“It was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship.”
President George W. Bush, June 30, 2006
“It was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship.”
President George W. Bush, June 30, 2006
In the wake of the New York Times/watch terrorists’ finances “controversy”, two Fox News show hosts have proposed that the government open an Office of Censorship, which would decide if stories had “news value” or if they “hurt our country.”
The hosts then suggested that the government smack all journalists around a bit, knock them to the ground, and pee on them.
This bullshit is so infuriating. The Republicans and their obedient monkey pals in the media are trying to give us 24/7 coverage of events and rhetoric to make us “outraged”. Gays! Flag burning! Cut and run! Brown people! And of course now, “liberal media!” and “terrorists!” in one.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perception: what we see, what we don’t see, and what we don’t let ourselves see. It actually takes a lot of mental work to not see what’s hovering in front of you at eye-level, but we all do it. There’s a lot of obvious shit out there that we need make sure gets seen.
Normally, I edit each of my radio shows and upload them to the site that very night. I had just started that process when I realized that the file 0nly had half the show. So I have to figure out if I just got a bad copy, or if the recording cut out early for some reason.
Hopefully by this time tomorrow, we’ll have the complete show up, or half a show and a half-assed apology.
Our pal mediageek files a report from this weekend’s Allied Media Conference 2006 in Bowling Green, Ohio. It’s a meeting of media makers and media activists who want to make significant changes to our society (i.e. progressive to radical), not just make documentaries or elect Democrats to office.
I attended the conference last year, but opted not to go this year. It was fun and I met some good folks, but it had also been stressful (lots of reliance on strangers for transport and lodging). Also, with just the three days there last year, I feel like I’ve seen everything that Bowling Green has to offer (very small town). The conference is held in there every year because the organizers are students of Bowling Green State University, but I wish they’d pick some new locales for the future.
But back to the present.
One panel participant for the 2006 conference, a blogger named “brownfemipower”, writes on her site that this year had a theme “valorizing” hip-hop as a form of resistance. But she questions what that means, given all of the misogyny and homophobia running through hip-hop today. Hell, you could argue that in some of its common forms, hip-hop is a form of oppression, not liberation. That’s not my main point here, just wanted to mention it because it’s worth thinking about.
Anyhow, mediageek writes about one panel discussion that he sat in on, “Is This What Democracy Looks Like?”, focusing on the concrete impacts of independent media to social change, as well as equality and diversity within the independent media movement itself.
mediageek summarizes the aspects of the panel about blogging, specifically how the practice of blogging is effected by racism and sexism:
Blogger Susana Adama tackled race and gender head-on, challenging the notion that blogging is an inherently free and open medium. Instead, she says that there are standard structures that bloggers and readers expect blogs to adhere to.
Adama said that it took six months to bring together the Radical Women of Color Bloggers, in part because it was difficult for the women just to find each other. But that is just one of the struggles they face, because many white male readers react strongly and negatively to these women taking on race, gender and class is a critical fashion. The bloggers have to deal with a deluge of hate filled email and comments posted to their blogs.
Adama also noted the problem of other progressive blogs which may support the Radical Women of Color, but do not moderate their own comments sections, allowing them to fill up with hateful and racist comments aimed at the Women.
One audience member summed up the situation very clearly, saying, in effect, when you challenge white supremacy then many members of that ruling class is going to feel excluded. But you can’t go on appeasing them. Very simply, she said that it is a privilege in the first place for white people to say that they feel excluded.
I keep trying to write some commentary about mg’s summary here, but it’s so succint that my would-be comments seem redundant.
mg concludes with questions from one conference member, who asks “Media for what? Information for what?” Which is a very important question to ask. What is the end goal of our media making? What do we want to accomplish? Will our media efforts actually achieve this goal, or are we on the wrong path altogether?
Anti-nuke activists dress in clown suits, break into military base in North Dakota, beat on silo door with hammers.
- Wu Tang franchising
- “In the Pines” recap
- the Iron Fist of O’Reilly
- Dan Rather, lapdog
- Congressional Media Complex out to get you
- Allied Media Conference 2006 this weekend in Bowling Green, Ohio
- minimum wage myths
Music by the Misfits, Smoosh, the Bosshoss, Nine Inch Nails, the Bananas, Powerman 5000, Busta Rhymes, Peaches, the Dropkick Murphys, an assortment of international swing music (no, really), and more.
June 14, 2006:
Despite record low approval ratings, House lawmakers Tuesday accepted a $3,300 pay raise that will increase their salaries to $168,500.
The 2 percent cost-of-living raise would be the seventh straight for members of the House and Senate.
June 20, 2006:
A bid to boost the U.S. minimum wage failed Tuesday as Republicans in the House of Representatives pushed back an effort by Democrats to force a vote on the measure.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, said last week that he wanted to hold off on debating minimum wage legislation until possibly after the November elections. House Majority Leader John Boehner also said he probably wouldn’t allow the legislation to reach the House floor this week.
Moral of the story
Congressman: reasonable annual cost of living raise.
You: fuck off, peasant.
[blatantly stolen from Billmon]
The Republicans have rolled out the majority of their campaign strategy for the November Congressional elections: Mexicans Are Ruining America (illegal immigration); Gays Are Ruining America (attempted Constitutional ammendment to ban gay marriage); and now, People Who Support the Iraq War Have Big Hairy Balls.
Those first two platforms are nauseating enough. Scapegoating immigrants and latinos is a nice way to scoop up the racist vote, and possibly the votes of folks scared about their jobs. The pointless “attempt” to Constitutionally ban gay marriage was nothing but play acting (the effort did not have the slightest chance to pass, and everyone involved was aware of this), aimed at whipping up Fundamentalist fury, while also appealing to non-religious homobigots[*1] as well. If they had more time, maybe Republicans would try to reach even more repellent voter blocks, like the rapist vote, or the cannibal vote.
One tiny bit of good news is that the anti-gay ploy does not seem to be working out right now. Polls show that almost no one thinks that gay marriage[*2] is the top priority for the country.
But I want to focus on the other theatric ploys that Republicans are using to whip up votes on what would seem to be their weakest issue, the Iraq war.
On Thursday, Republicans led a two-pronged strategy[*3], in the House and in the Senate. In the Senate, Republicans re-used an old trick: force Democrats to vote on a quick removal of US troops, trusting that they’d be too scared to take an “anti-war” stance on the record. In this case, it was a Republican amendment to the 2007 Defense Budget Bill, calling for major troop removal by the end of this year (although strangely, the amendment seems to have been stolen from an amendment that John Kerry had planned to propose. I don’t quite understand what’s going on here). And the Republican ploy was completely successful, with a 93-6 vote against the amendment. It didn’t hurt that the Republicans had all pounced upon their new talking point, that “we cannot cut and run.”
But the House got it worse. Republicans submitted this resolution (.pdf) for a vote.
We really need to look at this thing to see the eye-popping gall necessary to put this out. Let’s first look at the title:
Resolution Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.
What? Congressmen now have eerie Nostradamus powers, predicting the future, assuring us that We Will Win.
Now, the text of the resolution frames absolutely everything in the neocons’ terms, complete with lies, spin, and misdirection. Here are some highlights (not gonna make you read all 4 pages of this crap):
Whereas the United States and its allies are engaged in a Global War on Terror, a long and demanding struggle against an adversary that is driven by hatred of American values and that is committed to imposing, by the use of terror, its repressive ideology throughout the world;
Whereas it is essential to the security of the American people and to world security that the United States, together with its allies, take the battle to the terrorists and to those who provide them with assistance;
Whereas by early 2003, Saddam Hussein and his criminal Ba’athist regime in Iraq, which had supported terrorists, constituted a threat against global peace and security and was in violation of mandatory United Nations Security Council Resolutions;
Whereas the mission of the United States and its Coalition partners, having removed Saddam Hussein and his regime from power, is to establish a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq at peace with its neighbors;
Whereas the terrorists have declared Iraq to be the central front in their war against all who oppose their ideology;
Whereas Iraqi security forces are, over time, taking over from the United States and Coalition forces a growing proportion of independent operations and increasingly leading the fight to secure Iraq;
Whereas the United States and its Coalition partners will continue to support Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror: Now, therefore be it
Resolved, that the House of Representatives–
Yes, all that previous stuff was a bunch of hot air to prepare for this last bit of hot air:
…(2) honors the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and honors as well the sacrifices of their familes and of others who risk their lives to help defend freedom;
(3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;
(4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;
(7) declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.
I hate these motherfuckers. This resolution argues that the invasion of Iraq was part of the war on terrorism (despite Iraq’s lack of links to Al Qaeda or other related groups), that things went well, and that things are getting better. And please note how the words “terrorist” and “freedom” are in almost every sentence.
This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists. This is a fight for freedom against terrorists.
Keep repeating it until you believe it.
The Republicans also managed to re-spin the debate to their advantage, a two-parter:
- If you want to withdraw the troops, you want America to fail in Iraq
- If we withdraw troops, we are cowards.
I think that last one has some real traction. Americans are a proud people, and most of us have been taught since birth that our country is better that other countries, and that the people of this country are better than people from other countries. Losing a war, or retreating from a war, is shameful, admission that maybe Americans aren’t better than other people. And I can see many Americans having a knee-jerk pro-war response to these arguments. To protect their pride and self-esteem, America Has to Win![*5]
Of course, cowardice has fuck-all to do with any of this. Rep. Dennis Hastert boldly claimed, “When our freedom is challenged, Americans do not run!” Leaving the fact that American freedom has never been challened in this war (except BY the Bush administration, of course), there is nothing brave about sending other people out to die. I mean, if he was saying “Americans don’t run!” while picking up a rifle and charging to the front lines, that would be brave. Saying “Americans don’t run” before driving the Bentley home for filet mignon dinner at the mansion with the wife and the servants… that’s cowardly. Repulsive. Spineless as a flock of jellyfish[*4].
And should we mention that “not running” effectively means “killing more Iraqis”? Hell, that’s only one element (intentionally) missing from this idiot simplification tactic.
So how did the “Neocon Lies Are Truth” resolution vote go? 256 for, 153 against. The vote went pretty much along party lines, but 42 Democrats still voted for it.
I really don’t know what the Bush administration wants to do in Iraq. I mean, of course they’d like to keep some amount of troops in the country forever. And in the near term, they want the level of violence to stabilize so that the new government appears legitimate and can maintain a friendly environment for oil companies and foreign investors. But I don’t think that’s possible. Even if the insurgency gave up today, that wouldn’t stop the ongoing civil war. And the White House doesn’t seem to have a realistic plan for taking care of any of it.
We ought to organize a “fly soldiers home” movement. Buy plane tickets on private airlines and have the US soldiers just fly back, orders be damned.
*1. “Homobigot” is a term used by Pam Spaulding of Pandagon and Pam’s House Blend to describe one who is bigotted against homosexuals. I’m going to try to start using it myself. First, because it’s a new term (I think), it packs more punch than the tired old “homophobe”. Second, because “homophobe” implies that such people are afraid of gay people, when I think that hate, anger, ignorance, self-righteousness and disgust play a bigger role.
*2. I sometimes like to point out this wisdom from sex columnist Dan Savage about gay marriage:
The problem for opponents of gay marriage isn’t that gay people are trying to redefine marriage but that straight people have redefined marriage to a point that it no longer makes any sense to exclude gay couples. Gay people can love, gay people can commit. Some of us even have children. So why can’t we get married?
Frankly, I think that gay marriage advocates have won the battle, but the anti-gay forces are trying to turn back time.
*3. This link shows that not only did Congress support these shameless pro-war resolutions, but they also voted to give themselves a pay raise (2%) and to maintain the US embargo against Cuba.
*4. Yes, I looked it up. A group of jellyfish is called a “smack” of jellyfish. I opted not to use that as it would confuse everyone.
*5. This sense of American supremacy has got to go. It’s this sort of thing that insists that we dominate our neighbors, allies and friends (yes, and enemies), instead of dealing with the world pragmatically. Author David Korten summed it up well when he said that Americans tend to see the world as a vast frontier, with everyone competing for the next big claim. But really, the world is more like a spaceship, with a certain number of people and a finite amount of resources necessary for everyone to live. What makes more sense, wasting those resources to fight for those resources? Or working together and compromising so that everyone has what they need?
with special guest co-host Taylor
(who, unlike most of my “guest co-hosts”, is not a cat)
(Still, Taylor opts to not say much)
Jake lectures/pointificates on:
- the South Central Farm saga
- the President and the Blind Guy
- the mystery of “In the Pines”*
- the Green Scare/ “Operation Backfire”
- “International Weekend of Resistance Against the Green Scare”
Musically, we’ve got the Wu-Tang Clan, Anthony Hamilton, Nirvana, the Bosshoss, Morrissey, Loki, Ministry, the B.A. Baracus Band, Queens of the Stone Age, new Spearhead, the Louvin Brothers, David Bowie, Requiem, Refused, Eric B & Rakim, Baltimore Music Club, and more.
Correction: the band I referred to as “The B.A. Baracus Experience” is actually called “The B.A. Baracus Band.”
*After I played an old timey 1950s country song called “In the Pines”, Taylor noted that it sounded similar to a song from the Nirvana Unplugged album and that perhaps it was a cover. But we looked, and the soundalike song had a different title, so we figured it was coincidence. But when playing both songs, I realized that both repeated the refrain “In the Pines”, implying that there was at least some common ancestry to the songs. So, I got home and dug around a bit.
Apparently, “In the Pines” is a folk song from Southern Appalachia that dates back to the 1870s, and has been played in dozens of forms and variations ever since, in folk, country, blues, jazz, and rock (probably in that order). But most versions feature a woman, a murder, the pine forest, and a train. Frankly, if you read the various interpretations mentioned in that article above, the song is creepy as hell.
Incidentally, the cellist who appears in the Nirvana version is Melorah Creager, founder of the alt-goth band Rasputina, who I often play on the show.
The good news is that all of the arrestees appear to be out of jail (including my friend Rosa). And it sounds like Sam, who got taken away in an ambulance, is doing okay. He pulled some crazy non-violent Action Hero shit trying to defend the farm, and we’re all very impressed.
Not much explanation as to why landowner Ralph Horowitz changed his mind about selling the land. Well, nothing that sounded like a real explanation, anyway:
For his part, Horowitz said he had no intention of rewarding a group that included people he said had made anti-Semitic remarks about him even as they squatted rent-free on land that was costing him more than $25,000 a month to maintain — in addition to massive legal bills fighting their efforts to remain.
“If the farmers got a donation and said, ‘We got $50 million, would you sell it to us?’ I would say no. Not a … chance,” Horowitz said. “It’s not about the money.”
Right, he’s soooo insulted that the deal’s off. I’m obviously against anti-semitism, but I don’t buy this excuse at all. Frankly, I feel that he never intended to sell the land and just set a number that he thought the farmers couldn’t reach. His response reeks of the indignant fury at “inferiors” don’t know their place. “Those ungrateful Mexicans, trying to keep the land that I sneakily bought out from under them! How dare they! Don’t they know who I am?”
I’ve also heard some conspiracy theories about Horowitz’s decision, involving shady deals with City Councilwoman Jan Perry, but I can barely comprehend them, let alone determine if they’re true.
The mayor held a press conference– at which the farmers and their supporters were not allowed in. I have yet to hear what he actually said. Nothing that made a difference, apparently.
The latest news:
- the farmers will be holding candlelight vigils outside the farm, every night at 7pm, the corner of 41st and Long Beach
- Horowitz apparently does not have a demolition permit to destroy the farm, so the farmers plan to challenge this in court, to preserve what’s there (at least temporarily)
- big protests are planned for outside City Hall on Friday morning, 9am.
But things look pretty grim. I don’t see a path to victory, unless the city seizes the land back under eminent domain, and the city officials don’t have the political will to do that right now.
The United States on Tuesday reasserted its right to develop weapons for use in outer space to protect its military and commercial satellites and ruled out any global negotiations on a new treaty to limit them.
In a speech to the Conference on Disarmament, a senior State Department arms control official insisted that such weapons systems would be purely defensive…
John Mohanco, deputy director of the office of multilateral, nuclear and security affairs, said the United States faced a threat of attacks from the earth or from other countries’ spacecraft. He did not name any potential attackers.
“As long as the potential for such attacks remains, our government will continue to consider the possible role that space-related weapons may play in protecting our assets,” he told the United Nations-backed forum.
“For our part, the United States does not have any weapons in space, nor do we have plans to build such weapons,” he said.
That’s so Bush Administration by-the-numbers it’s scary.
- need big, expensive weapons
- for defense, not attack
- when we attack, it’s defense
- no diplomacy, no treaties
- we’re might be attacked by mysterious enemies with mysterious weapons. In space
- we have no plans to do the things that we’re currently doing
- the Earth is our plaything, motherfuckers
I haven’t talked about the South Central Farm on this site because I spent so much time writing about it on my other site (which gets a lot more traffic), since November, really. And today the farm has been struck a crippling blow, which will take a hell of a lot of work and luck to recover from.
The South Central Farm is a 14-acre plot of land in one of LA’s poorest neighborhoods in South Central. In 1992, the City allowed 350 families to use the land to grow crops. It became a haven (click that link, great pics), good for community, good for health, good for families, good for the economy, good for the environment, good for beauty, good for culture. Give this video a look, it brings these dry descriptions to life (yeah, some of the music is cheesy).
Then, like something out of a bad 1980s teen movie, a big land developer comes along who wants to destroy this public space. In one of these movies, the developer would have wanted to build a shopping mall or a parking structure, something particularly superficially glitzy or mundane, depending. But this real life developer wanted to build a big warehouse, to take advantage of the railway cooridor that had sprung up in the decade since he’d owned this land before.
Yes, he’d owned this plot of land much earlier, when the city seized it under eminent domain to build a trash incineration plant. They didn’t build the plant, so they turned the land over to the farmers. Then Evil Land Developer declared that since the city hadn’t used it for its original intended purpose, he had the right to buy it back. Some shadiness went on here (the city didn’t follow its own rules for such a procedure), and the city agreed and sold the land back for $5 million. At which point Evil Land Developer (the Libaw-Horowitz Investment Company, LHIC, featuring Jacob Libaw and Ralph Horowitz) told the farmers to Get The Hell Off Our Land.
The farmers have been fighting in court, in the media, and on the streets to hold onto this land, and LHIC have been vocal in their disrespect and unwillingness to compromise. That’s when my organization Axis of Justice came onto the scene, when the farm looked like a noble, but truly lost, cause. But public awareness and pressure on the city actually made some progress, and LHIC agreed to sell the land back to the farmers. For $16.9 million, more than 3 times what they paid for it. Fucking pricks.
And the Farm Was Saved! A public land trust volunteered to front some of the money, and Mayor Villaraigosa agreed to raise the rest of the money from his friends and supporters. Until just before LHIC’s deadline, when the mayor suddenly announced that he had no farm money and other sources dried up as well. The deadline hit, May 22, and the money had not been raised. The farmers went on high alert, preparing to repel the eviction attempts with nonviolent civil disobedience.
At which point, support started coming from all over. Local activists, musicians from all over, the Green Party, celebrities (Daryl Hannah, Leonardo Di Caprio, Ben Harper, Alicia Silverstone, Willie Nelson), and philanthropic foundations with cash. All of these things seemed highly positive. And finally, just last week, it looked as though a conglomeration of these foundations were going to have enough money to purchase the farm. I actually stopped worrying. It looked like the lost cause was actually going to succeed. I didn’t like the idea of handing all that cash to the motherfucking land developer who caused all this trouble, but it meant that the farmers’ land and community would be secure.
Until this morning, when the LA County sheriffs came at the crack of dawn to evict, arrest, and demolish.
I’ve been doing my best to get the word out, get the news out, and inform people about protests and actions they can take to help on the Axis site and my little-used Axis of Justice blog. The farmers are off the land, dozens are under arrest, and at least the outer ring of farms have been bulldozed.
The gal in the video who talks about the history of the farm? That’s Rosa. The police threw her in jail for civil disobedience.
The guy in the video with the glasses and the long hair? That’s Sam. They took him out of there in an ambulance. We don’t know what happened to him.
I don’t know what happens next. I’d give up hope, if my November pessimism hadn’t been proven wrong for seven months. At present, my main concern is for the arrestees and how we can support them; I’m still waiting for info on that. The farmers are calling for continued protests at the farm (41st and Long Beach Ave in LA), and are asking for people to call the Mayor (Antonio Villaraigosa, 213-978-0600) and Councilwoman Jan Perry (323-846-2651 or 213-473-7009) to voice their support for the farm and opposition to LHIC.
I’ll keep y’all updated on this site and the Axis site.
Brian Bilbray, the Republican elected to replace disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham (in my home district, yay), has announced that his two top priorities in office will be to stop amnesty for illegal immigrants and to “save” the cross on Mt. Soledad. Mt. Soledad is a mountain owned by the city of San Diego that has a big cross on it. It was found to be an unconstitutional breach of the separation between church and state back in 1991, but Christian activists have been fighting to keep the cross there before and after.
Either a racist and fundamentalist, or a guy willing to pander to racists and fundamentalists. Lovely.
Y’all remember the War on Christmas, right? Y’know, when department stores told their employees to say “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”? Clearly an act of war by godless liberal heathens against the Armies of Christ.
Well, looks like some Christians have decided to fight back, Al-Qaeda-style:
Man Arrested for Plotting Clinic Attack
Man in Maryland makes a pipe bomb to blow up an abortion clinic, after stealing a gun from a friend so that he could shoot abortion doctors fleeing the building. Luckily, he was caught by police after the would-be terrorist’s friends informed the cops.
Teams Ready To Test Sex Shop “Weapon of Mass Destruction”
Some residents of Waldo, Florida were very angry that an adult book store was going to open in their town and protested and held prayer vigils to make it stop. Until “somebody” installed a crude device outside the shop that pumped some sort of acid into the building, through a gap above the air conditioner. The cops there are calling this an act of terrorism, and the device a “weapon of mass destruction.”
Terrorism is, of course, a highly subjective term, most realistically defined as “violence with which I disagree”, or “violence by people I oppose”. The most objective definition I can think of is “violence directed at civilians with the aim of effecting policy.” So while the two acts above seem to potentially be “terrorism”, I don’t know that they aimed at effecting policy. These may have just been attempts to hurt a lot of people, failed massacres.
We don’t hear much about these sort of stories, because they don’t fit the media’s “terrorists are Muslim extremists” plotline.
The news media seem to be hyping the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a bit.
First of all, we should probably remain a bit skeptical about whether or not this death actually happened. The US gets its information wrong so much of the time these days, it’s not impossible that they happened to kill a guy who looked like Zarqawi, not the actual Zarqawi.
Secondly, we have to wonder how big a terrorist threat Zarqawi was. My understanding is that Zarqawi was the head of a terrorist cell in Iraq, and was responsible for all kinds of heinous crime. Although he called this cell “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia”, Juan Cole argues that the group didn’t have any concrete, on-going ties to the rest of al-Qaeda, that the title was essentially “branding”. While I’m sure that many Iraqis are happy that one of their potential murderers is no more, I don’t believe Bush’s claim that “Zarqawi’s death is a severe blow to al Qaeda.” On top of that, Al-Qaeda seems to be an organization that strives to be effective even when their leaders are gone.
And third, foreign terrorists have never really been the most dangerous aspect of post-war Iraq. I’d still put my money on the US forces in Iraq as the largest killer of Iraqis to date. After that comes the cruelest members of the insurgency, who will kill any Iraqi who they feel is aiding the occupation. Then, sadly, comes the group that I think is poised to take over the #1 spot, Sunni militants and Shia militants who are engaged in Iraq’s muted civil war (more than 1400 people were victims of “targetted attacks” just in Baghdad, just in May 2006). And then the next-highest death toll after that is foreign terrorists like Zarqawi.
The death of Zarqawi might lessen the killing some, but it seems like it’s just destined to continue to get worse.
Sorry, no radio show today. I’m just not feeling it.
Think I’ll do some writing instead…
The people of Los Angeles can sleep ever more snugly in their beds, knowing that the LAPD is now equipped with flying robotic camera drones to monitor the city.
The money quote:
Commander Heal is quick to point out that it is not their intention to launch ‘big brother’ style surveillance operations.
“There’s no place in an urban environment that you can go to right now that you’re not being looked at with a video camera and you have nothing to fear from your own government - you are being watched by your fellow citizens,” he says.
See, the spy-planes aren’t the first step of making the country a police state! We’ve been a police state for years! Now quit yer bitchin and take your soma.
If Los Angeleans want to keep their privacy, maybe they’ve got to work on increasing the smog.
Serious Games is a company which creates customized “training software” for big corporations to press onto their employee drones. The company held a conference this week, in hopes of attracting more clients. One of the speakers at the conference was “Andrew Shimery-Wolf”, Strategic Communications Manager of “McDonald’s Interactive”. He talked about the fast-food industry simulation software they had designed. I downloaded their Power Point slideshow to see what they had to say. It looked like an increasingly complicated simulator program where you pretended to be a CEO of a fast food franchise, choosing where to place your restaurants, how much to buy in supplies, etc. Until this slide. Heh, they included in their simulator an “Externalities Inspector”, which let you look at the impact your fast food chain was having on global warming.
Then this slide, showing that at the present rate of global warming, you will kill off all of mankind, which will likewise harm your business’ profits.
Then this one, where global warming has caused sea levels to rise, and hundreds of your restaurants have been destroyed due to the flooding. At this point, the simulation seems to focus obsessively on slashing C02 emissions for the sake of saving your business.
And finally, the disastrous Game Over message.
This prank does not appear to be the work of the Yes Men, but email inquiries have led to RTMark. For years, RTMark has been more about matching up prank idea-makers with prank do-ers and people willing to finance the pranks. Perhaps RTMark is moving in a more active fashion, or perhaps this is just an example of their mysterious Protester™ software.
Anyhow, kudos to Mr. Shimery-Wolf (really, that name alone was worth the price).
Whoops, broken links fixed.
I keep writing the same essay in different ways, and it’s just not coming out right. So here’s the short version.
What is the future of bars in America? Nearly all the development that goes on, at least in suburban southern California, is track housing and strip malls. And strip malls, in their efforts to be “family friendly”, don’t have bars. Older parts of town have them, new ones don’t.
The two exceptions to this seem to be a) the family “bar & grill” restaurant franchise, which sort of have bars in the middle (e.g. Applebees), and b) the sports bar.
Sorry, this question’s been digging away at me for days. What do y’all think?
- bad cops vs. “bad cop”
- RIP Desmond Dekker
- 9/11 conspiracy theorists are people too
- war crimes in Iraq medley
- classic Bill Hicks
- RadioActive events, past and future
- unnecessary slang
- the future of bars in suburbAmerica
- Iraq war as forced corporate globalization
Musically we’ve got Soundgarden, Desmond Dekker, My Robot Friend, DJ Zebra, MC5, Lylas, the Donnas, Moka Only, Dresden Dolls, Rancid, Sleater-Kinney, the Ventures, System of a Down, Rev. Horton Heat, and more.
Damn, I’m just gonna miss doing a show on 6-6-6. Damn. Hail Satan. \m/
Man, I feel kinda dirty. Just read this Rolling Stone article about the ways that Republican election officials worked to manipulate the vote for the 2004 presidential campaign. So many actions that explicitly break the law, so many that violate the spirit of the law, so many invoked in the name of preserving voters’ rights while denying them, so much stalling, and lies, lies, lies, lies, lies. I’m no fan of elections of any kind, but this article is a hefty and well-sourced documentation of such offensive dirty tricks, deceit, and outright cheating that it actually disturbs me.
The article focuses on just the dirty tricks in Ohio, a state that swung the election. We should first have been suspicious after finding out that the official in charge of Ohio’s elections in 2004, Kenneth Blackwell, was also the co-chair of Bush’s re-election committee. The article goes on to discuss the many tactics, policies and crimes committed by this man, and by other Republican
scum operatives in the state. Long story short, their actions prevented 350,000+ voters from voting (or stopped their votes from being counted), when John Kerry only lost Ohio by 118,000+ votes… And if you think that such trickery only went on in one state, you’re one trusting soul.
Viva democracy and stuff.