Friday, November 26, 2004

Website Fixes

Fixed links and many of the essays.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

What's The Matter With Speaking.

I just finished Thomas Frank's What's the Matter With Kansas. It is so well-written and right on. It basically argues that conservatives have taken advantage of the fact that Class is stripped from all mainstream discourse and so they have framed a new spectrum, instead of from worker to owner/boss,that goes from "mainstream" (read: normative: bush, white, church-going, pick-up and crown victoria driving, red staters) to cultural elite (read: effette, liberal, celebrity, volvo and latte driving, blue stater) that allows a nonsense alliance between working-class conservative activists and wall street. This alliance clothes itself a "victim" under the "liberal elite" and the conservative operatives have carefully picked symbolic issues that can never really be won. And because class and businesses are off-limits, once conservatives are elected they can push policy that screws over their working class alliance partners. The central irony of all this is that, and Frank details all of this so well, is that the working class activists who are articulate, earnest, and dedicated are in an alliance against the "liberal elite" (like Jon Stewart) and they are in alliance with the richest and most powerful financial and military elites in world history. Note that this is a horribly concise paraphrasing and the book really should just be read outright.

That said, I'm watching Frank on C-span and it is troubling. He's so smart, but he needs to take a class in public-speaking. At one point, he references it being early in the morning, but it is no excuse. At point, he forgets he's on TV and hangs his head down on his head. But, his book is so good. Hopefully, we'll get a copy of the excellent "Why Johnny Can't Dissent" which isn't even online yet. Oh and he says he just had a new baby a few weeks ago, so congrats, Frank! Hopefully, he's just tired because of the baby.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Random notes.

From Gawker:

Freemans, tuesday night the 16th of nov. the bush twins , along with 2 massive secret service men, tried to have dinner. they were told by the maitre'd that they were full and would be for the next 4 years. upon hearing, the entire restaurant cheered and did a round of shots... it was amazing!!! [Ed: We're hearing that this is actually true.]

Poster idea

Remember those old mad and cracked magazine covers that were painted movie parodies? We need to make one that shows Bill and Ted's time traveling phonebooth going back in time in the middle of a bunch of first nationers in 1491, all surprised and everything, with a california 80's style ward churchill and noam chomsky (who would be bill and who would be ted?) popping out being like "Dude, Don't Feed the Pilgrims!"

Meanwhile, in mainstream news, the Tom delay flap is yet another situation like Limbaugh's. Long story short: Republican scumbag Delay is getting a major rule change made for him because he might be indicted. Back in the early nineties, when a democrat was getting indicted, the republicans got this rule passed that said if you were being indicted on a charge that could bring more than a two year bid, you'd have to relinquish your position. Now they want to switch it. The problem is that this rule should be removed, not to protect him, but because of the long history of political prisonersand activists who also happened to be elected officials (see Bobby Sands, Gramsci, and Julian Bond and the Georgia State Leg.). That said, dump Delay. Like Limbaugh, it makes little sense to encourage sympathy for him in an utter vacuum of justice. Why should we feel any sympathy for an unrepentant racist who's called for barbarian responses to the very serious issue of drug addiction? Decriminalize drugs, turn it into a healthcare issue, but until then, why not roast the pig?

Speaking of farm animals:
Today in history, the chickens came home to roost.

And lastly, the panopticon is in your printer:

"According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce.
Peter Crean, a senior research fellow at Xerox, says his company's laser printers, copiers and multifunction workstations, such as its WorkCentre Pro series, put the "serial number of each machine coded in little yellow dots" in every printout. The millimeter-sized dots appear about every inch on a page, nestled within the printed words and margins.
"It's a trail back to you, like a license plate," Crean says.
[T]hey could also be employed to track a document back to any person or business that printed it. Although the technology has existed for a long time, printer companies have not been required to notify customers of the feature." (Yahoo, Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents by Jason Tuohey, Medill News Service)

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The first entry

Bush might not speak in front of Canada's parliament out of fear of being heckled. Which is apparently not an unrealistic concern because Reagan got heckled in 1987 over the the Star Wars initiative and his support and defense of contra death squads. Interestingly enough, Reagan's heckler's career later got ended when he tried to shoplift a ten thouand dollar ring.
The score card looks as follows:

Svend Robinson - 1
Ronald Reagan - 0

Svend Robinson - 0
Store Security - 1

In other scumbag news, Bush's dinner got canceled in Chile because he wanted to make over two hundred guests walk through metal detectors and the Chilean president Lagos thought it would be humiliating. This was nothing, however, compared to Bush's security requests in England just over a year ago. "One in nine police officers in England and Wales will be protecting George Bush on his state visit to Britain," he requested a permanently hovering black hawk helicopter wherever he was at, absolute amnesty for secret service snipers, and I faintly remember reading about some sort of permit for a super cartridge that could be shot out of small gun but could blow up a large area. But who's to blame him? Even the kids hate him over there:

Oh well. I hope people are getting ready for the fun. And after the party, we have to get back to work. Even the students:

The government moved to change its formula for college aid last year, but was blocked by Congress. Now, however, no such language appears in the appropriations bill lawmakers are considering, clearing the way for the government to scale back college grants for hundreds of thousands of low-income students.

Nearly 100,000 more students may lose their federal grants entirely, as Congress considers legislation that could place more of the financial burden for college on students and their families. (New York Times, "Bill Clears Way for Government to Cut Back College Loans" By GREG WINTER and DIANA JEAN SCHEMO Published: November 21, 2004)