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Showing posts from January 20, 2008

Where Do the Presidential Contenders Stand on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Take a wild guess.

Here's a concise description of responsibility and complicity by Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada:
Well, I’d like to say that the suffering in Gaza has been so unremitting and so horrible and will continue. But I think we have to recognize and celebrate the resistance and the people power of the people in Gaza. And we have to recognize that there has been a deliberate siege on them by Israel, a decision taken by the leaders of Israel to starve and inflict suffering on a million-and-a-half people.
The government of Egypt has been complicit in this. They could have opened the borders months ago. Israel has been besieging Gaza for almost two years in this way. Egypt didn’t have to wait until Palestinians took matters into their own hands to free themselves from this barbaric siege.
The United States is complicit. And, by the way, Amy, this is another setback for the Bush Doctrine. The people of Gaza have been the victims of an experiment by the Bush administration …

Some Excellent Vodcasts/Videos on Art from the Good Folks at smARThistory...

Alliance of Civilisations Gets Off to an Auspicious Start, By Tito Drago

A hopeful development; check it out. I wonder whether the US was represented. Ah, yes, it seems, by academics, CEOs, and NGO-ers (PDF). Thank god someone other than the Bush administration is representing us to the rest of the world!

Here's their site; it's a UN-associated org, it seems. Here's the specific site for this year's forum, which took place in Madrid. Next year's is in Turkey.

Noam Chomsky, The Biology of the Language Faculty: Its Perfection, Past and Future

Update: Just in case I left the wrong impression -- no, I can't follow this in detail; I lack the lingo. I imagine most people reading this will, too, but the general flow of the argument, and the methodology of inquiry, are definitely intelligible to a layperson.

Brand-spanking-new (well, newly uploaded; from October 19, 2007) talk by the Chomster. Blurbage:
Noam Chomsky, around whose work much of the Syntax series revolves, gives listeners a glimpse into the evolution of his own thinking, with an emphasis on areas of linguistics where computational considerations play a major role.

Chomsky briefly outlines the key components of a biologically based linguistics that began to emerge 50 years ago: first, a genetic language endowment (Universal Grammar), which interacts with the external environment, and second, the individual’s development and learning strategies. While UG has been called “controversial,” says Chomsky, the “alternative is magic,” since something has to account for th…

Live Performance of Thus Spoke the Spectacle

This awesome multimedia rock show is on the road! For a taste, click the title of this post to go to the site. Also, go here for the YouTube channel.

The tagline for what this is could be: "Pink Floyd meets Nietzsche and Neil Postman." The music kicks ass; the message is utterly critical (in both senses).

Click the image to the left for a larger version. Eckhaus Gallery is in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and the show is next Tuesday, January 29th, at 7 PM. The event is free and open to the public, so please pass this notice along to anyone you know in the area who may be interested. Kutztown is about an hour from Philadelphia (nearby schools include Kutztown, Penn State, Muhlenberg, and Albright). Here's the Google Maps/Directions for ya, so you don't even have to open a browser window!

View Larger Map

The Danse Macabre Of Us-Style Democracy, By John Pilger

The former president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere once asked, "Why haven't we all got a vote in the US election? Surely everyone with a TV set has earned that right just for enduring the merciless bombardment every four years." Having reported four presidential election campaigns, from the Kennedys to Nixon, Carter to Reagan, with their Zeppelins of platitudes, robotic followers and rictal wives, I can sympathise. But what difference would the vote make? Of the presidential candidates I have interviewed, only George C Wallace, governor of Alabama, spoke the truth. "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans," he said. And he was shot. What struck me, living and working in the United States, was that presidential campaigns were a parody, entertaining and often grotesque. They are a ritual danse macabre of flags, balloons and bullshit, designed to camouflage a venal system based on money power, human division and a cultu…

Gaza: Stop the Blockade

Update: Gazans break out, through Rafah, into Egypt:

Sign and forward! It's the very least we can do. Don't bother quibbling about the "balanced" nature of the petition: just sign it!
The humanitarian crisis of sealed-off Gaza is getting worse: blackouts have brought global attention to the siege wrecking 1.5 million lives, with medicines, fuel and food stopped at the border for months. Civilians must be protected on all sides -- this is not the way to make anyone more secure.

We’re running an emergency global campaign to international, European and Arab leaders, calling on them to step in, stop the siege and help broker a ceasefire. We’ll deliver the petition when we reach 150,000 signatures -- so please add your name below, then spread the word:

To the United Nations, the European Union, the Quartet & the Arab League: We demand that you end the blockade and growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, ensure the free flow of supplies by land, sea or air, and help to broke…

Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary

Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill), by David Cay Johnston

From Democracy Now!

More here, and a previous book on the same broad topic here. The video for the 2004 episode is tough to get to -- last segement -- so feel free to read the transcript.

If those Americans who don't get this would stop hating, say, Muslims, blacks, and immigrants, the rich would be in serious trouble.

Here's his archive from the New York Times.

Some key quotes from the two segments....

2004 Segment:
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Most Americans, no matter how much they make, assume that people who make more pay a larger share in income taxes. That is a progressive tax system. We don’t have that. If you made $60,000 last year, you paid a larger share of your income in income taxes and social security taxes to the government than people who made more than 10 million a year. That top group’s average income by the way, was $25.6 million. If you made $400,000, that’s a lot of money, but if you made $400,000, you paid a larger share of your income just in income taxes than people …