Subscribe via RSS Feed

Yosemite and the Legacy of White Colonialism Upon the Land

[ 38 ] August 16, 2014 |

theodore-roosevelt-yosemite

This is a fascinating essay on the terrible wrath white colonialism has created in the Yosemite Valley. There are a couple of facets. First, in the early 1850s, whites committed genocidal acts against the indigenous peoples living in Yosemite, clearing out the population. Then in the late 19th century, the Yosemite became the nation’s first “protected” space, based in no small part upon the landscape indigenous people had created in the Yosemite Valley through the applied use of fire to clear brush. In the early 20th century, under the guidance of the supposed father of Yosemite and of the modern environmental movement John Muir, fire was banned entirely, drastically changing the region and, ironically, creating the circumstances for much hotter and out of control fires because of denser and smaller vegetation. As the West dries out and heats up today, the costs of controlling these fires gets higher and higher in harder and harder conditions, thanks a century of white American land management practices.

In other words, the history of white colonialism in the Yosemite Valley is not just about a distant massacre of indigenous people 150 years ago. It’s about land management practices with a series of ideologies–aesthetic, economic, racial–behind them that still profoundly shape the area today, and not for the better.

Share with Sociable

Systemic Police Violence Against African-Americans

[ 57 ] August 16, 2014 |

As I’ve said a number of times in the last few days, what is happening in Ferguson is not unique but rather part of a systemic, nationwide plague of police violence against African-Americans. The biggest mistake we can make coming out of Ferguson is thinking of this as an isolated incident because the police are committing horrible violence against African-Americans every day in this country without consequence.

We can also ask why our police departments need mine-resistant vehicles and other leftovers from the Middle Eastern wars.

Share with Sociable

Your Clearly World Series Contending Seattle Mariners

[ 86 ] August 16, 2014 |

Run differential as of 8/15/14

1. Oakland +163
2. Seattle +94
3-30. Some other, less good teams.

And outside of the actual 3 and 4, which are the Angels and Nationals, there’s no one else even close.

My brain tells me not to take the Mariners seriously. And my heart kind of tells me that too. But the statistics do not lie. This is a team that has been one of the best in the major leagues this season and it isn’t luck. They are simply better than most other teams.

Share with Sociable

REAL MEN Follow Illegal Orders Without Complaint

[ 26 ] August 15, 2014 |

Jesus Christ, what a pathetic operation Tucker Carlson is running.

It’s not easy to out-hack a Joe Scarbrough/Mike Allen tag team, but they did it.

Share with Sociable

Perry Indicted

[ 45 ] August 15, 2014 |

I’m as contemptuous of Perry as anyone, but this seems really thin.  To the extent that the statute reaches Perry’s behavior, itself kind of a stretch, it’s hard to see how the statute is consistent with the separation of powers established by the state constitution.

…more here.  And here.

Share with Sociable

Hall of Fame

[ 102 ] August 15, 2014 |

The Baseball Hall of Fame voting procedures are a joke, now even more so with random rule changes to ensure that those big bad steroid users everyone loved at the time and weren’t breaking any rules don’t get in. A sensible way to improve those voting procedures is to expand the number of people voters can choose. Of course, baseball will probably react to this by lowering the number since everyone knows that baby boomers’ childhood nostalgia of the right kind of baseball players is the real important dividing line between who belongs and who doesn’t.

Share with Sociable

The Ladder of Escalation

[ 97 ] August 15, 2014 |

Well, here we go:

The Ukrainian government says its troops have destroyed military vehicles that crossed the border from Russia into eastern Ukraine.

The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the news Friday on the presidential website. It said Ukraine destroyed a “significant” portion of the military column.

British media had reported early Friday that a large column of Russian armored personnel carriers and other vehicles crossed the border into Ukraine. At a subsequent news conference, NATO leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed the sighting of “a Russian incursion.”

The curse of living in interesting times, and what not.

Share with Sociable

Wingnuts Still Building Clubhouses with “NO STINKY LIEBERALS” Signs on Them but the “B’s” are Backwards So It’s Kind of Adorable

[ 120 ] August 15, 2014 |

Welcome to Reaganbook, which is a not a huge embarrassing failure at all.  Since wingnuts are making a conservative version of everything these days, I anxiously await the arrival of conservative tampons. Granted, I don’t expect their debut to be glitch-free because “Why Aren’t You Pregnant, Whore? God, Your Body Is Disgusting.” is hard to fit on a box. Also, it’s hell to do anything with, graphic design-wise.

Thanks to Origami Isopod for the links!

Share with Sociable

The Ferguson PD

[ 157 ] August 15, 2014 |

Ferguson’s police department is long noted for its violence and random beatings of innocent people. It would be a mistake however to single out this department as uniquely bad. It might be unusually bad. Or it might not be. But cops commit violence against innocent people, and especially innocent people of color, every day in this country. Ferguson is a lot closer to the norm than we want to believe. What makes it unique is that the citizens of the town finally decided to stand up to the police violence. More people need to take to the streets against the legalized violence they face from police.

See also for the effects of this violence on black families. And presumably Latino and Native American families in some areas. We shouldn’t forget that race in this nation is just black-white.

Share with Sociable

A follow up on Infilaw’s cyber-propaganda efforts

[ 81 ] August 14, 2014 |

Amusingly, the same Infilaw shills who posted dozens of messages on the Atlantic’s web site between 1-3 AM this morning, attempting to attack the facts and interpretations in my article immediately after it was posted, are now posting very similar messages on other sites linking to the piece. (Whether these people are Infilaw administrators or employees of the PR firm Infilaw hired to deal with the fallout from the article — and whom I dealt with during the fact-checking process — I don’t know.)

One particularly implausible claim being made by the one commenter who claims to be a FCSL administrator is that something like 70% to 80% of FCSL grads with LSAT scores below 145 pass the bar, despite the dismal bar passage rates of people with such LSAT scores in general (Until very recently there was very little data on bar passage rates for people with LSATs below 145 since it was nearly impossible to get into an ABA law school with such a score, but what data there were — largely from non-ABA-accredited California schools — indicated the chances of someone with a score below 145 passing the bar were slim). Remarkably, the school’s representatives failed to mention this supposed “fact” during the extensive back and forth between themselves and the Atlantic prior to the article’s publication. Another reason this claim is implausible is that, until the past couple of years, even the Infilaw schools admitted very few people with such rock-bottom scores. For example, in 2010 (the most recent entering class that has taken the bar) less than 5% of the students FCSL admitted had LSAT scores below 145. By contrast, last year 31% of their admits had scores below 145, and the median LSAT of the school’s matriculants ended up being 144. The figures for the other Infilaw schools are comparable.

In other words, around half of the students at Infilaw schools are now people with such weak credentials that they couldn’t even have gotten into an Infilaw school three years earlier. It’s doubtful that even turning the school into nothing but an extraordinarily expensive three-year bar review course is going to produce acceptable bar passage rates from these cohorts. But of course by then the tuition checks will have all been cashed.

Share with Sociable

Hacks of the Day

[ 125 ] August 14, 2014 |
  • Dylan Byers. What can you even say at this point?
  • Good point by Harold Pollock about the most offensive of Kevin Williamson’s recent offensive columns.  Even leaving aside the flagrant racism, the premise of the article is idiotic.  Yes, when Republicans were in charge of the state government East St. Louis was just like Paris!
  • Cary Nelson asserted last week that Steven Salita “had not received a contract.”  So the question is whether he was dissembling or pretending to know things he didn’t.  At any rate, what’s left of his argument is that retweeting someone’s metaphorical criticism of a pundit is a firable offense if it’s done to advance a political position Cary Nelson doesn’t like.  Whether this would leave any remaining content to the concept of “academic freedom” I leave to the reader.
Share with Sociable

The Old South Returns

[ 111 ] August 14, 2014 |

Chris McDaniel may be the most known example, but the Tea Party in the South has always been about the return of the post-Civil War race baiting white South to respectable politics. Who are the real ancestors of the Tea Party?

We often think of the typical segregationist politician of yore as a genteel member of the white upper crust. But the more common mode was the fiery populist. Names like Thomas E. Watson of Georgia, “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman of South Carolina and James K. Vardaman and Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi may be obscure outside the South, but for most anyone brought up here, they loom large.

In the early 20th century, these men rose on an agrarian revolt against Big Business and government corruption. They used that energy, in turn, to disenfranchise and segregate blacks, whose loyalty to the pro-business Republican Party made them targets of these racist reformers.

Their activities spawned a second wave of Southern Democratic populists, who defied federal court orders and civil rights legislation during the 1960s, even as more moderate politicians were moving on. Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama, among others, portrayed himself as a tribune of the working class while championing segregation.

McDaniel and dozens of elected officials across the South are very much the descendants of not only Wallace and Faubus, but Tillman and Watson. So long as the government has the willpower to enforce minority voting, they will be eventually be repelled, but as the Supreme Court showed in gutting the Voting Rights Act last year, that willpower may well not be there at the court of final decision.

Share with Sociable
Page 40 of 1,889« First...1020303839404142506070...Last »