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Findings from around the Internet.


This writer is an Innovator. What are you? And who cares?

December 7, 2016


This writer is an Innovator. What are you? And who cares?

When those who take the survey complete it, they are then told they fall into one of four broad, psycho-political categories.

The survey told this writer he is in the Innovator group. The other groups are: Cooperators, Guardians, Pragmatists, and Challengers.

Where do these categories come from? Vox Pop does not deign to tell you. The company does, however, give you an utterly redundant demographic breakdown of people in your category, based on age, gender and other characteristics.

In the case of Innovators, the average age is, apparently, 37.

So what?

How does this help elucidate or clarify the issue of electoral reform?

It doesn’t. And that, sadly, is the point.

Liberals who have cooled to the idea of changing the electoral system, and who are downright hostile to any change that includes a significant element of proportionality, are hoping this survey succeeds in covering the entire reform process in a blanket of dense fog.

The more confused and disaffected Canadians are with the entire process, the easier it will be to ditch it entirely.

Read More | “Liberals’ online survey is a tactic to derail electoral reform” | Karl Nerenberg |


“twisting everything into a confusing, funhouse-mirror Wild West of morality-based, selectively applied regulations where everything is allowed for some, nothing for others”

December 5, 2016


There, I ran into two longtime performers: Fauxnique, an outspoken female drag queen who has toured the world performing, and Profundity, another female drag queen presence on the scene. We spoke for a long time about big issues like the housing crunch in the Bay Area, how expensive it can be to open or perform in licensed venues, how there have always been and always will be underground spaces, how creative kids are always going to do creative things in creative places, and how America’s weird Puritanism combined with its “pioneering spirit” was twisting everything into a confusing, funhouse-mirror Wild West of morality-based, selectively applied regulations where everything is allowed for some, nothing for others.

“This tragedy points to the need for our community to really be mature about the necessity of these spaces and how we can take care of ourselves and each other,” Fauxnique said. “It can feel like we’re on our own here.” And indeed, in the aftermath, architects, engineers, counselors, therapists, and more from the community have offered to help guide people through running and maintaining an underground space.

Read More | “In the Ghost Ship aftermath” | Marke B. | 48 Hills


“Flag-burning has no such history. It has, in fact, no history of being directed against any target but the government.”

November 29, 2016


Senator Clinton says she opposes a constitutional amendment to outlaw flag-burning. In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that flag-burning was protected by the First Amendment. But her bill, which is sponsored by Senator Robert Bennett, Republican of Utah, is clearly intended to put the issue back before the current, more conservative, Supreme Court in hopes of getting a turnaround.

It’s hard to see this as anything but pandering — there certainly isn’t any urgent need to resolve the issue. Flag-burning hasn’t been in fashion since college students used slide rules in math class and went to pay phones at the student union to call their friends. Even then, it was a rarity that certainly never put the nation’s security in peril.

The bill attempts to equate flag-burning with cross-burning, which the Supreme Court, in a sensible and carefully considered 2003 decision, said could be prosecuted under certain circumstances as a violation of civil rights law. It’s a ridiculous comparison. Burning a cross is a unique act because of its inextricable connection to the Ku Klux Klan and to anti-black violence and intimidation. A black American who wakes up to see a cross burning on the front lawn has every right to feel personally, and physically, threatened. Flag-burning has no such history. It has, in fact, no history of being directed against any target but the government.

Read More | “Senator Clinton, in Pander Mode” | The New York Times


A Recount?

November 23, 2016

Screenshot 2016-11-23 19.05.31

Last Thursday, the activists held a conference call with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias to make their case, according to a source briefed on the call. The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. While it’s important to note the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review — especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee.

Read More | Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing States | Gabriel Sherman | New York Magazine


“He borrows from her methods, even as he condemns and trivializes their existence.”

November 22, 2016


Identity studies, like any field of knowledge, warrants critique. Reflection on the value of identity studies is in fact central to the field; it might be said that identity studies is the most self-reflexive of all academic disciplines, its practitioners more willing than those in any other area to examine the limitations of their own analyses. Sadly, Lilla appears to be disinterested in any such conversation.

As one clear example, Robyn Wiegman’s text Object Lessons, an extensive review of identity studies (“identity knowledges”), offers a cogent account of the premises, goals, and tactics of the study of identity toward political ends. In her introduction, she writes: “I explore a range of identity knowledges—Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, Queer Studies, Whiteness Studies, and American Studies—in order to consider what they have wanted from the objects of study they assemble in their self-defining critical obligation to social justice.” What follows is a wide-ranging dismantling of ideas such as diversity, difference, multiculturalism, intersectionality, and even justice as they relate to politics in the United States. What are the limits of the category of “woman” and its contents? How do ideas about identity in the United States fit into international conversations? These are two of many questions she asks, questions Lilla would probably find important.

Despite Lilla’s ignorance about this and related work, he nonetheless appropriates tools of identity studies toward his own ends. It is without irony that he calls for further attention to a “much maligned, and previously ignored, figure,” that of the angry white male. With respect to this supposedly poor, neglected character, Lilla argues that a “post-identity liberal press would begin educating itself about parts of the country that have been ignored, and about what matters there, especially religion.” He thus tacitly mimics the methods of intellectuals such as scholar of Chicana history Emma Pérez, whose book The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History is one of many incisive interrogations of the politics of historical erasure and the exclusion of marginalized groups from official archives. He borrows from her methods, even as he condemns and trivializes their existence.

Read More | “the end of pre-identity nostalgia” | Elizabeth Newton |