Protest porn

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/42848523]

Keeping things in perspective:

The 2012 Quebec student protests are a series of ongoing student demonstrations led by Quebec students’ associations, students, and their supporters against a proposal by the Quebec Cabinet, headed by Premier Jean Charest, to raise university tuition from $2,168 to $3,793 between 2012 and 2017.

Those 2017 tuition fees are lower than what I will spend in one month of my master’s program at Columbia this coming year. So stop complaining, French Canada. Cool video, though. I will give you that.

(Side note: when will governments learn that outlawing protest — or some thinly disguised variant of outlawing it — doesn’t solve anything?)

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Obama 2012, brought to you by the New York Times

The paper of record is really hitting its stride in its not-so-subtle Obama reelection campaigning. The latest:

“As a photographer, you know when you have a unique moment. But I didn’t realize the extent to which this one would take on a life of its own,” Mr. Souza said. “That one became an instant favorite of the staff. I think people are struck by the fact that the president of the United States was willing to bend down and let a little boy feel his head.”

David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s longtime adviser, has a copy framed in his Chicago office. He said of Jacob, “Really, what he was saying is, ‘Gee, you’re just like me.’ And it doesn’t take a big leap to think that child could be thinking, ‘Maybe I could be here someday.’ This can be such a cynical business, and then there are moments like that that just remind you that it’s worth it.”

A copy of the photo hangs in the Philadelphia family’s living room with several others taken that day. Mr. Philadelphia, now in Afghanistan for the State Department, said: “It’s important for black children to see a black man as president. You can believe that any position is possible to achieve if you see a black person in it.”

Disproportionate analogy of the day

On the neighborhood divisions caused by filmmaker George Lucas’ plan to sell property in ultra-wealthy Marin County to house low-income residents:

The staunchest opponents of Lucasfilm’s expansion are now being accused of driving away the filmmaker and opening the door to a low-income housing development. That has created an atmosphere that one opponent, who asked not to be identified, saying she feared for her safety, described as “sheer terror” and likened to “Syria.”

The 1%: they’re just like us, only they’re in so much more danger.

Also, there are other things going on elsewhere

Such as in Egypt, where a rather monumental event took place yesterday: the Arab world’s first-ever live, televised presidential debate.

Two weeks before the scheduled May 23 start of the election to choose the first president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood campaigning as a liberal Islamist, faced Amr Moussa, a popular former diplomat campaigning as the stable alternative to an “experiment” in Islamist rule.

Mr. Moussa, 75 and a more confident debater, was far more aggressive than Mr. Aboul Fotouh, 60. But neither candidate delivered a knockout punch as the debate turned repeatedly to the polarizing question of the status of Islam in governance.

Big moment for Egypt and Egyptians, and it’s worth noting how much more seriously they probably take their debates than we do with our reality-TV-show Republican primary debates.

I also must submit the following as perhaps the least inspiring debate line of all time:

Both candidates were also asked about the “virginity tests” that soldiers forced on detained female protesters. “I call on each of our daughters who suffered such an insult or other insults, to immediately file a report about it,” Mr. Aboul Fotouh said.

In both candidates’ defense, this would still put their women’s rights stances on roughly equal footing with those of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.