Monday, December 11, 2017

Some "old books" make a reading list just before the FCC's vote to destroy network neutrality

In the week that the FCC plans to gut network neutrality (although the likelihood of real changes happening quickly as a result seems remote to me), the New York Times offers a survey in its “Newsbook” column by Concepion de Leon. 

There is Tom Standage’s “The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s Online Pioneers” (Walker).  Remember how I made myself into an “institution” in the 1980s before I even had the Internet (as I found ways to affect the AIDS debate in the early days, outside of conventional leftist activism).

Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu ask "Who Controls the Internet?" (2006, Oxford University); in 2010 Wu would follow with “The Master Switch”.  I had my own little lesson with this in 2005 when I was working as a substitute teacher.

In 2011, Thomas Hazlett offers “The Fallacy of Net Neutrality”, which preceded Obama’s 2015 regulations. But the beginnings of neutrality go back to 2005, and Pai wants to erase it all. 

Friday, December 08, 2017

Major papers on the psychology of libertarians: does lack of interest in groups and lack of emotional empathy suggest moral issues?

“PLOS One” has published a major study on the psychology of libertarians, by Ravi Iyer, Spasenna Koleva, Jesse Graham, Peter Ditto, and Jonathan Haidt, “Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians, link
Libertarians, it says, tend to be more individualistic.  They tend to be less interested in involuntary connections to other people, either vertically (as demanded by conservative morality) or horizontally, empathizing with people in various intersectional oppressed groups, as in leftist liberalism.  They believe that personal well-being should be proportional to effort, but not necessarily equal (in the sense of remedying inherited inequality). They tend to believe people should have the freedom to use what they already have without interference from others, but not to feel entitled to take from others who have more because of privilege.

Righteous mind, in a link shared by James Damore on Twitter today, summarizes the paper here.   Libertarians place more emphasis on logical consistency than on emotion.  It ends to be associated with cis masculinity (as among gay libertarians).

I would also read Yuval Levin’s “Taking the Long Way: Disciplines of the Soul Are the Basis of a Liberal Society” (link) from Oct. 2014  where Levin notes the limits that libertarianism can accept on remedying past oppression while letting people use what they have. David Brooks picked up on this essay with a recent piece “The Elites Still Don’t Get It”, where society is not reproducing individuals who can accept covenant with others or even accept needed connections across gulf, driving the less well-off into tribalism and resentment politics. 

Monday, December 04, 2017

"The Wounds They Carry": account of six high school young women at the

Here is a book length story “The Wounds They Carry”, by John Woodrow Cox, photos by Matt McCain, a story of six teenage girls who went to the Las Vegas concert Oct. 1, 2017 at the start of their high school (private, faith-based) homecoming week. It is published in the Washington Post online (paywall). 

Two of the girls were close to the front stand. Illustrations in the article show where they were and the escape path.

The article does get into he recovery and the actual homecoming event a few days later.
This is a more literal video, which is age-restricted (must sign on to Google account so not embedded).
My own most recent visit to Las Vegas occurred in May 2012 (personal photo above). 

I don't recall seeing a comparable article for "Pulse" yet. 

Sunday, December 03, 2017

"Book Barn" in Virginia town shows how used book business tries to support a community

I had the pleasure of stopping at a “Book Barn” on “Little Washington” VA along US 211 yesterday.
The “barn” had a massive sale of used books to support, well, “The Library”. (Yes, Reid Ewing, “It’s Free”.)

Actually, a lot the used books in the barn were free, including a basket of them in the bathroom near the commode.

Outdoors, I picked up Samantha Landry’s “Savvy Senior Singles: Navigating the Singles World from 50 and Beyond”, 2007, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg PA, 176 pages, paper. That may supplement a sample I got recently, “Journey from Invisibility to Visibility: A Guide for Women 60 and Beyond”, by Gail K. Harris, Marilyn C. Lesser, and Cynthia T. Soloway, 2016, Amazon CreateSpace, 372 pages, paper. It starts with a verse poem, “A Woman’s Perspective.”

Then there is Charles K. Sykes, “Dumbing Down our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves but Can’t Read, Write or Add” (especially in their heads), 340 pages, hardcover, St. Martin’s Press, 1995.  Sykes has also authored “A Nation of Victims”.  Sounds conservative.

Then there is “Parenting Children with ADHD: 10 Lessons that Medicine Cannot Teach”, by Vincent J. Monastra, Ph. D, from the American Psychological Association, Washington, 2005, 261 pages, paper, originally in the Falls Church VA public library.  The book takes the position that it is about genetics. 

And there is “Surviving your Adolescents: How to Manage and Let Go Of your 13-18 Year old”, by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph. D. , 2012, Parent Magic, Glen Ellyn IL, 2012, 168 pages.   Don’t let them move back in with you later when they can’t afford their student loans.

I also picked up a paper copy of Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games” (2008, Schoolastic) for $1.

Later, in Front Royal, VA, at a random used book store on VA highway 55, I picked up a graphic novel in black and white called “Not So Bad”, by E. Hae (Korea, 2006), about two actors who have seen better days.  I was curious about what manga is all about, since Reid Ewing has covered Danganronpa on his Twitter feeds and reports he is working on his own graphic novel to be called “AppleCore”. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"What to Do About the Emerging Threat of Censorship Creep on the Internet", substantial position paper at Cato

Cato Institute has a long paper by Danielle Keats Citron, “What to Do About the Emerging Threat of Censorship Creep on the Internet”, link here. This may very well have been printed as a Policy Paper.   Citron is the author of “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace”.

The paper notes that major content companies, especially social networking platforms, have to adjust their practices to European law which is often stricter on expectations of prior restraint and on specific group-oriented concerns over hate speech than American law. This concern appears in areas like “the right to be forgotten”.  On the other hand, this might give tech companies a heads up if American law loosens Section 230 protections (as over Backpage) although European law does have some due process in downstream liability cases.  


European politicians have extracted concessions from tech companies by threatening to hold them liable for extremist speech. But Europe really is in a hypocritical quandary over handling especially radical Islam. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A small press gives its perspective on "Small Business Saturday"

Today, at the “Small Business Saturday” hosted by the DC Center for the LGBT Community in Washington DC, I was able to talk to a small press owner for Red Bone Press

I did buy one book, a collection of free-form poetry by Marvin K. White, “Our Name Be Witness”.
The press says it specializes in black (or presumably other “intersectional” minority) lesbian and gay issues.

This appears to be a trade press, not self.  It appears to manage the actual production and distribution of books rather than outsourcing it to a self-publisher (like Create Space or Author Solutions).

The owner told me she spends at least two days a week on marketing and running the business as a business (wholesale and retail) as opposed to developing more content (which I spend my time on). 

She also said she spends considerable effort reaching independent bookstores and has been to the Miami Book Fair (covered last weekend).
That’s not the track I have taken but this was very interesting to me.  I did mention the independent store on Cary Street in Richmond, and other stores in Charlottesville and Lovingston (near the Monroe Institute).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Atlantic: Two big essays on the alt-right, including a bio of Andrew Anglin

The December 2017 “Atlantic” (a literary magazine that I recall being mentioned in junior English in high school back in 1960) has two big essays on the alt-right and white supremacist movements that surfaced in Charlottesville.

Luke O’Brien offers “The Making of an American Nazi”, a booklet-length biography of Andrew Anglin. , publisher of the Daily Stormer , p. 54 in print.

For a 30-year old (roughly) Anglin looks particularly unattractive in the photos with the shaved head. But his own evolution reads in the article like a journey into mental illness and nihilism. He started out in the most liberal, hippie culture in Ohio, according to the article, and seems to have dead-ended inside before he adopted what seem in the article like arbitrarily convenient beliefs, easily rationalized.  There seems to have been a sudden disgust with the weak.

O’Brien offers a video about how the anonymity of the Internet facilitates extremism.  He talks about radical groups “growing in the shadows”.

Then Angela Nagle offers “The Lost Boys: Brotherhood of Losers” where the print version (p. 68) seems to mock Donald Trump’s idea of meritocracy.

She talks about how the alt-right is actually splintered along the lines of commitment to extremism (not “united” as Charlottesville tried to claim), but takes some exception to the criticism many of us have of exaggerated minority-defined “safe spaces” on campuses. 

She writes, “Together, right and left created a world in which a young person could invent his own identity and curate his own personal brand online, but also had dimmed hopes for what used to be considered the most basic elements of a decent life – marriage, a job, a house, a community. (Liberalism claimed that a village could raise a child, but never got around to building the village.) Amen, Hillary. 

The hardcopy made good reading on the plane to Florida last Friday. 
Update: Dec. 4

Anglin is defending a lawsuit in Montana from someone he trolled, and his defense is bizarre, Post story