Happy New Year

Hangovers notwithstanding.

Status Quo Vade

holly_kingSo I missed six months of last year due to being disconnected from the internet. I did a lot of useful stuff away from the keyboard, but it did blow this blogging effort out of the water. It looks at though for perhaps the next year I shall be reconnected: this is good! However, my computer blew a gasket on Christmas Day, so I’m operating in a borrowed environment: this is less good. For someone in the middle of a research and commentary series about the developing cracks in the Drug War, those particular six months were a very irritating season to miss: a great deal happened in that sphere and I shall return to that theme soon. The original Prohibition series is going to be rebooted; a sufficient number of the existing articles have needed reworking to reflect new developments that I’m going to run the whole series again, to a schedule this time. Watch this space.

I may be limited to that series and some Friday Giant posts for the forseeable, as how much reading time I’m going to get is not always predictable. For today, here are some things I thought were interesting.

Daily Trawl

1. Civil Liberties.
I’ve been knocking around the internet for a good while now. The geek end of the industry has always had a touch of the techno-utopianism about personal liberty and the power of the internet. As the censorship and control efforts of the last few years have got out of hand, more and more serious people have started talking about privacy and personal autonomy as being the early 21st Century’s answer to the Civil Rights era. Just as it was in the 60s and 70s, the two greatest challenges we face in society over the next fifty years are to do with finding a sustainable economic model and redefining the relationship between citizen, state and corporation. Timothy Lee at WaPo has some details. Then they also had this piece from Andrea Peterson exploring the ways in which Hollywood’s dystopian visions from the late 1990s have come true in the surveillance state over the last year.

2. Intellectual dishonesties.
Paul Krugman is very good at putting complicted ideas into accessible forms, partly by using colloquial analogies without fear of losing dignity. Here he’s looking at different types of unkillable bad science in economics. For the techies and in only partially related news, Charles Stross and Paul Krugman are writing intelligently about BitCoin: Krugman also reports John R. Levine on the difference between solving a technical problem and solving an economic one.

3. Graphs.
Marijuana possession arrest rates, white : black in AmericaTwo entries from the WonkBlog Graphs of the Year feature. Chris Hayes wants us to think about the extent to which the War on Drugs is actually a war on people of colour: and Ta-Nehisi Coates is aware that racism and classism are not entirely separate issues. While the US race narrative is both discursively and substantively different from the narrative over here, the cultural power of Hollywood and other US media makes these things into political cover for home-grown bastards.

4. And Finally…
Have some baby otters and a happy new year.


January 2014
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Per Argument Ad Astra

Politics, history, economics and rampant speculation from a victim of the Great Recession, currently at large in the West Midlands.

"When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters."
                -- Adam Smith

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