11.26.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Inasmuch as knowledge matters, then access to literacy and information and the tools to process, analyze, and understand the available data are central to attaining any awareness that is both useful and powerful, as opposed to beliefs—which all too often pass as knowledge but barely qualify as propaganda, since they are so clearly fatuous and false—that merely act as ideological propositions that serve rulers’ agendas and schemes but have nothing positive to add to community or grassroots empowerment or progress.

Quote of the Day

That’s not it.  That’s not it at all.  You always have a tendency to add.  But one must be able to subtract too.  It’s not enough to integrate, you must also disintegrate.  That’s the way life is.  That’s philosophy.  That’s science.  That’s progresscivilization.”  The character, The Professor, in the play, The Lesson, by Eugene Ionesco.

 

This Day in History

In India, today is Constitution Day; four hundred seven years prior to this day, the male infant who would grow up to preach and found Harvard University took his first breath; James Cook two hundred thirty-six years back became the first European visitor to the Island of Maui in the Hawaiian archipelago; Notre Dame started operation as a Catholic University one hundred and seventy-two years before Hilton_Hawaiian_Village_boardwalk_2_Oahu_Hawaii_Photo_D_Ramey_Loganthis day; one hundred fifty-one years ago, President Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving, echoing George Washington’s and Congress’ pronouncements on the same day seventy-four years before, in 1789; just two years hence in 1865, 5,000 miles to the South, Chilean naval operatives used duplicity and expert gunnery to disable and capture a Spanish vessel, effectively establishing the Andean nation’s control of its coasts against Spain; Sojourner Truth drew her last breath a hundred thirty-one years ago, aged eighty six years; a baby boy was born a century and five years back, who destiny tapped as the absurdist dramatist Eugene Ionesco; three years afterward, across the Atlantic, another baby boy came into the world, who would grow up to become acclaimed journalist Eric Sevareid; ninety-two years Tuthankhamun_Egyptian_Museumback, two Englishmen entered King Tut’s tomb, the first human presence there in three millennia, and the first widely released movie to use Technicolor came on the market, and the baby boy was born who grew up as Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip, Peanuts; seventy-two years before the here-and-now, partisan anti-fascists held the first Yugoslav-wide meeting in Bosnia to organize operations against Nazi Germany; sixty-five years prior to the present pass, India’s legislature approved the Constitution that prevails to this day; a year later, as U.S. forces approached the Korean border with China, Chinese troops launched a massive counterattack on the American and U.N. forces that put to rest notions of a quick ‘free-world’ victory; twenty-eight years ago, Ronald Reagan, following his Attorney General’s admissions the day before, made the announcement that authorized the formation of a commission to investigate the Iran Contra scandal; Florida’s Secretary of State fourteen years back presented the final results of the 2000 election, certifying George W. Bush as the Presidential victor; five years later, iconic children’s book author Stan Berenstain died; three years back, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization strike force killed twenty-odd Pakistani’s at a border checkpoint that the NATO combatants had attacked by mistake.

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SEARCH OF THE DAY
beliefs OR opinions OR faith versus OR contradistinction OR juxtaposition knowledge OR understanding OR awareness "human consciousness" evolution dialectic OR polarity analysis = 302,000 Results.

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TOP OF THE FOLD

CONCEPTUALIZING RACE, OPPOSING RACISM

 

 

Ferguson Day 6, Picture 12 by Loavesofbread - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons
Ferguson Day 6, Picture 12 by Loavesofbread – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons

http://www.racismreview.com A set of curated briefs of recent publications and investigations into matters of color and bigotry and social equality and more: “I attended the #FacingRace14 conference and I’m still processing that experience, but one of the most interesting breakout sessions I attended was about research on language, perceptions and ‘racial anxiety.’  So, I’m using that as a jumping off point to share some related research in today’s research brief.   As always, I note which pieces are freely available on the web, or “open access” with (OA), and those behind a paywall with (locked).”

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

NIEMAN FELLOWSHIP PENDING

http://www.niemanlab.org  The announcement from the Nieman Journalism Lab about upcoming deadlines–January 15 for U.S. Citizens–for the Nieman Journalism Fellowship and other opportunities: “They have in common a passion for journalism and have brought to Harvard an exciting set of questions they are exploring individually and as a class. And, yes, a mere three months into their work, some have already declared it the best year of their lives. We now start the process that will lead us to next year’s class of fellows.”

typewriter3WORDPRESS‘ LONGFORM WRITING 201

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/      A course from WordPress that might appeal to at least a few scrappy scribes: “Writing 201: Beyond the Blog Post is a four-week course to help those beginning to explore longform writing (or who are frustrated with their past attempts).  Each week, we’ll focus on a different kind of piece, working our way from interviews — one of the easiest ways to get started with longer pieces — through instructional pieces and opinion pieces, ending with a personal essay.  It’s the product of a range of writers and editors, including the founders and editors at Longreads – folks who know a thing or two about high word counts.”

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

UNION MERGER OF NOTE

http://rabble.ca   In a significant development North of the border, Canada’s Telecommunication Union’s lopsided majority decision to merge with the United Steelworkers, as reported in Rabble.Ca’s weekly labor newsletter, offering a glimpse at a model that might make sense in many contexts of the current moment: “In 8the face of declining union density, legislative attacks on labour, and increasing financial pressures, union mergers have become a popular tactic for union rejuvenation in the Canadian labour movement, the argument being that there is strength in numbers — and pooled resources.  Last year two of Canada’s largest private sector unions, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), entered into an historic merger forming Unifor, now Canada’s largest private sector union.  This will become the USW’s 19th merger in recent years, but ‘its not just about numbers,’ said Steelworker’s President Ken Neumann.  ‘For each and every time that we’ve had a merger I can honestly and truly say that we become a better organization for the numbers coming in and the numbers that we represent, and I truly believe that there’s nothing about this merger(that isn’t dandy).  They’re basically in many places where we are and that will help us mobilize even further in those communities.'”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS
Desk - Bright Meadow Flickr
Desk – Bright Meadow Flickr

PLAGIARISM’S PROBLEMATIC PRACTICE

http://www.cjr.org      An examination from Columbia Journalism Review that conceives of journalism’s issue with plagiarism as a combination of vague definition and very uneven application of rules and punishments and such: “A University of Maryland study found similar ambiguity in 76 newspaper plagiarism cases between 1997 and 2006.  Forty-three of those offenders — 56 percent — lost their jobs, with the rate of punishment steadily increasing from minor to major to repeated infractions.  Perhaps more interestingly, the papers’ word choice in publicly responding to those crimes largely correlated with their eventual sanctions — ‘plagiarism’ typically garnered termination while synonymously described offenses earned lesser punishments.”

 

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

HUNGER GAMES TYPOLOGIES

http://magazine.good.is   An assessment from Good Magazine of the cultural phenomenon of Hunger Games, arguably an important aspect of present mediation for scrappy scribes, all of which begins with a comparison to Stravinsky’s controversial Rite of Spring: “1024px-RiteofSpringDancers(P)erhaps … the ballet’s depiction of… ritualistic pagan sacrifice … caused the real unease, especially given the political climate in France and beyond during the slow, scary buildup to the first World War.  Younger attendees, anxious over looming world affairs, may have found themselves a bit too sympathetic to the plight of the young girl being slaughtered—by tribal leaders hoping to appease vaguely  explained forces and maintain the status quo.   The Hunger Games, that wildly popular young adult book and film series depicting a futuristic dystopia where a totalitarian power structure televises its brutality of young ‘tributes’ supposedly chosen by chance as a means of preventing any uprisings, features a lead heroine in a similarly sympathetic position.”

 

RECENT HAPPENINGS

ABOUT TO HIT THE FAN IN FERGUSON

http://www.theguardian.com    A deeply reported update from Ferguson that came out just as the Grand Jury was about to issue its decision not to indict Michael Brown’s killer, in the run-up to which most police forces have become more militaristic and aggressive while the officer with whom Guardian’s reporter is speaking has a more community-oriented and civil libertarian view: “The chats proceeded amid loud chanting and drumming from a crowd fearful that the grand jury, whose decision is expected in the coming days, will decline to charge Wilson, 28, with crimes such as murder or manslaughter.  The jurors, who have been meeting weekly for three months, are due to reconvene on Monday.  Despite the decision of Lohr and several other officers to remain in regular dress, as the protest grew a group of officers from the county and the Missouri state highway patrol emerged in riot gear.  Dozens of demonstrators had spent hours marching through Ferguson in the rain.  Some shouted abuse at the line of armoured officers.  Agreeing that African Americans experienced systematic disadvantages in the US justice system, Lohr warned: ‘I’m not a sociologist, I’m not a psychologist, that wasn’t what I went to college for.’  In fact, Lohr, 41, earned a degree in economics from Vanderbilt University.”

 

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

A SCIENCE OF EQUALITY

http://perception.org/     A research monograph about race that seeks to develop a ‘science of equality’ with which those who’ve committed themselves to social justice can develop tools and approaches to forestall further violence and social devolution that stem from bigotry and supremacist thinking: “Last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, honoring the historic struggles for racial equity and justice waged during the Civil Rights Movement.  And yet in the last few years, we have seen far too many killings of unarmed black young people rise to the level of national public consciousness, some within the span of just a few months.  With each death, we’ve committed a new name to memory: Jonathan Crawford III in Ohio; Eric Garner in New York; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Renisha McBride in Michigan; Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis in Florida; and Jonathan Ferrell in North Carolina.  And the list is growing.  With each new name, we’ve learned their unique personal histories and debated different accounts of what might have happened in each instance.  Mostly, we have mourned the eerily familiar similarity in each of their tragic deaths.”

11.25.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Both the point and the pardox of consciousness will forever and always remain the ever untenable and generally thankless task of seeking to fill wisdom’s cup to the very brim.

Quote of the Day

“Well-informed men know that the great controlling interests have secured most of the other sources and engines of Power.  They own or control most of the newspapers, most of the magazines, most of the pulpits, all of the politicians, and most of the public men.  We are asked to believe that the do not own or control the Associated Press, by far the most desirable and potent of these engines.  We are asked to believe that the character and wording of the dispatches upon which depends so much public opinion is never influenced in behalf of the controlling interests.  We are asked to believe that Interests that have absorbed all other such agencies for their TheBrassCheckbenefit have overlooked this, the most useful and valuable of all.  We are even asked to believe that, although the Associated Press is a mutual concern, owned by the newspapers, and although these newspapers that own it are in turn owned by the Controlling Interests, the Controlling Interests do not own, control, or influence the Associated Press, which goes its immaculate way, furnishing impartial and unbiased news to the partial and biased journals that own it.  That is to say that when you buy a house you do not buy its foundations.”  Charles Edward Russell, Pearson’s Magazine, as quoted in Upton Sinclair’s journalistic expose, The Brass Check.

This Day in History

 

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women; a Christian leader, and leper, eight hundred thirty-seven years ago, joined Alsatian knights to defend Christian control of Jerusalem, which succeeded in slaughtering a much larger Muslim Godefroi1099army; five hundred twenty-three years before the present, the siege of the final Islamic stronghold on the Iberian Peninsula, at Grenada, began; two hundred fifty-six years back, British troops captured Fort Duquesne, which formed the basis for the establishment of Fort Pitt, and later Pittsburgh; two hundred nineteen years ago, the partition of Poland proceeded to such a point that the last independent King of Poland abdicated and accepted exile in Russia; a baby girl came into the world a hundred sixty-eight years ago, destined to grow up as prohibitionist and general hell-raiser Carrie Nation; a century and a half back, Confederate agents started a score or more of fires in an attempt to set New York City ablaze and put the town to the torch; a decade later, after the panic of 1873 had caused profound 166px-Demand_Legal_comparisondislocation in rural and agricultural areas, the Greenback Party formed in 1874, offering a program of fiat money to dispossessed and struggling farmers and small business people; two years further on, the U.S. Cavalry, to avenge the massacre at Little Big Horn, undertook a predawn attack on a Cheyenne village near the source of the Powder River, razing the community and killing most of its inhabitants, largely women and children; ninety-nine years before the here and now, Albert Einstein presented his field calculations in support of the General Theory of Relativity at the Prussian Academy of Sciences; Japan and Germany seventy-eight years ago signed a pact to aid the other in the event of any attack on either nation by the Soviet Union; Bosnia and Hezegovina seventy-one years ago initiated a drive for Statehood based on their opposition to fascist Germany; four years subsequently, in 1947, the blacklisting started of the so-called “Hollywood Ten” for its affiliations with communists and so forth, and, half a world away, New Zealand became an independent country in the British Commonwealth of Nations; five Agatha_Christie_plaque_-Torre_Abbeyyears hence, in 1952, Agatha Christy’s play, The Mousetrap opened, eventually to become the longest continuously presented play in history; fifty-four years back, three sisters who were organizing against Dominican Republic Strongman Trujillo died from assassins’ bullets, their martyrdom the basis thirty-nine years later, in 1999, for the establishment of an international commemoration against violence against women, and at the same time the baby boy of the man who was about to become President was born, as John Kennedy, Jr. growing to prominence as a journalist and publisher; forty-six years ago, the prolific socialist author and social justice advocate and journalist Upton Sinclair breathed his last; a Japanese author, Yukio Mishima, and a compatriot killed themselves two years later, in 1970, in a ritual suicide after their attempt to overthrow their country’s government failed; twenty-eight years prior to the present pass, Attorney General Edwin Meese announced that profits from selling illegal weapons to Iran had funded the provision of illegal aid to so-called Contra rebels who were terrorist opponents of Nicaragua’s legitimate government; Czechoslovakia six years later, in 1992, split into two States, Slovakia and the Czech Republic;

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"shield law" OR "shield laws" necessity OR "sine qua non" journalism OR reporting knowledge democracy history analysis = 30,200 Hits.

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TOP OF THE FOLD

REVIEWING RISEN’S PAY ANY PRICE

http://www.wsws.org     A review essay from World Socialist Website of James Risen’s new volume about the thuggish corruption and profiteering that predominate in politics now, along with an examination of the writer’s role in opposing that, arguably an absolute necessity for any context that is democratic to continue: “To make an example of those who dare to expose government crimes, the Obama administration has subpoenaed Risen and is threatening to imprison him.  In a case set to go to court in January, the government is seeking to force Risen to turn over confidential source material as part of an Espionage Act prosecution of CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling.  Risen has said he will accept a multi-year jail term rather then hand over First Amendment-protected material to the government.  At the conclusion of his book, Risen writes: ‘Pay IMG_0159Any Price is my answer to how best to challenge the government’s draconian efforts to crack down on aggressive investigative reporting and suppress the truth in the name of ceaseless war.  My answer is to keep writing, because I believe that if journalists ever stop uncovering abuses of power, and ever stop publishing stories about those abuses, we will lose our democracy.’  Pay Any Price focuses on the connection between government crimes and a parasitic corporate-financial layer that has amassed huge sums of money by facilitating them.  Risen refers to the ‘war on terror’ as a ‘bipartisan enterprise’ and argues that it is driven largely by war profiteers.”

 

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

A CHANCE TO WORK FOR NIEMAN LAB

http://www.niemanlab.org/   A job-opening in Boston, at Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, a plum for the right scribe: “This job will join our little Harvard newsroom (currently made up of three reporters and me) to report on journalism innovation — innovation in how news gets reported, produced, distributed, discovered, consumed, and paid for — with a particular focus on how mobile is changing the news.  If you enjoy the sort of stories you read here and would like a chance to report, write (and maybe edit) them full time, you might be a good candidate.”

SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS GRANTS

http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/    Grants for Palmetto State producers of culture, with letters of intent due December 15: “To encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for South Carolina artists.  South Carolina artists (individuals and collaboratives) may apply for up to $5,000 in order to launch a new venture or significantly alter an existing venture.”

CURATORIAL OPENINGS

http://nationswell.com/    An opportunity to participate as an employee with a site that provides curation services: “NationSwell seeks editorial curators to aggregate stories.  All candidates must have strong research skills, an eye for the newsworthy, strong knowledge of social media, and the ability to work quickly while paying close attention to details.  We are looking for curators who can comb the web and write at least 3 snappy posts a day for our audience of service-minded millennials.  Each post should share a news item that doesn’t get enough attention in the media and fits our mission of finding and showcase innovators and innovations that are moving America forward.  Candidates should be self-motivated to pitch, write, and aggregate the kinds of stories they would want to share with their friends.”

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

POWERS BEHIND THE SCENES

http://edge.org/       A story of a super-agent–clients who include Stephen Pinker and Jared Diamond bear mention–and his views on life, science, publication, communication, and more: “‘The great questions of the world concern scientific news,’ says Brockman.  ‘We are at the beginning of a revolution.  And what we hear from the mainstream is: ‘Please make it go away.’

And there you are—this is how it goes with John Brockman who doesn’t like to waste time in the midst of the contradictions of the present.  ‘Come, let’s start,’ he says in a good mood and puts a recording device on his desk.  ‘I’m turning it on, you don’t mind?  He is charming, without hiding his own interests.  He is proud of his life, his intelligence, without that he would have to apologize for it.   He is a key figure of the late 20th and early 21st century, the éminence grise and major source of inspiration for the globally dominant culture, which he himself named as the ‘third culture.’  It is not Brockman, but his authors, who are well-known: Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Daniel C. Dennett, Jared Diamond, Daniel Kahneman.  Physicists, neuroscientists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, fixed stars of the science age, superstars of nonfiction bestseller lists, the reason for Brockman’s financial success and good mood. …’I’ve been their agent for decades.  It’s a wonderful life: I’m doing what I love to do, I read smart books and get well-paid for it.'”

student writing arm

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

COPYRIGHT HISTORY VIA TOLKIEN

http://blogs.loc.gov/    Another gem from Library of Congress that, by telling of a youngster’s love of Tolkien, illustrates much that ought to be mandatory for scrappy scribes to learn about the historical background of copyright legislation and practice: “The tale of copyright law in the 1950s is a tangled one and illustrates some of the complexities in the U.S. copyright system.  Some of the issues in play for determining the copyright status of The Lord of the Rings in 1965, would involve a review of the U.S. 1891 copyright law (26 Stat. 1106) and a subsequent Presidential Proclamation which extended copyright benefits to citizens of certain nations; the 1909 U.S. copyright law (35 Stat. 1075); and a consideration as to who had manufactured copies of the works in the United States; and the possible effect of the Universal Copyright Convention on the 1909 U.S. copyright law.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

CHECKING LINKS

http://www.makeuseof.com    A portal to a few handy tools, nothing fancy, but apparently bona fide link-safety software that scrappy scribes might find useful.

RECENT HAPPENINGS

TEXAS ABOUT TO MURDER ANOTHER INNOCENT MAN

https://firstlook.org/   From the folks at First Look, a posting about the upcoming execution of a man who is probably innocent of the crime for which he may very well die, a blithe acceptance of State-sanctioned homicide that indicts the ‘criminal justice’ system of much of this country as an oxymoronic exercise is bigotry and terror: “Eleven years before he raped and threatened to kill Lear, Fennell’s own fiancee, 19-year-old Stacy Stites, was found brutally murdered along a country road in Bastrop, Texas.  That crime eventually sent a man to death row.  His name is Rodney Reed—and he is scheduled to die in January.  Lear, like many people who have followed the case in Texas —believe that Reed is innocent.  And they believe that the real killer is Jimmy Fennell.  Connie Lear is not alone in coming forward now that an execution date has been set.  Nearly a dozen people related to Stites, many of whom have had doubts about the case for years, are breaking their own silence, calling for Reed’s life to be spared.  One is Stites’ cousin, Judy Mitchell, who is convinced Fennell is the real killer.  ‘I just know he did [it],’ she told The Intercept.  ‘We’ve got to do something to stop this execution.'”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
Jon Sullivan - public domain
Jon Sullivan – public domain

MONEY, HISTORY, & THE ISLAMIC STATE

http://qz.com/     A just fascinating article from Quartz that, though its brevity makes for a certain surface sheen that one wants deepened, examines the context of the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria’s recently announced plans to issue a currency: “The Islamic dinar appeared in 696 A.D., when the Arab world was at peak imperial strength.  The Umayyad empire—based in Damascus—stretched from the Iberian peninsula to the Indus river in south Asia.  That swath of territory was the culmination of decades of warfare, which consolidated not only political power but also vast stores of loot.  In his magisterial work Debt: The First 5,000 Years, monetary anthropologist David Graeber wrote: ‘Over the course of the wars of expansion, for example, enormous quantities of gold and silver were indeed looted from palaces, temples and monasteries and stamped into coinage, allowing the Caliphate to produce gold dinars and silver dirhams of remarkable purity.’  The Umayyads didn’t invent monetary policy based on looting.  It had always been the basis of ancient wartime finance.   (After all, the origin of the word ‘dinar’ is derived from the denarius, used by the Romans.)  Some think that the world’s first coins, created in the seventh century BC, were merely an attempt to efficiently pay mercenary warriors.  In fact, some theorists argue that the origins of market economics and money—and more specifically coined money—are inextricably tied to the violence and trauma of early warfare, which undermined the communal relationships that allowed systems of borrowing and repaying to prevail in peacetime.”

 

11.24.2014 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day
Sun Red Giant - B Jacobs
Sun Red Giant – B Jacobs

When epic storms threaten to capsize humanity’s collective ship of fate, our joint choices dictate much more than mere matters of many lives or deaths to become issues of social transcendence versus species extinction.

Quote of the Day

“As for your doctrines I am prepared to go to the Stake if requisite … I trust you will not allow yourself to be in any way disgusted or annoyed by the considerable abuse & misrepresentation which unless I greatly mistake is in store for you… And as to the curs which will bark and yelp – you must recollect that some of your friends at any rate are endowed with an amount of combativeness which (though you have often & justly rebuked it) may stand you in good stead – I am sharpening up my claws and beak in readiness.”  Thomas H. Huxley to Charles Darwin upon the latter’s decision to publish On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

 

This Day in History

Among certain cognoscenti, today is Evolution Day; shortly after his rise to the throne, sixteen hundred thirty-four years ago, the last emperor to rule over both the Eastern and Western Roman Empire, Theodosius, formally entered Constantinople as leader; five Theodosius_II_solidus_Constantinople_439_450_gold_4480mghundred eighty-five years back Joan of Arc began an ultimately unsuccessful siege at La Charite; three hundred eighty-two years ago, meanwhile, the male infant who matured as philosopher and scientist Baruch Spinoza came into the world; the Texas Rangers, essentially a vigilante force of the Texas Provisional Government, first came into existence a hundred seventy-nine years prior to the present pass; one hundred fifty-five years ago, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species; the baby boy who grew up to become the ‘motivational’ speaker and author Dale Carnegie was born one hundred twenty-six years back; ninety-seven years before the here item439dc75d57e4d_largeand now, a bomb in Milwaukee killed nine City Policeman; a male child was born eighty-nine years ago into an upper-crust life that led him to publish the National Review and write many volumes as William F. Buckley; eighty-two years back the Federal Bureau of Investigation initiated its Scientific Crime-Detection Laboratory; Diego Rivera, the famed painter and Communist, died in his native Mexico fifty-seven years prior to this day; the infant girl who became the acclaimed writer, Arundhati Roy, took her first breath fifty-three years ago; the British Broadcasting Corporation’s humorous program, That Was the Week That Was, precisely one year subsequently, began its run; a year later, U.S. television carried the first broadcast murder when Jack Ruby—soon conveniently to die of cancer—shot erstwhile assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on camera, two days after a crossfire had ended the life of President Kennedy; a short-lived imposition of an Autobahn speed limit started in the midst of the ‘Oil Price Crisis’ forty-one years ago, not lasting even a month before its termination; three hundred sixty-five days hence, Australopithecusafarensis_reconstructionin 1974, two scientists in Ethiopia exhumed a nearly half-complete female skeleton of Australopithecus Afarensis, which they soon dubbed ‘Lucy,’ a close match to the sought-after missing link; renowned ethicist and philosopher John Rawls died twelve years ago; two years back, over a hundred textile workers died in a fire in a grotesquely unsafe factory in Bangladesh; just a year later, in 2013, Iran and its Western disciplinarians signed a temporary nuclear agreement that eased sanctions and reduced the risk of a possibly incendiary war in Southwest Asia.

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SEARCH OF THE DAY
"latin america" "united states" empire intervention OR aggression OR invasion murder OR corruption OR profiteering history "political economy" analysis = 2,380,000 Citations.

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TOP OF THE FOLD

REFORM’S REQUISITE MAY BE REVOLUTION

http://www.opednews.com   An OpEdNews posting about the current state of deflection, dissolution, and repression that confronts those who would build a better society, and how only “professional revolutionists” stand a chance in hell of having much impact under such circumstances: “(E)nvironmental, economic and political grass-roots movements, largely unseen by the wider society, … have severed themselves from the formal structures of power.   They have formed collectives and nascent organizations dedicated to overthrowing the corporate state. They eschew the rigid hierarchical structures of past revolutionary movements — although this may change — for more amorphous collectives.  Plato referred to professional revolutionists as his philosophers.  John Calvin called them his saints.  Machiavelli called them his Republican Conspirators.  Lenin labeled them his Vanguard.  All revolutionary upheavals are built by these entities.”

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

A MEMBER’S ARTICLE ABOUT UKRAINE

TruthOut crossposting of an NWU adherent’s recent report on the situation in Ukraine, from a historical perspective.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

NANOTECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITIES

http://www.nsf.gov/   From the National Science Foundation, a portal to requested proposals in nanotechnology: “The European Research Area (ERA-NET) is a coordination activity funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Program.  The main objective of an ERA-NET is to provide a framework to network and mutually open national or regional research programs, leading to concrete cooperations, such as the development and implementation of joint transnational calls.  The ERA-NET for Safe Implementation of Innovative Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ERA-NET SIINN) is putting out a call to encourage joint U.S.-European collaborations focusing on the environmental and health effects of manufactured nanomaterial (MNMs) in 4 topic areas.”

NSF WEBINAR DECEMBER 3

http://www.nsf.gov/   An opportunity to take part in a free exchange

By Jiuguang Wang (Own work)
By Jiuguang Wang (Own work)

about cognitive science: “NSF invites you to attend a webinar introducing the new Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems program (NSF-NCS, NSF- 14-611) on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 1:00 PM EST. If you wish to participate in this webinar, you must register for it at https://nsfevents.webex.com/nsfevents/onstage/g.php?d=748565712&t=a”

EURO-AMERICAN ROBOTIC COLLABORATION

http://www.nsf.gov/   Further Dear Colleague notes from the National Science Foundation, encouraging applications for funding to support robotics research that ties together American and European efforts: “Over the last few years, significant investments have been made by the NSF and European Commission (EC) to develop infrastructure for doing robotics-related research. In many instances, complementary capabilities exist at US and EU institutions. Synergistic partnerships between NSF-funded and EC-funded robotics researchers can provide new opportunities for advancing the field of robotics.”

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

HARM-REDUCTION INSTEAD OF DRUG-WAR

http://www.citylab.com/    An Atlantic Media piece, from CityLab, about a Vancouver experiment with prescription Heroin–untried in North America but common in Europe–as an antidote to organized crime, corruption of police, fascist governmental tactics, and rampant death and harm among users and adjacent populations: “Following a clinical trial involving 26 subjects, doctors at the city’s Providence Medical Clinic have earned permission to provide doses of the drug to a group of 120 severe addicts.  The decision followed a lengthy back-and-forth with Rona Ambrose, Canada’s federal Health Secretary, who opposes the policy.”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

UNEXPECTED POETS

 

pens Keith Williamson Flickr
pens Keith Williamson Flickr

http://blogs.loc.gov   A Library of Congress Catbird’s Seat blog that encourages the use of primary sources in seeking to contextualize an ‘urge to poetry,’ so to speak: “Bringing primary sources into the poetry and literature classroom and library is one way to foster student engagement, develop critical thinking skills, and build content knowledge.  My goal in this blog series is to offer teaching suggestions connected to specific writers and their work using rich materials from the Library’s collections.  Not everyone who writes poetry calls themselves a poet.  Sometimes people who are well known for a vastly different area of expertise–such as politics, activism, or science–write poetry for pleasure.  Students may be surprised by these poems from historical figures.  Consider the poem “My Childhood-Home I See Again,” written by Abraham Lincoln in 1846 when he was 37 years old and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives.  Offer students the original in Lincoln’s handwriting, but access the transcription to analyze the content of the poem.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

AN IN-DEPTH CONTEXTUALIZATION OF INTERRELATIONSHIP

http://edge.org/    An assessment from The Edge about the underpinnings of our inherently “entwined fates” and how addressing these connections is a sine qua non of social viability: “I’m a political scientist, political economist, so I think about this not so much from the perspective of moral reasoning, or philosophy, or psychology for that matter—though all those disciplines come into play in my thinking—but I think about it in terms of the institutional arrangements and contextual arrangements in which people find themselves.  It is about those that evoke certain behaviors as opposed to other kinds of behaviors, and certain attitudes as opposed to other kinds of attitudes, that ultimately lead to actions.   I’m ultimately interested not just in how the individual’s mind works, but how individual minds work together to create an aggregate outcome.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

HALF-A-LOAF IMMIGRATION MEASURES

http://www.newyorker.com/    A sobering examination from New Yorker about the police-state persistence and arbitrary parameters for inclusion in President Obama’s recent executive action in regard to immigration, points that many fierce proponents of reform decry as antithetical to justice, efficiency, and human decency: “‘For me, there’s not going to be any benefit,’ Vera told me.  He said that he had moved to the U.S. earlier this year after some of his relatives were killed, and he feared for his safety if he had to return.  ‘I haven’t been here for long, and I don’t have children,’ Vera said.  Not only was he unlikely to benefit from Obama’s executive actions, his lawyer, Nilou Khonsari of Pangea Legal Services in San Francisco, had explained that they could actually be bad for him.  ‘I came here fleeing from violence in Mexico, and now they want to send me back,’ Vera told me.”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

CONTINUED, & INCREASING, UKRAINIAN MAYHEM

http://www.ohchr.org/ From the United Nations Office of the High

"2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev" by Amakuha - Own work. -
“2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev” by Amakuha – Own work. –

Commissioner for Human Rights, a seventh report on the devolving situation in Ukraine, one of many recent assessments of the conflicts that threaten to worsen catastrophically there: “Despite the ceasefire, which entered into force on 5 September, hostilities in the east and related human rights violations and abuses continued.  On 19 September, in Minsk, the Trilateral Contact Group, with political representatives of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s Republic,’ and the self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ agreed on a Memorandum to implement ‘the Peace Plan of the President of Ukraine and the initiatives of the President of the Russian Federation.’  Despite the announcement of ‘silent regimes’ by the Ukrainian Government (on 5 and 7 October) and by the ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ (on 11 October), violations of the ceasefire were reported by the Ukrainian security forces and the armed groups.  Fighting was particularly severe around the Donetsk airport, Debaltseve and Mariupol (Donetsk region), and Shchastia (Luhansk region), causing casualties among civilians, military servicemen, and members of the armed groups.  On average 13 people were killed every day between 6 September and 31 October.”

 

11.21.2014 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

A primary paradox of the present period, as of any time of dissolution and decadence, is that on the one hand grotesque displays of kinky and licentious sexuality appear on various public stages, with a Benjamin Franklin and a wink and a nod so to speak, and on the other hand official and increasingly strict proscriptions multiply against ‘violations’ of any and all ‘sacrosanct’ limitations on natural erotic congress, an explanation for all of which is the fostering of fascist psychological propensities that always result from such actual repression in the presence of such apparent permissiveness.

Quote of the Day
By Christopher J. Fynn (Own work)
By Christopher J. Fynn (Own work)

“A gens in the archaic period, as we have seen, consisted of a supposed female ancestor and her children together with the children of her daughters, and of her female descendants through females in perpetuity.  The children of her sons of her male descendants, through males, were excluded.  On the other hand, with descent in the male line, a gens consisted of a supposed male ancestor, together with the children of his sons and of his male descendants through males in perpetuity. The children of his daughters, and of his female descendants through females, were excluded.  Those excluded in the first case would be members of the gens in the second case, and vice versa.  The question then arises, how could descent be changed from the female to the male without destruction of the gens?”  Lewis Henry Morgan, seminal anthropologist.

This Day in History
Braun HF 1
Braun HF 1

Today is both World Television Day officially and World Hello Day unofficially; twenty-one hundred and seventy-eight years ago, more or less, a Jewish leader of the Hasmonean family resuscitated the Jerusalem Temple, thereby establishing the basis for Hanukkah each year among Jews; an army of Turkic and Central Asian forces led by Timur(or Tamerlane) sacked the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi six hundred twenty-eight years back, taking the Georgian king himself captive; the settlers aboard the Mayflower signed their famous ‘compact’ three hundred ninety-four years prior to the present pass; a baby boy came into the world three hundred twenty years ago, destined to grow up as Voltaire, a renowned philosopher and thinker; two and a quarter centuries ago, North Carolina became the twelfth jurisdiction of the United States when its representatives ratified the Constitution; a male American infant was born a hundred ninety-six years back who would mature as Lewis H. Morgan, whose anthropological investigations laid the basis for work by European thinkers as diverse as Charles Darwin and Friedrich Engels; Thomas

Victor V Phonograph
Victor V Phonograph

Edison a hundred thirty-seven years before the here-and-now announced that he had invented a phonograph, a mechanism capable of making and playing recorded sounds; Japanese soldiers a hundred twenty years back captured Port Arthur and, according to some sources, slaughtered many civilians there after this decisive Sino-Japanese war victory; one hundred twelve years back, the boy child who received the name Isaac Bashevis Singer was born, destined to grow up to win the Nobel Prize in Literature; a brief paper by Albert Einstein a hundred nine years ago elicited the formula for showing the equivalence between energy and mass, or E=mc-Squared; Brazilian sailors rebelled on some of their navy’s most powerful fighting ships a hundred four years back, in an uprising that they referred to as “the revolt of the lash;” Polish partisans murdered several hundred Jews and Ukrainians near present-day Lviv ninety-six years prior to this day, in a pogrom that paralleled the revolutionary upheaval of the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; in Columbine, Colorado eighty-seven years ago, a force of hired mine guards and State Police gunned down miners with machine guns during a strike action that we now know as the Columbine Mine Massacre; sixty-nine years back, the United Auto Workers led strikes in ninety-two manufacturing facilities in fifty different cities simultaneously in backing up workers’ calls for higher wages; the British Museum of Natural History sixty-one years ago acknowledged that the so-called ‘Piltdown-Man’ skull was a fabrication and a hoax; fifty-two years prior to the present pass, China’s Peoples Liberation Army 144px-Björk_by_Hello,_I_am_Bruce_at_Nature_Awareness_Nattura_concert_Reykjavik_2008announced a unilateral cease-fire in the Sino-Indian War; a baby girl came into the world three years subsequently and twelve thousand miles away in Iceland, who grew up to claim the name Bjork and work as an iconoclastic and world famous singer-songwriter, feminist, and thespian; the first permanent networking link on the Internet predecessor Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or ARPANET, activated its connection forty-five years ago between UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute; precisely a decade later, in 1979, attacks on the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan killed four and wounded many more; U.S. Naval Intelligence Analyst Jonathon Pollard found himself under arrest twenty-nine years ago for espionage, accused of handing over files to Israel, charges for which he subsequently faced a sentence of life in prison; a year hence to the day, Oliver North and his assistant were shredding documents that implicated them in selling arms to Iran in order to garner cash to proffer to the anti-government Contra forces of Nicaragua, in contravention of both U.S. and international law; a decade ago, the financial cabal that calls itself

“2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev” by Amakuha – Own work. –

the Club of Paris agreed to write off up to 80% or Iraq’s $100 billion in outstanding debt, and, in a prequel to the Maidan uprising in Ukraine, a so-called ‘Golden Revolution’ invalidated Viktor Yanukovych’s election in a runoff that both the United States and the European Union labeled corrupt; legendary science fiction author Anne McCaffrey died three years ago today; two years subsequently, just last year, acclaimed journalist and critic Clyde Edgerton breathed his last.

 

640px-Manila_skyline

SEARCH OF THE DAY
"homo sapiens" OR "human origins" clan lineage consanguinity rules OR strictures history OR anthropology origins = 10,700 Results.

book hor2

 

TOP OF THE FOLD

ARROGANT ASSININITY ABOUT UKRAINE

www.truthdig.com/     A reality-based blast from TruthDig regarding the Group-of-Twenty meeting in Brisbane, Australia, where the

"2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev" by Amakuha - Own work. -
“2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev” by Amakuha – Own work. 

thuggish duplicities of imperial leaders berated Vladimir Putin in the context of utterly ignoring their own frequent and vicious depredations: “President Obama’s final words to Mr. Putin set the pattern for hypocrisy: ‘(We are) very firm on the need to uphold core international principles, and one of those principles is you don’t invade other countries or finance proxies … to break up a country that has mechanisms for democratic elections.’  (Perhaps) no one in his own government has yet worked up the courage to tell Mr. Obama that … his own United States State Department … arranged a public uprising in Kiev last February, against a democratically elected (if corrupt) president of Ukraine, and sponsored the coup d’etat that made Arseniy Yatsenyuk (known as ‘Yats’ in the department) prime minister.  The Washington-sponsored coup occurred before there were any Russian troops in Ukraine, and before either government had as yet dreamed that Mr. Putin would annex Crimea in retaliation.”

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

A MEMBER’S INSPIRING REMARKS AT THE N.B.A. CEREMONY

http://www.newyorker.com/    From the New Yorker, a summary of commentary at this week’s National Book Awards ceremony, where longstanding member Ursala LeGuin accepted a lifetime literary achievement medal and spoke truth to power from the podium in her speech: “I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being.  And even imagine some real grounds for hope.  We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.  Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art.  The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.  We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.  I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit.  Its name is freedom.”

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

BEYOND TURING CONFERENCE IN AUSTIN

http://www.math.unipd.it/   An upcoming event in Texas’ capitol, an introduction to the current state of contextualizing and grounding artificial intelligence, work that researchers in many other venues are also carrying out: “The Turing test, now over 60 years old, has long served as a highly visible, public signpost for research in artificial intelligence.  It is also highly game-able, and arguably in desperate need for a refresh.  The purpose of this workshop, modeled on a set of early meetings that helped shape the annual RoboCup competitions, is to seek community input.  More precisely, at this workshop, our goal is to craft a replacement, an annual or bi-annual Turing Championship, that might consist of 3-5 different challenging tasks, with bragging rights given to the first programs to achieve human-level performance in each task.”

 

NSF’S GRANT PROPOSAL GUIDE

http://www.nsf.gov/    For everything from soup-to-nuts, undergraduate to post-doctoral research and beyond, an outline of protocols and parameters for submitting proposals and such.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

SCIENTIFIC SEXUALITY REVIEWED

http://theconversation.com/    A well-curated compilation from one of the English scholars who typify The Conversation, about the “stuttered” history of sexology as a discipline and some of what that might mean for human beings: “The exhibition traces the development of this science, revealing how, as curator Kate Forde says: ‘each generation likes to think that it invented sex’ – or, at least, how sex ought to be.  Everyone has an opinion on what French philosopher Michel Foucault described as the ‘secret’ of sexuality.  The 19th-century Argentinean politician, Juan Bautista Alberdi argued that ‘to govern was to populate.’  British campaigner Marie Stopes believed that making contraceptives available, especially to the poor, would enable the ‘race’ to improve.  The Austrian psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich, explained sexual repression as a consequence of an authoritarian character, providing one of the earliest explanations of the rise of Nazism as a result of damming up the ‘orgasmic convulsion.’  The list goes on.”

CULTURE & POLITICS, UKRAINIAN STYLE

http://www.dazeddigital.com     A briefing and overview of a Kiev

Rue Richelieu, Odessa, by trialsanderrors, flickr
Rue Richelieu, Odessa, by trialsanderrors, flickr

photography-and-culture collective that critically examines life in its lenses, from Dazed, in a no-critical-distance-whatsoever bow to imperial supremacy, one of hundreds of grassroots reports about Ukrainian on-the-ground realities–ranging from the minimally distorted to the fatuously false–in realms as disparate as politics and social engagement and more: “With Vladimir Putin leaving the G20 summit early this weekafter reports the Russian president copped some (much deserved) flack from other world leaders – here’s looking at you, Obama – and essentially realised that no one really wants to hang out with him, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to showcase Ukrainian photography collective GORSAD’s Boys Don’t Cry.  Putin has certainly fuelled creative fires around both the Ukraine and Russia, allowing for fertile ground to garner ideas, momentum and of course, controversy.  But there’s no denying that the country’s uneasy political climate has been a thorn in GORSAD’s – and other artists’ – side.  ‘We publish mainly abroad,’ the collective explain.  ‘Therefore, there is no problem with the lack of understanding.'”

SOCIAL DIVIDES, DIGITAL DIVISION, & THE INTERNET

http://www.worldwatch.org/      A new report from WorldWatch Institute about the paradoxes and possibilities of virtuality and rise of web culture, in terms of creating sustainable relationships among ourselves: “When the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, the collection of ideas and artifacts that is now known as the Internet was only a research and development program at the U.S. Department of Defense.  Meanwhile, environmental advocates of the era were fighting large, complex technological systems, such as nuclear power and industrialized agriculture, as threats to both the ecosphere and democratic self-governance.  Yet when big digital systems began to take hold in the 1980s, these expanding pervasive and powerful technologies were rarely criticized.  Today, a true understanding of their environmental and social impacts is urgently needed in order to navigate—or resist—technology’s growing influence.”

Sun Red Giant - B Jacobs
Sun Red Giant – B Jacobs

EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF CLIMATE CHANGE REVERSAL POSSIBILITIES

http://spectrum.ieee.org/     A massive longform assessment from two participants in Google’s now-abandoned renewable-energy electricity initiative, via the Institute for Electrical & Electronic Engineers, of empirical and analytical perspectives about the challenges of carbon, cost, and power production: “Google’s boldest energy move was an effort known as RE<C, which aimed to develop renewable energy sources that would generate electricity more cheaply than coal-fired power plants do.  The company announced that Google would help promising technologies mature by investing in start-ups and conducting its own internal R&D.  Its aspirational goal: to produce a gigawatt of renewable power more cheaply than a coal-fired plant could, and to achieve this in years, not decades.  Unfortunately, not every Google moon shot leaves Earth orbit.  In 2011, the company decided that RE<C was not on track to meet its target and shut down the initiative.”

334px-Frederick_Douglass_portraitFREDERICK DOUGLASS PORTALS

http://blogs.loc.gov/    Insightful and extensive tools and approaches for pondering Frederick Douglass specifically and the experience of enslavement from the slave’s perspective generally, from Library of Congress: “Last November, we published a post addressing the controversies associated with Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  A recent comment pointed out that Huck’s views on slavery are those of the dominant society of the time.  Because the post featured a letter from Frederick Douglass as a supplement to the novel, the commenter wondered ‘why not present the experiences and views of the oppressed rather than the oppressor?’  That struck me as an intriguing question, so here are a few places to start exploring those views and experiences with your students.”

CROWDSOURCING FROM UNICEF

http://www.techrepublic.com/     A Tech Republic gateway to recent UNICEF publications on innovative approaches to youth issues, work that the agency has in no small measure crowdsourced as a collaborative, grassroots venture on the twenty-fifth anniversary of United Nations Convention on The Year of the Child: “Kartik Sawhney was denied access to study science in India because he is visually impaired, and authorities said there were too many visual elements to the courses.  He finally convinced them to let him in, but none of his textbooks were in a format he could use.  He had to type them out instead.  The real trouble came with graphs — he had difficulty figuring out the shape of graphs to analyze them.  So, he developed software that would allow the graphs to be translated into audio — ‘like an arc of sound,’ he said.  If there’s an increase in frequency, the graph is obviously sloping upwards.  If it’s constant, the slope is at zero.  Sawhney’s story is just one inspiring example of tech innovation led by children that is highlighted in UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children Report – Reimagine the future: Innovation, which was released Thursday, Nov. 20 on the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

MEXICAN MELTDOWNS, INTENSIFYING

http://portside.org A brief from PortSide Labor about the collapse that appears imminent in Mexico’s institutional ‘leftist’ organization, as a result of violence–especially against students and youth–and the ongoing impact of the grotesque and murderous fraud of the so-called ‘War-on-Drugs,’ topics that a wide range of media outlets such as The Guardian have also been reporting deeply of late: “The elder statesman of Mexico’s main leftist party said on Sunday the group was on the verge of falling apart after a series of mistakes and the disappearance of 43 students in a state it runs in the southwest of the country.  Three-times presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas said the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which finished runner-up in Mexico’s last two presidential elections, had lost its moral authority and needed urgent reform.”

‘TREATMENT’ PROFITEERING

http://www.afsc.org   A relatively short White Paper from the American Friends Service Committee about one of its signature areas of investigation, for profit prisons, in this case focusing on so-called ‘treatments’ that increase corporate income but reduce chances for rehabilitation or even functionality among the fallen, a peek into the ubiquitous research and manipulation surrounding ‘illegal drug’ use, on the one hand, and prescribed ‘medicine,’ on the other hand: ” Private prison corporations have profited from, and at times contributed to, the expansion of tough-on-crime and anti-immigrant policies that have driven prison expansion.  This

Bob Jagendorf
Bob Jagendorf

confluence of special interests and profit-driven policy-making has been referred to as the ‘prison industrial complex.’  This brief describes the expansion of the incarceration industry away from warehousing and into areas that traditionally were focused on treatment and care of individuals involved in the criminal justice system–prison medical care, forensic mental hospitals, civil commitment centers, and ‘community corrections’ programs such as halfway houses and home arrest.  While the prison industrial complex was dependent on incarceration or detention in prisons, jails, and other correctional institutions, this emerging ‘treatment industrial complex’ allows the same corporations (and many new ones) to profit from providing treatment-oriented programs and services.”

UBIQUITOUS RENEWABLE ISSUES & NETWORKS

https://medium.com/        An issue of Rocky Mountain Institute’s journal, Solutions, which brims with articles, leads, and briefs about the potential to proffer power to people in much more sustainable and ecologically benign fashion than is currently the case, a proposition that recent research in battery storage and close-to-unanimous community support for wind and similar projects make clear, while compensation for nuclear giants from Germany and intense debates about a role for nuclear provide further context.

media papers hor

VAST L.O.C. & GOVERNMENT DATA TROVES

http://blogs.loc.gov/     Another portal to the incalculably invaluable Library of Congress collections for writers, in this case one of several digital archiving initiatives in relation to newspapers and news sites, with context about other efforts from LOC also present, one of dozens of outreach notes in a given period of time that cover such diverse topics as street-art-&-poetry, accessing treaty information, identifying and using primary source material to facilitate storytelling skills, and even podcasts of primary source and other online learning experiences, materials that various news reporting organizations supplement by illuminating other governmental moves to open up access to the almost incalculable quantity of data that our government collects: “Our newspaper collections are invaluable to researchers.  Newspapers provide a first-hand draft of history.  They provide supplemental information that cannot be found anywhere else.  They ‘fill in the gaps,’ so to speak.  The way people access news has been changing and evolving ever since newspapers were first being published.  We recognized the need to capture news published in another format.  It is reasonable to expect us to continue to connect these kinds of resources to our current and future patrons.  Websites tend to be ephemeral and may disappear completely.  Without a designated archive, critical news content may be lost.

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

STORIES’ INHERENT SYMPATICO TO ‘PITCHES’

http://theconversation.com/   A lovely contextualization from The Conversation of the historical background, without much in the way of political economy or social conceptualization, of writers who receive ‘patronage’ from megabucks corporations as exemplary of a ‘long tradition’ of this sort of relationship: “Boyd is in good company when it comes to this kind of sponsorship.  In 2001, Fay Weldon took a cheque from jewellers Bulgari to write her novel The Bulgari Connection, while BMW commissioned writers to produce audio books in 2005.  Ian Fleming was commissioned by the Kuwaiti Oil Company to write a book on the country and its oil industry (though it was never published because the Kuwaiti government disapproved).  Artists need patrons, and patrons have priorities.  It was ever thus.”

"Internet1" by Rock1997 - Own work
“Internet1” by Rock1997 – Own work

HOMEPAGE’S CRITICAL FUNCTIONS

http://www.editorandpublisher.com   A dose of textual realpolitick for our digital age, from Editor & Publisher, providing both the basis for and some of the superstructure of how homepages are essential as an interface for engagement in any media work: “Despite the reduction in traffic, newspaper homepages harken(sic) back to the historic place the front page of a newspaper had in the community.  Forgive me for sidestepping into marketing speak, but editors should think of their news organization’s homepage as their ultimate brand statement.  In an instant, members of the community (both readers and advertisers) can quickly see what the site is about, what’s going on that’s important to the community and why they should bother spending time there.  In an Internet ecosystem that is becoming more and more scattered, media organizations do have an ability to build brand loyalty with readers, and the homepage can still play an important part in nurturing that loyalty.”

POSSIBLE GREAT NEWS FOR JOURNALISTS FROM EGYPT

http://www.france24.com/ From France24, a twenty-five minute video interview between a correspondent and Egyptian President Abdel al-Sisi, in which the possibility for a pardon of Al Jazeera journalists is one topic of conversation: “In his first-ever interview with a European media outlet, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that issuing a presidential pardon for three al Jazeera journalists currently imprisoned in Egypt ‘is currently under discussion.’  The journalists were sentenced to at least seven years in prison in June for aiding a ‘terrorist organisation’ and undermining the national interest for their dealings with members of the Muslim Brotherhood in a ruling that sparked an international outcry.  Al Jazeera has denied the accusations.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES
"Film strip" by Bart from New Orleans, Louisiana, Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
“Film strip” by Bart from New Orleans, Louisiana

DIVIDE-&-CONQUER PROPAGANDA VIA FILM

http://www.wsws.org/ Another deeply-reported review essay from World Socialist Website about a quarter-century old ‘Eastern European’ film festival that takes place in Germany near its border with Poland, in environs beset by social meltdown and growing inequality and reaction, thanks to restored ‘free markets’ and ‘freedom’s’ imperial imprimatur generally, a dandy context, from the perspective of rulers, for playing up identity politics: “Increasing disillusionment with official politics in Eastern Europe is expressed in record low turn-outs in one election after another.   Political parties and slogans are regarded as interchangeable.  Plutocrats have now decided that often the best way to defend and expand their business and financial interests is to finance their own political parties and run the government.  The most prominent example is Ukraine, currently ruled by billionaire Petro Poroshenko, the ‘Chocolate King,’ who has the full backing of the EU.  Against such a background of explosive tensions, the organisers of the 24th Cottbus film festival decided to dedicate one of the event’s central sections to what its programme describes as ‘homosexual life worlds.’  There can be no doubt that gays and lesbians face considerable discrimination in many eastern European countries where the church and nationalist, homophobic groups play a significant role in political life.  But the prioritisation of gay rights in the current situation sends a definite signal.  In particular, it creates a platform for parties such as the Greens and various pseudo-left organisations working together with selected NGOs to elevate identity politics above social issues.”

ROBOTS A-COMING

 

http://www.technologyreview.com/    An MIT Technology

By Jiuguang Wang (Own work)
By Jiuguang Wang (Own work)

Review report about a company’s ‘autonomous security robots’ that will permit centralization and reduction of human guardians in various contexts, such as Microsoft campuses, one of many recent examinations of the horizon of autonomy, looming ever closer: “In order to do the kind of work a human security guard would normally do, the K5 uses cameras, sensors, navigation equipment, and electric motors—all packed into its dome-shaped body with a big rechargeable battery and a computer.  There are four high-definition cameras (one on each side of the robot), a license-plate recognition camera, four microphones, and a weather sensor (which looks like a DVD-player slot) for measuring barometric pressure, carbon dioxide levels, and temperature.  The robots use Wi-Fi or a wireless data network to communicate with each other and with people who can remotely monitor its cameras, microphones, and other sources of data.”

 

RECENT HAPPENINGS

COLOMBIAN ‘PEACE PROCESSES’ & VIOLENCE

http://www.telesurtv.net     A news-analysis from TeleSur that shows the intricacies and dire conflicts that underlie Colombian attempts to bring peace and reconciliation in relation to the Andean nation’s longstanding civil conflicts, in which revolutionary groups confront a government that is close to one hundred percent a ‘creature’ of U.S. imperial and corporate interests, in between both of which social forces citizens and indigenous people often find themselves: “A billboard set up by FARC with Cano’s picture, reads, ‘We will not relent for one instant in the struggle for a political solution to the conflict, for our principles, for the certainties that motivate us, because we are revolutionaries, because we love peace. – Sixth Front, Western Bloc, Commander Alfonso Cano.’  While the FARC considers northern Cauca to be its territory, and recruits Nasa people to its ranks, the Nasa have struggled at great cost for autonomy in their territory.  Over the decades, the Nasa have liberated much of their territory from the speculators and large landowners who had stolen it from them, established their own municipal governments, and administered their own traditional justice system, at communal assemblies.  In order to resist armed attacks, usually by the state and paramilitaries but too often also by the FARC, the Nasa have a traditional ‘indigenous guard’, a standing organization of people who carry nothing but traditional sticks as a symbol of their authority, who have played a major role in maintaining the indigenous people in their territory, resisting all of the forces that have sought to displace them.”

Ferguson Day 6, Picture 12 by Loavesofbread - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons
Ferguson Day 6, Picture 12 by Loavesofbread

PREPARING ‘EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION’ IN FERGUSON

http://www.wsws.org Incisive analysis from World Socialist Website of the political repression that Missouri is preparing to deploy against social protest over police murder in and around Ferguson, as well as a critical examination of the almost total void of either analysis or critique of these developments among corporate media outlets: “One searches in vain in the establishment media, including its ‘left’ representatives, for any criticism of the move, or even any serious analysis of its consequences.  Outside the commentaries and interviews with area residents posted on the World Socialist Web Site, moreover, there is no reporting on the immense hostility among workers and youth in Ferguson to the decision, which is correctly seen as an assault on their democratic right to protest police violence.  (I)n its editorial pages,…(t)he Wall Street Journal urges Obama to intensify the crackdown in order to ‘defend the rule of law and public order,’ while the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Nation magazine have not commented on the frontal attack on First Amendment rights taking place in Missouri.”

 

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

 

Ilya Repin - Tolstoy
Ilya Repin – Tolstoy

TOLSTOY’S APPEAL TO WORKING PEOPLE
http://www.nonresistance.org/   One of those seminal works that, even as one might critique it on different grounds, one must first read and understand it, since it lays a foundation for understanding important aspects : “I have but little time left to live,and I should like before my death to tell you, the working people, what I have been thinking about your oppressed condition and about those means which will help you to free yourselves from it.  Maybe something of what I have been thinking (and I have been thinking much about it) will do you some good.”

WAR & HOMELESSNESS, FROM CRS

http://fas.org/   A typically thorough overview from the Congressional Research Service, only available to scrappy scribes and citizens as a result of the advocacy of the Federations of American Scientists, in this case a research compilation about the issues that surround homelessness among veterans: “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans.  Researchers have found both male and female veterans to be overrepresented in the homeless population, and, as the number of veterans increased due to these conflicts, there was concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately.   The 2007-2009 recession and the subsequent slow economic recovery also raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans.”

 

11.19.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

In some sense, most people’s worst quality—everyone’s at one point or another—is that they willingly, even eagerly blame dysfunction on, or assign its causes to, relatively minor symptoms or attributes or scapegoats for wider, systemic problems, addressing which would require thoroughgoing and dangerous action against the SOP and the powers-that-be.

Quote of the Day
"USA-NYC-Statue of Liberty" by Ingfbruno - Own work
“USA-NYC-Statue of Liberty” by Ingfbruno – Own work

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she

With silent lips.  ‘Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Would-that-it-were-true Department: Emma Lazarus–http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm.

This Day in History

Toilet-llqq-001Today is World Toilet Day; one thousand three hundred and seventy-eight years ago, forces of the Rashidun caliphate won out over their opponents in what is now Iraq; nine hundred nineteen years back, Pope Urban II called a council at Clermont to consider mounting the first Crusade in the so-called ‘Holy Land’; exactly two years shy of four centuries later, in 1493, Columbus went ashore with a party of sailors on the main island of what we now know as Puerto Rico; one hundred ninety-eight years before the here and now, Warsaw University first came into existence; one hundred fifty-one years back, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address to the fallen in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; one hundred twenty seven years before this day, renowned American poet Emma Lazarus died at the age of thirty eight; one hundred two years prior to the present pass, Serbian soldiers captured Bitola, and terminated over five hundred years of 8Ottoman hegemony; three years later, industrialists and officials in Utah murdered labor leader, songwriter, and champion of working people Joe Hill for a crime that he did not commit; 365 days hence, Samuel Goldwyn and his partner founded what would eventually become Metro Goldwyn Mayer; eighty one years back, an infant boy drew his first breath on the way to a career as journalist and talk show host Larry King; at the Battle of Stalingrad seventy two years ago, Soviet armies launched counterattacks that turned the tide of World War Two decisively, and, half a world away, the baby girl who became well known poet and critic Sharon Olds was born; exactly one year subsequently, after thousands of Jewish inmates rise against their Nazi prison guards and attempt a mass escape, Nazi forces killed everyone at the Janowska concentration camp in Ukraine; Europe’s oldest private TV channel opened sixty years back in Monte Carlo under the ownership and leadership of prince Rainier, the small state sovereign; a single year afterward precisely, National Review issued its first installment; forty seven

"Buzz salutes the U.S. Flag" by NASA   Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
“Buzz salutes the U.S. Flag” by NASA Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

years ago, Hong Kong’s first TV broadcasting service began under British rule; two years further on, in 1969, during the Apollo 12 mission, two American astronauts became the third and fourth people to walk on the moon; new Iranian leader ayatollah Khomeini 35 years ago ordered the release of thirteen female and Black captured Americans in the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis; six years down the road, in 1985, Pennzoil’s litigation against Texaco for tortious interference with contractual relations, regarding Pennzoil’s purchase of Getty Oil yields a US$10.53 billion judgment, the largest civil award in US history to that point; three years still further on, Serbian Slobodan Milosevic claimed that Serbia was under attack as a result of an international conspiracy against the Yugoslav nation; the House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings sixteen years ago against Bill Clinton for perjury in relation to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, interestingly enough, at about the same time that the Central Intelligence Agency admitted that many of Gary Webb’s allegations in Dark Alliance were true; a single year later to the day, the People’s Republic of China launched its first spacecraft; just a year ago, a massive suicide bomb explosion at the Iranian embassy in Beirut killed 23 people and injured scores more.

 

book hor2

SEARCH OF THE DAY
emigration OR immigration OR "mass migration" refugees OR "displaced persons" "cause of war" OR "underlying conflict" OR "creating tension" OR "social conflict" = 14.4 Million Hits.
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TOP OF THE FOLD

GLOBALIZATION, FORCED MIGRATION, & SOCIAL MELTDOWN

http://www.globalization101.org   A timely and powerful White Paper from the State University of New York’s Levin Institute, that establishes the empirical and conceptual framework for understanding the way that aspects of contemporary reality act as a forced migration inducement, which in turn serves to initiate social conflict that both induces States to prohibit migrants and has, over the past few centuries, played a major role in initiating one major war after another: ” Transnational flows of goods and capital have

By 2bgr8 via Wikimedia Commons
By 2bgr8 via Wikimedia Commons

driven globalization during recent years.  These flows have been made possible by the gradual lowering of barriers to trade and investment across national borders, thus allowing for the expansion of the global economy.  However, states have often firmly resisted applying similar deregulatory policies to the international movement of people.  As noted by the World Bank in its report, Globalization, Growth, and Poverty, while countries have sought to promote integrated markets through liberalization of trade and investment, they have largely opposed liberalizing migration policies.  Many countries maintain extensive legal barriers to prevent foreigners seeking work or residency from entering their national borders.  In fact, immigration policies across the world are becoming stricter as governments attempt to minimize the economic, cultural, and security impacts of large movements of people between nations.  Despite the reluctance of governments to liberalize immigration policy, however, the number of people living outside their countries of origin has risen from 120 million in 1990 to an estimated 215 million in 2012, which is approximately 3.05 percent of the world population.”

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The National Executive Board meeting approved–with the At-Large vote the sole negative–a dues increase, which will now be up to the attendees at the last Delegates Assembly to approve or disapprove; the National officers promoting this move make some powerful points about creating inducements to make the uppage palatable to members who are struggling in the current context.

The National Executive Board meeting also approved a continuation of the Organizing Committee process, with Oregon’s Fernando Gaspiran as the chair.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

RESEARCH FRONTIERS FROM NSF

http://www.nsf.gov     A ‘Dear Colleague’ letter that deals with emerging frontiers of knowledge and seeks proposals to facilitate this process of emergence: “Emerging Frontiers in Research & Innovation was established in FY 2007 to serve a critical role in focusing the engineering community on important emerging areas in a timely manner.  Each year, EFRI evaluates, recommends, and funds interdisciplinary initiatives at the emerging frontiers of engineering research and innovation.  These transformative opportunities may lead to: new research directions; new industries or capabilities that result in a leadership position for the country; and/or significant progress on a recognized national need or grand challenge.”

THIS WEEKEND’S CALL–“SHUT THEM DOWN!”

 

SOAW protest GMansell2002 flickr
SOAW protest GMansell2002 flickr

http://soaw.org      An event overview and issue summary in relation to what the Army now calls the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation, but which for many decades went by the name School of the Americas, though Latin American and U.S. progressives termed it the ‘School for Assassins,’ such as Pinochet, Somoza, and more: “This year, we are strengthening our commitment to collective power by ensuring we create a space where activists from around the world can unite their forces to shut down Stewart Detention Center and demand the closure of the School of the Americas.  Organizing together has enriched our movement, and reflects the strength and beauty of the cultures and ideals that continue to be violently repressed by U.S.-led militarization.”

JOBS IN JOURNALISM

Prescott Newspapers, Inc., featuring the award-winning 17k circulation The Daily Courier, in the mountain environment of Prescott, AZ, is looking for a reporter to cover general news and feature assignments.

 Cox Media Group – Orlando, WFTV/WRDQ has an opening for a great Social Media Executive Producer. 

Memphis, TN – Beat Reporter
The Commercial Appeal is looking for an aggressive, digital-savvy beat reporter to join our team. We have a long tradition of watchdog reporting in a city where there is never a shortage of great stories.

Delray Beach, FL – A Spot has Opened Up for an Experienced, in-House Copywriter at Agora’s Fastest Growing Company

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

AUSTRALIAN LESSONS RE AMERICAN POLICY FAILINGS

http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/   A pointed illustration from Macro Business, crossposted from the Unconventional Economist, of the blowback and spiral of decline that current ‘neoliberal’ policies toward youth guarantee, whether in the Southern Hemisphere or here in North America: “Instead of attempting to address these failings of the economic model for young Australians, what we received in the May Budget was draconian cuts to unemployment benefits and a radical overhaul of education funding that will dramatically increase the cost of higher education for future students.  The political economy has been systematically rigged against Australia’s youth, which as Burgess points out is utterly unsustainable.  And the end result is likely to be a mass exodus from Australia as younger, working Australians grow fed up with paying ever-increasing taxes to fund an ageing population, whilst receiving less in return.”

RATIONAL HIGHER-EDUCATION REFORMS

http://www.theguardian.com/   A powerfully articulated and rationally developed analysis from the Guardian, regarding the student loan morass and how to fix it–eliminate bogus debt to student-loan factory colleges and make higher ed a free-for-all–all of which requires further participation and movement on the part of

writing students class kchinchester Flickr
writing students class kchinchester Flickr

citizens and scrappy scribes and more, one of dozens of such recent assessments from every possible section of the ideological firmament: “The US government should discharge all student debt for people who went to Corinthian’s for-profit colleges and their ilk – and it could.  Thanks to the Higher Education Act, the Department of Education (DOE) has the discretionary power to erase all federal student debt associated with Corinthian schools, and it doesn’t need permission from a dysfunctional Congress to do so.  But the DOE is acting like a debt collector for an unscrupulous lender instead of helping swindled students. …A real vision of free higher education would resonate with young people, but change won’t come from Democrats on high, no matter how reasonable debt relief and affordable, tuition-free universities may be – and no matter how appealing such a platform might seem to an untapped voting bloc.  And even though existing  laws might permit it, predatory loans from scam schools won’t be discharged without a mass social movement that puts pressure on elites and scares them silly.”

DEMOCRACY, VOTING, BULLSHIT, & HONEST CONVERSATION

http://truth-out.org   A workmanlike overview from TruthOut about the hypocrisy and dissimulation that characterize the American discourse about elections and democracy, a must-view(and ‘ought-to-follow-up’)for every scrappy scribe: “Looked at another way, the jaw-dropping $3.6 billion spent to buy this election has only further distanced the majority of people from participating in a rigged system.  Many of us already know about the flood of “dark money” that routinely distorts the electoral process.  Most

"Election MG 3455" by Rama - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0-fr via Wikimedia Commons
“Election MG 3455” by Rama – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0-fr via Wikimedia Commons

Americans know full well that our democracy is a farce.  We live in a plutocracy where money buys elections and wealth rules supreme.  We didn’t need political science scholars to do a massive study to show us this.  This understanding is the common thread that weaves disgruntled Tea Partiers, marginalized progressives, and frustrated libertarians into one American quilt.  It is what brought millions together in shared sympathy during the Occupy protests back in 2011.  We already know that elections have become an inadequate instrument for democracy on their own.  What has yet to be said is what to do about it – how do people with such diverse ideological views (famous for making us interpret the facts differently) come together and replace the system with one that is more democratic, more pluralistic and more effective at solving the problems we all care about?”

DIXIE’S RACE-TO-THE-BOTTOM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/     A WaPo blog, The Switch, which here presents an overview of the digital divide’s impacts on consumers from the South, where poverty and greater likelihood of abandoned gas station south0001residence in rural areas–and, others would argue, larger concentrations of minority populations–mean that many more Southerners suffer from lack of Internet access than do users in any other region of the nation: “States in the Deep South have among the lowest rates in the country of households connected to broadband, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  Just 57.4 percent of Mississippi residents live in households with broadband Internet use.  Many other Southern states rounded out the top 10 least connected, with Arkansas at the second to last, and other states, including Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana, also reporting low levels of home broadband use.  The reason is pretty obvious once you compare the above map to one that shows median household income.”

A MASSACHUSETTS TEACHERS’ VICTORY

https://www.jacobinmag.com/     An overview from Jabobin of a recent uprising on the part of the Massachusetts Teachers Association against a proposed mechanism to punish teachers further, by taking away their licenses to instruct and thereby strip them of the capacity to make a living in their field, and the teacher studentoverwhelming response that rank-and-file union members made in defeating this proposal: “Late last week, after a massive backlash organized by the Massachusetts Teachers Association — under the leadership of Barbara Madeloni, the recently elected president of the 113,000 member union — the proposal was withdrawn.  The victory should serve as a reminder that a mobilized rank-and-file and implacable leadership can defeat attacks on public school educators.  Backroom deals don’t get the goods.  And because the proposal will likely appear in other states, teachers around the country should take note.”

COMPARATIVE ELECTORAL EVALUATIONS

http://journalistsresource.org    A quick literature review, from Harvard’s Shorenstein’s Center, of the past year’s elections around the world, an overview that includes a look at 66 nations, in which the U.S. scores 26th of the the countries that this one report includes, one of the score or so of portals that a researcher finds here: “Affluent, post-industrial societies generally score better; high-integrity countries include Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Iceland and Austria.  There is a connection between democracy and ‘well-educated and highly literate populations, rich networks of civic associations linking citizens and the state, stable states, and effective public sector bureaucracies.’  In the research world, this is known as the ‘Lipset’ hypothesis, after a 1959 paper first setting forward the idea.”

RECENT IN-DEPTH ANALYSES FROM CONSORTIUM NEWS

http://consortiumnews.com/      Some of the past few weeks’ profferals that Consortium News makes available strictly as a civic service, an attempt to provide instructive, in depth, and engaging materials about critical current topics: “The U.S. government has levied some billion-dollar fines on banks for offenses tied to the financial crisis, but bank officers have avoided the shackled frog-walk and time behind bars, humiliations dealt out routinely to criminals who make off with much less money, says ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.”

 

GRASSROOTS BACKING OPPOSES MAINE UNIVERSITY’S ‘MALLIFICATION’

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/    A combination literature review and analysis from Naked Capitalism about events and conflicts at the University of Southern Maine, where administrators spend gaily on big-ticket capital projects while trying to constrain spending on teachers and classrooms and graduate students and such, the upshot here a reprinted ‘modest proposal,’ a la Swift: “As the president of USM pursues the first step of a plan meant to transform the university — by cutting 50 faculty positions and two more academic programs — that ‘transformation’ is effectively cutting out the core of what a university should be.  Let’s call the result the Administration of Southern Maine.   A$M, as I’ll call it, has already begun the process of shedding the unsightly, bulky professoriate by excising the programs of American and New England studies, geosciences, humanities at the Lewiston-Auburn College, applied medical sciences and French.  Neque Magistri (Neither Professors)  But why stop there?  The elimination of 50 faculty is effectively a course correction for last spring, when USM’s former president rescinded the individual layoffs of 12 faculty members.  Indeed, who needs those pesky professors with their incessant whining about ‘transparency,’ ‘shared governance,’ and ‘responsibility to students?’  Administration is a powerful, majestic stallion annoyed at every turn by these gadflies.  Eliminating all faculty would solve a problem that has plagued every administration.Neque Discipuli (Nor Students)… .Neque Salariarii (Nor Staff).”

teacher student

LEADERSHIP VERSUS MANAGEMENT

http://www.govexec.com/   One of GovExec’s occasional gems, in which it delves some core issue that concerns how organizations operate and can work more effectively, in this case communicating ideas and data about the difference between leadership, and its vision, and management, and its efficiencies: “Leaders and managers operate with different priorities.  As I review my career, I see that I lean toward management.  Which way do you lean?  As a manager, I make things run smoothly by streamlining processes, applying resources efficiently and using performance metrics.  By contrast, effective leaders present a vision for the future.  They grow an organization by moving it in new directions.  There is no right or wrong here.  Clearly, an organization needs both leadership and management to succeed consistently.  What is important is that you understand yourself and the leanings of those around you.”

ATTAINABLE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY GOALS

http://www.greenpeace.org/    A portal to a Greenpeace White Paper that lays out a roadmap for the U.S.’s achieving close to a hundred per cent renewable electricity within the next three to four decades: “The Energy [R]evolution aims to wean the economy off dirty fuels as thoroughly and quickly as possible, and in a way that is technologically, politically, and ecologically realistic.  This report is part of a global analysis showing how the international economy can transition to nearly 100% renewable energy by 2050, while assuming no new ‘breakthrough technologies’.”

clipboard

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

WILLIAM GIBSON ON LIFE AND REALITY

http://www.rollingstone.com/    A briefing about Gibson and his newest book, Peripheral, from Rolling Stone, followed by an interview about writing and life: “At the time you coined “cyberspace,” you’d supposedly barely spent any time on a computer.  That’s hard to believe.
Oh no, I had scarcely seen one.  Personal computers were not common objects at all, and I had been writing short fiction on the kind of manual portable that hipsters are starting to pay really good money for now.  And then a friend of mine called from Texas and said, ‘My dad just gave me this machine called an Apple IIc, and, like, it automates the writing of fiction — you’ve gotta get one.’  So I went down to a department store, which was the only Apple dealership in town.  I bought the IIc and the printer and the bits you needed to make it work and took it all home in a box, and never looked back.  It was a godsend for me because I can’t type, and having this endlessly correctable, effortlessly correctable way to write was fantastic.”

PROFITEERING MONOPOLY ‘NET-NEUTRALITY’ VIEWS & THEIR REFUTATION

https://www.publicknowledge.org    A Public Knowledge deconstruction–via Benton.org, which has studied this matter voluminously for years–of House Republican leadership’s kowtowing to corporate perspectives on this matter about which regular citizens agree regardless of political affiliation: “‘Chairman Fred Upton, Ranking Member John Thune, and the other signatories to the letter praise the values of net neutrality and an Open Internet, but insist that the FCC has no authority to create enforceable rules to protect these values.  The President proposes the way forward to use existing authority — reclassifying broadband as a Title II service.  Rather than engage on the merits, Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Thune respond with a litany of talking points provided by industry lobbyists, choosing to side with a handful of special interests rather than the millions of small businesses, entrepreneurs and ordinary Americans who want to keep the internet a level playing field for all.'”

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RECENT ARTICLES & SUCH ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA, THE WEB, ETC.

http://journalistsresource.org     Another Journalists Resource compilation from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, a selection of materials from November 2014 that deal with digital and social media and related topics: “‘Be Careful What You Wish for: The Impact of Advertisement Choice on Viewers’ Expectations

From Tusculum College and Kansas State University, published in Computers in Human Behavior. By Stephen C. Nettelhorst, Whitney K. Jeter, and Laura A. Brannon.

"Internet1" by Rock1997 - Own work. Licensed under GNU Free Documentation License via Wikimedia Commons
“Internet1” by Rock1997 – Own work.

Speaking of digital ad models relevant to media, one more recent innovation has been giving viewers of video content a choice of ads to watch at certain junctures, a move that marketers hope will empower viewers and give them some ‘buy in.’  The researchers studied the responses of 271 students to determine how ‘ad choice’ plays out and the cognitive processes associated, particularly gender-specific patterns.  The authors state that, contrary to some prior research that showed effects primarily on females, both male and female viewers build up heightened expectations about ads they choose to view.  However, the study ultimately suggests that merely giving viewers choice is not a ‘panacea,’ as there is potential both for increased engagement and increased disappointment: ‘If utilized well, this technique can lead to various psychological changes that marketers strive for.  On the other hand, providing this choice may do nothing or potentially lead to negative consequences if viewers do not experience what they desire.'”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

CUTTING EDGE INFORMATION TRANSMISSION & EFFICIENCY

http://www.newswise.com/ One of those projects, reported here via NewsWise, that lets an observer peak just over the present horizon at what might be coming in regard to information transmission and storage, in this case in regard to ‘spin waves,’ a physical property that associates with electromagnetism and has potential to transfer huge amounts of information with relatively low expenditure of energy: ” By contrast, short-wavelength spin waves can move over greater distances, more quickly, and with less energy, and thus present the possibility of improving a range of communications and electronic devices.  In the Nature Nanotechnology study, the researchers conducted a series of experiments in which they built nanometer scale electrical contacts to inject spin-polarized electrical currents into magnetic materials—a process developed to create and control the movements of its spin waves.”

AN ORAL HISTORY TED-PRIZE WINNER

http://www.nytimes.com/    A breaking news-analysis from The Times about the winner of the annual TED Prize, this year a project that conducts long-feature conversations between people who like and respect each other, a way to contextualize caring and social interaction at one and the same time: “StoryCorps, which was founded in 2003 and is based in Brooklyn, puts two friends or loved ones in a room with a microphone and a facilitator for 40 minutes of conversation.  At the end, a CD of the conversation is given to the participants, and, with permission, to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.  By the end of the month, StoryCorps expects to have had 100,000 participants, adding about 100 conversations a week.  There are StoryCorps booths in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and New York, and a mobile booth that is currently making its way to Dallas, Mr. Isay said.  The conversations are by appointment only — ‘I am an old journalist, and I expect people to prepare for interviews,’ he said.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS
Bob Jagendorf
Bob Jagendorf

CALIFORNIA PRISON LABOR & MASS INCARCERATION

http://thinkprogress.org/    A mandatory read from Think Progress that deconstructs the California Department of Corrections responses to an overwhelmingly-supported citizen initiative on the ballot two weeks back that required reclassifying several felonies–primarily in relation to the criminal conspiracy against citizens that authorities call a ‘War-on-Drugs’–as misdemeanors, which would necessitate release of many inmates, which CDOC is resisting because it relies on the involuntary servitude of prison labor: “The incentives of this wildfire and other labor programs are seemingly in conflict with the goal of reducing U.S. reliance on mass incarceration.  But the federal judges overseeing this litigation were nonetheless sensitive to the state’s need for inmate firefighters.  That’s why they ordered the state to offer 2-for-1 credits only to those many inmates who weren’t eligible for the wildfire program.  This way, inmates who were eligible would still be incentivized to choose fighting wildfires, while those that weren’t could choose other rehabilitative work programs to reduce their sentence.  The Department of Corrections didn’t like this idea, either.  It argued that offering 2-for-1 credits to any inmates who perform other prison labor would mean more minimum security inmates would be released earlier, and they wouldn’t have as large of a labor pool.  They would still need to fill those jobs by drawing candidates who could otherwise work fighting wildfires, and would be ‘forced to draw down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF [Minimum Support Facility] positions.’  In other words, they didn’t want to have to hire full-time employees to perform any of the work that inmates are now performing.”

G-20’S ISOLATION OF RUSSIA & PUTIN’S RESPONSE

http://www.theguardian.com/ Guardian assessment of the recent early exit of Russian Premier Vladimir Putin from the Group-of-Twenty gathering in Brisbane, Australia, where U.S. and Western

By World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons
By World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons

European powers actively sought to portray Russia as isolated and suffering as a result of sanctions and so forth: “In an interview with German TV he also accused the west of switching off their brains by imposing sanctions that could backfire.  Putin said: ‘Do they want to bankrupt our banks?  In that case they will bankrupt Ukraine.  Have they thought about what they are doing at all or not?  Or has politics blinded them?  As we know eyes constitute a peripheral part of brain.  Was something switched off in their brains?’ …Although the western media has portrayed Putin as an isolated figure at the summit, he has continued to forge close relations with the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) a grouping that is becoming increasingly organised at the G20 and, in terms of economic size, more than matches the size of the G7 economies.”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

GUARANTEEING REACTIONARY POLITICAL MAJORITIES

http://projects.aljazeera.com/       A deeply researched empirical analysis of ‘Cross-Checked’ voting validation, by Greg Palast in Al Jazeera America, which demonstrates the huge blow against working class impact in electoral politics that current legislative and administrative operations are striking: “The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic.  Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice.  This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters.  White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.”

POLITICAL VISION FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info   A transcript of an interview with Vladimir Putin that a popular correspondent from German Television, conducted, the multiple insights and analysis of which make the entire document essential for scrappy scribes to consider: ”

Furthermore(in addition to NATO expansion that broke multiple promises), the number of military bases is growing.  Does Russia have military bases around the world?  NATO and the United States have military bases scattered all over the globe, including in areas close to our borders, and their number is growing.  Moreover, just recently it was decided to deploy Special Operations Forces, again in close proximity to our borders.  You have mentioned various exercises, flights, ship movements, and so on.  Is all of this going on?  Yes, it is indeed.  However, first of all, you said – or perhaps it was an inaccurate translation – that they have been conducted in the international European airspace.  Well, it is either international (neutral) or European airspace.  So, please note that our exercises have been conducted exclusively in international waters and international airspace.  In 1992, we suspended the flights of our strategic aircraft and they remained at their air bases for many years.  During this time, our US partners continued the flights of their nuclear aircraft to the same areas as before, including areas close to our borders.  Therefore, several years ago, seeing no positive developments, no one is ready to meet us halfway, we resumed the flights of our strategic aviation to remote areas.  That’s all.”

 

11.18.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Daycorcovado_rio_twilight_2 We enter the world way behind where we need to be, helpless masses of less-than-fully coordinated goo that need our mothers’ nipples for years while we learn to walk, talk, shit, and generally take in the laws of physics and the rules of social reality; paradoxically, we are born with more than enough time for everything that we might want to accomplish and then some, whether in the realm of Nobel prizes or participation in championships or something else altogether—finding and keeping a fully-actualized existence that avoids the pitfalls of never-ending drudgery and alienation from ourselves, each other, and decency represents one way of expressing what having a good life means.

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Quote of the Day

“A critic recently described me, with deadly acuteness, as having ‘a kindly dislike of my fellow-creatures.’  Perhaps dread would have been nearer the mark than dislike; for man is the only animal of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid. …To understand a saint, you must hear the devil‘s advocate; and the same is true of the artist. …(After all), (t)he worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” George Bernard Shaw

 

This Day in History

Five hundred twenty-one years ago, the ships under Christopher Columbus’ command first caught sight of what we now know as 171px-Columbus_landing_on_Hispaniola_adjPuerto Rico; Ottoman imperial troops four hundred thirteen years back smashed Austrian forces at the Siege of Nagykanizsa; the future Frederick the Great, under house arrest two hundred eight-four years ago, gained his freedom after a royal pardon; the future journalist and reformer Dorothea Dix came on the scene as a healthy baby girl one century and fifty-three years back; Mark Twain first published “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” a hundred forty-nine years prior to the present pass; one hundred thirteen years before the present, the baby boy—what were the chances?—who would become famed statistician and polling wizard George Gallup was born; a hundred five years back, the U.S. sent two warships to intervene in Nicaragua after a relatively small force of ‘revolutionaries’ threatened the United-States-installed dictator, Jose Santos Zelaya; ninety-two years ago,

By Paul Louis (Own work) Creative Commons
By Paul Louis (Own work) Creative Commons

the renowned novelist and stylist Marcel Proust drew his last breath; George Bernard Shaw refused the monetary portion of his Nobel Prize eighty-eight years back, claiming that the invention of dynamite was more forgivable than the creation of a Nobel Prize for Literature; John L. Lewis seventy-six years before the here-and-now became the first President of the Congress of Industrial Organizations; a year later to the day, a baby girl entered the world who would compose the acclaimed work of Margaret Atwood; seventy years back, Cuban young people and their advisers inaugurated the Popular Socialist Youth organization in their country, where the likes of Fidel Castro gained ideas and perspectives that affected their later work; fifty-three years ago, John F. Kennedy authorized the dispatch of 18,000 military advisers to South Vietnam; forty-four years before today,

By Symphony999 (Own work)   via Wikimedia Commons
By Symphony999 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Richard Nixon requested $150 million in supplemental aid for the Cambodian government; thirty-six years ago, after Jonestown ‘defenders’ assassinated Congressman Leo Ryan, Jim Jones directs his followers to drink cyanide and kill themselves, in a mass murder-suicide that claims the lives of nearly a thousand people in Guyana, including nearly two hundred children; Ronald Reagan a decade later exactly authorized the death penalty for drug traffickers; a year ago, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched its MAVEN probe toward Mars, where it has recently arrived and landed.

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SEARCH OF THE DAY
"myth of the individual" OR "myth of individualism" narcissism OR solipsistic OR "self centered" socialization OR inculcation analysis history = 579 results--(See Also, "myth of the individual" OR "myth of individualism" = 181,000 Citations)

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TOP OF THE FOLD

UAW COUPS IN CHATTANOOGA 

http://chieforganizer.org/    An ‘I told you so’ moment for the Chief Organizers Blog of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a prediction that the United Auto Workers would network behind the scenes with Volkswagen and German unions to achieve a victory in the narrow defeat UAW suffered in Chattanooga in the Spring, a forecast that is coming true: “Enough said!  The haters and the baiters and the politicians are going to have to grin and bear it, and shut their pie holes this time, because the union is now going to be there to stay in the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The South and the Union will rise again!”

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

A member’s crossposting to Truth – Out – a historical and factual analysis of Ukraine instead of the ahistorical and ideological propaganda that passes for news in the United States.

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD RESOLUTION ON COLOMBIA GM WORKERS

A resolution that the National Executive Board adopted in regard to injured assembly line workers whom GM discarded like worn-out machinery and who have been demanding justice for years:

These injustices have caused us to stand in solidarity with these workers and to ask General Motors workers from around the world to stand in solidarity with them as well, so that they may reach a decent agreement, achieve a solution to their problems and put an end to so many years of hard struggle and disregard.

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD RESOLUTION ON PRISONER FREE SPEECH 

prisonradio.com

freemumia.com

A call that the National Executive Board approved to reject muzzling prisoners and protect their free speech rights, an action that involves Mumia Abu Jamal, “the voice of the voiceless”, whose prison radio project has won awards and powerfully articulated the rights of the oppressed for 20 years.

The National Executive Board meeting was last weekend, and we’ll be posting announcements from it all week.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

DATA SCIENCE FOR SOCIAL GOOD INTERNSHIPS

http://dssg.uchicago.edu/faq/   The application option for next Summer’s University of Chicago Data-Science-for-Social-Good opportunities, with video explanation also available: “The Eric & Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good fellowship is a University of Chicago summer program for aspiring data scientists to work on data mining, machine learning, big data, and data science projects with social impact.”

LONGSHOT CONTEST, $5,000

http://givingsideofbusiness.maker.good.is/   A window from the Daily Good that lets a ‘business’ pitch itself as worthy of receiving five thousand dollars to support a particular community, an opportunity for every scrappy scribe Union chapter perhaps: “Help inspire your fellow small businesses by sharing how your company is making a difference in the world.  We want to celebrate businesses that align their core values with their actual operations.  Enter the Giving Side of Business Maker Challenge for the chance to receive $5,000 to help your business further its impact.
Submissions are open from Monday, October 27th to Thursday, November 20th, 2014, noon Pacific Time.  The chosen company will be selected based on its ability to creatively integrate profit and purpose into its business.  The winning company will also win a feature on GOOD to inspire other companies through its successes and challenges.”

 

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

INVESTIGATIVE IMPACT

http://impact.gijn.org/    A gateway from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to its Investigative Impact project, which connects viewers and readers to ongoing and completed depth-reportage from agents of corruption and duplicity around the world: “Investigative Impact showcases the impact of investigative journalism around the world.  It focuses on the critical contribution made by in-depth, systematic reporting to fighting corruption, promoting accountability, and fostering transparency.  Despite its often dramatic results, the field receives relatively little support and is routinely under attack.  This project includes 10 case studies of high-impact reports, video interviews with leading investigative journalists in 20 countries, and a comprehensive survey of available resources.”

RADIOTOPIC THOUGHTS AT KICKSTARTER

https://www.youtube.com YouTube space for RadioTopia, via Kickstarter, where “extraordinary stories of ordinary life” show up, with advice and ideas and networking options galore.

GETTING RID OF PRISONS

http://www.thecrimereport.org/    A potent statement from The Crime Report about the at best foolish, or insane, infatuation with punishment that typifies American ruling elites, and which in too many ways citizens accept, and how different alternatives might be possible to develop: “We should encourage legislatures to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences and allow courts to fashion alternatives, in the hope that a reduction in prison population will free money for prison services.  For example, restoring Pell grants would allow prisoners to complete college educations as was done before.  We should improve mental health services.  We have more mental health patients in prison than in all hospitals combined.  We should encourage communities and states to support after-school programs and mentoring efforts such as those occurring in New Orleans.  We have an abundance of good ideas that have proven their worth.  Let’s share them and use them!  The Brennan Center for Justice’s recent publication, “Federal Prosecutions for the 21st Century,” focuses on success measures for federal prosecutors and suggests ways for U.S. Attorney’s Offices to reorient their practices toward the ‘twin goals of reducing crime and reducing mass incarceration.'”

BECOMING LINKWORTHY

http://searchengineland.com/   A workmanlike and insightful set of guidelines to increasing the likelihood of interaction on the basis of web presence, and more: “4.Are you missing social sharing buttons on your posts?  If I’m linking to something, then I want it to show signs of life.  Why would I want to promote a post that the author doesn’t even feel like promoting?  Obviously, this applies only to certain types of content, as most people aren’t going to be tweeting your About Us page.  However, if it’s a blog post, take the two minutes to install a WordPress social buttons plugin. …6. ATROCIOUS WRITING.

ANTI-WAR VETERAN REMEMBERANCE

http://www.commondreams.org/  A chilling, heartbreaking report from Common Dreams that details the slow death as a result of war

US flag reflexion on Vietnam Veterans Memorial 12 2011 000124 by Mariordo Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz - Own work
US flag reflexion on Vietnam Veterans Memorial 12 2011 000124 by Mariordo Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz – Own work

trauma of a veteran whose dedication to ending the imperial war machine’s plunder of American life was stronger than the fact of his death, including a moving video of his reading of his last letter to Bush and Cheney: “In 2013 Young wrote ‘The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran.’  From the letter: You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.  Asked by Democracy Now! last year how he would want to be remembered, he said: ‘That I fought as hard as I could to keep young men and women away from military service. I fought as hard as I could to keep another me from coming back to Iraq.'”

POWERFULLY DEFENDING READER COMMENTS

https://gigaom.com/    An assessment of the recent Reuters decision to disallow future commentary on-site, which represents both a diminution of an arguably important space for dialog and a ‘outsourcing,’ so to speak of this function elsewhere: “(W)hat Reuters is really doing is two-fold: it is effectively offloading the cost of moderation to its writers — who will now be responding on Twitter and Facebook either on their own time or during work hours or both — and it is handing over much of the value of that

social media - jmarketing - flickr
social media – jmarketing – flickr

engagement with readers to Twitter and Facebook and other social platforms.  The bottom line is that if the discussion and debate and interaction around a news story occurs somewhere else, then soon the readers who are interested in that engagement will start to think of the platform where it occurs as the important part of the relationship — not the site that actually created the content.  Facebook is more or less counting on that to happen, which is why it wanted to get news publishers and other sites to implement its commenting tools in the first place.”

"Election MG 3455" by Rama - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0-fr via Wikimedia Commons
“Election MG 3455” by Rama – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0-fr via Wikimedia Commons

ELECTIONS & DECLINING ‘CIVIC LITERACY’

http://www.counterpunch.org/    News analysis here from Counterpunch that, unfortunately, mixes some awesome reasoning and articulation with some presumptuous cliches about elections, basically in the process creating an argument for more of the same horrifying nonsense that the author so aptly critiques: “In terms of spotlighting public ignorance, the election results are particularly sobering for Illinois, where I currently live.  The reactionary billionaire gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner prevailed over Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn. I can’t say I’m surprised, in light of the backhand that Quinn applied to organized labor in the last year.  Quinn pushed through a reactionary pension reform, which state officials claimed was necessary after decades of state incompetence and fiscal mismanagement of the pension fund.  The reform mandated significant cuts in pay for state retirees and reduction in health care benefits.  From what I’ve been able to gather, significant contingents of organized labor in Illinois (particularly throughout the central to southern regions) failed to put up much of a fight in terms of mobilizing and organizing for Quinn.  One can hardly blame them considering his actions and his spit in the face to state workers – historically a strong force in Illinois electoral politics.  At my current teaching institution (located in central Illinois), there was scarcely a word uttered among union representatives about organizing for Quinn.  I get the impression it was much the same elsewhere, as people feel like there is little reason to support a candidate who does not fight for workers.”

MEDIA, ELECTIONS, POWER

http://rabble.ca/     A deeply reported and provocatively analyzed piece from Rabble.Ca about the depredations of corporate media, the systematic defunding of civil society and any independent media that might support it, and the political impact of these and similar deleterious patterns: “Unfortunately, independent media and the social movements continue to face the same grave challenges in terms of unequal access to the resources, financial stability and tools to rival mainstream conglomerates.  Reilly Yeo, Co-founder of Groundswell and community engagement specialist at OpenMedia.ca, spoke about these barriers and how they are not unique to independent media — they affect all levels of a capitalist society, and marginalize the communities and voices that threaten its agenda.  Ultimately, though, Yeo mentioned how media can be seen as central to the web of power and corporate control in our lives.  Additionally, as was brought up at the MDD workshop on Saturday — ‘Sharing Practices and Digital Tools for Social Change’ featuring Marcos Gomez (ACORN BC)Meghan Sali (OpenMedia)Stefan Avijas (Leadnow) and Tara Mahoney (GenWhy Media) — there is a digital divide in the access to technological tools and information sharing, which disproportionately affects low-income communities.”

EVERY WRITER INSURED

http://www.springboardexchange.org/   A definitely useful and arguably critical opportunity for scrappy scribes and their organization, in regard to assuring that every artist–which could include every writer–receives a chance to obtain affordable insurance coverage, though without much acknowledgment of the student writing armvicious situation that Southerners face in these matters: “There are real financial protections as well.  Insurers can no longer impose annual or lifetime dollar limits on medical benefits.  And plans must limit an enrollee’s out-of-pocket expenses (including the deductible) to $6,600 for an individual or $13,200 for a family (2015 amounts). The social significance of this cannot be exaggerated – it ends the era of ruinous medical debt, with bills of 100K or more sending afflicted families into bankruptcy. At the heart of the ACA, the feature that makes health insurance affordable for low and middle income artists, are the premium subsidies (tax credits) and other cost reductions.  The amount of the subsidy depends on actual income and family size, and works on a sliding scale. ”

ENDING THE BLAMING OF EDUCATIONAL VICTIMS

http://theconversation.com/    A piece from researchers at Furman University in South Carolina, via The Conversation, about the tendency to blame poor children or their parents for diminished skills, literacy, etc., which is both an injustice and a factually crazy position: “Ultimately, a shift in focus from the quantity of words a child hears to the quality of those words does not usher in a step-change in policy.  This is because the myth persists that the flaws of povertyimpoverished parents are passed to their children – and so the impoverished continue to be blamed for their poverty.  The deficit must be filled: first it was more words, now it is higher-quality words.  Neither approach turns our attention away from the victims of poverty and toward the social conditions creating it.  This results in differences in language among social classes – often related to grammar or vocabulary – that reflect not failed people but an inequitable society.  Such debates simply allow cultural stereotypes to determine what research matters publicly and politically – and how.  Whether we argue that impoverished parents fail to share the same number or quality of words with their children when compared to middle-class or affluent parents, we are still blaming those parents and not the social inequity driving poverty.”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

CROWDFUNDING PITCHES, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, & MORE

http://www.crowdsourcing.org/     A business model that cannot help but border on perfidy while it pitches, but which may nonetheless contain all sorts of golden nuggets for scrappy scribes, in this case a CrowdSourcing precis about and interview with the CEO of a company that supposedly will help freelancers with ‘efficiency issues’ in fundraising and their work generally: “What problems do you see in the current crowdsourcing landscape, and how do you plan solve them?  A huge problem with many crowdsourcing sites is that only one seller gets paid.  This inequity means that the design industry, for example, is possibly the only industry whereby sellers are expected to work for free, and that led me to this model, where all sellers are paid.  If a customer wants more than one design, they can submit more than one duplicate task (the cost ends up working out the same as some of the most popular crowdsourcing sites out there, for say 20 designs if you wanted that many).  Another issue is that crowdsourcing sites seem to service one specific market.  We are a ‘one stop shop’ for all things design, writing, and data entry (with more to come!)”

GRASSROOTS INVESTIGATIVE MODELS

http://www.icij.org/   With examples from Argentina, France, Ukraine, and the U.S., an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists article that shows ways that depth reporting can engage communities as various sorts of participants in these time-consuming and massive projects: “Technology has opened very exciting opportunities for journalists willing to dig into data, but it also brings a new challenge: scale.  When documents are produced in the form of PDFs, when they are handwritten and are not structured in a way that allows a computer to analyze them, reporters have no choice but used the old method of entering the data manually. …Getting citizens to participate is just the beginning.  Outsourcing data transcription also comes with legal concerns.”

LOCAL JOURNALISM’S FUTURE

http://www.theatlantic.com/   An insightful and incisive examination from Atlantic about the present travails of local news, with ubiquitous attrition and decline despite the vast information needs now unaddressed, with possibilities for growth out of the mire: “Like some others across the country, Tim Redmond is trying to fill the gap with very little money or resources.  In January of this year, he launched a new site, which he calls 48 hills, to cover local stories in San Francisco with a progressive twist.  (There are 47 named hills in San Francisco, he said, but ‘in the social justice movement, we know there’s always one more hill to climb.’)  Rather than try to cobble together enough money from advertisers to launch the site, Redmond went a different route:   He structured the site as a nonprofit and asked friends, family, and private donors for money.  He held fundraisers at Bay Area restaurants and put a “donate” link on his website.  He got donations as small as $5 and as large as $15,000, and after six months, he had raised $85,000.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

COMMENTS COMMENTARY

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40197.htm      A potent assessment by analyst Paul Craig Roberts, who examines on Information Clearinghouse the trollish tendencies of comment sections when what he and his ilk are attempting to do is to compensate for the hideous deficiencies of corporate news outlets, laptop1where trolls have little or no sway: ” Websites, such as OpEdNews and Information Clearing House, that I permit to repost my columns return the favor by having comment sections in which government trolls, assorted kooks, Reagan haters, and uninformed individuals can slander me, assault my reputation, misrepresent what I write, and do their worst to counteract the information that I supply to readers.  Trolls and their ilk do the same thing to any number of writers who try to compensate for the absence of an honest Western media.  Look at who is under attack.  It is not the presstitutes at the New York TimesWashington Post, and Fox News; it is Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald, for example.  One is said to be a rapist, and the other an accessory to the theft of documents.”

NYTCORPORATE ‘NEWS’ PRIORITIES = KNOWLEDGE AVOIDANCE
http://www.salon.com/   A gratifying article from Salon that has the good sense to make the same points that Daily Links has made since it opened shop, which is that ‘Westerners’ ignore the down-to-earth common sense and goodhearted openmindedness of Vladimir Putin at the immediate and continuing peril of the destruction of life on Earth, in this case a report about the recent Valdai Conference presentation: “‘A unilateral diktat and imposing one’s own models produces the opposite result,’ Putin asserted. ‘Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, instead of sovereign and stable states we see the growing spread of chaos, and instead of democracy there is support for a very dubious public ranging from open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.’  Such is Putin’s take on how we got here.  His view of where we have to go now is yet more compelling.  Our systems of global security are more or less destroyed — ‘weakened, fragmented, and deformed,’ in Putin’s words.  In the face of this reality, multipolar cooperation in the service of substantial reconstruction agreements, in which the interests of all sides are honored, is mandatory.  ‘Given the global situation, it is time to start agreeing on fundamental things,’ Putin said.  Then:  What could be the legal, political and economic basis for a new world order that would allow for stability and security, while encouraging healthy competition, not allowing the formation of new monopolies that hinder development? It is unlikely that someone could provide absolutely exhaustive, ready-made solutions right now. We will need extensive work with participation by a wide range of governments, global businesses, civil society, and such expert platforms as ours. ”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

COMING UKRAINE EXPLOSION

http://www.wsws.org/     An intense and scary article from World Socialist Website about the recent intensification of fighting in Ukraine, which the U.S. is backing in all manner of ways and which might easily lead to wider war or even catastrophic conflict: “A law purging the public sector and civil service that was passed before parliamentary elections held by the Kiev regime in October is being used to bring the state apparatus into line.  Numerous posts that were previously occupied by people critical of the government are

Rue Richelieu, Odessa, by trialsanderrors, flickr
Rue Richelieu, Odessa, by trialsanderrors, flickr

being handed over to the extreme right-wing forces that played a critical role in the coup that overthrew pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last February.  Juri Michaltschisin, who founded the Joseph Goebbels Institute in 2005, is reported to be the new head of the department of ‘propaganda and analysis’ of the Ukrainian secret service, the SBU.   Neo-Nazi Vadim Troyan was appointed Kiev police chief by the Interior Ministry.  Right-wing battalions of the National Guard, which are funded by various oligarchs and play a crucial role in the civil war, sought to intervene more directly into politics by running representatives in the parliamentary elections.  Although the openly fascist parties received relatively few votes, the major parties co-opted numerous right-wing extremists onto their slates.  One prominent representative is Yuri Bereza, leader of the notorious Dnepr Battalion, which is responsible for numerous human rights violations.”

IRAN: FURTHER U.S.-RUSSIA FLASHPOINT

http://www.nytimes.com/      A breaking-news analysis from The Times about how Russia’s view of Iran’s nuclear program is moving forward despite disagreement with and resistance from the United States: “The agreement shows that Russia is pressing ahead with its own vision for ensuring that Iran does not build nuclear weapons, by supplying civilian power technology that will operate under international monitoring.  The approach won acceptance from the International Atomic Energy Agency and, grudgingly, from the Bush administration over the last decade as Russia completed Iran’s first civilian nuclear plant, at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf coast.”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

COLOMBIAN PRISON & CLASS STRUGGLE

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/    One of those pieces behind which the entire world lurks, the understanding of which therefore reaches the level of consciousness and ideology, which are inevitably necessary to impact if one wants to move then into the action sphere: “Beginning on October 20, hunger strikes and rejection of prison rules spread throughout 14 Colombian prisons.  Spokespersons for the National Prison Movement(Movimiento Nacional Carcelario — MNC), organizer of the demonstrations, denounced overcrowding, miserable healthcare, impediments to family visiting, poor food, filthy sanitary conditions, and contaminated and scarce water.  They accused prison authorities of torture, reprisals, and corruption.  Guards at Cómbita prison bent on intimidation placed political prisoners in isolation.  Tramacúa prison in Valledupar was cited as the “the number one center for torture and systematic violation of human rights.”  Tramacúa, some say, is the ‘Guantanamo of Colombia.'”

EDUCATIONAL INEQUITY LITIGATION

http://www.pilcop.org/   A powerfully articulated lawsuit from low-and-middle-income plaintiffs against the school authorities in Pennsylvania for completely and systematically ignoring best practices and crushing the educational prospects of youngsters:

writing students class kchinchester Flickr
writing students class kchinchester Flickr

Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, Respondents have an obligation to support a thorough and efficient public school system that provides all children an equal opportunity to receive an adequate education.  Through legislation and regulation, Respondents have established state academic standards that define precisely what an adequate education entails.  But rather than equip children to meet those standards and participate meaningfully in the economic, civic, and social life of their communities, Respondents have adopted an irrational and inequitable school financing arrangementthat drastically underfunds school districts across the Commonwealth and discriminates against children on the basis of the taxable property and household incomes in their districts.”

 

11.17.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Sometimes the seemingly simplest choices about seemingly mundane policy and taxation issues—opening a toll road, requiring that gas station attendants dispense gas—can have completely unexpected positive social consequences, as for example toll-booth attendants and gas-dispensers who relieve some of the ravages of unemployment and provide welcome expenditures in otherwise slack marketplaces.

Quote of the Day

It can be considered a rule that the probable duration of an Empire may be prognosticated by the degree to which its rulers believe in their own propaganda.

  • The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire (1983), p. 94, Flamingo edition Doris Lessing

 

This Day in History

Today is International Student Day; five hundred twenty-two years ago, iconic Persian poet Jami died; five hundred three years back, England and Spain formed an alliance against France in an important phase of the Italianate wars; Queen Elizabeth came to power four hundred fifty-six years ago; the Continental Congress transmitted the Articles of Confederation to the thirteen United States in the midst of war with England two hundred thirty-seven years prior to the present pass; two hundred fourteen years ago, Congress first met in the District of Columbia; Chile’s founding junta assumed command of the country two hundred three years before the here-and-now; both Ecuador and Venezuela separated from Gran Columbia one hundred eighty-three years ago; a hundred fifty-eight years back, four years prior to the Civil War, the United States established Fort Buchanan in Southern Arizona to establish the basis for civil authority in the territory of the Gadsden purchase from Mexico; the Suez Canal linked the Mediterranean with the Indian Ocean for the first time a hundred forty-five years prior to this moment; two years subsequently, the National Rifle Association obtained a corporate charter in New York State; the baby boy entered the world a hundred eighteen years back who would become psychologist and philosopher Lev Vygotsky; one hundred thirteen years ago, the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party split into two factions the ‘majority’ or Bolshevik section and the ‘minority’ or Menshevik group, while half-a-world away, the Ukrainian-American baby who grew up to become dramatic theorist and teacher Lee Strasberg was born; ninety-eight years ago, the child who turned out to write history as Shelby Foote was born; the United States concluded the process of formal recognition of the Soviet Union eighty-one years back, which was sixteen years after the revolutionary government’s first iteration; seventy-six years before this point, the infant male who matured into singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot came into the world; one year later, in 1939, Nazis executed eleven Czech students for their role in leading anti-Nazi demonstrations, with over a thousand deportations of students to concentration camps to follow, all of which established the basis for International Students Day today; seventy-two years back, the baby boy who grew to become director and screenwriter Martin Scorcese was born; the Screen Actor’s Guild added an anti-Communist clause to its loyalty oath sixty-seven years ago, and a pair of Bell Laboratory researchers recognized the basis for transistors in the surface electrical qualities of Silicon, and the Russian—Ukrainian-Polish, actually—novelist, historian, and activist Victor Serge died in Mexico; in a televised address to the nation, President Lyndon Johnson announced, forty-seven years ago, that U.S. forces were “making progress” in Vietnam; two years hence, negotiators of the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics first gathered in Helsinki for an initial round of Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty talks, attempting to limit the number of nuclear weapons in the countries’ respective arsenals; a year after that, in 1970, the trial of Lieutenant William Calley for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam began, and the Soviet Union Luna Program landed the first remote controlled device to rove the surface of the moon; thirty-one years ago, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation first initiated operations in Mexico; a quarter century back, Czech students began the protests that led to the end of Soviet dominance in Czechoslovakia in the Winter of 1983-4; the operation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, set up two years earlier, first started twenty one years ago; Peru’s President Alberto Fujimori faced ouster from his position fourteen years prior to this point; a year ago, Nobel Literary Laureate Doris Lessing breathed her last.

SPINDOCMTN-BANNER

SEARCH OF THE DAY
"organizing for power" OR "organizing and power" "labor unions" OR grassroots OR communities history analysis = 31,200,200 Citations.
book hor

 

TOP OF THE FOLD

‘NON-PROFIT’ FINANCIAL POLITICAL CLOUT

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com  A detailed and critically important examination from Inside Philanthropy about the megabucks of 501-(c)-3 organizations that primarily support a ‘long game’

Jon Sullivan - public domain
Jon Sullivan – public domain

contextualization of reactionary and imperial agendas in electoral politics, which tax law prohibits such groups from engaging directly: “One reason the President’s polling numbers have stayed in the dumps and Americans have remained so gloomy is that a well-financed conservative network of 501(c)3 policy shops has pounded the administration for its every misstep, cast endless doubt on Obama’s key policies, and ceaselessly argued that the economic glass is half full, no matter what the latest numbers show.  Bill Clinton famously claimed that a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ was trying to bring him down.  Today, though, the universe of conservative groups is both bigger and better funded than it was in Clinton’s day.  The Heritage Foundation’s budget is over twice what it was in the 1990s, thanks to the generosity of foundations and wealthy individuals.  Among other things, Heritage has relentlessly attacked Obama on the immigration and Common Core, both red meat issues for GOP base voters.  The American Enterprise Institute, which houses many of the experts bashing Obama’s foreign policy, has experienced a spurt of funding in the past few years, including a recent $20 million donation.  The Cato Institute, where David Koch sits on the board, may be more influential than ever, supplying ammunition for libertarian critics of the president like Rand Paul.”

 

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Recap from National Executive Board meeting are forthcoming


JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

 

ALGORITHMS IN THE FIELD

http://www.nsf.gov   A National Science Foundation Request For Proposals due early February, 2015, concerning computer science theory and applications: “Algorithms in the Field encourages closer collaboration between two groups of researchers: (i) theoretical computer science researchers, who focus on the design and analysis of provably efficient and provably accurate algorithms for various computational models; and (ii) applied researchers including a combination of systems and domain experts (very broadly construed – including but not limited to researchers in computer architecture, programming languages and systems, computer networks, cyber-physical systems, cyber-human systems, machine learning, database and data analytics, etc.) who focus on the particular design constraints of applications and/or computing devices.”

UPCOMING JOURNALISM AWARDS

http://www.poynter.org/    From Poynter.org, a listing of 21 prizes for a wide spectrum of journalistic excellence.

YES! STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST

http://www.yesmagazine.org    An opportunity from Yes! magazine for student writers, with entries due mid-January, 2015.

MAGNA CARTA DECEMBER PROGRAM

https://www.facebook.com/events/660494074065315/    A Library of Congress presentation December 9, via a FaceBook portal.

 

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

 

PASSIONATE DRUG REFORM LEADERSHIP

http://www.drugpolicy.org/  A briefing and video from Drug Policy Alliance of a recent TedTalk by the organizational executive director, worthy of a standing ovation and plenty of reflection about our government’s corruption and venality in the matter of drugs, despite the speaker’s contention that the repeated and predictable results of a century of such policies were not the intention of the policies’ promoters: “Twenty years ago, Ethan Nadelmann left his teaching position at Princeton University to become a full-time advocate for ending the drug war.  As the founding executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the largest and most influential organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, Ethan’s vision and leadership have had a monumental impact on public opinion and changed the course of history.”

JASON HIRSCHORN ON CNN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njVAxby5MaQ&curator=MediaREDEF    A forty minute interview between Jason Hirschorn and CNN’s Brian Stelter, about REDEF’s coming paywall and the present pass in relation to mediation, information, commodification, and a lot more: Must Listen!

OBVERSE ‘DRUG’ ISSUES–ADHD

http://maglomaniac.com/making-adhd/     An essential examination of mandatory-‘medication,’ an opposite tendency that connects seamlessly with the so-called ‘War-on-Drugs,’ from Maglomaniac: “And the stimulants used for ADD/A.D.H.D. are a disaster for kids who actually have anxiety.  But rather than thinking of alternatives to drugs, when classroom management is the main goal, psychiatrists proscribe ‘toppers’ to calm them down.  Though the drugs often come with suicidal thoughts and are admitted to block creative thought, specifically drawing ability, this cocktail is widely disseminated.  So where does our next generation of innovators come from to invent new industries and inspire a skilled work force?  Not in a United States, where a generation of children suffer the stigma of labels.  Worse yet, little research has been done on the long-terms affect of drug cocktails on growing brains.  Managing a classroom for convenience is a choice that has impoverished the lives and futures of children, their families, and our nation.  You have only to look at The Economist’s comparison of the U.S. and Britain, where only 2 out 10 boys are diagnosed to the U.S.’s staggering 8 out of 10.  In Britain, the treatment is cognitive therapy, in the classroom and home, with a 98% success rate.”

REALITY TV’S NEWS CONTEXTUALIZATION

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/   Via Benton.org, an article from TVNewsCheck that deals with a new phenomenon, the creation of ‘reality television’ versions of how news rooms and journalism operate: “‘There’s a high level of staging and direction that goes on in these shows, so the news personnel effectively become actors.’  The show, Breaking Greenville, is an eight-episode ‘character-driven docu-soap’ scheduled to debut in December on Turner’s TruTV (there’s no set date yet).  The show chronicles the lives of those reporting and producing the news at ABC affiliate WABG and CBS affiliate WXVT,  the two news-producers in the country’s 190th largest market.”

VERIFICATION TOOLS

https://www.journalism.co.uk/    A portal from Journalism.Co in England, providing access to tools that can assist writers in interacting with and verifying information stated on social media platforms: “‘People are realising now that there’s a wealth of sources and information out there to help you do a different type of journalism, and it allows stories to emerge from regions that may otherwise not have had that reportage or coverage,’ explained Malachy Brown, news editor at Storyful.  The social newswire, which was bought by News Corp at the end of last year, has carved a niche for itself in monitoring conversations which are emerging on social networks around newsworthy events using platforms such as TwitterYouTube and Google Maps.  ‘By effectively organising social media you are able to listen to those conversations and exclude all of the crap that you don’t really need to listen to,’ explained Brown.”

DATA JOURNALISM LINKS

http://gijn.org/    From the Global Investigative Journalism Network, a ‘top-ten’ list of data-journalism links: “6. Guardian launches open-source data journalism tool

Collaborative data journalism platform Swarmize has launched today to offer editors and journalists better tools for the use of data, including real-time visualisation.  Swarmize, now in alpha, won funding through the Knight News Challenge in June, and has been built at the Guardian over the last four months.”

REPORTING WHAT VLADIMIR PUTIN SAYS

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info   From one of the handful of sources that carry transcripts and complete videos of Vladimir Putin’s speeches and presentations, Information Clearinghouse, the Russian premier’s sitdown at the Asia Pacific Economic Conference last week, like most of what Putin has proffered of late, an absolute mandatory listen and read for scrappy scribes who don’t want to be crappy fools: “Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region is one of Russia’s strategic priorities.  The overall constructive spirit that characterises our relations with the vast majority of countries in the region is very important.  We value this spirit greatly and will do everything possible to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas.   Many Asia-Pacific region countries offer successful examples of roads to follow in developing their competitive abilities.  They have taken the lead in innovation sectors and have considerable financial and investment resources at their disposal.  Even faced with the negative global trends of recent years, they have kept up a good pace and had only a slight slowdown in growth.  At the same time, in order not to end up caught in a more protracted slowdown, countries in the region will need to carry out significant structural reforms.  It is not by chance that our Chinese friends, for example, have made this issue one of the priorities for the APEC presidency.”

historical strikeUNION ROOTS IN ‘ASSEMBLY’

http://www.newswise.com/     From NewsWise, an entryway to critical and important thinking about rejuvenating the labor movement from its present paltry pass: “In “Re-Assembling Labor,” published online Nov. 5 in Social Science Research Network, the authors seek to draw the lessons of assembly into contemporary labor law — to re-assemble labor law around the theory and doctrine of assembly that formed its early core.”

FADDISH DEATH MEDICINE

http://www.newswise.com/     A research portal from NewsWise that examines the horrifying expansion of so-called ‘medicines’ that doctors prescribe and drug companies profit from, supposedly to ‘cure’ all sorts of ‘mental disorders’ that have sketchy scientific basis at best: “Why are psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants, psychostimulants, anxiolytics, and antipsychotics… increasingly prescribed in North America?  Drawing a parallel between the dilemmas facing medicine in the nineteenth century and those that currently exist in the field of mental health, the sociologist and historian Johanne Collin, a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Pharmacy, believes this increase in prescriptions is partly explained by the therapeutic reasoning of physicians.   ‘There is an increase in the number of people who receive prescriptions for psychotropic drugs and a growing tendency to prescribe several psychotropic drugs to the same patient.  More and more children, adolescents, and young adults are taking psychotropic medications and are increasingly prescribed more than one psychotropic medication at a time,’ Collin said.  Many theories could be advanced to explain this phenomenon: physicians’ lack of knowledge, the influence of the pharmaceutical industry, patient demands or even a possible ‘fashion factor’ when new drugs are marketed.”

NON-INSANE, HUMANE CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY

http://theconversation.com     Another gem from The Conversation, dealing with data and other reality-based ways of looking at prisons, to wit, helping those in jail to gain college experience helps them to avoid future incarceration and helps society at the same time: “Given the opportunity to study in prison, they often complete all the basic education on offer and want to progress to higher-level (post-secondary) study on offer through distance-learning.  The Open University is the largest provider, with nearly 1,700 students in prison in 2012-13.  Previous research has shown there are many barriers to distance-learning in prison – but also that prisoners appeared transformed by their study and thought that it would help them in the future.  To investigate how prisoners were changed by their study and whether it actually made a difference to them after release, I interviewed 51 adult prisoners who had studied (or attempted to study) with a variety of distance-learning providers, in ten prisons across England and Wales.  I traced more than half of them after their release and re-interviewed them many times during the following year.  I also interviewed ten former prisoners who had been released for many years, as well as more than 60 education, prison and probation staff, family and peers.”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

desk

CONTENT MANAGEMENT POINTERS

http://www.fiercecontentmanagement.com   From the Fierce organization’s Content Management blog, a look at WaPo’s experience of serendipity and empowerment via its Pagebuilder experiment over the past year, about which Poynter.org has also reported, all arguably useful, even crucial, for scrappy scribes to note and follow: “For a CMS to be truly useful to organizations, it must be intuitive and super fast, and must make it easy for users to create and post content.  Looking at such systems primarily as a content storage and management system is a bad idea.  Sure you want to be able to record, store and summon content at will, but if content creation is impeded what have you gained?  Add to that inconvenient truth the need to present the content across a variety of mobile platforms and things get complicated quickly.”

FORCING PAYMENT FROM VIRTUAL MEDIA

http://digiday.com/   A briefing from DigiDay about Blendle’s business model, consisting of skeptical thoughts from some analysts and a spirited defense from the company itself: “Dutch journalism startup Blendle offers content from a range of Dutch- and English-speaking publishers to users who pay by the article.  Having launched in April 2014, this iTunes-like service now claims to have 145,000 users, 20 percent of whom pay for access to articles once they’ve read their allotted free content.”

FACEBOOK CENSORSHIP

http://thehill.com/   A report from The Hill about an Electronic Frontier Foundation expose about FaceBook’s acceding regularly from national ‘requests’ to withhold links to unwanted information, from the perspective of the State: “Those censorship requests are highest in India, Pakistan and Turkey, where local laws prohibit criticism of a religion or the state.  Facebook notes that it only takes down content that is ‘illegal under local law.’  When those local laws do not violate Facebook‘s terms of service, it only restricts that content in the specific country.  ‘We report data on the number of pieces of content we have restricted because they are alleged to violate local laws.  All such cases have been subject to legal review,’ the company notes.  The EFF said that the technology companies regrettably must comply with censorship requests when they open an office in some foreign countries.  But the group said that wasn’t the case for Facebook in Pakistan or Turkey.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

 

DSM photo - Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious flickr
DSM photo – Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious flickr

PSYCHOLOGIZING THE SOCIAL AS FETISH
http://www.wsws.org/   Another insightful review from World Socialist Website that illustrates with crystal clarity why so many ‘well-crafted’ media projects end up unsatisfying at best, basically as a result of the hideously petty-bourgeois presumption about class and entitlement that underlie the entire social outlook of the makers and performers in these pieces: “The characters’ pain in Olive Kitteridge is not derived from their life situation, by and large, but from their individual psychologies and relatively arbitrary traumas.  Even in certain recent American films, such as Nebraska and Frozen River, the hurt in people’s lives flows from their social circumstances.  Instead, Cholodenko’s miniseries tends to depict human suffering as daytime talk shows see it, as inexplicable and almost akin to an act of nature.  Herein lies the connection between the complacency of the generally well-off people who made Olive Kitteridge and the timeless, asocial character of the piece.  There is no hint of the fact that Maine is the poorest state in New England and a state where in a number of rural areas more than one in three people live in poverty.  The filmmakers are not especially angry at social conditions, and their self-satisfaction seeps into the series in various ways.”

HISTORICAL ADMINISTRATION OF MEDIA

http://www.brookings.edu/   From Brookings, an overview of a panel about the legacy and forthcoming transformation of the Telecommunications Act of 1934: “Predicting the Future…is difficult if not impossible for bureaucrats. …In 1934, legislators were only dealing with radio spectrum.  There were no televisions, cellphones, voice over Internet protocol, apps, etc.  In 1996, when Congress last reauthorized the law, long distance telephone was considered the most important issue and the word ‘Internet’ received only a single mention.”


RECENT HAPPENINGS
Hitler & Mussolini - public domain
Hitler & Mussolini – public domain

U.S. SUPPORT FOR NAZIS

http://www.globalresearch.ca/      A powerful and frankly terrifying update and assessment from Global Research about the high levels of support for Ukrainian fascists from within U.S. policy, legislative, and military circles: “(Semyon Semyonchenko)was also received by IRI (International Republican Institute) and NDI (National Democratic Institute), the international branches of the two main American political parties, and met with democratic Senator Robert Menendez and republican senator Robert Corker.  ‘Menendez and Corker are the two senators who have sponsored the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, a bill that will allocate money to provide assistance to Ukraine, including the supply of weapons.   Radar, anti-tank weapons, drones, communications systems and many other useful things for our army.’  One of the main goals of his trip was to get training and much more from the US military.  Judging by his FB post, it seems he has accomplished this.”

HOUSTON’S POLICE-STATE TACTICS

http://www.truth-out.org/    A TruthOut news analysis of the Houston Police Department’s embrace of invasive surveillance: “For the past two years, the Houston Police Department (HPD) has been quietly using contentious surveillance equipment that can amass records from cellphone calls and text messages even up to a half a mile away, records obtained by Truthout reveal.  HPD purchased the surveillance equipment, called ‘StingRay,’ in October 2012 after Houston city council members approved $100,200 in asset forfeiture funds to be used for its purchase.   The department is just one of a growing list of local police departments across the nation which have obtained the technology and have kept its use secret, citing nondisclosure agreements with Harris Corporation, the technology’s manufacturer, and the FBI.  Houston residents who have nothing to hide from law enforcement should still be concerned about the technology’s use, because, if they happen to be in the same neighborhood as a police target, their information will also be spied upon, and possibly retained by the department for an unspecified amount of time.”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

TESTING MORASS’ REJECTION

http://www.nytimes.com/     A Times news analysis of the grassroots outcry against the current testing regimens that have become characteristic of public education at every level, wherever the common core holds sway: “Last month, state school chiefs and the heads of large city districts were the latest to express their concerns by committing to review the panoply of tests students must take.  In Florida, which tests students more frequently than most other states, many schools this year will dedicate on average 60 to 80 days out of the 180-day school year to standardized testing.  In a few districts, tests were scheduled to be given every day to at least some students.  The furor in Florida, which cuts across ideological, party and racial lines, is particularly striking for a state that helped pioneer accountability through former Gov. Jeb Bush.  Mr. Bush, a possible presidential contender, was one of the first governors to introduce high-stakes testing and an A-to-F grading system for schools.”

SEXUAL CONSENT & ‘RAPE’

http://www.washingtonpost.com/  For parents of males and for young men themselves, an absolutely mandatory analysis from WaPo, which examines the present pass in regard to sexual consent, full of potentially lethal traps for ‘boys who want to have fun,’ even if their partners agree:”‘Don’t let me try to seduce you though,’ she texted at one point, followed by a second: ‘Because that is a distinct possibility.’  Her next text: ‘I mean . . . sex is awesome, and I might try to get it from you.  But I shouldn’t.  I don’t think.’  The male student then texted that his roommates were out and his roommate’s bed was ‘looking rather comfy.’  The woman responded: ‘None of my roommates are here and I’m too hammered to make it to [your dorm].  Is this a bad idea. . . .” The male student said he was “on my way.”  The woman responded: ‘Goto [sic] my room I’ll be there soon.‘  According to the male student’s account, ‘little more than ‘Hello’ was said before she grabbed [him], kissed [him] and [they] began to have sex.'”

11.14.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Unlike the cycles of the wild, which instruct us in the paradoxical and dialectical necessity of light and dark, hot and cold, venture and return, and similar forms of revolution, on the contrary the harsh strictures of management and its myriad forms of imperial imprimatur, which ever insist on uniformity and consistency as prerequisite to existence, inculcate enslavement of ourselves and profiteering for the plutocracy as the eternal, unchanging, given order of the Earth: thus, nature’s is the school of life, whereas the empire’s tutelage enrolls its minions in academies of annihilation.

Quote of the Day

“I took upon myself to enact the part of a poor unfortunate crazy

DSM photo - Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious flickr
DSM photo – Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious flickr

girl, and felt it my duty not to shirk any of the disagreeable results that should follow. …I always made a point of telling the doctors I was sane, and asking to be released, but the more I endeavored to assure them of my sanity, the more they doubted it.”  Nellie Bly, about her investigative sojourn at a mental ‘asylum‘ .

 

This Day in History

Noting another widespread killer, medical authorities have designated today as World Diabetes Day; two hundred ninety-eight years ago, more or less to the day, the philosopher and

GeorgWilhelmFriedrichHegel von Unbekannt. Original uploader was Jlorenz1 at de.wikipediaHans Wahl, Anton Kippenberg: "Goethe und seine Welt", Insel-Verlag, Leipzig 1932 S.161
GeorgWilhelmFriedrichHegel von Unbekannt. Original uploader was Jlorenz1 at de.wikipediaHans Wahl, Anton Kippenberg: “Goethe und seine Welt”, Insel-Verlag, Leipzig 1932 S.161

mathematician Gottfried Leibniz died; one hundred eighty-three years gone by, revered and studied philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel passed away; three decades later, to the day, in 1861, a baby boy was born who matured as historian and writer Frederick Jackson Turner, promulgator of the Frontier Thesis in American History; a century and a quarter back exactly, a pathbreaking woman journalist, Nellie Bly, initiated a trek around the world, to be completed within eighty days, which she in fact finished up seventy-two days later; a plane successfully took off from the deck of a naval vessel a hundred four years ago in Hampton Roads, Virginia; just one year less than a century back, famed Black leader and promoter of improvement-through-business Booker T. Washington breathed his last; one year later, economics innovator and writer Henry George died; the Communist Party of Spain formed ninety three years before the here-and-now; a year later, the British Broadcasting System began its radio programming in England on a regular schedule; sixty-seven years back, the baby boy who developed the razor wit and writing precision of P.J. O’Rourke came into the world; an American physicist forty-seven years prior to the present pass received the first patent for a laser; forty-five

By NASA Kennedy Space Center (NASA-KSC)
By NASA Kennedy Space Center (NASA-KSC)

years ago, the second Apollo Mission to land on the moon launched from Florida, under the auspices of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; two years hence, NASA’s Mariner 9 craft entered a stable orbit around Mars; thirty-nine years ago, Spain foreswore all claims on its former colony in the Western Sahara; four years later, in 1979, Jimmy Carter issued an executive order that froze all Iranian assets in the U.S. part of the administration’s actions against the Iranian rebels’ seizure and holding of hostages from the American embassy; thirty-two years ago, Soviets released Solidarity leader Lech Walesa from internment near the Russian border; six years prior to this day, the first G-20 summit began in Washington, simultaneously as the world economy appeared on the verge of meltdown; four years later, in 2012, Israeli Defense Forces launched Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip.

book hor

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WILL FERGUSON START A FIRE?

http://thinkprogress.org/       An update that ought to act as a warning, from Think Progress, about a social explosion of such intensity that its extent will be almost unbelievable, if not in Ferguson, Missouri, then in one of the next places where the ‘forces of order’ wantonly murder some hapless citizen and then tell those

Ferguson Day 6, Picture 12 by Loavesofbread - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons
Ferguson Day 6, Picture 12 by Loavesofbread – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons

who protest to sit down, shut up, go away: “Meanwhile, Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, spoke before the U.N. Committee Against Torture on Tuesday, calling for global intervention in America’s policing tactics.  The couple asked a panel to recommend that ‘racial profiling and racially-biased police harassment across the jurisdictions surrounding Ferguson’ stops, and for the Department of Justice to ‘conduct a nationwide investigation of systematic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities, and youth in particular,’ adding that the ‘methodology and findings of this investigation must be made publicly available.'”

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
  • Entrepreneur Media, Inc. Irvine, CA Entrepreneur Media, Inc. is seeking an Associate Editor for Entrepreneur Magazine, published 12 times per year. The ideal candidate will have at least four years of experience in magazine publishing, with focus on the following areas: interviewing, writing, fact-checking, copy editing and proofreading. Excellent writing, communication and organizational skills a must. Knowledge of InCopy/InDesign, AP Style a plus.
  • Wainscot Media (Montvale, NJ), the leading publisher of regional magazines for the New York metropolitan area, is looking for an enthusiastic, resourceful, self-motivated assistant editor. Candidates must be quick thinkers and be able to work in a fast-paced environment and meet tight deadlines. 
  • Woman’s World Best-selling weekly woman’s magazine known for its fun, affordable and meaningful crafts and DIY content is looking for an in-house freelance Crafts Editor. Ability to direct crafts designers and recruit same. Photography styling experience a plus.
  • Full Fathom Five (est. 2010), a fiction ebook publisher founded by renowned author James Frey, is hosting the FFF Digital Fiction Contest. – See more at: http://writingcareer.com/#sthash.5H0lHjKi.dpuf

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

 

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
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By AERWIN via Wikimedia Commons

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11.13.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Allegiance to national flags amounts to little more than honoring certain forms of chauvinism

 Quote of the Day

 

hiro explosion“A widely heralded view holds that nuclear power is experiencing a dramatic worldwide revival and vibrant growth, because it’s competitive, necessary, reliable, secure, and vital for fuel security and climate protection.  That’s all false.  In fact, nuclear power is continuing its decades-long collapse in the global marketplace because it’s grossly uncompetitive, unneeded, and obsolete—so hopelessly uneconomic that one needn’t debate whether it’s clean and safe; it weakens electric reliability and national security; and it worsens climate change compared with devoting the same money and time to more effective options.”  Amory Lovins; The Nuclear Illusionhttp://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Amory_Lovins.

 

This Day in History

An ever-apt celebration, today is World Kindness Day; a hundred seventy-three years ago, James Braid, based on a presentation that purports to show animal magnetism, came up with the idea that he developed into the discipline of hypnotism; a male baby one hundred sixty-four years ago was born, destined to grow up to be

Robert Louis Stevenson by Sargent by  John Singer Sargent
Robert Louis Stevenson by Sargent by John Singer Sargent

iconic poet and writer Robert Louis Stevenson; one hundred six years back, an infant male came into the world who grew up as C. Vann Woodward, distinguished historian and social thinker; just two years later, another baby came into this realm, later to become the journalist and writer William Bradford Huie; a century before the current day, Berber indigenous fighters mauled a force of French soldiers in Morocco; two years later, the Australian Labor Party expelled its leader, Australia’s Prime Minister, who supported conscription policies that would result in the mass slaughter of working class soldiers; seventy-four years ago, Walt Disney’s animators released Fantasia for its premier in New York; seven years hence, in 1947, Soviet arms makers developed the first version of the world’s first—and still arguably foremost—assault rifle, the AK-47, and the baby boy who became environmental activist and author Amory Lovins was born; the U.S. Supreme Court fifty-eight years back effectively ended the Montgomery bus boycott when it decided that segregated conveyances were illegal; forty-five years ago, protesters staged a large March Against Death to register their

US flag reflexion on Vietnam Veterans Memorial 12 2011 000124 by Mariordo Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz - Own work
US flag reflexion on Vietnam Veterans Memorial 12 2011 000124 by Mariordo Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz – Own work

opposition to the continuation of U.S. intervention and war in Southeast Asia; one year later, union activist and radiation victim Karen Silkwood died in a mysterious one car accident that happened in the midst of her whistleblowing against the Kerr-McGhee company; twelve years afterward, in 1982, veterans in Washington marched to the site of the Vietnam War Memorial for its unveiling; thirteen years ago, George W. Bush signed an Executive Order that permitted military tribunals to conduct trials against anyone who was considering ‘terrorism’ against the United States, effectively suspending Fourth Amendment or other criminal procedural protections of anyone suspected or accused of crimes.

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SEARCH OF THE DAY
energy productivity automation OR mechanization "economic history" necessity OR inevitability history analysis "political economy" = 167,000 Results.

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OBAMA’S LAST SHOT

https://www.techdirt.com/   A brilliant, in-depth examination from TechDirt of the reactionary blowback against Barack Obama’s very modest call for utility-style Internet regulation as a way of preserving Net Neutrality, causing an ‘extension of time’ plea from the FCC, plus all sorts of SOP media statements, the upshot of all of which is the President’s own proposal in favor of net neutrality, which is at least reasonably progressive and could conceivably survive court challenges, massive undermining etc., at the same time that–like every bourgeois reform–it will likely lead to monopoly’s laptop1more complete control of everything: “And if that wasn’t crazy enough, let’s take it up another notch.  We got an unsolicited ‘statement of Roslyn Layton’ in response to President Obama’s proposal.  I have no idea who ‘Roslyn Layton’ is and, frankly, have no interest in doing the Google search to find out, but I know plenty from the fact that she’s actually claiming that this new plan to make sure that the internet is open and free from unfair blocking for all is somehow a victory for the Russians, Chinese and Iranians… .Except that’s the opposite of fact.  A plan that specifically calls for ‘no blocking, no throttling, increased transparency and no paid prioritization.’  Does that really sound like a plan from China, Iran and Russia?  Does Layton think anyone thinks that statement is even within the same area code as the truth?  While some others are making similar statements, they at least admit that those countries will use “any action” by the US government as a supposed defense for seeking to regulate the internet.”

cropped-media-papers-newspaper.jpg

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The National Executive Committee/National Executive Board confabulation is upcoming in New York; members might want to send along comments and ideas if they feel inclined to have their voices heard.

Visit nwu.org for more announcements.

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
  • Liberty Science Center Jersey City, NJ Position Overview: 
    This position serves as a writer and editor in the fast-paced Marketing and Communications department for all types of materials, from advertising copy to articles for publications, exhibit copy, the website and more
  • Bruton Stroube Saint Louis, MO “Social Media Hustla”: Advertising Agency, Commercial Photography/Motion, Internet/Online/New Media, Marketing, Photography, Public Relations, Social Media
  • SAP/Tag GmbH Walldorf, Germany Internet/Online/New Media, Marketing, Web Development
  • STORY magazine Calls for Prose and Poetry The renowned STORY magazine, published from 1930 to 2000, has been relaunched as a new double-sided, semi-annual print publication. The editorial team is now curating stories for the third issue … Deadline: 11/15/2014 Pay: up to $200/story – See more at: http://writingcareer.com/call-for-fiction-submissions#sthash.lQucecfI.dpuf

    Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/call-for-fiction-submissions
    Copyright © WritingCareer.com -used with permission
  • River Styx Opens Reading Period for Prose and Poetry Literary journal River Styx has opened its regular reading period, now until November 30th. During June the journal will invite submissions for a special themed-issue. Deadline: 11/30/2014 Pay: $25/poem, $75/prose, and $50/art piece – See more at: http://writingcareer.com/call-for-poetry-submissions#sthash.vOHsbotM.dpuf

    Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/call-for-poetry-submissions
    Copyright © WritingCareer.com – used with permission
ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
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pens Keith Williamson Flickr
pens Keith Williamson Flickr
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11.12.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

working ppl busTo travel, with roots in both travail and Latin forms of work, is to labor toward the unknown with the hope that–fair weather or foul, friendly reception or dour–something useful or at least interesting will turn up down the road.

Quote of the Day

“When I talked to audiences about the epidemic of eating disorders, for instance, or about the dangers of silicone breast implants, I was often given a response straight out of Plato’s Symposium, the famous dialogue about eternal and unchanging ideals: something like, ‘Women have always suffered for beauty.’  In short, it was not commonly understood at that time that ideals didn’t simply descend from heaven, that they actually came from somewhere and that they served a purpose.  That purpose, as I would then explain, was often a financial one, namely to increase the profits of those advertisers whose ad dollars actually drove the media that, in turn, created the ideals.  The ideal, I argued, also served a political end.  The stronger women were becoming politically, the heavier the ideals of beauty would bear down upon them, mostly in order to distract their energy and undermine their progress.”  Naomi Wolf–The Beauty Myth

This Day in History

Today is World Pneumonia Day, recognizing the carnage inflicted by this common affliction; four hundred fifty-nine years ago, England’s parliament briefly reestablished Catholicism as the imperial religion; a single year shy of two centuries ago, the baby girl came into the world who would grow into activist and feminist firebrand Elizabeth Cady Stanton; one hundred seventy-four years before this day, the baby boy was born who created all the marvels

"The Thinker, Rodin" by AndrewHorne Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
“The Thinker, Rodin” by AndrewHorne Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

of Pierre Auguste Rodin; a century and a quarter back, the baby boy who became DeWitt Wallace was born, later to cofound the Readers Digest magazine and publishing company; a British diplomat and representatives of Afghan rebels established the border between what has become Pakistan and Afghanistan one hundred twenty-one years back; ninety-nine years ago, the infant male who grew into critic and writer and philosopher Roland Barthes came onto the scene in France; eighty-seven years before the here-and-now, Josef Stalin successfully orchestrated Leon Trotsky’s expulsion from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, leaving Stalin—a likely British agent—in undisputed control of the Russians; three years after that, the Irish child came into the world who would produce the incredible novels of John McGahern; Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov arrived in Berlin seventy-four years ago to discuss a short-lived alliance between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia; five years afterwards, the baby boy was born who would pen copious popular lyrics as songwriter Neil Young; in Japan sixty-six years back, seven defendants, including General of the Army Tojo, faced death sentences as a result of an international war-crimes tribunal in Tokyo; as the Suez crisis unfolded fifty-eight years ago, Palestinian refugees died in droves in a slaughter instigated by Israel Defense Forces at Rafah, Palestine; fifty-two years ago, the infant girl who

NLN Naomi Wolf by Thomas Good  License via Wikimedia Commons
NLN Naomi Wolf by Thomas Good License via Wikimedia Commons

grew up to become radical writer Naomi Wolf drew her first breath; a mere year later, the baby was born that turned out to be outing activist and blogger Michael Rogers; forty-five years prior to the present pass, Vietnamese villagers died in carnage conducted by U.S. troops, what we have come to call the My Lai Massacre; a decade afterwards, Jimmy Carter cut off oil imports from Iran in the middle of the so-called hostage crisis that followed the overthrow of mass-murderer and U.S. puppet Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi; one year later, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Voyager interplanetary mission passed close to Saturn and sent back pictures of the massive planet’s rings; only ten years subsequently, Tim Berners-Lee proffered his monumental proposal for the creation of a World Wide Web on the basis of sites along the lines that the architecture of the Internet permitted.

 

 

deskSEARCH OF THE DAY

travel danger OR risk exchange OR profit history analysis geography "political economy" = 8,360,000 Hits.

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TOP OF THE FOLD

REMEMBERING AARON SWARTZ

http://www.truthdig.com/     A call from TruthDig for a commemoration of Aaron Swartz and continued action for the web-justice for which he ended up dying: “Swartz would have been 28 years this week, on Nov. 8.  To celebrate his life and legacy, communities across the globe will observe Aaron Swartz Day on his birthday.  He fought for an open and thriving Internet but also for causes like ending corruption and government secrecy, and the day in his honor will mark the full range of his accomplishments and his battles, which remain alive today.”

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

GLOBAL CITIES TEAM CHALLENGE

http://www.nsf.gov/     A National Science Foundation ‘Dear Colleague’ letter that calls for a collaboration among urban scholars, city-planners, and more: “The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) launched the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC; see http://www.nist.gov/cps) with a kickoff meeting on Boston City FlowSeptember 29-30, 2014, in Gaithersburg, MD. This meeting brought together city planners and representatives from technology companies, academic institutions and non-profits with the aim of fostering teams that will contribute to a vision for “smart cities” that takes advantage of networked technologies to better manage resources and improve quality of life.”

LAW & SOCIAL SCIENCES PROGRAM SOLICITATION

http://www.nsf.gov/    An update and announcement from the National Science Foundation of its Law and Social Sciences Program for proffering postdoctoral research and teaching grants, with deadlines just after the first of the year and again in August.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

CONCEPTUALLY IFFY NETWORKING MODELS FOR WRITERS

http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/   Even if submissive female sex is not one’s ‘cup-of-tea,’ even if profiteering is not one’s reason for existence, lessons from writers who dig such scenes about how to build a publishing shtick: “The Twilight fandom publishing houses

fanfiction poster - Andrew Evans flickr
fanfiction poster – Andrew Evans flickr

were born in controversy, and they have been mired in it ever since.  For decades, fanfiction was everyone’s dirty little secret.  Fans often lived in fear of the discovery of their hobby and frequently saw their work pulled or deleted off the Internet at the request of the original copyright holder.  Out of this culture of shame and secrecy arose fandom’s most binding ethical code: As long as fanfiction, or fic for short, remains strictly not for profit, it can reasonably be deemed fair use under the protection of current U.S. copyright law.   Fanfiction’s free, just-for-fun status is its biggest protection against claims of copyright infringement, and it also helps create a unique and thriving gift-based fandom economy.  Anything that breaks that code is met with scathing criticism from both fans and professionals, as was the case when Fifty Shades’ fanfiction roots were made widely known.”

USEFUL OPPORTUNITES & MUCH MORE

https://www.contributoria.com/about     An introduction to Guardian Media’s new Contributoria platform, here in the form of an overview and portals to more information, an interesting and perhaps astounding set of possibilities for publication, payment, audience, and more, about which ‘full disclosure’ requires an admission of being a member myself: “Contributoria is an independent journalism community.  The platform enables journalists and writers to collaborate on all aspects of the writing process, including commissioning, editing and publication.”

POWER BEHIND FACADES

http://whowhatwhy.com   A ‘hold-your-breath-and-hope’ kind of piece from WhoWhatWhy, that examines a recent monograph about the nature of contemporary governance–nothing to do with elections or democracy, very little of it benign or oriented toward social justice or mutuality–in terms of increasing levels and capacities of control and diverging elite and public agendas, not NYTaltogether a happy set of congruences: “One of the Globe’s pieces was a highly favorable review of Dr. Glennon’s book by former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards.  Edwards, a co-founder of the staunchly conservative Heritage Foundation, has over the years become more and more of a maverick—and more outspokenly alarmed by the path America has taken.  The other piece, which appeared in the Globe the same day,was a Q&A with Glennon. The astonishing headline was: Vote all you want.  The secret government won’t change.  The sub-headline wasn’t much tamer: The people we elect aren’t the ones calling the shots, says Tufts University’s Michael Glennon.  The genesis of the book was a question that confounded Glennon about President Obama: How did a man who won election pledging to change the national security policies of his predecessor effect so little of that?”

ELITE NETWORKS OF CONTROL & HEGEMONY

http://www.weforum.org/     An “Organizational Links & Networking” entry not because scrappy scribes can realistically expect to build relationships with these power brokers at the World Economic Forum and so on, but because these interconnections constitute a nervous system for how the world is going to be operating, something that we need to comprehend if we are to operate in relation to these dynamics: “‘With globalization seemingly in retreat, the world’s 7.2 billion people urgently need not only new ideas, but also new ways to build consensus that involve all stakeholders in moving the best ideas from theory to practice,’ said Martina Larkin, Senior Director and Head of the Global Knowledge.  ‘None of the many issues identified in the recently released Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015 report can be addressed effectively without thorough and continuing consultation across the spectrum of stakeholders.’  A number of events are planned to coincide with the launch of the community at the Summit on the Global Agenda 2014 in Dubai, including a discussion of the main trends coming out of the 2015 Outlook publication, with emphasis on crafting workable responses to pressing issues. The community will also contribute to the Forum’s various events, initiatives and knowledge products, while engaging with various Forum communities to enhance their effectiveness as an important policy formulation group.”

diego rivera 1

 

‘CIVIL SOCIETY’ & UNIONS: PARADOXES & POSSIBILITIES

http://theconversation.com/    A sobering or even chilling research portal from The Conversation, in which ‘civil society’ organizations are replacing unions in seeking benefits in the lives of working people, which comes down to a replacement of the potential to contend for power with the equivalent of begging for alms: “In a similar vein, campaigning by community network Citizens UK has helped bring to prominence the notion of the living wage – a wage calculated to provide a minimum decent standard of living to workers who receive it. The latter’s sister organisation, the Living Wage Foundation, operates a procedure through which more than 1000 employing organisations have been accredited as living wage employers.  Both are examples of civil society organisations’ growing role in employment relations.  According to our research, there are now about 400 such organisations trying to influence domestic employment in the UK.  They usually rely on charitable donations and grants and sometimes also contracts with government to provide services to fund their activities.”

640px-Manila_skyline

KNIGHT CITIES CHALLENGE

http://www.govexec.com/     For twenty-five urban areas, a real chance to gain funding, attention, support, from GovExec, about the Knight Challenge’s most recent urban funding portal: note–due Friday: “What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?  The first-ever Knight Cities Challenge opens today calling on innovators of all types to answer this question.  The national challenge, which seeks new ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work, is an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.”

WHY’S THE WEB SO DAMN SLOW?

http://www.techpolicydaily.com/      A ‘let’s-blame-Netflix’ trope, here, biased toward the largest monopolies instead of the next-to-largest, but just because such a tilt is not surprising from the American Enterprise Institute does not make its conclusions false on their face: “Everyone knew the disputes between Netflix and Comcast/Verizon/AT&T and others affected consumer speeds.  I wrote about the controversy herehere, and here, and my “How the Net Works” report offered broader context.  The M-Lab study, “ISP Interconnection and Its Impact on Consumer Internet Performance,” however, does have some good new data.  Although M-Lab says it doesn’t know who was ‘at fault,’ advocates seized on the report as evidence of broadband provider mischief at big interconnection points.  But the M-Lab data actually show just the opposite.  As you can see in the three graphs below, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and to a lesser extent AT&T all show sharp drops in performance in May of 2013 at the three monitoring points in New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.  Then, performance of all four networks all show sudden improvements in March of 2014.”

USEFUL WORDPRESS FREEBIES

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/    E-books for writers from WordPress, with many back entries from the platform’s dozens of Writing 101 and Writing 201 classes over the years: “Our recent Writing 101 and Writing 201 Blogging U. courses were a huge success — so we thought you should be able to enjoy them even if your schedule didn’t allow you to take them in real time.  We’re happy to announce that both courses are now offered as free ebooks, available for download in .pdf, .mobi (Kindle), and .epub (iBooks) formats.  While conceived with nonfiction writers in mind, fiction writers (we know you’re out there, NaNoWriMo participants!) could find both courses just as useful.”

UNDERSTANDING UN(DER)EMPLOYMENT REALITIES

http://www.citylab.com/  A richly contextualized offering from CityLab, which details the many ways that current employment and, especially, unemployment figures are untrustworthy, almost delusional, in regard to the actual experience among workers: “In 2002, official unemployment swamped invisible unemployment.  U.S. DEPRESSION BREAD LINEThe official unemployment rate was an accurate description of the labor force.  But the spread between invisible and official unemployment is shrinking.  In the last 20 years, the six months with the smallest gaps between official and invisible unemployment were all in 2014.  That means the official unemployment rate is getting worse and worse at describing the real conditions facing American workers.  Invisible unemployment is hurting the participation rate even more than economists predicted with an aging work force.  The entire developed world is getting older.  But U.S. participation fell faster in the years after the recession that just about any other country.”

‘CLICKBAIT’ REFLECTIONS & IMPLICATIONS

www.mediapost.com/     A MediaPost regular columnist’s provocative and useful analysis of what ‘clickbait’ is, with a lot of unanswered questions about how and why it functions as it does: “Fed Eyes Wage Growth as it Stands Pat on Interest Rates.  Okay, maybe that last one wasn’t on the page, because it doesn’t quite qualify as clickbait.  It’s news.  It affects everyone.  It is slightly technical.  It has no cleavage.  Therefore it holds no allure for the hoi polloi.  Clickbane, I guess you’d call it.  But this exercise got me wondering.  1)Why does the clickbait feature so many bikini-clad women and other boobage, as opposed to beefcake?  Half the audience is female.  Is the soft-porn that passes for ‘content’ of that much interest to women? (I fear for the answer to this).  And are bare male celebrity chests and butts unenticing to women?  It just seems like if you’re going to be in a sleazy online race to the bottom, you should be an equal-opportunity sleaze.  Aren’t some ill-gotten clicks being left on the table?”

WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

student writing armGUIDELINES FOR CREATIVE EMPOWERMENT

http://boingboing.net     From Boing Boing a way above average list, in terms of utility and thoughtfulness, about the aspects of succeeding in such creative endeavors as scrappy scribing: “My success would not have been possible without the (I)nternet.   I’ve used every platform,  from Craigslist and Suicide  Girls to Livejournal,  Myspace,  Kickstarter,  Tumblr and Twitter.  I’m both sick of social media and addicted to it.  What nourishes you destroys you, and all that.  The internet is getting increasingly corporate and centralized, and I don’t know that the future isn’t just going back to big money platforms.  I hope its not. …15. Be massively idealistic about your art, dream big, open your heart and let the blood pour forth.  Be utterly cynical about the business around your art.”

WHAT JOURNALISTS(&WRITERS)MUST KNOW

http://pressthink.org/    A listing of eighteen key conceptual orientations, with links, that a prize winning journalism professor believes his students should know by the end of their first year.

SOME COOL TOOLS & APPS

http://www.techrepublic.com/     A data recovery melange from Tech Republic, which also offers snappy graphic tools for MSW users: “Murphy’s law dictates that the data that you’re most likely to lose is the data that has not yet been backed up.  Fortunately, a number of data recovery tools are available.  Here are five excellent choices.”

GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES

WICKED DEPTH FROM NYRB, RE ‘CREEPY WEB’S’ CREEP

http://www.nybooks.com/    In some ways just a wacky look at the growing intensification of internetification as an instance of quantity shifting into quality, and not necessarily in altogether pleasant or even benign fashion, with the possibilities for everything from absolute control to arbitrary culling ‘right around the corner:’ “For years, a cohort of technologists, most notably Ray Kurzweil, the writer, inventor, and director of engineering at Google, have been predicting the day when computer intelligence surpasses human intelligence and merges with it in what they call the Singularity.  We eye-319668_640are not there yet, but a kind of singularity is already upon us as we swallow pills embedded with microscopic computer chips, activated by stomach acids, that will be able to report compliance with our doctor’s orders (or not) directly to our electronic medical records.   Then there is the singularity that occurs when we outfit our bodies with ‘wearable technology’ that sends data about our physical activity, heart rate, respiration, and sleep patterns to a database in the cloud as well as to our mobile phones and computers (and to Facebook and our insurance company and our employer).  Cisco Systems, for instance, which is already deep into wearable technology, is working on a platform called ‘the Connected Athlete’ that ‘turns the athlete’s body into a distributed system of sensors and network intelligence…[so] the athlete becomes more than just a competitor—he or she becomes a Wireless Body Area Network, or WBAN.’  Wearable technology, which generated $800 million in 2013, is expected to make nearly twice that this year.  These are numbers that not only represent sales, but the public’s acceptance of, and habituation to, becoming one of the things connected to and through the Internet.”

FIGHTING CORPORATE BEHEMOTHS WITH FCC HELP

http://www.nytimes.com/     An assessment from The Times from before President Obama’s pro-net-neutrality speech, which indicates at least some institutional commitment to the possibility of a strongly-supportive-of-local-access-rights Federal Communications Commission over a significant time period: “But Tom Wheeler, the Federal Communications Commission chairman, says providing access to broadband Internet is in the public interest.  And for that reason, he says, the commission can override those state laws — setting off a heated debate about the federal commission’s authority over states and about whether local governments or private companies should provide the service.  Mark Cooper, research director of Consumer Federation of America, said he expected ‘a long and vicious fight.  There is a felt need for a higher quality of service at a more reliable price.  There’s a perception of market failure.  If consumers were not upset, they wouldn’t be asking for it.’  At the center of the debate are Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson.  The two cities have petitioned the commission to invalidate their state laws.  A ruling from the F.C.C. is expected next year.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

KISSINGER’S ACCEDING TO U.S. IDIOCY ON UKRAINE

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/    A typically level-headed and thorough take about Russia and Putin from Contra Corner, starting off with the recognition that Henry K. himself sees present policy as madness–an excuse for not having a strategy–and then proceeding to provide a comprehensive ‘literature review’ of the weak and fatuous and simply ludicrous perspectives of contemporary ‘authorities’ on these matters, at the center of all of

By World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons
By World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons

which sits a default strategy for fascism in Ukraine and World War Three as the upshot: “Like lots of people I’ve been trying to figure out Vladimir Putin, our latest foreign devil. I doubt if many of our born-again Russian experts could pass a simple test evaluating and explaining the possible impact of Russia’s history – imperial and communist – on Russia’s present direction under Putin? …My guess is that few can.  Who cares about Russian history anyway?  Instead, our media chatter is about a revived economic, military and political cordon sanitaire or encirclement of the Moscow fiends.  Meanwhile, the Crimean coup is viewed superficially here as an attack on ‘freedom’ and self-determination, at times evoking an image of the Nazi’s 1938 Anschluss of Austria.  Comments about Putin have been almost universally hostile — he worked for the KGB, ignoring that Bush The Elder ran the CIA.  A more reasonable comment came from Fiona Hill, who once worked in the Bush The Lesser administration and co-wrote Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.  ‘He’s not delusional,’ she wisely concluded, ‘but he inhabits a Russia of the past, a version of the past that he has created.  His present is defined by it and there is no coherent vision of the future.'”

VOTING HOLIDAYS

http://www.sanders.senate.gov/democracyday    A practical step toward something more resembling a functioning democracy, a bill from Bernie Sanders to make any National election a Federal holiday: “Nationwide, preliminary indications are that the total turnout for the 2014 elections was only 36.6 percent, according to the United States Elections Project at the University of Florida.  In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process.  Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote.”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
DSM photo - Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious flickr
DSM photo – Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious flickr

PHARMACEUTICAL MARKETING OF INSANITY AS MEDICINE

http://www.cchrint.org/      Just one of hundreds of evidence-driven sources that call into question the corporate model for labeling emotion as ‘disorder’ so as to medicate it for a price, here in particular looking at side effects that suggest violent ideation and action as a regular concomitant of these prescriptions: “There is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs cause violence: 22 international drug regulatory warnings cite violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis and even homicidal ideation.  Individuals under the influence of such drugs and committing these acts of senseless violence are not limited to using guns and are not limited to just schools.  Recent examples of individuals under the influence of such drugs include Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and Fort Hood shooter Ivan Lopez.”

MELTDOWNS, MAYHEM, & SOP MONEY-MANAGEMENT

http://www.wsws.org/   A nasty shock to anyone who hasn’t seen the specifics of how people and workers were the targeted victims of the government response to bailing out the rich after 2008, an examination from World Socialist Website that makes crystal clear that the same–and worse–is in store if our future remains driven by empire and operated by capitalists, for capitalists, and of capitalists:

By 2bgr8 via Wikimedia Commons
By 2bgr8 via Wikimedia Commons

“The Obama administration, after a few rhetorical protests for public consumption, came out in support of the $450 million executive bonus package.  Lawrence Summers, chairman of the White House National Economic Council at the time, told ABC in an interview in 2009, ‘We are a country of law.  These are contracts.  The government cannot just abrogate contracts.’  For the Obama Administration, of course, this maxim does not apply to the municipal workers and retirees of Detroit, whose constitutionally-protected pension benefits are being cut with the administration’s support as part of the Detroit bankruptcy.  Nor did it apply to autoworkers at GM and Chrysler, who had their contractual obligations to health benefits and wages slashed at the White House’s insistence in the 2009 auto restructuring.”