Since the Pakistani general elections on 11 May this year, the forces of reaction have been manoeuvring to try to deny a democratically elected candidate his rightful place as an elected representative of the people of Pakistan. Tomorrow is an important day in this process as it will witness these reactionary forces doing everything they can to steal the victory of the Marxists.
People don’t the shiz they take about, looooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
i had to present my preliminary final paper topic for my fan culture and celebrity class to a room full of people who knew very little about game of thrones. this was my resulting power point (with me using lots more words then what is shown, obviously, but this gives you the general idea). i‘m sure my actual paper will end up on here eventually and we can see how much my argument has grown!!!! it’s not due for a whole week tho, so everybody calm down.
Lol half of these things are refutable if you disregard the episodes and read the books instead. First of the episodes are unfinished, and the seasons will continue. The nature of the epic tale, is that its epic in nature. What GRRM sows in book 3, will come to bear fruit in book 5. So read on, and watch your analysis crumble upon itself.
Student wrongly tied to Boston bombings found dead
Reddit apologized for the ‘dangerous speculation’ on the site that pointed fingers at the student.
A body pulled from the water off Indian Point Park in Rhode Island has been identified as the Brown University student mistakenly linked by amateur sleuths on a social media site to the Boston bombings.
Health Department spokeswoman Dara Chadwick said Thursday that the body of Sunil Tripathi was identified through dental records.
It was not immediately clear when Tripathi, who was last seen March 15, died. The cause of death has also not been determined.
Tripathi’s body was found Tuesday by members of the Brown University crew team.
The Pennsylvania native was on leave from the Ivy League school but was living in an apartment near campus in Providence, R.I., with several other students.
gettin it al qaeda style~
HOW DO YOU PIECE OF FUCK EQUATE ARABS TO AL QAEDA, GO TO HELL YOU FUCKING RACIST PIECE OF SHIT
Why raising the minimum wage is dumb. Also why just having one in general is dumb.
The labor market is not in perfect competition.
Raising the minimum wage is “dumb.”
So says ghost face Libertarian “Andy” who lives at home with his mommy and daddy.
Okay…first of all, FUCK YOU.
Minimum wage is an important to discuss due to it being adopted as evidence by the right to show the falsehood of market regulation and the beauty of the free market.
What people don’t realize is that model shown in the illustration above is considering an assumption known as ceterius paribus (translation: everything else held constant).
The absense of this assumption has an important impact on actual real world case-studies detailing impacts of minimum wage.
First of the concept of elasticity comes into play, elasticity details the rate at which labor demanded changes following a change in wage rate. A highly elastic labor demand would change drastically with a small percentage change in wage rate. This, according to evidence by Welch and Cunningham “Effects of minimum wages on the level and age composition of youth employment”, is not the case and in fact the elasticity is b/w -0.1 to -0.3 on teenage employment (a group that is most affected by changes in minimum wage). This elasticity measure means that a 10% increase in minimum wage lowers teenage employment by 1 to 3%.
Granted that this impact can be large over time, but varying economic conditions and the non-relevance of the ceterius paribus conditions in the real world make this impact not as large as it would seem in theory. In fact in many cases, over time analysis of elasticity measured an almost 0 elasticity.
In summary, teenagers that are the least skilled workers in a labor market, are not in fact affected by minimum wage to an exaggerated extent, since minimum wage in theory lowers employment rate via increasing the number of workers in the market due to increase in wage and reducing the number of workers hired due to increased employment cost in firms. These two impact of minimum wage has no impact on the teenagers since many of them don’t enter the market for the increased wage rate, though they may not be hired as much (a point I discussed earlier).
The real question about minimum wage is not in fact a discussion about how mimimum wage rate is ineffective since it raises unemployment, the real debate about minimum wage (in relevant circles that stand above the petty teenage and right wing bulllshit sector of tumblr) questions whether minimum wage is an effective antipoverty program.
Is the minimum wage an effective antipoverty program?
The answer is no. Economists examined data and noticed that over 50% of income generated with the raised minimum wage accrued in households that are twice the poverty thresholds (meaning teenagers benefited from it the most). Only 19% went to impoverished households and workers that are at the bottom of distribution of permanent income opportunities.
At the end, we have learned that the rightwing/liberatrian debate about minimum wage being ineffective b/c government regulation and lack of free market causes harm by raising unemployment is actually a strawman.
Yes the minimum wage is not effective, but not for the reasons usurped by the politically malicious.
Penniless Poppers Poop Perilously
The Problem With The Big Bang Theory…
I’ve been meaning to post something about The Big Bang Theory for a while now but it’s taken me ‘till now to really understand what it is about the show that makes me uncomfortable. I’m not exactly a believer in the whole “only write about the things you like, don’t trash the things you don’t” trend which seems to be plaguing comments sections in negative articles lately, but I wanted to be able to really examine why I don’t like TBBT rather than just slagging it off. My main questions being - Why don’t I like this anymore? Why do I feel uncomfortable watching it? And why do I get so annoyed when I see people sing its praises online? The thing which really sparked this post was seeing a raft of comments on Facebook, below the last round of voting in Television Without Pity’s Tubey Awards, claiming The Big Bang Theory to be “the best comedy on TV”. This made me angry so instead of posting an impulsive comment calling out their bad taste which I’d probably regret later, I decided to really analyse why seeing comments like that made me so mad when previously, although I didn’t really love the show, I’d never considered myself as disliking The Big Bang Theory.
Hell, I even have season one on dvd, it’s sitting right between Battlestar Galactica and Bored To Death in my alphabetised collection.
And here, I think, is where my problem with The Big Bang Theory lies…
Excerpt from “Affirmative Inaction”
“SAT scores divided in Ethnicities
Asian: Critical/Reading - 513, Mathematics-581, Writing-516
Black: Critical/Reading - 430, Mathematics-426, Writing-424
Mexican: Critical/Reading - 454, Mathematics-463, Writing-447
White: Critical/Reading - 528, Mathematics-537, Writing-518
All: Critical/Reading - 502, Mathematics-515, Writing-494
What happens if the handicapping is taken away? The same authors found that the outcome would be dramatic, with acceptance rates falling for African-American applicants from 31 percent to 13 percent and for Hispanic applicants by as much as one-half to two-thirds; Asian-American applicants would occupy four out of five of the seats created by fewer African-American and Hispanic acceptances. The Asian-American acceptance rate would rise by one-third from nearly 18 percent to more than 23 percent. Most astonishingly, it turns out that - contrary to the assumptions of those who contend that affirmative actions puts white students at a severe disadvantage - white applicants would benefit very little from the removal of racial and ethnic preferences; their acceptance rate would increase by less than one percentage point. “
Source: The American Scholar, “Affirmative Inaction” by William M. Chace p.23
regarding the Israeli election and Gaza
Okay so this post is going to be based on the premise that the sudden and vicious attacks in Gaza by the Israeli military are prompted primarily by domestic political concerns - that is that the military campaign is intended first and foremost to impress domestic voters. Those of you with US-heavy dashboards might remember when 75% of the tumblrs you follow were reblogging gifs of Obama announcing bin Laden was dead and gloating about it and predicting how helpful it would be in the 2012 election, right? Think something like that.
Israeli politics is kind of difficult to understand because of the profusion of parties and electoral coalitions. This arises predominately from the unique electoral system the Knesset uses - the whole country is allocated 120 seats, and then any party who gets more than 2% of the vote nationally gets a proportional share of those 120 seats. Then there’s a pretty formalized negotiation process to ensure that a majority coalition happens.
This system encourages a massive profusion of parties, because Israel has a huge diversity in terms of culture and wealth/development levels and has a whole lot of high-stakes political decisions in terms of Palestine. There are also domestic political issues, like the separation of church and state (or I guess shul and state) and recently the right of Haredim (uber-Orthodox Jews) to get out of national military service. Anyway, the current breakdown in the Knesset looks something like this (the number of seats is in parentheses):
- Likud + Yisrael Beitenu (27+15) - So historically Likud was the main centre-right party with a more pro-business orientation and a really reluctant and hawkish stance on the Palestinian peace process. Yisrael Beitenu is the party of non-religious Russian Israelis who have been opposed to religious influence, the Palestinian peace process, and most of all rights for Israeli Arabs. Both parties are more pro-business than the rest of the big parties, and recently they’ve been very closely linked on the inexplicable policy of vigourous and brutal military action against Palestinians, particularly in Gaza. Last month, Likud and Yisrael Beitenu agreed to merge to form a single electoral list. This is a big deal, because Yisrael Beitenu is drastically more hawkish and opposed to rights for Israeli Arabs than Likud (or, really, any historical Israeli government). Anyway, these are the people running things right now.
- Kadima (28) - Kadima formed from a bloc of Likud and Labour members to support Ariel Sharon’s unilateral disengagement plan - so, this was basically a party founded expressly to gain some traction on the whole peace process. Then Ariel Sharon had a stroke, and the rest of the party’s platform (i.e. all domestic policy) turned out to be a bit of a muddled mess. This party has the best showing in the last election, but will be basically wiped out this time as voters defect to Labour, Yesh Atid, and Meretz.
- Labour (8) - This is the main historical centre-left party in Israel. It’s softly centre-left and probably the most pragmatic about the peace process. Historically Labour governments have been the ones willing to give up settlements or other occupied land (e.g. the Golan Heights) in exchange for peace deals. Labour has done very poorly in the last couple elections, which has culminated in the emergence of the separate Independence party - but they’re likely to regain much of their support in the coming election.
- Shas (10) - This is the party of extremely religious Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews - particularly the Haredim. They want greater rights for Haredim, they want all Separdhi and Mizarhim to be encouraged to adopt Haredi lifestyles, and they have been hit by more fraud, forgery, and bribery scandals in the last decade than the rest of the Knesset combined. They’re part of the current governing coalition.
- Independence (5) - This party was formed from a split in Labour since the last election. It’s basically like the New Labour movement in the UK in that it was formed as a more centrist (and Zionist) wing of the existing Labour party. (But because of the Israeli system it’s of course forming its own list.) Currently they have four Cabinet positions but it’s not clear whether they’ll even make the 2% threshold in this coming election.
- United Torah Judaism (5) - Just what it sounds like. Guided by rabbis. In favour of more religious legislation. Not super helpful in terms of the peace process.
- United Arab List + Taal (4) - This party list primarily represents Israeli Arabs - that is, the majority of the pre-Israel non-Jewish population who didn’t end up in Palestine. It’s also supported by something like three-quarters of Bedouin voters. Unsurprisingly it supports expanded political rights for Israeli Arabs and a sovereign independent Palestine with a capital in East Jerusalem. In the past this party has been the target of attempted bans by the Israeli Central Elections Committee but fortunately the Supreme Court quashed this.
- National Union (4) - This is a group of far-right religious Zionist nationalist parties which formed an electoral coalition. They want to maximize the immigration of Jews to Israel, aggressively settle the West Bank of Palestine, and basically treating the Palestinians like a minority within a bigger Zionist Israel as opposed to their own nationality with a right to sovereignty. Together with Jewish home, they’re part of the right-wing nationalist bloc in the Knesset.
- Hadash (4) - This is a joint Israeli-Arab socialist party. It supports shutdown of all the settlements, rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and hard-left stances on environmental and social issues. Along with UAL-Taal and Balad, it’s part of the left wing of the Knesset and probably the closest to what North Americans would identify as a left wing.
- Meretz (3) - This is basically a European socialist party. They’re all about peace with Palestine, human rights, environmentalism, religious pluralism, and so on. They’ve had the first Israeli Arab woman MK, the first openly queer MK, and they identify as Zionist but supporting withdrawal from most settlements for a two-state solution. Their current showing (three seats) is way off from their historic support.
- Jewish Home (3) - This is a rebranded version of the old National Religious Party, but the name basically describes their priority pretty well. Jewish Home is a religious Zionist party that likes the idea of Israeli as a religiously Jewish homeland. Together with National Union, they’re part of the right-wing nationalist bloc in the Knesset.
- Balad (3) - This party shares many of its goals with UAL but focuses more on the rights of Israeli Arabs within Israel; rather than having a Jewish state and an Arab state Balad prefers to think of having a “binational” Israel and a separate Palestine.
- Yesh Atid (0) - They don’t have any seats right now, but I’m including them because they’re likely to break in to the Knesset at the next election. This is a brand-new party based on a principle of sweeping reform. They want to write a constitution, reform education and labour markets for Haredim (who need to work more) and Israeli Arabs (who need to be discriminated against less), and go for a two-state peace deal. Personally I’m really interested to see how this goes.
- Whole Nation (0) - This is another new party that will likely get seats. It’s a breakaway party from Shas that wants to see the Haredi enter the workforce and society. (Right now Haredi men generally don’t work because they are too busy trying to be as religious as possible. They also don’t do the military draft. And they have like six kids per household. In case you needed confirmation that this was a badly broken system.)
So at this point you are probably thinking “holy eff that’s a whole lot of parties” and yeah that’s a big problem with this kind of massively proportional electoral system. It encourages lots of fringe parties and makes any long-term commitment difficult because a future coalition could very easily arise to undo any promises. This is almost certainly the biggest barrier to any sustainable Palestinian peace deal.
So what can this tell us about the recent attacks on Gaza? Right now, the coalition government in Israel consists of Likud, Yisrael Beitenu, Shas, the Jewish Home, Independence, and United Torah Judaism. So, that’s three secular centrist-to-pro-business parties (Likud, Yisrael Beitenu) and three religios parties (Shas, Jewish Home, and UTF). And note that Yisrael Beitenu is super uncomfortable with the notion of religious institutions controlling government. So this is a super unstable coalition government. Basically the only issue that unites them is the concept of “nationalism” in the sense of really hardline military action against Palestine.
For the next election (which happens in January), Likud and Yisrael Beitenu have doubled down on this one big issue to combine as Likud Beitenu. This is likely to cost Likud much of their traditional support; working-class Mizrahi and Sephardi voters tend to support Likud but not Yisrael Beitenu. The editor of Haaretz framed the pivot in Likud’s priorities really clearly:
With Lieberman as second in command and heir to the throne, and his supporters in prominent spots on the joint ticket, Likud will become a radical rightwing party, aggressive and xenophobic, that revels in Israel’s isolation and sees the Arab community as a domestic enemy and a danger to the state.
At the same time, polls show this joint list losing a lot of support to religious nationalist parties, especially Jewish Home and National Union. Yisrael Beitenu is also likely to take a big hit in the near future over their leader Avigdor Lieberman likely being indicted for corruption. This is obviously super contentious right in the middle of the election campaign, but it’s looking pretty likely that the indictment will happen. Anyway, recent polls show the bloc losing six or seven of its 42 seats, which is problematic for dominating any future coalition government.
So far, the nationalist coalition that currently runs things looks likely to keep their majority by winning around 63 seats total. But this depends in a big way on how much Whole Nation and the other small parties do; anyone falling below the threshold would throw off the entire coalition. And while currently the centre-left is pretty disorganized, but big jumps in support for Yesh Atid and Labour over the time since the last election means they might be able to block the nationalist coalition. (Note that because Hadash, Balad, and UAL generally don’t get invited to participate in governing coalitions, it’s totally possible to have a situation where neither the right nor the left can really get a majority.) There are also rumours that Tziporah Livni and/or Ehud Olmert (former centre-left party leaders) might return to politics to start a new centre-left bloc which would likely also siphon off Likud voters who like the idea of centrist Zionist government with competent domestic policy but are uncomfortable with Beitenu Yisrael and the religious parties. (No idea how likely this is considering that the election is two months away.)
So right now the government’s ability to maintain power is in trouble on all fronts; the Likud base is leaving the party for more hardline religious parties, Yisrael Beitenu’s leader is facing a big corruption scandal, and traditional centre-left parties are polling well. By attacking Gaza, the Israeli government scares the Likud base away from voting for the more religious parties, because At the same time, attacks on Gaza makes it basically impossible to pursue any peace deal with Palestine, which makes it way more difficult for the centre-left parties to present any kind of coherent plan in this regard. Also, during wartime it’s way more straightforward to label any criticism of the government or the military plan as criticism of the state itself, which obviously helps the incumbents.
In conclusion, I’d suggest that the best way to think about the Israeli attacks in Gaza over the last couple days is not as some kind of coherent long-term plan to destroy Hamas or block Palestine from seeking further recognition at the United Nations, but rather as a vicious and bloody campaign strategy by Likud and Yisrael Beitenu to centre the whole election debate around Israeli nationalism and ensure that their party remains the dominant bloc in the governing coalition. No argument that this is an absolutely horrible tactic they’ve adopted.