Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rosemarie Jackowski

Veterans for Peace: Grandmother, veteran, activist: facing jail time/fine for protesting the Iraq War

Youngfox Canada: Seeking Justice in Vermont

American Samizdat Profile of the Case

Remembering Octavia Butler: 1947-2006

Octavia Butler was one of my favorite writers and a unique voice in SF. She will be missed... The "Xenogenesis" trilogy is one of my favorite set of books--it literally reprogrammed my mind when I read it--pushing me to think about alterity. Here is a comment on the trilogy, and her writing in general, from a Voices From the Gap biography:

Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago are the three novels that make up the Xenogenesis trilogy. These stories are about the near destruction of humankind through nuclear war and gene-swapping by extraterrestrials. The extraterrestials observe the humans as being hierarchical, which causes them to be prejudiced, and to have class divisions and conflict. These characteristics make it inevitable that mankind will eventually destroy itself without the aliens' help.

Octavia Butler has been well received by the critics. Burton Raffel had this to say about Xenogenesis: the reader is "initially drawn on by the utterly unexpected power and subtly complex intelligence of her extraordinary trilogy Xenogenesis, but sustained and even compelled by the rich dramatic textures, the profound psychological insights" (454). "Butler's work is both fascinating and highly unusual," Rosemary Stevenson writes; "character development, human relationships, and social concerns predominate over intergalactic hardware" (208).

"I'm not writing for some noble purpose, I just like telling a good story. If what I write about helps others understand this world we live in, so much the better for all of us," Octavia Butler told Robert McTyre. "Every story I write adds to me a little, changes me a little, forces me to reexamine an attitude or belief, causes me to research and learn, helps me to understand people and grow ... Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself" (Stevenson 210).

Octavia Butler, 1947-2006: Sci-fi writer a gifted pioneer in white, male domain

Bibliography of her fiction and critical works

LiP Interview: Reinventing Our Heroes

NPR: Butler Speaking at the World Conference on Race/Interview with Scott Simon

Scifi.com audio production of her groundbreaking novel Kindred

The Bat Segundo Show Interview (also T.C. Boyle)

Michael Benton's review in Reconstruction of her last novel Fledgling

Democracy Now: Science Fiction Writer Octavia Butler on Race, Global Warming and Religion

Locus Interview: Persistence

Black America Web Obituary

Washington Post: Read Her Award Winning Story "Bloodchild"

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bluegrass Communtiy and Technical College: "Standing Strong" Women's History Month Celebration

MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Lynch (859) 246-6583 OR Karen Marcum (859) 246-6573
Vernal Kennedy (859) 246-6507, cell (859) 797-4176

“Standing Strong” Women’s History Month Celebration

LEXINGTON, KY -Bluegrass Community and Technical College will hold “Standing Strong” a Women’s History Month Celebration on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 from 11:00-4:00 p. m. in the Academic Technical Lobby, Cooper Campus, 470 Cooper Drive, Lexington. The public is invited and encourage to attend any or all of the sessions.

11:00-12:00 “Self Defense: A Safety Net of Empowerment”
Presentation by Grandmaster Hiang Kwang Thè

An interactive demonstration using students and audience volunteers to educate on personal self-defense techniques. Grandmaster Hiang Kwang Thè is a Tenth degree Black Belt in Central Shaolin Martial Arts and currently teaches for the YMCA of Central Kentucky. He will be accompanied by his wife Jeannie Thè, Program Director for the YMCA Beaumont Area. YMCA prizes and week’s memberships will be awarded during the program.

12:00-12:45 “Breaking the Silence: Domestic Violence and What You Can Do About It”
Presentation by Teri Faragher, Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Prevention Board for Fayette County. Teri was a Women’s History Month guest speaker last year and was so informative and engaging, we asked if she would be willing to offer two similar sessions this year.

An important presentation on what domestic violence is, locating resources for help, and an interactive question and answer session following the presentation.

1:00-1:45 “Breaking the Silence: Domestic Violence and What You Can Do About It”
(Same as above)

2:00-3:00 “Goddess Culture”
Presentation by Jaqui Linder Artist and former English and Women’s Studies Professor
The Goddess Culture thrived in 5500-9000 years ago along the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean and Black Seas, a culture in which power was equated with responsibility and love rather than our present day culture that equates power with oppression, obedience, and fear.

Sources for this lecture are The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler, scholar, futurist, and activist, and The Civilization of the Goddess by Marija Gimbuta, acclaimed archaeologist.

3:00 - 4:00 "The Process of Success: A Woman Forms a National Corporation and Finds Herself."
Presentation by Jenny Gray, Greg Spurlock’s (editor of BCTC Courier) mother, who will be speaking to us on her experiences in moving from a stay-at-home mom to the successful owner of a market research firm.

For more information contact Nancy Dixon (859) 246-6367 or Lori Estes-Houghton
(859) 246- 6592.

President Dwight Eisenhower: The Cost of War

"Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those that are cold and not clothed."

-President Dwight Eisenhower

Tell the President and Congress Your Position on This

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Shuttlecock Ink

(A colleague from my Bowling Green State University days... she is a part of the Las Vegas underground scene and she is starting an clothing business... I don't promote too many business interests, but I like the idea of this one.)

Some of you already knew about my new business venture and some of you didn't... But, hey, it's official! I am a business owner and it's very exciting! The first press release went out yesterday (see below) and there's a shell website where people can actually buy our clothes. The full website should debut in about a week.


It's an actual business... not just paperwork with the state and the IRS. We've been selling some shirts around Vegas already, but we're having our "official" launch next Saturday, March 4. If you're in or around Vegas, be sure to come to the party...

I would also love for people to go to the website and join the mailing list - then, you'll be alerted when the full website is up and running and you'll get updates about sales and events.

And, please, let me know what you think... and tell your friends!

Your friend,

Rebecca Zisch
Brains, Backhand & Pursestrings
Shuttlecock Ink

2006 Fall AAAI Symposium: Arlington, VA (October 12-15, 2006)

(Passing along for a colleague at Reconstruction)

October 12-15, 2006, at the Hyatt Crystal City in Arlington, VA


Whereas multiagent systems have been extremely helpful in solving engineering problems, much of what we find exciting lies in their applications to contemporary human life. In particular, the focus of this meeting will be on self-constituting systems and networks composed of human and non-human agents characteristic of emergent cyber cultures, including e-commerce, e-learning as well as other human/non-human agent systems in medicine, law, science and online interactions of all kinds. It represents an opportunity not only to share insights and experiments in multiagent systems composed of robot- and software agents, but to theorize hybridity formed at the junction of the human- and non-human.

Multiagent systems, we submit, cross-disciplinary boundaries by focusing on society and culture as emerging from the interactions of autonomous agents. Poised at the intersection of AI, cybernetics, sociology, semiotics and anthropology, this strand of multiagent systems research enables a powerful perspective illuminating not only how we live and learn now, but also, through focusing on emergence, how we anticipate the future.

Moreover, by convening this interdisciplinary symposium, we hope to form new network assemblages of variegated agents of researchers and their techniques out of which may arise new perspectives on heretofore parochial questions in our respective disciplines. From here, there are manifold policy implications: multiagent systems research, we believe, can be a powerful reagent, interrogating the teleological, emergentist assumptions underlying, for example, the adoption and institutionalization of IT in universities, businesses, hospitals and NGOs, and suggesting other, networked possibilities.

Key questions:
-Emergence of pre-linguistic concepts
-Emergence of shared representations
-Emergence of meaning and language
-How can we characterize the fungible, shifting networks created by human and non-human agents?
-How do the environment and the society influence the individual agent and vice versa?
-What are the knowledges, translations or other hierarchies that emerge in such settings?
-What tools do we use in these explorations?
-Are emergent phenomena surprising? If so, to whom? And what effects might such surprise register in a system composed of agents, phenomena and observer?

-Are they surprising to the agent?
-How do these phenomena reflect on the off and on-line societies?


May 1, 2006 Papers due (10 pages max)
May 22, 2006 Acceptance notice
July/August Registration opens
August 29, 2006 A/V Requests due, permission to distribute due
Sept 1, 2006 Invited participants registration deadline
Sept 22, 2006 Final (open) registration deadline


Goran Trajkovski (co-chair), Towson University, USA
Samuel Collins (co-chair), Towson University, USA
Georgi Stojanov, American University in Paris, France
Michael North, Argonne National Laboratories, USA
Laszlo Gulyas, AITIA International Inc., Hungary

Note that limited financial support for graduate students will be available.

Please submit all questions to Goran Trajkovski, gtrajkovski@towson.edu (http://pages.towson.edu/gtrajkov).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dave Pollard: Can We Handle Real Reality on TV?

(Dave raises some important questions and then seemingly sweeps them aside, evoking an angry reply from me... seems he might have a different meaning than I interpreted... if so I would like to hear it. Found at Wood's Lot--thanks for posting about my social movement research.)

Could We Handle Real Reality on TV?
by Dave Pollard
How To Save the World

What is our responsibility, to the young, the naive, those who cannot see beneath the veneer of respectability and calm that allows us to deny what is really going on all around us? What do they need more: To know the real truth, so that they can learn to cope with it and act on it, or to be protected from knowledge so terrible that it can render us senseless, numb, paralyzed, without hope? If our parents and elders told us awful truths, would that destroy our trust in them, our ability to see them as role models, as exemplars of our moral compass, or would it cause that trust to deepen, a conspiracy of transparency and honesty without bounds? Would it weaken us or make us stronger, sensitize and mobilize us, or demobilize and disengage us?


What would happen if, instead of the fraudulent, manipulative, humiliating, scripted crap that passes for 'reality TV', the networks were to broadcast some real reality: A hidden camera in a crackhouse, an animal laboratory, a prison, the bedroom of an abused spouse or child, a factory farm, a village in Darfur, a forced labour camp in China, a nursing home for the poor, a back alley or underpass in any poor part of any city in the world. What would we see, what truths would we learn, and how would it change the way we see the world? Would it change our definition of what it means to be a 'survivor'? Would it change our definition of courage? Would it rise us from our complacency, or instead drive us to use the channel changer to flee the horror it revealed?

Post Link

Vikram Dodd: Guantánamo actors questioned under terror act after film festival

Guantánamo actors questioned under terror act after film festival
by Vikram Dodd
The Guardian

Four actors who play al-Qaida suspects in a British movie that won a prestigious prize were detained by the police at Luton airport as they returned from the Berlin Film Festival and questioned under anti-terror laws, alongside two of the former terrorism suspects they play on screen.

They were returning last Thursday after the premiere of the film, The Road to Guantánamo. It depicts the life of three men from Tipton in the West Midlands, who go to Afghanistan and end up being held for two years by the US at its military base on Cuba before being released without charge.

The film, directed by Michael Winterbottom, won the Silver Bear award for direction at Berlin on Sunday. Released in Britain next month, it depicts the alleged shackling, torture and other ill treatment the Tipton detainees claim they suffered at the hands of the Americans.

The film's producers say four actors from the film, who all play terrorism suspects, were detained at Luton airport after flying back from Germany on an easyJet flight. They included Rizwan Ahmed and Farhad Harun, who were stopped along with Shafiq Rasul and Rhuhel Ahmed, the former Guantánamo inmates they play on screen.

In a statement, Rizwan Ahmed said police swore at him and asked if he had become an actor to further the Islamic cause. He said he was at first denied access to a lawyer and was questioned about his views on the Iraq war by a policewoman. "She asked me whether I intended to do more documentary films, specifically more political ones like The Road to Guantánamo. She asked 'Did you become an actor mainly to do films like this, to publicise the struggles of Muslims?'"

Mr Ahmed alleged that he had a telephone wrestled from his hand as he tried to contact a lawyer and was later abused. He claimed that one police officer had called him a "fucker".

Melissa Parmenter, co-producer of the film, described the detention and questioning as outrageous.

A spokeswoman for Bedfordshire police, which patrols Luton airport, said that none of the six men had been arrested. "The police officers wanted to ask them some questions under the counter-terrorism act," she said. "All were released within the hour. Part of the counter-terrorism act allows us to stop and examine people if something happens that might be suspicious."

Article Link

CFP: Graduate Student Forum, SAMLA 2006: New Spaces of Subjectivity

(This looks tailor made for a presentation on how blogging provides new opportunities/possibilities for subtivity/ies)

Graduate Student Forum, SAMLA '06 (Charlotte, NC; Nov. 10-11, 2006).

New Spaces of Subjectivity

This panel will address how space affects the formation of subjectivity; specifically, papers may consider how the borders and spaces within which it is possible to become a subject have expanded or shifted due to recent developments in areas such as technology, community, literature, gender theory, etc. Possible topics might include: How has (or perhaps simply, has) the “space” of subjectivity changed? What does this change look like in theory, literature, or practice? How have these changes redefined the process of becoming a “subject,” and who can undertake that process? Do changes to the boundaries and spaces of subjectivity affect how writers or theorists, individuals or communities, go about claiming subjectivity for themselves? This panel welcomes and will consider papers from graduate students in all disciplines.

The deadline for paper proposals is April 1, 2006.
Please send proposals of 250 words or less to:
Elizabeth Chase
245 Coventry Rd.
Decatur, GA 30030

Monday, February 20, 2006

Joy Harjo: Anniversary

(Grading all day, needed some poetry to act as a little pipe cleaner to scrape out the accretions in my neural pathways--the last line smacks me in the face and reminds me of the problem I have with so many other [controlling] creation stories.)

by Joy Harjo

When the world was created wasn’t it like this?
A little flame illuminating a rough sea, a question
of attraction, something fermented, something
sweet? And then a bird or two were added, the crow of course to
joke about humanity, and then another kind so beautiful
we had to hear them first, before our eyes could be imagined.
And it was, we were then—and there was no separation.
The cries of a planet formed our becoming.
We peered through the smoke as our shoulders, lips,
emerged from new terrain.
The question mark of creation attracts more questions...

Nonviolence in World War Two: What Happened in Norway

(Thanks to Rebecca Glasscock for this--a social movement that is very inspiring for me, as a teacher)

Nonviolence in World War Two: What Happened in Norway
Learn Peace Project: A Peace Pledge Union Project
Peace: Theory and Practice
Action for Peace



The Germans believed that the most effective way of promoting Nazi ideals would be through the schools. In the autumn of 1941 the Nazi minister of education issued a series of orders. Portraits of Vidkun Quisling, as Norway's Nazi party leader, were to be hung on school walls, and anyone who removed them would be punished. Textbooks were to be revised to conform with Nazi views. No English texts could be used, and German, not English, was now the second language which every child must learn. Teachers must also educate their pupils thoroughly in Nazism.

The teachers were appalled. Their underground group met repeatedly to discuss what they should do. Meanwhile they were in no hurry to obey the education minister's commands.

Membership of the Norwegian Nazi party had been growing, from around 4,000 before the invasion to 40,000 in January 1942. Quisling's recruiting success was noticed in Berlin. He was brought back out of the cold and unexpectedly offered the post of 'Minister President' (prime minister). Almost his first act was to establish a new Nazi-oriented Teachers' Association with membership compulsory for all teachers. He quickly followed this up with a Nazi Youth Movement (based on the Hitler Youth movement in Germany), compulsory for all children aged between 10 and 18. Some of these 400,000 young people, Quisling said, would be selected for training as Nazi party members.

Courage and endurance

The teachers were now faced with the choice of submitting or losing their jobs and pensions. Their underground association came up with the answer: mass action. The teachers were to write to the education department, rejecting membership of the new association. Their letters were to be written with exactly the same wording and posted on the same day: February 20, 1942. Two days later a manifesto against Nazi control of Norway's education system was read aloud by clergy in churches throughout the country. There were 14,000 teachers in Norway, and 12,000 of them rejected Quisling's demand. As one teacher said: 'It was a matter of conscience. We couldn't have looked our families and friends in the face if we hadn't taken this stand.' By the beginning of May Quisling had to acknowledge his failure. 'You have destroyed everything for me,' Quisling told a teachers' meeting angrily.

There was a price to pay. From March 15 (the deadline for accepting membership in the new association) over 1,300 teachers were arrested - which meant that schools had to be closed. Most of these teachers were interned in a concentration camp outside Oslo. 700 were selected to face special punishment: forced labour in the Arctic alongside Russian prisoners of war. They were first packed into railway cattle trucks and taken to a transitional camp, where they endured punishing physical and mental hardships: little food, forced 'gymnastics' in the snow, kicks and blows, hard labour, untreated illness. They were told that they were being made fit for hard physical work; the intention was to break their spirit. Some did give in, agreed to join Quisling's new association, and were released - reassured by understanding colleagues that they should feel no guilt.

499 teachers now faced another cattle-car journey. This was followed by a sea voyage, in conditions that horrified even the Nazi doctor who went on board to make a report for Quisling. The ship had room for only 250 passengers, but all 499 were crammed in. Many could not even lie down, though they were now ill with 'pneumonia, gastric ulcers. asthma, bronchitis. haemorrhage and mental derangement'. 'The water supplies are totally inadequate, and there are only two lavatories,' the doctor added. Quisling replied, 'The measures taken against Norway's teachers are a direct consequence of their treasonable activities': they had had their chance to recant.

Once they were in the Arctic things eased a little: slightly better conditions, poor but regular food. The work was still hard: unloading supply ships. It was also dangerous for people untrained for it - there were a number of injuries and one death. On the whole they were better treated than the Russian prisoners they worked with, some of whom were shot. Each day the teachers were marched down the long road to the docks, and each day the local people turned up to watch them in respectful silence. They were now famous throughout the country. When, in early November, they were finally released, they returned home to be welcomed as heroes.

To Read the Whole Story of the WWII Nonviolent Resistance Movement in Norway

NEH National Initiatives: Operation Homecoming

National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Arts created Operation Homecoming to help U.S. troops and their families write about their wartime experiences. Their letters, poems, stories, and memoirs will be collected into a national archive, and the best submissions will be published in a literary anthology. The anthology submission deadline is May 31, 2005; submissions after this date still will be included in the archive.

Through this program, some of America's most distinguished writers are conducting workshops at military installations and are contributing educational resources to help the troops and their families share their stories. With Operation Homecoming: Beyond Glory, the NEA extends this initiative to tour the play Beyond Glory, bringing to the stage the personal accounts of American servicemen who have been honored for their heroic deeds.

Operation Homecoming

SAMLA CFP: Journalism in the History and Theory of Writing

Journalism in the History and Theory of Writing

A program of the Society for Critical Exchange to be held at the annual SAMLA convention November 10-12, 2006, in Charlotte, NC.

How has journalistic writing been conceptualized in relation to other modes and conceptions of literary production over the past two centuries? Panel seeks papers that address the interrelations of forms (textual, generic, etc), technologies, and/or economies of writing in the conceptualization of journalistic writing. Especially welcome are papers attending to the shifting lines of demarcation between
journalism and other print and digital genres and media, as well as to the historical conditions enabling the rise of journalism as a profession. Please send a 250-word abstract (no full papers) and a CV of no more than two pages to Chalet Seidel, Case Western Reserve University (cks4@case.edu) by April 1, 2006.

Catherine Russell: Autoethnography--Journeys of the Self

(Excerpt from: Experimental Ethnography, Duke University Press, 1999)

Autoethnography: Journeys of the Self
by Catherine Russell

In those early years I got to know the "town" only as the theater of purchases, on which occasions it first became apparent how my father's money could cut a path for us between the shop counters and assistants and mirrors, and the appraising eyes of our mother, whose muff lay on the counter.

Walter Benjamin, "A Berlin Chronicle"

In Benjamin's chronicle of his Berlin childhood, he places the problem of memory centrally: "For autobiography has to do with time, with sequence and what makes up the continuous flow of life."(1) The fragmentary recollections that he offers are rich in detail and, like the passage quoted in the epigraph, situate him as a child within a complex network of social relations. A class analysis is projected onto fleeting memories, along with a recognition of gender roles, and even an analysis of the gaze. The materialism of Benjamin's autobiographical account of Berlin is made even more explicit in his Moscow diary, which he described as a text in which "factuality is already theory."(2)

Throughout his various autobiographical writings, a sense of the self emerges that is thoroughly grounded in experience and observation. Walter Benjamin develops as a socially constructed identity, one who finds himself in a shifting series of others, in the topography of city streets, and in the detail of daily life. Theory, philosophy, and intellectual life were inseparable from his own experience of modernity, and his identity as a German Jew pervades his writing in the form of experience, rather than essence. Susan Buck-Morss suggests that "Benjamin perceived his own life emblematically, as an allegory for social reality, and sensed keenly that no individual could live a resolved or affirmative existence in a social world that was neither."(3)

As literary genres, autobiography and ethnography share "a commitment to the actual," and Michael Fisher has argued that "ethnic autobiography" should be recognized as a model of postmodern ethnography.(4) Autobiography is a technique of selfrepresentation that is not a fixed form but is in constant flux. He describes "contemporary autobiography" as an exploration of the fragmented and dispersed identities of late-twentieth-century pluralist society. In this context, ethnic autobiography is an "art of memory" that serves as protection against the homogenizing tendencies of modern industrial culture. Moreover, autobiography has become a powerful tool of cultural criticism, paralleling postmodern theories of textuality and knowledge. Fischer describes the "writing tactics" of autoethnography thus: "Contemporary ethnic autobiographies partake of the mood of metadiscourse, of drawing attention to their linguistic and fictive nature, of using the narrator as an inscribed figure within the text whose manipulation calls attention to authority structures".

This ethnographic mode of self-representation is pervasive in what has become widely recognized as a "new autobiography" in film and video.(5) Autobiography becomes ethnographic at the point where the film- or videomaker understands his or her personal history to be implicated in larger social formations and historical processes. Identity is no longer a transcendental or essential self that is revealed, but a "staging of subjectivity" – a representation of the self as a performance. In the politicization of the personal, identities are frequently played out among several cultural discourses, be they ethnic, national, sexual, racial, and/or class based. The subject "in history" is rendered destabilized and incoherent, a site of discursive pressures and articulations.

The fragmented and hybrid identities produced in the multitude of "personal" films and videos have been celebrated by critics and theorists as forms of "embodied knowledge" and "politics of location."(6) Their tactics are similar to those of the literary form described by Fisher, and yet they also destabilize the very notion of ethnicity. One's body and one's historical moment may be the joint site of experience and identity, and yet hey dolt necessarily add up to ethnicity as an anthropological category. Autoethnography is a vehicle and a strategy for challenging imposed forms of identity and exploring the discursive possibilities of inauthentic subjectivities.

Mary Louise Pratt introduced the term "autoethnography" as an oppositional term: "If ethnographic texts are a means by which Europeans represent to themselves their (usually subjugated) others, autoethnographic texts are those the others construct in response to or in dialogue with those metropolitan representations."(7) Although she denies that autoethnographic texts are "authentic" her attribution of this genre to marginalized subjects is characteristic of writing on autoethnography. My inclusion of Chris Marker's Sans Soleil (1982) in this chapter is an attempt to expand and modify a concept that, in Pratt's usage, reaffirms the duality of center and margin. Autoethnography can also be a form of what James Clifford calls "self-fashioning," in which the ethnographer comes to represent himself as a fiction, inscribing a doubleness within the ethnographic text: "Though it (ethnography) portrays other selves as culturally constituted, it also fashions an identity authorized to represent, to interpret, even to believe – but always with some irony – the truths of discrepant worlds."(8) Once ethnography is reframed as a self-representation in which any and all subjects are able to enter dicourse in textual form, the distinctions between textual authority and profilmic reality begin to break down. The imperial eye looking back on itself is also a subject in history.

To Read the Entire Excerpt

Jeremy Scahill: Missing the Scandal at Abu Ghraib

Missing the Scandal at Abu Ghraib
By Jeremy Scahill

The new photos from the Iraqi prison obliterate any idea that what happened there wasn't torture. So why is CNN treating it like nothing more than a military scandal?

CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr should be given some kind of award for the most outrageously off-target reporting on the newly released photos and videos of U.S. torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

In her numerous appearances during the morning news cycle on CNN after the images were first broadcast on Australia's SBS television, Starr described what she saw as the "root of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal" as such:

"Let's start by reminding everybody that under U.S. military law and practice, the only photographs that can be taken are official photographs for documentation purposes about the status of prisoners when they are in military detention. That's it. Anything else is not acceptable. And of course, that is what the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal is all about."

What? Here I thought the "scandal" was that the U.S. military was systematically abusing prisoners. These new photos, with their documentation of violently inflicted open wounds, obliterate any notion that what occurred at Abu Ghraib was anything short of torture by all accepted definitions of the term. They reveal some horrifying scenes of naked, humiliated, bloodied prisoners, some with apparent gunshot wounds. In a video broadcast on Australia's SBS, naked, hooded prisoners were seen being forced to masturbate in front of the camera.

But, according to CNN's Starr, the real transgression was that some soldiers documented the torture in violation of "U.S. military law and practice."

In a report later in the morning, Starr returned to her outrageous characterization of the "scandal," beginning her report:

"As we look at a couple of the photographs, let's remind people why these are so inappropriate. Under U.S. military law and practice and procedure, you simply cannot take photographs -- as we're going to show you some of them right now. You cannot take photographs of people in detention, in humiliating positions, positions that are abusive in any way, shape or form. The only pictures that are ever allowed of people in U.S. military detention would be pictures for documentation purposes. And, clearly, these pictures are not that. That is the whole issue that has been at the root of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, that it was abusive, the practices in which soldiers engaged in."

"You cannot take photographs of people in detention, in humiliating positions, positions that are abusive in any way, shape or form," according to Starr. But apparently it's OK to place them in those humiliating, abusive positions -- or at least not worth commenting on in these reports on CNN.

To Read the Entire Article

ACLU: Presidential Power Online Live Town Hall (Feb 20th)

From the Desk of Anthony D. Romero
MONDAY at 11 a.m.: Join Our Live Town Hall

Dear Friend,

Please join us live online tomorrow morning (Monday, February 20), at 11 a.m. ET, for a national town hall discussion on spying, secrecy and presidential power.

View the live webcast from George Washington University, where I will be joined by moderator Marvin Kalb, a panel of distinguished guests and a live audience to discuss the controversy over illegal NSA spying on Americans.

Tomorrow at 11 AM ET/8 AM PT, go to Presidential Power

Or, visit:

This Site

Join the nationwide online audience and submit your own questions for the panel. Help us break through White House misinformation and learn the truth about spying,
secrecy, the Constitution and violations of federal law.

The event will be moderated by Marvin Kalb, Senior Fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy and Faculty Chair for the Kennedy School's Washington programs. Introductory remarks and closing will be given by
Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office.

Panelists will include former White House counsel John W. Dean, Harvard Professor Laurence H. Tribe, Jim Harper of the CATO Institute and Mary DeRosa of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Please also sign our online Demand the Truth petition and join the call for real answers from the Bush Administration about illegal spying on Americans. Sign on at:

Demand the Truth

Make sure to join us live tomorrow and submit your own questions and comments about the president's program of illegal NSA surveillance, secrecy and our constitutional freedoms.

I look forward to your participation in this important event. It is not to be missed. I hope you can join us.


Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union

P.S. We will be streaming this event live in Windows Media Player 9 format. Some viewers on Macintosh and older Windows machines may need to download Windows Media Player, but most people should be able to watch, listen, and participate automatically, over a dial-up or high speed connection. To visit the Windows Media
Player page, go to:

Action ACLU

Additionally, if you miss the live event, we will have archival footage available within 24 hours at: Presidential Power

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Nation Student Writing Contest

“We’re pleased to announce the Nation Student Writing Contest. We’re looking for original, thoughtful, provocative student voices to tell us what issue is of most concern to their generation. Essays should not exceed 800 words and should be original, unpublished work that demonstrates fresh, clear thinking and superior quality of expression and craftsmanship. We’ll select five finalists and one winner, who will be awarded a $500 cash prize and a Nation subscription. The winning essay will be published in the magazine and featured on our website. The five finalists will be awarded $100 each and subscriptions, and their entries will be published online. The contest is open to students at American high schools and to undergraduates at American colleges and universities. Entries (only one per student) will be accepted through March 31. Please send entries to studentprize@thenation.com. For more information, go to The Nation.”

Wisconsin Public Radio: To the Best of Our Knowledge; Ready Steady Book and Moby Live

Thanks for supplying me with some needed literary discussions to warm me, this cold, cold weekend:

To the Best of Our Knowledge

In particular I would recommend these episodes:


American Roots Music

The Desert

Fact or Fiction


Also, a nod to Manchester's Mark Thwaite for his literary blog Ready Steady Book and radio show "Moby Live."

Impetus Green Room: Alterity and the Self

Shouting into the void, sometimes we receive a response:

Alterity and the Self

Check out the Impetus Green Room and Impetus Java House, as Ricia has an eye for the powerful intersections of the poetics/politics of life...

Dreaming of a Tiger

I dreamed I was hiking in Banff, Canada (a wild, beautiful place that had a huge impact on me when I visited it last summer, even as my marriage was falling apart), with my friend Tim (Tim wasn't with me on the trip, but there he was in the dream), who I haven't seen for a long time (which I feel guilty about because he and his wife have a beautiful new son that I haven't met yet), and we were talking about philosophical issues (one of the reason I love Tim like a brother), and we were being stalked by a tiger that looked just like this (having read David Quammen's Monster of God lately, the vivid cover staying in my mind):

I don't really have anything profound to say about it... I just woke up and it is still percolating in my mind... I also watched Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets lately:

... which has a scene with a tiger cub that is in a cage in the back of the bar, and petty hood's who are barreling toward a violent destiny (that they cannot escape) looking at it and wondering about this wild creature locked in a cage. I was watching it alone and started quoting William Blake's "Tiger, Tiger," the first poem I ever memorized:

The Tiger
by William Blake, 1757–1827

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Leaving me shivering this morning wondering why a tiger was lurking last night in my fearful symmetry:

Fascination with the wild places that heal the soul, the important politics of friendship, the rusty cages of civilization that constrict the spirit, seeking insights from poetry, the importance of questions, the difficult languages of love (and sex)... and coming to terms with the absurd wound of life ... must be sunday...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

James Allen: Without Sanctuary

(Advisory--extremely disturbing, painful... but it is necessary that we do not forget, some of the materials are back online, including an illuminating flash movie with James Allen about his intent in putting together this exhibition/book)

Without Sanctuary: Artifacts of Lynching in America

Danielle Sacks: Scenes From the Culture Clash

Welcome to the consumer-children of corporate culture and efficient education, we were wondering when you would arrive, the world is waiting for your orders. One could say that the chickens have come home to roost--you must deal with what you engender?--Thivai

(Courtesy of a Cranky Professor)

Scenes from the Culture Clash: Companies are just now waking up to the havoc that the newest generation of workers is causing in their offices.
by Danielle Sacks
Fast Company

Beverly Hills psychiatrist's office is an unlikely triage center for the mash-up of generations in the workforce. But Dr. Charles Sophy is seeing the casualties firsthand. Last year, when a 24-year-old salesman at a car dealership didn't get his yearly bonus because of poor performance, both of his parents showed up at the company's regional headquarters and sat outside the CEO's office, refusing to leave until they got a meeting. "Security had to come and escort them out," Sophy says.

A 22-year-old pharmaceutical employee learned that he was not getting the promotion he had been eyeing. His boss told him he needed to work on his weaknesses first. The Harvard grad had excelled at everything he had ever done, so he was crushed by the news. He told his parents about the performance review, and they were convinced there was some misunderstanding, some way they could fix it, as they'd been able to fix everything before. His mother called the human-resources department the next day. Seventeen times. She left increasingly frustrated messages: "You're purposely ignoring us"; "you fudged the evaluation"; "you have it in for my son." She demanded a mediation session with her, her son, his boss, and HR--and got it. At one point, the 22-year-old reprimanded the HR rep for being "rude to my mom."

The patients on Sophy's couch aren't the twentysomethings dealing with their first taste of failure. Nor are they the "helicopter parents." They're the traumatized bosses, as well as the 47-year-old woman from HR who has been hassled time and again by her youngest workers and their parents. Now the pharmaceutical company that employs her has her in therapy, and she's on six-month stress leave.

And she's going to have plenty of company. Managers and their companies will have to deal with the 76 million children of baby boomers, born between 1978 and 2000, who have started pouring into offices across the land. Four generations are being asked to coexist at once: traditionalists (born before 1945), boomers (born 1946-1964), generation X (1965-1977), and millennials (alternately known as gen-Y, echo boomers, Net gen, and even "generation why," because they never stop questioning the status quo). Managers will be challenged to minimize the friction and maximize the assets of four distinct sets of work values and styles simultaneously.

The latest generation to join the mix is disruptive not only because of its size but because of its attitudes. Speak to enough intergenerational experts who study such things (and we spoke to more than a dozen of them), and you begin to get the picture: Millennials aren't interested in the financial success that drove the boomers or the independence that has marked the gen-Xers, but in careers that are personalized. They want educational opportunities in China and a chance to work in their companies' R&D departments for six months. "They have no expectation that the first place they work will at all be related to their career, so they're willing to move around until they find a place that suits them," says Dan Rasmus, who runs a workplace think tank for Microsoft. Thanks to their overinvolved boomer parents, this cohort has been coddled and pumped up to believe they can achieve anything. Immersion in PCs, video games, email, the Internet, and cell phones for most of their lives has changed their thought patterns and may also have actually changed how their brains developed physiologically. These folks want feedback daily, not annually. And in case it's not obvious, millennials are fearless and blunt. If they think they know a better way, they'll tell you, regardless of your title.

Meet any of the millennials now embarking on their careers, and this picture comes to life. Impatience with anything that doesn't lead to learning and advancement? "Nothing infuriates us more than busywork," says 24-year-old Katie Day, an assistant editor at Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Group USA. Fearlessness? "I don't have time to be intimidated," says Anna Stassen, a 26-year-old copywriter at the advertising agency Fallon Worldwide who treats her bosses like "the guys." "It's not that I'm disrespectful; it's just a waste of energy to be fearful." Permanently plugged in and juggling? "I'm constantly playing video games, on a call, doing work, and the thing is, all of it gets done, and it gets done well," says Beth Trippie, 26, a senior scheduling specialist, aptly enough, at Best Buy's corporate offices who's also finishing her MBA. "If the results aren't great, then fine; but if not, who cares how it gets done?"

To Read the Rest of the Article

I Am Alive With Pleasure: The Last Word On the Danish Cartoon Scandal and Protests

(Courtesy of Robert at loveecstasycrime)

Eric at i.am.alive.with.pleasure sums up brilliantly the cartoon scandal and protests:

i didn't want to get involved, i really didn't.

So you have your typical right-winger newspaper in Denmark, who-- surprise, surprise-- tend to score political points off provoking the 'opposing team'... so they publish cartoons... basically suggest that 'the other guys' are completely unreasonable and hate us and are probably evil. Unfortunately for them, other right-wingers, this time in Iran, pick up on that, see a chance to score political points by suggesting that 'the other guys' are completely unreasonable, and hate us, and are probably evil. All they wanted were some cheap political points, instead they got an international incident, which leads right-wingers, this time all over the world, to pick up on the chance to show how 'the other guys' are completely unreasonable and are probably evil and totally hate our guts. It's a transcontinental right-winger circle jerk, it's the Sam Huntington version of the special olympics. Fuck those guys.

Any body got anything else they want to add?

In that case, I'm selling tickets to the 'Transcontinental Right-Winger Circle Jerk' on ebay for $1200. Each ticket comes with airfare to Iraq, a Danish flag (suitable for waving or burning), a holy book of your choice, and thirty rounds of ammunition. No refunds.

Harold Pinter: On Paying Attention

"Does reality essentially remain outside language, separate, obdurate, alien, not susceptible to description? Is an accurate and vital correspondence between what is and our perception of it impossible? Or is it that we are obliged to use language only in order to obscure and distort reality - to distort what happens-because we fear it? We are encouraged to be cowards. We can't face the dead. But we must face the dead because they die in our name. We must pay attention to what is being done in our name."

Harold Pinter--Oh Superman (1990)

International Journal of Men's Health: Call For Papers

Special Issue: International Journal of Men's Health

In 2006 The International Journal of Men's Health plans to publish a special issue on men's bodies and body image. The edition will focus on men's bodies from a range of perspectives and from a variety of cultures, to highlight the emerging body-based issues faced by males throughout the lifespan and their implications for health. Authors are asked to focus on issues relating to body image and constructions of masculinities in order to provide the special issue with its unique perspective. Dr. Murray Drummond, University of South Australia, will be guest editor for this issue.

Completed manuscripts must be submitted no later than August 1, 2006 to be considered for the special edition.

Papers will be limited to 6,000-8,000 words while brief articles will run approximately 3,000 words.

For further information contact Murray Drummond at: Murray.Drummond@unisa.edu.au.

Elizabeth Cohn: Wal-Mart--An Interdisciplinary College Curriculum

(Courtesy of Dale Fitzgibbons)

You can print a free 37 page interdisciplinary college curriculum on Wal-Mart that is being distributed by Walmart Watch (a union organizing group). Faculty members are encouraged to send comments on the curriculum, as well as additional readings or assignments they use to teach about the issues raised in the curriculum, to .

Below is a short blurb about the curriculum followed by a longer


"Wal-Mart: A College Curriculum" is a 36-page, multi-disciplinary curriculum designed for college and university professors to incorporate into their undergraduate courses. The material is structured not as an integrated course curriculum, but rather as a series of five modules that allow faculty to select the parts that pertain to their own areas of teaching. Over 70 readings offer a variety of perspectives - some supportive of Wal-Mart and others critical. Introductions to each module, as well as discussion questions based on the readings and suggested assignments, are also included."


Written for college professors. Wal-Mart's multi-faceted impact on society means that this curriculum reaches across academic disciplines, including Political Science, Sociology, Economics, Business, Management, Urban Planning, Geography, English, Labor Studies, American Studies, International Relations, Global Studies, Environmental Studies, and Women's Studies. This curriculum uses Wal-Mart as a case study to examine: Business and management decisions, Labor and the American economy, Global supply chains and market forces, Democracy and capitalism.

Wal-Mart, the largest company in the world, is praised and vilified with equal passion. Fortune magazine named it the most admired company in 2003 and 2004, while newspaper editorials lament "Wal-Martization."

Consumers praise its low prices while unions challenge the fairness of its business model. Communities across America are debating the pros and cons of welcoming new Wal-Mart stores. And Wal-Mart itself, from its outpost in Bentonville, Arkansas, has entered the debate full-force, pouring millions of dollars into public relations and image advertising.

What both admirers and critics of Wal-Mart agree on is that Wal-Mart - by virtue of its size, scale, and talent for innovation - is changing the world, or at least accelerating changes underway as a result of globalization. As the largest private employer in the United States, Wal-Mart sets the standard for wages and working conditions in retail, with ripple effects in other sectors. As the nation's largest grocery store, toy store, jewelry store, and third largest pharmacy, it affects rival businesses, large and small. And in its quest for "Always Low Prices," Wal-Mart has helped push manufacturing overseas and revolutionized the global supply chain in the process.

The public debate over Wal-Mart is just beginning. New books and academic studies on the subject, or related subjects, continue to be published. And a growing number of college professors are incorporating this subject matter into their courses.

To contribute to a better understanding of these profound changes in the world economy, Wal-Mart Watch, a campaign of the Center for Community & Corporate Ethics, has published Wal-Mart: A College Curriculum, written by Elizabeth Cohn. The Center was established in January 2005 to study the impact of large corporations on society and develop a set of standards for responsible corporate behavior.

Elizabeth Cohn has a Ph.D. in International Relations from American University. She has published on U.S. foreign policy and Latin America and taught for the last ten years at Goucher College and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

"Wal-Mart: A College Curriculum" is a 37-page, multi-disciplinary curriculum designed for college and university professors to incorporate into their undergraduate courses. The material is structured not as an integrated course curriculum, but rather as a series of five modules that allow faculty to select the parts that pertain to their own areas of teaching. More than 70 carefully selected readings offer a variety of perspectives - some supportive of Wal-Mart and others critical. The curriculum also includes introductions to each module, discussion
questions based on the readings and suggested assignments.

The first module provides a brief overview of all of the issues that can be addressed by studying Wal-Mart, and then narrows the focus to the students' personal experiences with Wal-Mart. It can be used as a general introduction for those who have several weeks to devote to a Wal-Mart case study or as a cursory exploration for those who wish to devote only one class session.

The following four modules use Wal-Mart as a case study to examine:

* Business and management decisions: How Wal-Mart has shifted power from producers to retailers, through technological innovation and market dominance;

* Labor and the American economy: How Wal-Mart's labor practices affect wages and benefits within the retail sector and beyond, and raise important questions about the division of responsibility between corporations and government;

* Global supply chains and market forces: How Wal-Mart reflects and drives changes in the global economy, with emphasis on China's new role as the manufacturing center of the world;

* Democracy and capitalism: How local governments, small business, community groups, and citizens respond when Wal-Mart enters their community.

This curriculum examines the above trends and the problems they create, as well as different responses and solutions - such as citizen campaigns to make Wal-Mart more accountable to community stakeholders; labor protections, whether enacted through legislation or union representation; and social auditing of overseas factories and sourcing practices.

At the heart of this curriculum are fundamental questions about the political, economic and social direction of America and the world.

Wal-Mart's size and impact worldwide make it the ideal vehicle for a serious discussion of urgent questions of public policy and corporate responsibility. The guiding question, as Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr. posed it at a town hall meeting in Los Angeles, concerns "the proper role of business and government in assuring that capitalism creates a decent society."

Wal-Mart's multi-faceted impact on society means that the curriculum reaches across academic disciplines, including Political Science, Sociology, Economics, Business, Management, Urban Planning, Geography, English, Labor Studies, American Studies, International Relations, Global Studies, Environmental Studies, and Women's Studies. Although interdisciplinary in nature, each module is generally geared toward
certain disciplines as follows:

Part I: Interdisciplinary overview
Part II: Business, Management, Sociology
Part III: Sociology, English, American Studies, Women's Studies, Labor Studies
Part IV: Economics, International Relations, Global Studies, Sociology
Part V: Political Science, Urban Planning, Geography, Environmental Studies

Elizabeth Cohn has a Ph.D. in International Relations from American University. She has published on U.S. foreign policy and Latin America and taught for the last ten years at Goucher College and the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She teaches in International Relations, international political economy, Latin American politics, U.S. foreign policy, American politics, and the media and politics.

Mia Bloom: Dying to Kill (University of Kentucky: Feb 21)

Mia Bloom is an affiliated faculty of Women's Studies at the University of Cincinnati and has done work on rape and war, and women as terrorists.
Mia Bloom's Webpage

The Patterson School presents
Mia Bloom
Assistant Professor of Political Science
University of Cincinnati


Tuesday, February 21st at 7:30 p.m.
Center Theatre, UK Student Center

Dissent!: University of Louisville

This symposium is a major academic component of a larger partnership among the University and a number of local organizations to create a forum for sustained discussion of the importance of dissent in our nation’s civic and cultural life. While the larger effort, to run January-April 2006, is focused on dissent as “An American Tradition,” the symposium is open to scholars working on dissent of any time and place. We define dissent as a social process and cultural value; we view it as a process by which minorities challenge the power of majorities, but also as part of the process by which majorities recast or reaffirm their fundamental beliefs. Dissent is enshrined in our system of government through the filibuster, embodied in the legal system by the dissenting opinion, lived out in our family lives through adolescent rebellion, and enmeshed in every aspect of our culture, ancient and modern, sacred and profane. From the cries of Job to the rants of Lenny Bruce, from the plays of Aristophanes to the poetry of Adrienne Rich and Sonia Sanchez, from the paintings of Goya to the graphics of Barbara Kruger and the silhouettes of Kara Walker, dissent has served as a driving force in literature and the arts, as well as in religion. It has animated movements for pacifism and for violent revolution, and has been a rhetorical mode for thinkers and actors on both ends of the political spectrum.

Dissent! is a series of events designed to bring together scholars, community groups and arts organizations, and the general public for an exploration of the idea of dissent as personal experience, social action, and artistic inspiration. We believe that humanistic and artistic inquiry into our core values and traditions can bridge ideological gaps and foster tolerance for political and personal differences. We hope that Dissent! will celebrate Kentucky's unique tradition of iconoclasm and dissent, and inspire community members to act on their own beliefs and to respect the rights of others to act on theirs.

For more check out: Dissent!

Geo-Sift: The Refined Drive

(Nothing like wasting a night away writing bad poetry ;)

Geo-Sift: The Refined Derive
by Michael Benton

Jean-Luc Nancy asks “What is to be done?”
Where are we heading?
What do we want/need/desire?
Who will stand up and lead the way?
The historical avant-gardes are but
ashes in the dustbin of history.
Their methods and ideas are now
just fodder for the latest corporate fad.

Debord’s spectacle is no longer a fantasy
but a reality that surrounds the confines
of our fake plastic world.
We are all just fish swimming mindlessly
through the cultural aquariums
that filter our mediatized landscapes.
Are you unhappy with your appearance?
Do you have a desire to confess on national TV?
What scandals shall occupy our minds,
diverting us from the truth and leading us astray?

Once again what is to be done?
We are dominated by the priesthood
of instrumental reasoning and sanctioned experts.
Confess your desires, we are the new religion.
The omniscient media uses sex and death
to decorate their myths of material satisfaction.
The cultural regulators in their ivory towers
despise the masses from the safety of their fortresses.
Feeling safe in their illusions
they continue to lose touch with reality.
Our political leaders are Waiting for Godot
They are as lost as we are, but unwilling to admit it.

We are no longer a product of nature.
Our technological wonders fuse with our psyches.
Flesh to machine, this is the age of the post-human.
Urban megacities dominate our global reality
Centers of power---they control information and finances.
Earlier theorists realized the importance of mapping
out these concrete jungles. To map the psyche
of our communal constructions.

This is the new pataphysics.
Jarry’s Ubu married to geology.
Collective memories mined
like the substrata of the earth.
Sifting the fallowed voices of our cities,
perceiving the core truths that are the foundations,
and disregarding the detrital productions
artfully designed to distract us.


(Just diddling around, playing, I was, for some reason amused by the fact that alterity is also spelled as altarity ;)

A Celebration of Alterity
by Michael Benton

Slippery word
whose meaning is
not decipherable
Never stated clearly
nor fixed firmly
The nerve of the word

It may be approached,
though, if one dares,
through networks
of associations
Altar, Alter
Alternative, Alternation

I yearn to sacrifice
myself upon the
altar of her sexuality.
Yet, I hold back
fearing that the pleasure
may somehow alter me.

Her scent and taste
seizes the roots of my soul
What alternative is there?
I vacillate betwixt pleasure and pain
Ceaselessly resonating between
the yawning gaps of reason

Even the meaning of altarity
pecipitates a crisis
Symbol of difference
Naming of the OTHER
Its power mocks
conformity’s lack

Resist the conservative urge
to embrace sameness
Explore those who differ
Open up closed circuits
Rise up to celebrate
the eros of alterity

Advertisement For the Truth

Advertisement For the Truth

The production of writing resides in the momentary agency that is realized during the pregnant pauses of truths recognized from temporary anchoring points. In other words, while the notion of truth/s may be contested, this does not mean that there are no truths to be found, rather what this means is that truth/s are always partial and that truth/s are best expressed through a realization of the producer’s anchoring point, or situation/position, and the complex spider web (multiplicity) of relations that have produced this particular (singularity) view/truth. Lastly, we must remain open to the notion that our particular truth/s are affected by the changing positions/situations/materiality of our relations and that we must repeatedly test our notions of truth in the field of everyday life.

Global Tryst

Global Tryst is based in Washington D.C, U.S.A.

We believe in the oneness of humanity and global peace. The world is our home, but often it is apparent that war and strife result from closed societies, lack of freedom, and the due process of law. Be it small communities or great nations, open communication can overcome differences and divisions and enable greater understanding and cooperation.

Global Tryst is an endeavor to provide such a platform for open communication.

By enabling frontline workers and grassroots level workers to speak up on various issues they are familiar with, we offer a unique perspective on global issues ranging from global free trade to European integration, space travel to social strife and the global environment. In general, we solicit fact-based analyses of global events and occurrences. In doing so, we believe that Global Tryst serves as forum for world statesmanship.

But this is by no means all: In an effort to cultivate awareness of global cultures, Global Tryst offers a lot more beyond socio-political and economic issues through features on global cultures, customs, cuisine, art & theatre.

Kontroll (Nimrod Antal)

(From Michael)


Think about the typical independent or hollywood (schlock) film about people dealing with workplace problems--pure crap... must we even list them? There are a few that are lifted above bullshit, waste my time level-- Office Space has provided me amusement and food-for-thought...

So, why?, does a first-time director from Hungary, who is obviously operating on a small budget, working within one of the US's most beloved B-movie genres (the film cheaply-made about disgruntled workers), able to transcend the B-movie roots of the film, no doubt sparking many meanings from any viewer (a lesson for small budgeted guerilla filmmakers, seek out unique places like this for filming)?

On a scale of 1-10, I would place it as a 9, because it is powerful in the sense of people trying to make sense of their working conditions (and the movie draws you into group concerns and then leaves with an individual to see how he grapples with the insanity of his environment)... for awhile, I haven't seen such a movie, operating in any genre sense that explores contemporary worker anxiety so effectively. It has those B movie roots (which I think help it from becoming to pretentious), but damn if it didn't make me think about a lot of important ideas--isn't this what we want from film?

The film examines working-class (as in people who have no "control" over their work or workplace) concerns, it is very boisterous and stupid, yet still, it has a sharp edge, probably ignored only by those that are able to escape that "class" observation tower (in your daily life how often do you feel as if you are being observed?)...

There is a lot more to this film and I would always look forward to talking to people bout the deeper aspects.

So I am off to look for my teddy bear (see the film ;)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sarah Baxter and Michael Smith: CIA chief sacked for opposing torture

(It says a lot when the top spys at your intelligence agency are so worried about the direction of their government they are leaking information about their misdeeds... Courtesy of Joseph at Harlequin Knights)

CIA chief sacked for opposing torture
by Sarah Baxter and Michael Smith
Washington Times

The CIA’s top counter-terrorism official was fired last week because he opposed detaining Al-Qaeda suspects in secret prisons abroad, sending them to other countries for interrogation and using forms of torture such as “water boarding”, intelligence sources have claimed.

Robert Grenier, head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, was relieved of his post after a year in the job. One intelligence official said he was “not quite as aggressive as he might have been” in pursuing Al-Qaeda leaders and networks.

Vincent Cannistraro, a former head of counter-terrorism at the agency, said: “It is not that Grenier wasn’t aggressive enough, it is that he wasn’t ‘with the programme’. He expressed misgivings about the secret prisons in Europe and the rendition of terrorists.”

Grenier also opposed “excessive” interrogation, such as strapping suspects to boards and dunking them in water, according to Cannistraro.

Porter Goss, who was appointed head of the CIA in August 2004 with a mission to “clean house”, has been angered by a series of leaks from CIA insiders, including revelations about “black sites” in Europe where top Al-Qaeda detainees were said to have been held.

In last Friday’s New York Times, Goss wrote that leakers within the CIA were damaging the agency’s ability to fight terrorism and causing foreign intelligence organisations to lose confidence. “Too many of my counterparts from other countries have told me, ‘You Americans can’t keep a secret’.”

Goss is believed to have blamed Grenier for allowing leaks to occur on his watch.

Since the appointment of Goss, the CIA has lost almost all its high-level directors amid considerable turmoil.

AB “Buzzy” Krongard, a former executive director of the CIA who resigned shortly after Goss’s arrival, said the leaks were unlikely to stop soon, despite proposals to subject officers to more lie detector tests.

Krongard said it was up to President George Bush to stop the rot. “The agency has only one client: the president of the United States,” he said. “The reorganisation is the way this president wanted it. If he is unwilling to reform it, the agency will go on as it is.”

“History will judge how good an idea it was to destroy the teams and the programmes that were in place.”

Link to the Article

Justin's Howl (until he gives me another name for his poem)

(One of my students)

School school school. Work work work. Time ticks by.
So many people left to open up this soul
So many people have something to sigh.
Wrapped around a pogo stick making revolutions
in an up and down manner until nauseous we
crave and consume molesting the babies and
eating ideals like pez dispensers handing out
condoms but people don't stop fucking everything
up for the little guy cause big guys own 72.3% of
this planet is degenerating and crumbling:buildings
like skyscrapers full of lives:dying and asking
ourselves how they could jump:down the rabbit
hole to the warm place that embraces:fears not
feared not warranted instinct of juxtapose
doppleganger:twins sin just as much as the other:
opposite value misinterpreted hate crimes cram
straight into skull one knife: lobotomy extraction
of what's needed garbage piling up like dead babies
asphyxiating blue heaping into mounds of innocent
rotting flesh but still edible: pitchforks loading
dead ideas and visions corrupting, oh woe is me
for all this weak weak pity throw a party: tea time
will be at precisely tea-thirty and beers at noon:
sun high over moon, squinting eyes fit them both
in same picture until reality of nature absorbs
another god damned tried to figure it out soul.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Allen Ginsberg: Howl

(Have you ever read this out loud, I mean loud, wall shaking loud, so that neighbors wonder if you are possessed loud--powerful poetry. I'm serious, try reading it out loud once... I just did, damn, its a rush! Can you imagine that first, lucky audience that heard this read live at City Lights Bookstore, or that cool bar next door? Thanks to El Oso who reminded me it was time for my bi-annual reading ;)

A really good examination of the context of "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg:

Litkicks: Howl

by Allen Ginsberg

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear,
burning their money in wastebaskets and listening
to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through
Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in
Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their
torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares,
alcohol and cock and endless balls,
incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and
lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson,
illuminating all the motionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery
dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops,
storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree
vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn,
ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless
ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine
until the noise of wheels and children brought
them down shuddering mouth-wracked and
battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's
floated out and sat through the stale beer after
noon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the crack
of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to
pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,
lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping
down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills
off Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts
and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks
and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days
and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the
Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a
trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grind-ings and
migraines of China under junk-with-drawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the
railroad yard wondering where to go, and went,
leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing
through snow toward lonesome farms in grand-father night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy
and bop kabbalah because the cosmos instinctively
vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary
indian angels who were visionary indian angels,
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore
gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight street
light smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston
seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the
brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving
behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees
and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fireplace Chicago,
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the
F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist
eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incomprehensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting
the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union
Square weeping and undressing while the sirens
of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed
down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed,
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked
and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons,
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight
in policecars for committing no crime but their
own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were
dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts,
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly
motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim,
the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose
gardens and the grass of public parks and
cemeteries scattering their semen freely to
whomever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up
with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath
when the blond & naked angel came to pierce
them with a sword,
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate
the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar
the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb
and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but
sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden
threads of the craftsman's loom,
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of
beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued along
the floor and down the hall and ended fainting
on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and
come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling
in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning
but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sun
rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake,
who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad
stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these
poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver-joy
to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls
in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses'
rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with
gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station
solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too,
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in
dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and
picked themselves up out of basements hung
over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third
Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on
the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the
East River to open to a room full of steamheat and opium,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment
cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime
blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested
the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery,
who wept at the romance of the streets with their
pushcarts full of onions and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the
bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts,
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded
by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
incantations which in the yellow morning were
stanzas of gibberish,
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht
& tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom,
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot
for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks
fell on their heads every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open antique
stores where they thought they were growing
old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits
on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse
& the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments
of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the
fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the
drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten
into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley
ways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of
the subway window, jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes,
cried all over the street,
danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed
phonograph records of nostalgic European
1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and
threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans
in their ears and the blast of colossal steam whistles,
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying
to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude
watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out
if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had
a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who
came back to Denver & waited in vain, who
watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
Denver and finally went away to find out the
Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying
for each other's salvation and light and breasts,
until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for
impossible criminals with golden heads and the
charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky
Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys
or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or
Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the
daisychain or grave,
who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hyp
notism & were left with their insanity & their
hands & a hung jury,
who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism
and subsequently presented themselves on the
granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads
and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy,
and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin
Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational
therapy pingpong & amnesia,
who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic
pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia,
returning years later truly bald except for a wig of
blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible mad
man doom of the wards of the madtowns of the East,
Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid
halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul,
rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench
dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare,
bodies turned to stone as heavy as the moon,
with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book
flung out of the tenement window, and the last
door closed at 4. A.M. and the last telephone
slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished room
emptied down to the last piece of mental furniture,
a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet,
and even that imaginary,
nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination
ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and
now you're really in the total animal soup of time
and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed
with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use
of the ellipse the catalog the meter & the vibrating plane,
who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space
through images juxtaposed, and trapped the
archangel of the soul between 2 visual images
and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun
and dash of consciousness together jumping
with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus
to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human
prose and stand before you speechless and intelligent
and shaking with shame,
rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm
of thought in his naked and endless head,
the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown,
yet putting down here what might be left to say
in time come after death,
and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in
the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the
suffering of America's naked mind for love into
an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone
cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio
with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered
out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years.
What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open
their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unob
tainable dollars! Children screaming under the
stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men
weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the
loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy
judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the
crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of
sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment!
Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose
blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers
are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo!
Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows!
Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long
streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories
dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose
smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch
whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch
whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch
whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen!
Moloch whose name is the Mind!
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream
Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in
Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom
I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch
who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy!
Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch!
Light streaming out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs!
skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic
industries! spectral nations! invincible mad
houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pave-
ments, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to
Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies!
gone down the American river!
Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole
boatload of sensitive bullshit!
Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions!
gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs!
Ten years' animal screams and suicides!
Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on
the rocks of Time!
Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the
wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell!
They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving!
carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!
Carl Solomon! I'm with you in Rockland
where you're madder than I am
I'm with you in Rockland
where you must feel very strange
I'm with you in Rockland
where you imitate the shade of my mother
I'm with you in Rockland
where you've murdered your twelve secretaries
I'm with you in Rockland
where you laugh at this invisible humor
I'm with you in Rockland
where we are great writers on the same dreadful typewriter
I'm with you in Rockland
where your condition has become serious and
is reported on the radio
I'm with you in Rockland
where the faculties of the skull no longer admit
the worms of the senses
I'm with you in Rockland
where you drink the tea of the breasts of the
spinsters of Utica
I'm with you in Rockland
where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the
harpies of the Bronx
I'm with you in Rockland
where you scream in a straightjacket that you're
losing the game of the actual pingpong of the abyss
I'm with you in Rockland
where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul
is innocent and immortal it should never die
ungodly in an armed madhouse
I'm with you in Rockland
where fifty more shocks will never return your
soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a
cross in the void
I'm with you in Rockland
where you accuse your doctors of insanity and
plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the
fascist national Golgotha
I'm with you in Rockland
where you will split the heavens of Long Island
and resurrect your living human Jesus from the
superhuman tomb
I'm with you in Rockland
where there are twenty-five-thousand mad com-
rades all together singing the final stanzas of
the Internationale
I'm with you in Rockland
where we hug and kiss the United States under
our bedsheets the United States that coughs all
night and won't let us sleep
I'm with you in Rockland
where we wake up electrified out of the coma
by our own souls' airplanes roaring over the
roof they've come to drop angelic bombs the
hospital illuminates itself imaginary walls collapse
O skinny legions run outside O starry
spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is
here O victory forget your underwear we're free
I'm with you in Rockland
in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-
journey on the highway across America in tears
to the door of my cottage in the Western night

Elephants w/ The Capes @ The Dame: Feb 15th

:: Wednesday, February 15 ::
9pm, ages 21+, $5

The Elephants are an important force in Lexington's burgeoning music scene. Directly descended from legendary bands like Television, the Elephants have filtered their hard-edged punk attitude through tight pop aesthetics. In their case, though, their "punk" attitude is backed by skilled musicians, and their pop is not bubble gum, it is the "pop" of poetry that hits you full in the face with the recognition of
something real and something so fucking right! – Michael Benton

Hear the Elephants for yourself at The Elephants

Michelle Leder: How the Other Half Banks

All the former underground businesses of organized crime are now comfortably operated by corporations who are making huge profits from vice. Think about it, corporations (and the government) run gambling/numbers operations, supply drugs to make us forgot about our problems, distribute pornography (see Eric Schlosser posting below), etc. Now some corporations have become the biggest sharks in the short-term loan business...


"How the Other Half Banks: The depressing, amazing 'payday loan' business."
By Michelle Leder

Many Americans—particularly those who don't live paycheck to paycheck—are unfamiliar with the payday-loan industry, one of the nation's fastest-growing and most depressing businesses. Payday advance companies offer tiny, short-term loans—a few hundred bucks for a few weeks—while charging annual interest rates that top 500 percent. Borrow $200 today, pay back $240 or $250 on payday. (Some may think that charging those kinds of rates must be illegal, that it's equivalent to loan sharking by mobsters. In this Slate article, Brendan Koerner explained why loan sharking, which actually charges much lower rates, is against the law and payday loans aren't.)

Read the Entire Article

El Oso: Market Viraling, Part 1 and 2

This blog sponsored by (actually I've been approached a few times to publicize/profit here--but just can't do it, I guess my society would consider me stupid--to me it would violate the spirit of Dialogic)...

Market Viraling, Pt. 1

Market Viraling, Pt. 2

Also check out:

Propaganda Nation