We’re getting eclectic today, very brief listing:

Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong.

  • Rockstar Philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks about the london riots (many good bits, read it):

more than anything else, they were a manifestation of a consumerist desire violently enacted when unable to realise itself in the ‘proper’ way – by shopping. As such, they also contain a moment of genuine protest, in the form of an ironic response to consumerist ideology: ‘You call on us to consume while simultaneously depriving us of the means to do it properly – so here we are doing it the only way we can!’

This, then, is the legacy that decades of foreign investment have bestowed on Haiti: a brutal and intractable poverty, borne of a disastrous mix of well-intentioned aid and profit-driven development. Every decade or so, it seems, the world comes up with a bold new plan for saving Haiti — and each ultimately proves as ineffective and fleeting as the last.

  • and the GQ article by Michael Paterniti that inspired the movie Terminal. The story is so much more tragic and complicated than in the movie. Absolutely strange stuff. 




Some longer reads if you’re looking for something to do on your sunday afternoon/evening.

An essay on lesbian separatists in the 1970s, one on being the smartest girl in the room, one on what genius does in a country where it’s not met with opportunity, and finally, a magical tale about a musical prodigy.

Continue reading

Manning Links

Bradley Manning’s verdict has been announced. He has not been found guilty of aiding the enemy (which is a victory for media), but has been found guilty on a number of charges that could land him in jail for up to 136 years. For some reason I haven’t seen any reactions to this, which is rather unfortunate. This could turn out to be a seminal case. After all, this is the first case that examines the legality of mass leaks that have only become possible in the internet age. We should all be paying attention.

In case you want to read more on Manning, here are some links:

1. Crash Course: The Verge has a guide on what you need to know here.

2. Manning: If you are looking for more information on the man himself, this profile by Denver Nicks has been described as the definitive one. This article by Jesse Hicks at The Verge also profiles him, and also goes into some of the broader issues.

3. Solitary Confinement: The US government has been subject to criticism for the way Manning was treated; with reportedly being forced to be naked in the cell while enduring solitary confinement for extended periods. This article looks at Manning’s confinement and explains why solitary confinement is so harmful.

On that note, the UN special rapporteur on torture yesterday concluded an investigation by finding that “the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture.”

If anyone has good reads on the broader implications of this trial, please send them my way.


This is not actually about the band; it’s the 20th proper post, but this is a brilliant song-  headphones highly recommended.

Below the fold: The secret committee that decides how much you pay for healthcare; how Harper Lee is suing to get the copyright to her masterpiece back, a brilliant essay on class in America, and the best summary/explanation of PRISM so far.

Continue reading

Long Reads for the Weekend

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I thought I should compile some longer readings that take a bit more time, but are also worth it. The first set of articles deals with physical violence: we have the Rolling Stone profile of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the “Boston Bomber.” Then there’s a compelling and fascinating article about the Jurors and lawyers in the Emmett Till case, and what they had to say about it fifty years later. Finally, Ross Gay delivers a powerful and poignant narrative of being a black man in the U.S. Continue reading

Afternoon News Roundup

Because the stories aren't exactly uplifting, a picture of desert

Because the stories aren’t exactly uplifting, a picture of desert

Prominent Democrats Are Now Comfortable with Racial and Ethnic Profiling

Conor Friedensdorf writes about how the NYPD police commissioner has been brought up as a potential Secretary of Homeland Security, and how Obama has praised him. This is a problem:

Under Ray Kelly, the NYPD infiltrated Muslim communities and spied onhundreds or perhaps thousands of totally innocent Americans at mosques, colleges, and elsewhere. Officers “put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity,” AP reported, citing NYPD documents. Informants were paid to bait Muslims into making inflammatory statements. The NYPD even conducted surveillance on Muslim Americansoutside its jurisdiction, drawing a rebuke from an FBI field office, where a top official charged that “the department’s surveillance of Muslims in the state has hindered investigations and created ‘additional risks’ in counterterrorism.”

Friedensdorf highlights the hypocrisy of liberal elites, who denounce some profilers (like Sheriff Arpaio) but is at the very least implicitly endorsing racial profiling when it comes from other whom they like a bit better.

Racial and ethnic profiling isn’t a dealbreaker for Democratic elites anymore. A few Democratic congressmen are speaking up. But the Democratic establishment is largely fine with Kelly, just like they’re mostly willing to extol the leadership of his boss, Mayor Michael Bloomberg…So long as you have the right persona, come from the northeast, and refrain from attacking prominent Democrats, racial and ethnic profiling is tolerated.

Even rewarded.

Shameful stuff.

Below the fold: The overlooked Supreme Court decision that could make it really difficult to file harassment charges at work, and Jelani Cobb’s take on the Riot paranoia surrounding the Zimmerman trial.

Continue reading