Tag Archives: Politics, Power, Activism

In Defense of White Americans- Finally!

Frank Rich of the NY Time has said what i have been arguing with friends and family for awhile.  Race is a complicated matter in America. 

Op-Ed Columnist – In Defense of White Americans – NYTimes.com
When Obama cited her in his speech on race last spring, the right immediately accused him of “throwing his grandmother under the bus.” But Obama’s critics were merely projecting their own racial hang-ups. He still loves his grandmother. He was merely speaking candidly and generously — like an adult — about the strange, complex and ever-changing racial dynamics of America. He hit a chord because many of us have had white relatives of our own like his, and we, too, see them in full and often love them anyway.

Many of my white, educated friends (just the people supposedly immune to racial stereotyping or prejudice) openly acknowledge our shock at the amount of subtle racist thinking that shows up in tests like the implicit racial bias test. Unions, pop culture (Eminem anyone?  Or Hootie and the Blowfish?), sports teams, public school, and, of course, the original integrator, the US military have done a lot to create millions of moments for people to know each other as individuals and forge some sense of solidarity.  My point is that racial bias, in its subtle form, extends everywhere (ask Hispanics or Koreans about Blacks, for example, or vice verse) and that social fact CAN and DOES exist in quirky disharmony with the human capacity to interact and relate across a myriad divides and misunderstandings.

Racism in the face of the yawning maw of economic collapse is a luxury only zealous ideologues can afford.  And most Americans are pretty pragmatic.

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Filed under Politics, Power, Activism, sociology

Civics, Politics in SecondLife

I wa slooking for a project for my undergraduate research studnet to work on.

The SL researchers listserv had a good suggestion.


He is interested in politics or civic discourse in virtual worlds.

Ideally, it would be a sim, island, community with either robust internal debate, or an explicit goal of being a forum, an agora of civics.

He would be doing some virtual ethnography to explore how expressiveness, community, and technology relate to political discourse.

And the first response form a Law School Professor:

1) If he hasn’t done already, he should read Tom Boellstorff’s book, Coming of Age in Second Life, which is a good example of doing ethnography in SL.

2) He might look into the Coalition of Democratic Sims (or something like that), which is a group of sims that have instituted some form of democratic governance.

I hope he keeps us posted on his work. It should be very interesting.


Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, virtual worlds

No blank check for Wall Street.

No blank check for Wall Street.
This is worse than a bad deal – this isn’t a deal at all. This is a blank check to some of the richest companies in the world.

This is a blog post with a petition linked to  it.  I may not agree with all the language, but this is not the time to let the desire for the perfect trump the reality of present action.

We should express our concerns as citizens about the parameters fo this extraordianry action, even if we don’t get to write the legislation.

Krugman on “Cash for Trash.

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Filed under activism, Banking, economics, macroeconomics, policy, Political Economy, Politics, Power, Activism

Pretty good advice from fallen Fals Borda

Orland Fals Borda,  a Columbian sociologist active since the 1960s, had this to say.

Obituary: Orlando Fals Borda | World news | The Guardian
There he delivered a speech in which he outlined four of his own guidelines for sociology researchers: “Do not monopolise your knowledge nor impose arrogantly your techniques, but respect and combine your skills with the knowledge of the researched or grassroots communities, taking them as full partners and co-researchers. Do not trust elitist versions of history and science which respond to dominant interests, but be receptive to counter-narratives and try to recapture them. Do not depend solely on your culture to interpret facts, but recover local values, traits, beliefs, and arts for action by and with the research organisations. Do not impose your own ponderous scientific style for communicating results, but diffuse and share what you have learned together with the people, in a manner that is wholly understandable and even literary and pleasant, for science should not be necessarily a mystery nor a monopoly of experts and intellectuals.”

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Best campaign button…

This is great…

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Pre-emptive pardons? NYTimes.com

Felons Seeking Bush Pardon Near a Record – NYTimes.com
Such a pardon would reduce the risk that a future administration might undertake a criminal investigation of operatives or policy makers involved in programs that administration lawyers have said were legal but that critics say violated laws regarding torture and surveillance.

A pre-emptive pardon?  Can one do such a  thing?  Sheeesh.  It sounds like an admission of guilt.  How can you define the scope of it without naming the crime for which one could be prosecuted and is now immune from being charged with?

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Pithy approach to political economy

A colleague sent this along.  I know it floated around Internet for awhile.

You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbor.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.  The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and
then throws the
milk away…

You have two cows.You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and
the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two cows…  You sell one, and force the other to produce the
milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.
Continue reading

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Filed under humor, Political Economy

Obama’s opiate and bitter pills to swallow

So , Obama has been attacked for his “bitter”comments.

As if you didn’t know, the snippet that has most drawn sharks like blood in the water:

“And they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not,” he went on. “And it’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

“Cling”, “guns,” and “religion” seem to have been the trifecta that sprung the “elitist” trap on him (Well, he trapped himself and has admitted it was not well said). Memories of Gore and Kerry, two fine leaders and VETERANS who were easily fitted with the mantle of “king of the elitists,” came surging back, stoking Obama’s enemies (Clinton AND McCain) and the media alike. One example. The elitist charge seems like it dates back to the post-Goldwater rise of the conservative movement. I sense darker undertones…elitist is not only arrogant or snobbish, but more sinister. It echoes fears of fifth column traitors, communists, or jews lurking amongst us “normal” folk. Like ghouls or demons, they pose as normal and can only be caught when their mask slips.

Ah… cue William Kristol, in an op-ed where he places Obama’s comments next to Marx’s “religion is the opiate of the masses.”

What does this mean for Obama’s presidential prospects? He’s disdainful of small-town America — one might say, of bourgeois America. He’s usually good at disguising this. But in San Francisco the mask slipped. And it’s not so easy to get elected by a citizenry you patronize. [My emphasis].

And, as the irony sirens scream, let me also point out that the modus operandi of this adherent of conservative ideology, which surely critiques the idea of the subconscious and psychology, relies on a the technique of a Freudian slip to show how Obama actually disdains America and Americans (assumed to be a monolithic entity). I guess misleading us into war with laundered propaganda, since conscious and not a Freudian Slip, is not disdainful or elitist. Just what then…? Nietzschean? Leo Straussian?

Oh Vay. Now Lieberman piles on.

Did Obama claim that economic frustration causes religiosity and extremism about the 2nd amendment? Probably. The full context of the quotation and his subsequent remarks (clip or transcript) clarify his more nuanced understanding that economic frustration can lead to greater feeling or using religion or culture to understand economic changes. More to the point, the bitterness is because the elites have forgotten middle America , the place, and the people. Obama:

“Nobody is looking out for you. Nobody is thinking about you. And so people end up- they don’t vote on economic issues because they don’t expect anybody’s going to help them. So people end up, you know, voting on issues like guns, and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. And they take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and things they can count on. But they don’t believe they can count on Washington.”

Ok, on a more humorous note. If religion is the opiate of the masses, what are guns? The crank? The drags?

“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes.” Karl Marx.

Recruits: [chanting] This is my rifle. There are many like it but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy, who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my rifle and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.” Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.

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Obama Everywhere in PA (song)

Lewisburg, thanks to Earl Pickens, punches above its weight…

And, yes, they are all real towns in PA.

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Filed under activism, participatory technology, Politics, Power, Activism

Still a great ad- Bush in 30 seconds

This was the last winner of the Moveon.org participatory ad contest.

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Filed under participatory technology, Politics, Power, Activism