twitter
facebook twitter tumblr newsletter
blog-zungu-174
Zunguzungu
By Aaron Bady
Anyone claiming to be an expert is selling something. I brandish my ignorance like a crucifix at vampires.
rss feed

Sunday Reading

On Sundays, I post a lot of links to things I think are worth reading, almost always from the previous week, and in exactly no particular order. I try not to link to the NY Times or other huge MSM outlets, and I mostly succeed. Click through, and look for something you weren’t looking for.

Raise the Crime Rate:

Crime has not fallen in the United States—it’s been shifted. Just as Wall Street connived with regulators to transfer financial risk from spendthrift banks to careless home buyers, so have federal, state, and local legislatures succeeded in rerouting criminal risk away from urban centers and concentrating it in a proliferating web of hyperhells. The statistics touting the country’s crime-reduction miracle, when juxtaposed with those documenting the quantity of rape and assault that takes place each year within the correctional system, are exposed as not merely a lie, or even a damn lie—but as the single most shameful lie in American life.

In January, prodded in part by outrage over a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the Justice Department finally released an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse in penitentiaries. The reliance on filed complaints appeared to understate the problem. For 2008, for example, the government had previously tallied 935 confirmed instances of sexual abuse. After asking around, and performing some calculations, the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.

RACE FOR THE CURE TO BEING RELEVANT:

Wednesday’s decision has been described as motivated by pressure from pro-life groups, but in reality Komentmis (and always has been) run by right wingers and closely aligned with conservative politics. The organization’s current president, Karen Handel, ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 and lost in the Republican primary. Sarah Palin endorsed her. During her campaign she promised repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood. She took over Komentm a few months ago. You do the math. On a personal note, Karen, I hope you get cancer. I hope the doctors find it too late to do anything but treat your pain, and I hope they do a poor job of that. Cut and paste that at your leisure to prove how mean-spirited and Uncivil liberals are.

Komen’s founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, is a big money Republican with ties to the past three Republican administration who received a political appointment from George W. Bush as a reward for her fundraising largesse. She draws a salary of $459,000 annually, money well spent compared to the 39% of its budget the foundation spends on “public health education” (i.e., marketing itself). Not to mention that they also spend a million bucks per year in legal fees to threaten other non-profit groups who use the phrase For the Curetm, to which Komentm claims to have intellectual property rights.

That last part is important to the organization, of course, because every successful marketing campaign needs a good logo and a slogan. And that’s all Komen is – a consulting firm that helps large corporate clients sell more of their products through pinkwashing campaigns. By slathering everything from pasta to baseball bats to perfume to fast food with the Pink Imprimatur, consumers are led to believe that their purchases are making meaningful contributions to breast cancer research. Somewhere down the line a few cents per purchase may trickle into those bloated coffers, but the immediate and motivating effect of that pink packaging is to get you to buy things. In short, Komentm is a group of salespeople selling image. Whatever money benefits the sick, researchers, or recovering patients is ancillary. Getting those big, fat tax-exempt checks from their Partners for the Curetm is what drives their business model.

 

What if Google Had a Blackout?:

[W]hat if the internet suffered a real blow? How would things change if Google and Bing went down for 24 hours, and there wasn’t a way around the block?

If your first thought is to do your online searches through Yahoo!, you will run into another roadblock. Since 2010, Yahoo! searches are powered by Bing. Can you name any other search engine sites off the top of your head? You’re in trouble if you can’t – remember, there’s no way to search for them.

 

Among the Majority:

[C]olleges promote themselves, especially to first-generation students, as a pathway to the middle class — but, increasingly, colleges do not pay middle-class wages to their own faculty members. The contradiction is deepest at the lowest tiers of the academic hierarchy, where, Rhoades said, underpaid adjunct faculty members are effectively “modeling what is acceptable as an employment practice.” It is no wonder that adjunct faculty members are so politically invisible: apparently no one wants to say to high school graduates, “Go to college, work hard, and someday you can get a job teaching college — at a salary of $20,000.” It casts a pall over the American dream.

Statue Porn:

Previously by

One Response to “Sunday Reading”

  1. Guest says:

    This list could really use some curation in the form of organization and précising.

Leave a Reply