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link roundup April 7, 2008

Posted by KG in arts/culture.
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1) “legal bondage: why we like restrictions on sex”

2) “a case of the blues” – nytimes mag story on the “recent struggles of the Republican party”…they are quite generous with their euphemisms

3) nytimes mag profile of david axelrod, “obama’s narrator”

4) “obama, mccain forged fleeting alliance”

5) ezra klein on health care

6) washingon post on the impact of howard dean as dnc chair

7) the erotics of investing

8 ) nytimes article on storing willpower

9) jonathan chait on hillary’s ridiculousness

10) the sting of poverty

11) vanity fair interview with ?uestlove about the roots’ new album and its political message

12) time.com’s first annual blog index

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swifter, higher, crueler March 1, 2008

Posted by KG in econ, environment, international, media, news, politics, religion.
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 beijing-2008.jpg

photo by flickr user H@r@ld used under a creative commons license

joshua kurlantzick of the new republic reports (pdf 1/pdf 2 or jpg 1/jpg 2) on the regression of human rights and increased censorship in china pre-Olympics:

Given China’s promises, over the past five years politicians, activists, and many reporters have created a meta-narrative for the Beijing Olympics: With prestige on the line, and the international press descending on Beijing, China simply would have to improve. The Olympics offers China “an enormous opportunity to change world perceptions and implement significant reforms,” said John Kerry after Beijing won the bid.

Yet, since obtaining the Games, China’s human rights record has actually regressed. Human Rights Watch recently concluded that “legal reforms [have] stalled,” Chinese officials have stepped up their censorship of online forums, and authorities have targeted the “network of lawyers, legal academics, rights activists, and journalists…which aims to pursue social justice and constitutional rights.” “Instead of pre-Olympic ‘Beijing spring’ of greater freedom and tolerance of dissent, we are seeing the gagging of dissidents, a crackdown on activists, and attempts to block independent media coverage,” announced Brad Adam, head of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, a conclusion echoed by a recent Amnesty International assessment of China. Meanwhile, as a Financial Times report revealed, the Communist party has tightened its grip on Chinese politics by co-opting more entrepreneurs into the Party and taking over greater swathes of government bureaucracy.

Even the Olympic pledge of press freedom has not been met. Beijing has imposed a law restricting foreign news agencies working in China and also tightened control of the domestic press by launching a crackdown on “false” news and shuttering some 18,000 blogs and websites since April. Local journos who don’t get the message wind up in worse shape then Judith Miller: In August, Chinese reporters interviewing people in a province where a bridge collapsed were attacked by plainclothes thugs, who kicked and punched the journalists.