Saturday, September 21, 2013

All I've got is a photograph

Tim Noah was the guest on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd this week. Tim's recent book, The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It, "provides evidence of two inequality trends: between the college educated and those who are not, and between the 1% and everyone else." What I found most interesting was the fact that this is Tim Noah, who hasn't been all that far outside of the CW (and still clearly believes a lot of it), a former senior editor at The New Republic, and he seems to be morphing into...well, liberalism. The clear suggestion here is that more and more members of the press corps are starting to realize that they aren't part of the elite, and that their ox really is getting gored.
And something else is going on, too - that people on the Republican right and on the libertarian right are starting to make common cause with liberals on issues that were once simply partisan and can now be seen differently - in things like David Vitter working with the most liberal Democrats in Congress to try to clean up the financial industry, and things like Rand Paul signing on to the once unspeakably liberal cause of getting rid of mandatory minimum sentences. Since this sort of issue is far more important to what's happening to the black community than almost anything (other than the general economy) over the last few decades, it will be interesting to see how this shakes out the partisan divide. But it's also reassuring that, at long last, we are seeing some Democrats actually talk like liberals and make the liberal case on these issues.

David Dayen on how the courts are preventing homeowners from filing class action suits against the banks: "Those defrauded by Bank of America aren't allowed to file a collective complaint thanks to a 2011 Supreme Court ruling."

Five Charts You Need to See of our non-recovery recovery.

Adam Weinstein doesn't feel special or entitled, just poor. How dumb do you have to be not to notice that things are too tight for most people today, regardless of which generation they're in? Yeah, a lot of boomers are better off than their kids and grandkids, but the truth is that even a substantial proportion of boomers are losing or have lost everything, and can see for themselves that their kids can't find jobs because there aren't any and the costs of higher education are simply unsupportable. People who get paid good money to write about how this or that generation "feels entitled" and deserves to be cut loose from what few supports our system has left should never be listened to. And none of this has to happen. This is all a decision made by a few powerful creeps, and their answer is to pay some privileged journalists to write about how the poor got too much already, the olds got too much, the young got too much, and everybody wants more than they deserve - except for the very rich, who deserve more more more until there is nothing left for everyone else. If your kids aren't angry, they should be. If your parents and siblings aren't angry, they should be. It should surprise no one that the "generation" that is writing all this crap about "entitled" young people has names like "Megan McArdle", of course, but no one should be fooled by this crap. If you still think it's generational warfare, you are way behind the curve. Ah, I see via Atrios that Roy Edroso went after this one, too.

"One Disturbing Reason For Our Exploding Prison Population" - because the prison contracts guarantee the state will pay the prison company for unused beds at a high price if quotas aren't filled.

"The Government is Spying on You: ACLU Releases New Evidence of Overly Broad Surveillance of Everyday Activities."

Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange, and others participated in a 90-minute discussion of The war on whistleblowers and journalism, and you can watch the video at the Guardian site, where Glenn posted it with some interesting background and links on his page.

"NSA Sends Letter to Its ‘Extended' Family to Reassure Them That They Will ‘Weather' This ‘Storm': The National Security Agency sent out a letter to all of its employees and affiliates, including contractors, that could be printed and shared with family, friends and colleagues. It was intended to reassure them that the NSA is not really the abusive and unchecked spying agency engaged in illegal activity that someone reading former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's disclosures might think it happens to be."

You might be an Obot if you attack Jeremy Scahill: "Jeremy Scahill, an investigative foreign correspondent whose first documentary, Dirty Wars, opens Friday, writes for The Nation and achieved his biggest success with Blackwater, a best-selling book critiquing security contractors hired by the George W. Bush administration. Neither of which keeps him from being labeled a right-wing stooge by detractors. "Most of my hate mail nowadays comes from liberals, not conservatives," he said. This is because Mr. Scahill has also been an outspoken critic of President Obama. Specifically, he disapproves of what he describes as the administration's efforts to "normalize and legitimize" targeted assassinations - drone-executed and otherwise - Special Operations raids and other covert military practices that blur the battle lines of the war on terrorism."

Syrian President: 'In 2003 we proposed UN to get rid of WMD in the entire Middle East but U.S. was against the proposal'

Credit where it's due: Obama did something that slightly makes things better by extending minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers. Yes, it's a situation that was intentionally racist, but that is less the case now and the fact is that even people who already, theoretically, have these protections mostly don't have them in practice these days, and by the way, the minimum wage is still much, much lower than it should be. And this is good, too, but let's remember that benefits only accrue to people who have jobs, and in the current economy, equality means an equal right to no jobs. But it's something.

Alan Grayson asks the questions that clear up Benghazi.

In comments, ksix asks: "Remember this profile in presidential courage from the Clinton years? He certainly did set the tone for New Democrats." He's referencing "Is the CIA above the law?" which says, "PARIS -- On the day that Alger Hiss' death was made known, the New York Times reported that Richard Nuccio, a senior State Department officer, has been threatened with criminal charges and faces the ruin of his government career because last year he made it known to a member of the House Intelligence Committee that the CIA had repeatedly lied to it, in defiance of the law, about its responsibility in the murders of an American citizen and the husband of another American in Guatemala. The CIA argues that it is a crime (the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation of Mr. Nuccio) for an official of the government to privately inform an appropriate member of Congress -- properly cleared to receive classified information -- that the CIA had lied to Congress about illegal actions that included complicity in murder."

If you haven't been asked to sign A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism yet, you can still add your name in support.

The New York Times 1924: "Hitler Tamed By Prison. [...] He looked a much sadder and wiser man today..."

RIP Ray Dolby, 80: "Dolby left behind a legacy that is etched in the annals of the audio and film industry, changing the face of studio recording, and blazing a path for high fidelity and surround sound in both movie theaters and the home that is still being followed today."

"ReThink Review: Good Ol' Freda - The Beatles' Longtime Secretary Speaks [...] Freda Kelly, who ran the Beatles' fan club and was the secretary for their manager Brian Epstein, has refused to speak about or profit from her account of the eleven years she spent working for the Beatles. But with a desire for her grandson to know her story and her place in rock history, Freda is now ready to talk about her time at the epicenter of Beatlemania, even if she isn't ready to spill all of the beans just yet -- or ever."

"Firefly Premiered 11 Years Ago Today, It's About Time We Recapped It"

Arlo's Flickr stream - some lovely stuff here.

"Maxime Qavtaradze is literally close to the heavens." Photo essay with some great pictures, and a movie trailer for The Stylite.

A Year of Incredible Space Photos: Royal Observatory's Winning Images


Ringo Starr and some friends, live


  1. It is a fine photograph, Avedon.

    All I've got is a turkey, flying. (As god is my witness!)

    Maybe I'll just post that.

  2. Avedon writes:

    [BEGIN QUOTE]>>>>>Tim Noah, who hasn't been all that far outside of the CW (and still clearly believes a lot of it), a former senior editor at The New Republic, and he seems to be morphing into...well, liberalism. The clear suggestion here is that more and more members of the press corps are starting to realize that they aren't part of the elite, and that their ox really is getting gored. <<<<<[END QUOTE]

    Better late than never but let's keep the obvious in front of us. The occasional fleeting sighting of the truth in unexpected places by Avedon, Stuart Z., and others notwithstanding, reporters and pundits are never going to be reasoned with, see the light, and then mutiny to seize the control of Main Steam Media messaging from corporate ownership. Only the, er, talent who advance a pro-corporate, pro- supply side narrative, or those who can whip up interest in stories that distract from what's vital, all together, are going to stay eligible for face time or bylines and the lucrative rewards that go with them.

    Liberals and lefites should take a page out of the Movement Conservative playbook and be constantly condemning the Main Stream Media's depiction of reality while recommending, more carefully than the right does, alternative sources for news and opinion. In the words of Kyle Reese: Listen, and understand. The Corporate Conglomerate is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, even when you are totally insolvent and completely compliant.

    1. Liberals and lefites should take a page out of the Movement Conservative playbook

      The first and most important play from that playbook is receive funding from the plutocracy.

      The second is to have your movement be taken seriously, no matter how foolish and/or insane it gets, by that Main Steam Media messaging that you mentioned.

      Neither are actual alternatives for us.

  3. Re: Exploding prison population - Why not close prisons as The Netherlands did for lack of criminals. Oh wait ..... there's no money in that.

    Re: A fine photograph - Here's some spectacular landscape photography by Polish artist Maciej Duczynski -


  4. Nice to see Arlo's pictures. Thanks, Avedon.

    As for Jeremy Scahill, anyone attacking him has got to be a stone fool. The man has done genuinely heroic deeds to report out of half the hellholes on earth. He is careful in what he says, never exaggerating the bad things the Administration has done, just speaking factually. According to an interview of him, he started out journalism offering to walk the dog or do the windows for DemocracyNow's Amy Goodman, anything to be given a chance to report for DN.

    Now he has won the Windham-Campbell award, one of the highest prizes in journalism. Just amazing.

  5. So I followed the link to Adam Weinstein's piece and figured I should read the original (about why "Lucy" the "Gen Y Gypsy" is unhappy) before I read his reply, so I followed the link to that. After reading it, I realized I didn't need to read Adam's reply (although I did) because my response to the original was, in short, what the hell is this person talking about?

    Beyond being nothing more than a vacuous "these kids today" type sneer, it contained one of the most laughable arguments I've seen in a long time: the claim that the baby boomer generation, the "hippie generation," my generation, was focused on a "secure" career with a long term of hard work leading to a future payoff.

    Excuse me? We practically invented the idea that careers should be fulfilling and emotionally satisfying rather than just a way to pay the bills. We did it firmly enough that we got mocked for it both then and later and well enough that the 1980s could subsequently give rise to the phrase "do what you love, the money will follow."

    Hang in there, Gen Yers: Some of your elders may be grups but those of us who still have memories (and dreams) understand and sympathize.