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  • Good advice for weekends (or dead astronauts and hot metal) « Liam McHugh-Russell
    Good advice for weekends or dead astronauts and hot metal Everett Wilson November 28 2011 at 7 25 pm Reply One of my favourite radio programs on the weekend is CBC s Spark which covers emerging trends in new media but rarely shies away from exploring the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of our technological choices Edward Tufte s post on touchscreens reminds me of this episode in particular where Nora and her guest Mark Paterson ponder how our latest gadgetery has rendered other media obsolete whether for example texting has obliterated the teenage love letter or whether the immateriality of MP3s and downloaded movies has removed us from the intimate tactile sensations of in this case actually flipping through a CD collection or sliding a VHS cassette into a VCR However rather than lament the demise of all things physical weighty and tactile the show posits in true McLuhanesque fashion that the ubiquitousness of established newer media has the effect of prompting a nostalgic return or revenge of the old This might explain the trendiness of the Moleskine which advertises itself oddly enough as a symbol of latter day nomadism and is intimately tied to the digital world It might also explain why I enjoy tapping away on my manual typewriter on the weekends Leave a Reply to Everett Wilson Cancel reply Name required Email will not be published required Website You can use these HTML tags a href title abbr title acronym title b blockquote cite cite code del datetime em i q cite s strike strong Find Read This apophenia Epicurean Dealmaker Freddie de Boer interfluidity JW Mason Lazenby n 1 Three Toed Sloth Recent Posts Brats Neoliberalism in One Image Rule Thyself What we think they should want Annihilation Tags academia Alan Johnson America andrew schank anthropology

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  • Yes He Can « Liam McHugh-Russell
    is for Democrats the safe candidate Obama on the other hand is so full of enthusiasm that no exaggeration he brings tears to the eyes of many Canadians with hope about what the United States can be Writing two weeks ago one day before the Democratic race was shown to have not one but two horses Michael Chabon suggested that arguments against Obama were pragmatic not substantial Sure his friends said Obama might be charming intelligent and sincere but he is too good to be true Someone so nice can t cut it in the snakepit of politics they said and Democrats need someone who can win His speeches may have inspired famous Californians to march to the beat of a new drummer but in American politics Hollywood support is often a burden not a blessing Up until last Tuesday arguments against Obama were founded not on his character or on his potential as President but on his ultimate chances as Democratic nominee Here s the catch Americans are ready for a Democratic president Polls say that they re ready for change independents are voting in record numbers in democratic primaries polls have the democrats in the lead and election markets have a democrat taking the prize by a 50 margin More importantly Hillary may be slightly ahead of Obama in polls among Democrats but American voters buoyed by McCain support over Hillary among independents are much more likely to elect Obama as President with McCain as the Republican nominee Until now Democrats have supported Clinton because they thought that Americans prefer safety over promise security over potential sound mind over the possibility of something greater Polls show the opposite that Americans as a whole not just Hollywood much prefer the visionary to the manager In short with McCain as challenger Democrats can choose the safe candidate who is more likely to lose or take a risk on someone their fellow Americans like and who in their hearts they already like more too Even the persistently self defeating Democrats can t screw this one up February 18th 2008 Category politics US 1 comment to Yes He Can Hopeful February 18 2008 at 1 04 pm Reply Good article thank you Obama you may be pleased to learn is no longer behind Gallup and pollster com a complier of most national polls now show Obama ahead among democrats nationaly You comments about Canadian reaction is spot on Obama on the other hand is so full of enthusiasm that no exaggeration he brings tears to the eyes of many Canadians with hope about what the United States can be So many of us in Canada grew up feeling ambivalent about our bigger brother the historical invasion we repulsed the tacky tv the arrogant visits the crazy right was always coupled with admiration for its creativity it s exuberance and it s ability to reform itself re imagine itself and rededicate itself to its highest values I have felt the emotion you describe

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  • politics « Liam McHugh-Russell
    the invasion of Iraq The choice is one between two evils between containing and leaving a tyrant in place and the targeted use of force which will kill people but free a nation from the tyrant s grip Such a statement discounts not only the lives lost but the alternatives hidden between unchallenged tyranny and unilateral force Getting Iraq Wrong revisits the hubris supported so vehemently in the 2003 piece but lacks the thrilled tone Ignatieff had for American resolve in January of 2003 The tone is softened with good reason In the four and a half years since Ignatieff came out swinging he has entered political life in Canada only to see his leadership hopes haunted by the ghosts of his position on Iraq invasion Some believe that the so called admission of wrong doing in the NYT may yet provide him with the clean slate needed to present himself in case an embattled Stéphane Dion cannot find firm footing in time for the next election and is forced to resign Is he really cleaning slate Here is what Ignatieff says he has learned from the transition to political life An intellectual s responsiblity for his ideas is to follow their consequences wherever they may lead A politician s responsibility is to master those consequences and prevent them from doing harm Which is an attempt to cleave the intellectual from the political and vice versa a bit of parlour magic he would certainly like to perform on his own public life Yet drawing such a divide seems disingenuous and more dangerous During the Vietnam War Kissinger counseled a policy of unremitting violence according to a logic of force he believed to be true yet he also promoted a result in Vietnam and Cambodia that followed that logic Ignatieff also promoted such a result Ignatieff was no ivory tower academic no pince nez prognosticator before he entered political life He was then as he is now a public figure His opinion in January of 2003 was not only theory tossed haphazardly into the intellectual fray to be debated further but counsel to the people of a country already on the cusp of invasion to march to the drum of war already beating from the White House Again that march to war was not inevitable Ignatieff knew he was providing counsel which is why he then relied on the threat of weapons of mass destruction to bolster his claims and now claims that it was only his own self justifying emotions inspired by ire over what Hussein had done to Kurds that truly spurred him to his decision He knew his position his words would contribute to the final decision to invade As a mea culpa then the piece falls short errors may be intellectual but wrongs have consequences Admitting one has been wrong is not the same as admitting one has done wrong And dividing so starkly the public role of the intellectual from the public role of a politician

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/category/politics/page/4/ (2016-05-01)
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  • An ‘historic’ victory in Quebec « Liam McHugh-Russell
    independence at some point and almost certainly not before the next election They realize that there is insufficient support in the province to win a vote so their main goal is to increase that support by getting into fights with the federal government Another party that promised an immediate referendum received negligible support Why then was Marois able to form government First Quebec has been seized by a sizeable political corruption scandal which goes at least as far back as the last PQ government but which Jean Charest s Liberals did nothing about during their ten years in power save for being strongarmed into holding a public inquiry unfortunately for them voters assumed that the dirty laundry belonged to the people currently living in the house Second the province was seized by protests causing significant disruption which though sparked by a student strike against a proposed tuition fee increases eventually expanded to include concerns about civil liberties and a challenge to neoliberalism more generally Opponents and supporters of the protests both felt that Charest s government had failed them either for being too heavy handed or not being heavy handed enough A new party the CAQ essentially billing itself as the law and order option bled much of Charest s support away despite being nominally sovereigntist Despite the softness of her position Marois was also able to attract supporters of the student strike to vote against Charest with her mixed message of solidarity with the students bolstered by one student leader standing as a candidate for the party successfully The second explanation of the victory is unfortunately also what makes the election historic And not in a good way It can easily be claimed that the PQ campaign marked the greatest amount of fear mongering against linguistic ethnic and religious minorities of any election in Quebec at least in the last fifty years One key plank of the PQ platform was the exclusion from any public employment firefighters clerks teachers doctors police administrators secretaries policy advisors anything of anyone wearing a visible religious symbol We are talking about firing a significant number of public employees essentially because of what religion they belong to Another was disqualification from any elected office of anyone who does not speak French presumably despite the province s large English minority population a job which could be ably done by the electorate The PQ then reversed and said this would only apply to new immigrants sigh The subtext here was a concern about those people read immigrants who could not speak proper French i e who were not pure laine All of this of course was backed up by spurious claims about threats to the French language and Quebecois identity in the province These things might have scared away some voters The PQ has traditionally been seen as a progressive alternative and I know many anglophones who voted for another left wing sovereigntist party Quebec Solidaire while holding their nose on the sovereignty issue The PQ

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/2012/09/07/an-historic-victory-in-quebec/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Some notes on Greece « Liam McHugh-Russell
    and Germany which currently has a 71 employment rate among 20 64 year olds would have a more significant impact on competitiveness if it weren t for the significantly lower GDP per capita in Greece So it s true that Greeks are retiring somewhat earlier than elsewhere in Europe but one might consider them entitled considering that they work more hours per year than anyone else in Europe They work 25 more hours per year than the average European 200 hours per year the equivalent of five weeks work longer than Americans So even taking into account the retired and unemployed Greeks aged 20 64 are still working on average 1222 hours per year compared to a European average of 1040 hours per year Lazy greeks indeed The question then becomes how did the government get into such dire financial straits The answer is that the richest and best paid in Greece don t pay their taxes Germany collects 37 of its GDP in taxes Greece 29 4 As of 2010 two thirds of Greek doctors self reported incomes under 12 000 Euros in a country with a GDP per capita of twice that amount which entitled them to pay no tax at all The Greek crisis is not about the average worker it is about Greeks best paid and if they had been paying taxes for the last ten years Greece would not be in the financial mess it is in right now No doubt the failure to collect those taxes falls on the shoulders of the government but that is no justification for the amount of calumny which is continually heaped upon the Greek people for this mess July 6th 2011 Category Uncategorized 1 comment to Some notes on Greece Everett Wilson July 10 2011 at 4 00

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/2011/07/06/some-notes-on-greece/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Human Rights Lip Service « Liam McHugh-Russell
    question would become ineligible to receive financial services from EDC and the Canada Pension Plan could no longer invest in the Corporation s securities There may have been problems with the administrative scheme set up under the Bill shortcomings which could have been overcome if more MPs had taken an interest in rendering the bill workable One would expect that kind of effort from a party and a leader which have made their name promoting human rights values Their decision can hardly be called disappointing however since that would require the result to be out of character In practice Ignatieff has made an art of supporting those values while undercutting the rights themselves How is it possible that human rights protection seen as trumps in Canadian law fell so easily to the wayside when it came to regulating business practice Chris Brown an international relations professor at LSE has put the matter plainly The enforcement of rights by the international community has been determined in practice by the foreign policy imperatives of the major powers and political commercial and financial considerations frequently get in the way of a high priority even handed policy on human rights The vote on C 300 draws that lesson squarely but also sharpens the edge of its rule in buying into a standard for the protection of human rights even middle powers don t feel that they can afford to pay for more than lip service Refs Chris Brown Universal Human Rights An Analysis of the Human Rights Culture and its Critics in Robert G Patman ed Universal Human Rights Houndmills England Macmillan Press 2000 31 at 40 November 25th 2010 Category Uncategorized Leave a Reply Cancel reply Name required Email will not be published required Website You can use these HTML tags a href

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/2010/11/25/human-rights-lip-service/ (2016-05-01)
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  • books, the internet, and competition law « Liam McHugh-Russell
    with direct sales to your customers In fact it makes it impossible for any other seller to compete with Amazon Insisting on the lowest possible price is fine insisting on a price that s half of the otherwise lowest price is ridiculous One of the fascinating thing about globalization is the cases like these which blur the line between monopoly and monopsony Speaking of which it is time to break up WalMart whose success is tied contrary to what might be thought not primarily to egregious anti union practices but from globally exercising a pseudo monopsony on purchases and acting as a local monopsony employer hundreds of times over Here then is a lesson to those starting law school you can be on the side of the little guy and efficient markets by focusing your career on competition law ht to paperpools quoting Huffington Post June 7th 2010 Category Uncategorized Leave a Reply Cancel reply Name required Email will not be published required Website You can use these HTML tags a href title abbr title acronym title b blockquote cite cite code del datetime em i q cite s strike strong Find Read This apophenia Epicurean Dealmaker Freddie de Boer

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/2010/06/07/books-the-internet-and-competition-law/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Universities (I) « Liam McHugh-Russell
    required to attend lectures My point isn t that Oxford gets it right What exactly is on offer in such an education is a topic for a different post Here is a third thing to put the juxtaposition in the relevant context university lectures for many universities are now provided free online Berkeley for example provides not only audio but full video for about three dozen of its undergraduate courses per term And of course one can these days get a whole university degree online though some might question whether such an experience is truly a university education at all It would be unfair to entice the reader down such an unsatisfying trail without providing a preliminary hint of where thinking about these developments might lead So for those who have been waiting here s the riddle Why do we still have universities It s not that there aren t socially useful functions universities might serve Yet the reasons universities should in fact serve those functions contra other possible arrangements are nebulous at best When I was in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago and had a chance to meet with Paul Davidson head of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada I asked him the question It will have to suffice to say of his answer that it included neither almost sheepish grins nor apologetically raised eyebrows I for one am on the side of the universities the question is are the universities themselves April 10th 2010 Category Uncategorized 2 comments to Universities I Everett Wilson April 10 2010 at 7 34 pm Reply And yet I wonder if the University with a capital U sometimes places itself at a strategic disadvantage sometimes when it self describes its Dasein its there being as mainly on the one hand an educational institution of some kind that provides the public with an essential service e g the training of the citizenry and its own replacement teaching staff and on the other hand a research institution of some kind that provides the public also with an essential service e g a supply of socially useful information knowledge I see problems with using the terms education and research to describe the main purpose s of the University not because these categories are inaccurate descriptors of what it does most of the time but because such language is hardly unique to the University So when one measures the University against the expectations contained within the typical categories of research and education it s often relatively easy to find evidence that these two activities are flourishing quite well outside the walls of the traditional Academy whether it flourishes in the form of mail order degree programs or in the accomplishments of private R D firms Indeed there are very good reasons for us to question not only the motives of these providers as perhaps anathema to education and research but also the quality of what they are providing Unfortunately with so much evidence of

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/2010/04/10/universities-i/ (2016-05-01)
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