Links for March 13th through March 17th

These are my links for March 13th through March 17th:

  • Infinite Debt – If you’re anywhere near a newsstand this weekend, look for the April issue of Harper’s. I scanned in a photo of the cover. There’s an article in it by Thomas Geoghegan called “Infinite Debt” that’s a must read. As in must. read.

    It’s a long and complex article, but Geoghegan makes a case that the financial sector has been sucking the life out of the economy. There’s a huge imbalance between finance and industry. Money has been going into financial instruments, not manufacturing…

  • Nothing’s Too Big to Fail – "This sordid story of government helplessness in the face of massive taxpayer commitments illustrates better than anything to date why the government should take over any institution that’s “too big to fail” and which has cost taxpayers dearly. Such institutions are no longer within the capitalist system because they are no longer accountable to the market. So to whom should they be accountable? When taxpayers have put up, and essentially own, a large portion of their assets, AIG and other behemoths should be accountable to taxpayers. When our very own Secretary of the Treasury cannot make stick his decision that AIG’s bonuses should not be paid, only one conclusion can be drawn: AIG is accountable to no one. Our democracy is seriously broken."

    Put another way, AIG already has failed. The question in front of us is not whether AIG should be “allowed” to fail, but what role government should play in softening the broad economic fallout of the failure. It’s not about rescuing AIG, but about rescuing everybody else. It may be that propping up AIG somehow is a sensible move, but the execs who took it into failure need either to be removed or made to understand that they are no longer in charge, and everything they do is now open to public scrutiny.

  • Chaos and Opportunity – Seems to me the outrage over the AIG bonuses presents an opportunity. If the feds are ever going to nationalize failing financial institutions, now would be the time to do it. The public will understand.

    Unfortunately, what this episode shows us is that the Obama Administration is being much too cautious — or much too something — in dealing with the financial crisis. Let us not be weenies, Mr. President. Although the President may be, as Glenn says, “sounding the right note,” talk ain’t gonna cut it.

    See also the Talking Dog and Balkinization.

  • New review – Hellions: Pop Culture's Rebel Women – Raha points out how deeply gendered our notions of rebellion are, and sets out a convincing case for the dominant, and most lauded, representation, the 'loner rebel male', to be wrested away and re-defined to acknowledge women's rebellion against white patriarchal society's expectations of them.
  • Womanist Musings comes to talk radio… – Renee from Womanist Musings and Monica from Transgriot have posted the first episode of their new podcast/talk radio session. The first topic was on the silencing of women of colour in feminist spaces.

    The guests were BFP from flip flopping joy and Frau Sally Benz from Jump Off The Bridge.

  • Number of the Day – 42. The percentage of respondents to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll who "said the United States made 'a mistake' in sending military forces to Afghanistan, up from 30% in February."
  • The Fembots Are Here! – So today I saw this TOTALLY awesome article in Newsweek. You can tell from the title that this is going to be an awesome bit of writing: "A walking, talking female robot to debut on a Japanese catwalk: not ready to help with chores." HA that is SO funny.
  • The McGangBang (I Wish I Were Kidding)‏ – We're glad to serve our customers! Never mind how the woman who is taking your order might feel! She only makes minimum wage, so she's clearly not even human.

    You can contact McDonald's using this form.

  • The Oppression Olympics – At Urban Dictionary, there are one or more entries for all of the following: nigtard, fagtard, gaytard, bitchtard, sluttard, whoretard, pussytard, dwarftard, deaftard, lametard, gimptard.

    And I'm sure there are plenty I missed. If that list doesn't make unambiguously apparent how stupid it is to pit one form of discrimination against others, I can't imagine what would.

    We are natural allies. Maybe we could try behaving that way.

  • Quote of The Day – "Like any family we agree on some things and disagree on others."—Senator John McCain, refusing to say he sides with his daughter Meghan, concerning her ongoing feud with rightwing radio host Laura Ingraham, "who has mocked his daughter's voice, weight, and just yesterday, called Meghan a 'useful idiot'." [Woooooow, what a pr*ck. –Lee.]
  • Breaking the Silence: On Living Pro-Lifers' Choice for Women – I want to point out that if we're going to have a seemingly neverending discussion about the sorrow and remorse caused by abortion, then it is about goddamn time that we hear from birth mothers too. […] I've googled over the years about the psychological aftereffects of giving up a baby, and what little I found is astonishing. Depression and suicide rates ridiculously high, comparable to PTSD – and beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is no way you can cook any post-abortion trauma study to come anywhere near post-adoption trauma levels.
  • In The Future, Buildings Must Be Tall And Fans Less Anal [Io9 Ourobouros] – If I ever want to know just how dismissive io9 commenters can feel about (admittedly insanely anal) fanboy complaints, I now have a new favorite collection of examples: Star Trek's San Francisco Urban Planning post.

    For those who missed this incredible example of snark, here's all you need to know: A Bay Area fan saw the future San Francisco in the latest trailer for JJ Abrams' Star Trek and wondered whatever happened to the city's zoning laws to keep large buildings out. Now, here's what you thought…

  • Your Child Causes Global Warming [Mad Science] – Think you know your carbon legacy? Think again, say researchers in Oregon; you're not only responsible for your own mess, but the mess of your offspring, as well. The argument against procreation starts here.
  • Number of the Day – 165 million. The dollar amount of bonuses and incentives it has been reported that insurance giant AIG intends to pay out to its top-level employees, after receiving $170 billion in taxpayer-funded federal bailout money.

    In case you're wondering if I'm actually telling you that AIG is planning to use part of the government's assistance to reward the same executives who brought the company to the brink of financial collapse, yes, that's what I'm telling you.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the original bonus budget was $450 million.

  • Good News! (And An Action Item) – Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy and Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler have respectively introduced legislation to the Senate and House which would afford same-sex mixed-citizenry couples equivalent immigration sponsorship rights…
  • Welcome to the Party – Time catches up on an idea that LGBTQI activists and feminists have been discussing for decades. Wheeeeeee! [End marriage?]
  • Which way is Obama’s religion wind blowing? – It should also be noted that Obama’s swift actions with the Lilly Ledbetter Act and return to a sane policy on stem cell research have sent clear signals about his stand on equality for women and science-based governing despite the expected hits he knew he’d take from the right wing. He’s done nada for LGBT rights so far, and has been silent in the news of late about whether the feds should extend benefits to same-sex partners of government workers, lest it raise the red flag about DOMA and sent strong signals that a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is going on the back burner.
  • SXSW Panel – We finished our panel, and while there’s no video of it, Nichelle Stephens was gracious enough to generate a hash tag in Twitter so that the audience could Twitter responses in real time that she then could upload to her blog here. She also transcribed the Twitter feed for the panel after ours, which was about whether not social media can end racism, which you can read here and here. Here’s a sample of Twitter responses to our panel “That’s Not My Name: Beating Down Online Misogyny”. You can read all of them here.

    Feministing’s resource link is here.

  • WordPress Theme Trends and Implementation Instructions – For the Lose has a great post up about WordPress Theme trends and how you can implement some of those features in your blog today.
  • 13 Most Essential Plugins for WordPress
  • Postie Has New Life
  • Plugin Reviews from our Readers
  • WordPress Plugin Releases for 03/14
  • 7 Tips for Writing About Politics (…When You’re Not a Political Writer)
  • Yes, Obama's Approval Ratings Are Declining. What Did You Expect? – This is all completely predictable. Barack Obama didn't get elected with 60 or 65 percent of the vote — he got elected with about 53 percent of the vote. As the warm and fuzzy feelings surrounding his inauguration wane and are replaced by an actual attempt to put forward a actual political agenda, it is not surprising that his approval ratings gravitate toward that anchor established during the election.

    Most Americans support most parts of Obama's agenda — particularly the ideas of moving toward more universal health care, applying both carrots and sticks in the effort to reduce carbon emissions, making the tax code more progressive, permitting stem cell research, withdrawing troops from Iraq, and stimulating the economy. But not all Americans do, and as Obama attempts to actuate that agenda, it's not surprising that some of them are beginning to make those feelings known.

  • Dday: The Democrats We Have (Hullabaloo) – For too long we've heard from Democratic leaders that we just need Democrats, any Democrats, to gain back the majority from Republicans, or we just need a Democrat, any Democrat, in the White House, or we just need a filibuster-proof majority of Democrats, any Democrats, and everything will fall into place. This has always been a ploy to get grassroots financial support, and we are seeing the essential bankruptcy of that ploy today. […]

    I've been reading G.Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot's The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s, and what jumped out at me is that, while John Kennedy and Barack Obama shared a lot of the same profile at the beginning of their Presidencies – both were cautious centrists who were wary of the left flank of their parties – in Kennedy's case what ultimately led to the eventual policy successes (most of them carried out under Lyndon Johnson) was the strength and ingenuity of the leaders in Congress, who were skilled enough and bold enough to push these changes through. I don't see that kind of urgency in today's Congress. They are perfectly content on the poll-driven margins to fulfill the John Kerry 2004 agenda – stem cell research, SCHIP, half-measures on energy, etc. I don't mean to denigrate these accomplishments. But actually, I do.

  • Thoughts on Castration for Sex Offenders : The Curvature – The NY Times has a story on debates raging in Europe over whether is ethical and/or smart to castrate sex offenders as a form of punishment or rehabilitation.
  • Mai Mind, It Eez Blown (Courtesy of the Irish Times) – "Of course there will always be a place in the world of business for exceptional women. Women also have an important role to play in jobs that are too demeaning for men, like teaching."

    That high pitched shriek of pure homicidal rage you hear is MamaSharper, Ph.D, lifelong educator, former elementary school principal and currently superintendent of a large public school system. Mr. Emerson, I recommend you drop into a protective crouch and cover your groin immediately.

  • Can The Media Be Any More Pathetic? – George Stephanopoulos will interview Senator John McCain via Twitter.

    That sounds about right. I do think 140 characters is idealistic for the GOP policy points. Oh wait. What GOP policy?