30 June, 2013

Vladimir Nabokov: The Art of Translation | New Republic

Vladimir Nabokov: The Art of Translation | New Republic: Three grades of evil can be discerned in the queer world of verbal transmigration. The first, and lesser one, comprises obvious errors due to ignorance or misguided knowledge. This is mere human frailty and thus excusable. The next step to Hell is taken by the translator who intentionally skips words or passages that he does not bother to understand or that might seem obscure or obscene to vaguely imagined readers; he accepts the blank look that his dictionary gives him without any qualms; or subjects scholarship to primness: he is as ready to know less than the author as he is to think he knows better. The third, and worst, degree of turpitude is reached when a masterpiece is planished and patted into such a shape, vilely beautified in such a fashion as to conform to the notions and prejudices of a given public. This is a crime, to be punished by the stocks as plagiarists were in the shoebuckle days.

On Satellites

Inside a Startup's Plan to Turn a Swarm of DIY Satellites Into an All-Seeing Eye | Wired Science | Wired.com: Of the 1,000 or more satellites orbiting the planet at any given time, there are perhaps 100 that send back visual data. Only 12 of those send back high-resolution pictures (defined as an image in which each pixel represents a square meter or less of ground), and only nine of the 12 sell into the commercial space-based imaging market, currently estimated at $2.3 billion a year. Worse still, some 80 percent of that market is controlled by the US government, which maintains priority over all other buyers: If certain government agencies decide they want satellite time for themselves, they can simply demand it. Earlier this year, after the government cut its imaging budget, the market’s two biggest companies—DigitalGlobe and GeoEye, which between them operate five of the nine commercial geoimaging satellites—were forced to merge. Due to the paucity of satellites and to the government’s claim on their operations, ordering an image of a specific place on Earth can take days, weeks, even months.

Sid Meier: The Father of Civilization

Sid Meier: The Father of Civilization: Before Sid Meier was Sid Meier—the iconic video game designer whose name is stamped on classic titles like Pirates! and Civilization—he was just another computer hacker.

This would be pretty cool

Movies That Should Be, Item No. 1

How did we get here? — Evan Hill

How did we get here? — Evan Hill: If Morsi falls or steps down, millions of Egyptians will view it as a victory. Perhaps he could be succeeded by a salvation government, and some kind of stable progress will ensue, though the Brotherhood can hardly be expected to quietly allow their project to dissolve around them, and it would likely mean the return of the army to a guiding role. Revolutions come with chaos. History teaches us that many years may pass before a country comes out of such upheaval with a working government, satisfactory justice and reconciliation, and a consensus about national identity. But even in such a positive scenario, it is hard not to view the first two and a half years of Egypt’s revolution as a series of squandered promises.

GW on rules for living

Rules for Civility: 14-Year-Old George Washington's 110 Commandments for Cultivating Character | Brain Pickings:
  1. Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
  2. When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usualy Discovered.
  3. Shew Nothing to your Freind that may affright him.
  4. In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.
  5. If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkercheif or Hand before your face and turn aside.
  6. Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.
  7. Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Drest.
  8. At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary.
  9. Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.
  10. When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.
  11. Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.
  12. Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by appr[oaching too nea]r him [when] you Speak.
  13. Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.
  14. Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.
  15. Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Shewing any great Concern for them.
  16. Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.
  17. Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play’d Withal.
  18. Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask’d also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.
  19. let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave.
  20. The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.
  21. Reproach none for the Infirmaties of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof.
  22. Shew not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
  23. When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always shew Pity to the Suffering Offender.
  24. [Do not laugh too loud or] too much at any Publick [Spectacle].
  25. Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremonie are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.
  26. In Pulling off your Hat to Persons of Distinction, as Noblemen, Justices, Churchmen &c make a Reverence, bowing more or less according to the Custom of the Better Bred, and Quality of the Person. Amongst your equals expect not always that they Should begin with you first, but to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation, in the Manner of Saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual Custom.
  27. Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered as well as not to do it to whom it’s due Likewise he that makes too much haste to Put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to Put it on at the first, or at most the Second time of being ask’d; now what is herein Spoken, of Qualification in behaviour in Saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of Place, and Sitting down for ceremonies without Bounds is troublesome.
  28. If any one come to Speak to you while you are are Sitting Stand up tho he be your Inferiour, and when you Present Seats let it be to every one according to his Degree.
  29. When you meet with one of Greater Quality than yourself, Stop, and retire especially if it be at a Door or any Straight place to give way for him to Pass.
  30. In walking the highest Place in most Countrys Seems to be on the right hand therefore Place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to Honour: but if three walk together the mid[dest] Place is the most Honourable the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.
  31. If any one far Surpassess others, either in age, Estate, or Merit [yet] would give Place to a meaner than hims[elf in his own lodging or elsewhere] the one ought not to except it, S[o he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer] it above once or twice.
  32. To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the cheif Place in your Lodging and he to who ’tis offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the Second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.
  33. They that are in Dignity or in office have in all places Preceedency but whilst they are Young they ought to respect those that are their equals in Birth or other Qualitys, though they have no Publick charge.
  34. It is good Manners to prefer them to whom we Speak befo[re] ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no Sort we ought to begin.
  35. Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.
  36. Artificers & Persons of low Degree ought not to use many ceremonies to Lords, or Others of high Degree but Respect and high[ly] Honour them, and those of high Degree ought to treat them with affibility & Courtesie, without Arrogancy.
  37. In Speaking to men of Quality do not lean nor Look them full in the Face, nor approach too near them at lest Keep a full Pace from them.
  38. In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physicion if you be not Knowing therein.
  39. In writing or Speaking, give to every Person his due Title According to his Degree & the Custom of the Place.
  40. Strive not with your Superiers in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.
  41. Undertake not to Teach your equal in the art himself Proffesses; it Savours of arrogancy.
  42. [Let thy ceremonies in] Courtesie be proper to the Dignity of his place [with whom thou conversest for it is absurd to ac]t the same with a Clown and a Prince.
  43. Do not express Joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary Passion will aggravate his Misery.
  44. When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.
  45. Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in publick or in Private; presently, or at Some other time in what terms to do it & in reproving Shew no Sign of Cholar but do it with all Sweetness and Mildness.
  46. Take all Admonitions thankfully in what Time or Place Soever given but afterwards not being culpable take a Time [&] Place convenient to let him him know it that gave them.
  47. Mock not nor Jest at any thing of Importance break [n]o Jest that are Sharp Biting and if you Deliver any thing witty and Pleasent abtain from Laughing thereat yourself.
  48. Wherein wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than Precepts.
  49. Use no Reproachfull Language against any one neither Curse nor Revile.
  50. Be not hasty to beleive flying Reports to the Disparag[e]ment of any.
  51. Wear not your Cloths, foul, unript or Dusty but See they be Brush’d once every day at least and take heed tha[t] you approach not to any Uncleaness.
  52. In your Apparel be Modest and endeavour to accomodate Nature, rather than to procure Admiration keep to the Fashio[n] of your equals Such as are Civil and orderly with respect to Times and Places.
  53. Run not in the Streets, neither go t[oo s]lowly nor wit[h] Mouth open go not Shaking yr Arms [kick not the earth with yr feet, go] not upon the Toes, nor in a Dancing [fashion].
  54. Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Deck’t, if your Shoes fit well if your Stokings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.
  55. Eat not in the Streets, nor in the House, out of Season.
  56. Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad Company.
  57. In walking up and Down in a House, only with One in Compan[y] if he be Greater than yourself, at the first give him the Right hand and Stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him, if he be a Man of Great Quality, walk not with him Cheek by Joul but Somewhat behind him; but yet in Such a Manner that he may easily Speak to you.
  58. Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy, for ’tis a Sig[n o]f a Tractable and Commendable Nature: And in all Causes of Passion [ad]mit Reason to Govern.
  59. Never express anything unbecoming, nor Act agst the Rules Mora[l] before your inferiours.
  60. Be not immodest in urging your Freinds to Discover a Secret.
  61. Utter not base and frivilous things amongst grave and Learn’d Men nor very Difficult Questians or Subjects, among the Ignorant or things hard to be believed, Stuff not your Discourse with Sentences amongst your Betters nor Equals.
  62. Speak not of doleful Things in a Time of Mirth or at the Table; Speak not of Melancholy Things as Death and Wounds, and if others Mention them Change if you can the Discourse tell not your Dreams, but to your intimate Friend.
  63. A Man o[ug]ht not to value himself of his Atchievements, or rare Qua[lities of wit; much less of his rich]es Virtue or Kindred.
  64. Break not a Jest where none take pleasure in mirth Laugh not aloud, nor at all without Occasion, deride no mans Misfortune, tho’ there Seem to be Some cause.
  65. Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion.
  66. Be not froward but friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute hear and answer & be not Pensive when it’s a time to Converse.
  67. Detract not from others neither be excessive in Commanding.
  68. Go not thither, where you know not, whether you Shall be Welcome or not. Give not Advice with[out] being Ask’d & when desired [d]o it briefly.
  69. If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrain[ed]; and be not obstinate in your own Opinion, in Things indiferent be of the Major Side.
  70. Reprehend not the imperfections of others for that belong[s] to Parents Masters and Superiours.
  71. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of Others and ask not how they came. What you may Speak in Secret to your Friend deliver not before others.
  72. Speak not in an unknown Tongue in Company but in your own Language and that as those of Quality do and not as the Vulgar; Sublime matters treat Seriously.
  73. Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring ou[t] your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.
  74. When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speec[h] be ended.
  75. In the midst of Discourse ask [not of what one treateth] but if you Perceive any Stop because of [your coming you may well intreat him gently] to Proceed: If a Person of Quality comes in while your Conversing it’s handsome to Repeat what was said before.
  76. While you are talking, Point not with your Finger at him of Whom you Discourse nor Approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.
  77. Treat with men at fit Times about Business & Whisper not in the Company of Others.
  78. Make no Comparisons and if any of the Company be Commended for any brave act of Vertue, commend not another for the Same.
  79. Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A [Se]cret Discover not.
  80. Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased therewith.
  81. Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.
  82. Undertake not what you cannot Perform but be Carefull to keep your Promise.
  83. When you deliver a matter do it without Passion & with Discretion, howev[er] mean the Person be you do it too.
  84. When your Superiours talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh.
  85. In Company of these of Higher Quality than yourself Speak not ti[l] you are ask’d a Question then Stand upright put of your Hat & Answer in few words.
  86. In Disputes, be not So Desireous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to the Judgment of the Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.
  87. [Let thy carriage be such] as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive [to that which is spoken. Contra]dict not at every turn what others Say.
  88. Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressigns, nor rep[eat] often the Same manner of Discourse.
  89. Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.
  90. Being Set at meat Scratch not neither Spit Cough or blow your Nose except there’s a Necessity for it.
  91. Make no Shew of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed no[t] with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.
  92. Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.
  93. Entertaining any one at table it is decent to present him wt. meat, Undertake not to help others undesired by the Master.
  94. If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you [pu]t in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table [bu]t Stay till Cools of it Self.
  95. Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your ha[nd ne]ither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pye upon a Dish nor Cas[t an]ything under the table.
  96. It’s unbecoming to Stoop much to ones Meat Keep your Fingers clea[n &] when foul wipe them on a Corner of your Table Napkin.
  97. Put not another bit into your Mouth til the former be Swallowed [l]et not your Morsels be too big for the Gowls.
  98. Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither Gaze about you while you are a Drinking.
  99. Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily.Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips breath not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for its uncivil.
  100. Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if Others do it let it be done wt.
  101. a Pick Tooth.
  102. Rince not your Mouth in the Presence of Others.
  103. It is out of use to call upon the Company often to Eat nor need you Drink to others every Time you Drink.
  104. In Company of your Betters be no[t longer in eating] than they are lay not your Arm but o[nly your hand upon the table].
  105. It belongs to the Chiefest in Company to unfold his Napkin and fall to Meat first, But he ought then to Begin in time & to Dispatch [w]ith Dexterity that the Slowest may have time allowed him.
  106. Be not Angry at Table whatever happens & if you have reason to be so, Shew it not but on a Chearfull Countenance especially if there be Strangers for Good Humour makes one Dish of Meat a Feas[t].
  107. Set not yourself at the upper of the Table but if it Be your Due or that the Master of the house will have it So, Contend not, least you Should Trouble the Company.
  108. If others talk at Table be attentive but talk not with Meat in your Mouth.
  109. When you Speak of God or his Atributes, let it be Seriously & [wt.] Reverence.
  110. Honour & Obey your Natural Parents altho they be Poor.
  111. Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull.
  112. Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Ce[les]tial fire Called Conscience.

Slow Down and Absorb - WSJ.com

Slow Down and Absorb - WSJ.com: Here is the truth: America has never deported millions of people, and America will never deport millions of people. It's not what we do. It's not who we are. It's not who we want to be. The American people would never accept evening news pictures of sobbing immigrants being torn from their homes and put on a bus. We wouldn't accept it because we have hearts, and as much as we try to see history in the abstract, we know history comes down to the particular, to the sobbing child in the bus. We don't round up and remove. Nor should we, tomorrow, on one of our whims, grant full legal status and a Cadillac car. We take it a day at a time.

A Cutting-Edge Second Look at the Battle of Gettysburg | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

A Cutting-Edge Second Look at the Battle of Gettysburg | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine: New technology has given us the chance to re-examine how the Civil War battle was won and lost

Los Infiltradores

Los Infiltradores: How three young undocumented activists risked everything to expose the injustices of immigrant detention—and invented a new form of protest.

28 June, 2013

The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed - ProPublica

The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed - ProPublica: It’s 4:18 a.m. and the strip mall is deserted. But tucked in back, next to a closed-down video store, an employment agency is already filling up. Rosa Ramirez walks in, as she has done nearly every morning for the past six months. She signs in and sits down in one of the 100 or so blue plastic chairs that fill the office. Over the next three hours, dispatchers will bark out the names of who will work today. Rosa waits, wondering if she will make her rent.

In cities all across the country, workers stand on street corners, line up in alleys or wait in a neon-lit beauty salon for rickety vans to whisk them off to warehouses miles away. Some vans are so packed that to get to work, people must squat on milk crates, sit on the laps of passengers they do not know or sometimes lie on the floor, the other workers’ feet on top of them.

HOUSE LEADERSHIP WILLING TO LET IMMIGRATION STRETCH TO END OF YEAR – HEARTLAND BLUEPRINT: Ohio Gov. John Kasich shows GOP how to win – Jane Harman, Leon Panetta, Laura Tyson b’days - POLITICO Playbook - POLITICO.com

HOUSE LEADERSHIP WILLING TO LET IMMIGRATION STRETCH TO END OF YEAR – HEARTLAND BLUEPRINT: Ohio Gov. John Kasich shows GOP how to win – Jane Harman, Leon Panetta, Laura Tyson b’days - POLITICO Playbook - POLITICO.com: Leadership needs to find out where people stand on four main areas: the future flow of immigrants into the U.S., a possible pathway to citizenship, government benefits and border security. Could they tie these items together in one bill? It’s possible, but there are political upsides to putting them on the floor separately: One reason would be to jam Democrats who vote against them. Putting the bills together would allow members to say they supported a package with items they both liked and disliked. It’s possible that the House takes up the Senate bill in committee and strips it down to the studs and rewrites it. … Even though leadership usually would like far-right lawmakers to keep their mouths zipped when they talk about these issues, this time they plan to let the anti-immigration reform members run wild. They want to see exactly how many people agree with folks like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). From there, they’ll have a better sense of what kind of legislation is feasible.”

Could anything be more conservative than gay marriage? — MSNBC

Could anything be more conservative than gay marriage? — MSNBC: The institution of marriage is without question less robust than it once was. Conservatives aren’t wrong about that. But that isn’t because gay people want to get married. It’s because many heterosexual people don’t want to get married, or stay married, often in reaction to patriarchal and other social and economic constrictions that critics like Ehrenreich have written trenchantly about. Endorsing gay marriage doesn’t compromise conservatives’ disagreement with such critiques.

The right should be shouting hallelujah that Windsor makes the “gay lifestyle” about wedding ceremonies, not bathhouse orgies. Of course, gay people should be free to be monogamous or promiscuous, just as heterosexuals are. But that’s not what gay marriage is about. It’s about behaving more conservatively. Why can’t conservatives appreciate that?

Perception > Reality, seen in Erickson vs Krugman

The Truthiness Is Out There - NYTimes.com: Not everything is academic or chartable and sometimes the accuracy of the chart isn’t as real to people as the perception they have that their grocery store bills are getting more expensive though their shopping habits haven’t changed.

Seriously, Paul’s point is correct, but it is an issue of perception of people versus the reality of his chart. He can certainly go tell people milk prices haven’t gone up, but good luck getting them to believe him.

Notice, by the way, the implication that I don’t appreciate the problems real people (who don’t eat quiche or ride the Acela) are facing; actually, I do, but those problems are lack of jobs and stagnant wages, not rising prices. And if you want to solve problems, getting the nature of those problems right matters.

But then, only elitists want to solve problems; true men of the people just vent, and what matters is perception, not truth.

The Price Is Racist: When Minorities (and Women) Are Asked to Pay More - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic

The Price Is Racist: When Minorities (and Women) Are Asked to Pay More - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic: Ayres and Siegelman's conclusion is nothing short of depressing. It suggests that, armed with identical information and bargaining tactics, women and minorities might face a permanent disadvantage due to bias in markets like the one for cars. But the first study is more hopeful. It suggests that the way to fight sexism in these markets is to lead a negotiation with the fact that you've done your homework, you know the market, and you're not going to be duped.

The best weapon against sexist and racist pricing tactics is to arrive at the negotiating table with a price of your own.

Confusing Article on Paradoxes but good

Why It's Good To Be Wrong - Issue 2: Uncertainty - Nautilus: ...error is a subject where issues such as logical paradox, self-reference, and the inherent limits of reason rear their ugly heads in practical situations, and bite.

Pretty sure Facebook is lying here

Norton Mobile Insight Discovers Facebook Privacy Leak | Symantec Connect Community: Of particular note, Mobile Insight automatically flagged the Facebook application for Android because it leaked the device phone number. The first time you launch the Facebook application, even before logging in, your phone number will be sent over the Internet to Facebook servers. You do not need to provide your phone number, log in, initiate a specific action, or even need a Facebook account for this to happen.

According to Google Play, hundreds of millions of devices have installed the Facebook application and a significant portion of those devices are likely affected.

We reached out to Facebook who investigated the issue and will provide a fix in their next Facebook for Android release. They stated they did not use or process the phone numbers and have deleted them from their servers.

Unfortunately, the Facebook application is not the only application leaking private data or even the worst. We will continue to post information about risky applications to this blog in the upcoming weeks.

On PUA guides wiht the guy in the center of the controvercy

An Interview with Ken Hoinsky | The Awl: In the real world we live in, you can't expect—for whatever reason, it's not the norm—for women to make the first move, for a woman to be sexual, you know, um, uh, the more assertive—

Maria: Initiator.

Ken: Initiator! Yeah. I'm trying to get away from words that are…

Maria: I know! Haha. Aggressor!

Ken: I'm practicing getting my PC words.

Maria: You know, you want to make it so polite, you can't say "aggressor," but the fact is… I hate to say it, but it should be a little aggressive. Because, passionate.

Ken: I agree 100 percent. The woman needs to be able to make a call as to whether or not she feels comfortable enough to be sexual with the man. And that way that that's done is not always through words and asking, because it's a turnoff. "Do you mind if I hold your hand?" you know, that's cute when you're in seventh grade, but like, for adults to be operating that way, that's not the real world….

I regret saying, "force her to rebuff your advances," I regret the wording that I used. But the spirit of it is all about giving her the power to decide. It's not forcing her to do something against her will; it's encouraging her to make the decision on whether or not she wants to continue things.

Kickstarter's and Ken Hoinsky: How Free Should Speech Be on the Web? : The New Yorker

Kickstarter's and Ken Hoinsky: How Free Should Speech Be on the Web? : The New Yorker: Kickstarter is only the most recent technology company to find itself forced to choose what kind of speech is allowed on its platform. Companies that traffic in the self-expression of their users, like Facebook and Twitter, have frequently been pushed to make difficult choices about the kinds of speech they tolerate, particularly as they have begun to rely on advertising for revenue (advertisers do not want to find their products next to offensive content). Few services promise absolute, unrestricted expression, though Twitter and Tumblr tend to be far more permissive than Facebook. All of the major services have all been pressured at one point in their history to remove some kind of content: Facebook tolerated “pro-rape” groups until an outcry forced their removal; Twitter pulled tweets containing an anti-Semitic hashtag following complaints from the Union of French Jewish Students; and Tumblr has banned blogs that promote eating disorders.

Innovation - it used to be a bad word

Innovation: The History of a Buzzword - Emma Green - The Atlantic: According to Godin, innovation is the most late-blooming incarnation of previously used terms like imitation and invention. When "novation" first appeared in thirteenth century law texts as a term for renewing contracts, it wasn't a term for creation -- it referred to newness. In the particularly entrenched religious atmosphere of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe, doctrinal innovation was anathema. Some saw this kind of newness as an affiliation with Puritanism, or worse -- popery. Godin cites an extreme case from 1636, when an English Puritan and former royal official, Henry Burton, began publishing pamphlets advocating against church officials as innovators, levying Proverbs 24:21 as his weapon: "My Sonne, feare thou the Lord, and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change" (citation Godin's, emphasis mine). In turn, the pot-stirring Puritan was accused of being the true "innovator" and sentenced to a life in prison and worse -- a life without ears.

Obama Administration, Congress Intensify Opposition To Global Generic Drug Industry

Obama Administration, Congress Intensify Opposition To Global Generic Drug Industry: The Obama administration and members of Congress are pressing India to curb its generic medication industry. The move comes at the behest of U.S. pharmaceutical companies, which have drowned out warnings from public health experts that inexpensive drugs from India are essential to providing life-saving treatments around the world.

Low-cost generics from India have dramatically lowered medical costs in developing countries and proved critical to global AIDS relief programs; about 98 percent of the drugs purchased by President George W. Bush's landmark PEPFAR AIDS relief program are generics from India. Before Indian companies rolled out generic versions priced at $1 a day, AIDS medication cost about $10,000 per person per year.

But India's generic industry has also cut into profits for Pfizer and other U.S. and European drug companies. In response, these companies have sought to impose aggressive patenting and intellectual property standards in India, measures that would grant the firms monopoly pricing power over new drugs and lock out generics producers.

Immigration Reform and House Republicans: The GOP may not need Hispanic votes. - Slate Magazine

Immigration Reform and House Republicans: The GOP may not need Hispanic votes. - Slate Magazine: Democrats don’t see that happening. “How the hell can they do better among whites than they did in 2012?” asks Paul Begala, a former Bill Clinton strategist who worked for the pro-Obama 2012 super PAC Priorities USA. “Can they really ever get 66 percent of the white vote again? No way. First, because their white voters are old: Romney got 61 percent of whites over age 65, but only 51 percent of whites 18 to 29. What the demographers euphemistically call ‘cohort replacement’ is working against the GOP. Other white subgroups, like college-educated women, gave Romney just 52 percent.”

Bert And Ernie Gay Marriage? Sesame Street Says No

Bert And Ernie Gay Marriage? Sesame Street Says No: Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.

Texas teen makes violent joke during video game, is jailed | The Daily Caller

Texas teen makes violent joke during video game, is jailed | The Daily Caller: A Texas teenager who has been in jail since March faces an eight-year prison sentence because of a threatening joke he made while playing an online video game.

In February, Justin Carter was playing “League of Legends” — an online, multiplayer fantasy game — when another player wrote a comment calling him insane. Carter’s response, which he now deeply regrets, was intended as joke.

“He replied ‘Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts,’ and the next two lines were lol and jk,” said Jack Carter, Justin’s father, in a statement to a local news channel.

27 June, 2013

The Poison Squad: An Incredible History - Esquire

The Poison Squad: An Incredible History - Esquire: The human lab rats were “twelve young clerks, vigorous and voracious.” All were graduates of the civil service exam, all were screened for “high moral character,” and all had reputations for “sobriety and reliability.” One was a former Yale sprinter, another a captain in the local high school’s cadet regiment, and a third a scientist in his own right. All twelve took oaths, pledging one year of service, promising to only eat food that was prepared in the Poison Squad’s kitchen, and waiving their right to sue the government for damages -- including death -- that might result from their participation in the program.

Squad members needed a lot of patience. Before each meal, they had to weigh themselves, take their temperatures and check their pulse rates. Their stools, urine, hair and sweat were collected, and they had to submit to weekly physicals. When one member got a haircut without permission, he was allegedly sent back to the barber with orders to collect his shorn locks. Most of the squad members didn’t get extra pay for their hazardous duty: in return for their patience and obedience, they received three square meals a day -- all of which were carefully poisoned.

Quote of the Day: Nobody Cares About Federalism | Mother Jones

Quote of the Day: Nobody Cares About Federalism | Mother Jones: From Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in United States vs. Windsor:

The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State....This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.

In a nutshell, Kennedy says the Constitution doesn't forbid states from banning same-sex marriage. But if a state allows same-sex marriage, the federal government can't refuse to recognize it. Marriage is a state concern—in fact, it's literally a textbook example of a state concern—not a federal one. Taken as a whole, this ruling was as pure a defense of federalism as we've seen in a while.

So why did all the conservative justices oppose it? Answer: Because no one actually cares about federalism. It's merely a convenient veneer when you prefer one outcome over another. Yesterday state sovereignty was of crucial concern when conservatives gutted the Voting Rights Act. Today, they couldn't care less about it.

California man faces 13 years in jail for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk — RT USA

California man faces 13 years in jail for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk — RT USA: The Reader reports that Olson’s hearing had gone as poorly as his attorney might have expected, with Judge Howard Shore, who is presiding over the case, granting Deputy City Attorney Paige Hazard's motion to prohibit attorney Tom Tosdal from mentioning the United States' fundamental First Amendment rights.

"The State's Vandalism Statute does not mention First Amendment rights," ruled Judge Shore on Tuesday.

Upon exiting the courtroom Olson seemed to be in disbelief.

"Oh my gosh," he said. "I can't believe this is happening."

Tosdal, who exited the courtroom shortly after his client, seemed equally bewildered.

"I've never heard that before, that a court can prohibit an argument of First Amendment rights," said Tosdal.

Laderika Smith: The mother of the New Orleans girl who shot herself will face murder charges. Here’s why that’s wrong.

Laderika Smith: The mother of the New Orleans girl who shot herself will face murder charges. Here’s why that’s wrong.: On Sunday a 5-year-old New Orleans girl shot and killed herself with a .38-caliber revolver while her mother was out at the store. On Monday authorities in New Orleans announced that the mother, 28-year-old Laderika Smith, would be charged with second-degree murder—an offense that, under Louisiana state law, is punishable by life imprisonment at hard labor with no chance of parole. Yesterday I wrote that I wasn’t yet sure what to think about the charges against Smith. Now, I’m sure: This is ridiculously severe. Justice will not be served if Smith is convicted.

I’m glad Smith is being held accountable for her daughter’s death. Parents who allow guns into their homes need to bear responsibility for what their children do with those guns. While initial reports made it seem like the gun belonged to Smith, it now appears that the gun may have belonged to a family friend who was temporarily storing it at Smith’s house. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Smith allowed the gun into her house. She’s responsible for what happened with it.

But “bearing responsibility” doesn’t mean “lock her up and throw away the key.” The charges and potential sentence here are wildly inappropriate.

American Pugliese breaking barriers by playing in Afghanistan - Soccer - Grant Wahl - SI.com

American Pugliese breaking barriers by playing in Afghanistan - Soccer - Grant Wahl - SI.com:
The only American in Afghanistan's pro soccer league -- hell, the only foreigner, as far as he knows -- has a tale as unlikely as it is remarkable. A little more than one year ago, Nick Pugliese was graduating from Williams College, where he'd been the captain of the soccer team. In the year since, he has taken a job with a telecommunications firm in Kabul; snuck away from his own security detail to play for an Afghan soccer team; quit his desk job to make less money playing pro soccer; and won Afghanistan's version of the FA Cup knockout tournament.
Not a bad adventure coming out of college.

26 June, 2013

This is just awesome

The 2013 Running Of The Interns: The “Running of the Interns” is a cherished Washington D.C. tradition.

Crowd-Filibustering in the Texas Senate

Crowd-Filibustering in the Texas Senate:
Yesterday, the Texas Senate was paralyzed on the last day of a special session by a 12 1/2 hour filibuster against a bill banning late-term abortions and setting strict standards for abortion facilities. (See the Texas Tribune’s liveblog for a detailed timeline). The primary obstructionist was Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth), but after she was cut off her fellow Democrats continued the filibuster, followed by an uproar from the public watching the Senate which was so thunderous that it halted proceedings. Eventually the bill failed and the session ended.

With the exception of the ending, this filibuster illustrates several themes that should be familiar to Monkey Cage readers, but may be worth repeating and highlighting. But the last point is the real novelty: in the end, this was a citizen filibuster.

Agreed this is odd precedent

Two Cheers for the Supreme Court on LGBT Rights: Because the plaintiff won his suit and no representative of the government of California was willing to defend the constitutionality of Prop 8, there was according to the majority no case to resolve and hence the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction. The result is that Prop 8 will be struck down (as the district court ruled) without creating a federal right to same-sex marriage in any other state.

In my view, resolving the case on standing grounds is the worst of the "good" outcomes that could have been reached. Allowing lower court decisions holding laws unconstitutional to stand without further review because the current government won't defend them is a potentially dangerous precedent, further narrowing standing rules that are already too narrow. The outcome is preferable to upholding Prop 8 but is definitely inferior to any opinion ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional on the merits.

Why America Hates Washington | RedState

Why America Hates Washington | RedState: Congress would rather bribe each other to pass immigration plans than look into it.

Oh, and the rest of America just wants a FREAKING JOB!

There is a massive disconnect between the chattering classes and politicos of Washington and New York and the rest of America. While most Americans are struggling to get ahead, both Republicans and Democrats in Washington act as though they are managing our decline.

Gun control, global warming, gay marriage, and immigration are the greatest issues of the day to those in Washington who hang around the green rooms of the various news outlets and gossip with reporters about which lobbyists are sleeping with which members of Congress.

The Physics Behind Traffic Jams

The Physics Behind Traffic Jams: It was dusk, the headlights were on, and I was going down a long hill to the bridges. I had a view of miles of highway behind me. In the other lane I could see maybe five of the traffic stop-waves. But in the lane behind me, for miles, TOTALLY UNIFORM DISTRIBUTION. I hadn't realized it, but by driving at the average speed, my car had been "eating" traffic waves. Everyone ahead of me was caught in the stop/go cycle, while everyone behind me was forced to go at a nice smooth 35MPH or so. My single tiny car had erased miles and miles of stop-and-go traffic. Just one single "lubricant atom" had a profound effect on the turbulent particle flow within the "tube."

A Bill is Killed; A Star is Born: Page 3 of 3 | Texas Monthly

A Bill is Killed; A Star is Born: Page 3 of 3 | Texas Monthly: Still, it would be hard to argue that Democrats had flouted the rules or traditions of the Texas Senate harder than Republicans did. The whole drama had started, thirty days previously, with the Republicans’ decision to get rid of the Senate’s two-thirds rule. And it only ended after Democrats held the Republicans to the rule that midnight still means midnight, even in the Texas Lege: Chuy Hinojosa, a Democrat from McAllen, made sure that everyone saw two printouts of the time-stamped record vote: the first version, which showed that the final vote on SB-5 happened on June 26, and the later version, where the date had mysteriously been nudged back to June 25.

DOMA, Prop 8, and Justice Scalia’s intemperate dissent : SCOTUSblog

DOMA, Prop 8, and Justice Scalia’s intemperate dissent : SCOTUSblog: Where to begin with that tidbit? For starters, calling on state and lower federal courts to treat the Windsor opinion as no broader than it claimed to be even as one charges the Court that penned Windsor with charting an unbreakable path to full same-sex-marriage rights is, at the very least, an exercise in jurisprudential cynicism. Either Justice Scalia expects and wants tribunals beneath his pay grade to shut their eyes to what he regards as the inescapable implications of Supreme Court precedents, or he anticipates that they will, and suggests that they should, follow the logic of those precedents where that logic leads notwithstanding the Court’s suggestions that the issue remains entirely open. Either way, he is contradicting himself.

:What Happened in Texas | Rhiannon Thomas

What Happened in Texas | Rhiannon Thomas:
The Republicans then held a vote on SB5, while Democrats held up their phones, declaring that it was past midnight.
Official records showed that the vote had happened after midnight, when the Senate could no longer vote… at least, for 9 minutes. Then they went temporarily offline and were doctored to claim that the vote had happened before midnight instead.
Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image
They also counted the votes of Democrats who claimed that they never voted.
The Senators then had a private meeting, and Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst eventually announced that he had not had time to sign the bill before the midnight deadline. He blamed the “unruly mob” of spectators for the distraction.

25 June, 2013

When Congress Abdicates - NYTimes.com

When Congress Abdicates - NYTimes.com: In some of these cases, Congress is ceding power out of incapacity, but just as often it’s ceding it by choice — deferring to the imperial presidency, welcoming the encroachments of the administrative state, looking to the juristocracy for refuge and support on difficult and polarizing issues. So while it’s worth criticizing judges for their immodesty and our presidents for their power grabs, it’s also important to recognize the role played by legislators whose abdications have enabled both: Politics abhors a vacuum, and our elected representatives are often far to happy to have someone else step in and fill it — as five justices did today, and may well do again tomorrow.

Explaination for Putin's Pig Quote

A good ol' Russian pig shear:
Russian president Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that his government would not extradite Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who has claimed responsibility for leaking classified documents to the media, adding that he "would not like to deal with such issues because it is like shearing a pig: there's lots of squealing and little fleece."
Um, what?
Julia Ioffe, the New Republic's resident Russia expert, explains:

What it means is that it is useless, thankless work: pigs, after all, have no fleece. It is an old, if rather obscure Russian saying that comes from a series that can be best described as "the Devil is a moron" series. The original is: "The devil sheared a pig--lots of squealing, but little fleece." (Also: "The devil struck flint against rock, and got a shower of goblins and mermaids.")

Get it?

A very uncharitable take on Google and the rest of SV

Who will stop Google? - Salon.com: Here’s what San Francisco is now: a front row seat on the most powerful corporations on Earth and the people who run them. So we know what you may not yet: they are not your friends and their vision is not your vision, but your data is their data, and your communications are in their hands, and they seem to be rising to become an arm of or a part-owner of the government or a law unto themselves, and no one has yet figured out what we can do about it.

The Cosmology of Serialized Television

The Cosmology of Serialized Television: But what if the entirety of a show could add up? What if the mythology was made primary? Other models for crafting a serial narrative would be possible, other models of Verschleppung—a word which means both postponement and prolonging, immortalized in Kafka’s The Trial as Josef K.’s most viable legal strategy.

One take: Supreme Court recognizes Jim Crow’s demise, restores constitutional order : SCOTUSblog

Supreme Court recognizes Jim Crow’s demise, restores constitutional order : SCOTUSblog:
The way that Chief Justice Roberts began his opinion in Shelby County v. Holder shows what’s really at stake in the case. (Hint: it’s not whether the federal government can protect racial minorities’ voting rights.)  It really provides the key to the decision, even though, unlike many opinion preambles, it doesn’t explicitly state what the Court’s ultimate ruling is.
Parsing this opening section gives you all you really need to know about the modern Voting Rights Act, save one bit that I’ll explain afterwards.  To make this easier, I’ve grouped all the sentences by the logical points that Roberts makes – all bullet-points are direct quotes – and then summarized those points:
  • The Voting Rights Act of 1965 employed extraordinary measures to address an extraordinary problem.
  • Section 5 of the Act required States to obtain federal permission before enacting any law related to voting—a drastic departure from basic principles of federalism.
  • And §4 of the Act applied that requirement only to some States—an equally dramatic departure from the principle that all States enjoy equal sovereignty.

24 June, 2013

You Don't Have To Like Edward Snowden

You Don't Have To Like Edward Snowden: But Snowden’s personal story is interesting only because the new details he revealed are so much more interesting. We know substantially more about domestic surveillance than we did, thanks largely to stories and documents printed by The Guardian. They would have been just as revelatory without Snowden’s name on them. The shakeout has produced more revelatory reporting, notably this new McClatchy piece on the way in which President Obama’s obsession with leaks has manifested itself in the bureaucracy with a new “Insider Threat Program.”

Snowden’s flight and its surrounding geopolitics are a good story; what he made public is a better one. I’m not sure why reporters should care all that much about his personal moral status, the meaning of the phrase “civil disobedience,” or the fate of his eternal soul. And the public who used to be known as “readers” are going to have to get used to making that distinction.

The After-Life (And Suicide) Of An American Torturer

The After-Life (And Suicide) Of An American Torturer:
My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

She stole another’s identity, and took her secret to the grave. Who was she? | Local News | The Seattle Times

She stole another’s identity, and took her secret to the grave. Who was she? | Local News | The Seattle Times: The strongbox was Lori’s. For years, she kept it tucked in a bedroom closet, among a long list of items her husband, Blake Ruff, knew he was never to touch. Blake being Blake, he obeyed.

Lori died in 2010. That’s when Blake’s relatives found the box. Its contents told an astonishing story: The woman they knew as Lori was someone else entirely. She had created a new identity two decades earlier.

That brings us to our mystery. If Lori wasn’t really Lori, who was she? And why would she go so far to hide her past?

Where Don Draper ends, D.B. Cooper begins — Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce — Medium

Where Don Draper ends, D.B. Cooper begins — Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce — Medium: *

After Season One’s storyline of fake identity, Season Two’s started with airplanes: the crash of American Airlines Flight 1 that killed Pete’s father, the agency’s clash over Mohawk and American, the trans-continental flights to the West Coast where, in Los Angeles, the camera panned on Don’s dark sunglasses each time he put them on.

The series has never shied away from taking on historical moments that captured the public’s attention, and it would appear that Weiner is not done.

23 June, 2013

Forecast: Cost Of PV Panels To Drop To $0.36 Per Watt By 2017 | ThinkProgress

Forecast: Cost Of PV Panels To Drop To $0.36 Per Watt By 2017 | ThinkProgress: The cost of photovoltaic solar panels is expected to drop to 36 cents per watt by 2017, according to new research by cleantech market research firm GTM Research.

While this drop in solar panel prices will help to make solar affordable to more people, which will increase the size of the solar market, this ongoing cost reduction means much more than that.

Disappointing Fall for ‘Rock Center,’ a News Program With Big Ambitions - NYTimes.com

Disappointing Fall for ‘Rock Center,’ a News Program With Big Ambitions - NYTimes.com: The ambitious NBC newsmagazine was scheduled to be shown for the final time on Friday night. Within NBC News, employees expressed a sense of disappointment — not so much in the quality of the program, but that it was not rated highly enough to remain on the network schedule. To those who invested much in producing the show, its demise raises doubts about whether any new newsmagazine can succeed on network television these days.

To that point, Rome Hartman, the founding producer of “Rock Center,” said in an interview: “I hope that’s not true. I sure hope that somebody figures it out.”

22 June, 2013

RedState, being a bit melodramatic

The Mission Fields | RedState: The next patient was a child who had been playing football, tripped, and possibly had broken his wrist. Neither adult with the child worked. The child was scared and in pain. The adults with the child kept berating the child for making them get out of bed. It was after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

A child in need of comfort received criticism and anger — anger over the adult having to get out of bed, anger over the male adult missing a wrestling program, anger about a waste of time, etc.

This is a regular occurrence in hospitals. It is tragic. Our society is collapsing around us.

What the NSA Does With the Data It Isn't Allowed to Keep - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

What the NSA Does With the Data It Isn't Allowed to Keep - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic: Why are these particular details highly classified state secrets? It's an abuse of the system -- a scandal in itself. What the NSA does with information it collects but isn't allowed to have isn't something that needs to be decided secretly and kept secret by self-interested national-security bureaucrats.

The information doesn't threaten national security at all. It's an appropriate subject of public scrutiny and debate. To take just one example, should the NSA get to keep "information on criminal activity" unrelated to terrorism? I can see the arguments for and against. But it makes no sense to suggest that knowing the rule currently used or debating it publicly threatens national security. And all sorts of other things that ought to be publicly debated have been and remain classified too, so the NSA can do as it pleases. It would still be secret if not for Snowden, who, whatever else you think of him, may well have given up his freedom to tell us.

The Post-Hero Economy – Next City

The Post-Hero Economy – Next City: These elites, marooned on their own small island, lost power as the domestic steel industry declined all around them, leaving behind a fragmented and uncoordinated region. Allentown, Pa., by contrast, had looser networks that provided alternative relationships that cut across social, class and political lines, encouraging new alliances and exchanges. All this meant that while these two areas of the Rust Belt had very similar demographics, economic structures and challenges, Allentown was better equipped to bounce back from the decline of the steel industry, specifically because it had individuals and organizations that could serve as bridges between the various groups that needed to be engaged in the region’s recovery. It turns out it did matter who was on the board of the Boy Scouts.

20 June, 2013

James Gandolfini (1961–2013): As a Made Man, He Made TV Great | TIME.com

James Gandolfini (1961–2013): As a Made Man, He Made TV Great | TIME.com:
Because without Gandolfini, there would be no Tony — not as we know him. And without Tony, there would be no Walter White, no Vic Mackey, no Carrie Mathison. Through Tony, Gandolfini wrote the blueprint for the modern, complicated TV antihero; he took the wall between stand-up TV good guys and wicked bad guys and bashed it down with a baseball bat.

John F. Harris & Jim VandeHei Interview: Talking to Politico's Editors | New Republic

John F. Harris & Jim VandeHei Interview: Talking to Politico's Editors | New Republic: Isaac Chotiner: A lot of people have a negative impression of Washington, D.C. They think it’s corrupt and insular. What do you think, either as citizens or journalists, of that critique?

John Harris: It strikes me as fair. I do think a lot of Washington is driven by incentives that you could—as shorthand—say are cynical: pursuit of publicity, pursuit of position, pursuit of partisan advantage. And not the incentives of trying to make the world a better place. I do think that is true in broad strokes. I obviously don’t think that is true in individual cases. We cover Washington. We are not out to celebrate it or defend it.

Fareed Zakaria: Obama’s Syria policy is full of contradictions - The Washington Post

Fareed Zakaria: Obama’s Syria policy is full of contradictions - The Washington Post: One of the U.S. Army’s most intelligent officers, Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster, wrote a study of the Vietnam War that detailed this error. He described Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 plan as one of incremental pressure that “depended on the assumption that the limited application of force would compel the North Vietnamese to the negotiating table and exact from them a favorable diplomatic settlement.” The strategy, McMaster noted, was “fundamentally flawed.” The enemy is fighting to win — not playing a negotiating game.

The chance that our current efforts in Syria will do enough to achieve even our stated objectives is small. Eventually, the contradictions in U.S. policy will emerge and the Obama administration will face calls for further escalation.

Farmers Don't Make Money From Farming

Farmers Don't Make Money From Farming: The more-interesting part of this and what appears to be a big part of the side hustle for many farms is “agrotourism” and things like “on-farm cafes, restaurants, and dining rooms for special farm dinners … classes, tours, U-picks, and venues for weddings and family reunions.” As in: farmers are making money by having people watch them do the thing that no longer makes them any money. People want to see farmers farm or they want to get married on a farm or they want to drink freshly-squeezed (?) milk, so they go to a farm and pay for those things. But they only come because of some attraction to “the idea of the farm,” which, itself, is a dying thing—except, the people also wouldn’t come if it wasn’t a dying/outdated/different concept because society would be radically different if the small farm was a booming business and then the nostalgia-tourism aspect wouldn’t even exist. It’s a weird loop, and one that probably can’t last forever.

19 June, 2013

TTIP: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would create the biggest free trade area ever. - Slate Magazine

TTIP: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would create the biggest free trade area ever. - Slate Magazine: According to proponents of TTIP, the gains of broad regulatory harmonization could be very large, amounting to an economic boost of more than $100 billion a year in the United States and somewhat more than that in Europe. But tackling these kinds of non-tariff barriers to trade is easier said than done. Deals with big positive impacts for some interests always have downsides for others. The EU, for example, is eager to change rules that prevent European airlines from flying on U.S. routes. Injecting that kind of competition would reduce the recent trend toward higher airfares. But it could also push one or more American airlines back into the cycle of bankruptcy and job losses.

The traditional case for freer trade—that the gains outweigh the losses—applies well to TTIP. But there’s also potential for enormous mischief. Business talks a big game about its desire for simpler and more harmonious rules, but in practice this means they want laxer regulations. Mutual recognition could become a platform for a regulatory race to the bottom. America could adopt European-style lax rules about bank capital while Europe is pushed to embrace American-style light regulation of hedge funds.

Detroit takes aim at its pensioners | Felix Salmon

Detroit takes aim at its pensioners | Felix Salmon:

If you want to wade through some unutterably depressing reading on this Monday morning, you should spend some time with the official Detroit Proposal for Creditors. It starts by noting that the city’s per capita income, averaged over its 684,799 residents, is just $15,261 per year. (That’s less than half the income of neighboring Livonia.) Auto insurance alone eats up a good $4,000 of that, for residents with a car.

And then comes the litany of municipal woes: Detroit has the highest violent crime rate of any major US city, at five times the national average; there were 344 murders in 2011, of which just 39 were solved. Right now, the average response time, if you put in an emergency call to the Detroit Police Department, is 58 minutes.

Detroit’s infrastructure is crumbling: 40% of its street lights are out of order, and it has 78,000 abandoned and blighted structures, of which 38,000 are considered dangerous buildings. Those buildings account for a large proportion of the 12,000 fires Detroit has every year. At the moment, firefighters are instructed not to use the hydraulic ladders on their firetrucks unless there is an immediate threat to life, because the ladders have not received safety inspections for years. Detroit also has just 36 ambulances, of which generally no more than 14 are in operation at any given time. And in terms of the city’s IT infrastructure — well, you can probably guess; suffice to say that a recent IRS audit characterized the city’s income tax system as “catastrophic”.

The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science — Editor's Picks — Medium

The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science — Editor's Picks — Medium: You can follow the logic to its conclusion: Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue. Doing so is, effectively, to signal a d�tente in what Kahan has called a “culture war of fact.” In other words, paradoxically, you don’t lead with the facts in order to convince. You lead with the values—so as to give the facts a fighting chance.

The Price of Loyalty in Syria - NYTimes.com

The Price of Loyalty in Syria - NYTimes.com: The Damascus neighborhood known as Mezze 86 is a dense, dilapidated warren of narrow hillside streets adorned with posters bearing the face of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. The presidential palace is nearby, and the area is crawling with well-armed guards and soldiers. It is next to impossible to enter unless you are accompanied by government officials or well-known locals, almost all of them members of Assad’s Alawite sect. I drove there on a quiet Friday morning in May, and we were stopped several times at checkpoints by young soldiers who examined our documents carefully before waving us on.

18 June, 2013

In Defense Of Obama On Syria

In Defense Of Obama On Syria:
A Republican reader writes:

But it is just as clear that for him the US to enter into a Sunni war with Shi’ism is not in the US interest. Period. He doesn’t see it as helping allies or not helping them – he is perfectly willing to shore up Jordan for instance – but he’s not going to yoke himself to Qatar-Saudi plowshares. His manner and body language on “another war in the Middle East” was quite telling – it is clearly the last thing he is going to let happen – he is going to fight escalation tooth and nail and is signaling that to his public, his liberal interventionists (Rice, Power,) and his generals exactly that. This is all frankly quite presidential. He is showing his own decided pattern of measured, thoughtful, leadership-from-behind.

Not what I want personally – I voted for Romney – but it’s a perfectly valid and reasoned response, even courageous when seen in the light of what I am sure he’s getting from all sides.

His “for example” on being in the situation room is already being pilloried for its “trust me, I know more than you” thing, and it plays into perceptions of his aloof arrogance – but in reality what he actually said is a very important insight into his thinking: he plays the tape to the end.

Lifts and skyscrapers: The other mile-high club | The Economist

Lifts and skyscrapers: The other mile-high club | The Economist: This week Kone, a Finnish liftmaker, announced that after a decade of development at its laboratory in Lohja, which sits above a 333-metre-deep mineshaft which the firm uses as a test bed, it has devised a system that should be able to raise an elevator a kilometre (3,300 feet) or more. This is twice as far as the things can go at present. Since the effectiveness of lifts is one of the main constraints on the height of buildings, Kone’s technology—which replaces the steel cables from which lift cars are currently suspended with ones made of carbon fibres—could result in buildings truly worthy of the name “skyscraper”.

Last Song for Migrating Birds

Last Song for Migrating Birds:
In a bird market in the Mediterranean tourist town of Marsa Matruh, Egypt, I was inspecting cages crowded with wild turtledoves and quail when one of the birdsellers saw the disapproval in my face and called out sarcastically, in Arabic: “You Americans feel bad about the birds, but you don’t feel bad about dropping bombs on someone’s homeland.” [..]

To a visitor from North America, where bird hunting is well regulated and only naughty farm boys shoot songbirds, the situation in the Mediterranean is appalling: Every year, from one end of it to the other, hundreds of millions of songbirds and larger migrants are killed for food, profit, sport, and general amusement. The killing is substantially indiscriminate, with heavy impact on species already battered by destruction or fragmentation of their breeding habitat. Mediterraneans shoot cranes, storks, and large raptors for which governments to the north have multimillion-euro conservation projects. All across Europe bird populations are in steep decline, and the slaughter in the Mediterranean is one of the causes.

A Junior Officer's Perspective on Brain Drain | Small Wars Journal

A Junior Officer's Perspective on Brain Drain | Small Wars Journal: These are just one junior officer’s observations but they are based on personal experience and talking to peers that have stayed in and gotten out. Obviously there are other issues such as a human resources system that does not pair people well and a command selection system that would have prevented even Generals Chiarelli and Petraeus from ever making it to battalion command. And, LTG Hodges inadvertently highlights a huge issue with the Army’s system. His career has largely been guided by superiors. Many in my peer group would see that as having benefactors. When the Army allows those with connections to get ahead, it embitters others and likely drives some otherwise stellar officers out the Army. I believe that LTG Hodges and many senior officers care about this issue, but I don’t think they really understand. This is a debate the Army needs to have and the more junior officers that weigh in, the better decisions the Army can make to retain its best and improve as a whole.

17 June, 2013

They Said No: 2013 Iranian Presidential Post-Election Report — The Monkey Cage

They Said No: 2013 Iranian Presidential Post-Election Report — The Monkey Cage: Rouhani’s election will transform the internal and external politics of the Islamic Republic in two major ways. First, it drives the conflict between the two major bastions of power in the Islamic Republic to a new level. At a time when Ahmadinejad is estranged from Khamenei and the unelected body of the Islamic Republic under Khamenei is facing the reality of a 10 percent popular support among the electorate, Rouhani and Rafsanjani will play effectively against Khamenei. However, Rouhani has shown that he does not see the democratic game as a bottom-up process, but more as a product of pacts and alliances behind the scene accompanied with populist and patronizing campaign strategies. He was adamant in his categorical condemnation of student protests against censorship in 1999 and has repeatedly distanced himself from reformists. Instead of an emphasis on popular participation, he is expected to strike a close alliance with Rafsanjani and intensify the clandestine power struggle against the traditional right. On the domestic scene, democratic participation does not seem to be his first concern.

The Iranian People Challenge the West | The National Interest Blog

The Iranian People Challenge the West | The National Interest Blog: One thing that the Iranian election would have changed no matter what the outcome on election day is that we soon will not have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to kick around any more. The end of his distracting and annoying presence can only be to the good. Perhaps at least a little more serious attention will be devoted in the United States to policy and diplomacy when there is a little less energy allocated to expressing outrage over the outgoing Iranian president's mistranslated quotes about wiping maps and his other intentionally inflammatory rhetoric.

Rouhani's win brings to Iran's presidency the candidate who was least associated with attributes of the Iranian regime that the West finds most offensive. While one must always be careful in affixing labels to individual leaders and factions in Iranian politics, the pre-election characterization of Rouhani as the most moderate of the six candidates remaining in the race until election day is accurate.

Malcolm Gladwell: Albert O. Hirschman and the Power of Failure : The New Yorker

Malcolm Gladwell: Albert O. Hirschman and the Power of Failure : The New Yorker: Digging through the Hoosac turned out to be a nightmare. The project cost more than ten times the budgeted estimate. If the people involved had known the true nature of the challenges they faced, they would never have funded the Troy-Greenfield railroad. But, had they not, the factories of northwestern Massachusetts wouldn’t have been able to ship their goods so easily to the expanding West, the cost of freight would have remained stubbornly high, and the state of Massachusetts would have been immeasurably poorer. So is ignorance an impediment to progress or a precondition for it?

The economist Albert O. Hirschman, who died last December, loved paradoxes like this. He was a “planner,” the kind of economist who conceives of grand infrastructure projects and bold schemes. But his eye was drawn to the many ways in which plans did not turn out the way they were supposed to—to unintended consequences and perverse outcomes and the puzzling fact that the shortest line between two points is often a dead end.

The World of Black-Ops Reputation Management -- New York Magazine

The World of Black-Ops Reputation Management -- New York Magazine:

Online, Phin’s financial journalism found a nice complement in philanthropy. My e-mail pinged with a press release issued when Charity News Forum named him “Philanthropist of the Month” in November. Another told me he was writing for something called Philanthropy Chronicle, an online charitable-­giving portal I had never heard of. What’s more, he was rekindling his passion for analytical philosophy, publishing a collection of essays from The ­Harvard Review of Philosophy, the undergraduate journal he once edited. And he was even combining philosophy with philanthropy, leading the small staff of the website PhilosophyBookReview.com to “bring philosophy writing to underprivileged youth by making it part of nonprofit educational programs in developing nations.”

But something was wrong with these sites, which in every case looked flimsy and temporary, especially when you got beyond the first page. Venture Cap Monthly listed a number of prominent writers as “authors,” including the Financial Times columnist Christopher Caldwell, Fast Company journalist Danielle Sacks, and Slate critic-at-large Stephen Metcalf. Caldwell and Sacks write about business, so I could imagine—­barely—that by contributing to an obscure site, they might be slumming for a paycheck. But I couldn’t make any sense of the presence of Metcalf, who had written a ­scintillating essay about the films of Tom Cruise, I remembered, but nothing that would interest a venture capitalist.

Europe’s reluctant hegemon | The Economist

Europe’s reluctant hegemon | The Economist:
From the football pitch to politics to the economy, Germany has become Europe’s most powerful country. Described by this newspaper as the sick man of Europe in 1999, Germany now appears to have the continent’s strongest as well as its biggest economy. It accounts for a fifth of the European Union’s output and a quarter of its exports. From Volkswagen to SAP, Germany’s big companies are world-renowned. Many smaller German firms are global champions in niche markets such as tunnel-boring machines and industrial cleaners.

dreamshade comments on Solving the mystery of Keynes' "mistake": Why do we work so much and enjoy so little leisure?

dreamshade comments on Solving the mystery of Keynes' "mistake": Why do we work so much and enjoy so little leisure?: Say you're the owner of a small business, and you estimate that you're going to need 600 man-hours of work every week for your business. Do you:

* (A) Hire 20 people to work 30 hours a week
* (B) Hire 15 people to work 40 hours a week
* (C) Hire 10 people to work 60 hours a week (assume time-and-a-half overtime pay)

The thing is, if you hire 20 people, that's 20 workstations that you have to build—20 people that need a bag of tools or a computer desk or a company phone. That's also 20 people's worth of bureaucracy—20 people who need health insurance, 20 people who need HR contacts and face time. If you hire 15 people instead of 20, then that reduces part of your overhead by as much as 25%, so (A) is clearly the least efficient choice. In fact, if the choice between (B) and (C) is a 16% increase in wages (60 hours with overtime equals 70 billable regular hours) but a potential 33% reduction in employee overhead, then the overtime pay may be your best option!

McD's worker sues: Don't pay by debit card - Philly.com

McD's worker sues: Don't pay by debit card - Philly.com: The suit seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages and asks for punitive, compensatory and liquidated damages, plus legal fees and litigation costs against the company for its "ill-gotten gains contrary to justice, equity, good conscience and Pennsylvania law."

Gunshannon said she didn't sign the card and chose to not enroll in the payroll system offered because she felt the fees would be exorbitant and actually drop her earnings below minimum wage.

She was to be paid about $7.44 per hour - her paystub didn't list her hourly rate. Minimum wage is $7.25.

According to the complaint filed, the JP Morgan Chase payroll card lists several fees, including a $1.50 charge for ATM withdrawals, $5 for over-the-counter cash withdrawals, $1 per balance inquiry, 75 cents per online bill payment and $15 for lost/stolen card.

16 June, 2013

The Case Against Intervention in Syria - TIME

The Case Against Intervention in Syria - TIME: Nor is it clear that the Syrian opposition is capable of unity. Popular opposition to Assad is neither broad-based nor organized. The Syrian National Council, the umbrella group of organized opposition, appears unable to unify behind a leader, agenda or set of goals. Rima Fleihan, a grassroots activist who escaped from Syria to organize the opposition, quit the council, telling the New York Times, "They fight more than they work."

The geopolitics of military intervention is also unattractive. Whereas in Egypt and even Libya, all the major and regional powers were on the side of intervention or passively accepted it, in Syria that is not the case. Iran and Russia have both maintained strong ties to the Assad regime. Were the Western powers to intervene, it would quickly become a proxy struggle, with great-power-funded militias on both sides. That would likely result in a protracted civil war with civilian casualties that would dwarf the current numbers. To many observers the situation in Syria looks less like Libya and more like Lebanon, where a decades-long civil war resulted in over 150,000 deaths and a million displaced people.

Obama’s Worst Foreign Policy Decision

Obama’s Worst Foreign Policy Decision:
MoDo today summed up the wisdom of everyone who championed the Iraq war and endorsed those arguments all over again. As if it never happened. [...]

So let’s posit “our side” wins. What good could possibly now come of a Sunni Jihadist victory? We’d see a mass slaughter of Alawites at best, and a metastasizing sectarian war across the Middle East in which the US would be entangled. By staying out, on the other hand, we make Putin and Iran the targets for Sunni hatred, we do not add fuel to the sectarian fire, and we do not hurt any of our strategic interests. I thought I had supported Obama over McCain and Clinton in 2008. Why are we now getting boomer-era interventionism?

Sliding Down the Syrian Slope

Sliding Down the Syrian Slope:
President Obama's move to increase the public flow of arms to selected Syrian rebels is probably his worst foreign policy decision since taking office....

I don't think anyone in the administration really has any great confidence that arming the rebels will end Syria's civil war or work in any other meaningful way, though many likely feel that it's worth trying something different after so many months of horrors and want to believe that this will work.  Obviously, I am deeply skeptical. I hope I'm wrong, and that against the odds the new policy can make a difference, and help to resolve the Syrian catastrophe. But more likely it just drags the U.S. further down the road to another disastrous war -- one which has just become harder to prevent. 

15 June, 2013


Patton Oswalt | A CLOSED LETTER TO MYSELF ABOUT THIEVERY, HECKLING AND RAPE JOKES: Just because you 100% believe that comedians don’t write their own jokes doesn’t make it so. And making the leap from your evidence-free belief to dismissing comedians who complain about joke theft is willful ignorance on your part, invoked for your own comfort. Same way with heckling. Just because you 100% feel that a show wherein a heckler disrupted the evening was better than one that didn’t have that disruption does not make it the truth. And to make the leap from your own personal memory to insisting that comedians feel the same way that you do is indefensible horseshit.

And just because I find rape disgusting, and have never had that impulse, doesn’t mean I can make a leap into the minds of women and dismiss how they feel day to day, moment to moment, in ways both blatant and subtle, from other men, and the way the media represents the world they live in, and from what they hear in songs, see in movies, and witness on stage in a comedy club.


Patton Oswalt | A CLOSED LETTER TO MYSELF ABOUT THIEVERY, HECKLING AND RAPE JOKES: Except for the kid who’d been screaming at us. The Shouter. He got in my face and blocked my way up the aisle.

“Didn’t you hear the stuff I was yelling? You ignored me the whole time!”

I said, “I didn’t hear it.”

“Yes you did.”

His friend pulled him away. “Dude, let’s go. Be cool.”

He and his friend started walking up the aisle away from me. His friend gave me a, “Sorry about that" look over his shoulder. I shrugged.

Then the friend leaned into the Shouter, said, “Man, why’d you keep screaming at those guys?”

The Shouter said, “There’s no way they were just making jokes up that fast. I had to say something.”

I’ve never heard a more poignant rationalizing of heckling in my life, and I doubt I ever will.

A surprise - and possible reformer - in Iran

Email Of The Day:
An Iranian reader writes:
What happened in the last 72 hours of this campaign is one for history books. It was as if the sleeping beauty woke up at the last minute. Over 20 million Iranians have a voted for a guy who was the last man standing. He is not a Mousavi, but he is the one they knew voting for would be interpreted as a message of disapproval for the Supreme Leader – a big “no”, if you will. The humiliating third place for Jalili, the chief nuclear negotiator, was also a direct rejection of the handling of the nuclear file and the foreign policy of the leader and AhamdiNejad.
Until three days ago, no one would have guessed that we could have a centrist/reformist president with the full backing of former presidents Khatami and Hashemi, who will make the freedom of Mousavi and Karoubi very likely, who will bring back the experienced technocrats into the management of the government and insert some sanity into our foreign policy and day-to-day managing of the economy. But here we are.

Jean Carroll: Footage of one of the first women to do standup comedy on national TV

Jean Carroll: Footage of one of the first women to do standup comedy on national TV: This clip of comedian Jean Carroll performing on television sometime in the 1950s gives a glimpse of one of the first nationally famous female stand-up comedians in action.

While Moms Mabley—whose life is the subject of a documentary directed by Whoopi Goldberg that will air on HBO later this year—was truly the first female stand-up, Carroll began performing solo in the early 1940s, before better-known stars such as Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers.

Throughout the '40s and '50s Carroll toured and appeared on television, both on The Ed Sullivan Show and on her own sitcom. This clip was uploaded to YouTube by a fan who got the video from a collector without any identifying information attached. It seems likely, given her recurring appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, that the footage comes from that source.

At a time when many moms on television were paragons of domesticity, Carroll’s act lampooned that image. In this clip, she’s dressed in a party dress, a choker, and heels. (She often wore fancy clothes to perform.) Working contrary to her prim-and-proper appearance, many of her jokes skewered suburban life, child-rearing, and marriage.

Lawfare › John Villasenor on the NSA and Economic Espionage

Lawfare › John Villasenor on the NSA and Economic Espionage: the U.S. position on cybersecurity is not exactly a model of consistency—amounting in effect to shock that anyone would conduct cyber attacks on us. Our position on espionage is similar: We engage in it unapologetically for our strategic purposes but we object strenuously to other countries—whose strategic purposes may be more economic than ours—conducting espionage against our companies.

Obama Caves On Syria

Obama Caves On Syria:
One reason I supported Obama so passionately in 2008 and 2012 was because I thought he understood this and had the spine to stand up to drama queens like McCain and armchair generals like William Jefferson Clinton. But it is beginning to appear that this president isn’t actually that strong. We voted for him … and he’s giving us Clinton’s and McCain’s foreign policy. If Cameron and Hollande want to pull another Suez, for Pete’s sake be Eisenhower – not Kennedy.

My cri de coeur is here. Don’t do it, Mr President. And don’t you dare involve us in another war without a full Congressional vote and national debate. That wouldn’t just be a mistake; it would be a betrayal.

They That Are Fated To Be Fools Have One Consolation | RedState

They That Are Fated To Be Fools Have One Consolation | RedState: While this is playing out, John McCain is demanding the President give arms to the Syrian rebels who may or may not be on our side after they kill off Assad. John Boehner has decided to vote for the farm bill, which is filled up with corporate waste, greed, and bribery. And I, having declared myself opposed to the immigration bill, but favoring not rounding up and shipping home 11 million people, am receiving hate mail from conservatives for daring to not want to throw every hispanic resident out of the country. Concurrently, Mario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Foundation has postponed a call in which he, a Republican, was going to declare much of the conservative movement racist for not supporting this harebrained Schumer amnesty scheme.

On top of that, Peter King and Lindsey Graham want to amend the First Amendment to silence dissent and Republicans in Congress have joined hands with Democrats to declare the NSA is a-okay.

The Republican Party as it exists in Washington, DC has lost all connection to its base and the pulse of liberty.

13 June, 2013

Seriously, What's The Matter With Kansas? | Politics News | Rolling Stone

Seriously, What's The Matter With Kansas? | Politics News | Rolling Stone: In order to finance his tax cuts, Brownback has cut education spending by the largest amount in state history. But in January, a state court ruled the cuts unconstitutional and ordered the government to restore $400 million of school spending. "It seems completely illogical that the state can argue that a reduction in education funding was necessitated by the downturn in the economy and the state's diminishing resources and at the same time cut taxes further," the court stated in its ruling. Brownback has responded on dual fronts: by appealing the ruling to the state Supreme Court and by pushing through a bill that would "reform" the way in which state judges were appointed – allowing Brownback, rather than a panel, to appoint judges directly, giving the governor direct power over the one branch of Kansas government that had been out of his control.

Glenn Greenwald's 'Epic Botch'? | The Nation

Glenn Greenwald's 'Epic Botch'? | The Nation: Bloggers and experts in the tech world have been raising an important caveat to a key aspect of Glenn Greenwald’s world-shaking scoop about the NSA’s PRISM story—an aspect my friend Karl Fogel, an open-source software guru, blogger and the proprietor of QuestionCopyright.org, calls an “epic botch” by Greenwald. People outside of the tech world absolutely need to know about this debate too, which is why, though I’m no expert, I’m sharing it with this wider audience. I deeply admire what Greenwald and his team at The Guardian are doing. I write in the interest of helping them do it better.

The “crucial question,” as Fogel frames it in a blog post, is this: “Are online service companies giving the government fully automated access to their data,” as Greenwald says they are, “without any opportunity for review or intervention by company lawyers?” This is what the companies have been denying—in statements that critics have been interpreting as non-denial denials.

Rock and Roll, Economics, and Rebuilding the Middle Class | The White House

Rock and Roll, Economics, and Rebuilding the Middle Class | The White House:
Diverse observers from Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago to Robert Reich of Berkeley have suggested a second way in which rising inequality and slow income growth for the vast middle class have harmed the U.S. economy – namely, by encouraging families to borrow to try to maintain consumption, a practice which cannot go on forever, and by reducing aggregate consumption. As a result of the rise in inequality, the amount of income going to the top 1 percent of American families has increased by about $1 trillion on an annual basis. Because the middle class has a higher propensity to spend their income than the top 1 percent, this curbs consumption. An increasingly top-heavy distribution of income is a drag on aggregate demand and economic growth, and a contributing factor to credit bubbles.
President Obama made this point very clearly in a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas: “When middle class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom.”
Third, an active line of research examines the connection between inequality and longer term economic growth. In a seminal study, Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini found that in a society where income inequality is greater, political decisions are likely to result in policies that lead to less growth.

12 June, 2013

The Pope's leaked words

RORATE C�LI: Pope to Latin American Religious: Full text Update: Religious confirm they were the source: It is necessary to shake things up [flip things over, lit. dar vuelta (a) la tortilla]. It is not news that an old man dies of cold in Ottaviano [Rorate note: referring to the surroundings of via Ottaviano and the Ottaviano Rome Metro station, near the Vatican], or that there be so many children with no education, or hungry, I think of Argentina...On the other hand, the main stock exchanges go up or down 3 points, and this is a world event. One must shake things up! This cannot be. Computers are not made in the image and likeness of God; they are an instrument, yes, but nothing more. Money is not image and likeness of God. Only the person is image and likeness of God. It is necessary to flip it over. This is the gospel.

Ayatollah Khamenei Is Iran’s Supreme Investor - Bloomberg

Ayatollah Khamenei Is Iran’s Supreme Investor - Bloomberg: Khamenei’s shareholders consist mainly of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Principalists, a broad coalition of conservative politicians. Where Buffett is judged by the companies and stocks in which he invests, Khamenei is judged by the politicians he picks or supports for positions of authority, and how those people further the economic and political interests of the supreme leader’s supporters. And the most important pick Khamenei has to make this year is Iran’s next president.

Khamenei’s last presidential investment, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, didn’t work out so well. Instead of uniting Iran’s conservative elite, Ahmadinejad’s antics and leadership style created infighting and division. He ravaged the regime’s standing abroad with inflammatory speeches, such as his denial of the Holocaust. At home, his populist economic policies caused extensive damage, which today can be witnessed in Iran’s high level of inflation -- which the nation’s official statistics agency put at 30 percent in May -- and 12 percent unemployment, according to International Monetary Fund data.