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RANDOM LINKS FOR 12/19/13
Dec 18th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via gaijintonic.com

  • As some of you know, I believe any crusade on behalf of “women in music” should champion not just singers and singer-songwriters, but also non-singing female instrumentalists. Such a crusade, however, has nothing to do with, and would be moved neither forward nor backward by, a recently broken-up trio of Japanese “bikini trombonists.”
  • Ex-Seattle actress and Twin Peaks legend Sheryl Lee now has a website all about “reconnecting with the healing spirit of Nature.” Yes, its home page includes a poem about trees and hawks.
  • Just as M.L. King Jr. was not the passive “dreamer” mainstream media outlets like to invoke every January, so was Nelson Mandela more of a pro-labor, pro-economic-democracy, anti-war figure than recent remembrances might have led you to believe.
  • No, BankAmeriCrap, you don’t have an “image problem.” You have a “what you’ve really done problem.”
  • In Minnesota, not showing up to a debt-related court hearing can be a jailable offense.
  • Under pressure from the corporate “globalists,” Mexico is letting the big U.S./Euro oil companies back in after 75 years. Bloomberg.com’s headline: “North America to Drown in Oil.”
  • The problem with any essay titled “Debunking Nearly Every Republican Lie Against President Obama” is that new lies of that type are generated nearly daily. It’s darned difficult to keep up with them all.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/19/13
Aug 19th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

imagined audio-book listeners on a train, 1894

Back in the early days of telephones and phonograph records (1894 to be precise), essayist Octave Uzanne claimed “The End of Books” would soon be at hand. Uzanne predicted people would much rather listen to storytellers (with what are now called audio books) than read:

Our eyes are made to see and reflect the beauties of nature, and not to wear themselves out in the reading of texts; they have been too long abused, and I like to fancy that some one will soon discover the need there is that they should be relieved by laying a greater burden upon our ears. This will be to establish an equitable compensation in our general physical economy.

Elsewhere in randomosity:

  • Our ol’ friend (and onetime print MISC zine contributor) Jenniffer Velasco is now designing clothes in NYC, and making a name for herself.
  • The Seattle Timesvendetta against Mayor McGinn just gets more petty.
  • Sadly, criminal attacks in and near Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill just keep occurring.
  • If you ever get a text from a number you’ve never heard of, claiming to be from a woman “naked and waiting” for you to arrive with a pizza at a UW dorm, it’s best to not believe it.
  • The UW, meanwhile, ranks #27 in some list of the world’s top 100 universities. Just think what could happen if it got the state funding it deserves.
  • Seattle is #2 in some list of top world cities for “economic development.” Number one: Ottawa.
  • Could Puget Sound’s seaports finally stop competing against one another, thus driving down revenues to all?
  • Would-be neo-Sonics owner Chris Hansen gave money to a political campaign that’s essentially trying to stop a new arena in Sacramento. His admission of this might or might not diminish his chances of eventually landing a franchise.
  • Is Forever 21 demoting full-time workers to part-time as a sick revenge against Obamacare, or just to be mean?
  • Is Walmart doing badly this year because it treats its workers badly, or just because downscale customers still haven’t got their past spending power back?
  • Would Obama’s proposed student-loan “reforms” just make ‘em more usurious?
  • Blogger Allen Clifton makes the simple, provocative claim that today’s “Republicans aren’t Christians.”
  • Orson Scott Card, the Ender’s Game novelist who wants you to be tolerant of his anti-gay intolerance, also wrote a little essay fantasizing about Obama hiring “urban gangs” into a personal army to make him dictator.
  • Sophia McDougall at the UK mag New Statesman says she hates the stereotype of the “Strong Female Character,” particularly in big-budget action movies. She’d much rather see more, more believable, and more different female characters (i.e., different from one another).
  • Vice magazine, onetime would-be darling of the fashionably decadent, is now partly owned by Fox.
  • Anti-sex-trafficking advocate Rachel Lloyd would really like all of you to cease using the terms “pimp” or “pimping” in any admiration-type context.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/23/13
Jul 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

city of seattle via slog.thestranger.com

  • You know that big palatial boulevard the politicians have promised to turn Seattle’s central waterfront into? It now looks like it could become something else. Like, a highway with as many lanes as the viaduct (or more!), only side by side and on ground level. (Via my ex-housemate Fnarf.)
  • The Feds want to crack down on The Art Institutes. They charge the chain of for-profit art schools (including a major Seattle branch) with…

…fraudulently collecting $11 billion in government aid by recruiting low-income students for the purpose of collecting student aid money. Whistleblowers claim that students graduate loaded with debt and without the means to pay off the loans, which are then paid for with taxpayer dollars.

  • UW scientists recorded, then time-compressed, the sounds made by an Alaska volcano just before it blew.
  • Congrats to the local makers of the Carter Family graphic bio-novel for winning (er, co-winning) a major industry award.
  • Nice to see Seattle Weekly regaining some of its old form, even if that includes its old cranky-baby-boomer bashing of the Stranger and youth culture.
  • As expected, the living members of Nirvana played at McCartney’s Safeco Field show.
  • Alas, it’s illegal to ride down Capitol Hill streets in an office chair.
  • MillerCoors wants the Feds to investigate the Wall St. bigshots’ manipulations of aluminum prices.
  • Do you know the difference between North and South Carolina? Nike didn’t.
  • Why can’t Third World people speak for themselves on the “global stage,” instead of questionable, self-appointed spokespeople such as (the highly corporate-connected) Bono?
  • R.I.P. Helen Thomas, first lady of the White House press corps and the textbook example of a “tough dame” who speaks her mind and never gives up.
  • While (or because) nobody was looking, Yahoo quietly shut down the pioneering search engine AltaVista.
  • Business Insider posted a promo spot for a Milwaukee TV newscast circa 1980. Frenetic stock music! Jump cuts! Reporters in the field! Huge “mini” cams held by muscular cameramen! Typewriters! That’s infotainment.
  • Do you or someone you know listen to too much Coast to Coast AM? Still? Then follow this handy conspiracy theory flow chart.

the reason stick at blogspot

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/8/13
Apr 8th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via seattle bike blog

  • Enterprising citizens calling themselves “Reasonably Polite Seattleites” took it upon themselves to install unauthorized “bicycle lane protectors” (reflective plastic pylons) along Cherry Street uphill from downtown. The city vows to remove them.
  • Seattle police chief John Diaz will retire, allowing Mike McGinn (or perhaps a successor mayor next year) to put in another figurehead for uncontrolled street-cop brutality.
  • In a Belltown where anything non-one-percenty is increasingly out of place (more about that in a day or so), Roq La Rue has been kicked out of its longtime space in the old Film Row RKO distribution offices. Fortunately, Seattle’s premier “pop surrealist” art gallery has found new quarters in Pioneer Square, effective some time this summer.
  • Meanwhile, a Crosscut contributor named Andy Fife asks whether there is a “Seattle arts aesthetic.” Actually, there are several. There’s the “world class or bust” desperate slickness of most of SAM’s big permanent displays. There’s the “rich ex-hippie” mellow slickness of Chihuly and company. There’s the “modern monumentalist” big stuff seen at the G. Gibson and William Traver galleries. There are the house styles of Cornish and Gage and their recent alums. And there’s the “let’s put on a show” urban folk/pop styling of most of my personal faves.
  • New Orleans city bosses apparently want to simultaneously (1) shut down music venues, and (2) promote their city as a live-music tourist destination.
  • NBCNews.com blogger Wilson Rothman claims Apple’s iTunes is “out of date and out of touch.” Specifically, Rothman dislikes the whole idea of having to pay for song recordings. He seems to prefer the Spotify model, in which artists make fractions of fractions of pennies. That’s supposed to be the modern way?
  • Here’s one author who hates the new economics of the book biz—Scott Turow, one of the few writers who’d thrived under the old system.
  • Joshua Macht at the Atlantic claims Time magazine has perhaps three years to live.
  • Hacked computer data shows the global one-percenters are hoarding trillions in secret overseas tax-haven accounts. Leaders of nations other than ours claim to be aghast.
  • The newspaper industry has started measuring revenue from online paywalls and ancillary products/services. The resulting figures show papers are now losing a little less money than previously thought.
  • The death last week of Spanish exploitation-film giant Jess Franco has been followed by the loss of another of that country’s great directors of sex and/or violence, Bigas Luna.
  • Annette Funicello, 1943-2013: The only original Mickey Mouse Club cast member to have a real adult showbiz career was the wholesome sex symbol in the Beach Party movies, and a pop singer of unusual clarity and panache. During her cameo in the Monkees’ film Head, she proved not afraid to parody (without breaking) her squeaky-clean image. She remained gracious and classy, even during her long slow illness.
  • We’ve also lost Les Blank, who directed 42 documentaries of varying lengths and topics (all shot on film). He’s probably best known for Burden of Dreams, the “making-of” film about Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. Many critics considered Blank’s behind-the-scenes story to be more compelling than Herzog’s feature.
  • And another goodbye, this one to Hilly Krystal, influential owner of NYC punk club CBGB. While he opened it as a hippie spot dedicated to “country, blue grass, and blues,” he quickly adjusted to welcome the burgeoning Bowery underground scene. The result was what the New Yorker called “the ultimate garage—the place garage bands everywhere want to play.” (Update: This hereby-linked story is from 2007. Krystal’s still worth remembering nowadays, though.)
  • Femen and associated groups held an “international topless jihad day” across European capitals, though the slogans painted upon themselves seemed to almost all be in English.
  • Ending the drug war was never one of Obama’s top priorities. I suspect it’s because the whole bohemian-relaxation vibe clashed with the striving-for-progress zeitgeist that informed Obama’s worldview. But, as with gay marriage, he may be soon forced to act by a groundswell of popular opinion.
  • The Nielsen ratings now claim there are 5 million “zero television” households in the U.S., up from a mere 2 million in ’07. (The “kill your television” “radicals” will, naturally, completely ignore this information.)
  • Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s minions threaten to pull the Fox broadcast network off of over-the-air stations (including affiliates tied up in long-term contracts) and go cable-only, unless the courts outlaw a service to stream local over-the-air stations to local viewers via Internet connections.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 2/5/13
Feb 4th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

seattlestairwaywalks.com

  • You know I love walking and Seattle and Walking Seattle. So I support “Stairway Walks Day” this Saturday.
  • There’s something called “The HUB in Seattle.” It’s a new corporate meeting center in the old Masins furniture store in Pioneer Square. Whoever gave it that name can’t possibly be a UW alum.
  • It is possible for a downtown parking garage to lose money. Especially, apparently, when it’s City-owned.
  • Reviews of the Super Blackout Bowl range from the usual rants by sports-hating hippies to the usual highlight-hype. Will Leitch, though, has a good piece about CBS’s announcers and their failure in the face of daunting circumstances.
  • Was Ed Koch gay? We still don’t know for sure.
  • Mother Jones has a vast, yet probably still incomplete, chart of looney Obama conspiracy theories.
  • “Freaky” body modifications should not be done without sterile instruments and the supervision of trained professionals. This includes implanting dice in one’s penis, an apparent fad among Australian prisoners.
  • MySpace’s latest site redesign seems to have evaporated members’ fan lists. The company’s final, fatal mistake?
  • Imagine “Super WiFi,” available nationwide (even in Eastern Washington?), offering beyond-broadband speeds and fancy new services, open to the general public, for free. Some Federal officials believe this is possible, for a modest investment, over existing FCC-controlled bandwidth.
IT IS A GREAT, GREAT MORNING IN THESE UNITED STATES
Jan 21st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

…But enough for now about the Sonics announcement (more on that to come).

via huffington post

We now have a president, at the height of his power, who has spoken in favor of gay rights, economic fairness, peace, and climate action at the single most public forum available to him.

I know my “radical” friends carp, and always will carp, that Obama isn’t nearly half as progressive as they’d like.

But real-world politics isn’t about a hierarchy of sanctimony. It’s about getting real stuff done, overcoming real obstacles. And right now, this president and this Democratic Party are our best vehicles for that.

YA GONE N’ DID IT. NICE JOB EVERYONE.
Nov 7th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Aw shucks, guys n’ gals.

You gave me most of what I wanted for Election Day.

Obama won both the Electoral College and pop-vote. He won the EC by a margin that was both Ohio- and Florida-proof. He won every so-called “battleground” state except North Carolina, some by substantial margins.

The Dems kept the Senate, and added some nice new faces to it (hi, Elizabeth Warren!).

The House stayed Republican, alas; ensuring a continuing forum for obstruction by John Boehner and the other galley slaves to the One Percent.

Here at home, same-sex marriage and recreational pot are both leading, as is Jay Inslee’s bid for governor.

They ought to be leading bigger.  The “Cascade curtain” needs some shoring up. Dems need to strengthen their traditional labor-based holds in Pierce and Clark counties.

And, alas, Tim Eyman’s latest “initiative that sounds hot on talk radio but is disastrous in real life,” to prevent any real reform of the state’s regressive tax system, is also ahead.

All the hard work continues tomorrow.

But for the most part, life on the day after is cool.

Keep up the good work.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 11/1/12
Oct 31st, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

priscilla long, via the american scholar

  • Priscilla Long takes you on a geological tour of North America without leaving downtown Seattle, simply by exploring the marble and other stone claddings on our office buildings.
  • John Koster, a Republican candidate for the U.S. House in Washington’s revamped First District, says he’d oppose abortions even in cases of “the rape thing.”
  • An out-of-state right-wing “SuperPAC” is sinking millions into sleazy attack ads on behalf of Reagan Dunn’s campaign for state attorney general. The Politico site seems to approve.
  • When I first heard about this issue, I said I understood. I told the guy I preferred Thelonius Monk myself. Then he told me he was really criticizing a “coal train.”
  • When is a nude woman in public not cool? When she punches and strikes a chair at a (clothed) elderly woman in the same apartment building.
  • Thankfully, Puyallup’s organized diaper theft ring has been caught.
  • As the World’s Fair anniversary winds to a close, Jon Talton wonders whether Seattle can hold its own economically in a 2062 world that could be dominated by global “alpha cities.”
  • A self-proclaimed conservative Christian from Tacoma pretended to be gay for a year. Insights on humanity and understanding ensued.
  • Did all those hours upon hours of “parka boy” standups by cable TV news reporters help anyone understand Hurricane Sandy’s impact? Probably not.
  • David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon’s Monday night shows, performed without studio audiences, may be the greatest non-election, non-hurricane TV events of the year.
  • Yes, the polling companies are still under-sampling people who only have cell phones, not landlines. The probable result: a supposedly “close race” that may really be more Obama-leaning than it appears.
  • Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson reminds you that Mitt Romney really is as awful and amoral as they say he is; while HuffPost’s Michelangelo Signorile’s dug up some video of Romney spewing the most hateful anti-gay bigotry. And Christina D’Angelo claims the GOP’s devolution into a home for virulent racists is like “lynching Lincoln.”
  • New Yorker book critic Arthur Krystal attempts to claim the superiority of “literary fiction” above so-called “genre fiction.” As if highbrow weren’t really just another genre.
  • Chris Wade at Slate wants you to learn to appreciate the Speed Racer movie.
  • Disney, having already digested ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel, and the Muppets, is now taking over LucasFilm and the Star Wars properties. Immediately, a new Star Wars feature film is being planned. What I want to see is a mashup concept involving all these “universes.” Bonus points if you write this as a story for a Lifetime TV movie (half-owned by Disney).
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/20/12
Sep 19th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

seattle chapter, american institute of architects via kplu.org

  • What to do with the soon-to-be former 520 floating bridge’s surplus pontoons? Several folks have ideas. One of them, above, is to build a walkway just below Lake Washington’s surface, for the ever-popular “walking on water” illusion.
  • Seattle’s own alt-country rising star Brandi Carlile has officially come out.
  • Fast Company seems to find it odd that Microsoft’s new hardware products have embraced a newly enriched design aesthetic without CEO Steve Ballmer being in hands-on charge of the initiative. A good boss knows when (and to whom) to delegate authority.
  • Amazon’s proposed three new towers won’t just be big, they’ll also be bold.
  • Earlier this year we mentioned how the Swedish Hospital system said it was losing loads of money. Similar news has now come from Group Health.
  • Private housing developers are getting tax breaks for building “affordable” housing units, without enough proof that they’re actually building ‘em.
  • Meanwhile, City Councilmember Nick Licata wants you to know that more than of Seattle’s “renter” population, 20 percent spend more than half their income on rent.
  • Starbucks now has its own branded home espresso machine.
  • If there’s anybody with an apparent greater sense of L’etat, C’est Moi than Seattle police, it’s Bellevue police.
  • More first-birthday greetings to the Occupy movement: Bainbridge Island-based Yes! magazine uses a tree graphic to show how the movement has “born fruit.”
  • Who wants to keep simple majorities in the Legislature from deciding revenue bills? Big business, of course. Like duh.
  • As of Wednesday evening, HuffPost’s Electoral College map lists only one tossup state, North Carolina. Obama has taken leads (at least small ones) in all the other previously “swing” states.
  • Richard Eskow of the Campaign for America’s Future claims Romney’s “47 percent” speech reveals the combination of privilege, selfishness, and rage that defines “the radical rich.” (A certain megahome-building couple in Leschi might be considered among these.)
  • Those print-on-demand book machines are coming to lots more locations. But will the new models allow color interior pages, or be even halfway decent with photographs?
  • Jack Hitt at The New Yorker has a hi-larious “Conservative History of the United States,” based entirely on wingnut politicians’ and pundits’ actual untrue statements.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/7/12
Sep 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

via upworthy.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/5/12
Sep 4th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

johncage.tonspur.at

  • It’s ex-Seattleite composer’s John Cage’s 100th birthday. Hope your pianos are all suitably “prepared.”
  • Free downtown public transit is not only dying in Seattle but in Portland too.
  • Pleasure-boaters have turned Andrews Bay, near Seward Park, into a party zone gone wild. It’s like the Seafair log boom every day.
  • The sellout of Yesler Terrace to “market rate” development is official.
  • Seattle’s budget situation: not nearly as dreadful as previously feared.
  • The UW has been named one of the country’s “ten greenest colleges.”
  • Catholic schools are neither as popular nor as affordable as they used to be, back when they were staffed by armies of low-paid nuns.
  • Organic food: really better for you, or just costlier and uglier?
  • American Airlines got what it wanted out of its trumped-up “bankruptcy” ploy, getting officially out of its union pilots’ contract.
  • Here’s the Michele Obama speech so many are talking about, the Deval Patrick speech almost as many are talking about, and the Craig Robinson speech I had a personal reason to like (Go Beavers!).
  • Nielsen ratings for the Republican convention are in. They’re down 23 percent from the GOP’s viewership in 2008 (which, in turn, had had more viewers than 2004). Of those who did watch, two-thirds were 55 or older.
  • CNN’s pre-convention Romney documentary tried to portray the young Willard as having somehow been “courageous” as a ’60s pro-war draft dodger.
  • Vanity Fair writer Kurt Eichenwald writes on his own blog that the rabid right’s lying demagogues must be stopped for the sake of all of us (conservatives included):

Lying has become so ingrained into the conservatives’ national dialogue that they are now dangerously demagogic or, worse, severely unhinged. Blind rage at the election of Barack Obama has wrecked a once great political party. Its leaders have made so many deals with the devil in their almost pathological obsession with unseating Obama that they have pushed the GOP into its own version of political hell – unable to speak truths to their now-rabid and conspiracy-addled base and unable to right the party back onto a path of responsibility. Only through the disinfectant of defeat can the Republicans, and the two party system, be preserved.

  • The Hugo Awards, science fiction’s highest cross-medium honors, were to have been webcast live. But the streaming-video service company cut off the live feed. Automated software detected the presence of copyrighted film clips and pulled the plug, even though all the clips had been fully licensed for use.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/29/12
Jun 29th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

'jseattle' at flickr, via capitohillseattle.com

Yes, it’s been nearly a week since I’ve posted any of these tender tidbits of randomosity. Since then, here’s some of what’s cropped up online and also in the allegedly “real” world:

  • There’s still no official hint on what the proposed Sonics Arena might look like. But the wannabe developers of East Pine Street’s “Bauhaus block” have released a drawing of their proposed mixed use development. At least in its idealized-drawing form, it’s not as monstrous looking as some other recent structures in the area.
  • In other preservation battles, Seattle’s people again rally around a thing about which the elites don’t give a darn. They’re striving to bring back the Waterfront Streetcar.
  • Meanwhile, a study claims if the viaduct-replacement tunnel charges tolls high enough to pay for it, drivers will clog the surface streets rather than pay those tolls.
  • Seattle Opera faces a $1 million shortfall, and will mount fewer new shows in future years. But don’t count ‘em out yet, folks. It’s not over until, well, you know.
  • The late writer-director Nora Ephron had many major achievements. Sleepless in Seattle, let us all admit, is among the least of them.
  • Did you know there was a real hostelry in Fife called the “Norman Bates Motel“? Emphasis on the was.
  • America’s cities: they’re back! (Of course, some of us knew this for some time.)
  • In a pleasant surprise, one of the Supreme Court’s pro-one-percenter flank betrayed his masters and voted to uphold Obamacare. In response, some members of the Rabid Right’s noise machine claimed the great American Experiment was over and they’d hightail it to Canada (which, uh, has had universal health care in place for some time now).
  • If you’re on liberal/progressive websites at all these days, you’ll find a lot of comment threads hijacked by folk who claim to be lefties disgusted by Obama’s centrist tactics, so much that they won’t vote this November, and want you to not vote either. At least some of these comment trolls turn out to be paid employees of right-wing dirty tricks outfits.
  • Rupert Murdoch’s splitting his News Corp. into two companies. One will contain his print properties (including HarperCollins Books, The Wall St. Journal, the New York Post, and his besieged London tabloid operation), plus the iPad “newspaper” The Daily. The other will hold his “entertainment” properties. Yes, Fox “News” goes with the entertainment half.
  • Paul Krugman tells the PBS NewsHour all about his “cartoon physics” theory of the American economy.
  • Google’s putting out a tablet device with a 7-inch color screen, just like Amazon’s Kindle Fire. But the exciting part of this Wall St. Journal link is at the bottom, where they mention another forthcoming Google hardware product. It’s a streaming-media player that attaches to TV sets, and it’ll be made in the USA!
  • Ann Althouse looks at a famous parody of trashy sex novels, and asks rhetorically if those who make and read such parodies are really bashing the potboilers’ readers (i.e., women).
  • Nordstrom’s opening a branch in New York City. Make way for NYC media outlets to describe it as a brand new startup.
  • Headline: “The media covers Kardashians, not climate change.” Comment: The media covers the-media-not-covering-climate-change more than it covers climate change.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/26/12
Apr 26th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

escapistmagazine.com

  • The Star Wars universe is explained in handy infographic form.
  • Rob McKenna is given an opportunity to prove he’s not part of the War on Women. Result: Epic Fail.
  • More details about the big waterfront renovation plan have been released. They show a great improvement over the original concept (which, as you may recall, was essentially just a bunch more “world class” windswept plazas, a commodity greater downtown already has in abundance). These proposals actually include stuff people can recreate with. Like a climbing wall, and a swimming pool on a barge in the water.
  • The Real Change-sponsored protest against homeless-camp removals went off without a hitch. Now let’s get our officials to do more for the homeless instead of merely against them.
  • Wash. state now has over 700 wineries. Twice the number in ’07.
  • The first Boeing 787s you’ll be able to get on from Sea-Tac will go from here to Tokyo starting later this year.
  • How does DC Comics’ plan for a Watchmen prequel series gibe with the original graphic novel’s creator Alan Moore? If you know anything about Moore, you’ll know he doesn’t much care for the idea.
  • Obama is picking his fights carefully, choosing for whom he’s going to strongly fight. Pot users: it’s still not your turn.
  • Rex Huppke at the Chicago Tribune announces the “Death of Facts,” following one too many tea bagger fabrication.
  • The newest thing to be paranoid about: what employers think about your Klout score. (Yes, the hereby linked article explains just what a “Klout score” is. It has something to do with how active you are on Twitter, or something like that.)
THE PROBLEM WITH ‘RADICALS’ IS THEY’RE TOO CONSERVATIVE (PART 2)
Apr 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Not voting = voting a straight right-wing ticket. Period.

If you think you’re “too political” to sully your ideological purity, you’re doing just what the Koch Bros., Karl Rove, and Rush Limbaugh would like you to do.

Yes, I know several close friends will adamantly disagree with this.

These friends will agree to support ballot initiatives and referenda.

They’ll make themselves highly visible at protest events.

But they won’t be seen supporting a living breathing politician, except the occasional minor-party candidate like Nader.

Otherwise, they’re content to just protest all the bad things that get done, without doing anything practical to get good things done.

So righteous. So superior. So black-n’-white.

I, however, believe in shades of gray.

The non-theoretical world is a land of deals, hustles, and heartbreaks.

Obama always claimed to be a centrist. You should not feel betrayed when he turned out to really be one.

Yes, he’s compromised, with the defense lobby, the food lobby, the national security lobby, etc.

But the answer to only getting half of the agenda you want is not to throw it all away, to let the whole system be taken over by the guys who want total “freedom” for corporations and the rich, and brutal oppression toward the rest of us.

The only way to make anything happen in that world is to be in it, not to pronounce yourself too perfect to risk being sullied.

And don’t just run a Presidential candidate. Thanks to the Electoral College, there’s no practical way to get elected President without a nationwide, year-round party infrastructure behind you.

You want an American left that’s a real thing? Push for policies AND people, top to bottom, every district, every state.

Run through the Democratic Party structure when you can; through indie campaigns when you must. Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos calls this a push for “not just more Democrats but better Democrats.”

Building a national, permanent movement involves a lot of long, hard, boring work. It’s the opposite of the WTO anarchists’ slogan “Live Without Dead Time.”

But it’s the only way to make national, permanent changes.

Protesting, no matter how vigorous and high-profile, is never enough.

(P.S.: There’s been a highly active comment thread about this topic on Facebook lately.)

RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/26/12
Jan 25th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

delamar apartments (built 1909); from queen anne historical society

  • The Seattle Transit Blog would like you to know that, despite our politicians’ continuing paeans to the preservation of the sacred single family neighborhoods, the “majority of housing units in Seattle are multifamily” (apartments, condos, townhomes, et al.).
  • In a related trend, more Americans are now single than ever before. Only 51 percent of U.S. adults are married (even with the slow expansion of the right to get married).
  • Same sex marriages: At various past times and places, Christians loved ‘em.
  • A note to all our transit usin’ friends. Check out Metro’s proposed 2012 route changes while you can still give feedback about ‘em.
  • A cash-strapped state? Not if you listen to the construction lobby.
  • Is Amazon out to compete head-on with Netflix?
  • An 83-year-old peace-activist priest was sent to a Federal detention center in SeaTac, after he participated in a civil-disobedience action at a nuclear weapons plant site in Tennessee. He’s reportedly being held in solitary confinement, and has been on a hunger strike for two weeks.
  • Amy Goodman talks to people who see an “Occupy” influence in Obama’s State of the Union speech.
  • But then again, lotsa folk are trying to get a ride on the Occupy ____ bandwagon. Even anti-Semitic fringies, conspiracy-theory propagators, and radical libertarians. You know, the guys who believe business somehow doesn’t have enough power.
  • During this age of the incredibly shrinking newspaper, the Washington Post Co.’s main profit center has been the Kaplan “educational publishing” operation. That company’s bought a chain of for-profit colleges, now collectively known as Kaplan University. The Post Co.’s CEO has admitted, in now-revealed documents, that Kaplan U. used federal student loan funds and “predatory accounting” to jack up tuition costs to poor students.
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