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Source: Dissent

Is the topic of income inequality “Too Hot for TED“? Controversy has erupted in the past week over this question after a talk planned for the organization’s popular website was pulled at the last minute. The incident has offered an interesting window into the politics of the group.

Here’s what happened: recently, wealthy Seattle-based venture capitalist Nick Hanauer gave a talk challenging the idea that the rich are “job creators.” Countering this concept, he made the demand-side argument that consumer spending is what generates employment, and that more equitable distribution of income, in turn, produces more robust consumer demand.

Having made much the same point in an op-ed last November, Hanauer dressed up his views with some slides and presented it in a short, TED-style talk. (For those unfamiliar with it, TED was initially launched as pricey conference presenting cutting-edge ideas in “Technology, Entertainment, and Design”; over the past decade, it has spawned its own genre of internet-friendly, pop-intellectual presentations.)

Hanauer expected that his speech would be featured on the popular TED site last week. Indeed, it was prepared for release. But the weekend before it was set to go up, TED director Chris Anderson personally intervened to pull the video. This pissed off Hanauer, who released emails from Anderson which showed that the video was being yanked because it was too “political.”

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Youth

John Holt: Homeschooling Pioneer and Visionary Progressive

One of the homeschooling movement’s foremost pioneers, John Holt, was an egalitarian atheist who explicitly opposed patriarchy, corresponded with progressive thinkers and helped initiate the still emerging children’s rights movement.

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Activism

Anarchism's Mid-Century Turn

No matter how one feels about it, the current state of anarchism has represented something of a mystery:  What was once a mass movement based mainly in working class immigrant communities is now an archipelago of subcultural scenes inhabited largely by disaffected young people from the white middle class. Andrew Cornell's Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Twentieth Century supplies the first convincing account of that transition.

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Environment

Big Oil Uses Toxic Chemicals to Clean Up Spills. Will the Feds Finally Make Them Stop?

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and setting off the worst oil spill in US history. The images are unforgettable: The Gulf of Mexico on fire. Pelicans emerging from the water entirely covered in thick, black oil. Planes flying overhead, spraying more than a million gallons of an oil-dispersing chemical called Corexit in an attempt to control the spill.

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