Posts tagged ‘USA’

Link: “Was Julie Amero wrongly convicted?”

Original post found at: https://www.theregister.com/2007/02/14/julie_amero_case/

There are few things scarier than the intersection of technology and legal proceedings… and this case from the mid-2000s illustrates why. A substitute teacher was convicted of “impairing the morals of a child” because a mal­ware-­rid­den, non-updated school computer started spouting porn pop-ups during a seventh-grade English class 🤯 Apparently the defence was not allowed to point out that it was malware, either, because they missed some deadline for notifying the court that that was their defence. Then the prosecution bamboozled the jury with “expert witnesses” who had NFI what they were talking about. Worth noting that according to Wikipedia(external link), even once a higher court threw out her conviction, she was still pressured into taking a plea deal for “disorderly conduct” and required to give up her teaching licence…

Today I learned that in the US, “chilli powder” usually means a mild spice blend intended for use in the dish called “chilli”, not actual powdered chillies. This makes so much more sense; until now I’d always just assumed that cooking-enthusiast Americans must really like ultra-spicy food!

In retrospect, something that would’ve been really, really valuable to learn in Home Economics classes are all these words for food ingredients that mean different things in different countries. When I read a recipe that calls for something we don’t even say here, like “green onion”, I can look it up and work it out. But when we use the exact same word, just for something different, it can take me years to work out that what recipe writers mean by that word is different from what I mean by it! Imagine if we’d just had a few more weeks in Home Ec learning how to interpret recipes and a few less weeks cooking gross vegetable fritters…

Twenty Years Since 9/11

I’m writing this post on September 12, but that’s accurate actually, because by the time the 9/11 attacks happened it was already September 12 here. I was a kid, home sick from school at the time, and so I had nothing to do all today but watch the looping news reports, the footage of those planes going into the towers again and again.

My first reaction, really, was that this was a …

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Link: “Laying the foundations for our Jewish liberation”

Original post found at: https://www.972mag.com/laying-the-foundations-for-our-jewish-liberation/

As children, we were led to imagine that the primarily European Jews fighting in the 1948 war had battled faceless villains intent on barring them from settling in a rightful homeland, a justified inheritance in the wake of genocide. Like so many before them, these enemies were intent on destroying the Jews yet again. Never once did we imagine that perhaps the people they fought were our cousins and siblings from long ago, whose homes and villages were being stolen beneath their feet. Never once did we fathom that Palestinian Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived side by side for hundreds of years in peace as a community. Because Zionism centers European Jews over others, even Arab Jews were left out of the narratives taught to us.

I grieve that, as children, we didn’t have a choice. The adults we loved and trusted imbued us with a sense of Zionist pride, a commitment to the unquestioned defense of this nation-state, and an ingrained colonial entitlement that this land was, in fact, exclusively ours. But how can anybody create a home on top of others’ remains? On top of stolen lives, communities, and memories?

Link: “Pandemic Shoppers Are a Nightmare to Service Workers”

Original post found at: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/08/pandemic-american-shoppers-nightmare/619650/

Because consumer identities are constructed by external forces, Strasser said, they are uniquely vulnerable, and the people who hold them are uniquely insecure. If your self-perception is predicated on how you spend your money, then you have to keep spending it, especially if your overall class status has become precarious, as it has for millions of middle-class people in the past few decades. At some point, one of those transactions will be acutely unsatisfying. Those instances, instead of being minor and routine inconveniences, destabilize something inside people, Strasser told me. Although Americans at pretty much every income level have now been socialized into this behavior by the pervasiveness of consumer life, its breakdown can be a reminder of the psychological trap of middle-classness, the one that service-worker deference to consumers allows people to forget temporarily: You know, deep down, that you’re not as rich or as powerful as you’ve been made to feel by the people who want something from you. Your station in life is much more similar to that of the cashier or the receptionist than to the person who signs their paychecks.

Interesting piece, and also includes a section on the historical origins of the “service worker” (as in, when department stores came about). I would argue, of course, that this “middle-class class consciousness” is illusory, as most of these office workers are as dependent on selling their labour to fund their existence as anyone else. The differences in consciousness can be real, though.

Link: “Who Actually Gets to Create Black Pop Culture?”

Original post found at: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2021/07/who-actually-gets-to-create-black-pop-culture

Ignoring class divisions in Black America over the last 40 years has allowed the benefits of racial progress to be concentrated upon the Black middle- and upper- classes while the Black poor have largely been excluded. Popular culture embodies the problem in the same way higher education does, which is a problem because inequity is always a problem. However, the centrality of popular culture to America’s understanding of Black people, and the fact that popular culture contains within itself all the best platforms for sharing stories about ourselves, imbues the situation with a particularly bleak and sinister air.

Link: “The Many Faces of Regime Change in Cuba”

Original post found at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/07/cuba-embargo-sanctions-biden-crisis/

For more than a hundred and twenty years, the United States has “stood with the Cuban people” — or, perhaps more correctly, has stood over the Cuban people. Cuba seems always to be at the receiving end of American history. To stand with the Cuban people has meant armed intervention, military occupation, regime change, and political meddling — all normal events in US-Cuba relations in the sixty years before the triumph of the Cuban revolution. In the sixty years after the revolution, standing with the Cuban people has meant diplomatic isolation, armed invasion, covert operations, and economic sanctions.

Link: “Right-Wing Operation Condor Murderers Should Be in Jail”

Original post found at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/07/operation-condor-us-intervention-juntas-military-dictatorships-jorge-nestor-troccoli-trial-italy/

This month, Italian courts jailed fourteen men for their roles in Operation Condor, the US-backed Latin American terror campaign. But many more torturers are living out a peaceful retirement — denying justice to the leftists they brutalized and murdered.

Gives a good historical backgrounder as to what Condor was and the US’s involvement in it, too.

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.