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Comments of the Week: Amazon, the Olympics and a 'Trumper' | The Nation

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Comments of the Week: Amazon, the Olympics and a 'Trumper'

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This week, we hosted our second live chat using CoveritLive. The chat, a conversation with reporter Ari Berman and Rebuild the Dream co-founder and president Van Jones on grassroots activism and the 2012 election, attracted a number of great reader questions on topics such as the housing crisis and student loan debt. You can see them all in the replay of the chat, available in Ari's blog.

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Amid pressure from progressive and women's right organizations, President Obama has nominated Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve. 

On top of the chat, our readers had great responses to our special issue on Amazon, Davie Zirin's reporting on the run up to the Olympics in London and Bryce Covert's blog post on the relationship between income inequality and voting.  Let us know what you think—in the comments!

Steve baker: I am of the age where the majority of my friends and associates who love literature are hesitant to adopt or adapt to e-books. However, I have never been enamored of the traditional publishing houses or book selling chains, and was an early supporter and advocate of Amazon.

I've linked to this article on Facebook with the following comment: "If you care about books at all, read this article. Like it or not, but read it."
In response to Steve Wasserman’s “The Amazon Effect.” May 29, 2012

Randoro: I will miss the serendipity of coming upon a book at a friend's house (“hey, I've been wanting to read that—can I "borrow" it?”) or at a coffee shop and it's the perfect book for where I'm at in the unfathomable unfolding of my life.
In response to Steve Wasserman’s “The Amazon Effect.” May 29, 2012

Jerrymat: I wonder if, in the distant past, someone who loved papyrus scrolls could not adjust to the idea of separate pages in a bound book. With a scroll you knew where you had left off reading, because you had wound it onto another spindle as you read. And scrolls stored so easily in cubicle-partitioned walls. With books you had to have shelves and there is the constant problem of mistaken sorting. You need to have a decimal system of notation to keep them straight.

I wonder how they kept the scrolls in order. I once saw a piece of art depicting the famous library at Alexandria and it showed the spindle of each scroll attached by chain to the wall so the scroll had to be read in place. It looked like you had to stand up while reading. No checking them out because (I suppose) they had not invented library cards. Ah! New technology! Now we have ebooks. Hard for me to imagine curling up in my recliner with an electronic book. I wonder if there is a way to scribble notes in the margins. What really bothers me is the history of Amazon reaching out and removing a book from peoples' electronic box because they found they had not had the proper authorization to sell it in the first place. They really did that! How would I feel if I bought a bound book and suddenly the pages were blank because of some legal problem with publishing permission. I am old enough to have a bound library of about a thousand books and I am out of shelf space. At my age I regularly read an old book again (often amused by some comment I wrote years ago in the margin) and I take it and a box load of others to the second hand book store where they pay me pennies on the dollar for my old friends. They are very clever; they hand me the credit slip that must be presented at the check out counter and I have to pass by so many interesting books on the way there. Yes, I often stop and pick up one...or two...or more. Often the credit slip does not quite cover the new purchases, but by bringing in 50 and buying 10 I free up shelf space in my library. I wonder why the thought of passing by electronic books does not particularly thrill me. Of course, if an electronic ebook could be connected to the Library of Congress and I could download and borrow any book I wanted, when I wanted it, just to borrow, then I think I could learn to love it. But then how does the author get any recompense for his labors? There would need to be a fee charged. Of course, how stupid of me. There is always a fee. That is what keeps the system going. And by using electronic books, I would have access to the whole of humanity's writing. But an astronomer told me that every once in a while the sun sends out a flare or something that will completely fry our present system of electronic communication, wiping out the net, the phones, the power, everything. I guess I could read my old paper bound books by candlelight.
In response to Steve Wasserman’s “The Amazon Effect.” May 29, 2012

Cora Cardona: I was a student in 1968 and I survived the massacre that took place in Tlatelolco during the Olympic Games. I hope that no violence takes place against these important protests.

NO to PRI and Enrique Peña Nieto!! An embarrassment and criminal individual that if elected president will be protecting the interest of the rich and international corporations.

It is likely that fraud will happen during the elections, I have witnessed how those in power gathered the poorest individuals and paid them a few hundred pesos to vote for them. When hungry, people can make terrible mistakes. If Enrique Peña Nieto becomes president the majority of Mexicans will be even hungrier.
In response to Allison Kilkenny’s “Student Movement Dubbed the ‘Mexican Spring.’” May 29, 2012

Cat in Seattle: Bryce, as an activist who used to register low income people to vote, it appears to me that disenfranchisement is the major reason so many poor do not vote. They think politics is "way up there" and that politicians do not give a damn about them ~ and to be honest they are for the most part, correct.

Even activists like me, who often stands before legislators and policy makers, I know these people do not have a clue about us ~ nor do they want to hear any suggestions from the likes of us as to how they could make things better. It is almost worse to know you are not being heard than to approach these people at all since it is beyond painful to hear the pretend "sympathy" and then watch your "allies" do things that harm further while in session ~ or do not do anything about it at all.

Personally I think these people hope people like me, and as a matter of fact ALL the poor, will just simply go away. If they can suppress our voices they will, because their agendas do not include the poor. If they can legislate out our voices, they will. Of course they will PRETEND they won't do such a thing because, after all this is 'Merica, doncha know ...but the truth is nobody wants to hear about poverty nor do they care.

I am a voter, I am active in the political process, but I can tell you it is painful not being heard with things you know are not only doing terrible harm to yourself, but also to others. Sometimes I wonder why I stand before these people at all. However I am also determined to simply SAY IT because somebody has to speak and I keep hoping somewhere, somehow, sometime, it will be heard. But it seems that the poor is like Charlie Brown and these legislators and policy makers are like Lucy with the football.

Nobody WANTS us to vote, Bryce. I do know Rep. Gwen Moore is one, but she is about the only one nationally. If you know any other legislators or policy makers who do, let us know because as someone who has been working on poverty issues for years, I find the only way we can SOMETIMES get anything done is to embarrass the hell out them—which is almost impossible to do because these people have no shame.
In response to Bryce Covert’s “Income Inequality Keeps Poorer Americans Away From the Polls.” May 29, 2012

rabelazy: As a Londoner based in North America, I've been saying for months that I'm glad I'm not there right now because my head would explode with rage. In addition to the militarization of the city and restrictions on civil liberties and the right to just protest the games, the effect of this whole event is to make a city which has become criminally unaffordable for ordinary citizens to live there even more so. Landlords have been evicting their tenants in order to rent their homes to Olympic tourists for exorbitant rates. The one which really riled me this week is that they are opening campsites for tourists in the borough with the highest rate of homelessness in the country, while homeless Londoners are being rounded up and moved on, so as not to make the place look untidy. Please tell me that it's not too late to give the bloody event to Paris?
In response to Dave Zirin’s “Mind the Gap: London’s Olympic Games Are Falling Down.” May 30, 2012

OaktownGirl: "Alternative" media gives us this same story prior to every Olympics in recent memory, as well as the story of what remains for the citizens of the host city/country after the spectacle has finished. And as always, corporate media ignores the whole thing.

The only question I have this time around is this: will the current economic crisis make the situation serious enough that the corporate media will at long last have to give it some coverage?
In response to Dave Zirin’s “Mind the Gap: London’s Olympic Games Are Falling Down.” May 30, 2012

DrWinkie: What a great idea. I became an Atheist years ago and for a short time was obsessed with the "movement" but after awhile I felt like something was missing. The Atheism Movement seems to be about what you don't believe it and convincing others to believe what you do.

This is more about saying "Yes, I don't believe in God, but I'm a good person and religion does some good in the world. How can we have the best of both worlds?"

In response to Angela Wu’s “Students Create a Religious Group ‘Without the Religion.’” May 30, 2012

Larry Nocella: I myself am a "Trumper." I simply don't believe that Donald Trump's real surname is Trump. That's just far too convenient a name for a casino-owner to have. I will not believe otherwise until I see his birth certificate. At which time, I will declare it a fake and explain that I am dispatching a team to investigate the truth behind Donald's real name. No presentation of fact will shake my belief. Won't you join me?
In response to Ben Adler’s “Return of the Birthers.” May 30, 2012

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