• The conclusions of the New York Times’s deep dive into think tanks’ independence, or lack thereof, echo those of Jim Newell and Ken Silverstein in Baffler no. 23. In “They Pretend to Think, We Pretend to Listen,” Silverstein points out that liberal think tanks are beholden to big corporations, too:
There’s little functional difference between the Democratic Party and the corporate world when it comes to running campaigns and elections; why should the promotion of policy debate be any different? In 2007, CAP launched the Business Alliance, which is a Membership Rewards–style program for big donors. Though CAP refuses to release any of these donors’ names, I obtained various lists (as I first disclosed in The Nation), and they have included Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, Wal-Mart, Comcast, Goldman Sachs, the Carlyle Group, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, GE, General Motors, Amgen, Pfizer, and Verizon.
• Over at Real Life, Jesse Baron fills in the subtext of the infantilizing things apps say to their users. “Adulthood stretches pointlessly out ahead of us, the planet is melting off its axis, you will never have a retirement account. Here’s a hamster.”
• Of ping-pong, Anna Wiener asks, “Are we having fun yet; are we having fun?”