Weekend Reading

As I get back into groove of blogging, I think it’s just about time for some weekend reading, don’t you?

Malcolm Harris writes a brilliant piece at The New Inquiry on Occupy Wall Street as a generational crisis.

Angus Johnston supplements the argument by breaking down critiques of college privilege.

The American Right is all culture war, all the time - from contraception to foreign policy to education.

In 80 years, 93% of seed varieties went extinct.

The adjunct problem is every professor’s problem.

How to talk to young black boys about Trayvon Martin.

Barbara Ehrenreich argues that we need to rediscover poverty.

The nation’s richest have benefited the most from the recovery, which isn’t how things happened after the Great Depression.

Investment Banking Sucks Everywhere, Including Canada.

Canada’s most recent scandal appeals to our immature sense of humor.

An al Qaeda media strategist wrote that Fox sucks, CNN is better, and MSNBC shouldn’t have fired Olbermann, in the greatest act of trolling ever.

Meritocracy and Measurement Myths.

The U.S. continues to keep secrets, punish whistle blowers, and kill citizens ten years after the War on Terror.

On Hearts and Minds in the War in Afghanistan:

It’s hard to spot the end of a war that had no coherent mission and no measurable progress from the beginning, but I’d say this is looking quite a bit like the endpoint. There appears to be little left for the US military to do but turn everything over to the sparse, corrupt, and weak Afghan government and then pull up stakes in the middle of the night and disappear. It’s eerie how we were just talking about the Fall of Saigon a week ago; we may be re-enacting something similar in the near future.

Will anyone even notice? Have the GOP candidates – or any candidate for Congress, for that matter – devoted anything but token attention and interest to Afghanistan? No, they’re all breathlessly laying out plans to start a war with Iran, taking care to stand behind the podium to hide their erections. The war nobody paid attention to, fought for reasons Afghans didn’t understand and toward ends that Americans couldn’t define, will finally get the full attention of the political system…when the candidates decide that it will be a convenient excuse to call Obama a quitter, pansy, cheese-eating surrender monkey, and betrayer of the American way.

A changing of the flag triggers debate over nation and religion in Tunisia.

The Invention of the Savage: Colonial Exhibitions and the Staging of the Arab Spring.

Republicans won’t be talking about the real reason gas prices are going up.

Some Occupy protesters are having their bail set based on whether or not they will submit to iris scan photographs.

Mike Daisey has something in common with Greg Mortenson and Tom MacMaster, but also with Jimmy McNulty of The Wire.

Rep. Darrell Issa thinks that banks couldn’t help engaging in foreclosure fraud.

Some notes on the coup in Mali that happened on Wednesday:

An in-depth report on the failed “grand bargain” debt ceiling talks reveals the change in negotiations last summer.

Sady Doyle identifies with Sarah Palin after watching Game Change, and reflects on how she is portrayed:

Politically minded reviewers have called the Palin character “narcissistic.” You can find support for that theory in the real-life Sarah Palin, certainly. But I don’t think you can find it in this movie. This Palin isn’t self-aggrandizing; she’s needy. She bases her self-concept entirely on how other people react to her. When she watches Tina Fey portray her on Saturday Night Live, she’s mortified; when she sees people criticizing her on the news, she breaks down. When it gets really bad, she can’t speak, or look anyone in the eye; she just folds in on herself and stops functioning. And when she’s trying to stave off a breakdown, she’s stuck in a petty rage that no doubt feels like strength; she hates the world that hates her, because that’s her only way to convince herself that they’re wrong, that she still has worth.

But when she’s with her supporters, or when she receives praise, or when she’s with people who actually do like her, such as her family — which is rare, due to the campaign; the movie barely touches on this, what it means for her to be separated from her new baby, or what it means that her son has recently deployed to Iraq, but it’s an ever-present part of the subtext — she’s an entirely different person. You can see her sucking it in, like oxygen; becoming more centered, and charming, and confident, and functional.

At one point, after her debate with Biden, the movie shows her watching late coverage, and landing on Pat Buchanan praising her for being “attractive” and “personable.” She can’t look away. It’s the first nice thing she’s heard about herself in months, and she takes it in with terrible hunger. She looks at Pat fucking Buchanan like a starving person looking at a plate full of cheeseburgers.

A report on fuel smuggling from Nigeria to Togo, Benin and the rest of West Africa.

Military STD posters from WWI and WWII.

An effort to understand the al Shabaab/al Qaeda merger.

Did George Zimmerman abuse 911 calls?

How not to study gender in the Middle East.

George Clooney got arrested, but he isn’t helping Sudan.

State legislators want the government out of your business, unless your business is ladybusiness.

Going the full Cantor - on Israel’s special place as a US ally.

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