Saturday, November 18, 2017

"Millions Still Turn to Experts at the Public Library"

"Even in Silicon Valley, where people might be expected to be search wizards, libraries get plenty of questions. One called asked the Mountain View, Calif., Public Library for the address of the White House."

James R. Hagerty at The Wall Street Journal discusses the continuing significance of research librarians. (Posted in honor of Mrs. Late Adopter.)

"The Fish Rots from the Head"

"Well, our system depends upon something like a consensus, something like majority rule. But now we have a president who outright lies about... everything. He lies about the number of votes he received, about the size of his inauguration crowd, about his own achievements, about Muslims cheering in the streets after 9/11, and so on. He lies about basic observable facts.
"I think the cumulative effect of all this lying is to make people deeply cynical about out entire system, and that's very corrupting."

Sean Illing at Vox interviews historian Robert Dallek about Donald Trump.

"I Don't Think We Got That Wrong at All"

"I wish we liberals had done more to take seriously the episodes of alleged rape and sexual assault that were not the basis for a national impeachment trauma. For better or worse, though, those episodes were not at issue. It’s hard to change the subject when Congress is conducting proceedings to impeach and remove the president. At issue was the procedural extremism of a Republican Party that was transforming before our eyes into the uncompromising fanatic faction whose character is fully manifest in the party of Donald Trump and Roy Moore."

Jonathan Chait at New York writes that he "Opposed Bill Clinton's Impeachment and I Don't Regret It."

But Caitlin Flanagan in two articles at The Atlantic calls for a "Reckoning" over Bill and Hillary Clinton. 

"Truly Defined the Band's Lean 'n' Mean Sound"

"From 1973, when he formed AC/DC with his young brother Angus, to 2014, when dementia and other health issues forced his premature retirement, Malcolm never once allowed the band to deviate from its swinging, swaggering, riff-driven course. During Malcolm's tenure, AC/DC's recordings featured three different lead vocalists, three different bassists and five different drummers; and yet, the band's musical aesthetic remained so stubbornly consistent as to make the Ramones look like flighty trend-jumpers by comparison."

Dan Epstein at Rolling Stone writes an obit for Malcolm Young.

"Trump Privately Terrified His Sexual Assault Victims Will Someday Come Forward"

"'Oh my god, I can't imagine how bad it would be. The U.S. populace would never stand for something like that. If anything, the country would unite against a serial harasser. I would be raked through the coals for it, shunned forever from public life.'"

From The Onion.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"We Should Not Give Them Power Over Us by the Way We React to Them"

"If we hold ourselves to these standards, the way that students have engaged in the past does not work. Across the country, students have responded to these individuals by protesting, by shouting them down, by drowning them out. From Middlebury to Berkeley, these protests have gained national media attention and enraged people across the political spectrum, but have done little to stop these bigots from coming to campuses or to protect communities of students.
"In many situations, protests are extremely valuable. Over the past year, as the Trump administration repeatedly threatened Muslim Americans, undocumented individuals, LGBTQ persons, and more, Americans across this country stood up in some of the most prolific forms of civic activism in our nation's history. In these situations, protests can be inspiring, can build community, and can set the stage for real progress.
"Yet, we must be able to realize when certain forms of protest are not working. When students shout down extremists, these bigots are empowered rather than erased; the bigots receive media coverage, and with it, legitimacy that they should never have."

In the Columbia Daily Spectator, the executive board members of Columbia University Democrats pursue a wise strategy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"This Is a Robbery in Progress"

"Private equity firms borrow massively to buy companies, and use corporate cash reserves to pay themselves back. Workers who supply the value to the business see nothing; in fact, to service the debt, companies usually cut staff. When the retailer collapses under the borrowing weight, all workers lose their jobs. And even when sales go up, like they have by 5 percent annually in the toy sector over the past five years, dominant toy sellers like Toys"R"Us cannot compete because of the debt burden. The company's profitability was increasing when it filed for bankruptcy."

David Dayen at the New Republic argues that the retail "apocalypse didn’t have to happen."

And Derek Thompson at The Atlantic discusses the rise of "bricks-and-clicks" stores

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Relying on Identity Alone Is a Bad Bet"

"My ultimate quibble with Coates's piece is with its pessimism—the presumption that the union between rich and poor whites, forged in the heat of antebellum anti-black antipathy, is America's destiny as well as its past. Coates argues that admitting race, rather than class, was the proximate cause of Trump's electoral victory would mean that leftists 'would have to cope with the failure, yet again, of class unity in the face of racism.' But that presupposes that class unity was attempted by the Democratic Establishment in 2016. Tragically, it was not. Perhaps, if it had been, there would be no need to address the phenomenon of our 'first white president.'"

at New York gives advice to liberals and progressives.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Beyond Hawaii, the Entire Pacific Coast of the U.S. Has the Most Potential"

"Wave power is popularly thought, and I think with some with some validity, to be at the stage where solar electric panels and land based wind turbines were in the late 1980s, early 90s. So maybe a decade or two in terms of really reaching the point where the technology is commercially widespread deployed."

Megan Thompson on the PBS Newshour discusses efforts "harness power from Hawaii’s waves."

"But Everyone Who Bought It Formed a Band"

"Yeah. He told Lou, 'Don't forget to put the swear words in the songs.' We never used swear words. We felt the intellectual strength in what we were trying to do came from not using swear words. And then Lou wrote a few songs that were very different.
"I think what happened was Andy gave Lou 14 titles and he said, 'Now go away and write these songs,' because we were hanging around the Factory. He probably saw him as indolent and trying to figure out what to do next. And Lou was never happier than, 'Hey, here's a task. I got 14 titles. I can do that.'"

Kory Grow at Rolling Stone interviews John Cale about the fiftieth anniversary of The Velvet Underground and Nico.

Friday, November 10, 2017

"Have Much to Teach Us Today"

"These books aren't perfect. They were all written right as the second wave of feminism was taking off in the United States—so they largely leave out gender in their analysis of the problems of American culture, economics, and politics. But all three books still have much to teach us about the relationship between African Americans and their government. African Americans have always provided the left with its most searing critiques of American society. But African Americans have also, time and again, given the left—and the rest of the nation—the most clear-eyed understanding of America’s highest ideals."

Robert Green at Dissent looks back to 1967 and writings by Martin Luther King, Jr., Harold Cruse, and Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton about "How to Fight White Backlash."

"Energized by His Bombast and His Animus More Than Any Actual Accomplishments"

"All this, perhaps, is not so surprising, considering polling continues to show that—in spite of unprecedented unpopularity—nearly all people who voted for Trump would do it again. But as I compared this year's answers to last year's responses it seemed clear that the basis of people's support had morphed. Johnstown voters do not intend to hold the president accountable for the nonnegotiable pledges he made to them. It's not that the people who made Trump president have generously moved the goalposts for him. It's that they have eliminated the goalposts altogether."

Michael Kruse at Poltico Magazine checks in with Donald Trump supporters in Pennsylvania one year after the 2016 election.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

"That Moment in British Rock Between Psych and Prog"

"1970 and 1971 were also the years of Ride a White Swan and T Rextasy, of Black Sabbath's Paranoid and Meddle by Pink Floyd, of Hunky Dory, Maggie May and Madman Across the Water. Not much in the way of morning-after-the-60s hangover or pensive uncertainty there: the music that would come to define British rock in the 70s was well underway, and its progenitors already had their gazes fixed firmly forward. But English Weather tells an alternative story, using the stuff that fell through the cracks to create something really compelling and immersive: it's a pleasure to lose yourself in it."

Alex Petridis at The Guardian reviews Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs present English Weather.

"All We Need Now Is the Guy in the Worm Suit"

"Shark Tank, which premiered in the U.S. in 2009, offers the real deal: the opportunity to take your day job and shove it. The products that the guests present on the show are typically not medical or technological advances, which might bore the audience. Instead, they tend to be different types of highly specialized junk: peel-and-stick lapels that turn an ordinary suit into a tuxedo; an interior light for the toilet bowl; a cap that cures bed head; colored hair spray for dogs. Many of them are silly, but they have the potential to transform the inventor's life."

Caitlin Flanagan at The Atlantic writes that "the golden age of capitalist reality television is truly upon us."

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

"What a Difference a Year Makes"

"The results in Virginia, where the prospects of gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam gave Democrats severe heartburn over the last week, were particularly surprising: Not only did Northam coast to victory over Ed Gillespie, a Republican who had embraced the Trump message if not the president himself, but Democrats won legislative races across the Old Dominion, putting control of the House of Delegates—not generally expected to be up for grabs—within Democratic grasp. Bob Marshall, a particularly outspoken anti-LGBT conservative, was defeated by Danica Roem, who becomes the first openly transgender legislator in state and U.S. history."

David A. Graham at The Atlantic reacts to "a surprisingly robust round of victories Tuesday night" for Democrats.

As does Jonathan Chait at New York.

Monday, November 06, 2017

"To Show the Diversity of Black Religious Experience in America"

"When I tell people that I study black Catholics, most kind of blink their eyes and go, 'What?' We assume Catholicism is European in its essence, and that black people are Protestants. But the majority of black Christians in the Western hemisphere are actually Catholic, and the majority of Catholics in the Western hemisphere and the Americas are not white."

Emma Green at The Atlantic interviews Matthew Cressler, author of Authentically Black and Truly Catholic.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

"Design That Does Not Get Obsolete"

"On the CBS show "Person to Person" in 1956, Loewy explained his design philosophy: 'I felt it was my duty to try to do whatever I could to introduce a little beauty among the things and the surroundings we live with.'"

Jane Pauley on CBS Sunday Morning recalls designer Raymond Loewy.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

"A Blue Wall" Rising

"Leading in the polls and anticipating victory, Democrats have sketched an aggressive agenda on issues where strong consensus appears to exist in the party, including new laws on gun control, contraception and environmental regulation. Ms. Nelson said she had met with the speaker of the Oregon Statehouse about enacting policy across state lines. The three states' Democratic governors have spoken regularly about policy collaboration, and over the summer began coordinated talks on climate change with foreign heads of state."

Alexander Burns and Kirk Johnson in The New York Times writes that the Washington State Senate may soon have a Democratic majority, as do Oregon and California to the south.

"No One Should Have to Pass Someone Else's Ideological Purity Test to Be Allowed to Speak"

"The right to speak freely is not the same as the right to rob others of their voices.
"Understanding this argument requires an ability to detect and follow nuance, but nuance has largely been dismissed from the debates about speech raging on college campuses. Absolutist postures and the binary reign supreme. You are pro- or anti-, radical or fascist, angel or demon. Even small differences of opinion are seized on and characterized as moral and intellectual failures, unacceptable thought crimes that cancel out anything else you might say."

Lucía Martnez Valdivia at Tulsa World criticizes student protestors at Reed College.

"Crimes of the Imagination"

"The 'own voices' policy conveys to reviewers that their primary job is not to assess a book's storytelling, but to rate its adherence to a left-wing catechism (the fairness of whose tenets is presumably self-evident), to identify authorial heretics, and to stick the apostates' heads on spikes along the digital public highway. Reviewing for Kirkus is now a cross between penning literary criticism and joining a shooting party, a sufficiently athletic undertaking that it really should pay better."

Lionel Shriver at The Spectator criticizes "sensitivity on steroids."

Friday, November 03, 2017

"Man Resolves To Read The Wikipedia Tabs He Already Has Open Before Starting New Ones"

"At press time, Hayes had clicked a link under References and was sucked into an entirely new website."

From The Onion.

"The Biracial Appeal Was Strong"

"Kennedy's unusual coalition may have been related to his willingness to fight for the underdog, but also to avoid political correctness. He was a champion of civil rights but also an opponent of racial preferences. He was deeply concerned about the racial and economic injustices that sparked riots, but also was a sharp critic of lawlessness. 'Though a man of growing compassion,' Matthews writes, 'he believed in law and order and didn’t hesitate to employ the phrase.' Liberals appreciated his opposition to the Vietnam War, but hard hats knew that he didn't want to let wealthy college students off the hook with draft deferments. What made Robert Kennedy unique, wrote Jack Newfield, in words Matthews quotes, 'was that he felt the same empathy for white workingmen and women that he felt for blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.'"

Richard D. Kahlenberg at the New Republic reviews Chris Matthews's Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

"And Yet It's Barely on Our Radar"

"In one sense, this all sounds great. Let the robots have the damn jobs! No more dragging yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. or spending long days on your feet. We'll be free to read or write poetry or play video games or whatever we want to do. And a century from now, this is most likely how things will turn out. Humanity will enter a golden age.
"But what about 20 years from now? Or 30? We won't all be out of jobs by then, but a lot of us will—and it will be no golden age. Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty. Working-class job losses played a big role in the 2016 election, and if we don't want a long succession of demagogues blustering their way into office because machines are taking away people’s livelihoods, this needs to change, and fast. Along with global warming, the transition to a workless future is the biggest challenge by far that progressive politics—not to mention all of humanity—faces."

Kevin Drum in Mother Jones warns about the rise of artificial intelligence.

And Delphine D'Amora provides a timeline of proposals for a universal basic income.

From Kunsthaus to Your House

"In fact, everyday good architecture should not even be about the building, it should be about the people. If the building isn't intended as some kind of public monument or centerpiece, it shouldn't draw much attention to itself. Frank Gehry is a wanton violator of this rule: when he decided to design homes for the Lower Ninth Ward in post-Katrina New Orleans, he created a discordant batch of hyper-contemporary houses that 'riffed' on the region’s traditional vernacular architecture. Rather than being concerned to give people comfortable houses that fit in with their surroundings and suited the preferences of the residents, Gehry designed houses that screamed for attention and were fundamentally about themselves rather than about the people of the city he ostensibly cared about. Good buildings recede seamlessly into their surroundings; Gehrys blare like an industrial klaxon."

Brianna Rennix and Nathan J. Robinson at Current Affairs criticize contemporary architecture.