Saturday, March 31, 2007

Philip Zimbardo: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Understanding How Good People Turn Evil: Renowned Psychologist Philip Zimbardo On his Landmark Stanford Prison Experiment, Abu Ghraib and More
Democracy Now

In 1971, psychology professor Philip Zimbardo created the Stanford Prison Experiment in which 24 college students were randomly assigned the roles of prison guards and prisoners at a makeshift jail on campus. The experiment was scheduled to run for two weeks. By Day Two, the guards were going far beyond just keeping the prisoners behind bars. In scenes eerily similar to Abu Ghraib, prisoners were stripped naked, bags put on their heads and sexually humiliated. The two-week experiment had to be canceled after just six days. Zimbardo tells the full story of the landmark study in his new book, "The Lucifer Effect."


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Word of the Day: Inveigh


inveigh \in-VAY\ verb

: to protest or complain bitterly or vehemently : rail

Example sentence:
The senator inveighed against the new FDA regulations, claiming they allow loopholes for manufacturers.

Did you know?
You might complain or grumble about some wrong you see, or, for a stronger effect, you can "inveigh" against it. "Inveigh" comes from the Latin verb "invehere," which joins the prefix "in-" with the verb "vehere," meaning "to carry." "Invehere" literally means "to carry in," and when "inveigh" first appeared in English, it was also used to mean "to carry in" or "to introduce." Extended meanings of "invehere," however, are "to force one's way into," "attack," and "to assail with words," and that's where the current sense of "inveigh" comes from. A closely related word is "invective," which means "insulting or abusive language." This word, too, ultimately comes from "invehere."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Carnegie Center Events (3/29 - 4/14)

Hello Carnegie Center Friends,

Don’t forget that this Thursday 3/29 is Family Fun & Learning Night. Please share the following reminder with family and friends:

Thursday, March 29
5:30-7:30 pm
Participate in unique crafts and activities
Use meteorological tools to chart & predict weather
Enter the raffle for cool prizes
Enjoy storytelling and FREE dinner from Fazoli’s!


Now’s the time to get registered for the 5K Run/Walk to benefit the Carnegie Center on April 14! Registration forms are available via the Carnegie Center’s website

5K Run/Walk for the Carnegie Center
Saturday, April 14
6:30 pm
UK Coldstream Research Campus

Sponsored by UK’s Honors Program Student Council,
UK Student Government, and John’s Run/Walk Shop

Pre-registration (before April 7) : $7
Post-April 7 and race day registration: $15

Prizes for overall male/female, male and female age groups, & most represented organization
Dogs and strollers welcome!
Registration forms can be found here

We’d also like to invite everyone to check out the latest -- and stunning! -- exhibit in the Carnegie Center’s Laurie S. Bottoms Art Gallery:

The Art of Monotype:
Works by Members of the Bluegrass Printmakers’ Cooperative
Through April 14
The Laurie S. Bottoms Gallery at the Carnegie Center
This show is made possible by a Kentucky Foundation for Women
Arts Meets Activism Grant and the Bluegrass Printmakers’ Cooperative
Bluegrass Printmakers Cooperative

As usual, there’s a lot going on at the Carnegie Center. If you haven’t checked out the spring 2007 list of classes, see an online version at Carnegie Literacy or call us at (859) 254-4175 to request a brochure.

See you soon!


Scientists plan interspecies cloning

(I'm no scientist, but this seems like they are just asking for an ecological disaster...)

Scientists plan interspecies cloning: U.K. researchers want to fuse human DNA with cow cells to study diseases

SAN FRANCISCO - It was nearly a decade ago that Jose Cibelli plugged his own DNA into a cow’s egg in a novel cloning attempt that was condemned as unethical by President Clinton and landed the Michigan State University researcher in a mess of controversy.

Even though Cibelli and his colleagues patented the so-called interspecies cloning technique, they soon abandoned the research as a failure and the uproar subsided.

Now the tempest is brewing all over again.

At least three respected teams of British scientists have reignited the moral debate over inserting human genes into animal eggs by proposing experiments similar to Cibelli’s.

Their goal is to eliminate the need for women to donate eggs for the cloning of human embryos, a research goal they say will enable them to better understand the genetic causes of many diseases and design personalized medicines.

Thousands of eggs needed
Currently, the few scientists actively pursuing human cloning are hobbled by a nearly nonexistent human egg supply. And each researcher will need thousands of them.

“Getting eggs from women is the bottleneck to cloning,” Cibelli said. “An alternative would be welcomed.”

All three U.K. teams aim to get around that bottleneck by taking DNA from patients sick with a disease like Alzheimer’s and fuse it with cow eggs that have had all their genetic material removed. The hope is that the human DNA will trick the eggs into thinking they’re pregnant, beginning development.

After about five days of growth, the cloned embryos would be destroyed and the stem cells extracted. The stem cells would be grown in their labs and the researchers could look for the onset of diseases, study their development and test experimental drugs on the cells.

“You can model Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease in a dish,” said Stephen Minger, director of the Stem Cell Laboratory at King’s College in London.

Minger’s request for a government license to use cow eggs instead of women’s eggs to generate human embryonic stem cells stirred significant controversy in the United Kingdom last year. His application with the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority — along with another from Lyle Armstrong of the North East England Stem Cell Institute — is expected to be ruled on later this year.

U.K. researchers are required to obtain government licenses to work with human embryonic stem cells. No such restrictions exist in the United States, though President Bush banned federal funding for most such research in this country.

Ian Wilmut, the U.K. researcher who cloned Dolly the sheep in 1997, said that if British government ...

Link to Read the Rest of the Article

Gnarls Barkley: Just a Thought

(Earlier comments about Gnarls Barkley)

"Just A Thought"
by Gnarls Barkley

All I want is your understanding
As in the small act of affection
"Why is this my life?"
Is almost everybody's question

And I've tried
Everything but suicide
But it's crossed my mind

I prefer peace
Wouldn't have to have one word of possession
But essentially I'm an animal
So just what do I do with all the aggression?

Well I've tried
Everything but suicide
But it's crossed my mind

Life is a one-way street, and if you could paint it
I'd draw myself going in the right direction
So I go all the way - like I really really know -
But the truth is I'm only guessin'

And I've tried
Everything but suicide
Oooh but it's crossed my mind
Just a thought

It's even dark in the daytime
It's not just good - it's +Great Depression+
When I was lost I even found myself
Looking in the gun's direction

And so I've tried
Everything but suicide
But yes - it's crossed my mind
But I'm fine

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


(I have received over a dozen letters from students in the last two days--hopeful, questioning, troubled, etc... they have all moved me and continue pushing me to ask more questions and rethink my own stances/understandings--thus, I have collected some of my reflections and I'm thinking of changing the name of this site as I have a new perspective... I still value the power of dialogic exchanges, but I'm moving in a new direction... thanks to all of the students that have sent me letters! This started out as a letter to a student who wanted to know how i came to believe and think the way I do...)

I know you have "way to much" to read but I can supply some background for where I am coming from--why I feel and think the way I do... I was radicalized on the streets long before I ever came to college (my education just supplied me with fancy theories and words to express it--I'm not dismissing the power of that education--it was a necessary step, but not the only one):

Biographical Statement

I wasn't what anyone would call a "normal" kid:

What was up with that kid

I was a high school drop out (10th grade), lived on the streets from the age of 15, survived in gangs and underground lifestyles, built a close-knit communal tribe that lasted for years and dissolved in a flash, worked as a roofer for 8 years, ended up working 22 jobs before I became a professor--I never had much tolerance for work that didn't provide me with some sense of doing something of value (as in making the world better somehow).

I developed a wicked and destructive hard drug addiction in my mid 20s that I feared would destroy me or put me permanently in a restrictive institution (prison, mental hospital, etc...). Left my home of California and headed for the Midwest to kick my addiction and entered communtiy college, got the A.A. in accounting, decided I wanted more and pursued the B.A. in English/History, then an M.A. in Cultural Studies because I wanted to study contemporary culture ... while I was liberal, this is when I became radicalized because my thesis involved how contemporary activist/alternative/radical subcultures were incorporating the theories of early 20th Century European Avant-Garde groups (Dada; Surrealists; Situationism, COBRA; Lettrist; etc...). Later I would pursue a PhD in interdisciplinary English Studies... with a specialty in pedagogical theories.

Unfortunately my early radicalism (during the M.A. years) was built on an arrogance about my experiences and where I came from and a fuck-all atitude of lets storm the gates and kick some ass. It verged on nihilism (Tim and JZ would understand where I was at). I had an awakening while teaching at that time that pushed me to reconsider how far I was from being enlightenend and how my very extreme and take no prisoners radicalism actually alienated most people (including my students):

Learning from El Mexterminator and Cyber Vato

I spiraled off from that pedagogical awakening and devoted every bit of energy for the next five years to learning how to be a better teacher. I was fanatical about it, to the point of denying every other need in my life. I didn't want to be a teacher who would climb up on a pedestal and preach down to his students (like that thread of Christainity that made me lose my religion at a young age), but instead I wanted to cultivate the courage/creativity to be an educator-learner who looked to his students as co-educator/learners.

I learn as much from my students as they do from me... some might be shocked by that (I have had people get angry when I say that), but that is the power of a cooperative and communal pedagogy. We are all citizens of this community/society/world and we should learn to cooperate and share in order to build a better world. Here is some specialized knowledge I know about, what do you care about?, let me show you how you can find more about that subject, all of us will go research our subjects and we will return to the group and present our findings--debate their meanings--then revisit and revise.

I had become a communal/cooperative/nurturing scholar/teacher/learner in the classroom, but I was a very hard person outside of work. Rejected notions of love, of cooperation, of possibilities for happiness. It was very contradictory, I would walk onto the campus and become an open-healing person, I would walk off the campus and it was as if I was at war (and I don't use that word lightly--that was my perspective) with the world.

Still I was learning and trying to change, hoping for something different... but then we never really come to a resting point in life (unless it is six feet under--that is when we can sleep soundly and dammit hopefully then we can get some answers from someone who claims to be in charge of the universe--someone cue XTC's "Dear God").

So I continued to seek and question, I continue to this day, because I feel there is so much that I don't know. I went through some particularly devastating personal tragedies in the past few years (the big 3D... death, divorce, depression...) in response I have returned to a broader pantheist exploration of spirituality to soften the sharp corners of my (ir)rationality:

In Rejecting Theism I Learn Finally to Develop My Spirituality

Most recently I have been trying to cultivate a sense of politics that develops out of a radical understanding of "love/friendship":


but, just like in my angrier phases, there is a danger in extremism of any sort... even, to my surprise, in a complete devotion to acts of "loving-kindness" (no matter what Chema Podron says)... the danger is when we suppress/ignore the shadow we all have. I had tried to be really nice/supportive/nurturing all the time--sublimating my needs for others--but like any volatile brew, if you bottle it in, there will be powerful fissures that eventual erupt and spew the potent (toxic) mixture all over the place. This actually led to some of the darkest depressions I have ever experienced. I had to face this directly recently when the long repressed dark side exploded out of me because I wasn't paying attention to it... I ended up disappointing and angering some very close and dear friends. Just another lesson about balance... now I'm searching again as always. Can't ignore disappointment/anger/pain, they are a part of us and must be fully incorporated...

I'm trying to conceive of an animalogos


logos = Etymology: Greek, speech, word, reason
reason that in ancient Greek philosophy is the controlling principle in the universe

and incorporate as a radical politics that is holistic in that I conceive of all beings as equal and deserving of the same dignity of life--that environments should be thought of as large interacting ecospheres that depend on the welfare of all beings (mineral/plant/animal)--that humans are arrogant in thinking they are the only higher evolved creatures on this planet and that they are the only living beings that have achieved higher-functioning consciousness--that love/loving is necessary for good personal health, caring/nurturing realationships are necessary for healthy communities, but that we cannot ignore/suppress our shadow (one of the benefits of creativity for me is channeling that shadow and light into my art in order to create a perspective that accepts them both)--that a pantheist/interdisciplinary perspective works best for me in that I develop the strongest under-standing (foundation) and response-ability (critical voice) from engaging the most possible ways of looking/seeing.

Can there be a meeting of the spirit and rationality = animalogos? Can I create/conceive a positive reality without burying other equally important conceptions of the world?

I look forward to asking more questions and learning from others.

Peace my friends

Song of the Day: Bob Marley--"Jamming"

(Dedicated to those around the world who continue to struggle for all people the right to freedom, survival, dignity and happiness.)

by Bob Marley
from Songs of Freedom, Disc 3

We're jamming
I wanna jam it with you,
We're jamming, jamming
And I hope you like jamming too

Ain't no rules, ain't no vow, we can do it anyhow
I and I will see you through,
'Cos every day we pay the price with a little sacrifice
Jamming till the jam is through.

We're jamming
To think that jamming was a thing of the past,
We're jamming, jamming
And I hope this jam is gonna last

No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor will we bow
Neither can be bought nor sold.
We all defend the right, JAH JAH children must unite
Your life is worth much more than gold.

We're jamming, jamming
We're jamming in the name of the Lord
We're jamming, jamming
We're jamming right straight from JAH

Holy mount Zion
Holy mount Zion
JAH sitteth in Mount Zion
And rules all Creation

Yeah, we're jamming, jamming
I wanna jam it with you
We're jamming, jamming
I'm jammed, I hope you're jamming too

Jam's about my pride and truth I cannot hide
Too Keep you satisfied.
True love that now exist is the love I can't resist
So jam by my side.

Happy Spring Equinox

A friend sent this to me and it was morning time, I was drinking my first cup of the coffee, I heard that it will actually break 70 degrees today and I said... why not:

The challenge is to write whatever pops into your head, immediately without censoring it or editing (even if it doesn't apply to you, or seems absurd):

1. My 'ex' is still; without me

because she is controlling and paranoid

2. I am listening to; marvin and olive snore

soundly, while I restlessly pace about the house

3. Maybe i should; fold laundry

or, maybe not

4. I love; my dogs

just as much as I love my cat

5. best friends; are rare and beautiful

they should be cultivated wisely, much like lovers

6. I don't understand; anything

from time to time, then, suddenly, everything makes sense again

7. I lost my respect for; people who talk down to anyone

and disrespect people behind their back

8. The last thing i ate; pita bread and tofu salad

was unusual for me

9. The meaning of my display name; is how i feel

about the divinity of life, the ying and yang, the anima and the logos, the intertwining of the feminine and masculine in everyone

10. Love is; wonderful and painful and forever worth it.

It is an essential part of life and even though it can cause pain, the risk is worth the ultimate rewards of finding meaningful love

11. Somewhere; people are dancing and laughing

and i am happy for them

12. I will always; love to love

because it is fulfilling in the sense of developing a life of loving kindness is a thoughtful, considerate way of being in which you care about people, animals, plants and the world. you radiate consideration and love (not always successfully--we are human) in order to help make the world a better place, one being at a time...

13. Love seems to be; the meaning of life

and it is the basis of a radical politics that informs my life... but then perhaps there should be a question about "what is love" and I could then explain how my "radical" love is different from the Hallmark notion of love.

14. I never want to lose; my mother or doggies

shhhh.... you didn't say that

15. My mobile phone is; annoying

but, unfortunately, necessary, I went without any phone for a year and it really pissed people off, so I bear with the annoyance

16. When i woke up this morning; I moved slowly.

because my cat likes to dart in and out between my feet as I sleepily walk down the stairs to put some coffee on.

17. I get annoyed at; war and politics

well let me differentiate, I feel pain and anger at the unending profit-seeking, expansionist policies of warfare; I get a happy buzzy feeling at putting my efforts into developing a politics to address problems that I perceive and joining with others to fight them, afterall, politics in its etymological roots simply means relations between people (still haven't defined my politics of "radical love")

18. Parties; are over rated.

in the sense that most people limit the conception to a house or nightclub overflowing with people; some of my favorite parties have been a few people laughing, talking and buzzing away the night--those can never be over-estimated.

19. My pets; make me happy

because my best efforts at cultivating loving-kindness will fail from time-to-time and I become frustrated and when I sit down on my couch and become apathetic, Cleo comes over and once again instructs me in the "way of the buddha"--she is very wise!

20. Chocolate; is wonderful

when shared

21. Today I; enjoyed the day

when I wrote the answers to these questions (yeah I am a writer geek--but I also just woke up ;)

22. I wish; I was whitewater canoeing

or surfing on a beach in San Diego; or hiking in the Pacific Northwest; or visiting the old charming cities of Europe; or climbing up the ancient peaks of Macchu Piccu; or exploring the wild giant trees of British Columbia; or looking down in awe at the magnificient force of Victoria Falls; or finding out if I like the cultures of Thailand and India as much as I like their foods; or, or, or, or, or, or, or, or,

23. I really want; some mint chocolate chip icecream

while sitting in bed with someone I care about, laughing, talking, .... hmmm... gonna have to work off all those sweets ;)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Creating a Culture of Peace Essay Contest; Children For Peace Art Contest

(Message from Rebecca Glasscock)

Dear Citizens of the Bluegrass Region:

As part of Lexington's Second Annual Peace and Global Citizenship Fair (coming up on May 19th from noon until 8:00 p.m. at the Cooper Campus), the Peace and Justice Coalition is hosting a "Creating a Culture of Peace Essay Contest." Thanks to contributions from several citizens in the community, $50 prizes will be awarded to the two best entries. The essay contest is open to all adults, 18 years of age and older, who live in the counties of the Bluegrass. Attached to this message is some background information and the entry form. Please email me if you have questions.

We are also sponsoring a Children for Peace Art Contest, open to children in grades K-12. I have attached that form as well, in case you know of children who might be interested in participating.

Creating a Culture of Peace
2007 Call for Essays
Invitation to Participate

Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Peace and Justice Coalition, in connection with the May 19, 2007 Second Annual Peace and Global Citizenship Fair, is sponsoring an essay contest.

All adults, 18 years of age and up who live in the Bluegrass of Kentucky are eligible to participate. In 1000 words or less, articulate your vision of how we can create a culture of peace in Lexington and the Bluegrass of Kentucky.

The United Nations defines a Culture of Peace as “a set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations (UN Resolutions A/RES/52/13 : Culture of Peace and A/RES/53/243, Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace). For peace and non-violence to prevail, we need to: foster a culture of peace through education; promote sustainable economic and social development; promote respect for all human rights; ensure equality between women and men; foster democratic participation; advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity; support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge; and promote international peace and security.”

Please complete the entry form printed on the back of this information sheet. Entries will be accepted at Bluegrass Community and Technical College between April 1st and April 15th. Two $50 prizes will be awarded and the entries will be displayed on May 19th, during the Second Annual Peace and Global Citizenship Fair, at the BCTC campus (directly north of Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington). The best essays will be displayed publicly and recognized with the winning entries sent to the newspaper for publication.

If you have any questions about this contest, please contact Rebecca Glasscock, Associate Professor of Geography and faculty advisor for the Peace and Justice Coalition. Her email address is and her telephone number is (859) 246-6319.

We thank the Shambhala Center of Lexington and several community-minded citizens for their support of this contest.

Creating a Culture of Peace:
2007 Essay Entry Form

Name: _____________________________________

Address: __________________________________

Telephone number __________________________

Email address:_____________________________

Are you 18 years of age or older? _________

Title of your essay: ____________________

Deliver or mail entry to Peace & Justice Coalition, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 221 Moloney Building, 470 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40506. For pick-up at your school, call (859) 246-6319.

Entries will be accepted from April 1-15, 2007.

Children for Peace 2007
Art for Peace Contest
Invitation to Participate
Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Peace and Justice Coalition, in connection with the May 19, 2007 Second Annual Peace and Global Citizenship Fair, is sponsoring an art for peace contest.
All K-12 students living in the Bluegrass of Kentucky are eligible to participate. Using pastels, crayons, pen and ink, acrylics, oil, charcoal, or watercolors, students are invited to draw or paint a picture of the peaceful world in which he or she wants to live.
Entries will be accepted at Bluegrass Community and Technical College between April 1st and April 15th. If pick-up is needed, please call Rebecca Glasscock.
Four $25 prizes will be awarded: one for grades K-2, one for grades 3-5, one for grades 6-8, and one for grades 9-12. Commemorative ribbons will be awarded. All entries will be displayed on May 19th, during the Second Annual Peace and Global Citizenship Fair, at the BCTC campus (directly north of Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington). After the event, these creative works of peace and hope for the future will form a collage for the 2008 Bluegrass Peace Calendar.
If you have any questions about this contest, please contact Rebecca Glasscock, Associate Professor of Geography and faculty advisor for the Peace and Justice Coalition. Her email address is and her telephone number is (859) 246-6319.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Children for Peace 2007
Entry for “Art for Peace” Contest

Name: _____________________________________

School: _______________________________

Title of entry: ___________________________

Grade: ______________ Age: ________________

Contact information (telephone number, email, or mailing address): ___________________________

Deliver or mail entry to Peace & Justice Coalition, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 221 Moloney Building, 470 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40506. For pick-up at your school, call (859) 246-6319.

Entries will be accepted from April 1-15, 2007.

Tara Lohan: As Iraq Casualties Mount, So Do the Stories We Must Tell

(From Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films one of the most important new online sites is the Iraq Veterans Memorial. On the 4th Anniversary of the Iraq War, in remembrance, listen to the stories of those who mourn the casualties of the Iraq War.)

As Iraq Casualties Mount, So Do the Stories We Must Tell
By Tara Lohan

Spc. Jamaal Addison's mother describes him as an angel. He died on the fourth day of the Iraq war at the age of 22. "He was a hero," she said. "But he was a hero long before he ever got killed in this war."

Her words could also speak for the thousands of others killed in the invasion and occupation of Iraq that began four years ago today. Jamaal's story is one of many captured by a new, on-line video project called Iraq Veterans Memorial -- the latest from director Robert Greenwald and the folks at Brave New Films.

"While making Iraq for Sale, we were inspired and moved by the soldiers we interviewed. They were young, very smart and extremely patriotic. When we realized the fourth anniversary of the war was approaching we wanted to do something to honor people like them who were not lucky enough to return home," said Tracy Fleischman of Brave New Films.

"We were inspired by the Vietnam Memorial and the AIDS quilt -- which both bring tremendous loss of life to a human scale. We decided to use our medium -- film -- to create something similar. It was also important to us that politics not be a part of this project; we simply wanted to honor these young men and women and create something people with varying opinions could come together around."

The videos provide a human face, not just of those who have been killed, but of the people they left behind -- brothers and sisters, parents, children, friends, lovers, cousins, comrades. The men and women who were killed were more than service members -- in the words of those who loved them -- they were leaders, ambassadors, peacemakers, superheroes, poets, artists, athletes, dreamers, and jokers.

"By watching the videos, you will have the opportunity to learn about these heroes from those who knew them best -- their family, friends, and fellow servicemembers. Each man and woman represented in the memorial had attributes and qualities that made them unique, but they all have one thing in common -- they were truly loved and are deeply missed," wrote Jim Miller of Brave New Foundation.

"There are many other people who have died during the Iraq War -- contractors, Iraqis, servicemembers from other countries -- and many who have been critically wounded. Many heroes have also died and been wounded in Afghanistan. We honor all of these people and their families for the sacrifices that have been made."

Each day the list of casualties from Iraq grows and so do the number of stories that we need to hear about those lost lives. Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard was 26 when he was killed in Iraq. He was an only child. "Ken will always be the brightest star in my darkest night," his mother said.

Staff Sgt. Paul M. Neff II was 30 when he was killed. His sister Dawn remembers him:

My brother was more than just a name etched in cold stone. And he wasn't just my brother. He was our father's best friend. He was our mother's baby boy. He was a single father and he was part of a band of brothers ...

The day I heard the news, his helicopter was shot down, I knew he was on it before the call came. There was an instant void. He died doing what he loved. There is some comfort knowing that. The thing that most people remember about Paul is how much he loved life and his infectious smile.

Without Paul in this world, the sun just doesn't shine as bright. He is desperately missed by his family, his friends and most of all his son.

Lt. Seth J. Dvorin was 24. He was married and wanted to have children. PFC Steven F. Sirko was 20 and had "eyes that laugh."

Cpl. Jeffrey Michael Lucey hung himself in his family's home after returning from Iraq. He was 23 and his best friend was his sister Debra.

Cpl. Nicholas Ziolkowski was 22 when he was killed. "I think Nick, it's such a loss, certainly to me personally but would have much such a difference had he lived because he was that kind of person," said his mother.

These are only a few of the thousands of stories that should be heard and shared and remembered. Four years after the invasion, we are still a country at war. The Iraq Veterans Memorial is a glimpse of what the world has lost.

"We hope that the memorial gives people reason to stop for a moment, forget the politics surrounding the war, and honor the memory of the brave young men and women we've lost," said Fleischman.

Host the videos on your website, include them in your candlelight vigils, listen to them on your iPod, or contribute one of your own stories about someone you've loved.

Tara Lohan is a managing editor at AlterNet.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute.

Link to the Article

Learn how you can put this on your website, to download it to burn on a dvd, or put it on your IPod or computer

Also, we must remember the lives lost by Iraqis as a result of this war:

Iraq: The Hidden Story

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Departed (Martin Scorsese: 2006)

"Honesty is not synonymous with the truth."

Madolyn, the psychiatrist for the Boston police force, to Billy Costigan, undercover state policeman.


chimera \kye-MEER-uh\ noun

1 : an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts
*2 : an illusion or fabrication of the mind; especially : an unrealizable dream

Example sentence:
Jared decided to leave the company upon realizing that his hopes for advancement were merely a chimera.

Did you know?
In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a fearsome, fire-breathing monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a dragon's tail. She terrorized the people of Lycia until their king, Iobates, asked the hero Bellerophon to slay her. Iobates had an ulterior motive; his son-in-law wanted Bellerophon killed and the king was sure the Chimera would do the job. But Bellerophon called in Pegasus, the winged horse, and brought the Chimera down from above. The beast lived on in people's imaginations, and English speakers adopted her name for any similarly grotesque monster, or, later, for anything fanciful.

Programs Designed to Forge Doctor's Excuses for Students

It was only a matter of time:

Excused Absence

Crit Luallen: Tuition increases place higher education goals in jeopardy

Tuition increases place higher education goals in jeopardy
by Crit Luallen
Business Lexington

Tuition increases have placed in jeopardy Kentucky's ability to meet the 2020 postsecondary education goals of the historic Higher Education Reform Act of 1997. This was the key finding in a study recently released by the Kentucky State Auditor's Office. The report is a call to arms for anyone who wants to play a leadership role in Kentucky's future. And every citizen should play a role. During this key election year, Kentuckians must demand that those who wish to lead Kentucky develop and present strategies to reverse this troubling trend.

As in-state tuition has steadily increased, the full-time, undergraduate enrollment of Kentucky residents in the postsecondary education system has begun to decrease. Since the 2002 - 2003 school year, when general fund support decreased and tuition increases escalated, the average cost of tuition in Kentucky's four-year universities has increased by 66 percent, an average of 13.5 percent a year.

At the same time, a national study on affordability lowered Kentucky's grade from a "B" to an "F." That study also found that lower income households must expend 43 percent of their total income for a student enrolled in higher education.

Kentucky saw significant increases in enrollment after the 1997 reforms. But recently, as tuition has risen dramatically, full-time undergraduate resident enrollment at the four-year institutions has slowed and leveled off, increasing by only 92 students last year. When you combine the two- and four-year systems, Kentucky has actually lost 1,339 full-time Kentucky students since 2004.

Normally enrollment reports focus on the total headcount of the school or system. Our report focused on full-time students and includes a breakdown of each school and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. However, the data shows that part-time students have also declined in the four-year institutions. And the growth of part-time students has slowed in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

This is happening at a time when the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education project says that between 2000 and 2020 Kentucky needs to add 389,000 new bachelor's degree holders to reach the national average. The council estimates that if Kentucky continues to perform at its current level, without further declines, the state will fall short of its 2020 goals by 211,000 bachelor's degree holders.

Our report also found that in the ten years since reform, Kentucky has been more successful in attracting non-resident students to Kentucky's eight four-year public universities than enrolling Kentuckians. While Kentucky resident enrollment increased by 10 percent, non-resident growth increased by 39 percent. In fact, 45 percent of the growth in full time undergraduate students since the 1997 reforms can be attributed to out-of-state students. Since the fall of 2003, Kentucky has attracted more non-resident full time students, 56 percent of the total new enrollees, than resident students. Low non-resident tuition rates may be contributing to this disparity.

Higher educational attainment for Kentucky's citizens is the single biggest challenge facing the commonwealth. By any measure, more Kentuckians must have postsecondary degrees if we are to attract the jobs of the 21st century and increase the quality of life for our residents.

This analysis points to the urgent need for a comprehensive review of the linkages between state appropriations, tuition policy and financial aid. Decisions affecting tuition occur at several different levels. All actions by the key players - the General Assembly, Executive Branch, Council for Postsecondary Education, the Universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System - are interrelated, and impact Kentuckians' ability to reach the educational attainment needed to move the state forward.

Certainly, administrators must continue to look for efficiencies within the postsecondary educational system. But it is vital that Kentucky's top policy makers provide adequate funding to ensure that tuition is set at a level that makes postsecondary education accessible to all residents.

The report recommends that tuition be reduced and that need-based financial aid be increased. We also recommend that non-resident tuition should be fair to state taxpayers. Additionally, we recommend that state budget decisions should take into account data quantifying the impact of those decisions on tuition and accessibility.

The issue of higher education has been a focal point of many studies and recommendations recently. The Council on Postsecondary Education says more out-of-state students are staying in Kentucky after graduation. That is a positive development. We should encourage non-Kentucky residents to come to college in our state - as long as it is not at the expense of Kentucky taxpayers.

I sent a copy of this report to every legislator, the governor and to each candidate for governor. The data calls for urgent and dramatic action. It simply must be a top priority of policy makers in Kentucky to make postsecondary education affordable for Kentuckians. Hopefully this report can make this critical problem, already at a crisis point, a top issue this year and in the next budget session.

Crit Luallen is Kentucky State Auditor.

Annual Minx Auerbach Lecture in Women's & Gender Studies: Katha Pollitt--"Are We There Yet? Why Women Aren't Equal Even if We Think We Are"

(Courtesy of Virginia Blum)

Annual Minx Auerbach Lecture in Women's & Gender Studies

Katha Pollitt
"Are We There Yet? Why Women Aren't Equal Even if We Think We Are"

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 5:30 PM
Speed Museum Auditorium
University of Louisville

Reception following lecture. This event is co-sponsored by the Offices of the President and Provost,the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,and the Commonwealth Genter forHumanities and Society. Free and open to the pubElcPaid Parking is available in the Speed Museum Garage. If you need further information or require any accommodations in orderto participate fully in this event, please call 852-8160 or e-mail: Hrnancyt @

Katha Pollitt's column, "Subject to Debate,"appears regularly in The Nation and is frequently reprinted. Her writing often focuses on gender issues, especially as they relate to povefty, civil liberties and the"culture wars." Her recent book, Virginity or Death, reflects her interest in the politics ofgender in the U.S., following her earlier collection of essays, Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism (1994). Pollitt has won the National Magazine Award, the Whiting Foundation Writing Award, and the Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for her essay "Why Do We Romanticize the Fetus?" Pollitt has also received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship for her poetry,which has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic.

Supertramp--If Everyone Was Listening

My song of the day... working in my office on the last day of Spring Break:

Supertramp - "If Everyone Was Listening"

The actors and jesters are here
The stage is in darkness and clear
For raising the curtain and no-one's quite certain
Whose play it is
How long ago, how long?
If only we had listened then
If we'd know just how right
We were going to be
For we dreamed a lot
And we schemed a lot
And we tried to sing of love before
The stage fell apart

If everyone was listening, you know
There'd be a chance that we could save the show
Who'll be the last clown to bring the house down?
Oh no, please no, don't let the curtain fall

Well, what is your costume today?
Who are the props in your play?
You're acting apart which you thought
From the start was an honest one
Well, how do you plead?
An actor indeed! Go re-learn your lines
You don't know what you've done
The final is begun:

If everyone was listening, you know
There'd be a chance that we could save the show
Who'll be the last clown to bring the house down?
Oh no, please no, don't let the curtain fall

The First Annual Anne Braden Memorial Lecture: Julian Bond--2007: A Race Odyssey

(Courtesy of Virginia Blum)

The First Annual Anne Braden Memorial Lecture

Julian Bond
"2007: A Race Odyssey"

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Louisiville, KY

Julian Bond
Chair of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
One of the founders of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) and the Atlanta sit-in movement
4-Term Georgia State Representative and 6-Term Georgia State Senator
Professor of History at the University of Virginia

Sponsored by the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research

Stephen Zunes: The Failures of Democratization

Iraq: The Failures of Democratization
by Stephen Zunes
Foreign Policy In Focus

The failures of Iraqi democratization as advocated by the Bush administration should not be blamed primarily on the Iraqis. Nor should they be used to reinforce racist notions that Arabs or Muslims are somehow incapable of building democratic institutions and living in a democratic society. Rather, democracy from the outset has been more of a self-serving rationalization for American strategic and economic interests in the region than a genuine concern for the right of the Iraq people to democratic self-governance.

Many Iraqis might have dreamed about democracy. What they got instead was occupation.

The U.S. government, despite much rhetoric about democracy, imposed its own political structures on Iraq, agreed to more representative procedures and institutions only when pushed to do so by the Iraqi people, presided over the breakdown of civil order, and violated the human rights of tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens. In short, Washington acted as an occupation force. By associating its actions with democracy promotion, it ended up giving democracy a bad name.

Never About Democracy
Once the arguments about "weapons of mass destruction" and links to al-Qaida were exposed as fictions, bringing democracy to Iraq became a major rationale for the U.S. invasion. Yet the Bush administration, during most of the first year of the U.S. occupation, strongly opposed holding direct elections. Soon after occupying the country, the United States appointed an "Iraqi Governing Council" (IGC) as a consultative body. Initially, Washington supported the installation of Ahmed Chalabi or some other compliant pro-American exile as leader of Iraq. When that plan proved unacceptable, U.S. officials tried to keep their viceroy Paul Bremer in power indefinitely. When it became clear that Iraqis and the international community would not tolerate that option either, the Bush administration pushed for a caucus system in which American appointees would choose the new government and write the constitution. Only in January 2004, when that plan prompted hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to take to the streets to protest the proposed caucus system and demand a popular vote, did President Bush give in and reluctantly agree to allow direct elections to move forward.

Instead of going ahead with the poll in May as called for by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and other Iraqi leaders, however, U.S. officials postponed the elections until January 2005. They argued that there was inadequate time to register voters and that the ration lists developed during the UN-supervised Oil for Food program were inadequate (though the voter rolls for the election were based in large part on the ration lists anyway.) In the meantime, however, the dramatic growth of the insurgency during the eight-month delay resulted in a serious deterioration of the security situation. By the time the elections finally took place, the large and important Sunni Arab minority was largely unable or unwilling to participate. In most Sunni-dominated parts of Arab-populated Iraq, threats by insurgents made it physically unsafe to go to the polls. In addition, the major Sunni parties—angered by U.S. counter-insurgency operations that killed enormous numbers of civilians during the months leading up to the election—had called for a boycott.

In the meantime, the U.S. occupation authorities announced they would formally transfer power to Iraqis at the end of June 2004. Originally, this transfer was planned as a grand public event, with parades and speeches. The highlight was supposed to be President Bush—already in neighboring Turkey at the conclusion of the NATO summit—coming down to join the festivities to formally hand over power.

To deny terrorists an opportunity for a dramatic strike, however, the authorities conducted the formal transfer two days early. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice informed Bush of the handover in a hand-written note, to which the president scribbled his now famous response, "Let freedom reign!" This oxymoron in many ways represents the contradictions inherent in any effort to forcefully impose a liberal democratic system through conquest and subjugation. Indeed, the small, short, hurried, and unannounced handover ceremony was hardly an auspicious beginning for Iraqi self-rule.

Democratic Transition
Washington chose Ayad Allawi as the leader of the U.S.-appointed interim government, despite polls of Iraqis showing that Allawi's popularity ranked quite low. His earlier career as a Baathist, which included active support for political repression, combined with his later years in exile and his ties to the CIA and anti-government terrorist groups, raised concerns regarding his commitment to democracy and human rights. Not surprisingly, he proved to be an unpopular leader. His autocratic governing style and his support for offensive military actions by U.S. and Iraqi government forces, which resulted in large-scale civilian casualties, undercut any claims to democratic rule.

To Read the Rest of the Article

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Special Showing: Michael Winterbottom's The Road to Guantanamo (March 19th)

On monday, March 19th, at 7pm in the auditorium of the Oswald Building on Cooper Campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College we will be showing Michael Winterbottom's film The Road to Guantanamo. This showing will be a part of a series of showings across the nation sponsored by Amnesty International. This local showing is co-sponsored by the Bluegrass Film Society and the BCTC Peace and Justice Coalition.

Yahoo Trailer

IMDB Descriptions/Reviews

FOX Attacks Black America [VIDEO]

FOX Attacks Black America [VIDEO]
Posted by Evan Derkacz

ColorOfChange has launched a campaign to urge the Congressional Black Caucus to reject a partnership with FOX News that would only legitimize the network which: "has a horrible record of attacking Black people, leaders, and cultural institutions." COC calls the partnership "shameful."

Watch the video for a sampling. It's absolutely repulsive.

From the campaign letter: "We've spoken several times with the Institute's executive director, and she says that she and the board welcome public comment. So we wanted to invite you to do exactly that. The Institute hasn't made a final decision, but they'll make an announcement in the next few days."

Watch the Video Collection of Clips from FOX Network

Monday, March 12, 2007

Payola Settlement From Music Industry Giants

As the RIAA continues to pretend that young college students downloading online is the cause of their woes, we all know that it is the mindless/artless/affectless dreck that they continue to unleash on the public and which they promote on a pay for play basis...

Payola Still a Radio Reality

Radio Giants Agree to Settlement

Rumored Payola Agreement Angers Critics

A Quick Game of Blog Tag

Way, way back on 12/19/06 Inspector Lohmann tagged me and I failed to catch it until now... the rules state that I have to state five things most people don't know about me:

1) I saw my first dead body when I was 8 years old. The man had been shot in the head on a street I was riding my bicycle down. He had been shot because he had walked into a liqour store with a pair of scissors and stolen a bottle of alcohol. He was running down the street when the store owner shot what he stated was a warning shot... it hit the man directly in the back of the head. I remember being most disturbed by the act of people scooping up his brains and washing the blood away. It was a first moment of doubt in my otherwise secure, childish worldview--are we just effluvium, destined to be washed down the gutter, and scooped up into the trashbag.

2) I used to talk to angels when I was a kid (or perhaps they were demons?). The fact that no one else I knew had similar experiences was a bit disturbing to me (was it me that was messed up or those that couldn't see these things?) Now I'm not really sure if they were angels because I was cloaked in religious dogma... could have been fairies for all I know--I mean they both have wings ;) This led to me being a very shy, quiet kid. I mean other kids can be cruel (and I wasn't a big kid), so you don't exactly tell them about stuff like this unless you want to become a target for every pint-sized sadist in the neighborhood. This is why I became a writer at an early age, it was a way to talk about it.

3) When I was a kid (5 - 12) I was a seriously devout Christian who believed it was his mission to save others and to better understand my mission I decided to read the bible, word-for-word, front-to-back; I did this seven times (complete with notes, question, arguments and annotations in different colored pencils, and referencing of concordances and encyclopedias). Eventually, I lost my faith because I would attempt to ask questions of adults in church about the inconsistencies I would sense in my readings--they would avoid/ignore/chastise me--made me very angry and hurt. The vaccum of that faith-based certainty opened up a vast (w)hole inside me in which I can hear storms howling until this day. So, because I sensed lies in my former faith, I set about studying as many other beliefs as I could so that I could learn their truth(s) and their lies. I never truly believed in one thing like I did when I was kid--while I don't regret losing that innocence, I do have to admit, there is a lot of security in blind belief. A toast to chaos, confusion and creativity! Having lost my faith I also went from being a very painfully shy kid to this wild, crazy, confrontational teen/adult. I didn't give a damn what anyone thought anymore, my nihilism made me fearless in fighting for what I believed was right. I lost this recently because of some traumatic events in my life... became that painfully shy kid again for awhile (he never really left)... searching for my passion for life...

4) I compulsively make lists of things when I am stressed/anxious (blogging anyone?). This became a big problem when I wrote my MA thesis and was working on my PhD thesis. When I was a kid I was obssessed with music and would stay up late into the night making lists of everything I could find out about the artists I liked. I was a walking encyclopedia of musical knowledge. So from religious scholar to music scholar... then when I lived on the streets as a teen I would study books on personality/psychology/philosophy so that I could learn to operate in different environments of people. I would make charts of my underground tribe/organization and map out the personalities of the people we engaged in our daily business activities--their weaknesses and strengths.

5) I had 14 volumes of diaries, mostly written in code that I developed myself, that were lost when I was living on the streets when I was in my early twenties. It was supposed to be the basis for my first novel (or series of novels).

OK, who should I tag?

Camels Back and Forth

Coffee House Studio (Rainbow Demon's post pushed me to expand my original post)

Dr Menlo

El Oso, El Moreno, El Abogado (any, or all three)

Hotel Room Nudes (Good to see someone else is getting their mind seriously messed up by Hal Duncan's novel "Vellum: Book of All Hours"... actually I'm a third into the newest one "Ink")

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Iraq: The Hidden Story

(Courtesy of Deep Focus)

Channel 4 documentary (British) available online on Google video: "The story of what does not get reported in Iraq by the mainstream media."

Watch Iraq: The Hidden Story

Saturday, March 10, 2007

William Vollman and Other Literary Stuff

I like books (slightly more than I like films--I teach both) and I have a difficult time finding other people who like them as much as I do--at least in the way of discussing them in detail and hashing out their meaning/s... so I was delighted to come across this blog on William Vollman and being directed to a group of literary blogs seeking to come to grasp with his prolific writing. Some of the participants:

Conversational Reading

Return of the Reluctant

Rake's Progress

Black Market Kidneys

The Happy Booker

Friday, March 09, 2007

Dave Johnson: Who's Behind the Attack on Liberal Professors?

(Courtesy of Nick)

Who's Behind the Attack on Liberal Professors?
By Dave Johnson, a fellow at the Commonweal Institute.
History News Network


Creating "Conventional Wisdom"

Now, after 30 years of effort, this core FSFG has built a comprehensive ideological infrastructure. There are now over 500 organizations, with the Heritage Foundation at the hub, all funded by this core group. David Callahan's 1999 study, $1 Billion for Ideas: Conservative Think Tanks in the 1990s, found that just the top 20 of the organizations spent over $1 billion on this ideological effort in the 1990s.

The right-wing movement's messages are orchestrated and amplified to sound like a mass "movement" consisting of many "voices." Using "messaging"--communication techniques from the fields of marketing, public relations, and corporate image-management--the movement appeals to people's deeper feelings and values. Messages are repeated until they become "conventional wisdom." Examples include lines like "Social Security is going broke" and "public schools are failing." Both statements are questionable, yet both have been firmly embedded in the "public mind" by purposeful repetition through multiple channels. This orchestration has been referred to as a "Mighty Wurlitzer, " a CIA term that refers to propaganda that is repeated over and over again in numerous places until the public believes what it's hearing must be true.

As a study by the People for the American Way, has put it: "The result of this comprehensive and yet largely invisible funding strategy is an extraordinary amplification of the far right's views on a range of issues. The various funding recipients do not march in ideological lock-step, but they do promote many of the same issues to their respective audiences. They have thus been able to keep alive in the public debate a variety of policy ideas long ago discredited or discarded by the mainstream. That, in turn, has been of enormous value in the right's ongoing effort to reshape American society. The success of the right-wing efforts are seen at every level of government, as a vast armada of foundation-funded right-wing organizations has both fed and capitalized on the current swing to the right in Congress and in the state legislatures."

The Money Comes With Strings

The FSFG money comes with ideological strings attached. Their think tanks are not independent; their organizations must espouse their ideology. "Cato, for example," as Gregg Easterbrook pointed out in an article in the Atlantic in 1986, "flatly states that it will not release any study that calls for a government program. The institute's president, Edward Crane, says that he receives one or two commissioned reports each year that are 'inconsistent,' and he does not publish them. The analyst Jonathan Stein lost his job at [the Center For Strategic & International Studies] CSIS several months after he published a book highly critical of Star Wars, the study of which is worth millions to think tanks that toe the line. (CSIS denies there was any connection.) "

The core group that controls this movement is now attacking even Republicans who would previously have been considered "conservatives" for inadequate ideological purity. Members of the moderate wing of the Republican Party are derided by the radical right as nothing more than RINO's -- Republicans In Name Only. The FSFG is funding efforts to drive these moderates out of office and out of the party.(2)

The Movement is Coordinated

Currently the core of the "conservative movement" meets weekly with representatives of the FSFG. As Eric Alterman has revealed:

Their weekly agenda was hammered out every Wednesday at a meeting chaired by Grover Norquist, a rightwing Leninist who believes in an ever-shifting tactical alliance.… Among those who attend the invitation-only meetings are spokespeople and representatives of NRA, the Christian Coalition, the Heritage Foundation; corporate lobbyists, the top people from the Republican party and the Congressional Republican leadership, and chief White House aides. Trusted rightwing journalists and editors also attend, though the meetings are off the record.

While the ostensible purpose of the meeting is to share information and coordinate strategy, they also give Norquist the opportunity to act as an ideological enforcer. When one member of the Bush administration worried to a New York Times reporter that the administration's plan to repeal the estate tax would cripple charitable giving, he was publicly warned by Norquist that this was "the first betrayal of Bush", and was gone not long afterward. When a conservative pundit named Laura Ingraham criticised a fellow conservative in the House of Representatives for overzealousness, she was immediately informed by Norquist to decide "whether to be with us or against us". She was no longer welcome at the meetings.

David Brock, in his book Blinded By the Right, described from inside this "movement" how different parts of the right-wing web and their funders interacted during the attempt to remove President Clinton from office. Brock writes that funding was supplied by Richard Mellon Scaife, Federalist Society (funded by Scaife) lawyers and judges working behind the scenes assisting Special Prosecutor Ken Starr and supplying information to (Scaife-funded) American Spectator magazine.

A Case Study

Often it is possible to discern how the timing of a "Mighty Wurlitzer" chorus relates to a planned conservative policy initiative. A recent example is the flurry of articles that hit the press starting in late November, originating from the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform and the Tax Foundation, which claimed that the poor do not pay enough income taxes. The Wall Street Journal even referred to the poor as "lucky duckies." The paper did not mention that poor people do pay Social Security taxes. The publicity appears to have been timed to the release of the president's latest tax-cutting program.(3)

The Effect on Society

The core right-wing web of organizations funded by the FSFG has increasingly been able to set the public agenda, shifting national and local politics consistently to the right and away from the mainstream public interest. As a result, right-wing ideological premises and arguments dominate public-issue debate, with big money using this communications infrastructure to drown out other voices, virtually creating a one-dollar-one-vote society. "As one investigative journalist stated years ago in a pioneering investigation of the conservative philanthropy of Richard Scaife," wrote Sally Covington in a 1997 study, "layer upon layer of seminars, studies, conferences, and interviews [can] do much to push along if not create, the issues, which then become the national agenda of debate.... By multiplying the authorities to whom the media are prepared to give a friendly hearing, [conservative donations] have helped to create an illusion of diversity where none exists. The result could be an increasing number of one-sided debates in which the challengers are far outnumbered, if indeed they are heard from at all."

To Read the Entire Hyperlinked Essay

Benjamin Franklin: The Definition of Insanity...

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Song of the Day: Suicidal Tendencies's "I Wasn't Meant To Feel This / Asleep At The Wheel"

I Wasn't Meant To Feel This / Asleep At The Wheel
[Mike Muir] Performed by Suicidal Tendencies

What's he saying?

Yeah...just...a little...closer...

What's he doing?

It was, I know, by the corner...yeah
Sitting in the darkness...yeah
I didn't see it, but I know
It tries to hide sometimes, he he he
But it can't fool
Because I had this thing, it's the way I see
The way I see when my eyes are closed
A conception of misconception
It's really quite, shall we say...
The really beautiful thing!
This is certain things that I've come to find
In my communications that never existed
Certain understandings that I've come to realize...yeah
But I don't believe
Not for second!
It wasn't really truthful in the ways that I, that I, that I, that...
They're here right now...yeah

I wasn't meant to feel this...
I wasn't meant to feel this...
I wasn't meant to feel this way

I wasn't meant to feel this...


Counting on nothing............Uuuuuuuh...
The numbers get higher.........Ai ai ai ai ai...
Blinded by reason..............Uuuh ah uuuh ah...
You're asleep at the wheel.....Yeeeeeea...

Ai ai ai ai ai ai ai...
Ai ai ai ai ai ai ai...

Confused understanding.........
With a slip...for the hold.....Ai ai ai ai ai...
Squeeze past the pressure......
You're asleep at the wheel.....

A magical moment
Is it...too much of a good thing
Recycled in memory
Was it...too much of a good thing
Why can't you remember
Is it...too much of a good thing
Preserved in its danger
You're all asleep at the wheel...

Blank stare and a whisper, blank stare and a whisper
But who are the judges, who are you judging?
I thought you'd be different, I thought you'd be different
You're all asleep at the wheel, you're asleep at the wheel

A special assignment
Is it...too much of a good thing
Unlocked under pressure
Was it...too much of a good thing
Confined unforgivingness
Is it...too much of a good thing
A new kind of danger
You're all asleep at the wheel...

Ai ai ai ai ai ai ai...
Ai ai ai ai ai ai ai...

Hope in revision...............Uuuuuuuh...
Slight miscalculation..........Ai ai ai ai ai...
It all goes in stages..........Uuuh ah uuuh ah...
You're asleep at the wheel.....Yeeeeeea...

Ai ai ai ai ai ai ai...
Ai ai ai ai ai ai ai...

Ai ai ai ai ai ai ai...
Ai ai ai ai ai ai ai...

A blank stare and a whisper....
I thought you were different...
But who are you judging........
I thought you were different...

You're asleep at the wheel...

Rob Weir: Teaching Without Textbooks

Teaching Without Textbooks
By Rob Weir
Inside Higher Ed

Here’s a statement with which everyone can agree: College instructors cannot assume that students come to their classes in possession of basic knowledge. Now here’s one sure to generate some controversy: In many cases textbooks deter the pursuit of knowledge more than they help it. The sciences may be different, but at least in the case of the humanities, most of us would be better off not assigning a textbook.

Alas, there are still some dinosaurs lumbering about who only assign a text and subject their students to drill-and-kill (the spirit) exercises straight out the McGuffey’s Reader era. There’s really not much to say about such instructors except to wish them a speedy retirement. If one assumes the ability to read as the rock-bottom criterion for college entry, there’s really no point to rehashing text material with students other than to clarify what confuses them, a matter that should be approached on a case-by-case basis. Any institution still devoted to text-and-test could usefully place said courses online.

Most of us assign textbooks for what we always assumed were good pedagogical reasons: We wanted students to be able to fill in gaps we don’t get to, engage in fact-checking, hear other perspectives, have easy access to data, find a framework for some of our more esoteric departures, and provide students with a specialized reference guide rather than having them reach for a general topics encyclopedia. Great ideas — except that it doesn’t work that way anymore!

Today’s texts are too expensive, too long, and too dense to be of practical use. I freely admit that it was the first of these sins that first led me to eschew a text in my introductory U.S. history classes. Houghton Mifflin’s People and a Nation retails for $97; Longman’s America, Past and Present goes for $95.20 and The Pursuit of Liberty for $99; McGraw Hill’s American History checks out at a whopping $125.75; with Norton’s Give Me Liberty! and Wadworth’s American Past relative bargains at $77.75 and $79.95 respectively. All of the aforementioned prices are Barnes and Noble online quotes; chances are good that a college bookstore near you will inflate each of these. There are only a handful of U.S. texts under $40 and only one, Howard Zinn’s ideologically loaded A People’s History of the United States that’s less than $20.

I decided to stop using a text when the $35 paperback I was using shot up to $75 and I simply couldn’t justify the price, given how little I teach from a text. (Very little generates more student complaints than a professor assigning a book that’s not used.)

Now comes the weird part — if anything, student achievement was better after I stopped assigning a text. Part of the reason for this is that textbooks are too long. Many colleges have a proverbial “‘gentlemen’s agreement”’ that more than 100 pages per week of reading per course is excessive. Even those of us who teach in highly competitive institutions know that there’s an upper limit. Even if you can get away with 200 per week, in an average semester your students will read about 2,500 pages. Do you really want one-third or more of that devoted to a textbook? My initial trade was easy; dumping the text meant I could assign an extra three monographs and probe topics in depth that would otherwise have been glossed. Students consistently tell me they were happy to have read a biography on Betty Friedan or a study of the civil rights movement rather than a textbook. I’m sure that they’ll retain much more from such studies.

Here’s the dirty secret that you’ll never see printed in a publisher’s glossy promo material: Every textbook on the market is a crashing bore to read. All the publishers will assure you that they’ve added special features designed to attract today’s young people and that the prose is lively and engaging. Yeah, right. The colorful maps, pop-out documents, intra-textual questions to contemplate, vibrant graphics, etc. serve only to drive up production costs and students won’t use them. Note to profs: Got an image or a chart you really want students to use? Put it on a PowerPoint and project it in class.

Texts are not boring because of the people who write them. I know many of the folks whose names are on texts and know that they’re dynamic teachers and writers. The problem is density. Put simply, most texts try to do way too much. I’m a proponent of multiculturalism and the last thing in the world we need is a return to “dead white men” history, but the more any text tries to do, the less coherent it will be. What would make more sense is for publishers to knock out some specialized texts. I’m a social and cultural historian and there’s little that I teach doesn’t reference race, class, and gender; hence, I don’t need a text that parrots me in print. What I could use is a really short political/economic history; just as those whose specialty is political history would probably appreciate a nice cultural survey, or perhaps one that discusses multiculturalism.

To Read the Rest of this Opinion Piece

Bill Van Auken: Highway massacre sparks anti-US protests in Afghanistan

Highway massacre sparks anti-US protests in Afghanistan
By Bill Van Auken
World Socialist Web Site

The slaughter of some 16 civilians and the wounding of at least two dozen more by US troops in Afghanistan Sunday sparked angry protests demanding a withdrawal of the occupation forces and the ouster of Washington’s puppet, President Hamid Karzai.

The killings took place on a main highway between the Afghan town of Jalalabad and the Pakistani border after a suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with explosives near a convoy of US Marines.

Both eyewitnesses to the incident and some Afghan officials described the US troops firing indiscriminately at civilians in their vehicles and on foot in angry retaliation for the suicide attack.

A military spokesman claimed that the civilians were “caught in the crossfire,” and that the car bomb was part of a “complex ambush involving enemy small arms fire from several directions.”

Responding according to the occupation force’s standard script, the spokesman, Lt. Col. David Accetta, issued a cynical statement declaring that “the terrorists demonstrated their blatant disregard for human life by attacking coalition forces in a populated area, knowing full well that innocent Afghans would be killed and wounded.”

Witnesses, however, said that the only fire came from the American troops. Doctors who treated the wounded said that all of wounds were caused by bullets and none by shrapnel from the bomb blast.

“They were firing everywhere, and even opened fire on 14 to 15 vehicles passing on the highway,” Tur Gul, who was shot twice in the hand as he stood at a gas station near the scene of the incident, told the Associated Press. “They opened fire on everybody, the ones inside the vehicles and the ones on foot.”

Fifteen-year-old Mohammad Ishaq, who was also shot twice during the barrage, added, “When we parked our vehicle, when they passed us, they opened fire on our vehicle. It was a convoy of three American Humvees. All three Humvees were firing around.”

Ahmed Najib, 23, was wounded together with his two-year-old brother. “One American was in the first vehicle, shouting to stop on the side of the road, and we stopped,” he said. “The first vehicle did not fire on us, but the second opened fire on our car. I saw them turning and firing in this direction, then turning and firing in that direction. I even saw a farmer shot by the Americans.”

Another man told the Al Jazeera news agency that five members of his family had been killed in the shooting. “American bullets murdered my family,” he said. “It’s tyranny and injustice.”

The district chief of Shinwar, Mohammad Khan Katawazi, told the news agency that the US Marines appeared to treat everyone on the highway, including both those in cars and on foot, as insurgents.

To Read the Rest of the Report


Defend Dissent and Critical Thinking on Campus

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jean Baudrillard: 1929-2007

My friend JZ writes at hearing that Jean Baudrillard died:

First Bourdieu, then Derrida, now Baudrillard...Where have all the
poststructuralists gone? And will anyone be able to take their places?

Guardian: Obituary

As Baudrillard himself wrote in "Cool Memories", he was a "pataphysician at twenty – situationist at thirty – utopian at forty – transversal at fifty – and viral and metaleptic at sixty - that's my history”.

As we pause to think about our own hyperreality, what "history" have you been constructing for yourself?

May he finally rest in peace,


Another friend TP adds:

It's interesting to think that since none of us knew him personally he was and is an abstraction to us regardless of his life/death status. Whether alive or
dead he wasn't/isn't even a simulation to us, he was an abstraction, a collection of ideas with a byline. Or was he a simulation of an abstraction? Or an abstraction of a simulation of an abstraction?


My Reply:

Following Baudrillard, I would say his death never really happened, it was all a simulation (including his life)... OK, everyone, run to your copies of Cronenberg's film Videodrome and listen to the words of Brian O'Blivion...

JZ, I have been looping and splicing my "history" in order to overlay/delay/relay (depending on the mood of the day!) any final conclusion--thus it is still a work in progress, eternal return, becoming vs. being, reconstructive-deconstructions, and all that stuff...

TP, your point cuts through the mediated haze that clouds my mind and causes me to think why we mourn those we have never met. What havoc do these mediated simulations play in the development of our unconscious inner screens-- and what power do they have in our outer projections?


Also check out Green Cine's memorial:


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

On the Lighter Side of Serious Issues: The Colbert Show

(Courtesy of Think Progress)

Joseph Leiberman: Let the war in Iraq continue in peace

On John Gibson's Journalistic Courage

Libby Convicted on Four of Five Charges

MSN Report

CNN: Juror: Libby is guilty, but he was fall guy

Think Progress: VIDEO: Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald Speaks Out On Libby Verdict

Smoking Gun: Walter Reed scandal connected to Halliburton & FEMA?

Smoking Gun: Walter Reed scandal connected to Halliburton & FEMA?
posted by Evan Derkacz

Not only is the scandalous treatment of American Troops at Walter Reed military hospital connected to Halliburton and Katrina-era FEMA (see video right) but it's also, at its core, a deeply, deeply conservative scandal.

"Privatization," or the transfer of any and all services into the hands of market morality, is a fundamental part of the conservative project.

For its past performance in the public sector, see Energy Crisis, California.

This time, under some shady circumstances, a private firm IAP was given the contract to take over a number of services at Walter Reed, despite the fact that the employees' bid was lower.

Only after IAP "protested" (according to Waxman's letter to General Weightman PDF) was the employees' bid "increased" and the contract awarded to the private firm headed by ex-Halliburton official, Al Neffgen.

This privatization precipitated an 80% drop in care workers, leading to a human scandal that the market will never ever, ever be equipped to handle. It's neither the market's, nor conservatives', business. At the heart of privatization is the belief that competing desires to make a buck will "take care of everything."

Read the rest of the AlterNet report, Government studies, and watch the CNN report

Also check out:

American Legion Commander: ‘I Blame Bush And Congress’ For Veterans Cuts

Wired Magazine: Military MD Shortage at Home

Pentagon Official Said Veterans Benefits Were ‘Hurtful’ To National Security

Monday, March 05, 2007

NPR: All Songs Considered and Bob Boilen

Seven years and still going--thanks for introducing me to new musicians and reintroducing me to old favorites:

All Songs Considered

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Media and Popular Culture

This is an archive for my writing students that are researching media culture and pupular culture papers. To the students these are all resources that I have chosen to demonstrate what I think are academic sources available online--so think about why the site is chosen: verifiable source/author of the materials; able to identify the worldview/framework/discipline of the organiztion/collective/individual; quality of the materials--my and your judgment; archive of other visual sources (for instance the Gender Ads site). Remember this is just some prompts that can get you "started."

Here are some beginning sites:

What is a What is a Thesis Statement?

Washington State University: American Popular Culture

Media Literacy Clearinghouse

Critical Media Studies

How to write a film paper:

British Film Institute: Film Researching Resources These are actually teaching resources but very useful for researching papers. BFI is one of the most respected film organizations; a resource for schools/colleges in the UK; they publish many books and the excellent film magazine "Sight and Sound."

Film Analysis Resources This incredible site is hosted by Yale University Film Studies department

Viewing and Watching Film Critically I'm not sure who Tim Dirks is but the materials covered here are either straight-forward understandings of concepts, some genre analysis on other pages, and links to other sites. It helps that this site has received commendations from other trusted sources (like the film critic Roger Ebert)

More films studies resources from Yale Library

Advertising Issues:

Gender Ads Resources for Dr. Scott A. Lukas' Gender courses as well as his introductory social science courses at Lake Tahoe Community College and Valparaiso University. Extensive website, with huge archives of primary and secondary sources.

Gender, Race and Ethnicity in Media Advertising University of Iowa's Communication Studies dept. has compiled this huge archive of links.

How to Read an Ad Dr. Scott A' Lukas put this together.

Gender Advertiosements Aimed at African Americans Originally published in the journal Sex Roles: A Journal of Research (Jan, 1999)

Female Gender Images in Adolescent Magazine Advertising Originally published in Australian Marketing Journal (11.1: 2003)

About-Face: Body Activism "About-Face's mission is to equip women and girls with tools to understand and resist the harmful stereotypes of women the media disseminates. There are three components to About-Face's program, Education into Action: media-literacy workshops, action groups, and this resource-filled web site. About-Face is based in San Francisco, California. Our workshops and action groups reach throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Our web site, of course, is available the world over." This website includes many primary (the actual ads) and secondary sources (intepretative/evaluative resources).

A Sociological Analysis of Children's Television Advertising Put together by two senior sociology majors at St. Lawrence University in NY.

Popular Culture: Advertising
From Washtington State University's American Popular Culture Archive.

The Persuaders PBS Frontline documentary hosted by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff; includes many other resources.

Merchants of Cool PBS Frontline documentary hosted by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff; includes many other resources.

Reading Advertisements Newsweek Magazine Education

The Language of Advertising Claims John Padgett's University of Mississippi guide for his ENG 102 course.

The Language of Advertising Peter Sells and Sierra Gonzale on the Stanford University Website.

Adbusters' Spoof Ads Canadian magazine that is a center of culture jamming.

Tobacco Spoof Ads

Analysis of Advertisements (Daniel Chandler's semiotic guide to understanding ads)

Beauty and Body Image in the Media (Media Awareness Network guide)

The Devil Wears Prada:

Story Analysis of the Film

Sympathy for the She Devil Salon magazine article.

Fairy Tales:

Wikipedia: Fairy Tales Wikipedia is an online collection of articles which is authored and edited by many people (and includes critiques of the pieces when someone finds the objectionable/misleading). Should be used solely as a guide to thinking about a broad subject/theme, followed by your own research.

Fair Tales, Myths and Legends Francie Quaas-Berryman's for her Cerritos College ENG 100 courses

Fairy Tales and Script Analysis Very academic analysis mapping the structure of fairy tales.

Fairy Tales A. Waller Hastings's website for his students.

Theory & Method Written by Kevin Yee and hosted by Disney. Good intro to the various theories/methods used to analyze fairy tales.

Psychoanalysis and Fairy Tales Hosted by the Romanian Association of Pyschoanalysis--intro to this theoretical perspective.

Artist: Alex Grey

The Artwork of Alex Grey His personal/professional website.

The Visionary Art of Alex Grey

Alex Grey on YouTube

Alex Grey: Art and Spirit (an interview)

Alex Grey: Art, Love, Family, and Psychedelics

Marketing of Diet Pills/Prescription Drugs

Medicating Kids PBS Frontline documentary available online and more resources.

Diet Wars Frontline documentary.

Prescription Drug Ad Marketing Media Literacy Clearinghouse

Prescription Drugs: Concerns and Controversies of Direct-to-Consumer Advertisements Article posted at the American Medical Student Association site--originally published in Cornell Political Forum (May 1998)


American Porn PBS Frontline documentary online and more resources.

History of Sex in Cinema

Barbie Dolls:

Barbie Liberation Culture Jammers subverting Barbie and GI Joe.

Barbie Liberation Organization

Wikipedia: Barbie

War Movies

War and Anti-War Films Film Site overview of the genres.

Wikipedia: War Films

How to Evaluate War Movies and Questions to Help You Evaluate War Films and War is Hell Pass the Popcorn Center for Media Literacy

Remind me I have essays on this subject that I hand out to my film classes.

Music Piracy/Downloading Issues:

Recording Industry Association of America statement about piracy

American Federation of Musicians statement on music piracy


Is Music Piracy Stealing? Applelinks

‘Golden Age of Free Music’ vs ‘Copying is Stealing’ Published at The Register (2003)

The Music Piracy Myth Tim O' Reilly is founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media a computer book publishing company.

Music Piracy Defendents Fighting Back The National Law Journal (2005)

Cultures of Music Piracy International Jouirnal of Cultural Studies (2004)

Celebrity Culture:

Wikipedia: Celebrity Culture

World History Site: Dysfunctional Celebrities

Media and Rise of Celebrity Culture Amy Henderson is a historian at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. First published in OAH Magazine of History 6 (Spring 1992)

The Culture Celebrity Essay by Joseph Epstein in the Weekly Standard. Good introduction to some of the people writing and thinking about it.

Hypertrophic Celebrity MC Journal (2004)

The Culture of Celebrity: An Annotated Bibliography Compiled byy students at the College of New Jersey. Very helpful!

Alcohol Advertising:

Yahoo Collection of Alcohol Ads

Alcohol Advertising and Youth Also visit the main site of The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University

Stanford University online collection of 55 Alcohol Ads

SUNY Potsdam University: Alcohol Advertising

Analyszing Alcohol Advertisements and Marketing Frank Baker for Media Literacy Clearinghouse

Alcohol Advertising and Youth Marin Institute

Wikipedia: Alcohol Advertising

Adbusters: Spoof Ads Has a section spoofing/critiquing alcohol ads.

Online Communities:

Wikipedia: Social Network

Social Networking Blog Survey of the culture online

Howard Rheingold New Media theorist

Smart Mobs Website inspired by Rheingold's book.

Taking the "You" Out of YouTube Critique by media theorist Henry Jenkins.

Who Profits from User Created Content By Rheingold

DIY Media Weblog Hosted by the USC Annenberg Center

Wikipedia: Virtual Community

Online Community Toolkits Full Circle Associates--a consulting group.

News/Journalism Issues

Columbia Journalism Review Important magazine that covers the world of journalism

The News War PBS Frontline documentary available online and more resources.

Critical Media Studies: Journalism Resources

Project Censored An essential archival guide to the major news stories that are regularly censored or ignored by mainstream/corporate media news agencies. They do an annual collection of the year's top 25 censored news stories. Check out the 2007 edition and the archive of of past annual reports They also have a good archive of Alternative News Sources available online

Wikipedia: Topics in Journalism


Propaganda Critic Very useful guide to the basic concepts from The Institute for Propaganda Analysis.

Public Relations (PR) Watch and SourceWatch and Public Relations Industry and Propaganda Techniques and Propaganda Hosted by the Center for Media and Democracy

Wikipedia: Propaganda

Nancy Snow Leading critic of the American cultural and political propaganda techniques used worldwide. Check out her Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Propaganda and Propaganda News

Propaganda, Pop Culture and Public Diplomacy