Another “great” socialist dictator bites the dust — 49 years too late. Castro cared about the poor so much he created an island full of them, plus he made sure they stayed poor and oppressed for half a century. He and his moronic, despotic ideas wrecked his country, freezing it into a 1950s museum/prison. All that dreamery about him improving his people’s education and creating a health care system is a joke, right up there with all that 1930s-1980s swill about the great accomplishments of Soviet society. He gets credit for allowing farmers to sell surplus crops and letting ordinary people open four-seat restaurants, like he’s Adam Smith Jr. He was as clueless about economics as he was human rights. Not sure about the current status of his cigar industry, but the only thing I can think of that Castro’s leadership did to improve the world was give Miami a large middle class of exiles and create a farm system for major league baseball players — if they could fly or swim to freedom.
- I wrote a thing about Harley Quinn (or Harleys Quinn, considering her different origins) for Bounding Into Comics. Be gentle, boys, it’s my first time writing about comics (even if I am mostly writing about a cartoon).
- Fascinating B.K. Marcus piece on — among other things — the etymology of “Nazi” and what “national socialism” is or isn’t.
- Tom Cotton is the worst, and someday he will be president.
- Joan Walsh is joyfully voting H. Clinton, in spite of her “wonder[ing] whether she’ll be more hawkish on foreign policy than is advised in these dangerous times.” (That is the single sentence devoted to the issue in a long, luxurious piece about how feminism and something something glass ceiling.)
- The author of a new (for the US) bio of Raoul Wallenberg is convinced he was indeed executed in 1947, and did not die of a heart attack as the Russians still claim. (There were wild rumors of Wallenberg alive into the ’70s, which are arguably more horrifying than if he had just been killed in ’47.)
- Someone needs to tell the Christian Science Monitor that Vicki Weaver was shot in the head by an FBI sniper, and did not die in a “shootout.” They should also mention 80 Branch Davidians did not die by gunfire. I wrote my thesis on this, AND I know how to Google.
- Today in 1967, the Apollo 1 capsule caught fire during a test. Gizmodo has an interesting, short piece on how that influenced NASA safety (including inspiring them to make Snoopy a mascot, which explains the names that came later).
- RIP Concepcion Picciotto, who you may have passed outside of the White House once or twice.
- Well, the Guillotine is more humane for the death penalty, but also the governor of Maine is nuts.
- Several people I like and whose work I follow came out of or have written for Wonkette, and God damn do they make Gawker look sincere and serious sometimes.
- Possibly the Onion might chill with Hillary Clinton.
Today’s video reminds us that if they weren’t so amusing, Flight of the Conchords could have done more of a Milk Carton Kids thing (well, except that the one dude in the Milk Carton Kids is hilarious, so never mind):
In honor of this jam-packed day in American history — and in case you ever assume that yes, finally we all get it that Waco was horrific — please check out some of the depressing stuff I’ve written in the past few years about April 19.
More people, including liberals overly terrified of cults and militias, do kind of get it now. More than they did at the time, certainly. But a former fed who was there for the siege is still the official law enforcement go-to guy on MSNBC. And CNN appears to believe that the entire incident was sad because it made federal agents cry.
If I were feeling particularly daring, I might suggest that you read Timothy McVeigh’s “Essay on Hypocrisy.”
Terrorists are horrible, but they are often correct when they compare their actions to state actions. They see through some of the bullshit which excuses violence if it’s done by a state, or at least the proper type of seemingly well-intentioned state. Unfortunately, terrorists obviously manage to destroy their moral high ground by being violent assholes who kill innocent people en masse. Still, reading the words of terrorists will help us understand them. No matter how much the Rudy Giulianis of the world try to pretend it, explaining violence is not the same thing as excusing it. So, McVeigh did a monstrous thing. If you know my work at all, you don’t need me to say that. That doesn’t mean he didn’t express one or two disturbingly pointed things worth paying attention to.
So read these, watch Waco: The Rules of Engagement, and realize that yes, there are paranoid, irrational people in the world who believe crazy things. And sometimes those crazy things at least seem to be confirmed by real world events. I blame the government for conspiracy theories as much as I blame people’s inability to grasp what is proven, and what is most likely.
(And hey, you know about Waco. Do you know about MOVE?)
(And government, I am researching this for a fictional purpose as well. I swear.)
Mic writer Eileen Shim gives a Renee Zellweger’s face click bait headline, then self-righteously shames you for daring to click on such an inconsequential story. You should care about Kurds fighting, space travel, etc.
You should care more about all those things, that real news, but somehow Shim’s presentation makes me want to go read TMZ like I never have before. Give me good, real news. Find a way for me to want it, if I don’t want it. But do not lecture me about news. And do not sneak it in like a dog owner hides a pill in peanut butter. If I wanted a filibuster about the importance of true journalism, I would watch The Newsroom.
Ponderous Verge writer Chris Plante cares not for science. He cares only for the fact that British rocket scientist Matt Taylor wore a garish, goofy “girly” shirt on television while discussing how he was going to (along with other scientists) put a God damned probe on a God damned comet.
Alright, Plante later admitted to being a bit excessive, yet cheered poor Taylor’s apology which came earlier today. Taylor might be a big old softy who was actually wounded at being accused of sexism. Or he was just bummed out that the gnats of the internet managed to swarm around and diminish his bad-ass day of SCIENCE. Certainly he had been experiencing some seriously keyed-up emotions and stress levels for several days. We don’t know exactly why he was so upset. We do know that Plante’s satisfaction was cold and creepy. And his conviction that the apology at least meant something good came of this was asinine. Yes, Taylor was bullied into an apology — that will teach him to never wear a quirky shirt designed by a rockabilly woman ever again. I am sure that means his eyes were opened about sexism.
Dear feminists, I may be more contrarian than average. But I strongly suspect I am not the only person completely repulsed by your petty myopia. I am not of the right, but you’re certainly not making liberalism or feminism anything I wish to be affiliated with.
Cream of the crop is option three:
This Jezebel post was so painfully wrong that a quick scan of the comments shows folks asking “uh, what death threats?” People were rude to the woman who originally expressed disgust over Taylor’s shirt. I especially dislike “kill yourself” as an internet insult — and it seems to be only gaining in popularity. But neither “kill yourself’ or “jump off a cliff” are death threats.
Not to mention, see the headline. See the fact that only the woman’s narrow focus is acceptable. She is allowed to be offended by a shirt, but the men aren’t allowed to be frustrated by the fact that someone is making a big deal out of a clothing choice. It may well be worse to experience sexism than to be accused of being a sexist. Yet, in order to accept that sexism is bad, men (or women) are not obligated to become prostrate at every accusation of it. They are allowed to fight back.
Death threats are garbage. Everyone should calm down about almost everything except the state. But try to actually include death threats in your piece which advertises that they occurred.
There are small issues to talk about in the world. I hate high heels. I wish women wouldn’t change their last names so often. But yet another thing that violates the sanctity of choose my choice feminism is how I wish that women (and their allies) would stop obsessing over and writing about things as small as a goofy shirt. Especially on a site which has expressed teenaged-style fawning over Barack Obama, while failing to mention his unfortunately less cute attributes like killing Pakistani children and spying on the media and public. Can we not go a little bigger than #shirtgate — without turning into the social good preaching of Mic? Can we not ever learn that powerful, arrogant people who feel as if they have a right to our lives are the enemy — not a badly dressed* British rocket scientist?
Or is it all about pageviews? Yeah, it is. Never mind.
[*11/15 edit: I think I like the shirt now, but it could just be spite. It’s very hard to tell.]
Three writers who have seen a bit of police excess in their lives and reporting adventures discuss Ferguson, media, and what it would take for the rest of the country to demand real reform of the po-pos.
Host: Lucy Steigerwald: Columnist for VICE.com, Antiwar.com, Rare.us, and Editor in Chief of The Stag Blog; @lucystag
Guests: Michael Tracey, reporter for VICE, The American Conservative, The Nation, Salon; @mtracey
Justin Glawe, reporter for The Daily Beast, VICE; @justinglawe
The Tea Party senator has some wild and damaging ideas about education — and overlooks what actually works
Boy, Salon is pretty awful — and desperate to beat up on Rand Paul.
They let a public school math teacher from northwest Ohio attempt to put down some of Paul’s education reform ideas that were sketched out in Politico.
The selfless teacher actually argued that the best way to improve the quality of public K-12 teachers was not to offer more choice to parents/consumers but to pay teachers more. Brilliant.
Here’s the comment I posted to annoy everyone:
Nice headline. It’s hardly a “libertarian fantasy” to imagine a genuine k-12 education market that is overflowing with choices for consumers (parents) and the other taxpayers who foot the bill for the bloated, over-funded, poorly performing public school industrial complex. Our math teacher, like all good selfish/greedy union school teachers, doesn’t want any competition — human or digital — that might encroach or poach on “his” government-protected economic turf.
Rand Paul isn’t talking about replacing flesh and blood teachers with online lecturers. He wants to remove the myriad government restrictions that protect the current public school system and create an education market. He wants to allow/encourage a thousand schools of every kind and size and shape to bloom. Our high college tuition costs are caused by government subsidies/policies, but there is far more choice for parents/students in the American college market (and in cars and shoes and grocery stores and many other goods and services) than in k-12 education.
The current system — a 19th century factory-school, made-in-Prussia model of control and brainwashing that liberals and libertarians have lamented and loathed for 140 years — should be broken up, defunded, deregulated, privatized and taken away from government control and protection.
Meanwhile, paying public school teachers more is not the way to get better teachers; but allowing people to become teachers without having to waste two years at a state teachers college getting a teacher’s certificate is. If Christ or Einstein came back from the dead and said they wanted to teach ethics or physics at your local high school, they’d be told they weren’t allowed until they got their teacher’s certificate and got at the end of the waiting line.
Public school teachers have a good racket because they and the “industry” they work in are protected from competition by their friends in government. Until their privileged racket is broken up, they deserve all the competition and damaging they get.
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