Here’s a very good statement re; the current situation, which is too apolitical however: the professoriate did not have to be adjunctified – and this doesn’t talk about that fact at all:
Ah: george monbiot – my personal spokesperson, for the most part…
-here’s a reminder of the fact that desire for unelected leaders runs strong in us, because we are hardwired for hierarchy, as primates…
-here’s one in the guardian, pointing out how many top academics are cheerleaders for CEO pay…
-some numbers which put a quantity on the expansion of the income of the top 1 percent in the last 30 years.
-A book, along the lines of jackson’s prosperity without growth, which highlights the breath of environmentalism; i’m interested in herman daly, who apparently is the godfather of the notion of ‘sustainable economics.’
Republicans, it seems, know where their bread is buttered: they are after obamacare (which helps younger families), but even at a tea party rally, they are firmly keeping the just as expensive law which gives seniors low cost meds:
-In the midst of the 9/11 anniversaries, a story reminding us how the ‘anthrax scare’ was manipulated by bush and co to promote war in iraq; the person who started sending the letters, who worked in an army bioweapons lab, was in all likelihood triggered by the horrors of 9/11. he was unhinged, and the towers set him off.
-And yay, at least someone (Maya Angelou) still has enough sense to realize that the new MLK statue in Washington is horrendously authoritarian, the opposite of the egliataianism that he himself was champion of. This is further evidence that our society has a) taken a major turn for the authoritarian in the past 15 years, and b) that the erosion of the arts helps this. No one 100 years ago would have been so dumb as to turn the MLK quote into a soundbyte, which ended up entirely changing the meaning of what he said. I mean, they have some fairly substantial quotes on the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, no? Why reduce MLK to like 20 words? Hopefully we can claw our way back to some form of cultural sophistication and nobility:
-So apparently one 2007 chinese test of an anti satellite weapon has so increased the space junk that is dangerous for man- and non-manned by virtually 100%, so that now major international efforts have to be made in order to ensure that there are no major mishaps in space. what a bunch of jerks!!!
=and an independent analysis of the london riots in which normally economic-minded people blame ‘rampant consumerism’ which simultaneously encourages people to be ‘high street shoppers’ even as the economic system makes this a virtual impossibility for the vast majority…
=a pretty good expose of the ‘chairman’ of fox news, orig in rolling stone, via the guardian:
-ah, China – orwell central…
-hey guys, let’s pray our way out of global warming!!! (and to think a few years ago, i wrote about medieval people futilely praying for rain as though all sane and rational people would see this as not terribly scientifically effective… but now we have major u.s. politicians declaring days of prayer for rain). good luck! or you could reduce CO2 which causes heat waves and drought.
-some clear sighted commentary on the tea party, it’s anti-rationalist fundamentalist faith in ‘zero taxes or death’ and the role of murdoch and fox news in pulling so much of the US so far to the right (as to make no economic sense at all–in fact, as to threaten the literal shutdown of the american economy).
-more on the same from the economist:
-republicans in wisconsin deliberately engineering a fake primary, running republicans as democrats to intentionally delay the general election, so that they can distance themselves from the previous scandal: (point: if you intentionally, cynically manipulate elections in this way, to win at all costs, the loser is democracy, and the people’s voice, and the winner is a powerful few.)
-some more mainstream reports of scientists predicting the end of death by old age; this particular guy’s claims have been called into doubt, but is more than pseudo-science:
-An argument from the fed, noting that the ‘too big to fail’ banks are indeed a threat to capitalism: they skew the system, and make competition impossible, and risk-taking loses all meaning, so that it ends up being a socialized system. In short, banks need to be regulated so that they are not too big to fail. Another way of noting that capitalism, as I have argued elsewhere, needs to be regulated, has always been regulated, and can only ever exist within a strong safety net of regulation that keeps the playing field level: since naturally the market will tend towards self-destruction, i.e., towards monopoly.
-Someone in a mainstream Canadian newspaper pointing out that a 3 day workweek should be standard, and indeed that our gains in productivity since the early 1900s have become pure profit for the few, rather than benefits for the many:
-The problem with anti-abortion righteousness going too far: (now pregnant women are being charged with murder for taking drugs or attempting to commit suicide during pregnancy…)
-finally, some proof that drinking soda will dull your taste buds, causing you to crave other sugary high calorie foods, even within a month of starting a 2 soda a day habit.
-modern slavery: a reminder that without legislation to the contrary, this would be the norm in the US and every other country as well: a strong argument for vital democracy.
-an an example of how anti-social agendas by marketing and advertising companies (in this case, the oversexualization of pre-teens) can easily be regulated by government – if the public will allow it. england is taking a leading role, and deserves to be congratulated and emulated by all other civilized societies. what’s great is that this is being done not from a sense of religious conservatism which is at base patriarchal, but from a sense of saving youth from exploitation, and the sense for 10 year old girls, especially, that they are supposed to be writhing around like some rnb kitten in a video:
huzzah to david cameron on this! note: between libertarianism in the US, and the wimpiness of the dems in general, we will not see legislation like this in the US anytime soon, with the result that since there is no one to regulate the advertising industry, the line will keep getting lower and lower, since hey, ‘sex sells!; and the result will be preteens feeling more and more assaulted by a hypersexed media industry, and girls more and more seeing themselves as mere meat, internalizing the oppressor, and in short only of value as a ‘product’ to be consumed by males of whatever stripe.
-yay. finally an article on CNN which clearly points out that germans, for example, and many other countries besides, have mandated laws which say that everyone has to take x weeks off. in germany, you get off 6 weeks per year, so you actually get time off. yay. and it’s so balanced, and reasonable!
-and six incidents with air traffic controllers falling asleep in 2 months. point: the US is forcing its people to work too many hours. People can only productively work so many hours in a day (about five). The rest just pushes them further and further into fatigue. One controller here notes that at the end of a workweek where they shove 5 days work into 4 four days, he is “literally in the state of a zombie,” and that the “accumulated fatigue is like being drunk.” just what we want for air traffic controllers! And let’s not forget the bigger point: no human should have to work so much that they are routinely fatigued to the point of being drunk, and “like a zombie.”
-And yet more evidence that the feminists who were so disparaging of western inequalities in the 1970s and 80s were really operating in a vacuum – without considering quite how bad it was elsewhere – (point being, glad they moved us forward, but now it’s time to shine a light on far worse abuses elsewhere, as well, as this article is doing); note that china, as it says at the end, is even worse than india. an awful lot of catching up to do, and a lot of history to atone for:
-And someone summing up the republicans’ intentional courting of unreality (thankfully someone else said it so that I don’t have to):
and a more recent one:
-Here’s an example of the dozens of articles in major papers every month which reminds us that we have to keep our birthrate above 2.0 (so that the rich can get richer, while the rest of us can’t afford to own any property!)…
Obviously, Japan would be quite well served if it were to shed significant population. For one thing, it would need fewer nuclear reactors, and for another, it could have everyone live in places that aren’t in high tsunami-risk areas!!!
-And here’s an MIT speech development guy, helping to teach robots speak, who also waxes ecstatic about the possibility of using our social media data sets to “influence” human behaviour for the purposes of “finance and retail.” inter alia. This i see as one of the bigger threats to us as a species: these datasets, scientifically studied, will enable PR people to manipulate us quite effectively, shaping our humanity to their purposes (as they already do so very well), if we allow it: and it’s essentially amoral science types who are leading the charge: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/03/13/roy.tapes.childhood/index.html?iref=obinsite
-Finally, someone on CNN noting that using the bible to defend ‘family values’ is quite absurd; this take is re the gay marriage issue: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/10/26/coogan.bible.family.values/index.html?iref=obinsite
-And here’s one that details the cost of the saudi royal family to saudi society. Ah, royal parasitism! (this is, i must add, thanks to wikileaks – i do think that assange is crazy, but there have been some benefits from seeing how sober, reasonable, and professional the US dipolomatic corps has been for the past 2 decades (despite having say W as president for much of that).
-So russia under putin is measured to be one of the most corrupt societies in the world. There is at least one brave lawyer attempting to publicly use the courts and government documents in order to expose some of the worst offenders, particularly those in the state-run oil, whose mega profits are used to line the pockets of a handful of extremely wealthy people. here’s the story in the guardian. n.b., lawyers are also the same people who led the revolution in egypt, and also the french revolution, and to a large degree, the american revolution (e.g., thomas jefferson)., and so on, since the middle ages… they’re the ones who care, and also are qualified, to change things by legal, i.e., nonviolent, means. they are therefore key to the functioning of any democracy.
-And here’s one on the factoid that 98 percent of foreign women in Egypt, and 83 percent of egyptian women, prior to the revolution, reported that they had been sexually harrassed: the point is, where there are few human rights in general, women’s rights are also few and far between:
But let’s not forget that egypt also leads the world, along with a majority of other muslim countries, in female circumcision: this can’t help matters either—
Again, hopefully democracy in egypt, if if comes to pass, will slowly help to change this situation as well.
-So now you can add oysters to the list of endangered species. The reason? Overfishing, and not nearly enough control.
-And we’ve seen how certain rightist outlets in the US have been putting crosshairs and printing the pictures of legislators who voted for the health bill… well, friends, this is where this sort of mentality leads. In Uganda, they publish the photos in the newspaper of gay rights activists… and guess what, at least one prominent activist was killed a direct result of this publication. In other words, tea partiers and other radical republicans in the US are pursuing a policy which, if left unchecked, would quite obviously lead to this:
-And ok, here’s the federal inquiry into the 2008 financial crisis: pointing out, once and for all, that indeed the catastrophe was entirely avoidable – and that it was the lack of proper government oversight which allowed it to happen: the economists and others who investigated unequivocally pointed out the key role that government plays in ensuring that the market is fair, and balanced. obvoiusly, this should be seen as a death knell to any “ayn randian” notions, and all libertarian notions, that the economy can somehow regulate itself (a fallacy that every eco 101 student knows is entirely false – despite the fact that many wish to try and bury or ignore the implications of that fact). note that they point out that “if we accept that this was inevitable or could not be forseen, then it will happen again…”
Note that the egypt protest was organized by an association of lawyers, calling themselves the alliance to protect egypt protestors. the lawyers, indeed, have been harbingers of humanism since the days of irnerius; before that, since the days of cicero and before.
And I post this because of the insightful remarks by the Arizona sheriff. The key is buried about 2/3 of the way down: if the rhetoric gets too hot, you will not be able to find reasonable people who think that it’s worth the death threats, in order to serve the public.
He’s entirely right, and the right wing people are so quick to suggest that “it’s both sides doing it.” But how many republicans have been threatened in the last two years, vs. how many democrats? That’s the figures that we need to see, and I think you’d see that the statistics have been about 10 to 1.
And here’s a pretty up front story about Arnold Schwarzenegger, of all people, taking on Texas oil companies over emissions. In California’s upcoming Proposition 23, it is made entirely clear by Arnie that the entire proposition is the work of a few Texas oil companies, and one set of billionaire brothers. They are threatening to undo a law which Californians voted on, and the Governor signed into law in 2006. Now, 4 years later, a few rich guys are using the current anti-democratic climate to push through a law that would put the whole thing indefinitely on hold. With Americans being probably the most susceptible to advertising of any major western populace, this shows, like Arnie himself says, that this is a simple battle, at this point, of good vs. evil. It’s the planet, and everyone on it, vs. a few uber-wealthy greedy bastards who don’t give a flying fuck about the world, or the people who live in it, so long as they are rich:
And here’s some loser Ayn Rand asshole equating greed, profit, and moral virtue, that CNN actually put on their page. wow! ; the comments, for a change, actually tend to get it.
And here’s BP buying search terms on Google and Yahoo so that their site will appear ahead of potentially critical reviews of their handling of the oil spill mess… or at least the onion report of it. The story probably didn’t even make it into CNN, let alone Fox. (Which is why I turn to BBC or Guardian or CBC for much of my news).
-so here’s some “humanist chaplains” by some dude who has written a book: “good without god.” sounds pretty platonist to me, so here we go:
-and, just in case you were trying to forget the the earth is continuing to warm up, here’s one noting that the south pole just had its warmest year ever, and, that the earth as a whole also had it’s warmest year since records began.
(and then note the morons quibbling over the fact that the journalist reversed the numbers. the point is, folks, whatever the temp was, it was the warmest in record. I love how partisans will ignore the obvious, and quibble about the details, so long as this serves their pre-conceived ideas. ah, humanity).
since I indulge in a lot of evolutionary psychology to explain many human political, social, and economic institutions, i figure that it’s also important to realize just how many of our basic instincts are determined by the bald facts of human evolution and natural selection, e.g.:
-a journalist questioning the affects of ultra-violence in movies. great that they are doing it, but, did he have to be quite so ultimately ineffectual as to the nature of his objections? Clearly, he knows it’s bad, but he doesn’t know how it’s bad— he needs to take more history classes.
-and here’s the GOP cynically allowing salespeople to intentionally dupe voters into registering republican, so that they get new signatures (note at the end it says that no one in the CA GOP, including Arnie, will raise a hand to stop the practice):
-and here’s one on the great pacific garbage patch, and garbage in antarctica, and the like. the one-shot plastic container, folks, is pretty unsustainable on a world with 7-10 billion people.
-oh great, so the supreme court is also part of the problem, in that as i have argued, violent video games are part of the problem facing democracy. but i have also argued that the court system in general is one of the primary safeguards of humanism. however, when they decide for ‘free speech’ vs. banning violent video games, then i argue that they are acting against the interests of humanism. (same with their banning cruelty to animal videos). this benefits the industry, but seriously undermines humanist concerns in our democracy. note that even arnie, who signed this law, is against violent video games. ironic but shows that he’s actually a thinking conservative, vs. some others.
-thank goodness, someone writing about the damage that the tea partiers are doing to historical concepts, (the marketization of them), and to the language.
-and here’s one pointing out that insurance companies, skiing companies, shipping companies, and many others are all firmly aware that the world is getting warmer, and are betting that the trend will continue. In other words, while politicians can cherrypick their science, companies have to stick with the facts (and the facts are, it’s getting warmer and will probably continue to do so).
-Yay. an islamic scholar who argues for humanism, and also that terrorism of whatever type is anathema:
-Here’s a review of a movie which points out that duh, at current, unbelievably unsustainable levels of fishing, we will have basically no fish by 2050.
-Yay. Someone who notes the main problem with the GOP, namely that they have “embraced anger and fear, and allowed this to drive out factuality and reason.” (you may have noticed that this goes with my political philosophy noting that reason is the main ingredient in a democracy, and that’s the main reason i became democrat.)
-Yay. here’s one from a political conservative who is willing to admit that Bush’s torture policies were a major moral stain on American honour, and indeed the honour of all of western civilization. Very well put, and I can’t see how even the staunchest GOPer would be able to argue with this one:
-The following isn’t a link, but a quote, from a conservationist who kind of crazily drove into the iraq zoo during the invasion to save the animals there. But it also points out that one of saddam’s sons is rumoured to have kept lions, to which he fed love rivals. Even if not true, saddam and sons did similarly grotesque things aplenty. The point here being, that absolute dictatorships have historically led to situations like this, basically throughout all of history, and in every country (a major difference being in the west, where the Latin Church kept a major check on European rulers even in the Dark Ages. We need to realize that the Latin Church has in effect acted as a very serious brake on the actions of European power-holders for some 1600 years. Well, it did so until the advent of protestantism, after which the effects in various regions differed a bit, but has still had a major impact. So, on Uday’s lion’s:
Hiring a car from Kuwait he drove into Iraq during the war there in 2003 to rescue animals from Baghdad zoo. He admits it was more naivete rather than bravery, but once he had managed to get the zoo under some sort of control (which had only around 30 animals left), he ventured out to save even more animals.
“Uday Hussein had lions that were rumored to be man-eaters; that he’d fed them love rivals and things like that. The whole of Baghdad was talking about it back then. It was very difficult. It wasn’t the lions’ fault; they’re just lions. I refused to let anyone harm them and thankfully they are still alive today,” he said.
-Yay – Arianna Huffington talking about how lack of regulation, which is due to successful corporate lobbying, is the main cause of so many American ills – including mine disasters and the financial meltdown. And the right needs a heads up here, too: if we intend to lead the world economically, the world has to trust that our democracy is balanced enough that it will enable us to have an intelligent regulating system. The world’s trust in american know-how was sorely shaken by our favouring of short-term gains over long-term stability… sorry righties, this is why solid regulation is good for your perceived interests, as well as the rest of us.
-And just in case you were afraid that there weren’t any truly evil business guys out there anymore:
-And more on how nutso the Chinese government is (and how this could easily happen in the US if the radical republicans got their way): These people are hired by the Chinese government to make pro-government posts on any site that might steer towards criticism. This is exactly what corporations such as Pepsi and many others in the US do all the time, in order to create buzz for their products and/or deflect possible criticism of them. Since the republicans are so fond of this model, it’s therefore not all that unimaginable that this is either already happening in the US, or else that it can/would soon be tried in large way.
-More on how republicans now view politics as marketing, while the dems are still clinging to the outmoded (but correct) notion that politics in a democracy should be about using reason to convince one another:
-Wow, CNN actually dared to put something up where some dude makes a coherent case for atheism (not that i’m necessarily an athiest), but it’s nice to see the athiest in question holding up humanism as the guide for moral action, and noting that religion can cause Americans and many others to fixate on really very minor things, like gay marriage, or getting back the holy land, when there are major crises like nuclear proliferation, global warming, and horrible public education that need such obvious fixing):
-On the fact that (since George W basically squandered almost all of our international standing–crucially including our economic standing–in 8 short years), China is now the real superpower in the world:
-More on the food industry’s deliberate creation of foods that are increasing dopamine, in essence, which are addictive:
-And, so, we’re indeed driving species to extinction at a rate faster than evolution (but did anyone think otherwise? Apparently, the biological concensus was that it could happen).
-Research showing that liberalism, atheism, and, interestingly, sexual exclusivity are tied to intelligence in males:
-On the notion that paying Grand Theft Auto makes you more likely to commit violent acts:
-On american anti-intellectualism, and the idea that Obama’s being a professor is a strike against him:
-On the feeble strength of American anti-monopoly laws, and the resulting squeeze of the free market:
-On drug companies knowing about health risks but mass-marketing drugs anyway:
-On how restaurants use psychological tricks in their menu layout to get you to spend more money:
-And not that i’m a fan of being eaten by sharks, but, here’s yet another major iconic species that’s rapidly headed towards extinction… more evidence that there are just far too many people on the planet. there are almost no major animals left, in the sea, or on land… what will our children’s story books be about in the future?
-And, here’s one on the morality of ‘shocking images,’ in photography. My post on the subject treats the topic i think a bit more substantively than the guardian reporter, but at least s/he brings it up in the first place, which is more than most do: