Sunday Morning Reading Material: Fourth Sunday in February 2011– birthday countdown

Those guys? Those are the most bad-assed guys in the world. No matter what you’ve done in your life, these guys stared down a pride of lions.

It’s Sunday morning. Sunday mornings are for getting up early and cleaning house so that you can get to work. Sundays are for fitting your entire life into a carry-on baggage so you can move across a continent. Sundays are the days that mysterious people from Washington read this. Alternately, Sundays could be a free for all.

This week the Space Shuttle Discovery launched for the final time. The Lyibian dictator declared before the world that he is an insane man (by strict political-science definitions of insanity). Also: the North Korean government got petulant that they were being ignored. The world yawned at their threat to go to war, and informed them that revolutions get better ratings.

At least one of my friends (other than the eponymous one) can pass the Funranium challenge. Can you?

I’m told that CNN is not reporting much- if anything- about the showdown in Wisconsin. This, I think, is symptomatic of the larger trend towards journalism’s utter failure to rise above the sort of gossip that makes 9th grade homeroom such an unbearable experience. Hell! When journalists do so much as point out that objective lies are actually lies, their colleagues get upset at them. I think it’s not “objectivity” ‘that the American media demands, so much as pablum.

Matthew Ygesias has some thoughts about the recording industry. Basically, the distributional model is undergoing a reevaluation.

Look at Wisconsin. Now back at your state. Now back at Wisconsin, now at a hypothetical. Sadly, your reality isn’t like the hypothetical. But it could look like the hypothetical, with Solidarity.

As we all know, when faced with certain types of recessions, we need a major shot of government investment to act like adrenaline to the stopped-heart of the economy. And as we all know, we’re in that sort of recession. Sadly, we didn’t get enough adrenaline. And now you know.

People want certain things done. Some of these things– either by commission or omission– have enormous positive or negative externalities. Other times, there are some massive free rider issues. For instance: I rather like the fact that my neighbors know that robbing me will land them in jail. And the fact the local children are getting a quality education benefits me in ways too numerous to count. Also: raw sewage doesn’t back up into my house. Also: the water that pumps into my house won’t kill me. Try to imagine the roads if there _wasn’t_ a DMV keeping at least a few people from driving. And just for fun, I’ll mention that food stamps keep the prices at my grocery store artificially low. All of these programs and services require We the People to pay other people (who are also citizens, never forget) to to them. It isn’t “the government” doing it– except that “the government” is a manifestation of our collective will. We hire a lot of people. We get an incredible bargain.

Grass houses premiers the Ghibli track. Why haven’t you clicked already?

Pensions are a benefit. They’re part of the “total rewards program” that your Human Resources department runs. Basically, a company starts with a number– the amount of money they’re willing to pay for a certain job to get done. They then cut this money into various pools– Salary, insurance, pensions, video games, etc. Ask anyone in HR, that money all comes from the same pot. That means that you’re paying 100% of your pension. This, by the way, shows you what fantastic bullshit it is that people are complaining about paying for pensions of state workers. Only an utter asshole makes a deal and then tries to weasel out of it. Yeah, we’re being utter assholes to our state employees.

If we decide that we don’t trust employers enough to let them plan for our futures– and given the way they raid pension funds as part of the general fund, we shouldn’t– we may want to create a government program that will save for retirement for us.

Nathan Filliion wants to buy the rights to the show “Firefly”. If he can buy the rights, he’s like to start producing more episodes. fans are trying to help him raise the funds. Two comments: 1) if there is a just and loving god– any just and loving god– any combination of deities that amount to “just”, and “loving”– this will happen. 2) socialism in television? That’s the best thing, like, ever.

One the one wrist, a few of the protesters in Wisconsin are comparing the governor to another union-busting conservative– Adolf Hitler. On the other wrist, at least one observer is calling for the protesters to be murdered. This is what they mean when they say “both sides have their extremists”

this was a real memo from Donald Rumsfeld. It’s almost Dada, really.

I think… It’s possible that I’ve exhausted everything I’ve got to say (for now) about Wisconsin. But not about unions, solidarity, or the plight of the working my little pony. The title alone is worth a click.

Speaking of services we’re collectively paying people to perform: the US government wants to let you know what your broadband options are. By a staggering coincidence, my neighborhood has neither competition, nor good service.

The end game in Wisconsin? Not just the end of public-sector unions. It’s not just the end of unions, it’s the end of public education. Because nothing helps foment a middle class quite like letting only rich people get an education.

Journalists are in a tough situation. They have to get close enough to their sources to learn true things. In getting that close, there is a natural tenancy to make friends. You know who you never really want to embarrass? Your friends. Especially friends who are well-positioned to do you favors. It’s one of the reasons, I think, the military is so eager to embed reporters with front-line soldiers. It’s less about controlling what the reporters see, and more about making sure that the reporter doesn’t want to embarrass the people keeping him or her out of the line of fire. Video games journalists are under the same pressures. I’m not sure there’s any real solution.

The last few weeks have seen more uses of the word “solidarity” than we’re used to in the American discourse. What does that word mean, anyway?

If miscarriage is criminalized, every woman will be a criminal. This is a really, really, very quite poorly thought out law. It’s not just that: the way in which it is poorly thought out betrays a basic lack of understanding about how the reproductive system works. I wonder the exact relationship between that lack of understanding and the anti-choice mindset?

When sports players go on strike, the common refrain is that it’s “millionaires versus billionaires”. And yet, I wonder if the players would be millionaires were it not for their ability to collectively bargain? Given that the player’s lives are shortened by decades, don’t they deserve quite a bit of coin? I think so. And so I’ll stand in solidarity.

Middle Eastern Dictator Speech Bingo.

6 days from now, one of my little sisters ends her South American Sojourn. Looking forward to seeing the punk back in the home country. Here’s what she’s been reading

Speaking of books. I love my kindle. It’s a revolution nearly as intense as the one sparked by Gutenberg. The only real downside to the device is the fragility of digital records. As a species, every time we invent new methods of data storage, they get easier to damage or destroy–stone tablets gave way to clay, which we replaced with paper, and now e-ink. The only real way to keep the data from being lost is to back it upHere’s a great article about creating your own ebook cloud. The bonus? That cloud is accessible from your very own kindle.

We gamers like to complain about prices. I’m not actually sure we’re wrong to. It does seem to me that game prices are rather absurd to be at the actual revenue maximizing point. Even so: they’re currently near historic lows.

Things in Libya are so bad that Israel and Palestine are joining forces to condemn the Libyan dictator.

when graphic design fails, only failures will have graphic design. Or something.

It’s still Sunday, right? And we haven’t heard from Slactivist yet? It’s extremely unlikely that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder reads [his] blog— but he should.

America is a country where the rich have more than the poor. No, even more than you think. More than that. And I use “rich and poor”, because there really isn’t a middle class. At least, not in comparison to the rich.

Ian Miles Cheong is untrustworthy, irresponsible and someone I hope to never work with professionally. As it happens, I have some personal knowledge of this situation, and I can state categorically that the things documented here are a very small part of it. I hope this post doesn’t cause drama, but people had been asking about Hellmode. One person in particular had asked why I snarled at Ian’s name. Here’s your answer.

Are you still reading all the way down here? GREAT! Bad news, though: the Kilogram is smaller than you thought. It’s worth remembering that the the way we think about even the most basic facts of existence are socially constructed. The weight of the Kilogram was decided on by human beings, for human reasons. It is not a fundamental law of nature.

This week’s theme? Do I have to spell it out? Solidarity. So leave a comment about a time you stood shoulder to shoulder with your comrades and got something done. Gods, I’ve spent about seventeen hundred words on this post today. And it was just a bunch of links! And I even left some out! There are at least 2 that you guys will be seeing next week.

Speaking of next week: 5 March is my birthday. I’m not saying you have to get me anything, but I do have a Steam wishlist.

It’s even worse than I thought.


One Response to “Sunday Morning Reading Material: Fourth Sunday in February 2011– birthday countdown”

  1. […] what I did there? **Yeah, I’m repeating stuff I said yesterday […]

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