Thursday, April 28, 2011

Christian L. Pyle: Adjuncts -- The Invisible Majority

Adjuncts: the invisible majority
By Christian L. Pyle
North of Center

...

Flashpoint: tenure at BCTC

My adjunct awakening came in late 2008 when the board of regents for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), the parent of BCTC, tried to remove the possibility of tenure for all new full-time faculty. My initial impulse as a college teacher was to support tenure even though I was not eligible for it. However, reading the arguments by full-time faculty members shook my sensibilities. The word “adjunct” appeared often to describe what full-time non-tenured faculty would be. We were described as “rootless,” despite the fact that many full-time faculty at BCTC came there from other places while many adjuncts are native to the area.

Furthermore, we were depicted as unreliable. One associate professor claimed, “Every academic coordinator has a story of the adjunct who bails out the day before the semester begins (or during the midterm).” While that may be true, I suspect there may be even more stories of adjuncts who’ve gone beyond their job descriptions in service to their departments: serving on committees, aiding with ongoing projects, and jumping in to take on those abandoned classes at the last minute. Prior to this, I had noticed that when there were full-time openings available, hiring committees in my area either hired someone who was new to BCTC or they chose someone who had only been an adjunct for a couple years (as opposed to a couple decades). The pro-tenure arguments also stressed that removing tenure would keep the college from “recruiting” new faculty. Recruitment would seem an easy matter as most departments had a large number of adjuncts serving them.

I could see that there was a stigma attached to being an adjunct that only became darker with time. I suspect that this bias may be a psychological reaction to the inherent unfairness of the full-time/adjunct system. Full-time profs recognize this inequity and subconsciously resolve their internal conflict by believing that adjuncts are inherently inferior to full-time teachers.

Academic caste systems

In today’s academic workplace, there is a caste system, and the two castes (permanent full-time teachers and adjunct teachers) live very different lives despite the fact that they may be teaching the same courses at the same school. At large universities, the caste system had a logic to it: tenure-track faculty had PhDs and were judged on the research they did rather than the classes they taught; adjunct faculty often had master’s degrees and focused entirely on teaching. Tenured profs taught upper-level and graduate courses; adjuncts taught freshman and sophomore classes. While that arrangement assumes that the “business” of the university is research, not teaching, it at least had a clear basis. At a community college, however, there’s little emphasis on research, and there are only two levels of classes. Although full-time faculty have a few added responsibilities, their primary job is essentially the same as that of adjuncts, but the two sets of teachers are treated very differently.

Just as there are two Americas, in the words of former senator John Edwards, there are two BCTCs. Consider this fact: the majority of instructors at BCTC are not members of the Faculty.

Really. The Faculty, as an organization that has a voice in the college’s policies and elects its representatives, includes only tenured or tenure-track professors. The majority of teachers at the college have no vote, no voice, no representation.

How much of a majority? In my division, for example, there are 30 full-time permanent faculty and 84 adjunct instructors. As the number of adjuncts increases much more rapidly than the number of full-time faculty, the ratio will eventually reach 3:1. How different are their lives? Full-timers get a living wage, adjuncts do not. Full-timers get a benefits package that includes health insurance, adjuncts do not. Full-timers are eligible for promotions and raises, adjuncts are not. Full-timers have a representative on the Board of Regents, adjuncts do not. Full-timers have offices and their own computers, adjuncts do not.

The lack of office space and access to resources for adjuncts raises another interesting issue. Not only are adjunct instructors treated as second-class citizens, their students are, too. Why don’t my students deserve to be able to meet with me between classes in a private office? They’re paying the same amount to take my section of a course as a full-time professor’s students are to take the same course. If BCTC is going to save cash by paying me starvation wages, why don’t my students get a discount? Even when I was a teaching assistant in graduate school, I had an office. Whenever a paper was due, I would hold extended office hours and allow students to sign up for appointment times to have private conferences about the papers they were writing. That’s not an option now.

To Read the Entire Essay

Community/Collectives: Peace and Conflict Studies Archive

Alperovitz, Gal. ""Worker-Owners of America, Unite": Will Cooperative Workplaces Democratize U.S. Economy?" Democracy Now (December 15, 2011)

"Anaheim: A Tale of Two Cities." Faultlines (December 12, 2012)

"The Art of Politics: A Primer for Community Self-Defense." Rolling Thunder #1 (Summer 2005)

Barlow, Maude, Richard Grossman and Thomas Linzey. "When Lawmaking Becomes Rebellion (Water Privatization, Democracy School and the Corporate State)." Unwelcome Guests #307 (May 21, 2006) ["A new populist alliance of long time environmental activists and rural folk in central Pennsylvania has grown out of a struggle to ban toxic agribusiness operations that have targeted the area as the next profit opportunity. This movement is taking a new approach that is spreading across America via a project of public education and organization called democracy schools, that are teaching direct action lawmaking to challenge corporate supremacy and to create rights under law for people and the land."]

Baxter, Joan. "Land Grabbing in Africa." Unwelcome Guests #619 (September 1, 2012)

"The Being Deaf Show." RE:SOUND (2007)

Benton, Michael Dean. "My Understanding of Anarchism." Dialogic (March 4, 2012)

Berry, Wendell. "The Idea of a Local Economy." Orion (Winter 2001)

---. "The Work of Local Culture." What Are People For? San Francisco: North Point Press, 1990: 153-169 [Excerpts posted on Dialogic with links to the entire text: July 8, 2012]

"Black Panther Party in Their Own Words." Seeing Red Radio (May 29, 2008)

Boggs, Grace Lee. "Becoming Detroit: Grace Lee Boggs on Reimagining Work, Food, and Community." On Being (July 18, 2013)

Borden, Amy. "At the global market: Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé and the economics of women’s rights." Jump Cut #53 (Summer 2011)

Bordessa, Kris. "Michigan Woman Could Get 93 Days in Jail for Planting a Garden." Geek Mom (July 9, 2011)

Botton, Alain de. "Wants a Religion for Atheists: Introducing Atheism 2.0." Open Culture (January 26, 2012)

Boyle, Greg. "The Calling of Delight: Gangs, Service, Kinship." On Being (February 26, 2013)

Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop (Lexington, KY: 4 minute film, 2011)

Chen, Adelaide. "Neither Here Nor There: Bhutanese Refugees in the U.S." Making Contact (June 17, 2009)

Chomsky, Noam. "Occupy Wall Street "Has Created Something That Didn’t Really Exist" in U.S. — Solidarity." Democracy Now (May 14, 2012)

Claiborne, Shane. A Monastic Revolution On Being (July 1, 2010)

"Consensus Decision Making (Direct Democracy @ Occupy Wall Street) (Video: November 2011)

Costa, Amanda Lin. "Breaking the Cycle of Violence: An Interview With Documentarian Steve James." Truthout (August 8, 2011)

Crow, Scott. "Black Flags and Windmills - Hope, Anarchy and the Common Ground Collective." Dialogic (March 4, 2012)

Dawson, Mike. "Television Special: The Wire." Left Field Cinema (February 25, 2009)

Dubal, Veena. "Presumed Guilty: American Muslims and Arabs (9-11 Encore Edition)." Making Contact (September 6, 2011)

"Ecovillages Directory." Fellowship for Intentional Community (List of ecovillages around the world, with descriptions)

"Finding Home." To the Best of Our Knowledge (June 27, 2010)

Flores, Fernando, et al. "A special one-hour program on the South Central Farm in Los Angeles – lessons in human rights, immigrant rights, ecological sustainability, and activism." Uprising Radio (June 16, 2006)

Greenwald, Glenn. "OWS Inspired Activism." Salon (November 17, 2011)

Hedges, Chris. "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt." Law and Disorder Radio (July 30, 2012)

---. "A Master Class in Occupation." TruthDig (October 31, 2011)

Hooper, Simon. "British ban squatting to tackle ‘anarchists': Squatting in empty properties is now a criminal offence, but homeless people say they are being unfairly criminalised." Al Jazeera (November 12, 2012)

Hopkins, Rob, et al. "The Psychology of Transition: Undoing Millennia of Social Control." Unwelcome Guests #597 (March 31, 2012)

Houp, Wesley. "Life by Rheotaxis: A River Rat's Perspective North of Center (April 13, 2011)

"Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI)." Bill Moyers Journal (April 30, 2010)

Katsiaficas, George. The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life. (AK Press, 2006)

Klein, Naomi. "Sandy’s Devastation Opens Space for Action on Climate Change and Progressive Reform." (November 15, 2012)

Morgan, Jason. "'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland." History for the Future (March 2, 2010)

Morris, David. "Where is Kropotkin When We Really Need Him? If you want to know what anarchism is and why we should care, read Kropotkin." Common Dreams (February 10, 2012)

Negro, Lisa. "Service is My Art." Smells Like Human Spirit #119 (January 14, 2014)

"Not My Zion: American Jews Divided on Israel and Palestine." Making Contact (August 16, 2011)

Occupy! N + 1 (October 2011)

Orion Magazine (The first issue of the Orion Nature Quarterly was published in June 1982, and in its editorial George Russell, the publication’s first Editor-in-Chief, boldly stated Orion’s values: “It is Orion’s fundamental conviction that humans are morally responsible for the world in which we live, and that the individual comes to sense this responsibility as he or she develops a personal bond with nature.”)

"Radical Contact List." Slingshot (Ongoing Archive)

Right Here All Over: Occupy Wall Street Protests (Alex Mallis and Lily Henderson, 2011: 6 mins and 52 seconds)

Russell, Bertrand. "Authority and the Individual, Pts. 1-6." The Reith Lectures (December 24, 1948 - January 30, 1949)

Schulman, Sarah. "AIDs and Gentrification." Against the Grain (November 20, 2012)

Shiva, Vandana. Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2000: 5-20.

Sisk-Franco, Caleen. "The War Dance of the Winnemem Wintu." Making Contact (May 13, 2009)

Temple, Melissa Bow. "It's Okay to Be Neither." Together for Jackson County Kids (December 16, 2011)

Wilkinson, Richard. "How Economic Inequality Harms Societies." TED Talks (Posted on Common Dreams: November 2, 2011)

Wolff, Richard D. "Jettisoning Accustomed Categories of Thought (Marxian Class Analysis 2) Unwelcome Guests #625 (October 13, 2012)

The Subversion of Politics/Christiania, one of Europe's most famous communes, faces last stand

For an excellent history to help understand the importance of European Autonomous communities, resistance and practices, I recommend Georges Katsiaficas's "The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life" (AK Press: available online in pdfs of the chapters)



Christiania, one of Europe's most famous communes, faces last stand
by Lars Eriksen and Alexandra Topping
Guardian (United Kingdom)

For four decades, the freetown of Christiania has existed as a testimony to an alternative way of life, where hash was sold openly and squatters' shacks jostled comfortably with architect-designed eco-sheds.

For some, the commune was a human jungle in the centre of Copenhagen; for others a bastion of irreverence.

But now residents have erected its last line of defence against the Danish government attempts to "normalise" one of Europe's most famous squats after 40 years of legal wrangling.

Residents have erected fences at entrance points which they patrol, handing out flyers which declare that "Christiania will be temporarily closed until further notice". Cafes and shops were closed as residents began meetings to debate their future.

In what residents see as the final attack by the right-of-centre government, and property developers eager to get their hands on the valuable real estate, they have been given until 2 May to decide whether to take up an offer to buy the properties – collectively or as individuals – for 150m kroner (£18m). Many argue that, for residents who have renounced materialism, this is impossible.

The other deal tabled by the government is to turn the freetown into a public housing association.

For many, the battle has already been lost. In February the government won a legal tussle over the rights of use after the supreme court upheld a 2009 ruling which handed the state control of the area.

Christiania, on the site of an old barracks and home to almost 1,000 people, has become a tourist destination. Cannabis is openly on sale, even if other bans – on arms, hard drugs and insignia on leather jackets – have been imposed by the commune over the years.

Since its creation in 1971 by a group of hippies and squatters, its 34 hectares have become a warren of micro-neighbourhoods, with cutting-edge eco-houses placed alongside restored shacks.

Initially labelled a social experiment by the government, in the last decade the Liberal-Conservative coalition has made a number of attempts to "normalise" the freetown.

To Read the Rest of the Article

More:



A Photo Gallery of Christiana

Mario Mattei: The True Meaning of Pictures

The True Meaning of Pictures
by Mario Mattei
International Guild of Visual Peacemakers



If you photograph people, then The True Meaning of Pictures (Jennifer Baichwal, 2002) is a documentary that may challenge your own artistic intentions and assumptions. In this Sundance Film Festival selection, Baichwal examines Shelby Lee Adams' lifetime pursuit of documenting Appalachians' lives. It reveals how some critics and viewers may be (mis)interpreting your own documentary photography.

The debate surrounding Adams' images compels photographers everywhere to be mindful of what they're doing, why, and how images effect both viewers and subjects. The controversies may even fear-lock you from ever pressing a shutter-release again; alternatively, they might imbue you with renewed photographic consciousness and vitality.

Despite his critics, Shelby Lee Adams released his view camera shutter time and time again in his 30 year quest to document a few families deep in the "Holler"--valleys in the Appalachian mountains that stretch 10 to 15 miles. To reveal the complexity of the true meaning of his pictures, Baichwal includes interviews from Adams' strongest critics and an Appalachian woman who "made it out of the hollers." They claim his photos deploy harmful stereotypes about "hillbillies" as lazy, moonshine-drinking, in-breeders, who's poverty is their own fault. One critic maintained that Adams furthers the "otherness of Appalachian people."

But how do the subjects themselves feel about the images and about Adams? Should they be the authoritative voice on their own images? Or as one critic put it, the isolated Appalachians can't fully understand how these images are belittling them. He also admitted this statement was patronizing.

To Read the Rest of the Essay

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WHYY Radio: Poet Nikki Finney

Poet Nikky Finney
WHYY Radio (Delaware Public Radio)



Award-winning poet NIKKY FINNEY says if you have a good sense of yourself, you’ll have a good sense of your work. She should know – she’s been teaching writing for over 25 years. Finney joins us to discuss and read some of her poetry featured in her new book, Head Off & Split. Finney is a professor of creative writing at the University of Kentucky and author of several books of poetry, including The World is Round, Rice, and On Wings Made of Gauze.

To Listen to the Episode

Jeff Biggers: Chained Ethnic Studies Students Take Over School Board in Tucson

Chained Ethnic Studies Students Take Over School Board in Tucson
by Jeff Biggers
Common Dreams

In an extraordinary uprising at the Tucson Unified School District board meeting Tuesday, Ethnic Studies/Mexican American Studies (MAS) students chained themselves to the board members chairs and derailed the introduction of a controversial resolution that would have terminated their acclaimed program’s core curriculum accreditation.

Popular Tucson blogger and activist David Abie Morales calls it a “field trip for civics and democracy in action.”

“Nobody was listening to us, especially the board,” said MAS high school student and UNIDOS activist Lisette Cota. “We were fed up. It may have been drastic but the only way was to chain ourselves to the boards’ chairs.”

While hundreds of supporters packed the district meeting room in a celebratory fashion, nine MAS students and UNIDOS activists defied security officers and literally took over the board members’ places minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin.

“I’m very moved by their passion and commitment to maintain these courses and curriculum,” said MAS teacher Sally Rusk. “They’re brilliant. This is not a one-time event. It looks like they’re not going to stop until they have an impact on this decision.”

TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone canceled the board meeting, but students have vowed to return to the district office until TUSD board president Mark Stegemen withdraws his proposed resolution, which has brought stark divisions in the community.

To Read the Rest of the Article and Watch Videos

More:

Colorlines: Tucson Students Storm Meeting - Delay Vote on Ethnic Studies

Wesley Houp: Life by Rheotaxis -- A river rat retrospective

Life by Rheotaxis: A river rat retrospective
By Wesley Houp
North of Center

rheotaxis: the tendency of certain living things to move in response to the mechanical stimulus of a current of water.

As the son of two aquatic biologists, I spent a goodly portion of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood doubled-over in benthological awe, wading through riffles and pools with a kick-net or seine, eager to pick through the contents of each haul as if I were skimming off the top of some vast and foreign treasury answers to life’s perplexing questions that elude the hoi polloi, hung just beneath the current, disguised against rope-swinging day-trippers and stoic, bank-hushed fisher-boys as an insignificant detail of the larger set—creek cobble and riprap scoured black and tumbled smooth. From intermittent headwater streams to alluvial river mouths, I associate the life in and of the current with all that is good and all that is essential in the life gently but seriously fashioned for me by gentle and serious people.

In every place I’ve lived as an adult, from Pennsylvania to Tennessee, mapping out and connecting to watersheds has been not only a constant, sometimes obsessive, undertaking but an outright existential necessity. We all need water to survive, but some of us need it in more ways than one and seek it out wherever and whenever possible.

I’m not talking about recreational pleasure or sport although I’m not necessarily opposed to those activities, but a fascination more akin to the elemental “draw” Harland Hubbard notes in the opening lines of Shantyboat: “A river tugs at whatever is within reach, trying to set it afloat and carry it downstream… The river extends this power of drawing all things with it even to the imagination of those who live on its banks. Who can long watch the ceaseless lapsing of a river’s current without conceiving a desire to set himself adrift, and, like the driftwood which glides past, float with the stream clear to the final ocean?”

I’m talking about a real ontological need to experience—to feel—the water, its undercurrents and biota, be part of its course, and live, if only fleetingly and as best a gravity-dumb biped can, by the alternating and life-altering charges of rheotaxis.

Folk memory

There’s no two ways around it. The Kentucky River courses through the geography of first, second, third, and even fourth-hand memories that constitute my life. Had not my ancestors fallen on hard times, left East Tennessee in the 1850s for the big woods of Eastern Kentucky, logged the old growth timber in Breathitt and Clay Counties, and experienced firsthand the spring tides above the forks of the Kentucky, the splash- dammed tributaries, log-rafts, and the precarious, serpentine run to downstream sawmills, like the one that operated near present-day Lock 7, the magnetism of some other distant current might sing to me from my subconscious.

But as it were, lucky for me I’m certain, the Kentucky delivered my grizzled ancestors to High Bridge, a small but promising river and (after 1877) railroad town. This sleepy corner of central Kentucky, with its mammoth cantilevered bridge transecting the deep-set ribbon of life, remains for me, even still, home.

They had, no doubt, first encountered this part of the inner bluegrass in the years preceding the Civil War, and after serving in the Union Army through Perryville, Stones River, and Chickamauga, Edmund and Robert Houp (father and son), my fourth and third great grandfathers respectively, shunned the rugged hills and hollows of Breathitt for the loamy and forgiving earth of southwest Jessamine.

To Read the Rest of the Essay

Sex/Sexuality: Peace and Conflict Studies Archive

Angyal, Chloe. "A Few Words About Reclaiming the Word 'Slut'." Feministing (May 16, 2011)

Asking for Consent is Sexy ["A blog which gives friendly tips on how to avoid rape situations - don't rape someone."]

Baptie, Trisha and Gunilla Ekberg. "Prostitution and Women's Equality: Imagining More for Women, Parts 1 and 2." Needs No Introduction (March 24 and 31, 2011)

Benshoff, Henry M. "Brokering Brokeback Mountain — a local reception study." Jump Cut #50 (Spring 2008)

Benton, Michael. "American Sex and Sexuality 2.0 Dialogic (May 27, 2010)

---. "Getting off on John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus." North of Center (March 30, 2011)

Borden, Amy. "At the global market: Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé and the economics of women’s rights." Jump Cut #53 (Summer 2011)

Brown, Rachel Manija and Sherwood Smith. "Say Yes to Gay YA." Publishers Weekly (September 12, 2011)

Chan, Karen B.K. "Should Sex Be Like Jazz." Sociological Images (March 4, 2013)

Corinna, Heather. "What Makes Someone Good in Bed?" Scarleteen (March 11, 2011)

Culp-Ressler, Tara. "New Study Disputes Robin Thicke, Finds Sexual Aggression Doesn’t Actually Have Blurred Lines." Think Progress (march 5, 2014)

Dueholm, Benjamin J. "Rules of Misbehavior: Dan Savage, the brilliant and foul-mouthed sex columnist, has become one of the most important ethicists in America. Are we screwed?" Washington Monthly (March/April 2011)

Earp, Brian. "Choosing one’s own (sexual) identity: Shifting the terms of the ‘gay rights’ debate." Practical Ethics (January 26, 2012)

Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality [A Publication of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, San Francisco, CA: "To disseminate knowledge about all aspects of human sexuality to the widest possible international community at moderate cost."]

Fabello, Melissa A. "Five Locker Room Myths About Penises Debunked." Everyday Feminism (April 28, 2013)

Fallana, Dia, et al. "Growin’ Up, Comin’ Out, Speakin’ Proud." Making Contact (June 10, 2009)

Fisher, Mark. "Non-film: Steve McQueen’s Shame." Film Quarterly (January 2012)


Grimes, Andrea. "I Used to Be a Pro Life Republican." Hay Ladies (February 8, 2011)

Grossman, Andrew. "The Perverse Privilege of Degradation: American Politics in the Age of Assimilation." Bright Lights Film Journal #74 (November 2011)

Hay Ladies ["... a blog about sex, gender and feminism in Texas. It was borne of love for righteous internet activism, Twitter hashtags and beer. And whiskey. And cats. It is mainly written and edited by Dallas journalist and anthropologist Andrea Grimes because she loves to put off real-life responsibilities in favor of blogging. Fellow contributors include graduate students, journalists and corporate shills writing under assumed names. We are always looking for more voices."]

Heath, Roderick. "A Dangerous Method (2011)." Ferdy on Films (December 18, 2011)

Ide, Enku. "On the Marriage Equality Act." Dialogic (March 26, 2013)

Jensen, Robert. "Pornography as a mirror: Do we want to look?" The F Word (August 30, 2011)

Johnson, Alex. "How to Queer Ecology: One Goose at a Time -- A lesson plan." Orion (March/April 2011)

Kimmell, Michael. "Toward a Pedagogy of the Oppressor." Tikkun (November/December 2002)

Kuersten, Erich. "Sex is a Hen Decapitated: Bluebeard and the Eroticism of Catherine Breillat." Acidemic #6 (2012)

LGBT Pride Parades The Big Picture (July 8, 2011)

MacKinnon, Catherine. "Lovelace." Harvard University Press Blog (August 9, 2013)

Moniz, Tomaz. " Notes from the Frontlines of Bringing Up Girls: What I really want to tell my daughters about autonomy and sex, in the midst of a war on women." Yes! (October 3, 2012)

Murphy, Meghan. "Exploring prostitution and abolition: Activism, events and debates." The F Word (March 12, 2011)

O'Neill, Terry and William Parker. "Senate Narrowly Defeats Anti-Contraception Bill as Reproductive Rights Come Under Sustained Attack." Democracy Now (March 2, 2012)

Papayanis, Marilyn Adler. "Sex on the Beach: The Yin Yang of Female Sex Tourism in Two Films." Bright Lights Film Journal #78 (November 2012)

"People Who Are Destroying America: Johnny Cummings." The Colbert Report (August 2013)

Pollitt, Katha. "Birth Control: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." The Nation (August 15, 2011)

RH Reality Check ["RH Reality Check is an online community and publication serving individuals and organizations committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. RH Reality Check is guided by the issues and recommendations identified in the Program of Action agreed on at the International Conference on Population and Development at Cairo in 1994. Protection is our watchword—we are contributing to the global effort to empower people with the information, services and leadership they need to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health and rights and to guard against false attacks and misinformation. RH Reality Check exists as a resource for evidence-based information, provocative commentary, and interactive dialogue. We enjoy the support of the UN Foundation and the editorial independence entrusted to us. RH Reality Check provides a forum for ideas and opinions."]

Ryan, Christopher and Cacilda Jetha. "Introduction: Another Well-Intentioned Inquisition." Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. (Harper, 2010: 1-15)

"Dialogic Word-of-the-Day: Sapiosexuality." Dialogic (January 10, 2012)

Savage, Dan. "What is the most important issue related to sex and sexuality today?" (Presentation at Jacksonville University: Posted on YouTube on March 21, 2013)

Savage Love [Seattle: Weblog of sexual/relationship ethics columnist Dan Savage -- there is also a weekly podcast.]

Scarleteen ["Scarleteen is an independent, grassroots sexuality education and support organization and website. Founded in 1998, Scarleteen.com is visited by around three-quarters of a million diverse people each month worldwide, most between the ages of 15 and 25. It is the highest-ranked website for sex education and sexuality advice online and has held that rank through most of its tenure." For an extensive/detailed explanation of the website's purpose"]

Schulman, Sarah. "AIDs and Gentrification." Against the Grain (November 20, 2012)

Seth, Leila. "India: You’re Criminal If Gay." The New York Review of Books (March 20, 2014)

"Sex Tips for Restless Youth." CrimethInc.

Shortbus and the Representation of Sex/Sexuality in Films." Dialogic (October 1, 2012)

Sloan, Scott. "Hands On Originals T-shirt company accused of discrimination." Lexington Herald-Leader (March 26, 2012)

Smiler, Barry. "No Such Thing as Polyamory." Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality #14 (2011)

Stampler, Laura. "Slutwalk Sweeps the Nation." Huffington Post (April 20, 2011)

Takei, George. "George Takei on Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill, Life in a Japanese Internment Camp & Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu." Democracy Now (February 27, 2014)

Wachowski, Lana. "What It Means To Be Transgendered." Women and Hollywood (October 24, 2012)

Waldman, Paul. "Why Republicans Keep Calling Women Sluts: They just can't help themselves, and here's why." The American Prospect (January 24, 2014)

Waldron, Travis. "Kentucky Church Unanimously Votes To Stop Signing Marriage Licenses Until Gay Marriage Is Legalized." Think Progress (April 21, 2011)

Wilcox, Kendall. "Far Between, Pts 1 and 2." (December 20, 2011)

Williams, Lauren. "This Black, Gay, Badass Pacifist Mastermind of the March on Washington Is Finally Getting His Due." Mother Jones (August 27, 2013)

Wolfe, Leanna. "On Kittens and the Very Invented Culture of Polyamory." Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality (October 12, 2008)

Zirin, Dave. "Jason Collins: The Substance of Change." The Nation (April 30, 2013)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Judge Samuel McDowell: Are the people in and about Lexington as religious as they were some time ago?

(via Literaghost)

Found in "The Biography of Ephraim McDowell," by Mrs. Mary T. Valentine.


Excerpt from a letter, from Judge Samuel McDowell (father of Ephraim McDowell), to his son-in-law, mr. Andrew Reid, of Virginia.
Mercer, Co., July 11th, 1792.


[...] Are the people in and about Lexington as religious as they were some time ago? My dear sir, religion is a most excellent thing, and that we should all be earnest to obtain, but the zeal of some of the Lexingtonians goes wild or carries them to extravagances and folly; that is, in my opinion, very foreign to true religion; and will have a tendency to make them people very proud and unsocial, looking upon all who are acting like rational creatures to be the wicked ones on earth, and look down on them with contempt. I am persuaded that the way them people (or some of them) are acting, will inevitably lead to a savage or superstitious state in the course of one or two hundred years — perhaps in much less time. Those good people will not associate with the wicked (as they call them) but meet only for religious worship or socially with their religious friends. Had that been the case formerly we had yet been in ignorance, but mankind mixing in assemblys [sic] for innocent amusement, cultivates friendship and civilizes the world. It makes their manners more mild and friendly and removes that sourness that superstition and bigotry leaves on the mind. May you and me, my dear sir, be earnest to live in this world as not to give offense to any one, and still act like rational creatures; for I am persuaded that the Divine Being cannot delight to see his creatures, that he has endowed with rational power, lay aside their reasoning powers, and give themselves up to superstition.

“Muscling in on the media” – a Reporters Without Borders look at organized crime

“Muscling in on the media” – a Reporters Without Borders look at organized crime
Reporters Without Borders

A total of 141 journalists were killed during the decade of the 2000s for daring to denounce the influence of criminal gangs and their parallel economy. Since the end of the Cold War, the media’s leading predators have been mafias, drug cartels and paramilitary groups that have turned to large-scale smuggling. Mafias of the traditional Costa Nostra kind are no longer the only form that this transnational phenomenon takes, one that is deadlier for journalists than the world’s remaining oppressive regimes and dictatorships. No continent is spared.

There is more to organized crime than the toll of dead and injured from its operations. It is a complex geopolitical and economic reality that the media have the utmost difficulty in portraying. Financial networks, money-laundering, legal fronts and tax paradises constitute an invisible but ubiquitous parallel world that will not be brought down by the arrest of any godfather or drug lord.

Organized crime not only poses a physical danger to journalists, it also defies the media’s investigative ability. At the same time, the media and public relations constitute a strategic objective for criminal groups. Far from wanting to overthrow the social order, they want to infiltrate it and use it.

With the help of its local correspondents and by interviewing journalists and media observers in every continent, Reporters Without Borders has tried to describe the obstacles and challenges that organized crime poses to the media, which are often reduced to covering this complex issue in terms of shootouts and bloodshed, or to just counting the dead in their own ranks.

It is clear from this report that the media are not united against organized crime, their correspondents are isolated and lack resources, and their capacity for investigative reporting is eclipsed by the race for breaking news. Without claiming to offer definitive solutions to this enormous problem, Reporters Without Borders recommends pooling information and sources, and calls for the creation of journalists’ associations that can help to guarantee the independence of their media and prevent murky financial interests from influencing editorial choices.

To Read the Rest of the Introduction, to Watch Videos, and to Read the Report

Military: Peace and Conflict Studies Archive

[Includes examinations of the militarization of other aspects of our society and the resistance to this militarism.]

"'Astoundingly Disturbing': Obama Administration Claims Power to Wage Endless War Across the Globe." Democracy Now (May 17, 2013)

Barker, Holly, et al. "The Secret, Silent Poisoning (Nuclear Victims in Peace and War)." Unwelcome Guests #616 (August 11, 2012)

Bhagwati, Anuradha, et al. "Many Lines of Fire: Women at War." Making Contact (May 27, 2009)

Bica, Camillo. "Rich Man's War and a Poor Man's Fight" TruthOut (February 11, 2011)

Boal, Mark. "The Kill Team." Rolling Stone (March 27, 2011)

Carlin, Dan. "Blueprint for Armageddon I." Hardcore History #50 (October 29, 2013)

---. Carlin, Dan. "Blueprint for Armageddon II." Hardcore History #51 (January 30, 2014)

---. "Logical Insanity." Hardcore History (March 31, 2012)

---. "Old School Toughness." Hardcore History (April 27, 2010)

Cavendish, Julius. "US’ New “Abu Ghraib” in Afghanistan." (March 22, 2011)

Chomsky, Noam. "There Is Much More To Say" ZNet (May 2011)

Cioca, Kori, Kirby Dick and Trina McDonald. "The Invisible War: New Film Exposes Rape, Sexual Assault Epidemic in U.S. Military." Democracy Now (January 30, 2012)

Crabtree, Susan. "Report: U.S. Has Wasted Tens Of Billions Of Dollars On Contractors In Iraq And Afghanistan." Talking Points Memo (February 28, 2011)

Crespo, Glenn and Larry Hildes. "Inside the Army Spy Ring & Attempted Entrapment of Peace Activists, Iraq Vets, Anarchists." Democracy Now (February 25, 2014)

Cultures of Resistance. "A Look at Global Militarization." We Are Many (November 2010)

Debusmann, Bernd. "America's Problematic Remote Control Wars." Reuters (July 8, 2011)

Dyer, Gwynne. "Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats." Worldview (June 10, 2010)

El-Fattah, Alaa Abd. "Egyptian Activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah on Prison & Regime’s 'War on a Whole Generation.'" (March 31, 2014)

Espirit de Corps To the Best of Our Knowledge (May 16, 2008)

Friedersdorf, Conor. "Rick Perry Wants to Send the Military into Mexico to Fight Drugs." The Atlantic (October 3, 2011)

Frost, Amber. "‘Hours of Racist, Imperialist Fun!’: Toy predator drone + snarky Amazon comments." Dangerous Minds (December 31, 2012)

"Getting Away With Torture: The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees." Human Rights Watch (July 12, 2011)

Graeber, David. "The Vast Machine to Perpetuate Hopelessness." Unwelcome Guests #624 (October 6, 2012)

Greenwald, Glenn. "FBI's abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation: That the stars of America's national security establishment are being devoured by out-of-control surveillance is a form of sweet justice." The Guardian (November 13, 2012)

Hanrahan, John. "Local police forces are now little armies. Why?" Nieman Watchdog (October 6, 2011)

Hastings, Michael. "Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators." Rolling Stone (February 23, 2011)

Hedges, Chris. "The Death of Truth." TruthDig (May 5, 2013)

---. "War is Betrayal: Persistent Myths of Combat." Boston Review (July/August 2012)

Hogarth, Sarah. Post Coup Aftermath - Honduras." Law and Disorder Radio (January 31, 2011)

Horton, Scott. "The Torture Doctors." Harpers (November 4, 2013) [An expert panel concludes that the Pentagon and the CIA ordered physicians to violate the Hippocratic Oath.]

Hynes, H. Patricia. "The Military Assault on Global Climate." Truth-Out (September 8, 2011)

"In Their Words." Feministing (February 28, 2011)

Johnson, Chalmers. "Militarism and the American Empire." Conversations with History (2005)

Jones, Ann. "How US Wars Came Home With the Troops: Up Close, Personal and Bloody." Truthout (April 17, 2014)

Lendman, Stephen. "Egyptians Again Rally for Change." MWC News (July 9, 2011)

Leopold, Jason. "Air Force Pulls Christian-Themed Ethics Training for Nuclear Missile Officers After Publication of Truthout Report." Truthout (July 29, 2011)

Ludlow, Peter. "Jailed Journalist Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years For Reporting on Hacked Private Intelligence Firms." Democracy Now (July 11, 2013)

Macky, Scott and Peter Phillips. "Prisoners Still Brutalized at Gitmo." Project Censored (2011)

Madar, Chase. "The Over-Policing of America: Police Overkill Has Entered the DNA of Social Policy." TomDispatch (December 8, 2013)

McGirk, Tim. "In Exiting Iraq, U.S. Military Discards Trove of Found Documents on 2005 Haditha Massacre of Iraqis." Democracy Now (December 21, 2011)

Miller, T. Christian. "Invisible Wounds of War." Pro Publica Podcast (March 28, 2011)

Mirrlees, Tanner. "How to Read Iron Man: The Economics, Geopolitics and Ideology of an Imperial Film Commodity." Cineaction #92 (2014)

Morales, Frank, Gary Null, Peter Phillips and Peter Dale Scott. "The Consolidation of Police State USA (The Ongoing American Military Coup)." Unwelcome Guests #618 (August 25, 2012)

Morgan, Jason. "'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland." History for the Future (March 2, 2010)

Ng, Brady. "Drowning out the peacemakers in Nanjing." Waging Nonviolence (March 11, 2013)

"Out of Exile: Special Reports on Ousted Honduran President Zelaya’s Return 2 Years After U.S.-Backed Coup." Democracy Now (May 31-June 1, 2011)

Page, Blake. "Why I Don’t Want to Be a West Point Graduate." Huffington Post (December 3, 2012)

Parenti, Michael. "The Sword and the Dollar." Unwelcome Guests #4 (April 5, 2000)

Raymond, Laura and David Vivar. "The Drug War: Policing and U.S. Militarism at Home and Abroad." Law and Disorder (February 27, 2014)

"Resisting The Military Financial Complex (Just Say No To Debt Repayment)." Unwelcome Guests (September 22, 2012)

Scahill, Jeremy and Samer Muscati. "On Blackwater Founder Erik Prince’s Private Army of “Christian Crusaders” in the UAE." Democracy Now (May 18, 2011)

Scheer, Robert. "There Goes the Republic." Truthdig (December 14, 2011)

Schlosser, Eric. "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety." Book TV (October 6, 2013) ["Using recently declassified documents, Eric Schlosser details the ease with which an accident can occur when handling nuclear weapons and how little control military leaders and missile designers have over them. He speaks with Lynn Davis, the former U.S. undersecretary for arms control and the director of the RAND corporation's Washington office."]

"Secret Erik Prince Tape Exposed." The Nation (May 3, 2010)

Shah, Anup. "The Arms Trade is Big Business." Global Issues (January 5, 2013)

Sirota, David. "The Real Problem with Bin Laden Killing Video Games. Once again, the Pentagon is co-opting electronic entertainment to sell us on the military." Common Dreams (May 18, 2011)

Sturgis, Sue. "U.S. defense contractors with the most at stake in Egypt." Facing South (February 1, 2011)

Turse, Nick. "Kill Anything That Moves: New Book Exposes Hidden Crimes of the War Kerry, Hagel Fought in Vietnam." Democracy Now (January 15, 2013)

"US Military." History Commons (Ongoing Historical Timeline)

Wright, Ann and Ed Kinane. "Drones on Trial: 38 Protesters Face Charges for Disrupting Syracuse Base Used in Overseas Attacks." Democracy Now (November 4, 2011)

Zelter, Annie, et al. "Let Your Life Be A Friction (To Stop The Machine)." Unwelcome Guests (March 3, 2012)

Worldview: Gwynne Dyer -- Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats

Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats
Worldview (WBEZ: Chicago Public Radio)



Global warming is moving more quickly than scientists initially anticipated. Even if the biggest CO2 emitters - the U.S., China and India - were to slam on the brakes tomorow, the earth would continue to heat up for decades.

Journalist Gwynne Dyer is the author of Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats. You may have heard the CBC series based on the book that we aired in May last year. Today he'll talk with us about the political, military, and strategic consequences of climate change.

Gwynne examines several controversial measures to slow things down and begin a retreat from various climate disasters.

To Listen to the Episode

Antiwar Radio: Fred Branfman on the Significance of the Wikileaks Documents

Antiwar Radio

Fred Branfman, writer for Alternet.org, discusses how the WikiLeaks documents reveal, more than anything else, the “vast lying machine” of our government and military; why the Cablegate disclosures alone are enough to justify a new Nuremberg-style war crimes tribunal; how US military escalations in Afghanistan and Pakistan are counterproductive when considering (Ret.) Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s “insurgent math;” and why the US government – not WikiLeaks – is a danger to national security and needs to be reigned in before another 9/11 attack makes the US a police state.

Fred Branfman is a writer and longtime activist who directed the Indochina Resource Center during the war in Indochina. He edited “Voices From the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War” (Harper & Row, 1972), that exposed the U.S. secret air war in Laos.

To Listen to the Episode

Monday, April 25, 2011

Laura Stampler: SlutWalks Sweep The Nation

(via Patrick Michels: Events Downtown Last Weekend, SlutWalk Urges End to Victim-Blaming Culture Surrounding Rape.")

SlutWalks Sweep The Nation
by Laura Stampler
Huffington Post

Toronto police constable Michael Sanguinetti thought he was offering the key to rape prevention. "I'm not supposed to say this," he told a group of students at an Osgoode Hall Law School safety forum on January 24, but to prevent being sexually assaulted, “Avoid dressing like sluts.”

Despite Sanguinetti’s subsequent written apology and promises of further professional training, the victim-blaming gaffe heard round the world sparked a movement that began in Canada but is now sweeping the United States and abroad: SlutWalks.

“We had just had enough,” said Heather Jarvis, who founded SlutWalk Toronto with friend Sonya Barnett. “It isn’t about just one idea or one police officer who practices victim blaming, it’s about changing the system and doing something constructive with anger and frustration.”

While Jarvis, 25, and Barnett, 38, initially expected only 200–300 people to show their support, upwards of 3,000 massed on the streets of Toronto on April 3 -- some wearing jeans and a T-shirt; others in outfits more appropriate for a Victoria's Secret fashion show: thigh-highs, lingerie, stilettos -- and marched to police headquarters. Their goal: to shift the paradigm of mainstream rape culture, which they believe focuses on analyzing the behavior of the victim rather than that of the perpetrator.

“The idea that there is some aesthetic that attracts sexual assault or even keeps you safe from sexual assault is inaccurate, ineffective and even dangerous,” said Jarvis. She recalled a sign at the march that read: "It was Christmas day. I was 14 and raped in a stairwell wearing snowshoes and layers. Did I deserve it too?"

Since the movement’s inception, the SlutWalk campaign has gone viral. Facebook groups have been emerging to promote satellite SlutWalks in Europe, Asia, Australia and most major US cities. Asheville, Dallas, Hartford, Boston and Rochester will host SlutWalks between now and May 7.

The ubiquity of a rape culture that attributes sexual assault to a woman’s dress or expression of sexuality (both in the court of law as well as in the court of public opinion) helps explain the movement’s widespread resonance and popularity.

To Read the Rest of the Article

David Leigh, James Ball, Ian Cobain and Jason Burke: Guantánamo leaks lift lid on world's most controversial prison

Guantánamo leaks lift lid on world's most controversial prison

• Innocent people interrogated for years on slimmest pretexts
• Children, elderly and mentally ill among those wrongfully held
• 172 prisoners remain, some with no prospect of trial or release
• Interactive guide to all 779 detainees

by David Leigh, James Ball, Ian Cobain and Jason Burke
The Guardian (United Kingdom)

More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantánamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America's controversial prison camp in Cuba.

The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how, alongside the so-called "worst of the worst", many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.

The 759 Guantánamo files, classified "secret", cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there.

The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence. Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim.

The old man was transported to Cuba to interrogate him about "suspicious phone numbers" found in his compound. The 14-year-old was shipped out merely because of "his possible knowledge of Taliban...local leaders"

The documents also reveal:

• US authorities listed the main Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as a terrorist organisation alongside groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence.

Interrogators were told to regard links to any of these as an indication of terrorist or insurgent activity.

• Almost 100 of the inmates who passed through Guantánamo are listed by their captors as having had depressive or psychotic illnesses. Many went on hunger strike or attempted suicide.

• A number of British nationals and residents were held for years even though US authorities knew they were not Taliban or al-Qaida members. One Briton, Jamal al-Harith, was rendered to Guantánamo simply because he had been held in a Taliban prison and was thought to have knowledge of their interrogation techniques. The US military tried to hang on to another Briton, Binyam Mohamed, even after charges had been dropped and evidence emerged he had been tortured.

• US authorities relied heavily on information obtained from a small number of detainees under torture. They continued to maintain this testimony was reliable even after admitting that the prisoners who provided it had been mistreated.

To Read the Rest of the Reports and Watch the Video Report

Not Coming to a Theater Near You: J. Hoberman -- An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War

An Interview with J. Hoberman
by Leo Goldsmith
Not Coming to a Theater Near You



Since his debut review – of no less a film than David Lynch’s Eraserhead – in 1977, J. Hoberman’s has been one of the defining voices in contemporary American film criticism. As the senior film critic at The Village Voice since 1988, Hoberman has for fifty weeks a year offered his insights into cinema in an oft-imitated style that is not only rich and thoughtful, but also, always, damn entertaining. In his advocacy and analysis of a wide range of classic, contemporary, and experimental film – popcorn, arthouse, and avant-ephemera alike – his weekly writings on film mirror the devoutly eclectic film culture of his hometown, which he and Jonathan Rosenbaum so lovingly documented in their 1991 classic, Midnight Movies (Da Capo Press).

But journalism is only part of the picture. Wearing his historian hat, Hoberman is also the author of about a dozen books, including Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism (Temple University Press, 1999), On Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures (and Other Secret-flix of Cinemaroc) (Granary Books/Hips Road, 2001), and The Magic Hour: Film at Fin de Siècle (Temple University Press, 2003). His new book An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War, a prequel to his acclaimed 2003 book The Dream Life: Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties, follows the similarly fractious social climate of the postwar era, with its paranoid visions of witch-hunts and wild ones, flying saucers and impending nuclear blitzes, mind-controlling propaganda and wars of the worlds, both earthbound and intergalactic. Hoberman’s particular interest here is the cinema that captured and often prodded the pathologies of the day: reactionary exposés of the lurking Red Menace, crypto-socialist satires and sympathetic docudramas, and those scads of B-grade Cold War allegories presented in the genre guise of science fiction, the biblical epic, the western. With a cast of characters including G-men, fact-finders, space invaders, coonskin kids, Christian soldiers, and “white negroes,” and with cameos from the likes of Ronald Reagan, Nick Ray, Orson Welles, and Joe McCarthy, it’s a densely detailed, near-hallucinatory history, irradiated with Hoberman’s inimitable, vibrant prose.

To Read the Interview

First Listen: Fleet Foxes -- Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes, 'Helplessness Blues'
by Andy Hess
First Listen (NPR)



It's been nearly three years since Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut catapulted the Seattle band from small clubs to massive sold-out shows and the stage of Saturday Night Live. That's made the weight of expectation heavy for Fleet Foxes' follow-up.

The making of Helplessness Blues — out May 3 — was a long and painstaking process. After coming off a seemingly endless tour last fall, Fleet Foxes entered into recording sessions that were fraught with second-guessing and a lack of consensus. Multiple songs were re-recorded; the entire album had to be mixed twice.

"There are so many considerations to make when you are making a record," frontman Robin Pecknold said in an interview with Stereogum. "You just want to make the best thing that you can, you know? You want it to be a good song, but it can't be too much like anything else you've already done. And you can't help but think about the landscape that this music is going to be received in, which also affects your creative process."

Fortunately, Helplessness Blues works well in spite of all that pressure. The band hasn't changed the recipe that worked so well on its debut, but it does add a few new ingredients. A saxophone freakout marks the last third of "The Shrine/An Argument," for example, while trilling flutes float over "Grown Ocean."

Still making intricate folk songs with otherworldly harmonies, Fleet Foxes' members clearly wrestled with the fear of repeating themselves in making Helplessness Blues. Ultimately, they wind up letting go and doing what they do best, and the results are outstanding.

To Listen to Fleet Foxes new release

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rachel Maddow: Why a Michigan High School is Ground Zero for U.S. Politics

"financial martial law" and charter school policies = privatization of education .... this is not what democracy looks like, this is what I fear about the charter school movement

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Eurozine: Chernobyl 25 Years On

Chernobyl 25 years on
Eurozine

"I well remember that day and that evening, 26 April 1986, I remember that I was unable to do anything because of the silent scream that, as it seemed to me, filled all the space around me." Writing twenty-five years after the Chernobyl disaster, Belarusian writer Barys Piatrovich recalls the tension of unknowing during the days that followed, his desperate attempts to contact his relatives in the zone, and the arrival of evacuees during Easter celebrations in his parents' village. Today, barely any of the Chernobyl evacuees are still alive. Dispersed throughout Belarus, they died alone and unmourned:

"The fact that the authorities made no concessions to the evacuees is evidence of their 'farsightedness' and just how well informed they were about the consequences of the accident," writes Piatrovich. "Most of the 'Chernobylites' from the 30km Belarusian exclusion zone died within ten, fifteen or twenty years of being moved. It would have been immediately obvious that something was wrong if whole villages or streets had died out, leaving empty houses behind. As it is, the 'Chernobylites' died off quietly, one by one, almost unnoticed, without spoiling the national statistical picture even at district or local level..."

Piatrovich's moving personal account of the Chernobyl disaster gains even greater force after the Fukushima disaster, becoming an implicit reproach of the system that could allow a similar meltdown at a nuclear reactor to reoccur. Five years ago, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Chernobyl in 2006, Guillaume Grandazzi wrote that "the major nuclear catastrophe, predicted by a few 'prophets of evil', actually took place. But it is doubtful whether a lesson was learned from it. Our societies seem to entertain an ambivalent relationship with catastrophes, and may indeed harbour a desire for catastrophe."

Grandazzi accuses the Chernobyl Forum, an organization created by the IAEA, the UN, the World Bank and the governments of the affected countries, of purveying the fiction of risk-free atomic power even while commemorating the disaster. In a special Focal Point on Chernobyl and energy politics, we bring his and other texts out of the archive, including Alla Yaroshinskaya on the Soviet leadership's cover-up operation and calculated policy of disinformation following the accident; photographer Igor Kostin, the first journalist on the scene of the catastrophe, on his repeated visits to Chernobyl over seventeen years; and ethnographer Dzianis Ramaniuk on the folkloric rituals still maintained by the zone's former inhabitants.

Extending the focus to energy politics in general, we publish another new text: a translation of one of the last articles published by "Sun King" Hermann Scheer, the pre-eminent international campaigner for renewable energies who died last year. Scheer warns of the impression of consensus over the energy question created by corporate interest in renewables, suggesting that the "switchover" is only a matter of when and how. This represents a new strategy of the conventional energy sector to ensure the switchover takes place on terms favourable to it alone. Nowhere, writes Scheer, are these double standards more visible than in continuing investment and political support for nuclear power.

Angela Saini, on the other hand, sees the energy debate in a rather different light. Writing before the Fukushima accident, she suggests that nuclear power might make ecological sense. Faced with the reality that renewables will be unable to replace conventional energy sources in the foreseeable future, arguments for nuclear power – that it is the cleanest and least expensive option – are causing environmentalists to reconsider. Or at least that was the case before 11 March 2011.

To Read the Essays

Saturday, April 23, 2011

James Green: Death in the Haymarket

Death in the Haymarket
by James Green
Socialism 2010 (Chicago)
We Are Many



To Listen to the Presentation

To the Best of Our Knowledge: Travel

Travel
To the Best of Our Knowledge

SEGMENT 1:



Rick Steves is the author of 30 European guidebooks, and host of public radio and television travel shows. He's also done a one-hour special on travel in Iran. His new book is "Travel as a Political Act." Steves talks with Jim Fleming about the advantages of travel in war-torn areas. ... Also, Mark Johnson has spent years traveling around the world recording street musicians. He calls his project "Playing for Change" and talks about it with Steve Paulson.



SEGMENT 2:



Lynn Sharon Schwartz is a novelist and a veteran traveler. She tells Anne Strainchamps that she's finally admitted to herself that at this stage in her life, she doesn't like traveling. Her memoir is called "Not Now, Voyager." Also, Raphael Kadushin is a senior travel writer for Conde Nast magazines, and author of "Big Trips: More Good Gay Travel Writing."He talks with Steve Paulson about travel writing's utility for the armchair traveler.



SEGMENT 3:



William Least Heat Moon created a sensation with his book "Blue Highways." He's back now with "Roads to Quoz," about traveling along America's back roads. Moon talks with Anne Strainchamps about the trips that inspired the new book.



To Listen to the Episode

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Uprising Radio: A Conversation with Nikki Giovanni; David Hilliard: Huey--The Spirit of a Panther

Uprising Radio

A Conversation with Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni, award winning poet...



Nikki Giovanni is an award winning poet and writer. She was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943. She was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated with honors in history from her Fisk University. Since 1987, she has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor. She is the NAACP Image Award winner for Literature in 1998, 2000, and 2003. She won the Langston Hughes award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996 and was the first recipient for the Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award in 2001. She has been awarded 21 honorary doctorates from various universities nationwide. Her books include "Black Feeling, Black Talk," "Black Judgement," "Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea," "Blues For All the Changes." Her CD, The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, was nominated for a Grammy award. She has just completed a children’s book about Rosa Parks. I met Ms. Giovanni at the California Institute of Technology on February 9th when she spoke on campus.

After I spoke with her, she gave a lecture at Beckman Auditorium on the campus of Caltech in Pasadena to a packed audience. During her speech she shared some of her poetry.

For more information, visit www.nikki-giovanni.com.

...

Huey: Spirit of the Panther
GUEST: David Hilliard, former chief of staff for the Black Panther Party, co-author of Huey: Spirit of the Panther



Continuing our black history month coverage, we turn next to David Hilliard, the former chief of staff for the Black Panther Party. He has written a new book entitled, Huey: Spirit of the Panther. It is the first ever authorized biography of Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was formed in Oakland, California in 1966 and this year marks its fortieth anniversary. In the book, Hilliard details the life of one of the most misunderstood political leaders of the twentieth century. Huey: Spirit of the Panther, includes never before released photographs, interviews and information about a man that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover once called, "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country."

To Listen to the Episode

Ben Williamson: On Parenting, Media, Education and Phobias

[Warning for serious film viewers -- do not read this article until you have seen Dogtooth]

On Parenting, Media, Education and Phobias
By Ben Williamson
DMLcentral



Modern cinema can teach us how youth and media are widely understood in our cultures. Cinema, like works of literature and visual art, can represent and diagnose our widespread fears and fantasies about young people and about how we, as cultures, bring them up. Back 150 years ago, for example, Charles Kingsley’s moral fable The Water-Babies challenged child labor. Today, the journal "International Research in Children’s Literature" publishes scholarly analyses of how children’s literature can both help in children’s growing up and impose on them social and moral codes from the dominant culture. Similarly, analyzing the way in which childhood is represented in movies can help illuminate today’s cultural concerns with children’s growing up and the ways in which they are positioned by social and moral codes in the digital age.

Extreme Fears About Media and Learning

The award-winning Greek film Dogtooth, which is lined up for a 2010 Academy Award for best foreign film, is a seriously unsettling dissection of modern family life, parenting and adolescence. Superficially, it’s a movie about parents imprisoning their own children, a paranoid total fantasy of protection from a toxic outside world. Yet it’s also, more subtly, a movie about learning and media.

On an isolated hill, a disciplinarian father and acquiescent mother and their three grown children live in total insulation from the outside world. The children are in fact infantilized adults, physically mature but suspended in a psychologically pre-adolescent state. The house and its gardens, which appear at first to be a middle class idyll, are completely barricaded with high fences against a supposedly dangerous outside world.

Inside, the three children are now being trained, like dogs, to protect the home from whatever dangers might threaten it. Their father trains them to bark and to patrol the garden on all fours. None of them even has a name. The siblings refer to one another as “The Eldest,” “The Son” and “The Youngest Daughter.” The film inverts the media stereotype children are like animals and suggests instead that they can be brutalized and bestialized by over-protective paternalistic petting.

Even outside, the modern world has been appropriated into the total fantasy. When airplanes fly overhead, the parents claim they are toys. Father occasionally drops a few fish into the swimming pool, too, so that he can demonstrate his traditional harpooning skills.



To Read the Rest of the Essay

All Citizens, Everywhere Must, At All Times

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Technology: Peace and Conflict Studies Archive

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (United Kingdom: Adam Curtis, 2011)

Anderson, C. W. "Print Culture 101: A Cheat Sheet and Syllabus." The Atlantic (August 18, 2010)

Andrejevic, Mark. "Estrangement 2.0." World Picture #6 (Winter 2011)

Arrington, J. Michael and David Kirkpatrick. "The Facebook Effect." FORA TV (June 23, 2010)

Ayers, Jane. "300,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto in Federal Court." Reader Supported News (February 15, 2012)

Bauwens, Michael et al. "Occupy 2.0 (Peer Produced Politics)." Unwelcome Guests (March 10, 2012)

"The Being Deaf Show." RE:SOUND (2007)

Benjamin, Medea and Trevor Timm. "Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control." Law and Disorder (July 9, 2012)

Binney, William. "Growing State Surveillance." Democracy Now (April 20, 2012)

Carr, Nicholas. "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains." Media Matters (August 22, 2010)

Chester, Jeff. "The End of the Internet." Uprising Radio (February 9, 2006)

Church, David. "“Propane is for pussies”: Bellflower’s bromance of retro technology and hip masculinity." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Claybrook, Joan and Ken Rimer. "Ex-Auto Safety Head & Parent of Dead Victim: GM CEOs Should Face Prison for Covering Up Safety Flaws." Democracy Now (April 3, 2014)

Coleman, Gabriella. "The Anthropology of Hackers." The Atlantic (September 21, 2010)

---. "Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties." MIT Technology Review (February 4, 2013)

Critical Art Ensemble. BioCom. (Online art installation: 1997/1998)

"Critical Art Ensemble: When Thought Becomes Crime." Dialogic (October 5, 2005)

Crump, Catherine and Davey D. "Bay Area Rapid Transit Accused of Censorship for Blocking Wireless Services to Foil Protests." Democracy Now (August 16, 2011)

Daesler, Graham. "Cutter's Way: The Mysterious Art of Film Editing." Bright Lights Film Journals #78 (2012)

Darghis, Mahola and A.O. Scott. "Film Is Dead? Long Live Movies: How Digital Is Changing the Nature of Movies." The New York Times (September 9, 2012)

Debusmann, Bernd. "America's Problematic Remote Control Wars." Reuters (July 8, 2011)

"Disguised Member of Hacktivist Group "Anonymous" Defends Retaliatory Action Against BART." Democracy Now (August 16, 2011)

Doctorow, Cory. "The Coming Civil War Over General Purpose Computation." Craphound (August 5, 2012)

"Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture." Union of Concerned Scientists (January 4, 2012)

Engelhardt, Tom. "Praying at the Church of St. Drone: The President and His Apostles." Tom Dispatch (June 5, 2012)

"Facing Time." To the Best Of Our Knowledge (October 10, 2010)

Franklin, Sarah. "Transbiology: A Feminist Cultural Account of Being After IVF." Scholar and Feminist Online 9.1/9.2 (Fall 2010 - Spring 2011)

Frazen, Jonathan. "Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts." (Commencement address to the graduates of Kenyon College) The New York Times (May 29, 2011)

Graeber, David. "On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time." School of Visual Arts (January 19, 2012)

---. "On the phenomenon of bullshit jobs." libcom (August 20, 2013)

Grosscup, Beau. "Cluster Munitions and State Terrorism." Monthly Review 62.11 (April 1, 2011)

Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century (USA: Scott Noble, 2011: 119 mins)

Into Eternity Making Contact (March 18, 2014) ["Our world is generating more and more nuclear waste, but have no permanent place to dispose of it. But the nation of Finland has a plan. They’re building an underground cave, to hold thousands of tones of nuclear waste, for at least 100 thousand years. On this edition, we hear excerpts of the film, “Into Eternity”, which explores the logistical and philosophical quandaries around the construction of something that if it works, might very well outlast the entire human race."]

Jordan-Young, Rebecca. "Introduction to 'Critical Conceptions: Technology, Justice and the Global Reproductive Market.'" Scholar and Feminist Online 9.1/9.2 (Fall 2010/Spring 2011)

Keen, Andrew, et al. "Debate: The Internet and Democracy." FORA TV (May 18, 2010)

Kelty, Christopher M. Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. (Duke University Press, 2008)

Landau, Susan. "Surveillance or Security? The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies." Berkman Center for Internet and Society Podcast (March 8, 2011)

Lapham, Lewis. "Crowd Control." Lapham's Quarterly (Spring 2014)

Lessig, Lawrence and Jonathan Zittrain. "The Internet Kill Switch." Radio Berkman (March 16, 2011)

McChesney, Robert. "Capitalism and the Internet." Against the Grain (March 16, 2011)

McCormack, Tim. "Laws of Desire: What did David Cronenberg's Videodrome get right about us?" Moving Image (January 26, 2012)

Meer, Haroon. "Lessons from Anonymous on cyberwar: A cyberwar is brewing, and Anonymous reprisal attacks on HBGary Federal shows how deep the war goes." Al Jazeera (March 10, 2011)

Miller, Anna Lekas. "Occupy vs. Monsanto: Activists, Farmers Fight the Corporation They Fear Will Take Over All America's Crops." AlterNet (February 6, 2012)

Naked Citizens Journeyman Pictures (32 min. Documentary: May 2013)

Nevins, Joseph. "Drones and the Dream of Remote Control in the Borderlands." Counterpunch (May 3, 2012)

Popova, Maria. "What Is Science? From Feynman to Sagan to Asimov to Curie, an Omnibus of Definitions." Brain Pickings (April 6, 2012)

Postigo, Hector. "Cultural Production and Social Media as Capture Platforms: How the Matrix Has You." MIT Comparative Media Studies (November 16, 2012)

"Recommended Reading: Critical Conceptions - Technology, Justice, and the Global Reproductive Market." Scholar and Feminist Online 9.1/9.2 (Fall 2010/Spring 2011)

Richardson, Michelle. "Senate Votes To Extends Warrantless Wiretaps For Five More Years: No Oversight, No Transparency." Law and Disorder (February 11, 2013)

Rosenzweig, Roy. "Wizards, Bureaucrats, Warriors, and Hackers: Writing the History of the Internet." The American Historical Review (December 1998: 1530-1552)

Schlosser, Eric. "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety." Book TV (October 6, 2013) ["Using recently declassified documents, Eric Schlosser details the ease with which an accident can occur when handling nuclear weapons and how little control military leaders and missile designers have over them. He speaks with Lynn Davis, the former U.S. undersecretary for arms control and the director of the RAND corporation's Washington office."]

Schneier, Bruce, et al. "The Psychology of Transition: Undoing Millennia of Social Control." Unwelcome Guests #597 (March 31, 2012)

Scorsese, Martin. "The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema." The New York Review of Books (August 15, 2013)

Sifton, John. "A Brief History of Drones." The Nation (February 27, 2012)

Singer, Peter W. "On Drone Warfare." War News Radio (July 13, 2011)

---. "Wired for War." The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy #3 (July 18, 2011)

Sterling, Bruce. The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier (1992)

Striphas, Ted. The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Control to Consumerism. (Columbia University Press, 2009: Available for free download online)

Surviving Progress (Canada: Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks, 2011: 86 mins)

Thigpen, Ricky, et al. "The Greening of America: A New Deal for Everyone?" Making Contact (June 24, 2009)

Tokar, Brian. "Genetic Engineering." Unwelcome Guests (March 22, 2000)

Washington, Harriet. ""Deadly Monopolies": ... How Firms are Taking Over Life Itself." Democracy Now (October 31, 2011)

Watson, Richard. "Future Minds." RSAnimate (October 26, 2010)

Wright, Ann and Ed Kinane. "Drones on Trial: 38 Protesters Face Charges for Disrupting Syracuse Base Used in Overseas Attacks." Democracy Now (November 4, 2011)

Wu, Timothy. "The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires." The Center of Internet and Society (May 15, 2011)

---. "On the Archetype of the Heroic Inventor." (Excerpt from the The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. NY: Alfred A, Knopf, 2010: 18-20.)