Critical Readability

My critical readings of the best and worst of online media

Archive for the category “Politics”

Inequality in the US: Interview with Economist Joseph Stiglitz – SPIEGEL ONLINE

I’ve been saying this for years. Not only do your privileged at birth influence your eventual success, even those coming from privileged families are no longer able to find work. The American dream has long been dead.

“Stiglitz: This belief is still powerful, but the American dream has become a myth. The life chances of a young US citizen are more dependent on the income and education of his parents than in any other advanced industrial country for which there is data. The belief in the American dream is reinforced by anecdotes, by dramatic examples of individuals who have made it from the bottom to the top — but what matters most are an individual’s life chances. The belief in the American dream is not supported by the data.”

via Inequality in the US: Interview with Economist Joseph Stiglitz – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

‘Cover Your Eyes,’ Iranian Woman Tells Chastising Cleric Before Beating Him Up : The Two-Way : NPR

“Of course, when the same type of incident is reversed — a ‘badly veiled’ women beaten in public by police — it’s simply a necessary enforcement of the dress code.”

via ‘Cover Your Eyes,’ Iranian Woman Tells Chastising Cleric Before Beating Him Up : The Two-Way : NPR.

Many Texans Bereaved Over ‘Dead’ Voter Purge : NPR

Is it a coincidence that many of the people receiving “death notices” explaining that their names were purged from voter registration lists are black or Hispanic? Absolutely not. I’m surprised they didn’t “kill off” all of the people registered as Democrats.

Texas, seriously, you need to be a little more subtle if you hope to throw the election.

“And then a quick check of some of the information on that database led us to believe that there was a big probability that even a majority of the names on the list were people that were still alive,” he says.

So Sumner announced that — in Houston at least — there would be no purge of voters until after the election. That did not please the secretary of state, who threatened Sumner with the loss of state funding unless Sumner purged his rolls. That threat went over poorly with the Houston registrar who made it publicly clear to the secretary of state that she could take her threats and …

“Well I can’t give you the exact words,” Sumner says. “But basically that they were escalating this fight and they were picking on the wrong guy because I was not going to back down and they were going to lose the battle.”

That’s where it stands now. Houston is not going to purge its voter rolls until after the election. But the rest of the state will do so. Democrats are thinking about suing Texas.

via Many Texans Bereaved Over ‘Dead’ Voter Purge : NPR.

Hate is not a Christian or Muslim Value


Wall Photos.

‘This Does Not Represent Us’: Moving Photos of Pro-American Rallies in Libya – Politics – The Atlantic Wire

Why is this so hard for us to believe? Not all Americans are fundamentalists, and not all Middle Easterners or Muslims are fundamentalists.

Just like not all Americans are like the people who made the weird anti-Islam movie that is sparking protests in Muslim nations, not all people in Libya are like the ones who killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens. Some of the people of Benghazi, where Stevens was killed, held a demonstration against terrorism and to show sympathy for the U.S. Libya Alhurra TV, an Internet TV channel founded at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, posted Facebook photos of a rally there showing support for America and sympathy for Stevens. Here are some of those pictures: via ‘This Does Not Represent Us’: Moving Photos of Pro-American Rallies in Libya – Politics – The Atlantic Wire.

When You Learn They’re Not Ready | TPM Editors Blog

“Politics is hardball. Everything is, in some sense, fair. But campaigns are also a prism into the judgment and steadiness under pressure of a person who would be president. This was amateur hour for the opposition campaign last night, reminiscent of John McCain’s rash call four years ago to cancel the presidential debates and the campaign itself to deal with the unfolding economic crisis. There was nothing ignoble or dishonorable about McCain’s suggestion. It just showed a certain rashness that was widely viewed as unpresidential.

Romney’s moment was quite different — rash and shameful. Not worthy of a president. Crass, undignified and troubling on many levels.” via When You Learn They’re Not Ready | TPM Editors Blog. Mobile | News, weather, sports

“At the Legislature and in other states that have taken up the national GOP push for a photo ID requirement at the polls, the issue has taken on a highly partisan color. As a result, to many people, the voting amendment is about giving or denying an advantage to one party over another.

But this amendment has broader implications. It’s also about whether or not Minnesotans see those at the margins of life as their fellow citizens.

“We’d like to de-partisanize this, and make it about the people it affects,” Marx said. That won’t be easy. But when Lutherans and Catholics work together in Minnesota, miracles are possible.” via Mobile | News, weather, sports.

Alumni Donations?


I understand that in the grand scheme of things giving money to my former universities will ideally provide younger students with the same opportunities that I had. I also understand the urge to give money, especially to my undergraduate department.

But right now, nothing makes me more irate Read more…

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on


This is a beautiful depiction of the danger of a single story, while at the same time illuminating the power of an individuals’ story. In this Ted talk, novelist Chimamanda Adichie discusses the creation of a “single story” vis-à-vis literary, historical, popular, and media representations that are articulated, performed, reenacted, and reinforced through a process of cultural translation.

Like scholars F. Farahzad, T. Niranjana, G. Spivak, L, Venuti, and S. Faiq who have theorized the problematics of cultural “translations,” here Adichie explains that a “single story” is created through naivety, ethnocentrism, supremacy, hegemony, colonization, the white savior industrial complex, and above else, power. The result is a “single story” – a homogenized stereotype of difference that is uncritically cast upon an entire group of people.

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes,” said Adichie, “is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”

Rather, people and cultures are multifaceted, and their ethical representation thus depends on the “balance” of stories – a conglomerate of individual stories understood according to the multifaceted identities performed within each story, as well as the profound complexity of their relationship to one another.

“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also be used to repair that broken dignity.”  Watch the whole video here: Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on

Maryland politician’s letter denouncing Brendon Ayanbadejo’s support of gay marriage – Yahoo! Sports


Maryland politician’s letter denouncing Brendon Ayanbadejo’s support of gay marriage – Yahoo! Sports.

And if you’re interested in the response by Viking punter Chris Kluwe, read it here.

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