Search Results for: Aaron Swartz

Mar
01
2013

Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

An irreplaceable activist for freedom of information

It’s always difficult to write about a death. If it’s after a lifetime of accomplishments, how do you sum that up in a few brief paragraphs? When a life has been cut cruelly short, it’s even worse—trying hopelessly to convey the sense of lost possibilities. With Aaron Swartz, who died on January 11 by his own hand, you have the worst of both worlds. At the age of 26, he had already achieved so much in so many different arenas as to baffle an obituary writer: taking part in creating the RSS protocol when he was just 14 years old, […]

Oct
12
2007

Stan Karp on No Child Left Behind, Aaron Swartz on Rachel Carson

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Download MP3 The White House is starting a drive to renew its No Child Left Behind law. While it's politically safe nowadays to raise questions about any number of White House policies, for some reason No Child Left Behind manages to get a free ride from the media establishment. Why is that, and what would a critique of the law sound like? We'll talk it over with Stan Karp, an editor at the magazine Rethinking Schools. Also on the show today: Was environmentalist Rachel Carson a mass murderer? That alarming claim is actually being made by a coterie of individuals […]

Mar
29
2013

David Moon on Aaron's Law, Beth Schwartzapfel on Prison Access

Aaron Swartz (cc photo: Daniel J. Sieradski)

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Internet activists are trying to rein in abusive aspects of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, with a law dubbed "Aaron's Law"--named in honor of activist Aaron Swartz. But new developments in the House threaten to make the law even more abusive. We'll talk with David Moon from the group Swartz founded, Demand Progress.   Also on the show: With millions of Americans in prison, and seemingly more each day, one might imagine that what goes on in prison would be a topic for sustained journalistic inquiry. Yet there are only a […]

Nov
01
2007

Letters to the Editor

The DDT Debate The quality of the science in Aaron Swartz’s article on DDT (Extra!, 9-10/07) is exceptionally poor. It suggests a lack of understanding of the issue. The inaccuracies are numerous; in fact, virtually every statement is at best slanted. For instance, “there is no global ban on DDT” is at best deliberately misleading. It is banned in all U.S. programs, which means programs funded by the U.S., and until September 14, 2006, it was also banned in U.N. programs. In other words, virtually all programs that could possibly impact Third World malaria rates had to be done without […]

Jan
01
2005

Letters to the Editor

An Apparent Inconsistency I know in these dangerous times it's best to keep one's head down and not pay too much attention, and better still to keep quiet if by chance one should happen to notice anything interesting or unusual. Most important of all, of course, no matter what one might observe, is not to think about it. Still, reading Extra! (11=12/04), I could not fail to notice the interesting juxtaposition of two articles, "Journalistic Balance As Global Warming Bias," and "Oil Calms Troubled Reporting." Worse, I could not stop myself from thinking about it. What struck me was that […]

Mar
01
2013

The Self-Defense Self-Delusion

Owning guns doesn't actually help stop gun violence

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There are instances where guns are successfully used for self-defense or protection, but those are isolated anecdotes, vastly outweighed by the numbers of gun crimes, and the fact that a gun in your home is far less likely to successfully defend against an attacker than it is to kill or harm you or a family member.

Aug
01
2010

Stolen Books

Great works that should belong to you but don’t

Think of the great robbery teams: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...Bonnie and Clyde...Bill Clinton and Orrin Hatch? Yes, Clinton and Hatch pulled off one of the greatest robberies of all time—stealing billions of dollars worth of cultural treasures from the public for the benefit of corporations via the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act—written by Sen. Hatch (R.-Utah) and signed into law by President Clinton in 1998. (The bill was given the name of the variety show host-turned-lawmaker after he died in a skiing accident.) Roughly speaking, the Bono Act lengthened copyright terms by 20 years: New corporate works […]

Sep
01
2007

Rachel Carson, Mass Murderer?

The creation of an anti-environmental myth

Sometimes you find mass murderers in the most unlikely places. Take Rachel Carson. She was, by all accounts, a mild-mannered writer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—hardly a sociopath’s breeding ground. And yet, according to many in the media, Carson has more blood on her hands than Hitler. The problems started in the 1940s, when Carson left the Service to begin writing full-time. In 1962, she published a series of articles in the New Yorker, resulting in the book Silent Spring—widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The book discussed how pesticides and pollutants moved up the food […]