Archive for the 'New Media' Category
A law professor at the University of Colorado via Salon:
the trial of George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin was all about race. And because it happened in America, the people who benefit politically from the same invidious forces that led both to Trayvon Martin’s killing, and the acquittal of his killer, will deny that race had anything to do with either the killing or the verdict.
Suppose Trayvon Martin had been a 230-pound 30-year-old black man, with a loaded gun in his jacket. Suppose Zimmerman had been a 150-pound 17-year-old white kid, who was doing nothing more threatening than walking back from a convenience store to his father’s condo.
Suppose Martin had stalked Zimmerman in his car, until Zimmerman became afraid and tried to elude him. Suppose Martin had gotten out of his car and pursued Zimmerman. Suppose this led to some sort of altercation in which the big scary black man ended up with a bloody nose and some scratches on the back of his head, and the scared skinny (and unarmed) white kid had ended up with a bullet in his heart.
How do you suppose the big scary black man’s claim of “self-defense” would have gone over with a jury made up almost entirely of white women? But of course this is America, which means that the scary figure in this story is the skinny unarmed teenager, because in America pretty much any black male over the age of 12 in this sort of situation is going to be presumed to be the ”aggressor,” the “thug” – in short,” the real criminal,” until he’s proved innocent, which he won’t be, even if he’s now a dead, still unarmed teenager. And his killer is a grown man who provokes a fight with an otherwise harmless kid, starts losing it, and then shoots the kid dead.
Because this is America, pointing out that a black boy can be shot with impunity by a more or less white man because many white Americans are terrified by black boys and men is called “playing the race card.” The race card is what the people who benefit politically from the fact that many white Americans are terrified by black boys and men call any reference to the fact that race continues to play an overwhelmingly important, and overwhelmingly invidious, role in American culture in general. And in the criminal justice system in particular.
Trayvon Martin was stalked by George Zimmerman because he was black. Trayvon Martin is dead because he was black. George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin because the boy Zimmerman killed was black. If you deny these things, you are either a liar or an idiot, or possibly both.
Forget the over-zealous prosecutors and the repellent state attorney Angela Corey (who should be immediately disbarred or, my wife said sarcastically, elevated to director of Homeland Security) and even the unfortunate Trayvon Martin family (although it is certainly hard to forget them — they have our profound sympathies), the true loser at the Zimmerman trial was Barack Obama.
By injecting himself in a minor Florida criminal case by implying Martin could be his son, the president of the United States — a onetime law lecturer, of all things — disgraced himself and his office, made a mockery of our legal system and exacerbated racial tensions in our country, making them worse than they have been in years. This is the work of a reactionary, someone who consciously/unconsciously wants to push our nation back to the 1950s.
It is also the work of a narcissist who thinks of himself first, of his image, not of black, white or any other kind of people. It’s no accident that race relations in our country have gone backwards during his stewardship.
Congratulations to the jury for not acceding to this tremendous pressure and delivering the only conceivable honest verdict. This case should never have been brought to trial. It was, quite literally, the first American Stalinist “show trial.” There was, virtually, no evidence to convict George Zimmerman.
There has been a fair amount of reaction to this case in the political and celebrity worlds. Having listened to commentary from left and right, we observe that the narratives believed by each correlate pretty well with how they vote, which isn’t that surprising. It’s also, sadly, not surprising that the partisan media failed to do its job or that in the increasingly post-religious vulgarian America, many people don’t think twice about calling for the jury to be murdered.
All the tech companies are denying that they ever heard of “PRISM“, and that the government does not have “direct access” to their servers. Amazingly, they all use almost precisely identical language to frame their non-denial denials. It’s another pathetic chapter in a long running series. So they didn’t apparently know the name “PRISM”, and they apparently forwarded the information the government requested to separate servers. Next!
Mary Meeker’s 117 slide presentation at the digital conference.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Law & Order, whether the original, SVU or CI, there are a couple of rules when approached for a friendly conversation with investigators: lawyer up and shut up being notable among them. Even a smart lawyer like Scooter Libby ignored this advice. Both Michael Ledeen and Hugh Hewitt give advice to those who may be implicated in our current or coming scandals (don’t you think there will be others?), namely to move quickly in lawyering up or they’ll get worse counsel at a worse price.
Also, Thomas Lifson has an interesting piece on how the scandal avalanche may be affecting the MSM. It will be interesting if it turns out to be true.
So the AP was investigated for a national security breach? Maybe it’s true though we doubt it. Such fealty to national security matters would be an aberration from business as usual for this crew, though it is excellent cover story for snooping on hundreds of journalists and their sources. Remember Blair Hull? Jack Ryan? Sharon Bialek? It’s the Chicago Way to have dossiers on everyone. Who knows when you’re going to need them?
A couple of other points. The AP story is fishy from a variety of perspectives, including that it focuses on phone calls but makes no mention of other electronic communications. What about all the text messages and emails, which is the way that much if not most of journalistic communication is done today? Surely if the government wanted blanket information it would have gotten all that traffic as well. Details dribble out, in scandal after scandal, from Fast and Furious to Benghazi and this. And the final point: what are the scandals that we still don’t know about?
Sometimes it’s the Tonight Show that’s watching you, sometimes it’s Bloomberg. NYT:
There are now more than 315,000 Bloomberg terminal subscribers worldwide who rely on the desktop computer for research, trading, communication and a constant stream of financial information and news. But as it turned out, what the subscribers were doing was not always confidential. Bloomberg reporters used the “Z function” — a command using the letter Z and a company’s name — to view a list of subscribers at a firm. Then, a Bloomberg user could click on a subscriber’s name, which would take the user to a function called UUID. The UUID function then provided background on an individual subscriber, including contact information, when the subscriber had last logged on, chat information between subscribers and customer service representatives, and weekly statistics on how often they used a particular function…
A preliminary analysis at Bloomberg revealed that “several hundred” reporters had used the technique…problems, which became public on Friday, started at JPMorgan Chase last summer, when the bank suffered a multibillion-dollar trading loss. Some Bloomberg reporters called the bank, people briefed on the call said, to question whether the traders responsible for the loss had been fired. They cited the fact that the traders had gone silent on the terminal. The bank, the people said, objected to the reporting technique, but did not formally reach out to Bloomberg executives to complain. Yet bank officials soon discovered that other Bloomberg reporters were using the approach on other stories unrelated to the trading loss.
An open letter from the Philosophy Department of SJSU to a Harvard professor:
We believe that long-term financial considerations motivate the call for massively open online courses (MOOCs) at public universities such as ours. Unfortunately, the move to MOOCs comes at great peril to our university. We regard such courses as a serious compromise of quality of education and, ironically for a social justice course, a case of social injustice…
what kind of message are we sending our students if we tell them that they should best learn what justice is by listening to the reflections of the largely white student population from a privileged institution like Harvard? Our very diverse students gain far more when their own experience is central to the course and when they are learning from our own very diverse faculty, who bring their varied perspectives to the content of courses that bear on social justice…
having our students read a variety of texts, perhaps including your own, is far superior to having them listen to your lectures. This is especially important for a digital generation that reads far too little. If we can do something as educators we would like to increase literacy, not decrease it…the thought of the exact same social justice course being taught in various philosophy departments across the country is downright scary — something out of a dystopian novel…
Professors who care about public education should not produce products that will replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities. Sincerely and in solidarity, The Department of Philosophy San Jose State University
We see that Chris Matthews has some thoughts on the carnage in Boston. So does David Axelrod. And so did Mayor Bloomberg and Michael Tomasky, though that was a while ago. Paul Krugman had a prediction. Wolf Blitzer had a question. Michael Moore took the time to link half a dozen events together. There are preferred villains and less preferred villains for everyone, and we see that the wish is father to the thought. Let’s wait and see, ok? (Roger Simon has related thoughts.)
since last spring DHS has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm. That’s sufficient firepower to shoot every American about five times. Including illegal immigrants. To provide some perspective, experts estimate that at the peak of the Iraq war American troops were firing around 5.5 million rounds per month. At that rate, DHS is armed now for a 24-year Iraq war.
And if that weren’t enough, there’s upworthy to worry about.
26.9% of the viewers of this were offended. A quarter of the country and more have lost their marbles, if indeed they ever had any.
Last year the tech oligarchs emerged as major political players. Microsoft, Google and their employees were the largest private-sector donors to the president. More important still, tech workers also provided the president and his party with a unique set of digital tools that helped identify potential supporters among traditionally uninformed and disinterested voters, particularly among the young.
An even greater beneficiary of the second term will be the administrative class, who by their nature live largely outside the market system. This group, which I call the new clerisy, is based largely in academia and the federal bureaucracy, whose numbers and distinct privileges have grown throughout the past half century.
Even in tough times, high-level academics enjoy tenure and have been largely spared from job cuts. Between late 2007 and mid-2009, the number of U.S. federal workers earning more than $150,000 more than doubled, even as the economy fell into a deep recession. Even as the private sector, and state government employment has fallen, the ranks of federal nomenklatura have swelled so much that Washington, D.C., has replaced New York as the wealthiest region in the country…
96% of all donations from the Ivy League went to the president, something more reminiscent of Soviet Russia than a properly functioning pluralistic academy…Most distinctive about the clerisy is their unanimity of views. On campus today, there is broad agreement on a host of issues from gay marriage, affirmative action and what are perceived as “women’s” issues to an almost religious environmentalism that is contemptuous toward traditional industry and anything that smacks of traditional middle class suburban values. These views have shaped many of the perceptions of the current millennial generation
The know-it-alls are running the show. No wonder small businesses are down in the dumps.
How interesting. One Bobbie Bigsby noticed that her paycheck was short $31. That’s one way to get the attention of the 47%.
A strong majority of those under 30 voted for the USA to keep going the way it has been going. They’ve been told that the R side is mean and bigoted and the R side doesn’t complain too much about that — just plays the game, so they apparently accept that they’re fine with things as they are. R’s are just like D’s, except they don’t believe in good stuff, like science and same-sex marriage and helping the poor — all so they can help out their mean billionaire friends. Otherwise the R’s would vote “present” or against the D program.
Is it possible to cut through the clutter of the media and the academy in a media-saturated smartphone world? Maybe, maybe not. But we don’t think you can do it playing small ball. We think you have to pick a few things and repeat them endlessly. We’d start with the economy where spending must be checked or we hit the iceberg, and we want the other side to own that disaster completely. Churchill was wrong, wrong, wrong, and suddenly so very right. It doesn’t guarantee short-term success, but that really is an iceberg.
We’d also probably use some version of the truism that to avoid being poor in America all you really need to do for the most part is to be born to parents who graduate from high school, and were married and over 20 when they have kids, and then do that yourself. Every policy that discourages this hurts people. Every cultural outlet that discourages this, such as much of the music of today, is vulgar, disgusting and hurts people. Cultural outlets that support these good values, such as churches, help people. Time to say so.
Finally, we think there’s probably an opening for some politician to brand himself with no more than three words or catch-phrases. He’s known for saying “iceberg.” He’s known for something like “everything anti-family creates poor people.” And perhaps he’s best known for saying, about most things media, “they’re lying to you.” Clarity, brevity, sharp distinctions.
Would it work? We don’t know, but that really is an iceberg up ahead.
The US tax code is more than four times the length of the collected works of Shakespeare, and about half the residents of Detroit can’t read either. More fun facts here.