Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Potter on DN

With regards to single payer, I think the President made a big blunder. I think he should have said, when he was inaugurated or soon—as soon as this debate began, that—you know, let’s look at what would be the best solution for this country. And why not consider a single-payer system? Let’s have that debate in Congress. It may not wind up that that is what this Congress enacts, but that debate should have happened. It will happen ultimately. And I think these protests are an important thing in our country.
I think it will eventually take a social movement to get the kind of healthcare that we need in this country—healthcare reform.
Wendell Potter, former top executive at CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest for-profit health insurance companies. Up until last year, Wendell Potter served as head of corporate communications at CIGNA and as CIGNA’s chief corporate spokesperson. He also once headed communications at Humana, another large for-profit health insurer. Wendell Potter is now a fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy and has become one of the industry’s most prominent whistleblowers.

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Pride of the Confederacy

IMproPRieTies is pleased to note that it is the top Google search result for "prayeration" -- and probably will hold the honor until Sarah Palin steals it.

She mounts the Throne: her head a Cloud conceal'd . . . #

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The policies of academic journal publishers basically suck

As library budgets are cut nationwide due to the economic recession, it is time for universities to rethink the academic publishing model. The answer lies in open-access journal articles.
But apparently not at Stanford.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

factory of putative play

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Taxpayers should have access to knowledge they enable:
The Federal Research Public Access Act would be a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers. The federal government funds over $60 billion in research annually. Research supported by the National Institutes of Health, which accounts for approximately one-third of federally funded research, produces an estimated 80,000 peer-reviewed journal articles each year. link (pdf) via Taxpayer @ccess

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Marcus Fabius Quintilianus does a reverse one and a half somersaults with three and a half twists, pike, in his grave

Mr. LATIMER: The president had taken a class at Yale about how to write a speech, and I forgot who the professor was, but there was a very strict way that we were supposed to do all the speeches - and I was told this a number of times when I came to the White House. And the Yale school of speechwriting was: you give an introduction, Point A, Point B, Point C, a prayeration(ph), and a conclusion.

GROSS: A prayeration is what? What's a prayeration?

Mr. LATIMER: I was just going to say I'm from Michigan, so you know, I never heard the word prayeration before. I didn't know. I think it's a summary of what the points were or something.


Matt Latimer: A speechwriter for George W. Bush. From Michigan.

Gross: Fresh Air personage. Full transcript of interview.

Quintilian: a Roman rhetorician, author of Institutio Oratoria, who knew from peroration.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

no mutilations, no mom

most historians believed that only the fear of war could motivate people to form complex societies. And, since Caral did not show any trace of warfare; no battlements, no weapons, and no mutilated bodies, they found it hard to accept it as the mother city. link

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The best parody is the thing itself

David Weinberger detects a certain closeness between a 2004 parody of RIAA impropaganda and, hooha, a new piece of genuine RIAA bullshit.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009


A thoughtful piece about news by Megan Garber - if one is not utterly sick of thinking about it. Among other good things, she tells an anecdote from George Trow. Common Knowledge. (via Jay Rosen)

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Bray's specific formula for abject failure

Internet repels cheesy controls. Even controls without cheese. Don't take my word for it. Let me steal Tim Bray's:
copyright policy emphatically should not rely in any essential way on the use of technological anti-circumvention measures; such reliance is a recipe for failure.

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blowup risk, tail risk, and mere stupidity

Let us move voluntarily into Capitalism 2.0 by helping what needs to be broken break on its own, converting debt into equity, marginalising the economics and business school establishments, shutting down the "Nobel" in economics, banning leveraged buy-outs, putting bankers where they belong, clawing back the bonuses of those who got us here, and teaching people to navigate a world with fewer certainties. Taleb

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

In blindness we trust

Robert W. McChesney on The Death and Life of American Journalism (book due in Jan.)

The problem, in short, is rooted in the longstanding tension between advertising-supported, profit-making media and democracy-sustaining journalism. . . .

the Internet will no more spawn sufficient journalism than will the old media. . . .

Jefferson and Madison and our other founders did not roll the dice and hope rich people could make profits doing journalism so we could have a Republic. Instead, in the first several generations they instituted massive postal and printing subsidies that created the independent newspaper system in the United States. The value of the federal subsidy of the 1840s, for example, in contemporary terms would be roughly $30 billion annually. That is roughly 75 times greater than the current federal subsidy for public broadcasting. . . .

These were brilliant democratic subsidies that gave us quality journalism but also a competitive and uncensored press. We need to do the same today. We need to revamp daily newspapers into independent post- corporate entities, vastly expand funding to public media and find ways to subsidized nonprofit journalism online.

All of which, yes, fine. But why look solely to private citizens for subsidy, and not to corporate citizens as well?

McChesney makes a case for the need within a capitalism run amok to support honest journalism. Still, something is blocking our thinking -- preventing us from seeing how the profits of Big Pipes can be put into a blind trust to help support Net Content.

Corporations work on multiple levels in the service of unending profit. One of the layers is human freedom. That unendingness is the infinity that perforates any usable form of balanced economic system. There is justice in redressing the imbalance.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

death in the rearview mirror

Dean offers a roll call of some public figures who died this year, within a reflection on the day and the season.

It's usually impossible for me to ever keep straight who in the glittering house of fame is alive, and whose beam is on automatic. The advent of fame is the advent of death, only some are strangely still breathing. Or something.

Dean identifies the names by field, by personal reminiscence, by endeavor, or claim to fame - the Taco Bell dog, e.g. It reads like an x-ray of the ganglia of a generation. One that is still generating, and degenerating, for a bit longer.

There's more to it - to us - to everything - than we know. Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars, wrote Benjamin.

Perhaps constellations are the fame of stars. When Dean goes to Yankee stadium, he tweets the games.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Gay science

The Happy Tutor wishes to bring open dialog into the philanthropic community, but he has a tough crowd in his classroom:

Those who control that table, the financial planners, lawyers, and accountants . . . who control the planning table describe the conversation of purpose as "touchy feely," "soft," and essentially effeminate, he says.

Perhaps the Liberal Arts are in need of a macho injection.

Pesellino might be just the ticket:

Back-up squad includes Samson:

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Liberal Arts

Sunday, September 06, 2009

via Humorzo:

The phrase “golden age of capitalism” might itself be challenged. The period can more accurately be called “state capitalism.”


It is also important to remind ourselves that the notion of workers’ control is as American as apple pie. In the early days of the industrial revolution in New England, working people took it for granted that “those who work in the mills should own them.” They also regarded wage labor as different from slavery only in that it was temporary; Abraham Lincoln held the same view.


There have been immense efforts to drive these thoughts out of people’s heads—to win what the business world called “the everlasting battle for the minds of men.” On the surface, corporate interests may appear to have succeeded, but one need not dig too deeply to find latent resistance that can be revived. There have been some important efforts.


It is a propitious time to revive such efforts - Crisis and Hope.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hitting the Blind Capitalist Nail with the Hammer of Ethical Insight

the crisis we are now living through is essentially a value crisis, where . . . exchange value no longer adequately reflects use value, or, to put it in less cryptic terms, there is a general sensation that a lot of the real values that circulate in our economy cannot be adequately represented.

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