paper root

conversation with myself

April 14, 2014 at 11:19am
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April 11, 2014 at 5:52pm
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April 7, 2014 at 11:38am
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Literary City Guide Barcelona →

April 6, 2014 at 4:43pm
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Why I left the GOP →

Not having experienced it, I had always assumed that government force was only used against guilty people.  (Maybe that’s why we middle-class white people collectively freak out at TSA airport pat-downs.)

I dove into the research literature to try to figure out what was going on.  It turned out that everything I was “discovering” had been hiding in plain sight and had been named: aversive racism, institutional racism, disparate impact and disparate treatment, structural poverty, neighborhood redlining, the “trial tax,” the “poverty tax,” and on and on. 

March 24, 2014 at 12:17pm
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Lawyers in prestige positions aren't as happy as those in public service jobs, study finds - ABA Journal →

A new study of lawyer satisfaction proves the old adage that money can’t buy happiness. The survey found that lawyers in “prestige” jobs, who had the highest grades and incomes, aren’t as happy as lawyers working in public-service jobs for substantially lower pay.

March 20, 2014 at 2:07pm
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Reclaiming Abuelita Knowledge As A Brown Ecofeminista →

This patriarchal capitalist society is designed to keep us unhealthy. Specially all these white supremacist ideas that make people believe that conscious mooning is a white hippy thing, that giving birth to a baby under a tree is white, that gardening organically is white, that meditating is white. I really think that these false ideas create barriers to health that make many of us believe that these practices are so ridiculous and stupid so we end up doing the opposite of so called “white” things and end up hurting ourselves. We start believing that ancestral practices are not ours and we start seeing them as foreign. I refused to use any “eco-friendly” mxnstrual products for years because you know, that was such a white thing to do. I think there is this untold fear of becoming white for some Migrant Brown People, some of us are secretly scared of not being Brown enough.

March 13, 2014 at 8:47pm
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A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed →

A doctor can’t look at a person and see cancer, they have to look beyond the surface. When you look at the Justice system, the Death Penalty, or anything else, it takes one to go beyond the surface. Proper diagnosis is half the cure.

March 12, 2014 at 11:03am
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Muslim, queer, feminist: it's as complicated as it sounds. →

Islam, Allah says, is a religion for all people in all times. 

March 4, 2014 at 12:03am
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The Death of American Universities | Jacobin →

This idea is sometimes made quite overt. So when Alan Greenspan was testifying before Congress in 1997 on the marvels of the economy he was running, he said straight out that one of the bases for its economic success was imposing what he called “greater worker insecurity.” If workers are more insecure, that’s very “healthy” for the society, because if workers are insecure they won’t ask for wages, they won’t go on strike, they won’t call for benefits; they’ll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that’s optimal for corporations’ economic health.

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In fact, if you look back farther, it goes even deeper than that. If you go back to the early 1970s when a lot of this began, there was a lot of concern pretty much across the political spectrum over the activism of the 1960s; it’s commonly called “the time of troubles.” It was a “time of troubles” because the country was getting civilized, and that’s dangerous. People were becoming politically engaged and were trying to gain rights for groups that are called “special interests,” like women, working people, farmers, the young, the old, and so on. That led to a serious backlash, which was pretty overt.

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And they were particularly concerned with schools and universities, which they said were not properly doing their job of “indoctrinating the young.” You can see from student activism (the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the feminist movement, the environmental movements) that the young are just not being indoctrinated properly.

Well, how do you indoctrinate the young? There are a number of ways. One way is to burden them with hopelessly heavy tuition debt. Debt is a trap, especially student debt, which is enormous, far larger than credit card debt. It’s a trap for the rest of your life because the laws are designed so that you can’t get out of it. If a business, say, gets in too much debt it can declare bankruptcy, but individuals can almost never be relieved of student debt through bankruptcy. They can even garnish social security if you default. That’s a disciplinary technique.

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And another technique of indoctrination is to cut back faculty-student contact: large classes, temporary teachers who are overburdened, who can barely survive on an adjunct salary. And since you don’t have any job security, you can’t build up a career, you can’t move on and get more. These are all techniques of discipline, indoctrination, and control.

February 28, 2014 at 1:16pm
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From Aztecs To Oscars: Popcorn's Beautiful, Explosive Journey →

After a couple of thousand years, the Mesoamericans managed to cultivate varieties of corn that were good for flour, but they still ate popcorn. The Aztec language even has a word for the sound of many kernels popping at once — totopoca.