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Sunday Morning Reading Material Fourth Sunday in April 2012- Kitties and Laptop Edition

It’s Sunday Morning. Sundays are for visiting Japantown and seeing parades. Sundays are for making your your kitty is still mending. Fridays are for taking your laptop to the local bookstore and writing a blogpost. Sundays are for seeing what I did there.

Somewhere along the way, we stopped looking at aborting a pregnancy as something that human beings did, and started looking at it as a political act. When we removed humans from the equation, when we stopped focusing on the ladies and started focusing on the fetus, it became very easy to create horrible conditions for the humans involved.

A doctor’s take on being forced to perform invasive and unnecessary insertions into a woman’s body.

Again, the American conversation about women’s health is a political conversation, rather than a conversation about healthcare. Were it a conversation about healthcare, we’d know the sheer number of women who take birth control pills to keep themselves from dying.

It is true that boy nerds are treated harshly for imperfect knowledge of things they love. That’s not relevant to any conversation about how lady nerds are treated for the same imperfections of knowledge. The problem that women are trying to address isn’t the harsh treatment itself- though that’s a real problem- rather, the problem to be addressed is the gendered nature of the treatment. The problem is that womanhood- an intrinsic quality of the person in question- is being used against the woman. This devaluing of half the human species is not something which should be tolerated. And sure. Along the way we ought to stop treating men poorly also.

Of course, all I’m really doing is begging the question. Once a side has committed itself to the idea that female personhood is a logical fallacy, we see how much trouble the whole species has gotten itself into.

I was taking a class on early 20th century European history, when I had the startling linguistic insight: “nation” was a synonymy for “race”. That was why the “nation state” wasn’t a redundant construction. Suddenly, the American Civil War made sense in a new context: would America be a “nation state”, or a “multi ethnic country”? Also: if “a language is a dialect with an Army and a Navy” (sorry Catalan), then this is a disturbing trend. If Americans are becoming more polarized politically and linguistically, how long until we stop seeing one another as belonging to the same multiethnic nation?

Best political ad of all time? It works as an effective “fuck you” to his opponent, while actually being incredibly upbeat about the candidate having achieved the American dream.

I don’t really care for the us-against-them tone of this article. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that my generation- and the generations after mine- are in a very different position than that faced by the Baby Boomers. There is simply less of everything than there used to be. The wealth of the nation has been spent on a single generation, and it will be the work of the next several to rebuild.

A moment of humility from George Orwell.

If we think about how civilization began, we realize that cooperation is key. Humans had to coordinate planting, gathering, and travel. During times of conflict or hunting, the winners were the ones who worked best with others, who laid traps and had devious strategies. It is therefore unsurprising that in making virtual warfare, we humans would be exercising the mental muscles of cooperation?.

Geese, man.

This article overstates the extent to which our phone bills are the result of market failure. Comparisons to a European phone plan in which customers are expected to bring their own phone and pay only for data will skew heavily towards making American “pay for the phone as part of your monthly bill” plans seem even more unreasonable. That’s all throat clearing. It is unquestionably true that 2 year contracts lock Americans into deals which favor telecoms. The difficulty of switching plans makes it unattractive for new companies to enter the market. And without new entrants to the market, incumbent companies don’t see much reason to make things better.

Seems that Americans already have a flat tax. I wouldn’t mind tax simplification- where each dollar of income at a given tier is treated the same regardless of source. And eliminating deductions would make it incredibly easy for everyone to do their own taxes– or make it simple for the government to just send you a bill. But most Americans pay the same 1/5 of their incomes to the government. And that’s what conservatives seem to say they want…

The colony of Virginia was named after the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth the First. So it is an incredible linguistic and historical accident which pitted virginity against love and marriage in one of the most important supreme court cases in American history. This case really did change the definition of marriage. America is even stronger for it. I may be biased, though. In a large sense it made my own family possible.

Many of the links from this week’s post are from the Slactivist, so you should probably be reading him on a regular basis. For now, let him share with you a fantastic and true American ghost story.

Oh Mitt Romney, don’t ever change, and then stay the same. And then change again.

If you click just one link:

I’ve been making my way through the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Here’s why.

? Why had Germany delivered itself over to the raving exterminationist dictates of one man, the man Shirer refers to disdainfully as a “vagabond”? Why did the world allow a “tramp,” a Chaplinesque figure whose 1923 beer hall putsch was a comic fiasco, to become a genocidal Führer whose rule spanned a continent and threatened to last a thousand years?

Why? William Shirer offered a 1,250-page answer.