl who would write as Doris Lessing and win the Nobel Prize first came into the world; one year subsequently, the male child who grew up to become psychologist and psychedelic intellectual Timothy Leary uttered his first cry; Toastmasters International held its first session of speeches and networking ninety years ago; three years hence, Nicola Tesla filed six patents, including one for a single phase electric motor; seventy-eight years back, the baby boy who matured into Black Panther founder Bobby Seale came into the world; sixty-eight years ago, in a parallel operation to the U.S. Operation Paperclip, the Soviets moved German technicians and equipment from East Germany to Russia, and the baby boy who became inspirational author Deepak Chopra was born; eleven years later to the day, the first U.S. casualty in Vietnam occurred; fifty-two years back, the Cuban Missile Crisis continued as John Kennedy ordered a cordon of ships around Cuba to interdict any incoming boats; only two years later, Jean Paul Sartre turned down the Nobel Prize in literature; thirty-nine years back, the Soviet Union landed a spacecraft on the surface of Venus; six years after that juncture, the Federal Labor Relations Authority in the U.S. decertified the Air Traffic Controllers Union after its members went on strike; nineteen years before the here and now, English critic and author Kingsley Amis breathed his last; three years later, the inimitable stylist and storyteller Eric Ambler breathed his last; the people of Panama voted over seventy-five percent in favor eight years ago for an expansion of the Panama Canal; two years following that, the Indian government launched its first lunar mission; two years ago, Native American leader and activist Russell Means died.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

privacy secrecy “government in the sunshine” “freedom of information” paradox contradiction analysis socioeconomic history origins = 43,000 Results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

‘DARK WEB’ ASSESSMENTS

www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com A righteously ‘balanced’ hour-long documentary from British Broadcasting Corporation about the U.S. Naval Intelligence development of TOR, an encryption capacity, and what that portends in regard to secrecy, privacy, terror, and money, for example in relation to the ‘narcotics smorgasbord’ of The Silk Road, always topics of special interest to ‘middle-class’ people, topics that scrappy scribes might ponder deeply now and again.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
  • BannedFiction Press is now seeking submissions for all of our

categories. We are a full service, royalty paying publisher.
We pay you. You do not pay us. We specialize in “kink/taboo”
fiction, GLBTQ, and other exciting areas of erotica and romance.
Simply check our Submissions page for the keywords we target. At
this time, we welcome submissions from all authors, both
established published authors, as well as new authors.

Our blog: http://bannedfiction.com/blog (Submit your manuscripts
here.)

  • SCRIBOPHILE WRITING CONTESTS

Bimonthly/Quarterly
PRIZES: $50 to $100 Amazon gift certificates
DETAILS: Short stories, flash fiction, poetry, on themes posted on
website.
WEBSITE: http://www.scribophile.com/contests/

  • The Chicago Reader (est. 1971) has announced that the editors of the free weekly newspaper are reviewing stories for the 15th volume of its popular Pure Fiction issue. – See more at: http://writingcareer.com/#sthash.mXy8pvl3.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/
Copyright © WritingCareer.com – used with permission

  • Communication Arts (est. 1959), a bimonthly visual arts magazine supported by a continually-updated website, has announced that the editors are seeking freelance contributors to cover insightful viewpoint-driven articles on trendsetting developments, moralistic issues and how artists can thrive in the creative fields of graphic design, art and illustration, photography and advertising media. – See more at: http://writingcareer.com/#sthash.mXy8pvl3.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/
Copyright © WritingCareer.com – used with permission

An Akron area original equipment manufacturer is now seeking a Technical Writer for their team.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

ELECTION ‘GUIDANCE’

http://kernelmag.dailydot.com A bit of a mess from the Kernel, at Daily Dot, but interesting and one of many recent items purporting to advise us how to vote, always with the presumption that we know what in hell this election process really is, how it truly operates, and so forth: “This is, plain and simple, a list of candidates running this year for U.S. Congress who we believe stand for a healthier Internet than their opponents. If you want a better Internet above all else, here’s how to vote for it.”

FOCUSING ON EGYPT

http://www.nytimes.com A note from The Times about a recent Carter Center rebuke of Egypt, here in the form of an op-ed piece that makes absolutely clear that boycotting Egypt is a necessary aspect of the current moment, with one demand in that regard that the regime release jailed journalists: “In a statement last week, the center announced that it would close its Cairo office after nearly three years and would not send experts to monitor parliamentary elections later this year. ‘The current environment in Egypt is not conducive to genuine democratic elections and civic participation,’ Mr. Carter said as part of the statement, which warned that political campaigning in an already polarized situation ‘could be extremely difficult, and possibly dangerous, for critics of the regime.’ The center’s withering judgment is a damning critique of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a former general who overthrew President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2013. It also sends two powerful messages to the Obama administration.”

POETIC PORTALS

http://www.poets.org From Poets.org, a heartrending remembrance of James Foley, journalist killed in Syria : “Jim and I spent three enlivening years teaching together in South Phoenix, a sprawling grid of hardscrabble neighborhoods rimmed by South Mountain, where empty desert lots glistened with broken glass. Jim taught middle school history at Lowell Elementary. I taught fifth- and sixth-grade bilingual students at C. J. Jorgensen Elementary. Day after day, we attempted to win over our rowdy classrooms. By night, we moonlighted, sitting in on community writing workshops. Together, we made a pact to become writers. After leaving Phoenix, Jim went on to study fiction writing at UMass Amherst, where he wrote ‘Notes to a Fellow Educator,’ a prize-winning short story detailing his teaching days in Arizona. His story, thinly veiled as fiction, takes the form of a painfully hilarious tell-all letter written by a teacher named Mr. Foley, who is departing the classroom. Page one describes several middle school girls forming the ‘We Hate Mr. Foley Club.’ ‘Mr. Foley You are not the boss of this school so don’t try to boss us,’ reads Joanna Chavez’s writing sample left behind for Foley’s successor. I’ve always loved the poignant, clear-eyed tone of this story, which seems to prefigure Jim’s later move to study journalism at Northwestern.”

SPANISH COMMUNITY MODELS

https://www.contributoria.com/ From Contributoria, a reportage about a seemingly socialist utopia in sunny Spain : “Specifically, this imagery above describes Marinaleda. Initially indistinguishable from several of its local counterparts in the Sierra Sur southern mountain range, were it not for a few tell-tale signs. Maybe it’s the street names (Ernesto Che Guevara, Solidarity and Salvador Allende Plaza, to name a few); maybe it’s the graffiti (hand drawn hammers-and-sickles sit happily alongside encircled A’s, oblivious to the differences the two ideologies have shared, even in the country’s recent past); maybe it’s the two-storey Che head which emblazons the outer wall of the local sports stadium. Marinaleda has been called Spain’s ‘communist utopia,’ though the local variation bears little resemblance to the Soviet model most associate with the phrase. Classifications aside, this is a town whose social fabric has been woven from very different economic threads to the rest of the country since the fall of the Franco dictatorship in the mid 1970s. A cooperatively-owned olive oil factory, houses built by and for the community, and a famous looting of a large-scale supermarket, led by the town’s charismatic mayor, in which proceeds were donated to food banks, are amongst the steps that have helped position Marinaleda as a beacon of hope.”

POPULIST RESISTANCE

http://www.popularresistance.org Four links, from Popular Resistance, outlining ways that folks still strive to make a difference in their societies and lives – specifally in regards to Ferguson: “The Grand Jury decision is pending and the concern is there will be no indictment. If this injustice occurs, we must support the Ferguson community through a difficult time and create a national movement that turns decades of racial discrimination by police around. People protesting the injustice in Ferguson have specific demands which Green Shadow Cabinet Attorney General Kevin Zeese describes as uniting us.”

LITERACY FOUNDATIONS

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers A contextualizing report from Rabble.Ca about community-based literacy programming, so powerful, yet so commonly the target of budget axes: “Promotion of adult literacy is also important because adult literacy is family literacy: when parents are engaged in improving their education, including literacy, their children benefit. Parents are able to help children with homework, and to read to them before bed, activities important for child development and parent-child attachment. Additionally, when adults are engaged in education there is a ‘spinoff’ effect — they bring their cousins or brothers or neighbours to join them in the literacy program. The benefits that flow from good literacy programming are many, and they spread rapidly in communities where literacy programming is established.”

NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION

http://www.newswise.com An examination of ‘free speech’ on the cusp of a week that celebrates that right, in all its various forums without to any extent tolerating hate speech in this context: “The Credo for Free and Responsible Communication in a Democratic Society ‘support[s] the proposition that a free society can absorb with equanimity speech which exceeds the boundaries of generally accepted beliefs and mores; that much good and little harm can ensue if we err on the side of freedom, whereas much harm and little good may follow if we err on the side of suppression.'”

MATTERS OF LIBRARIES’ MATTERING

https://medium.com An examination from Medium that shows how, despite their old-school Gutenberg roots, libraries still play a critical role, notwithstanding digitization miracles: “Thus did a law school library score a coup of materials, and whet its appetite for more. The next year, acquisitions vaulted Harvard’s collections to over eighty percent of all the world’s English law books published before 1601. Tales like these, shared in the law school’s own official reminiscences published in the 1950’s and 60’s, reinforce the notion of a library as a storehouse of rare and precious things. And with good reason. Libraries originated at a time when books were expensive, difficult to copy, and thus perhaps irreplaceable.”

TOP GOVERNMENT WEBSITES
http://benton.org A portal via Benton.org to the ‘Best Government Websites of 2014,’ useful in their own right and as entry points for all sorts of networking opportunities.

NIEMAN’S NEW ‘VISITING FELLOWS’

http://www.niemanlab.org/ A look at the group of funded folks from Nieman’s most recent visiting fellows program, all of whom would be great to be in touch with by scrappy scribes.

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

AMERICAN ARCHIVES MONTH POETRY

http://blogs.archives.gov A National Archives whimsical glance back at the past about times that were tougher than these : “The exhibit is currently traveling, and you can still see highlights online. Using original documents from the nationwide holdings of the National Archives, the exhibit explored the Government’s efforts to inspire, influence, and control what Americans eat and the unexpected consequences, dismal failures, and life-saving successes of those efforts.”

‘MODEL’ ONLINE BOOK CLUB

http://lareviewofbooks.org/toms-book-club/ A fantastic opportunity for writers to participate, especially in southern California : “Tom Lutz handpicks four books a year and conducts an exclusive book club with LARB members. Books are shipped to your door in advance. The book club meeting is held on Facebook, and all members are sent an exclusive interview between Tom and the author, either by video or audio stream.”

A 99% AGENCY?

http://esartists.com/what-we-do/ An agency for writers to explore : “Additionally, as ESA is the only firm to formally address the controversial concept of a client’s “cumulative commission,” we are taking this unprecedented step: If ESA agrees to be in business with another firm — be it a management company or an agency — we will reduce our commission from 10% to 7.5%. …Agencies are no different from any other powerful company. As they grow, so does the gap between their original objectives and their urge to conform to corporate bottom lines. Whereas they started representing individuals in the 10% business, they suddenly found themselves in the ownership business — representing shows, companies, brands, etc., as that is far more lucrative. But what happens with this change is that the artists’ needs get left behind. The management business was (and still is) a reaction to this trend. But many management companies are increasingly striving to be producers, as that, too, is far more lucrative. And again, the client is de-prioritized.”

‘CATFISHING’ ISSUES & LOADS MORE

http://www.theguardian.com Whoa! An amazing read from a first-time novelist in the Guardian, about her experiences with online abuse by reviewers and the ins-and-outs of contemporary online ‘culture’ generally, from GoodReads’ ‘reviewers’ to Instagram and Twitter insights, and more; amazing: “After we hung up, she blocked me on Facebook. Then “Blythe Harris” reconnected her Twitter account and set it to private. But she was still following me, which meant I could send her a direct message. I wrote to her that I knew she was using other women’s photos. I filled up three of the 140-character word limits, imploring her to contact me. ‘I’m not trying to embarrass you,’ I wrote. Channelling Schulman, I emphasised that I just wanted to know more about her experience – to listen, and hear how she felt about all this. Blythe responded by unfollowing me; there could be no more direct messages. I’m told Blythe still blogs and posts on Goodreads; Patricia tells me she still live tweets Gossip Girl. In some ways I’m grateful to Judy, or whoever is posing as Blythe, for making her Twitter and Instagram private, because it has helped me drop that obsessive part of my daily routine. Although, like anyone with a tendency for low-grade insanity, I occasionally grow nostalgic for the thing that makes me nuts.”

EXPAT ENGLISH READERS, & WRITERS

http://www.niemanlab.org A Nieman article about networks : “But The Local, a network of websites based in nine European countries, is one of the first to approach that market from a broad-based, digital-only standpoint. The Local was founded in 2004 as a weekly digest by two Englishmen in Sweden, before expanding to Germany in 2008, then Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, and Austria. In June it added Denmark to the fold, finally connecting its Scandinavian and mainland domains. With 4.5 million monthly readers across its sites and 28 staffers, The Local is growing fast.”

BUILDING DEMOCRATIC COMMUNICATION FUTURES

http://www.philly.com An op-ed from the Philadelphia Enquirer, via Benton.org, that, among other things, discuses democracy building: “In a robust conversation, many different participants in these meetings challenged Wheeler’s current proposal on the future of net neutrality, while detailing the problematic effects the Comcast merger would have on our communities. Wheeler also heard about the high cost and low quality of our broadband service and the lengths to which low-income people must go to get online. Many of us have struggled for decades to build democratic communications in Philadelphia. It was amazing to be part of such a diverse gathering, as professors, poets, and political organizers alike pushed Wheeler to foster a truly inclusive communications system. But we were fewer than 40 people sitting with Wheeler for a couple of hours in two small rooms. And at the same time, in 2013, Comcast spent $18.8 million lobbying the federal government. This is hardly a surprise: The big decisions that the FCC will make this year – on Wheeler’s flawed Internet rules, the Comcast-Time Warner merger and state bans on municipal broadband – will have a huge impact on Comcast. That’s why Comcast lobbyists are a regular presence in Congress, in our city halls and statehouses, and at the FCC.”

A PATREON PROOF OF CONCEPT

https://gigaom.com A GigaOm piece about crowdfunding : “We’ve seen a number of attempts to crowdfund a journalistic enterprise — including Andrew Sullivan’s reader-funded Daily Dish, the Kickstarter-powered launch of investigative blogger Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat website, and the group model that Beacon Reader uses. The decision to go direct to readers (or potential readers) is an interesting one, so when a Canadian journalist who does a media podcast turned to the crowdfunding site Patreon for support recently, I asked him to tell me why. Jesse Brown — who, in the interests of full disclosure, is a long-time friend — has worked for a number of different media outlets over the years, including writing a column for Canada’s national newsmagazine, as well as doing a technology-focused radio show/podcast called Search Engine for the public broadcaster, the CBC. After leaving the CBC, Brown did what many freelance journalists do, which is a little of everything — reporting, writing, blogging, consulting and paid speaking. But he also started a media-focused podcast called Canadaland, because he believed that Canada lacked the kind of critical analysis that the United States and other countries have. Soon, this side project became almost a full-time job.”

ETHICS PUBLIC, NOT PERSONAL

http://www.pbs.org An opinion essay from Media Shift at PBS, about journalism ethics, by one of the most respected voices in that realm: “Some journalists are skeptical about any attempt to forge a new practice-wide consensus on aims and principles. There are too many practitioners, too many platforms, too many conflicting values. Journalism, it seems, is irrevocably fragmented. As I noted in a previous column, there is a trend toward a ‘personalized’ or ‘Do It Yourself’ approach. Journalists construct their own ethical guidelines. Personalization conjures up the image of journalism ethics breaking up into an archipelago of isolated ‘islands’ of value, one for each type of practice. In many cases, the underlying ethical position for such a view is subjectivism or relativism: Each person or platform have their own values. Journalism ethics, then, is not a public ethic that applies across a practice. The justification of norms seems to reduce to: ‘Because these values are mine.’ I oppose any view that grounds the new digital journalism ethics in subjectivism.”

IMMERSIVE FREELANCER ‘APP’

http://www.journalism.co.uk A Journalism piece about a writing platform : “Shorthand, the immersive storytelling platform, has launched a new tool aimed at freelancers interested in producing long-form, media-rich content. Immersive enables users to create engaging stories which combine text, photos and videos in a responsive format suitable for viewing on different devices and screen sizes. ‘The whole approach with Immersive was off the back of Shorthand and the stories we’re seeing produced by publishers,’ Shorthand founder Ben Fogarty told Journalism.co.uk.”

REAL WORLD’S CRUSHING IMPACT

www.nytimes.com A New York Times piece that deals with a French artists’ plight with which many scrappy scribes will empathize, and sympathize : “As for himself, Mr. Le Yaouanc (pronounced yah-WONK) says he is not leaving, that the authorities will have to carry him out, and this is no idle threat. In July 2013, when he first faced eviction, he locked himself in and threatened to kill himself. His son, in tears outside, persuaded the local authorities to give his father more time. It all started a decade ago, after Mr. Le Yaouanc took out a loan of 123,000 euros, around $160,000, from a Belgian bank to send a massive marble sculpture of his from Texas to Beirut, Lebanon, as a gift to the city. He used his apartment as collateral but soon found himself unable to repay the loan. A Lebanese friend assumed the loan, but on the condition that Mr. Le Yaouanc agree to sell the apartment to his creditor for €700,000, or about $900,000, in the event of default. After a series of bad financial decisions, Mr. Le Yaouanc lost everything, including the apartment, now estimated to be worth at least €1.25 million, or $1.6 million.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

OBEISANCE TO BOURGEOIS IN ‘HIP-HOP’

http://lareviewofbooks.org A powerful examination of the underpinnings of much of the poetry and message in contemporary rap, from the Los Angeles Review of Books, beginning with a quotation from LeBord: “‘Just as the human riches of the American blacks are despised and treated as criminal, monetary riches will never make them completely acceptable in America’s alienated society: individual wealth will only make a rich nigger because blacks as a whole must represent poverty in a society of hierarchized wealth. Every witness noted the cry proclaiming the global significance of the uprising: ‘This is a black revolution and we want the world to know it!’ Freedom Now is the password of all the revolutions of history, but now for the first time the problem is not to overcome scarcity, but to master material abundance according to new principles. Mastering abundance is not just changing the way it is shared out, but totally reorienting it. This is the first step of a vast, all-embracing struggle.'”

DEVILISH DETAILS IN ‘A.I.’

https://gigaom.com Whoa! A fascinating piece on AI : “A team of New York University researchers that includes Facebook AI Lab Director Yann LeCun recently published a paper explaining how they built a deep learning model capable of predicting the position of human limbs in images. That field of computer vision, called human pose estimation, doesn’t get as much attention as things like facial recognition or object recognition, but it’s actually quite difficult and potentially very important in fields such as human-computer interaction and computer animation. Computers that can accurately identify the positions of people’s arms, legs, joints and general body alignment could lead to better gesture-based controls for interactive displays, more-accurate markerless (i.e., no sensors stuck to people’s bodies) motion-capture systems, and robots (or other computers) that can infer actions as well as identify objects. Even in situations where it’s difficult or impossible to see or distinguish a part of somebody’s body, or even an entire side, pose-estimation systems should be smart enough to predict how those limbs are positioned.”

LEFSETZ TECHNO-SCREED

http://lefsetz.com/ Another Lefsetz screed about the impacts of digital futures : “So denigrate the younger generation all you want. Tell them they’re coddled and need to be respected as individuals. But the truth is they’ve earned this status! They’ve been individuals in the digital sphere nearly from birth. They’ve had to figure things out for themselves. They know that no one is going to help you in this world, and if you don’t help yourself you’re going to be left behind. Devices will get smarter, the transition process will become smoother. But the truth is we’ve got a double digital divide. Those without devices and those who have them but don’t know how to use them.”

KILL-THE-MESSENGER ESSAY

http://consortiumnews.com/ A Consortium News piece about a renewed attack on the long-deceased Gary Webb : “Jeff Leen, the Washington Post’s assistant managing editor for investigations, begins his renewed attack on the late Gary Webb’s Contra-cocaine reporting with a falsehood. Leen insists that there is a journalism dictum that ‘an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof.’ But Leen must know that it is not true. Many extraordinary claims, such as assertions in 2002-03 that Iraq was hiding arsenals of WMDs, were published as flat-fact without ‘extraordinary proof’ or any real evidence at all, including by Leen’s colleagues at the Washington Post. A different rule actually governs American journalism – that journalists need ‘extraordinary proof’ if a story puts the U.S. government or an ‘ally’ in a negative light but pretty much anything goes when criticizing an ‘enemy.'”

GALLUP’S 1928 MASTER’S THESIS

http://www.theatlantic.com/ An Atlantic piece about the past ways of viewing media : “Shared exclusively with The Atlantic, Gallup’s 1928 thesis, “An Objective Method for Determining Reader Interest in the Content of a Newspaper,” is an eerily prescient work, which reflects on today’s discussions about viral media, news analytics, and even native advertising, all while showing that we’ve been having the same debates in this business for the last 80 years.”

COMPETITION’S GOOD RESULTS

http://theconversation.com/ A conversation piece about old war songs: “Novello was raised in Cardiff in an atmosphere of music. His mother, Clara Novello Davies, was the celebrated leader of the Welsh Ladies Choir, and Novello (briefly) attended Oxford’s Magdalen College School on a soprano scholarship. He was 21 when he competed with his mother to compose a war song, and Home Fires was the result. Novello wrote the title line of the song and its main melody, before the American poet Lena Gilbert Ford (who would die in an air raid two years later) completed the lyrics.”

CHEMISTRY NOBEL

http://www.nytimes.com/ Emphasizing the collaborative and serendipitous nature of scientific discovery, an overview from The Times about the three professors who split this year’s Ph.d. in Chemistry: “The three laureates have employed their innovations to study biology at the smallest scales. Dr. Hell has studied how brain synapses work, Dr. Moerner has looked at proteins related to Huntington’s disease, and Dr. Betzig has tracked cell division inside embryos.”

NO SOLITARY GENIUSES HERE

https://medium.com/ An analysis from The Aspen Journal, under the auspices of MediaREDEF, : “The computer and the Internet are among the most important inventions of our era, but few people know who created them. They were not conjured up in a garret or garage by solo inventors suitable to be put into a pantheon with Edison, Bell, and Morse. Instead, most of the innovations of the digital age were done collaboratively. There were a lot of fascinating people involved, some ingenious and a few even geniuses. My book, The Innovators, is the story of these hackers, inventors, and entrepreneurs — who they were, how their minds worked, and what made them so creative. It’s also a narrative of how they collaborated and why their ability to work as teams made them even more creative.”

APPLE’S ‘NEWSPAPER’ ‘PATENT’

http://www.businessinsider.com A Business Insider that takes us inside a new Apple product : “Apple indicates in the patent filing that its digital periodical is double-sided, so users can read both sides of a magazine. It’s also flexible, so it can be held like a newspaper. The filing shows that the screen can be rolled up for portability. Another idea that Apple has for the digital periodical is using it as a screen to displays ads. The patent filing speculates that the device could be rolled into a tube around a light post to show information as people walk past.”

BUFFET ON THE NEWS

http://www.politico.com/ A Politico piece about the importance of journalism in politics and life : “‘Journalism is everything. Portions of journalism have declined in importance, and it’ll continue to. It’s too bad. Newspapers were primary 30 or 40 years ago in stock market prices or baseball scores, where you could find a house, where you could find a job — all of those areas, they’re no longer primary in,’ Buffett said. ‘They’re just less important to people than they were before, but news is still important to people, and they’re getting it one way or another.’ …Buffett owns some 70 newspapers, most of them small publications like Tulsa World and the Greensboro News & Record. The smaller papers, he told POLITICO, may last longer than larger ones because they are more important to their communities.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

PUTIN INSIGHT ECHOES AT HOME

http://thehill.com A carbon wake-up letter from The Hill that explains some of the wry smiles on Vladimir Putin’s face in recent interviews, as: “Critics say that production in the very formations that are most responsible for the U.S. oil boom is endangered by two major factors: a lack of infrastructure at home, which makes the storage and refining of crude more complicated than it should be, and the potential for the oil price to plummet further if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) doesn’t cut its output.”

COURTS’ ELECTORAL INTERVENTIONS

http://www.nytimes.com/ An Ohio voting analysis : “Last week, a day before voting was scheduled to begin in Ohio, the United States Supreme Court split, 5 to 4, to uphold a cut in early voting in the state by one week; the five Republican appointees voted in favor and the four Democratic appointees against. Cases from North Carolina and Wisconsin are also before the court, with decisions expected shortly, while others are proceeding in Texas and Arkansas. The legal fights are over laws that Republican-led state governments passed in recent years to more tightly regulate voting, in the name of preventing fraud. Critics argue that the restrictions are really efforts to discourage African-Americans, students and low-income voters, who tend to favor Democrats.”

MORE ‘SOUTHERN’ ELECTORAL EPHEMERA

http://thehill.com A story regarding Souther Clinton democrats, and their problems and prospects : “The former president has already campaigned with the Democratic hopeful twice and will head to the Bluegrass State again next week. The former secretary of state held a rally with Grimes on Wednesday, coming as Grimes kept emphasizing she was a ‘Clinton Democrat through and through’ after flatly refusing to say whether she voted for President Obama. The former president — a master of the retail politics central to places like Arkansas — is the featured guest in his native state this weekend. There, Democrats are trying to save vulnerable Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and push former Rep. Mike Ross (D) into the governor’s mansion. Pryor even took a selfie on stage with Clinton this month, in an attempt to illustrate how close he is to his state’s favorite son. Despite their close ties to the Clintons, their efforts to distance themselves from a deeply unpopular current president may not work.”

ELECTORAL FRAUD AS ESTABLISHMENT SOP

http://www.commondreams.org/ Further travesties against Southern voters, in the form of a Supreme Court affirmation of North Carolina’s fascist upending of voting rights, in which the included dissents have some useful points to make about what is going on here: “‘They tried to focus this on voter ID, but that’s not what this is about,’ North Carolina NAACP president Rev. Dr. William J. Barber said in a news conference on Thursday. ‘This has everything to do with voter suppression.’ ‘More than 70 percent of African-American voters utilized early voting during the 2008 and 2012 general elections,’ the ACLU Voting Rights project said in a statement after the ruling, noting that the extra time allows for flexibility with work schedules and eases the burden of finding transportation to polling places. ‘For many voters, the choice is between early voting or not voting at all,’ ACLU said, adding, ‘This is particularly critical for low-income voters, who are more likely to have hourly-wage jobs that don’t afford them the time to get to the polls on Election Day or during common work hours.'”

EXTENDING THE FRANCISE

http://theconversation.com/ A Conversation piece about voting age : “The case for lowering the voting age to 16 in the UK would appear to have been strengthened by the resonance of young people in the Scottish referendum. But excitement over this issue masks a deeper problem. Young people are disengaged from politics for many reasons, few of which will be resolved simply by allowing them to tick a box at the polling booth. During the Scottish referendum, 16 to 18-year-olds were enfranchised for the first time. They showed themselves to be highly engaged with the campaigns, making a positive contribution to the public debate about Scotland’s constitutional future. Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, was so impressed, in fact, that he declared there was “not a shred of evidence for arguing that 16 and 17-year-olds should not be allowed to vote”.”

EBOLA BASICS

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43750.pdf Another present from Federation of American Scientists, this lays out Ebola realities and facts: “The Ebola virus is named after the Ebola River, near where the virus was discovered in 1976 in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is in the filovirus family, so called because of its filamentous shape. EVD is also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever. The disease sometimes causes hemorrhage (i.e., bleeding) from body openings, but this symptom is not consistent. Five strains of Ebola virus have been identified. The Zaire strain is responsible for the current outbreak in West Africa. A slightly different Zaire strain is responsible for a smaller unrelated outbreak now in the DRC.”

NULAND’S KIEV VISIT

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39892.htm A story about ‘Fuck-the-EU’ Victoria Nuland’s carrying American salutations and well-wishes to Ukraine in the midst of systemic breakdown and continued skating on the verge of a regional or global war : “For the past month, the Kiev regime has been talking out of both sides of its mouth. At times it has been declaring commitment to a ceasefire brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). At other times, hardliners in the regime have been warning that there was no such truce in practice, and that it was on the verge of an all-out war with Russia. All the while, the putative ceasefire has been in tatters largely because Kiev’s forces have refused to withdraw from the conflict lines and continued to shell civilians centres. Now the Kiev President Petro Poroshenko has flipped to a strident war rhetoric. In a televised appearance this week, the former industry tycoon had swapped his tie and suit for military uniform, and was warning that forces under his command were ready to use «modern fighting techniques». Poroshenko said that «Ukraine has transferred its economy to a military footing and will provide everything possible for the Ukrainian army to be stronger». This while his bankrupt country owes Russia $5.3 billion in unpaid gas bills.”

KIEV’S MOST RECENT MELTDOWN

http://www.globalpost.com Another offering regarding the Ukraine : “Whatever the case, it was only the latest in a lasting trend of street protests in Kyiv, where various pro-democracy, nationalist and other groups regularly rally downtown or in front of parliament — although almost always peacefully. On Monday, hundreds of National Guard soldiers demonstrated outside the presidential administration calling for an end to an extended military draft that’s sent countless men to battle Russia-backed separatists in the east. Officials and activists suggested that protest was also engineered by Russian intelligence services, the Kyiv Post reported. In some ways, the regular demonstrations are sign of the times: the government is still a long way from building functioning political institutions, while the economy is still reeling from the effects of mismanagement and graft.”

OBFUSCATING SYRIAN POLICIES

http://www.strategic-culture.org A Syrian analysis where, arguably, the terrorists-in-chief are the U.S. and Britain: “But that’s not the only anomaly that sprung to mind about Obama’s war council in Washington. Together with the usual Western allies of Britain, France, Canada and Australia, there were military top brass from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Yet, all these Middle Eastern «partners» are documented as having deep logistical links with the Islamic State and other related jihadist terror groups marauding in Syria and Iraq. Joe Biden, the US vice president, admitted this terror connection between Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the other Arab oil monarchies in a public debate at Harvard University earlier this month. Although Biden was later forced into making cringing apologies to the said offender countries, his initial blundering confirms the paradox that the US-led anti-terror coalition is comprised of, well, state-sponsoring terrorists.”

CHILE’S INDIGENOUS COURT VICTORY

http://www.commondreams.org/ A Court victory in Chile for miners : “For the project to continue, a ‘fresh consultation, based on an International Labor Organization convention,’ must take place with the Diaguita, Reuters reports. ‘The Diaguita people are happy that justice is on the side of the humble, of those who defend Mother Earth, our water resources and our indigenous land,’ the Associated Press quotes Diaguita leader Maglene Campillay as saying following the ruling. A Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal held in Montreal earlier this year found that mining projects are often ‘undertaken without respect for the right of self-determination of affected peoples and for the right of people to define for themselves their ways of life and their future,’ watchdog group MiningWatch Canada noted.”

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

FROM RUSSIAN MUD
http://www.nytimes.com A Times article that, like sugar-fat-laced crack, is completely irresistible, but unlike that concoction also contains amazing insights into how the world has evolved to its current pass, based on a correct understanding of the past, all of which concerns the city of Novgorod, where preservatives in mud have guaranteed a steady stream of birch bark documents of the realities of the past: “In an interview in his office, the city’s mayor, Yuri I. Bobryshev, glowed with pride as he described its history as a major trading post of the medieval Hanseatic League, with strong ties to the European centers of Lubeck, Bruges, Ghent and London. ‘It was a union of merchants and the decisions taken by that union were unconditionally carried out by the rulers of all European states,’ Mr. Bobryshev said, adding with a sly smile, ‘Of course, at that time there was no trace of the United States.’ He then boasted about Novgorod’s role, along with Kiev, as one of the two principal cities of Kievan Rus — the original Russian Federation — adding that Moscow could lay no claim to national prominence until Ivan III made it the capital in the 15th century.”

ACCURATE RADIATION EPIDEMIOLOGY

http://www.mirror.co.uk/ A news analysis from Britain’s Daily Mirror about long-term studies of English ‘Atomic Vets’ that ascertain grotesquely inflated likelihood of damage to their wives and children as a result of radiation exposure from nuclear weapons tests: “Research – first reported by the Sunday Mirror in 2007 – which shows that their offspring have 10 times the normal rate of birth defects has finally been accepted by the scientific community.

The study proves:

  • Wives have THREE times the rate of miscarriage
  • Children are FIVE times more likely to die as infants
  • Babies are THREE times more likely to be stillborn
  • Veterans’ grandchildren EIGHT times more likely to have birth defects
  • Grandchildren of veterans TWICE as likely to get childhood cancer

And the most shocking finding of all is that the problems are likely to last at least 500 years, or 20 generations.”

CONSCIOUSNESS & KNOWLEDGE

http://theconversation.com A terrifying, yet fascinating, research summary from The Conversation which assumes so many premises that listing them would take a dissertation, and which reduces complex issues to the weight or network-configurations of ‘grey matter,’ all the while paying lip service to wider views: “There really is an explosion of neuroscientific techniques that will help us with these and other important challenges in understanding our brains and what makes us who we are. At the forefront will be the new researchers coming up the ranks. Here are just five who were involved in the Human Brain Project school and what they think will have the biggest impact in the field.”

IDIOTIC DRUG-WAR ‘FAILURES’

http://rabble.ca/book A review-essay from Rabbel.Ca of the utter worthlessness of the War-on-Drugs, especially viewed from any sort of social or public-health perspective: “(T)he most fundamental questions are not being asked. How, for example, did we ever think that the solution to curbing the use of certain drugs was to be found solely in the implementation of the criminal justice system? Why did we think it appropriate to criminalize people for ingesting substances that we disapprove of, even when there was no victim and no violence involved? We don’t incarcerate people who ingest excessive amounts of tobacco or alcohol, even though the potential harms are serious and quantifiable. Well, you say, people use psychoactive drugs to get ‘high,’ and somehow that is supposed to justify it. (People don’t use alcohol to get ‘high?’) Using this reasoning, we make a conscious choice every day to treat people who abuse certain substances as criminals, rather than as what they are, which is ill. How different would the scene be today if we had started a hundred years ago employing our public health system to deal with drug addiction instead?”

MERCENARY INTELLIGENCE

http://www.outsideonline.com/ An OMFG investigative report from Outside Magazine about a co-founder of Blackwater and his self-promotion into the nine-figure-income bracket, which in addition to resulting from machismo, bigotry, and imperial arrogance, was also based on fleecing and fraud: “The SCG compound was the hub for a major international operation that touted offices in London, Dubai, Islamabad, Buenos Aires, and Kabul. SCG’s creator and boss, Jamie Smith, was the main draw for most students who came: ex-CIA, Harvard educated, a cofounder of Blackwater, and an all-around world traveler and hired gun. Smith lectured at the camp wearing cool, snug-fit Crye combat gear and Wiley X shooter glasses. He was clean-cut, with perfect hair. He also talked a lot about his love for Jesus. His lessons on weaponry and interrogation were sprinkled with Bible verses. If you were lucky, Smith might tell you about the time he was shot in Pakistan or how he became a decorated CIA officer during the Gulf War. Some of the men who came to train had seen him on CNN, Fox, or MSNBC, appearing as an expert on security and counterterrorism. If you paid the $1,200 to go through a one-week SCG course, you knew you were heading into an experience that would be authentic.”

FOSTER CARE FACTS

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43752.pdf One of Federation of American Scientists’ blessings, in the form of a Congressional Research Service report, dealing with older foster kids and research about their trials and tribulations: “Congress has long been concerned with the well-being of older youth in foster care and those who have recently emancipated from care without going to a permanent home. Research on this population is fairly limited, and the few studies that are available have focused on youth in a small number of states. This research has generally found that youth who spend time in foster care during their teenage years tend to have difficulty as they enter adulthood and beyond.”

CRUSHING POLICIES AGAINST WORKING POOR

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/ From Contra Corner, a crossposting from Wolf Richter that : “Ironically, the designated losers of central bank policies – wage earners and savers – are the vast majority of the households out there. But it’s hard to get an economy to thrive if the vast majority of its participants are being systematically and relentlessly plundered in tiny insidious increments on a daily basis. Of course, central banks have a solution: get these folks to borrow money and spend it to goose the economy, so that they’ll turn into debt slaves, rather than just impoverished middle-class workers. But financial assets have now taken a hit, the fretting has started, and new calls for QE infinity are being heard. Read…. ‘This Market is Driven by Psychology and Momentum,’ which ‘Works Really Painfully on the Way Down.”

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE POLITICS

http://chieforganizer.org A Chief Organizer piece about Chamber of Commerce shenanigans : “He was good. He knew it all, chapter and verse, state by state, race by race. He was wildly impressive. The primary direction of most of his spin was trying to fabricate a picture of the Chamber as the voice of business somehow occupying middle ground as politics polarized. They were fighting the ‘caveman caucus.’ The primary fights were about getting people who could govern. They were for immigration reform, the Import/Export bank, and Common Core, so ‘see, we’re not so bad’ was the message. Yet his recitation of the ‘facts’ as he called them made it clear they were a partner in the polarization. Election cycle after election cycle from his report they had moved farther and farther away supporting any Democrats ever, so that at this point it was less than a handful. And, his recitation of issues that put them in the middle faded away when he listed their policy priorities after the election: ‘fixing’ the Affordable Care Act, Energy Policy, i.e. build the XL Pipeline for the Kochs, Financial Security, read gutting Dodd-Frank even more, and Labor Policy, which means hitting unions even harder. As an afterthought he wanted us not to forget about fair trade and gutting entitlements. So much for any common ground, he and the Chamber are the drum majors and policy pros for the Republican elephant parade.”

U.S. EDUCATION & DEMOCRACY

http://truth-out.org An interview with Noam Chomsky by a pair of intrepid teachers, from TruthOut: “When people denounced [former Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad for rejecting and criminalizing homosexuality, it should be remembered that was true of the United States until very recently. Women’s rights were unheard of. Civil rights proponents were horribly treated, not just in the South. It was awful there, but pretty bad here. Environmental issues did not exist. Opposition to aggression was virtually zero. In fact, so little, that to this day, even scholarship mentions the Vietnam War as beginning in 1965. By 1965, South Vietnam had already been practically destroyed. At least a couple of hundred thousand US troops were ravaging and began the attack on the north. You literally could not have mentioned this in Boston, which is a liberal city. The first time we tried to have a public antiwar demonstration on the Boston Common, which is where everything takes place, it was broken up; [we] couldn’t have it. It was October 1965. I was supposed to be a speaker. Nobody could hear the speakers. The Boston Globe – the most liberal newspaper in the country – the next day, you can look it up on the internet, was full of denunciations of these people who were daring to question the validity of the bombing of North Vietnam. I mean, this is five years into the war. There’s nothing like that anymore.”

EVOLUTION & RELIGIOSITY

http://www.newswise.com/ A News Article piece about Darwinian issues and concerns : “The study, said to be the first in-depth analysis on the acceptance of evolution in this region, has been accepted for publication in the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach. Co-authored by Dr. Leslie Rissler, a University of Alabama professor of biological sciences, and two of her graduate students, Sarah Duncan and Nicholas Caruso, it used data gathered from questionnaires answered by approximately 3,000 UA students. ‘Religion is much more important than all the other measured educational variables, combined, in influencing their views on evolution,’ said Rissler.”

10.21.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Human society has persisted because repeated agitation from below has contested ruling hierarchies’ universally mandating murder and mayhem to forestall all basic social reformulation; as the capacity fo crush or control upheaval for change has become just about irresistible, continued human viability hinges on grassroots organizning for participatory democracy, despite the apparent impossibility of such a necessity.

Quote of the Day
  • I have never found anywhere, in the domain of art, that you don’t have to walk to. (There is quite an array of jets, buses and hacks which you can ride to Success; but that is a different destination.) It is a pretty wild country. There are, of course, roads. Great artists make the roads; good teachers and good companions can point them out. But there ain’t no free rides, baby. No hitchhiking. And if you want to strike out in any new direction — you go alone. With a machete in your hand and the fear of God in your heart.
This Day in History

Nine hundred eighteen years prior to just this moment, Europe’s “People’s Army,” part of a People’s Crusade that primarily consisted of poor peasants who hoped for a ‘fresh start,’ fighting for Jesus, met the Turks and faced almost total elimination; exactly a year later, soldiers from Europe’s first formal crusade invested the siege of Antioch on their way to Jerusalem, spending the better part of a year surrounding the city that lies on the current border of Turkey and Syria; four hundred ninety-four years prior to the present pass, mariner Ferdinand Magellan led ships that found a passage around the tip of South America; two hundred forty-two years before this point, the infant male who matured into the acclaimed poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge uttered his first cry; two hundred nine years back, British fleets defeated French and Spanish navies at the Battle of Trafalgar; one hundred ninety years back, the first patent for Portland Cement issued; one hundred eighty-one years ago, the baby boy who would make a fortune in dynamite and found an annual prize in his name was born; Florence Nightingale and a couple score nurses debarked for the Crimean war one hundred sixty years ago; a hundred forty-seven years back, the Medicine Lodge Treaty provided for the development of much of the West by relocating Southern Plains tribes to reservations in Oklahoma; a hundred twelve years ago, a five-month coal strike called by the early United Mine Workers ended; Warren Harding ninety-three years prior to the present pass became the first U.S. President to speak out against lynching, and Rudolph Valentino first showed up on screen as The Sheik; eighty-five years prior to this day in time, the little girl child who became scrappy scribe Ursala Le Guin came into the world; seventy-four years ago, Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls first hit bookstores; five years later, the women of France first had a chance to vote; British soldiers fifty-eight years back captured the leader of Kenya’s Mau-Mau uprising, ending the rebellion for the most part; Dwight Eisenhower signed documents fifty-five years before the here-and-now that transferred Werner von Braun, the former Nazi, from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; forty-seven years back, over a 100,000 people marched against the Vietnam War in Washington, a demonstration that mirrored huge outpourings against the war in Europe and Japan; forty-one years ago, John Paul Getty III lost an ear so that a ransom note, which took three weeks to arrive, could hold evidence of his capture; the European Patent Institute came into being four years subsequently; twenty-eight years ago, conspirators in Lebanon, friendly with Iran, captured American writer Edward Tracy, whom they held almost five years; two decades back, North Korea and the U.S. signed an agreement that ‘ended’ that country’s nuclear weapons program, while the U.S. production of H-bombs continued apace; just two years before now, historian, Senator, and former Presidential candidate George McGovern died.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

history memory “human necessity” OR “adaptive advantage” OR “critical importance” OR “social utility” contemporary OR current absent OR missing OR attenuated analysis investigation “political economy” OR radical OR marxist = 228,000 Citations.

TOP OF THE FOLD

DOOMING ETHEL ROSENBERG

http://www.theguardian.com A Guardian piece about how Ethel Rosenberg’s brother betrayal caused her and her spouse their lives: “After his release from prison in 1960 Greenglass lived under an assumed name in the New York borough of Queens, hoping to be forgotten for his part in a McCarthy-era case that is still furiously debated to this day. A spokeswoman for the Meeropols, Amber Black, said on Tuesday that the brothers had been aware of their uncle’s death last summer but did not seek media attention and received no enquiries at the time. Greenglass, indicted as a co-conspirator, testified for the government that he had given the Rosenbergs research data obtained through his wartime job as an army machinist at Los Alamos, New Mexico, the headquarters of the top-secret Manhattan project to build the atomic bomb. He told of seeing his older sister transcribing the information on a portable typewriter at the Rosenbergs’ New York apartment in 1945. That testimony proved crucial in convicting Ethel along with her husband.”

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

YOUTH VIDEO CONTEST

http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/contest2014.html A contest for young people to try out their video skills

DISRUPT EUROPE

http://techcrunch.com/events/disrupt-eu/tickets/ Tickets to a London tech event, payable through Bitcoin.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

WACKY WRITER NETWORKS?

http://priceonomics.com/ Another wild ride from the folks at Priceonomics, : “Similarly, if you’re doing a study of human psychology or behavior, and sample only consists of American undergraduate students who … either: (a) need beer money, or worse yet (b) are required by the same few professors to volunteer as subjects; you might come away with the mistaken impression that all humans are like western undergraduates. In these fields they’ve become the standard subject for the species at large, which is a status they might not deserve.”

STRATEGIC CULTURAL CONCEPTUALIZATIONS

http://www.strategic-culture.org A Strategic Culture Foundation analysis of Petro Poroshenko’s political machinations in Ukraine :”Recall, too, that Poroshenko promised to end the violence in eastern Ukraine «within a week» in his inauguration speech in June this year after his dubious presidential election. His erratic behaviour and words raise questions about his integrity, if not his sanity. It was after all Poroshenko who personally appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to help broker a ceasefire at the beginning of last month. That truce officially came into effect on September 5 in a deal cut in Minsk, Belarus, under the auspices of the Contact Group and the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Apart from Kiev’s ragtag military forces of regular troops and fascist paramilitary battalions not implementing the ceasefire, it also does not bode well that Poroshenko appeared to snub a top-level meeting last weekend of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Minsk. Nine heads of states were present at the summit, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin. It would have been an opportune occasion to shake hands in order to bolster the ceasefire in Ukraine, and even to give gratitude to Putin for his peace efforts, but Poroshenko declined.”

TOOLS & CONTEXT

http://ecowatch.com/ Stephen Colbert and Neil Young pair up to deliver a greatly incisive tune regarding climate change (also seen here )

TOTAL CORRUPTION ETERNALLY

http://www.truth-out.org Another great piece from Truth Out regarding the threat of a deep state, totalitarian society : “Central to George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian society was a government so powerful that it not only dominated all of the major institutions in a society, but it also was quite adept at making invisible its inner workings of power. This is what some have called a shadow government, deep state, dual state or corporate state. In the deep state, politics becomes the domain of the ultra-wealthy, the powerful few who run powerful financial services, big corporations and the imperious elite of the defense industries and other components of the military-industrial complex. Corporate interests such as ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies, megabanks such as Bank of America, and defense industries such as Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are powerful lobbying groups and as such have control of the major seats of political power and the commanding institutions necessary to insure that the deeply anti-democratic state rules in the interests of the few while exploiting and repressing the many.”

MEDIATED OPTIONS & OPPORTUNITIES

https://www.kickstarter.com A great Radio Kickstarter project showing hope for a new kind of public radio : “Radiotopia became a reality in November 2013, when I called on the backers of the last 99% Invisible campaign to fund “a new kind of public radio.” Radio full of the most compelling stories imaginable, made by a group of talented creators combining their energies to grow their audiences and thrive. People – probably many of you – rallied beyond our wildest dreams. It was an awe-inspiring moment, the realization that the heart of a radio fan can grow to make room for many deserving shows. Together with PRX, we’ve taken that love, trust, and money to bring together a collective of the best storytelling shows on the planet.”

IMMIGRATION FILM FESTIVAL

http://www.telesurtv.net From Tele Sur, an announcement of a new culturally integraging film festival : “One of the most important objectives of the festival consists in promoting integration between different cultures. “The festival gives an opportunity to those voices who have problems that maybe in daily life we don’t pay attention to,” said Monica Lairana, actress, film maker and juror at the festival. This year, the citizens of Buenos Aires will have the opportunity to watch 75 films from 38 countries around the world, all of them appearing in the competitive section. At the same time ,a window to two different international film festivals will be opened; A window to Foco Documenta Madrid, a film festival dedicated to documentary films and Foco Doc DF, another possibility to be in touch with the last international social documentaries.”

TIGERS AS CORPORATE METAPHOR

http://www.wsws.org From World Socialist Web Site, analysis of a filmic offering by Bosnian-born director Danis Tanović, at the Toronto Film Festival : “The story begins a dozen years earlier. Soon after his marriage to Zainab (Geetanjali), Ayan gets a job with Lasta, a multinational company. During training, the new hires are taught to growl likeand pursue business with the ruthlessness oftigers. Ayan soon uses his charm and skill to persuade doctors and others to recommend Lasta’s products. He becomes a star salesman. His dreams of wealth and comfort seem on the verge of coming true. However, one of the doctors he has befriended, Faiz (Satyadeep Misra), returns from Karachi with alarming news. “I want to show you something,” he tells Ayan, conducting him to a ward of sick children. As the film’s notes explain, Faiz lets Ayan in on a terrible secret: “Most of his patients don’t have access to clean water. They mix infant formula in filthy water and give it to their babies, who get diarrhoea. Or because it’s so expensive they dilute it and malnutrition follows. Breastfeeding would pass on natural immunities but mothers are persuaded to use formula instead.”

NAFTA-FUELED MIGRATION

http://www.politicalresearch.org A piece from Political Research, regarding Mexican migration, thanks to NAFTA : “In Oaxaca, some towns have become depopulated, or are now made up of only communities of the very old and very young, where most working-age people have left to work in the north. Economic crises provoked by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other economic reforms are now uprooting and displacing these Mexicans in the country’s most remote areas, where people still speak languages (such as Mixteco, Zapoteco and Triqui) that were old when Columbus arrived from Spain.2 “There are no jobs, and NAFTA forced the price of corn so low that it’s not economically possible to plant a crop anymore,” Dominguez says. “We come to the U.S. to work because we can’t get a price for our product at home. There’s no alternative.’ According to Rick Mines, author of the 2010 Indigenous Farm Worker Study, “the total population of California’s indigenous Mexican farm workers is about 120,000 … a total of 165,000 indigenous farm workers and family members in California.”3 Counting the many indigenous people living and working in urban areas, the total is considerably higher. Indigenous people made up 7% of Mexican migrants in 1991-3, the years just before the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 2006-8, they made up 29%—four times more.”

MAP-‘JAMMING’

http://www.shareable.net A fun project meant to emphasize global optimism and connectedness : “Map jams aren’t just about making maps, they help us visualize the possible and shift our mindset from an attitude of lacking resources to an empowering assessment of collective resources to build a foundation on. Seize the opportunity to ignite a conversation about your participants’ ideas for projects they’d like to see birthed, their vision for the community, and discuss opportunities for collaboration. It’s not too late to schedule a #MapJam for your community – don’t have to worry if you can’t do it in the next 2 weeks. Some groups have already begun to schedule their events after the official window and will be riding the wave into November. Other organizers have identified existing events in their community to tag a map jam onto in order to get more participants. You could even just invite over a few friends and do it over dinner or a few beers.”

MERCURY RETROGRADE

http://www.psmag.com/ A quirky piece describing a phenomenom known to astrologers for ages and, perhaps due to the planet implicated, of interest to writers and all whose business is communication : “It began on the 4th. Maybe you noticed. I will be honest: I did not, at first. Sometime between making note of the dates it would occupy (October 4-25) and the day it actually began, Mercury Retrograde slipped my mind. That morning, a Saturday, I met two friends for breakfast. The cafe where we planned to meet has two locations, it turns out, and I went to the wrong one. My friends, already running late, agreed to come to mine. Everyone was pretty polite about it, but we were all annoyed. The mix-up, the pouring rain we all had to walk through to get there. The day ran a little off course right from the start.”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

TROLLISH IMPETUS

http://www.wired.com A harrowing reminder from Wired about the depths that online envy, misogyny and sociopathy can take, especially in terms of the anonymity that web interactions provide : “Later I learned that the first threat had nothing to do with what I actually made or said in my books, blog posts, articles, and conference presentations. The real problem — as my first harasser described — was that others were beginning to pay attention to me. He wrote as if mere exposure to my work was harming his world. But here’s the key: it turned out he wasn’t outraged about my work. His rage was because, in his mind, my work didn’t deserve the attention. Spoiler alert: “deserve” and “attention” are at the heart. A year later, I wrote a light-hearted article about “haters” (the quotes matter) and something I called The Koolaid Point. It wasn’t about harassment, abuse, or threats against people but about the kind of brand “trolls” you find in, say, Apple discussion forums. My wildly non-scientific theory was this: the most vocal trolling and “hate” for a brand kicks in HARD once a critical mass of brand fans/users are thought to have “drunk the Koolaid”. In other words, the hate wasn’t so much about the product/brand but that other people were falling for it.”
“Because what the haters MOST want the world to know is this: what you’re serving your audience? It’s NOT EVEN ACTUAL KOOLAID. “Snake oil”, the trolls insist. You’re a “proven liar”. Or, as I was referred to yet again just yesterday by my favorite troll/hater/harasser: “a charlatan”. And there is “evidence”. There is always “evidence”. (there isn’t, of course, but let’s not let that get in the way.) And the trolls aren’t stupid. The most damaging troll/haters are some of the most powerful people (though they self-describe as outcasts). Typically, the hacker trolls are technically-talented, super smart white men. They’re not just hackers. They are social engineers. They understand behavioral psych. They know their Kahneman. They “get” memes. They exploit a vulnerability in the brains of your current and potential listeners. How? By unleashing a mind virus guaranteed to push emotional buttons for your real, NOT-troll audience. In my specific case, it was my alleged threat to a free and open internet. “She issued DMCA takedowns for sites that criticized her.” Yes, that one even made it’s way into a GQ magazine article not long ago, when the writer Sanjiv Bhattacharya interviewed weev and asked about — get this — the “ethics” of doxxing me. Weev’s explanation was just one more leveling up in my discredit/disinfo program: DMCA takedowns. I had, apparently, issued DMCA takedowns.”

COPYRIGHT NONSENSE, SATIRIZED

http://lefsetz.com Another installment from Bob Leftsetz that orients the reader to intellectual property and copyright in the context of the new internet agenda: “Your enemy is obscurity. Any way to reach people is to be applauded. Nowhere is it written that recorded music should generate as much revenue as it did in the past, nowhere is it written that you should be able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars making an album, nowhere is it written that you’re entitled to make music at all! So throw your sticks and stones. I don’t care, I’m on the winning side. I’m aware of progress. I can see where I’m going. I’m not an ostrich with my head in the ground. Agitate against label payouts if you’re complaining at all. Otherwise, just do me a favor and write a hit song. And if you can’t, please get out of the way. Because we only have time for hits. And yes, once upon a time we had time for marginal, but now we’ve got almost no time at all! And that we do possess we want to spend listening to what everybody else does. And yes, there are exceptions, but marginal artists are not entitled to put food on the plate. Maybe they have to get a day job. Maybe they have to give up. And that’s just fine with me.

THINGS WRITERS DO

http://blogs.loc.gov/ A Library of Congress interview with Glenn Ricci, a technology specialist : “I spent five years there as an undergrad taking courses for free. I majored in English writing, with minors in philosophy and psychology as well as a certificate in film studies. Learning the language of film has helped me in a lot of ways since. I first came to D.C. to get my MA in English from Georgetown. I was planning on going back to Pittsburgh afterwards, but ended up staying here. My current job turns out to be a nice combination of my background in photography, film, writing, and music. I just happened to get here through a fairly circuitous route.”

FREE ONLINE LAW MATERIALS

http://blogs.loc.gov/l Another Library of Congress valuable resource : “Researchers can download PDF files of up to 20 pages per download. When you are viewing the document you need, look for the PDF icon at the top of the page to select the items for either printing or downloading. In the example below from the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), you would click on the PDF icon at the top of the page and a “Print/Download Options” screen appears allowing you to select either the current section you are viewing or a custom page range. You can either print the pages or download them as a searchable PDF document.”

AN HBO NEWS DIVISION?

http://variety.com/ A Variety Magazine article about HBO projects : “He isn’t doing this all by himself. HBO has quietly amassed what could be called a current-affairs programming unit: Bill Maher’s Friday-night “Real Time” has grown in influence since it debuted in 2003, and a documentary series from Vice Media has won plaudits for its “on the ground” reporting style (and includes Maher as a producer, incidentally). The Time Warner network clearly sees opportunity for the programming. HBO recently put Maher through an obstacle course of sorts by having him host an episode of “Real Time” and then scurry across Washington, D.C. to do a live stand-up special immediate following. It has renewed the Vice series so that it will air through at least 2016. What’s more, it has carved out Monday primetime as a place for documentaries.”

REALITY’S PRODUCTIVITY CONFLICTS

http://www.poynter.org/l A Poynter article about Carvajal : “‘I wrote it at a cafe with wifi because I had no time to return to the office from the Pont des Arts,” Carvajal wrote. “I quickly settled on my characters (my favorite: a street cleaner with a green broom) and wrote.’ For me, Carvajal’s story was an invitation to remember the times I stood on the bridges that span the Seine. Her characters, the details she chose, the quotes she selected—all combined to take me to that bridge. Her story apparently touched a lot of people. It climbed the Times Top 10 emailed list, and was shared more than 2,000 times through the NYT Facebook page. Her decision to leave the office clearly paid off.”

TRANSFORMING LIBRARIES

http://csreports.aspeninstitute.org An Aspen Institute article about reinventing libraries : “(A)ll of society … is being reshaped by these trends. Amid these changes, there are divides in wealth, digital inclusion and participation that threaten to widen if we as a nation do not commit to new thinking and aggressive action to provide these opportunities for all. This is a time of great opportunity for communities, institutions and individuals who are willing to champion new thinking and nurture new relationships. It is a time of particular opportunity for public libraries with their unique stature as trusted community hubs and repositories of knowledge and information.”

OVERWHELMING OVERWORKING

http://www.govexec.com/ A Government Executive article about the perils of overwork : “If you live in today’s do-more-with-less, hyperconnected world, you can’t avoid feeling overworked and overwhelmed at least some of the time. I live in the same world that you do and it happens to me too. That’s been especially true this past month or so as I’ve been carrying my normal load of work with clients and getting ready to launch the book. It’s like two full-time jobs. So, yeah, I get overworked and overwhelmed too. The difference for me over the past few years is I recognize earlier when I feel that way and know what to do about it when I recognize the feeling.”

TRANSFORMING NEWSROOM ‘CULTURE’

http://www.themediabriefing.com/ A Media Briefing article about newsroom culture : “Changing newsroom culture remains one of the thorniest issues for newspapers trying to adapt to the new digital and cultural landscape. At the World Publishing Expo Newsroom Summit in Amsterdam, editors and managers from four European news organisations shared their experiences of dragging editorial practices into the 21st Century.”

LEARNING POETRY

theconversation.com/ A Conversation piece about the value of poetry : “This also created a shared poetic repertoire which may well have been instrumental in poetry becoming the most vital form in which experiences were memorialised during World War I. But over the course of the 20th century these practices were gradually eradicated by theories of child development seen as incompatible with rote-learning, and by a growing emphasis in literary pedagogy on “close reading” – the skill required for practical criticism that requires detailed, sustained attention to all aspects of the text. Classroom activities, particularly at secondary level, now concentrate on the analysis of poems as textual constructs, whilst poetry learning and performance have all but disappeared. This stands in contrast to the situation in many other European countries, where both are still prescribed by national curricula. In the US, where it is no longer a curriculum requirement, poetry recital is still viewed positively and not troubled by misgivings over rote learning.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

AUDIENCES & EXPECTATIONS

http://www.wired.com A Wired Pulp Fiction retrospective : “But even in that empty theater, the film played for me like gangbusters. In the end, it comes down to trust: trust in the filmmakers to take you on a ride, no matter how twisty or unconventional that may be. If you go into any story with preconceived notions of how it will play out, you’re not giving into the pure id of the imagination, and, like me, you’ll get stuck on what the film should be.”

FREE PRESS & OWNERSHIP IN ORANGE COUNTY

http://www.niemanlab.org A Nieman Lab piece about The Orange County register having a new (interim) publisher, whose experience is in the casino business. Is there a bigger plan at work, or is Aaron Kushner just lurching from idea to idea? : “The best bet: The investors, led by Silver Point, believe that moving Kushner to the back of the bus (if not under it) is a last chance to save their investment. It was that old devil circulation that finally did Kushner in. The owners knew that that the Los Angeles Times was about to file suit, finally convinced that Kushner wasn’t going to pay up for the Times’ delivery of the Register in Orange County. On Tuesday, the Times did so, calling for payment of the $2.4 million it says it’s owed plus damages. Add that litigation to every publisher’s worst nightmare: not delivering the morning papers to paying subscribers earlier this month, a story that made national news when the Register was forced to find an alternative to the Times for delivery.”

MEDIATING ‘SECRECY’ MEDITATIONS

http://blogs.loc.gov/ A Library of COngress article about a mysterious book : “The Library’s reference staff receives many Ask a Librarian questions from people trying to locate particularly hard-to-find books. However, we’ve gotten a surprising number of questions from people looking for several books that, it turns out, are widely and definitively known not to exist. The most commonly requested example is the President’s Book of Secrets. As depicted in the film National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the book is a fictional invention for the plot of the movie. Obviously, there are real secrets that Presidents are made aware of during their terms of office, mostly relating to military matters and national security. The National Archives and Records Administration keeps extensive records of investigations such as that regarding the Kennedy assassination (allegedly contained in the Book of Secrets). Many of these records are “classified” and not open to the public, at least for a certain period of time, but records of that sort usually involve thousands of pages of documents and would be managed by archivists with security clearances, not neatly contained in a single volume that could be passed from one President to another.”

BITCOIN’S ‘FOUNDER’S’ LITIGATION

techcrunch.com/ A new Tech Crunch analysis on the Bitcoin phenomenom : “The site, NewsweekLied, is an effort to hold the magazine accountable for “confusing” the 65-year-old unemployed engineer and, according to the site, misquoting his friends and family. “In some cases, words were attributed to them that were never said. In the chaos, his mother believed that the authorities were planning on removing her from her home to put her in a care facility,” Nakamoto’s supporters wrote on the site. “His estranged wife and children were alienated by the story, which portrayed a person and situation different from their understanding of their husband and father.””

ADAPTING PUBLIC LIBRARY’S DIGITALLY

http://www.citylab.com/ A City Lab piece about books and libraries’s viability in this brave new technological world : “Book circulation is not the central focus of America’s public libraries anymore. Or rather, it shouldn’t be if our libraries want to remain relevant, according to a new report released today by the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries. The report is the result of a multiyear conversation about the future of America’s public libraries and how they can best serve the emerging needs of their communities. As we move forward into the digital age at what sometimes feels like warp speed, our communities continue to change—and what we need from our libraries continues to change, too. “While the public library was conceived in an age of information scarcity, today’s networked world is one of information abundance and mobility,” states the report. “Public libraries have the DNA needed to thrive in this new information-rich, knowledge-based society.””

MEDIATING REACTION’S AESTHETICS

http://www.patrolmag.com/ A Patron article about reactionary views : “What interests me about this is not the substance of Dreher’s position, which after all is held by people I respect and like across our profound differences. It is, rather, what you might call a political aesthetics: a style of occupying a certain position, a sort of theatrical performance of political argument, an emotional thrust that drives its expression. While I don’t deny that this exists for all imaginable political positions, and in fact is far more central than arguments to most political debate, I’m particularly fascinated by what one might call, borrowing from Corey Robin, the “reactionary mind,” or the psychology of reaction. Whether or not reaction is the core of all conservatism (I have no idea), it’s clear to me that some conservatives I read are reactionaries. Some of them, Dreher very much included, I feel I have watched become reactionaries. But it’s very hard to pin down. If reaction is neither a specific category of conservative opinion nor attributable to all conservatives ipso facto, what is it? Reaction is closely associated with revanchisme, but the emphasis should be more on the theatrics of vengeance than the substance of a political effort to recover lost ground.”

RECENT ‘THOUGHT LEADER’S’ THOUGHTS
http://newsletters.technologyreview.com/email/daily/all/20141014/ An MIT daily portal of news that technologically interested folks can draw on.

NEEDING CODE

http://www.nytimes.com/ A New York Times analysis of technological startups: “These boot camps reflect the start-up ethic: small for-profit enterprises that are fast (classes are two to four months), nimble (revising curriculum to meet industry needs) and unconcerned with SAT scores or diplomas. Most are expensive, but some accept a share of the graduates’ first-year earnings or a finder’s fee from employers as payment. Most important, at a time when so many young people are underemployed, most graduates, especially those from highly selective boot camps, quickly find well-paying jobs. In a recent survey of 48 boot camps, Course Report, an online boot camp directory, found that three-quarters of graduates were employed, with raises averaging 44 percent from their pre-boot camp pay and an average salary of $76,000.”

MEDIATING STEREOTYPES

http://rabble.ca/ A Canadian article about new media, and its many opportunities and challenges : “Non-traditional “new media” has suddenly made independent Indigenous media more affordable and accessible. So far, this has resulted in an upsurge of social media usage among Indigenous peoples, as well as a shift towards digital publications. Slowly, ever so slowly, other possibilities are being imagined as well. Unfortunately, though the costs of creating Indigenous media platforms have gone down, Indigenous media is not particularly profitable, and likely will not be for quite some time. This means that those people trying to create and take up space, are doing so on a mostly volunteer, out-of-pocket basis. As a result, there has been no major explosion of Indigenous media, no huge upsurge of podcasts, TV shows, newspapers, blogs, and so forth. Just a slow, but very important, trickle. Ryan McMahon is trying to change that. A dabbler in multitudinous platforms, Ryan seems to be trying to start an Indigenous media revolution…and the thing is, this could be totally possible, if we all got on board!”

MEDIA/MARKET NICHES

http://www.newswise.com/ A News Wire piece about pianos and the economy of selling them : “Steinway and Sons pianos are considered the finest in the world. Founded in 1853, Steinway pianos are still built by hand, each taking nearly a year to create. The carefully selected wood is cured for months, and nearly 100 sets of hands will piece them together. Gary Mortenson, school director, said Chapman’s donation allowed the school to purchase 40 new pianos and refurbish four existing Steinway pianos. Each new piano can cost up to $150,000, while refurbishing can cost $25,000 per piano.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

PUTIN ON UKRAINE

http://rt.com/ A Russia Times article about the Ukraine : “This question should be addressed to the EU and the United States, whose reasoning is hard to understand. Any unbiased person knows that it was not Russia who staged the coup d’état in Ukraine, which led to the grave internal political crisis and a split in society. An unconstitutional seizure of power was the starting point for the subsequent events, including the ones in Crimea. The people of Crimea, seeing the complexity and unpredictability of the situation and in order to protect their rights to their native language, culture and history, decided to hold a referendum in full compliance with the UN Charter, as a result of which the peninsula re-joined Russia. Our partners should be well aware that attempts to put pressure on Russia with unilateral and illegitimate restrictive measures will not bring about a settlement, but rather impede the dialogue. How can we talk about de-escalation in Ukraine while the decisions on new sanctions are introduced almost simultaneously with the agreements on the peace process? If the main goal is to isolate our country, it’s an absurd and illusory goal. It is obviously impossible to achieve it but the economic health of Europe and the world can be seriously undermined.”

U.S. RESPECT FOR NAZIS

http://consortiumnews.com A Consortium News piece about historical respect for Nazis : “Historians blame the UIA and other Ukrainian fascist forces for the extermination of thousands of Poles and Jews during World War II as these right-wing Ukrainian paramilitaries sided with the German Nazis in their fight against the Soviet Union’s Red Army. Svoboda and the Right Sektor have elevated UIA leader Stepan Bandera to the level of a Ukrainian national hero. But Svoboda and Right Sektor activists are not just neo-Nazi street protesters. They were key figures in last February’s violent uprising that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych and established a coup regime that the U.S. State Department quickly recognized as “legitimate.” Many far-right militants have since been incorporated into the Ukrainian military in its fight to crush resistance to the coup regime from ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s east.”

IRAQI VORTEXES
http://www.independent.co.uk/ An Independent piece about Iraq : “The Shia militias have become the main fighting force of the Baghdad government since the Iraqi army was defeated by Isis when it took northern Iraq in June. According to a detailed Amnesty International report published today, the militias enjoy total immunity in committing war crimes against the Sunni community, often demanding large ransoms but killing their victims even when the money is paid. The re-emergence of the Shia militias and the failure to rebuild the Iraqi army is torpedoing the US and British policy of supporting a more inclusive and less sectarian government in Baghdad. The aim was to create a government that could reach out to Iraq’s five or six million-strong Sunni community and seek to turn it against Isis.”

EXPECTED DEGENERACY WITH ISIS

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/ Oh my Lord! Amazing! : “The Obama middle east gong show goes from the ridiculous to the absurd. The attached stories are about the manner in which the logical military bulwark against ISIS—that is, Turkey with its 600,000 soldiers, 3,500 tanks and 1,000 aircraft and helicopters—is fighting terrorism. To wit, it has unleashed its bombers, but on domestic Kurdish separatists, not ISIS butchers in Syria. And it flat-out rebuked the Sunday talk show statements of Obama’s top national security advisor, Susan Rice, in which she claimed Turkey had agreed to let Washington use its own air bases in Turkey. Not true, said the prime minister’s office. And why is Ankara dragging its feet on releasing the keys to our own airfields? Well, they are demanding as a quid pro quo that Turkey be allowed to establish a 20-mile buffer zone inside the northern border of Syria.”

WHY REFUGEES & CARNAGE GUARANTEE WAR

http://warontherocks.com A look at Jordan’s plight, this War on the Rocks shows how it influences other issues : “Having recently returned from a nine-month stint living in the northern tribal town of Irbid — a short 15 miles from Dara’a, the birthplace of Syria’s civil war — I can report the political climate outside of Amman is rife with friction. Smaller villages in northern Jordan are left to deal with the burgeoning refugee crisis, which has caused the prices of local staples, housing, and fuel to skyrocket. Many of the financially strapped governorates are not able to provide full services, leaving trash to accumulate on the sidewalks and Syrian children to beg on the streets. The Jordanian economy is structurally weak due to its dependence on external donations in the form of economic support funds and humanitarian assistance from the United States, various United Nations programs, and other international partners. To adjust, the central government in Amman has adopted an “each governorate for itself” policy, meaning that each of Jordan’s 12 governorates has the burden of generating much of its own revenue. Even though Jordan benefits from some foreign direct investment, a large majority of private investments and external funding enter through Amman, but do not necessarily leave Amman.”

RUSSIA’S VIEWS

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ A Global Research piece about Russia : “Perhaps this third attempt to conquer and subjugate Russia may lead not only to war encompassing huge territories of the globe, but, dialectically, may be the catalyst leading to the ultimate decline of capitalism, an economic system which thrives almost entirely on imperialism, and is undergoing a possibly terminal crisis, as described by the French economist, Thomas Piketty in his best-selling work “Capital in the 21 Century.” In desperation, dysfunctional Western capitalism is lashing out recklessly and irrationally, unwilling and unable to preclude the disastrous consequences of its myopic policies. And one possible consequence of current US/NATO policies is thermonuclear war. Lavrov stated: “The U.S.-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries, acts from directly opposite positions in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principle of sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter and trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil. Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests. Military interference has become a norm – even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the U.S. has carried out over the recent years.””

WAR GAMES’ RATIONALE

http://www.govexec.com/ A Government Executive piece about war games and international politics : “In Mar. 2014, the most powerful leaders in the world—including Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Xi Jinping—played a war game in the Hague testing how they would cope with a terrorist nuclear attack. (Merkel didn’t want to play with experts at her side, apparently, but was strong-armed into it.) In the game, terrorists are planning to attack a Western city with a dirty bomb. The leaders had four choices on the tablet on what to do in real-time, with the results then presented at the end anonymously to the group. Happily, they managed to thwart the attack.”

MICROPOLITAN DEVELOPMENT, REALITY & FANTASY

http://www.govexec.com A Government Executive piece about micropolitan development : “According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, as of 2012 roughly one in ten Americans lives in a micropolitan area, joining the more than eight in 10 who live in a metropolitan city. Many micropolitan areas serve as important regional centers of population and employment. As non-rural, non-metropolitan hubs of concentrated economic activity, small cities must carefully balance development within existing business clusters while attracting new ones. Agility is the key to success, as growth is driven via a combination of traditional economic agglomeration, focused innovation and unplanned opportunity.”

ELECTORAL REALITIES

http://thehill.com/ A Hill piece reminding us that the establishment is ruled by money, but asking all the wrong questions : “In the run-up to this year’s general election, much attention has been drawn to the ebb and flow of fundraising, ad buys and political money. It was just two years ago in Citizens United that the Supreme Court famously lifted some of the campaign finance restrictions imposed by McCain-Feingold. Many have worried about who would benefit (or be harmed) most from this new regulatory environment. We can now better assess how life is in this new post-Citizens United world. Has more money exacerbated our increasingly polarized political system and empowered those at the political extremes?”

CHARTER PROFITEERING

http://www.propublica.org A Propublica piece about the Koch Brothers and education misinformation : “In late February, the North Carolina chapter of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation — a group co-founded by the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers — embarked on what it billed as a statewide tour of charter schools, a cornerstone of the group’s education agenda. The first — and it turns out, only — stop was Douglass Academy, a new charter school in downtown Wilmington. Douglass Academy was an unusual choice. A few weeks before, the school had been warned by the state about low enrollment. It had just 35 students, roughly half the state’s minimum. And a month earlier, a local newspaper had reported that federal regulators were investigating the school’s operations. But the school has other attributes that may have appealed to the Koch group. The school’s founder, a politically active North Carolina businessman named Baker Mitchell, shares the Kochs’ free-market ideals. His model for success embraces decreased government regulation, increased privatization and, if all goes well, healthy corporate profits.”

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

GOD DEBATES

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com An Opinionator blog about the endless God debate : “The immediate impetus came from the poll I cited at the beginning of the first interview: 73 percent of philosophers said they accepted or were inclined to atheism, while 15 percent accepted or inclined to theism. Only around 6 percent identified themselves as agnostics. I would have expected a good majority to identify as agnostics.

G.G.: Why did you expect that?

g.g.: The question of whether God exists is a controversial one: there have been, and still are, lots of smart, informed and sincere people on both sides. So it would seem that philosophers, committed to rational reflection on the big questions, wouldn’t be atheists (or theists) without good reasons. But it is also obvious that the standard arguments for and against God’s existence — first-cause arguments, the problem of evil, etc. — have stimulated an enormous amount of debate, leading to many complications but to no consensus. (To get a sense of contemporary discussions on theism see the Stanford Encyclopedia’s articles on the cosmological argument and on the problem of evil.) Given this, it seemed to me that at least a good proportion of philosophers would be agnostics, undecided about God’s existence.”

SAMPLING BIAS MAXIMIZED
http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~henrich/pdfs/WeirdPeople.pdf A fascinating study about studies and behavioral scientists : “Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world’s top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these ‘standard subjects’ are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species – frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior – hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges.”

SENTENCING INJUSTICES

http://www.truth-out.org/ A Truth Out piece about sentencing injustices : “History paints a clear picture of how our country got enthralled into mass incarceration. In 1987 the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (SRA) was enacted as a part of the War on Drugs. With this new legislation, stricter laws and penalties were enforced by the federal government, and most states followed suite. Prior to these changes, the maximum term of imprisonment for the possession of any drug, in any amount, in the US judicial system was one year, which is consistent with the sentencing norms in many countries today. After 1987 that penalty was increased drastically from one year to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Not only did the new laws effect drug offenders, they increased punishment for all federal offenders, eliminating federal parole and decreasing good time allowances. Additionally, the US Sentencing Guidelines were also enacted in 1987 mandating judges to sentence all defendants in accordance to the new harsher sentencing scales. Consequently, the number of prisoners behind bars skyrocketed!”

POLICE STATE ROOTED

http://www.propublica.org A Pro Publica piece about the NSA and police states : “The NSA’s efforts to break encryption and establish backdoors were disclosed last year, but left open the possibility that the companies didn’t know about the activities. This new disclosure makes clear that some of those relationships are cooperative. The documents also describe a program codenamed Whipgenie. Its purpose is to safeguard one of the NSA’s most important secrets, the “relationships” between “U.S. Corporate partners” and the agency division that taps fiber optic cables. It refers to the dealings with U.S. companies as ECI — exceptionally controlled information: It says:The Whipgenie document details one company’s involvement in “domestic wire access collection” – an apparent reference to eavesdropping inside the United States. Under current law, such surveillance is only allowed after the government obtains a court order. But the document said that at least one “Corporate Partner” was involved in a “cooperative effort” to break into U.S. communications. This information, it says, is itself classified and should be closely guarded:”

CONTEXTUALIZING BILLIONAIRES

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com An Inside Philantropy piece about rich donors : “In the old model, says West, rich people would give money and trust the host institutions to figure out how to solve the problem and the best way to use the money. ‘The new model is much more activist and impact-oriented,” says West. “Donors have a topic that interests them but also a possible solution that they think would make a great difference.’ So, for example, many billionaires are keenly interested in education, but also have strong opinions on how their money should be used in this area, who say to nonprofits, “There are these goals that we think are important, and we’re going to use these performance measures to see how well you are achieving those purposes.'”

HEGEMONY’S ACADEMIC TENTACLES

http://theconversation.com/ A Conversation piece about business schools influence : “But more questions must be asked of the huge level of influence they have. They have arguably had a disproportionate – and sometimes damaging – effect on the world of business. This isn’t necessarily an argument of quality. But the culture they have propounded has in many ways hurt the global economy – which business schools should exist to serve. The level of influence that American business schools have on ideas and debate around what constitutes good business practice, as well as the relationship between the schools and businesses themselves, is overextended. A gold standard is one thing, but we have reached a point where we have a monoculture in leadership and management to the exclusion of others.”

WAR’S HELLS

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info An ICH piece about Iraq war hell : “The former soldier, who apologised at sentencing for his crimes, said he wasn’t seeking sympathy nor trying to justify his actions – killings prosecutors described at trial in 2009 as one of the worst crimes of the Iraq war. But Green said people should know his actions were a consequence of his circumstances in a war zone. ‘If I hadn’t ever been in Iraq, I wouldn’t be in the kind of trouble I’m in now,’ Green said. ‘I’m not happy about that.’ Green was discharged with a ‘personality disorder’ before federal charges were brought against him.”

FIDEL’S FEELINGS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

http://www.nytimes.com/ A New York Times piece about Cuba’s diplomatic relations: “On Tuesday, Mr. Castro dedicated a column to an editorial published in The Times on Sunday that called on the Obama administration to restore diplomatic ties with the Cuban government and end the counterproductive embargo the United States has imposed on the island for decades. His take was remarkable for one main reason: by quoting nearly every paragraph in the editorial, he amplified the reach of an article that included significant criticism of the Cuban government. Cuba has one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in the world, which keeps critical views of the government from circulating widely.”

LONGTERM MARTIAL CASUALTIES

http://www.nytimes.com/ A New York Times retrospective on war : “From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule. In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.”

JAPANESE IMPERIAL FAMILY ARCHIVES

http://www.nytimes.com/ A New York Times archive of Japanese history : “Which only makes it that much more remarkable that almost four decades ago, a Japanese journalist named Koji Nakamura asked Hirohito the question no one dared to ask. On Oct. 31, 1975, a few weeks after a visit to the United States, Hirohito and his wife held a public press conference at the palace. Nakamura, who participated as a representative of the London Times, was one of the very few reporters called upon to ask an unscripted question. ‘At the White House, your majesty referred to ‘that most unfortunate war, which I deeply deplore,”’ he began. “May we interpret this to mean that you yourself feel responsible for the war itself, including the fact that Japan waged it in the first place? In addition, may I ask you to share your thoughts about so-called war responsibility?'”

10.20.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

No matter how seamless and perfect a surface veneer may appear, it contains fissures and portals that channel its chaotic and seemingly messy inner workings, where lie the actual processes and dynamics that created the apparently masterful façade in the first place.

Quote of the Day

“For in spite of itself any movement that thinks and acts in terms of an ‘ism becomes so involved in reaction against other ‘isms that it is unwittingly controlled by them. For it then forms its principles by reaction against them instead of by a comprehensive, constructive survey of actual needs, problems, and possibilities.”
John Dewey

This Day in History

Today is World Statistics Day; four hundred sixty-six years back, two European monarchs permitted Alonso Mendoza to act as their representative in founding the city of La Paz as an exemplar of Our Lady of Peace; two hundred thirty-three years before the here and now, the Hapsburg Monarchy approved a rudimentary recognition of religious freedom with its Patent of Toleration; two hundred eleven years ago, the Senate ratified the Louisiana purchase, a key imperial move in U.S. continental expansion; the forty-ninth parallel became the Northwestern border between Canada and the United States one hundred ninety-six years back, according to the Convention of 1818; at the battle of Navarino one hundred ninety-four years ago, Russian, French, and British navies defeated a combined Turkish/Egyptian force off the coast of Greece; one hundred fifty-six years back, the baby boy entered the world who became acclaimed poet Rimbaud; just a year hence, the child who matured as philospher and educator John Dewey was born; a hundred forty-one years ago, three Ivy League schools and Rutgers created the first set of rules for American Football; eighty-nine years back, the baby male who would write wittily and scandalously as commentator Art Buchwald was born; Socialist leader of principle and passion Eugene Debs died eighty-eight years ago; a year subsequently, the infant female came into the world how grew up to become the sexual psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers; the Long March of Mao Tse Tung and his comrades ended seventy-nine years back, permitting the regrouping that laid the basis for Communist victory a decade and a half later; seventy-five years prior to just this point, Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical that denounced cultural chauvinism and totalitarian politics generally, in spite of his soon-to-occur agreement with the U.S. to provide safe harbor for Nazi escapees of Germany’s defeat; seventy years back, liquid natural gas leaked in Cleveland and exploded, killing a hundred thirty people, Douglas MacArthur did ‘return’ to the Philippines, and Soviet armies liberated Belgrade from the Nazis; three years down the road to the day, the Austrian baby girl who grew up as Elfriede Jelinek and won the Nobel Prize in Literature was born; the House Unamerican Activities Committee sixty-seven years ago began its investigations of Communist activities, and the U.S.-Pakistani alliance started to take shape; four years later, on a football field in Oklahoma, a White player blatantly assaulted a Black player and broke his jaw, without punishment; exactly ten years hence, the Soviets conducted their first armed test of an intercontinental ballistic missile from a submarine launching platform; just a year later, Chinese Communist forces invaded Northern India and began the Sino-Indian war; Richard Nixon initiated the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre” forty-three years ago, firing several officials in search of a Justice Department leader who would fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox; precisely a decade later, armed guards of a shipment of money died in a robbery conducted by the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army; three years ago, Libyan rebels supplied, supported, and funded by the U.S. captured and prepared to execute Muammar Gaddafi; two years back, the environmental activist who co-founded Earth Day breathed his last.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
scandal corruption hypocrisy empire OR imperialism history OR origins "mass murder" OR genocide analysis OR explanation radical OR marxist "political economy" = 575,000 Citations.

TOP OF THE FOLD

‘WATCH OUT!’ IN PHILLY
http://portside.org/2014-10-17 A Portside Labor repost about current uproar in Philadelphia as a result of unilateral takebacks from organized teachers, : "Labor will watch to see what the courts do, said Patrick Eiding, president of the Philadelphia Labor Council, AFL-CIO. If they don’t rule in the PFT’s favor, he said, watch out. ‘We will turn this city upside down," Eiding said. "We’ll see you in the streets if it’s not taken care of." Eiding and Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, alluded to the possibility of a general city strike – asking members of all unions to walk off their jobs – if the cancellation is not rescinded by the courts. PFT members are prohibited by law from striking. Their proclamations drew jubilant shouts from the crowd, which ranged from babies in strollers to senior citizens with canes. Police diverted traffic and described the crowd as angry but mostly orderly. No arrests were reported."

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

LINK An article in Social Policy from a scrappy At-Large scribe,

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

TEN MORE BUSINESS DAYS TO SUBMIT

http://www.hastac2015.org/cfp-deadline-extended/ Call for proposals at Michigan State University exploring Digital Humanities extended : "We welcome sessions that address, exemplify, and interrogate the interdisciplinary nature of DH work. HASTAC 2015 challenges participants to consider how the interplay of science, technology, social sciences, humanities, and arts are producing new forms of knowledge, disrupting older forms, challenging or reifying power relationships, among other possibilities."

COMPUTER & INFORMATION SCIENCE OPPORTUNITIES

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/ A National Science Foundation proposal for Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering: "CISE recognizes the importance of stable community infrastructure for its researchers. With this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), CISE notes particular interest in proposals that aim to sustain existing community research infrastructures that have provided, and continue to be of, significant value to the CISE research community. CISE also notes the importance of transitioning the infrastructures to self-sustaining resources."

ROBOTS’ SUPPORT FOR HUMAN GRANTS

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/ Call for proposals from National Robotics Initiative: "The realization of co-robots acting in direct support of individuals and groups. The goal of the National Robotics Initiative is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside or cooperatively with people."

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

LIBEL ENABLED BY GOVERNMENT SECRETS

http://justsecurity.org/16418/state-secrets-secret/ A Justsecurity.org piece about state secrets, in context of recent Iran litigation : "This ability to contest—one that proved successful, at least for some time, in Jeppesen—is what makes the government’s position in Restis different from its previous third-party interventions based on state secrets. Here, for the first time in the history of state secrets litigation in which the government is not a party, there is zero indication of what type of sensitive information is at risk of disclosure, why documents containing state secrets might be in UANI’s possession, or what the government’s possible interest in the matter is. When the government is a party to a suit, it seems clear what its interest in the litigation is, but there is no such obvious or natural understanding in Restis. The government has asserted that ‘the concerned federal agency, the particular information at issue and the bases for the assertion of the state secrets privilege cannot be disclosed.’"

NUCLEAR FREE SUMMIT

https://secure.sierraclub.org/ Occuring November 14 – 17, the second nuclear free campaign summit and strategy session organized by Sierra Club: "WHO: Sierra Club members and all those interested in ending nuclear power and dealing properly with radioactive waste. Participating organizations include the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Beyond
Nuclear, Nuclear Energy Information Service, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Uranium Watch,
Southwest Research and Information Center, the Information Network for Responsible Mining, Earthworks, San
Obispo Mothers for Peace and many others. "

SMALL BUT POWERFUL

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com "Small but meaningful" grant for strengthening education, community, and environment inspired by childrens’ book character: "One nice thing about this family foundation is that while it is small, entirely family run and only planning to give a couple of grants a year, it is still highly inviting and open to new grantees. Rumphius plans to track the progress of grantees on its website and in newsletters. And while Rumphius started with funding from the Schullers, the foundation hopes to grow with new donations. We write about a lot of foundations, and it’s easy to get a bit cynical about bloated programs or even family foundations putting up wall after wall between them and the public. It’s always refreshing to learn about a new funder driven by the enthusiasm of a family wanting to do small but meaningful acts, and inviting more people to get involved, maybe making those acts not quite so small."

ANTI-DEMOCRATIC NORTH CAROLINA

http://www.democracy-nc.org (http://www.democracy-nc.org/) A chilling document to peruse for all planning to vote in the state of North Carolina, from Democracy Now: "

Because of changes in disclosure rules, outside groups may spend unlimited amounts on nasty ads against a candidate or on other “electioneering” expenses, using money from virtually any source, from the May primary to Sept. 7 of the election year, without revealing the source or amounts to the public or State Board of Elections. Mystery money from corporations or other sources may also be spent on electioneering in odd-number years against candidates. Even for the period when disclosure is required, the public will get less information: The new law ends a requirement that print ads and mailers by outside groups include a list of the top five donors financing the ad."

FEDERAL STATE IMPACTS

https://www.nationalpriorities.org/smart/ A fascinating and indispensable site from the National Priorities Project that anybody interested in the flow of money must look at: "Welcome to State Smart, your comprehensive source for tracking how federal funds impact all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Through this interactive publication, you can follow money from the federal level to your state through spending on government personnel, contracts, aid to individuals (such as food stamps and Medicare), and public assistance programs, as well as find out how much individuals and businesses in your state pay in federal taxes."

TEACH-FOR-AMERICA FRAUDULENCE

http://inthesetimes.com An In These Times reportage of the growing opposition to an exploitative, anti-educational organization by the very people the organization seeks to recruit: "These Harvard students are part of a national movement headed by United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which contends that TFA plays a major part in the privatization of public education by policymakers. TFA was originally founded to fill a nationwide teacher shortage in the 1990’s but has since taken on an influential role in the education reform movement. TFA sends teachers to non-union charter schools, and many of its alumni have become prominent advocates for market-based education reforms like test-based evaluations of teachers and the elimination of teacher tenure. Through its 501(c)4 spinoff Leadership for Educational Equity, TFA has been described as playing key roles in education policy, school boards and local and national politics, and has injected big bucks into local school board elections like one in Minnesota this fall."

THEATER FOR LIFE

http://www.newswise.com An University of Arkansas study that delivers the news that attending – and thus supporting- theatre actually is good for education: "’What we determined from this research is that seeing live theater produced positive effects that reading a play or watching a movie of the play does not produce,’ said Jay Greene, professor of education reform. ‘Plays are meant to be seen performed live. You can’t always take your kids to a play but if you can, you should. The story can be conveyed in a movie, but it doesn’t engage the viewer in the same way. Greene’s department has conducted several studies about the effect of culturally enriching activities on students. Two years ago, researchers found significant benefits in the form of knowledge, future cultural consumption, tolerance, historical empathy and critical thinking for students assigned by lottery to visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas."

‘TREASURES’ FROM A PHARMA-DESERTER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8bt8eUB1CU A three-quarter of an hour video from a former pharmaceutical executive–"my hands are just as dirty as these people’s"–that provides powerful, possibly irrefutable evidence that the drug-industry is a massive combination of protection racket, extortion scheme, and criminal enterprise that consumes every ‘Western’ nation and targets every single person on Earth.

WORKERS COMPENSATION TRENDS

http://workers-compensation.blogspot.com/ A site that leads down many pathways that deal with workers’ comp, in so doing reminds us of the major disasters that industry has wrought and refuses to pay to fix: "Superfund Sites and located throughout the United States. Today marks the 34th anniversary of the "Love Canal Tragedy." Workers have been exposed to toxic substances and many have had little recourse in finding medical treatment and preventative care since most occupational disease claims are routinely denied by employers and workers’ compensationinsurance companies. Now delays are further hampering the cleanups."

COLLABORATORS’ DECONSTRUCTION

http://coreyrobin.com/ Another marvel from Corey Robin, about a man who helped send his sister to the electric chair–Arthur Greenglass and Ethel Rosenberg–and an attendant examination of the role of collaborators in oppression historically, richly detailed and persuasively reasoned: "Collaborators serve two functions. First, they perform tasks that elites themselves cannot or will not perform. These tasks may be considered beneath the dignity of the elite: cooking, cleaning, or other forms of work. They may require local knowledge—as in the case of informers, who provide information elites cannot access on their own—or specialized skills. We often think of torturers, for example, as thugs from the dregs of society. But torture is a weapon of knowledge, designed to extract information from the victim, often without leaving a physical trace. The torturer must know the body, how far he can go without killing the victim. Who better to assist or direct the torturer than a doctor? Thus, 70 percent of Uruguayan political prisoners under that country’s military regime claim that a doctor sat in on their torture sessions. Second, collaborators extend the reach of elites into corners of society that elites lack the manpower to patrol. These collaborators are usually figures of influence within communities targeted by elites. Their status may come from the elite, who elevate them because they are willing to enforce the elite’s directives."

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

DIALECTICAL DANCES OF ENCRYPTION’S CONTRADICTIONS

http://justsecurity.org A story from Just Security detailing the complexities of internet security, technology, and privacy : "The problem is chiefly one of engineering and complexity. While a government backdoor might sound like a conceptually simple problem, security systems (especially those involving cryptography) are actually incredibly complex. Even relatively simple systems that have been deemed as ‘obviously secure’ frequently turn out to have subtle flaws that can be exploited in surprising – and often catastrophic – ways. And as complexity increases (and a backdoor adds plenty of it), this problem becomes exponentially worse. The cardinal rule of cryptography and security is widely known: Keep it as simple and well-understood—by both engineers as well as average users—as humanly possible. Even here, this rule is not a perfect safeguard: even very simple security systems are hard enough to design and build reliably without adding the (significant) complexity of a ‘back door’ for law enforcement. The history of cryptography and security is littered with examples of systems, some fielded for years, that fell prey eventually to subtle design and implementation flaws initially undetected by their designers. Worse, a ‘back door’ adds exactly the kind of complexity that’s likely to introduce new flaws. It increases the ‘attack surface’ of the system, providing new points of leverage that a nefarious attacker can exploits. It amounts to creating a system with a built-in flaw."

EMPLOYER-ANTICIPATED SKILLS

https://www.youtube.com An offering from the Project Information Literacy detailing what happens when college students graduate and seek to make a transition into the workplace.

POETIC PERSISTENCE

http://blogs.loc.gov/catbird A Library of Congress offering relating Ted Kooser’s wish to place poetry back in the forefront of public consciousness: "On April 7, 2005, Mr. Kooser, following in the footsteps of other recent Poets Laureate who had led national poetry initiatives during their terms, launched the American Life in Poetry project, a free weekly column offered to newspapers and online publications. Mr. Kooser did not end the project after his tenure in the ‘Catbird Seat;’ he decided to continue offering a new column each week. His persistence has paid off. More than nine-and-a-half years after its first column appeared, American Life in Poetry will achieve a milestone of poetic longevity next Monday with the publication of its 500th column."

HYPER-MINI-BUDGET FEATURES

http://www.thewrap.com/ From The Wrap, a paean to producing hyper mini budget films, an actuality that is meaningless unless net neutrality is extant and powerful : "In an instant, my thinking flipped from ‘I need a lot of money’ to ‘How little can I get away with?’ I had everything I needed to make a film: actors, cameras, locations, editing systems, and so on. I thought back to an idea I had about a young woman stuck in Los Angeles on a layover and thought it might be a concept easily executed for very little money. So, in February I wrote the script for Layover. In May, we shot the film over the course of six weekends with a total budget of $6,000. A year after we wrapped, we had our World Premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, where we were nominated for the New American Cinema Award. And now the film is available via our own self-distribution model on LayoverFilm.com."

COURAGEOUS JOURNALISTIC NECESSITY

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/ An Editor & Publisher editorial analysing the breaching of emotional barrier between journalists and their stories: "When her colleague Wesley Lowery was arrested in Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Alyssa Rosenberg wrote in a column, ‘I think it is absolutely true that media figures react particularly strongly to the mistreatment of our own, amplifying cases that are not necessarily different from the violence or injustice suffered by other civilians. But stories like these can be sadly clarifying.’

Rosenberg brings up a good point. Stories from Ferguson and the news of Foley’s and Sotloff’s senseless deaths have certainly opened eyes. When the news directly affects journalists, that barrier between us and the story comes down fast. Why? Because journalists are human. They react. They feel. They sympathize. That’s why reporters in Ferguson stood alongside local residents, dodging tear gas canisters, in order to get their stories and images. That’s why journalists like Foley and Sotloff gave their lives to report stories from the Middle East."

DEBATE & LEARNING TO THINK

http://www.citylab.com/work A City Lab piece relating the value of debate in the success of youth by helping raise test scores and GPA : "There is, however, one group of students in Baltimore bucking this troublesome trend. For this group, not only is attendance higher, so are test scores and GPAs. These students are 3.1 times more likely to graduate than their peers, with 90 percent graduating on time and 86 percent enrolling in college. Within the most at-risk group, instead of less than half completing high school, 72 percent graduate. Their secret? Debate."

WRITERS’ TRICKS & TROPES

http://tvtropes.org/ An exhaustive and entertaining site analyzing and deconstructing popular tropes and literary conventions on millions of books, films, TV shows and more, from the highbrow to the base : "Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means ‘stereotyped and trite.’ In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them. The wiki is called ‘TV Tropes’ because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media. Tropes transcend television. They reflect life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, do their best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere."

DATA’S THREAT TO CREATIVITY

http://www.thedrum.com/news/ : "From the rise and rise of programmatic buying to marketers’ increasing focus on performance data and analytics, marketing is undeniably becoming a numbers game. But what does the inexorable rise of the industry’s Maths Men (to quote advertising’s preeminent number cruncher Sir Martin Sorrell) mean for its Mad Men and women? Can creativity still thrive in a data-driven marketing world, or are those bursts of spontaneous creative inspiration now under threat?"

SCRIBES’ PORTAL EXTRAORDINAIRE

http://scratchmag.net/issue/54385258c873d9175d14a2f5/self-help A great Scratch Mag portal titled Self Help, meant to help scribes with all aspects of the writer’s business and tasks, delving into the world of actual remuneration as well.

NEW FUNDING PORTALS’ FIRST GRANTS

http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/10 A plausible set of models for scrappy scribes and their union, from Nieman Journalism Lab’s review of the Investigative News Network’s most recent largesse to non-profits: "Well, today must be Small Grants For Journalism Innovation Day, because INN just announced the second round of grantees, this time clocking in at $226,020, again to eight projects. Here are the winners, which INN describes as ‘projects that enhance the sustainability and revenue of nonprofit newsrooms.’"

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

FBI’S WANTING MORE ACCESS

http://www.pcworld.com/ A PC world piece about internet privacy, with a recent Brookings Institution speech : "’I’ve never been someone who is a scaremonger,’ he added. ‘But I’m in a dangerous business. So I want to ensure that when we discuss limiting the court-authorized law enforcement tools we use to investigate suspected criminals, that we understand what society gains, and what we all stand to lose.”’ Comey said his goal with the speech was to open a dialog about law enforcement access to communications, and several audience members pushed back against his call for more surveillance capabilities."

JAPANESE ANIMATION RESPLENDENT

http://www.theverge.com A Verge piece about Japanese cinema, that includes a lengthy trailer : "Princess Kaguya is like an old Japanese painting come to life. The fluid animation is drawn in minimalist, evocative watercolors with charcoal strokes that reminded me a little of the Raymond Briggs adaptation The Snowman. A core theme of the film — how a simple life spent among nature can offer more happiness than urbanity and purported social progression — is one shared by other Ghibli works, but the painterly style helps make a more convincing case here. In one amazing scene, the princess Kaguya’s angry fantasies of escaping an oppressive environment are shown in dizzying, coarse scrawls as the character takes flight."

STRATIFIED VISA CLASSIFICATIONS

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/investor-visas/index.php A Library of Congress report about visa requirements and classifications, with emphasis on investors’ experiences procuring these, versus everyday folks: "This report examines types of visas and visa requirements granted to people who invest in a foreign country. Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain do not specify a particular amount a foreign investor must invest in the country to be considered for a visa (temporary or permanent). Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom specify a particular amount that must be invested in order to qualify for a visa."

MEDIA’S MEANDERING MEANING

http://www.brookings.edu/research/essays/2014/bad-news# A powerfully articulated establishment apology from Brookings Institution, passed on by Editor and Publisher, that for both its contextualization and its data mandates a scrappy scribe’s perusal, dealing with the power of media–in particular news–and how this has diminished and evolved in the present pass: "The Founding Fathers knew this. They believed that their experiment in self-governance would require active participation by an informed public, which could only be possible if people had unfettered access to information. James Madison, author of the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech and of the press, summarized the proposition succinctly: ‘The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.’ Thomas Jefferson explained to his French friend, the Marquis de Lafayette, ‘The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed.’ American journalists cherish another of Jefferson’s remarks: “\’Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.’"

ONLINE READING & READING

http://www.texasobserver.org/reading-online-turn-page/ A Texas Observer piece warning about the perils of online reading, in the context of an only marginally helpful sort of thinking that indicates that we should change the structures of our minds rather than being mindful of the structures of our techniques: "’The structure of much of what we are reading is inappropriate for the way in which we’re receiving information now,’ Hooper warned in a press release accompanying the study. ‘We need to learn how to read and write ‘digitally,’ as well as how to effectively interpret and retain information we read online. If you think about how we’re training our children to read, they’re being trained by those who were trained in the linear fashion. So it will take at least a generation for significant change to happen.’ Hooper’s logic is symptomatic of our era. We’re so entranced by the promise of the Internet that we explain away any evidence of the medium’s negative effects as the mere growing pains of a glorious new digital consciousness. As with the utopian visions of previous centuries, however, the ship of our digital dreams isn’t necessarily equipped to navigate the rocky banks of human nature—in this case, a neural architecture that is in many ways fundamentally unsuited to an over-stimulated, always-online environment."

IMMIGRANT LABOR HEROES, CONTEXTUALIZED

http://www.truth-out.org A Truth Out piece about a film relating the tale of a Greek born labour movement figure of the early 20th century: "At a time when Greece has neither heroes nor a labor movement, two passionate Greeks, journalist, radio producer, script writer and filmmaker Lambrini Thoma and director Nick Ventouras, crossed the Atlantic in an attempt to trace the life and the untimely but heroic death of Louis Tikas, a legendary figure of the American labor movement in the early 20th century. His story is largely unknown to the general public in Greece today, or to that of the United States. Louis Tikas was an immigrant who left Greece in 1906 in search of a better life in the United States, but ended up becoming a leader of the striking coal mine workers of Colorado in 1913 and eventually one of the true heroes of the American labor movement, indeed a legend, when he was brutally and cowardly killed in the Ludlow massacre, by having his skull cracked opened while he was being held prisoner."

DOCUMENTARY INSIGHTS INTO GENOCIDE

http://magazine.good.is/ A Good Magazine article about the man who first coined the term genocide: "What Lemkin himself seemed to have trouble fathoming was the reluctance world leaders would have, despite his pleas, to applying this straightforward word to the obvious atrocities it described as they were occurring. Though he fled Poland in 1941 to escape the very thing he’d pledged himself to fight (but hadn’t yet named,) Lemkin first became aware of such mass-scale horrors as a teenager studying what the Republic of Turkey to this day insists on calling ‘the events of 1915,’ a.k.a. the Armenian Genocide. During the last 15 years of his life—time he spent, according to colleagues interviewed for the film, haunting first the Nuremberg Trials then the United Nations as a malnourished, sleep-deprived specter—Lemkin never ran out of hideous, tragic instances of genocide to call attention to, each a condemnation of political leaders who continued to allow such hatred. As the man himself said in an archival interview, ‘I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times.’

And it kept happening, Lemkin sadly realized, because the powers that be were reluctant to name, let alone condemn, genocide as it occurred due to a variety of Machiavellian concerns."

MORE GARY-WEBB ANALYSIS

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/17/kill-o17.html A World Socialist Web Site Gary Webb analysis, describing the role of media in ‘covering’ empire so as to cover it up : "A 1990 Pulitzer Prize winner, Webb was ferociously attacked and smeared by the media for his articles because they exposed a network of criminal covert operations by the American government. Of course, the CIA’s activities went beyond collaborating with drug traffickers. The agency organized death squads and subversion, terrorizing the populations of Nicaragua and Honduras. …(In this context), Webb is approached by Coral (Paz Vega), the girlfriend of a Nicaraguan immigrant awaiting trial on cocaine charges after three years in prison. She tells him that the key government witness in the case, Danilo Blandón (Yul Vazquez), had worked for the CIA-financed Contras while smuggling drugs into the US. She hands Gary astonishing federal grand jury transcripts in which Blandón provided a detailed account of his operations importing cocaine and selling it to wholesale drug dealers in Los Angeles. Armed with this information, Webb confronts district attorney Russell Dodson (Barry Pepper), who is clearly operating on behalf of the government. Threateningly, Dodson tells Gary that ‘this leads to very sensitive national security matters.’ Replies Webb: “National security and crack cocaine in the same sentence, does that not sound strange to you?’ The case against the drug dealer is dropped, despite the fact that, as Gary explains, ‘One of the DEA’s [Drug Enforcement
Administration] most wanted brought in thousands of kilos of cocaine to the U.S. every day for them.’"

HBO’S STREAMING ATTACK ON CABLE

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/hbo-killed-cable A Vice piece about HBO’s new online streaming service, which some reports suggest that cable companies will thwart by ‘capping’ individual customers’ streaming capacity: "With HBO coming to your computer screens, Xbox, and iPads next year, there’s almost no conceivable reason you’d need a cable subscription. It’s about time. As a service, cable is, almost across the board, an ugly, over-priced mess. Cable companies are the most hated in the nation for a reason—they are monopolistic monoliths that offer customers little in the way of choice and terrible service. If you want premium networks, like ESPN or HBO, you pay through the nose for a package and are rewarded with a glut of other channels you never watch. (In the past, cable execs have argued that the resultant subsidization make shows like AMC’s Mad Men, which isn’t a ratings behemoth, possible. That won’t be the case as much in the future.) Personally, I hate my cable company, with a kind of quiet, flaming passion for its incessant stream of irritations to my privileged life. I pay about $100 for a basic cable and high-speed internet package from Comcast, and both are absolute garbage."

EUROPE’S ABROGATING DATA-DIRECTIVE

http://www.loc.gov/ A Library of Congress piece relating European Union Data Retention Directive : "The Data Retention Directive becomes invalid ab initio, that is from the time it became effective in 2006, since the ECJ did not specify otherwise. The EU Members that have transposed the Directive into their national legal systems are required to take steps to ensure compliance with the judgment. In exercising its right to initiative, the European Commission will have to adhere to the ECJ’s judgment when it introduces new legislation on data protection and privacy. Any pending legislation must also be in conformity with the ECJ’s case law affecting personal data. In particular, the proposal for the Directive on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data by Competent Authorities for purposes of addressing criminal offenses must be in conformity with the ECJ’s ruling. The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz stated as follows in response to the ECJ’s ruling: Today’s judgment must be carefully examined and the Commission will have to make a proposal which strikes the right balance between the legitimate interests at stake. Any new proposal must respect in every detail the guarantees laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It should in particular enshrine a high level of data protection – which is all the more essential in the digital age – thus avoiding disproportionate interferences with the private lives of citizens."

RECENT HAPPENINGS

PUTIN AT THE ASIA-EUROPEAN CONFERENCE IN MILAN

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40002.htm A mandatory view here, that shows the depth and breadth of the Russian premiers knowledge and insight into the world’s economic, political, and social difficulties, an opportunity for scrappy scribes

PUTIN’S BIRTHDAY, DECONSTRUCTED

http://theconversation.com/ A fascinating research essay from England’s Conversation about Vladimir Putin’s birthday’s receiving celebratory art production in Moscow, taking the Herculean themes of this work in directions that the author implies might make Putin uncomfortable or reveal weaknesses that he shares with the mythic hero: "In Greek mythology, Heracles had to undertake 12 labours to serve king Eurystheus – and Putin is shown completing 12 labours of his own, most of which are based on the ancient ones. Many of the paintings are also designed to imitate ancient Greek art, with orange figures outlined against a black background, like the red-figure vases of the classical period. Putin’s labours are explicitly political and send a clear message: he is shown preventing Western intervention in Syria, fighting sanctions and shouldering the burden of peace in Ukraine."

SAUDI’S DESPOTIC DEATH MACHINE

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ An Information Clearinghouse crossposting that eviscerates the pretense of Saudi Arabia’s alliance with the U.S. as anything other than profiteering for empire, in this case in regard to a forthright but very rule-following critic of the regime their who now faces execution-by-beheading for his ‘speech crimes,’ just one of recent aspects of Saudi behavior that have been execrable, such as the funding of Islamic State in Iraq & Syria and partaking in oil-price wars against Russia and others : "

The utter barbaric nature of Saudi Arabia under the rule of the House of Saud’s absolute monarchy; and, secondly, the utter fraudulence of the US-backed military coalition bombing Syria and Iraq in the name of eradicating extremism. Within hours of US President Barack Obama hosting military leaders from 21 countries, including favoured client state Saudi Arabia, allegedly to improve bombing tactics to defeat the IS terror network, a Saudi court announced the death penalty on Sheikh al-Nimr. Saudi prosecutors have called for al-Nimr to be “crucified” – which means death by public beheading. His crime? Al-Nimr is one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent and respected Shia clerics, who for the past 10 years has been an ardent critic of the kingdom’s autocratic rulers. He has consistently championed the democratic rights of ordinary Saudis, defended the thousands of political prisoners rotting away in Saudi dungeons, and has called for the end of absolute rule under the self-styled House of Saud monarchy."

VENEZUELA’S SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT

justsecurity.org/16459/venezuela-gains-seat-security-council/ An obviously one-sided and out-of-context report from Just Security, which still delivers useful data and analysis both about the workings of the United Nations Security Council and about Venezuela’s obtaining a seat thereon: "According to the Guardian, the government of Venezuela is ‘one of the world’s top buyers of Russian arms and one of just 10 countries in the general assembly to vote against a resolution criticizing Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula’ and the only country of 47 to vote against extending a UN human rights council investigation into abuses committed during [Syria’s] civil war.’ Arria warned the Guardian that ‘Venezuela on the security council will be a real obstacle to having a serious conversation. . . . It will waste a lot of people’s time and become like a theatre for radical groups.’"

INNOVATIVE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT LOAN BANKRUPTCY

http://www.stuff.co.nz A tactic likely unavailable in the U.S., but nonetheless fascinating, from New Zealand Stuff, which shows the extent of student loans as peonage and the options that those caught in such traps might consider to extricate themselves: "However, others believe the increase is down to the Government’s more aggressive pursuit of recalcitrant debtors, and an attempt by some of the borrowers to wipe their New Zealand slate clean. Student-loan defaulters can be arrested if they try to enter or leave New Zealand, under legislation passed last year. A borrower with a loan of $30,000 to $45,000 living overseas is expected to repay $3000 a year. A loan of $45,000 to $60,000 requires a payment of $4000 each year. One student loan debt advice website, studentloan.org.nz, run by Auckland-based Andersen Accountants, says: ‘If you are living overseas, a New Zealand bankruptcy may have no negative impact on you at all.’"

EXCLUDING ISRAEL CRITIQUES

https://www.insidehighered.com An Inside Higher Ed piece about Israel and Gaza: "’When I got word of this about a month later on Oct. 7, I was saddened and concerned to learn that campus life and the exercise of free speech here on campus at Princeton were in fact being policed, monitored and determined in the final analysis by non-academic members of the Princeton community, indeed someone who is here at Princeton with a specifically political and to a lesser extent cultural mandate,’ said Weiss, who penned an op-ed titled ‘Is the Center for Jewish Life stifling free speech on campus?’ that was just published in The Daily Princetonian. Weiss noted in the op-ed that Leibin is on Princeton’s campus through a partnership between Hillel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, a nonprofit organization: ‘Although technically autonomous, the JA effectively operates as an advocate for the government of Israel,’ Weiss wrote. ‘For someone representing the JA to bar a member of the Princeton faculty from sharing his or her expertise and perspectives is no more acceptable than it would be for an envoy of the Chinese, Canadian or any other government to do the same.’"

V.P.’S UKRAINE-FAT-CAT COKE-SNORTING SON

http://www.theguardian.com/ A Guardian piece about Biden’s son cocaine proclivities: "Perry said Biden was selected for a direct commission in the navy reserve as a part-time ensign in 2012 and was assigned to a public affairs unit in Norfolk, Virginia, in May 2013. Biden, 44, a partner at an investment firm, said he regretted what had happened. ‘It was the honour of my life to serve in the US navy and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge,’ Biden said in a statement provided by his lawyer. ‘I respect the navy’s decision. With the love and support of my family I’m moving forward.’"

FERGUSON PROTEST MUSIC

http://www.rollingstone.com/ A Rolling Stone article about music inspired by Ferguson: "The track is available as a free download at Ferguson October, a collaborative effort with hundreds of organizations seeking an end to police violence in black communities both in Ferguson and across the country. Morello’s rocker is the first in a series of ‘Artists for Ferguson’ campaign that will see musicians creating and donating songs to help support a legal fund for the arrested Ferguson protestors. While the song is available for free, fans are encouraged to leave a voluntary donation in order to assist Ferguson protestors’ legal battles."

LABOR’S TAKING ON RACE

http://colorlines.com A Color Lines article on race and labour issues: "What Narro, who is now a project director at the UCLA Labor Center, recalls more vividly though, is the unofficial greeting: A grip of ironworkers and others in the construction trade formed and, ‘basically told us we had no business being there. We’re not a union. We take away union jobs.’ Echoing a sentiment shared by many working people of color today, Narro says, ‘We felt that we were not part of the labor movement.’ The last decade has given Narro hope however that an unprecedented all-workers movement, not just a union member-only movement, could one day become a reality. There are signs that traditional labor leadership, if not its dwindling white male rank and file, is taking steps to better include workers of color. Not only has it recognized the growing strength of alt-labor models like those built over the last 15 years by veteran organizer Narro. It’s slowly beginning to address the racial justice concerns of workers of color, too."

THIRD PARTY POSSIBILITIES

http://inthesetimes.com/working An In These Times piece detailing union and labour events in Ohio: "So when rumblings started coming out of Ohio late last year about breaking with the Democrats, many in the labor movement were startled. Last November, in the small county of Lorain, Ohio, local labor leaders who were intimately wedded to the Democratic establishment broke rank and supported three independent pro-labor candidates in county elections, all of whom won. The act of rebellion in a union-dense county gained national attention as a story of labor flexing its muscles—and winning—against a Democratic establishment drifting rightward. Considering Lorain along with the election of Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, the first socialist in decades to be elected to public office in a major American city, Jennifer Roesch wrote for Jacobin after last year’s elections that ‘for the first time since 2000, there is a space opening up in mainstream politics to the left of the Democratic Party.’"

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

VOTING RIGHTS RESTORED

http://reason.com/ A voting rights piece from Reason outlining people’s positive views on post-drug offender voting rights: "There were discrepancies between those of different racial/ethnic backgrounds, however. An overwhelming number of African-Americans—91 percent—are in favor. However, 72 percent of whites, and only 66 percent of Hispanics are in favor. Still, there are clear majorities among all three groups polled. As things currently stand, only two states—Maine and Vermont—have no restrictions on voting for convicted felons. In these states, felons may even vote absentee from jail or prison. However, the majority of states pose some restrictions on voting for those who have been convicted of a felony. In eight states, voting restrictions are imposed on offenders incarcerated for a misdemeanor offense. Thirteen states and Washington D.C. restore voting rights for all convicted felons after they are released from prison or jail. In four states, voting rights are restored for convicted felons after they complete their term of incarceration and parole, and 20 states allow voting rights to be restored after convicted felons complete their term of incarceration, parole and/or probation."

‘TREATMENT’ ALWAYS & FOREVER

opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/ Oh oh! A Times opinion essay that might as well be a advertorial for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor "medications" which may be exclusively toxic profiteering sludge, or may have redeeming qualities along with their indisputable danger and toxicity, the point here that this author is at best disingenuous about all that, not to mention the to-say-the-best weak overall socioeconomic contextualization of pregnancy and childrearing: "Ammerman says that while it’s true that many mothers have or develop depression, it’s not a normal or typical response to the challenges of parenting. There are effective treatments. They include medication as well as a range of therapies – like cognitive behavioral therapy (C.B.T.), which helps people learn how to counter negative thoughts and their associated emotions, and interpersonal psychotherapy (I.P.T.), which focuses on improving the quality of personal relationships and the satisfaction that is gained from them. About a third of women who get treated for chronic or recurrent depression achieve remission, and more than half see an improvement in their symptoms."

BUSINESS MODEL WARS

http://chieforganizer.org A piece from Wade Rathke’s blog analyzing the political and ideological backbones of various gas station chains: "’QuikTrip, a convenience-store chain with 700 locations, pays cashiers $40,000/year–twice the average–and managers earn $70,000. Employees also receive excellent benefits including healthcare, vision, dental, 401(k) retirement plans, paid vacation, bonuses, and stock options. Treating their workforce well has paid off: employee turnover rates are 10% (compared to nearly 60% for the industry), and QuikTrip stores generate 50% more sales than competitors.’"

YUCCA MOUNTAIN ZOMBIES

safeenergy.org/ A Safe Energy piece relating the tortured history of a nuclear waste site in process: "We won’t pretend: we haven’t read the SER yet. Yes, Yucca Mountain has been studied to death, but different people have reached different conclusions about its safety. The requirements for Yucca have changed over the years–decades actually–and weakened in most cases when it became clear Yucca couldn’t meet the original requirements. It’s not too likely that the SER is going to change many people’s minds, especially when experts delve into the fine print and find out what it really says. This Volume 3 was released by court order; in August 2013 a federal appeals court ruled that the NRC–which had stopped work on the project because of lack of Congressionally-appropriated funding–had to start up again using funding from the Nuclear Waste Fund. The NRC says it will release the next volumes of the SER as they are completed, which the agency expects will be by January 2015."

NEOCON DEATH SPIRALS

http://consortiumnews.com A Consortium News piece that points the blame of world instability, especially in the Middle East, on NeoConservative shenanigans: "(T)he neocons’ ‘regime change’ strategies, which have unleashed violence and confrontations across Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and most recently Ukraine, have added to the economic uncertainty. This neocon destabilization of the world economy began with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 under President George W. Bush who squandered some $1 trillion on the bloody folly. But the neocons’ strategies have continued through their still-pervasive influence in Official Washington during President Barack Obama’s administration. The neocons and their ‘liberal interventionist’ junior partners have kept the ‘regime change’ pot boiling with the Western-orchestrated overthrow and killing of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the proxy civil war in Syria to oust Bashar al-Assad, the costly economic embargoes against Iran, and the U.S.-backed coup that ousted Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February. All these targeted governments were first ostracized by the neocons and the major U.S. news organizations, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, which have become what amounts to neocon mouthpieces. Whenever the neocons decide that it’s time for another ‘regime change,’ the mainstream U.S. media enlists in the propaganda wars."

EURO-AMERICAN PREDATION MODELS

http://www.truth-out.org/ A potent TruthOut contextualization, in the form of an overview and an indigenous history excerpt, that covers five hundred years of ‘celebration’ of European conquest just recently considered as a cause for plenty of mourning: "The United States may have declared its independence from Britain, but it continued the European tradition of annihilating native inhabitants as the new nation pursued its ‘manifest destiny.’ In order to expand, the original 13 colonies had to decimate the Native American nations and seize their lands. According to the centuries-old Doctrine of Discovery, European nations acquired title to the lands they ‘discovered,’ and Indigenous inhabitants lost their natural right to that land after Europeans had arrived and claimed it. Under this legal cover for theft, Euro-American wars of conquest and settler colonialism devastated Indigenous nations and communities, ripping their territories away from them and transforming the land into private property, real estate. Most of that land ended up in the hands of land speculators and agribusiness operators, many of which, up to the mid-nineteenth century, were plantations worked by another form of private property, enslaved Africans. Arcane as it may seem, the doctrine remains the basis for federal laws still in effect that control Indigenous peoples’ lives and destinies, even their histories by distorting them."

IGNORING CRUCIAL RESEARCH

http://theconversation.com/ An offering from The Conversation about why important educational research is ignored: "Teachers’ professional development is ‘fragmented, occasional, and insufficiently informed by research.’ These were the conclusions of a recent British Educational Research Association (BERA) and Royal Society of Arts inquiry into the issue in the UK. It also found that the most effective teachers were those who used research in their teaching. It will come as no surprise then that this report is likely to be ignored, like much of the research available to teachers. As a member of the reference group to the inquiry, I tried to explain the reason for the limited take-up of even the best educational research, and drew on an argument put forward by American historian Christopher Lasch: What democracy requires is vigorous public debate, not information. Of course, it needs information too, but the kind of information it needs can be generated only by debate … When we get into arguments that focus and fully engage our attention, we become avid seekers of relevant information. Otherwise we take in information passively – if we take it in at all."

REMEMBERING BHOPAL

http://catastrophemap.org A timeline for the upcoming fortieth anniversary of Union Carbide’s industrial, ‘accidental’ mass slaughter of some twenty thousand Indians in the worst commercial toxic death zone in human history, for which the company neither paid anything akin to fair compensation nor faced legal consequences.

MITOCHONDRIA’S BEGINNINGS

http://www.newswise.com/ A News Wise piece on the origins of a cell that makes complex animal life possible: "’Instead, we believe the relationship likely was antagonistic – that the bacteria were parasitic and only later became beneficial to the host cell by switching the direction of the ATP transport.’ The finding, Wu said, is a new insight into an event in the early history of life on Earth that ultimately led to the diverse eukaryotic life we see today. Without mitochondria to provide energy to the rest of a cell, there could not have evolved such amazing biodiversity, he said. ‘We reconstructed the gene content of mitochondrial ancestors, by sequencing DNAs of its close relatives, and we predict it to be a parasite that actually stole energy in the form of ATP from its host – completely opposite to the current role of mitochondria,’ Wu said."

PLANETARY MAGNETIC FLIP-FLOPS

http://earthsky.org An Earth sky report on magnetic flipping: "Though a magnetic reversal is a major planet-wide event driven by convection in Earth’s iron core, there are no documented catastrophes associated with past reversals, despite much searching in the geologic and biologic record. Today, however, such a reversal could potentially wreak havoc with our electrical grid, generating currents that might take it down. And since Earth’s magnetic field protects life from energetic particles from the sun and cosmic rays, both of which can cause genetic mutations, a weakening or temporary loss of the field before a permanent reversal could increase cancer rates. The danger to life would be even greater if flips were preceded by long periods of unstable magnetic behavior."

10.17.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Not that any either-or duality is necessary, but we might still aptly pose the question, “Can we safely listen to the lyrics of our dreams, or should we ignore that jumble of image and portent to focus on what we want, when we want it, and how to get it in our rational and reflective daily rounds through the wonders and woes of life’s magical realm?”

Quote of the Day

I think nothing is religion which puts one individual absolutely above others, and surely nothing is religion which puts one sex above another. Religion is primarily our relation to the Supreme, to God himself. It is for him to judge; it is for him to say where we belong, who is highest and who is not; of that we know nothing. And any religion which will sacrifice a certain set of human beings for the enjoyment or aggrandizement or advantage of another is no religion. It is a thing which may be allowed, but it is against true religion. Any religion which sacrifices women to the brutality of men is no religion.” Julia Ward Howe, author of The Battle Hymn of the Republichttp://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Julia_Ward_Howe.

This Day in History

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty; two thousand five hundred fifty-five years back, more or less, Persian emperor Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and released exiled Jews to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem; nine hundred twenty-three years ago, a massive tornado struck central London; five hundred sixty-eight years prior to the present pass, Ottoman forces emerged victorious at the Second Battle of Kosovo against a force of primarily Hungarian soldiers; four hundred fifty-six years back, Poland started its postal service; three hundred fifty-four years ago, the nine men who signed King Charles I death warrant underwent death by drawing and quartering and hanging for their regicide; Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown two hundred thirty-three years before the present; assassination ended the rule two hundred eight years ago of Jacques I of Haiti, a leader of the island nation’s revolution against France; a hundred twenty-six years back, Thomas Edison received a patent for his optical phonograph, the first moving-picture device; one hundred eleven years back, the infant male who became brilliant novelist and screenwriter Nathaniel West came into the world; a hundred nine years before the present, Czar Nicholas issued the October Manifesto to diffuse the first Russian Revolution, of 1905; two years hence, Marconi’s first transatlantic wireless service opened between Nova Scotia and Ireland; a hundred four years back, writer and thinker Julia Ward Howe ended her days; Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia all declared war on the Turks in the First Ottoman War a hundred two years ago; three years subsequently, the baby boy who grew up to become renowned playwright Arthur Miller took his first breath; Britain first bombed Germany from the air in World War One ninety-seven years ago; two years later, aided by the U.S. government, corporate backers unite to form the Radio Corporation of America; Al Capone faced convictions eighty-three years ago for income tax evasion; eighty-four years back, the infant boy who matured as author Jimmy Breslin was born; one year after that, Albert Einstein fled Nazi Germany, en route, eventually, to Princeton and a letter to FDR that initiated the Manhattan Project; seventy-six years ago, Marxist philosopher Karl Kautsky died; sixty-nine years back, a huge communist-led demonstration demands the release of Juan Peron in Argentina; fifty-eight years ago, the world’s first nuclear power station opens in England; five years subsequently, French police, headed by a Nazi collaborator, kill over four hundred Algerian protestors in Paris; forty-nine years ago, the New York World’s Fair, attended by over fifty million people, closed its two year run; the oil-company-initiated Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies declared an oil embargo forty-one years back; the U.S. Department of Education came into existence thirty-five years precisely before this day, and writer S.J. Perelman died; Russian investigative journalist Dmitri Kholodov died at the hands of assassins two decades ago; thirteen years back, the only Israeli minister to die from assassins’ attack ended his days.

SEARCH OF THE DAY

futility OR hopelessness OR desperation OR despair alienation versus optimism OR hope OR dedication OR faith “social life” power analysis media OR storytelling OR narrative = 991,000 Hits.

TOP OF THE FOLD

FOREIGN POLICY FROM CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH
http://fas.org/ A lengthy examination by Congressional Research Service of U.S. relations and conflicts with Venezuela, a discussion of the upper-crust views for the most part that predominate among ‘professional’ investigators, one of many recent CRS studies , of conflict zones that only show up because of the stalwart intervention of the Federation of American Scientists: “While historically the United States has had close relations with Venezuela, a major oil supplier, friction in bilateral relations rose over the past decade under the leftist populist government of President Hugo Chávez, who died in March 2013 after battling cancer for almost two years. First elected in 1998, Chávez had won reelection to another six-year term in October 2012, capturing about 55% of the vote compared to 44% for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. After Chávez’s death, Venezuela held presidential elections in April 2013 in which acting President Nicolás Maduro, who had been serving as Chávez’s vice president, defeated Capriles by a margin of just 1.49%. In both of those presidential elections, the incumbent candidate benefited from the use of state resources and media for his campaign, and the opposition alleged significant irregularities in the 2013 election. Venezuela’s December 2013 municipal elections demonstrated mixed results for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).”

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Folks might recall that this Sunday, rain or shine, Solidarity Forever’s radio half hour takes place on Blog Talk Radio: LINK.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

ENCOURAGING DIVERSE INVESTIGATIVE CAPACITIES

http://www.buzzfeed.com A posting from BuzzFeed about a new fellowhship at Columbia for journalists of color, a yearlong chance to conduct research and teach: “In an effort to expand opportunities for journalists of color and other diverse backgrounds, BuzzFeed News and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism are sponsoring a year-long investigative reporting fellowship.”

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

A KEY LABOR-DATA METRIC

http://www.wsws.org/ A breakdown and in-depth analysis of key econometrics, especially in regard to employment, by World Socialist Website, which notes the inadequacy of many current measuring approaches: “The jobs report revealed that nearly 100,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month, while wages continued to decline. The total number of working-age people who are not in the labor force hit a new record: 92.5 million, up by more than two million since September of 2013. The Economic Policy Institute keeps track of ‘missing workers’—those who are likely to have dropped out of the labor force because no jobs are available (as opposed to those who are not in the labor force for other reasons). According to the organization, the number of missing workers has hit 6.32 million. If they were counted in the unemployment rate, it would be 9.6 percent, instead of the 5.9 percent that is officially reported. In addition to the ‘missing workers’ noted in the EPI’s calculations, there are the nearly three million people in the US who have been out of work force more than 27 weeks, making up a third of the 9.3 million people in the US who are officially counted as unemployed.”

MORE INNOVATED GENIUS
http://www.brainpickings.org An examination of the wit and wisdom of Oscar Wilde, from Brain Pickings, with a focus on some of Wilde’s brief and pointed sallies of sagacity: “The aphorisms in the piece, while decidedly witty, are not merely so — from behind the veneer of satirical pomp, they also shine a wise sidewise gleam on such immutable issues as the tyranny of public opinion, why friendship eclipses romantic love, the usefulness of “useless” knowledge, and the gift of imperfection. ‘Public opinion exists only where there are no ideas. …The English are always degrading truths into facts. When a truth becomes a fact it loses all its intellectual value.”

TRANSFORMATIVE FUNDING, NOT ‘CHARITY’

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com A contextualization of social transformation work, as opposed to charity, from Inside Philanthropy, by way of an overview of the work of the gang of radicals that still holds sway at Bread and Roses: “Since 1977, Bread & Roses has supported the ‘fundamental daily work of organizing, dissenting and resisting,’ in the words of its most recent newsletter. At first, its grantmaking was somewhat primtive, such as ‘dropping bags of money in front of the Black Panthers’ headquarters,’ according to executive director Casey Cook. Bread & Roses listed government overthrow as an organizational goal on their first application for a charitable tax exemption. (Bet that went over well with the IRS.)”

PLANNING WORLD-WAR-III

http://www.wsws.org/ An examination from World Socialist Website of a recent report that the U.S. Army released about its warfighting capacities, which in many ways add up to making ongoing preparations for conducting World War Three: “The document was formally released at this week’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference, an annual event bringing together senior officers and Defense Department officials for a series of speeches and panel discussions, along with a giant trade show mounted by arms manufacturers to show off their latest weapons systems and pursue lucrative Pentagon contracts. Much of this year’s proceedings were dominated by dire warnings about the impact of cuts to the Army’s troop strength brought about by sequestration. Gen. Raymond Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, told reporters at the AUSA conference Monday that he was ‘starting to worry about our end strength’ and regretting having told Congress in 2012 that the Army could manage with 490,000 active-duty soldiers.”

BABY-TEETH RADIOACTIVITY

http://www.alternet.org/ Almost half a century after most atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons have ended, an overview from Alternet that suggests that radiation’s signatures are not decreasing in children’s teeth, which would suggest that other elements of the ‘Nuclear Fool Cycle’ were poisoning us: “Is nuclear power safe? Is it an acceptable alternative to natural gas and petroleum? The answers turn largely on three nagging uncertainties that drive scientists, feed the political debate and worry parents and people who live and work in the shadow of nuclear power plants.”

MEDIA INNOVATION FELLOWSHIP

http://www.knightfoundation.org A note from the Knight Foundation about the need for transformative leadership in journalism and some of its profferals in that regard: “Managing life in this complex new world requires ever-more complex forms of media, and charting a course of sustained change requires that media leaders develop new mindsets and skillsets that can constantly push, reorganize, and reiterate efforts to inform and engage.”

AMERICAN ELECTORAL PROCESSES

http://www.brookings.edu A review briefing of a recent monograph from a Brookings Institution fellow, about the ‘two-party system’ and its impact on American life: “Jackson also examines the internal mechanisms and personalities of the Democratic and Republican parties. He compares multiple presidential elections, thus telling a broader story of the unfolding of today‘s party polarization and gridlock. He also explores the theoretical meaning of the changes observed in the parties from the responsible party model perspective. The themes of continuity and change are set in the context of group-think versus rational decisionmaking. Specific focus is given to political elites who are sophisticated about politics and who make strategic decisions, but are also bound by their humanity and occasionally fail to see the right decision due to their own personal biases.”

NATIVE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH

http://journalistsresource.org/ A Journalists Resource compilation from Harvard that deals with the overall data about and structure of health care for Native Americans, with some indicia of problems and lack of access among poorer folks: “The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency funded by the U.S. government, is the main health care provider for the estimated 1.9 million enrolled members of federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. The IHS maintains a network of hospitals and health care centers throughout the United States; some facilities are located on tribal lands while others are in urban areas. Sixty percent of tribes manage their own health care facilities through contracts with the IHS, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages the rest. American Indians and Alaska Natives who are not enrolled members of the 566 federally recognized tribes or who live far away from IHS facilities are unable to obtain care. A 2004 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that less than half of low-income, uninsured American Indians/Native Alaskans had access to IHS care. Although there is no comparable system covering the medical needs of Native Hawaiians, a federal grant funds primary care services that benefit about 6,600 indigenous people on the Hawaiian Islands each year.”

RECENT ATTACKS ON STUDENT JOURNALISTS

http://thinkprogress.org A Pennsylvania case in which a high-school paper’s staff received threats, with one editor’s having gotten a suspension because these intrepid youngsters refused to print the full name of the school’s ethnic-slur mascot: “Tensions between the school’s administration and the editors of Playwickian have been building for nearly a year. Twice the editors of the Playwickian announced they would not print the name of the school’s mascot because it is offensive to Native Americans, opting instead to run it as ‘R——-,’ and twice principal Rob McGee threatened to discipline the paper and any editors who refused to print the word. McGee also reportedly confiscated copies of the paper during a meeting with McGoldrick in June, deducted $1,200 from the paper’s account, and attempted to block access to the paper’s social media accounts.”

ROBOTICS DEVELOPMENTS +

http://spectrum.ieee.org A briefing from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers about a talented technological guru and successful businessman who was significantly ahead of the curve in regard to investing in robotics, a subject the military and artificial intelligence and odds and ends of which have been on IEEE radar for some time: “When Dmitry Grishin launched a US $25 million VC firm focusing exclusively on consumer robotics, he encountered a lot of skeptics. They told him that the robots he’s interested in were still the stuff of science fiction and it was too early to invest in them. That was two years ago. Today, he says, there’s been a ‘big shift.’ What changed? ‘Now everybody believes in robotics! Grishin, a Russian Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Mail.Ru Group, one of Russia’s largest tech companies, says robotics has gotten a lot of attention since giants like Google and Amazon began investing heavily in robots and drones, as well as areas like home automation and what is known as the Internet of Things (early this year Google acquired Nest Labs, maker of smart thermostats, and Amazon is reportedly pursuing its own smart home projects at its secret lab in Silicon Valley.) Now, Grishin says, almost every VC firm is keeping an eye on the robotics startup landscape.”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ‘CLOUDS’

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/ A possible challenge to the functioning if not the substance of copyright, from ‘the cloud,’ according to one of the Bits blogs from The Times recently: “Tech really is changing how we think about our ideas. We’ve used ideas to sculpt the globe since the Industrial Revolution, thanks largely to the way we handle intellectual property. When machines, and machines to make identical machines, mass-produced reliably identical goods, it was because people understood the same set of instructions. Mass-produced books, music and movies were possible, too. Like machine-making instructions, these items were made reliable and protected with laws of copyright, patent and trademark. Now, according to people involved in the business of protecting ideas, all of that is set to change.”

EMPLOYMENT CONFLICTS-OF-INTEREST

http://www.npr.org Another assessment of ESPN‘s apparent hammering of those reporters with the temerity to ‘bait the bear’ at the National Football League nonprofit that has the clout of a monster at the network, here from National Public Radio: “The sports network ESPN is the NFL’s largest business partner. It currently pays the NFL nearly $2 billion a year to broadcast its games. But ESPN is also home to some of the most aggressive investigative reporters who cover the league. As NPR‘s David Folkenflik reports, that creates a tension that has reemerged during the NFL’s domestic abuse scandal.”

PROGRAMMING AS LITERACY

https://medium.com/the-truant-haruspex/end-user-computing-5367171478b7 An aptly contextualized and pretty irresistible argument from Medium, that basic ‘literacy’ these days ought to include at least some minimal dose of coding awareness, perhaps for no sort of function as important as it would be for messaging the world: “The invention of the printing press in the 1400s made books widely available, and literacy spread. Today, literacy rates exceed 90% in most of the world. Not everyone is a novelist or English professor, but almost everyone can read street signs, write down a grocery list, or send a text message. We increasingly live in a computer-embroidered reality, and the ability to manipulate that reality is empowering. If we can find a way to bring that ability to a wide audience, it could have an impact comparable to the invention of the printing press. This is end-user computing.”

ONLINE POLICE ‘PROTECTION’

http://pando.com A premise to ‘launch a thousand stories,’ from Pando Daily, about a set of software applications that have recently come forth from the Federal government and local police forces, which supposedly would prove adequate to ‘protect’ people’s online selves: “Distributing this software is more than just fiscally irresponsible; it’s irresponsible, period. There is no excuse for police departments to remain ignorant of digital threats, or for them to distribute software in their communities without first investigating it to guarantee its safety. None of these departments would have asked their communities to install an alarm system that actually makes it easier for someone to break into their houses; why should asking them to do something that makes their digital homes, playgrounds, and vaults insecure be any different?”

CENSORING POLITICAL PRISONERS

http://www.commondreams.org The American Way, according to Common Dreams, an ever hypocritical condemnation of the foibles of other governments while ignoring the vicious politicization of prison on its own turf, as in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose remote ‘address’ to Goddard College’s graduating class has recently lit up the fascists and reactionaries at hand: “’Is there any crime so heinous that Goddard would not reward the perpetrator with a spot as commencement speaker?’ Toomey asks in his letter to Robert Kenny, the interim president of tiny Goddard College. On Sunday the school is due to have Abu-Jamal address 20 fall graduates in a pre-recorded speech.” The Washington Post: ‘Goddard College sparks outrage with invitation to jailed cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.’ {NOELLE HANRAHAN, globalaudiopi at gmail.com}A private investigator and journalist based in Philadelphia, Hanrahan is director of Prison Radio. She edited Mumia Abu-Jamal’s book All Things Censored and for years has produced his recordings from death row and now from prison. He has always maintained his innocence and many human rights groups have charged irregularities in his trial. She helped produce the documentary ‘Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal,’ which features Alice Walker, Ramsey Clark, and Mark Lewis Taylor speaking about Abu-Jamal’s important place in education.”

NANOWRIMO TOOLS

http://www.bookbaby.com A profferal from the sales wizards at Book Baby that invites scrappy scribes to participate in the National Novel Written in a Month process, for which the site also offers tools and other advice: “‘NaNoWriMo gives authors a thrilling, inspiring, crazy challenge, and BookBaby is always proud to support the event,’ says Spatz. ‘I’m particularly excited this year to give away my new eBook to all of these authors who’ll be working hard to finish their own books in 30 days or less. Having recently completed my manuscript for The End. Now What?!, I know there’s a certain amount of head scratching that happens once you type that last sentence.'”

ADVERTISER-SUPPORTED ‘WHITE PAPERS’

http://www.mediapost.com Another group of proponents for embracing and extolling the advertorial and full-bore marketing as the standard operational protocol, Media Post, here with White Papers from the company’s advertisers that generally only require a little data to obtain.

REAL & VIRTUAL ARCHIVES

http://blogs.loc.gov For non-fiction writers especially a central argument about the present pass of documentation and evidence in relation to actual and virtual archives, contextualized by Library of Congress: “Digital humanists and digital historians are employing research methods that most of us did not anticipate when we were learning to be archivists. Do new types of research mean archivists should re-examine the way we learned to do appraisal? The new types of researchers are experimenting with methods beyond the scholarly tradition of ‘close reading.’ When paper archives were the only game in town, close reading was all a researcher could do – it’s what we generally mean by ‘reading.’ Researchers studied individual records, extracting meaning and context from the information contained in each document. Now, however, digital humanists are using born-digital or digitized collections to explore the benefits of computational analysis techniques, or ‘distant reading.’ They are using computer programs to analyze patterns and find meaning in entire corpora of records without a human ever reading any individual record at all.”

DEMOCRACY’S LIBRARY FUTURES

http://www.knightfoundation.org/ Knight Foundation’s most recent assessment of the import of libraries in the social and political economy of information, a topic of ongoing concern at the funder, about which it has developed programming and proposal-options throughout the current period: “‘The library forms an integral part of community engagement,’ Giménez said. “ ‘We must not only serve our diverse community today but keep pace with the global challenges of tomorrow.’

Knight Foundation and The Miami Foundation sponsored the event, which brought national thought leaders together to discuss creative visions for tomorrow’s libraries. This summer the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce commissioned a survey, with the support of Knight Foundation, on the attitudes of Miami-Dade County residents toward public libraries. Knight, which has a history of funding library initiatives to promote informed and engaged communities, recently closed a $2.5 million News Challenge on libraries, which asked, How might we use libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?”

STRESSFUL RESTRUCTURINGS

http://www.cjr.org An article from Columbia Journalism Review about an Iowa media property of Gannett, where key struggles about the present pass of reportage are unfolding: “At the center of all these changes has been Amalie Nash, the Register’s editor and vice president for audience engagement, who is still in her first year at the helm after coming over from the Detroit Free Press. A Michigan native, Nash took the Register job at what she noted was “a transformational time” for the paper and Gannett as a whole. I spoke to Nash late last week about the restructuring, the Register’s ongoing open-records battles, and the paper’s venture into the unsettled (and for this interviewer, unsettling) territory of virtual reality.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

UKRAINE VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/ A cyber-law data-cache from Harvard, which examines the attitudes in social media toward Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, with the ultimate point’s being a comparison of Russian-language versus English-language assessments, with various surprising results: “Support for the Euromaidan protests was stronger in Russian sources, and less strong in sources from the US and UK, than expected: when neutral content was removed, Russian-language sources were more positive (64%) than negative (36%) toward the protests, while English sources were overall a bit more negative (54%) than positive (46%). Russian-language sources grew more negative as protests continue; English-language sources became more positive at the very end of the protests. Overall, Russian social media was more neutral (69%) than expected. Social media content was more positive than online media content overall.”

KNOWLEDGE IN CONTEXT

http://www.people-press.org Oh fun! A report about a survey of current events knowledge, based on a Pew Research assessment of the same, that provide a benchmark for scrappy scribes and citizens generally: “The survey finds that a large majority (73%) is able to correctly identify the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (from a list of other amounts ranging from $5.25 to $12.50). In addition, amid ongoing U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic militants in the Middle East, 67% can identify Syria as one of the countries in which the militant group known as ISIS currently controls territory (from a list that included Pakistan, Kuwait and Egypt). And 60% know that Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union; the other choices were Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Scandinavia.”

KNOWLEDGE-IN-CONTEXT COMMENTARY

http://pando.com Pando Daily’s examination of this news literacy project that ponders the extent of the ocean of ignorance in a context awash in information: “There’s a strong sense among many journalistic pundits that news organizations in the social and 24-hour television age have failed consumers. Networks like MSNBC and Fox News are content to pit two talking heads against one another with wildly divergent views, in a completely unedifying display of rage. Meanwhile, the kind of ‘news’ that’s often optimized for Facebook’s algorithms are more likely to be silly quizzes and puppy videos than hard reporting. So are news consumers really as misinformed as they’re often made out to be? To find out, Pew conducted a “News IQ” survey of American adults across the political and educational spectrum. The results? Not great, but we haven’t yet reached the dystopian lows of Idiocracy yet either.”

CUTBACKS & PROSPECTS

http://www.niemanlab.org An examination from Nieman Journalism Lab of the recent downturn at The Times, assessing layoffs and more, as well as looking at different applications that The Times has been deploying: “In that alchemy, the Times relied on deep research whose forecasts have proven close to the mark, as the Times has climbed to about 870,000 paying digital-only readers and reaped pricing rewards by combining print-plus-digital all-access subs. But the number of those who loved the Times enough to pay hundreds of dollars a year for it showed inevitable signs of peaking. The Times “little data” research projected a smaller but significant market of those would pay — if at lower dollar amounts — for different entry points into Times content. Those forecasts haven’t come true, and in their wake, we see the substantial cut of 100 newsroom positions announced today, and a change in its niche apps strategy.”

KNOWLEDGE INDUSTRY STATISTICS

http://www.nsf.gov A downloadable file from National Science Foundation that presents data about the value added from Knowledge Industries, which is a huge sum, and which NSF quantifies at various other points: “In 2012, KTI industries produced $3.8 trillion in value-added output, nearly one-fourth of the U.S. GDP (figure 1, table 1). The three KI services industries contributed the largest part by far, producing 22% of the GDP. KTI industries perform three-fourths of U.S. business R&D, an important source of innovation and economic growth. The six HT manufacturing industries alone performed nearly one-half of U.S. business R&D.”

MEDIATED UKRAINE FRAUD

http://rabble.ca A powerful overview from Rabble.Ca about the mediated distortions regarding Ukraine, a must-read for citizens who want to be other than pawns or idiots: “While continually stressing Russian alleged interventions, the media essentially suppress the U.S. role in the ‘coup’ of February 2014 and its aid to the coup government (advice, trainers, military supplies, diplomatic backing and encouragement of the IMF to aid the government). They failed to give any deeper context to Russian behavior, most notably the NATO advance toward the Russian borders and virtual encirclement of Russia and the threat this embodies to Russian national security. These suppressions are the work of a very efficient and aggressive propaganda system.”

MASS SURVEILLANCE’S FAILURES

http://justsecurity.org A briefing from Just Security about the grotesque failures of the surveillance processes that are in place ubiquitously around us: “We arrived at this conclusion by subjecting a wide-range of surveillance technologies to three separate assessments by three parallel expert teams representing engineers, ethicists, and lawyers. Each team conducted assessments of surveillance technologies, looking at ethical issues they raise; the legal constraints on their use – or those that should exist – on the basis of privacy and other fundamental rights; and, finally, their technical usability and cost-efficiency. This work was fed into and commented upon by two end-user panels, one consisting of law enforcement officials and the other of representatives of cities and municipalities. Various surveillance techniques and technologies were assessed during a scenario that simulated real-life experiences where surveillance has been used. The results of this research were published in the SURVEILLE paper, Assessing Surveillance in the Context of Preventing a Terrorist Act, available here.”

PAID-SUBSCRIPTION’S NEWEST ITERATIONS

http://www.niemanlab.org/ A new ‘model’ for acquiring readers, paying for them, that the Nieman Journalism Lab’s examines in relation to California’s Sunday Magazine: “Part of Pop-Up’s success, according to McGray, is that it capitalizes on a desire for a lean-back media experience — it’s held at night and the audience often gathers at a bar after the event. ‘We spend so much time scanning media at our desks, it’s hard to pay attention,’ McGray says. ‘We’re distracted.’ He predicted that a digital and print product that arrived only on the weekend would also fit this leisure-time niche.”

HUGE MEXICAN BOOK-FAIR

http://www.telesurtv.net/ A micro-brief from TeleSur about the massive recent book fair in Monterrey, the hopes of which are selling books and fostering knowledge and thought, oh my: “The book fair, which started on Saturday in the International Center of Businesses (Cintermex), aims to promote the habit and passion for reading to the students and to the community in general, informed the organizers. In his opening speech, the rector of the Institute of Technology said that today it was more important than ever to read, in order to generate ‘the critical thinking that is so lacking nowadays.'”

VENEZUELAN VIRTUAL JOURNALISM

https://knightcenter.utexas.edu An assessment from Knight Center about the present pass in Venezuela, where Knight is clearly biased against the Maduro government, but which does provide various insights about the virtual realm in Latin America: “What has become a diverse set of online media in Venezuela could only have developed, Díaz added, with the implementation of an invaluable tool used to curate data for the public masses: Twitter. With 4.2 million Venezuelan users, the platform has become crucial to journalism in the country, as it allows the public to search for the news that they believe is important and promote it among their followers. ‘It is not the news sites that inform most young people,’ Díaz said. ‘It is the curated information that their friends put up on social media.’ Government opposition has been largely expunged from mainstream TV and newspaper industries in recent years, raising concerns over the state of press freedom in Venezuela. Notably, a number of dominant newspapers and TV stations have changed ownership in recent years and, as a result, abandoned reporting that is critical of the State. While TV stations have been closed down on legal grounds, a nation-wide newsprint shortage has hindered prominent newspaper operations.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

MORE DIFFICULTIES IN FERGUSON

http://www.washingtonpost.com A WaPo article about the recent arrest of a journalist at Ferguson: “A number of those arrested were part of an activist group known as the Millennials that have taunted the police for days. Late Monday night, they had linked arms and stood in the middle of the street, daring police to arrest them for ‘standing up for their constitutional rights.’ Police eventually walked away from the protesters that night, and Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said he respected their rights to peaceful protest.”

AFL-CIO ON PRISONS VERSUS JOBS

http://www.aflcio.org The AFL-CIO’s recent taking up the challenge to address ‘criminal justice’ system’s injustices: “[W]e, as a nation under the guise of public safety, spend billions making our country less safe by forcing millions of people of color into a permanent criminal class. We have selectively locked people up, sealed people out and shut entire communities down. Working families have taken up the challenge: At the AFL-CIO Convention here in Los Angeles a year ago, I put the question to my brothers and sisters across America’s labor movement: Would we stand together to build a popular movement to reform our criminal justice systems? Our goal would be simple: To advocate for and win a system less ‘criminal’ and more ‘justice.’ What I heard was a resounding, ‘YES!'”

WAR-ON-DRUGS FRAUD UP-FOR-GRABS

http://fas.org/ An overview paid with citizen taxes that is only available thanks to the Federation of American Scientists of the this Congressional Research Service report, which concerns the management of the entire ‘War-on-Drugs’ rubric: “The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is located in the Executive Office of the President and has the responsibility for creating policies, priorities, and objectives for the federal Drug Control Program. This national program is aimed at reducing the use, manufacturing, and trafficking of illicit drugs and the reduction of drug-related crime and violence and of drug-related health consequences. The director of ONDCP has primary responsibilities of developing a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy) to direct the nation’s anti-drug efforts; developing a National Drug Control Budget (Budget) to implement the National Drug Control Strategy, including determining the adequacy of the drug control budgets submitted by contributing federal Drug Control Program agencies; and evaluating the effectiveness of the National Drug Control Strategy implementation by the various agencies contributing to the Drug Control Program.”

PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING ADVANCES

http://www.shareable.net A Shareable briefing about participatory budgeting, plus a video on the same topic, that represents a new front in bringing actual democracy–people power, majority rule–into play: “Below are 15 projects from around the world that demonstrate the potential of the PB process. If you’d like to start PB in your community, check out Shareable’s guide, “How to Start Participatory Budgeting In Your City” and visit the Participatory Budgeting Project’s resource library.”

MIDTERM PRESIDENTIAL INCUMBENTS’ DISADVANTAGES

http://journalistsresource.org A quite superficial but also fairly extensive set of portals and links to information about mid-term elections, from Journalists Resource at Harvard: “First, midterm elections usually see smaller voter turnout, and the composition of the electorate is typically different, as compared to presidential years. Presidential elections see roughly 60% voter turnout, and many of these voters are less partisan; by contrast, turnout in midterms is more typically 40%, and the voting base is comprised of more motivated partisans. In presidential election years, many more ‘casual’ and less ideological voters may come out to elect a presidential candidate riding a wave of momentum. Thus, the Congressional candidates who also run that year — such as 2008, when Barack Obama enjoyed a surge of popularity — pick up a ‘bonus’ of sorts in terms of extra voters. This ‘bonus’ is frequently erased, however, when Congressional incumbents are running during midterms. In the 2014 election, many of the first-term Democratic Senators elected in the Obama 2008 wave are up for reelection, and are facing difficult circumstances. Seven such Senate seats, in particular, have been the focus of commentators. The second major factor explaining midterm voting patterns is that U.S. presidents almost always fall in the polls after they are elected, as they make policy choices and begin alienating more blocs within the electorate. This dip in presidential approval ratings then becomes a drag on the Congressional candidates — a real fear for Democrats in 2014.”

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com A powerful opinion essay from The Times about the victims of abusive marriages and domestic partnerships who often choose to ‘stick out’ their problems rather than leaving: “The voice of a survivor is empowering. These voices, sometimes uncertain, other times resilient, have been muted under the weight of abuse. There are women in the world yearning for the abstract beauty of a nontoxic life, tasked with constantly reminding a person they love of their own humanity. For some, there is no transformative ending to the narrative arch; their story ends with deadly violence. But for others, the vocal release is cathartic. The issue of domestic violence is complex and layered. What survivors know is that it’s never as simple as walking out of the door. Although finances play a role in why victims stay, we do the human heart an injustice by limiting the causes to economics alone. It’s not easy to leave someone you love or fear. It’s not easy to leave when nostalgia knocks on the door of your mind with instant replays of ‘the good old days,’ or when the abuser promises it’s the last time, because you believe in love and you believe in him.”

FURTHER UKRAINIAN ECONOMIC MELTDOWN

http://www.nytimes.com A Times news analysis that indicates specifically both the nature of the economic devastation in Ukraine and the firms that have felt these impacts: “The crisis with Russia that erupted in February terminated Antonov’s most promising, albeit already troubled, joint venture: a short-takeoff, heavy-lift plane that the Russian military had sought for years. Antonov was not alone. With the rupture, Ukraine, among the world’s top 10 arms exporters, lost the market that spurred the development of its military industry. Economic and military experts said Antonov’s troubles epitomized the twin problems plaguing state-run companies in Ukraine, particularly the military sector, as it tries to slip Russia’s gravitational pull and hitch its fortunes to Europe.”

UKRAINE’S ‘DISAPPEARANCE’

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39964.htm An interview with The Saker, as close to a ‘trusted analyst’ on Ukraine that one is likely to find, from Information Clearinghouse, which details and demonstrates the operational Americanization of events on Russia’s Eastern border: “Mike Whitney: What role did the Obama administration play in Kiev’s decision to launch a war on its own people in the east of Ukraine? The Saker: A central role. You have to understand that there is no ‘Ukrainian’ power in Kiev. Poroshenko is 100% US-run as are the people around him. The head of the notorious Ukrainian secret police (the SBU), Valentin Nalivaichenko, is a known CIA agent. It’s also true that the US refers to Poroshenko ‘our Ukraine insider.’ All of his so called ‘decisions’ are actually made by U.S. officials in Kiev. As for Poroshenko’s speech to Congress a few weeks ago, that was obviously written by an American.”

UKRAINIAN ARMY’S DEMOBILIZATION DEMANDS

http://www.telesurtv.net A TeleSur briefing about the recent uprising among Kiev’s soldiers, who are demanding pay for their martial efforts and demobilization from the insanity of the killing fields in the East: “The servicemen claim that they have already been assigned to their posts in the disputed eastern regions for over a year, and are requesting to be sent back home, claiming the government is violating the agreed terms on their contracts. One of the soldiers told Russia Today that they were paid roughly $11 per month. Other protesters demanded the release of their relatives and loved ones who are being held prisoner by rebel forces. Kiev and the rebels have already made several hostage exchanges but many are still being held by both parties.”

MEXICAN CENTRAL-AMERICA VISAS

http://www.loc.gov From Library of Congress’ LawWeb, an overview of recent agreements between Mexico and several Central American governments for protocols that govern temporary visits to Southern Mexico from further South: “In order to obtain the Regional Visitor Card, a traveler must show official identification from the country of origin, provide his/her fingerprints, and have an interview with Mexican diplomatic representatives and immigration authorities. The card is valid for five years and allows the holder to enter the Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, and Quintana Roo from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua for up to three days. (Id.)”

PUTIN’S CENTRAL ROLE AT MILANESE SUMMIT

http://www.france24.com A report from France24 about one of key gatherings of the modern age, the 2014 Asian-European summit in Milan, where, among other critical events, Vladimir Putin will meet with Viktor Poroshenko: “But all eyes at the summit, which began Thursday, have been on the Putin-Poroshenko breakfast meeting. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian leader Matteo Renzi will all sit in on the talks.”

GENERAL PRESENT AND PAST ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE’S PAST

http://spectrum.ieee.org/ A retrospective analysis from the researchers at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, crossposted by MediaREDEF, about the origins of planned obsolescence, which was not, as one would expect an altruistic choice on the part of the businesses involved: “The cartel’s grip on the lightbulb market lasted only into the 1930s. Its far more enduring legacy was to engineer a shorter life span for the incandescent lightbulb. By early 1925, this became codified at 1,000 hours for a pear-shaped household bulb, a marked reduction from the 1,500 to 2,000 hours that had previously been common. Cartel members rationalized this approach as a trade-off: Their lightbulbs were of a higher quality, more efficient, and brighter burning than other bulbs. They also cost a lot more. Indeed, all evidence points to the cartel’s being motivated by profits and increased sales, not by what was best for the consumer. In carefully crafting a lightbulb with a relatively short life span, the cartel thus hatched the industrial strategy now known as planned obsolescence.”

PARENTAL PERCEPTIONS, TEEN MENTAL-HEALTH

http://www.newswise.com/ One of the delights of the moment from NewsWise, in this case access to an investigation of parents’ views about their teenagers and the relationship between the accuracy of those perceptions and the general state of the youngsters’ well-being: “In the study, 116 parent-teen pairs completed daily diaries for two weeks. The adolescents and their parents rated the daily demands on the teen (how much work they had at school and at home) as well as the positivity of their day together. The teens also rated their general levels of depression and stress. The parents’ ratings were more accurate when the teens generally had more positive days at home, and when the parents and teens generally had more positive days together. Parents’ accuracy in rating their teen’s daily demands was not significantly associated with adolescent depression or stress levels.”

SCIENCE-IN-CONTEXT

http://blogs.loc.gov/ A Teachers blog from Library of Congress, which examines one case among thousands available through LOC, in which the papers and other data about a working scientist are accessible for purposes of learning about technology-in-context and such: “The question was inspired by the science and engineering practices embedded within the Next Generation Science Standards, which suggest that science content will have more value to students when taught in context of these practices. We set out to see if the real work of professionals across the sciences could come to life with primary sources generated by and about Bell.”

COINTELPRO IN CURRENT CONTEXT

http://truth-out.org/ A powerful illumination of past skullduggery on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which used spies, infiltrators, agents-provocateurs, and–as here–disinformation to harass and destroy groups that the FBI hated, like Students for a Democratic Society: “The Bureau, however, was not just seeking to inflame things through mailings. In a step guaranteed to cause confusion and unease, a few days before the critical June 1969 SDS national meeting in Chicago, an article appeared in the Chicago Tribune reporting that, ‘[a]n underground communist organization [the RU] is expected to vie for control of the radical Students for Democratic Society.’ It went into some detail on the RU’s polemic against PL, ‘[t]he [Revolutionary] union used its booklet [Red Papers] to criticize the Progressive Labor party which has been accused by SDS leaders of receiving operating funds from the Chinese communist government.’ The acrimony within SDS was already approaching a fever pitch, and this high profile article – a mix of truth, exaggeration and invention – was effectively throwing gasoline on the fire. As it turns out, the article, bylined by Ronald Koziol, had a ghost writer – it ‘resulted from the Bureau authorized contact by SAC M.W. JOHNSON with REDACTED [most likely
Koziol of the] Chicago Tribune.'”

ANTIBIOTIC MELTDOWNS

http://www.pbs.org A Frontline hour about the morass that currently has antibiotics in its grip, as a result of regular practices antithetical to human health and ideal for breeding deadly ‘super-bugs:’ “FRONTLINE investigates the widespread use of antibiotics in food animals and whether it is fueling the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance in people. Also this hour: An exclusive interview with the family of a young man who died in a nightmare bacteria outbreak that swept through a hospital at the National Institutes of Health.”

WOMEN-IN-PRISONS

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ A mandatory read from Information Clearinghouse about the vast expansion of female incarceration in the current context, during which the growth rate of women’s facing prison has far outpaced what is happening to men: ”

While those figures are staggering, they’re also part of a much larger story. Considering that its total prison population grew by 500% in the past 30 years, it might seem unsurprising that America locks up so many women compared with the rest of the world. But there’s another problem: Growth in the number of female prisoners was nearly 1.5 times that of men for this period.”

ELECTORAL INCUMBENCY ADVANTAGES

http://journalistsresource.org/ A detailed assessment from Journalists Resource of a recent Harvard/London School of Economics study of the impact of incumbency on the capacity to finance electoral politics, with a limited-but-resonant thesis that details the empirical foundations of the work: “To better understand the range of factors in play, a 2014 study from the London School of Economics and Harvard University, “The Financial Incumbency Advantage: Causes and Consequences,” examines how incumbency — rather than the quality of a politician’s performance — influences campaign contributions. Empirically, this effect can be difficult to test; how do you know what funding was given because the candidate has proven to be effective at her job and what funding was linked to the fact that she is the incumbent? To try and tease out the causality, authors Alexander Fouirnaies and Andrew B. Hall use a statistical method called regression discontinuity design (RDD). In essence, they seek to isolate the incumbency effect by comparing groups of candidates that barely won elections to those that barely lost. ‘If the campaign contributions donated to the party in the next election cycle in districts it barely won differ systematically from the donations the party receives in districts it barely lost, this difference can be attributed to the impact of incumbency under weak conditions,’ the authors state.”

ROTTEN ARMIES = ROTTEN ‘INVESTMENTS’

http://www.tomdispatch.com/ A really terrifying overview from Tom Dispatch about the impact of imperialist policies on such ‘adventures’ as the Iraq War, which comes down to a front-loading of blowback of the most horrific sort, replete with beheaded journalists and liquidated ‘minorities,’ inevitable in the context of dismantling Saddam’s military and such: “Instead, Bremer and his team vowed to create a new Iraqi military from scratch. According to Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks in his bestselling book Fiasco, that force was initially conceived as a small constabulary of 30,000-40,000 men (with no air force at all, or rather with the U.S. Air Force for backing in a country U.S. officials expected to garrison for decades). Its main job would be to secure the country’s borders without posing a threat to Iraq’s neighbors or, it should be added, to U.S. interests. Bremer’s decision essentially threw 400,000 Iraqis with military training, including a full officer corps, out onto the streets of its cities, jobless. It was a formula for creating an insurgency. Humiliated and embittered, some of those men would later join various resistance groups operating against the American military. More than a few of them later found their way into the ranks of ISIS, including at the highest levels of leadership. (The most notorious of these is Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former general in Saddam’s army who was featured as the King of Clubs in the Bush administration’s deck of cards of Iraq’s most wanted figures. Al-Douri is now reportedly helping to coordinate IS attacks.)”

EGYPTIAN ARBITRATION

http://www.loc.gov A downloadable file about the parameters of arbitration in Egyptian law, one of the various recent profferals from Library of Congress on this topic: “Although the Arbitration Law is the primary source for regulating the extrajudicial dispute resolution mechanism, the country’s unrest over the past three years spurred the introduction of other quicker and more flexible mechanisms for the settlement of investment disputes. Egypt has also acceded to several international conventions governing the arbitral process, the provisions of which have been incorporated into the country’s national legal system.”

ANCIENT TRADE ROUTES

http://www.wsws.org/ A very important update and review from World Socialist Website about recent studies that indicate a need to revise present understanding of long-distance trade, because of vast quantities of new evidence, the upshot of which are central nuances about the much longer interconnection and much more multifaceted nature of the trade among the societies of the ancient world: “An article published in Science earlier this year calls the intercontinental trade network that crossed the Indian Ocean a ‘Maritime Silk Road’ that once powered more East-West commerce than the famous land route. However, a lack of archaeological and historical research in the region has resulted in a focus generally placed on the 6,000-kilometre-long Silk Road, traveled and recorded by Marco Polo in the thirteenth century. Researchers have largely ignored the fact that Polo returned to Europe by means of the Indian Ocean, and one twentieth century scholar even called the Indian Ocean ‘scarcely more than an extension of the eastern Mediterranean.’ In recent years, archaeologists have sought to dispel this idea by surveying Southeast Asian swamps, Sri Lankan reefs, and African beaches. They have already found artifacts including glass beads, potsherds, seeds, and animal bones that bring to life the real history of a vast cultural movement and trade network that lasted for several thousand years within and around the Indian Ocean. While this work is only in its infancy, it is already shifting the focus away from Rome and China as the two ends of the Silk Road by demonstrating that many rich cultures existed in between. Many of these societies relied on the oceans as their primary means of exchange and, therefore, of interaction with other people and ideas. Historians long assumed that Roman consumption of luxury goods was the primary force driving trade between Europe and eastern Asia. Evidence of an expansive economy found off the coasts of Sri Lanka suggest that Roman merchants were likely drawn to an already booming international trade system. J.D. Hill, an archaeologist at the British Museum in London, has stated that what they are finding is unexpectedly modern. ‘The surprise is that the world was interconnected long ago,’ he states.”