Category Archives: Politics, Power, Activism

Jay Smooth’s TED Talk Reveals How He Learned to Love Talking About Race | Colorlines

An excellent 12 minutes about the social construction of race and how knowing this idea can help to have conversations about race.

Funny and approachable.

The noted video blogger opens up about what got him interested in talking about race.

Source: Jay Smooth’s TED Talk Reveals How He Learned to Love Talking About Race | Colorlines

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Let’s Talk About the Real Issue: Defining Personhood

Bernie Sanders went to Liberty University. Hoo-ray for discourse. Students there asked him, after he had said he and they would disagree on abortion, why he is concerned about the lives of the poor but not the lives of the unborn.  (NPR has the story here).

His (wholly unshocking) Democratic answer was that he doesn’t believe the government should interfere in a women’s private medical decisions.

But, that doesn’t answer the students’ question. It feels like an avoidance if you are pro-life. The question neither side will agree to talk about directly is when does life start? As a die-hard supporter of legal abortion, if you tell me a mother killed her 8 month old in-the-womb child, I’d be horrified and I would call it ending a life. If a mother aborts a 12 week old fetus, it is clearly a medical procedure.

What does this sound like to a pro-lifer? I can imagine it sounds like “A pregnant woman can decide to kill a baby when she wants to.” So Sanders answer is bewildering if not horrific.

For pro-lifers, I assume, life starts at conception. For pro-choicers, it is somewhere else. But there is a line over which once you cross, a fetus is a life.

As I understand it, Roe v. Wade was ALWAYS a compromise about this question. And, as a society, we have to find a workable compromise.

Sanders and other pro-choicers might undercut some of the fervor of “they are killing unborn babies” if they would just shoot straight. I propose something like this: “It’s not a baby yet. We need a set of rules for society and law about when it is a baby. If your religion has a different set of rules, fine. Freedom of religion. But where we disagree is not about protecting the unborn baby, which we ALL support, but about WHO gets to decide what is an unborn baby. You want it to be decided by religion. But that is not workable in our democracy. If you are going to live in this democracy, you have to come to terms with a legal basis for this decision and not try to use religion to force your definition on all of us.”

Would this convince pro-lifers? Probably not. But at the very least, it is more honest and doesn’t leave pro-choicers in the weird position of seeming like we are saying that baby-killing is a medical decision.

At best, reasonable pro-lifers could maybe be brought into a conversation about when we are going to say personhood begins. And if they want to talk about this, maybe we can also talk about where it should not go (corporations as political citizens).

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Filed under Politics, Power, Activism, social theory, sociology

Society for Creative Maladustment

Pacifica Radio and DemocracyNow aired today a recently re-discovered speech that MLK gave in London in 1964 on his trip to accept Nobel peace prize.

I only heard second half or so in car. But this part struck me as humorous and still timely. I want to see if we can recreate the society of creatively maladjusted people.

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/1/19/exclusive_newly_discovered_1964_mlk_speech

“Every academic discipline has its technical vocabulary. Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word “maladjusted.” You’ve heard that word. This is the ringing cry of modern child psychology. And certainly we all want to live well-adjusted lives in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But I must say to you this evening, my friends, as I come to a close, that there are some things in my own nation, and there are some things in the world, to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon all men of goodwill to be maladjusted until the good society is realized. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation, discrimination, colonialism and these particular forces. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to adjust myself to religious bigotry. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I must say to you tonight that I never intend to become adjusted to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence, for in a day when Sputniks and explorers are dashing through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can win a war. It is no longer the choice between violence and nonviolence; it is either nonviolence or non-existence… And I assure you that I will never adjust to the madness of militarism.

You see, it may well be that our whole world is in need at this time for a new organization—the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment—men and women—…”
He goes on to list prophets of justice and figures from US history who were maladjusted…

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Filed under Media, Politics, Power, Activism

The Illogic of Being a Homophobe in the Locker Room

I posted on Facebook, but I own these words, Zuckerberg.

 

ok, so a gay football player comes out. The guys worried about this say something like “yeah, but I’m going to be naked inn front of him, in the locker room.”

Ok. Let’s break this down.

First, sorry to break it to you, but odds are, there was ALWAYS some closeted gays in the locker room. So, if there is any harm to you in them “looking,” it has already happened. See? Don’t you feel better?

Second, if you think that they might, I don’t know, get attracted to you or something, and, following #1 above, it would have ALREADY happened. Have you EVER seen someone in the shower or locker room get an erection ??? No? Ok, so it is not a social space where sexual feelings get expressed.

Three, if you think they might, I don’t know, what, touch you/ Sexually assault you? Well, that is against the law, not conducive to team morale, and, in general, not a smart move for someone who wants to keep playing sports. So, while there are always some depraved heteros and homos, being gay does not mean your (always there but closeted) gay teammate is some uncontrollable sex fiend who is going to cause problems.

Four. Ok, so maybe your (closeted) gay teammate sees you and later fantasizes about you. Maybe. I am just trying to imagine the problem. Ok, well if you can’t see that as a compliment, then at least you can now know what it feels like to be objectified as a sex object like most females do. So, net gain: you can be more empathetic now.

So, in sum, if it causes you harm, it is cause your just hung up knowing she or he is gay. Any other possible concerns are BS.

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Filed under humor, Politics, Power, Activism, sociology

A Clutch of Random Goodies- finance, net neutrality, deficit…

Here is just a clutch of good randomness that has been accumulating on my desktop…

PS featured image is Simon Johnson.

Bucknell and Truth

Bucknell gets unexpected reward for being honest about a mistake.  Is this worthy of an ethical snap?

Net Neutrality?

What the hell is net neutrality?  Baratunde Thurston  one of our tech/no speakers, explains it so well, it got picked up by Raw Story.   I love how Bucknell can be a producer of information and wisdom and not just a user. 

Organization Theory is Cool

A book review about organization theory I really need to read.  Orgtheory.net is the one blog I wish I read more.

Learn from Nice Rich People

Lessons for failure and management from philanthropists.

We are drowning in deficit! (are we?)

Compare your answers to the US public and, um, the reality.

Change Doesn’t Happen.  Until it Does.

From AFL-CO vs Home Depot, through Frank-Dodd, to Citigroup.  Is corporate governance and executive compensation changing?  Maybe.  Read abotu some pretty big changes at the link.

Is a Tax Better than Regulations?

You want policy ideas?  You like finance? You dislike “regulation” that tries to dictate firm behavior?  Try this one.  Instead of trying to tell financial firms what they can or can’t do, how much capital to have on the books, and so on, how about you tax a vice- like we do with alcohol and tobacco- and simply tax financial transactions to make trading for the sake of microscopic gains on immaterial price shifts non-economic?  Read. here about Europe’s experiment with a different, and I would argue,  less intrusive form of regulation to change financial markets and firms.

You want even more financial regulation news?

You are really, really troubled.  I hope Vinny, Loukas, Mike, and… (who else are finance jocks?) are reading this. Simon Johnson.  yes, THAT Simon Johnson, had this blog post about the 12 “angry bankers” of the Fed and their ideas to push for transparency in money market fund valuations as part of the (yes, that same one) Frank Dodd bill reforms that created the systemic risk council.  In a nutshell, the financial industry does NOT WANT such valuation while the regulators do.

I am never surprised when practicing “capitalists” fight against actual free markets (with liquidity and transparency).  Businesspeople are often, perhaps usually anti-capitalist if you define capitalism not as maximum wealth accumulation, but as free markets that expand the prosperity of a society.  Am I alone in seeing this?

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Filed under Business, Government, innovation, macroeconomics, management, organization theory, policy, Political Economy, Politics, Power, Activism, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship [SiSe]

Ideas for Questions and Themes for Arianna Huffington

Today, as part of the tech/no Forum series at Bucknell, we are hosting Arianna Huffington.  I had imagine I would do some deep research on her background, her role as founder of HuffingtonPost, her role as CEO of the merged AOL-Huffington company  her ideas on the relationship between media, democracy, and profit, the death (?) of the newspaper, and so on.

Well, that didn’t happen.

Instead, I’ll have to generate some from what I have in my head (as opposed to research-based).

If you are coming to the afternoon session, feel free to read these, use these, modify these, and so on.

Business and Technology

* Is the content-for-eyeballs formula of the Internet dying?  Are advertisers not willing to pay?

* Are we at the end of an innovation burst as the Internet and mobile platforms are merging?  Is the heady period of “social media” and its rapid expansion done?

* Who are HP’s or AOL’s competitors?

Media and Profit

* Is it the responsibility of the media company to provide what “customers” want or what they need?  Does a media/news company create its own demand and then project that onto the audience.  “See, they want _____________ (tits, blood, murders, horse-race politics)?” Continue reading

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Filed under Business, economics, Future of Technology, higher education, Information and Communication Technology, innovation, Media, Network Society, Politics, Power, Activism, Social Networks, sociology, technology, Technology history

Teach for America’s hidden curriculum

Teach for America’s hidden curriculum – http://pulse.me/s/iAL5Q Need to finish reading this. I still don’t see enough of teacher unions working on good reform .

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Filed under activism, equality, Media, Protest

End Applause at SOTU Speech

Through BeyondPod, I can get the official White House feed of speeches.  That is more political geek than CSPAN.  Still, I wish that someone could pass a law banning applause during the SOTU until the very end.  It is SO tedious to listen to.

Brad Tuttle, in this 2010 blog post, counted 18 minutes (!) of applause in that SOTU.

Maybe the White House could start an online petition center to allow this kind of pressing issue to be aired.

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Filed under humor, life, Politics, Power, Activism

Heart-Warming Story of Small Town Voting

Poll watching updates from Lewisburg, PA

LB X- Everyone all smiles and nice. Not asking for IDs.

LB Y- Everyone pleasant. They seemed puzzled by a poll watcher. But I have been there in past elections and know it was same Judge of Elections. I stayed 45 minutes. They asked everyone “Have you got ID.” Did not _demand_ it and no one refused, so was unable to see how they would react.

The advancement project (http://www.advancementproject.org/) had very good flyer on vote

r rights there. I can’t imagine who laid it out EXCEPT the poll workers. maybe League of W Voters. Good for them.

I was so quiet, they forgot I was there and joked a little about voting machines voting for Republicans or something like that. It really was not an issue. It was more like easing the tension I think they feel about the enormity of responsibility of ensuirng clean and fair election.

Heart-warming bit: the five workers (one elected Judge and four volunteers) knew EVERYONE who voted. In a lull, they talked about how X was the “partner” of Y. I assumed it was business partner. But then it was clear that they meant gay partner. And they were talking about how they always came in separately and acted unconnected. But all these small town neighbors knew and didn’t care. Then they talked about another pair of “partners” and how one had been ill years ago and now was better.

This is very middle-class, middle-of-the-road America. The anti-gay folks have lost the culture war. There are just too many nice, normal gay people out there to dispel the paranoia. The normal gays are EVERYWHERE. 🙂

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D’Souza is a Travesty of an Analyst… and I have to let go of that…

Dinesh D’souza is speaking in a week here.  A student club is bringing him.  He is a travesty to literary analysis as he bases his whole “Obama wants to destroy America” on a wacky reading of Obama’s book.  I would get nothing out of going and challenging him.  But it irks me no one else might not.

Link to talk: http://susquehannavalleyconservatives.com/community-corner/

Stanley Fish says what I would like to: “This is disappointing. While a viewer could certainly disagree with D’Souza’s analysis of the genesis and emergence of Obama’s views, it is nevertheless an analysis to which one could respond in the usual spirit of intellectual debate by saying things like “you’ve left something out” or “you draw your conclusion too quickly.” But as the movie picks up polemical speed, philosophy, political theory and psychology are left behind and replaced by name-calling, and by a name-calling that brings D’Souza close to positions he rejects. For instance, he rejects birtherism, the contention that Obama was born in Kenya and is hence not an American citizen; but he replaces it with a back-door, or metaphorical, birtherism when he characterizes Obama as an alien being, as a fifth-column party of one who has pretended to be an American, and technically is one, but really is something else.”  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/obama-dsouza-and-anti-colonialism/

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