Tuesday, August 31, 2004 

Quote of the Day

Well today's post is actually two quotes. The first comes from our commander and chief and the second is ripped from Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.

"I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world." - G.W. Bush, 8/30 on NBC's Today Show.

"In accordance with the principles of double-think it does not matter if the war is not real. For when it is, victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won, but it is meant to be continuous." George Orwell, 1984

I don't mean to echo the liberal argument that "you cannot declare war on a noun." Even giving this slogan its best reading, using noun in the "existing in thought" part of the definition, I never really understood why anyone liked this argument. Much of the consensus on the left during World War II was that we were fighting global fascism, a concept that is on a surface level at least similar to the War on Terrorism. But then again, I am opposed US Imperialism in general, not just Bush adventurism or even violence as a political tool in certain historical instances, so I imagine the logic of non-violence is going to be somewhat lost on me.

Monday, August 30, 2004 

Quote of the Day

So while the Republican Convention is going on, I'm going to run a series called "Quote of Day." The inspiration for the segment came from the following quote by Leon Mosley of Waterloo, Iowa, co-chairman of Iowa’s state Republican Party printed in today's New York Times.

"I left God's country. They could use a bunch of people from Iowa to come here to show New Yorkers what life is all about, what being patriotic is all about, and what country is all about. I'm as confident about Bush being re-elected as I am that eggs are going to be in New York tomorrow morning."

I'm not sure if that one says more about Republicans or residents of the state of Iowa (my apologies to all Iowa enthusiasts).

Saturday, August 28, 2004 

Army men for the 3rd world

I feel like I need to preface this post, so here goes. 9/11 was horrible, and when I think about it I feel as powerless, angry and worried even now as I did on that Tuesday almost 3 years ago. I guess what separated me from the majority of Americans was that my feelings were not some sort of wounded imperial narcissism, but rather a fear of forces also trying to fuck up global capitalism who at that moment seemed much better organized than me and mine. Aaron McGruder hit it on the head when Huey shared his fear of Islamic fundamentalists more than willing to use massive violence against this society regardless of his politics, his hatred of the Israeli fascist state, imperialism, et al.

With that said, these toys are amazing!

Thursday, August 26, 2004 

More proof of the undeniable

The New York Times ran this story today, basically saying that for the 3rd year in a row there is a significant increase in the number of Americans living in poverty (up by 1.3 million last year, to 35.9 million) as well as for those with no health insurance (up by 1.4 million, to 45 million). Hopefully the Kerry campaign can capitalize off of these figures, but given their superb handling of the Swift Boat controversy, I'm not banking on it.

Naturally I don't expect the NYTimes to raise questions like why would it be any better to only have 34.6 million people living in poverty, who feels this crunch the most (regionally, by race/nationality, gender, etc.), or why America is the only core power without universal health care; but I'll take what I can get. For those interested in the answers to those types of questions, head on over to United for a Fair Economy and check out some of their stuff - especially this report on race and the impact of the constricting economy printed in Dollars and Sense and the rest of their Racial Divide Project.



The Eagles play the Pittsburg Steelers tonight. Kick-off is at 8pm ET on ESPN.


All Bush-Cheney cronies are paper tigers!

The Republican Convention is only 4 days away and the event's security preparations are the lead story on the nightly news, presented as an eerie combination of human interest story and George Orwell novel.

Yesterday, a state judge ruled against United for Peace and Justice's request to hold a rally in Central Park. By effectively baring the largest anti-Bush coalition left of the Democratic Party from holding any stationary mass demonstration during the convention, the more reactionary segment of the ruling class is letting everyone know that the gloves are off. Being stuck here in Knoxville gives me that sick-in-my-stomach-feeling anxiety before the double whammy, Miamiesque sting of knowing good folks are having the shit beat out of them while I sit in my fucking office processing endless shipments of microfiche.

I'm sure some Democrats are wishing that they could have had the cover of a security state 34 years ago during the "Czechago" police riot.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004 

Kenya needs a Mau Mau (again)

Yesterday Kenyan police used tear gas against a demonstration by Massai "tribesmen." The Massai had gathered to deliver a petition demanding the return of traditional lands ceded in a 1904 land treaty to British colonialists. The Kenyan government's stance at present is that the treaty is still in effect, which becomes all the more ridiculous given the fact that the treaty claims to "be enduring as long as the Massai as a race shall exist."

"When the peasant takes a gun in his[sic] hands, the old myths grow dim and the prohibitions are one by one forgotten. The rebel’s weapon is the proof of his[sic] humanity... to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man[sic] he oppresses at the same time: there remain a dead man, and a free man[sic]." -Sartre, introduction to Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 

ColorLines article

Folks should head over to John Lacny's Its No Accident and check out his post on this article from ColorLines written by David Leonard, PhD. as well as the wonderful conversation that has followed.

"with friends like these, who the fuck needs cointelpro?"

Monday, August 23, 2004 

Random updates

This blog is going through some format changes. I've switched around the right-hand side bar so that it now includes a list of books I am currently reading. Since many of these books will part of an independent study I am doing this semester, I will be posting short mini-essays as I finish chapters/pieces and when certain tidbits jump out at me.

The sidebar also has info on my Eagles, including game times and stats. And since this is (hopefully) only a temporary home for this blog I have also started preliminary work on the site's layout and will be casting off this template sooner rather than later.

Folks who haven't should check out Stan Goff's latest Military Matters column on the Freedom Road Socialist Organization's homepage today dealing with the swift boat controversy and the role of patriarchy in US politics. Also, today commemorates the 77 anniversary of the execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartomoleo Vanzetti. ¡Present!>

Friday, August 20, 2004 

Its coming

Less than 3 weeks until the opening game of the NFL's 2004 season. Nobody bothered to tell me that the preseason had begun, and its already week two! I just happened across the Giants - Panthers game last night, but fortunately I am in time to catch Donovan McNabb and his Eagles in action tonight.

For those interested in watching the "overrated" McNabb in action, kick-off is tonight at 8pm (et) on CBS.


Define national oppression

So on Tuesday the Colorado paper Rocky Mountain News ran this story. For the most part, a trite local story about the first day of classes at a local high school - freshpersons trying to find classes, cheer-leaders, class assemblies and the lunch room, but with one major exception - the mention of side-by-side American and Mexican flags and a picture of the offense.

The story has set off a fire storm. The school received phone calls from adults threatening to tear down the flag, take the teachers to court, etc if this offense to American national identity (read:white identity) was not corrected. Other callers were willing to put their white chauvinism out front in all its glory telling the story's columnist that "this is American not Taco Bell". Reactionary talk show hosts in Colorado and all across the "Savage nation" sounded the rallying call, exposing another conspiracy cooked up by the “liberal intelligentsia” meant to throw America into the clutches of the new vandals. And all because a high school with an 84% Chican@ enrollment dared to acknowledge the amazing duality of heritage enjoyed by the vast majority of its students.

Thursday, August 19, 2004 

"The poor still weak, the rich still rule"

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the plebiscite which anointed Adolf Hitler president of the German Republic. Of those sections of the German electorate allowed to vote, some 90 % voiced their support for Hitler's presidency. Hitler, using his position as Chancellor, had already taken steps to curb dissent and destroy the (mostly M-L) left following the Reichstag fire a year earlier; but with the Presidency he claimed direct control over the German military, effectively consolidating power for the fascist dictatorship in Germany.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004 

Why I don't go to church anymore

Earlier this week a minister in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was sentenced to a whopping 30 months in jail for beating an 8 year old boy to death. The minister claimed that he was merely performing an exorcism to cure the boy's autism, and that the cause of death was related to the boy's prescription medication - having nothing to do with the fact that he laid on the poor kid's chest for at least half an hour in an attempt to free the child from demonic pocession!

Now I'm down with point 8 of the Black Panther Party's program, but growing a single marijuana plant in Wisconsin could land you in jail for longer than this idiot got.


A proud day for Tennessee

Today marks the 84th anniversary of Tennessee's ratification of the 19th Amendment. As the 36th state to ratify the amendment, Tennessee's vote clinched the two-thirds majority of the states needed for women to gain the franchise. Later that year, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby formally adopted the 19th Amendment, having only cost the suffragist movement 78 years of sweat, blood and tears.

Living in a state whose nickname (the Volunteers) celebrates the Anglo colonization of Texas and the rest of the southwest, little nuggets like this one keep you going.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004 

Breaking News: The Free-Market May Not Be the Answer to All of Our Problems!

In an amazing turn of events, newly discovered data may prove that market reforms cannot solve the problems facing America's public schools!

While plowing through the mountains of online data commonly referred to as the "nation's report card," the American Federation of Teachers discovered federally collected statistics that shockingly suggested charter schools may not perform as well as other public schools. It looks like the AFT is going on the offensive with this one; pointing out the Department of Educations obvious bias towards releasing statistics in support of Bush's claim that failing public schools ought to be replaced by free-market alternatives while burying findings that some (read: everyone with a fucking clue) might see as proof that charter schools do not provide a better alternative. So far the National Education Association is playing it safe and standing by their already existing policy statement on charter schools. I guess they are hoping to be removed from the Bush administration's list of terrorist organizations, but for some reason (the fact that Rod Paige is still the Secretary of Education maybe) I doubt it will work.

Can someone with an education background please explain what this means in light of the aforementioned data. I tried to read it, but I just don't have the patience to trudge through anything that juxtaposes the author's interpretation of top union priorities with his own version of what failing schools really need.

"[A]ny federal effort to reward high-performing teachers and dump the bad ones must go through the states and districts that run the schools, and states and districts have traditionally bowed to teachers' unions, which have long opposed any move that they see as undermining teacher tenure or seniority-based pay scales." Vomit.

Monday, August 16, 2004 

"Police State in the USA"

With the Republican National Convention fast approaching, the ruling class appears to be intensifying its "information gathering" activities. As best as I can tell, United for Peace and Justice is still fighting to be able to hold a rally anywhere near the Convention Site. It seems to me that this latest bout is yet another instance of the Bush regime's willingness to use more open forms of repression against dissent, and if Miami was any indication, next weekend promises to be pretty fucking frightening.

And while all this shouldn't surprise anyone, it does seem to force the question of how we on the left respond. Honestly, we know that as contradictions sharpen the state will be ever more willing to employ the iron fist tactics used aboard against us here on the home front. But even with that said, to what extent do we alienate ourselves from possible constituencies (Democrats, Constitution loving progressives, my mom) by adopting tactics that take these changes into account? Fortunately there are folks alot smarter than me working on it.

On the bright side, over the weekend Hugo Chavez "survived" the referendum on this presidency. If we could only get Jimmy Carter to monitor the November elections.

"Police State in the USA,
Facism with a friendly face."

Friday, August 13, 2004 

¡Viva el comandante!

After my half hour rant at the Sunspot last night about the massive importance of the Cuban socialist experiment, the inherent probelms with liberal criticism of Cuba, and the historical leadership Fidel and others have provided, I am just overjoyed to realize that today is Fidel Castro's birthday. I can only hope to be half as sharp at 78 as he is on a daily basis. Party at my house tomorrow night, only drinks named after Cuban Revolutionaries (the Castro Cooler, the Fidel Castro, and the nationalized "Che" Guevara are some examples I have been able to find).

Happy birthday comandante, the working people of this world need you.

Thursday, August 12, 2004 

A dying Colonialism?

Today marks the 106th anniversary for the armistice that ended the Spanish-American War. Historically speaking this war had massive importance. The war was the death blow to the ebbing Spanish empire and elevated America to semi-core status with imperial holdings in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.

A very decent article on the connections between the inane rhetoric to justify US military adventures during the 1890s and in Iraq can be found here. This conflict proved without a doubt that the US ruling class has no qualms with committing genocide if it means securing opportunities for capital accumulation, and this is a lesson that should not be forgotten as Occupation forces move to crush the insurgency in Najaf and Kufa. But perhaps a more important lesson to be gleamed from the US occupation of the Philippines concerns the anti-imperialist response here in America. This historical example becomes increasingly important as reformist elements of the "left" echo the liberal arguments made against the Viet Cong a generation ago, while beefing up their criticism concerning "how the war is being waged" rather than "how the occupation will be ended."

"Conventional wisdom would have one believe that it is insane to resist this, the mightiest of empires... but what history really shows is that today's empire is tomorrow's ashes, that nothing lasts forever, and that to not resist is to acquiesce in you own oppression. The greatest form of sanity that anyone can experience is to resist that force that is trying to repress, oppress, and fight down the human spirit" -Mumia Abu-Jamal

Wednesday, August 11, 2004 

Banning CDs in Kansas

As one of 40 states involved in a 2002 court settlement with major record labels over claims of price-fixing, Kansas is entitled to some 51,000 CDs free of charge. In preparation the Kansas State Attorney General and his office have purged the list of those albums and artists whose message "did not mesh with the values of a majority of Kansans." The list includes artists like the Stone Temple Pilots, Devo, Lou Reed and Blink 182. I doubt many will be surprised to see that the list also contains several hip-hop artists including OutKast, the Notorious B.I.G, Da Brat and Cypress Hill - the dangers of gangster rap being so well known and all. Perhaps the most startling abrogation is that of Rage Against the Machine's 2000 release, Renegades.

The interesting (read: scary) thing is that the Kansas Library Association seems to be on board. I've sent an email to ALA Public Information Office and they told me that they were looking into it. While surfing around the web for this post I did come across this blog that seems to be keeping pretty close tabs on the situation as well as library issues in general.


Hometown roots

K-town rejoice! One of our many small, obscure claims to fame author Alex Haley was born on this day in 1921. Its not that Alex Haley is small time or obscure, just that no biography I could find even mentioned the fact that he had a house in East Knoxville. In fact the only mention of Tennessee I found was Henning, TN. As best as I can tell Henning is northeast of Memphis - so like more than 400 miles away from Knoxville.

For those in my non-existent, and thus every multiplying readership that don't know who Alex Haley is; he is responsible for the interviews that became the Autobiography of Malcolm X, the author of Roots and several other novels, and was a correspondent for Playboy and Readers Digest from the early 1960s until the 1990s. As soon as I finish Greenlee's The Spook Who Sat by the Door I think that I'm going to get Haley's A Different Kind of Christmas.

Who wants to have a picnic in Alex Haley park?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 

We can't have no stinkin' freedom of information

Herr Führer was in Florida today to announce his new director of Central Intelligence. His choice, Porter Goss R-FL, is not surprisingly one of the more reactionary law makers in the country (Progressive Punch gives his voting record a Progressive Score of 6.83%, which places him 296th out of 434 lawmakers in the House of Representatives).

Meanwhile, in the Western Hemisphere's Mecca of reactionary sentiment, Miami, three gusano congressmen, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (a 14.97% Progressive Score), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (a 14.59% Progressive Score) and his brother Mario Diaz-Balart (a whopping 2.62% Progressive Score - making him the 23rd most reactionary congressperson in the country), took aim at Teresa Heinz Kerry and the Heinz foundation claiming that it provided money to set up internet connections in socialist Cuba. Although I might consider such an action very endearing, it looks like the more rational segments of the bourgeois media are going to discount any connection as nothing more than coincidence.

I guess it’s for the best. After all, we can't let those freedom hating Cubans, with their socialized healthcare, universal education and constitutionally protected rights to food, housing and entertainment have access to our freedom-loving informational media.


"Goddamn you Ben McCulloch"

Sticking with the "this day in history" theme, on this day in 1861 Ben McCulloch and his Texas Infantry fought Union General Nathaniel Lyon at the Battle of Wilson's Creek.

Some may be familiar with McCulloch, often counted by those willing to whitewash Texas's history as one of its greatest heroes. Others may know McCulloch only through the song named for the famed general on Steve Earle's 1995 Train a Comin'. For those who haven't heard the song, it is one of the best story songs I know. Its analysis concerning poor white participation in the Confederate Army is right on - economic incentive, southern disillusionment with the Slave Power, and desertion.

I'll take this post to remind everyone who has heard and to inform everyone who hasn't that Steve Earle does have a new album coming out on the August 24! Given the awesome musical experience that is Jerusalem and this one's title (The Revolution Starts...Now), I doubt Earle will disappoint.

Monday, August 09, 2004 

"Kill them all and let a Norse god sort them out"

On this day Jesse *OWENS* (*correction* omg) recieved his forth Gold Medal after his relay team completed the 4x100 meter relay setting a new world record of 39.8 seconds. The world watched as the son of an Alambama sharecropper showed Nazi ideology for what it was - a bag of horse shit.

Friday, August 06, 2004 


Today is one of those "productive" Fridays. The rapid increase in student traffic here at the Library is yet another sign of the end of summer session - which is in turn a sign that fall semester is right around the corner.

After coming upon this grandest of discoveries, I've decided that pleasure reading is a must. Not that anyone reads this blog, but I am taking suggestions books to start (lefty fiction preferred) before school and schedule crush my literary dreams once again. Yesterday I started Sam Greenlee's The Spook Who Sat by the Door. I own the movie, which I guess has been re-released on DVD, and it seems to stick pretty close to the book as far as I can tell.

"No more of whitey's con man's integration games, on the installment plan, interest collected daily. Freedom Now!"

Thursday, August 05, 2004 

Where can I get one of those taxis?

I took time out on Monday to see The Bourne Supremacy. As a general rule, I hate spy movies. That said, this one really delivered. The best part, it was able to do so without cgi and the gratuitous sex and violence that so often anchors these sorts of films. Even though it does fall victim to the axiom that "any leading woman from the last spy movie must die before the plot of any sequel can begin," the overall movie going experience is well worth your hard earned bucks - matinee prices ofcourse.

Plus, there is just something intriguing about a fictitious story that centers on the relationship between a black-ops assassin squad, top level CIA personnel, and a Russian oil tycoon...





Hello World

This is an attempt at returning to the blogging world. I was recently turned on to a wonderful blog and it has really inspired me to get back on it. Plus this is a way to practice my html skills while getting used to the story hunting that this endevour will require.

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