December 1, 2014 | Posted in:Uncategorized
Again, the assembly line is operational. An aspect of memory is its spottiness, like a radio signal that at one instant can yield little but the noisy static of background radiance, in which—no matter the intensity of the light—little that is visible appears. Yet a moment after, the pulse of recollection might be strong enough to erect the world, so to speak, or to stop the heart with little palpitations of fearful recall.
Anyhow, Chapter Eighteen should have included a ‘mement’ about wood and fire and the requisites of drawing stoves, necessities that are far from certain, if not more than far from certain. Jimbo’s and Alicia’s—she of the “Rediculo, Rediculo, I’d like to lick your Schnickulo!!” tidbit as Jimbo composes this near deadline—stove fits the category of non-drawing devices.
They could freeze. They might find themselves impelled to buy Kerosene. Boo even suggests pulling the Kerosun from ‘cold storage,’ so to say, in the garage, in order not to freeze off our titties and our testicles and other exposed chilly parts.
When Ms. Monica enters our cavern of chaos and rolls up her sleeves, Alicia’s loving assistant for the day, her chief fear is that pnemonia and bronchitis and other forms of suffocation will be our fate. As such, she bets five dollars, a wager on which Alicia piggybacks, that the stove will remain dysfunctional past Thanksgiving.
And impresario Jimbo exits to let his love and her mother have at the cavernous madness that envelops our heroes’ space. He visits Well Bred Café, where so many students have responded to his ministrations. He writes; he thinks; he drinks—though not consciously enough, since he arrives home later with no spare caffeine; he works his way through tasks aplenty while contemplating the universe in his usual way.
And he returns home with a bounteous harvest of fresh rasberries and other treasures from Fresh Market, the beauties that surround our heroic home once again impressed on his eyes.
The stove does not cooperate. Research will be essential. Or perhaps a miracle will intercede.
A Thought for the Day
In some sense, most people’s worst quality—everyone’s at one point or another—is that they willingly, even eagerly blame dysfunction on, or assign its causes to, relatively minor symptoms or attributes or scapegoats for wider, systemic problems, addressing which would require thoroughgoing and dangerous action against the SOP and the powers-that-be.
Quote of the Day
“Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”
Would-that-it-were-true Department: Emma Lazarus–http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm.
This Day in History
Today is World Toilet Day; one thousand three hundred and seventy-eight years ago, forces of the Rashidun caliphate won out over their opponents in what is now Iraq; nine hundred nineteen years back, Pope Urban II called a council at Clermont to consider mounting the first Crusade in the so-called ‘Holy Land’; exactly two years shy of four centuries later, in 1493, Columbus went ashore with a party of sailors on the main island of what we now know as Puerto Rico; one hundred ninety-eight years before the here and now, Warsaw University first came into existence; one hundred fifty-one years back, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address to the fallen in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; one hundred twenty seven years before this day, renowned American poet Emma Lazarus died at the age of thirty eight; one hundred two years prior to the present pass, Serbian soldiers captured Bitola, and terminated over five hundred years of Ottoman hegemony; three years later, industrialists and officials in Utah murdered labor leader, songwriter, and champion of working people Joe Hill for a crime that he did not commit; 365 days hence, Samuel Goldwyn and his partner founded what would eventually become Metro Goldwyn Mayer; eighty one years back, an infant boy drew his first breath on the way to a career as journalist and talk show host Larry King; at the Battle of Stalingrad seventy two years ago, Soviet armies launched counterattacks that turned the tide of World War Two decisively, and, half a world away, the baby girl who became well known poet and critic Sharon Olds was born; exactly one year subsequently, after thousands of Jewish inmates rise against their Nazi prison guards and attempt a mass escape, Nazi forces killed everyone at the Janowska concentration camp in Ukraine; Europe’s oldest private TV channel opened sixty years back in Monte Carlo under the ownership and leadership of prince rainier, the small state sovereign; a single year afterward precisely, National Review issued its first installment; forty seven years ago, Hong Kong’s first TV broadcasting service began under British rule; two years further on, in 1969, during the Apollo 12 mission, two American astronauts became the third and fourth people to walk on the moon; new Iranian leader ayatollah Khomeini 35 years ago ordered the release of thirteen female and Black captured Americans in the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis; six years down the road, in 1985, Pennzoil’s litigation against Texaco for tortious interference with contractual relations, regarding Pennzoil’s purchase of Getty Oil yields a US$10.53 billion judgment, the largest civil award in US history to that point; three years still further on, Serbian Slobodan Milosevic claimed that Serbia was under attack as a result of an international conspiracy against the Yugoslav nation; the House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings sixteen years ago against Bill Clinton for perjury in relation to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, interestingly enough, at about the same time that the Central Intelligence Agency admitted that many of Gary Webb’s allegations in Dark Alliance were true; a single year later to the day, the People’s Republic of China launched its first spacecraft; just a year ago, a massive suicide bomb explosion at the Iranian embassy in Beirut killed 23 people and injured scores more.
SEARCH OF THE DAY
emigration OR immigration OR “mass migration” refugees OR “displaced persons” “cause of war” OR “underlying conflict” OR “creating tension” OR “social conflict” = 14.4 Million Hits.
TOP OF THE FOLD
GLOBALIZATION, FORCED MIGRATION, & SOCIAL MELTDOWN
http://www.globalization101.org/uploads/File/Migration/migration.pdf A timely and powerful White Paper from the State University of New York’s Levin Institute, that establishes the empirical and conceptual framework for understanding the way that aspects of contemporary reality act as a forced migration inducement, which in turn serves to initiate social conflict that both induces States to prohibit migrants and has, over the past few centuries, played a major role in initiating one major war after another: ” Transnational flows of goods and capital have driven globalization during recent years. These flows have been made possible by the gradual lowering of barriers to trade and investment across national borders, thus allowing for the expansion of the global economy. However, states have often firmly resisted applying similar deregulatory policies to the international movement of people. As noted by the World Bank in its report, Globalization, Growth, and Poverty, while countries have sought to promote integrated markets through liberalization of trade and investment, they have largely opposed liberalizing migration policies. Many countries maintain extensive legal barriers to prevent foreigners seeking work or residency from entering their national borders. In fact, immigration policies across the world are becoming stricter as governments attempt to minimize the economic, cultural, and security impacts of large movements of people between nations. Despite the reluctance of governments to liberalize immigration policy, however, the number of people living outside their countries of origin has risen from 120 million in 1990 to an estimated 215 million in 2012, which is approximately 3.05 percent of the world population.”
NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS
The National Executive Board meeting approved–with the At-Large vote the sole negative–a dues increase, which will now be up to the attendees at the last Delegates Assembly to approve or disapprove; the National officers promoting this move make some powerful points about creating inducements to make the uppage palatable to members who are struggling in the current context.
The National Executive Board meeting also approved a continuation of the Organizing Committee process, with Oregon’s Fernando Gaspiran as the chair.
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
RESEARCH FRONTIERS FROM NSF
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15018/nsf15018.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click A ‘Dear Colleague’ letter that deals with emerging frontiers of knowledge and seeks proposals to facilitate this process of emergence: “Emerging Frontiers in Research & Innovation was established in FY 2007 to serve a critical role in focusing the engineering community on important emerging areas in a timely manner. Each year, EFRI evaluates, recommends, and funds interdisciplinary initiatives at the emerging frontiers of engineering research and innovation. These transformative opportunities may lead to: new research directions; new industries or capabilities that result in a leadership position for the country; and/or significant progress on a recognized national need or grand challenge.”
THIS WEEKEND’S CALL–“SHUT THEM DOWN!”
http://soaw.org/november/why-we-mobilize/ An event overview and issue summary in relation to what the Army now calls the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation, but which for many decades went by the name School of the Americas, though Latin American and U.S. progressives termed it the ‘School for Assassins,’ such as Pinochet, Somoza, and more: “This year, we are strengthening our commitment to collective power by ensuring we create a space where activists from around the world can unite their forces to shut down Stewart Detention Center and demand the closure of the School of the Americas. Organizing together has enriched our movement, and reflects the strength and beauty of the cultures and ideals that continue to be violently repressed by U.S.-led militarization.”
ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
AUSTRALIAN LESSONS RE AMERICAN POLICY FAILINGS
http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/11/sowing-the-seeds-of-a-mass-youth-exodus/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+MacroBusiness&utm_content=Daily+MacroBusiness+CID_83095690d78cae6ee5cd9f0423649e13&utm_source=Email+marketing+software&utm_term=Sowing+the+seeds+of+a+mass+youth+exodus A pointed illustration from Macro Business, crossposted from the Unconventional Economist, of the blowback and spiral of decline that current ‘neoliberal’ policies toward youth guarantee, whether in the Southern Hemisphere or here in North America: “Instead of attempting to address these failings of the economic model for young Australians, what we received in the May Budget was draconian cuts to unemployment benefits and a radical overhaul of education funding that will dramatically increase the cost of higher education for future students. The political economy has been systematically rigged against Australia’s youth, which as Burgess points out is utterly unsustainable. And the end result is likely to be a mass exodus from Australia as younger, working Australians grow fed up with paying ever-increasing taxes to fund an ageing population, whilst receiving less in return.”
RATIONAL HIGHER-EDUCATION REFORMS
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/18/loan-student-debt-zero-free-tuition A powerfully articulated and rationally developed analysis from the Guardian, regarding the student loan morass and how to fix it–eliminate bogus debt to student-loan factory colleges and make higher ed a free-for-all–all of which requires further participation and movement on the part of citizens and scrappy scribes and more, one of dozens of such recent assessments from every possible section of the ideological firmament(http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-student-debt-bomb-1-22-trillion-and-counting-tuition-up-5x-vs-cpi-since-1985/?utm_source=wysija&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Mailing+List+AM+Tuesday): “The US government should discharge all student debt for people who went to Corinthian’s for-profit colleges and their ilk – and it could. Thanks to the Higher Education Act, the Department of Education (DOE) has the discretionary power to erase all federal student debt associated with Corinthian schools, and it doesn’t need permission from a dysfunctional Congress to do so. But the DOE is acting like a debt collector for an unscrupulous lender instead of helping swindled students. …A real vision of free higher education would resonate with young people, but change won’t come from Democrats on high, no matter how reasonable debt relief and affordable, tuition-free universities may be – and no matter how appealing such a platform might seem to an untapped voting bloc. And even though existing laws might permit it, predatory loans from scam schools won’t be discharged without a mass social movement that puts pressure on elites and scares them silly.”
DEMOCRACY, VOTING, BULLSHIT, & HONEST CONVERSATION
http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/27509-it-s-time-for-honest-conversation-about-why-people-don-t-vote A workmanlike overview from TruthOut about the hypocrisy and dissimulation that characterize the American discourse about elections and democracy, a must-view(and ‘ought-to-follow-up’)for every scrappy scribe: “Looked at another way, the jaw-dropping $3.6 billion spent to buy this election has only further distanced the majority of people from participating in a rigged system. Many of us already know about the flood of “dark money” that routinely distorts the electoral process. Most Americans know full well that our democracy is a farce. We live in a plutocracy where money buys elections and wealth rules supreme. We didn’t need political science scholars to do a massive study to show us this. This understanding is the common thread that weaves disgruntled Tea Partiers, marginalized progressives, and frustrated libertarians into one American quilt. It is what brought millions together in shared sympathy during the Occupy protests back in 2011. We already know that elections have become an inadequate instrument for democracy on their own. What has yet to be said is what to do about it – how do people with such diverse ideological views (famous for making us interpret the facts differently) come together and replace the system with one that is more democratic, more pluralistic and more effective at solving the problems we all care about?”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/17/why-the-south-lags-behind-when-it-comes-to-home-broadband-use/ A WaPo blog, The Switch, which here presents an overview of the digital divide’s impacts on consumers from the South, where poverty and greater likelihood of residence in rural areas–and, others would argue(http://all4ed.org/press/alliance-for-excellent-education-and-lead-commission-release-analysis-finding-racial-income-and-rural-inequities-in-students-access-to-high-speed-internet-service/), larger concentrations of minority populations–mean that many more Southerners suffer from lack of Internet access than do users in any other region of the nation: “States in the Deep South have among the lowest rates in the country of households connected to broadband, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Just 57.4 percent of Mississippi residents live in households with broadband Internet use. Many other Southern states rounded out the top 10 least connected, with Arkansas at the second to last, and other states, including Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana, also reporting low levels of home broadband use. The reason is pretty obvious once you compare the above map to one that shows median household income.”
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/no-more-backroom-deals/ An overview from Jabobin of a recent uprising on the part of the Massachusetts Teachers Association against a proposed mechanism to punish teachers further, by taking away their licenses to instruct and thereby strip them of the capacity to make a living in their field, and the overwhelming response that rank-and-file union members made in defeating this proposal: “Late last week, after a massive backlash organized by the Massachusetts Teachers Association — under the leadership of Barbara Madeloni, the recently elected president of the 113,000 member union — the proposal was withdrawn. The victory should serve as a reminder that a mobilized rank-and-file and implacable leadership can defeat attacks on public school educators. Backroom deals don’t get the goods. And because the proposal will likely appear in other states, teachers around the country should take note.”
COMPARATIVE ELECTORAL EVALUATIONS
http://journalistsresource.org/studies/international/development/electoral-integrity-flawed-contests-worldwide-united-states?utm_source=JR-email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JR-email A quick literature review, from Harvard’s Shorenstein’s Center, of the past year’s elections around the world, an overview that includes a look() at 66 nations, in which the U.S. scores 26th of the the countries that this one report includes, one of the score or so of portals that a researcher finds here: “Affluent, post-industrial societies generally score better; high-integrity countries include Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Iceland and Austria. There is a connection between democracy and ‘well-educated and highly literate populations, rich networks of civic associations linking citizens and the state, stable states, and effective public sector bureaucracies.’ In the research world, this is known as the ‘Lipset’ hypothesis, after a 1959 paper first setting forward the idea.”
RECENT IN-DEPTH ANALYSES FROM CONSORTIUM NEWS
http://consortiumnews.com/ Some of the past few weeks’ profferals that Consortium News makes available strictly as a civic service, an attempt to provide instructive, in depth, and engaging materials about critical current topics: “The U.S. government has levied some billion-dollar fines on banks for offenses tied to the financial crisis, but bank officers have avoided the shackled frog-walk and time behind bars, humiliations dealt out routinely to criminals who make off with much less money, says ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.”
GRASSROOTS BACKING OPPOSES MAINE UNIVERSITY’S ‘MALLIFICATION’
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/11/university-of-southern-maine-becomes-administration-of-southern-maine-as-students-protest-faculty-firings.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29 A combination literature review and analysis from Naked Capitalism about events and conflicts at the University of Southern Maine, where administrators spend gaily on big-ticket capital projects while trying to constrain spending on teachers and classrooms and graduate students and such, the upshot here a reprinted ‘modest proposal,’ a la Swift: “As the president of USM pursues the first step of a plan meant to transform the university — by cutting 50 faculty positions and two more academic programs — that ‘transformation’ is effectively cutting out the core of what a university should be. Let’s call the result the Administration of Southern Maine. A$M, as I’ll call it, has already begun the process of shedding the unsightly, bulky professoriate by excising the programs of American and New England studies, geosciences, humanities at the Lewiston-Auburn College, applied medical sciences and French. Neque Magistri (Neither Professors) But why stop there? The elimination of 50 faculty is effectively a course correction for last spring, when USM’s former president rescinded the individual layoffs of 12 faculty members. Indeed, who needs those pesky professors with their incessant whining about ‘transparency,’ ‘shared governance,’ and ‘responsibility to students?’ Administration is a powerful, majestic stallion annoyed at every turn by these gadflies. Eliminating all faculty would solve a problem that has plagued every administration.Neque Discipuli (Nor Students)… .Neque Salariarii (Nor Staff).”
http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2014/11/management-and-art-future-thinking/99188/?oref=govexec_today_nl One of GovExec’s occasional gems, in which it delves some core issue that concerns how organizations operate and can work more effectively, in this case communicating ideas and data about the difference between leadership, and its vision, and management, and its efficiencies: “Leaders and managers operate with different priorities. As I review my career, I see that I lean toward management. Which way do you lean? As a manager, I make things run smoothly by streamlining processes, applying resources efficiently and using performance metrics. By contrast, effective leaders present a vision for the future. They grow an organization by moving it in new directions. There is no right or wrong here. Clearly, an organization needs both leadership and management to succeed consistently. What is important is that you understand yourself and the leanings of those around you.”
ATTAINABLE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY GOALS
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/media-center/reports/energy-revolution-2014/ A portal to a Greenpeace White Paper that lays out a roadmap for the U.S.’s achieving close to a hundred per cent renewable electricity within the next three to four decades: “The Energy [R]evolution aims to wean the economy off dirty fuels as thoroughly and quickly as possible, and in a way that is technologically, politically, and ecologically realistic. This report is part of a global analysis showing how the international economy can transition to nearly 100% renewable energy by 2050, while assuming no new ‘breakthrough technologies’.”
WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS
WILLIAM GIBSON ON LIFE AND REALITY
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/william-gibson-on-life-inside-and-outside-the-internet-20141118 A briefing about Gibson and his newest book, Peripheral, from Rolling Stone, followed by an interview about writing and life: “At the time you coined “cyberspace,” you’d supposedly barely spent any time on a computer. That’s hard to believe.
Oh no, I had scarcely seen one. Personal computers were not common objects at all, and I had been writing short fiction on the kind of manual portable that hipsters are starting to pay really good money for now. And then a friend of mine called from Texas and said, ‘My dad just gave me this machine called an Apple IIc, and, like, it automates the writing of fiction — you’ve gotta get one.’ So I went down to a department store, which was the only Apple dealership in town. I bought the IIc and the printer and the bits you needed to make it work and took it all home in a box, and never looked back. It was a godsend for me because I can’t type, and having this endlessly correctable, effortlessly correctable way to write was fantastic.”
PROFITEERING MONOPOLY ‘NET-NEUTRALITY’ VIEWS & THEIR REFUTATION
https://www.publicknowledge.org/press-release/public-knowledge-refutes-house-and-senate-republicans-letter-to-fcc#When:16:44:00Z A Public Knowledge deconstruction–via Benton.org, which has studied this matter(http://benton.org/headlines/three-options-future-net-neutrality?utm_campaign=Newsletters&utm_source=sendgrid&utm_medium=email) voluminously for years–of House Republican leadership’s kowtowing to corporate perspectives on this matter about which regular citizens agree regardless of political affiliation: “‘Chairman Fred Upton, Ranking Member John Thune, and the other signatories to the letter praise the values of net neutrality and an Open Internet, but insist that the FCC has no authority to create enforceable rules to protect these values. The President proposes the way forward to use existing authority — reclassifying broadband as a Title II service. Rather than engage on the merits, Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Thune respond with a litany of talking points provided by industry lobbyists, choosing to side with a handful of special interests rather than the millions of small businesses, entrepreneurs and ordinary Americans who want to keep the internet a level playing field for all.'”
RECENT ARTICLES & SUCH ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA, THE WEB, ETC.
http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/news-media/whats-new-digital-social-media-research-november-2014-dark-web-bittorrent-tracking-technologies-twitter?utm_source=JR-email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JR-email Another Journalists Resource compilation from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, a selection of materials from November 2014 that deal with digital and social media and related topics: “‘Be Careful What You Wish for: The Impact of Advertisement Choice on Viewers’ Expectations‘
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214005329From Tusculum College and Kansas State University, published in Computers in Human Behavior. By Stephen C. Nettelhorst, Whitney K. Jeter, and Laura A. Brannon.
Speaking of digital ad models relevant to media, one more recent innovation has been giving viewers of video content a choice of ads to watch at certain junctures, a move that marketers hope will empower viewers and give them some ‘buy in.’ The researchers studied the responses of 271 students to determine how ‘ad choice’ plays out and the cognitive processes associated, particularly gender-specific patterns. The authors state that, contrary to some prior research that showed effects primarily on females, both male and female viewers build up heightened expectations about ads they choose to view. However, the study ultimately suggests that merely giving viewers choice is not a ‘panacea,’ as there is potential both for increased engagement and increased disappointment: ‘If utilized well, this technique can lead to various psychological changes that marketers strive for. On the other hand, providing this choice may do nothing or potentially lead to negative consequences if viewers do not experience what they desire.'”
GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
CUTTING EDGE INFORMATION TRANSMISSION & EFFICIENCY
http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626204/?sc=dwhn One of those projects, reported here via NewsWise, that lets an observer peak just over the present horizon at what might be coming in regard to information transmission and storage, in this case in regard to ‘spin waves,’ a physical property that associates with electromagnetism and has potential to transfer huge amounts of information with relatively low expenditure of energy: ” By contrast, short-wavelength spin waves can move over greater distances, more quickly, and with less energy, and thus present the possibility of improving a range of communications and electronic devices. In the Nature Nanotechnology study, the researchers conducted a series of experiments in which they built nanometer scale electrical contacts to inject spin-polarized electrical currents into magnetic materials—a process developed to create and control the movements of its spin waves.”
AN ORAL HISTORY TED-PRIZE WINNER
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/17/business/media/david-isay-wins-2015-ted-prize-for-storycorps-an-oral-history-project.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=2 A breaking news-analysis from The Times about the winner of the annual TED Prize, this year a project that conducts long-feature conversations between people who like and respect each other, a way to contextualize caring and social interaction at one and the same time: “StoryCorps, which was founded in 2003 and is based in Brooklyn, puts two friends or loved ones in a room with a microphone and a facilitator for 40 minutes of conversation. At the end, a CD of the conversation is given to the participants, and, with permission, to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. By the end of the month, StoryCorps expects to have had 100,000 participants, adding about 100 conversations a week. There are StoryCorps booths in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and New York, and a mobile booth that is currently making its way to Dallas, Mr. Isay said. The conversations are by appointment only — ‘I am an old journalist, and I expect people to prepare for interviews,’ he said.”
CALIFORNIA PRISON LABOR & MASS INCARCERATION
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/11/17/3592964/how-californias-program-to-have-inmates-fight-wildfires-could-be-keeping-people-behind-bars/ A mandatory read from Think Progress that deconstructs the California Department of Corrections responses to an overwhelmingly-supported citizen initiative on the ballot two weeks back that required reclassifying several felonies–primarily in relation to the criminal conspiracy against citizens that authorities call a ‘War-on-Drugs’–as misdemeanors, which would necessitate release of many inmates, which CDOC is resisting because it relies on the involuntary servitude of prison labor: “The incentives of this wildfire and other labor programs are seemingly in conflict with the goal of reducing U.S. reliance on mass incarceration. But the federal judges overseeing this litigation were nonetheless sensitive to the state’s need for inmate firefighters. That’s why they ordered the state to offer 2-for-1 credits only to those many inmates who weren’t eligible for the wildfire program. This way, inmates who were eligible would still be incentivized to choose fighting wildfires, while those that weren’t could choose other rehabilitative work programs to reduce their sentence. The Department of Corrections didn’t like this idea, either. It argued that offering 2-for-1 credits to any inmates who perform other prison labor would mean more minimum security inmates would be released earlier, and they wouldn’t have as large of a labor pool. They would still need to fill those jobs by drawing candidates who could otherwise work fighting wildfires, and would be ‘forced to draw down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF [Minimum Support Facility] positions.’ In other words, they didn’t want to have to hire full-time employees to perform any of the work that inmates are now performing.”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/16/vladimir-putin-leaves-g20-after-leaders-line-up-to-browbeat-him-over-ukraine A Guardian assessment of the recent early exit of Russian Premier Vladimir Putin from the Group-of-Twenty gathering in Brisbane, Australia, where U.S. and Western European powers actively sought to portray Russia as isolated and suffering as a result of sanctions and so forth: “In an interview with German TV he also accused the west of switching off their brains by imposing sanctions that could backfire. Putin said: ‘Do they want to bankrupt our banks? In that case they will bankrupt Ukraine. Have they thought about what they are doing at all or not? Or has politics blinded them? As we know eyes constitute a peripheral part of brain. Was something switched off in their brains?’ …Although the western media has portrayed Putin as an isolated figure at the summit, he has continued to forge close relations with the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) a grouping that is becoming increasingly organised at the G20 and, in terms of economic size, more than matches the size of the G7 economies.”
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
GUARANTEEING REACTIONARY POLITICAL MAJORITIES
http://projects.aljazeera.com/2014/double-voters/ A deeply researched empirical analysis of ‘Cross-Checked’ voting validation, by Greg Palast in Al Jazeera America, which demonstrates the huge blow against working class impact in electoral politics that current legislative and administrative operations are striking: “The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice. This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters. White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.”
POLITICAL VISION FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40254.htm A transcript of an interview with Vladimir Putin that a popular correspondent from German Television, conducted, the multiple insights and analysis of which make the entire document essential for scrappy scribes to consider: ”
Furthermore(in addition to NATO expansion that broke multiple promises), the number of military bases is growing. Does Russia have military bases around the world? NATO and the United States have military bases scattered all over the globe, including in areas close to our borders, and their number is growing. Moreover, just recently it was decided to deploy Special Operations Forces, again in close proximity to our borders. You have mentioned various exercises, flights, ship movements, and so on. Is all of this going on? Yes, it is indeed. However, first of all, you said – or perhaps it was an inaccurate translation – that they have been conducted in the international European airspace. Well, it is either international (neutral) or European airspace. So, please note that our exercises have been conducted exclusively in international waters and international airspace. In 1992, we suspended the flights of our strategic aircraft and they remained at their air bases for many years. During this time, our US partners continued the flights of their nuclear aircraft to the same areas as before, including areas close to our borders. Therefore, several years ago, seeing no positive developments, no one is ready to meet us halfway, we resumed the flights of our strategic aviation to remote areas. That’s all.”