Well, the allure of the sun and sea and fine French cooking have conspired to keep me away from the computer most of the week. That and reading old fashioned books. Still have a couple of more days to go and then on Tuesday head back to the world of responsibility -- hopefully it will not be one of those travel days that mentally undoes the vacation, but all recent experiences flying suggest that this will be the case.
- I thought that this New Yorker article by George Packer that bbw pointed out in comments about the political attitudes prevalent in the tech community of Silicon Valley was quite interesting and I recommend it notwithstanding its length. It reminded me of a discussion that we had in comments a couple of weeks ago on the lack of sophistication that seems to be common in this hermetically sealed world of large company campuses and ridiculously affluent neighborhoods. It also highlights the general contempt for electoral politics, governance, coalition building, and persuasion that seems to permeate this class -- as well as to the kind of silver bullet, technocratic private solutions that seem to hold endless attraction in this world. It is as if none of these young millionaires or billionaires seems to even grasp that the tool by which they made their vast fortunes, the Internet, was created by the government using tax dollars.
- I would also recommend this piece by Erik Loomis descrribing the slow motion time bomb that was and is the Taft-Hartley Act. Passed in 1947 by the first Republican congressional majority since the start of the Great Depression (with extensive support from Southern Democrats), the law banned many of the weapons that had made labor such a force to be wreckoned with in the United States -- the secondary boycott, mass picketing, and the closed shop prominent among them. Unions also lost control of their own pension plans (they had to be governed by boards of trustees with equal representation by management). Most destructively, the law included so-called "right to work" laws ("right to shirk"), which helped encourage free riders that deeply undermined unionism in the southern and Rocky Mountain regions of the U.S. It was an insidious piece of legislation -- passed over Harry Truman's veto -- that took a long time to really hit its target, but in the end has proven to be a devastating attack on union organizing and militancy. (The only other right wing piece of legislation that I can think of that has had comparable impact is the anti-tax initiative Proposition 13 in California, which gutted that State's progressive institutions and spawned a rash of imitators.)
- So does anyone else reading pieces like this about Edward Snowden begin to feel that he is less interested in civil liberties and more invested in harming the U.S. government generally. He is apparently fleeing Hong Kong and taking a veritable flying freedom trail to escape extradition -- Russia to Cuba to Venezuela. Obviously the man is deeply dedicated to political liberty. In the meantime, Glenn Greenwald is shocked that the U.S. government is charging Snowden with espionage. Because, of course, China, Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela, all would have respeced Snowden's right to divulge sensitive information to Glenn Greenwald.
Well, I am going to hit the gym and then the beach. What's on your minds?