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u = Progressive Review's Undernews
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(r) = re-reading
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The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return
Sam Smith's Great American Political Repair Manual: How to Rebuild Our Country So the Politics Aren't Broken and Politicians Aren't Fixed
American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism & Toxic Warfare
The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Decline of American Democracy
Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of the Free Press
Just consider what current events will sound like two thousand years from now -- the greatest nation on Earth bombing some of the smallest and weakest for no clear reasons, people starving in parts of the world while farmers are paid not to plant crops in others, technophiles sitting at home playing electronic golf rahter than the real thing, and police forces ordered to arrest people who simply desire to ingest a psychoactive weed. People of that era will also likely laugh it all off as fantastic myths...
It is time for those who desire true freedom to exert themselves -- to fight back against the forces who desire domination through fear and disunity.
This does not have to involve violence. It can be done in small, simple ways, like not financing that new Sport Utility Vehicle, cutting up all but one credit card, not opting for a second mortgage, turning off that TV sitcom for a good book, asking questions and speaking out in church or synagogue, attending school board and city council meetings, voting for the candidate who has the least money, learning about the Fully Informed Jury movement and using it when called -- in general, taking responsibility for one's own actions. Despite the omnipresent advertising for the Lotto -- legalized government gambling -- there is no free lunch. Giving up one's individual power for the hope of comfort and security has proven to lead only to tyranny.
You had to take those pieces of paper with you when you went shopping, though by the time I was nine or ten most people used plastic cards. . .It seems so primitive, totemistic even, like cowry shells. I must have used that kind of money myself, a little, before everything went on the Compubank.
I guess that's how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing beforehand. If there had still been portable money, it would have been more difficult.
It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time.
Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control.
I was stunned. Everyone was, I know that. It was hard to believe. The entire government, gone like that. How did they get in, how did it happen?
That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.
. . . Things continued on in that state of suspended animation for weeks, although some things did happen. Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The roadblocks began to appear, and Identipasses. Everyone approved of that, since it was obvious you couldn't be too careful. They said that new elections would be held, but that it would take some time to prepare for them. The thing to do, they said, was to continue on as usual.
By the time Oscar reached the outskirts of Washington, DC, The Louisiana air base had benn placed under siege.
The base's electrical power supply had long since been cut off for lack of payment. The aircraft had no fuel. The desperate federal troops were bartering stolen equipment for food and booze. Desertion was rampant. The air base commander had released a sobbing video confession and had shot himself.
Green Huey had lost patience with the long-festering scandal. He was moving in for the kill. Attacking and seizing an federal air base with his loyal state militia would have been entirely too blatant and straightforward. Instead the rogue Governor employed proxy guerrillas.
Huey had won the favor of nomad prole groups by providing them with safe havens. He allowed them to squat in Louisiana's many federally declared contamination zones. These forgotten landscapes were tainted with petrochemical effluent and hormone-warping pesticides, and were hence officially unfit for human settlement. The prole hordes had different opinions on that subject.
Proles cheerfully grouped in any locale where conventional authority had grown weak. Whenever the net-based proles were not constantly harassed by the authorities, they coalesced and grew ambitious. Though easily scattered by focused crackdowns, they regrouped as swiftly as a horde of gnats. With their reaping machines and bio-breweries, they could live off the land at the very base of the food chain. They had no stake in the established order, and they cherished a canny street-level knowledge of society's infrastructural weaknesses. They made expensive enemies. . .
Louisiana's ecologically blighted areas were ideal for proles. The disaster zones were also impromptu wildlife sanctuaries, since wild animals found chemical fouling much easier to survive than the presence of human beings. After decades of wild subtropical growth, Louisiana's toxic dumps were as impenetrable as Sherwood Forest.
Saturday, June 07, 2003
WMD row in UK blamed on "rogue spies" [og]
11:56 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Canadian gov't mimics Ashcroftian fascism [og]Some Canadian animal rights, anti-globalization and white supremacist groups may pose a terrorist threat, revealed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's latest annual report.
11:42 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Just in case you don't know about shrub's grandpa Prescott, and swallowed the former's apparent contrition at Auschwitz this past week [u]What the Allied investigators never understood was that they were not asking Thyssen the right question. Thyssen did not need any foreign bank accounts because his family secretly owned an entire chain of banks. He did not have to transfer his Nazi assets at the end of World War II, all he had to do was transfer the ownership documents - stocks, bonds, deeds and trusts--from his bank in Berlin through his bank in Holland to his American friends in New York City: Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker. Thyssen's partners in crime were the father and father-in-law of a future President of the United States.
It is bad enough that the Bush family helped raise the money for Thyssen to give Hitler his start in the 1920's, but giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is treason. The Bush's bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed allied soldiers. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen's coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals. There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family's complicity.
1:41 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Costa Rican "correctional camp" for rich kids an abusive nightmare [u]Lawyers, surgeons and business people seeking solutions to their children's problems paid $30,000 to $50,000 yearly to send them to Dundee Ranch in Costa Rica.
The solutions turned out to involve alleged physical torture, filthy living conditions and the loss of basic human rights. After a raid by Costa Rican police officers, Narvin Lichfield, the school's owner, was arrested on May 22 for alleged physical and psychological mistreatment of pupils.
1:34 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Also from the June 3 Undernews, a reader speaks on sanity vs insanity:RICHARD L. FRANKLIN - Re Emily Dickinson and the murky lines between sanity and madness: In 1899, Bernard Hart published a book entitled "The Psychology of Insanity."
Hart was puzzled over the question of what makes one person "sane" and another person "insane." He interviewed many people in asylums who had delusions about their identity. He found that if a person believed he were Napoleon, no amount of evidence would ever convince him otherwise. He would always discount the evidence as false, fabricated by enemies, and so forth.
Hart began to wonder whether "sane" people ever adopted and held beliefs in the same manner. After interviewing countless "sane" people, namely those who are allowed to live outside insane asylums, he concluded that nearly all of them adopted and held on to political or religious beliefs in exactly the same manner. No amount of evidence or logic would ever convince them to drop those beliefs.
Hart concluded that society often arbitrarily determines which sets of beliefs mark one as insane and which beliefs are accepted as sane. If one holds onto a belief about one's identity that is totally belied by logic and evidence, he is thereby insane; however, if one holds a religious or political belief that is completely refuted by logic and evidence, he is not the least bit crazy.Most Americans believe they have had a personal encounter with Satan. Res ipsa loquitur.
1:14 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Fisk on objectivity in journalismI think we are dealing here with a problem in American journalism school, which thank god we Brits don't go through. We do politics and history and other subjects at university. I think that the foreign correspondent is the nerve ending of a newspaper. My paper sends a correspondent to live abroad to tell us what happens there, not to tell us what two sides are saying, I can read that on the wire.
Over and over again for example, when I am in Jerusalem or Damascus, or Cairo, I talk to my American colleagues who are just like me, same jobs - much better salaries of course, but the same role. And what they tell me is fascinating. They really have a deep insight - many of them - into what's happening in the region, but when I read their reports it's not there. Everything they have to tell me of interest has been erased. When they want to put forth a point of view, they ring up some guy in America who has very little knowledge usually in one of the places I call the think thanks, the think tanks, the Brookings institute, the Rand corporation, and this guy blathers on for two paragraphs of bland prose, and this is put in as opinion.
1:10 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
I'll say this for Arizona -- they know bureaucratic bullshit when they see it [u]As the nation lurches from orange to yellow on the terror alert scale for the fourth time, Arizona officials are considering not following the federal moves in the future.
"It creates incredible problems: overtime, financial, functional," said Frank Navarrete, the state's homeland security director. "It's not quite to the point where it creates havoc, but it's quite disruptive."
The alerts are making people ill, said Margaret Heldring, a clinical psychologist who heads America's Health Together, a non-profit research group in Washington, D.C.
"The whole color-coded alert system has raised anxiety more than helped lower it," Heldring said. "It may be useful for helping security or police departments, but it's not good for the general public."
12:50 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Friday, June 06, 2003
September report claims "'no reliable information' that Iraq had biological or chemical weapons"
4:56 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Expanded child tax credit passes
Congress throws bone to poor
9:53 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Military/government referralsjanet rehnquist resignation
mick ronson mormon
kodak + "corporate owned life insurance"
Stories fiction bound gagged abducted
kitemaking workshop cd
coloumbia disaster photos
"russian gas attack"
+"hush-hush" +"proxy" +nipr*
Paula Silsby Maine Lawyer
wood canvas airplane designs
overpumping air guns
laws and public defecation
"martha stewart" and "employment contract"
gao criminal "travel card"
ricin tri border area
9:49 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
UN report on quickly depleting natural water supply underlines importance of water rights as plutocrats attempt to create monopoly
9:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Female cartoonists raise consciousness in Tanzania
9:37 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Stupid cowboy talk embarrasses Americans with 3-digit IQs againCowboy imagery is quite central to Mr Bush's presidential persona. He holds crucial policy talks at his ranch in Crawford.
"The image he is cultivating is that of the mythic cowboy, strong, morally upright, independent and God-fearing - a stalwart figure standing against chaos," says Mr Mitchell.
"The cowboy sees complex issues in simple, morally unambivalent ways. There is the good and the bad and this is how George Bush sees things, much to the consternation of much of the country."
Gary Jacobsen, political scientist at the University of California says Mr Bush's Texan persona is, largely, to blame for him being "a remarkably polarising figure".
"People who like Mr Bush love the imagery and rhetoric," he says. "It is populist, down to Earth."
"But a larger proportion are indifferent to it. Others just find it embarrassing."
9:30 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Mr Flint, please check in
CIA "five years behind the rest of the world" in tech use
What about military intel? How do you expect a secrecy-obsessed, fethisistically hierarchical structure like the one US intel is part of to keep up with technology that's essentially decentralizing?
9:26 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
EU forces ebay Europe to add VAT July 1
See comments too. Implication is others don't charge VAT on used goods, why ebay?
Encrypted P2P auction networks ahead?
9:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Thursday, June 05, 2003
Working Assets selling credit cards for big shrubco contributor
More here on funding of "alt media."
6:37 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
slate on the NYT "resignations", and some dissenting voices
Seems like this is, on the one hand, just a poor matching of job and applicant.
But larger bells are resonating with the sound of Haines/Boyd's fall.
Doubts about formerly untouchable institutions are just beginning to snowball in the US.
Who would've thought that the Times would lose its credibility with so many so quickly?
6:17 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Emails to her family: US peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was assassinated by an Israeli bulldozer in MarchI am staying put in Rafah for now, no plans to head north. I still feel like I'm relatively safe and think that my most likely risk in case of a larger-scale incursion is arrest.That's an American hero talking.
If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours - do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees destroyed - just years of care and cultivation. I think about you and how long it takes to make things grow and what a labour of love it is. I really think, in a similar situation, most people would defend themselves as best they could. I think Uncle Craig would. I think probably Grandma would. I think I would.
I spent a lot of time writing about the disappointment of discovering, somewhat first-hand, the degree of evil of which we are still capable. I should at least mention that I am also discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances - which I also haven't seen before. I think the word is dignity. I wish you could meet these people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will.
1:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Isn't it ironic? file:
G8 -- meeting in mineral springs mecca Evian -- drops ball on clean water access [u]Michel Camdessus, the former head of the IMF, is due to discuss the findings of a high-level inquiry into the financing of water supplies at the summit. It is a controversial subject, with many protesters offended at what appears to them to be a cynical deal by developed countries with thriving private water industries to gain access to the markets of the Third World: others, such as Water Aid, argue that those desperate for a drink simply need it piped in by whatever method proves most effective, be it private or public sector.
Such debates may seem a million miles from the lives of those like Sema Kedir, the mother of three found hanging from a tree near her home in central Ethiopia. The only clue to her fate lay in the shattered remains of a clay pot near by.
She had collapsed on the final leg of the 12-mile hike from the nearest water well and spilled the precious liquid that would have kept her children alive for another day or two. Already in debt to a neighbour, she could not afford to raise money for a new pot: there seemed no way out.
It was cases like hers that helped persuade the international community to agree a target in Johannesburg last year to halve the number of people without clean water. But so far there is little sign of concrete progress towards the target.
1:00 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Completely Attached to Delusions file:
Rumsfeld floods White House with thousands of memos on foreign policy [u]From his first days in office, Mr Rumsfeld has inundated Washington with a blizzard of memos regarding foreign policy, not usually the responsibility of a defence secretary.[apologies to John Giorno]
"There are literally thousands of them," said one recipient. "The theme is control. He wants everyone to have to play on his field."
12:56 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
pronunciamentomemo "recommends using espionage laws to prosecute media outlets that publish or broadcast leaked information from government officials if that information turns out to be classified" [u]"That's a dramatic change," says Tom Rosenstiel, a former Newsweek and Los Angeles Times correspondent who is now vice president of the Committee of Concerned Journalists.
"Let's be blunt. These guys really don't believe in the 1st Amendment," he says. "They believe in secrecy, not sunshine, they believe in control, not pluralism. They want to intimidate and chill the press, and they want to criminalize the free flow of discussion, and they want to use September 11 as the lever to do this."
"It would be incredibly chilling," says [Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Thomas] Engelberg. "Anyone who has any sense of what a free press should do in a free society will quickly see that this would be an invitation to disaster."
12:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Wednesday, June 04, 2003
Last 2 This Mod ern Worlds rock [Warning: salon clickthrough necessary]
11:46 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
The New American Denial file:
Texas town Uncertain (that's really the name, ISYN) refuses to stop eating fish after 8 years of state advisories of high mercury levelsMany residents of Uncertain - the name the mayor says got jotted down 40 some years ago on the town's incorporation papers and never got changed - said they already know about the advisories and either do not believe them or are resigned to the danger.
David Stalcup, a 39-year-old welder, said as he sipped a beer at Ms. Betty's Caddo Grocery: "You'd probably get sicker biting your fingernails than eating the fish out of that lake."
Stalcup, like many here, said he eats mainly catfish and other species that are not listed on the state's health advisory.
Others doubted the very presence of a toxic element in the lake.
"I think they're just talking. There's no mercury in the fish," said 64-year-old fishing guide Henry Lewis. "They've got to prove it to me."
Dick Kirkland, a 78-year-old fisherman sipping beer at Ms. Betty's, had but one response after listening to all the talk about mercury.
"Fresh fillet bass," he said, longingly. "You're making me hungry."
11:37 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Auburn University's Rural Studio architecture students build houses for the poor from found objectsJay Sanders has worked as a Rural Studio instructor since graduating two years ago because he believes in giving students a hands-on lesson that helps someone.
"Every day, materials and methods classes at Auburn ... they build a brick wall out next to the school and they tear it down," Sanders said. "I mean, you build four of those and you've got a house."
Music Man's house, in keeping with the eclectic Rural Studio style, is a colorful menagerie of donated and discarded materials.
It starts with a patchwork gate just off the highway, made from wrought-iron hog wire and tin and plastic signs that were lying around. It even has an opening through which he can ride his motor scooter.
The house itself is made mostly of wood and metal, but it has unusual - but functional - features throughout. Hanging from the ceiling of the main room are shelves that slide on old skateboard wheels. When the shelving unit is on the kitchen side of the room, half the shelves are open; the other half are open when the unit moves across the room.
Pieces of colorful glass bottles are sunk into cement, forming a tiled floor. The shower room uses the grooved bed liner from a pickup truck to drain water.
11:28 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Some referralssuspended animation american freezing winter native
pics of winnie the pooh hunny pot by itself
sex non venal
piscataquis county jail roster
man accused of sucking kids toes
essential university of agarwood
1940s spanking practices
fantasies unlimited ft wayne in
pics sucking toes radio
giant breast morphs
the notorious b.i.g. music video i could watch called hypnotize
coca cola assassin "south america"
parrot black market pics overseas
guess book of iron companies in nepal
costume made hummer h2
2003 email contact and address of fish fighters in finland
golf cart path regulations in Louisiana
8:47 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Increasing numbers of Mexican men migrating to the US for work are shifting old patriarchal patterns of political control to women in indigenous communities
Aside from campaigns to prohibit alcohol -- a problem here similar to the excesses in the American Old West -- there have been other effects:Indigenous activists scour the country working with other, often isolated Indian communities, educating men and women in human rights, their privileges under Mexican law, and the opportunities they have to improve their economic situation. It's prompted Indian women in southern Veracruz to start a community investment network.
Meanwhile, in the highlands of southwest Oaxaca, women have been trained in small business initiatives such as chicken farming, creating compost, and selling basic groceries. The projects aim to help them achieve more economic independence. But along the way, organizers say, they learn managerial skills and get used to being in charge.
Indian women in Chiapas have come to insist that their communities' demands for self-rule, stemming from a 1994 uprising, include provisions that ensure more freedoms and rights for women. During the uprising, Mexicans were amazed to see indigenous women lined up in front of their homes, wielding sticks and stones to chase off the heavily armed soldiers.
1:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
With their limited and fitful -- not to say gleefully deranged -- attention directed elsewhere, shrubco allows the US military (SOUTHCOM) in Latin America to shape policy by default -- making oppressive interventions by militaries barely constrained "by already weak restrictions" in domestic affairs more likely
1:02 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
IBM accounting scrutinized by SEC
7:39 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
UK Parliament launches inquiry into Iraq War
7:35 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Police in Seattle use pepper spray and rubber bullets on demonstrators at police intel gathering
Protester account:Shortly after the young man dropped off the overhang into the crowd we were told we had two minutes to move to start clearing the street. My friend and I were in the back line between the police and the crowd, and a woman with a megaphone started urging the crowd forward. We started moving and suddenly several police darted into the crowd to capture a young man. They were so fast that unfortunately they didn't look where they were going and they knocked over a man in a motorized wheelchair. This action, of course, inflamed the crowd - the first of several provocative maneuvers by the cops.
I sat down near the chair to make space. At first the man looked badly hurt because he was just lying on the street without moving, but eventually he was helped back into his chair to the accompaniment of streams of pepper spray from the cops, and he was allowed to leave. Of course the cops were of no help.
7:31 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Architect of Enron scheme to manipulate Cali energy market arrested
7:17 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Land-reform activists in Brazil occupy Monsanto GM farm
7:14 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Iraq War fallout:
negative opinion of US peaking overseas, Americans' mistrust of some former allies soars, NATO & UN impotent, obsolete, indefinite deployment of US troops likely whether shrubco/the Pentagon likes it or not -- and deep skepticism about the rationale for the war finally "breaks through" in the mainstream media and challenges lapdog Congress [drudge]
9:50 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Monday, June 02, 2003
"Trying not to feel hopeless about the US" file
Embedded reporter gets hate mail for NOT reporting FoxNews-style propaganda instead of what he actually saw in Iraq [u]When I wrote in one story about "bloody street fighting in Baghdad," it appeared the morning TV viewers were seeing jubilant Marines and Iraqi civilians tearing down statues of Saddam Hussein on the eastern side of the Tigris River. Some readers, believing all of Baghdad was like that, were livid. They did not grasp the fact that, on the western side of the river, pitched battles were still taking place. Because they did not see it on TV, it was not happening. And it did not fit their view of the war.
Many who wrote me questioned not only my patriotism but my ancestry and my sexual orientation. Many fell back on the old canard that all media are left-wingers.
"Ron, if it's going so badly, why don't you just join the other side and cheer for them instead?" wrote one.
"Millions of patriotic Americans are just sick and tried of the constant hate the military, hate Bush, hate America drivel you spew forth masquerading as 'good' journalism," wrote another.
One woman even suggested I start watching more Fox TV to get an unbiased view of the war. I resisted the urge to tell her that the TV reception was miserable in the back of the armored personnel carrier in which I was riding.
12:53 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
"Terror = Security" file
Anti-terrorist citizen informant program supported by police on the East Coast and some of the Midwest to create network of spies bigger than the dreaded Stasi in Communist East Germany [u]Licata has few qualms about the prospect of CAT Eyes-trained citizens spying on their neighbors. "If I felt that my neighbor of 10 years was doing fund-raising for a group, I'd turn 'em in," says Licata. After all, he says, the FBI will "just investigate them -- and if you're wrong, you're wrong. And if you're right, that's a big thing!"On the refinement of the Gestapo method through the East German model to ... the US in the 21st century?
Licata does emphasize that racial profiling is wrong, and his training materials disavow racism. Terrorism, he says, "has nothing to do with race or religion. Timothy McVeigh was an Irish-American and he blew up the federal building in Oklahoma."
However, such assurances give cold comfort. Citizen informers, after all, are not subject to the same public accountability as police officers. If a citizen informer unfairly targets certain races or ethnic groups, there is no way to keep track of it and no way to punish the errant informer. Licata himself admits, "If someone goes the wrong way, there's nothing I can do about that.""I think that all dictatorships -- at least modern dictatorships that are heavily dependent on mass controls and on mass parties as standard bearers of dictatorships -- of course display structural similarities. ... The Nazi dictatorship was without a doubt far more brutal in its methods, even if we disregard the whole complex of issues involving the Second World War, the Holocaust, the terrible crimes committed in the east during the Nazi occupation. In the course of the communist dictatorship, which lasted 40 rather than just 12 years, we can certainly discern a more refined version of the repertoire and instruments of power which led to the enormous growth of the Stasi."
Vollnhals notes that in 1942, the Gestapo had some 43,000 employees and ruled over the 80 million inhabitants of the Third Reich and the lands it had occupied. In contrast, he says, in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1989, the Stasi had over 90,000 employees and some 170,000 informers for a far smaller population of just 17 million. Thus the penetration into society was far stronger under the communists than under the Nazis. The reason, Vollnhals suggests, is that the majority of the population of the Third Reich collaborated with the regime, so the Nazis did not feel as threatened by their own people as the communist authorities did in later decades.
12:30 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Baghdad bunker bombed at the start of the Iraq War never existed [u]
12:19 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
NPR sells daily hour to slate/Micro$uck
12:15 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Affluent parents in NYC hiring a consultant to get their kids into the "right" schools remind me of what I read once long ago about the bureaucratic nightmare of getting your kid through the labyrinthine (and undoubtedly corrupt) process of being admitted to the mandarin class in medieval China [u]Ms. Uhry is one of the growing corps of consultants, considered entrepreneurs by some and opportunists by others, who are available to guide parents through the shoals of New York City private school admissions, especially for the kindergarten-and-under set, where the competition is most intense. It is a profession that could flourish only in New York City, where some parents begin plotting the path to Harvard before their children are born.From a description of the Chinese classes in Chinese history:
There is no licensing for those in the field and no official head count. A popular private school guide lists 15 advisory services, up from 11 in its last edition. Neighborhood bulletin boards, pediatricians' offices and magazines for parents advertise dozens more. And admissions directors describe a surge since 1999, when parental anxiety spiked and Ms. Uhry started her business.
Prices range from the modest $85-a-year membership fee charged by the blue-blood Parents League, an Upper East Side institution since 1913, to advisers who charge $300 an hour and those who offer a package of services for $3,000.The highest class of people were the scholars and officials. This group of people was given examinations to determine government positions. There were three levels of exams and they were for men only. They were district, provincial, and national. The exams were based o[n] Master Kong?s texts. Passing the exams opened the door to the government, a highly respected place. This provided wealth, power, and prestige. Though one could move into this class it was often that it passed on down family lines and these men could afford the best education for their sons which resulted in better exam scores. No more than one out of ten people qualified to be in this class.
12:08 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, June 01, 2003
Good Sam Smith piece on why the drug war persists against all reason and sanityThe war on drugs is, in fact, a war to sustain the drug industry and its collateral beneficiaries. America's drug czar is also the country's biggest drug lord, because without his phony battle, the artificial economy of prohibition would collapse and with it the industry he falsely claims to be fighting.He mentions this worthy new book put out by the folks at reason Magazine too.
While clearly, many of the drug warriors in politics and the law are driven by myopic, infantile evangelism, we must bear in mind that for many others, fighting drugs is as much as business as dealing them, a cash business never reported to the IRS. It is long past time to discover who amongst our leaders are merely stupid and who are themselves drug war criminals.
11:58 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Jim Crow Revived in Cyberspace
In case you haven't seen this Greg Palast/Martin Luther King III article:At the heart of the ethnic purge of voting rights was the creation of a central voter file for Florida placed in the hands of an elected, and therefore partisan, official. Computerization and a 1998 "reform" law meant to prevent voter fraud allowed for a politically and racially biased purge of thousands of registered voters on the flimsiest of grounds.
Voters whose name, birth date and gender loosely matched that of a felon anywhere in America were targeted for removal. And so one Thomas Butler (of several in Florida) was tagged because a "Thomas Butler Cooper Jr." of Ohio was convicted of a crime. The legacy of slavery -- commonality of black names -- aided the racial bias of the "scrub list."
Florida was the first state to create, computerize and purge lists of allegedly "ineligible" voters. Meant as a reform, in the hands of partisan officials it became a weapon of mass voting rights destruction. (The fact that Mr. Cooper's conviction date is shown on state files as "1/30/2007" underscores other dangers of computerizing our democracy.)
You'd think that Congress and President Bush would run from imitating Florida's disastrous system. Astonishingly, Congress adopted the absurdly named "Help America Vote Act," which requires every state to replicate Florida's system of centralized, computerized voter files before the 2004 election.
2:43 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Rise of the Machines
MIT & Pentagon create Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies
OK I'm nauseous now.
2:32 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
A suddenly-got-the-joke risen head, dull painkiller stare, unfocussed and indulgent; a twisted grimace below deadcold mobster eyes.
Something about this pic speaks volumes about the Dire Life-Chilling Imperiums behind these Arrogant Young Mouthpieces.
1:54 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
from Sassafrass (9/23/02)
"Unconventional viewpoints at 'charging the canvas'
Opinions that will ruffle feathers, from someone who clearly knows their way around information and the blogosphere."
Blog of the Day
In the eyes of posterity it will inevitably seem that, in safeguarding our freedom, we destroyed it; that the vast clandestine apparatus we built up to probe our enemies' resources and intentions only served in the end to confuse our own purposes; that the practice of deceiving others for the good of the state led infallibly to our deceiving ourselves; and that the vast army of intelligence personnel built up to execute these purposes were soon caught up in the web of their own sick fantasies, with disastrous consequences to them and us.
-- Malcolm Muggeridge
Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
-- Mark Twain
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They were past the motels now, condos on both sides. The nicer ones, on the left, had soothing pluraled nature-names carved on hanging wooden signs, The Coves, The Glades, The Meadowlands. The cheaper condos, on the right, were smaller and closer to the road, and had names like roaring powerboats, Seaspray, Barracuda's, and Beachcomber III.
Jackie sneezed, a snippy poodle kind of sneeze, God-blessed herself, and said, "I bet it's on the left, Raymond. You better slow down."
Raymond Rios, the driver and young science teacher to the bright and gifted, didn't nod or really hear. He was thinking of the motels they had passed and the problem with the signs, No Vacancy. This message bothered him, he couldn't decide why. Then Jackie sneezed and it came to him, the motels said no vacancy because they were closed for the season (or off-season or not-season) and were, therefore, totally vacant, as vacant as they ever got, and so the sign, No Vacancy, was maximum-inaccurate, yet he understood exactly what it meant. This thought or chain of thoughts made him feel vacant and relaxed, done with a problem, a pleasant empty feeling driving by the beaches in the wind.
from Big If by Mark Costello
Bailey was having trouble with his bagel. Warming to my subject, I kept on talking while cutting the bagel into smaller pieces, wiping a dob of cream from his collar, giving him a fresh napkin. "There's a pretense at democracy. Blather about consensus and empowering employees with opinion surveys and minority networks. But it's a sop. Bogus as costume jewelry. The decisions have already been made. Everything's hush-hush, on a need-to-know-only basis. Compartmentalized. Paper shredders, e-mail monitoring, taping phone conversations, dossiers. Misinformation, disinformation. Rewriting history. The apparatus of fascism. It's the kind of environment that can only foster extreme caution. Only breed base behavior. You know, if I had one word to describe corporate life, it would be 'craven.' Unhappy word."
Bailey's attention was elsewhere, on a terrier tied to a parking meter, a cheeky fellow with a grizzled coat. Dogs mesmerized Bailey. He sized them up the way they sized each other up. I plowed on. "Corporations are like fortressed city-states. Or occupied territories. Remember The Sorrow and the Pity? Nazi-occupied France, the Vichy government. Remember the way people rationalized their behavior, cheering Pétain at the beginning and then cheering de Gaulle at the end? In corporations, there are out-and-out collaborators. Opportunists. Born that way. But most of the employees are like the French in the forties. Fearful. Attentiste. Waiting to see what happens. Hunkering down. Turning a blind eye.
from Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings
HANKY PANKY NOHOW
When the sashaying of gentlemen
Gives you grievance now and then
What's needed are some memories of planing lakes
Those planing lakes will surely calm you down
Nothing frightens me more
Than religion at my door
I never answer panic knocking
Falling down the stairs upon the law
There's a law for everything
And for elephants that sing to feed
The cows that Agriculture won't allow
Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow
-- John Cale