Saturday, October 18, 2008

Readings for 18 October, 2008

It's that good ol' "not keep a good idea down" attitude that has generally been hanging around America, albatross-like, over the past 20 years or so (I guess that's an arbitrary date, I just feel like American education has been dumbed-down over the past 20 years, thus we have degree inflation, where plenty of people have degrees and are really not that smart). In this particular re-telling of the Classic, a really useful set of descriptive data is being claimed in court as owned by a company. The data simply describes neighborhoods, which is really useful when organizations are trying to address issues such as disease outbreaks or community development. Right now the public domain information that is readily available comes in the form of census maps, but these are horrible for trying to address real neighborhoods.
The British government decided it was best to cover-up the slaughter of POWs during the War in the Pacific because it was thought that too many Japanese war criminals were being executed and the moment for justice had passed (if you believe in an eye for an eye). This is the kind of story that I know Americans are going to be appalled to learn about in the not-too-distant-future. America (hopefully) is going to enter a phase of reconsideration not unlike Germany's in the aftermath of WWII. People are going to say, "but I didn't know that they were torturing them! I didn't realize that our soldiers were killing hundreds of thousands of civilians..." And who am I to distance myself from these crimes? I don't know.
I like reading about Organized Labor's arguments here because the basic assumptions are so drastically different from those I'm used to in the U.S. Having universal health care just does something that makes Labor sound less about the exploitation of immigrants and more about dignity in a way that Americans, I suspect, just can't process.
Stewart's really adamant that he's not a journalist, Bill Moyers wonders why. I'll tell you why: the American Fourth Estate is a monster. It's the elephant in the living room. I think that Stewart's also a little too reluctant, also, to simply state it as it is: he's making too much money to stop talking only in terms of "the absurdity of our times." Like Postman stated decades ago, we're amusing ourselves to death. I sometimes wish that I could watch his show.
Just as it says.
I'm lazily surfing around, learning about the gangs in New York during the 19th century and then I see there's a link for secret societies related to organized crime. Now I'm learning about Propaganda Due, a secret lodge within the Freemasons in Italy. Fascinating and leads me to the next weblink:
Totally awesome, I'm learning so much more about why the garbage is outta control in Italy. This is one of the few websites where I really question which parts are real and which are totally fabricated and have become real.

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