There’s an old saying that “only Nixon could go to China.”
The notion was that only someone with the strong anti-Communist record that Nixon had amassed could open relations with China. Because Nixon had spent much of his political career attacking Communism, particularly in the US (he was…
“I’d like to refocus everyone’s attention away from the Kardashians and onto Doctors Without Borders or aid workers. Let’s redefine scandal. Scandal is not who so-and-so is dating; scandal is the fact that 1.2 million people are still living in tents in Haiti, and cholera is rampant because Nepalese U.N. soldiers dumped shit from their Porta-Potties into the river. That’s a fucking scandal. If the average 15-year-old was hearing about that instead of so-and-so’s plastic surgery or cheating in Hollywood, I’d feel better about our future.”—Olivia Wilde to Marie Claire (via monkeyknifefight)
“During my freshman year of college, a psychology professor devised an exercise he called The Ultimate Truth. It was a free association game played using flash cards. Each student was given 20 cards. On the front were the names of our classmates, the backs were blank. On the back, we free-associated one adjective about each person and when everyone was done, all of the cards with your name on the front were handed back to you.
Imagine the verbal brawl that occurred at the next class when we discussed the findings as a group. One guy had been described as a drunk by more than half of the class. And a sophomore couple who had been dating since orientation, were shocked to learn that she found him untrustworthy and he thought she was selfish. Ouch.
The Professor included himself in the lesson and was not the least bit surprised by what he read. Over six years and hundreds of students, the most common answer was flighty. Far from upset, he was always impressed by how no one held back or tried to stroke his ego, which was the whole point of the exercise.
The Professor’s lesson: People usually don’t know that others think of them, and the majority don’t really want to know.
“Nothing can be done to bring Mr Breivik’s victims back to life. The most compelling, non-mystical case for vengeance is that it offers some consolation to those wracked by desolation and fury at the murder of their loved one. But the point of a criminal justice system in a civilised society is not the mental peace of those collaterally wounded by crime. All evidence supports the proposition that Norway’s criminal justice system is both practically and morally superior to America’s. If America’s abominably cruel and unjust system delivered results even remotely comparable to Norway’s enviable level of civil peace and order, then there might be some reason to take seriously American animadversions against Norway’s short sentences and humane prison. But we don’t. We’re not even close. So Americans should just shut up and watch. It could do us some good to see how a civilised society handles such a horrifying crime.”—Will Wilkinson, Plush and unusual punishment (via ilyagerner)
“Facebook users may now display that they have an “Expected: Child” within the family section of their profile beneath their profile picture… However, in what appears to be a glitch, users are able to set an existing Facebook friend as their expected child. This doesn’t make any sense because Facebook’s terms of service dictate that all users must be at least 13 years of age. Aside from the glitch, which will likely be corrected.."
…apparently the insidefacebook.com doesn’t have any of their BFFLs listed as their children…
Danny:Nobody wants to put money in a hat in Botswana when you got hats that need filling here. You can't make this about charity, it's about self-interest. We cut farm assistance in Colombia - every single crop we developed was replaced with cocaine. We cut aid for primary education in northwest Pakistan and Egypt - the kids went to madrassas. Why weren't you making a case that Republican senators are bad on drugs, and bad on national security? Why are Democrats always so bumfuzzled?
Hi guys- I’m doing some preliminary work for my senior thesis, and if you’ve got five minutes to take this survey for me (it’s only 10 questions about how politicians use Facebook and Twitter) it would be a great help!
“When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. ‘This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar,’ she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this–what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?”—Sandi Toksvig (via thatswhatshesaidquotes)
Most references about her are from sources dealing with other people, but there are four books written about her that are regarded as the “cannon” of work about her (to steal a word from fiction writing.) I’ll go into detail about what each book says in later posts. Each of the books disagrees with the others on significant chunks of her life, so it’s hard to tell what is true, what she wanted people to think was true, and what is in the minds of those who remember her.
What we do more or less reliably know is this:
Tamera Bider was born in Argentina in 1937, the daughter of two exiled germans: a communist mother and a jewish father.
Sometime during her teenaged years, Tamera’s family returned to East Germany where she finished high school and studied political science at Humboldt-Universität.
When she was eighteen she was accepted into Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands- the German Socialist Party.
In 1960, Tamera, who was by then fluent in Russian, Spanish, German and possibly English, was hired to act as a translator at a Youth Festival in Berlin, where she met a fellow Argentine who had gained himself a name in international politics: Che Guevara.
Sometime in the subsequent few years, she moved back to Latin America, where she worked for the women’s branch of the Cuban Communist Party.
In 1967, the body of a pregnant woman, dressed in a blue shirt and partially eaten by piranhas washed up on the shore of a river in Bolivia, and was buried by local villagers. Three decades later, the Cuban government arranged to have the body removed and re-interred next to Che in Havana under the name “Tania.”
Everything else is speculation. Some accounts claim she was hired by the Stasi, the German secret service, to spy on the Cuban government. Others say she spied for the Cubans and infiltrated the Bolivian military. Some sources claim she betrayed Guevara and is to blame for his death, others that it was his child she was carrying, and he was planning to leave his wife for her. We do know that she went through dozens of names, backstories and hairstyles in the years between 1960 and her death, and that her mother (a formidable woman of the German Communist Party herself) sued anyone who tried to write about Tania until her death in 2002, and so there is very little written about her.
“One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o’clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they’re looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an asshole. This was the latter case.”—Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, giving his take on the Winklevoss twins. As dramatized in the film the “Social Network,” the well-heeled, well-connected twins once asked Summers—who was president of Harvard at the time—to intervene in their dispute with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. (via officialssay)
Not just in Oslo. Not just in Amy Winehouse’s flat. Life is just that… life. It ends with death. Yesterday, someone lost their grandparent. Someone lost their spouse. Someone drowned, someone had a miscarriage, and someone lost a battle to cancer. Just because these lives lost weren’t widely…
Bartlet:The true measure of a people's strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive... The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight. They're our students and our teachers and our parents and our friends. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels, but every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless.
“The celebration in financial markets about Europe’s pullback from the brink had barely begun before worries about America resurfaced. Two of the ratings agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, say there is a 50-50 chance of a downgrade of America’s AAA rating, something that would have been unthinkable even a few months ago. It would be unthinkable now were it not for a dangerous stand-off between the White House and Congress over the country’s debt. … With this humiliating and destabilising threat hanging over them, one would expect politicians in Washington would be rushing to strike a deal. Far from it. They are engaged in a game of political brinkmanship. The US economy is in danger of looking alarmingly dysfunctional. … No doubt, in the end, Washington will strike a deal to avoid a US default. But America’s indecision is damaging. When the world faced economic meltdown three years ago, politicians acted collectively to prevent the worst happening. That spirit has evaporated. … Confidence among consumers and businesses is fragile. If politicians cannot make things better, at least they have a duty not to make things worse. America is failing in that duty.”
”—The (London) Sunday Times editorial, “WASHINGTON PLAYS POKER WITH WORLD ECONOMY”
here’s a ghost story from our first semester. we were in marshall field one evening with a friend who was the monitor. everything was normal upstairs since she had last checked; no one had gone up or down. we went up the stairs and the painting that…
Okay, just saying, we all know how to rotate an image. You can’t even see the floor in that picture!
A few days ago was my 21st birthday. I received a number of wonderful gifts from a number of wonderful people, but one of the most unexpected came from a co-worker and flatmate of mine, who I believe found it in a flea market in manhattan somewhere. It is a thin little paperback volume- thinner than a copy of Teen Vogue- held together by two staples with the uber-creative title Political Facts.
It included several mostly-red maps of how states had voted in the last election, a handful of photographs, and bios of all of the Presidents of the United States.
All 27 of them.
This book, you see, was printed in 1916. Five political parties are listed: The Republican Party (not yet the GOP) the Democratic Party, the Prohibition Party, the Socialist Party and the Progressive Party. It includes party platforms, a tally of votes in the past election, a description of the Monroe Doctrine and a list of salaries of officials, among other things. But one thing stuck out to me the most: the passages on “Woman Suffrage.”
When the book was printed, 12 states (all west of Kansas) had “Complete woman suffrage” and another 20 some version of “Partial Woman Suffrage,” most in the form of “school suffrage” or “tax-paying suffrage.” (Does anyone know exactly what those things mean? I’m not sure.) In addition, 14 state legislatures had repudiated suffrage for women.
Let me say that again. 14 legislatures had voted to ACTIVELY DENY women the right to vote. Welcome to 1916.
The world, though, seemed to be changing. The pamphlet includes information on how female enfranchisement could be legalized at a national level (let me reiterate: this wasn’t a partisan publication, so far as I can tell.. it is discussing only the logistics of constitutional amendments) as well as the platform positions from both the Republican and Democratic parties, both of which are in favor of female suffrage (although both say it is a States’ issue.)
The thing that stuck out to me the most, though, was the use of “Women” rather than “Women’s,” and it got me thinking about how our language impacts the discourse. “Woman” to me feels harsh and othering: “You can have the vote, woman, now get me a sandwich.” Perhaps it’s just different, but to my ear “Woman’s” seems more empowering, less patronizing. My grandparents were just being born when this book was published, and presumably knew the non-possessive term before the modern term came into vogue- I wonder if, when I am a grandparent, we will call it “Gay’s Marriage” rather than “Gay Marriage.” Marriage, that just happens to be between two gays, not a new kind of marriage. Would the language change anything?
The Tea Party lives in an intellectual bubble where the answers to every problem lie in books by F. A. Hayek, Glenn Beck, or Ayn Rand. Rand’s antigovernment writings, regarded by her followers as modern-day scripture — Rand, an atheist, would have bridled at that comparison — are particularly instructive.
When the hero of Rand’s breakthrough novel The Fountainhead doesn’t get what he wants, he blows up a building. Rand’s followers see that as gallant. So perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that blowing up our government doesn’t seem to be a big deal to some of the new radical individualists in our House of Representatives.
There is a name for blowing up buildings to get what you want. Well, two names, but just the one for when it’s done by a disenfranchised übermensch. Tire, tear, tar…something. I’ll think of it in a minute.
Remember that West Wing quote from ten seconds ago? Take a look at this bit of breaking news from Roll Call, which made me think of it. This is how feminists in politics measure progress: one bathroom at a time.
"Tania Bunke" is, as you might expect on tumblr, a nom de plume.
In fact, it is doubly so: I borrowed the name from someone else, who also used it to conceal her identity.
Nor am I the first person to borrow this particular pseudonym for myself. Remember this girl?
Yeah, she went by Tania too.
The original was Tamera Bunke Bider, a young woman who’s mother guarded her daughter’s memory so closely that she was nearly erased from history:
Later, I’ll give you a full bio of Tania, or at least as full a bio as you can give of someone who had dozens of names and even more passports. For now, what’s important is that she was a left-wing activist with a knack for storytelling.
You can’t tell me you don’t know a few of those.
No one will ever know Tania’s full story. It was buried with her, and buried by her. All we have are snippets, fragments, snapshots of a life.
In essence, a tumblr.
You won’t get my whole life here. Like the girl who’s name I’ve borrowed, I may disappear for months at a time, send only brief, censored letters and blurry snapshots. Other days, you may get fifteen links from the New York Times, six funny quotes from class and a blog post on the benefits of Cheerios for your blood pressure. I make no promises except to be myself, and leave no excuses, except that I am myself.
You’d have had neither of those assurances from the real Tania.