Dec 8th, 2009 by ravi
The American Ruling Class

With an appearance by my old friend Doug Henwood:

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Dec 8th, 2009 by ravi
The American Ruling Class

With an appearance by my old friend Doug Henwood:

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Dec 5th, 2009 by ravi
The many faces and phases of feminism

The health care reform bill currently being debated in the Senate contains a provision known as the Bo-Tax — so called because it would levy a 5 percent tax on cosmetic surgery procedures. The idea is to tax those who indulge in medically unnecessary procedures in order to pay for medical necessities for everyone else.

This sounded like a refreshingly good idea to me, until I read that Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, is against it.

“Now they are going to put a tax on middle-aged women in a society that devalues them for being middle-aged?” she complained to The Times.

Could this possibly be the voice of NOW, the country’s premier women’s rights group?, I wondered. Could this be the same feminist movement that in 1968 filled a “Freedom Trash Can” outside the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City with bras, girdles and false eyelashes to protest the “ludicrous ‘beauty’ standards we ourselves are conditioned to take seriously,” as Robin Morgan, an organizer of the protest, put it at the time?

Click on for the full article by Judith Warner in the NYT.

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Dec 5th, 2009 by ravi
The dot-com that was Dubai
The New York Times has a slideshow of photographs by Lauren Greenfield that subtly illustrate the nature of the bubble that was Dubai. The below are smaller versions of a few of the images. You can view the full slideshow here.

The pictures: the giant visage of Dubai’s ruler at an ice-skating rink, unpaid Indian workers, Germans celebrating purchase of an oil field and a convoy of sewage transportation trucks.

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Dec 5th, 2009 by ravi
Empathy

Dr. de Waal, a primatologist, has long studied the cooperative side of primate behavior and believes that aggression, which he has also studied, is often overrated as a human motivation.

“We’re preprogrammed to reach out,” Dr. de Waal writes. “Empathy is an automated response over which we have limited control.” The only people emotionally immune to another’s situation, he notes, are psychopaths.

A while ago, somewhat surprisingly on a left-leaning email list, I had to argue that empathy is not a laboriously learnt sentiment but one that comes naturally (dare I say innately?) to human beings, and the absence of it is considered an aberration. I am glad to see that some biologists agree.

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Dec 4th, 2009 by ravi
More Chomsky and Trivers

Watch:

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Dec 4th, 2009 by ravi
Too big to care

From Matt Taibbi’s blog:

 

The License Plate That Says It All: 2BG2FAIL | Andrew Ross Sorkin.

The plate belongs to Morgan Stanley Vice-Chairman Rob Kindler.

 

 

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