“If you’re in the luckiest 1% of humanity,” he once said, “you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%.”
- Warren Buffett qtd. in Sunday Star Times
(More from the article: “But it is also a matter of enlightened self-interest. He knew that in the long run he and his class would benefit from living in a fairer society. The rich do better when everyone does better.”)
Trying to freelance until I grow up and get a real job
It sounds so simple. Blog and write on various topics until I find a “real” 9-5er. I suppose it’s just a matter of still finding an outlet that will stimulate me enough to actually push out consistent content. But I’m quickly realizing just how many truly terrible sites/businesses are out there. Do people actually visit their online products?
This is from an actual note that an actual journalist for The Atlantic sent to readers of his blog at The Atlantic site. It attempts to explain to those readers why his update to a post (Mumbai comes to Norway) suggesting radical Muslims were behind the killing spree in Norway made it look like he had presented this claim as just one theory among many, when in fact, he had not. You can get the full background here (and you should; it’s interesting.) But enjoy the note. It’s a masterpiece of its kind. On the other side of it, I will tell you what he should have said.
Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic explains why his update didn’t look like an update.
UPDATE ON THE PREVIOUS UPDATE (Monday the 25th): A number of readers have pointed out that my previous caveat give the impression that it was an instantaneous caveat, when in fact it wasn’t. It was written a short while after the original post went up, and was labeled “Update” originally (I’ve since affixed the word “update” to it again. What happened was that I was driving and had connectivity problems, and so when I added further updates (below), I inadvertently erased the whole post, and had to rescue it from a Word document, but in re-posting that word document (or most of it—I saved only most of it) I dropped the word “update,” along with a couple of other things. And then I thought I had saved it and posted it, when it fact the “save” didn’t go through until a later “save” of another update. When the post went out on my RSS feed, I believe it still had the word “update” in it. Though I don’t know for sure, but will check my RSS feed when I get back. I’m sorry this sounds so confusing, but I want to clear up the impression that I folded in caveats later without saying that they were added later. In truth, I can’t figure out what happened, because I thought when I wrote the aforementioned caveat, it had successfully posted, when it seems that it hadn’t.
i barely understand the previous paragraph. Suffice it to say I don’t want to leave anyone with either the impression that the caveat paragraph was posted simultaneously with the original content of the post, or that it was added hours or days later. I wrote it almost right after I posted originally, but it apparently wasn’t saved into text until one of the next times I opened up this post. My bad—no blogging and driving for me. And of course it was my bad not to lard even more caveats into the post in the first place.
Jay Rosen’s recommended update to Jeffrey Goldberg’s, “Mumbai Comes to Norway” post.
UPDATE, JULY 23. Well, it’s now clear that I should not have written the paragraphs above. This is a well known peril in blogging: posting without a net. And I know all about that peril. But I let my reptile brain override my internal editor, and that was just dumb of me, not to mention unprofessional. So I apologize to readers of The Atlantic.
“My public statements about jury nullification were not the only political statements that Mr. Huber thinks I should be punished for. As the government’s memorandum points out, I have also made public statements about the value of civil disobedience in bringing the rule of law closer to our shared sense of justice. In fact, I have openly and explicitly called for nonviolent civil disobedience against mountaintop removal coal mining in my home state of West Virginia. Mountaintop removal is itself an illegal activity, which has always been in violation of the Clean Water Act, and it is an illegal activity that kills people. A West Virginia state investigation found that Massey Energy had been cited with 62,923 violations of the law in the ten years preceding the disaster that killed 29 people last year. The investigation also revealed that Massey paid for almost none of those violations because the company provided millions of dollars worth of campaign contributions that elected most of the appeals court judges in the state. When I was growing up in West Virginia, my mother was one of many who pursued every legal avenue for making the coal industry follow the law. She commented at hearings, wrote petitions and filed lawsuits, and many have continued to do ever since, to no avail. I actually have great respect for the rule of law, because I see what happens when it doesn’t exist, as is the case with the fossil fuel industry. Those crimes committed by Massey Energy led not only to the deaths of their own workers, but to the deaths of countless local residents, such as Joshua McCormick, who died of kidney cancer at age 22 because he was unlucky enough to live downstream from a coal mine. When a corrupted government is no longer willing to uphold the rule of law, I advocate that citizens step up to that responsibility.”—
askjerves: Everyone should read Tim DeChristopher’s pre-sentencing comments (through that link to Yes! Magazine above). And then everyone who’s outraged should do something. Something with more impact than reblogging or signing an e-petition. Like getting loud or maybe getting arrested. We’re losing to the greedy rich who simply don’t care about the health of most humans, or the well-being of future generations. We’re losing because we’re complacent. One guy goes and does something heroic, and a lot of us clap our hands and nod approvingly and like and reblog, but, so far, very few others are following suit, or doing anything else that might compromise our own comfortable lives.
I interviewed DeChristopher last year, and one thing he said really stuck with me. He said:
You know how Gandhi said you have to “be the change you want to see in the world.” Well the change that most of us wish to see is a carbon tax, but our leaders aren’t doing that for us, so Gandhi’s call is then for us to be the carbon tax. What does that mean—to “be the carbon tax?” To cost the fossil fuel industry money in any way that we can. Getting in their way, slowing them down, shutting them down. Doing whatever we can to be that tax. It forces our leaders to make a choice—to either be more explicit in their war on the young generation, to to get serious about stopping climate change.
So what to do? My friend and mentor Bill wrote this today, about DeChristopher and a mass action planned for DC in late August.
And it’s time for you to take the same kind of responsibility. In a few weeks, those of us at tarsandsaction.org will be gathering in Washington DC for two weeks of civil disobedience against the proposed Keystone Pipeline, that will carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico. Jim Hansen, the NASA climatologist, says that if those tar sands are fully exploited it’s “essentially game over for the climate.” If those words don’t inspire you to act, nothing will — and so far more than a thousand have signed on, meaning this will be the largest civil disobedience action in the history of the country’s climate movement.
This action won’t be as risky as Tim’s. People are signing up to come to DC for three days. On the first they’ll attend nonviolence training, and on the second they’ll sit down in front of the White House. No one knows for sure how the police will react, but the legal experts say jail time will likely be measured in hours, not years. Still, it’s a very real way to say to President Obama (who will make the Keystone decision all by himself) that this is the great moral issue of our time.
Bamiyan is an extremely poor and remote land in one of the world’s most underdeveloped countries. The Buddha statues were once a major tourist attraction, but Afghanistan has been at war virtually nonstop for more than three decades. The fighting drove away the tourists years before the Taliban blew up the statues.
The restoration project is designed to rebuild the historic site, as well as bring back the tourists. The project has the support of Habiba Sarabi, the popular provincial governor. And there are reasons to be hopeful. Bamiyan is now considered one of the less dangerous places in Afghanistan.
Housing protests to continue amid tension over PM's plan for students
Still, National Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmuli said the students would not stop fighting.
"The right to a roof over one’s head should be assured to everyone in Israel, whether they are students or not," Shmuli said.
Tel Aviv University Student Union head Ran Livneh spoke out more sharply against Netanyahu’s plan, calling it “an attempt to bribe the student unions throughout Israel.”
"We will not accept the things we accepted throughout the years; we will not stick a knife in anyone’s back," he said.
The student unions announced they would continue blocking traffic and taking over construction sites and abandoned buildings.
Both groups said they were “not alone in the struggle,” and that their protest was important for all segments of the population.
The various groups in the Jerusalem tent protest issued a joint statement following Netanyahu’s press conference, hinting that the prime minister’s intent was to split the protesters by offering solutions to students: “The steps the prime minister announced are not enough to solve the housing problems in Israel. The planned reforms to the Planning and Building Law and the housing committees preserve the failing, anti-social policies,” the statement said.
According to President Obama, Congress has become mired in negotiations to raise the debt ceiling and trim federal deficits. The way ahead is unclear – every path has hurdles, if not roadblocks, obstructing the way. As Congress rapidly approaches the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a government default on its credit obligations, there are now six possible paths forward:
The House Bill: House Speaker John Boehner declared on Monday night that there is “no stalemate in Congress.” His way forward is a bill that, until Sunday, he was drafting with Democratic congressional leaders. The bill would enact $1.2 trillion in cuts immediately and then empower a commission – a variation of an idea put forth by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – to scour entitlements and other spending to find another $1.8 trillion in cuts over the next six months. Congress would then hold a second vote on these cuts and to raise the debt ceiling through December 2012. Democrats object to holding two votes – if raising the debt ceiling is hard now, imagine doing it in the middle of the 2012 primary season (the Iowa caucuses are on Feb. 6). They also don’t like the prospect of cutting entitlements.
Even Boehner’s own conference is not enamored with the plan. A coalition of several dozen right-wing members who support a more stringent House plan, known as Cut, Cap and Balance, which failed to pass the Senate, panned Boehner’s proposal on Monday. And when asked if he could get even a majority of Republicans to vote for his plan, given the GOP criticism, Boehner in a press conference deferred to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who said that they hoped to get Democratic support given that five Dems voted for their Cut, Cap & Balance bill. “We ask all Democrats that want to join with us to put this House on the right path that they could join with us on this bill,” McCarthy said. Unfortunately for them, they are going to need a lot more than five Democratic votes, which is unlikely. Without strong support in the House and tepid Republican support in the Senate, Boehner’s plan faces many obstacles to becoming law.
The Senate bill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid walked away from talks with Boehner on Sunday, opposed to the idea that the country should or could handle two debt votes in the next year. Instead, he is proposing a debt ceiling increase offset by $2.7 trillion worth of cuts. The plan is potentially appealing on paper as it meets House GOP criteria that 1) the debt ceiling increase through the 2012 elections must be offset by an equal or greater amount of cuts – $2.4 trillion according to the Treasury — and 2) it must not include any new revenue increases. This, Democrats say, is a major concession: that they are willing to give trillions of dollars in cuts without any shared pain from the GOP in the form of tax increases. Republicans argue that Reid’s bill is full of gimmickry. For example, more than $1 trillion of the “cuts” are savings from accelerated troops draw downs in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Republicans counted savings the same way in the $6.2 trillion budget introduced by Paul Ryan. The plan also includes a commission, though this one would not look at entitlements and the second vote would lack the teeth of an accompanying debt ceiling increase. Obama and Democrats feel this is the best way forward, but it remains to be seen if Reid’s plan – or anything for that matter – can pass the House.
The Senate & House bills combined: There’s only a week left till the deadline, but – theoretically – if both chambers end their game of chicken and pass their own bills by the end of the week, House and Senate leaders could go through a quick conference process to reconcile their differences. There are many similarities between the two bills and the two chambers could bang out a compromise over the weekend and ram it through both chambers before the deadline. The likelihood of the bills passing, the leaders getting along and both chambers passing a new version in time is not good. But, it’s still a distant possibility.
The Grand Bargain redux: Sure, Obama and Boehner twice tried to take the political leap on a grand bargain of $4+ trillion in cuts. And they got really, really close. Boehner said on Fox News Sunday that his final offer still remains on the table. And, frankly, the calculus that got both of them interested in a grand bargain remains the same: the political cost of doing something small is similar to the cost of doing something big, so they might as well go big. If Boehner’s bill fails to launch in the House, he has all the more reason to go back to the negotiating table with the President, rather than swallow the Senate bill. And the President has said that the only circumstances under which he’d accept a short-term extension is if they were hammering out the details of a big deal. But, as Boehner also said on Fox on Sunday, it is “hard to put humpty dumpty back together again.” And after the grand bargain shattered twice – three times if you count House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s abandoning of Vice President Joe Biden’s deficit negotiations – there’s not a lot of trust left.
No deal: The markets don’t seem to think this is a possibility — and for my 401(k)’s sake, I certainly wish it wasn’t. But the two parties have never been further apart on a deal than they were on Tuesday. It’s hard to imagine who finally gives in. And, so, it’s not irrational to predict that the Treasury Department will have to take radical action in suspending government services to avoid a default after Aug. 2. Despite every congressional leader’s confidence that a deal will be struck, no leader actually has a path to prevent it. That’s terrifying.
Some combination of all of the above: With so few viable options, it’s not hard to imagine that the deadline is missed and the ensuing panic forces Congress to enact some combination of 1-4. Or they go right up to the brink and some combination of 1-4 happens. As Doc Brown from Back to the Future said, “Road? Where we’re going there are no roads.”
There is no excuse for inhumanity committed by humans. But when we allow ourselves to see person, justice becomes the extension of love, rather than objectification and worship of law. When we see person, justice finds purity, impartiality and action.
When we see person, we begin to leave Westboro Baptist Church.
It is not our place to see others as reasons for God’s judgment and catalysts for our weekday sermons. It is not about separation of sin and sinner, nor a combination of the two. It is about a willingness to lose our fixation on “the other” as an object, and a realization that “the other” is just as real and human as you or me—whether they’re behind bars, beneath the ground or beside a picket sign.