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Sunday Morning Reading Material Fourth Sunday in November 2011- Maniacal Laugh edition

Sunday Morning Police Brutality!

It’s Sunday Morning. Sundays are for watching whales. Sundays are for celebrating the birthdays of your children. Sundays might be for observing religious observances. Just possibly, Sundays might be for snuggling, breaking fast, and going to work.

This week: Egyptian protesters were militantly shown that they didn’t win quite as much as they thought they had when they ousted their dictator. This week Americans celebrated a victory against the forces of slavery and disunion by giving thanks to a deity- and eating Turkey. This week a US attack in Pakistan has lead to reports of a score of deaths among the Pakistani military– and the near destruction of diplomatic ties between those nations. This week NASA launched a probe to Mars to search for carbon.

The economy sucks. The world economy is sort of swirling along the rim of the abyss, and there isn’t a developed-world region that is unaffected. So it’s no surprise that San Francisco restaurants are doing poorly. Nothing mobile restaurants are doing seems to rise to the level of “unfair”, save that a low-capital investment would be a better fit for these times than a traditional-restaurant model. Should the City step in and hinder mobile restaurants’ ability to serve their clientele? That seems like the opposite of a free market to me.

One of the big sports stories this week involved the end of the NBA labor action. Whenever people who play games for a living try and get a bigger paycheck, popular opinion says that they’re overpaid. Which, you know? Maybe. To my way of thinking, that’s the wrong way to look at the problem. America (and the world market for NBA stuff) seems to want to spend a certain number of dollars every year on various NBA stuff. It used to be that 57% of that money went to the very tall, very athletic people who put their bodies at risk of permanent injury to create the enjoyment that causes people to want to spend that money. As of this agreement, the money will be split evenly: 50% to the people who risk their bodies, and 50% to people who risk only their money. The fact that the people risking their money had more power in this situation than the people risking their bodies is unsurprising. It is not, however, a good thing.

This is why people don’t take online petitions seriously. I mean: they got the publisher wrong! And the Punctuation!

Tax rates ought to be set to collect enough revenue to pay for the things society wants to pay for, while doing the smallest disruption possible to society. Duh. How much money is that? More than America is collecting. This means, if I’m reading the data correctly, that if society cares about it’s current budget deficits, it can easily afford to raise tax rates on the very wealthiest people. That way, we won’t have to cut budget for economicly stimulating things like food stamps and unemployment insurance.

I can’t be the only person wondering how antibiotics are administered to bees.

It looks like 2K Games is going to do an adaptation of Heart of Darkness. Rather than simply add background information to a simple shooter or platformer, though, they’ve decided to delve into the material and bring forward what makes the game great. There is no reason at all that a video game cannot or should not strive to comment on the human condition. What’s shocking is that it’s so rarely done as a prime driver of gameplay. Here’s hoping they pull it off.

Apparently there’s a new dude porn star who makes the ladies swoon. What’s interesting to me is that this is apparently a fairly rare thing. Given that half the sex-having population of the world is female, half the world’s pornography should be aimed at that market. If the female-pleasing porn market is thus far unpenetrated, it can be traced to deep insecurity on the part of male viewers.

Bank of America (and other banks) have changed their policies regarding checking accounts. From now on, they’re granting themselves the right to deduct money from customer’s accounts every month. In exchange, customers are getting the right to have those accounts. This does seem like it might almost be a fair deal. The problem, as I see it, is that Bank of America had the legal right to unilaterally change the terms of the deal without the consent of their customers. Not only do they have this right, but- near as I can tell- every other corporation in America also has this right. Facebook exercises this right all the time, to expose even more personal information to it’s advertisers. Obviously consumers can’t unilaterally change the terms of the deal to benefit themselves– they lack the power.

The American economy powered by the energy produced when small businesses grow into large businesses. What we need, if we want a healthy economy is the ability for individuals to find out if they can become entrepreneurs. If Americans could fail at opening a business- but do it in a way that wouldn’t leave them bankrupt- we’d find more people trying. Many of those who tried would probably succeed. So that’s one reason for a universal healthcare plan. Something else potential entrepreneurs need is access to capital. They’re not getting it.

I have not yet started playing Skyrim. I hear it’s an incredible game.

In a weird linguistic twist, people calling themselves “Nice Guys” are actually telling the world “I am a giant douche, but I don’t know it”. I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Crigger’s post. Including the bit about the silly hat. Especially that bit.

The National Labor Relations Board is a government entity that helps keep Unions of money honest when dealing with corporations of Labor. Obviously Republicans hate the idea that tax money might be spent ensuring that workers have a level playing field with their bosses. After all, if they wanted democracy, they’d be Democrats.

Classic Muppets bit originated in Porn?

It is a well understood phenomenon that language evolves over time. Latin becomes Italian (and French, and Spanish and Romanian and…). Similarly, but less often remarked on, is that food also evolves over time. Try finding Thai wontons in a middle class eatery in the 1950s. Today, it’s utterly unremarkable.

Reminder: the US government is one of the world’s largest employer of mercenaries.

Sunday Morning Listening Material.

This article, I think, goes too far in conspiracy mongering. And yet. When Pennsylvania State students rioted in favor of a child molester, those students were left unharmed by police. When University of California students sat down and shut up in protest of higher tuition, cops brutalized them. There is an obvious statement about which values are protected, and which values are antagonized. It takes monumental people to refuse to use force when power is threatened. In the later half of this year, we’ve learned that America lacks such monumental people.

I was on vacation last week, and so was unable to comment on the events at my Alma Mater: University of California at Davis. It will probably not come as a surprise to learn that in my time there, I was a rabble rouser. I’m not sure if I would have had the courage to sit on the Quad that day and simply _take_ what those cops were doing. It isn’t in my nature to sit by and let bullies be bullies. Nor, I am afraid, would my fellow Orwellians have been part of the organizing force for the protests. But hell. Maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit. Also: Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi must resign.

There is a very vicious part of me who is glad that the Chancellor felt threatened by the student body she had previously given orders to attack. It shows she had some small measure that the crowd had reason to be angry at her actions. Also: I am very proud that my fellow Aggies were in no way about to begin another round of violence.

What happened at UC Davis happens every day. All the time. Bay Area Transit police have accidentally murdered people. We have allowed our police to convince themselves that they are the “thin blue line”. Naturally they will react with force when confronted by even passive resistance. I want this one cop fired. I want the whole of policing reformed. I want cops who think their highest duty is to give directions to people lost on the roads. I want cops who are part of, and not apart from, society. We don’t have that.

This week’s theme was the Empire striking back. So in the comments section, let me know your favorite muppet.

Pallet cleanser.