Micah L. Sifry* and Andrew Rasiej in TechPresident:
The defining battle of the 21st century is between open and closed systems and New York State is one of the ultimate closed systems. Politics here in our home state is systematically corrupt, in the sense that self-dealing and lack of accountability are the norm in Albany. Three men--the Governor, Andrew Cuomo, the Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver and the Senate Majority leader, Dean Skelos--make all the decisions about the state budget with no transparency or participation by other legislators, let alone the public. State "ethics" rules allow sitting legislators to hold jobs in the private sector and keep their incomes and clients secret, with the result that the public has no way of knowing who is greasing whose palm. Gubernatorial campaign contributions are "capped" at the ludicrously high level of $60,000, but widespread loopholes allow big donors and industries to effectively shovel millions to their favored candidates and party committees. And a long-standing gentlemen's agreement between the two major parties to not attack each other's stronghold in the legislature (Democrats control the Assembly, Republicans the Senate) has fostered a culture of impunity in Albany that has only been jostled, but not cleansed, by the frequent indictment of sitting lawmakers.
An interesting question posed at The Junto, a history group blog:
It’s been a big part of the new history of capitalism from the beginning to reorient the way historians think about slavery, by removing it from the category of things that are not capitalism. Walter Johnson has asked us to see “the commodification of laborers and the commodification of labor power [as] two concretely intertwined and ideologically symbiotic elements of a larger unified though internally diversified structure of exploitation”—at least, a structure that was unified through most of the “eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Atlantic.” As Rockman puts it, “slavery was integral, rather than oppositional, to capitalism.” There’s no denying that the two were intertwined in American and global history. Are we supposed to understand by “integral,” though, something without which the larger system just can’t operate? That strikes me as a harder sell.
I don't see why things can't be both "integral" and "oppositional." For example, the Slave Power and the North were clearly "integrated," at least in the sense that the Slave Power in the South and the North shared Federal institutions ("provide for the common defense") at least up until 1860, though I can't speak to economic integration. ("Southern slaves on Yankee bottoms ended when slaves were no longer imported, with the "Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves," as of 1808.) Read below the fold...
The students are back, but that's actually not something I worry about, except in "Get offa my lawn!" mode:
Although, like everybody else, I do worry that this -- see touch of color at top right -- is a sign of the impending collapse of Western civilization. It's always something!
But then there's this: Read below the fold...
As you can see, I've got some nice orange something-or-others coming in, at lower left, under the leaves, and as usual, at upper right, a great teaming mass of tomatoes are all going to ripen at once. So, success! Read below the fold...