A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Interns Interning Internships

by evanmcmurry

Christ on a mule:

ProPublica has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $22,000 to pay for the salary of one intern for the fall 2013 semester. The lucky intern in question will be contributing to their ongoing investigation into internships, paid and unpaid, by traveling to college campuses, interviewing past and present interns, and helping to build an interactive news app based on the data collected from reporting and through an online questionnaire.

God Is Concern-Trolling Us

by evanmcmurry

To atheists’ credit, this is kinda proof God doesn’t exist:

Who can people call when religious doubts arise, but they’re afraid to talk to their faith leaders or families?

A group that helps people “recover” from religion says it’s ready to pick up the phone.

Recovering from Religion, which has about 40 support groups in the U.S. and Britain, plans to launch a hotline that will offer doubters an anonymous place to ask difficult questions and find communities of like-minded nonbelievers.

The group plans to staff the help line 24 hours a day and is modeling it after services like suicide prevention hotlines.

The Kickstarter Generation, Prose Edition

by evanmcmurry

Today in savage book reviews:

It is my opinion that this novel is awful, and I am aesthetically or philosophically opposed to it. Likely it comes from some hypocrite-lecteur-mon-semblable-mon-frere place, but Taipei brought out all of my conservative instincts. Only a real codger would say this, but if this is the output we can expect from one of our bright young things, we’re fucked.

Unsurprisingly, the actions of a “web-savvy It writer” correspond suspiciously with those of a con man:

In July 2008, Lin sold six shares of “Richard Yates” online. The winning bidders gave him $2,000 each in exchange for 10 percent of the domestic profits that come from “Yates.” As he says with a laugh, “If it doesn’t make very much, that’s their loss.”

[snip] In early November 2009, Lin held an “experimental contest” on his blog that invited users to bid a certain amount of money via Paypal — any amount they chose — on a prize package of Tao Lin goodies. The catch: Lin’s prizes would go to the highest bidder, but entrants would not get their money back if their bid lost. Lin posted a video that showed off the prizes: A “unique drawing of a Sasquatch holding a hamburger,” which he notes has the “crying hamster stamp of authenticity” (a small doodle Lin puts on all his artwork and also signs books with); a Tao Lin T-shirt; an unpublished draft of a short story; an error-filled galley copy of “Shoplifting From American Apparel”; and a small Moleskine journal filled with Lin’s notes. “You can find out exactly what I do by getting this and looking at my to-do list,” he declares in the video. One finds all of this thoroughly ridiculous until learning that the last Moleskine notebook he sold on eBay went for $80. He is making real money off of this shwag. Lin says, “I probably make $700 a month from selling stupid things on my blog.”

Welcome to the Kickstarter generation.

How Not To Govern

by evanmcmurry

Pierce points us to two shining examples of modern conservative governance. First up, South Carolina is passing a law punishing anybody in their state who tries to implement Obamacare:

A proposed bill, on special order in the state Senate, would allow the state attorney general to take businesses, including health insurers, to court if he “has reasonable cause to believe” they are harming people by implementing the law. The bill already has passed the House. If it passes, the bill could push South Carolina to the forefront of Obamacare resistance, giving the state’s Republican leaders a national stage. It also could push South Carolina into yet another costly legal battle in the federal courts that, critics say, is unnecessary and avoidable. [E.A.]

Cuz nothing says “responsible use of taxpayer dollars” like a multimillion dollar court battle over a pointless piece of legislation. Speaking of fiscal responsibility, the House is passing an amendment explicitly forbidding any funding of ACORN—which hasn’t existed in three years, but hey, Republican congressmen get to go home to their district bragging about how they took it to those liberal election fixers in the “urban” parts.

This is what happens when you elect people who are not for smarter, leaner government, but explicitly against governing at all.