Currently viewing the category: "Morning links"
  • via Guardian

    via Guardian

    The lovely Oliver Sacks has died. I am trying to write at least one thing about him or how much he meant to me (even if I hate personal essays), but it will never hold up to the man himself. If you ant to cry, read his New York Times piece where he told the world he was dying. Better yet, read all his books. I am very glad to have interacted with him, if only through a letter. I am also very glad to have not gotten through all of his books yet. Alas, I have more of a “I will cry” aversion now to reading his last, a memoir.

  • He sometimes responded to 13-year-olds, too. This-one-that-was, at least.
  • Robert Anton Wilson maybe had the right idea on voting (if you go to the booth). These Reason surveys are weirdly entrancing, partially because some people are disappointing one year, sensible the next. Also my dad talked about neocons going back to their caves. (On a side note, if they don’t ask me to participate next year, I will cry. No pressure.)
  • Speaking of Robert Anton Wilson, this is in its way as moving as Sacks’ final essay on mortality in February. I gotta read his work.
  • Man, these great writers are kind of putting on the pressure to write something beautiful, moving, and unafraid when facing death. Honestly, guys. Hitchens did the same thing, with the additionally impressive fearlessness of the staunch atheist.
  • I will not admit to you how much of this angry recap blog of every single episode of Full House I have read.
  • I understand many things with which I don’t agree. I don’t agree with the many cries of cultural appropriation, but I do think actress Amandla Steinberg’s line about “What would America be like if it loved black people as much as it loves black culture?” has some truth to it. A thing that I truly do not understand (still) is accusations of racism in respect to Miley Cyrus’ black backup dancers. Now she’s worn dreadlock hair extensions and a few people are annoyed, and that I get (I understand, I do not agree). Not to be stuck in 2013, but I still do not understand why having all black backup dancers during a dance (not, like, in your life, Gwen Stefani and those Japanese women-style) is supposed to be bad. Are we supposed to hire more white dancers? This is such a mess.
  • Speaking of which: Cathy Young has a fine, nuanced piece on cultural appropriation. Don’t cringe, I swear it’s good.
  • Oh, and Taylor Swift is just a COLONIAL MONSTER because she has a video set in Africa, which seems to have a vague storyline of Taylor Swift and Hot Man are old timey film stars. Okay, internet. Okay. I am much more indignant that her new single is the song where she sounds exactly like Lana Del Rey, instead of something superior like “I Know Places” or even “How You Get The Girl.” (1989 is underwhelming, but has enough ear worms that I have opinions about it.)

Today’s song:

George Jones is going to burn down all your favored socializing spots.

  • Any excuse to post this, in the years to come.I recently discovered the adsorbing Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog. Its author, an academic, invented various incarnations of a NukeMap, in which you can use Google maps (or Google Earth, for those not saddled with a Chromebook) to see the effects of various atomic bombs — from Hiroshima to the full, unused iteration of the Tsar Bomba — on various cities.
  • The author also wrote a “Why Nagasaki” post yesterday, which is soft on the whole thing, but is enlightening as to the debated motivations of those involved in nuking the shit out of that bonus city.
  • The Onion said it best on Nagaski.
  • I am reminded of the time a few months back where I asked my would-be engineer friend to explain why nuclear stuff is measured by half-life. Drunk friend fluctuated between condescending over-explanation to poor, sweet liberal arts majors, and baffling science attacks (to poor, sweet liberal arts majors). Somehow it eventually made sense, but God knows I couldn’t explain it.
  • Once-classified US government footage of rebuilding Hiroshima.
  • Matt Novak’s sweet Paleofuture blog seems to have wandered over to Gizmodo.
  • Cato’s Julian Sanchez was deliciously sassy on Chris Hayes on Friday, talking NSA and Obama press conferences. And The Guardian‘s Spencer Ackerman was himself, and was therefore great. And Robert Gibbs said the word debate so. many. times. and it was terrible.

Five non-link tweets I have recently favorited, for your enjoyment:

Today’s video(s):

Willie Watson, the lamented and departed member of Old Crow Medicine Show, singing “High Dice Blues/Shooting High Dice” with guitar that sounds exactly like the Mississippi Sheiks version of the song. Check ’em both out:

I love the Mississipi Sheiks so much. But you would know that if you have been listening to my radio show, now tragically nearing its end.

 

  • eagle_circle_bigThe Washington Post‘s exclusive story on PRISM, the NSA/FBI program that allows those agencies to tap into the servers of nine of the biggest internet companies in the U.S., including Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. (Not Twitter, it seems!) The awkward NSA powerpoint leaked to WaPost can be found here.
  • Gleen Greenwald’s Guardian exclusive on how Verizon is forced to hand over its customers metadata — meaning which numbers call which numbers, for how long, and the location of the nearest cell tower. Here’s the official leaked document.
  • It’s not just Verizon, it’s also AT&T and Sprint.
  • Greenwald going on MSNBC, being a sexy patriot and telling the government to come at him, bro.
  • The New York Times had an amazing, withering editorial that used to say that the Obama “administration has lost all credibility.”
  • And then they wussed out, notes Gawker.
  • Amazing detail from the previously more-awesome editorial: Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, the author of the PATRIOT Act, is worried about the NSA. His laughable and infuriating statement can be found here.
  • Radley Balko is even a better poet than I am!
  • Ann Coulter has no principles.
  • Reminder that Thomas Drake was another (former) NSA employee who leaked information. Even the people in the scariest agencies sometimes realize that something is awry. This is a strange concept for a libertarian to comprehend.
  • In other weirdly positive government news, Sens. Mark Udall and Ron Wyden tried to tell us something was amiss. I suppose they’re inherently sell-outs for taking that job, but at least they’re pushing back.
  • On the other hand, Udall still can’t confirm anything that was leaked in the last few days.
  • Jerry Tuccille muses on the madness of internal immigration checkpoints. I still don’t understand why they’ve been upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • Man Tazered by police while he struggled to save his son from a burning house. The baby died.
  • Michael Tracey on Alex Jones, Bilderberg, and the GOP welcoming the crazies.
  • Three terrible, neocon tweets, possibly preserved in some sort of social networking hibernation in 2004 to be thawed out now:

I didn’t know Eric Holder was soft on terrorists! What a disturbing interpretation!

You’re a parody.

“Playing the victim.”

  • Two different round-ups of more awful responses. The first is from Dan Bier at The Skeptical Libertarian, the second is from Andrew Kirell at Mediaite. The worst one is by far from Nick Kristof of The New York Times. The most banal — to me, and at least before the insane infowars-invaded press conference — was the one from Alex Jones. What the hell else would you expect from him besides spouting off about a “false flag attack”? I’m more impressed that he managed to express some sorrow for the lives lost.
  • And honestly, I think that the Cable News response could have been a lot worse. Some lingering lessons from Tuscon shooting, Sandy Hook, maybe Columbine, for Christ’s sake, seems to have finally stuck in people’s minds. I mean, Fox News still leaned towards terrorists of the brown persuasion (and Cavuto talked to Joe Arpaio, which was terribly enlightening, as you can imagine). MSNBC and CNN used words like “Waco” and “McVeigh” a lot more often. And, ya know, The New York Post lost its fucking mind and continued to refer to a Saudi suspect and 12 dead until at least 6 p.m. But somehow it felt like it could have been worse.
  • Some moving and grisly photos compiled by Buzzfeed. Take their”graphic” warning to heart. If you can stomach seeing a man with half both legs gone, you may be able to appreciate one amazing photo in particular. That sounds utterly callous, but then, so is taking a photo of a naked, napalmed girl. There’s no way to resolve my — or other folks’ — appreciation for hideous, powerful photojournalism. It’s always going to be wrong and necessary to intrude into people’s horror-moments in this way.
  • Dave Weigel on “Why the Conspiracy Theorists Will Have a Tough Time With Boston.” Weigel seems to have forgotten about the existence of the Zapruder film, however. I’m going to have to assume there’s some sort of deep conspiracy there.
  • Something to make you tear up — more concrete even than a Mr. Rogers quote.
  • Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray on Rand Paul’s attempt to win over Democrat youth.
  • Fuck yeah, Justin Bieber — seriously.
  • Politico on Rand Paul and “mainstream libertarianism” — features this cringe-worthy lede: “Stereotyped for decades as pro-pot, pro-porn and pro-pacifism, libertarians are becoming mainstream.” Stereotyped is another word for “those are integral parts of our political belief”?
  • Fuck Rand Paul, says Charlie Pierce of Esquire.
  • Yes to gays and guns (speaking of mainstream libertarianism!)
  • Matt Welch still thinks Rand Paul’s anti-drone filibuster was damned historic.
  • Over at The Skeptical Libertarian, Dan Bier offers a warning to anyone who is excited about the new “Ron Paul” homeschooling curriculum.
  • VICE writer on hitchhiking to Texas and almost joining (one of) the reunited Black Flag(s). A sincere, heartfelt piece. I want more of that from VICE.
  • “Jerry Brown Should (Still) Be Ashamed of California’s Prisons”
  • Time’s Joel Klein thinks that pro-gun folks are “anti-American.”
  • Breitbart on why VICE isn’t edgy enough, with bonus calling me a lefty bit.
  • The sound of 10,000 punks’ heads exploding.
  • Wish I could be there on the 19th.