Friday, June 16, 2017

Spoon-fed Heart of Europe propaganda guised as news

INK BOTTLE“Most of us know, now, that Rousseau was wrong: that man, when you knock his chains off, sets up the death camps. Soon we shall know everything the 18th century didn’t know, and nothing it did, and it will be hard to live with us.”

Randall Jarrell, “On the Underside of the Stone” (New York Times Book Review, August 23, 1953, courtesy of Patrick Kurp)

Sessions ends DOJ settlements that give money to charitable causes — a common tactic in matters where identifying all specific victims would be difficult or impossible. This is played off as “helping victims” because nothing helps victims more than making sure the perpetrator feels no penalty for their wrongdoing. [ABA Journal]

Private governments can learn from the commercial corporate world, where intense competition has driven the evolution of institutions capable of supporting large, complex, and consent-rich communities. Your next government might thus resemble a city-sized corporation, with you and other residents buying shares, electing the board of directors, and so forth. Think of it as residential co-op, upgraded for the big leagues.
Privatising profits Tom W. Bell for more, including his intriguing idea for “double democracy” and a generous appreciation of dominant assurance contracts

Special Counsels, Independent Counsels, and Special Prosecutors: Options for Independent Executive Investigations, June 1, 2017 [via FAS]

For almost two centuries, the humble-seeming mail was a hotbed of new ideas. What happened? By Kevin Kosar: “We think a lot about how innovation arises, but not enough about how it gets quashed

Peter H. Wilson, Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire.  As clear and understandable a treatment of this topic as you are likely to find, Wilson himself writes: “A major reason for the Empire’s relative scholarly neglect is that its history is so difficult to tell.  The Empire lacked the things giving shape to conventional national history: a stable heartland, a capital city, centralized political institutions and, perhaps most fundamentally, a single ‘nation.’  It was also very large and lasted a long time.  A conventional chronological approach would become unfeasibly long, or risk conveying a false sense of linear development and reduce the Empire’s history to a high political narrative.  I would like to stress instead the multiple paths, detours and dead ends of the Empire’s development…”  Relative to those obstacles this is an amazing book.

A Trump Cabinet Meeting Turned into a Bizarre Ass-Kissing Contest Vice

Trail of Fears New Republic (resilc). Subhead: “Forget Nixon. Trump is more like Andrew Jackson than Tricky Dick—and the consequences of his crimes will be far more devastating.”

Can We Blame the Mafia on Lemons? Atlas Obscura?

Does social media make all friendships last forever?

How the Internet is Changing Friendship

Last time we checked in with Kellogg’s, makers of various breakfast and cereal products, they were happily sending out threat letters to a Mayan archaeology group that is only involved in the breakfast industry insofar as its employees eat breakfast, over itsinclusion of a toucan bird in its logoKellogg’s Takes Australian Tennis Player To Court For Branding Himself ‘Special K’

Why is world literaturedismissed as deracinated and dull, representing what’s wrong with the culture industry? Adam Kirsch defends a maligned  Genre 

In countries where people "are spoon-fed propaganda in the guise of news," people apparently have gone to the other extreme by accepting as fact anything that shows up on their favorite digital platform. Journalist Sandip Roy writes about the "deadly consequences" of WhatsApp misinformation. And BuzzFeed's Alexandre Aragão reports on some financial and personal consequences of viral WhatsApp rumors. 

Donald Trump is not the only one throwing around preposterously high figures for unemployment. Africa Check corrects a trade union official.

There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up BBC

Apple controls the podcast industry. A recent move by the company just tightens that grip even more

Billy Collins on Twitter, Politics, and Poetry | A&E |

Political poetry usually doesn’t last very long because it has a shelf life, it’s tied to the headlines. I think more important than writing or painting politically — especially if you haven’t done that usually, it’s not your voice and you’re sort of straining your voice in some way — I think it’s more important to maintain a kind of artistic or poetic outlook on things. To listen to some of the lessons that poetry generally teaches us. Things like respect for nature, or seeing a connection between us and the natural world, gratitude for being alive, kindness, paying attention, being in touch with your inner self, being in touch with sensitivity. All these things that, when you go generally to a lot of poetry, you find these same ideas are simmering. They’re part of the poetic outlook on life. That should be maintained at any time
Alan Furst’s World of Spies | City Journal

Furst gets Russia right, or plausibly so. Westerners struggle to write convincing historical fiction involving Russia. Bernard Malamud’s The Fixer (1966) comes to mind as a rare exception, but most other attempts strike a cacophony of false notes, making such books hard to enjoy. Furst knows his subject, however. He understands, for example, that Stalin’s NKVD was more than a service for the collection of foreign intelligence—it was a lethal, clandestine army that sought to bring all of Europe under Soviet influence or domination.

Forcing digital forensics to obey 'one size fits all' crime lab standard ...

From rust belt to mill towns: a tale of two voter revolts Thomas Frank, Guardian

There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up BBC

  • Caesar's wife must be above suspicion[1]
  • Careless talk costs lives
  • Charity begins at home[1]
  • Cheats never prosper[1]
  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
  • Children should be seen and not heard[1]
  • Christmas comes but once a year[8]
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness[1]
  • Clothes make the man[1]
  • Cold hands, warm heart[1]
  • Comparisons are odious[1]
  • Count your blessings[1]
  • Courage is the measure of a Man, Beauty is the measure of a Woman[1]
  • Cowards may die many times before their death[1]
  • Crime does not pay[1]
  • Cut your coat according to your cloth,[1][8]
  • Curiosity killed the cat[16]