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Sunday Morning Reading Material: Fourth Sunday in June 2011: Arc of Justice Edition.


I’d never seen an armadillo before. they’re sort of adorable, aren’t they?

It’s Sunday Morning. Sundays- I assume- are for proposing to your significant other because you live in New York, and it’s legal now. Sundays are for heading to work and saying goodbye to someone who helped train you. Sundays are for laying around in bed and enjoying the time to yourself.

This week Facebook decided to eliminate access to it’s information except from within it’s platform. This week New York State became the Second US state to recognize that marriage is about love between consenting adults. Also this week LulzSec claims to have disbanded itself. Also also: the US took one more step towards ultimate executive power by refusing to condone or condemn President Obama’s use of force in the Libyan war.

Let’s start this week on a triumphant note: Neil Patrick Harris is now engaged to be married. In order for this to happen, the State of New York had to recognize the same thing that many churches had come to understand: marriage is an important human institution, and it should not involve the subjugation of one half of a partnership by another half. Once New York State came to that realization, it was a small leap to recognize that love, ought to be the sole determining factor governing which two people may shed part of their individual identities in order to form a new- legal and moral- identity as a partnership.

Of course, now that gay people can legally marry we know exactly what will happen.

Women- from my admittedly privileged vantage point- seem to have full legal equality with men. Cultural equality is shockingly absent, and the enforcement mechanisms for when that cultural inequality smacks into legal equality is either thin, or non-existent. Slut walk exists to force the culture to change. It’s a simple and vaguely funny thing to suggest that the key to stopping rape is to “teach men not to rape”- but we live in a culture that still very much assumes that a woman’s body is a man’s to do with as he pleases. Men have to be trained- one at a time- that this is not the case.

Speaking of a failure to enforce legal equality when it runs into cultural inequality: the US Supreme Court held that it isn’t the government’s job to keep individual WalMart store managers from hiring only men. Because the company is not issuing a formal, written instruction to discriminate against women, they are absolved of responsibility towards their employees of protecting them from discrimination.

I love Amazon. They offer me a tremendous set of services, at prices that wildly undercut just about everyone else on the market. One point that has always struck me as a bit off, however, is that we Amazon shoppers can get away with not paying sales tax. Given the already-regressive nature of the sales tax, and generally-affluent nature of Amazon’s shoppers, this places an even greater burden on those least able to afford it. The fact that Amazon is working to make it even easier for it’s customers to be tax dodgers is, frankly, a bit sickening.

There was a recent US Supreme Court decision in which- in order to be plausible- the Supreme Court has to believe that the average American job-seeker can dictate the terms of their employment on at least an equal footing with their employer. While this claim is laughable to the vast majority of us, it is probably true for Supreme Court Justices, and everyone they know. That sort of insularity probably helps explain decisions like this. Class warfare? Oh yes indeed.

I once worked for a company that had performed a study trying to figure out how incredibly successful companies managed to become so successful. The counter intuitive finding suggested by their data is that companies which allow people to follow their passions tend to do a whole lot better than companies in which “make money” is the guiding principle.

Every Sunday, it seems, I link to something Fred Clark has written. The man is a wonderful writer, an interesting thinker, and the opposite of a misanthrope. Perhaps- though probably not- because he tried to negotiate his way out of a binding arbitration clause, his newspaper no longer needs his services. He has been laid off. If there is any hope for the future of American letters, this man will be hired by someone, soon.

Step 1: drive away all your labor. Step 2: ??? Step 3: use prison labor to profit!

Medicare delivers better healthcare than most insured-Americans are able to buy. Medicare costs less than what most Americans can buy insurance for. Getting more Americans onto Medicare would leave Americans healthier and wealthier. Naturally some class warriors are rather upset that more Americans are eligible for the program than ever before.

I just want some Frickin’ laser beams on my frickin ships.

I know you’ll all tank me if I avoid the obvious pun. Fortunately, I’m armored against abuse.

Republicans have spent years talking about “voter fraud”- people casting illegal votes. This is a problem that simply doesn’t happen. The “solution” to this non-existent problem has been to reinstate the poll tax in a form likely to avoid sanction- and also likely to keep Democrats from being able to vote. Since this is too subtle, Republicans are engaging in misinformation campaigns aimed at suppressing African American votes.

I find disaster hilarious. I was once broken up with hours before I went in for oral surgery. I started laughing uproariously. That’s me, though. I’m sure it say something interesting about my psychology. Knowing who the audience is, and who the victim of the joke is says a lot about a person, or an organization.

This? This is hilarious.

The US immigration system is a bad joke. The border is secure enough to force people to sneak over, and porous enough that anyone who wants to sneak over, can. The tired/poor/hungry people of the Earth who yearn to breath free are still coming- but they’re doing it without legal protection or sanction. When people show at America’s border, full of ambition, intelligence, and drive, we shackle them with petty bureaucracy at best, and threaten them with slavery at worst. If America is to have it’s best possible future, we nee to reopen our borders.

I’ve often said I don’t have a celebrity crush. That’s not, strictly speaking, true. I hope that Sarah Vowel is not in New York right now about to get married.

The key to Netflix success is that it does exactly what consumers want it to do. Netflix instant watch has so much good content that if I’m looking for a show which isn’t available, I can find something else just as good. Any network executive who is actually confused about this is admitting that they are incompetent, and ought to be fired. No single network can break out of this without taking significant damage. No network can really trust it’s competitors to work with them in a joint venture. Consumers can’t be bothered to remember which network Big Bang Theory is on. So Netflix- or something like it- is going to be around for a while.

Speaking of models which will be around for a while: Steam is a marvel of the invisible hand in action. Brick and mortar video games retailers stopped dealing with PC games, and left a tremendous unmet demand. VALVe created their Steam client and it was quite bad. Since even “quite bad” was better than nothing, gamers began using it long enough for it to get very, very good. Now that they’ve proven the market exists, other distributors are trying to get into the space. There is probably room for a second major player. Probably not room for a third.

Bad Ass musical Interlude.

World’s most important bond trader: fixing the deficit means fixing the unemployment situation. Putting it differently: stimulating business investment isn’t going to fix the problem of people not being able to buy things. Alternately: if the 13 million currently-unemployed Americans found themselves with jobs, they’d start paying the sorts of taxes that would fix the government’s deficit problem.

President Obama gets a lot of flack from the progressive quarter. Gay rights activists claim that he didn’t move on ending DADT, but that’s now a relic of history. He hasn’t come out with strongly-worded statements in favor of marriage, yet his administration has declined to enforce DOMA. Card check died, yet he has achieved it’s aims in a different method, and fully staffed the Labor board with people friendly to working folks.

some nice things to say about Churchill.

If you read just one thing:

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas confesses to being an undocumented worker. America is his home, the place he loves.

This week’s theme: Immigration and other human rights. In the comments section, leave a note about which right you’d like to see stripped from the regressive of your choice.

Oh Canada!

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