Tag Archives | Greed

Steve Almond: I’m Quitting American Football

Pollice Verso - Jean-Léon Gérôme 1872 (PD) wikimedia

Pollice Verso – Jean-Léon Gérôme 1872 (PD) wikimedia

I am sure many Disinfonauts and other aware netizens are clued into the distracting and sometimes rigged nature of the games around the world. This avid fan of American Football wrote the book  Against Football, explaining why he’s turned his back on the sport.

via Kottke

Life-long NFL football fan Steve Almond recently wrote a book called Against Football in which he details why he is no longer watching the game he loves. Ian Crouch talked with Almond for the New Yorker.

Any other year, Steve Almond would have seen the play. But, after forty years of fandom, he’s quit the N.F.L. In his new book, “Against Football,” Almond is plain about what he considers the various moral hazards of the game: “I happen to believe that our allegiance to football legitimizes and even fosters within us a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia.”

This part resonated most with me:

Even a casual N.F.L.

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The Climate Change Cruise

Um… I’m not even sure what to say about this, except that it’s outrageously counter-productive. Anything for the almighty dollar.

Three Polar bears approach the starboard bow of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Honolulu (SSN 718) while surfaced 280 miles from the North Pole.

Three Polar bears approach the starboard bow of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Honolulu (SSN 718) while surfaced 280 miles from the North Pole. Via Wikimedia Commons

via Business Week:

Because of climate change and the melting of the Arctic, the cruise line Crystal Cruises plans to send passengers on what it bills as the first luxury ship to “traverse the Northwest Passage.” The ship, Crystal Serenity, will set sail beginning in August 2016 on ”a mystical Pacific-Atlantic sea route far beyond the Arctic Circle that for centuries captured the imaginations of kings, explorers and adventurers.” The cruise will last 32 days and fares start at $20,000.

Part of the reason that the Northwest Passage captured so many imaginations for so many centuries was that it was choked with ice and impossible to navigate.

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Alice Walton (Heir to the Walmart Fortune) and Her DUIs

Alice Walton in attendance at the 2011 Walmart Shareholders Meeting.

Alice Walton in attendance at the 2011 Walmart Shareholders Meeting.

Having money really can get you out of anything.

via Policy.Mic:

It was a routine arrest, the kind Texas Public Safety officers like Trooper Jeffrey Davis make every day. But little did Davis know that the woman he had just booked for driving while intoxicated possessed a superhuman power. She wasn’t able to walk heel to toe. She couldn’t put her index finger to her nose if her eyes were shut. She even had a hard time keeping her head up. In other words, she failed the Standardized Roadside Sobriety Test that Davis administered the evening of Oct. 7, 2011 and was arrested.

Yet, she was Alice Walton, heiress to the Walmart fortune, a woman with a superhuman power at her disposal. The power to swipe-up artistic masterpieces prized around the world and horde them in backwater Bentonville, Ark. The power to keep an international payroll of three million people doing your bidding, under the boot of poverty.

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Why libertarians must deny climate change, in one short take

Part of the frustration of dealing with certain curmudgeons, for me at least, is misunderstanding how they can deny something as plain as day. Perhaps you feel same, maybe this will shed some light on such, and allow you to move forward.  Mind you, this article is a couple of years old.

via The Guardian

Don't Forget To Pay The Ferryman

Don’t Forget To Pay The Ferryman (Photo credit: Cayusa) (CC)

In a simple and very short tract, Matt Bruenig presents a devastating challenge to those who call themselves libertarians, and explains why they have no choice but to deny climate change and other environmental problems.

Bruenig explains what is now the core argument used by conservatives and libertarians: the procedural justice account of property rights. In brief, this means that if the process by which property was acquired was just, those who have acquired it should be free to use it as they wish, without social restraints or obligations to other people.

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The Fiefdom Will Soon Be Complete: Wall Street Buying Up Farmland

PIC: LOC (PD)

PIC: LOC (PD)

Not merely satisfied with purchasing our foreclosed homes en masse and charging us to rent them back (thanks to a crisis they created), Wall Street has set their sights on America’s fertile soils. Sing it with me! This land is their land, this land is their land…

Via Tom Philpott at Mother Jones:

In a couple of posts last fall, I showed that corporations don’t do much actual farming in the United States. True, agrichemical companies like Monsanto and Syngenta mint fortunes by selling seeds and chemicals to farmers, and grain processors like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill reap billions from buying crops cheap and turning them into pricey stuff like livestock feed, sweetener, cooking oil, and ethanol. But the great bulk of US farms—enterprises that generally have razor-thin profit margins—are run by independent operators.

That may be on the verge of changing. A recent report by the Oakland Institute documents a fledgling, little-studied trend: Corporations are starting to buy up US farmland, especially in areas dominated by industrial-scale agriculture, like Iowa and California’s Central Valley.

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Wal-Mart Holds Food Drive For Its Hungry Employees

walmartWal-Mart tries to show its concern for some of society’s most vulnerable and deprived: Wal-Mart workers. What seems like an Onion story come to life, reported via Cleveland.com:

It’s a food drive – not for the community, but for needy workers. “Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner,” read signs affixed to the tablecloths at the Walmart on Atlantic Boulevard in Canton.

The food drive tables are tucked away in an employees-only area. Is the food drive proof the retailer pays so little that many employees can’t afford Thanksgiving dinner?

Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman, said the food drive is proof that employees care about each other. “This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships,” he said.

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Study Suggests Thinking About Money Causes Immoral Behavior

thinking about moneyEven thinking about money causes immoral behavior? A reminder to keep your thoughts clean via MarketWatch:

People are more likely to lie or make immoral decisions after being exposed to money-related words, according to researchers from Harvard and the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business who published a report last month.

The findings show that “even if we are well intentioned, even if we think we know right from wrong, there may be factors influencing our decisions and behaviors that we’re not aware of.”

The study asked college students studying business to make sentences out of various word clusters before answering questions and playing several games. Some of the phrases contained a financial focus such as “She spends money liberally,” and others that were neutral, such as “She walked on grass.” Researchers found that people who were exposed to the financial phrases lied more often in subsequent activities.

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The True Story Of Mitt Romney At Bain Capital

Via Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi explains how what Bain does to the companies it takes over pretty much mirrors what Romney has in mind for America:

In Romney’s version of the tale, Bain Capital – which evolved into what is today known as a private equity firm – specialized in turning around moribund companies (Romney even wrote a book called Turnaround that complements his other nauseatingly self-complimentary book, No Apology) and helped create the Staples office-supply chain.

The reality is that toward the middle of his career at Bain, Romney made a fateful strategic decision: He moved away from creating companies like Staples through venture capital schemes, and toward a business model that involved borrowing huge sums of money to take over existing firms, then extracting value from them by force.

Here’s how Romney would go about “liberating” a company: A private equity firm like Bain typically seeks out floundering businesses with good cash flows.

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Research Suggests That Having Money Makes People Act Less Human

Via New York Magazine, money is all around us, yet, until recently, there has been little study of its psychological effect on humans. The results are now coming in, and they’re not good:

Earlier this year, [psychologist Paul] Piff, who is 30, published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that made him semi-famous. Titled “Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior,” it showed through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that living high on the socioeconomic ladder can make people less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people. It can make them more likely, as Piff demonstrated in one of his experiments, to take candy from a bowl of sweets designated for children.

Piff is one of a new generation of scientists—psychologists, economists, marketing professors, and neurobiologists—who are exploiting this moment of unprecedented income inequality to explore behaviors like those.

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