Monday, January 28, 2008

As Dubya Prepares His Last State of the Union Speech Lets Look at His Resume

(Courtesy of Danny M. I found multiple versions of this online including an interactive, collaborative one.)


1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520


Law Enforcement:
I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been 'lost' and is not available.

I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.


I ran for U.S. Congress and lost.

I began my career in the oil business in Midland,Texas in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.

With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.


I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.

With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida , and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President of the United States, after losing by over 500,000 votes.


I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My 'poorest millionaire,' Condoleezza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.

I am the all-time U.S. and world record -holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history, Enron.

My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.

I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I appointed more convicted criminals to my administration than any President in U.S. history.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States Government.

I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.

I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. 'prisoners of war' detainees and
thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US election).

I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.

I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.

I garnered the most sympathy ever for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.

I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. Citizens and the world community.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and supported a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in wartime.

In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I am supporting development of a nuclear 'Tactical Bunker Buster,' a WMD.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.


All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review. I specified that my sealed documents will not be available for 50 years.

UChannel: On Nuclear Terrorism

(A very balanced, calm and clear explanation of the possible risks and the dangers of overexaggerating the problem.)

On Nuclear Terrorism
Michael A. Levi, Fellow for Science and Technology; Director, Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations.
Presider: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
UChannel (Princeton University)

To Listen to the Lecture

Jonathan Edwards: The Shanty

(Courtesy of Spider Robinson)

Jonathan Edwards' Website

Also a documentary (trailer):

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Open Source: Backstage with Henry the V

(Is Shakespeare's play an anti-war masterpiece?)

Backstage With Henry V
Open Source
Hosted by Christopher Lydon

Henry the Fifth remains, for many, the familiar favorite among Shakespeare plays. For Lydon kids, it began with my father’s doctrine that Laurence Olivier’s Henry V was the best movie ever made — though we all came to see the sinew-stiffening World War 2 propaganda dimension of the piece, which Winston Churchill had cleansed, for example, of the mass slaugher of French prisoners in Shakespeare’s account. Those magic lines of Henry’s — “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” to his warriors, and his love banter with the French princess Katherine — “take a soldier; take a King” — summon the blood and melt the heart long after we realize that this warlike Harry was bluffing his way through an aggressive and unpopular war of choice, egged on by a corrupt church establishment.


What is Shakespeare saying through Henry the Fifth about honor and heroism, about the earning of kingship and manhood, about nationhood and war, about chivalry and tragic irony?

To Listen/Read the Episode

Friday, January 25, 2008

Democracy Now: Abu Ghraib Whistleblower Samuel Provance Speaks Out on Torture and Cover-Up at U.S. Military Jail

Abu Ghraib Whistleblower Samuel Provance Speaks Out on Torture and Cover-Up at U.S. Military Jail
Democracy Now

In a national TV broadcast exclusive, we spend the hour with Abu Ghraib whistleblower and former Army sergeant Samuel Provance. From September 2003 to the spring of 2004 Provance ran the top secret computer network used by military intelligence at Abu Ghraib. He was the first intelligence specialist to speak openly about abuse at the prison and is the only military intelligence soldier listed as a witness in the Taguba report. Among the abuses he lists
is the torture of a 16 year-old Iraqi boy in order to make his father talk. After Provance spoke out, the Army stripped him of his security clearance, demoted him and threatened him with ten years in jail.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

This American Life: Shouting Across the Divide

Shouting Across the Divide
This American Life

A Muslim woman persuades her husband that their family would be happier if they left the West Bank and moved to America. They do, and things are good...until September 11After that, the elementary school their daughter goes to begins using a textbook that says Muslims want to kill Christians. This and other stories of what happens when Muslims and non-Muslims try to communicate, and misfire.

In the 1930s, the designer of the U.S. Supreme Court made a frieze to adorn the courtroom walls. It depicted eighteen great lawgivers through ages, including Moses, Solon, Confucius...and Muhammad. The only problem is that Islam forbids such portrayals of the prophet. Host Ira Glass talks to Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, about why the frieze is offensive to Muslims, and what they tried to do about it. (7 minutes)

Act One. Which One of These Is Not Like the Others?

Serry and her husband's love story began in a place not usually associated with romance: the West Bank. That was where the couple met, fell in love and decided to get married. Then Serry, who was American, convinced her Palestinian husband to move to America. She promised him that in America their children would never encounter prejudice or strife of any kind. But things didn't quite work out that way. This American Life contributor Alix Spiegel tells the story. (33 minutes)

Act Two. America, the Ad Campaign.

The New York advertising agency where Shalom Auslander works got an assignment from the State Department back in 2001: sell American values to the Muslim world. Now they just have to figure out exactly what to say to millions of people they know absolutely nothing about. Shalom is the author of a book of stories called Beware of God. (15 minutes)

To Listen to the Episode

Fred Phelps Targets Heath Ledger's Funeral for His Homophobic Hate Display

(Courtesy of Literaghost and Friendly Atheist. Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church are continuing to do homosexuals a favor by making the ugly, hateful, bigoted nature of homophobia visible.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Theodore W. Allen: The Invention of the White Race

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 dominant white race had served to keep the working classes from recognizing their true power in collective numbers, effectively fragmenting them through petty, destructive, constructed racialized 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"

Monday, January 21, 2008

ANDREW W. MELLON POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP: Peace and Justice Fellowship (2/25)


Peace and Justice Studies

Vassar College invites applications for a two-year Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Peace and Justice Studies, to begin Fall, 2008. Candidates should be relatively new PhDs with research interests in peace, justice, militarism or violence; we welcome applicants from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We seek scholars who have an interest in teaching in an undergraduate liberal arts college and who would welcome the opportunity to participate in the development of a multidisciplinary concentration in Peace and Justice Studies. Vassar College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and is strongly and actively committed to diversity within its community. Applications from members of historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged.

The Fellow will teach or team-teach one introductory or intermediate level course each academic year and will help to organize and facilitate a monthly faculty seminar throughout the academic year intended to extend and deepen the interests in Peace and Justice Studies of faculty from several disciplines. The Fellow also will have some responsibility in advising students on projects and theses. In addition, the Fellow will be able to pursue her or his own scholarly project in a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment where exchange among faculty from different disciplines is encouraged. The fellowship includes $47,380 in salary, plus benefits, as well as support for research, professional travel and relocation expenses.

Please submit a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, a graduate school transcript, three letters of recommendation, a brief description of teaching interests, selected syllabi of courses previously taught and/or other teaching materials, and examples of scholarly work to: Ronald Sharp, Dean of the Faculty, Vassar College, Box 4, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0004. Review of applications will begin on February 25, 2008.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational liberal arts institution. Its 250 faculty members offer undergraduate education to 2,300 students on a beautiful 1,000-acre campus situated ninety minutes north of New York City in the scenic mid-Hudson Valley. The College provides strong support for teaching and scholarship through its extensive library holdings, the extraordinary collection of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, its program in teaching development and its excellent media and information technology resources.

The Treatment: Julian Schnabel

(Lexington Green Theater will be getting this film!)

Interview with Julian Schnabel
Host: Elvis Mitchell
The Treatment (KCRW)

With Basquiat, Before Night Falls and his newest, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, artist and director Julian Schnabel turns film biography into art. He discusses separating fiction from fact.

To Listen to the Episode

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Robert Greenwald/Brave New Films/Reverend Yearwood/Bill Moyers/David Cay Johnston: Martin Luther King, Jr's Dream; War on Greed; Free Lunch

What would he say if he were alive today?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968
Democracy Now

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. He was born January 15, 1929. If he lived, he would have turned 79 years old. In the early 1960s, King focused his challenge on legalized racial discrimination in the South where police dogs and bullwhips and cattle prods were used against Southern blacks seeking the right to vote or to eat at a public lunch counter. After passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, King began challenging the nation’s fundamental priorities. He maintained that civil rights laws were empty without “human rights”—including economic rights.

Noting that a majority of Americans below the poverty line were white, King developed a class perspective. He decried the huge income gaps between rich and poor, and called for “radical changes in the structure of our society” to redistribute wealth and power.

By 1967, King had also become the country’s most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of overall U.S. foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic. In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967—a year to the day before he was murdered—King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

Time magazine called the speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi,” and the Washington Post declared that King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”

To Listen to the Speech and Visit Democracy Now/Pacifica Archives of MLK Jr.s Other Speeches

Reverend Yearwood on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream and the War on Greed:

To watch the film War on Greed (Robert Greenwald: USA, 2008)

Robert Greenwald on CNBC discussing the film (and the brave reporter who defends the subjects of the documentary ;)

Also the most recent episode of Bill Moyer's Journal includes an interview with David Cay Johnston:

With all the talk of change coming out of the campaigns, can we expect big money to lose its grip on Washington? Bill Moyers interviews NEW YORK TIMES investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Cay Johnston who says America's system has been rigged to benefit the super-rich.

To Watch the Episode

More from Democracy Now:

“Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)”

And from AlterNet

By Adam Howard
People usually focus on the historic "I Have a Dream" speech,
but it's the work King was doing at the end of his life that
deserves more attention.

To Read the Article

By Eliseo Medina and Gerry Hudson
40 years later, Dr. King's dream of a more just society is a
long way from being realized.

To Read the Article

BBC World Service: Debt Threat

Debt Threat: Credit Monster
BBC World Service: Documentary Archive

Everyone now knows that the credit crunch began with American banks giving seemingly crazy loans to poor or uneducated home-buyers who had little or no chance of repaying them.

Early hopes that the problem would be restricted to these so-called sub-prime borrowers have been dashed and the credit crunch is now spreading rapidly to engulf homeowners in middle-class suburbs and on to squeeze industries and jobs in America and around the world.

No-one now seems to knows how big the problem is or where it's going to end, but all seem to be agreed it's set to get far worse in 2008.

In this special series for BBC World Service, reporter Michael Robinson delves deep into the innards of the credit crunch to try to get some answers.

In the first programme Michael explores how rapidly the shock wave of the credit crunch is spreading and why it is now moving far beyond the sub-prime homeowners where it began.

What are some of the little-known techniques bankers used to throw off the old constraints on their lending to create their unprecedented mountain of debt?

How have these techniques have resulted in the true extent of the debt problem being hidden away often offshore in strange new financial devices, well away from the gaze of politicians and regulators?

To Listen to the Episode

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Allida Black: Eleanor Roosevelt and the 1960 Elections

Eleanor Roosevelt and the 1960 Elections
Word for Word (American Public Media)

Historian Allida Black says Eleanor Roosevelt's influence went far beyond being First Lady. Besides being a driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Mrs. Roosevelt played a key role in the 1960 Democratic primary battle between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. In a 2007 speech at the Minnesota History Center, Black tells the story of how Roosevelt was one of Kennedy's most vocal critics — and one of his most important allies — during one of the closest presidential elections in the history of American politics.

To Listen to the Episode

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dr. Alice Ginott-Cohn: Answering Dr. Kinsey

"Answering Dr. Kinsey"
Interview of Dr. Alice Ginott-Cohn
The Story (American Public Media)

[January 4th] marked the 60th anniversary of the first Kinsey Report on Human Sexual Behavior. The identity of many of the participants who divulged the details of their sex lives to Kinsey remains secret. However, one woman decided to shed her anonymity.

Dr. Alice Ginott-Cohn was interviewed by Dr. Kinsey when she was 19 years old. He was seeking female volunteers in her psychology class at Indiana University. Alice says she found Kinsey very attractive and comforting, so she volunteered to be interviewed. Dick Gordon talks to Alice about the famous study and how participating in it has influenced her own life and work.

To Listen to the Episode

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

James Curran: Global Media System, Public Knowledge and Democracy

"Global Media System, Public Knowledge and Democracy"
James Curran, director of the Media Research Programme at Goldsmiths, University of London. Chair: Sonia Livingstone
(Nov 13, 2007 at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Much of the world is moving towards the entertainment-centred, market-based media model of the United States. If this continues, we will enter a new era of political ignorance.

To Listen to the Lecture

Monday, January 14, 2008

Filmschool: Donald Karslake

Hosted by Nathan Callahan and Mike Kaspar

An interview with Daniel Karslake the director of For the Bible Tells Me So. Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Karslake's documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families — including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson — we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. For six years, Daniel Karslake has been an award-winning producer for the highly acclaimed newsmagazine, In the Life, which airs nationally on PBS in over 120 markets. Recognition for his outstanding work for the show, which has centered primarily on issues regarding religion and homosexuality, includes an Emmy nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as praise from GLAAD and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. For the Bible Tells Me So is on the Academy's short list of nominees for Best Documentary.

To Listen to the Episode

Taxi to the Dark Side (Alex Gibney: USA, 2007)

Alex Gibney, director of the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and executive producer of No End in Sight, has just released his latest documentary Taxi to the Dark Side.

Green Cine Archive on Taxi to the Dark Side

Official Website for the Film

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Presidential Forum on Renewable Energy Student Essay Contest (Three $10,000 Winners!!!)

(Courtesy of Claire Glasscock)

The Presidential Forum on Renewable Energy is sponsoring an essay contest for college students with three $10,000 prizes for winning essays. Find out more by visiting this site.

Michael Pollan: The Way We Live Now

The Way We Live Now: Our Decrepit Food Factories
New York Times

The word “sustainability” has gotten such a workout lately that the whole concept is in danger of floating away on a sea of inoffensiveness. Everybody, it seems, is for it whatever “it” means. On a recent visit to a land-grant university’s spanking-new sustainability institute, I asked my host how many of the school’s faculty members were involved. She beamed: When letters went out asking who on campus was doing research that might fit under that rubric, virtually everyone replied in the affirmative. What a nice surprise, she suggested. But really, what soul working in agricultural science today (or for that matter in any other field of endeavor) would stand up and be counted as against sustainability? When pesticide makers and genetic engineers cloak themselves in the term, you have to wonder if we haven’t succeeded in defining sustainability down, to paraphrase the late Senator Moynihan, and if it will soon possess all the conceptual force of a word like “natural” or “green” or “nice.”

Confucius advised that if we hoped to repair what was wrong in the world, we had best start with the “rectification of the names.” The corruption of society begins with the failure to call things by their proper names, he maintained, and its renovation begins with the reattachment of words to real things and precise concepts. So what about this much-abused pair of names, sustainable and unsustainable?

To call a practice or system unsustainable is not just to lodge an objection based on aesthetics, say, or fairness or some ideal of environmental rectitude. What it means is that the practice or process can’t go on indefinitely because it is destroying the very conditions on which it depends. It means that, as the Marxists used to say, there are internal contradictions that sooner or later will lead to a breakdown.

For years now, critics have been speaking of modern industrial agriculture as “unsustainable” in precisely these terms, though what form the “breakdown” might take or when it might happen has never been certain. Would the aquifers run dry? The pesticides stop working? The soil lose its fertility? All these breakdowns have been predicted and they may yet come to pass. But if a system is unsustainable — if its workings offend the rules of nature — the cracks and signs of breakdown may show up in the most unexpected times and places. Two stories in the news this year, stories that on their faces would seem to have nothing to do with each other let alone with agriculture, may point to an imminent breakdown in the way we’re growing food today.

The first story is about MRSA, the very scary antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus bacteria that is now killing more Americans each year than AIDS — 100,000 infections leading to 19,000 deaths in 2005, according to estimates in The Journal of the American Medical Association. For years now, drug-resistant staph infections have been a problem in hospitals, where the heavy use of antibiotics can create resistant strains of bacteria. It’s Evolution 101: the drugs kill off all but the tiny handful of microbes that, by dint of a chance mutation, possess genes allowing them to withstand the onslaught; these hardy survivors then get to work building a drug-resistant superrace. The methicillin-resistant staph that first emerged in hospitals as early as the 1960s posed a threat mostly to elderly patients. But a new and even more virulent strain — called “community-acquired MRSA” — is now killing young and otherwise healthy people who have not set foot in a hospital. No one is yet sure how or where this strain evolved, but it is sufficiently different from the hospital-bred strains to have some researchers looking elsewhere for its origin, to another environment where the heavy use of antibiotics is selecting for the evolution of a lethal new microbe: the concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO.

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that at least 70 percent of the antibiotics used in America are fed to animals living on factory farms. Raising vast numbers of pigs or chickens or cattle in close and filthy confinement simply would not be possible without the routine feeding of antibiotics to keep the animals from dying of infectious diseases. That the antibiotics speed up the animals’ growth also commends their use to industrial agriculture, but the crucial fact is that without these pharmaceuticals, meat production practiced on the scale and with the intensity we practice it could not be sustained for months, let alone decades.

Public-health experts have been warning us for years that this situation is a public-health disaster waiting to happen. Sooner or later, the profligate use of these antibiotics — in many cases the very same ones we depend on when we’re sick — would lead to the evolution of bacteria that could shake them off like a spring shower. It appears that “sooner or later” may be now. Recent studies in Europe and Canada found that confinement pig operations have become reservoirs of MRSA. A European study found that 60 percent of pig farms that routinely used antibiotics had MRSA-positive pigs (compared with 5 percent of farms that did not feed pigs antibiotics). This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study showing that a strain of “MRSA from an animal reservoir has recently entered the human population and is now responsible for [more than] 20 percent of all MRSA in the Netherlands.” Is this strictly a European problem? Evidently not. According to a study in Veterinary Microbiology, MRSA was found on 45 percent of the 20 pig farms sampled in Ontario, and in 20 percent of the pig farmers. (People can harbor the bacteria without being infected by it.) Thanks to Nafta, pigs move freely between Canada and the United States. So MRSA may be present on American pig farms; we just haven’t looked yet.

To Read the Rest of the Article

Roy Greenslade: Press for Freedom

Press for Freedom
Documentary Archive (BBC World Radio)
Roy Greenslade presents this four-part documentary series on the freedom of the press.

Part One - Government control

When reporting, Russian journalists Anna Politkovskaya was critical of the government and sought to expose the human rights abuses of the war in Chechnya. The deputy editor of the newspaper she worked for, Vitaly Yaroshevsky, believed she was killed because of her work. "We don't see any other motive for this terrible crime," he said.

Part one of this series looks at the effects of government control and the risks that journalists take to pursue the truth.

We hear from a young Iraqi journalist - Ali Fedhil - who describes the dangers of being perceived to belong to one press factions in Iraq over another.

Peta Thornycroft talks about the difficulties of being a foreign correspondent in a country that wants to put you in prison.

Part two: Freedom of the internet

How do the motives of mainstream news websites compare with the agendas of blogs?

In this part of 'Press for Freedom', we talk to Iraqi blogger Salam Pax and others who have delivered on-the-ground viewpoints in regions where the government would have otherwise silenced them.

In Kuala Lumpur, we hear from the government-owned Bernama press, who also fund Nam News Network, supposedly the only unfiltered news wire in a non-aligned world.

Part Three - Building democracy

What is the role of radio in building democracy?

In Papua, a new radio station is being installed as part of Indonesia's 68H network. 68H has introduced electricity by building a dam to power the station in the village.

How did 68H get around censorship under Suharto? And why is radio such a key player in building civil society?

Part Four: Established democracies

What is the story of press freedom in established democracies?

What is getting in the way of editorial integrity in societies which apparently have freedom of the press?

In the final part of the series, we hear from Michael Wolff, biographer of News Corp's Rupert Murdoch; former editor of the Los Angeles Times, Dean Baquet; and Dan Gillmor of the Centre for Citizen Media.

To Listen to the Series

Documentary Archive: Only One Bakira

Only One Bakira
Documentary Archive (BBC World Radio)

Madame Justice Florence Mumba from Zambia made legal history five years ago when she declared rape a crime against humanity.

Justice Mumba was the presiding judge at the International War Crimes Tribunal on Yugoslavia in the Hague.

Her ruling was heralded around the world. In Bosnia, rape was not just one of the spoils of war, it was a clearly contemplated military strategy, a means of terrorizing the population.

It is estimated that 20,000 women were raped as part of the conflict in the Balkans.

There have been nine or ten convictions. And now the Hague Tribunal is shutting up shop.

The remaining cases - and they are legion - will be tried in the Balkans - where the crimes took place.

Victims are still waiting for justice.

"They made us permanent invalids. Unable to go back to their origins and the places where they used to live" says Bakira Hassecic, a woman who deals with the rape she endured with a relentless pursuit of war criminals.

Croats, Bosnians and Serbs will have to deal with the past themselves. There doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for the task. Some people would prefer to forget, but Bakira will not let them.

Bakira - and the network of women she formed, the Association of Women Victims of War - act as investigators. Finding perpetrators and providing their location to the authorities.

This is their story.

To Listen to the Episode

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cath Elliot: Designer Vaginas, Anyone?

Designer Vaginas, Anyone?
By Cath Elliott, Comment Is Free and AlterNet

Hymenoplasty, vaginal tightening, revirgination, G-spot amplification and labial reduction are the latest craze for women with more money than sense.

Once you've had your breasts enhanced, your thighs sucked thin, your skin stretched taught over your cheekbones, and your lips pumped full of cow's tissue, what better way to finish off that perfect Barbie doll look than to have your genitals surgically remodeled and your pubic area waxed smooth? And if you're worried that your partner might be tempted to stray because you've had a couple of kids and things have started to sag a bit, what better way to guarantee his fidelity than to transform yourself into a porn queen lookalike with the fanny of a pre-pubescent girl?

Hymenoplasty, vaginal tightening, revirgination, G-spot amplification and labial reduction are the latest craze in cosmetic surgeries for women with more money than sense. Surgeries that were originally designed to help overcome some of the more debilitating side effects of childbirth have now been appropriated by an industry whose sole purpose is to convince women that they're imperfect and to profit from the plummeting self-esteem they promote.

In last week's Observer, Cristina Odone lauded hymenoplasty as "brilliantly subversive" and as "good news" for women. "After all," she chortled, "nowadays you don't have to be a virgin -- you just pretend to be one."

Well, sorry to burst your bubble Cristina, but having your hymen repaired to meet with societal expectations of a new bride's virginity, or having your vagina tightened as a gift to your husband so he can re-live that first night experience, is not "good news for women," not by any stretch of the imagination. Something's surely gone amiss if we're now celebrating voluntary mutilation as some kind of benchmark for women's progress.

To Read the Rest of the Commentary


Literaghost refers us to the new VULVA perfume:


Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: A Fly on James Burke's Wall

A Fly on James Burke's Wall
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

In this episode, Dan discusses history with famed television host, author and science historian James Burke, the man the Washington Post called “one of the most intriguing minds in the Western world”.

To Listen to the Podcast


You can listen to the audio version James Burke's history The Day the Universe Changed at GPod:

The Day the Universe Changed

Studio 360: The Wire

(One of my all time favorite series dramas is The Wire. Critical, relevant, and multiperspective.)

The Wire
Hosted: Kurt Anderson
Studio 360

"The Wire" just began its final season on HBO. The dramatic series’ gritty, unblinking portrayal of Baltimore has critics calling it the best show on TV. But those are critics. What do the real people of Baltimore think of "The Wire?" Aaron Henkin of WYPR asked some residents of the city’s tough neighborhoods what they thought of the drama.

To Listen to the Feature

Boumediene vs Bush

(We here at Dialogic would like to state that we are horrified that our country is running camps that "disappear" people--Guantanamo and the various other places aroung the world. Even more sickening is the judicial defense, Justice Scalia in particular, of these camps. The legalistic slide into declaring people non-existent and non-entities and non-combatants and not-governed--or protected--by law defies any democratic belief/stance and encourages a society of control through abuse [starting with the weakest/despised and working its way upward]: Means Without Ends or the Historical Judicial Process That Led to Death Camps. Shame on them for justifying it, shame on us for letting it continue.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The above-entitled matter came on for oral
argument before the Supreme Court of the United States
at 10:01 a.m.

To Listen/Read the Argument

Thursday, January 10, 2008

NOW: Dirty Politics 2008

(This is a good mainstream critique of the dirty politics between our two hegemonic political parties, of course the problem is that it completely ignores the dirty tricks used against anyone that isn't an accepted member of their limited clique--for that you should check out Bill Moyer's Journal--which demonstrates the problems with NOW since Moyer's left--but we are thankful that Moyer's is back and we here will accept the watered down NOW as long as we have Bill Moyer's Journal :)

Dirty Politics 2008

Political mudslinging as a campaign tactic is as popular as it's ever been. Romney, Clinton, Huckabee, Giuliani, Obama - no one's managed to steer clear of targeted rumors and malicious gossip. NOW on PBS travels to South Carolina, the home of legendary no-holds-barred campaigner Lee Atwater, to see where negative stories come from, how they spread, and whether they can be effectively defeated with positive messaging.

To Listen to the Report

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


(Every time you see the images of Guantanamo, every time you hear about the conditions of the camp, doesn't it just tear at you, make you sick? Is this democracy? Is this what a "good" country does--even to its enemies? Yet the posturing clowns continue in the race to be the chief rat as our country goes down the tubes. Message courtesy of LW!)

From Witness Against Torture:


"Immediately close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and either release its inmates or bring them before an impartial tribunal."
— United Nations Human Rights Commission

We declare January 11, 2008, six years after the first prisoners arrived at Guantanamo, an International Day of Action to Shut Down Guantanamo. In Washington, DC we will hold a permitted demonstration at the National Mall followed by an orange jumpsuit procession to the Supreme Court. There will also be solidarity demonstrations in Chicago, Miami, London and Paris, with more being added every day. We invite you to come to Washington and participate, or else join or plan an action in your own community. We also encourage people around the world to wear orange t-shirts, armbands or other orange clothing on January 11th to mark the date.

Friday, January 11, 11:00am. (National Mall )

The day involves several elements:

Demonstration at the National Mall.
Witness Against Torture has teamed up with Amnesty International and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to hold a permitted demonstration on the National Mall at 11:00am. (Gather at 12th Street NW between Madison Dr NW & Jefferson Drive SW - near the Smithsonian Metro Stop.)

"Prisoners of Guantánamo March."
A provocative street theater performance involving people wearing orange jump suits and black hoods. We will march from the National Mall to the Supreme Court in an orderly silent procession hauntingly evoking the moral disgrace that is Guantánamo. With your help, we will form a prisoner contingent including as many protesters as there are prisoners.

Funeral Ceremony at the Supreme Court.
Following the procession to the Supreme Court, we will hold a Funeral Ceremony to remember the four men who died in custody at Guantánamo and to mourn the death of Habeas Corpus. Like last year, some may choose to risk arrest.

To participate, please consider attending an orientation meeting on Thursday, 4pm, at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church (1525 Newton Street, NW) or come early to the National Mall for an orientation and rehearsal at 10:00am.

Please let us know in advance if you are willing to participate in either the Prisoners Contingent, Nonviolent Direct Action, or both.
Email or call Matt Daloisio at 201-264-4424.

For up-to-date details as well as information about housing, food, rides and directions, legal support and much more, please visit our web site.

Wherever you are on January 11th, we encourage you to wear orange to raise public awareness and strengthen the movement to demand an end to torture and indefinite detention. Consider wearing one of Witness Against Torture's Orange "Shut Down Guantánamo" T-shirts, an ACLU arm band, or even an orange jump suit.

JOIN THE GROWING NUMBER OF LOCAL VIGILS - ATTEND OR ORGANIZE AN ACTION IN YOUR COMMUNITY If you can't join us in Washington D.C., please consider attending or organizing a vigil, march or a public forum in your community. Actions are currently planned in London, England; Paris, France; Miami, FL; Boise, Idaho; Philadelphia, PA; Saratoga Springs, NY; San Francisco, CA; Ft. Huachuca, AZ; and New York City, NY.

Visit Witness Against Torture for up-to-date details about solidarity events, as well as to find ideas for actions, to post to our calendar, or to download flyers and other resources.

A similar list of events - in some cases providing more detailed information - is available on the ACLU Web site. Click on this link

Two years ago Witness Against Torture drew international attention after it walked to Guantánamo to visit the prisoners. Upon its return, the group has organized vigils, marches, nonviolent direct actions and educational events to expose and decry the administration's lawlessness, build awareness about torture and indefinite detention, and forge human ties with the prisoners at Guantánamo and their families.

Howard Zinn on Civil Disobedience

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Brave New Films: Online Coverage of Iowa Caucuses

Brave New Films message:

Dear activists, colleagues, and friends,

It's a three-way dead heat in Iowa. The caucuses start in a few hours (if you're in Iowa, go!) and Brave New Films and the Young Turks are joining up to bring you live video coverage of all the drama.

Cenk Uygur will be checking in with bloggers on the ground in Iowa and staffers from the different campaigns throughout the night. I'll be live blogging all the results, rumors, and scuttlebutt too. Come party with us!


HOSTS: Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz, and Wes Clark, Jr.


7:30pm ET: Adam Green,
7:45pm ET: Sam Seder, Air America
8:00pm ET: Faiz Shakir, Think Progress
8:15pm ET: Matt Stoller, Open Left
8:30pm ET: Sean Paul-Kelly, The Agonist
8:45pm ET: Todd Beeton, MyDD
9:00pm ET: Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation

Ellen Brodsky, News Hounds
Steve Clemons, The Washington Note
Ari Melber, The Nation
Richard Wolffe, Newsweek

See you online tonight,
Jim Gilliam, Leighton Woodhouse, and everyone at Brave New Films and the Young Turks

P.S. We're doing this on Tuesday for the New Hampshire primary as well. Be sure to let us know on the blog if you like the coverage, how we can improve it, and if you want us to continue with this type of thing.

Brave New Films creates videos and campaigns for social change. We are located at 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 and You can get us on iTunes and Facebook, and you can stop receiving email from us by clicking here

Dan Carlin's Common Sense: The Government We Deserve

Show 114 - The Government We Deserve
Dan Carlin's Common Sense

Would the American Republic be safer if its people weren't so afraid? Dan thinks so. He talks about the connection between bravery and freedom. Also: What would happen if an honest person were elected President?

To Listen to the Episode

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Michael Benton: Reviewed Films From December

Michael Benton: Reviewed Films From December

In the Kingdom of the Blind, The One-Eyed Person is King

Economics, that great pretender to science, never ceases to amuse me. Yes, we here at Dialogic all are a part of the Humanities disciplines, but at least in our borrowing, summarizing and paraphrasing we do not "pretend" to scientific thought. We understand that we tell stories and that is our role in the world... economics, on the other hand, the apprehensive pretender to science, is one of the great contemporary fictions. Thanks to Econ-Talk for today's rambling and amusing story:

William Duggan: Strategic Intuition

... and you shall know them by their metaphors... they toss out way to many in an hour span to demonstrate the typical confused and opaque thinking of the economics/management lesson, but if you hang into about the third section you can grasp their militaristic imaginary... or you could just save yourself the trouble and just read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bill Moyer's Crisis in Capitalism; Ben Barber asks "Global Consumer or Global Citizen?"; Naomi Klein's Brilliant History The Shock Doctrine

Crisis in Capitalism: Interview with Benjamin Barber
Bill Moyer's Journal

Benjamin R. Barber is a principal member of the Democracy Collaborative, with offices in New York, and Maryland.

In his latest book, CONSUMED: HOW MARKETS CORRUPT CHILDREN, INFANTILIZE ADULTS, AND SWALLOW CITIZENS WHOLE, Dr. Barber discusses the ways in which he believes American capitalism is undermining democracy. As he explains to Bill Moyers:

Capitalism has put democracy in trouble, because capitalism has tried to persuade us that being a private consumer is enough. That a citizen is nothing more than a consumer.

Benjamin Barber's over 17 books include the STRONG DEMOCRACY (1984) reissued in 2004 in a twentieth anniversary edition; the international best-seller JIHAD VS. MCWORLD (1995 with a Post 9/11 Edition in 2001, translated into twenty languages) and FEAR'S EMPIRE: WAR, TERRORISM AND DEMOCRACY (2003), also published in eight foreign editions. His collected American essays, A PASSION FOR DEMOCRACY, were published by Princeton University Press in 1999, and his book THE TRUTH OF POWER: INTELLECTUAL AFFAIRS IN THE CLINTON WHITE HOUSE was published in 2001 by W.W. Norton & Company.

He writes frequently for HARPER'S MAGAZINE, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE ATLANTIC, THE NATION, LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR, DIE ZEIT, LA REPUBBLICA, EL PAIS and many other scholarly and popular publications in America and Europe. He was a founding editor and for ten years editor-in-chief of the distinguished international quarterly POLITICAL THEORY.

To Read/Watch this Interview

For more on Benjamin Barber:

Benjamin Barber: Global Citizen or Global Consumer?

Also check out Naomi Klein's views on "Disaster Capitalism" as put forth in her recent book "Shock Doctrine":

Collection of Video Interviews

I would like to state that Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. (Random House: 2007) was the best book of 2007 (more on this when I have more time)