The story about this fully equipped 1961 nuclear fallout shelter is kind of awesome. But I have to ask, if you were in a bomb shelter suffering from a nuclear attack, would science fiction really be what you wanted to read for entertainment?
I welcome our judicial overlords, so long as they are able to pepper their opinions in fascinating trucking regulation cases with cutting-edge pop cultural references:
The two directly at issue here compel the company to (1) affix a placard on each truck with a phone number for reporting environmental or safety concerns (You’ve seen the type: “How am I driving? 213–867–5309”)…
Reports that Justice Kagan blesses the rains down in Africa are unconfirmed at press time.
Pareene with some useful background about why the Washington D.C. football team has a vile racial slur for a nickname. It’s not an unbroken tradition, and it wasn’t a term that was considered racially neutral at the time:
This Washington football team was named by one of the most vehement racists in the history of American professional sports. When George Marshall bought the team in 1932, they were called the Boston Braves. He changed the name — to a slur, because he was a racist — and moved them to Washington. He made “Dixie” one of the team’s fight songs and refused to hire black players well into the 1960s. The NFL integrated in 1946 but Marshall’s team held out until the federal government actually forced them to field black players in 1963. The all-white Washington teams of the 1950s and 1960s were among the worst in the league, but segregation was more important to Marshall than winning football games. The NFL had actually already been racially integrated until black players were suddenly banned in 1933. Interviews with owners suggest that Marshall was responsible for the ban.
This is the man who named the team and white supremacy and racism obviously informed his every decision. In his will he insisted that his foundation not spend any money on “any purpose which supports or employs the principle of racial integration in any form.” It is extremely hard to believe that this man selected the name — specially changed the name from a less offensive term for American Indians to this term — to “honor” anyone, the usual argument used by the team’s modern defenders.
The current owner of the team, an incompetent lying corporate buffoon named Dan Snyder, is not as racist as George Marshall. (Few living people are.) He is merely dumb, vain, greedy and stubborn.
I also agree that media organizations — which generally have rules against using racial slurs — should refuse to use the name.
…Zirin has more.
In a striking showdown between Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and a member of his own party, Mr. Levin said on Tuesday that he would remove a measure aimed at curbing sexual assault in the military from a defense spending bill.
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, offered a measure that would give military prosecutors rather than commanders the power to decide which sexual assault crimes to try, with the goal of increasing the number of people who report crimes without fear of retaliation. Mr. Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said he would replace Ms. Gillibrand’s measure — which has 27 co-sponsors, including four Republicans — with one that would require a senior military officer to review decisions by commanders who decline to prosecute sexual assault cases. Although Mr. Levin’s measure would change the current system, it would keep prosecution of sexual assault cases within the chain of command, as the military wants.
As Laura Clawson puts it, “Old white man decides to leave military sexual assault decisions in the hands of old white men.”
Between Levin being most formidable obstacle within the Democratic caucus against filibuster reform and now caving to the military on sexual assault, the august senator from Michigan is not exactly ending his career in Ted Kennedy-esque fashion.
Stan notes elsewhere that the Obama Administration has done nothing but lip service on this issue. It’s really unacceptable.
The case of the unpaid American intern just got upended — again, and maybe for good: Just a month after one judge dismissed the class-action suit filed by free New York City media interns at Hearst Magazines, another has now granted the Hollywood coffee-fetchers who worked on Black Swan a precedent-setting win, ruling that the two production interns “worked as paid employees” and that Fox Searchlight should have to pay them as such. It’s a pivotal decision, says the attorney for the two young men who worked on the Oscar-winning film: “This is the first time a judge has held that interns as we know them today are employees entitled to wages and protections,” the lawyer, Juno Turner, told The Atlantic Wire in a phone interview Wednesday.
Indeed, it’s the first time a major U.S. court has ruled that zero dollars for legitimate work does not a legal unpaid internship make. “Considering the totality of the circumstances,” reads the ruling from federal judge William Pauley, the plaintiffs, Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman, “were classified improperly as unpaid interns and are ‘employees’ covered by” the the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as New York’s labor laws. The judge added: “They worked as paid employees work, providing an immediate advantage to their employer and performing low-level tasks not requiring specialized training.”
Pauley’s careful opinion seems unanswerable to me, and I think it’s very likely that the vast majority of unpaid internships would fail the test he applies.
Steven Greenhouse has more.
By waiting to comment on this remarkable piece of work from Brooks, I’m able to outsource most of my incredulity. Start with Corey Robin on the literal Stalinism of Brooks’s thinking. Then proceed to Amy Davidson’s comprehensive demolition of Brooks’s strange assertions about American society and constitutionalism. I especially liked this part:
That comes across in another item on his list of Snowden’s offenses: “He betrayed the cause of open government. Every time there is a leak like this, the powers that be close the circle of trust a little tighter. They limit debate a little more.” Or maybe they will realize that they can’t lie with impunity; maybe the next time James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, is asked a direct question in a Senate hearing, he will wonder, before offering a blatant falsehood in response, if he might get caught.
Clapper said “no” when Senator Ron Wyden asked him whether the N.S.A. was collecting data of any kind from Americans. (“Not wittingly,” he added, as though one could unwittingly seek a secret court order.) When Andrea Mitchell, of NBC, asked him about his response after the leaks, Clapper said that he’d thought it was a “ ‘When are you going to start—stop beating your wife’ kind of question”—that is, somehow cheap. Actually, if you are beating your wife, it is a perfectly fair question. Clapper conceded that his answer might have been “too cute by half,” relying on a separate “semantic” understanding of certain words: “when someone says ‘collection’ to me, that has a specific meaning, which may have a different meaning to him.” (“Collection” is not what you’d think of as a terribly technical term.)
The failure of the Senate hearings, despite Wyden’s best efforts, brings us back to the issue of what, exactly, Snowden was supposed to do. Brooks says he “self-indulgently short-circuited the democratic structures of accountability,” and wonders if what he knew was really “so grave” as to be worth contributing to “the corrosive spread of cynicism.” Snowden, he said, “is making everything worse.” His choices only make sense, according to Brooks, “if you live a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society.”
Brooks’s argument that Snowden should have continued to trust checks and balances that were transparently failing to work reminds me of one of the most specious arguments in the United States Reports: Felix Frankfurter’s argument that the only appropriate remedy for citizens disenfranchised by malapportionment is for the disenfranchised to seek redress from the legislatures in which they aren’t represented (Brooks must regret not having been around to attack the rootless cosmopolitanism of Baker v. Carr.)
Yet even as the insults pile up and the amateur psychoanalysis intensifies, keep in mind that Snowden’s leak has more in common with the standard Washington leak than should make the likes of Brooks, Simon and Cohen comfortable. Without defending Snowden for breaking his vow to safeguard secrets, he’s only done in the macro what the national security establishment does in the micro every day of the week to manage, manipulate and influence ongoing policy debates. Keeping the policy leak separate from the heretic leak is crucial to understanding how these stories play out in the press.
Secrets are sacrosanct in Washington until officials find political expediency in either declassifying them or leaking them selectively. It doesn’t really matter which modern presidential administration you decide to scrutinize for this behavior, as all of them are guilty.
Rich Yeselson has a really superb piece on the ongoing implications of Taft-Hartley and what labor can and can’t do in response. The whole thing should be read, but I’ll tease the bottom line:
Ancient history? Maybe—but it’s also crucial history whose direct consequences labor and the country live with today. Taft-Hartley didn’t destroy labor. But it stopped labor dead in its tracks at a point when unions were large, growing, and confident of their economic and political power; when unions really were what The Wall Street Journal still laughably calls “big labor.” The law codified a series of legal land mines—some of which didn’t detonate for decades—that forced unions to weigh the political and economic costs of doing anything too aggressive in their efforts to grow, and, indeed, to begin fighting many rearguard actions to protect the gains they had already made. Without Taft-Hartley, it’s easy to imagine a continued increase in union density rather than a flattening followed by a gradual and then dramatic decline. Today, only 11.3 percent of American workers are unionized—and just 6.6 percent of the private sector, a level not seen since the early twentieth century.
What is the relevance of all this to today? Well, Taft-Hartley isn’t going anywhere. Its land mines still detonate. And it still defines the legal and political context in which labor must operate as it tries to map out a strategy for the future. An aggressive organizing strategy, of the sort labor attempted when John Sweeney took the helm of the AFL-CIO, just doesn’t work because the smart union strategists can’t compensate for a mostly (though not entirely) uninterested working class. But labor can, without undertaking lengthy and expensive campaigns to organize new sectors, work to buttress the areas in which it is already strong, extend its alliances with other progressive groups, and even train the worker leaders of tomorrow. I call this “Fortress Unionism,” and I believe it’s labor’s best play until the day arrives, if it ever does, when the workers themselves militantly signal that they want unions.
Arguably capitalism’s greatest feat in the last century is the almost complete separation of production from consumption. Modern Americans rarely see where anything is produced, whether food or consumer goods. This is an intentional move by corporations to shelter themselves from pressures to produce goods in anything other than brutal conditions that maximize profit.
I thought of this when reading this article about a person in a Chinese prison camp slipping pleas for help inside the goods the prison produced for export. An Oregon woman found one of them in a package of Halloween decorations. We simply have no idea of knowing what goods are produced under any sort of labor conditions, but especially prison labor. What corporations are directly benefiting from prison labor? At what point do Americans enter into the process? What responsibility do we have to find out? But because of the extreme capital mobility lauded by the political and economic elite for the last fifty years, we simply have almost no way to find out the answers to the questions.
And that’s the way capital likes it.
If there’s one thing the state of Illinois needs, it’s another centrist insider Democrat running for high office on a position of tearing down the good life for working-class people. Always important to follow Rahm Emanuel’s example.
Shortly after midnight on June 12, 1963, NAACP leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in front of his home by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of this tragedy.