The Skeleton Army fights the Salvation Army in the streets, 1884
I'm leaving later today for the West Coast, for Foo Camp. In the meantime, blogging will be light. Keep the homefires burning, y'all, and enjoy this assemblage of interesting links.
* The Skeleton Army Resisting the Salvation Army's attempts to shut down drinking dens in the 1880s, groups of ruffians banded together in a surprisingly organized fashion, calling themselves the Skeleton Army and fighting the pious Salvationists in the street in unrepentant defense of their vices.
They adopted macabre imagery like the Skull and Crossbones (obviously), along with the slogans "Blood and Thunder" and "Beef, beer and Bacca." This was all quite real, and another reminder that history is freaking awesome.
* 5 Reasons You Should Be Scare of Google Yes, it's a Cracked article, but one that makes some surprisingly good points. Some interesting info about exactly how far Google's reach extends, and how badly it's handled collisions with political and privacy issues. A reminder that putting your faith in companies as anything other than carefully watched tools is a bad idea.
* Judge throws out $1 billion copyright suit against YouTube/Google To give the media giant their due, however, Google's on the right side of this suit, protecting the vitally important "Safe Harbor" provision from Viacom. Good to see a legal ruling that actually goes media freedom's way.
* Monopolies, Gov 2.0 and Community The long knives come out in a fight over conferences and tech companies. Worth reading and some legit points about entrusting too much future government program development to large companies with a spotty track record. This is one of the reasons I keep calling for Gov 2.0 efforts to expand past the tech business-government agency sphere.
Another reason is that, were there a broader coalition, some enterprising activists would take this moment to say "Cut this squabbling shit out, we got work to do."
* In jail for being in debt Hellishly horrifying. Not only do large parts of the corporate classes act as if they're an aristocracy, but debtor's prisons (yes, you read that right) are making a comeback. Yes, this is quite illegal, but creditors have been slowly shoving back at debtors' protections, and this is the latest example of overreach. This sort of shit needs to be stopped now, before lettres de cachet and Dukedoms make a comeback as well.
* Coercive Games Some interesting ideas from John Robb on shifting non-violent political action away from the moribund protest cultures to actively ruining the peace of mind of officials from a larger organization who, right now, aren't being held responsible. Certainly, with the current lack of accountability, I don't think many would shed any tears if BP executives or corrupt officials started losing sleep and had their lives made hell. Fear is part of politics and movements that don't instill some measure of it into their opponents don't get very far.
At the same time, it's easy to see these tactics of individual intimidation having some pretty devastating impacts on the social fabric if widely enough applied. Food for thought.
* Saving newspapers, one dead blogger at a time Via Coilhouse comes this hilarious trailer for a fictitious Citizen Kane remake that manages to also serve as a sharp satire of both "print is dying!" hysteria and over-the-top action movie cliches. I lost my shit at the AP Stylebook line.