Barbaric, backwards ancestor worship


The fetishization of "correct" English -- which is to say, white, wealthy English -- is in direct opposition to everything that makes English such a glorious drunkard's debauch of a language.

Read the rest

New York City's worst landlords


The Village Voice rounds up the ten cruellest, most outright criminal landlords in the five boroughs for 2014, including voyeurs, arsonists, thugs and bullies -- and then there's Robin Shimoff:

Read the rest

Toronto's public library under threat from Rob Ford's Library Board

The Toronto Library Board appointed by the disgraced former mayor Rob Ford has continued its programme of cutting library budgets, cutting way past the bone and threatening the Toronto public library system altogether.

Read the rest

House of Lords demands its own caterer because Parliament's Champagne isn't good enough


A move to save money by merging the Lords' and Parliament's catering has come under fire because some Lords fear that the quality of the free Champagne will decline as a result.

Read the rest

Corporate sovereignty: already costing the EU billions


"Corporate sovereignty" -- in which foreign companies get to sue the government to penalize it for passing environmental and labor laws that undercut profits -- is the one of the most controversial elements of the TAFTA/TTIP trade agreement the EU is negotiating with the US.

Read the rest

The high cost of being poor

An excerpt from Linda Tirado's 2014 book Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America lays out some of the ways that being poor costs more than having a comfortable income -- it's more than having to pay for high daily rents in a motel because you can't afford first-and-last.

Read the rest

Pennsylvania passes a "Gag Mumia" law to silence prisoner's voices

The "Revictimization Relief Act" allows suits against offenders whose "conduct...perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim," but the fact that it was aimed at silencing jailed activist Mumia Abu-Jamal was never made a secret -- the governor signed it into law saying that it "was inspired by the excesses and pious hypocrisy of one particular killer."

Read the rest

Why I wrote fiction about a Rob Ford-inspired mad mayor who settles grudges with knife fights

David Nickle is a horror writer and a working journalist who covered Toronto City Hall during the Rob Ford years, an era in which the two professions effectively merged. Here, Nickle explains the events that led to his new short story collection Knife Fight and Other Struggles, which includes a tale of a larger-than-life mayor who settles interpersonal friction with, well, knife-fights.

Read the rest

Philadelphia schools have $5/student/year for supplies


"Education reform," the charter school movement (that siphons state funding for well-off kids into private hands), the racialized segregation of inner-city and suburban school districts, No Child Left Behind, and the scapegoating of teachers' unions has produced an education system that hardly even qualifies as a 12-year babysitting service.

Read the rest

42 rich white people account for 1/3 of Super PAC spending


35 of them are old white men, the rest are women.

Read the rest

David Graeber and Thomas Piketty on whether capitalism will destroy itself

Graeber wrote the magisterial Debt: The First 5,000 Years; Piketty, of course, wrote the essential Capital in the 21st Century -- in a must-read dialog, they discuss their differences and similarities and offer views on whether capitalism will collapse.

Read the rest

100K Hungarians march against Internet tax


When Hungary's government announced a per-megabyte tax on Internet traffic, people were pissed; a week later, 100,000 people took to the streets to let Prime Minister Viktor Orbán know how they felt about the proposal.

Read the rest

American businesses devour themselves to enrich the 1%


A Goldman Sachs report on stock buybacks shows a suspicious clustering in the fourth quarter, just when management bonuses are being calculated.

Read the rest

Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Doubt Factory"

From one of science fiction’s most versatile writers comes a caper novel about corporate sleaze and net-savvy guerrilla activists that is as thrilling as it is trenchant. Cory Doctorow reviews Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Doubt Factory.

Read the rest

HK police arrest "triad gangsters" who attacked Umbrella Revolution camps


The protesters accuse the police of working with the thugs, who wore masks as they attacked the encampments; the violence has led to postponement of the planned talks between the Umbrella Revolution leaders and the Hong Kong administration.

Read the rest