Friday, June 24, 2016

The UK's Post-Brexit, Post-Cameron Future

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"Don't Worry," I Said. "Trump Can't Win," I Assured Them ...

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... but is it impossible I've underestimated how eager neoliberalism's most vulnerable (the elderly, the working classes clinging to or losing sight of the standard of living their parents and grandparents enjoyed) are to accept the scapegoats the fascist end of the elite spectrum are foisting on them (immigrants, the non-whites, non-Christians)?

Sure hope young people (and old lefties like myself) will be out voting for their future in every town, county, state, and national election, before the crazy old racists take advantage of the mess of the neoliberals are making of things.

Bernie Sanders rolling over for the neoliberal Hillary shouldn't disappoint me, pragmatically I'm sure it boils down to lesser-of-two-evilism, but he should have taken a principled stand and broken from the Dems, or encouraged people consider Jill Stein. (But it's ideas like that which make it likelier I'll turn into Don Quixote than a political analyst for MSNBC.)<>br />

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Laws of Robotics Applied to Comment Spam Filtering

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

RIP Muhammad Ali

Juan Cole: Sufi Boxer Muhammad Ali’s Last Fight Was Against Extremism and Politicians’ Islamophobia - Juan Cole - Truthdig

Muhammad Ali, far from being pugilistic with the pugnacious Trump, gently called on all US politicians to distinguish between a fringe of misguided extremists and the actual teachings of Islam, which Mr. Ali saw as uniting humankind in love. In the end, the man who was known for boasting about how hard he could hit demonstrated that he wasn’t interested in childish polemics. He conceded the problem of extremism, but asked for understanding of the mainstream Muslim tradition of 1.5 billion human beings.
The Greatest has passed. Only Jackie Robinson comes close to approaching Ali's legacy as a principled sportsman whose influence reached far beyond the sport at which he excelled.

Ali was the first subject of the first project I can remember doing in elementary school. We were asked to show one of our heroes, so I made a collage magazine and newspaper clippings about Ali, this was in the mid-70s, when he was both the famous sportsman in the world, and -- in some circles -- the most reviled. I was a skinny, poor, intensely shy white kid and Ali was everything I wanted to be: eloquent, principled, defiant, courageous, supremely talented, hard-working ... and, as he would say, pretty. While I had, and have, nothing but love and respect for my uncles who fought in Vietnam, Ali is no less a hero for the stand he took against the war.

We need more Muhammad Alis. Big Papi always makes me smile; the UConn men's and women's basketball programs have produced scores of players I admire and watch every chance I get; Pedro Martinez and Ted Williams still inspire me; but none of them are Ali. None have had the impact on the world outside of sport that Ali had.

Baseball, football, basketball, soccer, and the world, need a gay Ali, an atheist Ali, a socialist Ali, a feminist Ali. I keep hoping someone like a Tom Brady will step up, a Steph Curry, a Big Papi ... but for the good those guys do through charitable works, and I'm sure they do a lot, we are already united in wanting to cure childhood cancer. The world needs a bucket of cold water over the head to wake up to the fact judges letting privileged white kids who rape off easy is the worst kind of institutional misogyny and white supremacy, to wake up to the fact perpetual war and empire can be ended, and we can be just and humane with each other. We need, as the kids say, to get woke.

We need another Muhammad Ali.

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