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Books, Literature & Ideas

Books, Literature & Ideas

Goodbye, Blog

  • The friend of information but the enemy of thought.
  • Facebook devolves into dark web of anonymous hate speech.

Alan Jacobs, Christianity Today

About two years ago, my online life began to be centered on a computer application: not my word processing program, or my email program, but my rss news reader. rss (which apparently stands for Really Simple Syndication, though there is some debate about that) is a technology for capturing news headlines and summaries of stories, or their first few sentences, from websites. A site that offers these headlines is said to be providing news "feeds" to those who ask for them. The advantage of such syndication is that you can scan many headlines quickly, and open in your browser only the ones you really want to read.

Using NetNewsWire, I found I could get news from dozens of sources every day and thereby keep myself informed on pretty much everything I am interested in. For me the most exciting features of NetNewsWire were two: first, I could set the frequency with which I wanted to check my sites for new items, as often as every half-hour; and second, I could organize my sites in folders. Pretty soon I had a Technology folder, a Macintosh folder, a News folder, a Culture folder, a Literature folder, a Christianity folder, and so on.



Facebook devolves into dark web of anonymous hate speech, Mike Adams,

  • Facebook has, for reasons you'll soon see, brought out the worst in many people, devolving into a tangled web of anonymous hate speech directed to anything and everything within reach.
  • How Facebook became a hate engine
  • How Facebook Betrayed Users and Undermined Online Privacy
  • Write Congress Through Facebook!


Less Is Not More

  • Why do newspapers alienate their most loyal readers?
  • The American Media Misdiagnosis
  • Save the Press

Lisa Anderson, Columbia Journalism Review

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Will Shapira

When my son’s first college roommate turned out to be from Chicago, I was delighted. His family had long subscribed to the Chicago Tribune, where I worked. I thought it gave us an immediate connection. Less than two months later, they unsubscribed. This was shortly after a drastic redesign at the paper in September 2008. The roommate’s family said there was nothing in the Tribune to read anymore.

That wasn’t quite true. There was still plenty of information in the paper. But there were fewer stories, produced by fewer reporters. The stories were relentlessly local and, increasingly, came in the form of charts, graphs, maps, statistics, large fonts, and large photos—a sort of newspaper-Internet-TV amalgam that seemed more like something to be absorbed than read. For the roommate’s family—professional people who wanted sophisticated stories that included the world beyond Chicago—it wasn’t enough.



The American Media Misdiagnosis, Robert Parry,
It’s widely agreed that there are a number of factors dragging down American newspapers, but a reason rarely mentioned is that the national news media failed in its most important job – to serve as a watchdog for the people.

Save the Press, Timothy Egan, New York Times | NY
Those who revel in the life-threatening trauma that newspapers are going through miss the point. People are not deserting these complex and contradictory summaries of our collective existence. It's the business model that needs to be figured out.


Climate Change: Concocting the “Consensus”

  • We have all heard this before.
  • What Is Global Warming?

Andrew Gavin Marshall, Global Research

The debate is over! There is a consensus! The time for discussion has ended and the need for action is paramount!

We have all heard this before.

Yet it is important to keep in mind that these types of statements are inherently inimical to scientific inquiry; the debate and discussion should never be over. As new information surfaces, it should be taken into consideration, analyzed, discussed, debated and ultimately it will aid in the advancement of knowledge and scientific understanding. To declare the debate as over is to declare information and knowledge as irrelevant. Progress has never come from holding onto antiquated ideas. The attainment of knowledge does not come from the refusal to reflect. Climate change is no exception. In light of events of the past year, it has become clear that there was a concerted effort on the part of a small clique of elite scientists at the UN and in supporting institutions, governments and universities to concoct the climate change “consensus” to pressure governments and public opinion into supporting the political, economic and social agenda of elites.



What Is Global Warming, National Geographic
Is It All A Hoax?


The air-conditioned Puritan

  • Why Americans, and those who are employed to write about them, cannot enjoy holidays
  • The scandal of "vacation deprivation."
  • America: The Grim Truth

The Economist

“Let's take a boat to Bermuda, Let's take a plane to St Paul, Let's take a kayak to Quincy or Nyack, Let's get away from it all.” That may be all very well if you are not Lexington. For reasons only the flinty-hearted editor of this newspaper can explain, there will be no summer break this year for your columnist. True, Lexington has been allowed to saddle up his ultimate driving machine and motor north to join friends in a cabin in the Adirondacks. But get away from it all? No sir, this is a space that must be filled week in and week out this summer, come what may.

In a way, of course, it is fitting that a Brit writing about America should not be allowed actual relaxation on a summer holiday. Having a complete break would make it harder to understand the natives. As all the world knows, Americans find taking time off, let alone filling that time with leisure, painfully hard. One travel website,, believes (what a surprise) that “everyone deserves and needs a vacation.” Indeed, it has compiled comparative international data on the scandal of “vacation deprivation”. These show that in 2009 the average American adult received about 13 days of holiday, whereas the average Briton enjoyed a luxurious 26. The average “working” Frenchman, infuriatingly, had 38 days. Worse yet, more than a third of Americans do not even take all the days they are allowed. In 2009, harrumphs Expedia, Americans “gave back” a total of 436m vacation days. In fairness, America does indulge its children: their school year is one of the shortest in the world, as is their school day. But the indulgence ends with adulthood.


America: The Grim Truth, Lance Freeman, Axis of Logic

  • I am not writing this to scare you. I write this to you as a friend. If you are able to read and understand what I’ve written here, then you are a member of a small minority in the United States. You are a minority in a country that has no place for you.
  • These Empty Spaces
  • America Goes Dark
  • We Are A Nation Of Sheep Being Led By Wild Dogs


Rich Get Richer Because Poor Get Poorer

  • Americans have bought the line that there are no class distinctions in this country, but as the aftermath of the great financial crisis of 2008 plays out, it has become clear that, in the memorable words of Warren Buffet, “There is class warfare, all right... but it is the rich class that's making war, and we're winning.”
  • The jobs emergency


Zelig Stern, Socialist WebZine

It is likely no surprise to most Americans that the unemployment report for July released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated no improvement for the job situation. With the number of unemployed and underemployed workers remaining high at 16.5%, most people have at least one friend or family member in this category. What may come as a surprise is that while workers are subjected to chronic unemployment and underemployment, corporate profits have been recovering substantially and the ultra rich (those with over a million dollars in investible assets) have more than recovered their losses from the economic crisis. Americans have bought the line that there are no class distinctions in this country, but as the aftermath of the great financial crisis of 2008 plays out, it has become clear that, in the memorable words of Warren Buffet, “There is class warfare, all right... but it is the rich class that's making war, and we're winning.”

While the official unemployment rate remained stagnant at 9.5%, this statistic significantly underestimates the burden of unemployment on working people. First, it should be noted that it excludes both underemployed workers (workers employed part time who wish to be employed full time) and workers who have become discouraged and have stopped looking for work. When these groups are included, the unemployment rate rises to 16.5%. But even this number falls short of capturing the crisis of unemployment this country faces. Of the 14.6 million officially unemployed workers, 6.6 million or 44.9% have been unemployed for over 27 weeks. It is safe to assume that the 1.6 million discouraged workers also fit into this long-term unemployed category. This means that not only are a growing number of workers losing their jobs, but once someone loses their job, they have increasingly low prospects of finding another.



The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.