Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Banned Books Week 2013

Alas, I was too busy this year to put up a proper post for Banned Books Week, but head over to the official site for a bevy of links and lists. (Every year they use several banners, and I'd rank the one above as one of my all-time favorites.)

If you wrote a post celebrating the occasion, feel free to link it in the comments.

(My archive in this category is here.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Talk Like a Pirate Day 2013

As is traditional for Talk Like a Pirate Day, I'll be using a English-to-Pirate translator on a scurvy dog bent on pillaging Americans. This year, it's hardcore Randian uber-douche Harry Binswanger at Forbes for his sneering, taunting piece "Give Back? Yes, It's Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%." It's glibertarian/conservative linkbait, so I'll link some of the pieces mocking and dissecting it instead: Mock, Paper, Scissors, Lawyers, Guns and Money, No More Mister Nice Blog and Wonkette.

Here's some of it rendered into pirate:

It’s time t' gore another collectivist sacred cow. This time it’s t' popular idea that t' successful be obliged t' “give aft t' t' community.” That oft-heard claim assumes that t' wealth o' high-earners be taken away from “t' community. And beneath that lies t' perverted Marxist notion that wealth be accumulated by “exploitin'” people, not by creatin' value–as if Henry Ford was not necessary for Fords t' roll off t' (non-existent) assembly lines and Steve Jobs was not necessary for iPhones and iPads t' sprin' into existence.

Let’s begin by strippin' away t' collectivism. “T' community” never gave anyone anythin'. T' “community,” t' “society,” t' “nation” be just a number o' interactin' individuals, not a mestical entity floatin' in a cloud above them. And when some individual person–a parent, a teacher, a customer–”gives” somethin' t' someone else, it be not an act o' charity, but a trade for value received in return. . . .

Here’s a modest proposal. Anyone who earns a million doubloons or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Aye, it’s too little. And t' real issue be not financial, but moral. So t' augment t' tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, t' year’s top earner should be awarded t' Congressional Medal o' Honor.

Yes, he just proposed that anyone who "earns" a million dollars shouldn't be taxed. I'm reminded of a similarly sneering piece by National Review's Stephen Spruiell back in 2009, mocking a young woman who died because she lacked health insurance, and how dare you ask him to pay higher taxes to help prevent such a thing? It's probably obvious, but being an asshole is a feature, not a bug, for these guys. They're showing off for their pals, and will high-five each other for each condescending barb against those other, less-deserving people. They're paid to do it, and they enjoy it to boot. (Oh, and let's not forget the conservative faithful at a Republican primary debate in 2011 applauding the thought of one of the fellow Americans dying.) Upfront piracy would be preferable.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Neko Case – "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu"

NSFW. Some of the other songs on Neko Case's new album are quite good and pretty catchy, but this is the one that's been sticking with me the most. It's unconventional, pretty but raw, personal and powerful. As Neko Case explained in a frank NPR interview, it's based on a real incident she witnessed. Given her description of her own upbringing, the pain and empathy in the song become all the more striking.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Labor Day 2013

Happy Labor Day! I've run this video before; the YouTube poster explains, "This was a PSA that the voice-over person decided to record an "alternate" version of for fun." It's NSFW:

More seriously, my most in-depth post for Labor Day was this 2011 post.

Over at Lawyers, Guns & Money, Erik Loomis has written multiple posts for Labor Day, starting with this one.

Digby rounds up some great labor links.

Roy Edroso notes that "whereas once upon a time they felt the need to at least pretend they liked Labor Day, conservatives now openly express contempt for the holiday."

The Campaign for America's Future looks at CEO pay and its disconnect from performance. There's also a useful short video.

If you have a post that celebrates Labor Day, feel free to link it in the comments.