“Robert Kedzie had delivered his own verdict: arsenical wallpapers must be eliminated from the state. In 1874 he collected numerous wallpaper samples… and had them bound into 100 books…”
“Robert Kedzie had delivered his own verdict: arsenical wallpapers must be eliminated from the state. In 1874 he collected numerous wallpaper samples… and had them bound into 100 books…”
“My grandmother heard what she wanted from a leader who promised simple answers to complicated questions. She chose not to hear and see the monstrous sum those answers added up to.”
“A shocking first-person account of why the Affordable Care Act is in so much political trouble: It’s because many Americans are too stupid and too selfish to understand how health insurance works, on the most fundamental level.”
“How can a great and wise civilization have destroyed itself so completely?”
“Perhaps,” said Apollo, “by being materially great and materially wise, and nothing else.”
“Practically speaking, plutocratic insurgency takes the form of efforts to lower taxes, which necessitates cutting spending on public goods…”
“We should remember that the key drivers of growth are science, education and innovation, not low taxes, lax regulations or greater exploitation of natural resources.”
“He said Moses didn’t want poor people, particularly poor people of color, to use Jones Beach, so they had legislation passed forbidding the use of buses on parkways.”
“To assume the Hillary Clinton of 1994 would be an accurate reflection of the Hillary Clinton of 2017 is to fundamentally misunderstand how politics works.”
“Clinton had sounded like a scold, the disciplinarian, the mean mommy, the pragmatic downer — all versions of a feminized role that she and many, many women have long found it incredibly difficult to escape.”
“If you believe that just electing the right leader will solve your problems, you will always, always, always be disappointed.”
“Crime in the U.S. is at an all-time low across the country, and we expect it to stay that way.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
“Clinton, like Obama before her, isn’t carrying just her own baggage, but will stand in as the symbolic target for those whose fury at increased female autonomy has been building.”
“In other words, lack of money is even more a ‘clock problem’ than lack of sufficient jobs. You literally just give people money!”
“The number of people shot to death last year in arguments not during the commission of a felony (1,759) dwarfs the number shot to death in gang violence (667) and the number shot to death in drug trafficking (298)—combined.”
Recommended: “Murmurings,” a short story by Jane Buchbinder in Post Road.
“Here’s our guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Melodramatic Public Resignation.”
“All this is but a recent chapter in the long tradition of subordinating human welfare to financial power.”
“The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.”
“A review of the pros and cons of G.M.O.s strongly suggests that the issue reflects a poor public understanding of the science behind them…”
Mad Max: Fury Road
“A critical implication of this research is that working long hours is not necessary for high quality work… Leaders of organizations, however… may have trouble accepting the possibility that there might be another way to work.”
“One-third of all voters are Democrats, one-third are Republicans, and one-third are independents. Of those independents, one-third are really Democrats, one-third are really Republicans…”
“Contrary to popular belief, when all taxes are considered, the rich do not pay a disproportionately high share of taxes.”
“Jackson’s presidency is the origin story of the President as Action Hero, to be judged by history as a Great Man based on the macho decisiveness of his acts and not their moral or practical soundness.”
“It is a luxury—a privilege—to utilize the language of social justice without particularly caring if your speech contributes to the cause”
“However much Americans ‘support’ and ‘respect’ their troops, they are not involved with them, and that disengagement inevitably leads to dangerous decisions the public barely notices.”
“The supervisor handbook for American Airlines stated, ‘A stewardess must be attractive. We can sometimes pretend a person is attractive, if we admire them for some other reason. This should be avoided.'”
“The same people who had tried to disenfranchise the city’s black population… were suddenly behaving as if Barry had invented ethnic patronage, as if it hadn’t been a way of life for whites in ethnic enclaves in big cities…”
“My liberty, my interests and consequently my civil rights were ignored because some ambitious governors saw an opportunity to use an age-old political tactic: fear.”
“Once again we are testing the question: Can tax cuts pay for themselves? The answer—yet again—is a resounding no.”
“What we’re seeing now is a rehearsal, where the mechanisms of a toxic and inhumane politics are being tested and improved.”
“Of all the women murdered in 2010, nearly 40 percent were killed by a spouse or someone they were dating… For men… the percentage … hovers at about 2 to 3 percent.”
“I don’t know why they hate us so much,” he said. “It seems like police are about to go to war with the people.”
“I mostly write out of disgust and dissatisfaction. I want a beautiful life but I’m stuck in this Garbage World with you people.”
“You remember Delroy the Jamaican? Yeah, well now he’s a goddamned sex swami in California!” The story of a cult deprogrammer.
“These top-down assaults serve a political purpose. If poor people have made themselves poor, then economic inequality and the dismantling of the welfare state are justified.”
“Writing laws is for compromisers and turncoats; what matters [to the conservative base] is that the revolution continue forever.”
“According to one multicity study, in a single week, nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers had, on average, 15 percent of their pay stolen by their employers.”
“White Collar forcefully reorients our entire picture of how people’s occupations affect their class, and how class, in turn, determines politics.”
“If we’re serious about tackling inequality, we need to consider tax rates that are so high they won’t raise any revenue at all — they’ll just deter high wages.”
Who Tweets? “Brands, and people who believe themselves to be brands.”
“The provocative argument of Capital in the 21st Century is that market capitalism… will eventually lead to an economy dominated by those lucky enough to be born into a position of inherited wealth.”
“Nearly 70 percent of American working-age adults do not have jobs that pay at least $30,000 per year, because there are only three such jobs for every 10 American adults between the ages of 18 and 69.”
“States taken over by conservatives have waged an all-out war on workers, reproductive health, and public goods. Meanwhile liberal states and cities have moved to expand paid sick-leave, minimum wages, and reproductive health.”
“This insistence on merit — the successful person’s fantasy of earning what you got by out-working people from less privileged backgrounds — defines our unequal era of naked, unabashed favoritism.”
“To understand why the United States is on the path to social democracy, one must recognize that although it is a rich country, it nevertheless suffers from serious economic failings”
46 Tweets about 44 Presidents by Eric Loomis.
“The problem with Christie isn’t merely that he is a bully. It’s that his political career is built on a rotten foundation.”
“He had no affairs with women, although in 1876 he reportedly once slept with the great actress Sarah Bernhardt, after which he vomited for twenty-four hours. (She remained a great friend.)”
“You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up and people start to use it again, it’s frustrating.”
The New York Times takes a closer look at anti-GMO hysteria.
The Wolf of Wall Street
It’s long and unwieldy, but Tom Scocca’s “On Smarm” does a fairly good job of dissecting the insidious way substantive criticism is dismissed in the name of “civility.”
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that … a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world… This opinion expresses a crude and naïve trust in … the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” Pope Francis puts capitalism on blast.
“The government would mail every American over the age of 21 a check each month. That’s it. Everyone is free to do what they like with it.”
It’s both hilarious and strangely appropriate that Morrissey got Penguin to give his autobigraphy the Penguin Classics cover treatment.
“A study published in the journal PLOS Medicine estimated that 461,000 Iraqis died directly and indirectly from the war during 2003-2011.”
Spotted on the train: a woman using a paper Wall Street Journal to prop up her iPad, on which she is reading the Wall Street Journal #printisdead
“What possible basis can be found to justify preserving subsidies for affluent farmers while cutting them for the poor? What explanation offers itself other than the party’s commitment to waging class war?“
“In the recent history of management ideas, few have had a more profound — or pernicious — effect than the one that says corporations should be run in a manner that ‘maximizes shareholder value.'”
“It’s worth interrogating the larger political and ideological construct that says that spending a few billions dollars to help foreigners is a thinkable undertaking if and only if the means of providing assistance is to kill some people and blow some stuff up.”
“Yes, Cory Booker is a young man in a hurry. But is he any more ambitious… than any other politician?” Dissecting the Cory Booker backlash.
HuffPo is ending anonymous comments. Good move. I hope that more traditional newspaper websites end commenting altogether.
“The family raised Willis, and he learned to speak Cantonese, gradually becoming caught up in the underworld.”
“Listening to the Republicans, you’d think waves of people are crossing the border,” Massey said. “But illegal migration stopped four years ago and has been zero since.”
“Somewhere in your home there is button which could erase civilization. And then you come to this place and find yourself disarmed.”
“The novel also functions as a kind of thought exercise. The exercise is: What if the ‘Deep Thoughts’ guy was a character in a book?”
“If you treat consumers with respect and treat employees with respect, good things are going to happen to you.” The CostCo model.
Matthew Yglesias summarizes the entire Star Trek franchise and argues that it needs to get back on the small screen, immediately.
It’s a 401(k) world, and it sucks.
Here’s basically everything you need to know about personal finance, on an index card.
I definitely did not expect the best post-Thatcher essay to be from Russell Brand, but… wow.
Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It. The earliest surviving aerial photograph, 1860.
My job is what Chekov said that the job of an artist was, which is ‘the proper presentation of the problem.’
The obligation of the writer is not to provide the solution to a problem. That’s the job of a legislator, a leader, a crusader, a revloutionary, a warrior, and so on.
A group of Russians illegally climbed the Great Pyramid and captured some amazing photos.
The animated headline infographic HuffPo ran yesterday to depict the gun deaths since Newtown is stunning, and an example of how print media doesn’t stand a chance.
“The world is changing in ways that make Republicans’ platform of smaller government and lower taxes less desirable and therefore less saleable.”
A profile of America’s greatest living writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates.
“Everyone’s zeroing in on Boston to exploit what they think Boston is about from the outside. But from the inside we know that’s not what Boston is.”
How the quest for the most profitable food is imperiling humanity.
“Democrats look like they’re moving left, and it’s for one reason: because it’s good politics.”
A fun look at the place names, past and present, that mark the land south of Boston.
Atul Gawande on why hospitals should be more like the Cheesecake Factory.
The Way We Live. Striking aerial photos of neighborhood development patterns.
Pretty striking to hear references to Seneca Falls and Stonewall in an inaugural address.
“We idealize the myth of Horatio Alger in this country. Anyone can make it. Anyone. But we forget that Horatio Alger was a writer of fiction.” Is the self-help approach to financial advice a problem?
Zero Dark Thirty
Did gasoline lead cause an epidemic of violent crime? It seems possible.
In 1996, a family of German tourists disappeared in Death Valley. Over a decade later, one man solved the mystery.
“It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that a low-income student, no matter how intrinsically bright, moves up the socioeconomic ladder.” The growing role that education plays in preserving class divisions.
68 Blocks. The Globe chronicles a year in Dorchester’s Geneva-Bowdoin neighborhood.
Chris Hughes, the new New Republic, and “asceticism for progress.”
“The New World’s tone cannot be described as mournful, because beauty, love, and the miracles of life persist even amid death and destruction”
“It was a lot of the same people on the wrong side of both bets.” Mitt Romney, Wall Street’s worst bet since subprime.
“That’s how things often work in America. Half-a-century of tax cuts focused on the wealthiest Americans leave us with third-rate public services, leading the wealthy to develop inefficient private workarounds.”
How many cautionary tales of the public financing of sports stadiums do there have to be before people wise up?
If you couldn’t stay up to 2 a.m. for the President’s acceptance speech, I encourage you to watch it now. Possibly one of the greatest political speeches ever given.
It’s election day! #swag
“White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being.”
Rick Perlstein reveals the history of the marketing con game embedded in modern conservatism’s DNA.
“The perceptions of separate reality have reached a new level.”
Freeman Dyson examines how the divorce of philosophy and science greatly diminished the former.
Before you act, ask yourself: “Am I on the Internet right now?“
An extensive walkthrough of the show that warped my brain as a child, Get a Life.
Steven Pearlstein offers a wicked skewering of “job creator” entitlement.
New DNC ad brings the heat
A unique take on U.S. History, as told by conservatives in their own words.
What’s the truth behind Mitt Romney’s 47% figure?
(NYT) Mr. Romney’s figure of 47 percent may come from the Tax Policy Center, which found that 46.4 percent of households paid no federal income tax in 2011. But most households did pay payroll taxes. Of the 18.1 percent of households that paid neither income taxes nor payroll taxes, the center found that more than half were elderly and more than a third were not elderly but had incomes under $20,000.
(Ezra Klein) Here’s the policy two-step behind Romney’s remarks: Republicans have spent years cutting income taxes and increasing things like the Child tax Credit. This means fewer people pay income taxes. So whenever you hear a stat like “47% don’t pay income taxes,” remember: Reagan and Bush helped build that. These tax cuts for the poor were partly in order to make further tax cuts for the rich political palatable. But now that fewer people pay income taxes as a result of GOP policies, they’re being called lazy and dependent. And thus the GOP’s tax cuts are being used to make a case that the rich are overtaxed and that the less-rich are becoming dependent. Which thus leads to a policy agenda of tax cuts for the rich and cuts to social services for the non-rich.
“This war on the liberal arts is born from the same desire that produces voter ID laws: a desire to limit democratic participation.”
Pretty much sums it up.
(Atrios): Post-9/11 the worst people in the world, the worst most incompetent people in the world, were hailed as the strong daddies who kept us safe. After they let 9/11 happen due to gross incompetence and stupidity, and after they set in motion a chain of events which killed hundreds of thousands of people.
More: The Deafness Before the Storm (NYT)
Melissa Harris-Perry: “Nothing is riskier than being poor in America.”
“The church is tired.” Jesuit cardinal calls for radical change in posthumous interview.
“For most of American history, our political system was premised on two conflicting facts—one, an oft-stated love of democracy; the other, an undemocratic white supremacy inscribed at every level of government.”
NYT says don’t believe most of what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are saying about Medicare.
“We turn to magic because sometimes it’s all we have…” A history of superstition.
“‘What is it?’ he asks Quentin about the South, ‘something you live and breathe in like air?'” How Faulkner tackled race with Absalom, Absalom!
No, the answer to massacres like today’s is not to expand concealed carry, it’s to speak out “about the madness of unleashed guns and what they do to American life.”
Michael Chabon follows James Joyce to “the end of English” through Finnegans Wake.
SCOTUSBlog breaks down what happened in the minutes after the ACA decision was released, and how CNN botched the reporting.
“Those who are able to climb up the ladder will find ways to pull it up after them, or to selectively lower it down to allow their friends, allies and kin to scramble up.”
“The Irish were put on this earth for other people to feel romantic about.” Terry Eagleton on Marx, Catholicism, and lit crit.
The new Liars album, WIXIW, is now streaming in full!
Cocteau Twins vocals + Duty-Now era Devo beats = Grimes. Check out the video for “Oblivion.”
How did Finland become one of the top educational systems in the world? By focusing on equality, not competition.
Two Hundred Years of Surgery by Atul Gawande.
“He believes that fairness is defined by market outcomes. To the extent that unfairness exists, it is solely the doing of government: clean energy, laws permitting union dues, overpaid government employees, and so on.” Romney’s perverse ‘fairness.’
“When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.” Treyvon Martin and America’s malignant gun culture.
“‘Socialism for the rich’ was supposed to be a joke. The truth is that it is now genuinely the way the global economy is working.” Marx at 193.
The new Old Colony housing project was completed Monday, and it’s beautiful. A wonderful upgrade for the residents and the neighborhood.
The perils of at-will employment: 14 workers in Florida fired for wearing orange.
The White House released a huge infographic detailing how gas prices work and what the administration’s energy policy is. Great stuff.
I love this style: Carlton Banks, Kanye West, and the rise of the NBA nerd.
Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful response to that grotesque Forbes column that’s making the rounds.
The Seinfeld episode where Jerry and George have an awkward night out with Elaine’s writer father is based on a real-life event where Larry David was forced to entertain his girlfriend’s father—Richard Yates.
I agree with this Globe editorial: veto casino gambling in Massachusetts.
Pretty obsessed with the Beach Boys’ “Surf’s Up” these days.
“A strategic document from [his] 2007 campaign lists “perfect hair” among [his] flaws.” And 98 other fun Romney facts from ThinkProgress.
“Wages as a percent of the economy… it’s basically the lowest it has ever been.” What the Wall Street protests are all about, in charts.
“We may still celebrate Labor Day, but our culture has given up on honoring workers as the real creators of wealth and their honest toil as worthy of genuine respect”
“Liberal critics of Obama generally want both maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement. In the real world, those two things are often at odds. “
“A lot of what we’re talking about now is not Harvard, but Harvard as a lens for what happens when you get stuck between class ‘spaces’ in America.”
“The vast majority of Republicans… are clinging to the position that not a single cent of deficit reduction must come from a higher tax take. This is economically illiterate and disgracefully cynical.”
Seems like a good day to revisit my PopMatters feature on The Departed, South Boston, and the Irish mob.
A great interview with Dick Van Dyke at the AV Club.
Great idea! Move the New Hampshire primary to Massachusetts!
Midnight in Paris
“Republicans [have] moved to a mental Shangri-La, where unwanted problems can be wished away, prejudice trumps fact, expertise is evidence of error, and reality itself comes to be regarded as some kind of elitist plot.”
Apparently nobody uses AIM anymore. This article actually made me sad. I still remember the panic and anxiety that gripped BC during the Great Three-Day AIM Blackout of 2002.
Quotes falsely attributed to MLK and Mark Twain are making the rounds. How did they get started?
“[W]e pretend to need them. We pretend to educate the kids. We pretend that we’re actually including them in the American ideal, but we’re not.” David Simon (The Wire) talks to Bill Moyers
The undergrad business major is a waste of time.
The Awl has been turning out some amazing content lately. When Alan Met Ayn: Atlas Shrugged and our Tanked Economy
Paul Krugman on the Ryan budget: “Ludicrous and Cruel.”
New England Uber Alles. A chart ranking quality of life in the U.S. states.
Obama is a pragmatist.
Whit Stillman has finished his fourth movie.
Jimmy Carter interview on Real Time. Great president? Or greatest president?
Great map: the racial makeup of Boston.
I’m Still Here
Pretty fascinating interview with Fidel Castro over at the Atlantic.
The new ALARM Magazine website is live, and it looks awesome. Stay tuned for my features on Matmos and Liars.
FEED Magazine, which I credit as an inspiration, closed in 2001. They just put their archives back online.
Just received my copy of the new Menomena record, Mines. Had a great time interviewing them for ALARM when their last album came out.
The beauty of hand-drawn maps.
Happy International Worker’s Day!
I’ve added some more audio clips from my interview with Matmos.
John Tesh is a pretty cool dude.
Chris Ware’s rejected Fortune 500 cover. I love micro-detailed drawings like this.
“It’s a conundrum. But Jesus was resurrected after three days, and you can visit Muhammad’s grave.” William Langewiesche talks to a military sniper.
Let nostalgia wash over you: the 120 Minutes playlist and video archive
The top 100 books about New England per Boston.com
PBS NOW takes an in-depth look at Braddock, Pennsylvania, a failing steel town whose mayor is trying to erase the blight and revitalize its fortunes.
The search for the lost, first cut of The Magnificent Ambersons.
Kelefa Sanneh on the protean nature of white culture and identity.
The silver screen is now teal and orange.
“The Federal Republic is not the place for an urban guerrilla movement in the Latin American style. The country offers, at most, suitable conditions for a gangster drama.”
Through the Sparks has a new album coming out March 23rd: Worm Moon Waining. They’re offering three new singles, plus all their previous material, including the excellent Lazarus Beach as free downloads at their website.
American TV shows have too many episodes; it’s quantity over quality.
Papyrus is the new Comic Sans.
A Single Man
Up in the Air
Whit Stillman talks to Charlie Rose about writing, making films, and how Americans misunderstand what’s great about Paris.
Is the South End erasing Roxbury from the map?
Bethany McLean looks at Goldman Sachs in Vanity Fair.
“This is just entry level to what’s coming. Just the appalling volume of artifacts will erase all meaning that they could ever possibly have. But we probably won’t get that far anyway.” Cormac McCarthy in the WSJ.
“At one time, we were a city of hate. We’re not a city of hate anymore.”
People felt the universe would reward them for doing what they wanted to do, instead of doing what they needed to do…
Objectivism is not a philosophy, it’s a personality disorder.
Pictures like this make me glad they fixed the Hubble.
“Don’t waste time bandying words with philistines and crackpots.” — Marcus Aurelius
In The Loop
This site is now running on Bluehost, as I’ve finally gotten fed up with Yahoo! Web Hosting.
The Hurt Locker
500 Days of Summer
“Being an English major prepares you for impersonating authority” —Garrison Keillor
The last time I wrote about Sonic Youth was in this triple-take on Sonic Youth, The Whitey Album, and Psychic Hearts back in 2006 for Stylus Magazine. It’s one of my favorite reviews.
The antilibrary of Umberto Eco.
Even though I won a free pizza last week, I still hate Twitter.
Not surprised to see the Jesuits raising this issue. Good for them.
Richard Wagner – Vorspiel
Mike Rowe on the importance of hard work.
The New Republic defends The New Deal from revisionist, conservative historians.
William Langewiesche’s article on the hijacking of a French luxury ship by Somali pirates further reveals his belief in the irrelevance of governments in postmodern crises and a disdain for the vanity of the first world.
No. 9 Park
It’s unfortunate that Malia has to use a Kodak camera simply because it’s American made. Their cameras are poorly made and prone to failure.
New William Langewiesche article on the mid-air collision of a Boeing 737 and a private jet over Brazil in 2006, at Vanity Fair.
The perils of popular young-adult lit.
The Onion – January 17th, 2001 | Bush also promised… that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years… Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession… a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs…
Powerful photos of Barack Obama on the campaign trail.
…to become an expert in any given subject that might be thrown your way, from hot dogs to hangover cures, the cellular process of aging, and to present yourself as such an authority with utter fraudulency and a completely straight face. And then to dump all that information out of your brain and start again…
Burn After Reading
[Democratic State Senate candidate] Chang-Diaz will face a little-known Socialist Workers Party candidate, William Theodore Leonard, in the Nov. 4 general election. There is no Republican candidate.
Outer space is infinitely interesting.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
The drummers were there first. Learn to enjoy it. Maybe even participate. Anyone can drum.
If only the Bible were as well written as Paradise Lost. It’s… inspired.
Pirate Community Radio in Dorchester, filling a void and facing extinction.
Forbes has featured my articles quite prominently in their Father’s Day Gift Guide
“Measured against the problem we face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, I know…”
The table of recurring themes in the work of John Irving is hilarious. Everyone should have their work splayed out so coolly.
Q: What do the Daytona 500, Britney Spears, great sandwiches, and I have in common?
A: Yahoo thinks we’re important.