Thursday, May 25, 2006

Melinda Fulmer: Living Wage?

Living wage: How about $9 an hour?
by Melinda Fulmer
MSN: Money

Donna Riley never liked taking handouts. The 49-year-old parking lot attendant had for years subsisted on disability payments for her injured back and $6-an-hour part-time work, eventually filing for bankruptcy in 2003 because of her mounting medical debts.

In 2004, when the city of Buffalo, N.Y., passed its last living-wage ordinance, raising city contractors' minimum pay to $9.03 plus benefits, she saw the opportunity to finally get off disability and work full time.

Now, Riley and her husband, who also works for a city parking company, make $6 more an hour combined -- enough to pay all of their bills and buy their first new car.

"Driving out of the car lot at the dealer with a brand new car was a total blow-away," Riley said. "Now we are working on buying a house."

With federal minimum wage stuck at $5.15 since 1997, many cities and states are taking matters in their own hands. They are enacting minimum wages for city contractors and, increasingly, mandatory minimums for all area businesses in an attempt to lift the fortunes of workers on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

The floor has sunk
As it stands now, a worker making the federal minimum wage would make $10,712 a year, or less than $1,000 above the 2006 poverty line of $9,800 for an individual.

"If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would be more like $9 right now. We've let the floor sink so low, it's historically less than we were paying back in the 1960s," said Jen Kern, director of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), an advocacy group that has led the "living-wage" movement.


Twenty states, the District of Columbia and 140 cities and counties have now voted in new living-wage laws. Washington state's minimum wage is $7.63 an hour, highest of any state. And several cities have set their own rates much, much higher: Santa Cruz, Calif., for example, requires that city contractors pay more than $12 an hour, plus health benefits. Lawrence, Kan., sets minimum pay for all workers in the city at 130% of the federal poverty threshold.

Link to Read the Rest of the Article

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Theodore W. Allen: The Invention of the White Race, Vol. 1 and 2

(I'm currently moving residences so I have had my Internet service turned off--thus my silence these days, plus I have been enjoying the beautiful spring days we have been gifted with, very important to take advantage of them before the dog days of summer hit Kentucky. Lots of bike riding and reading in parks/coffee shops...)

Theodore W. Allen's book The Invention of the White Race (Summary of Volume 1 and Summary of Volume 2), which I first read as an assigment in Dr. Ronald Strickland's course on Marxism, was paradigm-shifting in moving me past the last vestiges of my early indocrination into tribal allegiances based upon skin/ethnicity. His book, along with my later reading of Many-Headed Hydra and The Wages of Whiteness, outlined how the construction and naturalization of a superior white race had served to keep the working classes from recognizing their true power in numbers, effectively fragmenting them through petty, destructive hatreds.

I was never the same after reading Theodore W. Allen. He pushed me to a higher level, and when I think upon these issues, I am standing on his shoulders.

Michael Dean Benton

In Memoriam: Theodore W. Allen
by Jeffrey B. Perry
Cultural Logic

Theodore W. Allen, a working class intellectual and activist and author of the influential two-volume history The Invention of the White Race (Verso:1994, 1997), died on January 19, 2005, surrounded by friends in his apartment at 97 Brooklyn Avenue in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. He was 85. The cause of death was cancer, which he had battled for 15 years. Announcement of the death was made by his close friend Linda Vidinha.

Allen, an ardent opponent of white supremacy, spent much of his last forty years researching the role of white supremacy in United States history and examining records of colonial Virginia as he documented and analyzed the development of the "white race" in the latter part of the seventeenth century. His main thesis, that the "white race" developed as a ruling class social control formation in response to labor unrest as manifest in Bacon's Rebellion of 1676-77, was first articulated in February 1974 in a talk he delivered at a Union of Radical Political Economists meeting in New Haven. Versions of that talk were published in 1975 in Radical America and in pamphlet form as "Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race."

In the 1960s "Ted" Allen significantly influenced the direction of the student movement and the new left with an article entitled "Can White Radicals Be Radicalized?" which developed the argument that white supremacy, reinforced among European Americans by the "white skin privilege," was the main retardant of working class consciousness in the United States and that efforts at radical social change should direct principal efforts at challenging the system of white supremacy and urging "repudiation of white skin privilege" by European Americans.

Allen was in the forefront in challenging phenotypical (physical appearance-based) definitions of race, in challenging "racism is innate" arguments, in challenging theories that the working class benefits from white supremacy, in calling attention to the crucial role of the buffer social control group in racial oppression, in documenting and analyzing the development of the "white race" in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and in clarifying how "this all-class association of European-Americans held together by 'racial' privileges conferred on laboring class European-Americans relative to African-Americans--[has served] as the principal historic guarantor of ruling-class domination of national life" in the United States. These contributions differentiate his work from many writers in the rapidly growing white race as "a social and cultural construction" ranks, which his writings helped to spawn.

In The Invention of the White Race Allen focused on Virginia, the first and pattern-setting continental colony. He emphasized that "When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no white people there" and he added that he found "no instance of the official use of the word 'white' as a token of social status before its appearance in a Virginia law passed in 1691." He also found, similar to historian Lerone Bennett, Jr., that throughout most of the seventeenth century conditions for African-American and European-American laborers and bond-servants were very similar. Under such conditions solidarity among the laboring classes reached a peak during Bacon's Rebellion: the capitol (Jamestown) was burned; two thousand rebels forced the governor to flee across the Chesapeake Bay and controlled 6/7 of Virginia's land; and, in the latter stages of the struggle, "foure hundred English and Negroes in Arms" demanded their freedom from bondage.

To Allen, the social control problems highlighted by Bacon's Rebellion "demonstrated beyond question the lack of a sufficient intermediate stratum to stand between the ruling plantation elite and the mass of European-American and African-American laboring people, free and bond." He then detailed how, in the period after Bacon's Rebellion the white race was invented as "a bourgeois social control formation in response to [such] laboring class unrest." He described systematic ruling class policies, which extended privileges to European laborers and bond-servants and imposed and extended harsher disabilities and blocked normal class mobility for African-Americans. Thus, for example, when African-Americans were deprived of their long-held right to vote in Virginia and Governor William Gooch explained in 1735 that the Virginia Assembly had decided upon this curtailment of the franchise in order "to fix a perpetual Brand upon Free Negros & Mulattos," Allen emphasized that this was not an "unthinking decision"! "Rather, it was a deliberate act by the plantation bourgeoisie; it proceeded from a conscious decision in the process of establishing a system of racial oppression, even though it meant repealing an electoral principle that had existed in Virginia for more than a century."

For Allen, "The hallmark, the informing principle, of racial oppression in its colonial origins and as it has persisted in subsequent historical contexts, is the reduction of all members of the oppressed group to one undifferentiated social status, beneath that of any member of the oppressor group." The key to understanding racial oppression, he wrote, is the social control buffer -- that group in society, which helps to control the poor for the rich. Under racial oppression in Virginia, any persons of discernible non-European ancestry in colonial Virginia after Bacon's Rebellion were denied a role in the social control buffer group, the bulk of which was made up of working-class "whites." In contrast, Allen explained, in the Caribbean "Mulattos" were included in the social control group and were promoted into middle-class status. For him, this was "the key to the understanding the difference between Virginia ruling-class policy of 'fixing a perpetual brand' on African-Americans" and "the policy of the West Indian planters of formally recognizing the middle-class status 'colored' descendant (and other Afro-Caribbeans who earned special merit by their service to the regime)." The difference "was rooted in the objective fact that in the West Indies there were too few laboring-class Europeans to embody an adequate petit bourgeoisie, while in the continental colonies there were too many to be accommodated in the ranks of that class." (In 1676 in Virginia, for example, there were approximately 6,000 European-American bond-laborers and 2,000 African-American bond-laborers.)

In 1996, on radio station WBAI in New York, Allen discussed the subject of "American Exceptionalism" and the much-vaunted "immunity" of the United States to proletarian class-consciousness and its effects. His explanation for the relatively low level of class consciousness was that social control in the United States was guaranteed, not primarily by the class privileges of a petit bourgeoisie, but by the white-skin privileges of laboring class whites; that the ruling class co-opts European-American workers into the buffer social control system against the interests of the working class to which they belong; and that the "white race" by its all-class form, conceals the operation of the ruling class social control system by providing it with a majoritarian "democratic" facade.

Entire Essay

Cultural Logic Interview of Allen

Allen's "In Defense of Affirmative Action in Employment Policy"

Allen's "'Race' and 'Ethnicity': History and the 2000 Census"

Allen's "Be Fair: Reverse Discrimination"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

First Annual Lexington Peace Fair: May 20th

Peace Fair Planned for Lexington

Our Little World:

The First Annual Lexington Peace Fair

May 20, 2006

11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

north of Commonwealth Stadium at the BCTC Campus

Sponsors and organizers include Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s (BCTC) Peace and Justice Coalition, Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Community Farm Alliance, BCTC’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Franciscan Peace Center, and the Clergy and Laity Network of Kentucky.

The stated purpose of the event is to model a joyful alternative to exploitation, corporatization, and consumerism. Emphasis will be placed on valuing global knowledge and understanding as well as valuing local production, community, and knowledge of place. Music, art, locally grown food, workshops, and themed booths will be aimed at raising awareness of the peaceful possibilities for a socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable future.


The beauty of Kentucky music will be showcased alongside regional and global music. The lineup is:

12:00 - 12:15: Introduction and singing of theme song "Our Little World"
12:15 - 1:15: Paula Mannie Nelson, a Cherokee woman from North Carolina, who teaches the Cherokee language as she performs
1:30 - 2:30: Reel World String Band, a Lexington favorite
2:45 - 3:15: La Banda, a Latino band
3:30 - 5:30: Born Cross-Eyed, another Lexington favorite
5:30 - 6:00: Water, Latin jazz and African soul
6:00 - 6:30: Pangaea Drums, headed by Tripp Bratton, drummer extraordinaire
6:30 - 7:00: The event will close with a collective chanting for peace, with accompaniment from the drummers


Appalachia Science in the Public Interest
BCTC International Students, Multicultural Affairs
Bluegrass Cycling Club
Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice
Clergy and Laity Network of Kentucky
Four Key Wellness
Franciscan Peace Center, Inc.
Home at Last
International booth - Japan
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
Kentucky Environmental Education Council (games)
Kentucky Fairness Alliance
Kentucky Heartwood
Kentucky State Nature Preserves
Leaf for Life
Mexico Solidarity Network
Mountain Summer Justice
Providence Montessori
Quaker Kids
School of Metaphysics
Sierra Club
UK Greenthumb
UK Nursing
UK Task Force on Sustainability
Unitarian Universalist kids
and others …

Local and global products:

scrap art
handmade cloth diapers
comic books on war and peace
hand-dyed yarns
items recycled from old clothes
jewelry made from clay
homemade animal treats
handmade bags
African art
and others …

Food and Farm:

Good Foods Coop will provide vegan, vegetarian, and meat dishes, with a focus on locally sourced food
Home Pickins
Community Farm Alliance
Shooting Star Nursery
Terrapin Hill Farm
UK Organic Agriculture
Bluegrass Farmers Market
and others …


Workshops highlighting various perspectives on peaceful living will be offered. The schedule includes:

11:00 a.m. until noon: Peace...Let it begin with me, taught by Anita Courtney, Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor. Come and practice the art of cultivating inner peace through yoga postures, breathing and visualization. You’ll feel relaxed and energized for the rest of the day and learn some tools for incorporating relaxation into your daily life. Suitable for those who have never tried yoga, as well as experienced practitioners.
12:10-1:10: The Hidden Destruction of the Appalachian Mountains, by Dave Cooper, mechanical engineer turned social/environmental activist. The program includes a 22-minute slide show featuring traditional Appalachian mountain music and aerial photographs of Eastern Kentucky mountains. After discussing the impacts of mountaintop removal on coalfield communities, attention will focus on ways to reduce personal consumption of electricity from coal-fired power plants.
1:20-2:20: Towards a Justice that Heals, by Marilyn Huegerich, OSF, and Patricia Griffin, Franciscan Peace Center. In the face of crime or conflict, restorative justice is a philosophy and approach that views these matters as primarily harm done to people and relationships. Restorative justice is a process that offers support and provides opportunities for voluntary participation and communication between those affected (victims, offenders, community). The process strives towards a conversion from the spirit of punishment to the spirit of healing.
2:30-3:30: Living in a Sustainability-Oriented Community, by Mary Ann Ghosal and Thyne Rutrough, Curtis Pike Community, Richmond, KY. At this time, when human impact on the environment is increasingly harmful, a small group of Christians has come together to pray and to work for environmental sustainability and peace. Members of the community will share information about their identity and their current environmental efforts, accomplishments, and future goals.
3:40-4:45: Small-scale Urban Gardening, by Derek Law, UK Horticulture Research Analyst. Production of vegetable crops in densely populated urban areas to supplement our diets will be the focus of this presentation. Topics to be discussed will be site evaluation, container gardening, composting, Bio-intensive gardening techniques, and edible landscaping. Examples of containers and gardening tools will be on display and free vegetable starts will be given to participants.
5:00-6:30: Organizing 101, by Dave Newton, Organizer for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. This workshop is designed to help us understand how to use our collective power for positive change in our community. We'll identify problems in our community, examine the root causes of those problems, and explore several different approaches to change.

Children for Peace:

The Children for Peace entries will be displayed. There will be ribbons, four $50 prizes, and a commemorative booklet.

May 20th is also Bike Lexington day. Consider participating in that biking event and then riding (or walking) to the BCTC campus (directly north of Commonwealth Stadium) for a day of peace and possibilities. For more information or to reserve table space, please call Rebecca Glasscock at (859) 246-6319 or email For updates, go to BCTC Peace and Justice Coalition

Monday, May 15, 2006

Searching for Wolf Boy: The Art of Jimmy Gordon

Patrick McNeese / 859.254.2270
122 North Upper St.
Lexington, KY. 40507


Patrick McNeese’s most recent documentary film, Searching for Wolf Boy: The Art of Jimmy Gordon, will be shown Saturday, May 20th at the Lexington Public Library Theater located downtown. The screening is free and open to the public.

Showtime is 4:00 pm.

The 26-minute film is an impressionistic portrait of Lexington surrealist painter and musician Jimmy Gordon and was completed in 2005. McNeese, a musician and a filmmaker, describes the work as a highly improvisational and approximate biography of the artist. “We set out to make a documentary about being a creative person in this society but I think the film ended up functioning more like a poem.” he said. The film features Gordon’s surrealistic paintings, art cars and his unusual musical compositions. It includes interviews with fellow artist Bob Morgan and Lexington arts patron, Marian “Mike” Broadus. Philip High composed and performed much of the original music for the film.

The production was awarded a Director’s Citation Award at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival last February at the New Jersey City University. A project of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium, the Black Maria festival takes its name from the world’s first motion picture studio built in 1893 at Thomas Edison’s West Orange, New Jersey laboratory and is committed to Edison’s legacy of thinking “outside the box”. Now in its 25th year, the festival’s supporters include; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Eastman Kodak Corporation.

Previous documentary films produced and directed by Mr. McNeese include; Of Myth and Muse: Stephen Foster and My Old Kentucky Home (2003), Hemplands (1999), Duke Madison: Life and Music (1992). He has also collaborated on two narrative films,
serving as production designer and art director on The Congress of Wonders (1995) and also on 100 Proof (1997), which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. For more information go to


Philip High
graphic design & illustration
Lexington, KY

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Gregory Colbert: Ashes and Snow

(I just got a comment from Velvet Babe on a past post about Colbert and how much she recently enjoyed seeing the exhibit--so I thought I would repost it since it is still traveling arounf the country)

Ashes and Snow
Exhibition by Gregory Colbert

The Creation of Myth
by Susanna Helm

Myths are allegories that illuminate sacred truths. Creation. Prometheus and Pandora. Adam and Eve. Central to our interpretation of not only the numinous, but of the world around us, they are meant, partly, to instruct, to "teach us how to conduct ourselves during the stages of our lives," in the words of Joseph Campbell, powering all our actions and beliefs.

Myths awaken in us the wonder of the child within. Children experience an innate bond with the natural world, a bond supported by the stories and ancient legends passed down through cultures. As we age, the bond is gradually diminished -- stories forgotten and myths untold -- and replaced with logic and pragmatism. The myths that once validated a social order based on interconnectedness have been supplanted by newer ones -- the myth of individualism, of cultural superiority, of progress and prosperity. And the social order they now support is one that seems ever farther removed from the numinous. The belief systems they engender lead us farther and farther from the still-necessary underlying truths of the old stories. Our separation extends across time to religion, geopolitics, race, class, and even species. The old bond broken, our mindless self-interests range across the globe, treading more and more cruelly and carelessly upon the natural world in a dangerous dance of dissolution.

Creation myths often spoke of sacred animals that played integral parts in the formation of the natural world, but these beliefs no longer seem essential to our industrialized consciousness. Animals are no longer esteemed as the sacred basis for existence, but rather as resources to be employed in our service. At a time when respect for our environment and the creatures living within it appears largely absent from our actions, it is worrisome to have strayed so far from the mythology of our cultures.

If humanity is to tread more carefully, to guard that its footprint does not irreparably mar that on which it depends, it is in desperate need of a new mythology -- one that transcends the artificial boundaries of culture, nation, religion, and species; a mythology that carries with it the innocence of childhood, the compassion born of a connection to all living things, the shared recollection of oneness.

Gregory Colbert's timeless epic of serenity, grace, and poetic connectedness bestows this new mythology upon an age in need. In Colbert's images, humans and animals are woven together into a tender and majestic tapestry, each thread connected to the other. Speaking to us through the layers of our logic and reason, he reaches out to the innocent children we might still become.

And not a moment too soon.

More Images From the Exhibit

The Nomadic Museum

Hard-core conservatives fleeing Bush’s side

Hard-core conservatives fleeing Bush’s side: Concerns over spending, immigration policy running high, experts say
By Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker
Washington Post, Reposted on MSNBC

Disaffection over spending and immigration have caused conservatives to take flight from President Bush and the Republican Congress at a rapid pace in recent weeks, sending Bush's approval ratings to record lows and presenting a new threat to the GOP's 12-year reign on Capitol Hill, according to White House officials, lawmakers and new polling data.

Bush and Congress have suffered a decline in support from almost every part of the conservative coalition over the past year, a trend that has accelerated with alarming implications for Bush's governing strategy.

The Gallup polling organization recorded a 13-percentage-point drop in Republican support for Bush in the past couple of weeks. These usually reliable voters are telling pollsters and lawmakers they are fed up with what they see as out-of-control spending by Washington and, more generally, an abandonment of core conservative principles.

To Read the Entire Article

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Wire Tap

2006 California Campus Leadership Project NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS!

The League of Pissed Off Voters is looking for 12 student organizers from across the state who will receive stipends to mobilize voters on their campuses in the Fall of 2006. Participating students will receive on-the ground training in Los Angeles, working with community based organizations including Bus Riders' Union, SCOPE/AGENDA, ALERT, and SEIU. Student Organizers will receive ongoing mentorship and support from the League and will be paired up with local community-based
organizations near their campus.

We welcome creative and fun approaches to engage students; these organizers will have the opportunity to shape this work fit for their campus community. We are looking to identify strong leaders who are organizing on their campuses, are interested in electoral organizing, want to further develop their skills, and need support.

We also want to take this off-campus and will be linking these student organizers with community-based organizations in the area as mentors in hopes that these leaders will continue to do social justice community work after graduation.

The deadline for applications is May 31st, 2006.

For more info or to apply contact: Marianne Cariaso at or
call (415) 606-9193.

Amnesty International Concert: May 12th

Amnesty International Concert

The show is put on to benefit and raise awareness for Amnesty International. It will be in the Southgate House Ballroom, the date is Friday, May 12, door open 8:00 and the show is 8:30, the cost is only $6. The bands are Campfire Crush, Chocolate Horse, Image Afrobeat Band, The Minni-Thins, Philosopher's Stone, The Frankl Project and John Parker's Blinge 9.

for more information

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Thoughts on Blogging by a Poorly Masked Academic

Excerpt of an interview Craig Saper conducted with me for his upcoming essay on blogging:

1. How long have you had a blog? When did you start producing it?

My first blog was Dialogic which I started in January of 2004. It is my only personal blog. I have a blog for a film society and one I run for an activist group. I have approximately 10 blogs for various classes. Of course because Dialogic is political and I haven't received tenure yet, it is the only one I do not operate under my birth name--although it is very easy to figure out who I am and many of my students/colleagues know about the site.

2. How did you choose the title of your blog?

I'm frustrated by the monologic tendencies (across the political spectrum) of American culture and was feeling kind of isolated in my conservative environment (I'm in Kentucky, a red state, and was teaching then at the conservative University of Kentucky). I was reading a lot of Bakhtin, Foucault and Habermas when I started Dialogic and was wondering how I could encourage dialogic or polylogic communication/engagement (as opposed to monologic controlling tendencies or cacophonic disorder) in academia, and even more importantly, beyond its limited world. It was my anguished howl into the dark abyss... wondering whether there was anything/anyone who might startle me by looking/talking back from the stygian blackness. My anguish was over the second time I had lost faith in a religion, the first time when I was a teen I had lost my deeply held Christian faith as a result of being exposed to its hypocrisies and illusions, this time, in a similar way, it was the loss of faith in the myths of American democracy (as practiced in a corporate-capitalist state).

3. Do you know many academics who have blogs? Are there any that you read regularly? Any that are of particularly high quality, or provocatively insightful?

At this moment some of my regular stops are Jodi Dean, Ariadne's Labyrinth, Beppeblog, Bitch PHD, Bluegrass Roots (collective), Daimonic Reality, Elenamary, Feral Scholar, Habermasian Reflections, Impetus Green Room, Impetus Java House, Jeffrey Caldwell, Jill/TXT, Lawrence Lessig, Long Sunday (collective), Mahzood (for his links which provide me with amazing intellectual derives--he writes on the blog in a language I can't read--but we email from time to time), Majikthise, Mark Dery, Michael Berube, New Teacher (collective), Progressive Blog Alliance (collective which includes many academics), Pas-au-Dela, Prarie Mary, Prophet or Madman, Red Harvest, Thebewilderness, WhereProject

These are just the ones I "know" (or assume) are in academia ... I'm sure there are more that I have left out, there are also a huge number of former-academics blogging.

4. Do you think blogs represent a supplement to academia?

I'm kind of resistant to this form of classification, or the need for it, because if we do this then blogging will become much more formalized, regulated and restricted for academics. I'm skeptical whether the academy will ever accept "personal" blogging as a form of professional credit (and wonder whether they should?)

5. Do you think blogs have changed academic pursuits?

Yes, they can be very beneficial in extending the range of one's interests, but at the same time they can be distracting and destructive (of one's writing time in particular)

6. Reading some blogs by academics, including yours, I get the sense that blogs could serve something like the progress of knowledge or an alternative to traditional research. Do you think blogs have changed academia?

Very little so far because most academics do not blog--the list I provided is scattered (I don't think any of them are in the same city). What it is doing is making knowledge and learning more public. This is why academia has an anxiety in regards to blogging. They have had a monopoly over knowledge-production/dissemination and this is changing. At the same time I am very skeptical about online learning, my college, like most institutions of higher learning, are seizing upon the Internet as the wave of future-learning... my experience is that online forums, like blogs, are best at exposing people to knew ideas and making connections across spaces. What worries me about these forums is when people solely rely on the Internet for learning and communicating... a simple walk outdoors, a visit to a library, participating in a community/activist/artistic event, is much more powerful and progressive than all the blogging or sifting we do on the Internet. Once again, though, this in no way is a dismissive gesture on my part--we live in a social situation in which the Mainstream Media have been consolidated and censored to a point where we need open, independent voices... the most inexpensive and open place these days in which people can communicate across vast distances and peoples is the Internet.

7. Could one build a curriculum based on a group of blogs by cultural critics (associated with academia)?

Definitely... I use blogs and websites in my courses. Last year I experimented and taught a course that used websites/blogs (the students also created their own blogs). It is very helpful in thinking about "voice" and visual aspects of compositions--and, of course, there is the wonderful diversity of voices online, for instance, check out Global Voices

8. Your blog, in particular, suggests an alternative (at least in its title) to higher learning -- do certain blogs offer an alternative and/or parallel type of academia?

Yes, this is my hope. Increase access to knowledge/information... provide easy access to cultural capital for those outside the confines of academia... strengthen our public culture. Now I realize that it will not do any good to have countless voices shouting out into the cyber-wilderness, but we are seeing positive moves toward collective action and this is but the early days of blogging. This is a vital moment in the development of blogging (and the Internet) will we allow it to remain open to the free distribution of information/knowledge in the hopes that we will reverse the trends towards apathy/silence in our public culture(s) or, are we going to allow the corporate-industrial-academic-military industries to move in and claim these open spaces as private property to be regulated, classified and controlled?

A big question we all should be concerned about...

I'm very interested in hearing what others have to say in regards to these questions, or if you have other questions that you think are important... if you post your own answers (or new questions) please let me know...


Michael Benton

Friday, May 05, 2006

Stephen Colbert: White House Correspondents Dinner

Stephen Colbert skewers the president, his cabinet, and the Washington lackeys (including the Washington press). I heard this is getting no play on mainstream TV (I don't have TV, so I have no idea). Interesting the effect comedy has on people.

Colbert Smart Bomb: Opening Monologue

Dining on the Press Corps

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Kemet: You Make Me Wet... But I Don't Want You

(Thanks to Nila and Satan Mcnugget who encouraged me to visit this site again. The title of this poem caught my attention at Saul William's poetry posting board, and, having caught my attention, the poem blew me away with its honesty and power. Original link for the poem--Kemet I hope you don't mind me posting it here, if so, let me know and I will take it down.)

He sipped his merlot as if he were sipping the wine of violence
“ So… can I taste you?”

Come again???

I wanted to bow thine ears to his understandings
So many come in sheep’s clothing
Smelling good and looking fine
This brotha had his shit together
And he was given me what I needed
Mental Stimulation…… DAMN
How good does it feel to your ears
To have someone speak and know what the fuck they are talking about
I mean… We all try to sound important
Read a few books and take a few classes to encourage the plight of knowledge
Defeating the odds as to how many professional minorities you can say that you know
He is intelligent
Good Looking
And he did his homework on me
He gets points for that
Anyone who pays attention to my vowels and consonants
knows what words they will make
“Proud Single Mother “
Three words in agreement as to who I am
“I’m not looking for anything serious right now”
That’s ok
Neither am I
My schedule can get pretty crazed. Most women can’t handle that
You would think that with me being a doctor, they would understand
They should be so lucky

: Anoyance#1: AROGANCE
“”” voice in head -

“Who in da hell does he think he is?”
They should be so lucky.
AS if he were God almighty himself

Kind of cocky there aren’t we?
“Not at all.” Most women complain about not having a good man
but when he shows up, they still complain.

He pulls me closer to him as we Salsa
My breasts lean up against his chest
He views my motherhood delights like he wants me to nurse him
The music changes paces
It gets slower
“I think I want to sit this one O*#@!!!ut.”
Before I could finish, he pushes his tongue in my mouth
He grabs the back of my head
Pushing my tongue further into his
Damn… I think my mouth just got rapped

I walk back slowly to our table in a trance
Not that I didn’t want to give this man some wet love
This was our second date
He deserved that much
But the fact that he took it like that…..

: Anoyance#2: GREED

”voice in head-
no this mutha fucka didn’t just do that shit!!!!
Calm down
Calm down

“Excuse me. I have to go to the ladies room.”

I rush off towards the bathroom
Thinking to myself, did I do anything to lead him on?
We were just kicking it
We both agreed that’s all it would be
Nothing more
If it ever came to a point where we thought sex was needed
We both would agree upon it and handle our business like adults
I’m not gonna lie
It’s been a minute since I’ve had some good sex
But I know for a fact I didn’t conduct my ways towards that insight
Why in the world did he do that?
Where is my phone?
I dial the only reasonable person who would tell me I am over reacting
I drop the phone and begin to cry

“Are you ok Miss?”

“She isn’t there!”


Do You need a ride somewhere?

No. I’m ok

I look at my cell phone
Staring at the number
“Akeelah’s cell”

I wipe my face and head out of the rest room

“I ordered you another glass of Merlot”

I’m good

He slips me this plastic card
“What’s this?”
I rented us a suite for the night
“You rented what?”

I figured we both could relax and unwind a bit
I have had a tiresome week and I know you have as well
We both need to chill and relax

I look at the card. And then back at him

I sit
Contemplating the idea of a man wanting to pleasure me all night
Should have been a mutual insolent
That way, my mind wouldn’t be telling the dick craving that I have been having
To presume position
Spread and receive

I have never been that damn easy
Nor am I a tease

He already had 2 strikes against him this afternoon
And hell, this is 3

: Anoyance#3: CONTROLLING
”voice in head-

It wasn’t mutually planed
I love spontaneity
But this is getting to be overbearing
He assumes that I would go
Let’s keep it real
I need some sex
If he would have played his cards right……
***************** make me wet
but I don't want you

© 2006 Kennethia Jacobs

Intermediate Sphere

Kemet's My Space

Kemet's Blog

Kemet's Music

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thinking About Ways to Research, Write and Teach About Social Movements, Human Rights and Collective Actions (Progressive and Regressive)

(OK, I'm developing a course on contemporary social movements... as is typical I'm diving into the deep end, and will probably flounder around a bit ... so anyone want to throw me something to float on, in the form of suggestions of books, essays, films, websites, please do, and I will make this post a revolving resource, as I come across stuff, and people give me suggestions, I will add them to the list)

30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle [Documentary on the 1999 WTO Street Protests]

ACLU Freedom Files: Dissent

Acting on Faith: Women's New Religious Activism in America

Adbusters [Canadian magazine that is at the center of a cultural jammers movement—Kall Lasn is the publisher]

African American Art and Political Dissent During the Harlem Renaissance

The African American Odyssey: The Quest for Full Citizenship

Ali, Tariq and Susan Watkins. 1968: Marching in the Streets. NY: Free Press, 1998.

Alinsky, Saul. Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. NY: Vintage, 1989.

Allen, Robert C. Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution Princeton: Princeton University Press 2003.

Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Andriolo, Karin. "The Twice Killed: Imaging Protest Suicide." American Anthropologist 108.1 (2006): 66-76.

Armstrong, Charles K. The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press 2004.

Art Crimes

Art of the Street: Time Photo Essay (2005)

Avni, Ronit. "Mobilizing Hope: Beyond the Shame-Based Model in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." American Anthropologist 108.1 (2006): 205-214.

Bacon, David. The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border. Berkeley: University of California Press 2004.

Bakan, Joel. The Corporation — The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power NY: Viking 2004

Battle for the Minds

Beckerman, Gal. "Indymedia: Between Passion and Pragmatism." Columbia Review of Journalism (reposted on AlterNet: September 17, 2003)

Bigelow, Bill and Bob Peterson, eds. Rethinking Globalization: Teaching for Justice in An Unjust World. Rethinking Schools Press, 2002.

The Bill of Rights (U.S.)

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Biology Professor Resigns Over Government Use of Plant Research (Martha Crouch: Democracy Now Profile)

Blight, David, ed. The Underground Railroad in History and Memory: Passages to Freedom. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2004

Branford, Sue and Jan Rocha. Cutting the Wire: The Story of the Landless Movement in Brazil. London: Latin American Bureau, 2002.

Brazil's Landless Workers Movement: Friends of the MST

Brecher, Jeremy, et al. Globalization From Below. Boston: South End Press, 2000.

Brief History of Political Cartooning

Bringing Down a Dictator

A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Camp, Stephanie M.H. Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South. University of North Carolina P, 2004.

Carrigan, William D. The Making of a Lynching Culture: Violence and Vigilantism in Central Texas, 1836-1916. U of Illinois P, 2004.

Carson, Clayborne, et al, eds. The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle. NY: Penguin, 1991.

Castells, Manuel. The Power of Identity. Volume II: The Information Age. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003.

Cities, Art, and Recovery: What Comes After?

Civil Rights Movement Timeline

Coates, Ken S. A Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggles and Survival Palgrave MacMillan, 2004.

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

Coleman, Kate. The Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the Redwoods, and the End of Earth First! San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2005.

The Corporation (Documentary)

Cox, Oliver C. Capitalism as a System. NY: Monthly Review Press, 1964.

Croucher, Sheila. Globalization and Belonging: The Politics of Identity in a Changing World. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

Cunningham, David. There's Something Happening Here: The New Left, The Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence. University of California Press, 2005.

Davis, Colin J. Waterfront Revolts: New York and London Dockworkers, 1946–61. Urbana: University of Illinois Press 2003.

The Design of Dissent

Difficult Dialogues: Promoting Pluralism and Academic Freedom on Campus (Ford Foundation)

Dubois, Laurent. A Colony of Citizens: Revolution & Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787–1804. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

---. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Duncombe, Stephen. Cultural Resistance Reader. NY: Verso, 2002.

Eastman, W. Dean and Kevin McGrath. "These Names Had Life and Meaning: Students document antebellum African American civic engagement." Common-Place 5.3 (April 2005)

Echols, Alice. Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-1975.

European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration

Evans, Sara M., ed. Journeys That Opened the World: Women, Student Christian Movements, and Social Justice, 1955–1975. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2003.

Eyes Wide Open: An Exhibition on the Human Cost of the Iraq War

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. NY: Grove Press, 1966.

Feenberg, Andrew and Jim Freedman. When Poetry Ruled the Streets: The French May Events of 1968. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2001.

A Force More Powerful: Using Nonviolent Conflict to Achieve Democracy and Human Rights

Freedom on My Mind [Documentary]

Freeway Blogger

Galano, Ann Maria and Sebastio Salgado. Land Hungry in Brazil (UNESCO Photo Essay)

Gandhi's Salt March (History Channel: also an archive of 50 of Gandhi's speeches)

Gardner, Morgan. Linking Activism: Ecology, Social Justice, and Education for Social Change. NY: Routledge, 2005.

Gelinas, Jacques B. Juggernaut Politics: Understanding Predatory Globalization. London & New York: Zed Books 2003.

Giraffe Heroes Project

Glasbeek, Harry. Wealth by Stealth — Corporate Crime, Corporate Law and the Perversion of Democracy Toronto: Between the Lines 2002.

The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It

Government Accountability Project

Graffiti & Street Art (European)

Granville, Johanna. "'Caught With Jam On Our Fingers': Radio Free Europe and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956." Diplomatic History 29.5 (November 2005): 811-840.

Gray, Patty A. The Predicament of Chukotka's Indigenous Movement: Post-Soviet Activism in the Russian Far-North. Cambridge UP, 2005.

Gregory, Sam. "Transnational Storytelling: Human Rights, WITNESS, and Video Advocacy." American Anthropologist 108.1 (2006): 195-204.

Halper, Stefan and Jonathan Clarke. America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Halstead, Fred. Out Now: A Participant's Account of the Movement in the United States Against the Vietnam War. Achor Foundation, 1991.

Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. NY: The Penguin Press, 2004.

Harlan County, U.S.A.

Hearts and Minds

Hellin, John and Sophie Higman. Feeding the Market: South American Farmers, Trade and Globalization. London: ITDG Publishing 2003.

Heywood, Leslie, ed. The Women's Movement Today: An Encyclopedia of Third Wave Feminism. Greenwood Press, 2005.

Horn, Jeff. "Machine-breaking in England and France during the Age of Revolution." Labour/Le Travail #55 (Spring 2005)

How the Terminator (Gene) Terminates: An explanation for the non-scientist of a remarkable patent for killing second generation seeds of crop plants

Human & Constitutional Rights: U.S. States and Territories

Human & Constitutional Rights: U.S. Documents

Human Rights in Brazil Reports 2003/2004>

Humphrey, Thomas J. Land and Liberty: Hudson Valley Riots in the Age of Revolution. Northern Illinois UP, 2004.

International Union of Sex Workers

Iron Jawed Angels

Important Documents about Liberty

Jacobs, Dale, ed. The Myles Horton Reader: Education for Social Change. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2003.

Justice John Marshall Harlan's Great Dissent

Kaplan, Temma. Anarchists of Andalusia, 1868-1903. Princeton University Press, 1977.

---. Crazy for Democracy: Women in Grassroots Movements. NY: Routledge, 1996.

---. Red City, Blue Period: Social Movements in Picasso's Barcelona Berkeley: University of California, 1993.

---. Taking Back the Streets: Women, Youth, and Direct Democracy Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 2004.

Kaufman, Cynthia. Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change. Boston: South End Press, 2003.

Kentucky Fairness Campaign

King, Martin Luther, Jr. I Have a Dream (1963)

Klein, Naomi. No Fences, No Borders: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate. NY: Picador, 2002.

Kunstler, William. Politics on Trial: Five Famous Trials of the 20th Century. Ocean Press, 2003: 130 pages.

Kurlansky, Mark. 1968: The Year That Rocked the World. NY: Ballantine Books, 2003.

Labour/Le Travail [Journal: Available Online]

Land: And How It Gets That Way

Larmer, Miles. "Unrealistic Expectations?: Zambia'z Mineworkers From Independence to the One-Party State, 1964-1972." Journal of Historical Sociology 18.4 (December 2005): 318-352.

Lasn, Kalle. Culture Jam. Quill, 2000: 215 pages

Last Chance for Animals

Lechner, Frank J. and John Boli, eds. The Globalization Reader. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003.

Leistyna, Pepi, ed. Cultural Studies: From Theory to Action. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

Linebaugh, Peter and Marcus Rediker. The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.

LiP Magazine (Summer 2005 issue) “The ‘Constructively Negative’ Sacred Cows Issue [Constructive critiques of social movements]

Martinez-Alier, Joan. “’Environmental Justice’ (Local and Global).” The Cultures of Globalization. Eds. Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998: 312-326.


McCarthy, Timothy Patrick and John McMillian, eds. The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of the Radical American Tradition. NY: The New Press, 2003.

McKeen, Wendy. Money in Their Own Name: The Feminist Voice in Poverty Debate in Canada, 1970–1995. Toronto: University of Toronto Press 2004.

McLagan, Meg. "Introduction: Making Human Rights Claims Public." American Anthropologist 108.1 (2006): 191-195.

Media Coalition

Merry, Sally Engle. "Transnational Human Rights and Local Activism: Mapping the Middle." American Anthropologist 108.1 (2006): 38-51.

Mertes, Tom. A Movements of Movements: Is Another World Possible? NY: Verso, 2004.

Meyer, David S. Social Movements: Identity, Culture, and the State. NY: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty (1860)

Mitchell, Don and Lynn A. Stahelli. "Permitting Dissent: Parsing the Fine Geography of Dissent in America." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29.4 (December 2005): 796-813

Mixon, Gregory. The Atlanta Riot: Race, Class, and Violence in a New South City. UP of Florida, 2005.

Munck, Ronaldo, ed., Labour and Globalisation: Results and Prospects Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2004.


Nash, John C., ed. Social Movements: An Athropological Reader. Blackwell, 2005.

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Whistleblower Center

Network of Sex Work Projects

Newman, Paul Douglas. Fries Rebellion: The Enduring Struggle for the American Revolution. U of Pennsylvania P, 2004.

Noddings, Nel. “Global Citizenship: Promises and Problems” and “Place-Based Education to Preserve the Earth and Its People” Educating Citizens for Global Awareness. Ed. Nel Noddings. NY: Columbia University Press/Teachers College Press, 2005: 1-22; 57-69.

Notes From Nowhere Collective. We are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism. NY: Verso, 2003. [Available online]

Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

Orwell Rolls in His Grave

Peace: Historical Movements

Peace: Theory and Action

Pestana, Carla Gardina. The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution, 1640-1661. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Petras, James and Henry Veltmeyer. System in Crisis: The Dynamics of Free Market Capitalism Fernwood, 2003.

Pojmann, Wendy. "Emancipation or Liberation?: Women's Associations and the Italian Liberation Movement." The Historian 67.1 (March 2005): 73-96.

Pope, Jim. "Worker Lawmaking, Sit-Down Strikes, and the Shaping of American Industrial Relations, 1935–1958." Law and History Review 24.1 (Spring 2006)

Project on Government Oversight

Public Citizen

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Rael, Patrick. "Free Black Activism in the Antebellum North." The History Teacher 39.2 (February 2006)

Roddick, Anita. Take It Personally: How To Make Conscious Choices to Change the World. Red Wheel/Weiser, 2002.

Roots of Resistance: The Story of the Underground Railroad

Rowlands, Mark. Animals Like Us. Verso, 2002

Roy, Arundhati. An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire. Boston: South End Press, 2004.

Rudnick, Lois P., et al. American Identities: An Introductory Textbook. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006. [Source documents of American 20th Century social movements.]

Sakolsky, Ron and Fred Wei-Han Ho. Sounding Off: Music as Subversion/Resistance/Revolution. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1995.

Shaw, Randy. The Activist’s Handbook. Berkely: University of California Press, 2001.

Sierra Club

Sir, No Sir

Sklair, Leslie. “Social Movements and Global Capital.” The Cultures of Globalization. Eds. Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998: 291-311.

Snodgrass, Michael. Deference and Defiance in Monterrey: Workers, Paternalism, and Revolution in Mexico, 1890–1950. New York: Cambridge University Press 2003.

Snow, David A. The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.

Solnit, David. Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Publishers, 2003.

Sowards, Adam M. "William O. Douglas's Wilderness Politics: Public Protest and Committees of Correspondence in the Pacific Northwest" The Western Historical Quarterly 37.1 (Spring 2006)

Speed, Shannon. "At the Crossroads of Human Rights and Anthropology: Toward a Critically Engaged Activist Research." American Anthropologist 108.1 (2006): 66-76.

Stone, Daniel ed. Jewish Radicalism In Winnipeg, 1905–1960: Jewish Life and Times, Volume VIII Winnipeg: Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada 2002.

Stonebanks, Roger. Fighting for Dignity: The Ginger Goodwin Story. St. John's: Canadian Committee on Labour History 2004.


Striffler, Steve. In the Shadows of State and Capital: The United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900–1995. Durham, NC: Duke University Press 2002.

Sunstein, Cass. Why Societies Need Dissent. Harvard UP, 2003.

Tétreault, Mary Ann and Robin L. Teske, eds. Partial Truths and the Politics of Community. (Feminist Approaches to Social Movements, Community, and Power: Volume II) Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2003.

They Created the First Modern Agenda for Liberty: The "Levellers" in 17th Century England

Thirst (documentary)

Thoreau, Henry David. Civil Disobedience (1849)

Tilly, Charles. Social Movements, 1768-2004. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2004.

Torchin, Leshu. "Ravished Armenia: Visual Media, Humanitarian Advocacy, and the Formation of Witnessing Publics." American Anthropologist 108.1 (2006): 214-220.

Twain, Mark. The Mysterious Stranger

---. To the Person Sitting in Darkness...

---. The War Prayer

Vienet, Rene. Enrages and Situationists in the Occupation Movement, France, 1968. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1992.

Wage Peace Campaign

Wal-Mart Watch

The War At Home

Wasn't That a Time: A Century of Struggle (Photo-Essay)

We Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement

Wesolowsky, Tony. Fear of the Polish Plumber In These Times (April 13, 2006) [Protests of European Union labor policies]

Winter Soldier

Wooster Collective

Wright, Angus and Wendy Wolford. To Inherit the Earth: The Landless Movement and the Struggle for a New Brazil. Oakland, CA: Food First Books, 2003.

---. "Now It is Time: The MST and Grassroots Land Reform in Brazil"

Wrigley, Chris. British Trade Unions since 1933. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002.

Yates, Michael D. Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy. New York: Monthly Review Press 2003.

---. Why Unions Matter. NY: Monthly Review Press, 1998.

Zerubavel, Eviatar. Social Mindscapes. Harvard UP, 1998

Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present. NY: Perennial Classics, 1999.

Zinn, Howard and Anthony Arnove, ed. Voices of a People’s History of the United States. NY: Seven Stories Press, 2004. [Original source documents of the histories from Zinn’s landmark history.]

Erik Reece: Moving Mountains


NOT SINCE THE GLACIERS PUSHED toward these ridgelines a million years ago have the Appalachian Mountains been as threatened as they are today. But the coal-extraction process decimating this landscape, known as mountaintop removal, has generated little press beyond the region. The problem, in many ways, is one of perspective. From interstates and lowlands, where most communities are clustered, one simply doesn't see what is happening up there. Only from the air can you fully grasp the magnitude of the devastation. If you were to board, say, a small prop plane at Zeb Mountain, Tennessee, and follow the spine of the Appalachian Mountains up through Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, you would be struck not by the beauty of a densely forested range older than the Himalayas, but rather by inescapable images of ecological violence. Near Pine Mountain, Kentucky, you'd see an unfolding series of staggered green hills quickly give way to a wide expanse of gray plateaus pocked with dark craters and huge black ponds filled with a toxic byproduct called coal slurry. The desolation stretches like a long scar up the Kentucky-Virginia line, before eating its way across southern West Virginia.

Central Appalachia provides much of the country's coal, second only to Wyoming's Powder River Basin. In the United States, one hundred tons of coal are extracted every two seconds. Around 70 percent of that coal comes from strip mines, and over the last twenty years, an increasing amount comes from mountaintop removal sites. In the name of corporate expedience, coal companies have turned from excavation to simply blasting away the tops of the mountains. To achieve this, they use the same mixture of ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel that Timothy McVeigh employed to level the Murrow Building in Oklahoma City—except each detonation is ten times as powerful, and thousands of blasts go off each day across central Appalachia. Hundreds of feet of forest, topsoil, and sandstone—the coal industry calls all of this "overburden"—are unearthed so bulldozers and front-end loaders can more easily extract the thin seams of rich, bituminous coal that stretch in horizontal layers throughout these mountains. Almost everything that isn't coal is pushed down into the valleys below. As a result, 6,700 "valley fills" were approved in central Appalachia between 1985 and 2001. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that over 700 miles of healthy streams have been completely buried by mountaintop removal and thousands more have been damaged. Where there once flowed a highly braided system of headwater streams, now a vast circuitry of haul roads winds through the rubble. From the air, it looks like someone had tried to plot a highway system on the moon.

To Read the Entire Essay

Nixon White House Counsel John Dean and Pentagon Papers Leaker Daniel Ellsberg on Watergate and the Abuse of Presidential Power from Nixon to Bush

Nixon White House Counsel John Dean and Pentagon Papers Leaker Daniel Ellsberg on Watergate and the Abuse of Presidential Power from Nixon to Bush
Hosted by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now

In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive we are joined by two figures who played central roles in the fall of President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal of a generation ago, John Dean and Daniel Ellsberg. Dean served as President Nixon's chief counsel. He exposed the government-sanctioned break-in of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the government analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers and earned himself a spot on Nixon's enemy list. Dean and Ellsberg join us in our firehouse studio to discuss Watergate and the abuse of presidential power from Nixon to Bush.

To Watch/Listen/Read