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Roundup: Swiftly Tilting Planet Edition

September 17th, 2007 · No Comments · Activism, Books, Chicago, Climate Change, Comics, Culture, Fantasy, Film, Foreign Policy, Hate Crimes, Health, History, HIV/AIDS, Infrastructure, Journalism, LGBT, Lit, Media, Nature, News, Peace, Politics, Public Transportation, Roundup, Science, Science Fiction, Tech

Swiftly Tilting Planet

  • Eric Alterman has an outstanding column in The Nation on how the media’s mean girls (of all genders) develop the narratives they use to bring down the presidential candidates they take a dislike to. With examples of what they did to Gore in 2000, and what they’re doing to Obama and Edwards right now.
  • Two of the seven soldiers who wrote the recent eloquent op-ed in the NYT have died in Iraq.
  • From an article about the anti-Thompson site PhoneyFred.org: “The Web site attacked Thompson’s conservative credentials. It also labeled him Fancy Fred, Five O’Clock Fred, Flip-Flop Fred, McCain Fred, Moron Fred, Playboy Fred, Pro-Choice Fred, Son-of-a-Fred and Trial Lawyer Fred.” They forgot Malibu Beach House Fred, Tickle Me Fred, and of course Buffy Villain Fred.
  • This is your brain on Ayn Rand. Alan Greenspan, from a letter to the NY Times in 1957: “Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.” So all those children around the world who are continually dying of malnutrition? Don’t worry, it’s just the unrelenting justice of the universe taking care of some parasites.
  • More on the differences between left- and right-wing brains. “Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. The latest study found those traits are not confined to political situations but also influence everyday decisions.” Via Crooks and Liars.
  • The myth of the “liberal media” takes another blow: new study confirms that newspaper op-ed columnists are overwhelmingly conservative.
  • Kurt Heintz, a frequent collaborator of mine from The Pansy Kings to The Partly Dave Show, writes a haunting first-hand account of the recent flooding in Ohio.
  • Decaying infrastructure watch: CTA tracks found to be old and dangerous.
  • LIT: Madeleine L’Engle passed away earlier this month and I missed it somehow — thanks to AKMA for pointing it out, and offering some words of remembrance. The story notes that A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by 26 publishers before being published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux; and I must have read that book 26 times before I graduated from high school. We’ll always have Ixchel and Camazotz.
  • Chris Bell at NZBC writes a fascinating profile of Robert McAlmon, a writer’s writer.
  • THE PINK SECTION: You’ll never catch me repeating gossip … so you better be sure and listen close the first time. (Listen to what Pam Spaulding had to say on the radio machine, too.)
  • Bravery en rose: Bullies turned back by a tide of pink shirts in Nova Scotia.
  • The Boston Globe looks at how gay people are the new black people in the GOP’s political strategy.
  • What it’s like to be gay in Jamaica, from an interview with a gay Jamaican granted asylum in the US: “Horrible. Terrible. I used to have a roommate, and when I left to come here she was killed at our place. Some men beat and cut up her and her lover.”
  • THE GREEN SECTION: RubberNun discusses a story I keep meaning to mention … and says pretty much what I would want to say about it. A new study reported in The Lancet says eating less red meat is one of the best ways to curb greenhouse gases and slow global warming. In fact, eating meat contributes more to global warming than driving does.
  • Climate change may be responsible for the population decline of eastern gray whales. There were once three to five times as many of them in the Pacific Ocean as there are today.
  • Alex, a most erudite parrot, has passed away.
  • “My God, it’s full of moons!” Arthur C. Clarke on the flyby of Saturn’s moon Iapetus.
  • FILM: New Paddington Bear movie in the works. I predict a worldwide buns and cocoa craze. Possibly even the term “elevenses” entering the American vocabulary.
  • MUSIC: Is it just me, or does “Madonna in a Headlock” sound like a great name for a Morrissey song? (With apologies to Shappy, whose classic Morrissey/Kotter theme mashup “Gabe Kaplan in a Wetsuit” made me think of it … )
  • HEALTH: Okay, here we go with the Vitamin D thing again. The dermatologists say that freakishly pale people like me need to stay out of the sun because it causes skin cancer. On the other hand, I keep reading this kind of thing: “Dr. Giovannucci also said North Americans may be inadvertently contributing to their vitamin D deficiencies through sun avoidance in an attempt to prevent skin cancer.” And of course the vitamin D deficiencies cause cancer. What’s a fair-haired, freckled girl to do?
  • New reports of a disturbing spike in HIV infection rates among young gay men in NYC.
  • TECH: A business with a real future — recovering data from hard drives after fires and floods.
  • COMICS: Justin Bilicki’s graphic look at the Friedman Unit. (Friedman Unit defined here.)
  • Tom Tomorrow talks to the hand.
  • Slowpoke: Gay Republican Guilt Camp, with a special appearance by Tucker Carlson.
  • THE SOCK DRAWER: Dude, your after shave is on fire. No, I mean it, dude. SERIOUSLY, DUDE, YOUR AFTER SHAVE IS ACTUALLY ON FIRE.


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