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Bannon Out

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Steve Bannon

So, this is Steve Bannon’s last day at the White House.

I wrote that this would be a courtier’s White House, with a lot of knife fights, and who won them determining a lot of policy.

Bannon’s a white nationalist, and scum, of course, but he’s also the only senior advisor who wants to, say, raise taxes and do various other actually populist things. He hates Wall Street and wanted real checks on bankers power, etc…

Again, clearly a bad man, but someone who wanted some good things which will no longer be represented by anyone with the President’s ear. (Also, the popular things.)

It looks like Breitbart is very angry about this.

Bear in mind that two-thirds of Republicans approved of Trump’s speech on Charlottesville, with its equivalence between Nazis and and people protesting Nazis.  Trump is impeachment proof as long as the people who make up the majority of the primary base in the Republican party continue to support him.

But Breitbart has quite a bit of influence with such people.

From a pragmatic Trumpian point of view, firing Bannon feels like a mistake. He should have been sidelined and given a nice desk and office and mostly inconsequential work. He will be far more of a problem to Trump outside than inside.

(Er, also, Bannon was against military intervention.)


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sarcozona
4 days ago
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The Broken Ladder: Keith Payne on How Inequality Affects Our Behavior

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Shannon L. Bowen in Signature:

9780525429814Americans believe strongly in personal responsibility. It’s one of the underpinnings of our culture—and of all of Western thought—and rightly so. But Americans also believe deeply in fairness, and it’s increasingly difficult to square either of these American values with the dramatic rise in income inequality that this country has witnessed over the last fifty years.

According to nonpartisan policy and research institute the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, since the 1970s, income growth for high-earning households has vastly outpaced that of low- and middle-earning households. Over the last ten years, the wealthiest one percent of households’ share of before-tax income “has climbed to levels not seen since the 1920s.” And when it comes to households’ wealth—the value of assets minus debts—the top three percent possess more than half of all wealth in the United States.

Keith Payne tackles inequality and its wide-ranging effects in his timely and illuminating new book, The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die. In America and all over the world, more inequality correlates to more health and social problems. It influences how we think about social justice, how we vote, how we save for retirement or don’t, what illnesses are likely to afflict us, and how long we can expect to live. But inequality is about more than just the amount of money in a person’s bank account. “Inequality is not the same as poverty,” Payne writes. “Inequality makes people feel poor and act poor, even when they’re not. Inequality so mimics poverty in our minds that the United States of America, the richest and most unequal of countries, has a lot of features that better resemble a developing nation than a superpower.”

More here.

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sarcozona
6 days ago
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Workshop: C-Planning the University – Utopian planning project #1299

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What will we do with the university after we’ve won, once we’ve overthrown capitalism and smashed the state? This might seem like an odd question to ask at a time when the university is a front line in the intensification and precariatisation of work; when it is increasingly marketed and managerialised; when it is rife with sexism, racism, xenophobia and transphobia, and increasingly incorporated into border and security regimes; when higher education is a key moment in the production of ever-more indebted and anxious subjects. But asking this question is crucial if we are to wage anything more than purely defensive campaigns. If we want to transform the world we need a plan.

Those of us who work in higher education – whether we are waged or unwaged – have all too intimate experience of capital’s plan A for the sector. And a decade into the Great Recession a plan B looks even less likely and more timid than before. What might a plan C for the university look like? The concept of employability currently permeates higher education, reflecting universities’ role in the reproduction of new labour-power. But can universities produce scientists and engineers, historians and artists, who are also rebels and dreamers? We will attempt to answer that question in this workshop.

Taking inspiration both from previous experiments (such as the aerospace workers who in the 1970s produced the Lucas Plan) and from concrete tendencies within current struggles (calls for ‘sanctuary universities’, for instance), in the session we will collectively plan the post-capitalist university.

The plan(s) we produce will include three complementary aspects:

(i) where we learn,
(ii) how we organise learning, and
(iii) what we learn.

Through the three aspects the questions of what learning is, who ‘does’ it and why will be paramount – it will be after the revolution after all!

The workshop will last 90 minutes and be structured around a series of collective planning sessions, with the aim being to both produce a plan for the university after the revolution and to build a discussion on the purpose of education after we’ve won the world.

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sarcozona
6 days ago
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The Origins of Hunter S. Thompson’s Loathing and Fear

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004-hunter-s-thompson-theredlistTimothy Denevi at the Paris Review:

But the real surprise came just as his speech appeared to be winding down. Goldwater, after a brief silence, glanced at the podium, his jaw jutting sharply. Then, gazing out on the 1,308 delegatesbelow, he said, pausing every couple words, “I would remind you … that extremism … in defense of liberty … is no vice.” In the next instant, Thompson found himself at the epicenter of the most primal expression of political fervor he would ever witness. The delegates howled and cheered, their voices buttressed by innumerable noisemakers, trumpets, klaxons, and cowbells. Thompson watched people in the rows ahead of him bang their bodies against their chairs, their chairs against the floor, and the floor rumbled against their countless stomping feet.

Later that night, Thompson left the Cow Palace and crossed the six miles back to downtown San Francisco with thousands of other attendees. He’d pushed himself too hard; the crash was coming: in a few hours, he’d descend into a state of drunken dissolutionStill, that moment on the floor was one he’d never forget. “When GW made his acceptance speech,” he explained In a letter to his friend Paul Semonin a few months afterward, he admits to “actually feeling afraid because I was the only person not clapping and shouting. And I was thinking, God damn you nazi bastards I really hope you win it, because letting your kind of human garbage flood the system is about the only way to really clean it out. Another four years of Ike would have brought on a national collapse, but one year of Goldwater would have produced a revolution.”

more here.

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sarcozona
6 days ago
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Here we leverage the wide usage of smartphones with built-in accelerometry to me...

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Here we leverage the wide usage of smartphones with built-in accelerometry to measure physical activity at the global scale. Due to smartphones, this is the first time in history we have accurate data on physical activity.

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sarcozona
6 days ago
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Rough rides at tenure time

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Yesterday, I wrote about Dr. Becca’s tumultuous ride through her tenure process. (And thank you to all who read, like, tweeted, shared, and commented!) Becca has done many early career scientists a favour by documenting this difficult process.

I’ve talked from time to time about how important it is to share our failures. But we particularly don’t like to draw attention to issues that came up at tenure time. I wrote about my problems with tenure after I squeaked through the process. I was not writing a pseudonym, and I didn’t blog about the process much while I was going through it. I was very mad about it then. I don’t get visibly upset talking about like I used to, but I can’t say I’ve made peace with it. With the better part of a decade between then and now, I can see why I got a hard time at tenure, but I still feel I was not treated well.

Terry McGlynn had an even rougher time. He was denied tenure, which he wrote about extensively in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

But what I haven’t done specifically is to talk about what came afterwards for me. A lot of people think that after academics get tenure, they drop off and take it easy.

I got better.

After tenure, I finally had everything in place. The gears were turning, and I started to get the researcher coming out much more consistently, with more original data driven papers. And I had seen the adage, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I lowered my standards and stopped waiting for projects to get that one last bit of data. And stuff started to happen for me. I became one of the most published faculty in the department.

I am not trying to brag here. I know many people would look at my research track record and deem it second rate (at best). “Sand crabs, Zen? Nobody cares about your sand crabs.”

The moral of the story? It’s to remind people that trouble, even at this critical point in an academic career, does not have to cripple the rest of your career.

And that publishing well is the best revenge.

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Coming out of the closet, tenure denial edition
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sarcozona
6 days ago
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