Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Man punches out gator

CNN asked "would you duke it out with a gator to save your puppy?"

Betcher ass.

The Spiral Journey

Back from Ireland. There was no time to blog while en-route (20 kids + 4 adults x 15 days + 6 plane flights + 4 bus drivers + 2 ferry rides + 10 days of lashing rain is no recipe for "free time"), and it's not my adventure any way. It was theirs--the kids: they made it happen.

For some sense of what it was like, see the shots here.

They sailed off to Tir na n'Og on faith, not knowing what awaited them. And they found it.

They were heroes.

NSA flag: Yes, I am a revolutionary

Flagged for NSA surveillance:

If you haven't found me yet, let me be the first to inform you that I am in fact a revolutionary. In fact, I'm David Horowitz's worst nightmare (and I'm going to make his expanded hitlist if it's the last thing I do): I'm a tenured professor in the liberal arts in a Red State university with a strong and cohesive academic-freedom policy, and my intent is revolution. I want to change paradigms. I want to problematize students' presumptions and expand their horizons. I want to learn from, rather than ignore, the lessons of the past. I want to listen to the poor, brown, outcaste people of the world for the insights they have which the technological West has lost. I want to drive a stake through the heart of consumerism and teach people how to take culture back into their own hands.

Here is a partial list of what I'd do for the revolution:

  • I'd pay $4/gallon for gas if 25% went toward developing green alternatives
  • I'd take a 20% faculty pay cut if it would force my university to pay staff a decent wage
  • I'd patronize public clinics and nurse-practitioners exclusively if it would enable universal health care coverage
  • I'd sell my TV if it would destroy the mass-media advertising business
  • I'd walk to work every day if 20% of the other people in my town would do the same
  • I'd do without strawberries 8 months out of the year if it would encourage consumers to buy locally and green
  • I'd volunteer 20% of my time in community service if even 10% of the population would do the same
  • I would in fact take a bullet for any one of my students, dimwits as well as superstars
  • I'd go to jail to stop illegal wars
  • I'd sacrifice tenure if we could get a more communal, less corporate model, and free access for all, in American college education
I've done a lot of this stuff, and I swear to God I would do the balance if it worked.

And I won't live in fear that an intellectual half-pint like David Horowitz, or an imbecilic frat-boy "hospitality captain" like George Bush, or a sadistic coward like Dick Cheney, might find out.

Bring it on.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

And they're off! [EIR2006 post 01]

Blogging from Dallas. We leave in around 14 hours for Sligo, Roscommon, Mayo, Aran, Galway, and Clare. 20 kids plus 4 faculty accompanied, on a "midi-bus" with a driver named John. Here's a snippet from one day on the itinerary:

  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Lisdoonvarna (visit Internet cafe to email home)
  • Poulnabrone Dolmen, Burrne
  • Ailwee Caves & Mt. or Gleninsheen Wedge tomb (just S)
  • Cahercommaun Cliff Fort (Carron: birthplace of Michael Cusack/GAA)
  • Kilmacduagh monastery
  • Thoor Ballylee (Coole Park; autograph tree)
  • Peterswell (Lahiff’s)
  • Bullaun/Turoe Stone (children’s park)
  • Aughrim (1691; ring fort above village)
  • Clonmacnoise Stone (see LPG)
  • Lough Ree (monastic islands)
  • [Castlestrange Stone]
  • Castlerea & Conalis House (Carolan’s harp)
  • Ballaghaderreen

Times 14 days x 20 kids. Oy.

Will post updates and photos.

Geo. Orwell "At 50, everyone has the face..."

Ol' George nails it again:

"At 50, everyone has the face he deserves."

But he has the company he chooses--and evidently McCain chooses Falwell.

Wonder which of these Falwell morsels John will adopt as his own:

If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being.
-- Rev. Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

I had a student ask me, "Could the savior you believe in save Osama bin Laden?" Of course, we know the blood of Jesus Christ can save him, and then he must be executed.
-- Rev. Jerry Falwell, citen in Cary McMullen, "Falwell: Now Is the Time for Gospel," in the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger (November 12, 2001), quoted from Randy Cassingham, This is True (18 November 2001).

The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this.
-- Rev. Jerry Falwell, blaming civil libertarians for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001,

And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, "You helped this happen."
-- Rev. Jerry Falwell, blaming civil libertarians, feminists, homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, quoted from John F. Harris, "God Gave U.S. 'What We Deserve,' Falwell Says," The Washington Post (September 14, 2001)

AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
-- Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible,without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc.
-- Jerry Falwell, Finding Inner Peace and Strength

The Jews are returning to their land of unbelief. They are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior.
-- Jerry Falwell, Listen, America!

The Dick is a traitor...

It's now become transparently obvious that Cheney was the motivating force behind the vengeful "outing" of Joe Wilson's wife Valerie Plame, a covert CIA agent, in retaliation for Wilson's questioning the White House's bullshit story claiming Saddam was trying to get yellowcake uranium from Africa:

Notes that Vice President Dick Cheney wrote on a newspaper article might help explain a motive in the perjury and obstruction case of Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, according to documents filed by the prosecutor in the case...Friday's filing includes a photocopy of the article with Cheney's notes written in the margins. According to the photocopy, Cheney scribbled four questions at the top of the page:

"Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

The annotations support the notion that Wilson's op-ed piece drew the attention of Cheney and Libby, and "acutely focused" their attention on Wilson's assertions "and on responding to those assertions," the filing stated.

"The article, and the fact that it contained certain criticisms of the administration, including criticism regarding issues dealt with by the Office of the Vice President, serve both to explain the context of, and provide the motive for, many of the defendant's statements and actions at issue in this case," Fitzgerald's filing said.

By God, that fucker might actually go to jail. Or at least be indicted. Couldn't happen to a more evil guy.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

No toys for boys...

So now the courts are telling the war-mongering fantastists in the Pentagon (who wanted to test a 700-ton fertilizer-and-fuel-oil "bunker buster" as part of their drumbeat for pre-emptive first strike against Iran) that they can't test their toys. It's not like they actually need the thing--it just makes them feel more macho and gives them something else to drive the latest tanking numbers below the fold.


Enforcement boondoggles...

That's how they get "sucked back in"--holding still for and participating in all manner of civil rights violations in return for Fed dollars in their discredited "enforcement initiatives". It's an unusually tough, brave, and ethical local copo who will turn down balancing his budget if all he has to do for it is invade a few citizens' privacy:

little attention has been focused on the role of state and local authorities in the war on terrorism. A U.S. News inquiry found that federal officials have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into once discredited state and local police intelligence operations.

D.A.R.E., in particular, has been pretty conclusively shown to be remarkably ineffective at preventing children's drug use, and remarkably effective at funnelling millions to local police departments. Kinda like "faith-based initiatives."

Hire criminals: that way they won't squeal...

As Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley points out, just as Hitler preferred to recruit psycopathic criminals and Tony Soprano likes to hire only "made guys", and for the same reasons--because someone who's already committed a major crime and is afraid to implicate himself is less likely to squeal on his boss--Bush likes felons and war criminals.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders"

Mr Secretary:

I am appalled at even your "implication," "anecdote," or "joke" that contracts might be awarded on the basis of the bidder's political affiliation. Your obligation, sir, is to the taxpayers--and to insure that contracts are awarded to those who are competent and economical. You are an example of the same kind of cynical "house servant" opportunism exemplified by Sharpe James--now thankfully exiled by Corey Booker from his Newark fiefdom. How long will it be before you join him in exile?

As Rev. Jackson said, your work for the Bush White House is "like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders."

Most sincerely,

Dr Coyote

Jesus! Can we nuance the "Union=good; Confederacy=bad" equation a little?!?

Christ! C'mon, y'all on the left. Just because both George Allen (R) AND James Webb (D) have both spoken favorably of the Confederacy and/or its soldiers doesn't make them either identical or, prima facie, Evil Guys.

I mean, there's not much question that Allen is a self-deluding, syncophantic, sociopathic bully (just ask his family), but that he empathized with the South in the Civil War isn't necessarily evidence for it. Just as it is not evidence to discredit Webb, his opponent. Any blogger who assumes that a Confederacy sympathizer is a wackjob is betraying a basic misunderstanding of how people in the South think about the conflict. Yes, there are neo-Nazi, Bible-thumping, rebel-yelling, pickup-dragging, inbred cloven-hooved assholes (and bowtie-wearing inbred Scions of the Confederacy who've never worked a day in their lives), but that is not the sum total of the South.

And if you can't muster up at least a little "sympathy" for the ragged, barefooted, nettles-eating, Rebel foot soldiers who thought they were fighting to protect their homes, then you don't understand how then, as now, the poor were once again fooled into fighting and dying for the rich. And if you don't understand that, then you're fucking never going to understand how to build common cause with them.

See Tony Horwitz's magnificent, unblinking, but truly sympathetic Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War.

Proud of my hippie/pinko alma mater...

The 10 months I spent in NYC in 1976-77 as a part of the pilot class in the Freshman Year Program of the New School for Social Research (a legendarily leftist/pinko institution) was some of the most positive, inspiring, and mind-expanding time I've ever spent; the Program later became the New School's full four-year bachelor's program. Both inside and outside the classroom, the people I met and the topics to which I was exposed changed my sense of what was possible in the world. I couldn't be happier that my old homies are telling John McCain to take his brown lipstick-wearing Falwell-ass-kissing opportunistic self elsewhere. We were and are David Horowitz's biggest nightmare: intellectuals and academics who are both smarter, better-educated, mentally-tougher, and more honestly-employed than he is.

Friends: kick McCain one more time for me, too.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Richard Cohen kowtows, stabs Colbert

Dear Richard:

Your claim is that Stephen Colbert's spot-on and merciless satire of Our Leader was "so not funny." For a social commentator, you're a historical ignoramus--not to mention a grammatical imbecile.

Ever heard of Lenny Bruce?

Lord Buckley?

Richard Pryor?

Chris Rock?

Every one of the above was castigated for their "rudeness" at the time by contemporaries who were terrified that said "rudeness" would rock the contemporaries' comfy relationship with the power structure. Every one, in hindsight, is seen as a masterful social critic, doing what comics have done ever since Aristophanes: using the cloak of humor to skewer the rich, powerful, and corrupt.

Of which same, you must, by virtue of syncophancy, now consider yourself one.

Most sincerely,

Dr Coyotebanjo

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Don't ever let them tell you a history professor can't make a difference...

In 1918, 79 Montanans were convicted of sedition and imprisoned for high crimes like criticizing wartime food regulations. This was part of the wave of opportunistic repression undertaken by the Wilson Administration and various western state governments, who saw wartime paranoia as an opportunity to break unions. And they were successful.

And Clemens P. Work, director of graduate studies at the University of Montana School of Journalism, wrote a book called "Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West". And Jeffrey Renz's law students took on the case as a petition for pardon.

And now, 88 years later, the Governor of Montana, descendent of German immigrants, is issuing pardons, and some folks affected are coming for the ceremony:

Marie Van Middlesworth, the 90-year-old daughter of one of those convicted, Fay Rumsey, will be coming from Medford, Ore. She was among 12 children put up for adoption when the family farm failed after her father was imprisoned.
Jesus. We never learn, do we? 88 years later we say "Oops, I'm sorry."

That don't cut it.

"One of the most patriotic acts I've ever witnessed..."

Colbert has more balls than the entire White House Press Corps. Just as FZ said "the way to handle them is to laugh at them. They hate that." Check out the expression on the Shrub's face as Colbert tears him a new one:

Those fuckers are drying up and blowing away. And not before time.