Thursday, November 29, 2007

British folk lyric, early 19th century

(Epilogue to Tom Zaniello's The Cinema of Globalization: A Guide to Films About the New Economic Order Cornell University Press, 2007)

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from the common,
But lets the greater felon loose
Who steals the common from the goose

--British folk lyric, early 19th century

Bill Moyers Journal: James H. Cone

Bill Moyers' Journal

With the noose and the lynching tree entering the national discussion in the wake of recent news events, Bill Moyers interviews theologian James Cone about how these powerful images relate to the symbol of the cross and how they signify both tragedy and triumph.

"Black churches are very powerful forces in the African American community and always have been. Because religion has been that one place where you have an imagination that no one can control. And so, as long as you know that you are a human being and nobody can take that away from you, then God is that reality in your life that enables you to know that."
--James H. Cone

Professor James H. Cone is the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Cone is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is the author of eleven books and over 150 articles and has lectured at more than 1,000 universities and community organizations throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

To Listen to the Interview

Related from the webpage resources for this show, Arthur Schlesinger on theologian Ronald Niebuhr:

...maybe Niebuhr has fallen out of fashion because 9/11 has revived the myth of our national innocence. Lamentations about "the end of innocence" became favorite clichés at the time. Niebuhr was a critic of national innocence, which he regarded as a delusion. After all, whites coming to these shores were reared in the Calvinist doctrine of sinful humanity, and they killed red men, enslaved black men and later on imported yellow men for peon labor - not much of a background for national innocence. "Nations, as individuals, who are completely innocent in their own esteem," Niebuhr wrote, "are insufferable in their human contacts." The self-righteous delusion of innocence encouraged a kind of Manichaeism dividing the world between good (us) and evil (our critics).

More on Niebuhr in the interview and on the webpage linked above.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dahlia Lithwick: The law promoting outstanding excellence in fighting terrorism—and why you never heard about it

Bad Ideas: The law promoting outstanding excellence in fighting terrorism—and why you never heard about it.
By Dahlia Lithwick

For those well and truly tired of the Bush administration's proclivity for fighting imaginary problems with real powers (a real invasion to locate pretend nukes in Iraq; a real Guantanamo to warehouse pretend terrorist masterminds), Democratic California Rep. Jane Harman's new salvo in the war on terror is something of a relief. Even if you've never heard of the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007," you'll be delighted to learn that the legislation has, at least, the virtue of fighting imaginary problems with pretend solutions. After seven long years of government solutions far worse than the problems they purport to cure, perhaps that's a step in the right direction.

What exactly is "homegrown terrorism," and how does it differ from its hydroponically raised foreign counterparts? That's one of the many issues about which Harman's legislation is blurry. The bill defines homegrown terrorism as:

the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

In other words, it might include radical Islamists, Tim McVeigh, Greenpeace protesters or pro-life groups, or it might just target radical Islamists. Most everyone, including Harman herself, agrees that the United States doesn't have anything like the problem with indigenous radical Islamist terrorists as exists in, say, England or Germany. So, this law goes after all sorts of radical terrorists in the hopes of deterring them should they become radical Islamist terrorists along the way.

Perhaps because it appears to content itself with merely studying a problem that doesn't yet exist, the Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act has slid under the media radar. The bill passed the House by a massive 404-6 margin and is expected to sail through the homeland security committee of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. The law amends Title VIII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish a 10-member "National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism," tasked with centralizing and studying data. After 18 months, that commission will produce a report, then disband and establish a "Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States." The Center for Excellence (not to be confused with Montgomery Burns' "Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence" award) would then continue to "study the social, criminal, political, psychological, and economic roots of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism," presumably until it becomes a problem in America, at which point the center will then work toward eradicating that as well.

Those who have remarked upon the passage of the bill fall into two general categories: folks who claim it does nothing at all, and those who fear it may do something quite terrible. I'm inclined toward a hybrid position, suspecting the law does nothing at all yet symbolizes something quite terrible.

In the former category, Jeff Stein at Congressional Quarterly criticizes the act as a redundant boondoggle: The FBI, the Directorate of National Intelligence, and the New York Police Department have already been studying the issue exhaustively. According to Stein, Congress "could save taxpayers money by sponsoring a field trip to the local Barnes and Noble, whose shelves are groaning with tomes on terrorism." Lindsay Beyerstein similarly reports for In These Times that the Centers for Excellence would simply be duplicating work already being done at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and places like the START program at the University of Maryland. With the Congressional Budget Office estimating that the act may cost approximately $22 million over four years, that's a lot of money spent copying other folks' homework.

To Read the Rest of the Article

Christopher Hichens: Why Romney needs to talk about his faith

Mitt the Mormon: Why Romney needs to talk about his faith.
By Christopher Hitchens

Mitt Romney appears to think that, in respect of the bizarre beliefs of his church, he has come up with a twofer response. Not only can he decline to answer questions about these beliefs, he can also reap additional benefit from complaining that people keep asking him about them. In a video response of revolting sanctimony and self-pity last week, he responded to some allegedly anti-Mormon "push poll" calls in Iowa and New Hampshire by saying that it was "un-American" to bring up his "faith," especially "at a time when we are preparing for Thanksgiving," whatever that had to do with it. Additional interest is lent to this evasive tactic by the very well-argued case, made by Mark Hemingway in National Review Online, that it was actually the Romney campaign that had initiated the anti-Mormon push-poll calls in the first place! What's that? A threefer? Let me count the ways: You encourage the raising of an awkward question in such a way as to make it seem illegitimate. You then strike a hurt attitude and say that you are being persecuted for your faith. This, in turn, discourages other reporters from raising the question. Yes, that's the three-card monte.

According to Byron York, who has been riding around with Romney for National Review, it's working, as well. Most journalists have tacitly agreed that it's off-limits to ask the former governor about the tenets of the Mormon cult. Nor do they get much luck if they do ask: When Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation inquired whether Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden is or was or will be in the great state of Missouri, he was told by Romney to go ask the Mormons! However, we do have the governor in an off-guard moment in Iowa, saying that "The [Mormon] Church says that Christ appears and splits the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. … And then, over a thousand years of the millennium, that the world is reigned in two places, Jerusalem and Missouri. … The law will come from Missouri, and the other will be from Jerusalem."

It ought to be borne in mind that Romney is not a mere rank-and-file Mormon. His family is, and has been for generations, part of the dynastic leadership of the mad cult invented by the convicted fraud Joseph Smith. It is not just legitimate that he be asked about the beliefs that he has not just held, but has caused to be spread and caused to be inculcated into children. It is essential. Here is the most salient reason: Until 1978, the so-called Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was an officially racist organization. Mitt Romney was an adult in 1978. We need to know how he justified this to himself, and we need to hear his self-criticism, if he should chance to have one.

The Book of Mormon, when it is not "chloroform in print" as Mark Twain unkindly phrased it, is full of vicious ingenuity. From it you can learn of the ancient battle of Cumorah, which occurred at a site conveniently near Joseph Smith's home in upstate New York. In this legendary engagement, the Nephites, described as fair-skinned and "handsome," fought against the outcast Lamanites, whose punishment for turning away from God was to be afflicted with dark skin. Later, in antebellum Missouri and preaching against abolition, Smith and his cronies announced that there had been a third group in heaven during the battle between God and Lucifer. This group had made the mistake of trying to remain neutral but, following Lucifer's defeat, had been forced into the world and compelled to "take bodies in the accursed lineage of Canaan; and hence the negro or African race." Until 1978, no black American was permitted to hold even the lowly position of deacon in the Mormon Church, and nor were any (not that there were many applicants) admitted to the sacred rites of the temple. The Mormon elders then had a "revelation" and changed the rules, thus more or less belatedly coming into compliance with the dominant civil rights statutes. The timing (as with the revelation abandoning polygamy, which occurred just in time to prevent Utah from being denied membership of the Union) permits one to be cynical about its sincerity. However that may be, it certainly makes nonsense of Romney's moaning about any criticism or questioning being "un-American." The Mormons have already had to choose—twice—between their beliefs and American values.

To Read the Rest of the Essay

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wal-Mart Letter

(Probably bogus, but it is funny!)

Dear Mrs. Fenton,

Over the past six months, your husband, Mr. Bill Fenton has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this type of behavior and have considered banning the entire family from shopping in any of our stores.

We have documented all incidents on our video surveillance equipment. Three of our clerks are attending counseling from the trouble your husband has caused. All complaints against Mr. Fenton have been compiled and are listed below.

President and CEO of Wal-Mart Complaint Department


Re: Mr. Bill Fenton - Complaints - 15 Things Mr. Bill Fenton has done while his spouse/partner is shopping:

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the rest rooms.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official tone, 'Code 3' in housewares..... and watched what happened.

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and asked to put a bag of M&M's on lay away.

6. September 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they'll bring pillows from the bedding department.

8. September 23: When a clerk asks if they can help him, he begins to cry and asks Why can't you people just leave me alone?'

9. October 4: Looked right into the security camera; used it as a mirror, and picked his nose.

10. November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, asked the clerk if he knows where the antidepressants are.

11. December 3! : Darted around the store suspiciously loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.

12. December 6: In the auto department, practiced his "Madonna look" using different size funnels.

13. December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browse through, yelled "PICK ME!" "PICK ME!"

14. December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumes the fetal position and screams "NO! NO! It's those voices again!!!!"
(And; last , but not least!)

15. December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door and waited a while; then, yelled, very loudly, "There is no toilet paper in here!"

Virginia Woolf: Let us never cease from thinking...

"Let us never cease from thinking--What is this 'civilization' in which we find ourselves? What are these ceremonies and why should we take part in them? What are these professions and why should we make money out of them?"

Virginia Woolf. Three Guineas. NY: Harcourt Brace, 1936.

Monday, November 26, 2007


(Courtesy of Democracy Now. My new daily reading site!)

From the About page:

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact. Our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by all types of people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information. Historically that information has been costly - in terms of human life and human rights. But with technological advances - the internet, and cryptography - the risks of conveying important information can be lowered.

Wikileaks opens leaked documents up to stronger scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency can provide. Wikileaks provides a forum for the entire global community to relentlessly examine any document for its credibility, plausibility, veracity and validity. Communities can interpret leaked documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document comes from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident community and diaspora can freely scrutinize and discuss it; if a document arrives from Iran, the entire Farsi community can analyze it and put it in context. Sample analyses are available here.

In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court ruled that "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government." We agree.

We believe that it is not only the people of one country that keep their government honest, but also the people of other countries who are watching that government. That is why the time has come for an anonymous global avenue for disseminating documents the public should see.


Homeland: Whose Home, What Land

(Studets asking me about anarchism...a repost)

In my summer course we are currently reading Homeland (Seven Stories Press, 2004) by Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson.  The first section tells the story of Katie Sierra the teenage anarchist who was thrown out of school for a shirt she wore to school and her attempts to start an Anarchy club at her high school in Sissonville, West Virginia.
Well after discussing anarchy with my students, and later with Melissa, I realized that I have only a passing knowledge of the founding ideas of anarchism and that I needed to revise some of the stereotypes about anarchist activists that I had received from the media.   So I sought out a few handy guides online and will search for a couple of books to fill in the history of anarchism.  As always I would appreciate some suggestions/comments, especially about anarchist histories.
What is Anarchism?
Anarchist Sampler
Anarchist Library
Anarchy Archives
Infoshop: Online Anrachist Community
Anarchist Theory Guide
Spunk (Anarchist) Library
Anarchist Black Cross Network
Anarchist Action Network
Institute For Anarchist Studies
Anarchist Federation
Anarchist People of Color Website
Black Ribbon Campaign
Daily Bleed: Anarchist Encyclopedia
Daily Bleed: Anarchist Timeline
Anarchist News Service
Phoenix Anarchist Coalition
Anarchist Communitarian Network

Gwendolyn Bradley: Scholars Excluded from the United States

(Courtesy of Swerve Left)

Scholars Excluded from the United States
By Gwendolyn Bradley
American Association of University Professors

In recent years, scores of foreign citizens have been barred from the United States when they sought to travel here to attend academic conferences, take up faculty posts, or perform other scholarly work. While the number of foreign scholars excluded is a relative handful compared to the number allowed to enter the country, it represents an alarming trend that is at odds with this nation’s historic commitment to the free exchange of ideas. Sometimes the exclusions have been for overtly ideological reasons—such as the blanket exclusion of Cuban scholars seeking to attend a conference of the Latin American Studies Association. In other instances, no reason has been given by the government, leaving observers to guess that the exclusions were related to the politics or ethnic identities of the scholars in question.

To Read More

What I Care About (a localized version)

(Thanks to ToggleSwitch who reminded me about the traditon)

1. What I contribute to my community
2. My love
3. My job--hell, it consumes so much time, it better be worth it.
4. Recognition from my family--multilayered, biological and communal, they all are important and their opinions mean a lot.
5. Friends that are honest, playful, and creative
6. Reading a book, or watching a film, or listening to music (that hits my body/soul like a tuning fork, but, instead of tuning me, it shifts my consciousness)
7. Guerilla Gardening (huge kiss to Marchman and Mayer)
8. A message from someone I miss (I know I'm difficult to get a hold of, but it makes my day and I think about when I can find the time to return the favor)
9. My very crazy cats (Marcus and Cleopatra) that keep me from settling down when I get home.
10. Any opportunity to hike...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Make Films, Not War

(Courtesy of Tammy Ramsey)

Thought you guys might be interested in this:

Jan 01, 2008 CALL FOR FILM FOOTAGE Seeking footage from filmmakers around the world for feature-length documentary, tentatively called Cultures of Resistance, for non-profit multifaceted initiative that seeks creative ways to bring people from all walks of life together to promote sustainability, diversity, and peace with justice. Film will be collaborative cinematic collage about the myriad ways in which people are opposing war, oppression, and corporate-led globalization in their everyday lives. Film credit and small honorarium for any footage used. Any proceeds from film will be used to fund other arms of initiative. For more info, please contact: Cultures of Resistance OR Make Films, Not War OR

Tim Flannery: “We Are Now In The Danger Zone”

“We Are Now In The Danger Zone”: Leading Australian Scientist Tim Flannery on Climate Change and How To Save the Planet
Tim Flannery
Democracy Now

We spend the hour with one of the world's leading scientists studying climate change, Tim Flannery. An Australian mammologist, palaeontologist and field zoologist, he has discovered and named more than thirty new species of mammals. He has been described as being in the league of all-time great explorers such as David Livingstone. Flannery might be best known as the author of the bestselling book "The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change." Earlier this year he was named 2007 Australian of the Year. Tim Flannery recently spoke before a packed crowd at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe New Mexico as part of "Readings and Conversations," a series sponsored by the Lannan Foundation. Today, Tim Flannery's speech on the environment, how human activity is altering the earth's climate and what we can do to save it.

To Listen/Watch/Read

Friday, November 23, 2007

Rajiv Chandrasekaran: Imperial Life in the Emerald City

Podcast: Imperial Life in the Emerald City
Rajiv Chandrasekaran talks about his prizewinning account of life in Baghdad's Green Zone.
Guardian Unlimited Books

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, winner of the 2007 Samuel Johnson prize for Imperial Life in the Emerald City, talks to Lindesay Irvine about his tragicomic account of life in post-war Iraq.

He explains how, after working as Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post, he was inspired to write the tragicomic tale of the ill-planned and misconceived efforts by the American-led Coalition Provisional Authority to reconstruct the country, and the strange world of the "Emerald City" - the Green Zone.

To Listen to the Podcast

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


This Thanksgiving I am giving thanks for my friends/family (I'm lucky to have friends that are like family/family that are my friends), my great job (the key is work that is centered around your passions), and the many inspiring people that continue to keep me hopeful about the future (you know who you are--activists of the heart and soul :)

While I bask in my good fortune, I will remember the people who are less fortunate than me and say a prayer for those who are suffering because of war and/or conflicts around the world.

Peace and Love to you all,


Working Class Hero

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jessica Lee and Kamau Karl Franklin: Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act Raises Fears of New Government Crackdown on Dissent

Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act Raises Fears of New Government Crackdown on Dissent
Host: Amy Goodman
Guests: Jessica Lee and Kamau Karl Franklin
Democracy Now

A little-noticed anti-terrorism bill quietly making its through Congress is raising fears of a new affront on activism and constitutional rights. The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act was passed in an overwhelming 400 to six House vote last month. Critics say it could herald a new government crackdown on dissident activity and infiltration of universities under the guise of fighting terrorism. The bill would establish two government-appointed bodies to study, monitor and propose ways of curbing what it calls homegrown terrorism and extremism in the United States. The first body, a National Commission, would convene for eighteen months. A university-based "Center for Excellence" would follow, bringing together academic specialists to recommend laws and other measures.
Critics say the bill's definition of "extremism" and "terrorism" is too vague and its mandate even more broad. Under a false veil of expertise and independence, the government-appointed commissions could be used as ideological cover to push through harsher laws.

Following last month's approval in the House, the Senate version is expected to go before the Judiciary Committee this week.

Jessica Lee, reporter for the Indypendent, published by the NYC Indymedia Center. Her latest article is called "Bringing the War on Terrorism Home: Congress Considers How to 'Disrupt' Radical Movements in the United States"

Kamau Karl Franklin, Racial Justice Fellow at the NY-based Center for Constitutional Rights. He is also co-chair of the National Conference of Black Lawyers and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Lawyers Guild.

To Watch/Listen/Read

Sublime Frequencies Films Tour @ the Cat's Den, UK Student Center, 8 PM, FREE (December 5th)

(Message from Trevor Tremaine. You can find out more about Sublime Frequencies on VBS TV which has a regular online show that features the label's world music--Michael Benton)

** Wed/December 5 - Sublime Frequencies Films Tour @ the Cat's Den, UK Student Center, 8 PM, FREE Two mind-blowing documentaries on traditional music that combine the field work of Alan Lomax with the psychedelic realism of Werner Herzog. Sublime Frequences smash the condescending implications of the term "world music" in order to TAKE YOU THERE. This footage is unlike anything else you've ever seen.


Hisham Mayet's latest film showcases an assortment of spectacular musical dramas presented live and unfiltered on the home turf of the world's most dynamic string/drum specialists performing and manifesting the ecstatic truth! Ancient mystical brotherhoods have been flourishing for centuries in and around the cities of Marrakesh and Essaouira in Morocco where the trade caravans have gathered from their long journeys across the Trans-Saharan Highway.

This is some of the last great street music on Earth.

See the trailer here

PALACE OF THE WINDSA film by Hisham Mayet (45 minutes)

An entrancing look at the culture and music of the Saharawis from the Western Sahara and Mauritania. This film explores the rich heritage of a culture that is cloaked in mystery and mired in struggle. Journey from the northern fringes of the Western Sahara to the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott. Explore the intoxicating tapestry of sight and sound that this obscure region has to offer from some of its most legendary musicians. See the trailer here

For more information, go to Sublime Frequenices

THIS EVENT IS SPONSORED BY WRFL 88.1 FM _____________________________________________

Also, if you're interested in linkies, I started up a couple blogs:

free word/mind splooge

the shallow pursuit of pop-culture punditry


Mike Davis wins Lannan Foundation Nonfiction Literary Award

Mike Davis was born in Fontana, California, 60 miles east of Los Angeles in 1946, and is a veteran of 1960’s civil rights and anti-war movements. From his first book, Prisoners of the American Dream (1986), about unionism in the United States, to his most recent, Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb (2007), Davis’ fearless writing in 18 books shines a fresh light on economic, social, environmental, and political injustice. Some of his other books include City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Magical Urbanism, Planet of Slums, Dead Cities, In Praise of Barbarians, and No One is Illegal. He is currently working on a book about climate change, water, and power in the U.S. West and northern Mexico. A former meat cutter and long-distance truck driver, Davis has been a fellow at the Getty Institute and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998. He teaches at the University of California, Irvine.

Lannan Foundation Literary Awards and Fellowships

An interview with Mike Davis:

"Resisting, Subverting and Destroying the Apparatus of Surveillance and Control"

Ghosts of Cité Soleil (Asger Leth: Denmark/USA, 2006)

I understand why this film is very difficult for some people. It is simply a story of gang warfare in an environment of extreme poverty and shifting political loyalties. There is no ultimate truth that will uplift the people in the film or the viewers of the film. For the Haitians depicted in the film there is no right way of living in the sense of a "safe" person mentality (the mentality/reality of people who live in safe environments). For these people there is no way out and so there is no compromise/alternative. I commend the makers of this film for their documentation of the voices of this particular community who are involved in committing violent acts in a country that is consumed by violence.

This film should be viewed by everyone who is concerned about violence that springs up in the midst of poverty, no matter where that poverty may be (hello Americans, when you wonder about the violence of our own places, think about the systemic roots of that violence). Violence is not without reason! These people have a need for respect, they have family, they want the same things that every human wants/desires. If they don't care because they have no future... what do you expect them to do with their lives? This is not only a film about Haiti, but about any environment in the world that produces the hopeless conditions that these people face.

--Michael Benton

Pakistan: Two Democracy Now Reports

* Deception: British Reporter Adrian Levy on How the United States Secretly Helped Pakistan Build Its Nuclear Arsenal *

Adrian Levy examines how five consecutive US administrations from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush have been complicit in building and protecting Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Levy is co-author of the new book: "Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons."


* Crackdown On the Press: General Musharraf Shuts Down Two of Pakistan's Biggest Private Television News Channels *

Mazhar Abbas, the deputy director of one of the stations ARY One World television, joins us in New York. He is also the Secretary-General of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. He has been a well-known champion of press freedom over the past 27 years.


Monday, November 19, 2007

WXPN 885 Most Memorable Musical Moments: R Crumb designs Janis Joplin's Cheap Thrills album cover

#869: R Crumb designs the Cheap Thrills album cover

Robert Crumb, credited as simply “R Crumb”, illustrated the iconic second Big Brother & The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills. Crumb, the father of underground comics responsible for the provocative, LSD-tinged “Keep on Truckin’”, “Mr. Natural”, and “Fritz the Cat”, became friendly with Janis Joplin as her neighbor in Haight-Asbury. As a favor to Joplin, Crumb pulled an all-nighter completing both sides and was paid $600 by Columbia Records. Ultimately, Columbia rejected half the cover, and what Crumb had originally intended to serve as the back track listing became what is now an instantly recognizable cover and emblem of the San Francisco sound.

More about R. Crumb

WXPN 885 Most Memorable Musical Moments: The First Wave of Ska

Philadelphia's WXPN

#871: The first wave of Ska

In the late 1950s and early ’60s, thanks to military broadcasts of American music, Jamaicans were introduced to the whole new sound of American R&B. This influence is obvious in the first wave of Ska music performed by artists such as Derrick Morgan, Millie Small, and The Skatalites.

International Education in the USA

(Message from Wendell Sparks)

The International Education Week ends today. Interesting international student statistics have been release. Thank the many of you who visited the International Student Association display Wednesday. NAFSA Association of International Educators Economic Impact Statements estimates that foreign students and their dependents contributed approximately $14.5 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2006-2007 academic year. The net contribution to the Kentucky state economy by foreign students and their families is $94,322,000.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Besmirch

(In preparation for the 2008 political campaigns...)

besmirch \bih-SMERCH\ verb
: sully, soil

Example sentence:
In order to besmirch the reputation of his opponent, Clay made sure to bring up the subject of the senator’s tax troubles during their first debate.

Since the prefix "be-" in "besmirch" means "to make or cause to be," when you besmirch something, you cause it to have a smirch. What's a smirch? A smirch is a stain, and "to smirch" is to stain or make dirty. By extension, "to smirch" came to mean "to bring discredit or disgrace on." "Smirch" and "besmirch," then, mean essentially the same thing. We have William Shakespeare to thank for the variation in form. Shakespeare's 1599 use of the term in Henry V is the first known appearance of "besmirch" in English.

WXPN 885 Most Memorable Musical Moments: Live at Budokan by Cheap Trick

Philadelphia's WXPN:

#878: Live at Budokan by Cheap Trick. The pop ecstasy at the heart of any classic Cheap Trick tune draws power from a savvy marriage of Beatlesque melodies to the raw energy of punk. Cheap Trick has always known how to wow an arena of screaming fans, but they’ve merely flirted with colossal mainstream success in America. A sharp visual sense, a hunky vocalist with mighty pipes, and smart songwriting from flamboyant geek-made-good Rick Nielsen, Cheap Trick was subtly groundbreaking in the mid-70s arena rock milleu. What proved elusive to American music fans was immediately seized upon with enthusiasm of Godzilla-like proportions by Japan. Cheap Trick were superstars… over there. In 1978 Cheap Trick cashed in on this fanbase and recorded a series of performances at the Budokan to promote their fourth album Dream Police. On this live recording the energy of Cheap Trick finally translated, and it yielded their most memorable hits. “I Want You to Want Me” climbed the Billboard Top 10, and “Surrender” became an instant teen anthem.

WXPN 885 Most Memorable Musical Moments: “Shining Star” becomes Earth, Wind & Fire first and only #1 hit in the US

Philadelphia's WXPN

# 883: “Shining Star” becomes Earth, Wind & Fire first and only #1 hit in the US
With several booty-shakin’ songs and an electrifying stage show, Earth, Wind & Fire stand up as one of the great pop-funk acts of the 70s. Despite a faithful hippie college following and contributing a memorable score to Melvin Van Peeble’s pioneering blaxploitation film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” it wasn’t until the key 1972 addition of startling crooner Philip Bailey that EWF’s struggle to the top really started to gain momentum. By 1975, EWF broke with “Shining Star,” their first and only #1 hit in the US.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Olbermann & Maddow: Why Are Democrats Afraid to Impeach Cheney?

(Courtesy of Claire Glasscock)


Cheney has an 11 percent approval rating, so why are Democrats scared to take him to task in front of the entire nation?

To Watch the Video

Peace Cookies

(BCTC Peace & Justic Coalition)

PEACE COOKIES - the recipe

• 1/2 c. butter; to smooth old wounds between nations.
• 1 c. brown sugar; like the good earth we need to preserve.
• 1 egg; from which life is given, the same all over the world.
• 1 t. vanilla; some of us are vanilla.
• 1 1/4 c. oats; harvested in August, the month Hiroshima is remembered with sorrow.
• 1/2 c. sesame seeds; for the many seeds of good will that can blossom into world peace.
• 3/4 c. raisins; grapes dried in the sun. After a nuclear war, could be a nuclear winter with no sun for years.
• 1 1/4 c. flour; wheat sheaves tied, as nations united by strings of hope for peace.
• 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t. soda; season your lives with kindness.
• 1 t. cinnamon; spice up your life by working for peace.
• 3/4 c. chocolate chips; some of us are chocolate. We need all colors.
• Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

Lexington Street Protest: “Want Cheney impeached? Honk!”

Monday, November 26: A protest is planned for the four corners of Nicholasville/Cooper/Waller/Limestone from 4:30-5:30. The message: “Want Cheney impeached? Honk!” Come if you can.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stephanie Strom: Anti-Bush Sign Has Bridge World in an Uproar

(Check out the fascist reprisals of Jan Martel of the United States Bridge Federation and Jim Kirkham of the American Contract Bridge League.)

New York Times

Anti-Bush Sign Has Bridge World in an Uproar

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Lysistrata Project

(To read Lysistrata

The Lysistrata Project: Theater Artists Against War

The Lysistrata Project: A Call to Peace, Social Justice, Spritual Values

I Was a Teenage Feminist: Redefining the "F" Word

(Thanks to Laura Webb for suggesting the film and Free Speech TV for hosting it. This is the best documentary I have seen all year.)

I Was a Teenage Feminist (Therese Shechter: USA, 2007)

Trailers for the Film

Watch the Film

Schecter's next documentary project is The American Virgin

Kary Stackelbeck (November 19th)

Monday, November 19

6:30-7:45 p.m. in OB 230 (Oswald Auditorium)

Presenter: Kary Stackelbeck

Title: Ancient Practices and Modern Importance: Lessons in Water from the Andean Past

Kary Stackelbeck, an Anthropologist, will focus her presentation on the long-term trends in the use, control, manipulation, and implications of water (and water shortages) from an Andean perspective. The talk will draw on recent research that identified irrigation canals in northern Peru (dating to 5400 years ago, and perhaps earlier) as the earliest in the New World, the continued development of irrigation technology among pre-hispanic populations, how water was manipulated for ritual and subsistence purposes and managed communally, and how people reacted to water shortages in the past. She will include a brief discussion of the impacts and implications of privatization of water among Andean communities and lessons we might learn from past and present cases of water management in the Andes.

NYC Detective John Schwartz (November 14)

Wednesday, November 14
9:00-9:50 a.m. in AT 116
12-12:50 p.m. in AT 216
1-1:50 p.m. in AT 216

NYC Detective John Schwartz

Title: What do you do when the system says you are innocent but won’t let you get on with your life?

David Lemus and Olmedo Hidalgo were released from prison in 2005 after having served 14 years for a murder that a New York judge found they had been wrongly convicted of. Yet Hidalgo was deported and Lemus is being retried for the same murder. Dateline NBC has followed this case in the recently aired “In the Shadow of Justice.” For more information, go here. NYC Detective John Schwartz will talk to three Sociology classes about his investigation into this ongoing case and working with Dateline NBC.

For more information, contact Gil Rosenberg at Visitors are welcome!

FairWorks - the CKCPJ's Fair Trade Market

(Visit Peace and Justice Coalition to find out more about the market, future locations of the market, and how you can become involved--a great opportunity to make your Christmas presents fit your progressive politics. MB)

CKCPJ NEWS: FairWorks - the CKCPJ's Fair Trade Market

Shop with us. Volunteer to help us.

FairWorks is a nonprofit fair trade project of the Central Kentucky Council for Peace & Justice. In November and December we will be bringing our fair trade market to houses of worship and other central Kentucky organizations.

FairWorks will be featuring fair trade crafts from UPAVIM / Mayan Hands and 10,000 Villages.

Help make FairWorks a success by spreading the word & volunteering.

Our next sale is:


A part of the Lexington Arts & Cultural Council's

Gallery Hop


5 - 9 p.m. Friday

November 16


The Distillery District Art Market

903 Manchester

(where Pine Street ends at Manchester Street, 2 blocks from Rupp Arena)


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Transpicuous

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

transpicuous \tran-SPIK-yuh-wus\ adjective
: clearly seen through or understood

Example sentence:
Although the reporter claimed to be merely curious, her motives were quite transpicuous; it was clear that she was hunting a story.

"Transpicuous" is derived from the Latin word "transpicere," meaning "to look through." "Transpicere," in turn, is a formation that combines "trans-," meaning "through," and "specere," a verb meaning "to look" or "to see." If you guessed that "transpicuous" is related to "conspicuous," you're correct. It's also possible to see a number of other "specere" descendants in English, including "aspect," "circumspect," "expect," "inspect," "perspective," and "suspect." Another descendant of "specere," and a close synonym of "transpicuous," is "perspicuous," which means "clear and easy to understand," as in "a perspicuous argument." (“Per-,” like “trans-,” means “through.”) There’s also "perspicacious," meaning "keen and observant." (You might say that "perspicuous" and “transpicuous” mean "able to be seen through," whereas "perspicacious" means "able to see through.")

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on Waterboarding and Torture

(A withering critique of the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration)


"Daviel Levin, the former U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General, who was himself waterboarded to determine whether or not the act constituted torture made you into a
liar Mr. Bush."

To Watch the Video

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Jerry Lanson: War Protests--Why No Coverage?

(Courtesy of Claire Glasscock)

War protests: Why no coverage?
Newspapers have a duty to inform citizens about such democratic events.
By Jerry Lanson
Christian Science Monitor

Coordinated antiwar protests in at least 11 American cities this weekend raised anew an interesting question about the nature of news coverage: Are the media ignoring rallies against the Iraq war because of their low turnout or is the turnout dampened by the lack of news coverage?

I find it unsettling that I even have to consider the question.

That most Americans oppose the war in Iraq is well established. The latest CBS News poll, in mid-October, found 26 percent of those polled approved of the way the president is handling the war and 67 percent disapproved. It found that 45 percent said they'd only be willing to keep large numbers of US troops in Iraq "for less than a year." And an ABC News-Washington Post poll in late September found that 55 percent felt Democrats in Congress had not gone far enough in opposing the war.

Granted, neither poll asked specifically about what this weekend's marchers wanted: An end to congressional funding for the war. Still, poll after poll has found substantial discontent with a war that ranks as the preeminent issue in the presidential campaign.

Given that context, it seems remarkable to me that in some of the 11 cities in which protests were held – Boston and New York, for example – major news outlets treated this "National Day of Action" as though it did not exist. As far as I can tell, neither The New York Times nor The Boston Globe had so much as a news brief about the march in the days leading up to it. The day after, The Times, at least in its national edition, totally ignored the thousands who marched in New York and the tens of thousands who marched nationwide. The Globe relegated the news of 10,000 spirited citizens (including me) marching through Boston's rain-dampened streets to a short piece deep inside its metro section. A single sentence noted the event's national context.

As a former newspaper editor, I was most taken aback by the silence beforehand. Surely any march of widespread interest warrants a brief news item to let people know that the event is taking place and that they can participate. It's called "advancing the news," and it has a time-honored place in American newsrooms.

With prescient irony, Frank Rich wrote in his Oct. 14 Times column, "We can continue to blame the Bush administration for the horrors of Iraq.… But we must also examine our own responsibility." And, he goes on to suggest, we must examine our own silence.

So why would Mr. Rich's news colleagues deprive people of information needed to take exactly that responsibility?

I'm not suggesting here that the Times or any news organization should be in collusion with a movement – pro-war or antiwar, pro-choice or pro-life, pro-government or pro-privatization.

I am suggesting that news organizations cover the news – that they inform the public about any widespread effort to give voice to those who share a widely held view about any major national issue.

To Read the Rest of the Opinion

Theodor W. Adorno: On Philosophy

"Philosophy, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realize it was missed."

--Adorno, Theodor W. Negative Dialectics. trans. E.B. Ashton. NY: Routledge, 1973: 3.

Buddy Guy and Co.: Legend Among Legends

Buddy Guy and Co.: Legend Among Legends
NPR: World Cafe

In addition to being one of the hardest-working performers in music, Buddy Guy also owns the most successful blues club in Chicago. His new album, Bring 'Em In, features guest performers from Tracy Chapman and John Mayer to Keith Richards and Carlos Santana.

For the collaborations, Guy and his friends reworked songs from Curtis Mayfield, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. The record is the latest landmark in a career full of them: Buddy Guy pioneered electric Blues in Chicago, and he has influenced guitarists and singers for generations.

Buddy Guy was born in central Louisiana in 1936. By the time he was 10, music had become a favorite hobby. Guy got his first guitar as a teenager, and a few years later, he set out for Chicago with a friend. There, he started the career that, decades later, would include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame asking for that first guitar.

Listen to the Show

Brown-Forman Midnite Ramble
Five-Time Grammy Award Winner Buddy Guy
Friday, November 9, 8 p.m.
The Kentucky Center
Whitney Hall

Poetics of Relation

Oikos... Random Thoughts on a Sleepless Night

Poetics of Relation: Quotes

Environmental English Studies: Poetics of Relation

Edouard Glissant: Poetics of Relation

Collective Memory: Remembrance and Representation

Sir Albert Howard: An Agricultural Testament; Michael Pollan: Omnivore's Dilemma; Peter Singer/Jim Mason: The Ethics of What We Eat

It is difficult to understand where our food come froms, how it is produced, and what is the "true cost" (economic, environmental, ethical) of our food. Three recent guides that have helped educate this urban raised-being:

The inspiration/voice/founder of the modern "organic" farming movement (before the industrial farms made the term virtually useless):

Sir Albert Howard: An Agricultural Testament/Soil and Health (You can see his poetic/political environmental influence very clearly in the philosophy/writings of Kentucky writer Wendell Berry)


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Olbermann on Bush's Press Conference Hissy Fit

(Courtesy of Nicole Belle and AlterNet)

Keith Olbermann looks once again at proof that America is being run by a petulant child prone to temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way.

To see the video

BCTC Learning Resource Center: Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, and we at the Learning Resource Center would like to acknowledge this important time! Throughout the month of November, books by Native American authors and books about Native American History will be on display in the LRC. We also have a webpage, accessible from our main page at Native American Heritage. We have a selected bibliography, a list of relevant websites and a template of bookmarks. All of these items will be available in hard copy in the LRC Cooper Campus. Please share this information with your classes, and if there is anything else we can do, let us know. Have a great month!

The Faculty and Staff of the Learning Resource Center

Frankfort Climate Action Forum: Leadership for a Sustainable Future (Nov 3)

Global warming meeting

Please join us in calling on our leaders to Step It Up
and take real action to address climate change!

Frankfort Climate Action Forum:
Leadership for a Sustainable Future
Women’s Club of Frankfort
200 Washington Street
Downtown Frankfort
Saturday, November 3
4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Reception to Follow
Free and Open to the Public

Richard Taylor, poet and Kentucky State University Professor, will be speaking about “Lincoln, Leadership and Climate Change”, and Andy McDonald, of the Kentucky Solar Partnership, will discuss the science, policy, and politics involved in addressing climate change. Our local and state leaders have been invited, and we will hear from some of them, and from Mayor May, and get an update on the Mayor’s Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Climate Change.

The Frankfort Climate Action Forum is one of hundreds of events taking place around the country on November 3 as part of a National Day of Climate Action. We are highlighting the need for our leaders to step it up and promptly begin to address climate change in a real and meaningful way. You can find out more about the National Day of Action at For more info about the local action, which is being organized by the Frankfort Climate Action Network, call Connie at 223-7936 or e-mail

Courtney Barlow: "Alternative Media and Popular Movements: The Oaxaca Story"

BCTC Peace and Justice Coalition Fall 2007 Speaker Series
Bluegrass Community and Technical College: Oswald Auditorium

Monday, November 5 from 6:30-7:45: Courtney Barlow on "Alternative Media and Popular Movements: The Oaxaca Story" Courtney will discuss the historical context (past two years) which led to the popular uprising in Oaxaca, Mexico and the movement’s use of media to overcome and combat governmental repression. In addition, she will share her own personal research from time spent with the movement´s Radio Plantón.