Wednesday, September 25, 2013

MacArthur Awards - 2013

The 2013 cohort of MacArthur Award winners has been announced and includes two people whose work I very much admire - photographer/artist Carrie Mae Weems and pianist/composer Vijay Iyer.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova - Pussy Riot, Hunger Strike

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of Pussy Riot, convicted of "hooliganism" in summer 2012 for protesting in a Moscow church, has announced a hunger strike in protest at inhuman conditions of imprisonment. You can find an open letter from Tolokonnikova here at The Guardian.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Republicans and Power Plants

Notice anything about this map? It represents the 50 power plants in the US that are the worst polluters. You should go here to Bill Moyers' site and play with the interactive version. Here is a nugget from the story:
"Our energy comes from 6,000 power plants which together produce about 40 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change. But . . .  the 50 dirtiest power plants in the U.S. are responsible for 30 percent of the energy industry’s CO2 emissions, and a full two percent of all emissions worldwide — these 50 plants were responsible for more climate change than all but six countries in the world."
Back to my initial question. The answer is that virtually all of these plants are in red states. So when I say Republicans are full of hot air, take me literally.

Adjunct Faculty - An Infographic

Monday, September 16, 2013

Abigail Solomon-Godeau on Vivian Maier

"Maier’s life-long picture taking, made primarily in public space, was anything but the hobby of an amateur, despite its private motivation. To what extent this was a function of her asocial existence, her extreme eccentricity, her apparent asexuality, who can say? Like so much else of Maier’s life and work, this is not an answerable question. What one can say is that in some mysterious and indeed, poignant way, Maier lived her adult life through the camera’s lens, a vicarious life in which the camera “eye” and the subjective “I” were inextricably linked. I know of no such other example in the history of photography. But an important point to be made is that like photojournalism, photographing on the street is a quintessentially masculine preserve. The reasons for this are many, and include the masculine prerogatives of active looking, the gendered attributes of public space, the relative vulnerability of women within that space, and the aggressive aspects of photographing unwitting subjects."
I have posted a couple of times here on Vivian Maier and last night this link appeared on my FB news feed (Thanks Meg!) to a critical appreciation of Maier (from which I've lifted the quotation above) by Abigail Solomon-Godeau.

Reading Around

There is a long report in The Detroit Free Press here on the political-economic vicissitudes of the Detroit Institute of the Arts. More generally, The Free Press also ran this extended, eye-opening report on the course of Detroit's political and economic disaster.

Benjamin Sachs (Harvard Law) sketched a new model for union organizing here in The New York Times last week.

In this OpEd at The Los Angeles Times Rebecca Solnit urges us to take the long view on Occupy and its legacy. (A longer version of the essay is here.) And at The Nation Allison Kilkenny offers this lament on where the dissipated movement currently stands.

Economist Dani Rodrik here on the troubles religion poses to Turkish democracy.

Political Scientist Ian Lustick in The New York Times here yesterday on the impossibility of a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Added a bit later:  I meant to include a link to this report from The Brooking Institution - "The Algebra Imperative" - that underscores the work of Bob Moses and his Algebra Project in preparing students for math literacy and, thereby full political and economic citizenship.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Leszek Kolakowski

On a couple of occasions I've posted here about Leszek Kolakowski, a Polish intellectual who died several years ago, and whom I had the great good fortune of having as a teacher during graduate school. This week at The Nation you can find this long, appropriately critical if largely sympathetic, review essay on some of his posthumously published works.