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Allen Varney
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Lives in Ithaca, New York
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Allen Varney

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"Reading Douthat, you do get a better idea of why conservatives see same-sex marriage as a threat to traditional marriage. It’s not because straight people won’t want to get married if gays are doing it, too. It’s because it redefines marriage as an institution of love instead of oppression. [...] Douthat mournfully assumes that people feel this way because they are deluded, arguing we will all pay for our arrogant desire for love and equality over duty with 'greater loneliness for the majority, and stagnation overall.' It’s the same old threat feminists have heard a million times before: Submit to men or die lonely cat ladies. But, as the majority of Americans celebrating the Supreme Court decision over the weekend know, that’s a false choice. We’ve heard the arguments before and we still choose love." (TPM):

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/gay-marriage-scotus-ross-douthat-oppression-vs-love
Of all the sour grapes conservatives chewed this past weekend over the same-sex marriage ruling, perhaps Ross Douthat’s was the sourest. While other conservatives moved on to incoherent babbling about “religious liberty”, Douthat used his New York Times column to dig his heels into the argument soundly rejected by Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges: that same-sex marriage is somehow an assault on traditional marriage.
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Allen Varney

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"We’re looking for passionate people like you. Actually, we require it. 'Passion' comes from the latin pasi, which means 'to suffer.' If you want to succeed here, you need to suffer. You must be calibrated to work as hard as possible. You have to care about your craft so we know you’ll be honing it in your spare time. You have to care about the product so you’ll evangelize about it. You have to care about your team so you won’t let them down by skipping out early at the 8-hour mark every day. You have to care about the company so you’ll stay even when you’re unhappy.

"If you’re new to Silicon Valley, you may find all of the above a little extreme. Rest assured, all of this is in aid of maximizing shareholder value. If you last the first year, this means you!" (Medium):

https://medium.com/@zip/now-hiring-50e2f743c594
Are you passionate about your craft? Do you want to change the world? Do you want to get rich doing it? Well, friend, yo…
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+Deborah Campbell It's satire.
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Allen Varney

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"While they added that they aren’t looking forward to being vilified on screen, Scalia, Roberts, Alito, and Thomas all agreed the movie would probably be pretty good, and they could see Paul Dano getting his first Academy Award nomination for his supporting role as a gay rights crusader." (The Onion):

http://www.theonion.com/article/scalia-thomas-roberts-alito-suddenly-realize-they--32972
WASHINGTON—Shortly after turning in dissenting opinions in landmark federal rulings today that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and conferred full federal benefits to married same-sex couples, Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence T...
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Allen Varney

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4. When some minor nobleman gave you a poem in manuscript and you weren’t sure you were allowed to show it to people but you showed it to your friend Laetitia anyway and it was totally about her. Whoops!
   6. Having that friend who was secretly harbouring Jesuits. We all know, Agnes!
   9. Looking at the almanac, seeing it was Shrove Tuesday, and knowing you weren’t going anywhere near the Bankside that day. (Prentices, man. Prentices everywhere.)
   13. Having to wait six months for someone to write a play about the next installment of English regnal history, and when it finally happens, it’s bloody Thomas Heywood.
   15. Watching ten mastiff dogs bite a bear to death at 2 in the afternoon. Good times! (Buzzfeed):

http://www.buzzfeed.com/richardo433a0877f/21-things-only-kids-who-grew-up-in-the-1590s-will-1hide
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There is nothing more mortifying to visit your friends manor house and finding it infested with Priest Holes.
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Allen Varney

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The fix is in for the Trans-Pacific Corporatocracy Bill. (NYT paywall):

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/us/politics/senate-vote-on-trade-bill.html
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Sadness.  And no hope of the current Australian government not signing onto it, I'm afraid.
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Microsoft does however book all of the American software sales through a subsidiary in Nevada, if I recall correctly. So that subsidiary gets that revenue. 
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Allen Varney

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"If you tour other luxury areas [of London], you find two contradictory tendencies. On the one hand, they are enervated, depleted, losing energy, as shops and restaurants find their businesses can’t be sustained by the occasional populations of these neighborhoods. The other is expressed in flurries of construction activity – dust, noise, machines, workers, trucks carting off piles of mud – as if mining companies were extracting something precious from beneath the well-tended stucco of the Victorian terraces. Which is exactly what they are doing, the precious stuff being thousands of cubic metres of additional prime property. These are iceberg houses, with basements larger than the historic bauble perched on top, to be filled with private cinemas, bowling alleys, swimming pools, gyms, spas, whatever takes the owners’ fancy. It is expensive to make such basements, but the increase in value more than pays for them. More and more space is being formed, in other words, and it is getting emptier and emptier.

"Meanwhile, if you fly in a helicopter over suburban boroughs such as Hounslow or Newham, as council enforcers sometimes do, you see ramshackle structures in back gardens, some of which will be housing uncounted numbers of migrants. [...] The contrast between legal iceberg houses and illegal beds in sheds is striking because of the spectacular difference in their respective ratios of number of inhabitants to available volume. What they have in common, along with lights-out London and safety-deposit boxes in the sky, is the abandonment of any kind of domestic or neighbourly ideal. The concept of home as a place of delight and nurture, or of a neighborhood as enriching and social, is obliterated by the logic of exploitation. The 'nice lifestyle' of which Gavin Sung speaks and on the basis of which London is sold abroad gets forgotten." (Rowan Moore, Guardian):

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/28/london-the-city-that-ate-itself-rowan-moore
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See also Cory Doctorow's "Why I'm leaving London" (Boing Boing):
http://boingboing.net/2015/06/29/why-im-leaving-london.html
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Allen Varney

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"Last December, even though out of public office since 2007, [Jeb Bush] had captured the support of 73% of the Wall Street Journal’s 'richest CEOs.' Though some have as yet sidestepped declarations of fealty, count on one thing: The big guns will fall into line. They know, given his family connections, Jeb is their best path to the White House, and they’re not going to blow that by propping up some Republican lightweight whose father and brother weren’t president, not when Hillary, with all her connections and dynastic power, will be the opponent. That said, in the Bush-Clinton battle to come, no matter who wins, the bankers and billionaires will emerge victorious. [...]

"Wall Street will be going 'all in' for this election, too. Jeb(!) and Hillary(!) will likely split that difference in the primaries, then duke it out in 2016. Along the way, every pretense of mixing it up with the little people will be matched by a million-dollar check to a super PAC. The cash thrown about in this election will be epic. It’s not the fate of two parties but of two dynasties that’s at stake." (Nomi Prins, TomsDispatch):

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176014/tomgram:_nomi_prins,_jeb!_the_money!_dynasty!/
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Allen Varney

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"Collective action on behalf of the poor requires a shared belief in the obligation of the state to secure the well-being of the citizenry. That belief has been undermined by what [German sociologist Ulrich] Beck calls the 'insourcing' of risk, transferring obligations from the state to the individual. [...] Collective social action, in turn, has been supplanted by a different kind of revolt. David A. Snow , professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, noted the top priorities of the specific movements associated with individualization – 'the feminist movement, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender movements, the black power movement, the disability rights movement, and, most recently, the fat-acceptance movement' – do not lend themselves to broad economic demands on behalf of the less well off. [...]

"Instead of boosting prospects for the poor and working class, the agenda associated with individualization works in tandem with rapid technological advance, the internationalization of commerce, and the demise of the paternalistic or loyalty-based workplace to exacerbate inequality.  [...] those bearing the most severe costs of inequality are irrelevant to the agenda-setters in both parties. They are political orphans in the new order. They may have a voice in urban politics, but on the national scene they no longer fit into the schema of the left or the right. They are pushed to the periphery except for a brief moment on Election Day when one party wants their votes counted, and the other doesn’t." (Thomas B. Edsall, NYT paywall):

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/opinion/why-dont-the-poor-rise-up.html
Is it because the idea of the collective good has given way to ‘individualization’? Whatever happened to e pluribus unum?
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Identity politics is the perfect tool for a financial oligarchy that seeks to divide and control us. "Don't mind our vast plutocratic manipulation of the entire finance, banking, trade, immigration, and regulatory system over our nation-state. Look, a bigot!"
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Allen Varney

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"Unsatisfied, parched, and utterly cured of any desire for solid food, I exit the Starbucks to scavenge a suitable beverage. A few doors down, I stumble upon a Pret a Manger where I content myself with a Pure Pret Orange Soda™. This cool, unsweetened beverage is far preferable to my treacly hot 'Oprah Chai,' and almost reminds me of the phosphates I enjoyed in my motor travels with Henry James. Intoxicated by its refreshing carbonation, my unsuccessful attempt to embrace the new identity of my former home becomes a cloaked memory and, renewed in my beatitude, I resume my perpetual readiness to greet the day." (Arielle Zibrak, The Toast):

http://the-toast.net/2015/05/26/edith-wharton-reviews-the-starbucks-located-at-her-childhood-home/
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Truly civilization is in decline, my tasteful friend.
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Allen Varney

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Nonono it was states' rights states' rights shut up SHUT! UP! NOT LISTENING NANANANA-- "Nikki Haley deserves credit for calling for the removal of the Confederate flag. She deserves criticism for couching that removal as matter of manners. At the present moment the effort to remove the flag is being cast as matter of politesse, a matter over which reasonable people may disagree.  [...] This mythology of manners is adopted in lieu of the mythology of the Lost Cause. But it still has the great drawback of being rooted in a lie. The Confederate flag should not come down because it is offensive to African Americans. The Confederate flag should come down because it is embarrassing to all Americans. The embarrassment is not limited to the flag, itself. The fact that it still flies, that one must  debate its meaning in 2015, reflects an incredible ignorance. A century and a half after Lincoln was killed, after 750,000 of our ancestors died, Americans still aren’t quite sure why." (Atlantic):

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/
The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.
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Allen Varney

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"'Go on, git!' said shirtless South Carolina state representative Jeff Duncan, who sources confirmed tossed an empty 40-ounce bottle of Colt 45 at a group of demonstrators while reclining in a battered, dirt-caked plastic kiddie pool. 'Y’all quit messing with our capitol trailer. You ain’t never gonna see this flag come down, you hear?'" (Onion):

http://www.theonion.com/article/south-carolina-refuses-remove-confederate-flag-cap-50725
COLUMBIA, SC—Shooing away protesters from the brown, debris-covered lawn, state lawmakers reportedly refused Monday to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s Capitol Trailer.
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Writer and game designer based for many years in Austin, Texas; currently in Ithaca, New York.
Introduction
I've designed three published board games, the PARANOIA roleplaying game (2004 edition), and two dozen tabletop RPG supplements, and have written eight books. I co-wrote (with Warren Spector and Alex Duran) the original 300-page design document for the Nintendo Wii videogame Epic Mickey. Many major companies have commissioned Enspire Learning to run my business leadership simulation Executive Challenge. I wrote and packaged official PARANOIA novels under my own imprint, Ultraviolet Books. Currently I run a small bundle site, the Bundle of Holding.
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Survived as a freelance writer for over 20 years, a nontrivial challenge.
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Currently
Ithaca, New York
Previously
Austin, Texas - Topeka, Kansas - Cupertino, California - Reno, Nevada - Renton, Washington - Stone Town, Zanzibar - Cape Town, South Africa - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
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