In the tradition

reagan-shrunk

Today, we have this:

alec

Nelson Mandela, RIP (1918-2013)

Getting what you vote for

Politics Does it matter that many can’t register for coverage?

Our leaders are reckless fools

Another day, and another conference in which the participants accomplish nothing meaningful:

The United Nations climate conference ambled toward a conclusion on Friday, with delegates saying that the meeting would produce no more than a modest set of measures toward a new international agreement two years from now. As usual, the biggest dispute was over money.

The talks, the 19th annual meeting of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, opened nearly two weeks ago in the shadow of a devastating typhoon in the Philippines. The disaster added momentum to a proposal by poorer nations for the creation of a new mechanism to compensate developing countries for damage from climate-related disasters.

With the clock winding down and the talks likely to extend into Friday night, the so-called loss-and-damage proposal remained alive. But the wealthy countries that would presumably provide financing for the plan were offering a weaker alternative that would wrap it into an existing area of the climate treaty.

The dangerous and thus compelling problem we face is, of course, reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the world, not compensating some of the billions who will become victims of the growing climate chaos. But why would the 1% and their retainers work towards reducing global temperatures when going with the flow of history is much less taxing.

A bit more than 25 years has passed since James Hansen testified before Congress. What remains to be done? Everything?

Lou Reed, RIP

Seymour Hersh dismisses America’s media giants

The following arrived by way of a Guardian interview conducted by Lisa O’Carroll:

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Their reticence is important because:

The Obama administration lies systematically, [Hersh] claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

Sadly:

He isn’t even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.

But Hersh is sure of one point:

…he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush.

Plus ça change… Hersh’s solution:

“I’ll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can’t control,” he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don’t get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say ‘I don’t care what you say.

And:

“I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let’s start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won’t like this — just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” he says.

Think ALEC

Judd Legum of ThinkProgress reported that:

Police Chief Steve Bracknell, who is responsible for the Florida town where George Zimmerman resides, agreed in a series of emails that Zimmerman is a “ticking time bomb” and another “Sandy Hook” waiting to happen.

Bracknell expressed his views in response to two emails from Santiago Rodriguez, who reached Bracknell through a contact form on the police department’s website. Bracknell confirmed the emails’ authenticity to ThinkProgress and subsequently tried to distance himself from the remarks.

ALEC refers, of course, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a well-funded policy shop dedicated to promoting a reactionary politics (about which, see this) and the source (.pdf) of the “stand your ground” legislation which protected George Zimmerman after he killed Trayvon Martin.

Paranoia the destroyer

Marshall Berman, 1940-2013

Originally posted on Corey Robin:

Political theorist Marshall Berman, who was my colleague at the CUNY Graduate Center, died yesterday morning.

When I heard the news last night, my first thought was the date: 9/11. There’s no good day to die, but to die on a day so associated with death—whether the murder of nearly 3000 people on 9/11/2001, most of them in his beloved New York, or the 9/11/1973 coup in Chile that brought down Allende and installed Pinochet—seems, in Marshall’s case, like an especially cruel offense against the universe.

For as anyone who knew or read him knows, Marshall was a man of irrepressible and teeming life. The life of the street, which he immortalized in his classic All That’s Solid Melts Into Air; the life of sex and liberation, which he talked about in The Politics of Authenticity (read the section on Montesquieu’s Persian Letters; you’ll never read that book…

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BOA meant DOA

Should anyone find this event surprising? No, they should not. Moritz Erhardt was a commodity. He was nearly fungible. Bank of America could easily find someone to replace him if it had wanted to do so. As such, Erhardt needed to prove his worth to his current and any future employer, doing so while knowing that the job market has been and will remain tight. There ought to be a law, and there is such a law when the hyper-exploited laborer is a medical resident working in the state of New York. Known as the Libby Zion Law. Ms. Zion died when severely overworked medical residents blundered into prescribing medicine for her that would prove fatal. Nationally, medical resident’s hours are now capped, albeit at an astonishing 80 hours per week! There is yet no federal law addressing this matter. There are, however, compelling personal and socio-economic causes which produce deaths like Mr. Erhardt’s. The problem, of course, is an intrinsic feature of capitalism. A commodity like Mr. Erhardt has monetary value only insofar as it produces for those who employ it. Despite his impressive credentials, Mr. Erhardt would soon need a job. He gave his life to secure a good one.

A light for which we could study the shadows

Franz Kafka was born on this day in 1883.

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