1. The good news: The Obama administration on Wednesday auctioned off the right to construct wind turbines in “nearly 165,000 acres of federal waters south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island — the first of many offshore auctions the Interior Department has planned.” The bad news: That still means the United States won’t have any functioning offshore wind farms producing electricity until at best 2018. This really is embarrassing.
2. Dahlia Lithwick looks at the law being decided/concocted in recent conflicting court decisions on whether or not corporations have souls. Part of what’s so depressing about the legal singularity — in which we are taken over and replaced by artificial legal constructs rather than by artificially intelligent robots — is that we’re so eager to surrender. The Terminator was a formidable foe intent on seizing control of the world. Corporations, by contrast, only have as much power as we consent to allow them. But that makes them very powerful, indeed, since we apparently are willing to all them to have all of it.
3. Yesterday we noted that 18th-century ideas about poverty such as “the lower classes must be kept poor or they will never be industrious” may be rejected by the consensus of smart and/or decent people, but they’re still quite popular. Here, for example, is Donald Trump: “People don’t work, they don’t have to work, they get better benefits if they take it easy.” And here is Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wisc., telling some nuns to stop complaining about his efforts to slash the budget for food stamps, “What is the church doing wrong that they have to come to the government to get so much help?” If there is a consensus among smart and decent people, neither Trump nor Ribble is a part of that consensus.
4. “100 Great Science Fiction Stories by Women.” Adds another page to the ever-growing syllabus. My first reaction was “Where’s ‘The Screwfly Solution’?” But this is just a list of great stories, it’s not a competition for the 100 greatest, plus it follows a one-story-per-author rule, so my second reaction was, “These folks think ‘And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side’ is better than ‘Screwfly’? I’m gonna have to read that.”(Link via Open Culture, which notes that 20 of these stories can be read online for free.)
5. Ads we’d like to see, from Molly Schoemann:
I hope I live to see the following commercial: A man stands at the kitchen sink and cuts through greasy buildup on a pile of pots and pans with only one squirt of dishwasher liquid. He does not act as though doing the dishes is a confusing and foreign experience for him, one which he is sure to incompetently screw up, with hilarious results. He does not appear to feel demeaned by the task, nor is it implied that he is doing it grudgingly, in exchange for a reward of sexual favors. Rather, he gets an enormous satisfaction out of the dish-washing experience itself, as most women in commercials do. As he hangs up the dish towel, he smiles like he’s just been awarded the key to the city, and maybe even fist-bumps a floating apparition of Mr. Clean.
6. Michael Bresciani of the anti-gay religious right group Renew America is warning that President Obama is the abomination that causes desolation and that he will impose Big Gay Sharia — some kind of alternating days scheme, apparently, incorporating both “the free for all of the LGBT with parades and open shows in media and public” and “Sharia law … led by Jihadists.” Bresciani would likely be terrified of this video from Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress:
For folks like Bresciani, “free for all” is a description of a nightmare. For folks like Ellison, “free for all” is an ideal to be celebrated.
7. Happy birthday to Chris the Cynic! (It’s tomorrow, actually, but I’m a negligent blogger on weekends.)