news you should know about

Archive for April 2012

newsmongering 04/30

leave a comment »

> So Stephen King is pretty righteously pissed that he’s not taxed more. It’s a great editorial (there’s some nasty fatphobia in the first page, though; an unnecessary cheap shot); I might have to actually read his books now.

I guess some of this mad right-wing love comes from the idea that in America, anyone can become a Rich Guy if he just works hard and saves his pennies. Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-fucking-American is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share.

> Remember that proposed Egyptian necrophilia law thing that was floating a week or so ago? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, count yourself lucky). In the words of the Christian Science Monitor’s Dan Murphy, this rumor is “hooey, utter hooey.”

> Some of you may be aware of my complete and utter dislike of the TSA. I have yet to read anything that convincingly legitimizes the extent of their budget and authority (the closest anything’s come has been Jack Goldsmith’s The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgement Inside the Bush Administration, which is an interesting conservative legal perspective on the Bush presidency, but still: “we can’t tell the public why, it’s just too dangerous!” does not justify prolonged extensions of that magnitude). So I was thoroughly delighted by Bruce Schneier’s discussion of post-9/11 airport security:

Increased fear is the final harm, and its effects are both emotional and physical. By sowing mistrust, by stripping us of our privacy—and in many cases our dignity—by taking away our rights, by subjecting us to arbitrary and irrational rules, and by constantly reminding us that this is the only thing between us and death by the hands of terrorists, the TSA and its ilk are sowing fear. And by doing so, they are playing directly into the terrorists’ hands.

Cory Doctorow’s comments – linked at the end of the piece – are pretty great, too.

> Speaking of fear and the problem of fear in society, danah boyd has a great rough draft titled “The Power of Fear in Networked Publics” – she quite interestingly links the concept of radical transparency with the outing of LGBTetc. public figures, and has a great comment on the concept of ‘progress’:

In Germany, the 1920s were an extraordinarily gay time. In all senses of the word.  Fear squelched that.  I don’t want to get all Godwin’s Law on you here, but it’s important to realize that social forces are not linear.  There’s no universal narrative of “progress” where we continue to march forward to ever-increasing levels of enlightenment.  Hell, there are radically divergent ideas of what constitutes progress and enlightenment in the first place.

It’s a relatively quick read, and well worth your time.

> I occasionally (…often) get yelled at for not posting enough (…any) cheerful stuff, so: here’s Tufts’s Daniel Drezner (he of the international theory of zombies) with a roundup of a pretty good foreign policy news week (excepting a gaff by Joe Biden, which is either ho-hum or cringe-worthy depending on your tolerance for “that’s what she said” jokes).

> Speaking of good news, the same guy who directed the movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is on board to direct an adaptation of The Graveyard Book, which is one of my favorite books of all time ever. (My parents and I read it aloud on a car trip and had to pull over to cry, and then we weren’t even mad at it for breaking our hearts. It’s that kind of book.)



Written by whackanarwhal

April 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized