Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria
9 hours ago
The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.After a few minutes of internet browsing I learned that the author, Hugh Howey, self-published these books and that their sales were driven primarily by word-of-mouth. I was further impressed by the virtually universal rave reviews of the book from readers and that in less than a year the film rights were secured by 20th Century Fox, with Ridley Scott having expressed interest in making the film.
This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.
While Israeli officials are quick to rattle off the numbers of projectiles fired from Gaza, rarely do they tell you what they fire into Gaza, what the effects of this fire is and what the fallout from it is.
For example, in 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children, and the injury of 468 Palestinians, of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57 percent, or 310, were caused by Israeli aircraft missile fire; 28 percent, or 150, where from Israeli live ammunition; 11 percent, or 59, were from Israeli tank shells; while another 3 percent, or 18, were from Israeli mortar fire.
Through September 2012, Israeli weaponry caused 55 Palestinian deaths and 257 injuries. Among these 312 casualties, 61, or roughly 20 percent, were children and 28 were female. 209 of these casualties came as a result of Israeli Air Force missiles, 69 from live ammunition fire, and 18 from tank shells. It is important to note that these figures do not represent a totality of Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza but rather only Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza which cause casualties. The total number of Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza is bound to be significantly larger.
For context, consider this: more Palestinians were killed in Gaza yesterday than Israelis have been killed by projectile fire from Gaza in the past three years.
"What do you know?"
"Well, that is hard to tell," replied Jack. "For although I feel that I know a tremendous lot, I am not yet aware how much there is in the world to find out about. It will take me a little time to discover whether I am very wise or very foolish."
It is remarkable that the Democrats have not been harsher in holding Romney in contempt for his comments [making fun of efforts to mitigate global warming] in these final days leading up to the election. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot.But instead both parties quietly agreed not to make an issue out of the biggest issue facing mankind.
Imagine a world where we had not seen the Sept. 11 attacks and a Democratic challenger to President Bush's reelection in 2004 had mocked the money that Bush had spent on defenses against terrorism. If the country had then been hit by a terrorist attack in the week before the election would the Republicans be shy about going after their challenger's bad sense of humor?
The reality is that people who work themselves into a lather over deficits while ignoring the very real problem of climate change don't care a whit about the fate of future generations. They're simply demagoguing a largely soluble non-issue to create an excuse for handing social insurance programs over to Wall Street, and for shredding what little is left of discretionary spending in order to ensure a cheap, desperate labor force with low tax rates for the wealthy.It really is sad that between tepid, no-backbone Democrats and lunatic Republicans we've gone so far backwards on this issue.
For the first time since 1988, presidential candidates did not mention the issue of climate change during debates.If you wish to familiarize yourself with the villains and fools who through a combination of greed, ideologically motivated ignorance, and intellectual dishonesty are determined to doom future generations to a planet less livable with less diversity of life, the Frontline episode "Climate of Doubt" is an excellent starting point.
Even as the world has seen 331 consecutive months with global temperatures over the 20th century average, even as extreme weather gets more intense and expensive, even as the Arctic sees unprecedented melt of sea ice, and even as scientists issue dire warnings about an approaching climate “tipping point,” the issue got no mention at all within three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been over 1100 reported cases of West Nile virus disease in the US this year, including 42 deaths. If these numbers seem high, they are – in fact, it’s the highest number of reported cases since West Nile was first detected in the US in 1999, and West Nile season has just begun. Given that the peak of West Nile epidemics generally occurs in mid August, and it takes a few weeks for people to fall ill, the CDC expects that number to rise dramatically. But why now?
Though the CDC doesn’t have an official response to that question, the director of the CDC’s Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Division said that ‘unusually warm weather’ may be to blame. So far, 2012 is the hottest year on record in the United States according to the National Climatic Data Center, with record-breaking temperatures and drought a national norm. It’s likely no coincidence that some of the states hit hardest by West Nile are also feeling the brunt of the heat. More than half of cases have been reported from Texas alone, where the scorching heat has left only 12% of the state drought-free. Fifteen heat records were broken in Texas just last week on August 13th.
Perhaps it's not quite as groundbreaking as being the country's first female national security adviser or first female African-American secretary of state, but Condoleezza Rice broke another barrier Monday with a golf club.Obviously, future torturers and war criminals will be discouraged from their actions by the severe plight of figures like Rice.
The formerly men-only Augusta National Golf Club -- a golfing meccaï»¿ where the annual Masters Tournament has been played in Georgia since 1934 -- announced that Rice and Darla Moore, a female pioneer in banking, would be the first women admitted to its exclusive membership of about 300 captains of industry and government.
A year after telling Golf Digest that she didn't feel Augusta had an obligation to admit women, Rice, 57, now a Stanford business professor and a Hoover Institution senior fellow, said in a statement Monday that she looks forward "to playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity."
Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.
Both now and in Thompson’s day, most of the press figures we lionize as great pundits and commentators seem to think it’s proper to mute our expectations for public figures. We’re constantly told that politicians should be given credit for being “realistic” (in the mouths of people like David Brooks, “realistic” is really code for “being willing to sell out your constituents in order to get elected”) and that demanding “purity” from our leaders is somehow immature (Hillary had to vote for the Iraq war; otherwise she would have ruined her presidential chances!).
To me, the reason so many pundits and politicians take this stance is because the alternative is so painful: If you cling to hope and belief, the distance between the ideal and the corrupt reality is so great, it’s just too much for most normal people to handle. So they make peace with the lie, rather than drive themselves crazy worrying about how insanely horrible and ridiculous things really are.
But Thompson never made that calculation. He never stooped to trying to sell us on stupidities about “electability” and “realism,” or the pitfalls of “purity.” Instead, he stared right into the flaming-hot sun of shameless lies and cynical horseshit that is our politics, and he described exactly what he saw—probably at serious cost to his own mental health, but the benefit to us was Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.
With those words [of determination to assassinate US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki] attributed to Obama, Klaidman has reported what would appear to be the first instance in American history of a sitting President speaking of his intent to kill a particular U.S. citizen without that citizen having been charged formally with a crime or convicted at trial.
The due-process clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits “any person” from being deprived of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Obama authorized the termination of Awlaki’s life after he concluded that the boastful, mass-murder-plotting cleric had, in effect, forfeited constitutional protection by waging war against the United States and actively planning to kill Americans. Obama also believed that the Administration’s secret process establishing Awlaki’s guilt provided adequate safeguards against mistake or abuse—all in all, enough “due process of law” to take his life.
Awlaki was certainly a murderous character; his YouTube videos alone would likely convict him at a jury trial. Yet the case of Awlaki’s killing by drone strike is to the due-process clause what the proposed march of neo-Nazis through a community that included many Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Illinois, was to the First Amendment when that case arose, in 1977. It is an instance where the most onerous facts imaginable should lead to the durable affirmation of constitutional principle, as Skokie did. Instead, President Obama and his advisers have opened the door to violent action against American citizens by future Presidents when the facts may be much less compelling.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Have you heard, this new movie, the Batman movie -- what is it, the Dark Knight Lights Up or something? Whatever the name of it is. That's right, Dark Knight Rises, Lights Up, same thing. Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane. The villain in the Dark Knight Rises is named Bane. B-A-N-E. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran, and around which there's now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time, the release date's been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?Limbaugh concluded by saying that, "I'm just telling you this is the kind of stuff the Obama team is lining up."
LIMBAUGH: Anyway, so this evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there's now discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful, and whether or not it will influence voters. It's going to have a lot of people. This movie, the audience is going to be huge, lot of people are going to see the movie. And it's a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd. And they're going to hear "Bane" in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain. And the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie --"Oh yeah, I know who that is." There are some people who think it will work. There are some people think it will work. Others think -- "You're really underestimating the American people who think that will work."
Everybody’s out there running around saying I got this giant conspiracy theory that the Batman people, the creators, the comic book creators, created this thing to campaign against Romney. I never said that. I didn’t say there was a conspiracy. I said the Democrats were going to use it, which they are.Rush Limbaugh asked his audience, rhetorically, if they thought it was an accident that the character was named Bane and that the movie's release date had been scheduled for summer 2012. When commenters pointed out Limbaugh's ignorance by noting that the character was created and named in 1993, he lies and asserts that he was only saying that "Democrats were going to use it." But Limbuagh, pathologically dishonest idiot that he is, can't even keep that lie coherent within a single broadcast, as later in the transcript he says
I was talking about Hollywood, the people who market the movie, who determine when it's gonna be released. So you've got the villain named Bane. We know that Obama is doing everything he can to discredit Bain.And this is the same level of maturity and dishonesty and ignorance and incoherence that Limbaugh brings to bear on virtually every single subject that he talks about. As when he maliciously attacked Sandra Fluke, lied about her testimony and demonstrated a complete ignorance of how birth control works.
[Morning Joe] devoted a six-minute segment to Esquire‘s Tom Junod, who — as I noted earlier today — has just published a worthwhile and heartfelt article entitled “The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama,” which examines in depth the multiple ways the President has seized the power to kill; in one section, Junod reports on the U.S. killing of 16-year-old Abdulrahman Awlaki in Yemen, and Esquire has published that section separately under this headline: “Obama’s Administration Killed a 16-Year-Old American and Didn’t Say Anything About It. This Is Justice?” In the Morning Joe segment, Junod repeatedly documented the numerous innocent Muslims — including children — that are continuously killed by Obama’s attacks, such as the 16-year-old Denver-born son of the Islamic preacher, a mere two weeks after his father was killed.It really is remarkable watching that clip, as everyone except Junod seems incapable or unwilling to acknowledge and recognize that a 16 year old American citizen accused of no crime was killed by his own government without any explanation.
You just have to watch the reaction of [Harold] Ford, neocon Dan Senor, and Mike Barnacle to appreciate the soulless rot that leads people so cavalierly to defend and dismiss the continuous killing of innocent Muslims by the U.S. But it’s Ford’s smirking, self-satisfied, effete ignorance — from a warmonger whose delicately manicured hands have never been and will never be near any of the carnage he reflexively defends — that is particularly nauseating. Like most mindless defenders of U.S. violence, Ford just repeatedly utters the word “Terrorist” over and over like a hypnotic mantra.
Even after Junod describes the heinous death of the indisputably innocent American teeanger, Ford just smirks and pronounces that it’s better to Kill The Terrorists than to capture them.
Become accustomed to the belief that death is nothing to us. For all good and evil consists in sensation, but death is deprivation of sensation. And therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it adds to it an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for immortality. For there is nothing terrible in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living. So that the man speaks but idly who says that he fears death not because it will be painful when it comes, but because it is painful in anticipation. For that which gives no trouble when it comes, is but an empty pain in anticipation. So death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. It does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more.The account of Boswell's interview of Hume can be read in fuller detail in the article that Zaretsky wrote comparing the dignified manner in which Hume and Christopher Hitchens confronted dying. (The article is essentially the same material that appears in the book, minus the portion relating to Hitchens.)
I shook my head. "Many men have been hanged on far slighter evidence," I remarked.
"So they have. And many have been wrongfully hanged."
A recent IRS report showed that 20,752 households that reported earning more than $200,000 in 2009 paid no federal income taxes. About 1,500 of those tax-free Americans were millionaires.
The Obama administration considers any military-age male in the vicinity of a bombing to be a combatant. That is an amazing standard that shares an ugly synergy with the sort of broad-swath logic that we see employed in Stop and Frisk, with NYPD national spy network, with the killer of Trayvon Martin.For more background on this truly vile, reprehensible and heinous policy of defining "militant" to include any of-age males killed by a drone strike, see Glenn Greenwald (here and here).
Policy is informed by the morality of a country. I think the repercussions of this unending era of death by silver bird will be profound.
The claim that "our side" never targets civilians is familiar doctrine among those who monopolize the means of violence. And there is some truth to it. We do not generally try to kill particular civilians. Rather, we carry out murderous actions that we know will slaughter many civilians, but without specific intent to kill particular ones. In law, the routine practices might fall under the category of depraved indifference, but that is not an adequate designation for standard imperial practice and doctrine. It is more similar to walking down a street knowing that we might kill ants, but without intent to do so, because they rank so low that it just doesn't matter.
In sum, Poitras produces some of the best, bravest and most important filmmaking and journalism of the past decade, often exposing truths that are adverse to U.S. government policy, concerning the most sensitive and consequential matters (a 2004 film she produced for PBS on gentrification of an Ohio town won the Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy).Yes, I am so very proud to live in such a "brave" country.
But Poitras’ work has been hampered, and continues to be hampered, by the constant harassment, invasive searches, and intimidation tactics to which she is routinely subjected whenever she re-enters her own country. Since the 2006 release of “My Country, My Country,” Poitras has left and re-entered the U.S. roughly 40 times. Virtually every time during that six-year-period that she has returned to the U.S., her plane has been met by DHS agents who stand at the airplane door or tarmac and inspect the passports of every de-planing passenger until they find her (on the handful of occasions where they did not meet her at the plane, agents were called when she arrived at immigration). Each time, they detain her, and then interrogate her at length about where she went and with whom she met or spoke.
In 1975, Stanley Marcus, chairman of Neiman Marcus in Dallas, decried corporate obstruction of social legislation. "Who among the business community today," he asked, "would seriously propose that Congress repeal our child-labor laws - or the Sherman Antitrust Act? The Federal Reserve Act, the Securities Exchange Act? Or workmen's compensation? Or Social Security? Or minimum wage? Or Medicare? Or civil rights legislation?"All of us today" he said, "recognize that such legislation is an integral part of our system; that it has made us stronger."That may have been true in 1975, but not today. The credit, or blame, lies squarely with Ayn Rand.
"Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school," she said. "For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that's practically an entire summer's salary."Here is what Rush Limbaugh, the radio demagogue that Republican officials bow down before, had to say in response.
And the policy has hurt not just those who want the pill to prevent pregnancy, she said. One friend — a lesbian — needed oral contraception to control ovarian cysts.
But while the Georgetown plan includes a medical exception, her friend never got the medication. "Despite verification of her illness from her doctor, her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted birth control to prevent pregnancy," she said.
She eventually stopped taking the medication when it became too expensive, grew a cyst "the size of a tennis ball," and "had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary as a result," Fluke testified.
And when others ask what she expected when she chose to attend a Jesuit university, Fluke replied that she and her fellow women law students:"[R]efused to pick between a quality education and our health, and we resent that in the 21st century anyone thinks it's acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women."
What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.Right. Isn't that exactly what you heard when you saw her testimony? That she's a whore who expects the US taxpayer to pay her for sex? - not that she's suggesting that access to contraception is an important means to providing equal career/educational opportunity for women and also protecting their health.
She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.
Rush Limbaugh was traveling with four other men--including the producers of the hit show '24'--when he was detained over a mislabeled bottle of Viagra found in his luggage during a Customs search. A Department of Homeland security passenger manifest shows that Limbaugh and his four buddies flew from the Dominican Republic on a Gulfstream IV jet owned by Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates his radio program. Limbaugh returned to Palm Beach, Florida on June 26 with Joel Surnow, '24''s co-creator and executive producer and Howard Gordon, another of the Fox hit's executive producers (Hollywood agent Jeffrey Benson was also part of the Limbaugh quintet). With all those guys in tow, it is unclear what Limbaugh needed with those 29 100mg Viagra pills.Yes, what would he be doing with Viagra pills in a location notorious for sexual tourism.
On November 5, 1775, General Washington issued orders forbidding soldiers in the Continental army to observe that "ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the Pope" - an act that could only insult and alienate the ex-colonies' potential allies in Franco-phone Canada. "At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused," he expostulated."
Murray is baffled that a collapse in the pay and conditions of work should have led to a decline in a workforce's commitment to the labor market.That last line perfectly captures how absurd this focusing on Piven or Alinsky or ACORN as the root of all evil in America has been.
His book wants to lead readers to the conclusion that the white working class has suffered a moral collapse attributable to vaguely hinted at cultural forces. Yet he never specifies what those cultural forces might be, and he presents no evidence at all for a link between those forces and the moral collapse he sees.
In an interview with the New York Times, Murray is more specific—but no more precise—in his analysis:The ’60s were a disaster in terms of social policy. The elites put in place a whole set of reforms which I think fundamentally changed the signals and the incentives facing low-income people and encouraged a variety of trends that soon became self-reinforcing.The '60s. Of course. But which reforms are the ones that Murray has in mind? He does not say, and I think I can understand why he does not say: because once you spell out the implied case here, it collapses of its own obvious ludicrousness.
Let me try my hand:
You are a white man aged 30 without a college degree. Your grandfather returned from World War II, got a cheap mortgage courtesy of the GI bill, married his sweetheart and went to work in a factory job that paid him something like $50,000 in today's money plus health benefits and pension. Your father started at that same factory in 1972. He was laid off in 1981, and has never had anything like as good a job ever since. He's working now at a big-box store, making $40,000 a year, and waiting for his Medicare to kick in.
Now look at you. Yes, unemployment is high right now. But if you keep pounding the pavements, you'll eventually find a job that pays $28,000 a year. That's not poverty! Yet you seem to waste a lot of time playing video games, watching porn, and sleeping in. You aren't married, and you don't go to church. I blame Frances Fox Piven.
This is a battlefield that we must stand upon and we need to let president Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain't on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, and take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.What really demonstrates just how demented the Republican party has become is that this belief in how un-American the Obama administration and Democrats is is a reaction to a Democratic party which has implemented what a few decades ago were Republican ideas (e.g. a health care plan which was previously advocated by the conservative Heritage Foundation.)
"The opponents of the New Deal, backed and funded by the business elite, announced that President Roosevelt had permitted communists to infiltrate the government and government-funded programs, such as the Federal Theatre Project. And that project was the first target of the Dies Committee, led by Texas Democrat Martin Dies. The theatre project was denounced in a series of hearings in August and November 1938. The Dies committee eventually became HUAC. [Hallie] Flanagan [head of the Federal Theatre Project] was asked about an article she had written titled "A Theatre is Born," in which she described the enthusiasm of the federal theaters as having "a certain Marlowesque madness.""You are quoting from this Marlowe," observed Alabama representative Joseph Starnes from the committee. "Is he a Communist?"The room rocked with laughter, but I did not laugh," Flanagan remembered. "Eight thousand people might lose their jobs because a Congressional Committee had so prejudged us that even the classics were 'communistic.' I said, 'I was quoting from Christopher Marlowe.'""Tell us who this Marlowe is, so we can get the proper references, because that is all we want to do," Starnes said."Put in the record that he was the greatest dramatist in the period of Shakespeare, immediately preceding Shakespeare," Flanagan answered.By 1939 the theatre project was killed.