A dovetail joint of news, art, science, politics, philosophy & global affairs

Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"










June 7th
5:41 PM
"They said he wandered away on hash. That might have been me."
—  John Waters, regarding Bowe Bergdahl - Real Time 6/6/14
May 30th
9:37 AM
Randall Balmer  |  Politico »

One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.
…But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. >continue<

Randall Balmer  |  Politico »

One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

…But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. >continue<
May 17th
1:54 PM
"The question, then, is why we should think that, independent of any law or social institution, people have these rights, and only these rights… As David Hume argued, property rights require an institution that creates, defines, and enforces them, and is justified by the benefits it brings to all affected by it. It follows that if there are property rights that can be coercively enforced, justifiable coercion is not limited to the enforcement of “natural” rights. So a rights-based idea of mere non-interference does not provide a foundation for libertarian politics."
—  T. M. Scanlon, in a forum advancing an argumentative gap between Liberty and Libertarianism
May 13th
8:38 AM
West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is under way
The process may take hundreds of years and is being described as &#8216;irrevocable&#8217;. Mother Jones reports: This Is What a Holy Shit Moment for Global Warming Looks Like.  Nasa&#8217;s JPL website continues:

The study presents multiple lines of evidence, incorporating 40 years of observations that indicate the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica &#8220;have passed the point of no return,&#8221; according to glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot, of UC Irvine and NASA&#8217;s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The new study has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.  &gt;continue&lt;

Researchers at the University of Washington explain:

“There’s been a lot of speculation about the stability of marine ice sheets, and many scientists suspected that this kind of behavior is under way,” said lead author Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory. “This study provides a more quantitative idea of the rates at which the collapse could take place.” &gt;continue&lt;

West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is under way

The process may take hundreds of years and is being described as ‘irrevocable’. Mother Jones reports: This Is What a Holy Shit Moment for Global Warming Looks Like.  Nasa’s JPL website continues:

The study presents multiple lines of evidence, incorporating 40 years of observations that indicate the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot, of UC Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The new study has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.  >continue<

Researchers at the University of Washington explain:

“There’s been a lot of speculation about the stability of marine ice sheets, and many scientists suspected that this kind of behavior is under way,” said lead author Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory. “This study provides a more quantitative idea of the rates at which the collapse could take place.” >continue<

April 19th
1:55 PM

Paul Krugman and Bill Moyers discusss Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, described as “analytically beautiful”, “epiphany” inducing, and a “eureka book”. Krugman, the Nobel Laureate, goes so far as to say “the world is not as I saw it”, intimating the challenge it presents to his own thinking. Krugman continues:

“What Piketty’s really done now is he said, ‘Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don’t really get what’s going on.’ He’s telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth.”

That is, one alien to “the very system our founders revolted against” and a significant swath of the American political/economic tradition.

"That’s the point. And what’s funny is at the time, Americans used to say, ‘Oh— we should never allow ourselves to become like old Europe.’ And in fact, we have."  >continue<

12:40 PM
Via
smdxn:

The Deadly Consequences Of Income Inequality (CHARTS)

The wealthier you are, the longer you’ll live. And if you’re a low-income woman, you’re less likely than an earlier generation to make it to your 55th birthday.
That’s the conclusion of a harrowing study by economist Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institution, analyzing data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study which measured life expectancy at 55 across income ranges and gender, comparing a cohort born in 1920 with one born in 1940.
The findings were fleshed out into charts by the Wall Street Journal, which illustrate a growing correlation between income level and life expectancy for men and women. In the lower end of the income distribution, the story is particularly devastating for women. &gt;continue&lt;

smdxn:

The Deadly Consequences Of Income Inequality (CHARTS)

The wealthier you are, the longer you’ll live. And if you’re a low-income woman, you’re less likely than an earlier generation to make it to your 55th birthday.

That’s the conclusion of a harrowing study by economist Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institution, analyzing data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study which measured life expectancy at 55 across income ranges and gender, comparing a cohort born in 1920 with one born in 1940.

The findings were fleshed out into charts by the Wall Street Journal, which illustrate a growing correlation between income level and life expectancy for men and women. In the lower end of the income distribution, the story is particularly devastating for women. >continue<

April 6th
1:38 AM
"The multitude has suddenly become visible, installing itself in the preferential positions of society. Before, if it existed, it passed unnoticed, occupying the background of the social stage; now it has advanced to the floodlights and is the principle character. There are no longer protagonists; there is only the chorus."
—  Ortega y Gasset, Revolt of the Masses
March 10th
10:03 PM
"Now the same asshats who constantly chortled ad-phreakin-nauseum about having “won the cold war” can’t follow the the logical implication. Rather, now that it suits, they pompously drone on about how Obama is clueless when he does insist it is over."
February 27th
4:04 PM
Via
"I think Jon Stewart is the most astute political analyst working today. He has more moments of “Eureka” in a single broadcast than a month of editorials. Who else sets off laughter and light bulbs in your head at the same time? If I believed in reincarnation, I would believe Mark Twain alive and well."
—  Bill Moyers 
February 1st
11:01 AM
"We are Reagan’s children, we are Thatcher’s children… You know, ‘There is no society, there’s just you.’ We bought this stuff hook, line and sinker and we are building that. We’re getting the America we’ve paid for."
—  Bill Simon, America as a Horror Show
January 28th
8:25 AM
Conor Friedersdorf  |  Atlantic&#160;&#187;

Something special happened Monday [13th] on the Rush Limbaugh radio program. Its host set out to explain why conservatives won&#8217;t be defending New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during the bridge scandal in the same way that they rallied behind Clarence Thomas during his 1991 nomination to the Supreme Court. And in doing so, Limbaugh provided an unusually frank account of how he and his followers reach snap judgments about what is true and what isn&#8217;t true. This monologue laid bare the epistemology of talk-radio &#8220;conservatism.&#8221;
When the controversy began, Limbaugh reminisces, he didn&#8217;t know who the nominee was. &#8220;I didn&#8217;t know Clarence Thomas,&#8221; he recalled. &#8220;I had never met Clarence Thomas. I had to read about Clarence Thomas to find out who he was.&#8221;
&#8230;Yet I didn&#8217;t feel I was taking a risk at all in a full-throated, never-ending, full-fledged not only defense of Clarence Thomas, but an attack, a returned attack on Anita Hill and the Democrats. Now, how was I able to do this with such confidence, not having met the man, not having known the man?&#8221;&#8230;  &gt;continue&lt;

Conor Friedersdorf  |  Atlantic »

Something special happened Monday [13th] on the Rush Limbaugh radio program. Its host set out to explain why conservatives won’t be defending New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during the bridge scandal in the same way that they rallied behind Clarence Thomas during his 1991 nomination to the Supreme Court. And in doing so, Limbaugh provided an unusually frank account of how he and his followers reach snap judgments about what is true and what isn’t true. This monologue laid bare the epistemology of talk-radio “conservatism.”

When the controversy began, Limbaugh reminisces, he didn’t know who the nominee was. “I didn’t know Clarence Thomas,” he recalled. “I had never met Clarence Thomas. I had to read about Clarence Thomas to find out who he was.”

Yet I didn’t feel I was taking a risk at all in a full-throated, never-ending, full-fledged not only defense of Clarence Thomas, but an attack, a returned attack on Anita Hill and the Democrats. Now, how was I able to do this with such confidence, not having met the man, not having known the man?”…  >continue<

January 16th
8:40 AM
"The exotic tale of the bomb hidden in the desert is a true story, though. It’s just one that applies to another country. In an extraordinary feat of subterfuge, Israel managed to assemble an entire underground nuclear arsenal – now estimated at 80 warheads, on a par with India and Pakistan – and even tested a bomb nearly half a century ago, with a minimum of international outcry or even much public awareness of what it was doing."
January 13th
1:11 PM
I can&#8217;t see her legs!
Ben Dimiero &amp; Eric Hananoki  |  Mediamatters&#160;&#187;

&#8230;Ailes would talk fondly about his theatrical experience. “Whenever he can, he gets into the conversation that he produced Hot l Baltimore,” a senior Fox executive said. Creating the Fox News afternoon show The Five, Ailes found his inspiration on the stage. “He said, ‘I’ve always wanted to do an ensemble concept,’” a close friend said. “He said, ‘I wanted a Falstaff, and that’s Bob Beckel. I need a leading man, and it’s Eric Bolling. I need a serious lead and that’s Dana Perino. I need a court jester and it’s Greg, and I need the leg&#8230;  &gt;continue&lt;

I can’t see her legs!

Ben Dimiero & Eric Hananoki  |  Mediamatters »

…Ailes would talk fondly about his theatrical experience. “Whenever he can, he gets into the conversation that he produced Hot l Baltimore,” a senior Fox executive said. Creating the Fox News afternoon show The Five, Ailes found his inspiration on the stage. “He said, ‘I’ve always wanted to do an ensemble concept,’” a close friend said. “He said, ‘I wanted a Falstaff, and that’s Bob Beckel. I need a leading man, and it’s Eric Bolling. I need a serious lead and that’s Dana Perino. I need a court jester and it’s Greg, and I need the leg…  >continue<

January 7th
8:46 PM

The argument is, from Rep. Paul Ryan, for example, that President Obama and congressional Democrats must give the Republicans something in return for their allowing America to pay our bills. The implicit assumption here is that Democrats are responsible for the debts, and we are asking Republicans to pay them as a favor to us.

Wrong&#8230;.  
In fact, the whole notion that conservatives are more concerned about fiscal responsibility than the Democrats is based on myth&#8230; &gt;continue&lt;

The argument is, from Rep. Paul Ryan, for example, that President Obama and congressional Democrats must give the Republicans something in return for their allowing America to pay our bills. The implicit assumption here is that Democrats are responsible for the debts, and we are asking Republicans to pay them as a favor to us.

Wrong….  

In fact, the whole notion that conservatives are more concerned about fiscal responsibility than the Democrats is based on myth… >continue<
January 6th
2:11 PM
The Smartest Book About Our Digital Age Was Published in 1929
How José Ortega y Gasset&#8217;s The Revolt of the Masses helps us understand everything from YouTube to Duck Dynasty
Ted Gioia  |  Daily Beast&#160;&#187;

The key driver of change, as Ortega sees it, comes from a shocking attitude characteristic of the modern age—or, at least, Ortega was shocked. Put simply, the masses hate experts. If forced to choose between the advice of the learned and the vague impressions of other people just like themselves, the masses invariably turn to the latter. The upper elite still try to pronounce judgments and lead, but fewer and fewer of those down below pay attention.
Above all, the favorite source of wisdom for the masses, in Ortega’s schema, is their own strident opinions. “Why should he listen, when he has all the answers, everything he needs to know?” Ortega writes. “It is no longer the season to listen, but on the contrary, a time to pass judgment, to pronounce sentence, to issue proclamations.”
&#8230;The same people who get angry when I make judgments about the skill level of a pianist, would never question my decision to pay more to hire a superior piano tuner&#8230; &gt;continue&lt;

The Smartest Book About Our Digital Age Was Published in 1929

How José Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses helps us understand everything from YouTube to Duck Dynasty

Ted Gioia  |  Daily Beast »

The key driver of change, as Ortega sees it, comes from a shocking attitude characteristic of the modern age—or, at least, Ortega was shocked. Put simply, the masses hate experts. If forced to choose between the advice of the learned and the vague impressions of other people just like themselves, the masses invariably turn to the latter. The upper elite still try to pronounce judgments and lead, but fewer and fewer of those down below pay attention.

Above all, the favorite source of wisdom for the masses, in Ortega’s schema, is their own strident opinions. “Why should he listen, when he has all the answers, everything he needs to know?” Ortega writes. “It is no longer the season to listen, but on the contrary, a time to pass judgment, to pronounce sentence, to issue proclamations.”

…The same people who get angry when I make judgments about the skill level of a pianist, would never question my decision to pay more to hire a superior piano tuner… >continue<