Trying to keep track of when your favorite bands are rolling through town can be a daunting proposition. I asked around and found out about Pollstar.com. It seems they've got the basic functionality I'll need.
I was a bit bent at Pollstar when I first rolled up on the site because I'd gotten the idea to create a new startup around this very valuable idea, but, alas, Pollstar beat me by, oh, about....11 years or so.
In any case, I just signed up for their $10/year option which lets you track up to 99 of your fave bands - either all over the U.S. (possibly 'world'?), or just when they come to your town. Pretty dope.
I hope it works. If it does, I'm going to be very excited again about this internets thing again...
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Trying to keep track of when your favorite bands are rolling through town can be a daunting proposition. I asked around and found out about Pollstar.com. It seems they've got the basic functionality I'll need.
“Christian conservatives complain nonstop about the ‘War on Christmas,’ but there really isn’t any such war,” said Beyond Belief Media president Brian Flemming, a former fundamentalist Christian who is now an atheist activist. “So we have decided to wage one, to demonstrate what it would look like if Jesus’ birthday were truly attacked.”
As its opening salvo, Beyond Belief Media has purchased advertisements this week in the New York Times, USA Today and the New Yorker magazine. The company’s 300-member volunteer “street team” is also descending on Christmas-themed public events with random “guerilla giveaways” of Beyond Belief’s acclaimed documentary 'The God Who Wasn't There.'"
Might have to check it out.
Shit. Tellin ya - you ain't actively looking for new music, you missin out. Again from PitchforkMedia, another song worth your time, "Hope There's Someone" by Antony and the Johnsons:
Breaking down and letting it all out, in this brief and moving torchsong Antony tries on almost all of these lyrical stances and affective modes, and then glides up and away from them with startling ingenuity. It starts all atremble with a disarmingly naked prayer ('Hope there's someone who'll take care of me when I die, when I go'). As the song progresses that someone changes shape, and becomes a spectral double, as Antony sings for and against himself; the hoped-for someone is both a loving companion and an exterminating angel.
The first time I listened to the song that Pitchfork claimed was the #1 recording this year, I thought, somewhat annoyed,...'What the fuck??', but another listen and I thought, somewhat more cautiously,...'What the fuck?', and after my third listen I thought...'Holy f***!', and...'Are you f***ing kidding me?!', and some other stuff.
Check this out:
Tall and broad, Antony (he has only one name) has a rugby player's build but the soft, round, benign face of a medieval saint. As soon as he begins to sing, you can hear why this singular New Yorker gained the patronage of Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed - who employed him as a backing singer on his recent world tour.
This dude is built like a rugby player, but sings like that?! Holy f***!
UPDATE: New resource: Magnet Magazine. Saw some dude reading it on the train today. Antony was on the cover.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
It's a pretty darn amazing, and funny, song. At just over forty minutes - yes, 40 - it manages to be alternatively super-serious/suspenseful and hilarious. It consists of 12 separate tracks that flow into one another in a massive plot of tiwsted betrayal and raw human emotion and just outright outrageous comedy. You have to hear this record.
I want to hear another one that's not hilarious - it'd have to win every music award offered.
Massive hat tip to PitchformMedia.com, whose Top 50 Singles of 2005 List is legit - this song, or series of songs, sits at #9. Pitchfork is by far and away the best music site on the net today. Hands down. One of the things I like most about Pitchfork is they're open to all flavors of music, it seems - they'll review everything and give each artist/production the respect it deserves, regardless of the genre.
Posted by Peter at Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
There was a bigtime debate up at Harvard on November 29, 2005, between Noam Chomsky and Alan Dershowitz (RealMedia).
I used to think Dershowitz was legit, but he's just crazy when it comes to Israel - I mean, just, insane. When he talks about Israel he goes into this madman pose. So, kinda feel sorry for him, but when he starts talkin trash about Chomsky - that's it.
I watched the debate and watched Dershowitz repeatedly calling Chomsky all sorts of names - just like a ten year old kid would do to another ten year old kid. I was really embarrassed for Dershowitz and for the students in attendence, but whatever.
Shoot - if anything, I have to give credit to Dershowitz for attempting to debate Chomsky. Most conservatives are too cowardly to do any such thing.
I found out why Dershowitz always acts so cowardly when it comes to Israel, and facing Chomsky:
Chomsky "versus" Dershowitz
Barsamian: Over the years you've been subjected to a number of personal attacks. I don't want you to go into a detailed response because you have done that elsewhere. But I'm curious about your perception and understanding of the nature and character of these attacks. What motivates them? Why do they persist? I'll just give you two examples. On March 16, 1991 you spoke for KPFA and the Middle East Children's Alliance in Berkeley. This prompted a letter from seventeen UC Berkeley academics who condemned you and called you "A defender of the PLO, even when it was carrying out murder missions against Jewish children. You also have the current case of a national bestseller, Alan Dershowitz's Chutzpah. In various passages, he calls you an "anti-Zionist zealot, anti-Israel, anti-American, and anti-Western." Did he leave anything out?
Chomsky: I didn't read it so I can't tell.
Barsamian: But what about these attacks? How do you respond? How can you respond?
Chomsky: You really can't. There's no way to respond. Slinging mud always works. Again, it's partly institutional, but in this case partly personal, too. In the case of the Berkeley professors, the letter came out about six weeks after I was there, and it was a letter, remember, to bookstores, saying that they should not allow this stuff to be heard. I've also been told, although I'm not certain, that there was an attempt to get them to withdraw my books from the stores. I think that's very understandable and I appreciate it. These are people who know perfectly well that they don't like what I say. They know that they don't have either the competence or the knowledge to respond, so the only thing to do is to shut it up, prevent it from being heard because you can't respond to it. Therefore you say I supported the PLO, etc. Most of them probably don't know what I said about anything. But the author of the letter, Robert Alter, knows perfectly well that I condemned the PLO for those atrocities, probably more harshly, certainly more knowledgeably than he did. But that doesn't matter. Facts are irrelevant.
Turning to Dershowitz, there's partly the same story. Again, he knows that he can't respond to what I say. He doesn't have the knowledge or the competence to deal with the issues. Therefore, the idea is to try to shut it up by throwing as much slime as you can. There's a famous story attributed to Sam Ervin, a conservative Senator, who once said that as a young lawyer he had learned that if the law is against you, concentrate on the facts. If the facts are against you, concentrate on the law. And if both the facts and the law are against you, denounce your opposing counsel. Dershowitz is not very bright, but he understands that much. If you can't answer on the facts and if you can't answer on the principles, you better throw dirt. In his case there happens to also be a personal reason.
He's been on a personal jihad for the last twenty years, ever since I exposed him for lying outright in a vicious personal attack on a leading Israeli civil libertarian. Despite pretenses, he's strongly opposed to civil liberties. Using his position as a Harvard law professor, he referred to what the Israeli courts had determined. But he was just lying flat outright. This was in the Boston Globe (April 29, 1973). I wrote a short letter refuting it (May 17). He then came back (on May 25,) accusing everybody of lying and challenging me to quote from the court records. He never believed I had them, but of course I did. I quoted the court records in response (June 5). He then tried to brazen it out again. It finally ended up with my sending the transcript of the court records to the Globe ombudsman, who didn't know what to do any more with people just taking opposite positions. I translated them for him, and suggested that he pick his own expert to check the translations. The ombudsman finally told Dershowitz they wouldn't publish any more letters of his because he had been caught flat out lying about it.
Ever since then he's been trying to get even, so there's just one hysterical outburst after another. That's not surprising, either. He's basically a clown. In that case there's a personal issue overlaying the political issue, which is much more interesting. This personal stuff is not interesting. But if you look at the Anti-Defamation League or the Berkeley professors, and there are plenty of others, it's the Sam Ervin story. You know you can't deal with the material. Either you ignore it, or if you can't ignore it, then defame the speaker. That's the only way you can deal with it if you don't have the brains or the knowledge or you just know your position can't be defended. I think that's understandable, and in a sense you can appreciate it. That's just the hallmark of the commissar.
Dershowitz - clown. Ouch.
Here's a story about more of Dershowitz's clowning and totalitarian ways. Like Chomsky said, "That's just the hallmark of the commissar."
Posted by Peter at Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Sunday, December 25, 2005
We've been talking about dropping the CIA like a bad habit for a while now, more recently here. We're hoping that the rise of the Green Party will bring this issue front and center.
The New Republic makes a strong case, here.
And der Spiegel add to the evidence list, here.
Hat tip: PTDR.
Posted by Peter at Sunday, December 25, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
It seems that United States Senator Arlen Specter - old white guy, Eagles fan - might think so. From an ESPN article I was tipped-off:
Meanwhile, Sen. Arlen Specter, who is white, popped off about the possibility of a Senate investigation into possible antitrust violations relative to the Owens/Eagles case. Then Specter backpedaled faster than Brian Dawkins, who is black, settling into Cover Two coverage.
Sure enough - a little search pulled up some details:
Amy Worden and Larry Eichel of the Philadelphia Inquirer examine Senator Arlen Specter's remarks yesterday that the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Subcommittee may soon investigate whether the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles have committed an illegal restraint of trade by prohibiting Owens from playing and banning other teams from speaking with him. (Worden & Eichel, "Sparks from Specter in the T.O. Case," Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 29, 2005). This is not an idle threat, as Senator Specter is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he is also a diehard Eagles fan. So when he calls the Eagles' actions "vindicative and inappropriate," Eagles ownership and management likely pay attention.
I'm not sure why anyone has been willing to stand up for the NFL or the Eagles - that doesn't really compute for me. How you gonna take the side of the NFL vs. a single man? Where's the love?
New Yorker Alison Glazer, standing next to an 8-foot (2.4-meter) inflatable penis, said, 'Howard's a legend and he did things no one else had, and he keeps on breaking through.
Howard Stern often times tries to speak the truth, and that should be commended. I have to try and catch his premiere show. I suspect the gangster/totalitarian Republicans will be moving to lock down satelite radio soon. It might be a tough call for them - think of the stupendous amounts of money ties up in satelite radio. It's difficult to conceive.
p.s. If you've never heard 'Detachable Penis' by the Butthole Surfers, do so now.
I'd be lying if I said I understood what the Greens got their undies all twisted up for, but the general push of this article seems to go with what I've sensed - the Green Party is working overtime to turn would-be supporters away:
Theoretically, the San Francisco Green Party should be in a great position. San Francisco has been pretty much a one-party town, run by the Democratic Party. When it comes to supporting major commercial landlords or downtown interests over public interests, pushing redevelopment in Bayview Hunters Point over the welfare of the people who live there, or protecting PG&E’s (gas and electric public utility) interests, it’s been the tops of the Democratic Party that have ensured big business’ interests were taken care of. No one can blame that on the Republican Party–they haven’t had control of San Francisco in decades.
So, an article basically pimping the GDI. It's very disappointing to read all this stuff. Sounds like a bunch of twisted-ass people are running the Green Party.
Pretty rockin band. Saw 'em at Slim's last night. Good space for a show. Was packed up. Possibly sold out. Easily worth my $20. These guys, ummm, fucked it up. In a good way, of course.
William Elliott Whitmore opened up - dude with a banjo. He was pretty good - reminded me of Marc Broussard.
Found this pseudo-review of one of Clutch's previous albums:
Clutch: "The Mob Goes Wild"
Your love for Clutch's distinct brand of clever metal will depend on your tolerance for Neil Fallon's alternately inscrutable, satirical and arch lyrics. I, for one, think the guy's a wordsmith in the tradition of Frank Zappa, Mark Mothersbaugh or De La Soul-- sometimes the words tell a story, sometimes they make a point, and sometimes they just exist to twist the tongue. Here, over some heavy boogie riffage, Fallon takes on-- no, really-- terrorism ("The beast you see got fifty eyes"), post-9/11 paranoia ("Play it cool, the hand's been dealt"), and the war in Iraq ("Save the victory speeches for later"). At least, that's the way I see it. Not that this is a "message" song; most of the lyrics are typically abstract and hidden beneath Clutch's trademark pounding groove. But with its scathingly cynical chorus, it's not hard to see the song as their high-concept "War Pigs": "21 guns, box made of pine, letter from the government sealed and signed/ Delivered Federal Express on your mother's doorstep." But Fallon's hardly the kind of guy to simply criticize without offering up any answers of his own. His advice for those who can't bear the current fucked up political climate in the U.S.? "Everybody move to Canada and smoke lots of pot." [Christopher Weber; May 12th, 2004]
I like the political bent to their tunes. Seems like some of their fans might be a bit scary - white supremecist stuff. Not too sure about that, but I got that impression after cruising their website and Googling a bit.
They're about to do a USO tour, which I thought was interesting. Clutch's political message isn't completely overwhelming, so maybe that helps them stay popular in the military. Or maybe right about now most of our military is pissed off at our politicians. In any case, it's probably easy enough to miss the political message of the music altogether because the music kicks so much ass.
The lead singer had a heck of a stage presence. He looks like a radical Marxist, and acts pretty much like he could be clinically insane. Good stuff.
So says those commies, the U.S. government:
...it is clear that NED, Department of Defense (DOD), and other U.S. assistance programs provided training, institution building, and other support to individuals and organizations understood to be actively involved in the brief ouster of the Chávez government...
- United States Department of State, Office of Inspector General, “A Review of U.S. Policy Toward Venezuela”"
Palast was on the scene...
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
It's pseudo-official - I am now a card-carrying Green. The signup was essentially uneventful, but telling in that I immediately met with frustration.
After signing up, paying my $37 or whatever, I was sent to this page. I chose to 'Volunteer' and was sent to this page, which told me:
Note on joining the Green Party:
Membership in the Green Party is through our state parties. ...
Now, I really don't know what this message is supposed to mean. I can take a few guesses, but it is not at all clear to me, and I consider myself to be fairly informed politically, now. If one of the targeted folks for the Green Party is newbies, then we have to help them along a lot more than this.
This message, in and of itself, is not the problem - the problem is with the numerous frustrations that someone seeking to find on the Green Party is likely to encounter. For instance, Googling 'green party' gives us this:
Green Party of the United States | Homepage
Official homepage of the Green Party and the Green National Committee.
www.gp.org/ - 38k - Cached - Similar pages
PLATFORM - Green Party Committees - PRESS RELEASES - STATES
More results from www.gp.org »
The Greens/Green Party USA
Official homepage of The Greens/Green Party USA.
www.greenparty.org/ - 16k - Cached - Similar pages
I still don't know who 'The Greens/Green Party USA' are, but it doesn't seem like a great thing that there is a splinter group from the main Green Party with a nearly identical name. Aren't Greens supposed to be able to resolve their problems peacefully? If they can't bring a splinter group back into the fold, how in the world are they going to stop a war?
The problem I've seen, in my limited experience with the Green Party, is that splinter groups are all too common - not because there are a bunch of people who just have to have their own party, who are perfectionists, but because the founders and people who still control the Green Party US are unwilling to concede to any change - even if it is for the best of the Party.
The saga continues...
Posted by Peter at Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Just doing some Googling, I found a very interesting article published in Zmag - a pub that I have a lot of respect for. The article was published in March, 1996. The article is, quite simply, atrocious, and should not have been published in Zmag. Not only are the ideas expressed in the article unseemly, they're also speciously supported, at best. This is not quality work, and does not belong in a serious publication. I won't dissect the article in detail, unless someone challenges me to do so - it'll just be a lesson in S & M.
First, we start with some history:
The trouble with being a founding member of anything is that you always remember the intentions of those founding meetings and the words you wrote down to guide you.
A founder?! We found a founder?! Impossible! The birth of the U.S. Green Party is shrouded in mystery and secrecy, and I'm starting to see why - nobody wants to cop to it!
I always found green feminism to be particularly inviting. Indeed, green feminism used to be known as “post-patriarchal values” but we changed the name to feminism because we felt nothing good could come from the word “patriarchy.”
Nothing good could come of using the word 'patriarchy', so y'all decided to use a word that all people would love - feminism? Jeezoo! At various times of my life I've lived in a bubble of sorts - not getting out much - not reading the newspapers - stuff like that, but never in a million years could I have conceived of using such an incendiary word and hoping that anything good could come of it. This 'Green Zone' thinking is, as I've pointed out numerous times on this blog, all too common in the Green Party. You thought Rethugs don't get out much? Try attending a Green Party meeting.
This information, however, comports with what Charlene Spretnak told me, expressing surprise that 'post-patriarchy' had been changed to 'feminism'. So, at least I'm starting to get a picture of how the Green Party was hijacked here in the United States.
Not enough women in the Green Party of California? The party that began with roughly one man to every three women is now lucky if it sees one woman to every seven men.
Exactly as I suspected. How in the world, I thought, did they ram this 'Feminism' thing into the Ten Key Values statement? There's part of our answer - numbers. Basically, a bunch of feminists got together to start a new party - the U.S. version of the Green Party - and they tried to co-opt the mission of the worldwide green and Green Party movement to fit their own agenda - feminism. Gosh, that pisses me off.
There are a few of books that address the U.S. Green Party tangentially, but no direct accounts yet. We need this history. The Green Party should sponsor a book on itself. Even if it is lobsided, it'll be better than nothing.
Posted by Peter at Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
Looks like Arnold has denied Tookie clemency.
Drudge was the first to point out that this could result in violence in the streets. He's now pointing out preparations in LA.
France was recently burning.
Drudge shows us that now whites are rampaging in Sydney.
There will be much violence tonight in the streets of California, and possibly all over the U.S., if Arnold doesn't grant a last-minute stay of execution. I've walked the streets of Oakland, and these kids are angry as hell at white people. It's not gonna take much to set them off. If Arnold, the God of California, takes it upon himself to administer that poison into Tookie's vein, I am fairly certain that all hell will break loose.
UPDATE: Inteview and info from Democracy Now!.
UPDATE: Don't count on my legal language being correct/accurate. I think, for instance, that the Governor can only grant clemency, whereas the Federal Court could grant a stay of execution.
UPDATE: They killed him, man. Arnold killed Tookie. I could hardly believe it when I heard it. I wanted to go Timothy McVeigh. Europe is livid, too. Arnold is a fucking monster. Republicans are fucking monsters. Gangster mf's.
I saw a lot of people crying last night as I left San Quentin. A lot. Here are some pics. More to follow soon, I hope.
There were at least a few hundred people there. Someone brought a huge Gandhi statue thing - with Gandhi carrying a sign that read "We must be the change we wish to see in the world". Some good speakers. Lots of them very moving. Seeing little boys and girls crying after they announced that took was murdered by the state...too much. Too much.
We need an effective Green Party to make sure this never happens again. There are two more executions coming up in the next couple of months. Arnold started off the holiday season with a murder. The Revered Jesse Jackson pointed out that even Moses was a murdered and was redeemed.
Angela Davis was there. I'd never heard of her before, but everyone there seemed to know her.
Joan Baez was there and led a couple of songs.
Helicopters hovered overhead for hours. A couple of shock-jocks where there from LA. Actually, one shock jock and two body guards - all white.
SF Chronicle has a podcast here. The title of the podcast: 'Tears and cheers outside San Quentin as execution neared'. Tears and cheers. In fairness to the racists who showed up, I didn't actually hear them cheering either before or after Tookie's death. I suspect they were all gone by the time we heard Tookie was dead. I did see people crying before and after Tookie's death. A radio report the next morning said that 'both supporters and detractors' of the death penalty were outside the gate. That's technically true, but there were a thousand-plus detractors and about four pro-death people. This podcast headline similary paints a false equivalency picture that is all too common in the major media these days.
I actually expected much violence if this murder happened. The violence didn't seem to materialize, but I don't think we're out of the woods yet. It's seething. I feel the hate when I walk the streets of Oakland. Something gonna blow up. Maybe I'm too close, emotionally, to what just went down, but people are enraged at this murder.
I was actually extremely angry that most of the speakers did not address my anger - my rage - most didn't even come close.
Arnold just demonstrated 'an eye for an eye' - let's see if he reaps the rewards of what he has sewn.
Jesus Fuckin Christ. It took them twenty minutes or so to put him down. They put him down like a dog. He was trying to help them insert the needles. The killers bungled the job. They strapped him down and took twenty minutes to kill him.
There was at least one nun in the crowd.
How much did California spend on those helicopters and the beefed-up security? How much mf's?!
UPDATE: There was already a moratorium effort already, but Arnold's right-hand man, Tom McClintock, pushed it back until after Tookie would be executed. I don't know if that is true, yet, but here's a story talking about why politics of the decision to murder Tookie - why Arnold did it. Assembly Bill 1121, aka AB 1121. Check it out.
UPDATE: Another innocent killed.
UPDATE: In one of his books dedications, Tookie cited George Jackson. Holy shit. With the help of the FBI, the California prison system killed him, and then they tried to frame Angela Davis. No wonder why people were cheering for Davis last night. No wonder why Tookie dedicated his book to George Jackson.
UPDATE: Two more innocents get off death row.
UPDATE: So much for my 'fairly certain' that violence would break out if Arnold killed Tookie. What could be the reasons? A bunch: people believe in the death penalty; people don't think it is Arold's responsibility to not execute Tookie; people didn't know about the Tookie execution; people thought he was guilty and deserved to die; people didn't see this case any differently than the thousands of cases of severe injustice perpetrated against black people every day in America; etc. Haven't thought about it much since the execution.
When I look back, I don't think I was so sure, if at all, of an outbreak of violence. I think I was probably doing a couple of things: 1) projecting - hoping that it was true that people cared enough to save Tookie that they would be willing to challenge the authorities if the injustice took place, even if that included violence, and 2) scaremongering a bit, for political reasons - aimed at keeping Tookie from being executed. As far as the scaremongering went, I wasn't talking nonsense just to support my political view, but I didn't mind that my raising the possibility of post-murder violence might act as a deterrent to the murder. Maybe that's not even scaremongering, because I really did believe what I was writing. It just seems that what I was writing, an opinion on a situation, turned out to be totally/completely wrong. It's about the most wrong I've ever been about anything on this blog - and that's pretty darn wrong.
So, what's the take-away lesson? Seems like it could/should be a few things:
1) I have no idea what young black kids in the inner cities are thinking and feeling. I say 'young black kids' because if there was going to be violence I suspected it would be perpetrated largely by youngish black kids from the inner cities.
2) Before making bold declarations of any kind, I need to take a step back, analyze my own assumptions, and really, as much as possible, just try to look at the situation from a less subjective vantage point.
UPDATE: NJ stops killing.
UPDATE: Blowback. Via Drudge.
UPDATE: You don't get executed if you 'only' kill black people.
Posted by Peter at Monday, December 12, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
I wasn't around for the Newsome vs. Gonzalez mayoral run, but it seems like it was a doozy.
That most San Franciscans are not registered Greens is a crying shame. In fact, it's just about downright disgusting.
The people holding back the Green Party should step down immediately.
Posted by Peter at Sunday, December 11, 2005
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Let me say categorically that this tribunal is the defense. It is an act of resistance in itself. It is a defense mounted against one of the most cowardly wars ever fought in history, a war in which international institutions were used to force a country to disarm and then stood by while it was attacked with a greater array of weapons than has ever been used in the history of war.
I think that pretty much covers it...
Posted by Peter at Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this story is completely fabricated. 'The Butcher'? Too funny.
It's as if we're supposed to believe that members of the resistance are actually allowing themselves to be captured - knowing that our torture methods are worse than Saddam's.
It's time. It should start around 11.15 pm Left Coast Time (California, US) by my account (20.15 GMT). Things aren't supposed to get going until an hour or two later. I have no idea what networks might be carrying it. Good luck.
UPDATE: The results are in - looks like a tough draw for the U.S., but no matter - let's play.
The fix was in, apparently, with Mexico getting a seed, but the U.S. not. There was no reason, really, to give a seed to Mexico - the U.S. regularly beats them now, but there was every reason in the world to deny the U.S. a seed - that is, the U.S. Mens National Soccer Team is paying for George W. Bush's war crimes.
When these players - many of them still kids - hit the pitch this summer, all politics should be left at home. The U.S. players should not be spit upon because of George W. Bush's actions. So, if you're the kind of asshole who thinks that the Iranian team should be banned from the Cup because of what Iranian politicians are doing, go #&*@ yourself. If we removed all the teams of countries whose leaders who have recently committed 'the supreme international crime', or countries whose leaders are currently engaged in committing war crimes, or countries whose leaders said something deemed inappropriate by some other countries, we wouldn't have any teams left to play. When assholes want to mix up soccer and politics, bad things happen.
THE WORLD CUP IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS - GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL.
Been sitting on this article for a few days - waiting to see if it exploded across the blogosphere - but nope - haven't seen it anywhere else. To me, this is one of the most important articles of the year. And it's by mainstreamer, Fareed Zakaria - who I rarely agree with - but in this case, he's all over this trend that nobody else has seemed to notice. Sure, everyone is talking about a female POTUS in 2008, but the talk rarely goes to the Feminist argument for a female POTUS - that of a female politician having a fundamentally different set of priorities than a male politician, and how this might play on a worldwide scale.
What difference does it make? Does it really matter that a president or a representative is male or female? Many voters seem to think so. A 2000 Gallup poll in Latin America found that 62 percent of people believed that women would do better than men at fighting poverty, 72 percent favored women for improving education and 53 percent thought women would make better diplomats. There is growing evidence that, at the very least, where women make up a significant percentage of government, they tend to hold priorities that are different from men's. The World Economic Forum found, in a study of just three countries, that women wanted more money for health care, education and social welfare, and less for the military. Across the globe, women are perceived as less corrupt.
This is consistent with growing evidence at a micro level that women are better recipients of aid than men. Around the world, if you give cash to a mother, she tends to use it to invest in children's health and education. (A man, on the other hand, will often take it and head to the local watering hole.) 'Studies from Brazil show that survival possibilities of a child increase by 20 percent if the income is in the hands of the mother rather than the father,' says the World Bank's Mayra Buvinic.
There is another perceived difference between men and women. Seven years ago, Francis Fukuyama published an article in Foreign Affairs in which he drew on the rapidly growing field of evolutionary biology to argue that 'aggression, violence, war, and intense competition for dominance... are more closely associated with men than women.' He concluded that 'a world run by women would follow different rules ... and it is towards this kind of world that all post-industrial societies in the West are moving. As women gain power in these countries, the latter should become less aggressive, adventurous, competitive, and violent.' He even asks the politically incorrect question, could some "female" traits have negative effects for governance.
Fukuyama's view was denounced by some feminists for ignoring the reality that war is a complex event produced by many forces—not just machismo—and for propagating a stereotypical view of women as "soft" and men as "hard." But there does appear to be growing scientific evidence that certain basic distinctions between men and women are hard-wired. There are always the female exceptions—Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi—just as there are male ones—the Buddha, Gandhi—but there are some studies that support the general distinction between most men and women.
It is much too soon to be able to tell how different the world would be if women were equal partners in government. But it's a trend that's coming soon to a country near you, so keep watching.
Leave it to the Feminists to criticize an article that uses scientific evidence to suggest that countries headed by females will become, among other things, less aggressive and violent. Brilliant, Feminists.
I don't know if Zakaria has got his story straight about some Feminists criticizing Fukuyama for calling women 'soft', but here are a couple of Fukuyama's graphs - I didn't find anything offensive:
Both men and women participate in perpetuating the stereotypical gender identities that associate men with war and competition and women with peace and cooperation. As sophisticated feminists like Jean Bethke Elshtain have pointed out, the traditional dichotomy between the male "just warrior" marching to war and the female "beautiful soul" marching for peace is frequently transcended in practice by women intoxicated by war and by men repulsed by its cruelties. But like many stereotypes, it rests on a truth, amply confirmed by much of the new research in evolutionary biology. Wives and mothers can enthusiastically send their husbands and sons off to war; like Sioux women, they can question their manliness for failing to go into battle or themselves torture prisoners. But statistically speaking it is primarily men who enjoy the experience of aggression and the camaraderie it brings and who revel in the ritualization of war that is, as the anthropologist Robin Fox puts it, another way of understanding diplomacy.
A truly matriarchal world, then, would be less prone to conflict and more conciliatory and cooperative than the one we inhabit now. Where the new biology parts company with feminism is in the causal explanation it gives for this difference in sex roles. The ongoing revolution in the life sciences has almost totally escaped the notice of much of the social sciences and humanities, particularly the parts of the academy concerned with feminism, postmodernism, cultural studies, and the like. While there are some feminists who believe that sex differences have a natural basis, by far the majority are committed to the idea that men and women are psychologically identical, and that any differences in behavior, with regard to violence or any other characteristic, are the result of some prior social construction passed on by the prevailing culture.
What could the Feminists have been objecting to? Got me.
We mentioned Fukuyama before on this blog - he's a neocon. And while this older, pre-Iraq War article of his seems to be pretty quality, I knew that I'd criticized him harshly since the beginning of the Iraq War.
I looked for some of my criticism of him on this blog, but apparently I must not have left any here. Well, better late than never - Francis Fukuyama is an intellectual coward. After Iraq started turning to shit, he hit the press to say something to the effect, "well, I thought it might be a bad idea, but I just wanted to see if they could pull it off". No right or wrong, no legal or illegal - he just played good little intellectual and kept his mouth shut while his buddies committed treason and drove us off to war. This is exactly the kind of intellectual that Chomsky warns us about - the kind who kowtows to the powers-that-be. Disgraceful. Dr. Fukuyama, you should be ashamed of yourself. Retire your post and go hang you head in shame for the rest of your days on this earth.
While neither men nor women like being distrusted, 'women don't have the same physiological reaction as men do,' Zak says. 'Women are just physiologically cooler. Women are probably better negotiators because they don't have these emotionally charged responses. Men get pissed off.'
But another researcher found that being pumped up isn't always a bad thing: Men with elevated levels of testosterone were less likely to accept unfair offers in a different game where people were offered ultimatums.
I've heard the claim before that having women present at negotiations produced more fruitful or peaceful outcomes - stated as a certainty - but I was very skeptical. While I'm still skeptical, this research seems legit. Good work.
I guess this particular study really rings true for me, personally. I've experienced that 'high testosterone' reaction, and it can definitely be a destructive force. On the other hand, it might have saved my life a few times - in 'street' situations. But, assuming we're in the relative safety of a negotiating room, I'd be willing to believe that women are better negotiators. I know many men who either can not, or are just unwilling to fight their testosterone to let sanity prevail. It seems like it is usually the case, not always, but usually, that this 'high-testosterone reaction' is very damaging for everyone involved.
I wonder how this male vs. female negotiator thing works out in the real world - say, during hostage negotiations, or during conflict resolution proceedings. There's probably some good data on this stuff from the 'conflict resolution' programs at law schools and professional organizations and even private companies across the country.
Interesting, for sure...
PTDR pointed us to The Weblog Awards 2005. One of the listed blogs is called Seven Inches of Sense. I'm not too much into the raunch scene, and Seven Inches certainly includes some of that, but I ran across one post that was interesting - from the summer of 2004 - called 'Feminist Hypocrisy 101':
This brings me to another issue. I personally find the term feminism offensive. Anything that the term may have originally stood for has been bastardized. It is no longer even remotely symbolic of unity or equality. For quite some time I was involved in the 'feminist' movement in San Francisco; until I figured out what was going on. The word feminism has been commandeered by a rather large group of egocentric women. By attaching the word feminist to their comments and actions, they are given a free pass by society to behave any way they please. But I say enough is enough.
Mind you - I didn't go looking for this stuff - it was just there. Granted, Feminism is certainly one of the words that catches my eye when I see it, but this notion that the word 'Feminism' is bad is very popular. In this particular case, the writer is a straight female.
The Green Party needs to drop the Ten Key Values - and 'Feminism' - and adopt the Six Principles of the Global Greens.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
This actually happened back in 2002, but we need to document it thoroughly, as I believe it serves as a good model for the U.S. Green Party.
To clarify, it seems the Green Party of Canada (GPC) adopted only a form of the Ten Key Values of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS). The wiki says this:
The GPC had originally adopted a form of the Ten Key Values originally authored by the United States Green Party.
The wiki then goes on to talk about how the Ten Key Values were unceremoniously dropped from the platform - it's implied, to be gentle, I suppose:
The August 2002 Convention adopted the Six Principles of the Charter of the Global Greens, as stated by the Global Greens Conference held in Canberra, Australia in 2001. These principles are the only ones included in the GPC constitution.
I'm not necessarily in the mood to be gentle, seeing as how rudely I've been treated by so many Greens since introducing them to this thing called 'reality'. I don't want the Ten Key Values 'dropped' from the GPUS platform, I want them 'ripped out...with extreme prejudice'.
The GPC dropping their form of the Ten Key Values is old news to Canadian Greens, but most American Greens have no clue. We need to work more closely with Green Parties all over the world.
I think the Green Party of Canada (GPC) dropping the Ten Key Values - and with them, 'Feminism' - might have been a major boon for the party. Certainly the party is going through a dramatic expansion, but the exact cause is not necessarily so easy to target.
It's a little tough to tell what was going on - was it Ten Key Values that the GPC adopted, more or fewer, and were they the same? I don't have the original GPC Constitution - that might hold the answers. The GPC 2004 Platform document lists ten (and, not surprisingly, they replaced 'Feminism' with 'Gender Balance'), but as we'll see below it seems as if only eight of the original Ten Key Values were actually adopted.
The 2002 national convention is where the GPC did 'the switch' - adopting the six principles of the Global Greens in place of their form of the Ten Key Values. From the 2002 GPC national convention minutes, we have:
Resolution G02-c2 - Global Greens
Sponsored by: Dwayne Collard
Supported by: Helen Riley, Ted Alexander, John Grogan, Charles Campbell, Jason Kennedy-Crummey, Paul Connor
WHEREAS ARTICLE 3 of the Canadian Greens Constitution declares the party Basis of Unity as being “To enhance the effectiveness of the Global Green Movement in creating a Green Society by providing an evolving social and political structure that embraces, includes and supports Green Values and offers itself as a voice for the broader Green Movement.”
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Canadian Greens Constitution be amended by replacing:
ARTICLE 5 Values
The values upon which the Canadian Greens base themselves are:
1. Non-Violence And Military Disarmament;
2. Ecologically Sustainable Economy;
3. Preservation And Restoration Of Ecosystem Diversity;
5. Cultural And Multi-Racial Diversity;
6. Consensual Decision Making Process;
7. De-Centralized Decision Making;
8. Wholistic Community Through Personal And Global Responsibility.
Activities, policies, and statements made on behalf of the party must be consistent with the values.
See following Appendix A for roots of each value.
WITH the following statement of principles from the Charter of the Global Greens:
ARTICLE 5 - Principles
The policies of the Canadian Greens, in agreement with the Charter of the Global Greens, are founded upon the principles of: Ecological Wisdom; Social Justice; Participatory Democracy; Non-violence; Sustainability; Respect for Diversity.
Activities, policies, and statements made on behalf of the party must be consistent with the values.
See following Appendix A for the Charter of the Global Greens.
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED THAT
the current Appendix A and Appendix B of the Canadian Greens Constitution be replaced with a new Appendix A containing the principles of the Charter of the Global Greens, (Canberra 2001).
Straw vote: 26 green, 0 reds, 6 yellow. Motion passed
Friendly amendment: correction on point 2 change “sustenabilité” to “durabilité” on the French version. (Jean-Claude Balu). Accepted.
Friendly amendment – Steve Kisby
Motion: that Appendix A and Appendix B of the Canadian Greens Constitution be replaced with a new Appendix A containing the principles of the Charter of the Global Greens, (Canberra 2001).
Vote: 27 green, 3 red, 4 yellow
Please contact me if you'd like to help me grow the Green Party of the United States.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A professor who also is an outspoken anarchist has agreed to leave Yale University this spring, dropping an appeal over whether his termination was politically motivated.
We first told of Graeber's story here.
I guess the upside is that now the rest of the world will get to hear a little more from him.
Well, the band is apparently dissolved, but Matthew Good has a blog called MBlog. Don't know much about it, but his music kicked aaaaaaaaaaass, so hopefully his blog does, too.
Wish I got to see those guys live. Shit.
(hat tip: PTDR)
UPDATE: Someone over at themblog_gmail.com is a total asshole. There was a spat about someone posting an off-topic message to a thread on Syriana - the movie. So, someone called 'Matthew Good' deletes the user's posts and then describes how the 'rules for posting' are located on 'the sign-up page' (Comment #14), where everyone needs to sign up for an account before they are allowed to post comments.
I had just signed up for an account, and posted a comment, and never saw any rules. I dropped a good-natured email, started 'Suggestion:', to the site explaining that everyone should be forced to see the rules and sign off on them before being allowed to sign up for an account. Doing this, I explained, might decrease the amount of decent people on the site who make the honest mistake of posting off-topic, and one would think decreasing off-topic posts would be a good thing, right? I finished my email (from a web form on the site) with a '$0.02' to say, "hey - I don't know the whole deal, this is just a suggestion" - just to make sure I didn't come off like a know-it-all. Certainly, I hadn't seen any rules, and if I wasn't a blogger myself with heavy internet experience, I could have easily made the same mistake another newbie could have made - posting off-topic.
So, what do I get in my email Inbox the next morning? A dickish response from presumably the site's administrator explaining to me that "I haven't had much experience with this". I immediately thought, "What a fuckin asshole."
As it turns out, I have had experience with getting at least implied death threats (not necessarily "I am going to kill you", but more like "you need to be killed and shot and stabbed and..." and other horrible comments, but not en masse - just a crazy once in a while. Then again, I try not to be deliberately dickish to people.
So, we write more letters - I kept it a little cooler than my more-honest reaction here. I don't publish emails from people without their permission/request, so we'll have to wait for jerky to request his/her response to get the full picture:
you're a total jerk. i can't believe you're that self-important.
"Music and Blog Fame Goes to Singer's Head - News at 11..."
in a very good-natured way, i try to help you reduce the amount of off-topic posts you get and you throw a "you haven't had much experience with this" in my face? you're not so special as you might think. what is it with Canadians thinking they're the only persecuted people on the planet? i thought Americans were the ones suffering from exceptionalism.
listen, if you don't want to blog - don't blog. just don't come crying to me when you get death threats. it's part of the biz. raping your wife? maybe you shouldn't make pics of her so available from your blog? ever think, just for a minute, that you were _inviting_ the crazies?
good luck, jerky.
No idea who the site admin is - I assume is was Matthew Good, but whoever it was, a jerk. No doubt.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Heard about this book sometime last year as when I was really starting to look back on my past few years and started to think - 'hey, pretty soon I might be able to qualify as an activist'.
I actually read some of the book at the local Barnes and wasn't overly excited about it, but not sure I really gave it a chance. I think so many people want to do something, they just don't know how. That's why this book is an important piece of the puzzle. It's to let people know, "hey, it's ok if you have no idea what you're doing, how to protest, how to be an activist, just do something".
Lengthy profile in Vanity Fair. If you want to know more about the force behind The Huffington Post...
I think a lot of people are still skeptical over her switch from uber-conservative to uber-liberal, including me, but she's fighting the good fight right now.
One of the most important articles I've ever excerpted on this blog.
Here's the subtitle/excerpt:
When people think of fascism, they imagine Rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don't see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare.
The best line of the article:
Antitrust laws do not just protect the marketplace, they protect democracy.
And here's how it ends (my bolding), but you should read the whole thing:
Neo-liberal intellectuals often recognize the need for violence to protect what they regard as freedom. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times has written enthusiastically that "the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist," and that "McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15." As in pre-fascist Germany and Italy, the laissez-faire businessmen call for the state to do their bidding even as they insist that the state should stay out of the marketplace. Put plainly, neo-liberals advocate the use of the state's military force for the sake of private gain. Their view of the state's role in society is identical to that of the businessmen and intellectuals who supported Hitler and Mussolini. There is no fear of the big state here. There is only the desire to wield its power. Neo-liberalism is thus fertile soil for fascism to grow again into an outright threat to our democracy.
Having said that fascism is the result of a flawed notion of freedom, we need to re-examine what we mean when we throw around the word. We must conceive of freedom in a more enlightened way.
Indeed, it was the thinkers of the Enlightenment who imagined a balanced and civilized freedom that did not impinge upon the freedom of one's neighbour. Put in the simplest terms, my right to life means that you must give up your freedom to kill me. This may seem terribly obvious to decent people. Unfortunately, in our neo-liberal era, this civilized sense of freedom has, like the dangers of fascism, been all but forgotten.
This article is a must-read.
(shout-out to PTDR, I think!)
Slate.com has this awesome (as far as I've seen so far) new series called 'Today's Pictures'. It is responsible for pictures like this:
Veiled women training in shooting on the outskirts of the city, 1986.
PHOTO: Jean Gaumy
How awesome is that? I mean, that's like straight out of a Tarantino flick or something. Some 'interactive essays' in there, also.
I think it's a safe bet to say 'yes', and I think it's a safe bet to say that it is widespread, because there is no functioning reporting or enforcement mechanism for raped women in Iraq right now.
Not sure what made me think of this tonight. Was reading some feminist stuff, then thought of the lawlessness in Iraq, and came to a logical conclusion - women in Iraq are getting raped by American GI's. How could it be any different? Each American squad over there, when it goes out on patrol, is essentially God - they're a bunch of kids and they essentially own the place. How many Iraqi civilian women are we raping when we can't even stop ourselves from raping our own female GI's?
I know the treachery that humans are capable of. I don't need to fight in Iraq or Vietnam. I know what goes on right here in the jails and prisons of America.
I did a search and found this link from Democracy Now!, about this article printed in the Guardian. American soldiers raping Iraqi women. Disgusting.
How many women were raped by U.S. GI's in Vietnam over the course of that war?
We need to get the rape pictures and video from Abu Ghraib. We need to shut down this war.
UPDATE: We're doin the Phillipines, where there is some semblence of civil society. What's happening in Iraqistan?
UPDATE: Why rape, when you can murder?
Some very interesting stuff - Albert Einstein pimping Socialism as the only way to fix our broken society:
...I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supra-national organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: "Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?"
I am sure that as little as a century ago no one would have so lightly made a statement of this kind. It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days. What is the cause? Is there a way out?
I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.
The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. ...
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. ...
Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?
Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition. Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine to be an important public service.
Sounds to me like he's spot-on about some things. The idea of Socialism really scares me just because of the implicit threat of the 'all-powerful and overweening' bureaucracy that Einstein imagines possible - and it's not like we don't have any role models (USSR - though, I think the story is probably more complicated). But, that said, this radical anarchist capitalism that reigns under the Bush administration is just no good for those of us who weren't born rich. Einstein didn't like the 'economic anarchy' of his day either. Has all that much changed since Einstein's time?
I've never heard it described that way before - 'economic anarchy'. I don't think Einstein was using the term 'anarchy' in the way that Chomsky would use it - as in 'Anarchism' - but I get his point. By 'anarchy', Einstein meant 'wild wild West'-type of capitalism - where anything goes, even if it means infringing on the rights of other people. This would not be 'Anarchism' as it is traditionally used within the context of political theory - where anarchists seek 'a stateless society with voluntary social harmony'. That means nobody has to participate in some action if they don't want to - they can't be _forced_ to do something.
Need to prostitute yourself so you can afford to feed your children? This is the 'economic anarchy' that Einstein describes - it's soulless, and it drives people to despair.
Society formed under Anarchistic principles, however - as per Chomsky's use of the word - would, I presume, never allow situations like this to happen? Got me. I need to do some more reading on this Anarchism to see how it might apply to 'real world' situations. I suspect much of what I already believe and practice can be lumped under the political theoretical definition of Anarchism. Don't start wars. Don't infringe upon other people's rights. Don't force people to do things they don't want to do, like work 7 days a week to boost IBM's profits. Stuff like that.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Spike Lee cracks me up in this interview.
His other good line in this interview? Don't put that on me.
I still have to see that flick, Bamboozled.
Might have to start checking out slate.com again. Sh*t. Just have to avoid Hitchens and Kaus.
The solution that Diamond provided targeted at narrowing the base of insurgents in Iraq. Since this base draws strongly from Iraqis afraid of an indefinite U.S. occupation, it must be made clear to them that we are not seeking permanent military bases in Iraq.
“It has baffled me why the administration has been so reluctant to make a clear and declarative statement in this regard,” Diamond said. The only reason he could offer for this is that the U.S. has in fact been seeking permanent, long term military bases in Iraq.
I posted a comment on the website (so, does that make it a blog?) that went something like this:
Is professor baffled, or just being mendacious?
Professor Diamond says that he is 'baffled' why Bush hasn't said "no permanent bases" in Iraq, but he need not be baffled. I, for one, do not believe that he is baffled - he is being dishonest, and should be ashamed of himself. As a self-proclaimed 'expert' on Iraq policy, Professor Diamond would do well to read the tons of literature about U.S. military bases the world over, but as per Iraq, he can start with a simple little ditty from the Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0930/p17s02-cogn.html), which dicusses at least 12 'enduring bases'. It took Chalmers Johnson a couple of decades, apparently, to figure out how U.S. foreign policy worked (http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0115-08.htm) - let's hope it doesn't take Professor Diamond quite as long. It's disgraceful that an evidence-averse organization like the Hoover Institute can 'occupy' Stanford. It's a tragic blight on the University, and Professor Diamond's mendacious observations show why.
One other thing he apparently said that pissed me off was this:
At the same time, Diamond stressed that the troops cannot withdraw immediately — in a matter of six months as one senator proposed — because it would cause an eruption of regional strife.
The conflict would have regional implications because Iraq’s bordering countries “think they have a stake” in what happens in Iraq, Diamond said. The Sunni countries Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia would feel compelled to aid the Sunni Iraqis, while Iran would support the Shiite Iraqis.
Sometimes it's tough to tell when these wingers are lying, and when they're actually that stupid, but these graphs convinced me that he was lying - covering for Bushco.
Memo to Professor Diamond, this little thing we got going on in Iraq - call it what you want - I'd call it a 'conflict', or maybe a 'war', or something similar, but whatever it is, it already has regional implications. And if Iraq's bordering countries "think they have a stake" in what happens in Iraq, it's because they do. Is the Professor actually arguing that Iran/Syria do not currently have a stake in the final outcome of our Iraq invasion, as long as we don't pull out? Is this guy for real?
Not an anti-Feminism screed, but a well-balanced article. I think it adds to the debate, and show why the Green Party needs to abandon Feminism as one of the Ten Key Values, or better, abandon the Ten Key Values altogether, in favor of the Six Principles:
The trend of females overtaking males in college was initially measured in 1978. Yet despite the well-documented disappearance of ever more young men from college campuses, we have yet to fully react to what has become a significant crisis. Largely, that is because of cultural perceptions about males and their societal role. Many times a week, a reporter or other media person will ask me: "Why should we care so much about boys when men still run everything?"
It's a fair and logical question, but what it really reflects is that our culture is still caught up in old industrial images. We still see thousands of men who succeed quite well in the professional world and in industry -- men who get elected president, who own software companies, who make six figures selling cars. We see the Bill Gateses and John Robertses and George Bushes -- and so we're not as concerned as we ought to be about the millions of young men who are floundering or lost.
But they're there: The young men who are working in the lowest-level (and most dangerous) jobs instead of going to college. Who are sitting in prison instead of going to college. Who are staying out of the long-term marriage pool because they have little to offer to young women. Who are remaining adolescents, wasting years of their lives playing video games for hours a day, until they're in their thirties, by which time the world has passed many of them by.
I think this article goes a long way towards making the argument one of right versus wrong - it is not right to let a certain percentage of boys grow up to fail in life until such time as women control at least 50% of everything. These little boys aren't evil - they deserve the same chance that every little girl deserves - nothing more, nothing less.
The Seahawks handed the Eagles their aaaaaasses. And I couldn't be happier.
First they treated Deuce like sh*t.
Now they're treating T.O. like sh*t.
And they've always treated and will continue to treat their fans like sh*t.
Because Eagles ownership/management doesn't give a rat's ass about Eagles fans, they're going to sit T.O., and release him just before March, when T.O. would receive his $5 million bonus. That's all well and good for Eagles ownership - they get to show a black football player who's still the boss, but what about the fans? What do they get for all of their efforts, their loyalty, their dollar bills?
Maybe Reid's tri-role as coach/manager/god of the Eagles is the problem?
And if Reid were just the coach, maybe the Terrell Owens saga would not have gotten as bad as it did.
Owens' beef was with the Eagles' management. But since the head coach is also management, it made it virtually impossible for the situation not to spill onto the practice and playing field.
And considering the cutthroat nature of the salary cap, you have to wonder how much distrust of Reid there is because he's ultimately going to side with management.
In a year when the Birds needed their coach to take them to another level, Reid might have been hamstrung by his responsibilities as general manager.
And (black person) J. Whyatt Mondesire has some harsh words for McNabb:
Your record is another matter entirely. In fact this whole dismal season so far has really been a testament of fallen dreams and lost opportunities most of which belongs at your feet (or should I say hands) and that of your coach, Andy Reid who has allowed you to perpetuate a fraud on the field while hiding behind excuses dripping in make-believe racial stereotypes.
Now, in my defense of T.O., I'm not about tearing some people (McNabb) down just to build other people (T.O.) up - but McNabb certainly does deserve some criticism in the whole T.O. debacle. To sit around and cry just because one of your teammates is talking trash about you? That's not for me. I'm not saying I could have or even would have handled it any better, but what I am saying is this - stick up for the underdog - always. And McNabb didn't stick up for T.O. Instead, he piped up and let the disaster unfold. He's not innocent in all of this. No way.
As for Mondesire's 'make-believe racial stereotypes' criticism - sounds harsh, but let's see what the response is gonna be, since Mondeci is no Limbaugh.
President Bush will deliver the second in a series of four speeches on his Iraq strategy tomorrow in Washington to several hundred members of the Council on Foreign Relations -- an august group of scholars, policymakers and journalists whose Web site is an Internet hotspot for intellectual foment about foreign policy in general and Iraq in particular.
On this blog we talk a lot about 'elites'. CFR fits the description of 'elites'. They are going to do what is in their own best interests, not that of the average American citizen.
In this particular case, they're watching the world go to hell in a handbasket, but they don't need to be concerned where they're sitting - they're all rich and/or powerful. They'll welcome Bush, despite the fact that he won't even be held to answer some questions. These 'dignified' CFR folks will be lectured by George W. Bush on the Iraq War and Freedom for 50 minutes. Can someone explain to me how this lecturing to a bunch of people who can actually read and write qualifies those people as 'dignified'?
There are CFR folks on the left, and CFR folks on the right, but neither of them will every step out of line very far. That's how you lose your paycheck.
An article about the crook, Cunningham, and most of Congress, really, makes another point:
Perhaps conceding more than he intended, former Democratic Sen. John Breaux, now on K Street, told the New York Times that a member of Congress will be swayed more by 2,000 letters from constituents on some issue than by anything a lobbyist can offer. I guess if it's a lobbyist versus 1,900 constituents, it's too bad for the constituents. That seems fair.
There has to be a way to actually measure these types of things. Sure, we have polls and all that, but what if we could look at any given issue - any given vote that our representative was about to take, and decide exactly how much opposition, in the form of, say, handwritten letters, would cause that politician to side with us instead of his bribers, the business of lobbying group trying to buy ff his vote.
Let's take a concrete hypothetical. How many handwritten letters to Governor Schwarzenegger would it take for the Guv to grant clemency to Tookie Williams? 2,000? 20,000? 200,000?
It'd be nice, I would think, from an activist's point of view, to be able to shoot for a specific target like '200,000 letters written', instead of some fuzzy target like 'latest public opinion poll says that Arnold's re-election chances probably won't be hurt by granting Tookie clemency'.
What is that number for Tookie? What is that number for any number of different issues/politicians/votes/districts? So, really, not just 'what is that number?', but 'what is that formula?'
Maybe something like this, is what I'm looking for:
[% of likely voters] x
[strength of disagreement on issue] x
[strength of issue overall] ==
[minimum number of letters required to get pol's support]
Just a thought...
Monday, December 05, 2005
I read some pretty awful journamalism on this case, but this one seems decent. You should read the whole thing, as I think it's extremely important to know the details of these 'boundary' cases which really test the usefulness and appropriateness of our rape and drinking laws.
Was the case decided correctly? It seems so, as least legally.
It's an altogether horrible situation and I feel so bad for the girl. Sheesh.
Not to sound flippant, but we have to figure out what went wrong, and try to prevent this from happening again. I suspect this type of situation happens thousands of times each year on college campuses across America every year.
My suggested solution? Don't have one right now.
I'm reminded of Chomsky's writing on the the war on drugs in his book, Deterring Democracy. Another Chomsky account can be found in his chapter of his book What Uncle Sam Really Wants, called 'The war on (certain) drugs'. Both accounts make clear how alcohol and tobacco are the two biggest and most harmful drugs available. Don't make the mistake of thinking that tobacco and alcohol are not drugs - they U.S. government just doesn't want to help point out the idiocy, mendacity, and corruption of their 'war on drugs', so they don't tell you that alcohol and cigarettes are drugs.
Green politicians should be helping to educate people on this.
Been dropping by news.com lately, and to my surprise, almost everything I read on there seems political. Who'd a thunk it?
I guess with the U.S. waging war all over the Middle East, it's easy to lose track of what used to concern you right before the U.S. started invading countries, committing war crimes, etc.
This artcle is about Mannheim, Germany switching to Linux. Brazil is going open-source.
Is there a policy opportunity for the Green Party here?
UPDATE: Certainly seems like I was not the first to suggest that the Green Party should support open-source software.
Bulldozing houses, man. Bulldozing houses. What kind of... Forget it. Don't want to go there right now.
Remember Rachel Corrie.
Europe is doing the flat tax. We'll have to see how it turns out.
I used to think the Flat Tax was the way to go. I'd never heard the term 'progressive tax' before, and didn't understand its economic underpinnings (and confess, I'm still unclear), until some political Harvard kids in DC explained it to me. (Thanks, y'all!)
I liked the idea of the flat tax because, well, it seems fair. It's seems logical. It makes sense. And it's simple. What's not to love about the flat tax? Yeah, I know it's weird that Forbes and other nutty conservatives want it, but maybe they're right on this one?
Well, the explanation that made me re-think my take on the Flat Tax went as follows - let's say the flat tax is 15%. Well, a 15% tax on Bill Gates isn't going to hurt him much, if at all. He'll not have to change his lifestyle in any signficant way. But a 15% tax on someone making minimum wage would mean that only one of their kids could eat dinner that night. That is not fair.
Of course, Flat Tax proposers claim there would be exemptions for the poor, etc., etc., but I think we know how all that works - it doesn't.
The tax code can be a hugely complicated problem to deal with, but at least now I understand that there's an alternative to the flat tax - and that both sides of the argument are for fairness - the question is, which type of fairness is more fair?
Not an incredibly interesting review, unless you're into S & M, but it does make one crucial point that I'd like to take up:
In this context, the CIA's current ill repute emanates primarily from directors' failures, in various forms.
This simple statement says, in effect, that humans fail, and fail often. To me, that means putting into place a system of governing that helps humans to not fail where they are most likely to fail. We don't have that right now with the CIA/Prez/Congress triumvirate.
But further, I think many Greens think that all we really need for good government is to put good people in charge. This seems insane to me. Do people really need to be reminded of the 'good people' who were involved with the French Revolution - those same 'good people' going onto truly 'Englightened' practices during the Reign of Terror? Or, perhaps some might remember the Stanford Prison Experiment? Or the Milgram Experiment?
C'mon, folks. Let's get real. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Humans, yes - even Americans, even 'pacifist' Greens, have a significant capacity for evil - especially when acting on the orders of someone in a position of authority.
Nonviolence is still the way to go, but as a party, the Greens have to understand that real threats to our freedom are out there - both from our own government and other governments.
Thanks to Jessica Clark at In These Times for pointing us to WomenTK.com.
This is really, really important stuff. These are the things that we can talk about without telling men that they're evil. If we can avoid telling men that they're evil, our chances of political viability increase exponentially. Sure, you may lose a few dozen radical feminist votes, across the country, but you'll get millions of moderate males to join your cause.
Always wondered what that Opiniongate stuff was about...
I'm down with that - with being realistic. And I think the Green Party should be down with that, too.
Let's concentrate on actually changing the things we can change, instead of calling for the complete upheaval of capitalism. Capitalism is not perfect, but I haven't heard of many forms of economy that are.
I think sustainability and capitalism may be possible. We should give it a try.
It's time to put the CIA out of business:
It's a shame that Ultimate Sacrifice is hobbled by a cockeyed assassination theory and swollen size. Because buried in this weighty tome are a number of shiny nuggets that shed light on the case. Among the important sources Waldron and Hartmann spoke to was JFK's "Irish Mafia" sidekick Dave Powers, who was riding 10 feet behind Kennedy's limousine in Dallas and told them he clearly saw at least two shots from the infamous grassy knoll in front of the motorcade -- evidence of a conspiracy, since Oswald was allegedly firing from the rear, on the 6th floor of the Texas Book Depository building. Powers, who spoke to the authors before his death in 1998, told them he felt they were "riding into an ambush" and said that he was pressured to change his story by the Warren Commission. (For some reason, the authors perversely stash most of Powers' story in the acknowledgments, at the far end of the book.)
Waldron and Hartmann also chronicle in detail for the first time an aborted plot to kill Kennedy during a motorcade in Tampa, Fla., four days before he was cut down in Dallas -- as well as fleshing out an earlier plot in Chicago not widely known about. These three plots, which bore remarkable similarities, suggest that JFK was being relentlessly stalked in his final days by a sophisticated group of conspirators.
Ultimate Sacrifice also presents a convincing portrait of Oswald as the "patsy" he told the world he was as he was being escorted through the Dallas police station -- a low-level intelligence operative whom the authors contend was being groomed by the CIA as the fall guy in an assassination plot against Castro and was then ensnared in the scheme to kill Kennedy. And the book presents persuasive evidence that Jack Ruby, far from being the distraught citizen who shot Oswald out of deep affection for the Kennedy family, was actually a longtime Mafia errand boy and enforcer who was paid off by associates of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, RFK's public enemy No. 1, to silence Oswald before he could tell a court everything he knew.
The authors also examine the numerous tension points between the Kennedys and the CIA, pointing to a number of insubordinate acts by the agency related to the administration's Cuba policy that can only be described as treasonous, including trying to sabotage the Kennedy-Castro peace feelers by pursuing an assassination plot against the Cuban leader without the Kennedys' knowledge or assent.
Also unnerving is the authors' account of Cuban exile Alberto Fowler, a Kennedy-hating Bay of Pigs veteran and probable CIA asset who seemed to be stalking JFK in his final days, moving into the house next door to the Kennedys' Palm Beach mansion on the weekend of Nov. 17, 1963, where JFK was sequestered while finishing a speech he was to deliver in Miami.
While the authors take pains to (repeatedly) exonerate the CIA in the killing of Kennedy, their book actually winds up raising serious questions about the agency's possible role in the crime. Though it's not the authors' scenario, after finishing Ultimate Sacrifice the reader is left with the unmistakable impression that the assassination was probably the work of a conspiracy involving elements of the CIA, Mafia and anti-Kennedy Cuban exiles -- a cabal that was working to terminate Castro's reign (by any means necessary) and turned its guns instead against Kennedy. This is precisely what Robert Kennedy himself immediately suspected on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, though Waldron and Hartmann wrongly assert that Bobby blamed only the Mafia (and New Orleans godfather Carlos Marcello in particular) for the death of his brother. In truth, CIA officials like David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey and David Morales; gangsters like Marcello, Trafficante and Rosselli; and anti-Castro Cuban leaders like Manuel Artime and Tony Varona were so intertwined in their blood lust against Castro that it's difficult to separate them.
But Peter, shouldn't try to put all terrorist organizations out of business? Yes, of course, but some will make the case that the CIA are our terrorists, and therefore, should be allowed to continue kidnapping, raping, killing, torturing, and generally terrorizing innocent people the world over. I agree with you that we should try to put all terrorist organizations out of business, but I want to counter this pro-CIA, pro-terror argument by stating the obvious - the CIA is not ours. It is not accountable to the American public, because it is rarely even accountable to the President of the United States or the Congress. So, even if you believe the U.S. government should sustain its own terrorist organizations while condemning those of other countries around the world who do the same, you have to recognize that the development of large, super-secret, spy/intelligence/terror organizations can lead to their becoming completely unaccountable - to the point where we don't really know who is in charge of the U.S. government anymore.
The stories of rogue operations by the CIA are no different than the stories that emanate out from the state terror organizations of any number of other countries - most famously, perhaps, Israel's Mossad, and Pakistan's ISID, who are constantly in the papers for doing things without their government's knowledge and/or approval.
Don't know how much Spielberg's new flick, code-named Munich, will talk about Mossad. And we have Syriana tackling the CIA. I've been interested to check out flicks like Walk on Water, too. We'll see. Anything that gets us talking about these things in the open is probably a good thing at this point.
UPDATE: A quick roundup of the morning fishwrap headlines brought us a couple of whoppers. First, a former US diplomat says Israel/Mossad killed a U.S. General when it downed a passenger plane. And then, the CIA is continuing its kinapping and torture routine in Europe, with expected side effects. Listen, these spy agencies have run amok. They're too secretive, too powerful, and too unaccountable. They have to be shut down immediately.
UPDATE: I'm not looking for these headlines, mind you - they're all the f*ck over the place! Sh*t, just google CIA or Mossad. We have to label these organizations what they are - lawless, terrorist organizations - and then we have to proceed to shut them down, swiftly.