Wednesday, April 30

In trying to promote such ideal worlds, censors on the right and left often end up demanding texts that are not realistic, as any child, exposed to television, pop music and the daily hubbub of real life can plainly see. When it comes to the teaching of literature, it can reduce the ambiguities and complexities of art into simplistic social and political messages; it can result in the rejection of classic texts and good writing in favor of boring works, calculated to offend and stimulate no one; and it can result in the selection of works deemed "relevant" to students, instead of works that might broaden their outlook and introduce them to new worlds. Diane Ravitch paints a picture of "The Language Police" in her book of the same name. (NYT: user name: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Tuesday, April 29

"We helped ourselves to the buffet and then sat down to begin eating our dinner. I was just about to tell Asher how I'd eaten there before and how delicious the vegetable curry was, but I never got a chance. All of a sudden, there was a terrible commotion and five NYPD in bulletproof vests stormed down the stairs. They had their guns drawn and were pointing them indiscriminately at the restaurant staff and at us." - Jason Halperin of Alternet experiences the Patriot Act in action.

Monday, April 28

Three years old, and already hooked.

"A significant development in the movement to resist the Ashcroft-Bush dismembering of the Bill of Rights is the growing coalition between conservative groups and such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way."

Sunday, April 27

Were it not for your active involvement, it's safe to say my brother would not be president of the United States, Jeb Bush speaking to the NRA. Ladies and Gents, this ain't nothing that you haven't heard or thought before, but I had to post it. Here's a quick article about Jeb-Boy's speaking engagement to the NRA.

Those $10-an-hour jobs, the ones we're supposed to pity the men for having lowered their masculine dignity to take, look kind of familiar, don't they? They're the "good jobs" women on welfare are encouraged to get, the ones that are supposed to transform them from mooching layabouts to respectable, economically self-sufficient, upright and orderly citizens.

Thursday, April 24

Rose: She got her reply. And she deserves it, too, for inflicting her boring self on all of us.

Tuesday, April 22

Hey Madonna, don't mess with the P2P crowd, sistah.

More examples of over-zealous airline security. Soon to be the norm...

Monday, April 21

I pledge allegiance to the United States, the most important country in the world; and to the unilateralism with which it acts, one nation that believes in God, with tough luck, sucka, to alla yous who don't agree wit us...

Friday, April 18

C'mon, America doesn't care about things cultural! Why would museums be a priority over oil wells, even though it appears that it would only have taken one tank to protect thousands of years of history...

Wednesday, April 16

While it may be the 60th birthday of LSD, this new technology of turning animal, human and consumer waste into oils, minerals and water is what blew my mind today.

Tuesday, April 15

"As the war began, members of the House of Representatives gave speech after speech praising our soldiers, and passed a resolution declaring their support for the troops. Then they voted to slash veterans' benefits." Paul Krugman, always on target.

"Why is the press so silent on the erosion of our civil liberties?" asks the Village Voice's Nat Hentoff.
'On March 18, the Associated Press reported that at John Carroll University, in a Cleveland suburb, Justice Antonin Scalia said that "most of the rights you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires" because "the Constitution just sets minimums." Accordingly, in wartime, Scalia emphasized, "the protections will be ratcheted down to the constitutional minimum." ' And of course, history teaches us that we should not expect those liberties back anytime soon.

Monday, April 14

Update: the RAVE Act (new name, same bill) is now law....

Thursday, April 10

In case you forgot that the war on terror isn't the only war being waged IN (not just by) America: The dreaded RAVE Act has been re-introduced (with a new name) in Congress, this time attached to the "Child Abduction Prevention Act," which is one of the most effective ways Congress gets unpopular bills passed - they attach them to popular bills, usually bills that have nothing to do with the unpopular bill. Among other things, the RAVE Act treats club owners who own clubs where a few kids manage to sneak in drugs as someone running a crackhouse, punishes club owners for using harm-reduction methods in their clubs, saying it encourages drug use, and generally takes away property rights, something you'd expect Congress would like to be protecting. I guess club owners and event promoters don't donate eough to congressional campaigns. Learn more and take action with these links: Electronic Music Defense Fund - Drug Policy Action Center - Dance Safe. Perhaps you really do need to fight for your right to party...

Wednesday, April 9

Photo clips from the present...

Tuesday, April 8

In case you missed this news, "A facility near Baghdad that a US officer had claimed might finally be "smoking gun" evidence of Iraqi chemical weapons production turned out to contain pesticide, not sarin gas as originally thought." The world is still waiting for some evidence.

"What was promised to Afghans with the collapse of the Taliban was a new life of hope and change. But what was delivered? Nothing. Everyone is back in business." - Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghanistan's president.
Iraq next year? Oh wait, Iraq has oil, so the wells will need our armed protection.

"People who eat hemp food tend to be liberal," he continues. "They tend to be Democrats and Green Party. It's a drug war out of control." "Advocates say the DEA's new attack on hemp has more to do with politics than with miniscule amounts of THC. 'It's funny [that] only after the industry started growing [the DEA] stepped in,' says Adam Eidinger, spokesman for the Washington D.C.-based 'They hadn't stepped in 30 years. They don't want the industry to prosper because they see it as a counterculture thing. I think it's a cultural war.' "

Monday, April 7

U.S. Prison Population Surpasses 2 Million.

'...says the General Accounting Office (GAO) in a scathing new report that finds the politically popular program has had "no statistically significant long-term effect on preventing youth illicit drug use." In addition, students who participate in D.A.R.E. demonstrate "no significant differences... [in] attitudes toward illicit drug use [or] resistance to peer pressure" compared to children who had not been exposed to the program, the GAO determined.'

Thursday, April 3

More insane government attacks on freedom, this time from "tolerant Oregon," as Jello Biafra once called it.

Wednesday, April 2

I'd like to quote Nancy Franklin's entire article about televised war coverage, from this week's New Yorker, but there isn't room, so here's a random snippet: "The cable news networks' ratings have shot up many hundreds of points as a result of the war, and, even with the sand blowing in their eyes and the war not going as well as they and the White House had led us to believe it would, they weren't about to let go of the adrenaline rush that they had helped fuel. (With banners such as "Showdown: Iraq" and "Target: Iraq," they had all but said, "Iraq, Here We Come!," and, when President Bush announced that Saddam Hussein had forty-eight hours to get out of town, MSNBC even put a countdown clock on the screen, which ticked off the minutes till kickoff time.)"

Tuesday, April 1

"A Web site that posts the photographs of more than a dozen Tucson anti-war protesters and denounces them as traitors is creating a stir among local peace activists, who say it makes them more committed to using their free speech. Featuring pictures reportedly taken at protests Thursday and Friday, the site asks: "UNAMERICAN? TRAITORS? CONFUSED or just plain PATHETIC??? YOU DECIDE... 'I hope I cause several of you traitors their jobs,' the e-mail said."

Follow-up to my blog yesterday about Peter Arnett, from Alternet:

Arnett's mistake - a big and foolish one - was to behave like a reporter first, and a Pentagon spokesman second. Having been called a traitor on the floor of Congress 12 years ago, he ought to have learned by now.

The irony of all this is that if we really want to "liberate" Iraq, giving them a taste of the First Amendment in action, with an American reporter free to speak his mind anywhere and anytime, might have brought us a step closer to that stated goal of "winning hearts and minds."

"The battle between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon"- from the New Yorker. A good report the sources of American missteps in the war.


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