Sunday, 22 December 2013

SMH environment editor Peter Hannam writes "2013 Australia's hottest year on record"

Professor Pitman said 2013's likely rank as the world's fourth hottest year is more remarkable because the most significant driver of climate variation - the El Nino-Southern Oscillation in the Pacific - remains in neutral mode.


23 degrees Celsius in Melbourne in July

(h/t Bill McKibben on Twitter.)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Like the discipline of slavery, the murders and assaults of the postemancipation South convinced most African Americans to follow racial etiquette most of the time. They accommodated whites' expectations at least enough to stay alive in a hair-trigger environment, an environment in which black life remained cheap and unprotected despite economic development and other changes in the region between Reconstruction and World War II. But accommodation was not the same thing as acquiescence.

- p.47, Growing up Jim Crow (2006), Jennifer Ritterhouse

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

once childhood is seen as a racialized, gendered and classed position, the notion of childhood as having the possibility of being innocent, in the sense of existing outside of the symbolic and material nexus of political economy, has to be abandoned entirely.

- Karen Wells, 2009

Thursday, 31 October 2013

"Exploiting tax-increment financing, City Hall ratified the same principle for Downtown: fiscal windfalls from the appreciation of publicly-subsidized real-estate were ploughed right back into further redevelopment. These fiscal closed circuits sustained high levels of public investment in container docks, terminal buildings, and downtown bank skyscrapers that, in turn, kept happy a huge constituency of pro-globalization interests, including airlines, stevedoring companies, railroads, aerospace exporters, hotels, construction unions, downtown landowners, the Los Angeles Times, Japanese banks, Westside movie studios, big law firms, and the politicians dependent upon the largesse of all of the above.

But the city was subsidizing globalization without laying any claim on behalf of groups excluded from the direct benefits of international commerce."

- Mike Davis, City of Quartz 2nd edn. preface (2006)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Fortress Europe, 2013.

In infinite varieties, another day on earth.

Friday, 6 September 2013

"a concept of monumental emptiness"

- Wolfgang Sachs on development

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

"a past of struggle against slavery"

Montserratians now reside with uncertainty as a way of life...the vulnerability they experience, as a result of the natural disaster, is to some degree compounded by wider international and global processes. Montserrat is not alone in this, as Possekel points out: 'development achievements of the SIDS (small island developing states) in the Caribbean are also constantly crushed by natural disasters' (1999: 3).


All of the countries of the Caribbean, with the exception of the French Caribbean, which are politically and economically part of mainland France, and Cuba, which has followed a distinctive path to a different type of development, are in extremely vulnerable positions vis-à-vis globalization.

- Tracey Skelton, 'Globalizing Forces and Natural Disaster' in Globalization: Theory and Practice, edited by Kofman and Youngs (2003 edition)

- A.K. Possekel Living with the Unexpected: Linking Disaster Recovery to Sustainable Development in Montserrat (Springer, 1999).

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Article 26
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Means-tested benefits, confined to the poor, isolate them so that the rest of society no longer has a real stake in defending and improving what is becoming an increasingly stigmatized system associated with failure

- Ruth Lister, 'Assessment of the Fowler Review' (1989)

Saturday, 6 April 2013

oh Lana Turner we love you get up

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The underlying reason for the emergence of chaos and Islamist violence in Afghanistan in the 1990s was that the West had, after forcing the Russians to leave in 1989, abandoned interest in or activities related to that country.

Nothing could be further from the truth: far from 'forgetting' or 'abandoning' Afghanistan, the West, in violation of the April 1988 UN agreement on a Soviet withdrawal, continued to arm and finance the rebels and in the end brought down the reforming communist regime. In April 1988 the 'West', i.e. the US, Britain and its allies, Egypt and Pakistan, signed an agreement to stop supplying the Islamist guerrillas in Afghanistan in return for a withdrawal of Soviet forces.
The Soviets left by February 1989, but aid to the guerrillas continued with the intention of forcing a collapse of the communist regime in Kabul. The US at the same time pressed hard for a cutoff in Soviet support for the Afghan regime after their troop withdrawal, but this was not successful until the change of government in Moscow following the failed coup of August 1991; then, in a deal brokered by US Secretary of State James Baker, Moscow cut off all aid to its former ally in Kabul.
The regime of President Najibullah, who had held power since 1987, fell the following April.

-number 54 from Fred Halliday's 100 Myths about the Middle East (SAQI, 2005)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Thursday, 14 March 2013

writing five years ago, more David Harvey, on the 'right to the city', an idea with a surely global purchase (just off the top of my head, examples from Brazil, India and Pakistan spring to mind).

but also

Is the urbanization of China, then, the primary stabilizer of global capitalism today? The answer has to be a qualified yes. For China is only the epicentre of an urbanization process that has now become genuinely global, partly through the astonishing integration of financial markets that have used their flexibility to debt-finance urban development around the world. The Chinese central bank, for example, has been active in the secondary mortgage market in the US while Goldman Sachs was heavily involved in the surging property market in Mumbai, and Hong Kong capital has invested in Baltimore. In the midst of a flood of impoverished migrants, construction boomed in Johannesburg, Taipei, Moscow, as well as the cities in the core capitalist countries, such as London and Los Angeles. Astonishing if not criminally absurd mega-urbanization projects have emerged in the Middle East in places such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, mopping up the surplus arising from oil wealth in the most conspicuous, socially unjust and environmentally wasteful ways possible.

Friday, 8 March 2013

a structural problem; the world economy must find $1.5tn in new investment opportunities each year, just to sustain growth at normal rates

- central David Harvey figure in this Lenny piece ('David Cameron's very own magic money tree')

still with UK left blogs, good stuff on 'power-blindness' from Chris Dillow here (not entirely sure about point number 1 with just world, mind points 2-4 hit the spot - k-punk's Capitalist Realism, anyone?), riffing on something the estimable paulinlancs over at Though Cowards Flinch came up with: appropriate bouquets for Duncan Weldon and Simon Caulkin, and brickbats for Owen Jones, in that piece.
Dillow's final par., sadly, superb.

and since we're link dumping, Roger Scruton on postmodern Tories here, this via my mates Alice and Jimmy. there's some flannel, and misdirections (on equality defining border control, on regulation, for two), naturally, though at least partly bang on re: the Tories historically defining parameters.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Social protection has acquired its prominent place in the Bank's work programme largely as a result of having to deal with the consequences of economic stabilization and structural adjustment. Far from being self-rectifying under adjustment, as had originally been predicted, poverty and vulnerability were exarcebated in many countries and for many groups.

- Anthony Hall, 'Social Policies in the World Bank' (2007)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

covenants without the swords, are but words, and of no strength to a man at all.

- Hobbes

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

the thing exists and no amount of conceptual restructuring can dissolve it.

- J.P. Nettl

Friday, 25 January 2013

The contemporary configuration of the world into political units, nations, peoples and religious communities results from a global process of carving out empires and spheres of influence through direct military interventions and indirect political meddling in the 'internal' conflicts of states that achieved or conserved political independence from the great powers in the nineteenth century.

- John Gledhill