As the people of the planet stand on the cusp of the chasm of world war and possible nuclear holocaust, one might aspire to stand for higher things than one’s own material fortune, yet the most petty travails, which appear as often as not as random bolts from the blue, seem to threaten an annihilation no less onerous than mass collective suicide even though the sources of these exigencies might be much more trivial, much less tragic, than a global catastrophe, might even be ‘much ado about nothing’ in some cases despite their potent hold on one’s hopes and fears.
Quote of the Day
“The Civil Rights Congress has prepared and submits this petition to the General Assembly of the United Nations on behalf of the Negro people in the interest of peace and democracy, charging the Government of the United States of America with violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We believe that in issuing this document we are discharging an historic responsibility to the American people, as well as rendering a service of inestimable value to progressive mankind. We speak of the American people because millions of white Americans in the ranks of labor and the middle class, and particularly those who live in the southern states and are often contemptuously called poor whites, are themselves suffering to an ever-greater degree from the consequences of the Jim Crow segregation policy of government in its relations with Negro citrines. We speak of progressive mankind because a policy of discrimination at home must inevitably create racist commodities for export abroad-must inevitably tend toward war.” The Civil Rights Congress’ 1951 presentation to the United Nations General Assembly, “We Charge Genocide”
This Day in History
Today, for those who follow such things, is the beginning of Saturnalia; via a home base near Crimea, one thousand four hundred sixty-eight years ago, peoples whom we now refer to as Ostrogoths rifled Rome after they bribed elements of the Byzantine soldiers whose task was the city’s protection; the legendary Persian poet and
philosopher Rumi died more or less seven hundred forty-one years before this instant; Tamerlane’s legions six hundred sixteen years back defeated Delhi’s sultan’s armies and paved the path for conquering the Subcontinent; one hundred forty years later, more or less precisely, in 1538, the third Catholic Pope Paul excommunicated England’s Henry VIII and established the basis for a Church of England; France two hundred thirty-seven years before the here-and-now formally recognized the United States of America; three decades subsequently to the day, in 1807, France under Napoleon’s rule issued sanctions against the British, a so-called Continental Blockade, that ended up undermining imperial French power, and the male infant who would write poetry and anti-slavery tracts as John Greenleaf Whittier was born; one hundred ninety-five years ago, Simon Bolivar first declared the independence of Gran Colombia in what is now Ciudad Bolivar in Venezuela; fifteen years after that happened, in 1830, Bolivar’s life ended; Ulysses Grant issued an order one hundred fifty-two years prior to the present pass that expelled all Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi on the theory that Jewish traders were profiteering off of black-market cotton, which, true or not, did not stop the decree’s rescission less than a month later; precisely eleven years later, in 1873, the a British baby boy was born who would grow up as novelist and literary critic Ford Maddox Ford; Vogue magazine published its inaugural issue a hundred twenty-two years ago; a boy child came into the world a hundred eleven years back who would write to great acclaim as Erskine Caldwell, and in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina,
Orville and Wilbur Wright demonstrated the first successful heavier-than-air flying machine; a boy baby emerged from the womb eighty-five years before this point who would go on to editorialize and write articles and compose essays as William Safire; Otto Hahn, who had just helped his born-Jewish assistant Lise Meitner escape from Germany, seventy six years ago led the experiment which he soon interpreted correctly as demonstrating nuclear fission via neutron capture, results of note around the world; five years further along, in 1943, the United States overturned the statutory basis of Chinese Exclusion, meaning that Chinese Americans could again become citizens; sixty-seven years ago, the Boeing Corporation’s first nuclear-weapons long range delivery bomber, the B-47, flew its maiden mission; four years afterward, in 1951, the Civil Rights Congress presented to the United Nations “We Charge Genocide,” a document that detailed innumerable instances of legal lynching of Blacks and other depredations of the United States Government in relation not only to African Americans but also in regard to other ethnic minorities and Communists as well; the U.S. successfully tested the world’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile fifty-seven years back; Helsinki, Finland hosted the first round of the initial Strategic Arms Limitation Talks forty-five years before today, and the United States Air Force ended its study of UFO’s, Project Blue Book;twelve years later, in 1981, a U.S. general became a captive of Italian Red Guards who kept him captive for two months before his rescue without a single casualty by Italian special forces; a quarter century back, Brazil held its first democratic elections in over thirty years, and The Simpsons aired its inaugural episode; exactly a decade after that, in 1999, legendary historian of the South, C. Vann Woodward died; nine years ago, investigative journalist Jack Anderson drew his final breath; five years hence, in 2010, a Tunisian street vendor set himself ablaze to protest ill treatment by corrupt authorities, in so doing helping to bring about the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
racism OR bigotry OR "white supremacy" OR "ethnic prejudice" OR ethnocentrism diversion OR distraction OR "divide and conquer" history analysis = 22,100,000 Results.
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SOBERING, CHILLING COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF NOW & 1914
http://inthesetimes.com From In These Times, a powerful philosophical and political-economic analysis of the present pass and how it resembles the eve of World War One, in that capital has branched–with East Asia and Europe and Latin America all following divergent pathways–and the leadership of each sector is at odds with the others, in particular with the imperial center and corporate master: “By the end of the 1960s, the U.S. economy was no longer able to continue the recycling of its surpluses to Europe and Asia: Those surpluses hadturned into deficits. In 1971, the U.S. government responded to this decline with an audacious strategic move: Instead of tackling the nation’s burgeoning deficits, it decided to do the opposite, to boost deficits. And who would pay for them? The rest of the world! How? By means of a permanent transfer of
capital that rushed ceaselessly across the two great oceans to finance America’s deficits: The United States has to suck up a half-billion dollars daily to pay for its consumption and is, as such, the universal Keynesian consumer who keeps the global economy running. This influx relies on a complex economic mechanism: The United States is ‘trusted’ as the safe and stable center, so that all others, from the oil-producing Arab countries to Western Europe to Japan, and now even China, invest their surplus profits in the United States. Since this ‘trust’ is primarily ideological and military, not economic, the problem for the United States is how to justify its imperial role—it needs a permanent state of war, offering itself as the universal protector of all other ‘normal’—as opposed to ‘rogue’—states.”
BIDE: Accepting submissions. We are here to promote momentary storytelling. There are no strict word limits, but think about between 10 and 400 words, or 25 lines of poetry, or 30-60 seconds of your voice/face. All successful submissions will be paid AU$80.
The Magnetic Theatre is seeking submissions for its third installment of Brief Encounters, a production of new short works for the stage.
We are looking for scripts 10-20 minutes in length for production in April at our new space, Magnetic 375, in the River Arts District. The run will be four weekends long, and we will produce 4-6 short scripts as an evening-length show. Please submit your script for consideration, in the appropriate playscript format, electronically (as a PDF or Final Draft file) to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 1, 2015.
Ft Lauderdale, FL – We’re a consumer reviews site covering over 100 industries within personal finance, insurance, education, business, lifestyle and home services. We’re currently looking for regular contributors to write guides and advice articles.
Carlsbad, CA – CBSi Advanced Media, a CBS Interactive company, is the central resource for college sports and the category leader in the delivery of integrated multimedia solutions and Internet services for University Athletic Departments, Conferences and Associations.
A Pacific Standard article that examines the fundamental role that torture and human rights abuses played in the formation and development of this nation, which contradict with the stated values of the Constitution: “But is it really? American history, after all, is not an unbroken tale of values and decency. In fact, according to Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, American decency has always been more a theory than a practice and America’s most important value—the value that turned this country from a marginal economic unknown to a world-straddling imperial power—was torture.”
A Common Dreams offering that tells of a global movement set on banning of nuclear weapons, a lofty goal the success of which remains to be seen in the current political context: “More than 600 members of civil society, from every corner of the globe, with more than half of them under the age of 35 attended a fact-filled two day conference in Vienna organized by the International Coalition to Ban Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), to learn of the devastating consequences of nuclear weapons from the bomb and from testing as well, and of the frightening risks from possible accidents or sabotage of the nine nuclear arsenals around the world. The meeting was a follow up to two prior meetings in Oslo, Norway and Nayarit, Mexico. ICAN members, working for a treaty to ban the bomb, then joined a meeting hosted by Austria for 158 governments in the historic Hofburg Palace, which has served as the residence of Austrian leaders since before the founding of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.”
A piece from Rabble.ca that shows the active role A List Hollywood artists are taking to express solidarity with the victims of Ferguson, Staten Island, and many others, through posted videos and other means: “One estimate counts as high as a 140 cities across the world who have participated in some sort of demonstration. And more are surely to come. You can follow all the action on Twitter as #BlackLivesMatterOn his Facebook page and in a Youtube video yesterday, Jackson essentially challenges other celebrities to sing “We ain’t gonna stop, till people are free” song.”
A Chief Organizer blog post reflecting on the paths that organizing for social justice across borders could take, while standing in a historical crossroads in a historic locale for social justice struggles: “A helpful reminder for the handful of us spending another day in meetings under the broken skies that would reveal the peekaboo mountains all around us, that changing the world isn’t easy, but it happens, and it has to start somewhere, whether New Orleans, Little Rock, Grenoble or beyond. For our part we were engaged in exciting speculation and planning about what might be possible if we examined the twenty to twenty-five countries where ACORN International has deep roots, relationships, and capacity and joined them with the five to ten countries where the Alliance Citoyenne and its sister organization operating outside of France, ReAct, had experience, some staffing, and capacity. Certainly, it’s not the whole wide world, but it’s not a bad swath of people and ground, and a great deal more than simply a good beginning.”
An Inside Philanthropy article that discusses a vital and ambitious funding project for the arts that seeks to change the ways audiences interact with performers by respecting the idea that community engagement can breathe life into a theater setting: “The foundation embraces big words and bigger concepts, like its Audience (R)Evolution grant program, with a goal is to, well, revolutionize how audiences interact with theater companies. And the same audience-boosting logic applies to its multi-million dollar grants to dance organizations like Dance/USA.”
A News Wise piece about an organization in West Virginia that seeks to bring light to the valuable role women have played in the formation of Appalachian society, in spite of the marginalization they have experienced throughout history: “The new book explores the experiences and contributions of Appalachian women across time and place, the realities and the stereotypes that have defined them, and the battles they have chosen or have been forced to fight. It also documents the diversity of mountain women, Black and white, urban and rural, rich and poor, Hispanic, Muslim, and gay.”
A Gigaom article that emphasizes the important role that targeted email marketing still has in creating interest and reaching an audience, information that might be particularly welcome to scrappy scribes seeking a good way to reach his or her audience: “This is something that the front page of a newspaper used to do, but to be honest they weren’t always that great at it — in part because they had to appeal to a mass audience. The best thing about email newsletters and other targeted solutions (blogs like Daring Fireball, for example, or sites like political blogger Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish or Politico) is that they can focus more closely on a specific subject, and give readers a lot more value.”
A Tikkun Daily piece about the deep role that psychological expertise and development have had in perpetuating torture practices within the CIA, contrary to popular belief: “But as psychologist Steven Reisner states in his new piece in Slate, there would be no torture without psychologists. Also, just this morning there was a very informative and comprehensive segment on Democracy Now! featuring both Steven Reisner and Alfred McCoy, whose book A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror provided the original road map to many of the issues I covered in my dissertation. I was at the 2007 American Psychological Association (APA) Conference in San Francisco shown in this segment, where psychologists made a desperate plea to the APA to put an end to these practices, while military officers in full camo fatigues stood menacingly around the room and Col. Larry James (chief psychologist at Guantánamo) made the case that “if you remove psychologists from these facilities, people will die.””
A Telesur report that contextualizes the attitudes and actions in South America that are helping create a new political reality down south: “Bolivian President Evo Morales said regional cooperation is the key to overcoming economic aggression toward Latin America by the U.S., in an exclusive interview with teleSUR from Argentina.“We are going to confront this economic aggression, together” Morales said, explicitly referring to pressures the United States has put on Latin America. “It is not a coincidence that the oil price is falling … It is not a coincidence that Argentina faces the problem with vulture funds.””
A Crime Report brief stating that polls state, by a large majority, that schools and other social service organizations should address reform and thus imply that funding should go from the prison industrial complex to organizations dedicated to the common good: “More than eight in 10 respondents (85 percent) in the poll agreed that status offenders should not be sent to corrections facilities. It was a sentiment that crossed party-lines, according to Pew.”
A Columbia Journalism Review article that lays out the risks and deficiencies involved in letting millionaires with no real feel for the business of media run the roost, with predicable consequences, such as what occurred recently at a long-standing outfit: “It’s been difficult for me to read the news about the mass exodus at The New Republic and the implosion at First Look Media and not feel a certain level of affinity with the editors involved. Of course, GOOD was neither a magazine with a 100-year history nor a new upstart founded by someone from the tech world. But it was a media company with a new, and increasingly common, type of owner: A guy with little patience, lots of money, and ever-changing expectations.”
A Conversation piece that examines the potentials and ramifications of artificial intelligence to go beyond automated tasks, and towards processing language, semantics, and other creative processes: “The challenge for an artificial intelligence that attempts to write literature is the processing of language and semantics. While sophisticated systems like Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana can react to basic spoken phrases, the ambiguity of meaning in language is difficult for a machine to learn. Add to this the use of figures of speech, metaphor, and other cultural references, not to mention the characters, their speech and relationships and a coherent well paced story arc with the branching narrative twists and turns that are needed in a good novel, and we are arguably still some way from the first best-selling book totally written by a machine.”
A Gigaom piece that talks about instant translations in real time now available through a common, free internet communication platform, and the ramifications this has over both international communication and the field of translation generally: “But as any science fiction fan can attest, the potential applications of real-time translation go way beyond education. It could be invaluable for businesses that need to coordinate teams internationally, and the same technology has the potential to completely change the way tourism works.”
An Unreasonable.is posting that asks readers to question what and how they consume what they read in the media world, and argues that any self respecting thinker – and writer – must learn or cultivate the skills necessary to parse truth from propaganda: “Conglomerates own film studios, television and radio stations, billboard companies, many newspapers and magazines, and an internet start-up or two… because, well, why not? No one seems to care enough to stop them. If you think this an issue of public interest worthy of democratic debate, too bad. Those who own 90 percent of the podia and the microphones are not so keen on debate, you see. They would rather their lobbyists sort things out with your congress-folk and spare you the oh-so-boring and complicated details of deregulation and spectrum giveaways, freeing more of your time for shopping, jacking off to Jack Bauer torture-porn, or discharging the onerous responsibilities of owning a fantasy sports team.”
A Gigaom offering that spells out the possibilities available in niche media business, in contrast to other popular views that hold that the big outfits are consuming all the smaller ones: “The cost of starting a digital-media entity, even a potentially successful one, has never been lower. Ask Jessica Lessin, who left the Wall Street Journal to start The Information, or Lara Setrakian of News Deeply, or Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Dish, who is now making close to $1 million a year from his readers — or blogger Ben Thompson, who went from being a relative unknown to running his own self-financed blog company. As Thompson put it in a recent post on his site Stratechery:”
A Technology Review article that shows the potentials for solar power, and the use of technologies to bring this about: “Soitec is one of several companies attempting to lower costs by making solar cells more efficient, so fewer are needed to generate the same amount of power. That cuts installation costs, which can account for more than half the cost of solar power (see “Solar Panels That Configure Themselves”). The challenge is achieving high efficiencies without significantly increasing the cost of making the cells.”
A Think Progress piece that shows the backlash police departments are taking against sports figures publicly showing their disgust at recent police shenanigans in Ferguson, etc: “Now, the Cleveland police union is demanding an apology from Hawkins and the Browns, saying that players like Hawkins don’t understand the law enough to take a stand.
“It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” Jeff Follman, the president of the Police Patrolman Union in Cleveland, said in a statement to Cleveland news station newsnet5. “They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.””
A The Hill article that talks about the effect that Senator Warren’s stance had on the rest of the senate floor: “The reason for Clinton’s silence, some of her staunchest supporters say, is that she likely supported the spending bill — even if she didn’t want to go on record with that support.
“I don’t think she would have considered the legislation deeply flawed,” said one ally. “She would have some issues with it, of course, and she’d think that it’s not a perfect bill but I don’t think she would have taken Warren’s stance.”
An Information Clearing House essay by a clinical psychologist essay that examines the role that Ayn Rand’s work and philosophy has had in shaping the ills of our society: “Only rarely in U.S. history do writers transform us to become a more caring or less caring nation. In the 1850s, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was a strong force in making the United States a more humane nation, one that would abolish slavery of African Americans. A century later, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) helped make the United States into one of the most uncaring nations in the industrialized world, a neo-Dickensian society where healthcare is only for those who can afford it, and where young people are coerced into huge student-loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. “
Despite the indisputable fact that no individual exists as a product of her own inspiration or his own isolated labors, seeking help and input, forming networks that allow greater empowerment, and all such attempts to collaborate remain among the most difficult of endeavors in a world for the owners of which alienation is a key tactic of divide-and-conquer rule.
Quote of the Day
“Human nature is almost unbelievably malleable, responding accurately and contrastingly to contrasting cultural conditions. …We may say that many, if not all, of the personality traits which we have called masculine or feminine are as lightly linked to sex as are the clothing, the manners, and the form of headdress that a society at a given period assigns to either sex.” Margaret Mead.
This Day in History
Five hundred eighty-three years back, Henry of England the sixth Tudor King of that name, underwent a crowning ceremony at Notre Dame, in Paris, to become the King of France; Vasco da Gama five hundred seventeen years ago persisted past the point at which earlier mariners had given up and rounded the Cape of Good Hope, discovering the quickest sea route to South Asia from Europe until the opening of the Suez Canal; precisely a century and a year later, in 1598, in East Asia allied Korean armies and Japanese navies conclusively defeated Chinese forces in the Seven Year War, establishing an ongoing tripolar power dynamic in East Asia that, off and on, has continued to the present; three and a quarter centuries before the here-and-now, the English Parliament passed a Bill of Rights that established the powers of the British legislature vis a vis the crown; two hundred forty-one years back, Boston-area residents dressed as Native Americans boarded boats in Boston Harbor to dump masses of crated tea into the sea as a protest against the Tea Act;
two years after that, in 1775, the baby girl uttered her first cry who would later publish a string of popular novels as Jane Austen; South of St. Louis two hundred three years prior to the present pass, one of the strongest earthquakes in U.S. history struck near the town of New Madrid, Missouri, the effects of which extended five hundred miles or more in every direction; a hundred seventy-six years ago, European Afrikaners defeated Zulu fighters at the Battle of Blood River, en route to dominance of Southern Africa; Wilhelm Grimm, the folklorist and publisher of anthologies of fairy tales, culminated his life a hundred fifty-five years ago; four years afterward, in 1863, the baby boy was born who grew up to become Spanish philosopher George Santayana; an infant male came into the world a hundred forty-eight years back who would grow up to become painter and thinker Vassily Kandinsky; one hundred fourteen years ago, the infant was born who matured as novelist and literary philosopher V.S. Pritchett; a single year hence, in 1901, the baby girl entered the world who would to on to become renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead; a century and seven years before this day, a fleet of U.S. battleships embarked on a round-the-world cruise to demonstrate the global military potential of the United States; eleven years subsequently exactly, in 1918, leaders of Lithuania declared the country a Socialist Soviet Republic; eighty-six years ago, an infant boy took his first breath on his way to becoming Philip K. Dick, acclaimed storyteller and science-fiction aficionado; eight years further along, in 1936, a baby boy was born who would become famed civil rights leader and attorney against the Ku Klux Klan, Morris Dees;a team of researchers at Bell Labs, working on both government and private contracts, completed their development of the first practical solid state transistor prototype; General William Westmorland forty-nine years ago, called for almost 250,000 additional troops from his superior, Secretary of the Department of Defense Robert McNamara, and British writer W. Somerset Maugham died; three years precisely after that, in 1968, the Catholic Church officially rescinded its four centuries old order to expel all Jews from Spain; Pakistan suffered a twin defeat forty-three years back when East Pakistan successfully declared its independence as Bangladesh and India won the war between the forces of Islamabad and the armies of the Subcontinent; in the first metropolitan loan default since the Great Depression, thirty-six years ago, Cleveland declared bankruptcy and an inability to repay its loans and bonds; two decades later to the hour, in 1998, novelist and critic William Gaddis died; seven years prior to today, poet and songwriter Dan Fogelberg breathed his last.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
"human sexuality" repression "social control" versus "sexual "liberation OR "sex positive" history analysis "political economy" = 3,810 Hits.
TOP OF THE FOLD
ONLINE DICONNECTS FROM OFFLINE REALITIES
http://thesouthlawn.org From the soulful and brilliant thinkers at South Lawn, at once an exemplar of the dysfunction that characterizes current media and a cry for more incisive and accurate reporting and understanding of the connections and disconnections among media, social justice, and history: “I am familiar with these conditions, because poverty has always been a part of my family. But living in Alabama will radicalize anyone who gives a damn about poverty and the working class. So when I had heard that some folks within the social justice community on Twitter had simultaneously deleted their accounts, I rolled my eyes. I left Twitter over a month ago because the constant infighting and escalating stupidity of many people in that space became too much to deal with. I knew these people as bullies; folks that would fly off the handle at the slightest of disagreements. I saw them harass someone off Twitter for the crime of being a white woman on a natural hair site. I saw them malign a Black writer for calling out a writer for Colorlines over her defense of catcalling, then malign him for being in an interracial relationship. I saw them ask, in the middle of Israel’s bombing of Palestinian women, children, schools, and basic infrastructure needed to live, why they had not tweeted about Marissa Alexander.”
NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS
2014: A YEAR IN REVIEW
By Larry Goldbetter
Independent freelance writers continue to move from the margins to the mainstream. In fact, contingent workers will exceed 40 percent of the US workforce by 2020 as traditional full-time jobs with benefits become harder to find, according to an Intuit 2020 report. Our members are part of a growing wave of contingent, precarious workers—the precariat—who for the moment do not have collective bargaining, and are seeking alternate ways to win respect and financial security for our work.
Our main job is to build a fighting union that can represent all freelancers, in all genres, on all platforms.
The Stoneslide Corrective pays for stories upon publication. Authors will be paid $250 for short fiction and short narrative non-fiction, and $100 for flash pieces up to 1,000 words. Welcomes submissions.
Daily Science Fiction is a professional publication of science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, and more. If you’d like to submit your original stories or artwork for publication, this is the place.
East of the Web accepting submissions on a rolling basis. Does not look to be a paying market. Many genres: children’s, crime, romance, general fiction, etc.
The Temple (Texas) Daily Telegram seeks an experienced pressroom manager to join its team…The successful candidate will be a quality-conscience, hands-on manager who understands the importance of regular maintenance and training. They will serve as a lead operator for several shifts each week.
Houston, TX – Upstream, the international oil and gas weekly newspaper, is seeking an energetic, focused journalist to join its North American bureau as a full-time reporter located in Houston, Texas…. Candidates should be able to work independently to produce consistent, clean news copy under tight deadlines. Regional and international travel is possible.
Measure, analyze and recommend strategies leveraging audience, platform and competitive data. Primary areas of data mining, interpretation, modeling and projection include sites, mobile devices, apps, authenticated viewing, and cross-platform measurement for all screens.
Calkins Media is a family-owned media company with television broadcasting, newspaper publishing and digital operations in the Northeast and Southeast. During the last three years, the company’s newspaper operations in Philadelphia have developed significant capabilities in its video news and entertainment creation.
A Telesur offering that analyzes the skewed ways that mainstream media portrays urgent events ocurring in the world on a daily basis, and their ramifications: “These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.”
A Counterpunch piece that discusses the ways governments discourage scientists from disclosing information: “Harper maintains similar procedures, with scientists unable to speak directly to the press without prior authorization from public relations higher-ups.Unlike the Harper rules, EPA Science Advisory Board members do not work directly for the U.S. government. Instead, they serve as advisors for U.S.environmental policy, but almost all members work full-time at U.S. universities, corporations or environmental groups.Critics say muzzling of these scientists matters because they make policy decisions with real-world impacts on society.”
A Truly Free Film blog post outlining predictions for what the upcoming film environment will look like in 2015, interesting ideas for anyone interested in media: “So what I do I predict this year for the years ahead? In examining this list, take in mind that I am not advocating for these developments, nor am I ranking them. I just took the moments needed to examine where we are today, what’s been said, and where it may all lead. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and where you think it may go too.”
An Inside Philanthropy article showing the ways that private philanthropy can taint curriculum taught in schools, to the detriment of truth and education: “The Charlotte Observer reported recently that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction plans to recommend that schools in the Tar Heel State adopt standards developed by the Bill of Rights Institute for a state-mandated social studies course on founding principles. The Bill of Rights Institute received a $100,000 sole-source contract from the state to develop materials for teachers to use in the course. A sole-source contract means no other group was involved in developing the curriculum.”
A Guardian interview of longstanding professor, activist and revolutionary Angela Davis, who shares her views on Ferguson and other matters: ““This is classic Davis – offering bracing analysis that, instead of blaming someone else, puts responsibility for changing the world in our hands. For all that Davis was the late 60s/early 70s radical who stuck it to the man, for all that her indomitable spirit and iconic hairdo made her a poster girl for African-Americans, feminists and anyone with a radical consciousness, this is perhaps Davis’s key significance now – a woman who comes at the hottest political issues from unexpected and inspiring angles.””
A Monthly Review report on austerity and the state of capitalism today, and a brief but incisive critique on how all came to pass: “In responding to austerity, ever more people find their way to a critical understanding of capitalism. Beyond blaming individuals or groups, such people condemn the system, capitalism, whose structure of incentives (rewards and punishments) drives their behaviors. That system brought the 2007/2008 crisis. It then delivered trillions in government bailouts to fund its survival. And now austerity serves to shift the costs of crisis and bailouts onto the general public. Austerity is today’s hot issue not only because it affects practically everyone, but also because it touches the foundations of economy and society.”
A fascinating MIT Tecnology Review interview of one of the few outspoken feminists in Silicon Valley, who publishes a fascinating and new technology publication, and is not shy about expressing what she views as the deficiencies in a white male centred tech culture: “It comes down to what their interests actually are. If their interests were better serving the world, using technology as a force for social justice, and equitably distributing technology wealth to enrich society … sure, they’d be acting against their interests. But the reality is that tech companies centralize power and wealth in a small group of privileged white men. When that’s the goal, then exploiting the labor of marginalized people and denying them access to power and wealth is 100 percent in line with the endgame. A more diverse tech industry would be better for its workers and everyone else, but it would be worse for the privileged white men at the top of it, because it would mean they would have to give up their monopoly on money and power. And they will fight that with everything they’ve got, which is why we see barriers to equality at every level of the industry.”
A sobering article from the Guardian discussing the Pandora’s box of debt that most freshmen fall into, generally unwittingly, as soon as they sign up for their first semester: ““It is possible, even likely, that this lack of knowledge will cause students to be surprised when their financial circumstances become apparent, perhaps when their first loan payment comes due,” write Akers and Chingos. They say that students who find themselves in such circumstances express regret about their college education choices.
Guardian readers have previously expressed frustration with the lack of knowledge and advice they had regarding the financing of their college education.”
A Nieman Reports offering that analyzes the tradition undergoing the task of reporting on news in foreign lands, and the changing problems and opportunities available for foreign correspondents today: “The abundance of new reporting venues has also given rise to new questions. Are outlets like Vice and BuzzFeed providing the same quality of coverage as The New York Times and The Washington Post? Given the spate of kidnappings in Syria, and the horrific killings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, are news organizations using freelancers who aren’t adequately prepared? And is it ethical to use their work without giving them the institutional benefits only big outlets can provide?”
“Truth is the management of Thomson-Reuters mismanaged their new product roll-out and are looking to cut costs. That has translated in a general decline in the quality of the news product. The comment feature has shown increasing signs of neglect, erratic in its operation, a not particularly productive feature, especially when scarce staff need to be diverted to its monitoring”
“Paid Russian shills, paid Ukrainian shills, obsessive partisan hacks from both sides of the isle, racist invective on any stories to with Ferguson and/or Black Americans in general, and you wonder why they are getting rid of comments?? Why maintain a trash heap? Expect to see more news sites follow suit as the sickening behavior seen in the comments sections grows, and spreads.”
“Sure there are plenty of dumb, partisan commenters, but there are also many interesting, intelligent ones. I often learn more in the comments than from the half-researched stories you regularly publish. Why don’t you just ban the “few bad apples”? …… Anyway, this is a dumb, short-sighted and frankly arrogant decision and I’m sure it will cost you readers. But it will avoid you having to face all the fact checkers who use the comments to point out all the obvious errors you publish. Is that your real goal?”
A Nieman Lab article that discusses the ways in which news outlets can make news more palatable to its audience, and thus possibly eliminate a problem that makes it hard to swallow for many: “We also found evidence of what we called “significant personal distress in dealing with the news.” Almost half of adults said they feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available to them. In the same study: 41 percent said they have a hard time telling what news in important; 40 percent said they don’t have time to keep up with the news; and one quarter said they find the news difficult to understand.”
A candid offering from Comment is Free by a successful indie artist made recently controversial due to certain business decisions after an epic Kickstarter campaign, who discusses the nitty-gritty of financing a musical career: “There is, though, a growing clan of transparent musicians trying to yank back the mystique-curtain on what it takes to make a living as an artist, from back in the day and more recently – sharing their private spreadsheets so that we aren’t all starting from scratch or working from hearsay. Musicians already spend our days juggling music-making with the minutiae of tour-booking, dusting off our codpieces and our back catalogues, and trying to explain our lives, souls and financial decisions to our contemporaries and – more importantly – to our fans, who trust and support us because of the transparency for which we will be criticized. Transparency – much like full-disclosure honesty in any loving human relationship – is beautiful, but it’s expensive.”
A New Yorker article that seeks to show the reason for fatigue as based as much on consciousness as physical exhaustion: “Marcora believes that this limit is probably never truly reached—that fatigue is simply a balance between effort and motivation, and that the decision to stop is a conscious choice rather than a mechanical failure. This, he says, is why factors that alter a person’s perception or motivation (monetary rewards, for example) can affect performance, even without any change in muscle capacity.”
A Rolling Stone commemorative of the legendary author, on occasion of a new movie based on a novel coming out soon: “So take it from the legion of Pynchon obsessives who have loved it: Welcome to the club. This is precisely the mood that the 77-year-old writer has labored to create over eight revered novels and novellas since the mid-Sixties, pushing his adventurous readers off their pedestals of narrative security and trust in government. “He’s fucking with you all the time,” Anderson recently said of the “anonymous” novelist — the last publicly circulated picture of the author dates back to 1955 — and he means this as a compliment. At a slender 370 pages, Inherent Vice is the quickest way into Pynchon’s oeuvre, itself the wildest adventure in postmodern letters. (The collected hardcover editions of his books weigh as much as an unruly eight-year-old in need of a nap.) So maybe it’s time to try him out. The good news: You’re already halfway there if you live for rock & roll, enjoy a good conspiracy story and can go with the voluminous flow.”
A Naked Capitalism article that tells the sad tale of Ukraine’s financial woes, in the wake of its economic intertwining with Russia and the end of lending for Ukraine: “For the first time since the change of government in Ukraine last February led to civil war in the east of the country, European bankers and multilateral fund sources acknowledge that Kiev is now likely to default on its international debts, and will seek a reorganization of its bond debt. This will hit Franklin Templeton, the US investment fund which has accumulated up to $9 billion in Ukrainian bonds on a wager to make a $4 billion profit – if the US Government guarantees full and timely repayment.”
A The Hill report that describes how citizens are fighting back against a GOP representative who does not represent their wishes in regards to new DC legislation: “The sign is from a Tumblr page devoted to helping businesses “blacklist” Harris and his aides, from his chief of staff to his staff assistants. Only his interns appeared to have been spared.”
A New York Times offering detailing the ways that robotic technology, in a context of diminishing skills and job opportunities, create uncertainty in the labour force: “Clearly, many workers feel threatened by technology. In a recent New York Times/CBS News/Kaiser Family Foundation poll of Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 who were not working, 37 percent of those who said they wanted a job said technology was a reason they did not have one. Even more — 46 percent — cited “lack of education or skills necessary for the jobs available.””
A Quartz article that casts doubt on the feasibility and wisdom of investing in BitCoin: “Some of us have argued that bitcoin actually never was a currency, but rather a plaything of speculators. When such playthings start to lose value, speculators have a tendency to abandon them en masse, which they appear to have done in this case.”
Every little bit of All-That-Is has its own unique history, which, paradoxically, has only come to pass because of its innumerable connections with other particular pieces of nature’s bounty: in fact, even approximating comprehension of individual lives must seek sense from this vast panoply of intersecting relationships that, in their entirety, add up to a specific life and time.
Quote of the Day
“I have felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it’s there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.” Freeman Dyson.
This Day in History
Today is Bill of Rights Day in the United States and, around the world, Zamenhof Day to celebrate the goals of the international Esperanto community; one thousand, four hundred eighty-one years ago, near what is now the border of Libya and Tunisia,
Byzantine armies and their ‘Hun’ mercenaries routed a Vandal force that reestablished Roman hegemony in Carthage; Mongol forces seven hundred fifty-eight years back captured a strategic fort in present-day Iran en route to their conquests in Southwest Asia; two hundred twenty-three years prior to the present pass, Virginia’s ratification of the Bill of Rights gave the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution the force of law; a hundred twenty-four years ago, U.S. agents killed Sitting Bull on a reservation, setting in motion the uprising that led to the massacre at Wounded Knee; Russia’s Soviet government and German-led forces declared an armistice on the Eastern front ninety-seven years back; six years after that precisely, in 1923, the baby boy came into the world who would grow up to become math-and-science genius Freeman Dyson; the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment’s prohibition of alcohol, a ludicrous and yet profitable move, happened in the form of a rescinding amendment eighty one years ago; in Atlanta, Georgia six years subsequently, which means 1939,Gone With the Wind had its premier showing; seventy-one years before the here and now, along a creek near Kharkiv in Ukraine, German soldiers began slaughtering 15,000 Jews; General Douglas MacArthur sixty-nine years ago announced that Shinto would no longer be permissible as Japans’ state religion; exactly three hundred sixty-five days afterward, in 1946, U.S.-backed Iranian troops stopped the formation of a Kurdish State adjacent to the territory of Azerbaijan that had formed and aligned with the Soviet Union; in Jerusalem fifty-three years ago, a jury sentenced Adolf Eichmann to death for his role in the attempt to annihilate Jews from Earth; four years later to the day, in 1965, U.S. Gemini
astronauts successfully negotiated a docking Rendezvous between two space-craft; forty-four years back, the Soviet space program’s Venusian mission accomplished the first controlled landing on a planetary surface; three years after that, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association ‘delisted’ homosexuality as a disorder or otherwise inherently ‘deviant’ behavior; five years further along to the day, in 1978, the United States officially recognized the People’s Republic of China as China, withdrawing that recognition from Taiwan; the first current-era suicide bombing occurred thirty-three years ago in Lebanon, killing several score people at the Iraqi embassy in Beirut; fourteen years ago, Ukrainians succeeded in shutting down a third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station; Christopher Hitchens breathed his last on this daythree years before this point.
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"united states" imperialism OR empire history analysis critique OR condemnation OR opposition capitalism "political economy" = 406,000 Links.
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WHAT THE VENEZUELAN PEOPLE THINK http://www.telesurtv.net FromTeleSur, an on-the-ground report from Venezuela about popular and official reaction there to the U.S. Congress’ directive to release violent protesters from imprisonment, a grassroots and governmental response that, to say the least, sternly takes issue with U.S. arrogance and gall: “The sanctioners have already been slammed by progressive governments across the region. Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa condemened them today, calling the sanctions an ‘aggression. …Senator Menendez co-sponsored the bill with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has argued that the sanctions are in the interests of the Venezuelan people. However, the bill has been slammed as a ‘gimmick’ by journalist and political analyst Z.C. Dutka from the independent news organization Venezuelanalysis.com. ‘Senators Menendez and Rubio may act as though they are speaking for the majority of Venezuelans, but the truth is they’re representing the interests of a pretty hardline faction,’ she told teleSUR English.”
NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS
PRESIDENT’S LETTER – I’m sad to report that Akil Pinckney, the longest-serving NWU employee (14 years), is leaving us to pursue his acting career full time. Everyone of you has likely interacted with him at some point. Serving as our membership-and-benefits coordinator, as well as our bookkeeper, he’s always treated everyone with the utmost care, patience and respect. A decade ago, during the mayhem of embezzlement, followed by the administratorship, he provided consistency in the national office. In 2011, when we faced a serious leadership crisis, Akil was instrumental in helping us rebuild our financial database reports and seeing us through the storm. (more here)
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
CONTESTS & SUBMISSION OPPORTUNITIES
CallforEntry.org™, also known as CaFÉ™ is a Web-based service that allows organizations and administrators to easily and cost-effectively manage artist-application and jury processes related to calls for entry and other events. The service is especially designed for use with public art projects, artist fellowships, juried visual-arts competitions, and many other types of calls for entry.
Lake Claremont Press Submissions
Lake Claremont Press invites writers to send us their book proposals. We publish nonfiction books that foster and celebrate what’s distinctive about Chicago’s history, culture, geography, built environment, people, spirit, and lore by Chicagoland authors or Chicagoland organizations with particular Chicago-centric passions, missions, and/or areas of expertise.
Ledge Hill Publisher, a small publishing house in New Hampshire, accepting manuscripts on a seemingly ongoing basis.
An announcement from Free Minds Free People in California that invites interested folks to attend, or submit workshop, panel, or assembly proposals: “We invite K-12 teachers, administrators, community-based educators, students, activists/organizers, artists, parents and academic researchers to submit proposals that address a range of education justice issues.”
A HASTAC article relating a fascinating glimpse into the world of digital storytelling, from its inceptions in the 90s through today, providing much to mull over for scrappy scribes everywhere: “This model for learning aims to capture interest and engagement, then helps build mental models through contextual exploration and simulation, and finally validates the models with supporting reference information and data.”
A Telesur brief about a soon-to-be-hosted multi-nation gathering in Venezuela, with pan-American unity as one of its goals: “In an interview with Venezuelan based news outlet Correo del Orinoco, Bolivar said that the event will take place from January 28 to January 30 and will discuss issues related to history, geography, integration and cooperation in the region.”
An In These Times article that details the efforts of young people to mete justice out to torturers and brutal power abusers by involving the UN, a development which results as yet another ripple caused by the Ferguson case: “Willis is adamant that international pressure can have a real impact. For example, many think that Cold War competition helped spur the Civil Rights Act, as the United States responded to Soviet charges that racial discrimination was akin to Nazism.
So what about Ferguson and the issue of police violence? The nationwide protests over the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner—and the failure of grand juries to indict—have put the United States under an uncomfortable spotlight. “The UN can’t really do anything to the U.S.,” says Willis. “But I’ve learned global public opinion is very powerful.””
A Truth Out preview of a thorough new volume by a Canadian journalist that seeks to truthfully investigate the cause and the reality behind the purported ‘war on drugs’ occurring South of U.S. borders, including such reasons as curbing dissent and border control: “Beriah Empie and Lydia Anne M Bartholow use a Trojan horse analogy to describe the purpose of the war on drugs. “Despite the lack of evidence of a national narcotics issue, the war on drugs was the White House’s Trojan horse for intensified federal involvement in policing. It allowed Nixon to deliver on his campaign rhetoric of being tough on crime while stifling organized political rebellion.”
A CityLab article that discusses the bigoted ignorance of metro Atlanta residents who would sacrifice civic well-being and a more liveable city for petty unfounded fears of “unsavory people”: “It is ironic that rail access is actually found to reduce crime in the representative white suburban neighborhood, because most of the opposition to rail transit has come from white suburban residents.”
A Good interview with one of the popular crowdfunding site’s principals that contextualizes its past and speculates regarding its future, in the context of recent media stunts and controversial happenings: “I think it’s being honest. People understand that there is a true spirit, at the center of all of this.. How do we apply that old spirit to the new challenges that come up? I think people have a decent albeit vague sense of our integrity and what that spirit means.”
A Columbia Journalism Review reportage that relates the creation of a new Knoxville publication by the three former editors of the recently shuttered Metro Pulse, banking on having a new, less oppressive, less corporate business structure allow for success: “The aim, editor Coury Turczyn says, is to fill a need for investigative and long-form journalism, and to create an independent publication insulated from the constraints of corporate publishing.”
A Pando Daily call to end the harrassment and smear campaign their writers have suffered from proponents of a popular, Navy-created anonymous web browser, which helps to cast doubt over use of browser as much as its dubious beginnings do: “As I explained, prominent members of the Tor community had been attempting to spread false and highly defamatory stories about Pando writers, apparently in order to distract from the actual substance of our coverage of their funding sources. Shockingly, even the Guardian was briefly fooled into repeating the smears, before issuing a correction over what a senior editor described as a “fuck up.”
Unfortunately, my call for the debate to be refocussed on the actual substance of our reporting has apparently failed on deaf ears. Earlier today, the Intercept’s Micah Lee, a Tor supporter who I cited in my post, went back on the offensive, repeating on his blog the now entirely disproven smear that Pando writers had orchestrated harassment against a female Tor developer.”
An AWL story about the invalidating and almost totalitarian culture that suffused the tech and venture capital world, which betrays that same disrespectful and antidemocratic environment so dangerous in other sociopolitical contexts where greater people-oversight would improve life for all: “Stfu & build something” is probably great advice to engineers or prospective startup founders. All it means, in that context, from boss to employee, or peer to peer, or even competitor to competitor, is “ok, cool, now shut the fuck up and do your job.”
But somewhere in the internalization process “stfu & build something” gets turned into a default pose: a mindset, an ethos, and an answer to all criticism; a hybrid of the authoritarian’s “you wouldn’t understand” and the financier’s “you couldn’t do what I do.””
A Library of Congress blog that details the marathon poetry reading that commemorated the celebrated poet’s life and work: “The event, held in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, was the brainchild of Eleanor Elson Heginbotham, Professor Emerita of English at Concordia University and board member of the Emily Dickinson International Society. Dr. Heginbotham, who previously coordinated several marathon readings of Dickinson’s entire poetic oevre–some 1,789 poems–gave a brief introduction to Dickinson’s life before turning the stage over to the first reader of the day, From the Catbird Seat‘s very own guest blogger Rebecca Newland.”
A Chronicle of Higher Education article that sheds some light on the sobering realities of those seeking a career as faculty of an Arts and Sciences college or university, in stark contrast with a highly lauded but erroneous academic labor study published decades ago: “In order to accommodate this baseless core assumption, Bowen attributed free-market ideology to other data: Faced with the evidence that soaring numbers of grad students were compelled to take nonacademic jobs, Bowen erroneously attributed “free choice” to their involuntary dislocation. This error led to an even larger, and even more fictitious, projected shortfall in job candidates, because Bowen reckoned that
doctoral programs would naturally have to expand in order to accommodate all of these people he believed were “choosing” to leave the academy.”
A Chronicle Vitae offering of a subject matter near and dear to all writers’ hearts: “First, let’s get something straight from the outset: Negative feedback on your writing will always sting. It’s hard to read those comments even once, let alone to revisit them throughout the already arduous revision process. And it’s absolutely normal to have a bad response to a bad review. “
media outlet which seeks to include digital options and community participation even more than it already has: “”In the old days people would invest millions of dollars and thousands of scientists in closed labs, with their own patents and they don’t share that knowledge or open it up.
“But the new thing is that we have a community, there are people out there who are interested in the intersection between technology and media, just in general, and we thought why would we even want to compete with such a thing? It doesn’t make sense. So we thought, let’s empower them.””
A MediaPost look into a common, yet potentially unfounded fear that almost all humans now have reason to contemplate through their choice in technology: “However, decades of research have failed to produce evidence that this is actually the case, and this week brought news of yet another study showing that mobile devices probably aren’t bad for your health (well, aside from the well-known risks of walking into traffic, texting while driving, getting eaten by bears, and the like).”
A World Socialist Web Site article that critiques Putin’s annual address to Russian parliament that occurred early December: “Notwithstanding the nationalist claptrap in Putin’s speech, the class character of the Kremlin’s response to the country’s crisis was on display when he announced a series of measures “to improve the business climate.” This included a four-year moratorium on all changes to tax law, an easing of commercial regulations, tax exemptions and subsidies for small and medium businesses, and an “amnesty,” i.e., an exemption, from tax and criminal penalties for offshore capital returning to Russia.”
A graphics-rich MIT Technology Review glimpse into a technologically innovative coal plant which, in spite of reduced output and higher costs at this time, could show a plausible road for cleaner energy that could rival, if not surpass, the benefits of the renewable energies now available: “CCS should get cheaper over time. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the panel of climate scientists convened by the United Nations, projects that technology upgrades and economies of scale should reduce the price of adding CCS to coal plants to just one-third of what SaskPower spent at Boundary Dam. If so, CCS-equipped coal plants could deliver electricity more cheaply than some other low-carbon sources, including offshore wind power and large solar farms.”
A News Wise news item that reports on findings of a Montreal study using neuroscience and genetic screening to determine the role that genetics, coupled with a negative home environment, have on producing personalities more liable to demonstrate predatory and antisocial behaviors: “Every single high school student aged 17 to 18 years old in Västmanland, a Swedish county, was invited to participate in the study, and 1,337 agreed to do so. They anonymously completed questionnaires reporting on delinquency, family conflict, experiences of sexual abuse, and the quality of their relationship with their parents. They also provided a sample of saliva from which the researchers extracted DNA. “
A TechCrunch article that whimsically shows the conditions of the world of venture capital today, as a treasure map out of a Robert Louis Stevenson or fantasy series tome: “The map that follows is no ordinary map, because the Realm of Venture is no ordinary place. What used to be simple – go to Sand Hill Road and meet some VCs – has become incredibly complex.”
Divided within ourselves, how can we unite with each other? Mistrustful of our own inclinations and motivations, how can we find the capacity to trust most others’ good will? In such a context, we face stark choices: we can open our hearts and minds both to analyzing how these patterns have emerged and to finding the capacity in so doing to forgive ourselves and thereby trust others, or we can kiss goodbye the ineffable miracle of grace that we call life on Earth.
Quote of the Day
“US foreign policy could be best defined as follows: kiss my arse or I’ll kick your head in. It is as simple and as crude as that. It can hardly be said to be a complicated foreign policy. What is interesting about it is that it is so incredibly successful. It possesses the structures of disinformation, use of rhetoric, distortion of language, which are very persuasive, but are actually a pack of lies. It is very successful propaganda. They have the money, they have the technology, they have all the means to get away with it, and they do. I find the ignorance in the US, really quite deep. It is not only the Republican Party and government in the US which are responsible for this state of affairs, but I see the Democrats as only differing by degrees.” Harold Pinter.
This Day in History
One thousand three hundred eighty-seven years ago, more or less to the day, a Byzantine imperial force engaged and defeated a Persian army in a temporarily decisive conflict over predominance in the region of present day Turkey and the Persian Gulf; nine hundred eighteen years back, in an action of the First Crusade, Christians fought through the walls at Ma’arrat al-Numan and slaughtered tens of thousands of residents there, allegedly then, when their food supplies began to run low resorting to cannibalism in the aftermath; two hundred twenty-seven years before the here-and-now, Pennsylvania became the second U.S. State, after Delaware, to ratify the Constitution; a baby boy came into the world two hundred nine years ago, who took the name William Lloyd Garrison, growing up to become a publisher of The Liberator and a leader of abolitionists; across the Atlantic and one hundred ninety three years before today, a male infant was born whom his parents christened Gustave Flaubert, destined to become a major force in literature as he matured; a hundred forty-four years back, a second Black Congressman went to Washington to represent Reconstruction South Carolina; a century and a quarter ago, the beloved English poet, Robert Browning, breathed his last; Guglielmo Marconi a hundred thirteen years prior to the present pass received the initial transatlantic radio signal at a lab in Newfoundland; a decade after exactly, in 1911, India moved its capitol from Calcutta to Delhi, and England’s King George and ‘Queen Consort’ Mary became Emperor and Empress of India; four years further on, in 1915, the Western-backed ‘President’ of the Chinese Republic pronounced that he was restoring the monarchy, with himself as emperor; seventy-nine years ago, Heinrich Himmler promulgated a program, Lebensborn, through which ‘racially pure’ German kids would issue more frequently, as a result of liaisons between upper class fellows and wholly Aryan unmarried German women; four years down the pike, in 1941, Adolf Hitler indicated at a staff meeting of the Reich upper echelon that the extermination of Jews was imminent; a half-century hence, in 1991, the Russian Federation became independent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; fifteen years ago, the widely read and critically respected novelist Joseph Heller died; three hundred sixty-five days afterward, in 2000, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Bush v. Gore, making George Bush the President-Elect; North Korea two years back launched its first satellite to attain an Earth orbit.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
mexico afghanistan colombia vietnam OR "southeast asia" heroin OR cocaine OR opium OR marijuana "military industrial complex" OR empire OR imperialism "foreign policy" "political economy" analysis history = 1,850,000 Citations.
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PRISON AS EMPIRE’S PARADIGM
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org An MRZine missive from a prisoner of conscience, who has purposefully trespassed repeatedly to protest the legalized murder of the war that the U.S. practices as policy, most recently on a Missouri base that flies drone killing-machines that, on average, hit their intended target less than four percent of the time, therefore killing ‘unintentional victims’ over ninety-five percent of the time, who in this essay ties together imprisonment and murder-with-impunity: “The U.S. is the undisputed world leader in incarceration, as it is the world leader in military dominance. Only one in 28 of drone victims are the
intended, guilty or innocent, targets. One third of women in prison worldwide are, at this moment, in U.S. prisons. The crimes that most threaten the safety and livelihood of people in the U.S. of course remain the crimes of the powerful, of the corporations that taint our skies with carbon and acid rainfall, peddle weapons around an already suffering globe, shut down factories and whole economies in pursuit of quick wealth, and send our young people to war.
Chief Executive Officers of major corporations that produce products inimical to human survival will most likely never be charged, much less convicted of any crime. I don’t want to see them jailed. I do want to see them rehabilitated.
Each time I’ve left a U.S. prison, I’ve felt as though I was leaving the scene of a crime. When I return to the U.S. from sites of our war-making abroad, I feel the same way. Emerging back into the regular world seems tantamount to accepting a contract, pledging to forget the punishments we visit on impoverished people. I’m invited to forget about the people still trapped inside nightmare worlds we have made for them.”
WRITER’ VILLAGE SHORT STORY CONTEST http://www.writers-village.org/ ENTRY FEE £15 (approx $24). Every entrant wins because everyone, win or lose, gets personal feedback on how their story was graded. Deadline December 31, 2014. First Prize £1,000 ($1,600), Second Prize £500 ($800), Third prize £250 ($400) and 5 short-listed entrants will win prizes of £50 ($80).
NIGHTLIGHT READING WRITERS CONTEST http://www.nightlightreading.org/writing-contest/ NO ENTRY FEE. Nightlight Reading’s goal is to fund and promote literature that appeals to boys and keeps them engaged and reading. Short stories limited to 5,000 words. Theme is Adventure. Deadline December 31, 2015. First Prize: $1,000 award plus certificate and publication of the story.
LLINOIS ARTS COUNCIL http://www.arts.illinois.gov/AFA-Program The Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) is pleased to announce the release of the Fiscal Year 2015 guidelines for individual artist programs. ARTIST FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM recognizes exceptional artists who have created a substantial body of work throughout their career by providing awards to support continued artistic growth. The application deadline is December 15, 2014.
ARTS CENTER OF YATES COUNTY http://ycac.org/artists.php?page=artistinresidence This program is open to visual artists, creative writers, performance artists and interdisciplinary artists who can demonstrate professional standing in their field. This residency is an award supported by the Arts Center of Yates County offering a 10-day use of the Sunny Point facility located on Keuka Lake in upstate New York.
BAU INSTITUTE FELLOWSHIP RESIDENCIES http://www.artistcommunities.org BAU Institute offers residencies in France and Italy to provide uninterrupted time and space for the development of new work in settings of cultural interest and extraordinary natural beauty. Online applications are accepted between November 17, 2014 and February 15, 2015 at 11:59PM EST online via submittable: https://bauinstitute.submittable.com/submit . There is a $40 application fee
A Telesur Report that outlines the importance of continuing to inquire into the assassination of Walter Rodney that occured in the context of many other suspicious deaths during a fascist moment in Guyana’s history: “The Caribbean and the Central American Region has not yet healed from the decades of state sponsored violence that continued throughout the region of Central America and the Caribbean. The friends and family of Walter Rodney had pushed for this Commission of Inquiry as part of the process of truth telling and healing in Guyana and the Caribbean. However, there are powerful forces in Guyana that are afraid of the truth, hence the vacillation of some sectors of the political class in Guyana about the future of the Commission of Inquiry. Below, we summarize the key developments of the Commission of Inquiry since it started its hearings in April 2014.”
A chiding criticism from the Conversation of the recent blockbuster hit that fails to hide the fear that certain members of society feel regarding the powerful outlet of revolutionary energy that, even if ‘simplistic and infantile’, nevertheless is real and threatening to the status quo: “Despite these heady sentiments, the film’s depiction of revolution is astonishingly simple, an adolescent vision of toppling an “evil” authority figure. … And worryingly, it appears that this sort of adolescent rebellion isn’t just consigned to teenage entertainment, but also increasingly forms our real adult fantasies.”
A HASTAC assessment of a recent conference discussing new models, methods, and media for creating dissertations in today’s academic world: “The main #remixthediss event page remains available at bit.ly/remixthediss. We invite everyone—whether you attended or not—to read and add to the growing list of models and the thought-provoking questions and discussion that the event sparked. We have also posted the video for anyone who was unable to join us”
A Newswise review of a fun, instructive book that shows the role of even complex scientific concepts in everyday life: “He hopes the book will inspire readers to use their inner scientists in a more conscious way to inform their decision making.
“The scientific process is the most powerful tool we have for understanding and improving the world we live in, and it’s something everybody can use to make things better for us all,” he said.”
A Foreign Policy in Focus treatise on the role that neoliberalism has played in promoting even worse inequality than even previous dictatorial schemes: “Even more than dictatorships, Western-style democracies are, we are forced to conclude, the natural system of governance of neoliberal capitalism, for they promote rather than restrain the savage forces of capital accumulation that lead to ever greater levels of inequality and poverty. In fact, liberal democratic systems are ideal for the economic elites, for they are programmed with periodic electoral exercises that promote the illusion of equality, thus granting the system an aura of legitimacy.”
From the New Yorker, an article about an English iconoclast’s anarcho-egalitarian reinterpretation of fairy tales so as to inculcate youth with a revolutionary consciousness: ““The Pied Piper,” Brand explained, is an extension of his radical message: Hamelin is a hotbed of materialism, and the Piper comes to stoke revolution. “My hope,” he said, “is that children will put down this book and pick up ‘Manufacturing Consent.’ ” He plans to roll out more politicized fairy tales, including “Rumpelstiltskin””
A Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists offering that questions the wisdom of keeping nuclear weapons and endangering its citizenry: “In fact, the existence of nuclear weapons violates the social contract by making it impossible for governments to protect their citizens. Just one nuclear bomb would cause thousands of deaths; war plans call for at least 50 bombs in a single launch. The doctrine of launch-on-warning—providing for nuclear missiles to be launched in retaliation even before the enemy’s bombs have landed, allowing for no deliberation—guarantees even more extensive carnage. Untold numbers of civilians would suffer and die in a nuclear genocide.”
A Pew Research Center piece that details the struggles that the New Republic has with remaining relevant, a fate that other niche news publications share: “The New Republic’s troubles are reflected in the data for its fellow niche news magazines, which all target an elite audience consisting of older, educated and wealthier readers. “
A CityLab report that tells of the huge benefits of living in a city that has an infrastructure that supports walking – from health, economics, crime, and civic engagement: “Ever since Jane Jacobs’ classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urbanists have extolled the ideal of the dense, mixed-used, walkable neighborhood, contrasting it with the dull and deadly cul-de-sacs of car-oriented suburbs.
If walkability has long been an “ideal,” a recent slew of studies provide increasingly compelling evidence of the positive effects of walkable neighborhoods on everything from housing values to crime and health, to creativity and more democratic cities.”
A Global Voices assessment of Japan’s recently signed State Secrecy Act, and its repercussions for free expression: “Under the new law, government workers who divulge information that has been classified as state secrets can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, abetters up to five. Critics fear the policy will threaten journalists and watchdog organizations, carrying a chilling effect that could deter them from doing their jobs.”
A tongue-in-cheek review from Pando Daily of a new technology/nostalgia hybrid tool: “But what’s not to love about a writing tool that allows me to leave the laptop at home and punch a keyboard a few thousand times without having to bother with emails from companies I can’t stand, tweets from people who couldn’t bother to read an entire post, and notifications from the half-dozen services I have running in my browser at all times?”
thanks to the invasive and anti-democratic legislation that internet monopolies tried to shove down everyone’s throats: “After a dramatic shift in the debate over net neutrality last month, many expect the FCC will reclassify internet providers so as to bar them from giving special treatment to some websites over others. The question now becomes how much (if at all) the agency’s decision, which turns on an arcane process called Title II, will cost consumers.Depending on who you ask, the answer is that Title II, which would treat internet providers akin to public utilities, will be ruinously expensive — or will have little financial impact at all.”
A Denver Business Journal publication that relates the fact, and the possible true motivations, behind the talk of reviving a 150-year-old tabloid newspaper shuttered in 2009: “Following the closure of the Rocky, as it was commonly known, in 2009, Anschutz quietly purchased the rights to use its nameplate; its Internet address, or URL (uniform resource locator); and other “intellectual property” of the newspaper, McKibben said. …. The closure of the Rocky ended a fierce, nearly century-long newspaper war between the Rocky and The Denver Post, which continues to operate as Denver’s only daily.”
A piece from The Guardian that analyzes the enculturation and education processes that could most successfully help prevent more ‘Fergusons’ from occurring: “When we asked readers for your bright ideas about reform, several suggested that we need to start with our schools and ending the school-to-prison pipeline for good. Criminalizing children instills a distrust for law enforcement early, andmore cops in schools has meant more misdemeanor charges in lieu of visits to the principal’s office. Those trends also dramatically overcriminalize students of color – 70% of Americanstudents arrested for offences in school are black or Hispanic.”
A TeleSur article that announces the resuming of peacetalks between opposing Colombian forces taking place: “The peace talks between Juan Manuel Santos’ government and representatives of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) were resumed on Wednesday in Havana after being temporarily suspended due to the detention of Army General Ruben Dario Alzate along with Lance Corporal Jorge Contreras Rodriguez and lawyer Gloria Urrego.”
A symphathetic offering from Naked Capitalism putting a human face on how emiseration and downward mobility affect even the touted 1% in the world that exists today, which shows that wishing to maintain the status quo is beyond madness since the system fails even those it purportedly benefits: “In her circle, which I infer consists of people she kept in contact with from her school days, plus people she met through her children’s schools, she says she knows of no one who is not in worse shape than they were a few years ago (this includes her billionaire ex) and many are in moderate to acute stress. For the other divorced women she knows, even if they aren’t in trouble now, they can see that their assets won’t last them the 20 to 40 years of life expectancy they have, and they see no way out of their box. One of her other friends who isn’t as educated and resourceful as Karen needs to send more money to her mother and was making a serious effort to get apartment cleaning work. Another has a house she was renting out for income, but the local market changed and she was suffering a lot of vacancies. “
A News Wise article that tells of nitrous oxide’s new roles as aiding in clinical depression: “In 20 patients who had treatment-resistant clinical depression, the researchers found that two-thirds experienced an improvement in symptoms after receiving nitrous oxide. In comparison, one-third of the same patients reported improved symptoms after treatment with a placebo. The patients were evaluated on the day of and day after each treatment.
The findings, presented Dec. 9 at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Scottsdale, Ariz., were published online the same day in the journal Biological Psychiatry.”
While one would like to avoid the logical fallacy of presuming that a particular past event caused some particular subsequent occurrence, much more crucial is to shun the idiocy that the past generally has not effectuated every single eventuality of the present tense.
Quote of the Day
“The peace and justice movement has to expand and not run away from the plight of gang members. …Already this war on gangs in California is taking money from Universities to build prisons, and the Universities have some clout.” Tom Hayden.
This Day in History
Today, for those who love the highlands, is International Mountain Day; Julian, a pagan whom others called The Apostate, became the sole Roman emperor one thousand six hundred fifty-three years ago, on the cusp of his campaign against Persia, in which he died; thirteen hundred and eighty-four years back, to the day more
or less, Muhammad led an army of more than ten thousand in the conquest of Mecca; Swiss citizens and troops repulsed an unexpected invasion four hundred twelve years prior to the present pass by a combined force of Spaniards and Savoyards under Charles Emmanuel; two and a quarter centuries back, the new ‘Tarheel State’ chartered the University of North Carolina; across the Atlantic three years subsequently, in 1792, Louis XVI went on trial in Paris for treason; just a year shy of two centuries ago, the U.S. Senate formed a Finance Committee that began operation by moving toward a uniform national money; the next year, Indiana became the nineteenth State of the Union; a baby boy born a hundred fifty-eight years ago grew up with the name Georgi Plekhanov to become a noted philosopher, activist, and writer; a hundred nine years back, Ukrainina-Russian workers led an uprising in Kiev that briefly instituted a proletarian Republic in Ukraine; a hundred three years ago, a male infant christened as Maguib Mahfouz began his journey through life on his way to acclaim as a writer that yielded him a Nobel Prize; another boy-child, this time named Alexander Solzhenitsyn, seven years later, in 1918, began his journey toward literary renown as a Nobel Laureate; four years after that, in 1922, the infant girl whom her parents called Grace Goodside started her trek toward fame as a poet and writer who published as Grace Paley; eighty-seven years before the here and now, Communist Red Guards in Guangzhou led a rebellion that briefly declared a Soviet in China; four years to the day later, in 1931, England’s Parliament instituted the Statute of Westminster which established legislative equality among all the law-making bodies of the British Commonwealth; Italy left the League of Nations seventy-seven years ago as the Second Italo-Ethiopian War was beginning; two years subsequently, in 1939, a baby boy was born who grew up to achieve some fame and acclaim as a people’s champion and scribe by the name of Tom Hayden; two years later still, in 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and the U.S. reciprocated shortly thereafter; the United Nations sixty-eight years prior to this point in time formed the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Relief Fund, or UNICEF; precisely two years further down the road, in 1948, the U.N. formed a mediating body to seek to bring an end to the war in Palestine that culminated with the formation of the Nation of Israel; a half-century ago, the soulful crooner and songwriter Sam Cooke died bizarrely at only age thirty-three; Che Guevara spoke at some length forty-eight years ago in an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations about imperialism, colonialism, and the duty of citizens and the United Nations to resist these forces; Apollo 17 forty-two years back made the last moon landing that the United States carried out; thirty-four years before just this day, the U.S. Congress created the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act’s SuperFund capacity to address environmental catastrophes in localities around the United States; a mere year later, in 1981, U.S.-trained officers and U.S.-supported troops of El Salvador exterminated plus-or-minus a thousand citizens at El Mozote; thirteen years ago, China first affiliated with the World Trade Organization; five years following that, in 2006, the President of Mexico inaugurated actions supposedly against drug cartels in the State of Michoacan, and seven thousand miles away in the Persian Gulf, the President of Iran opened a conference in Tehran which contended that it wanted dialog about official narratives that concern the Holocaust, while detractors of this convention called it a “Holocaust-Denial” gathering; exactly two years hence, in 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Bernard Madoff for fraud and other crimes.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
gangs "self defense" OR grassroots OR "popular organization" history analysis "political economy" = 1,690,000 Hits.
TOP OF THE FOLD
TORTURE AS POLICY FOR HALF-A-CENTURY OR MORE
http://www.wsws.org A powerful article, at once frightening and enlightening, from New Socialist Website about a just-released Brazilian report that evidences U.S.-sponsored, U.S.-trained, and U.S.-supported torture and murder in Brazil in the aftermath of the fascist coup that the U.S. helped to finance and plan: “One day after the release of the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture in Washington, the government of Brazil officially unveiled a nearly 2,000-page report detailing the political murders, torture and other crimes carried out during two decades of dictatorship that began with a US-backed military coup in 1964. The report was prepared by a National Truth Commission set up by President Dilma Rousseff in 2012 and is based on over 1,000 interviews with victims and some of the perpetrators of the dictatorship’s crimes as well as a review of official records, including from the country’s hospitals and morgues. In a speech praising the report, Rousseff broke into tears when speaking about ‘those who lost family members, friends, companions and continue to suffer as if they died again each and every day.’ The Workers Party (PT) president was herself imprisoned by the dictatorship for three years and subjected to electric shock and other tortures after joining an urban guerrilla group while a student under the military regime.”
The Health and Environment Funders Network has created the new position of program director to develop webinars, plan events, write and shepherd social media as it relates to environmental health and justice. Apply only if you have five years of experience in one of those two area. A strong enough candidate may be able to work from home, rather than in the organization’s Silver Spring, MD, offices. See the DC Chapter website (nwu-dc.org) for more details and links.
Call to NWU Science Writers:
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) will be heading the American Association for the Advancement of Science beginning in February, and wants to expand the organization’s communication, which is currently “print-centric.” NWU science writers might be able to help him with that. If you’re interested in meeting with him or in otherwise impressing him with your smarts, contact Ann Hoffman, email@example.com.
Photo: SoCal members attend an event for Lillian’s Last Affair by Sue Katz, at end of table with arm around Sarah Forth’s shoulder. Left of Katz, Marilyn Grunwald, right of Sarah, Joe Maizlish and Eric A. Gordon, with other attendees at the reading.
READER’S DIGEST POETRY PRIZE http://www.rd.com/poetry NO ENTRY FEE. The simple rules are to craft a compelling poem, in fewer than 16 lines, that the judges deem as the best. The finalist will receive a cash prize of $500, plus publication. Deadline January 31, 2015. Open to U.S. residents ages 18 and over.
ESSAY MAMA CHRISTMAS WRITING AWARD http://www.essaymama.com/blog/essaymamas-christmas-writing-contest/ NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline December 25, 2014. The 15 best works will be added to the printed “Best EssayMama’s Stories: Christmas Edition” book and published on the best resources for writers. $330 will be given to each of the top three writers. Limit one story. Limit 4,000 words. Topic Christmas.
THE JAMES WHITE AWARD
http://www.jameswhiteaward.com/rules OPTIONAL ENTRY FEE. The James White Award is a competition for original short stories of not more than 6,000 words by non-professional writers. The closing date for entries to this year’s competition is midnight (GMT) 31 January 2015. This year’s prize is £200 plus publication in Interzone.
JOSHUA TREE HIGHLANDS ARTIST RESIDENCY https://www.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=2095 The Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency provides artists from around the world seven weeks of time and space in the desert environment surrounding Joshua Tree National Park. Open to painters, sculptors, photographers, writers and musicians. The residency bestows each artist with a place to live, a full studio to work in and a stipend to offset travel costs.
TAMPA GRANTS http://tampaarts.com/2015-artist-grants-now-accepting-applications/ Now, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County is accepting applications from local artists for grants of up to $3,000 each from its 2015 Individual Artist Grant program. The application must be received by the Arts Council on or before 5 pm, Friday, January 20, 2015.
Dems Abandonment of White Workers An Op-Ed piece from the New York Times that describes the limits and deficiencies of what the Democratic party and ‘liberal’ measures have provided to make life better for voters: “I would argue that it’s not just a question of new programs “that would buy the loyalty of the middle class for another generation.” The issues are much deeper and thornier. Over the last half-century, the Democratic Party has taken up the task of providing new life chances – an emancipation, really — for those whose situations were once seen as hopeless. Those initiatives, which expanded rights across many fronts, have had costs as well as benefits. Too often the party has failed to address tensions that grew out of the good that the party and the progressive movement in general have done.”
A shocking piece from the Guardian that tells about US military agencies’ developing social tools to help squash peaceful social protest: “A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.””
An optimistic and clearly well-funded media conference that will occur in late January and which speaks to the need to organize ourselves to be powerful grassroots media operatives: “If you’d like to join us in Cebu City, please register through the Summit web site. The registration fee is PHP 2,000 for residents of the Philippines, US$50 for residents of South East Asia outside of the Philippines, and US$75 for international participants.”
A New Health Seminar Series at Annenberg
A Newswise report that discusses a new health journalism webinar series, “Health Matters”, that begins with a provocative piece that possibly advocates for euthanasia: “USC Annenberg has launched its “Health Matters” webinar series on the website ReportingonHealth.org, its online community. It aims to improve journalists’ understanding of health policy, health reform and community health and to contribute to better health journalism that informs and engages community members and policy makers.”
A Telesur article that describes the misadventures that journalists who support social justice suffer in allegedly liberal media establishments: “The strong political movements required to abolish war, end environmental disasters and eradicate poverty will be ruthlessly attacked by the liberal media. That will be a sign that those movements have finally arrived.”
An Ecowatch offering that describes the protests surrounding a United Nations Climate Summit. which demonstrators accuse of offering falsity and toxicity as solutions to climate change: “As we end today’s show, protesters are beginning to gather in downtown Lima for what organizers hope will be the largest climate march in the history of South America. On Tuesday, Democracy Now! visited Casa de Convergencia TierrActiva, a house that has become a key organizing hub ahead of the march. Here are some of the voices from the convergence space.”
A piece from the Conversation that outlines the ways that bilingual children and immigration issues generally create clashes and discomfort in Britain, all which inevitably plays out during elections: “As the UKIP threat to Tory election chances grows ever stronger, we may expect to see our children’s multilingualism being used as a mark of their “foreignness” in the debate about immigration. But there is no substantive difference between native English speakers learning foreign languages and children learning English as an additional language.”
A critical review of a recent memoir written by a veteran public education administrator, from the Hechinger Report: “Klein has fashioned his story as David vs. Goliath. Goliath, of course, was the teachers unions, political hacks, entrenched interests, and “defenders of the status quo.” Klein—who clerked for a U.S. Supreme Court justice, was a Clinton White House insider, earned $2 million per year as chief of U.S. operations of Bertelsmann, and had the unbridled support of a mayor who spent $109 million of his own fortune to win a third term in office—was David…….Having reached the end of Klein’s 289-page book, this reader was still searching for the “inspiring blueprint for national reform” that the dust jacket promises.”
A wonderful essay from Boing Boing that honestly details both the author’s road to success, without a lot of resources, and the way that she was able to create art that had integrity: “My success would not have been possible without the internet. 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.”
An exhaustive description from Counter Currents that describes the systemic American process which creates the injustice and inequality that exists today: “Good branding aside, the “land of opportunity” has always been overrated, as has American democracy, which has been rigged for generations to produce more or less similar results. The media – with overt and covert racial supremacy displayed by the likes of Fox News – is there to ensure that consent is manufactured in such a clever way, so that ordinary Americans constantly feel trapped between a ruling class of two strands, Republicans and Democrats, all vying for votes with the ultimate goal of maintaining their privilege.”
A HASTAC announcement of an event that explores scholarship opportunities available through digital platforms: “What is a digital “book”? What does it mean to publish and read online in a time when more and more people read on their devices? How does this effect/enhance scholarly writing? How do digital tools and platforms address the shift in the way knowledge is being acquired and disseminated in the classroom, nationally and internationally?”
GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES
Early Advertising’s Push of Electrical Commodities
A curious offering from the Library of Congress, showing images and texts of advertisements aimed to gear folks during the 1912 Christmas season to buy into electric gadgets and commodities: “A lot has changed since that ad ran. Unlike shoppers from 1916 who were still discovering the practical gadgets that used electricity, I can’t imagine that today’s shoppers ever think about electricity when buying gifts.”
A graphically-rich brief from Quartz that describes the dire straits of internet access in this land dominated by fat cat cable companies: “Among the 34 member countries of the OECD, the US has the fourth most expensive fixed-line broadband services, according to new figures.”
A Washington Post piece describing the pains that the wealthy elite have taken to undercut whatever paltry campaign reforms still helped maintain a modicum of integrity in elections: “”Republican and Democratic congressional leaders have entered into a Faustian bargain to return the massive corrupting contributions raised by federal officeholders for the national parties that Congress banned in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002,” he added.”
A TeleSur offering that highlights the actions of NFL pros who publicly declare their solidarity with victims of police brutality and all those who suffer under inequality generally: “Similarly to recent shows of support by the St. Louis Rams for Ferguson victim of police brutality Michael Brown, sports stars are using slogans made popular by mass protests to display conscientiousness about Eric Garner’s death at the hands of police officers.”
A Dissent review of two monographs that seek to elucidate the role of race myth, racial discrimination, and slavery in the creation of endemic injustice in American society: “ Can historians really set aside the study of racial and sexual domination now that they have discovered the economic exploitation underlying all other history? Can they really write a better history of capitalism by simply replacing the history of the marginal with the history of the powerful? Amidst the end-of-historiography enthusiasm for the “new” history of capitalism, two recent books remind us of the enduring importance of some of the questions posed by the old history of capitalism: questions of determination, ideology, and hegemony, and of collective action, resistance, and (even) revolutionary social change.”
An article from lll that gives present day examples of how India’s ruling party plays on ethnic and social divisions in the Subcontinent, much to the detriment of both democracy and comity in India: “During the trip, I spoke with academics, analysts, journalists, university students, and common Indians. Many people with whom I met expressed lukewarm sentiments at best toward Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was swept into power by a mammoth margin. … many of my interlocutors worried that Modi, even if indirectly, will worsen India’s communal tensions. “
While the chief paradox of consciousness comes forth as a seeking of complete wisdom that will ever remain elusive, a more pointed—and more poignant—aspect of the patterns of awareness manifests as the sinister and intractable insistence—at once insidious and disingenuously ‘helpful’—that citizens generally should just sit down, shut up, and do as their ‘expert’ and authoritative superiors tell them to do, in other words give up searching for knowledge and participatory power in return for a handful of pills, a plethora of threats, and a psychological state of dulled acceptance, the equivalent of a cosmic shrug at our own disempowerment and diminution.
Quote of the Day
“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end. …During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela.
This Day in History
Today is Alfred Nobel Day in Sweden, International Human Rights Day and Animals Rights Day around the world; France, the Pope, and the Holy Roman Emperor five hundred six years ago inked an alliance to keep Venice down; two years hence, in 1510, Portuguese conquerors overran the Indian city of Goa, displacing Ottoman or local rule for four and half centuries; exactly a decade later, in 1520, Martin Luther, in Wittenberg, burned the Pope’s order that
Luther recant; three hundred thirty years back, Edmond Halley read to the Royal Society Newton’s paper on the connection between a theory of gravity and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion; France instituted a metric system two hundred fifteen years ago; Mississippi, a hundred ninety-seven years back, became the twentieth State in the United States; one hundred eight-four years back, an infant girl uttered her first cry en route to literary immortality as Emily Dickinson; a hundred fifty-three years back, the Confederate States of America recognized a rebel Kentucky legislature and claimed Kentucky as the thirteenth jurisdiction in its league, and half a world away, rebellious Vietnamese sank a French naval ship near Saigon; London installed a hundred forty-eight
years ago outside the Royal Palace the world’s first traffic lights, illuminated by gas; Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn first issued a hundred thirty years before the here and now; a girl child entered the world one hundred twenty-three years agowho would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature as Nelly Sachs; one hundred eighteen years prior to the present pass, the drama—almost absurdist—Ubu Roi premiered in Paris, a riot the response to its depictions of empires of greed and arrogance on high, and, with life’s highest compliment of imitation, Alfred Nobel died and left a legacy of prizes from his profits from dynamite; the Spanish American War two years subsequently to the day, in 1898, ended, also in Paris, with a treaty of that name; the bestowing of the first Nobel Prizes took place one hundred thirteen years back, with the literary laurels the acknowledgment of the French author, Sully Prudhomme; eight years on, in 1909, Selma Lagerlof of Sweden became the first woman to win the literature award, and legendary Narive American leader, thinker, and speaker Red Cloud breathed no more; ninety-four years back, a baby girl received the name Clarice Lispector from her Ukrainian parents and went on to literary and journalistic renown in Brazil; eighty-seven years ago, after the passage of the Radio Act of 1927 had bequeathed practically all radio operations to commercial stations, the “Grand Ole Opry,” arguably the best advertiser-supported-radio ever, went on the air for the first time under that name; Nobel Laureate Luigi Pirandello died seventy-eight years back;sixty-six years before this moment, in New York, the United Nations General Assembly almost unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, despite all evidence to the contrary, remains the measuring stick for international law in that realm of experience; a year after, to the day, Chinese Communists began the siege of the last
mainland stronghold of the U.S.-supported Nationalists, forcing Chaing-Kai-Shek and his followers to withdraw to Taiwan; forty-nine years ago in California, the Grateful Dead played its first concert under that name; two years afterward, in 1967, the iconic songwriter and performer Otis Reading exited the world; the very next year the theologian and writer Thomas Merton died, and Japan’s largest robbery ever, still unresolved, took place in Tokyo; the United Nations General Assembly thirty-eight years back adopted a convention that prohibits using tactics that deploy military or other hostile means to modify environments; two years closer to the present, in 1978, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin shared a Nobel Peace Prize for their part in the Camp David Accords; thirty-one years ago, Argentines restored democracy in the aftermath of the bloody fascist dictatorship that the U.S. had supported for seven years; six years to the day later, in 1989, Mongolia elected its first non-communist government as the Mongolian Democratic Union; one decade back, the brilliant investigative reporter Gary Webb apparently took his own life; a single year further down the road, in 2005, both the Presidential candidate and poet Eugene McCarthy and the great comedic thinker and social critic Richard Pryor drew their last breaths; three hundred sixty-five days ago, hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in Johannesburg to honor the recently deceased Nelson Mandela.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
liberation OR freedom "social equality" OR "social justice" interdependent OR intertwined OR "mutually dependent" analysis = 1,620,000 Results.
TOP OF THE FOLD
SKEPTICAL ATTITUDES TOWARD ‘OFFICIAL’ PARTNERSHIPS http://www.globalresearch.ca An absolutely essential essay-analysis from Global Researchabout the fatuous ‘inclusiveness’ that has become part and parcel of contemporary authorities’ “Media Departments,” “Public Affairs Liaisons,” and so forth, a token bridging of gaps and parting of veils that guarantees lack of real access and transparency, as here in the case of recent shootings on a Florida campus, but also in relation to such matters as CIA reports on torture and police-department attitudes toward their own licentious violence: “Why would police refer to journalists as ‘media partners’ in the affair? One of the first things a fledgling journalist learns in J-school is to take a skeptical and discerning stance in her/his reportage on public affairs and personages. Here Tallahassee police go so far as to suggest that the very publicity generated around the victims facilitated their interrogation. The ‘media partners’ remark is emblematic of the now common amalgamation of reporter and publicity hack. In the context of the similarly routine ‘active shooter’ exercises committed in the presence of unwitting bystanders, it curiously echoes a 2008 plan for carrying out a Boston Marathon-related mass casualty drill, where officials emphasized ‘[w]orking with the media … Building a longstanding relationship with journalists and reporters,’ the blueprint reads, ‘ensures that they get the right story and that they serve as a resource when needed.’
Police Records Remain Withheld
Citing an “ongoing investigation” (Section 119.071(2)(c), Florida Statute) FSU and Tallahassee police departments immediately involved in the incident have yet to release any substantive documentation addressing what actually took place in the early morning hours of November 21, 2014 in front of FSU’s campus library. Excepting press conferences and severely redacted police reports (here and here) virtually no forensic information has been made available to news media and the broader public on the incident. Such records would include closed-circuit video footage of the incident, photographs of evidence and crime scene, detailed officer and eyewitness accounts, and forensic details of May’s fatal injuries.”
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
http://careers.journalists.org A remote contractor editor and blogger from Knight and the International Center for Journalists: “The editor would oversee all content produced for the Knight blog, writing posts for the site and assigning and editing posts from the Fellows and their colleagues. The editor would work remotely on a contract basis.”
MINI-GRANTS FOR IMPROVING JOURNALISM EDUCATION
http://journalists.org/ An invitation to apply for funding for ‘laboratory’-style–in other words off-campus, outside the academic mainstream–experiments in teaching reporters the ropes: “The goal of the $1M Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education is to hack the journalism curriculum using customized versions of the teaching hospital model. The fund supports universities to partner with news organizations, and explore new ways of providing information to their local communities.”
HUMAN RIGHTS CELEBRATION FROM LOC
http://blogs.loc.gov An upcoming event, mid-February, at Library of Congress to celebrate both human rights and social justice: “In recent years the Law Library of Congress has hosted a discussion on an aspect of human rights as an annual commemoration of Human Rights Day. This year, the event will be held in February 2015, so as to also honor the U.N.’s World Day of Social Justice(February 20, 2015). Details of the program will be announced in the next few weeks; the focus will be on human rights issues in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
CHANCES TO MATTER WITH MATTER
http://matter.vc/application/ Only a week to go, but still a week to go, for applications to be part of the new Matter cohort to present one’s work in media as a pitch to the marketplace: “STEP TWO – Interview—We will select strong applicants to come in for a 30-minute interview asap. From there, if we are still intrigued, we’ll have you do our mini-project, which will simulate what it’s like to be in Matter and will help push your venture forward regardless of whether you are selected or not. You’ll present your mini-project results in a one-hour long deep dive with us in a semifinalist interview. Successful applicants will then move on to the finalist round to be held the first week of January.”
ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
PBS’s ICONIC TAKE ON RICHARD PRYOR
http://video.pbs.org An astounding documentary, when an hour is barely a nibble of what one would like to hear and see, about Richard Pryor’s genius, impact, gritty realities of color and class, and so much that was breathtaking and necessary about Pryor’s work and mission, from PBS, of particular note at this moment of torture and impunity, an evolution from stunts and physical shtick to a more intellectual, political, confrontational comedy: “Richard Pryor was one of the first black men ever on television, he pioneered a new brand of humor and he was a hit. This show defines his lasting impact on comedy and culture, often in his own words, showing us why he is an :ICON.”
from Reason.Com via Contra Corner, illustrating the complexities ideological and practical of any attempt to investigate and provide a narrative for the so-called ‘War-on-Drugs,’ here in the form of assaults on and depredations against legal growers and users of medical pot, all of which is transpiring in the context of massive gains in international attempts to legalize cannabis: “Last week, I wrote about Wally Kowalski, a resident of southwest Michigan whose bank accounts were frozen, and property seized, during a police raid three months ago. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy publicized his case: Kowalski is licensed to grow medical marijuana, and state cops had spotted his growing area from a helicopter. They destroyed his plants and confiscated his expensive tools (anything they would be able to sell at police auction, he claims), but left without charging him with a crime—leaving him unable to clear his name before a judge or jury. I headlined the story, ‘Cops Seize Man’s Property, Freeze Bank Accounts—And He Wishes They Would Charge Him with a Crime.’ Shortly thereafter, police returned to Kowalski’s home in the dead of night, woke him up, and arrested him.”
A CHANCE FOR $5,000 & A BLOW AGAINST GERRYMANDERING
http://thinkprogress.org A Think Progress briefing about gerrymandering’s unsupportable corruption and how Common Cause hopes to show the Supreme Court possibilities for stopping the practice, via a contest that seeks innovative approaches in that regard: “Under existing precedents, where judges largely must allow partisan gerrymandering to continue unmolested, lawmakers have grown extraordinarily sophisticated in drawing maps that ensure that a state’s legislature or congressional delegation will bear little resemblance to the preferences of its voters. Indeed, GOP-friendly maps played a significant role in keeping the House in Republican hands during the soon-to-expire Congressional term, despite the fact that the electorate actually preferred Democrats to Republicans in 2012.”
WIND THE WAY TO GO IN ENERGY SECTOR
http://rabble.ca/ A report about our Northern neighbor from Rabble.Ca that details the various benefits that would flow from wind-energy investments at the same time that such development has little or no negative health or environmental effects that are demonstrably significant: “Health Canada says more research may be needed and we shouldn’t downplay the annoyance factor. Again, improvements in technology and proper siting will help overcome many problems. And there’s no doubt that fossil fuel development and use — from bitumen mining, deep-sea drilling, mountaintop removal and fracking to wasteful burning in single-user vehicles — are far more annoying and damaging to human health than wind power and other renewable-energy technologies. …Total global investment in wind energy in 2012 was more than $80 billion, creating 670,000 jobs. According to a Blue Green Canada report, investing the $1.3 billion the oil industry gets in annual federal taxpayer subsidies in renewable energy and conservation could create 18,000 to 20,000 jobs, compared to fewer than 3,000 in oil and gas. And we can’t ignore the many related cost impacts of fossil fuel development, from health-care to infrastructure.”
SMALLSCALE, PERSONALLY-FOCUSED CROWDFUNDING BEST PRACTICE
http://www.crowdsourcing.org An assessment of the often bleak prospects in store for those who seek ‘personal-needs’ capital from crowdfunding sources, at the behest of CrowdSourcing, which the author suggests can work in one’s favor if one’s effort has uncharacteristically powerful and evocative writing, a twofold opportunity for scrappy scribes, first as those entering these ‘marketplaces’ and two as ‘freelance’ intervenors in such schemes, one of many such examinations of the crowdsourcing landscape of late, including those that examine Amazon’s Mechanical Turk organizing campaign: “I absolutely could not stop reading. Yes, her writing is so good that it would spark envy in any of us. And while you shouldn’t feel pressure to write at the same level, do notice her tone and try to hit those marks when possible. The language is sharp-tongued but gentle, witty yet vulnerable, funny yet achingly sad. But mostly, it oozes with love and a ferociously brave acceptance of the lousy hand she and their baby Ralphie had been dealt.”
NEW REPUBLIC CONUNDRUMS
http://www.pbs.org From PBS, a delving of the thinking that underlies the choice of a publication like New Republic to seek an angel savior of some sort, a pattern that has serious problems, even as many other recent articles look at other aspects of this ‘hot case,’ including a post that details NR‘s editor’s background and a response by the new NR trust-fund zillionaire publisher himself and plenty more: “Before the industrial revolution, patronage was the primary mover of culture. As the for-profit newspaper industry collapses, a number of news organizations are looking back to that older model. Patronage, on the surface, looks very much like the non-profit donor model endemic to independent news. Independent news organizations have always put mission over profit. Most independent news outlets in the 20th century were organized as non-profits, either refusing to take ads or ensuring that ads made up only a very small percent of their budget. That’s because they wanted to answer to readers, not advertisers. Because independents always have looked to their audiences for their primary support — through subscription, donation, events, and merchandising — they have not seen a significant dip in revenue as a result of the digital revolution. New outlets see that the independent model is stable; however, they also see that it is low-budget. While independents are resilient, they also struggle every year to make ends meet. That’s because their audiences rarely are willing to pay the full cost of news production. Enter patrons. A patronage model gives news outlets a model that can work in the digital era with much more revenue than they could harvest from $10 and $50 donations. But is this a real model for independence?”
ESTABLISHMENT ENERGY RESEARCH & ADVICE
http://www.weforum.org Once again, as the Davos meeting approaches, a perspective from World Economic Forum about the necessary elements of an energy policy that will create a liveable world, one which, like many of those that finance and established authorities back, views nuclear electricity as an inevitable part of the mix: “The shortlist of top performers – led by Switzerland (1st), Norway (2nd) and France (3rd) – demonstrates that there is no single pathway to a more affordable, sustainable and secure energy system, but that a balanced approach to energy policy across the three dimensions of the energy triangle pays off. All top 10 countries are European and/or OECD countries, with the exception of Colombia (9th). Major global economies tend to perform less well on the index as their transitions take longer to unfold, due to the complexity of their energy systems. Of these economies, a number are examined in the report. The impact of the Energiewende in Germany (19th) clearly highlights the risks and benefits associated with the energy transition. In the US (37th), the surge in shale gas production is having a profound impact on national competitiveness and climate policy.”
‘PIRATE PARTY’ & TRANSFORMATION: ISSUES & OPTIONS
http://falkvinge.net/2014/12/09/the-pirate-party-has-left-me-feeling-adrift-at-sea/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Falkvinge-on-Infopolicy+%28Falkvinge+on+Infopolicy%29 A blog from the ‘Pirate-Supporting’ site FalkVinge.Net, about the failings of the trust-funders who lead ‘piracy networks’ and how someone like the author who wanted at the least some basic reforms might try to proceed, all in the context of the central importance of class issues and ruling class predaation: “No wonder it’s hard to get anyone to care about the fucking copyright monopoly. Despite the brashness of our name, I sense a timidness in the Pirate Party to examine anything truly radical. Most glaringly, we question the idea of intellectual property but fear exploring what this implies about capitalism itself (which I’ve been guilty of too). Socialists have described the German pirates as ‘calling for more democracy while ignoring the real class antagonisms which prevail in society,’ and whether you’ve socialist sympathies or not, they’re right — we Pirates have a pretty awful understanding of class. From the beginning we lumped together Hollywood fat-cats with struggling indie artists when we condemned people in favor of copyright, and rarely dig any deeper to realize how artists are victims too. We fall into that tone-deaf trap of saying that ‘real artists aren’t in it for the money,’ just like every smarmy corporation that refuses to pay its interns despite being able to afford to. We’ve always been quick to make fun of anyone whining about being a failed entrepreneur, disregarding whether that person is a rich venture capitalist with very little to lose or a disaffected kid on welfare with little hope of self-sufficiency other than some guitar skills. To the question of how artists can be self-sufficient without copyright monopolies, we have nothing transformative to suggest other than A) maybe people shouldn’t do art (which is a completely stupid idea) or B) an unconditional basic income, which will always be a half-finished proposal until we figure out what to do with the landlords. The funny thing is that intellectual monopolies — our core issue — are a pretty good microcosm of almost every major socioeconomic issue out there. If we’re going to start looking around and seeing all the parallels, we really need to get a more nuanced view of class, and a more coherent vision for the future. Otherwise we’re just going to be selling vaporware that pisses off 99% of society.”
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org A powerfully reasoned, and hence likely difficult to ‘sell,’ argument from MRZine that concludes that such attempts as Bernie Sanders’ recent call for an electoral attempt at reforming the current social and political-economic morass can only ever have ongoing impact, let alone something approximating success, if they find a way to manifest a grassroots movement in which the political efforts come from the masses of people and not from elected officials who operate government bureaucracies: “Sanders calls himself an Independent in the Senate, but he caucuses with the Democrats. If he runs for president, he will enter some Democratic primary contests and then run as an independent, or perhaps as an independent from the outset. Whatever his decision, he will not build a mass movement and lasting organization. In effect, his candidacy says, here is a fine agenda, but I do not challenge capitalism even though that is the only way one could implement it. Sanders peddles the illusion that the Democratic Party could return to its old liberalism. After all, in the unlikely event that Sanders became president, he would ask Democratic members of Congress to legislate his agenda. Ha! Another problem is that Sanders glosses over class reality. He begins with an appeal to fight ‘the long-term deterioration of the middle class.’ Complementary to this, his poverty plank, number eleven of the dozen steps in his agenda, characterizes the poor as seniors and children. He has a separate item about raising the minimum wage for the working poor. By his terminology and rhetorical structure, Sanders evades the fact that capitalism divides society into two classes, capitalists and workers. The working class includes those who still earn a modestly prosperous wage or salary, the growing portion who work at sh-t jobs for miserable pay and practically no benefits, and the vast ranks of people for whom the capitalist economy has only the most precarious temporary and on-call hours, or no job at all.”
A VISION TO WIN THE WORLD
http://www.countercurrents.org A conceptualization from CounterCurrents that contends that much of the effort to reform politics or win social battles has done little or nothing to avert a coming global collapse that inevitably will mean horrifying outcomes for almost everyone, or everyone, a conclusion that means that scrappy scribes and those who care about thriving and survival have some huge issues to confront in regard to vision,
strategy, planning, and tactics: “Generally speaking, the so-called Arab Spring, the revolt of the Arab youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen was caused by the frustration of the youth, who did not only demand democracy but also wanted to see prosperity and gainful employment coming. Youth revolt and general, partly destructive, manifestations of discontent are also taking place in European countries (Greece, France and England, for example). In the USA, the black minority is massively protesting against institutional racism, police violence and a broken justice system. The costs of just repairing, maintaining and defending the capitalist industrial society that is in place today are immensely growing, while the resources are dwindling. A war usually has many fronts, also a ‘war’ to prevent the threatening worldwide collapse and to start the transition to a peaceful and sustainable world society. It is necessary to fight at all the fronts. But activists must have an overview of the whole. It seems to me, however, that most activists are fixated on the battles they are fighting at the moment and ignoring the ‘war’ that is necessary, namely the ‘war’ against the industrial-capitalist system. Sometimes they already celebrate the small insignificant successes in their particular battles. …(such as the idea that)everything will be well when the fossil fuel industry has been abandoned and the renewable energy industries have taken over the task of powering the industrial societies of the world. There is no question raised about the viability (energy balance) of the so-called renewable energy industries, no questioning the sustainability of industrial society, no questioning of capitalism.”
WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS
FACT-CHECKING DUE DILIGENCE IN TENSE BREAKING-NEWS
http://tumblr.thefjp.org/ From the Future Journalism Project’s Media Lab, a sobering look at the way that the viral Rolling Stone story about rape at the University of Virginia has self-destructed in an entirely predictable way against which neither the author or the magazine protected, a key failure for any scrappy scribe in any such situation: “Dusenbery’s response is perfect, because she writes both from a feminist and journalistic perspective on how the article should have been handled. Because pieces like this must be researched and written so carefully, it’s a shame to see one victim’s account picked apart and questioned for the wrong reasons, to be potentially twisted and used against future victims of sexual assault who speak out. The Takeaway: While sexual assault on college campuses may be a daunting and systemic problem to dismantle, reporters and editors can do their part by fact-checking every detail and verifying every source before such a powerful story goes viral. It’s the least we can do to help.”
SCIENCE LITERACY & WRITING ABILITIES
http://www.nap.edu From National Academies Press, an overview that draws on a workshop experience, developing student capacities in reading and writing and thinking about science, skills that particularly matter in the present pass, one of several NAP volumes that consider science abilities in the current moment: “First, she said, literacy in science was included in the CCSS for ELA to ensure that science retained a meaningful place in the elementary grades, where reading and mathematics are heavily emphasized, while also recognizing the limited time in the school day. A second motivation for creating literacy in science standards was to ensure that high school students are prepared to access and use science texts,1 which are often difficult for students to comprehend due to challenging words and grammar, atypical logic structures, and multiple representations. Similarly, Pimentel reported that preparation for postsecondary education was a motivating factor, with about 50 percent of students adequately prepared to handle science and other texts as freshmen in college according to recent data (ACT, 2006). Finally, the literacy in science standards point to the importance of reading and understanding science texts, such as science articles in magazines and newspapers or on the Web, to prepare students for citizenship.”
A CALL TO REIMAGINE JOURNALISM
https://medium.com From Medium, a deeply investigated examination of the growing decapacitation of all journalism that helps provide comfort for the afflicted and afflictions to the comfortable, and what might be possible to do in the current context of maximum profiteering plutocracy: “In an ideal world, journalism would have helped reveal the underlying faultlines in Ferguson before they had split wide open. But local journalism all over the country is in a moribund state. Newspapers are bleeding journalists, and their business model has shown no signs of stabilizing. The day-to-day work in increasingly cash-strapped local newsrooms is focused on forking out the day-to-day crime, sports, political and business coverage that drives traffic. And in the process, they appear to be losing their hold on their communities’ hearts and minds. …With the demise of the AOL local news experiment Patch, and the clear need for more incisive local journalism, it’s time for some ingenuity from those of us who care about the future of journalism. We have plenty of data on what works digitally, and increasingly on mobile. By borrowing from what works, we can imagine a new model for community-based journalism that’s raw, reveals genuine human needs and is deeply engaging. …So we need to create a place that affords privacy but retains accountability. One that’s for more than just venting — a place to communicate problems and observations with an expectation of being heard. This could be the platform for a new journalism based on trusted values.”
General Media Issues
MEDIA’S MULTIPLE INTERSECTING CONTRADICTIONS
http://pando.com In this lead case a look from PandoDaily at the issue of ‘branded content’ in the context of a world that hates advertising and desperately needs media, a polarity that the start-up Contently seeks to manage by boosting advertorials as content by journalists instead of as news by reporters, arguably not much of a fix to the problem, one of thousands of ongoing investigations of equally thorny issues, including dealing with ad-blockers, pondering conflicts about net neutrality from different points of view, battles over listeners in the radio sphere, the difficulties of bringing legal documents online, and oodles more besides: “Keeping brand loyalties out of hard news reporting absolutely serves readers; I think every journalist would agree with that. But what Snow and Slaughter understand — and more importantly, what they’re able to communicate to clients — is that it also serves brands to leave the real reporting to the experts. Earlier this year, for example, telecom giant Verizon began hiring reporters for a technology news site called SugarString. The site would not be ‘advertorial,’ its editor promised. Instead it would publish news and analysis like any other tech publication, competing for the same readers as the Verge or Pando. There was one problem, though: SugarString’s reporters were forbidden from writing about spying or net neutrality, two of the most controversial, complex, and newsworthy concerns facing the tech world. Verizon’s corporate destiny was simply too closely tied to NSA disclosures and net neutrality politics to allow SugarString’s reporters to cover these issues, objectively or otherwise. Consumers and journalists were appalled by the blatant hackery of the move, and the company shut down the project barely a month after it debuted.”
CONTEMPORARY MEDIA POLITICAL ECONOMY = NON-LEGACY
http://www.poynter.org In some ways a typical paean from Poynter.Org to ‘entrepreneurship’ and the marvels of the web, without a single glance in the direction of ‘trust-fund economics,’ though then with the caveat that the difference between what the market funds and what it doesn’t is ‘lecacy versus digital’: “These numbers speak for themselves in terms of what investors favor in the media space. They also confirm the truism that short term revenue growth prospects matter much more to those placing bets with their capital than longevity or even profitability. (Another point is as follows): *Capitalism’s ‘creative destruction’ dynamic works in part by accelerating the growth of promising new ventures while pulling investments out of fading older ones. So you could say the money folks, as 2014 rolls to 2015, need no persuading that media transformation is in full gear.”
AMERICA’S TORTURE PROFILE
https://www.techdirt.com From the investigators at TechDirt, an introduction to the Senate’s torture report from one of the staffers who started the process, which they began to insure that interrogation was something that followed guidelines based on empirical reality instead of vengeful fantasies, one of thousands of recent examinations of this issue, including a look at the wacky aspects of the report, the profits that CIA contractors have received: “The dedicated SSCI staff — who spent tens of thousands of hours over the better part of five years researching, writing and editing this report — did so in order to ensure our nation’s interrogation programs would be grounded in what has, for too long, been missing from our nation’s interrogation debate: facts. The interrogation techniques the CIA developed during the Bush Administration were not devised by behavioral experts with experience turning detainees into ‘long-term strategic sources of information.’ Rather, as the Department of Justice’s 2008 Inspector General’s report revealed, the FBI’s interrogation experts — with that experience — repeatedly refused to sign off on proposed interrogation plans, calling them ‘deeply flawed’ and ‘completely ineffective.’ The CIA’s interrogation program, instead, grew from the post-9/11 mentality that the U.S. would be best kept safe by those willing to go to the greatest extremes to protect it, or as former CIA agent Glenn Carle put it in his 2011 book The Interrogator, ‘Interrogating terrorists was no place for goddamn candy-asses.'”
MEXICAN MORASSES ON PARADE
http://www.truth-out.org An explanation of the hideous excrescences of murder and mayhem in Mexico, from TruthOut, which explains the ‘neoliberal’ seizure of state income in the 1980’s and the imposition of a criminal enterprise establishment since then, with the upshot a move toward radical imposition of summary execution and the threat of mass murder in the present context, an overall situation so hideous that appeals to conscience occur in venues such as Nobel Peace Prize presentations: “Between 1982
and 1988, Mexico was part of a new trend, by taking the same approach that had been unleashed a bit earlier in Argentina through its military dictatorship: accumulation by dispossession of the wages of the nation as a source of tribute to pay foreign debt. In less than six years, decades of social development were harshly reversed. By 1987, the real minimum wage was at its lowest level since 1951. Huge masses of wealth that had originally constituted the social consumption fund were now redirected into the capitalist accumulation fund. A configuration of capitalism emerged that cannot be called ‘neoliberal,’ but rather cynical. The establishment of the policy of accumulation by dispossession jettisoned the promise of progress for all. Instead, the market became defined in terms of the wounded and the dead. Between 1988 and 2006, the criminal economy, which has always been present in the history of capitalism, grew through an increasingly wide range of modalities to set up linkages between various elements of the political class and the criminal economy: narcopolítical capitalism emerged. In the beginning, in some places, it engaged in activities such as building schools or roads – activities that had been abandoned by the state. As the UN had reported in the early 2000s, Mexico imported ephedrine in such magnitude that all Mexicans must have been sick with the flu all year. The truth began to crystallize by 2005, when the Mexican criminal economy already had factories and contracts in Asia. From 2006 onwards, the shift to necropolítical capitalism occurred. The transition, germinated over previous decades, was consolidated. The politics of death as the basis for new forms of accumulation by dispossession expanded: the enslavement of migrants on the southern border, the trafficking in white slavery, the depopulation followed by repopulation with more docile communities in areas with strategic natural resources – or, as in Michoacán, the imposition of tribute for movement of goods, tribute for movement of persons and tribute per square meter of household, became multiple sources of a new type of income: criminal income (la renta criminal).”
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
UKRAINE’S STORY AS PROPAGANDA & DISTORTION
http://truth-out.org A TruthOut article, deeply reported and crossposted from A Socialist in Canada, about the current contextualization of Crimea, the story of which is just critical to understanding both the general drive to attack Russian and the present pass in Ukraine specifically, as well as plenty more of import to citizens who favor survival over mass collective suicide, one of various recent documents that detail aspects of the propagandistic distortions about contemporary Ukraine, for example in regard to agriculture or the expansion of NATO : “All this said, the challenges facing Crimea are nothing in comparison to the disaster north of its border. A bloody war is being waged in eastern Ukraine by Kiev, with NATO backing. It is accompanied by a harsh clampdown on democratic rights throughout the country, including paramilitary gangs that violently assault public expressions of discontent and protests by journalists against a new thought-control ‘information ministry’ of the government. Austerity measures ordered by international lenders in Europe are biting hard. The new minister of finance is a US citizen formerly employed by the US State Department. Biased, Western media keeps pumping out the message that ‘It’s Russia, stupid’ and that Crimea is sliding into something resembling a Soviet gulag. That’s because the NATO countries’ goal of weakening Russia and crushing the anti-austerity rebellion that has arisen in eastern Ukraine depends upon having a propagandized, misinformed and unengaged public at home.”
RELYING ON MONEY FOR CHANGE
http://www.propublica.org A deeply considered analysis from Pro Publica that ponders what one might rationally describe as either a hijacking or a wholesale purchase of much of so-called ‘charity’ by large corporate and institutional and personal financial interests, a process that cannot help but impact the ‘mission’ of–not to mention the available actual donations to–vaunted ‘grant-making organizations,’ a situation analogous to that which petition website Change.Org has recently confronted in raising $25 million from the likes of Bill Gates: “Another significant issue is that the interests of the donor-advised funds and donors may diverge. Fidelity, Schwab, and Vanguard all charge fees on the money put into their charitable funds. The charities are notionally independent, but they actually plow money into mutual funds run by the same companies. There are layers of fees charged on that money. Of the $13.2 billion in Fidelity Charitable, $8.5 billion of it goes into Fidelity mutual funds. Those Fidelity funds also charge fees. And investment advisers can charge fees on some portion of the rest of the money. Cantor estimates Fidelity makes 0.75 percent in total on its funds, but that’s really just a shot in the dark because Fidelity doesn’t clearly disclose the fees. There is a more subtle effect at play as well. The firms have an interest in accumulating assets. They have no interest in having money go out the door to charities. Investment advisers, too, have an interest in directing their clients to put money into donor-advised funds rather than to charity, as well, so they can continue to charge them. Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan, proposed in his sweeping tax reform that money deposited into donor-advised accounts would have to go out the door in five years. The outcry was swift, with donor-advised funds tellingly joining the lobbying effort against it.”
Ignoring what greets the eyes and believing—like a child holds on to the idea of Santa—whatever fond fancies that one’s lords and masters have inculcated can appear easier by far at times than a rational estimate of what is transpiring in the world; indeed, those few who actually make and enforce the rules and regulations of routine existence have based their dominance on a substantial majority’s following just such protocols, utterly refusing to see the murder and mayhem of everyday affairs and believing instead in a surreal rubric that has nothing more to do with reality than a stage prop concerns the life of an actor who is facing the footlights.
Quote of the Day
“The job of the writer is to make revolution irresistible. …I’ve never been convinced that experience is linear, circular, or even random. It just is. I try to put it in some kind of order to extract meaning from it, to bring meaning to it.” Toni Cade Bambara
This Day in History
Today is International Anti-Corruption Day; a leader of Byzantine troops one thousand four hundred and seventy-eight years back entered Rome at the head of an unopposed army, since the Gothic fighters had already fled the city; in a conflict that portended Khazar domination of much of Southwest Asia for a time, twelve hundred
eighty-four years ago, a battle in Northern Persia at Ardabil led to the decimation of Muslim Umayyad troops and the launching of a Khazar campaign in Muslim lands; five hundred eighty-nine years before now, priests and the Church founded the original University of Leuven as a Catholic institution; more or less precisely four hundred six years ago, the child entered the world who would become acclaimed poet and thinker John Milton; two hundred twenty-one years ago, Noah Webster started New York City’s initial daily paper, the American Mirror; Peruvian independence fighters routed a royalist army a hundred ninety years back to consolidate Peruvian independence from Spain; eleven years later, in 1835, Texan independence fighters captured and occupied San Antonio; the male infant came into the world a hundred seventy-two years before this day who matured as writer and scientist and philosopher Peter Kropotkin; one hundred sixty-nine years back, a baby boy drew his first breath in Georgia on his way to becoming folklorist and author Joel Chandler Harris; a hundred fifty-eight years ago, at the same time as Britain was fighting in Crimea, the Persian city of Bushehr was a British conquest during the Anglo-Persian War; a child of immigrants,
Herman Hollerith one hundred twenty-six years ago installed his punch-card calculating machine in the War Department, inaugurating the computational machine era and a predecessor company to International Business Machines; across the Atlantic nine years subsequently to the day, feminist Marguerite Durand opened a women’s rights daily paper in Paris, La Fronde; in Briceville, Tennessee outside Knoxville a hundred three years back, a mine that had been the scene of an uprising and a previous disaster, lost almost a hundred miners in an explosion and shaft collapse; ninety-seven years prior to the present pass, British troops marched into Jerusalem during the First World War; in Madrid eighty three years ago, a people’s congress established the Second Spanish Republic; across the Atlantic and much of North America four years after that, in 1935, investigative reporter and progressive political activist Walter Liggett died at the hands of ‘unknown’ gunmen shortly after his paper had published exposes of the corrupt ties between Minnesota’s governor and organized criminals and financiers; on the other side of the world, two years later precisely, in 1937, Japanese armies began their brutal, often criminal, assault on Nanking in China; a baby boy was born seventy-two years ago who grew up to write as journalist Joe McGinnis; sixty-eight years back, a ‘second round’ of Nuremberg trials began that prosecuted medical and other scientific personnel who conducted ‘experiments’ on Jews as a way of gathering data from the process of extermination, and India’s Parliament gathered for the first time to establish a constitution on the sub-continent;
four years hence, in 1950, Britain convicted Harry Gold of espionage—his testimony later helped to convict and execute the Rosenbergs—and sentenced him to thirty years in prison for helping to funnel nuclear secrets to the Soviets, and the female child who grew up to sing as Joan Armatrading was born; then, three years further on, in 1953, General Electric announced that it would discharge all Communist employees as security risks; fifty-six years before the here and now, the reactionary, arguably fascist, organization met for the first time that called itself The John Birch Society; seminal scholar of American Studies Perry Miller died fifty-one years back; in one fell swoop forty-six years ago, Douglas Engelbart demonstrated all at once the computer mouse, a screen-based graphical-user-interface, and hypertext as a part of his commitment to expanding computer usage through work that the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency was funding on computer networks; documentarian, novelist, and seminal thinker Toni Cade Bambara died nineteen years ago;eight years back, the sitting Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, faced arrest for accepting payoffs, including the attempt to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
SEARCH OF THE DAY psilocybin OR "magic mushrooms" "human evolution" analysis OR history = 2,080,000 Citations.
TOP OF THE FOLD
TYPICAL BULLSHIT FROM NUCLEAR LAPDOGS http://ajw.asahi.com/ An Asahi Shimbun report from Tokyo about a British scientist’s visit in which the independent expert debunked the United Nation’s Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic
Radiation oft-delayed assessment that Fukushima would not bring elevated cancer risks: “He also questioned UNSCEAR’s neutrality, given that members are nominated by nations that have a vested interest in nuclear power. He noted that such nations provide funds to the committee. Baverstock also suggested a conflict of interest, as committee members are not required to disclose their history working in the nuclear industry or sign pledges stating that no conflict of interest exists in evaluating radiation risks. Baverstock said that when he was working for the WHO, he felt constant pressure from the International Atomic Energy Agency, a major promoter of nuclear power. He also questioned why it took more than three years for UNSCEAR to release its Fukushima report.”
NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS
An Interview With New Yorker Cartoonist Carolita Johnson
Submitted by News_post on December 5, 2014 – 10:09am
INK ON MY FINGERS
In this interview with Carolita Johnson, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, she shares about her experiences as a writer and an illustrator; side gigs she takes to keep the lights on; and her other long-running career in the fashion industry. (more here at NWU national page
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
Playwright Contest – The Mountain Playhouse International Playwriting Contest is an annual event with the deadline of December 31st each year.
No re-submissions of plays previously submitted unless revised 70% or more.
Must be a World Premiere Candidate.
Cannot be produced before 2015.
MUST be able to be performed by EIGHT actors or less.
Juntobox – a promising crowd sourcing, crowd funding platform for emerging films “we fund, produce, and distribute films chosen by our community. Tell your story.”
Reports To: News Operations Manager, News Director
Purpose/reason for this Position: The primary responsibility for the News Photojournalist/Editor is to gather and present stories for all daily newscasts.
Lorain, OH –We’re looking for journalists to join our award-winning staff reporting on communities to the east and west of Cleveland, Ohio. We have openings at both The News-Herald in Willoughby and The Morning Journal in Lorain. Successful candidates for these entry-level reporting positions will have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, embrace usage of social media, and display a readiness to operate in the 24/7 news cycle.
Email resume and cover letter to editor Tricia Ambrose at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Reporter – ABOUT THE COMPANY OTR Global (OTR®), founded in 1995, is a leading investment research and agency-trading boutique with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. The recognized leader in marketplace research, OTR pioneered its channel-checking methodology by developing a comprehensive base of industry sources and an in-depth understanding of complex, global product supply chains and distribution channels. OTR’s unique approach relies on journalistic principles and is utilized by the firm’s more than 130 research personnel located in more than 18 countries.
ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
INTOXICATION & BEING HUMAN
http://chronicle.com One of those essays that seems to be about long ago and far away but runs out to concern what is totally real and crucial today, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, about the transition from high school to college in terms of exposure do and inevitable engagement with all of the intoxicating yummy things that define adulthood but also threaten the ‘management’ of a well-ordered existence: “The beardless young man who comes out of the town citadel to stand against Dionysus is Pentheus, the newly
crowned king of Thebes. He is the god’s cousin on the human side of the family, though he refuses to acknowledge their kinship. He is also, as one translator noted, the age of a college freshman. He is new to manhood and new to authority, and he wears both uneasily. He speaks the language of obsessive control, over himself and others. ‘I’ll track them down, all of them,’ he blusters about the women. ‘I’ll have them all in cages.’ Of all the kinds of authority that Dionysus has deranged, it’s control over women that most dominates the young king’s mind. Again and again, in his increasingly feverish sobriety, he imagines how ‘they fill great bowls of wine, then they creep into the bushes and lie down for lusting men.’ ‘I can see them now, in the bushes,’ he tells Dionysus, ‘little birds, trapped in the toils of love.’ He is captivated and repulsed by alcohol, women, and sex—he can’t keep the three distinct in his mind—especially by the fear and the wish that sex might be happening outside his own strictures, outside the right angles of the city and its walls. (A report from the mountain reveals, unsurprisingly, that the sex is happening only in Pentheus’ imagination.) He wants to stop it, to crush it with his army; he wants to join it, to see it with his own eyes. He wants to not be himself.”
CLASS ENEMIES & THEIR INSTITUTIONAL ENABLERS
http://pando.com A sobering examination, poignantly developed, from Pando Daily, about the typically grotesque crushing of workers’ rights from the Supreme Court–another ‘gift’ from the founding fathers and Justice Marshall–in relation to Amazon’s warehouse workers, whose duty is to serve involuntarily at the company’s convenience so as to ‘reduce theft:’ “Put another way, Amazon is free to force its contractors through this anti-theft program without paying them for the mandatory wait because their job is to move boxes around. If that’s the case, why aren’t those workers paid based on the amount of product they move instead of the hourly wage Amazon currently offers? Workers should be consistently paid for their time or their output — this decision lets Amazon cherry-pick whatever costs less. The loss comes as other Amazon workers, ranging from its warehouse laborers in Germany to the freelancers behind its Mechanical Turk service, battle for better working conditions. (Blue collar workers for other tech companies, such as the shuttle drivers at Facebook and the security guards at Apple, are also fighting to improve both their conditions and wages.) Unfortunately, none of these protests are likely to change Amazon’s labor practices, at least in the short-term.”
U.S. FURTHER THREATENS OVERRULING MAJORITY
https://secure2.convio.net A portal to a petition, not regularly part of what appears here on the Daily Links, about a key constituent of contemporary democracy–which, by the bye means rule by the people and not the police–which is not to eviscerate or otherwise try to rescind popular efforts at drug legalization: “Leadership in Congress is working to overturn Initiative 71, a ballot measure legalizing marijuana that 70% of voters in our nation’s capital voted for last month. This is an attack on drug policy reform everywhere. Tell congressional leadership to respect the will of the people!”
AMERICA’S CORE VALUES–TORTURE & IMPUNITY
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info A link via Information Clearinghouse to the Senate text, the so-called Torture Report, a key document in the current context even as it only partially reveals the extent of the empire’s murderous and purposeful acts of depredation in service to profit, a notification that such voices as Bernie Sanders and many others say that we ignore at our peril: “In our system, no one should be above the law or beyond the law’s reach, no matter how senior the official. The record has long been clear that the Bush administration’s torture program was devised at the highest levels, with the involvement of the White House, the Department of Justice, the CIA, and the Department of Defense. The record now also shows that the architects and perpetrators of torture misled the public, Congress, and other institutions charged with oversight of government agencies about the scope and extent of torture, the significance of various prisoners, the concreteness of various alleged plots, and the significance of information obtained through torture.”
SCHOOLS FOR PROFIT, NOT TEACHING
http://www.propublica.org As grotesque as such an arrangement may seem, a growing trend in so-called Charter-School management, the funneling of nearly all–or even all–public funds that supposedly support education in these arrangements to ‘management companies’ that exist solely, as a matter of fiduciary duty if nothing else, to maximize their profits: “Charter schools often hire companies to handle their accounting and management functions. Sometimes the companies even take the lead in hiring teachers, finding a school building, and handling school finances. In the case of Buffalo United, the auditors found that the school board had little idea about exactly how the company – a large management firm called National Heritage Academies – was spending the school’s money. The school’s board still had to approve overall budgets, but it appeared to accept the company’s numbers with few questions. The signoff was ‘essentially meaningless,’ the auditors wrote. In the charter-school sector, this arrangement is known as a ‘sweeps’ contract because nearly all of a school’s public dollars – anywhere from 95 to 100 percent – is “swept” into a charter-management company.”
BELIEVE-IT-OR-NOT, POT CAN HELP STRESSED PEOPLE ‘CHILL’
http://www.rollingstone.com A Rolling Stone report that proffers absolutely essential evidence and analytical contextualization for the fraud that currently passes for medical practice in regard to former GI’s with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, when medical marijuana would at the very least provide significant numbers of vets with a greater capacity to cope: “American soldiers and veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are often given a duffle bag of drugs, from antidepressants like Zoloft and Paxil to any number of highly addictive opioids. Doctors who work with these soldiers in Veterans Affairs clinics are encouraged to prescribe such medications, and any thought of prescribing alternative medicine that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration is generally forbidden. But some doctors break the chain. Sue Sisley is a psychiatrist who’s worked with veterans for 20 years. While she has never smoked marijuana herself, she’s heard how it can work from some of her patients who use it on their own to treat PTSD. ‘Nobody is claiming it’s a cure, but they report they have been successfully managing their symptoms,’ she says.”
STEVEN SALAITA & THE CURRENT POSSIBILITY OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM
http://wagingnonviolence.org A mandatory read for scrappy scribes who care about current events of the most critical import, from Waging Nonviolence, on the one hand about the Steven Salaita case–‘unhired’ from a tenured job because he tweeted passionately about Israel’s depredations–and on the other hand about an American Studies Association meeting where he appeared, a year after ASA voted by a 2:1 majority to boycott Israel: “‘Civility is the language of genocide,’ Salaita said, pointedly addressing his detractors who called the tone of his tweets ‘uncivil.’ ‘It’s a word whose connotations can be seen as nothing if not as racist,’ he continued, arguing that the people who get to decide what’s ‘civil’ or ‘uncivil’ tend to be those with the most power and influence. Fellow panelist Rabab Abdulhadi, from San Francisco State, added that the term ‘pro-Palestine’ is misleading. ‘You’re either for massacres or not,’ she said, referring to the recent Gaza strikes. ASA President Lisa Duggan spent a large part of her presidential address Saturday night detailing the hate mail she and other officials had received, but said the ASA was ‘not surviving, but thriving’ after last year’s conference, when 1,252 ASA members voted on a boycott of Israeli academic institutions as an act of solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation. With 66 percent of the vote in favor, the ASA became the largest academic organization in North America to do so. In the wake of the vote, the group gained over 1,000 members. Other organizations, including the Association for Asian American Studies, the Critical Ethnic Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, have also established boycotts.”
HIROSHIMA’S CENTURY-LONG DEATH SENTENCE
http://ajw.asahi.com An Asahi Shimbun overview of the Vienna conference that seeks to find ways to end the threat to human survival that nuclear weapons pose, in one sense, and a profile and examination of the presentation of one of the conference guests, a hibakusha, or Hiroshima survivor: “‘Today, 69 years later, people are still dying from the delayed effects of one atomic bomb,’ said Setsuko Thurlow, 82, a resident of Canada, at the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons on Dec. 8. ‘Humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist indefinitely.’ Representatives from the United States and Britain joined their counterparts from 155 countries at the two-day conference that began on Dec. 8, the first time either nation has attended the sessions. Chinese experts were also in attendance. Thurlow said delivering a speech to drive home the importance of a nuclear-free world at the conference was an opportunity she has long been looking forward to. ‘We hibakusha became convinced that no human being should ever have to repeat our experience of the inhumane, immoral, and cruel atomic bombing, and that our mission is to warn the world about the reality of the nuclear threat and to help people understand the illegality and ultimate evil of nuclear weapons,’ she said.”
A ‘PEOPLE’S STATE OF THE UNION’ PROJECT
http://usdac.us/psotu From the highly clever folks at the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture, an attempt both to subvert and replace ruling elites’ artistic hegemony, a chance to learn about an possibly participate in a week or so of events in localities around the country, and ultimately in New York, all of which will present a grassroots assessment of the ‘State-of-the-Union:’ “(The President’s speech is) a broadcast from one to many. But what if, once a year, we could all speak and listen to each other? What if We the People reflected in our own communities on the condition of our culture and the state of our union locally, nationally, globally? What if we could supplement the President’s stories with our own? The People’s State of the Union is an invitation to do just that. …The People’s State of the Union is the first in a series of reimagined American holidays, developed by the USDAC and partners, intended to spur community dialogue in the service of justice and democracy through new, participatory civic rituals.”
KEEPING KNOWLEDGE ‘SECRET’
http://fas.org A must-read from the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News project, which details the increasing likelihood that inventiveness will be ‘born-secret’ due to national security or other similar issues of imperial predominance, a bizarre and also seemingly unavoidable consequence of a ‘national-security-state’ in which the war-making powers hold the research keys-to-the-kingdom, a stark contrast to a situation at Princeton that is making papers and other materials that relate to Einstein publicly available to researchers: “On October 27, 1977, Dr. Gerald F. Ross filed a patent application for a new invention he had devised to defeat the jamming of electromagnetic transmissions at specified frequencies. But it was not until June 17, 2014 — nearly 37 years later — that his patent was finally granted (Anti-jam apparatus for baseband radar systems, patent number 8,754,801). In the interim, Dr. Ross’s patent application had been subject to a secrecy order under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, which both prevented issuance of the patent and prohibited its public disclosure. At the end of Fiscal Year 2014 (on September 30), there were 5,520 such invention secrecy orders in effect, according to statistics released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under the Freedom of Information Act.”
WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS
BRILLIANCE FROM THE TIMES ADMINISTRATIVE IN NATURE
http://www.niemanlab.org An update and general assessment from Nieman Journalism Lab about a newly released open-source tool that The Times developed to facilitate reportage from multiple perspectives and parties, which the paper is willing to make an ongoing experiment in crowdsourcing: “Matt Boggie, executive director of the R&D Lab, said Madison evolved from the print archive app TimesMachine, but in creating the tool they realized it could serve multiple purposes outside the Times’ back pages. ‘The big thing was we realized the problem we were solving was one particular manifestation of a common problem lots of organizations have,’ he said. The decision to make Hive open-source was fairly simple, he said, since so many news organizations have made a habit of asking readers for help in sifting through documents or making sense of disorganized piles of data. The benefit to the Times is seeing how other people and organizations use the platform and what ideas they can apply at the paper. ‘We want to learn from others who are doing good things, and when we learn things we share them as well,’ he said.”
http://blog.bookbaby.com/ From Book Baby, a series of links about practical issues for NaNoWriMo participants who decide to take the step to finish a drafted novel: “You worked hard all through November, writing every day for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s December 1st at last. Did you complete a 50,000-word novel? Great! But then what?”
LITERARY NOBELIST’S STIRRING PRESENTATION
http://www.theguardian.com An important presentation from The Guardian that offers readers some of the insightful and incisive thinking of Patrick Modiano, the 2014 Nobel Prize winner in literature, one of various pieces of general recent utility for writers, in addition to such specific materials as new HTML5 storytelling tools and overviews of regression analysis, all of which ought to focus the attention of scrappy scribes: “‘Today, I get the sense that memory is much less sure of itself, engaged as it is in a constant struggle against amnesia and oblivion. This layer, this mass of oblivion that obscures everything, means we can only pick up fragments of the past, disconnected traces, fleeting and almost ungraspable human destinies,’ said Modiano, who spoke in French, with the lecture translated by James Hardiker. ‘Yet it has to be the vocation of the novelist, when faced with this large blank page of oblivion, to make a few faded words visible again, like lost icebergs adrift on the surface of the ocean.’ Modiano expressed to his audience a certain nostalgia for the world of the 19th-century novelists such as Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, saying that ‘in those days, time passed more slowly than today, and this slowness suited the work of the novelist because it allowed him to marshal his energy and his attention.'”
General Media & 'Intellectual Property' Issues
‘START-UP’ CONSEQUENCES, INTENDED OR OTHERWISE
http://www.stuff.co.nz An overview and brief profile of aggregator site Reddit and how its current status is, according to the entrepreneur who founded it, something like an ‘unfortunate shame,’ a surface look at a phenomenon that might really pay off to some deep analysis, all brought to us by New Zealand Stuff: “Conde Nast – which includes magazines such as Vanity Fair,Vogue, GQ, andWired in its stable – purchased Reddit just 17 months after it launched as part of a Y Combinator project, a Silicon Valley entrepreneurial program that funds and boosts start-ups. ‘We had no aspirations at all,’ Huffman recalled of Reddit’s early days. Yet the Conde Nast deal gave Reddit’s founders cash and a job for the next three years (Huffman left in 2009).”
MOTHER JONES AS NOT-FOR-PROFIT JOURNALISM MODEL
http://digiday.com From Digiday, a breakdown of the superficiality of some of the woebegone responses to New Republic’s implosion, one of various recent investigations that deconstruct the ‘standard line,’ in this case a critique that examines the success of Mother Jones and suggests aspects of how this sustainability has come to pass: “Have multiple revenue streams.
Mother Jones derives just over half of its revenue from some 40,000 donors, the balance from circulation and advertising. The donor base ranges from small individual givers to big foundations, and has increased 125 percent since 2007. So while circulation and ads are important, Mother Jones is fairly insulated from swings in the ad market. …Do investigative journalism. The donor model takes the pressure off Mother Jones to chase scale, but it also incentivizes it to do stories that make an impact. That’s because, ultimately, to get people to give, the publication has to produce stories they’ll care about. ( Focusing on editorial coverage not easily found elsewhere also gives Mother Jones an advantage in digital.) That approach has produced notable work like this database on mass shootings and this video on how Newtown dealt with all the letters it received in the wake of the shootings (41,000 views on YouTube). ‘Ultimately, what we look for is impact — a big investigation that changes things,’ Jeffery said. ‘We’re rewarded because that’s what people want from us, by subscribing or sending us cash.'”
U.S. & RUSSIA STAND TOGETHER ON NUKES
http://safeenergy.org A GreenWorld alert and analysis–also widely reported in the business press –about the cozy policy conjunction between Russia and the U.S. on post-Fukushima safety standards, a gutting of insuring citizen’s not getting millions of cancers and so forth, a position with which European Union regulators are not in agreement and which various SOP publications this side of the Atlantic do support: “To me, it’s almost unbelievable. It sounds like the beginning of a plot from a bad spy novel. But here’s the headline from a December 1 article from Bloomberg News, brought to my attention today: Russia-U.S. Face Off Against Europe on Nuclear Safety. That’s right: The government of the United States and the government of Russia are teaming together in an attempt to gut new post-Fukushima nuclear safety requirements proposed by European nations. I could point out that, since the Sizewell accident in the UK in 1957, there haven’t been any major meltdowns on European soil. By contrast, the U.S. had Three Mile Island and the Soviet Union had Chernobyl. Yes, Chernobyl was on Ukrainian soil, but make no mistake, it was a Soviet project and what’s left of the Soviet Union is called Russia.”
FERGUSON MAY BE ‘THE FIRE THIS TIME‘
http://www.thebaffler.com/ A powerful and poignant essay about recent uprisings against police murderer’s impunity, outbursts that qualitatively intensify and increase the sophistication of protests in the U.S., one of thousands of important elements of a documentation of this historic moment in history: “Along with their counterparts all across the country, these protesters have been staking out a bold new kind of street action, a fierce and uncompromising activism for our time. …The first few nights after the Eric Garner non-indictment, it was nearly impossible to keep track of how many different groups were marching through the city: while one crowd was pouring over the Brooklyn Bridge, another was disrupting the West Side Highway, and another blocking the streets around Times Square. Marches splintered, then rejoined; they met police blockades, and defiantly swarmed around them; they stopped to block key sites, then quickly moved on. The protests have been mobile and deft, steered by tactically savvy organizers for maximal disruption and minimal arrests. Crowds blockade intersections until the police get antsy, then quickly march off to a new target; they swarm high-profile sites like Grand Central Station and Macy’s Herald Square, disrupt with loud chants, shift to a silent die-in, and then move on. The tone of these actions has been striking and distinctive, too. The protests I’ve seen in New York have been entirely peaceful (I was in Oakland for the marches after the Michael Brown non-indictment, which is an activist world unto itself). This isn’t a passive kind of peacefulness, though: it has been fearless and resolute.”
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
DIRECT, DIRE THREATS AGAINST ALL WOMEN, POLICIES, NOT INDIVIDUALS
http://www.insidephilanthropy.com A deeply insightful and truly horrifying report fromInside Philanthropy about the financial organization that is focusing on destroying women’s reproductive rights: “(T)the Chiasroscuro Foundation awarded the FEMM Foundation $1 million in support recently. The grantee operates a health clinic in Ohio, and disseminates information to discourage women from using birth control. You can avoid pregnancy by learning to ‘know your body’ and become in tune with your internal hormonal patterns, per FEMM’s website. FEMM also maintains online resources about how to adopt its particular brand of fertility management and discourages abortion. Keeping women away from contraception, and persuading pregnant women to avoid abortion, appears to be a grantmaking priority for Chiaroscuro. Since 2010, the foundation has awarded more than $400,000 to Clergy for Better Choices, which networks members of the cloth in the New York metro area to steer pregnant women away from abortion. Chiaroscuro has given more than $1.1 million in support over the last four years to Sisters of Life, whereby nuns work to prevent individual abortions by offering social supports to pregnant women in vulnerable situations. And since 2011, the Chiaroscuro Foundation has made over $100,000 in donations to the National Abstinence Education Foundation, which wants to take comprehensive sex education out of schools and replace it with an abstinence-only approach that excludes information about contraception.”
U.S. & RUSSIA LIGHT-YEARS APART IN EASTERN EUROPE http://www.globalresearch.ca Actual analysis about what is happening on Russia’s Western borders, which includes both the copious documentation here of first-strike, invasive intentions by NATO, and inclusion of the goals and objectives of such U.S. allies as Germany: “Terminating NATO, or else admitting Russia into it, is essential for the future of the world, and so Putin should demand it now, just as JFK demanded an end to missiles-in-Cuba in 1962. The future of the world should not be subordinated to the wills of the chief stockholders in companies such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. That news-report in the Times was published on July 24th, and yet only on December 5th was its meaning introduced online (which is where the critical audience increasingly is). Professor Michel Chossudovsky headlined “America is on a ‘Hot War Footing’: House Legislation Paves the Way for War with Russia?” and he placed the Times article into its broader context to show that, yes, indeed,NATO is gearing up for an invasion of Russia. The marketing plan is a great success. Why, then, was that Times article so obtusely written and so boringly headlined? Once the new forward-strike headquarters is up and running just a stone’s throw away from Russia, there is bound to be public discussion of what’s happening and why. But, by then it will already be too late. More than four months have already passed and the world still hasn’t noticed what’s happening; so, NATO can say, ‘But, we announced it on July 24th.’ No, they didn’t. The news was buried, just like NATO wants to bury Russia.”
One might pray that we fathom that life’s pie permits—if organized amicably—each participant to eat as big a piece as he needs, as ample a slice as she could hope to consume, but such a fond fancy clearly underestimates social actors’ conditioning to want the entire pie, despite how these demented distortions disempower everybody save people already in possession of massively disproportionate shares.
Quote of the Day
“Every good composition is above all a work of abstraction. All good painters know this. But the painter cannot dispense with subjects altogether without his work suffering impoverishment.” Diego Rivera.
This Day in History
Five hundred eighty-two years back, the union of Poland & Lithuania nearly unraveled in civil war, with the division a particularly attractive prospect to the so-called Teutonic Knights, early pre-Enlightenment principalities that used the latest armor and armaments; one of the first Jewish authors to become prominent in the Western Hemisphere four hundred eighteen years ago threw himself out of a window to his death rather than face further torture at the hand of inquisitors in Mexico City who
were forcing him to identify others who had ‘relapsed’ into the Jewish faith; playing Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello, three hundred fifty-four years prior to the present pass, a female performer first appeared as a thespian on a public English stage; a baby boy was born in Norway one hundred eighty-two years backwho grew up as Bjornsterne Bjornson to sit on the Nobel Prize committee for literature, winning the prize himself in 1903; a hundred sixty years ago, Pope Pius IX ascertained and proclaimed that Jesus’ mother, Mary, had entered the world free of original sin; five years hence, in 1859, English author Thomas de Quincey died; exactly a century and a half ago, acclaimed math-wizard and philosopher George Boole took his last breath; an infant male entered the world a hundred twenty-eight years back who would go on to paint amazing murals as Diego Rivera; a hundred twenty years ago, another baby boy was born, this time maturing as the storyteller and humorist James Thurber; Germany one hundred two years back anticipated coming conflict and held a War Council among its imperial officers; three philanthropies that Robert Brookings had funded eighty-seven years before the here-and-now coalesced into the still-extant and powerful Brookings Institution; declaring the prior twenty-four hours “a date that will live in Infamy,” Franklin Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan for its Pearl Harbor attack seventy-three years ago; two years afterward, in 1943, a baby boy came into the world who would grow up to sing and write as Jim Morrison; six years subsequently, in 1949, the United Nations started a relief operation, the Agency for Palestinian Refugees, for those forced from their homes and lands as the State of Israel took shape, and the birth of a baby girl happened, an infant who grew up to become novelist and loved writing teacher Mary Gordon; two years further on, in 1951, a baby boy was born who grew up to become popular writer Bill Bryson; sixty-one years back, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his fatuous ‘Atoms for Peace’ speech which served to initiate a propaganda campaign in favor of nuclear power plants that were both a hidden subsidy for nuclear weapons and in turn benefited from military applications of reactor research, and a baby boy took his first breath en route to a life as controversial scholar of Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean, Norman Finkelstein, often attacked for his findings that criticized the State of Israel; in New York City fifty-two years ago, employees at four papers—later joined by workers at five other publishers—went on strike for higher wages and workplace rights in a strike that lasted almost four months and changed the course of media history; the Indian Navy forty-three years prior to the present moment attacked ‘West-Pakistan’ at the Port of Karachi; thirty-four years ago, a gunman in New York City shot John Lennon dead; two years later, in 1982, well-loved singer-songwriter Marty Robbins breathed his last; the United States and the Soviet Union twenty-seven years before today signed a treaty totally to eliminate so-called tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons, as well as intermediate range thermonuclear devices, and an Israeli tank’s killing four Palestinian refugees by accident began the First Intifada; four years after that, in 1991, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia agreed to dissolve the Soviet Union and form a Commonwealth of Independent States, and Romania adopted its Constitution; precisely a decade prior to this day, twelve South American nations signed the Cusco Declaration in Peru that established a South American currency and trade union that laid the basis for a Latin American United States; four years ago, Japan’s space agency launched an Interplanetary Kite Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun, IKAROS, that successfully journeyed to Venus and entered a solar orbit that, so far, it still maintains.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
interdisciplinary OR multidisciplinary essential OR "critically important" OR inescapable OR necessary OR necessitate interconnection OR interconnected OR "internal relations" OR intersection knowledge epistemology history analysis = 5,250,000 Hits.
TOP OF THE FOLD
THE NECESSITY OF ‘FROM-ALL-SIDES’ INCLUSIONhttp://www.truth-out.org From a collaborator of Howard Zinn on both the Peoples History of the United States and Voices of a Peoples History of the United States, via the folks at TruthOut, an examination through an interview of the import and resilience and subversiveness of an inclusive approach to giving voice: “Howard was attentive to many aspects of US history that tend to be ignored or deliberately downplayed. But he was especially attuned to class conflict. The common metaphor of the United States as a family conceals sharp divisions that have always existed. And, as you point out, it wasn’t just that those conflicts existed between the colonial settlers and the indigenous population, whom they systematically dispossessed and slaughtered, or between the colonial population and the millions of slaves they forcibly brought here to work and die under the most brutal conditions. There were also different class interests among the colonialists, among those who fought in the revolutionary army. And the founders were acutely aware of the dangers posed by the different interests of the landless majority if they organized. They had to find ways to ensure that those with property and wealth dominated the new nation they were forging.”
Over the last two years, I’ve spent nearly every day sitting on the sidewalk selling my books. I researched the laws and regulations; registered myself as an independent business; and then set up my stand with a little sign extending the invitation: “Meet the Author.” Though shelf space is minimal, I’ve got the best showroom in the world: the bustling streets of Manhattan, where the square footage is immeasurable, and the foot traffic endless.
Originally from Alabama, I lived out West for nearly two decades. At various locations in Oregon, California and Alaska, I worked numerous jobs. They ranged from construction to food service, and from furniture sales to salmon canning. All the while, I wrote and studied independently. (for more, visit here)
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
JOBS Content Producer TMC, Norwalk, CT – Responsibilities include: •Crafting up to 20 ghostwritten pieces a week for a variety of Content Boost clients. This position gives you the opportunity to ghostwrite for the C-level suite, managers, directors and product managers. Word count is approximately 250-300 words and stories types include: blogs, Q&A, service pieces, hard news, in-depth pieces, etc. Penny Publications Norwalk, CT – Leading puzzle magazine publisher seeks detail and deadline-oriented candidate for position assembling, proofreading, and editing puzzles and word games for magazines, books, and electronic products. Individual must be able to multi-task with keen eye for detail. Love of puzzles a plus! 4-year Degree preferred.Epilepsy Foundation, Hyattsville, MD – The Manager of Program Communications and Media Relations will be responsible for the tactical execution of the Epilepsy Foundationâ€™s marketing communications initiatives in support of the business strategy, market goals and organizational objectives. The manager coordinates campaigns and communications through all phases of launch and maintenance, including reporting, analysis and optimizationMiami Association of Realtors – The 34,000-member MIAMI Association of Realtors has an open position for a Writer and Social Media Specialist. The specialist will work closely with the senior vice president of public relations, the COO & Chief Marketing Officer, and the CEO to write articles, news releases, and advertorials and to manage social and digital media for the association. CONTESTS
The Binnacle will sponsor its Twelfth International Ultra-Short Competition in the 2014-2015 academic year. We are looking for prose works of 150 words or fewer and poetry of sixteen lines or fewer and fewer than 150 words. All works should have a narrative element to them.
All submissions should be made via email to email@example.com. We prefer that you send your entry both in the body of your e-mail and as an attachment in a .doc, .txt, .odt, or .rtf file (.rtf preferred).
A minimum of $300 in cash prizes will be awarded, with a minimum prize of $50. At least one of the prizes will go to a UMM student.
Send us your short fiction for a chance to win a $350 prize and have your work published inthirdspace! The stories should center on experience(s) of medical education. Here are some ideas just to get you started, but these are by no means prompts! Be creative!
All entries must be postmarked between January 1 and January 31, 2015.
ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
IMPERIAL SLAUGHTER’S DOCUMENTATIONhttp://www.countercurrents.org A marvelous site, and an investigation in this case of the impact of post-1945 interventions either by the United States directly or with the essential backing of U.S. intelligence and finance and so forth, the costs of which have been gigantic, this article one of the many items that CounterCurrents makes available: “But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question ‘How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?’ This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable. The causes of wars are complex. In some instances nations other than the U.S. may have been responsible for more deaths, but if the involvement of our nation appeared to have been a necessary cause of a war or conflict it was considered responsible for the deaths in it. In other words they probably would not have taken place if the U.S. had not used the heavy hand of its power. The military and economic power of the United States was crucial. This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.“
http://foodbabe.com/ An established and popular blogger’s experience of developing a powerful argument against food, additive, and biotechnology practices against agribusiness, only to have horrifying fascist pigs assault her and seek to hijack her site completely, someone who needs a bunch of scrappy scribes and a well-run content-management upgrade perhaps: “I’m grateful for the advances made by generations of tireless independent
scientists, doctors, and nutritionists. Without their work, we would not be able to have conversations like the ones we are having here about what goes in our food and why. But just because you have a degree, doesn’t make you right. For example, for years, the expert food scientists and the FDA said trans fats were safe for consumption. The industry even went as far as saying margarine that was full of trans fat was better for you than butter. Trans fat actually provided no benefit to the consumer, it was a profit-generating ingredient that allowed products to stay on the shelf longer. Now, the CDC estimates that trans fats are linked to 7,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks per year! I’ve never claimed to be a scientist or nutritionist, but a high percentage of the ‘expert’ scientists, doctors, registered dietitians and nutritionists in this field have a financial relationship with the entities I investigate. They oftentimes are unwilling to disclose where their funding really comes from. Some use their credentials to promote and market new inventions by the food industry. Calling me ‘The Jenny McCarthy of Food’ is another sexist attack and shows the low blows these experts are willing to take on an activist who calls them out.”
http://sundown.afro.illinois.edu/ An assessment by a University of Illinois professor of the lies and distortions that permeate history texts, with one aspect of the project an investigation of the Confederacy and its importance in contemporary political economic and social networks: “Most Americans hold basic misconceptions about the Confederacy, the Civil War, and the acts of neo-Confederates afterward. For example, two-thirds of Americans–including most history teachers–think the Confederate States seceded for ‘states’ rights.’ This error persists because most have never read the key documents about the Confederacy. Now we are marking the 150th anniversary of secession and Civil War. Surely it’s time to get this history right! The first secession document, South Carolina’s ‘Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union’ actually opposes states’ rights. Mississipp’s Declaration says, ‘Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery–the greatest material interest of the world.’ Later documents show how neo-Confederates lied about all this in the twentieth century.”
WELCOME TO IMPUNITY & NO-ACCOUNTABILITY CHARTER LAND
http://www.propublica.org A podcast and overview about Pro Publica’s recent investigation of a North Carolina ‘e-trepreneur’ who has resisted oversight and transparency, and whom many accuses of conflict of interest, a ‘free-market’ evangelist who is displaying “egregious conflicts of interest:” “Mitchell, who believes that the free market will help reform education, has said that parents at his schools can vote with their feet if they’re dissatisfied with the product. He’s tangled with state regulators, who he said he believes are restricting the free market through overregulation of charter schools. Recently, Mitchell’s charter schools were in a dispute with regulators, who had ordered the schools to turn over salary data for key administrators paid by Mitchell’s management firm.”
FATUOUS & HOPEFUL AT ONCE, FAKE ‘SHARING’ OR REAL JOINT OWNERSHIP
http://www.shareable.net/ A lengthy and nuanced report from Shareable about the real social and political-economic contradictions that have led to new forms of sharing, to replace the bullshit pretense of give-and-take that have underlain purported ‘new-economic models’ like Uber and such, although the whole contextualization also appears as a life of trust-funds, by trust-funds, and for trust-funds, bless their hearts: “The notion that sharing would do away with the need for owning has been one of the mantras of sharing economy promoters. We could share cars, houses, and labor, trusting in the platforms to provide. But it’s becoming clear that ownership matters as much as ever. Whoever owns the platforms that help us share decides who accumulates wealth from them, and how. Rather than giving up on ownership, people are looking for a different way of practicing it. OuiShare, for instance, is starting to prioritize supporting new projects that bake new models of ownership — that is, real sharing — deep into their business model. Léonard and his collaborators are part of a widespread effort to make new kinds of ownership the new norm. There are cooperatives, networks of freelancers, cryptocurrencies, and countless hacks in between. Plans are being made for a driver-owned Lyft, a cooperative version of eBay, and Amazon Mechanical Turk workers are scheming to build a crowdsourcing platform they can run themselves. Each idea has its prospects and shortcomings, but together they aspire toward an economy, and an Internet, that is more fully ours. ‘Society needs a new narrative about the world,’ Léonard thinks, ‘and that narrative has to be different from the one Uber is offering.'”
http://www.pewinternet.org A Pew Research report about the largely prevalent–at times overwhelmingly prevalent–view among folks that the Internet has provided transformative and positive impacts in their lives, one of thousands–of course–of ongoing positive examinations of the web’s important and beneficial role in making hope possible even in the context of little money and fewer resources of other sorts: “Interestingly enough, some of the heaviest users of the internet are less likely to believe that other Americans are benefiting from internet use. Younger adult internet users (those ages 18-29) are the least likely to believe the internet is making average Americans (66%) or today’s students (67%) better informed, and instead are more likely than their older counterparts to say the internet has no real impact. About one in five young online adults say the internet has had no real impact on how well-informed average Americans (23%) or today’s students (19%) are.”
DIRE STRAITS IN SOCIAL SERVICES & LITTLE OR NO HOPE FROM ‘OFFICIAL’ SOURCES
http://www.govexec.com A report from GovExec that indicates the extent of current and likely continuing declines in any aspect of government spending that would serve people’s community needs–as opposed to empire’s or ruling class agendas–the upshot of which would have to include scrappy scribes and other organizations that were willing to increase struggles around these problems: “Services financed by federal, state and local governments are headed for a long downhill slide, even if the nation’s economic recovery has temporarily resuscitated many public-sector budgets. Experts agreed on this gloomy prognostication during November meetings of the National Academy of Public Administration and its Federal Systems Panel in the nation’s capital. The consensus view: The conservative mood of the nation today—along with structural budget problems associated with demographic trends—will be squeezing education, welfare, health, infrastructure and other key categories of spending in the years ahead. And, the scholars said at the meeting, our intergovernmental system is increasingly unable to provide the kind of coordinated and mutual support that could alleviate the advancing pain.”
CRITICAL LITERACY ISSUES OF CRITICAL IMPORT
http://hechingerreport.org From a Black male Mississippi history teacher, a stern warning and plea for whatever is necessary to alleviate the dearth of critical thinking capacity in his classrooms, which a basic inability to read well will always foster, all of which adds up to a social crisis that stems from social decisions and political orientation that guarantees the worsening rather than the solving of these problems: “But I also believe my classroom is a microcosm of the nation as a whole, where people simply are not reading as much as they did in the past. The more a person reads, the better their literacy becomes. This simply is not happening in American homes. According to the National Endowment for the Arts study, people age 15 to 24 only read seven minutes per day on weekdays and 10 minutes per day reading on weekends and holidays. My biggest fear is that it may be too late for me sufficiently help my students attain a reading level needed to be successful in college. Still, I promote and encourage independent reading whenever possible. Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are formidable adversaries to the classic novels and online articles I assign. But the To Read or Not to Read report concluded, ‘reading frequently is a behavior to be cultivated with the same zeal as academic achievement, financial or job performance, and global competitiveness.’ My goal is to not only equip my students with the necessary content to pass the state mandated test, but to cultivate a love for reading which will be tied to any future success that they wish to have.”
UKRAINIAN CRI DU COEUR
http://www.countercurrents.org On the ground reporting from Donetsk, in Eastern Ukraine, about the murderous situation there, promoted by the Ukrainian government that the United States has installed and supported, from CounterCurrents, which in turn seeks to foster a sense of responsibility and engagement, while other materials here suggest how intensely current U.S. government policy boosts militaristic and violent intervention on the borders of Russia: “Both sides of the conflict blame each other for civilian casualties and given that most Ukrainian soldiers and self-defence militias speak the same language (mainly Russian) with the same accent and use the same weapons, it’s not easy to determine who’s responsible for
http://www.alliance4usefulevidence.org An examination from the Alliance for Useful Evidence that insists that the disrespecting of qualitative evidence is not only wrong and ludicrous but also dangerous, in terms of missing critical knowledge and failing to engage with people’s actual consciousness and capacities: “Of course, we know the paradigm wars are over, don’t we? (Bryman, 2008) Yet ideas about what really ‘counts’ as evidence run deep. The default setting, even now, seems to be that ‘we’ll do a survey’ even when people have a sense that it probably won’t really get to the heart of the issues. Confidence in qualitative research rarely goes much beyond the focus group. Too often we miss those chances to learn more about what really matters to people. When we do, we can be surprised – usually a sign that our own assumptions are being challenged. Stories can help us to change the questions we ask. The words people use are important and often provide the key to what the real issues are. The emotional content of stories is valuable data not accessible through official reports or questionnaires. When you hear a story you can’t dispute the emotion – you might not like it, but you can’t disagree with it. I hear people describe stories as ‘honest and compelling’ and importantly they are often profoundly moved by the stories they hear. At their best, research and evaluation reports provide information and argument. They invite the reader to agree with them (or to pick holes in their methodology). As Geoff Mead (2014) says ‘argument and intellectual assent are not enough to move people to action.’ Stories provide insight and the empathy needed for action.”
WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS
NEW REPUBLIC WOES AS EXEMPLARY
http://www.insidephilanthropy.com An examination of the recent upheaval at the New Republic, from Inside Philanthropy, the upshot of which is that not-for-profit media in the view of folks like Chris Hughes have no right or real reason to exist, which, given his role as the moneybags meant that NR was going down the tubes, an interesting conversation to which scrappy scribes might find a way to contribute: “Hughes is clearly not interested in TNR as a philanthropic endeavor, much to the dismay of the highbrow media establishment, which has basically argued that by buying TNR, Hughes had an obligation to continue losing money on it in something close to its present form. Before debating this point, it worth’s asking: Why does Hughes see TNR as a business project and not as a charitable one? One answer is that, while Hughes is an
engaged philanthropist, journalism is evidently not one of his causes. …Hughes mentioned … that there is ‘much experimentation in nonprofit journalism… and that may be the right path for certain institutions.’ That’s certainly so. Pierre Omidyar is spending millions to finance investigative reporting (an effort whcih, by the way, has also been rocky). Retired hedge fund billionaire John Arnold has been writing big checks to places like the Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica. Another retired finance guy, Neil Barsky, has bankrolled the launch of the Marshall Project, which focuses on criminal justice. Herb and Marion Sandler underwrote the creation of ProPublica after selling their California bank. And a host of established foundations have stepped up support of journalism, most notably the Knight Foundation. So it’s interesting that even as more rich people have come forward to give money for journalism with no expectation of a financial return, Hughes is taking a different path by seeking to make the New Republic financially sustainable—an idea that strikes many top journalists as outrageous.”
http://www.collegemediamatters.com A listing about the ins and outs, the arts and sciences, of pitching, from College Media Matters, with plenty of practical advice for busy scrappy scribes in a ‘marketplace’ that barely functions anymore: “The Word ‘Pitch.’ A small but essential word of wisdom: Always put the word ‘pitch’ in the subject line of your story pitch emails. As Dehnart confirmed, that word will probably be the only thing that catches a busy editor’s eye as they scroll through messages and may ultimately prevent your pitch from being lost forever in a crammed email inbox. In a similar sense, be succinct in the body of your message. Remember, editors are multi-tasking and on deadline. Getting to the point, while not leaving out the necessary details, is key. ‘By the Way, My Mom Hoards Cats.’ As a fun example, Dehnart said that statement is something you would include in an opening email only if you were pitching a hoarding article. Bottom line, stick to providing relevant details which will reinforce why you are the best person to report on a particular piece. Do not share extraneous or unnecessary information. As Dehnart explained, ‘Your ability to pitch well is what’s going to get you read. If your first paragraph doesn’t give them enough information to keep reading, or is full of typos, or if it doesn’t represent that you are a good writer or reader, that’s a problem.'”
HIGHER SKILLS, FEWER JOBS
http://chronicle.com One of several recent articles about dissertations and Ph.d. holders from the Chronicle of Higher Education, this one’s concern with the job market’s straitened circumstances and lack of any sense of a coming amelioration of these conditions, others that deal with changes in the craft and production of the product itself, others concerning general demographics of higher education generally, all of which center on socioeconomic issues that scrappy scribes are grappling with on a regular basis: “Although the overall economy is showing signs of improvement, the effects of the recession aren’t yet a thing of the past in the academic-job market. Signs of recovery are uneven across fields and within them. And it’s unclear when, if ever, the number of academic jobs for Ph.D.’s, new or otherwise, will return to prerecession levels. In the latest survey, some 15,000 new Ph.D.’s said they had accepted jobs in the United States, with about half of those positions in academe. The proportion is much higher for those in the humanities. Of the 1,897 humanities scholars who reported having a job in the United States after graduation, nearly 83 percent said they had an academic position,roughly the same as a decade ago. However, the survey doesn’t distinguish between tenure-track and adjunct positions, which a growing number of scholars in the humanities hold. The survey also shows how postdoctoral study has become the first stop for more scholars. Of those with post-Ph.D. commitments, the proportion who opted for postdoctoral study increased from 32.8 percent in 2003 to almost 40 percent last year.”
GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES
POLITICAL-ECONOMIC MEDIA REALITIES
http://chieforganizer.org A powerfully argued and illustrated analysis from the Chief Organizers Blog, that looks at the intersection between media reform debates and various ‘popular organizations’ that are essentially shilling for cable companies, Internet Service Providers, and so forth, all of which touches on the profound difference between transactional and transformational organizing, the first of which acts as an invitation to sell-outs but the second of which stands for principles of social change before anything else:
“Comcast, AT&T, Times-Warner and others have paid the pipers. For years they have underwritten conventions, conferences, partnerships, projects, ad books, awards, and scholarships for the old-line outfits. The big companies maintain relationship specialists with various names whose job description is in fact managing these relationships, providing the grease, pressing the flesh, solving little problems, and showing up at big events. This is soft power that tries to avoid the direct expression that a quid pro quo is involved; even when everyone involved realizes that there will come a time when the chits are called in. Most smoothly expressed, these big companies, and most others like banks for example, would maintain that at the most they are getting access and have the right rolodex to be able to present their best cases to the decision makers in these organizations. I’m not saying that the organizations shouldn’t take the money. Times are hard for organizations. At the same time they have to be able to walk away and maintain their credibility or it’s all over. Look at the tragic farce that has become Andrew Young’s legacy from civil rights to politics and diplomacy, and now as corporate shill from Walmart to whoever makes the next contribution and pays the next plane fare. These are cautionary case studies. We saw this over and over when ACORN was in fights with the banks and other lenders for example. I’ve often told the story of the settlement with HSBC, where we insisted ACORN’s share for remediation had to be double the annual level of what they had paid an old line, Beltway civil rights organization to saddle up to defend them. In fact we saw it with Comcast when they refused to listen to our demands for outreach to our communities on internet access, and instead wanted to accuse us of a shakedown. They thought, and still think, it’s all transactional. In the arrogance of corporate power, many of these big whoops start to believe that everyone can be bought, even when they must know only some are really for sale.”
ADVERTISING STRUGGLES & SOCIOECONOMIC ECOSYSTEMS
http://www.mondaynote.com A MondayNote look at the phenomenon of finding ways to end advertising’s invasiveness, which has become massively intrusive and incapacitating for getting work done, the popularity of which–in the form of Ad Blocker Plus, for example–has led to lawsuits by Parisian agencies against these now very popular services, which have been garnering other investigations of late, as well: “I’m not especially proud of this, nor do I support anti-advertising activism, I use the ad-blocker for practical, not ideological, reasons. On too many sites, the invasion of pop-up windows and heavily animated ad ‘creations’ has became an annoyance. A visual and a technical one. When a page loads, the HTML code ‘calls’ all sorts of modules, sometimes 10 or 15. Each sends a request to an ad server and sometimes, for the richest content, the ad elements trigger the activation of a third-party plug-in like Adobe’s Shockwave which will work hard to render the animated ads. Most of the time, these ads are poorly optimized because creative agencies don’t waste their precious time on such trivial task as providing clean, efficient code to their clients. As a consequence, the computer’s CPU is heavily taxed, it overheats, making fans buzz loudly. Suddenly, you feel like your MacBook Pro is about to take off. That’s why, with a couple of clicks, I installed AdBlock Plus. My ABP has spared me several thousands of ad exposures. My surfing is now faster, crash-free, and web pages looks better.”
FROM ALL SIDES, ‘ESTABLISHED ORDER IS WRONG!’ http://www.theverge.com From The Verge, both a general examination of recent upsurges in protest, about which thousands of articles have been appearing, along with specific network outreach from ecological forces and Silicon Valley, along with more general social democratic thinking, as well as more conservative ideation, and a specific look at the input of Rand Paul on these recent cases of police murder, which amounts to a stern assault on the fraudulent and murderous ‘War-on-Drugs’ as a key brace for the entire situation of militarized police, attacks on citizens, and all the rest: “I can’t really say what Paul’s motives are, but his point is at least worth considering: police officers, like the one who killed Eric Garner, don’t
exist in a vacuum. They’re enabled by laws. For more than a decade, the United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world. Countries comparable to the US typically jail about 100 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The United States jails about five times that many people. Think about that for a moment; it’s not possible to explain away simply by invoking the patriotic parable that America is exceptionally blessed by the rule of law. Other nations — ones we routinely demonize for being draconian and regressive — don’t put nearly as many people in jail as the US. There are two possibilities here: either more Americans are natural born criminals than everyone else in the world, or we’re making criminals out of lots of harmless people. There are myriad laws across the US, both state and federal, that put nonviolent people in prison for relatively trivial crimes. The consequences are disastrous for the individuals put behind bars, for their loved ones, and for the rest of society that must bear the cost of what is essentially a lost life. Some of these sentences are unimaginable. The ACLU has reported that more than 3,000 people will spend the rest of their life in jail with no possibility of parole because they did something like steal a jacket or facilitate the sale of $10 of marijuana.”
IRAN’S GROWING SPEED HABIT
http://www.stuff.co.nz An assessment of a massive increase in methamphetamine use in Iran, which has been having a hideous social impact, has led to increasing utilization of criminal sanctions, and is supposedly the result of misinformation, in that the majority of Iranians aren’t aware of ‘ice’s’ addictive qualities, to which one aspect of Iran’s response has been humane enough to permit treating
addicts gently, even as smugglers receive death sentences: “Seizures of methamphetamine soared 128 per cent between 2008 and 2012, topping all other countries in the region, according to figures compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Last year alone, the government of Iran confiscated 3.6 tonnes of shishe. A top official from the Iran Drug Control Headquarters said last year that shishe could be found in Tehran in ‘less than five minutes,’ according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency. Shishe addicts in Iran are mostly urban, middle class and young, experts say. Notably, there are a large number of women who abuse shishe, too. One of the main reasons why shishe use has spread quickly in Iran is a lack of information about the drug, which has led casual users to believe, erroneously, that it is not addictive, experts say.”
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND NUCLEAR WAR, & HYPOCRISY BY & ABOUT ISRAEL
https://consortiumnews.com/ An examination from Consortium News that concerns the recent United Nations General Assembly resolution ofr a nuclear-free Middle East, and for Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, about which the U.S. was one of a handful of no votes, in the wider context of reports about the just-begun conference in Vienna about the horrific results and increasing expectations of actual nuclear conflicts: “A nuclear weapons-free Middle East and universal adherence to the nonproliferation treaty are supposedly U.S. policy objectives, and have been for many years. So why did the United States oppose the resolution? According to the U.S. representative’s statement in earlier debate, the resolution ‘fails to meet the fundamental tests of fairness and balance. It confines itself to expressions of concern about the activities of a single country. …An obvious problem with the United States complaining about a resolution on a topic such as this being an expression of concern about the activities of only a single country is that the United States has been in front in pushing for United Nations resolutions about the nuclear activities of a single country, only just not about the particular country involved this time. The inconsistency is glaring. Iran has been the single-country focus of several U.S.-backed resolutions on nuclear matters — resolutions in the Security Council that have been the basis for international sanctions against Iran. One could look, but would look in vain, for sound rationales for the inconsistency. If anything, the differences one would find should point U.S. policy in the opposite direction from the direction it has taken. It is Iran that has placed itself under the obligations of the nonproliferation treaty and subjects its nuclear activities to international inspection.”
FBI & LOCAL POLICE ASSASSINATIONS OF BLACK PANTHERS
http://www.democracynow.org A historical look from Democracy Now! that comes around to views that many annalists have long promulgated, that Federal agents conducted a war against the Black Panther Party, including the murdered leaders Fred Hampton and Huey Newton, the former of whose thinking was part of DN’s article : “So we say—we always say in the Black Panther Party that they can do anything they want to to us. We might not be back. I might be in jail. I might be anywhere. But when I leave, you’ll remember I said, with the last words on my lips, that I am a revolutionary. And you’re going to have to keep on saying that. You’re going to have to say that I am a proletariat, I am the people. A lot of people don’t understand the Black Panthers Party’s relationship with white mother country radicals. A lot of people don’t even understand the words that Eldridge uses a lot. But what we’re saying is that there are white people in the mother country that are for the same types of things that we are for stimulating revolution in the mother country. And we say that we will work with anybody and form a coalition with anybody that has revolution on their mind.”
As woe and complaint cover the land, and those who own everything set loose their trusty, mercenary minions—dressed up in one ‘uniform’ of authority or another—to divide and brutalize the different groups that endure oppression so systematic that it works as efficiently as a well-regulated clock, some suffering citizens begin to ponder whether things must always be so, to which the answer will forever and always reveal two possibilities: ‘No, so long as the people manage to organize themselves so as to seize control, real popular power, for their own purposes and interests;’ ‘Otherwise yes!’
Quote of the Day
“Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it, (though the main) tired I was, was tired of giving in. …I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” Rosa Parks.
This Day in History
Today, for all who like to eat, is World Soil Day, and it is also International Volunteer Day for Economic & Social Development; more-or-less two thousand seventy-seven years prior to the present pass, Cicero ‘saved the Roman Republic’ by delivering an oration that persuaded Senators to vote to execute conspirators who had campaigned to impose debt relief and help for the poor in Rome, turning to treasonous means when the vote went against them; six hundred six years back, fighters of the so-called Golden Horde, whose Tatar forces ruled much of contemporary Russian and Eastern Europe for the better part of two centuries, too control of
Moscow; Pope Innocent VIII five hundred thirty years before the here and now appointed inquisitors to root out ‘witches’ in Germany; eight years subsequently, in 1492, sailors of ships led by Christopher Columbus went ashore in the ‘New World’ for the first time, on the island of Hispaniola—today Haiti and the Dominican Republic; inaugurating a family dynasty, James Christie held a sale of art and objects in London two hundred forty-eight years back; eighteen years after that, in 1784, the brilliant young poet, essayist, and slave Phillis Wheatley died; a hundred eighty-three years ago, former President John Quincy Adams took a seat in Congress as a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts; a hundred sixty-seven years ago, Mississippian Jefferson Davis went to the U.S. Senate, en route to a defense of slavery fifteen years hence; three hundred sixty-five days later to the day, in 1848, James Polk conveyed to Congress the discovery of substantial gold deposits in California, conveniently recently ‘acquired’ from Mexico; Chile and Peru briefly allied one hundred forty-nine years ago in a successful conflict with Spain; five years subsequently, in 1870, novelist and dramatist Alexandre Dumas took his final breath; a baby boy was born a hundred twenty-four years back en-route to a life as a writer and film director by the name of Fritz Lang; one hundred thirteen years prior to just now, two baby boys came into the world, one in Germany who grew into philosopher-physicist Werner Heisenberg, the other in American who matured as animator, film-maker, and storyteller Walt Disney; eighty-three years ago, the soulful poet Vachel Lindsay died; precisely a year hence, Albert Einstein, the genius physicist, gained a visa to the United States, extricating himself and his family from the rise of Nazism in Germany; another year later, in 1933, with Utah’s ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment, America’s disastrous experiment in Prohibition came to an end; seventy-nine years back, the baby boy gave his first cry who grew to become noted poet, humorist, and author Calvin Trillin; a year later, further South, a baby boy was born who became the popular mystery novelist James Lee Burke; a smothering smog that covered London for months and in which over 12,000 people likely died from its effects began in London sixty two years ago; three years hence, in 1955, E.D. Nixon and Rosa Parks led the Montgomery Bus Boycott to protest discrimination in transportation, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL/CIO; two years further on, half a world away, Indonesian leader Sukarno expelled Dutch residents in toppling one of Europe’s last overseas colonies; forty-five years back, researchers in the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency inaugurated a so-called four node communications and data-sharing network, ARPANET; thirty-six years ago, the Soviet Union began its descent to hell in Afghanistan, signing a treat of ‘friendship’ through which the U.S.S.R. hoped to maintain control of its neighbor; five years afterward, in 1983, the fascist junta that the U.S. had helped to install in Argentina seven years previously stood down; a decade prior to this moment, England passed a Civil Partnership Act that completely legitimized same-sex couples.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
police property OR privilege protection OR guarantee oppression OR injustice OR inequality history OR origins analysis "political economy" = 7,320,000 Hits.
TOP OF THE FOLD
AFGHANISTAN’S REPETITIONS NO ACCIDENT
http://www.rollingstone.com An examination of the development in Afghanistan of almost a mirror image of the contraband the flowed from Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, with an even higher proportion of the world’s illicit opium now a part of one Afghan shipment or another, just as happened in Laos and Cambodia and elsewhere during and after the Vietnam War, all of which merits a single mention in Congressional Research Service’s recent 88-page White Paper for Congress, a non-investigated allegation of opium transport by a national airline: “The United States’ alliances with opium traffickers in Afghanistan go back to the 1980s, when the CIA waged a dirty war to undermine the Soviet occupation of the country. Though opium had been grown for centuries in Afghanistan’s highlands, large-scale cultivation was introduced in Helmand by Mullah Nasim Akhund-zada, a mujahedeen commander who was receiving support from the ISI and the CIA. USAID’s irrigated farmlands were perfect for cash-crop production, and as Akhundzada wrested control of territory from the Communist government, he introduced production quotas and offered cash advances to farmers who planted opium. …(The Taliban totally
outlawed production, but after the U.S. invasion), a series of decisions … helped revive the Afghan opium economy in a drastically expanded form. Within six months of the U.S. invasion, the warlords we backed were running the opium trade, and the spring of 2002 saw a bumper harvest of 3,400 tons. Meanwhile, the international community and the Afghan government paid lip service to counternarcotics, with the latter adopting an official strategy that fantasized about opium production being reduced by 75 percent in five years and eliminated entirely within 10. Hamid Karzai, who had been plucked from obscurity to serve as president, was busy cementing, with U.S. acquiescence, a political order deeply linked to the opium trade. In the north, he wooed the Northern Alliance commanders as partners; in his southern homeland, he appointed Sher Mohammad Akhundzada as governor of Helmand, the nephew of the now-deceased Mullah Nasim, the same guy who had first introduced large-scale poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. ‘Narco corruption went to the top of the Afghan government,’ wrote Thomas Schweich, who served as a senior U.S. counternarcotics official in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2008. ‘Sure, Karzai had Taliban enemies who profited from drugs, but he had even more supporters who did.'”
NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS
REFLECTIONS ON CHILE, LATIN AMERICA, LIBERATING CULTURE
http://blogs.loc.gov For writers whose presence is often or primarily digital, a call for papers to be a part of the Personal Digital Archiving Conference in NYC in April: “The Personal Digital Archiving Conference 2015 will take place in New York City for the first time. The conference will be hosted by our NDIIPP and NDSA partners at New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program April 24-26, 2015. Presentation submissions for Personal Digital Archiving are due Monday, December 8th, 2014 by 11:59 pm EST.”
The Birmingham Business Journal (AL) is seeking a reporter who is able to marry strong traditional journalism skills – source building, sharp interviewing techniques, strong analytical and investigative reporting skills, clear writing, document use – with online and social media know-how. Whatever the platform, reporters will produce content – original and curated – that is accompanied by perspective and context. Beat available at this time is banking and finance.
The Scottsbluff Star-Herald (NE) is looking for a reporter with photo and video experience. We are a 12,000-circulation six-day daily in a thriving regional trade center a few hours from Denver. A degree in journalism is preferred, but candidates with practical experience and strong writing skills will be considered.
The Newton Daily News (IA) is seeking a full-time reporter to join our two satellite publications. This reporter will have the opportunity to help design the direction of these community-based weekly newspapers as the product modernized to suit 21st century journalism.
The Maryland Catholic Conference, which represents the public policy positions of the Catholic Church in Maryland, is seeking an innovative and collaborative individual to serve as Communications Director.
Dawson, GA – An award-winning, 127-year-old north Georgia newspaper, The Dawson News & Advertiser, is seeking an energetic, general assignment reporter to cover news and features.
Crossed Genres (est. 2008), the magazine of speculative fiction stories, will be opening a new reading period (starting December 1st) to curate stories for the April 2015 issue. – See more at: http://writingcareer.com/#sthash.Q6OtLr0r.dpuf
Romance publisher Dark Hollows Press is reviewing short stories for a Valentine’s Day anthology titled, A Touch of Love to be published February 2015. – See more at: http://writingcareer.com/#sthash.Q6OtLr0r.dpuf
http://www.theatlantic.com An awesome service, no doubt about it, from Atlantic, of awesome non-fiction from last year, ‘slightly more than a hundred’ items actually: “I couldn’t read every worthy piece published last year and haven’t included any paywalled articles or many of the numerous pieces from The Atlantic that I enjoyed. But everything that follows is worthy of wider attention.”
RUSSELL BRAND VERSUS THE SUN
http://theconversation.com A lovely piece from The Conversation that shows Russell brand ‘in fighting trim,’ so to speak, against his detractors at The Sun, from which outfit he won “an undisclosed sum” and a retraction for their false and defamatory accusations of infidelity earlier this year: “In the Guardianhe wrote: ‘We will never know the true extent of their dishonesty. We are dealing with experts in propaganda who will stop at nothing to see their version of events prevail, and on the rare occasions when the truth emerges, like a hernia popping through gorged corpse, they apologise discreetly for their ignoble flatulence in a mouse-sized font for hippo-sized lies.’ The Guardian piece so enraged The Sun that it took down its paywall so that non-subscribers could be party to ’20 Reasons Why Russell Brand is the Biggest Hypocrite in Britain.’ Among other things, the article points out the fact that the ‘Booky Wookies’ of the three-times winner of the ‘shagger of the year’ awards are published by News Corp companies.”
UKRAINIAN REPRESSION ‘OUTED’
http://globalvoicesonline.org An investigative report from Global Voices about the growing grassroots uproar within Ukraine against such recent government actions as the creation of a media-relations bureau the purpose of which is at least as much to quash journalism and knowledge as it is to ‘protect information security:’ “Ukrainians have long wielded online ridicule as the most powerful weapon against government oppression and injustice, and the situation around the ‘Ministry of Truth’ seems to be no different. Suggesting the new ministry’s creation is nothing but a misguided attempt to address the outspoken criticism of the new government and its actions, users have been creating fake ‘ministerial’ accounts on social media. The Ministry of Information Policy has already been creatively renamed as the “Ministry of Laziness and Spitting at the Ceiling” and the “Ministry of Sexual Politics,” hinting at the uselessness of the new office and the too-close connections between various government officials.”
AN AMERICAN IN JAIL IN CUBA
http://www.washingtonpost.com A briefing from WaPo about a 65 year old U.S. citizen in jail in Cuba, who was definitely doing subversive work there, undercover, but whom President Obama wants released since the nature of that work–distributing equipment and instruction about getting online in the island nation–should not merit such punishment, in this case a fifteen year sentence, of which the former contractor has served five: “Gross, in should be noted, was in Cuba as part of a controversial pro-democracy program, and he represented himself not as a U.S. government contractor but as being in Cuba to do philanthropic work. But any discussion of Gross’s imprisonment is incomplete without a recognition that he wasn’t in Cuba distributing guns or tank parts. He was passing out equipment so that people could get online, which is something that the Cuban government considers quite dangerous enough.”
MILITARIST TECHNOLOGICAL FETISHES LAVISHLY FUNDED
http://pando.com A briefing from PandoDaily that suggests that citizens will struggle to find out what’s really going on in the Department of Defense’s recent ‘turn’ toward Silicon Valley, but that more than simple concern over security is in play: “The Pentagon’s efforts to seek guidance from Silicon Valley aren’t directly related to cyberwar — that doesn’t even make the long list quoted at the beginning of this post — but it does showcase the military’s increasing techno-fetishism. The question, then, is whether this renewed focus on outpacing enemy capabilities is well-founded or if it’s just an effort to maintain the status quo. Given the increasingly secret nature of the US’s military efforts, combined with the government’s knack for keeping its digital activities secret from the public, it’s unlikely that we’ll know the answer to that question for a long, long while.”
ARTS ‘BUZZ’ ENLIVENS COMMUNITY AND ECONOMY
http://www.newswise.com A research report about the impacts of arts on communities from NewsWise, the predictable upshot of which is that a huge payoff is available to those locations that contextualize arts within their urban DNA, so to say, but without a bunch of bullshit in the process: “(B)uzz can also lead to a sort of inflation if the messages about a neighborhood become more fluff than content and undermine the authenticity of actual arts activities, he pointed out. Clark, who has spent his career studying arts and culture and their impact on the economy and civic engagement, is the lead author of new book, Can Tocqueville Karaoke? Global Contrast of Citizen Participation, the Arts and Development. His work on urban buzz with Daniel Silver, PhD’08, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, is featured in the book, which also contains analyses of citizen participation worldwide and how the arts can be an engine for economic innovation.”
GOP = KKK
http://www.newswise.com A research update and overview about recent investigative work on the impacts of Ku Klux Klan presence on Southern jurisdictions, which doesn’t look particularly appealing, as it shows a strong correspondence between KKK membership and an upsurge in Republican voting patterns: “David Cunningham, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University, Rory McVeigh of the University of Notre Dame, and Justin Farrell of Yale University report that KKK activity played a significant role in shifting voters’ political party allegiance in the South in the 1960s — from Democratic to Republican — and it continued to influence voters’ activities 40 years later. The researchers studied county voting records in 10 southern states in which the KKK actively recruited members in the 1960s. The analysis of five presidential voting outcomes, between 1960 and 2000, showed that southern counties with KKK activity in the 1960s had a statistically significant increase in Republican voting compared to counties with no established KKK chapter, even after controlling for a range of factors commonly understood as relating to voting preferences.” DEVASTATING DOCUMENTATION OF EMPIRE’S DEPREDATIONS
http://www.ocweekly.com A documentary review that will make any but reactionary fascists weep as they try to deal with the nausea of oppression and butchery that have happened in the name of property and profit, in the context of which many marvelous conversations might be possible: “Göran Hugo Olsson‘s profound essay doc aspires to upset in the truest sense. As its vintage footage of the cruelties of colonial life shocks and disgusts, its narration—excerpts from Frantz Fanon‘s thundering 1961 text The Wretched of the Earth—demands that Western viewers fundamentally upset their conceptions of everything. A commanding indictment of the exploitative nature of geopolitics, as well as of Europe’s and the U.S.’s abuse of native peoples around the world, Concerning Violence pairs up hard truths from Fanon—Lauryn Hill reads his words, each blunt and burning as if a cigarette she’s putting out in your ear—with damnable scenes shot in colonized countries in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s: In Rhodesia, Ghana, Liberia and Guinea, we meet local rebels and European soldiers, striking workers and the company stooges punishing them.”
MORE EVIDENCE: OMIDYAR’S & E-BAY’S PROFITEERING THUGGERY
http://pando.com Another hyper-brilliant scoop from Pando Daily, providing procedural, documentary, and testimonial facts that suggest that Pierre Omidyar and E-Bay fraudulently sought to crush Craigslist for the sole reason that CL wasn’t capitalistic, profiteering, and greedy enough to survive: “Craigslistadded Omidyar’s name to their civil suit against eBay in 2010, just after the Delaware court’s decision. Over time Craigslist’s lawsuit has added more and more charges, fourteen by last count including fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty. Three years after the federal grand jury issued its subpoenas against Omidyar and his eBay colleagues, no criminal indictment has yet been returned.”
FINDING A CREASE FOR HOPE
http://www.telesurtv.net An absolutely beautiful essay from TeleSur about the futility of passivity and the way that any psychology of hope and joy must include a nexus of action in order not to end up swirling the drain in a sink of depression and ennui: “If everything seems to be horribly vile, one can choose to rebel and seek change in a sustained way, or one can perhaps get momentarily indignant, but in any event fall back to passively ignoring the injustice. Perhaps becoming an activist is not bound up in the quality of the revelation of hypocrisy one encounters, nor even in the scale of hypocrisy or in perceiving the harm it can do, but instead in the prospects for successfully overcoming the hypocrisy. If prospects for success seem to exist, admitting hypocrisy and actively confronting it make sense.”
WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS
NO LANGUAGE INSTINCTS
http://aeon.co From Aeon, via MediaREDEF, a provocative if scientifically rudimentary look at the debate that the likes of Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker–two very different beasts indeed–seemed to be winning, i.e., that instinctual elements of learning language were the only way to account for how language inculcation actually happens, something that this essay, with very ‘good sounding sense,’ if not necessarily ‘good sound sense,’ considers as non-instinctual, a topic that scrappy scribes must pay attention to, since this is what we do: “This finding seems to hold for all our grammatical categories. ‘Rules’ don’t get applied in indiscriminate jumps, as we would expect if there really was an innate blueprint for grammar. We seem to construct our language by spotting patterns in the linguistic behaviour we encounter, not by applying built-in rules. Over time, children slowly figure out how to apply the various categories they encounter. So while language acquisition might be uncannily quick, there isn’t much that’s automatic about it: it arises from a painstaking process of trial and error.”
IS ADVERTISING A SINE QUA NON?
http://www.mediapost.com From Media Post, one of the flood of regular pronouncements that presume that without advertising media is impossible, which is historically and socially absurd, but one might ask forgiveness in the context of the present pass for failing to notice that absurdity, given the absolutely righteous handwringing of every ‘gatekeeper’ in existenceabout the matter: “The second component of this transition is the additional software element that ties in programmatic delivery and data-driven audience addressability. The programmatic online environment is a bridge to that of TV, and the tipping point comes when data is integrated beyond aggregate audiences, and the goal of addressability is realized. This depends on the device’s ability to recognize the viewer, either at a composite household level, a log-in level, or a statistical ID, cookie-like level dependent on a short-term behavioral profile developed in a 10- to 15-minute window. Once the device can accurately profile different viewers in the household at viewing time, then data can be leveraged to deliver customized programming and advertisements. This translates to increased premiums for inventory and more effective messaging. This whole new layer to television advertising also allows integrated monetization across devices such as mobile, etc. The ability to deliver a custom audience across all three primary screens is an (oft-stated) Holy Grail for advertisers — one that is well within our reach in the next five years.”
OPENING UP THE $19 BILLION ACADEMIC PUBLISHING SCAM
http://digiday.com A signal from DigiDay that the publishing behemoths that make people pay, through the nose, for access to what their tax dollars has overwhelmingly brought into being, are becoming aware that an uprising against their imprimatur and impunity is in the works: “But nobody is safe from digital. The Web and changing reader attitudes about science publishing are forcing the big research publishers to rethink the traditional stranglehold that they’ve had over their content. This week, 171-year-old Macmillan announced a new plan that would make it easier for article authors and subscribers to share content from its 49 journals. Using its new platform, called ReadCube, subscribers and authors can share links to articles with non-subscribers, who can then read and annotate it. The company is also extending that access a select group of science blogs, which can freely share content with readers via links in their articles. Macmillan also imposed two big limitations, however, by preventing readers from either printing or downloading the articles.”
GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES
INTERNET TAXATION ISSUES, VIS-A-VIS TITLE II
http://www.freepress.net An insightful and well-explained report from Free Press, thanks to a lead from Benton.Org, that serves as a rejoinder to recent scare-pieces from various big-business groups that classifying the Internet as a utility would lead to huge tax run-ups, for various well-developed reasons that the article points out, extremely unlikely, with plenty more besides: “Finally, Congress is right now deciding whether to renew the Internet Tax Freedom Act. The Act bars federal, state and local governments from taxing Internet access and imposing other Internet-specific taxes (like bit taxes, bandwidth taxes or email taxes). If Congress doesn’t renew this Act, which expires on Dec. 11, this all becomes moot: There will be new taxes no matter what the FCC does. If Congress wants to renew this special exemption, making sure it applies to Internet access after the FCC reclassifies is a very easy legislative fix. The bottom line is this: If the FCC does nothing more than stick with precedent and designate broadband as an interstate telecom service, the average potential increase in taxes and fees per household would be far less than PPI estimates. If Congress extends and updates the Internet Tax Freedom Act and the FCC declines to include broadband in the revenue base at this time, the increase would be exactly zero.”
NARRATIVES OF INTERNET HISTORY
http://dmlcentral.net A powerful contextualization of what the Internet is, in terms of how we examine and study and learn about its origins, rather than in terms of arbitrary metrics that dictate what precisely we can experience in the first place: “This post has attempted to argue that we have moved into a fifth era of web literacy. Transitioning from one era to another has not necessarily seen a linear increase in web literacy skills. Instead, society has focused on access, with only a variable focus on skills. My hope is that in this new fifth era, we understand the web for what it is, a platform for human flourishing. Perhaps we will learn to teach current and next generations how to read, write and participate, effectively using it. * Mozilla is working on a new version of the Web Literacy Map. More about this can be found here. My thanks to Matthew Willse, Brendan Murphy, Oliver Propst and other members of the Mozilla community for their feedback on this article.”
‘WE REFUSE TO BE DARREN WILSON’
http://www.ajc.com As protests continue around the nation, a summary from the Atlanta Journal Constitution of some of the multiple sites where hundreds of protesters made their voices
resonate with disgust at current U.S. police practice, one of thousands of recent outpourings of dismay or interest or summary or breaking media news on this issue: “More than 300 people, black and white, were taking part in a ‘die-in’ protest Thursday afternoon outside the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. One person held a sign that read, ‘I am not Mike Brown but I refuse to be Darren Wilson,’ the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who was not charged in the August fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.”
FOOTBALL’S FREQUENT DEATH SENTENCE TO PARTICIPANTS
http://www.wsws.org A tragic contextualization from World Socialist Website of the costs of commiditizing sports and other ‘performance arts,’ one of which is the inherent disposability of participants if they should happen to falter, or, heaven forbid, break down in pain from their exertions, focusing on a seeming suicide by an Ohio State University football player a few days ago: “Bennett said he and his teammates ‘were worried,’ but never saw any concussion side effects from the 6 foot 5, 285 pound Karageorge. ‘He never reported them,’ Bennett told the media in a conference call Monday. ‘Kosta … was the toughest guy I ever met. He must have been dealing with a lot of stuff internally. He was so appreciative of everything and so hard working, when he got one during practice or something like that, he wouldn’t tell anybody. We would tell him to take it easy, if you want to sit out nobody is going to judge you, anything like that, because those are serious. But his mentality was always never quit, never back down from a challenge.’ Because last Saturday’s game against the University of Michigan was Ohio State’s last home game, all the team’s seniors accompanied by their parents were given a special introduction. Kosta Karageorge was the last senior introduced as the crowd of more than 100,000 fell silent while his image on a police flier appeared on the stadium video screen, which appealed for help in finding the missing player.”
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
TO NUKE OR NOT TO NUKE
http://theconversation.com An assessment from The Conversation about Britain’s ‘pedal-to-the-metal’ embrace of new nuclear power development, which those in charge say is essential and citizens often decry, one of a pair of items on the platform about this issue, the other one in favor of advancing new nukes, this one decidedly opposed: “Westminster’s energy strategy to ‘keep the lights on’ by relying on new nuclear build is looking increasingly like a recipe for economic ruin and political disarray. George Osborne, the chancellor, confirmed in this week’s Autumn Statement a co-operation agreement with a Franco-Japanese consortium to build a new plant at Moorfield in Cumbria as part of his national infrastructure plan. There is already such an agreement in place for another plant at Wylfa Newydd in Wales, and of course a full deal agreed with the Franco-Chinese project to build Hinkley Point C in Somerset – the first new station in the UK in a generation. Y et that latter project’s huge estimated cost increase illustrates exactly what is wrong with nuclear – and why global sentiment has swung against it as the real costs become clearer.”
MEXICAN MORASS AT ITS FOUNDATIONS
http://www.wsws.org A down-to-earth and potent presentation from World Socialist Website of data and argument about the steps that led to a Mexican Revolution a century ago, a revolution really in the nature of a putsch that left American capital fully in command and that may yet elicit a different sort of transformative fervor
South of the Border, just one of a plethora of recent examinations of the rebellion in Mexico and its potentially revolutionary results: “On the other hand, the vast majority of the land from which the peasants had been removed was purchased by foreign investors. As a result of the enclosure process of the 1870s and 1880s, over 130 million acres—27 percent of the total land surface of Mexico—came under the ownership of American investors alone. Census data from 1910 reveals that while the peasantry constituted 80 percent of the population, just 834 landowners possessed 168 million hectares of land. The changes in land ownership exacerbated the already rapid deterioration in living conditions as new owners shifted away from food production. Between 1907 and 1910, per capita production of almost all staple crops dropped by between 1.5 and 3 percent. Famine and starvation grew rampant. This process intensified the centuries-old struggle by the peasantry over the question of land. Although major peasant-led land seizure campaigns had taken place across the Mexican countryside since the early 18th century, the land seizures that began to take place with increased frequency and coordination in 1910 were of a qualitatively different character.”
Sobriety is to society as chastity is to marriage, not universally common, to say the least, and arguably much less enjoyable than at least occasional forays into alternative experience.
Quote of the Day
“(C)haracteristic of the Oxford school of criticism (is) to understand [metaphysical] fallacies(of earlier thinkers) as logical non sequiturs—as though philosophers throughout the centuries had been, for reasons unknown, just a bit too stupid to discover the elementary flaws in their arguments. The truth of the matter is that elementary logical mistakes are quite rare in the history of philosophy; what appear to be errors in logic to minds disencumbered of questions that have been uncritically dismissed as ‘meaningless’ are usually caused by semblances, unavoidable for beings whose whole existence is determined by appearance. Hence, In our context the only relevant question is whether the semblances are inauthentic or authentic ones, whether they are caused by dogmatic beliefs and arbitrary assumptions, mere mirages that disappear upon closer inspection, or whether they are inherent in the paradoxical condition of a living being that, though itself part of the world of appearances, is in possession of a faculty, the ability to think, that permits the mind to withdraw from the world without ever being able to leave it or transcend it.” Hannah Arrendt: The Life of the Mind
This Day in History
More or less twelve hundred forty-three years ago, Charlemagne on the death of his brother assumed unitary command of the assembled territories of the Frankish Kingdom; eight hundred eighty-three years back, the magnificent poet Omar Khayyam died; only eleven years after the First Crusade brought Jerusalem under ‘Christian command,’ the Kingdom installed there in 1110 captured the city of Sidon from Muslim communities that had controlled it; in response to Protestant uprisings in favor of ‘reform,’ the final session of the eighteen-year long Council of Trent finished four hundred fifty-one years ago, establishing standards of heresy and liturgy and doctrine that were to bind Catholics for hundreds of years—in many ways still bind them in theory; a French priest, Jacques Marquette, led the founding of a mission to Native Illiniwek clans near Lake Michigan three hundred forty years ago, the more-or-less primordial source of the present-day city of Chicago; two hundred twenty-three years ago, the London Observer issued the first known Sabbath edition of a newspaper; four years hence, the male child who grew up to become philosopher and writer Thomas Carlyle was born; a hundred eighty-five years before the here-and-now, British administrators in Bengal Province forbade, supposedly over fierce protests, the ritual practice of widow’s immolating themselves on their husband’s funeral pyres; six years later, back in England, a baby boy came into the world who would grow up to become author Samuel Butler; a theretofore Minnesota farmer one hundred forty-seven years back started the fraternal agricultural and rural cooperative organization that we now know as the Grange; the Los Angeles Times published its first edition a hundred thirty-three years before this juncture; ninety-six years ago, President Woodrow Wilson embarked for the Versailles Peace Conference, with an idealistic vision of world peace based on assumptions that American economic and political perspectives would win over European imperialists; Josef Tito declared a provisional Yugoslavian government from his leadership-in-exile of the resistance to Nazi occupation seventy-one years back, and Franklin Roosevelt ended the Works Progress Administration, since wartime production had boosted jobs to full-employment levels; two years after, in 1945, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly, with just two negative tallies, to join the United Nations; in an early-edition of hands-up, don’t shoot, Chicago Police murdered Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in a nighttime raid when the Black Panther leaders had been sleeping forty-five years before today; thirty-nine years before today, writer and philosopher of democracy and humanist Hannah Arrendt breathed her last; thirty-two years ago, China adopted the Constitution that still prevails; eleven years further on, in 1993, writer and wild rocker Frank Zappa died; the second module of the International Space Station launched sixteen years back; seven years later, in a prelude to recent events, tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong led large demonstrations for an extended suffrage and other reforms.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
"divide and conquer" individualism OR "myth of the individual" "primary tactic" OR "general means" OR methodology oppression OR disempowerment OR disfranchisement OR powerlessness = 233,000 Results.
TOP OF THE FOLD
FROM JIM CROW TO MOTOR CITY, READY TO FIGHT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org A Review essay from MRZine about a just-released memoir/biography of Sam Johnson, who went from being a brawler who liked Heroin to being a disciplined and dissident United Auto Workers Shop Steward and organizer: “Johnson took labor classes at Wayne State University. He got elected steward, organizing lunchtime meetings and rank-and-file direct actions to deal with grievances. For example, when Chrysler deprived workers of overtime payments, Johnson led 30 workers into a supervisor’s office and let them do the talking. The next day workers got their checks. When the UAW eliminated his district and he was put out of elected office, Johnson continued to organize and educate. He stood up against sexual harassment, too… .Over and over, Johnson was fired and laid off. ‘Any time you are a problem for the company, they definitely try to figure out a way to get rid of you,’ he says, ‘but especially if you are trying to organize the workers to stand together. And that’s where I was coming from.’ On or off the job, he kept organizing.”
There really are no words to describe the anger, frustration, and rage at the two grand jury decisions in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY. Grand juries, which indict 99 out of 100 times and only need to establish probable cause, have failed to indict the cop who shot and killed unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown from 150 feet away with his hands in the air, or the cop who choked Eric Garner to death, a young father of four, also with his hands in the air, for selling loose cigarettes. The murder of Eric Garner, ruled a homicide by the coroner, was caught on camera!
The fact that one horror unfolded in suburban Ferguson, MO and the other in New York City reflects how racist police brutality has become the norm, that black lives are cheap, not just to the police, but to prosecutors and many who serve on the grand juries. read more here
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
UPCOMING D.C. PRESENTATION ON YOUTH PROSPECTS
http://www.nsf.gov A program in Washington on Wednesday the tenth in which a principal investigator from Baltimore lets the audience view his long-term research on different factors that influence young people’s success as adult: “‘The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood’ –What are the connections between the early-life opportunities of inner-city, low income children and their long-term well-being as adults? Are the images of a perpetual ‘urban underclass’ depicted on television by shows like The Wire accurate? In fact, the connections are complex and the real question is: who succeeds and why?”
RESEARCH COORDINATION NETWORKS
http://www.nsf.gov An overview of a National Science Foundation contextualization in regard to funding for those who can bring different research contexts into contact or coordination.
L.O.C. WEBINAR, SEARCHING .GOV
http://blogs.loc.gov Intended for teachers but open to all who teach, a Library of Congress presentation on the tricks of the trade in searching for government documents and other materials, citations, etc.: “Join us for a webinar Tuesday, December 9th at 4pm, EST to learn time-saving tips to navigate the Library of Congress website. During this webinar, Library education experts will provide shortcuts to finding primary sources, suggestions on how to plan effective searches and how to ask for help. For those unable to participate in the webinar, a recording will be made available. Recordings of past events, and information about joining the webinar are available here.”
http://america.aljazeera.com A think-piece from Al Jazeera, which insistently and persuasively dismantles the current fetish that ‘only non-violent means need apply,’ arguing that time and again upheaval
for reform has resorted to violence and gotten results: “Obama’s desire to avoid the destruction of lives and property is hardly surprising, and is widely shared on all sides of the divide over the Michael Brown verdict. But the idea that the historical record shows that exclusively non-violent protest has driven progressive social change in America is open to question. In a number of cases, the crisis caused by riots and property destruction has had a significant role in forcing authorities to respond to demands for political change. And even some of America’s most iconic ‘nonviolent’ movements included moments of destruction and chaos not unlike that which occurred in Ferguson following the grand jury decision.”
WORKING TO FALL BEHIND
http://chieforganizer.org An installment of the Chief Organizers Blog, from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, that investigates the growing incidence of working without making a living, which growing numbers of workers in the U.S. are
experiencing en masse for the first time, though it has happened for half a century elsewhere in the Hemisphere and on the Earth:
“A 2012 study by government and university economists found that ‘household income became noticeably more volatile between 1970 and the late 2000s’ despite a period of ‘increased stability throughout the economy as a whole.’
A 2013 Federal Reserve report according to the New York Times, ‘suggests the problem has not only persisted as the economy recovers, but may even have worsened. More than 30 percent of Americans reported spikes and dips in their income. Among that group 42 percent cited an irregular work schedule; an additional 27 percent blamed a span of joblessness or seasonal work.’
U.S. Financial Diaries has released an in-depth report on low-and-moderate income families and finds that almost all of them ‘experienced a drop in monthly income of at least 25 percent in a single year.’
There are now 7 million people working part time in the US who indicate that they would prefer full-time work but can’t find it, accounting for 4.5% of the workforce, almost double the figure before the recession.”
SYSTEMS BEAT GOALS
http://jamesclear.com An article from James Clear that draws a distinction between seeking to advance by setting goals and developing systems to achieve progress, the latter of which will always yield results, with or without the former, but not vice versa: “Fall In Love With Systems–None of this is to say that goals are useless. However, I’ve found that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress. Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.”
DAVOS ‘EXECUTIVE SUMMARY’
http://www3.weforum.org The overview of the upcoming World Economic Forum gathering in Davos next month, where, despite not having a seat at the table, scrappy scribes might imagine approaching such events as an opportunity to accomplish things: “Complexity, fragility and uncertainty are all challenging progress at global, regional and national levels, potentially ending an era of economic integration and international partnership that began in 1989. What is clear is that we are confronted by profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological transformations. They are altering long-standing assumptions about our prospects, resulting in an entirely ‘new global context’ for future decision-making. This new context requires a greater awareness of the near and long-term implications of (seven key) trends and developments.”
SCREAMING BELLY-LAUGHS AND THE TRUTH ABOUT ‘RACE’
http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com Eight minutes of mayhem and genius from South Africa’s incredible Trevor Noah, deconstructing history and race and identity in a way that makes everything add up, being “born a crime.”
CHILEAN MODELS FOR ACTION & SUCCESS
http://fpif.org/chilean-activists-change-rules-game/ An overview and brief report from Foreign Policy in Focus about Chile’s eight-month student strike last year against tuition increases and other repression and the effect that pupil unity has induced, all of which is especially noteworthy in the context of recently announced plans for free higher-education tuition beginning in 2016: “The trigger was high tuition costs that drove students and their families into debt. There were coordinated marches in all major cities. At some universities students took over buildings. The marches took on almost a carnival atmosphere with students engaging in “kiss-ins” and pillow fights. Before long, the marches became multifaceted. Opponents of the massive HidroAysén dam project in Patagonia joined in. Students and trade unions joined forces when workers staged strikes and marched in Santiago and other major cities. Tasha Fairfield, an assistant professor for the London School of Economics’ Department of International Development, said the strikes were pivotal. ‘The student movement played a critical role in creating political space,’ Fairfield said.”
ART & SOCIAL JUSTICE IN BHOPAL
http://theconversation.com A blast from The Conversation about artists’ and activists’ having joined forces to insure that the memory of the crimes of U.S. chemical company Union Carbide do not fade in memory and that demands for compensation and punishment continue until they come to pass: “(Yesterday (wa)s indeed the 30th anniversary of the the Bhopal gas leak and it remains an ongoing disaster of epic proportions. The world’s worst industrial catastrophe was utterly preventable, stemming from serious negligence on the part of chemical manufacturers Union Carbide. Despite widespread, creative and steadfast activism, the site of the chemical factory that released tons of lethal gases in December 1984 has not been cleaned up. Toxins continue to leak into the soil and groundwater supply up to 3km from the site of the abandoned factory, causing a third generation to be born with serious health problems and disabilities. This is often described as Bhopal’s “second disaster.'”
WISCONSIN: ORGANIZE OR FACE RETURN TO SLAVERY
http://www.jsonline.com A workmanlike news-analysis from the Madison Journal-Sentinel, which suggests that a coming push to make Wisconsin a ‘right-to-crush-unions’ state is a toss-up, with reactionary legislatures very much in favor but the Governor fearful of further mass protests: “The governor has also said that he doesn’t want a repeat of the large protests that accompanied the passage of Act 10, saying in December 2012 that such a move could create uncertainty and cause employers to hesitate on hiring as he believes businesses did in 2011. An extension of Act 10 to the private sector did gain some ground in the Legislature in November’s election, particularly in the state Senate, where outgoing GOP moderates Mike Ellis of Neenah and Dale Schultz of Richland Center were replaced by more conservative lawmakers. Van Wanggaard of Racine was also elected to the Senate after promising to support a right to work proposal.”
http://www.nsf.gov A Discoveries blog from National Science Foundation that establishes parameters for how organizations and individuals can usefully interact with data and gives examples from the sciences of how this can operate: “Every year, scientists in every field, from astronomy to zoology, make tremendous leaps in their ability to generate valuable data. But all of this information comes at a price. As datasets grow exponentially, so do the problems and costs associated with accessing, reading, sharing and processing them. A new project called SciServer, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to build a long-term, flexible ecosystem to provide access to the enormous data sets from observations and simulation.”
VIABLE JOURNALISM PARTNERSHIPS
http://www.journalism.org A report, co-produced by staff at Pew Research and Poynter.Org, that examines the ingredients that perhaps typify or even define some of the characteristics of journalism joint ventures that have wings, of particular note in a sphere of cutbacks and straitened budgets, a sphere in which use of crowdfunding techniques may prove essential: ” One recurring theme in the Pew Research Center’s journalism research over the last two years has been that of newsroom collaborations. In its examinations of nonprofit news outlets, newspaper innovations, statehouse reporting, and digital startups, the center has encountered news providers teaming up in new ways. Legacy media outlets are looking more than ever for ways to augment what they can produce with a depleted staff, and news startups are eager to place their work before a wider audience and figure out roads to sustainability. Jim Brady, immediate past president of the Online News Association and a seasoned digital and newspaper executive, puts the case for collaboration succinctly. ‘This is a time when journalists need to huddle together for warmth.’”
RESTORATIVE STORYTELLING AS A ‘MOVEMENT’
http://www.cjr.org An update and overview from Columbia Journalism Review about a much-discussed current trope, the notion of developing ‘restorative’ narratives through journalism, which some folks foresee as a movement and have begun to raise funds in grassroots fashion to support practices congruent with the concept, one of several current citations about storytelling opportunities and uses: “‘Redemptive’ sounded a bit religious to us, so we decided to go with ‘restorative narratives,’ Tenore says. Ivoh is now taking its attempt to create what they call ‘a new storytelling movement’ one step further. The organization just awarded a new fellowship to five veteran journalists, funding they will use to explore the potential of restorative narratives over the course of six months. On Monday, Ivoh launched an Indiegogo campaign to help support the fellowship, but regardless of its success, each of the fellows will receive a $2,500 stipend from Ivoh’s existing funds to work from December to May on their projects, which will explore how journalists can tell these kinds of stories, develop a curriculum and training, and track their impact. It’s still unclear if journalists will embrace this new genre, but the call for change at least raises questions about whether new categories are useful tools to sharpen awareness around storytelling or are superfluous rhetoric that apply new words to old practices.”
GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES
WEB CAPACITIES, HISTORICALLY
http://www.washingtonpost.com A delightful news-analysis from WaPo about the growth of the Internet over the past couple of decades and the tools and abilities that help folks to play along with this centrally important social, political, and economic trend: “By ‘Web literacy’ I mean the skills and competencies that are required to read, write and participate on the open Web. It’s worth noting that ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ should be understood broadly to include multimedia and not just the written word. My focus here isn’t the history of the Web itself, but the history of the skills that people have thought necessary to use it. It’s a subtle, but important distinction. Not everyone uses the term ‘Web literacy’ when referring to the skills required to read, write and participate on the Web. Many researchers, especially during the 1990s, preferred the term ‘information literacy.’ Even today, there are overlapping terms (such as ‘media literacy’ and ‘digital literacy’) used to describe similar areas. Proponents of each tend to advocate their favored term as a container for the others. My intention is not to do this with Web literacy, but to carve it out as something increasingly distinct from the kinds of literacies that have been identified before. While somewhat arbitrary, I’ve divided the history of Web literacy into four eras plus the one in which we currently find ourselves. I’ve started from 1993 as this marked the year when graphical Web browsers such as Mosaic could browse a decent number of Web sites.”
URBAN DEPENDENCE ON ARTISTS
http://www.citylab.com An overview and assessment from CityLab that suggests that not only would cities suffer irretrievable economic loss should they fail to support the arts, but that they would also risk if not catastrophic at least deleterious social losses as well: “Two important implications flow from the study’s key findings. For one, mayors, arts and cultural policy-makers and economic developers would be better served by taking a more localized, place-specific approach to arts initiatives and creative placemaking. …Second, the study notes the benefits that flow from better connected arts and innovation clusters. ‘While many of the variables linked to arts clusters are incredibly place specific,’ they write, ‘the arts are linked to broad measures of innovation and development … suggesting the arts can play a larger role in economic development irrespective of metro size or geographic boundaries of city and neighborhood.'”
U.S. CITIZENS IN CHARGE IN UKRAINE
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com Whoa! A note from Naked Capitalism about one of those, ‘this shit can’t be true but it is’ situations, the appointment in the Ukraine of the Nation’s Finance Minister of a U.S. citizen who’s been getting a $150 million from the Agency for International Development and, according to her former husband, has been committing fraud, double-dealing, and other corrupt practices, all in the context of a swearing -in of Ukraine’s new Parliament and the continuing lies and distortions of U.S. media: “The new finance minister of Ukraine, Natalie Jaresko, may have replaced her US citizenship with Ukrainian at the start of this week, but her employer continued to be the US Government, long after she claims she left the State Department. US court and other records reveal that Jaresko has been the co-owner of a management company and Ukrainian investment funds registered in the state of Delaware, dependent for her salary and for investment funds on a $150 million grant from the US Agency for International Development. The US records reveal that according to Jaresko’s former husband, she is culpable in financial misconduct. Natalie Jaresko was appointed on Monday, and approved by a vote of the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday evening. A presidential tweet and an announcement from the office of President Petro Poroshenko say a decree has been signed granting Jaresko Ukrainian citizenship to qualify her to take office. The legality of the decree was challenged today by the head of Poroshenko’s bloc in parliament, Yury Lutsenko.”
KILLER-COPS = IMPUNITY; RAPPERS = LIFE-IN-PRISON
http://www.truthdig.com From Guardian, via TruthDig, one of those reports so hard to believe because to accept it is so sickening, about a San Diego Hip-Hop performer who may face a life sentence for singing while a part of a social organization, or ‘gang,’ that police have been targeting, all of which is happening in the context of a growing movement to take the streets back for citizens and multiple attempts to force accountability on police who commit murder, even though hundreds of such crimes do not even have a record: “Ordinarily, to be guilty of conspiracy in California an individual must agree with another person to commit a crime, then at least one of them must take action to further that conspiracy. The charge Duncan faces requires no such agreement: so long as prosecutors can show that Duncan is an active member of the gang and knows about its general criminal activity, past or present, he can be convicted for benefiting from its acts.”
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
FRAUDULENT ‘DRUG-WARS’ IN CONTEXT
http://www.counterpunch.org A Counterpunch news-context report that examines recent impunity in regard to the blatant involvement of officials and U.S.-supported thugs in the murder of young Mexicans in the context of the overall development of the
war-on-people that the War-on-Drugs has always been: “The war on drugs, designed in the seventies by then-president Richard Nixon and intensified by Ronald Reagan, from its beginning sought to repress rebellious youth. Nixon came to power with serious challenges. There were massive socal protests in the streets, especially in the cities. The war in Viet Nam had generated a strong and radical student movement, a counterculture flourished among young people that rejected the dominant culture, the African-American population had risen up in defense of civil rights and revolutionary movements were growing–as was happening in Mexico and other parts of the world in this period of global history that’s identified with the year 1968. The war on drugs launched in 1971 aimed at putting down the youth rebellion by criminalizing young people, especially those who most challenged the system–black youth, Latinos and the poor in general. Unemployment was up, social inequality was rising, along with the desire for change. The drug war was an attempt to divert attention from internal problems and present the use and trafficking of prohibited substances as ‘public enemy number one.'”
MEGA-DEATH, MEGA-PROFIT, & NUCLEAR POLICY
http://www.washingtonpost.com From WaPo, an editorial by California’s Senator Feinstein, who rationally calls into question spending half-a-trillion dollars, or maybe a little less in the next decade in order to have the capacity to kill everyone on Earth several times over, without, of course, taking into account that perhaps the point is not the capacity to kill people but the chance to send half a trillion bucks in certain directions: “The United States currently maintains 4,804 nuclear weapons. If you include retired weapons that are awaiting dismantlement and the thousands of components in storage, the United States has the equivalent of around 10,000 weapons. When you consider that the weapons we maintain today are up to 100 timesmore destructive than the ones used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it becomes clear that the only value they offer is in deterring a nuclear attack. Meanwhile, efforts to reduce the stockpile are faltering. Over the past five years, the U.S. stockpile has been reduced by only 309 warheads, the slowest five-year reduction in more than two decades. More worrisome is the staggering cost of these weapons. In just the past three years, the budget for simply maintaining nuclear warheads and production facilities has grown from $6.9 billion to $8 billion a year, almost a 16 percent increase.”