Feeling Miscellaneous

I’m feeling a bit surly and miscellaneous today. No particular reason that I can identify. Miscellaneous, an interesting word. My computer dictionary says it comes from the Latin miscere - to mix. It fits. So here’s a mix of recent readings. The neoeconomic consensus is beginning to fall apart. David Sirota starts it off with a broad summary New Democratic Network has some nifty graphics. I especially like the disconnect between productivity and wage growth.

Bifurcations and Other Thoughts

There comes a time in any project where it seems like everything is going in too many directions at once. That the center cannot hold and things are about to fly apart. Blogging is no different. There’s a constant cycle of push and pull inside of me between keeping everything I write here, in a single location, and writing multiple blogs on different subjects. In the past I’ve also been torn between wanting to try different weblog tools.

Mid Summer Ennui

I’ve got nothing to say today. My news reader light is blinking furiously, the unread count continues to grow. I’m about to pull the ‘mark all read’ switch and just let it go for a day. So apropos of nothing. What is it with all of the custom tshirt business that I keep finding on the web these days? Is it new or just another manifestation of Web 2.0 goodness?

Some New Thoughts for Education

Complaints about the American education system are evergreen. “A Nation at Risk” was published in 1983 and catapulted the odious William J. Bennett to public stardom. We’ve been suffering through ‘books of virtue’ ever since. But the education reformist wagon goes way back. John Dewey gained a lot of fame and notoriety for his ideas on democracy and education. Further back into the nineteenth century we get Horace Mann. So today I’m trying to imagine what a new education philosophy would look like:

The Middle East, Empire, Etc.

I don’t have much to add to the current discussions in the blogosphere about the crisis in the Middle East. So instead I’ll link to some of recent reading: Matthew Yglesias on the Green Lantern theory of politics in action Michael Totten tries to sympathize but gets eaten by the conservative undead. Stirling Newberry on the violence tax It’s all about sex and violence, read the Update II part especially.

Education Won't Save Us

I recently wrote about the common canard that education will allow us all to get good jobs in a world where outsourcing and globalization are the dominant economic paradigms. There are so many loads of bunk inside of that idea that it’s hard to know where to begin. Brad DeLong recently posted some thoughts on this very issue. He wrote, in response to Greg Mankiw. I don’t think this works particularly well.

People and the Masses - or is tech really a savior

Late last month Jay Rosen, one of my favorite media analysts, published an essay called ‘The People Formerly Known as the Audience’. The people formerly known as the audience would like to say a special word to those working in the media who, in the intensity of their commercial vision, had taken to calling us “eyeballs,” as in: “There is always a new challenge coming along for the eyeballs of our customers.

Rhetorics of Choice and Rhetorics of Freedom

I recently watched two documentaries, Hell House and Revolution OS, back-to-back and want to offer some insights I noticed about the different notions of choice and freedom that both of these films reveal. Hell House is about a Halloween display put on by a church in Texas. The display is modeled on a haunted house, but instead of ghosts and goblins, the villain is sin. Of course, sin comes in a very conservative Christianist wrapper.

Three Films the Curse

I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest over the last weekend and I was disappointed. Three hours of setup for the sequel, with nice special effects along the way. Ultimately disappointing. But seeing it reminded me of a problem that I’ve detected in at least two different artistic endeavors: movie making and genre writing. It’s the problem of trilogies or series that just can’t bear the weight of three parts.

So Sick it Makes You Laugh - Follies in Political Rhetoric

Whenever I take an interest in politics it’s usually to look at the language and rhetoric that is used to make arguments. When I see other people take an interest in the same issue I’m usually willing to read. Here are some posts on political rhetoric, all from a liberal perspective, that I’ve found interesting over the last few days. Glenn Greenwald and Dave Neiwert have been consistently good about following the eliminationist rhetoric that regularly emanates from the conservative blogosphere.