“Has the American Dream Been Achieved At the Expense of the American Negro?” [YouTube] Historic debate between James Baldwin v. William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge University. [more inside]
House Republicans voted in a closed-door meeting Monday night to strip the independent Office of Congressional Ethics of its powers to speak publicly, report crimes, get anonymous tips, and act independently. If this amendment is passed, the Office will now be under the control of the House Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee is run by members of the House, the body that the Office was intended to investigate. [more inside]
The Morning News asks a collection of editors, journalists, writers, and activists: what were the Most and Least important stories of the year?
MeFi's own Mark Rosenfelder answers a reader question about whether "the idea that life needs to suck" is true. TL;DR, he doesn't think it is, but it's worth reading on for more.
Leia Organa: A Critical Obituary
Leia Organa, the politician and revolutionary who led the defeat of the Galactic Empire, died after a short illness. She was 60 years old. Hers was a life laced with controversy concerning everything from her tactics to her very ancestry, but her intelligence, commitment to the Republican cause, and place at the heart of the Rebellion, and later the Resistance against Neo-Imperialism, remains the indisputable core of her legacy.
"That line, ‘you were only meant to blow the bloody doors off’, it’s true. The plan was to run the remain side close enough to scare the EU into bigger concessions. None of us thought we were ever going to win. With the possible exception of Dominic Cummings, who just wanted to drive a car into the Camerons’ living room. It’s all such a mess. I want a second referendum now." Quote from a pro-leave Tory who worked closely with Michael Gove. Thirty Things You Didnt Know About The EU Referendum [more inside]
"My Brother’s Keeper is a program premised on the view that young black men constitute a social problem." - Sandy Darity on how the country’s first black president never pursued policies bold enough to close the racial wealth gap.
A History of Deus Ex's Racism Controversies [New Normative] “With futuristic, sci-fi sequel Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [YouTube], developer Eidos Montreal has once again found itself walking atop the fiery coals of controversy. The developer first landed itself in trouble by referring to the game’s poor treatment of augmented humans (‘augs’ are treated as second class citizens, forced to live in ghettos) as the ‘Mechanical Apartheid.’ Apartheid is the term used to describe the horrific, and very real, period of segregation and oppression faced by black South Africans during the 20th century (1948-94). Many have questioned whether it is appropriate for the term, which is based on the South African language of Afrikaans (which is itself based upon the Dutch language, introduced to the territory by Dutch settlers) to be adapted and used as a slogan in a video game. In subsequent marketing materials – concept art created to further depict this oppression – the movement in favour of better treatment of augmented people is referred to as ‘Aug Lives Matter. It’s an unmistakeable and questionable nod of the head to the real-world movement for the better treatment of black people, Black Lives Matter.” [more inside]
Reason TV suggests Christmas gifts for that special someone in your life.
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has signed the first bill limiting the power of governor elect Roy Cooper, the state's current Attorney General. [more inside]
Speculating Futures looks at past speculative narratives, like those of Ursula K. Le Guin, and past attempts at creating technological utopia, like Chile's Cybersyn. [more inside]
"Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen" [Single Link Google Docs] A guide, based on the Tea Party playbook, on how to use the tools of government to resist the Trump agenda.
"The dream Ronald Reagan invoked in 1984—that “it’s morning again in America”—meant nothing to the inner cities, besieged as they were by decades of redlining policies, not to mention crack and Saturday-night specials. Likewise, Obama’s keynote address conflated the slave and the nation of immigrants who profited from him. To reinforce the majoritarian dream, the nightmare endured by the minority is erased. That is the tradition to which the “skinny kid with a funny name” who would be president belonged. It is also the only tradition in existence that could have possibly put a black person in the White House." by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Economic growth in the United States: A tale of two countries - "An economy that fails to deliver growth for half of its people for an entire generation is bound to generate discontent with the status quo and a rejection of establishment politics." [more inside]
With six weeks to the inauguration of the current President-elect, the son of a Hebridean continues to make the press. Across a smorgasbord of controversy, Boeing and China and a union leader are tweet-called out, Taiwan are on the phone, Ben Carson has (awkward) a top job, Flynn jnr is out but Flynn snr stays in while Goldman Sachs is further in, Mr Coal is given the EPA, Coulter wavers, his wall may not be built after all, and conflicts of interests (one picked at random). Problems with the recent election such as interference and voter suppression (post title) (also, game) continue to be discussed while Jill et al continue with their recount battle. Elsewhere, think pieces about the Democratic party abound, and Hillary continues to stack up the votes. Also California, Biden for 2020, a large bipartisan bill heads Obama's way, some Federal bureaucrats are waiting to see what happens and a prophecy. [more inside]
The economic geography of a universal basic income - "An underdiscussed virtue of a universal basic income is that it would counter geographic inequality even more powerfully than it blunts conventional income inequality. By a 'universal basic income', I mean the simple policy of having the Federal government cut periodic checks of identical dollar amounts to every adult citizen, wherever they may live. Importantly, a universal basic income would not be calibrated to the local cost of living. Residents of Manhattan would receive the same dollar amount as residents of Cleveland. But a dollar in Cleveland stretches much farther than the same dollar in Manhattan..." [more inside]
After placing third in the October election (previously), and following the failure of talks between other parties to form a coalition, the Pirate Party of Iceland has been invited to form government. [more inside]
The Gambia’s autocratic president, Yahya Jammeh, who once claimed a “billion-year” mandate to rule, has conceded defeat after a shock election loss to a real-estate developer who once worked as a security guard in London. "Hello, are you hearing me?” Jammeh asked Adama Barrow, grinning widely on his mobile. “I wish you all the best. The country will be in your hands in January. You are assured of my guidance. You have to work with me. You are the elected president of The Gambia. I have no ill will and I wish you all the best.” [more inside]
"Democratic man loves freedom; the desiring part rules his soul yet there is nothing but desire to distinguish which objects of desire to pursue and nothing to keep desire in check. The freedom that initially accompanies democracy makes it a possible home for all types of men, even philosophers, but according to Plato this very unrestrained freedom inevitably degenerates into mob rule and rampant license, a condition ripe for tyrannical man to step in as a demagogue promising order and change. Tyrannical man is the logical conclusion of this decline in the soul as he is completely a slave to his passions and projects his lack of self-mastery or self-control onto the world as a blind need to control others and satisfy his insatiable appetite." [more inside]
While book-reading president-elect Donald continues to tweet and finally speaks with the New York Times, he also generates news: property in Argentina, conflict of interests and the foreign Emoluments Clause, Foundation tax returns, NASA funding, New York protection costs and disruption, flip-flopping, the Climate Accord, a musical, ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and not attempting to prosecute Hillary. New appointments include DeVos as education secretary and Haley as U.N. ambassador, with Michael Flynn tapped as national security advisor. Beyond Trump Tower, the results in three states may be challengeable or challenged, and in the ongoing count, Hillary's popular vote lead exceeds two million (live spreadsheet). [more inside]
In 1801, Washington Irving wrote of attending the theater in New York City, where he was assaulted by apples, nuts and gingerbread thrown from the “gallery gods” — the people sitting in the cheap seats at the top of balcony — onto the heads of those in the audience below. [more inside]
“Fascism cannot be explained only in terms of fanaticism, the history of the places where it gains a lodging must be taken into account.” — Northwest author Robert Cantwell, 1939Starting in late 2015, Knute Berger of Seattle's Crosscut magazine began a lengthy series on the historical roots of fascism in the Pacific Northwest. [more inside]
In one respect, today’s emotional politics is the inverse of the 1960s. Back then, people were coming to define themselves by their pleasures: their sexual desires, consumer preferences, lifestyle choices. Today, many are coming to define themselves by their pains: past traumas, mental illnesses and chronic health conditions ... One culprit always stands out in public discussion of these trends: digital technology.In The Age of Pain, New Statesman (15 November 2016), Will Davies (Goldsmith's, University of London) discusses the politics of pain and its intersection with digital technologies.
Several days after the 2016 US election, president-elect Donald Trump is holding meetings, interviews and starting to build his administration team. His positions on issues such as mass deportation, tax and foreign policy are the cause of speculation; election positions on the ACA are possibly partially rolled back, but against bleak forecasts environmental positions seem to stay as they were, to the concern of scientists. Elsewhere there is discussion of why Hillary lost to Donald, such as James Comey's involvement, rural voting patterns, swing state perceptions or voter rights and suppression, while the Democratic Party consider who should lead them forwards. Meanwhile, protests occur in several US cities, there is speculation about Trump being impeached, the electoral college is under further scrutiny, and Kate McKinnon and Dave Chappelle on SNL. [more inside]
Emily Ellsworth once spent six years working as a staffer for Congress, and she tweeted about the ways to contact them that she observed were most effective for making a difference. She collected her tweets on Storify, here. [more inside]
The 2016 US election is over and most of the results are in. Barring incident, Barack Obama (#44) will hand over to Donald Trump (#45) at noon on January 20th 2017; transition activities are underway. Following a relentless campaign, Hillary Clinton conceded and called for unity. The Republican Party has also secured the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as electing more governors. Voter suppression during the election continues to be an issue. Reaction to Trump's victory has ranged from protests to shock, and there are many questions about what he will do in office regarding issues such as Obamacare. Some are drawing parallels between the election result and Brexit. The press is also contemplating the future of the Democratic Party and their road ahead. [more inside]
574 days since Hillary declared she would run, and 2 days left for the frontrunner and all of us till election day. While the world watches e.g. [Guardian] [RTE] [Denmark] [Russia] [Sweden (lonely)] and [France], analyses, reacts, or organizes election parties [Australia] [New Zealand], the polls bounce around but generally favor Hillary, the UK bookies, other odds and an increasingly angry Nate also still favor Hillary, and Politico only sees three narrow paths to victory for Donald. Meanwhile, the Democrats get the vote out, it's not been the best of years for Trump's New Jersey chum (also November 10th 2015), there are fears of an election "cyber attack", political phrases are becoming fatigued, celebrity social media remains divided, Mr Kaine duets with Mr Bongiovi, and Hillary and Donald (in Reno) near the end. [more inside]
Ars Technica: "UN report: climate goals rapidly moving out of reach." Paris Agreement made progress, but 2°C warming limit takes much more. [more inside]
The Universal Right to Capital Income - "If a universal basic income is to be legitimate, it cannot be financed by taxing Jill to pay Jack. That is why it should be funded not from taxation, but from returns on capital." (via) [more inside]
BBC News: As the sun rises over the Old World Levain (OWL) Bakery in Asheville, North Carolina, a heady, warm scent of spices floats through the air outside. In the kitchen, bakers Susannah Gebhart and Maia Surdam are working with sourdough culture, dried fruit, butter, sorghum syrup and generous measures of sherry and whisky to revive an American tradition. Bon Appetit: Werner opted for an earthy rye and buckwheat base, with bourbon-bolstered stone fruits, and a toothsome mix of poppy seeds, flax seeds, and cocoa nibs. Miscovich chose an egalitarian version filled with currants and spices, minus the booze, so that everyone can partake. Actual recipe and another recipe, and a related 2014 song from Eurovision. [more inside]
The ruthlessly effective rebranding of Europe’s new far right. "These parties have built a coherent ideology and steadily chipped away at the establishment parties’ hold on power by pursuing a new and devastatingly effective electoral strategy. They have made a very public break with the symbols of the old right’s past, distancing themselves from skinheads, neo-Nazis and homophobes. They have also deftly co-opted the causes, policies and rhetoric of their opponents. They have sought to outflank the left when it comes to defending a strong welfare state and protecting social benefits that they claim are threatened by an influx of freeloading migrants."
Iceland's Pirate Party looks likely to take the country's election next weekend - "If you're worn out and depressed with the US election campaign, ponder what's going on in Iceland for a moment. The country's Pirate Party, founded less than four years ago by a group of activists, anarchists, and hackers, is poised to upend Icelandic politics with an Oct. 29 general-election victory."
More than one-third of social media users are worn out by the amount of political content they encounter, and more than half describe their online interactions with those they disagree with politically as stressful and frustratingAmericans, Politics, and Social Media by Pew Research Center
BBC Four Documentary: Jacques Peretti explores how public bodies utilise their resources and asks whether taxpayers are getting value for money. [slyt]
Thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted under outdated gross indecency laws are to be posthumously pardoned, the Government has announced, in a “momentous” victory for campaigners‘. Alan Turing law’ unveiled by government will posthumously pardon thousands of gay men convicted of historic offences.
With 20 days to go until Election Day, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in their third and final debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Print out your Bingo cards and tune in to any major network (BBC News and Sky News in the UK) or listen on NPR. Alternately, watch on one of YouTube's channels in English (NBC, PBS, Fox News, the Washington Post, the New York Times, C-SPAN) and Spanish (Univision, Telemundo.) Twitter will stream Bloomberg. Facebook has ABC and PBS. C-SPAN has its own feed (C-SPAN Radio is also streaming.) You can watch in virtual reality (Gear, Rift, or Vive) via AltspaceVR, although that may not be a good idea. If you hurry, you can even watch for free in your local Regal Cinema. [more inside]
Aleppo, Ukraine, Cyber Attacks, Baltic Threats: What Should We Do About Putin? [The Guardian] “The challenge presented by Russia is one of the biggest facing the next US president. Some analysts say Putin is taking advantage of Obama’s lame duck status to create “facts on the ground” in Syria. The Russian president is said to anticipate a further deterioration in bilateral relations if Hillary Clinton wins. The two have a history of personal dislike, dating back to Clinton’s time as secretary of state. “She says she sees in him a cold-blooded, self-enriching KGB agent and a bully; he remembers how she appeared to encourage street protests against him in 2011,” said analyst Leonid Bershidsky. Speaking in August, Clinton described Putin as “the grand godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism” – lumping him with Trump, German anti-immigrant xenophobes and hard-right populists such as France’s Marine Le Pen.” [more inside]
Welcome Back, SPY. [Esquire] “Then came the last year: the withdrawal of Stewart and Colbert from Comedy Central, the death of Gawker, the return of Hillary, and especially the rise of Donald Trump. SPY pioneered the exposure and ridicule of Trump back in its day, of course, always referring to him as "short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump"— and in this campaign, astonishingly, that epithet (and the general tiny-hand critique) resurfaced in a big way. As Trump became the Republicans' presumptive nominee, lots more people, pretty much every day, said to me, "SPY really needs to be rebooted, if only just for the election."” [more inside]
Outside of work, she mostly hangs out at home with Grose and the producer’s younger sister, eating pigs in a blanket and watching The Real Housewives; she and her Marine ex-boyfriend broke up when she moved for the job. She doesn’t have time to go out that much anyway, unlike the Dallas “nerds” she describes partying every night on their parents’ money. She never had any of that, and anyway, she has a show to write.Kyle Chayka writes for The Ringer on controversial 24-year-old conservative sensation, Tomi Lahren
Shitstorm In Academia As Professors Receive Packets Of Poop [Buzzfeed News] Junk mail took on a new meaning when three philosophy professors received envelopes of feces last summer. Now, the hunt is on for the 'poopetrator'. [more inside]
With just a month to go until the election (and after a Trumpian pre-debate shitshow) Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off again in the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis at 9PM Eastern Time. Print out your Bingo cards and tune into any major network (Channel 4 in the UK) or listen on NPR. Alternately, watch on one of YouTube's channels (NBC, PBS, Fox News, the Washington Post). Twitter will stream Bloomberg. Facebook has ABC and PBS. C-SPAN has its own feed (C-SPAN Radio is also streaming.) You can even watch in virtual reality (Gear, Rift, or Vive) via AltspaceVR. [more inside]
One month before Election Day, with the Trump campaign reeling from enough October Surprises to fill an advent calendar, the Washington Post's intrepid David Fahrenthold has landed what may be the mortal blow: vulgar 2005 footage of the Republican nominee bragging about his sexual abuse of married women, just months after marrying his third wife, Melania. "When you’re a star, they let you do it," the future presidential candidate declares. "Grab 'em by the p***y. You can do anything." The bombshell has forced GOP leaders to recoil from Trump and issue a parade of rebukes, with Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz revoking support, House Speaker Paul Ryan cancelling a joint rally, and top donors pulling funds and demanding a new candidate. Hours after a terse press release from the then-59-year-old calling it "locker room banter," Trump released a rare apology in a midnight video maligning the Clintons while vowing to attend the presidential town hall debate Sunday. Betting markets aren't so sure. Unfortunately for the GOP, there’s no longer any way to boot Donald Trump from the ballot. [more inside]
"The possibility that education has become a fundamental divide in democracy – with the educated on one side and the less educated on another – is an alarming prospect. It points to a deep alienation that cuts both ways. The less educated fear they are being governed by intellectual snobs who know nothing of their lives and experiences. The educated fear their fate may be decided by know-nothings who are ignorant of how the world really works. Bringing the two sides together is going to be very hard. The current election season appears to be doing the opposite." [SLGuardian] [more inside]
With 35 days to go until the election, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence square off in the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Print out your Bingo cards and tune into any major network or listen on NPR. Alternately, watch on one of YouTube's channels (NBC, PBS, Fox News, the Washington Post). Twitter will stream Bloomberg. Facebook has ABC and PBS. C-SPAN has its own feed. You can even watch in virtual reality (Gear, Rift, or Vive) via AltspaceVR. [more inside]
Tonight at 9PM Eastern Time, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off at Hofstra University for the first 2016 Presidential Debate. Print out your Bingo cards and tune in to any of the major networks. Alternately, YouTube is partnering with NBC, PBS, the Washington Post, Newsmax, Fox News, Telemundo, and Univision to stream coverage. Twitter is offering Bloomberg coverage and Facebook is streaming ABC and PBS. You can even watch on your Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift via Altspace VR. [more inside]
"The Hyde Amendment was first authored by the late Representative Henry Hyde (a devout Roman Catholic) in 1976. He expressed the desire to outlaw all abortions, but Hyde knew that he could only effectively target women in poor communities." 35 States + D.C. deny a woman’s coverage just because she is poor. #BeBoldEndHyde [more inside]
CEO Documentary: "THE BRUSSELS BUSINESS is a docu-thriller that dives into the grey zone underneath European democracy. An expedition into the world of the 15,000 lobbyists in the EU-capital, of the PR-conglomerates, think tanks and their all embracing networks of power and their close ties to the political elites." Spoiler: "2500 Lobby Structures are based in Brussels, 15,000 lobbyists, the 2nd biggest lobby industry in the world, only Washington DC is bigger..." [slyt - Warning - it starts slowly, but is worth sticking with.]
Bernie Sanders has a brother, Larry. Larry emigrated to the UK in the late 1960s. He's a member of the Green Party, and has been selected to challenge the upcoming by-election in Witney. This is the seat vacated by David Cameron, up until a few months ago the Prime Minister of the UK. In February this year, Larry was appointed Health Spokesperson of the Green Party; in May he was elected as a pledged delegate for Bernie Sanders to the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Democrats Abroad Global Convention in Berlin. Previous confusion on MetaFilter.