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trent gives fans the slip

May. 5th, 2008 | 03:28 pm
mood: workingworking

timed potentially in recognition of cinco de mayo(????) NIN's new album (no, not ghosts, this is an even newer album) is downloadable from nin.com for almost absolutely free, or rather, the cost of your email. and really, if you can't trust trent reznor to not spam your mail box, who can you trust? me? that guy over there? president grover cleveland? your kindly old grandmother? hardly.

it took the email a while to actually get to my mailbox, so don't panic if you don't get the email to the link and token immediately, or even within the hour. it'll come eventually though.

unlike ghosts this album is only 45 minutes and 10 tracks long, as opposed to ghosts, which was approximately "too" and "far too many tracks" long. it's also a proper album with words and somesuch, none of this artsy only-instrumental nonsense.

no really, i liked some of ghosts, but as someone pointed out already, it works better scattered in a randomized NIN/industrial mix where a ghosts track will occasionally come up on the play and contribute some ethereal, minimalist flavor, as opposed to a solid 2 hour block of it.

listening to the new album right now, it's not bad so far. which is hardly a stunning recommendation, but hey, it's free, so if you like industrial, like or more likely used to like NIN, take a listen.


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i... must... see... this... movie...

Mar. 1st, 2008 | 10:42 am
mood: excitedexcited


'Chocolate' stars newcomer Nicharee "Jeeja" Vismistananda as an autistic girl who learns how to fight both by absorbing her martial arts skills from what she sees on TV and from the Muay thai boxing school next to her home. When she finds a list of debtors in her sick mother's diary, she decides to go collecting. Her quest leads her to confrontations with criminal gangs and also her father, a member of the Japanese mafia.

imdb entry

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last fm... yea or nay?

Feb. 27th, 2008 | 01:42 pm
mood: hungryhungry

what's the word on the street on last.fm? is it a "social music revolution"? or is it yet another way people can voluntarily give free valuable consumer data which is then sold off to the highest bidder? or is it both?

honestly, even if it's both, i feel like i can stand behind the general idea. on the one hand, i like the idea of providing a space where people can share music tastes and discover new artists they would like. and... on the other hand, i don't actually particularly mind my consumer preferences for music (or many other consumer products) being bandied about, if only because in my hopeful mind it's one more data point that will shift the demographic an infinitismal amount towards my tastes in music, e.g. encourage the music industry to support indie artists i love.

shorter post: if you're on last.fm, holla!
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Digital Tattoo Interface...

Feb. 21st, 2008 | 02:37 pm
mood: impressedimpressed

Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

Digital Tattoo Interface

Jim Mielke's concept would be implanted beneath the skin on your arm. It then taps into your bloodstream, converting the oxygen and glucose into electric power. The display then "works" by changing the color of smart-ink pixels tattooed over the implant. It also acts as a touchscreen input device, so you could manage your cellphone calls by tapping on your arm. Most creepily, there's potential for a 3G video call to be shown on your skin.

via gizmodo

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Feb. 18th, 2008 | 11:36 am
mood: awakeawake

brooklyn zoo - odb

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with friends like these...

Jan. 24th, 2008 | 03:16 pm
mood: sicksick

with friends like these, guardian UK

Facebook has 59 million users - and 2 million new ones join each week. But you won't catch Tom Hodgkinson volunteering his personal information - not now that he knows the politics of the people behind the social networking site

Tom Hodgkinson
The Guardian,
Monday January 14 2008

The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Wednesday January 16 2008

The US intelligence community's enthusiasm for hi-tech innovation after 9/11 and the creation of In-Q-Tel, its venture capital fund, in 1999 were anachronistically linked in the article below. Since 9/11 happened in 2001 it could not have led to the setting up of In-Q-Tel two years earlier.

The Independent Guide to Facebook

I despise Facebook. This enormously successful American business describes itself as "a social utility that connects you with the people around you". But hang on. Why on God's earth would I need a computer to connect with the people around me? Why should my relationships be mediated through the imagination of a bunch of supergeeks in California? What was wrong with the pub?

And does Facebook really connect people? Doesn't it rather disconnect us, since instead of doing something enjoyable such as talking and eating and dancing and drinking with my friends, I am merely sending them little ungrammatical notes and amusing photos in cyberspace, while chained to my desk? A friend of mine recently told me that he had spent a Saturday night at home alone on Facebook, drinking at his desk. What a gloomy image. Far from connecting us, Facebook actually isolates us at our workstations.

Facebook appeals to a kind of vanity and self-importance in us, too. If I put up a flattering picture of myself with a list of my favourite things, I can construct an artificial representation of who I am in order to get sex or approval. ("I like Facebook," said another friend. "I got a shag out of it.") It also encourages a disturbing competitivness around friendship: it seems that with friends today, quality counts for nothing and quantity is king. The more friends you have, the better you are. You are "popular", in the sense much loved in American high schools. Witness the cover line on Dennis Publishing's new Facebook magazine: "How To Double Your Friends List."

It seems, though, that I am very much alone in my hostility. At the time of writing Facebook claims 59 million active users, including 7 million in the UK, Facebook's third-biggest customer after the US and Canada. That's 59 million suckers, all of whom have volunteered their ID card information and consumer preferences to an American business they know nothing about. Right now, 2 million new people join each week. At the present rate of growth, Facebook will have more than 200 million active users by this time next year. And I would predict that, if anything, its rate of growth will accelerate over the coming months. As its spokesman Chris Hughes says: "It's embedded itself to an extent where it's hard to get rid of."

All of the above would have been enough to make me reject Facebook for ever. But there are more reasons to hate it. Many more.

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hello, 2008

Jan. 13th, 2008 | 02:15 pm
mood: impressedimpressed


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Microsoft Deal Values Facebook at $15B

Oct. 26th, 2007 | 01:42 am
mood: tiredtired
music: "57" - biffy clyro

Microsoft Deal Values Facebook at $15B

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE – 10 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — It's hard to determine what's more surprising about Microsoft Corp.'s investment in Facebook Inc. — the appraisal that valued a 3 1/2-year-old Internet hangout at $15 billion or the rare snub of online search leader Google Inc.

The $240 million price Microsoft paid for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook demonstrates just how badly the world's largest software maker wanted to deepen its relationship with a startup that doesn't even have $200 million in annual revenue.

By sealing the deal Wednesday, Microsoft finally trumped Google after losing previous high-stakes bidding battles involving a stake in AOL and ownership of online video sharing pioneer YouTube and Internet ad service DoubleClick Inc.

"This was a muscle-in from Microsoft," Gartner analyst Allen Weiner said. "It would have been a nice-to-have for Google, but it was certainly not essential."

Besides buying a stake in Palo Alto-based Facebook, Microsoft also will sell Internet ads for its Web site outside the United States, broadening a marketing relationship that began last year.

"This is a strong statement of confidence in this partnership and in Facebook," Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, said during a Wednesday conference call with reporters and analysts.

Tim Armstrong, who oversees Google's North American advertising, declined to comment on the Facebook negotiations during a meeting with analysts Wednesday at the company's Mountain View headquarters.

"We have tremendous respect for them," Armstrong said of Facebook.

Microsoft's investment underscores the skyrocketing value of online communities like Facebook — a place where Web surfers look for dates, connect with friends and family, and share photos, videos and music.

In 2005, News Corp. paid $580 million for outright ownership of MySpace.com, the only social network larger than Facebook. With its investment, Microsoft established Facebook's current market value at $15 billion less than four years after Mark Zuckerberg started the Web site in his Harvard University dorm room.

Already considered a whiz kid, Zuckerberg, 23, now looks even smarter for rebuffing a $1 billion takeover offer from Yahoo Inc. last year. And Facebook now should have more than enough money to pay for its expansion until it is ready to go public.

Zuckerberg has indicated he wants to hold off on an initial public offering for at least two more years. In the meantime, Facebook hopes to become an advertising magnet by substantially increasing its current worldwide audience of nearly 50 million active users who connect with friends on the site through messaging, photo-sharing and other tools it offers.

Although MySpace remains the largest social network, Facebook has been growing much faster in the past year.

Facebook attracted 30.6 million U.S. visitors during September compared with 68.4 million at MySpace. Microsoft's entry in the social networking arena — "Windows Live Spaces" — attracted 9.8 million U.S. visitors, according to comScore Inc.

To support its growth, Facebook is gearing up to more than double its payroll during the next year to about 700 employees. The company currently employs about 300 workers with annual revenue believed to fall between $100 million and $150 million.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft is counting on Facebook's popularity to help it sell more online advertising — an area where it badly lags Google.

During its fiscal year ending in June, Microsoft's online ad revenue rose 21 percent to $1.84 billion. Over the same period, Google's ad revenue soared 64 percent to $13.3 billion.

Johnson believes Facebook could attract as many as 300 million users worldwide within the next few years, giving Microsoft ample opportunity to recoup its investment by putting ads in front of a potentially huge audience.

"We are pleased with the economics of this," Johnson said.

Because Facebook members share insights about themselves on their personal profiles, Microsoft might be able to harvest some of the data to pick out ads more likely to pique someone's interest and trigger a revenue-generating click on a link.

But if the advertising becomes too intrusive or heavy-handed, it could alienate users and decrease traffic to the social network.

Investors seemed to like the deal as Microsoft shares climbed 75 cents to $32 in Thursday afternoon trading.

Microsoft also appears interested in Facebook's success with "widgets" — the interactive capsules that offer applications available on other Web sites. Outside developers have created about 8,000 widgets since Facebook began soliciting the contributions in May.

Johnson said Microsoft plans to work with Facebook in areas besides advertising but declined to elaborate.

Facebook may have chosen to hook its wagon to Microsoft because Google has made no secret about its interest in building its own social network.

"Facebook had to look at (Google) twice and say, 'Do we want to take money from someone we may end up competing with?'" Weiner said.

Google's current social network, called Orkut, has seen relatively little success outside South America.

Owen Van Natta, Facebook's chief revenue officer, said the company talked to several suitors before settling on Microsoft. He declined to provide details.

Microsoft's successful courtship of Facebook shows the 32-year-old company is becoming more savvy about the Internet, said Matt Rosoff, an analyst for the research group Directions on Microsoft.

"I think they understand it now and they're proceeding correctly," Rosoff said. "Two years ago, I would have said they don't get it at all."

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Oct. 21st, 2007 | 02:07 am
mood: tiredtired


Sadness. The Moist gray shawls of drifting sea-fog,
Salting scrub pine, drenching the cranberry bogs,
Erasing all but foreground, making a ghost
Of anyone who walks softly away;
And the faint, penitent psalmody of the ocean.

Gloom. It appears among the winter mountains
On rainy days. Or the tiled walls of the subway
In caged and aging light, in the steel scream
And echoing vault of the departing train,
The vacant platform, the yellow destitute silence.

But despair is another matter. Midafternoon
Washes the worn bank of a dry arroyo,
Its ocher crevices, unrelieved rusts,
Where a startled lizard pauses, nervous, exposed
To the full glare of relentless marigold sunshine.

~Anthony Hecht
January 16, 1923 – October 20, 2004

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Jul. 21st, 2007 | 09:25 pm
mood: tiredtired

"balance," 1989

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On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning by Haruki Murakami

May. 8th, 2007 | 08:39 am
location: librvm
mood: sleepysleepy

On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning by Haruki MurakamiCollapse )

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oh, hollywood.

Feb. 26th, 2007 | 01:45 am
mood: tiredtired
music: "moon town" - h.u.v.a. network

no, i didn't watch the oscars, but i did happen to notice that the departed won best picture.

just gonna repost this:

my six word review of The Departed


no, really. i'll concede that the departed is slicker. and it did a lot more with the one major flaw of infernal affairs, that being the incongruously cheesy subplot involving the police psychiatrist. in fact, the relationship between the psychiatrist and the two main characters was incredibly well done and probably the high point of the movie.

and of course, the acting and direction were great. no surprise with the names attached to the film.

but no matter how much martin scorsese wants to deny that the departed wasn't a remake, every single brilliant plot point was lifted whole cloth from infernal affairs. every. single. important. scene. (again, apart from the psychiatrist ones.)

if anything, the only major difference in plot was the one that inevitably demonstrated the gulf between a sophisticated, complex rendering of human characters in the original and the standard americanized, hollywoodized, shallow black and white rendering of easily digestible symbolic representations of people.

i'll admit, the "development" of both leonardo dicaprio and matt damon's characters is passable as long as you haven't seen the original. it's no worse than what you would expect in any hollywood movie. but the deliberate flattening and simplifying of tony leung and andy lau's brilliant, humanistic original characters is utterly repugnant if you've seen infernal affairs.

(oh yeah, rereading this i also want to excoriate the flattening of eric tsang's character too. of course how much of that was just jack nicholson wanting to screw around with his character and make him the embodiment of malevolence, i don't know. but it was sad seeing yet another real, three dimension character get completely warped into a caricature of a villain.)

and of course, mainly as an inevitable result of this flattening you also get the dull, insipid "twist" ending at the end of the departed, the kind of ending you would expect in a hollywood film. ugh.

and then of course, as others have pointed out, there's the special irony of having solely racist portrayals of asians in a film whose plot is almost entirely lifted from a hong kong flick.

okay i will also note that i heard about how up until scorcese actually corrected the mistake 2 hours after it was made, the academy apparently thought Infernal Affairs was a japanese film. great. that about says it all.
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the machine is us/ing us

Feb. 21st, 2007 | 06:33 am
mood: tiredtired


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Dec. 18th, 2006 | 01:17 pm

often it is the only
between you and
no drink,
no woman's love,
no wealth
match it.

nothing can save

it keeps the walls
the hordes from

it blasts the

writing is the
the kindliest
god of all the

writing stalks
it knows no

and writing
at itself,
at pain.

it is the last
the last

what it


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Public Colleges as "Engines of Inequality"

Nov. 24th, 2006 | 02:14 am

Public Colleges as "Engines of Inequality", nytimes editorial

Published: November 23, 2006

Democrats who ran for Congress this fall made the cost of college a big campaign issue. Now that they’ve won control of the House and Senate, they can prepare to act swiftly on at least some of the factors that have priced millions of poor and working-class Americans right out of higher education. The obvious first step would be to boost the value of the federal Pell Grant program — a critical tool in keeping college affordable that the federal government has shamefully ceased to fund at a level that meets the national need.

But larger Pell Grants can’t solve this crisis alone. Policy changes will also be required in the states, where public universities have been choking off college access and upward mobility for the poor by shifting away from the traditional need-based aid formula to a so-called merit formula that heavily favors affluent students. The resulting drop in the fortunes of even high-performing low-income students — many of whom no longer attend college at all — is documented in an eye-opening report released recently by the Education Trust, a nonpartisan foundation devoted to education reform.

The public universities were founded on the premise that they would provide broad access in exchange for taxpayer subsidies. That compact has been pretty much discarded in the state flagship campuses, which have increasingly come to view themselves as semiprivate colleges that define themselves not by inclusion, but by how many applicants they turn away, and how many of their students perform at the highest levels on the SAT, an index that clearly favors affluent teenagers who attend the best schools and have access to tutors.

The flagship schools compete for high-income, high-achieving students who would otherwise attend college elsewhere, while overlooking low-income students who are perfectly able to succeed at college but whose options are far more narrow.

In recent years, aid to students whose families earn over $100,000 has more than quadrupled at the public flagship and research universities. Incredibly, the average institutional grant to students from high-income families is actually larger than the average grant to low- or middle-income families.

Partly as a result, high-performing students from low-income groups are much less likely to attend college than their high-income counterparts — and are less likely to ever get four-year degrees if they do attend.

These are ominous facts at a time when the college degree has become the basic price of admission to both the middle class and the new global economy. Unless the country reverses this trend, upward mobility through public higher education will pretty much come to a halt.

Press Release: Engines of Inequality: Diminishing Equity in the Nation’s Premier Public Universities, The Education Trust

The nation’s 50 flagship universities serve disproportionately fewer low-income and minority students than in the past, according to a new report by the Education Trust. Students in the entering and graduating classes at these schools look less and less like the state populations those universities were created to serve. The study shows how financial aid choices made by these prestigious public universities result in higher barriers to college enrollment and success among low-income students and students of color.

The report, “Engines of Inequality: Diminishing Equity in the Nation’s Premier Public Universities,” documents in great detail how flagship and other “research extensive” universities contribute to serious inequities in higher education and exacerbate disturbing trends in financial aid policy at the state and federal levels. In an unprecedented study of financial aid practices at these institutions, the report illustrates how flagships have reallocated financial aid resources away from the low-income students who need help to go to college – mostly to compete for high-income students that would enroll in college regardless of the amount of aid they receive.

“At a time when more and more low-income and minority students are preparing for college, it is disturbing that many of our most prestigious colleges and universities are turning away from them,” said Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust and a co-author of the report.

“Engines of Inequality” also includes a report card for each state’s flagship institution, typically the state’s oldest and most prestigious public university. The report cards grade each campus on: access for low-income students; access for minority students; and gaps in graduation rates between groups. In addition, the report cards indicate whether these institutions are becoming more or less representative of their states over time.

Several universities – including West Virginia University and the University of Vermont – received high marks for providing access to minority students; others – including the University of California Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst – received high marks for attracting low-income students. As a group however, most schools posted dismal grade point averages, and the situation is getting worse.

“Given their special role in developing their states’ future business, academic and political leadership, leaders of flagship universities should feel a special obligation to provide opportunities for talented state residents of all races and economic groups,” said Danette Gerald, the report’s other co-author. “But over time, that obligation has been replaced by the relentless pursuit of increased selectivity and ever-higher rankings.”

Between 1995 and 2003, flagship and other research-extensive public universities actually decreased grant aid by 13 percent for students from families with an annual income of $20,000 or less, while they increased aid to students from families who make more than $100,000 by 406 percent. In 2003, these institutions spent a combined $257 million to subsidize the tuition of students from families with annual incomes over $100,000 – a staggering increase from the $50 million they spent in 1995. At the same time, poor students were disproportionately bearing the brunt of increased college tuition and fees.

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Nov. 22nd, 2006 | 07:07 pm
mood: pleasedpleased

just finished watching stay.

what an amazing movie. first blush impressions provoke me to say things like "this is one of my new favorite movies." does this pass the "michael would buy this so he can rewatch it whenever the mood so strikes him" test? yes, yes it does.

i'm not really in a mood to do my own review now especially since i've read thea's and it says everything i might want to say and more, but much more intelligently. *** warning *** although i've linked it, don't actually read the review until you've watched the movie unless you have absolutely no intention of actually seeing the movie, at which point, why are you reading the review, eh?? bucko??

okay, one spoilerish word from meCollapse )

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happy trails

Nov. 21st, 2006 | 06:02 am
mood: sleepysleepy
music: "end theme" - morcheeba

friends cut! if you're surprised, well, that's probably why.

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no means yes, apparently.

Nov. 1st, 2006 | 12:33 pm
mood: irateirate

Court: Woman Can't Say No After Start Of Sex, WBAL (via the_autumn_knew)

POSTED: 9:13 am EST October 31, 2006
UPDATED: 9:30 am EST October 31, 2006

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- An appellate court said Maryland's rape law is clear -- no doesn't mean no when it follows a yes and intercourse has begun.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals Monday threw out a rape conviction saying that a trial judge in Montgomery County erred when he refused to answer the jury's question on that very point.

The appeals court said that when the jury asked the trial judge if a woman could withdraw her consent after the start of sex, the jury should have been told she could not. The ruling said the law is not ambiguous and is a tenet of common-law.

The decision startled activists who believe people have the right to say no at any time. Jennifer Pollitt Hill of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault called the law "insulting and dangerous."

Montgomery Delegate Jean Cryor said the Women's Caucus of the General Assembly would likely examine the decision during the next legislative session.

so, because westlaw is on the ball and all that, i looked up the decision. (2006 WL 3055890) basically, out of all the cases that touch on the subject in the entire United States, only two cases have ruled that consent can't be withdrawn, one in Maryland (Battle v. State), in 1980 and one in North Carolina (State v. Way) (1979). in fact, cases after 1980 dealing with this often specifically cite Battle and Way and discuss how absolutely ridiculous they are. everyone else apparently recognizes that the common law on this issue if strictly read makes an absolute mockery of any notion of gender equality. the common law basically holds that the issue of rape only focuses on initial penetration, since all that mattered was the loss of virginity of the object. and really, they do mean object. the appellate court in this case goes so far as to recognize the roots of this common law focus in biblical and middle assyrian law:
Under MAL, the rape of a virgin was presumed to be an illegal trespass upon the father's property, with the rapist required to "give the (extra) third in silver to her father as the value of a virgin (and) her ravisher shall marry her (and) not cast her off." The woman was required to marry her rapist without hope of divorce. If the rapist was married, the virgin still had to marry her rapist; however, the rapist's property, his wife, also was factored into the compensation. The rapist's wife was to be given to the father, "to be ravished ... not to return her to her husband (but) to take her."

This approach to rape developed because a virgin was considered a valuable asset, the value residing in men's ability to gain absolute ownership of the totality of her sexual and reproductive functions. Any infringement upon this totality through premarital sexual relations rendered the asset less valuable, and might even turn it into a liability.

so they recognize how ridiculous the common law is, and then they sort of shrug and say, weeell, if you don't want us to enforce the strict definition of common law, you better pass a statute overturning it! because otherwise we're going to keep on doing this, rapists of maryland, rejoice!

because god forbid they actually apply their own present day understanding of society and culture to their decisions. why, that would be... activist!

one more thing i noted in the opinion was that this particular question of withdrawal of consent was brought up in neither the state's argument, nor the defense's. the jury just sort of came up with it on their own and asked the trial court judge about it. and, as far as i understand, in my fledgling law student way, the judge properly passed on the question since it had no relevance to the arguments at court. and then the jury properly made a decision without the question answered.

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Sarabande on Attaining the Age of Seventy-seven

Oct. 20th, 2006 | 02:27 am
mood: blankblank

Sarabande on Attaining the Age of Seventy-seven

The harbingers are come. See, see their mark;
White is their colour, and behold my head.

Long gone the smoke-and-pepper childhood smell
Of the smoldering immolation of the year,
Leaf-strewn in scattered grandeur where it fell,
Golden and poxed with frost, tarnished and sere.

And I myself have whitened in the weathers
of heaped-up Januarys as they bequeath
The annual rings and wrongs that wring my withers,
Sober my thoughts and undermine my teeth.

The dramatis personae of our lives
Dwindle and wizen; familiar boyhood shames,
The tribulations one somehow survives,
Rise smokily from propitiatory flames

Of our forgetfulness until we find
It becomes strangely easy to forgive
Even ourselves with this clouding of the mind,
This cinerous blur and smudge in which we live.

A turn, a glide, a quarter-turn and bow,
The stately dance advances; these are airs
Bone-deep and numbing as I should know by now,
Diminishing the cast, like musical chairs.

~Anthony Hecht
January 16, 1923 – October 20, 2004

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the joy that is legal retrospection

Oct. 13th, 2006 | 02:25 am
mood: irateirate

reading dred scott v. sanford makes me want to puke in anger. it's hard to read it dispassionately for the quality or lack thereof of purely legal constitutional argumentation. lots of historical arguments, textual arguments, some structural arguments.

oh yes, and one particularly charming example of a prudential/historic argument:

It cannot be supposed that they intended to secure to them rights and privileges and rank, in the new political body throughout the Union which every one of them denied within the limits of its own dominion. More especially, it cannot be believed that the large slaveholding States regarded them as included in the word citizens, or would have consented to a Constitution which might compel them to receive them in that character from another State. For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.

OH NOES, they would be able to walk around wherever they wanted at any time of the day or night and would be free from harassment providing they didn't break any laws that apply to white folk too! THIS CANNOT STAND!

insanely enough, taney (chief justice who presided over this case and wrote this opinion) actually apparently emancipated his own slaves and once far earlier on in his career defended a methodist minister who had been indicted for inciting slave rebellion, condemning slavery in his opening argument as a "blot on our national character."

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my six word review of The Departed

Oct. 8th, 2006 | 05:14 pm
mood: annoyedannoyed
music: "necessary evil" - the dresden dolls


a few more wordsCollapse )
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Madrid bans waifs from catwalks

Sep. 13th, 2006 | 02:57 pm
mood: busybusy

Madrid bans waifs from catwalks, bbc (via zahyr)

Madrid fashion week, one of Spain's most prestigious shows, is banning underweight models on the basis of their body mass index (BMI).

UN health experts recommend a BMI of between 18.5 and about 25, and some models may fall well below the minimum.

The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers has decided to ban models who have a BMI of less than 18.

Unhealthily skinny models at last year's fashion shows led to protests from doctors and women's rights groups.

The association agreed to use the BMI - a calculation based on height and weight - in response to local government pressure.

It suggests that 30% of would-be participants fail this test and this year's fashion week, which begins on 18 September, will offer medical treatment to excessively thin models.


"The restrictions could be quite a shock to the fashion world at the beginning but I'm sure it's important as far as health is concerned," Leonor Perez Pita, director of the Madrid fashion show, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Madrid's local government says it wants to set a more positive, healthy image of beauty for teenagers to follow.

"Fashion is a mirror and many teenagers imitate what they see on the catwalk," said regional official Concha Guerra.

Spain's Anorexia and Bulimia Association says if designers refuse to follow these voluntary restrictions the government should legislate to ban thin models.

However, some sections of the fashion world have expressed outrage at the idea of weight restrictions.

Cathy Gould, of New York's Elite modelling agency, said the fashion industry was being used as a scapegoat for weight-related illnesses.

"I understand they want to set this tone of healthy beautiful women but what about discrimination against the model and what about the freedom of the designer?" she asked, adding that the careers of naturally "gazelle-like" models could be damaged.

but think of the burgeoning careers of naturally un-gazelle-like models!

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racial humor, reappropriate.com on chappelle's lost episodes

Jul. 25th, 2006 | 06:12 pm
mood: blahblah

just wanted to post the permanent link for reappropriate_x's post and discussion on dave chappelle's lost episodes, in particular the racial pixies sketch.
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why the push for same-sex marriage is dangerous/wrong

Jul. 25th, 2006 | 11:50 am
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

virtually over it, mingerspice

i'm not reposting it because you should click the link, read it there, and comment there.

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Born Free and Equal

Jul. 21st, 2006 | 12:10 pm
mood: contemplativecontemplative

Born Free and Equal

This special presentation reproduces the book Born Free and Equal, a selection of Ansel Adams's photographs of the Manzanar internment camp which was published in 1944 by U.S. Camera along with a text by Adams. The digital images were made from the 112-page copy held by the Prints and Photographs Division. In a letter to his friend Nancy Newhall, the wife of Beaumont Newhall, curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, Adams wrote: "Through the pictures the reader will be introduced to perhaps twenty individuals…loyal American citizens who are anxious to get back into the stream of life and contribute to our victory." The book received positive reviews and made the San Francisco Chronicle's bestseller list for March and April of 1945. A hardcover edition of Born Free and Equal (Bishop, CA: Spotted Dog Press, 2001) is available which corrects surname and chronological errors found in the original and includes essays by former internees Archie Miyatake and Sue Kunitomi Embrey.

(via __angryasianman)
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okay, i know maybe only 3 or 4 of you share my excitement over this

Jul. 20th, 2006 | 05:14 pm
mood: excitedexcited

which is just so tragic. but someday i hope you all SEE THE LIGHT.

SEASON FIVE!!!! OCTOBER 17TH!!! as anticipated they aren't going to be bastards and make us wait a whole year from the release of season 4 (THIS JULY 25th!!) what with it having only 8 episodes.


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what makes people gay?

Jul. 20th, 2006 | 05:11 pm
mood: contemplativecontemplative

boston globe via infojunkies, old article, but new to me!

The debate has always been that it was either all in the child's upbringing or all in the genes. But what if it's something else?

By Neil Swidey | August 14, 2005

With crystal-blue eyes, wavy hair, and freshly scrubbed faces, the boys look as though they stepped out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. They are 7-year-old twins. I'll call them Thomas and Patrick; their parents agreed to let me meet the boys as long as I didn't use their real names.

Spend five seconds with them, and there can be no doubt that they are identical twins - so identical even they can't tell each other apart in photographs. Spend five minutes with them, and their profound differences begin to emerge.

Patrick is social, thoughtful, attentive. He repeatedly addresses me by name. Thomas is physical, spontaneous, a bit distracted. Just minutes after meeting me outside a coffee shop, he punches me in the upper arm, yells, "Gray punch buggy!" and then points to a Volkswagen Beetle cruising past us. It's a hard punch. They horse around like typical brothers, but Patrick's punches are less forceful and his voice is higher. Thomas charges at his brother, arms flexed in front of him like a mini-bodybuilder. The differences are subtle - they're 7-year-old boys, after all - but they are there.

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Gramsci and revolution: a necessary clarification

Jul. 19th, 2006 | 03:05 pm
mood: calmcalm

Gramsci and revolution: a necessary clarification, international socialism

Issue: 109
Roberto Robaina

The name of Antonio Gramsci is regularly invoked internationally by people looking for a version of Marxism that avoids references to revolution. Roberto Robaina challenges this approach, criticising fellow Brazilians who use it.

Brazil was one of the first countries in Latin America to rediscover Antonio Gramsci. This was important in itself, but it was also attended by the theoretical distortions of a left that, although it was breaking with Stalinism, still resisted the alternative of a revolutionary perspective.

The first disseminators of Gramsci’s thought, particularly Carlos
Nelson Coutinho, extended the discussion about the state to include questions of hegemony, the accumulation of forces and the necessity or otherwise of insurrection. And it was precisely on these questions that Gramsci has been most misused within the Brazilian Workers Party (PT), where his work has been represented as reformist. Concepts like hegemony and historic bloc, for example, have been consistently distorted. Some
leaders of the PT, indeed, are still using these concepts to defend a politics of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, or at least sections of it.

The concept of the historic bloc, for example, has nothing to do with alliances with the bourgeoisie, nor can hegemony be transformed into a justification for concessions to the exploiting classes or a search for consensus with them—at least not in the name of Gramsci. When he led the Italian Communist Party, before he was imprisoned, Gramsci left no room for doubt as to the necessity for the movements of industrial and agricultural workers to build alliances with the peasants of the south and the islands.1 He affirmed the decisive role of intellectuals in the formation of these alliances, arguing that they played a key role in binding the peasantry to the big landowners, and arguing the urgent need to break that link by building a left current among
the intellectuals. Gramsci certainly pointed to the need for consensus among the broad peasant masses as a prior condition for mobilising them against capitalism—a consensus among the peasants, be it noted, rather than with the capitalists, with the purpose of breaking the links with the landowning class. This was the historic bloc that would have a determining role in social
change—it has nothing to do with collaboration between workers and capitalists, nor between their parties, be they populist, liberal or anything else.

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more for my own notes. i was poking around looking for the original coinage of the notion of the long march and i ran into some right wing site blathering on about how it was gramsci who first proposed this sort of strategy. clearly not.

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Discovering a Different Space of Resistance

Jul. 19th, 2006 | 03:01 pm
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

Discovering A Different Space Of Resistance, zmag

Personal Reflections On Anti-Racist Organizing

by Helen Luu

A Budding Consciousness: Discovering a Different Space of Resistance

In the summer of 2000, I was involved with a coalition that worked to mobilize and organize a demonstration against the Organization of American States (OAS) when they held their meeting in Windsor, Canada. Included in the OAS's portfolio is the detrimental implementation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). I was very enthusiastic about being involved with this protest because I was still riding the wave of excitement from the victory in Seattle against the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the mass convergences that followed in North America after that. I was perched rather precariously on this wave of excitement, however.

A few short months before, Elizabeth (Betita) Martinez's article Where was the Color in Seattle?: Looking for reasons why the Great Battle was so white circulated around the internet after having made its first appearance in ColorLines magazine. I read this article with amazement and excitement because it was the first time that someone was publicly bringing up a criticism that many of us people of colour (and others) had noticed, and in print no less: the 'Battle in Seattle' had been overwhelmingly white, despite the fact that people of colour are often the ones hardest hit by global capitalism. It felt like an affirmation.

In Windsor, I remember talking to (mostly white) activists about this criticism and finding that while people acknowledged that there was indeed a problem, barely anyone really did anything to actually address the problem. And so it went that Windsor, too, was overwhelmingly white.

This was the turning point for me. Up until then, I had been involved with organizing with a variety of different activist groups, both within the community and on campus. And most of these, too, had been overwhelmingly white. And I was tired of it. I was tired of feeling like the token person of colour, of feeling marginalized even within 'progressive' groups and movements, of feeling like certain issues were not being addressed, of feeling like I was by myself in all of this. In many ways, I increasingly felt like I was turning my back on my own identity as a person of colour, as a former refugee from the South, as someone whose experiences while growing up differed so much from most of the people in these groups.

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the long march through the institutions

Jul. 19th, 2006 | 02:53 pm
mood: complacentcomplacent

The Long March

by Max Bruinsma
Back in that mythical year 1968, in Paris, a German student leader named Rudy Dutschke came up with an idea that sounded blasphemically conservative to the young revolutionaries who were about to storm the next Bastille. Dutschke argued that trying to take the strongholds of bourgeois power - the educational, political and trade institutions - by force would amount to romantic heroism of the most ineffective kind. Instead, he proposed a rather less sexy strategy: go in, behave - and take over. He called it ‘the long march through the institutions’ and thereby essentially urged the protesting student generation to take the epitheton of ‘our future leaders’, bequeathed to them by their arch conservative parents who obviously hoped for continuity, serious. Of course he also meant that the route from the periphery of idealistic purism to the vile centers of practical life should not result in loosing one’s faith about what and why change was necessary to begin with, as it had done with generations of young ‘future leaders’ who had sowed their oats in ‘épater le bourgois’, before vanishing completely into the background of their ancien regime offices.

Dutschke’s idea to slowly infiltrate the centers of power and engender change from within, sensible as it may have been, didn’t take into account an age-old reflex of youthful activism - they want the world, and they want it now. To venture into the lairs of the enemy, work with them and slowly operate your way up along the small margins of whatever influence you may exert until you’ve reached a spot where you can stand tall and authoritatively say: ‘we’re going to make some changes around here", is a tough act to follow. Even today, when in quite a few places youth seems to be a prerequisite for power, it is hard to withstand the lure of the status quo, once you’re part of it.

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the hidden lives of chickens

Jul. 12th, 2006 | 05:22 pm
mood: guiltyguilty

the hidden lives of chickens, goveg.com

Leading animal behavior scientists from across the globe now tell us that chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals whose cognitive abilities are more advanced than those of cats, dogs, and even some primates. Chickens understand sophisticated intellectual concepts, learn from watching each other, demonstrate self-control, worry about the future, and even have cultural knowledge that is passed from generation to generation. Dr. Chris Evans, who studies animal behavior and communication at Macquarie University in Australia, says, “As a trick at conferences, I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens, and people think I’m talking about monkeys.” 1

Chickens comprehend cause-and-effect relationships and understand that objects still exist even after they are hidden from view.2 This puts the cognitive abilities of chickens above those of small human children.3 Scientists are so impressed with what we now know about the intellect of chickens and other birds that a group of international experts recently called for a new naming system to reflect the complex, mammal-like structure of avian brains.4 Dr. Christine Nicol, who studies chicken intelligence, reflected, “They may be ‘bird brains,’ but we need to redefine what we mean by ‘bird brains.’ Chickens have shown us they can do things people didn’t think they could do. There are hidden depths to chickens, definitely.” 5

When in their natural surroundings, not on factory farms, chickens form complex social hierarchies, also known as “pecking orders,” and every chicken knows his or her place on the social ladder and remembers the faces and ranks of more than 100 other birds.6 People who have spent time with chickens know that each bird has a different personality that often relates to his or her place in the pecking order—some are gregarious and fearless, while others are more shy and watchful; some chickens enjoy human company, while others are standoffish, shy, or even a bit aggressive. Just like dogs, cats, and humans, each chicken is an individual with a distinct personality.

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ohhhh. :\

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Jul. 12th, 2006 | 11:01 am
mood: blahblah

Boycott Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean, caribbean amerindian centrelink

Saturday, June 17, 2006
Boycott Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean

Starting in February of 2005, we began to post a number of items regarding Walt Disney's proposed plans for showing Island Caribs as blood thirsty man eaters. In Dominica, where parts of the film were shot, then Carib Chief Charles Williams loudly protested the movie and condemned select members of the Carib Territory for collaborating with Disney. The Government of Dominica warmly welcomed Disney, guided by the incredible notion that a media giant showing local natives as cannibals would promote tourism to the island. The movie was also shot in St. Vincent. Since then, Chief Williams was deposed by the Government of Dominica (although to what extent Williams embarrassing the government over this issue played any role in the government's decision is unclear for now). Other indigenous communities, including Tainos, Garifuna, and the Caribs of Trinidad, also vigorously protested the movie in the news media. Indian Country Today in the United States ran an editorial that was very critical of Disney's plans.

Now, the movie is about to hit theaters and, if anything, it appears to be worse than was first imagined. A trailer for the film clearly shows the Caribs roasting live people on spits and holding captives to be eaten...in a stark reminder of some of the most vile imperialistic imagery produced in the early colonial era. Such images are getting a new lease on life thanks to Disney, which with the resources that rival those of a colonial power, has now dedicated itself to popularizing and internationalizing images of the Caribs as "cannibals". You can see the movie trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAx02SQ5Mjs&mode=related&search=pirates%20of%20the%20caribbean%20dead%20mans%20chest. Images that follow are stills from the trailer, accompanied by one colonial illustration that seems to have been part of the corpus of visual imperial denigrations that the movie so cheerfully enhances.

Let us keep in mind that such depictions were used to enslave and murder the ancestors of today's Caribs, there was never anything innocent or "fun" about these portrayals. In addition, generations of Carib descended school children in the Caribbean have been taught that their ancestors were savage cannibals. Shame over ancestry was inculcated as a matter of routine. In my own field research experience, I have encountered individuals in their forties and fifties who told me very directly that the main reason they did not wish to self-identify as Caribs is that people in the wider world see Caribs as cannibals, as inhuman man eaters, and they found the stigma unbearable. Disney is playing its part in centuries of ethnocide.

This action on the part of Disney, flying in the face of countless protests, is not accidental, nor just uninformed carelessness. Let's place these images in their current context as well. This is a time of renewed generalizing about the "non-West" as the "uncivilized" world of inhumane acts of savage atrocities. Anti-immigrant attitudes are on the rise in many Western countries. Anyone "brown-skinned" is deemed a potential terrorist. This is not inflammatory exaggeration on my part: for a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg, look at reports produced within the Canadian media itself:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_mallick/20060616.html, and,

Many white citizens adjoining Native reserves seem to feel empowered now to express openly derogatory views about Natives, even joining in the occasional riot where they can bash some in the face. A peaceful gathering of Natives in Canada is widely depicted as "terrorism". You don't believe me? Please have a look at pages from the Caledonia Citizens Alliance where members of the public submit their feedback on the issue of the Native reoccupation of their territory.

Images specifically of charred bodies, hung like roasted offerings, have also been popularized in the international press, especially when showing the "horrid" acts of Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah who captured and killed four American mercenaries in March of 2004.

All of the raw material, daily news, centuries of inherited stereotypes, revived bigotry, fear, hatred and paranoia are all out there ready to be fused in people's minds who are thus predisposed to making a series of associations. One line of association is that linking Al Qaida with all Muslims, then immigrants, "brown skin," Natives, and finally Caribs. The other line of associations to complement the first: terrorism, insurgence, resistance and cannibalism.

This is the world we are inheriting, folks! Either we deal with these issues head on, or sit back and let the tide of a new nazism wash over us with the help of our own quiescence.

Disney's concept of family "fun" is about as light hearted as showing groups of Jews as rats. Disney won't do exactly that, since that is anti-semitism, and numerous holocaust memorials tell us "never again." But really, never again? That seems to be either unduly hopeful or just terribly naive.

You are encouraged to actively protest and boycott Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and any and all Disney products. Such cultural imperialism cannot be allowed to pass without consequence.



No Bottle of Rum, but 'Pirates' Pulls Them In, nytimes

LOS ANGELES, July 9 — The box-office blues are officially over.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," the rollicking, effects-laden sequel starring an indelibly roguish Johnny Depp, pulverized several records in its first three days in theaters over the weekend, becoming the most successful movie opening in Hollywood history.

On its opening day, Friday, the movie took in more revenue in a single day than any movie had before: $55 million. By Saturday it passed the $100 million mark, the first time a movie had done so in two days. By Sunday experts estimated that it would take in a total of $132 million for the weekend, far surpassing the previous record-holder, "Spider-Man," which took in $115 million in revenue in its opening weekend in 2002. ("Pirates" was in 4,133 theaters, several hundred more than "Spider-Man," but its per-screen average surpassed that of the webbed superhero. Ticket prices have risen since then.) Beyond the pure dollar figures, the excitement generated by the movie's opening was palpable in a summer that has drawn moviegoers to the cineplex in solid if uninspiring numbers. Fans around the country went to the first screenings on Thursday at midnight dressed in pirate outfits. Theater owners reported scenes of mock swordplay in front of the movie houses. At El Capitan theater in Hollywood over the weekend, a couple showed up in elaborate pirate costumes and went to the movie in back-to-back showings...

... Significantly, the new "Pirates" seemed to defy most trends in movie-going. Movies generally draw from different segments of the population — men or women, over or under 25 — and usually attract them on different days of the weekend. Instead, box office analysts said that the movie appealed to all segments of the population on each day of the weekend, including teenagers, families and adults, a rare phenomenon.

"On this film, there is literally no core audience; everyone is its core audience," said Vincent Bruzzese, a senior vice president of OTX, which tracks movie awareness through online polling. "It had the highest level of enthusiasm of any film and was tracking high in every audience. Normally we point out demographics of a core audience; on this one I wrote one word: everyone."
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the rum comes from slave labor?!?

Jul. 11th, 2006 | 10:43 am
mood: annoyedannoyed

so just judging from the trailers and the excellent way disney glossed over the issue of slave labor in the caribbean in the first movie, i wasn't too hopeful about the portrayal of natives and people of color in the second pirates of the caribbean movie.

luckily it turns out my worries were completely unwarranted!


totally stolen from yeloson:

The "Natives"

- Spear chucking + Blow guns
- Cannibalism (notice europeans don't have to continue to live with cannibalistic tropos for their celtic druids and roman orgy sacrifices...)
- Worship the white man (too ignorant to understand skin color is superficial...how ironic!)
- "oooga-booga" language
- Crazed dancing around fire
- Grass skirts
- Played by people of at least 3 different ethnic groups- because all brown people look the same, right?
- Eating dogs

The Black People

- All the brown crew of the Black Pearl meet untimely ends after asking for fair wages...
- Magical Negro Syndrome (black people exist solely to impart their ancient wisdom upon younger, but "chosen" white people. This also plays out rather often in modern films as well.)
- Snakes, weird roots, + strange hut in swamp = voodoo
- Oversexualized black woman, can't keep hands off the men nearby
- Dirty teeth, dirty dreads (yet, Johnny's dreads were perfectly clean... strange that)
- Black community in mourning for white person
- "Ends of da Ert!"... because we know you can't hire anyone who can really speak patois...

- Brown people dumber than white people (natives, the crewmen, etc.)
- Brown people "more threatening" than white people (angry due to lack of pay, cannibals, scary negro swamp, etc.)

Disney's Carib Indian cannibals deserve boycott, Posted: April 14, 2005

Walt Disney Pictures is premising its sequel to its film ''Pirates of the Caribbean'' on the supposed cannibalism of Carib Indians. This is disgusting. It is a bit beyond the time when the present-day children of the Carib people of the Antilles need to be hit in the face, one more time, with the wanton and highly-disputed idea that they descend from cannibals.

Leaders from at least three communities of Caribs - Salybia in Dominica, Santa Rosa in Trinidad and a community in St. Vincent - have registered their strong objections to Disney executives, who have not responded in any positive way to the critique. Scholars and others are adding their voices to the challenge.

While the controversy over the Caribs' alleged cannibalism is as old as the conquest of the Americas, most observers agree that the Disney movie, slated for worldwide audiences, is beyond the pale as a vehicle to inculcate the historical stereotype upon even more generations of Carib and Caribbean children.

Filming of the sequel is scheduled to begin this month in Dominica. Its predecessor, the first production in the ''Pirates of the Caribbean'' series, was a 2003 blockbuster that grossed $653 million worldwide. Some 3,000 Caribs live in the Carib territory on the island of Dominica, which has a population of 70,000. Tens of thousands of Carib descendants, now known as Garifuna, live on the coasts of Belize, Honduras and Guatemala, as well as in the North American diaspora.

Chief Charles Williams of the Carib community in Dominica has denounced the concept of his people being depicted as cannibals. This stereotype has ''stigmatized'' Caribs for 500 years and is still used both as a form of personal insult and as justification for mistreating his people, Williams said; the movie will further ''popularize'' the historical insult against his people.

Among other Native leaders, the chief of the Carib community at Arima in Trinidad, Ricardo Bharath, also strongly condemned the planned movie. He was joined by Adonis Christo, the community's shaman or medicine man. The oral tradition among their people doesn't support cannibalism as a historical fact, they asserted.

''Do you want to know who the real cannibals are?'' Bharath asked the Inter Press Service. ''They are the ones in modern-day society who are eating down our mountains, raping the environment, polluting the waters,'' he said. Stated Christo: ''Our people defended their families and friends. They defended their homes. They defended their lands.''

There are early references by Europeans to ritual cannibalism among the first encounters with the Caribs. But Brinsley Samaroo, head of the History department of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies, is among those who believe the claim is largely a European invention of ''manufactured history.''

In the historical record, one finds a letter from a Dr. Chanca, who accompanied Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the Caribbean. Chanca speculated that some young men held prisoners by a Carib group were being fattened to the slaughter for feasting.

Neither the wanton killing and rape by Spanish colonists of the first group of Caribs encountered - recorded during the same trip by others on the ship - nor the Caribs' fierce, valiant defense of their territories and people are apparently proper subjects for a Disney movie.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Historical and Archaeological Society has called for a boycott of the sequel by moviegoers if Disney does not modify the script. Paul Lewis, the society secretary, charged that perpetuating the image of Caribs as cannibals sets back a serious effort in the region to provide a more ''honest share of [Caribbean] history'' to the indigenous people.

The governments of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, who will benefit somewhat from the production activities in their countries, have not objected. In fact, the tourism minister of Dominica has defended the proposed film, which would bring some economic benefits to people on the island and which is, as he put it, only a ''work of fiction.''

Some Caribs, as can be expected, have applied for work as extras in the movie, a fact that has made some crow that this somehow exonerates Disney for its production. But that is all just public relations. Reality is that a huge company like Disney should know better in 2005 than to besmirch a living people with its most negative historical stereotype.

Clearly, Disney moviemakers need to consider the negative impacts of the dramatic storylines they choose to project to such a huge audience. It is not acceptable to create and recreate villains out of Native people while exulting and romanticizing the lives of pirates who in real life were murderers and thieves without regard for anyone. Call it what you may, ''fiction'' or dramatic or poetic license, it smacks of racism to us.
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forget her

Jul. 10th, 2006 | 10:36 am
mood: blankblank

forget her

while this town is busy sleeping
all the noise has died away
i walk the streets to stop my weeping
'cause she'll never change her ways

don't fool yourself
she was heartache from the moment that you met her
my heart feels so still
as i try to find the will to forget her somehow
oh i think i've forgotten her now

her love is a rose pale and dying
dropping her petals in vain i know
all full of wine the world before her
or sober with no place to go

don't fool yourself
she was heartache from the moment that you met her
my heart is frozen still
as i try to find the will to forget her somehow
she's somewhere out there now

oh my tears falling down as i tried to forget
her love was a joke from the day that we met
all of the words all of her men
all of my pain when i think back to when
remember her hair as it shone in the sun
it was there on the bed when i knew what she'd done
tell yourself over and over you won't ever need her again

but don't fool yourself
she was heartache from the moment that you met her
oh my heart is frozen still
as i try to find the will to forget her somehow
she's out there somewhere now

she was heartache from the day that i first met her
my heart is frozen still
as i tried to find the will to forget you somehow
'Cause i know you're somewhere out there right now

sooner or later

~jeff buckley

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Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military, Group Asserts

Jul. 7th, 2006 | 04:14 pm

"Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war," he wrote. "It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed.'"

Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military, Group Asserts, nytimes

Published: July 7, 2006

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, www.splcenter.org. "That's a problem."

A Defense Department spokeswoman said officials there could not comment on the report because they had not yet seen it.

The center called on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to appoint a task force to study the problem, declare a new zero tolerance policy and strictly enforce it.

The report said that neo-Nazi groups like the National Alliance, whose founder, William Pierce, wrote "The Turner Diaries," the novel that was the inspiration and blueprint for Timothy J. McVeigh's bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, sought to enroll followers in the Army to get training for a race war.

The groups are being abetted, the report said, by pressure on recruiters, particularly for the Army, to meet quotas that are more difficult to reach because of the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq.

The report quotes Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator, saying, "Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members."

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"There is no question that our men do shoot niggers somewhat in the sporting spirit, but that is because war and their environments have rubbed off the thin veneer of civilization? Undoubtedly, they do not regard the shooting of Filipinos just as they would the shooting of white troops. This is partly because they are only niggers, and partly because they despise them for their treacherous servility. The soldiers feel they are fighting with savages, not with soldiers."
-New York Evening Post war correspondent, H.L. Wells commenting on the Philippine-American War, or sorry, the Filipino Insurgency. [more quotes, source]

i think i'm more surprised that they're so on the ball with this preparation for the upcoming race war. i mean, i haven't even started training for it!

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i'd kill for a new PSP

Jul. 6th, 2006 | 12:56 pm
mood: dirtydirty

A journey into the most savage war in the world, johann hari (via yeloson in a roundabout ways from sex_and_race)

My travels in the Democratic Vacuum of Congo

This is the story of the deadliest war since Adolf Hitler’s armies marched across Europe. It is a war that has not ended. But is also the story of a trail of blood that leads directly to you: to your remote control, to your mobile phone, to your laptop and to your diamond necklace. In the TV series ‘Lost’, a group of plane crash survivors believe they are stranded alone on a desert island, until one day they discover a dense metal cable leading out into the ocean and the world beyond. The Democratic Republic of Congo is full of those cables, mysterious connections that show how a seemingly isolated tribal war is in reality something very different.

This war has been waved aside as an internal African implosion. In reality it a battle for coltan and diamonds and cassiterite and gold, destined for sale in London and New York and Paris. It is a battle for the metals that make our technological society vibrate and ring and bling, and it has already claimed four million lives in five years and broken a population the size of Britain’s. No, this is not only a story about them. This – the tale of a short journey into the long Congolese war we in the West have fostered, fuelled and funded – is a story about you.

full article, very long, very disturbingCollapse )

This war was launched by nations that sensed – rightly – that our desire for coltan and diamonds and gold far outweighed our concern for the lives of black people. They knew that we would keep on buying, long after the UN had told us time and again that people were dying to provide our mobiles and games consoles and a girl’s best friend. Today, we still buy, and the British government – along with the rest of the democratic world – obstructs any attempt to introduce legally enforceable regulations to stop corporations trading in Congolese blood. They ignore the UN’s warnings that “without the wealth generated by the illegal exploitation of natural resources arms cannot be bought, hence the conflict cannot be perpetuated” and insist that voluntary regulations – and asking corporations to be nice to Africans – is “the most effective route.” Conrad warned that “the conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.” So we have chosen not to see.

It is only on my last day in Kinshasa, walking among the burned-out shells of buildings, that I realise what Congo reminds me of. In the movies from my 1980s childhood imagining what the world would be like after a nuclear winter, people were left to wander across a burned landscape, scavenging for the bare necessities of life. Water was contaminated. Food was sparse. Death was everywhere and inexplicable. Children suffered from brain damage en masse because of the malnutrition. Order was a memory, and the men with the biggest AK-47s ruled and raped. This is Congo, 2006.

In Bukavu, a 29-year-old human rights campaigner called Bertrand Bisimwa summarised his country’s situation for me with cruel concision. “Since the nineteenth century, when the world looks at Congo it sees a pile of riches with some black people inconveniently sitting on top of them. They eradicate the Congolese people so they can possess the mines and resources. They destroy us because we are an inconvenience.” As he speaks, I picture the raped women with bullets burying through their intestines and try to weigh them against the piles of blood-soaked electronic goods sitting beneath my Christmas tree with their little chunks of Congolese metal whirring inside. Bertrand smiles and says, “Tell me – who are the savages? Us, or you?”

POSTSCRIPT: Comments on this article can be sent for publication in the Independent to letters@independent.co.uk


i did a little more poking around and at least according to this AUF article from 2001 it looks like at least some manufacturers had taken it upon themselves to at least try to avoid congolese coltan, ericsson, motorola, HP, kemet (which is apparently the largest american manufacturer of tantalum capacitors) (tantalum is actually what is mined, coltan is short for columbite-tantalite) and in general it looks like at the very least the appearance of not using congolese coltan (end producers stress that coltan goes through multiple hands in production so it's not possible to know 100% where the original tantalum was mined) is important on the global stage. the tantalum-niobium international study center, the global industry tantalum producer group, has publicly called on its members to avoid congolese coltan.

that was in 2001, i'm not quite sure what happened between then and 2006 and the release of the sony PSP but i imagine it turns out that corporations aren't as good at regulating themselves as one would hope.

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The Miseducation of Dave Chappelle

Jul. 5th, 2006 | 11:07 am
mood: blankblank

The Miseducation of Dave Chappelle, reappropriate_x

It's no secret that I don't particularly like Dave Chappelle. When he was doing the "Chappelle's Show" on Comedy Central, there were times when I simply had to leave the room. I find the endless toilet humour and inane racism of his comedy grating, and although I appreciate some of his sketches (for example, "The Mad Real World"), he misses as often as he hits.

That being said, I completely understood why Chappelle left Comedy Central. CNN posted a video today which basically surmounted to a big question mark: why the hell did Dave Chappelle turn down $50 million dollars and vanish to Africa, leaving the third season of Chappelle's Show unfinished? Lola Ogunnaike of the New York Times Arts section paints a picture of Dave Chappelle as being confused, unable to articulate the reason he left in a series of high-profile interviews. There's a scene from Oprah in which Chappelle says some nonsensical bullshit in response to Oprah's question.

Here's the problem though -- Dave Chappelle, while not being the most articulate guy on race politics, has explained why he quit the show. He said in an interview (I think for "Inside the Actor's Studio") that he left because he was doing a sketch and he looked over and saw White people laughing, not with him, but at him. They were laughing "at the wrong thing". Basically, Chappelle woke up one morning and realized that he had become a high-priced coon.

The rest of the story is fairly straightforward, too. Chappelle experienced a crisis of conscience, and realized that no amount of money, not even $50 million, is worth the price of his soul, and he quit. He returned to Africa where he spent some time being alone and trying to reconcile how badly he had sold out. And now he's back trying to pursue his comedy without burning a cork or two.

And yet, mainstream media can't seem to implicitly get that. As if this business of being a "sell-out" is beyond their vocabulary, it seems that this reason just isn't enough. While Dave Chappelle hasn't done a good job articulating his crisis of conscience (and that is a problem Chappelle should address within himself), it strikes me as a little flat that White America seems to need the explanation. As a person of colour, I understood exactly what was bothering Chappelle the minute I saw his first interview upon his return, in which his departure was addressed. It was understandable, his decision to leave almost laudatory.

Is it so impossible to believe that $50 million isn't enough to get someone to sell-out their race? Or does White privilege demand a stubborn refusal to even imagine the kind of racial integrity that a person of colour must uphold? Seeing this inability by mainstream media to represent the implicit understanding by a person of colour of Chappelle's point of view only underscores how obviously catering to a White perspective mainstream media is. Only for people who don't already get it would this story's spin be news-worthy.

And I react badly to such an in-your-face reminder of the marginalization of minorities and our identity. Then again, if Chappelle is to be believed, the show itself was always catering to a White audience. This weekend, Comedy Central will be releasing the "lost episodes" of the Chappelle's Show, filmed before Chappelle's departure and hosted by Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings. Donnell Rawlings says "Dave, come back! I need the money!"

So, I guess it's true that no matter how many decent entertainers of colour unwilling to sell-out their race for an extra buck, and no matter how much we decry our unimpotance in the face of the White masses, you'll find just as many people of colour eagerly willing to don the chicken suit and a sea of White faces willing to laugh at their on-screen minstrelsy antics.


i think it was on inside the actors studio. can't find a transcript and the official site just has snippets but this msnbc article references it:
Chappelle said that pressure to produce new sketches that went against his Muslim beliefs, and the realization that his racially charged comedy was too often lost on an audience a little too enthusiastic about repeating the N-word, also added to his decision to walk away. The comedian said the time away from the spotlight has given him some perspective on both the show, and racism in Hollywood.

in general i think people who know me well will quietly agree when i'm not around that i can be incredibly humorless about things like racial humor. in my ideal comedy show, any joke hinging on racial stereotypes/humor/caricatures would be presented and the audience would be allowed to laugh for a couple of seconds and then the comedians would turn on the audience and ask them why the fuck they were laughing and what the fuck they thought was so fucking funny about what was just said. my ideal comedy show would not be very popular, i'm guessing.
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so you want to be a writer?

Jun. 27th, 2006 | 05:43 pm
mood: blankblank

so you want to be a writer?

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in

there is no other way.

and there never was.

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Jun. 23rd, 2006 | 02:40 pm
mood: ecstaticecstatic

"Futurama" gets new life on Comedy Central, reuters (via i_get_stabby)

By Andrew Wallenstein

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Futurama" has a future.

Comedy Central has resurrected the former Fox animated series from "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. At least 13 new episodes will be produced -- the first since the series' original run from 1999-2003.

The new batch is part of a deal the cable network made with 20th Century Fox Television last year to pick up syndicated rights to the existing "Futurama" library of 72 episodes. Comedy Central also had an option to air any new episodes produced.

New and old episodes will begin airing in 2008 on Comedy Central. Actors Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio have agreed to return as voices for "Futurama."

"We are thrilled that Matt Groening and 20th Century Fox Television have decided to produce new episodes of 'Futurama' and that Comedy Central will be the first to air them," said David Bernath, senior vice president for programming at the network.

"There is a deep and passionate fan base for this intelligent and very funny show that matches perfectly with our audience, and it is great that we can offer them not just the existing library but something they've never seen as well."

"Futurama" isn't the first series to return to air after cancellation. The Fox animated series "Family Guy" returned to the network last year after getting a second wind on DVD and late-night cable.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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i know some of you like, you know, wearing clothes and stuff...

Jun. 22nd, 2006 | 05:17 pm

and buying them.

Liberation Ink's stylish sweatshop-free social justice tees
--profits support local grassroots organizing

oooh, stylish. and activist. and really progressive, not that crappy "thought they were progressive but turns out they've got all sorts of shit wrong with them" kind of progressive.

(as an aside, although they apparently would rather not mention it on their about us page, a bunch of the founders are old stanford peeps who used to be in SLAC, the hardcore labor advocacy student group)

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har har har

Jun. 22nd, 2006 | 04:13 pm
mood: amusedamused

(stolen from amitabha)

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the play

Jun. 22nd, 2006 | 08:26 am
mood: blankblank

I am the only actor.
It is difficult for one woman
to act out a whole play.
The play is my life,
my solo act.
My running after the hands
and never catching up.
(The hands are out of sight -
that is, offstage.)
All I am doing onstage is running,
running to keep up,
but never make it.

Suddenly I stop running.
(This moves the plot along a bit.)
I give speeches, hundreds,
all prayers, all soliloquies.
I say absurd things like:
eggs must not quarrel with stones
or, keep your broken arm inside your sleeve
or, I am standing upright
but my shadow is crooked.
And such, and such.
Many boos. Many boos.

Despite that I go on to the last lines:
To be without God is to be a snake
who wants to swallow an elephant.
The curtain falls.
The audience rushes out.
It was a bad performance.
That's because I'm the only actor
and there are few humans whose lives
will make an interesting play.
Don't you agree?

~anne sexton

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if you haven't seen it already, you're a better person than i

Jun. 21st, 2006 | 04:08 pm

or is that me? or i? i...am? me...is? anyhoo...

via the imdb daily studio briefing, there is a photo of a memo purportedly sent by trey parker and matt stone to the MPAA ratings board to get their South Park movie passed with an R rating in 1999 circulating the blogosphere, or at least the immature, easily amused portion of it. like this portion right here:

(image from the hot blog)

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fade into you

Jun. 14th, 2006 | 04:09 pm

fade into you

I want to hold the hand inside you
I want to take a breath that's true
I look to you and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth
You live your life
You go in shadows
You'll come apart and you'll go blind
Some kind of light into your darkness
Colors your eyes with what's not there.

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it's strange you never knew

A stranger's light comes on slowly
A stranger's heart without a home
You put your hands into your head
And then smiles cover your heart

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it's strange you never knew

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it's strange you never knew
I think it's strange you never knew

~mazzy star

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Not Pretty Girls?: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Gender Construction in Women's Rock Music

Jun. 14th, 2006 | 11:11 am

Not Pretty Girls?: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Gender Construction in Women's Rock Music[.pdf], Kate McCarthy (via lady_jaded, who is awesome)

The Journal of Popular Culture
Volume 39, Issue 1, Page 69 - February 2006

The Body Problem
In the second century of Christian history, a Gnostic teacher named Valentinus was condemned as a heretic for teaching that Jesus never defecated (Cooey 125). There are two things to note about this largely forgettable moment in theological history. First, it tells us that those with the power to define orthodoxy insisted on the full reality of Jesus' embodiment in human form. Second, and more subtly, it tells us that this issue was momentous and contentious enough to be worthy of theological debate; the church fathers did not go to the mat over just any oddball claim about Jesus. This particular claim and its official condemnation show us just how deeply Christian ambivalence about the human body runs. On the one hand, there is the powerful temptation to deny the association between divinity and our most basic corporeality, between God and shit. On the other hand is the insistence that this is in fact precisely what the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation means: God is intimately involved in the world of human bodies in all their joys and indignities.

Fast-forward to 1995. Rock musician Joan Osborne releases "(What If God Was) One of Us," a Grammy-nominated hit song that invites us to imagine God as "a slob like one of us,""just a stranger on the bus" (Relish 1995). In 1998, former Fugees lead singer Lauryn Hill invokes the doctrine of the Incarnation when she sings of an angel coming to her and announcing the imminent birth of her "man-child." ("To Zion,"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 1998). These very different but related expressions are part of an interesting array of women's music that brings ancient religious concepts into conversation with contemporary feminism about the meaning of embodied life. Contemporary women's rock music, mostly unknowingly, it seems, gives voice to the intersection of two important intellectual trends—feminist theory's analysis of the cultural construction of female bodies, and feminist theology's reclaiming of embodied experience as a source of sacred meaning and power.1 In the process, this music is establishing itself as an important, if ambiguous, site of "third wave" feminist spirituality.2

It should not be surprising to find women at the forefront of efforts to rethink the dominant culture's assessment of the body. From the Virgin Mary to Barbie, women have been presented with models for their embodied life that fuse asexuality with hypersexuality in bizarre and bewildering ways. And for as long as cultures have been inscribing these meanings on their bodies, women have both facilitated and found ways to subvert their effect, sometimes in the same act. This paradox is illuminated in the spaces where feminist theory, feminist theology, and women's music intersect.

full article... a bit long... so very excellent to readCollapse )

now i'm not particularly well-versed in feminist theory, but as far as i can tell this article is just totally right on. embarassingly a couple of the artists it cites heavily appeared in people's suggestions from yesterday. i think i agree especially with the final points about the state of third wave feminism's commodification and subsequent dilution in popular culture today.

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Rock out!

Jun. 13th, 2006 | 09:46 am

Rock Out!, guardian (via chr0me_kitten)

Rock out!

At the Ladies' Rock Camp in Portland, Oregon, USA, women are taught to plug in the bass, turn up the volume and ditch their inhibitions. Laura Barton signs up for an intensive three-day course - and finally learns to let rip

Tuesday June 13, 2006
The Guardian

Laura Barton at the School of Rock

"Some people think that little girls should be seen and not be heard ... But I say oh bondage up yours! 1-2-3-4!" (from Oh Bondage, Up Yours! by X-ray Spex)

One warm morning in early May, I find myself sitting in a large hut on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, with a lanyard around my neck that reads: Laura, bass. Some 50 other lanyarded women of varying ages mill about making small-talk and introductions while a Joan Jett track spills across the room and along the corridors, washing past Blondie posters, huddles of drum kits, rooms stuffed with guitars and amps and microphones. "I love rock'n'roll!" Jett swaggers. "So put another dime in the jukebox baby!"

This is Ladies' Rock Camp, the older sister of the highly successful Girls' Rock Camp, which began five years ago as the brainchild of former roadie Misty McElroy, and has now tutored thousands of girls in singing, playing guitar, drums and keyboards, as well as teaching them self-defence, stagecraft and the technological nitty-gritty of performing and recording. McElroy has moved on, but the Portland camp has continued to thrive, and several similar versions have sprung up across the US - in Washington DC, New York, Nashville, California and Tucson. The ladies' camp in Portland was introduced a couple of years back as a fundraiser, but has proved astoundingly popular: a three-day intensive course, it is stuffed with instrument tuition, lectures, band practice and, on the final day, a graduation performance at a local club.

full articleCollapse )

hey people, name/recommend some female rock bands/rockers, or bands with prominent female members/lead singers. must rock. off the top of my head:

  • dresden dolls - brechtian punk cabaret!!! no really, they rock though. i'll cut you if you say otherwise.
  • kittie - glam goth rock. they feel really glitzy and prepackaged but as far as i know they were really started with earnest rock the fuck out intentions. and they do rock the fuck out. also their original lead guitar was a satanist. also the mix of sweet dulcet vocals and screaming the fuck out is a good thing.
  • le tigre - okay, sadly i've heard so little of this band. the only song i know is one that jinxremoving put on a mix cd she sent me.
  • L7 - another band i've heard little of and mainly just know about.
  • bikini kill - same.
  • babes in toyland - yep.
  • the breeders - i haven't heard anything from them since the early nineties but cannonball was so rock.
  • hole - live through this. nuff said. everything after that was all kinds of suck though.
  • atari teenage riot - digital motherfucking hardcore.
  • veruca salt - american thighs kicked my fuckin ass. apparently they're still around, if by "they" you mean louise post and not nina gordon. huh.
  • sleater-kinney - i never really got into them for some reason??

uhh... this list is pathetically short. people! help!
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teflon er... something!

Jun. 13th, 2006 | 08:41 am

psyche! :p

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For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé

Jun. 12th, 2006 | 02:53 pm

For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé, nytimes


When a small consulting company in Chicago was looking to hire a summer intern this month, the company's president went online to check on a promising candidate who had just graduated from the University of Illinois.

At Facebook, a popular social networking site, the executive found the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests: "smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana), shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang.

It did not matter that the student was clearly posturing. He was done.

"A lot of it makes me think, what kind of judgment does this person have?" said the company's president, Brad Karsh. "Why are you allowing this to be viewed publicly, effectively, or semipublicly?"

full articleCollapse )

ruh roh!

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an inconvenient truth

Jun. 12th, 2006 | 01:03 pm

you know, al gore has gotten a lot more charismatic since he won lost the 2000 elections. he's got this scholarly avuncular folksy southern charm thing going on.

i thought it was a very well done movie, terrifyingly informative. interestingly it wasn't just a movie based off of his global warming talks, it was a movie about his global warming talks, so a portion of the movie focused on al gore himself, his motivations and thoughts about the whole issue, his formative past and the process that led him to what he's doing now.

also he used the global warming clip from futurama which is so totally awesome. i wonder if he had some kind of deal with matt groening that he would do his own voice as al gore's head (and emperor of the moon) in exchange for being able to use that clip. they had to give him something good to get him to say "peace out ya'll!!"

i know quiet_light was concerned about the lasting impact of the movie, whether people would just watch the movie, absorb the information and then leave, and go about their lives as normal but the entire last portion of the movie (and the credits) focused on personal responsibility and personal action. they had this whole great list of things that viewers should do, from contact elected representatives to simply trying to live more energy efficiently or supportive of green energy. of course, it would have helped a whole lot if they had put that same information up on the website they mention at the end, climatecrisis.net, but at least as far as i can tell they haven't yet.

however, stopglobalwarming.org does have an action items list that covers a lot of it.

i don't care if you think you already know everything this movie will say, i hope you all see it anyways.

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A socialist's guide to the World Cup

Jun. 12th, 2006 | 11:45 am

A socialist's guide to the World Cup (via missruckus)

Whether you're cheering on the boys from Brazil or avoiding the television at all costs, keep an eye on the political dynamics of this year's World Cup.

>by Simon Black
June 9, 2006

As World Cup fever grips the globe, many progressives will be sighing at the prospect of another sporting spectacle distracting the “masses” from the pressing issues of the day — the classic “bread and circuses” argument. There is a tendency on the North American Left to disdain sport: its competitive nature, the corporatization of its grand events, its inherent masculinities and cultures of exclusion.

Some of this critique is grounded in good sociology; some of it bears an irrational disdain for that in which one does not participate or enjoy. In many sports, but especially in “the beautiful game,” politics and the game have a symbiotic relationship. Politics can influence and be influenced by what happens on the field of play. The World Cup is no exception.

My parents immigrated to Canada from Liverpool in the 1960s; growing up, soccer and socialism were the main topics of discussion in the Black household. Conversations at the dinner table moved seamlessly between football and politics, England's chances in the World Cup and the NDP's chances in the upcoming election.

I only committed my life to socialism after being rejected as a professional soccer player (a brief stint with the English Premier League's Watford FC is my footballing claim to fame).

In many countries, soccer is a terrain of political and ideological struggle like the media or the education system. Teams in Europe often have decidedly partisan political followings. Lazio of Rome was the club of Mussolini and retains a large fascist following today. Italian club A.S. Livorno has long been associated with communism and banners of Che Guevara can be seen waving in the stands at the team's home games. Clashes between Livorno's supporters and the fans of right-wing teams can dominate match day in this picturesque Tuscany town.

When asked to play a friendly match against the Zapatistas, left-leaning club Inter Milan gladly took up the offer encouraged by its bohemian supporters who see their team as a counterbalance to AC Milan, owned by former right-wing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In the UK, Glasgow Celtic were an organizing ground for the cause of Irish liberation and a haven of Catholic solidarity in a hostile Protestant and Unionist Glasgow.

In Spain, FC Barcelona is the home of Catalan nationalism. In the era of fascist rule, the team was a serious aggravation to General Franco and his sympathizers who supported Barca's fierce rivals Real Madrid. But for those on the Left who are ignorant of soccer's rich political history and are greeting the onset of World Cup madness with a yawn, here's a quick socialist's guide to the big tournament. I hope it will pique your interest enough to watch a game or two.

Colonial legacies

The great Trinidadian intellectual C.L.R. James believed that the English-speaking Caribbean truly gained independence from colonial rule when the West Indies defeated England in cricket. A victory for the colonies signaled a shift in the national psyche from subordination and inferiority to confidence and pride, cultivating a fervent nationalism. Thus anytime a former colony goes up against its colonizer, far more than just a game is at stake.

Long independent, the nations of Togo, Trinidad and Angola will face their colonizers in the first round of World Cup 2006. Both soccer minnows, a victory for Togo or Trinidad will set off waves of celebration in the home country.

Yet the Angola versus Portugal match is arguably the most exciting and politically stimulating of the first round. Angola waged a brutal struggle for independence against Portuguese rule (and later against U.S. and South African influence) gaining independence in 1975. Angolans will be hoping their team rises above the favoured Portuguese in a game that will be charged with political symbolism.

Iranian fervour

In his wonderful book How Soccer Explains the World: An (unlikely) theory of globalization, Franklin Foer describes the political tremors that can result from a victory of the Iranian national soccer team. Iran's victories can unleash popular sentiments that buck against the theocratic rule of the mullahs. The celebrations that greet Iranian soccer success make the country's rulers uneasy: people eat, drink and be merry, dancing in the streets and saying things aloud that they otherwise would not dare to say.

Upon a team victory, Foer notes that what is normally restricted to the private sphere of the Iranian household bursts forth occupying public space as people take to the streets in celebrations that can and do morph into demonstrations against the government. The ayatollahs attempt to hijack the success of the national team for their own purposes but the team itself maintains a cautious independence from the government line. How Iranian success or defeat plays out in this era of U.S. sabre-rattling over the country's nuclear program will be interesting.

Social movements

There are other World Cup news stories worth following that are not directly related to the games themselves but have everything to do with politics.

Having legalized prostitution, Germany's sex industry is gearing up for a massive boost in business. Yet women's groups are concerned with the trafficking of women for sexual slavery to meet the demand created by a massive influx of male tourists into the country. A number of NGOs have criticized world soccer's governing body FIFA for not doing enough to raise awareness about trafficking and forced prostitution. Only recently have FIFA and German authorities begun to address these complaints. A number of NGOs plan to stage protests during the Cup's festivities.

Oxfam has led a coalition of anti-sweat NGOs (the Fair Play Alliance) to protest the working conditions under which the uniforms and shoes of the participating teams are made. Oxfam's report, Offside! Labour Rights and Sportswear Production in Asia, puts the spotlight on a number of large multinational corporations who have failed to clean up their supply chains and address the continuing abuse of workers' rights. Anti-sweatshop groups will use the World Cup to stage demonstrations against the big apparel companies like Nike and Adidas.

As Oxfam points out, while players like England's David Beckham receive millions in sponsorship deals, the people who make his shoes receive little more than pennies. Pressure is being put on the superstar players to convince their sponsors to clean up their acts. Whether players use their power and influence to help stamp out sweatshop abuses remains to be seen.

So whether you're cheering on the boys from Brazil or avoiding the television at all costs, keep an eye on the political dynamics of this year's World Cup. Before you vilify the overpaid athletes participating, remember that for many of them, football has been their means of social mobility, rising from the ghettoes of Sao Paulo, Tehran or Manchester to the world's biggest sporting stage.

And for those of you who still can't see what all the fuss is about, keep in mind the words of a famous English coach (and Lefty) by the name of Bill Shankly, “Football isn't a matter of life and death, it's more important than that.”

responding to the bit about the tendency of the north american left to disdain sport as the "bread and circus" argument, i have to note that as far as i can tell (especially among the "big five" american sports) (wait, what *are* the big five? football, baseball, basketball, hockey... and nascar? please tell me people don't actually count that as a sport) none of the wonderful political/national/social contexts which make the world cup more significant than pure distraction are present in any american sports. people's loyalties to sporting teams in america is pretty much geography focused. teams don't espouse political or social views and are predominantly owned by enormously wealthy private individuals. (excepting the green bay packers) people follow and watch "their" teams purely out of this geographical loyalty and root for them solely because they've been led to believe that their team's fortunes are somehow linked to their own in some way, or that their team symbolizes anything at all more significant than a means to fill seats in a taxpayer subsidized sporting venue and fill the pockets of sports team owners, star athletes and advertisers.

ahem, sports is an opiate of the masses. (did noam chomsky say that? quick google search is inconclusive, the best i can get is someone on a board somewhere saying that a hemingway character said that)

not quite related but of interest: Sports, Jobs, & Taxes: Are New Stadiums Worth the Cost?, brookings

(also of interest, roger noll taught my antitrust and regulation econ class at stanford!)

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