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This microphone turns sound into electricity
Posted by Ben on 07.30.14

When I was in college I learned that a guy I knew from high school, at that point also in college, but not in the same college I was in (he was in a different college), held some position of authority at his college's college radio station. I can't recall precisely what it was but the title seemed impressive for a college student, like general manager or program something or other. This surprised me, because when we were both in high school he was not someone who I thought of as particularly cool, even going by my high-school standards, which of course were not the same as the standards I would have when I was in college, certainly not by the end of my college career or even the, let's say, late middle, when I too had a position, though not one of any authority whatsoever, at my college's college radio station—though I believe that this person, my fellow collegian and former fellow high-school student, though in different senses, since we attended the same high school but different colleges, would also not have been judged particularly "cool" by the standards I developed, or anyway came to possess, when I was in college, which is when the anecdote I am laboriously gearing up to relate takes place. (Now that college is more than a decade in my past, of course, I have realized that "cool" is a sham.)

Anyway, I contacted this now-in-college person using some college-era communication technology, such as email or "google" chat or perhaps even "aol instant messenger", which are all, I believe, technically still with us, and it emerged that his college's college radio station was in fact basically run by NPR or a local "public radio station" and was teh l4mez. Figures! And apparently this kind of thing is and has been happening to increasing numbers of stations in the country, which is just such total bullshit it's impossible to express adequately. Anymore, practically the only thing worth listening to on the radio comes from college radio stations, and they're all going to be neutered into worthlessness too, it seems.

This is especially galling:

Rice University's station was known for playing local Houston artists like rapper Fat Tony and indie pop group Wild Moccasins. The University of San Francisco's station used to play the likes of AFI, the Dead Kennedys and MC Hammer as well as cultural programming for Chinese immigrants and the disabled. Both were sold in 2011--USF's license for $3.75 million and Rice's frequency and tower for $9.5 million--and now public-radio networks use the frequencies to play classical music all day.

And you can bet that the classical music they're playing is the same old boring radio fare every other such station plays and is not, for instance, a rival to Sarah Cahill's show on KALW.

ON THE OTHER HAND:

In the music city of Nashville, Vanderbilt University's WRVU 91.1 FM station had long stood out, helping to popularize indie artists like Mumford and Sons and The Civil Wars.

If you've already brought yourself so low by your own hands, maybe no great loss.

Comments (49)

Flip side of the coin
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 07.30.14

So, the Satanic Temple using the Hobby Lobby decision to fight restrictive anti-abortion practices is a nice first step. But it seems to me that what should really happen next is that the abortion clinics themselves should take up this line of argument, in states requiring that they be ambulatory surgical centers, and doctors having admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and so on. Those aren't medically grounded laws - can an abortion clinic make a case that they should be able to opt out? Are there other places where conservatives have made in-roads with religious based laws that are now up for opting out?

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Guest post: Danger to oneself or others
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 07.30.14

Clew writes:

Family and friends of Reuter that spoke with CHS agreed that police did everything within reason to deescalate the situation. What Reuter's family decried was their inability to have their son involuntarily committed for treatment because of strict protections in Washington state law.

[...]
"I was told if he had a loaded gun on his hand with his finger on the trigger, then we could get him help. That's exactly what Joel had on the morning of July 5th, and the help they gave him was to kill him," he said.

I'm surprised that the Powers that Be resist involuntary commitments so hard. I mean, we're plenty accustomed to increasing jail and prison time `for public safety', and the damages to civil liberty and the public purse seem similar. Is this evidence that the tough-on-crime movement is entirely retributive?

Tangentially, when working as a nurses' aide, we had at least one patient who seemed to have been set up for geriatric commitment by her son (in-law?) who then got her house. She certainly didn't seem incompetent; just heartbroken.

Heebie's take: I'm reminded of this other article I read recently - husband has a psychotic break, sufficiently endangering kids that he's judged to be forcible into treatment. After that, he goes off his meds and descends into total divorce from reality. His wife takes the kids and leaves, but very much misses and loves the person he used to be. The ex-wife and grandparents are exceedingly worried about him, and everyone agrees he's deeply mentally ill, but there's no recourse.

Comments (51)

Funding
Posted by Ogged on 07.29.14

Another really well-reported story from the Times, this time about ransoms paid to Al Qaeda (affiliates) by European governments (who deny that they do it).

In its early years, Al Qaeda received most of its money from deep-pocketed donors, but counterterrorism officials now believe the group finances the bulk of its recruitment, training and arms purchases from ransoms paid to free Europeans.

Lots of good detail in the story. I would not want to be the person deciding whether to pay ransom for someone's life, no matter how clear the right decision seemed.

Comments (21)

Michael Robbins
Posted by Ogged on 07.29.14

I read Michael Robbins' lovely poem Country Music and went looking for more of his stuff. He is a clever, funny dude, who is craftsman enough to work some genuine emotion into the laughs. But I think he and I are around the same age and have lived in some of the same places. I wonder if his stuff will make a lick of sense to anyone not precisely of his cohort.

(He's also a smart critic. Here, to pick one at random, on black metal. And another on Piketty. Or, if you're truly a king geek masochist, on postmodern poetry anthologies as a genre.)

Comments (506)

Cheap labor
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 07.29.14

So if being an inmate firefighter is strictly on a volunteer basis, is it a problem? Maybe it is exhilarating to fight fires, but it's not very exhilarating to earn $2/day.

(I remember reading elsewhere how prisoners and their families are being sacked with all sorts of fees and fines to cover their stay, which seems much more straightforwardly awful, and thus less interesting to argue about.)

Comments (34)

Lady Parts
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 07.29.14

Oh this is stupid:

Despite my support for all of the issues Lady Parts Justice stands for, I have one big problem with Winstead's new project: Its name. I understand that Winstead and her colleagues are using the term "Lady Parts" as a playful euphemism for much more clinical-sounding terms like "uterus," "vagina," and so on. The problem with this name--and with use of terms like "lady parts" or "lady bits" more generally to refer to reproductive organs that have been typically associated with women--is that it reinforces biological essentialism, tying gender to genitals. Not all women are the owners of a uterus, and not all owners of a uterus are women.

First, "Lady Parts" isn't exactly a playful euphemism: it's a faux-conservative euphemism which is supposed to be super gender-essentializing and biologically hand-wavy. Which is central to their point, that conservative men are making decisions that about biology that they find grody, based on old-timey gender roles.

So the article - on the wild off-chance you don't click through - is a tirade on behalf of transmen with uteruses and ladies without, and good grief, let's just focus on how those groups are marginalized by actual conservatives and not by activists who are co-opting conservative euphemisms.

Comments (264)

Guest Post- Ray Rice
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 07.28.14

J, Robot writes: Bombastic, self-righteous correspondents, and even Upworthy, have their place. Am I banned now?

Heebie's take: I'd seen that meme about how Football Player #1 beat his wife into oblivion and got a two game suspension, whereas Football Player #2 tested positive for pot and was suspended for the entire season. I don't think we talked about this here, yet, have we?

I have no idea how to troll this thread and generate a discussion, but perhaps you can?

Comments (60)