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Sunday Reading

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, June 30th, 2013 - 3 comments
Categories: interweb - Tags:

My semi-regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring).  This week: Prism, sick leave, female voters, and weeing during a filibuster.

politician-weathervane

John Key on AK transport

The BBC has a great glossary of everything to do with Edward Snowden and Prism, George Monbiot tells us that the dystopian future surveillance state is here, and the New Yorker looks at the history of privacy vs secrecy – in an age of publicity.

A battle brewing at a local level in the US is the rising demand for sick leave.  Only 4 cities and 1 state (Connecticut) have sick leave required by businesses after New York’s recent addition to the club. A basic right across the rest of the western world, now 8 states in the last 2 years have pre-emptively banned cities from legislating for it. Pressure from the restaurant lobby is strong, and a right-wing think tank has been shopping legislation stopping sick leave. The think tank has been getting states to ban any exposures of bad farming practices (like those by PETA) – because whistle-blowers are the problem, obviously…

In other rights the rest of the western world has that the US doesn’t, they show up badly in the BBC’s Mapping Children’s Chances in such things as paid maternity leave. However, we show up badly as only Australia and us in the western world (or indeed most of the world) don’t ban 14 year-olds from working more than 8 hours per day. We have progress to make on looking after our children too.

Are our left-wing parties missing a trick? Research shows that our voters don’t have a gender split like most other places.  Usually women – more connected into community – are more left-wing, but other than a dislike of NZ First, there is no great party skew here – nor has there been historically.  Labour under Helen Clark got a boost among women, but with her moving on, we’ve gone back to no advantage.  Are our parties of the left not targeting effectively?

Britain is having to plan for rolling blackouts as with their electricity market, the private power companies have shut down too many “unprofitable” energy plants. Now they’re having to consider giving manufacturers subsidies to not use power between 4 & 8pm, so the nation can go home and watch their telly. The Guardian asks if candles are Britain’s plan for the future?

Finally, Mother Jones gives us a flowchart to help you work out how to take a leak during an epic filibuster like Wendy Davis‘.

3 comments on “Sunday Reading”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    and the New Yorker looks at the history of privacy vs secrecy – in an age of publicity.

    Quoting article:

    “Secresy is an instrument of conspiracy,” Jeremy Bentham argued, in an essay called “Of Publicity,” first published in 1843, a year before the Mazzini affair. “It ought not, therefore, to be the system of a regular government.” By “publicity,” Bentham meant what is now usually called transparency, or openness. “Without publicity, no good is permanent: under the auspices of publicity, no evil can continue.”

    And that is why National’s backroom deal with SkyCity and WB is illegitimate and needs to be overturned.

    The principal defense for keeping the proceedings of government private—the position advocated by those Bentham called “the partisans of mystery”—was that the people are too ignorant to judge their rulers. “This, then, is the reasoning of the partisans of mystery,” Bentham wrote. “ ‘You are incapable of judging, because you are ignorant; and you shall remain ignorant, that you may be incapable of judging.’ ”

    And that says everything that everyone needs to know as to why our government keeps secrets about our governance. We are kept ignorant by our government so that we cannot govern ourselves. Get rid of that ignorance and we could easily have participatory democracy rather than the elected dictatorship we have now.

    • Murray Olsen 2.1

      The bead chain demonstration is really cool. There’s a huge amount of tricky stuff hidden away in classical physics still, and it mainly gets discovered by eccentric geeks. There’s not really any funding to poke around finding this sort of stuff, yet a lot of it is exactly what kids could have cheap hands on experience with, and would really help with scientific literacy.

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