Hello there, and welcome to (what will hopefully be) the first of many installments of In Case You Missed It, where I’ll post links to the most interesting things I read on the web in the previous week and linked on my facebook page.
The big news this week was the first Democratic Presidential Debate. But I also found some interesting think pieces on Columbus Day (or, as we celebrate in my adopted home city of Seattle, Indigenous Peoples’ Day), violence, and socialism in the modern day and age.
And, in what I hope and expect to become a weekly tradition, we’ll end with a dueling WTF?/Fk Yeah! pair of stories to make you scratch your head and cheer.
The Democratic Debate and the Presidential Election
“If we had to decide the winner of last night’s Democratic debate with only the opinions of establishment media pundits, Hillary Clinton won by a landslide. But social media and online polls overwhelmingly chose Bernie Sanders as the winner. So which is true? Is Hillary the inevitable candidate the insider media has been telling us she is since day one, or is the corporate media pushing a pro-Hillary agenda on a pro-Bernie electorate?”
“Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.”
The Families Funding the 2016 Presidential Election in the New York Times
“Why do people need to be involved in mapping the districts?”
This Computer Programmer Solved Gerrymandering in His Spare Time in the Washington Post
Think Pieces and Opinion
“Anger is, at its essence, a part of the basic biological reaction to danger, the fight or flight response. The physiological shift makes us stop thinking and mobilize for immediate action, as though our life depends on it. It is a primitive response, and very powerful. Anger prepares us to stand our ground and fight. It helped our ancestors survive, but in today’s complex technological world, it is often more hindrance than help. The angrier you feel, the less clearly you can think, and therefore the less able you are to negotiate, take a new perspective, or effectively handle a provocation.”
How to Stop Violence on slate.com
“According to Sanders, socialism — or “democratic socialism,” his preferred formulation — is basically mainstream Democratic Party liberalism but more so. It entails single-payer health care, not Obamacare. It entails tuition-free college, not subsidized loans. It entails government jobs to deal with our unemployment problem, not stimulus through tax breaks. These are big policy changes, but they also don’t really seem to amount to the overthrow of capitalism — especially since actually existing capitalism in the United States has long included regulation of business and a welfare state.
But Sanders isn’t wrong. Looking at the history of socialism as a movement — from its utopian beginnings to Marx’s refinement and popularization and the split of socialists into reformers and revolutionaries at the start of the 20th century — reveals an ideology that has changed over time and shaped most countries around the world, including the United States, and that in some ways just isn’t as sharp a break with a status quo as the pearl-clutching tone of Anderson Cooper’s questions might lead you to believe.”
“Columbus was an asshole, even his friends thought so – what few friends he had. He routinely screwed his own crew out of money that he’d promised them and gloated about it, rubbing their faces in it. When his men threatened to mutiny (which happened repeatedly because Columbus was a shitty leader), he handed out pre-pubescent native girls as compensation, after enslaving their parents. He justified genocide by reasoning that so long as he didn’t let anybody convert the natives, he wasn’t killing Christians so God had to be good with it.”
Whitewash on Stonekettle Station
“The van’s owner, who the report did not identify, allegedly told the deputy that he attempted to quash the flames by driving the vehicle back and forth over them until the tires also caught fire. He said he evacuated the area at that point because he realized that the van was full of firearms ammunition and had a full tank of gas, according to the report.
It was unclear what type of ammunition was in the van, according to the report. But the unidentified owner told local TV station WDAF that a loaded gun he’d stored under the van’s passenger seat discharged a few times.”
Missouri Man Tries to Put Out Garbage Fire with Van Full of Live Ammunition on Talking Points Memo
“I didn’t think I was getting good blows in but my knuckles are bruised today,” Dolley told the Star. “Hitting someone like that, it isn’t like the movies. You’re expecting it to be louder and see people jerk around, but that’s not how it happens in real life.”