21: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

December 1, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Twenty-One

 

leaf3Drafts and crafts must typify the present pass, one way or another.  More smoky diasterosity characterizes our fucking stove.  Both Alicia and Jimbo imagine all manner of conspiracies to account for things.  How sad; how funny; not necessarily false of course, but then probity will ever remain elusive in such matters, at least for the overwhelming majority of cases.

Writing these things from a deadline-cusp, recollection is at the most optimistic ephemeral.  Yet here we go again.  Listening to the Corbett report about China and conflict and cooperation in relation to the U.S., as a template that such as Anthony C. Sudden/Sutton have noticed—Hoover Institute ‘scholarship’ and more.   Corbett is such a fascist in waiting—three times of socialism: Bolshevik, National, and Welfare, oh my.

Just finished listening to Martian conspiracy by UFO fuckers.  Again, oh my.

“Completely Nonsensical” ends up making sense.  But what really makes sense is more thrashing and crashing around the doors of orgasmic frenzy.  And then we have this little missive to dear Chall Grey—what a story!

French opium den Public Domain

French opium den Public Domain

Hey Chall!

The evergreen gig will not be a happening thing.  Cheap trees were plentiful last year on the 25/70 bypass around Marshall, but that’s probably a week or so away yet.

How did your poetry reading go?  Any onliine audio or other links?  Inquiring minds always want to know.

You may already have made a visit to Contributoria at this juncture; the site doesn’t indicate from where our points are coming.  We’re close to having another project backed, so if you haven’t ‘contributed’ yet, we’d bow and scrape shamelessly to encourage you to do so.

Thanks man!  2015 ought to be a great year for backgammon. 

 

This Day in History

Today is both World Television Day officially and World Hello Day unofficially; twenty-one hundred and seventy-eight years ago, more or less, a Jewish leader of the Hasmonean family resuscitated the Jerusalem Temple, thereby establishing the basis for Hanukkah each year among Jews; an army of Turkic and Central Asian forces led by Timur(or Tamerlane) sacked the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi six hundred twenty-eight years back, taking the Georgian king himself captive; the settlers aboard the Mayflower signed their famous ‘compact’ three hundred ninety-four years prior to the present pass; a baby boy came into the world three hundred twenty years ago, destined to grow up as Voltaire, a renowned philosopher and thinker; two and a quarter centuries ago, North Carolina became the twelfth jurisdiction of the United States when its representatives ratified the Constitution; a male American infant was born a hundred ninety-six years back who would mature as Lewis H. Morgan, whose anthropological investigations laid the basis for work by European thinkers as diverse as Charles Darwin and Friedrich Engels; Thomas Edison a hundred thirty-seven years before the here-and-now announced that he had invented a phonograph, a mechanism capable of making and playing recorded sounds; Japanese soldiers a hundred twenty years back captured Port Arthur and, according to some sources, slaughtered many civilians there after this decisive Sino-Japanese war victory; one hundred twelve years back, the boy child who received the name Isaac Bashevis Singer was born, destined to grow up to win the Nobel Prize in Literature; a brief paper by Albert Einstein a hundred nine years ago elicited the formula for showing the equivalence between energy and mass, or E=mc-Squared; Brazilian sailors rebelled on some of their navy’s most powerful fighting ships a hundred four years back, in an uprising that they referred to as “the revolt of the lash;” Polish partisans murdered several hundred Jews and Ukrainians near present-day Lviv ninety-six years prior to this day, in a pogrom that paralleled the revolutionary upheaval of the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; in Columbine, Colorado eighty-seven years ago, a force of hired mine guards and State Police gunned down miners with machine guns during a strike action that we now know as the Columbine Mine Massacre; sixty-nine years back, the United Auto Workers led strikes in ninety-two manufacturing facilities in fifty different cities simultaneously in backing up workers’ calls for higher wages; the British Museum of Natural History sixty-one years ago acknowledged that the so-called ‘Piltdown-Man’ skull was a fabrication and a hoax; fifty-two years prior to the present pass, China’s Peoples Liberation Army announced a unilateral cease-fire in the Sino-Indian War; a baby girl came into the world three years subsequently and twelve thousand miles away in Iceland, who grew up to claim the name Bjork and work as an iconoclastic and world famous singer-songwriter, feminist, and thespian; the first permanent networking link on the Internet predecessor Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or ARPANET, activated its connection forty-five years ago between UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute; precisely a decade later, in 1979, attacks on the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan killed four and wounded many more; U.S. Naval Intelligence Analyst Jonathon Pollard found himself under arrest twenty-nine years ago for espionage, accused of handing over files to Israel, charges for which he subsequently faced a sentence of life in prison; a year hence to the day, Oliver North and his assistant were shredding documents that implicated them in selling arms to Iran in order to garner cash to proffer to the anti-government Contra forces of Nicaragua, in contravention of both U.S. and international law; a decade ago, the financial cabal that calls itself the Club of Paris agreed to write off up to 80% or Iraq’s $100 billion in outstanding debt, and, in a prequel to the Maidan uprising in Ukraine, a so-called ‘Golden Revolution’ invalidated Viktor Yanukovych’s election in a runoff that both the United States and the European Union labeled corrupt; legendary science fiction author Anne McCaffrey died three years ago today; two years subsequently, just last year, acclaimed journalist and critic Clyde Egerton breathed his last.

 

SEARCH OF THE DAY
“homo sapiens” OR “human origins” clan lineage consanguinity rules OR strictures history OR anthropology origins = 10,700 Results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

ARROGANT ASSININITY ABOUT UKRAINE

www.truthdig.com/report/item/obama_remains_high-handed_–_and_wrong_–_about_ukraine_20141119     A reality-based blast from TruthDig regarding the Group-of-Twenty meeting in Brisbane, Australia, where the thuggish duplicities of imperial leaders berated Vladimir Putin in the context of utterly ignoring their own frequent and vicious depredations: “President Obama’s final words to Mr. Putin set the pattern for hypocrisy: ‘(We are) very firm on the need to uphold core international principles, and one of those principles is you don’t invade other countries or finance proxies … to break up a country that has mechanisms for democratic elections.’  (Perhaps) no one in his own government has yet worked up the courage to tell Mr. Obama that … his own United States State Department … arranged a public uprising in Kiev last February, against a democratically elected (if corrupt) president of Ukraine, and sponsored the coup d’etat that made Arseniy Yatsenyuk (known as ‘Yats’ in the department) prime minister.  The Washington-sponsored coup occurred before there were any Russian troops in Ukraine, and before either government had as yet dreamed that Mr. Putin would annex Crimea in retaliation.”

RECENT BLOG-POSTS

book hor2

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

A MEMBER’S INSPIRING REMARKS AT THE N.B.A. CEREMONY

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/national-book-awards-ursula-le-guin?utm_source=tny&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyemail&mbid=nl_112014_Daily&CNDID=20305156&spMailingID=7302546&spUserID=MjUyNDM5Mjg3NTUS1&spJobID=562231375&spReportId=NTYyMjMxMzc1S0     From the New Yorker, a summary of commentary at this week’s National Book Awards ceremony, where longstanding member Ursala LeGuin accepted a lifetime literary achievement medal and spoke truth to power from the podium in her speech: “I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being.  And even imagine some real grounds for hope.  We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.  Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art.  The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.  We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.  I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit.  Its name is freedom.”
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

BEYOND TURING CONFERENCE IN AUSTIN

http://www.math.unipd.it/~frossi/BeyondTuring2015/    An upcoming event in Texas’ capitol, an introduction to the current state of contextualizing and grounding artificial intelligence, work that researchers in many other venues(http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626420/?sc=swhn) are also carrying out(http://arxiv.org/pdf/1410.6142v1.pdf): “The Turing test, now over 60 years old, has long served as a highly visible, public signpost for research in artificial intelligence.  It is also highly game-able, and arguably in desperate need for a refresh.  The purpose of this workshop, modeled on a set of early meetings that helped shape the annual RoboCup competitions, is to seek community input.  More precisely, at this workshop, our goal is to craft a replacement, an annual or bi-annual Turing Championship, that might consist of 3-5 different challenging tasks, with bragging rights given to the first programs to achieve human-level performance in each task.”

 

NSF’S GRANT PROPOSAL GUIDE

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf15001/gpg_index.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_109   For everything from soup-to-nuts, undergraduate to post-doctoral research and beyond, an outline of protocols and parameters for submitting proposals and such.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

SCIENTIFIC SEXUALITY REVIEWED

http://theconversation.com/hunt-to-discover-the-secret-of-sexuality-is-far-from-over-34377?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+20+November+2014+-+2107&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+20+November+2014+-+2107+CID_911bc58342f028ae288754839c7bfb18&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Hunt%20to%20discover%20the%20secret%20of%20sexuality%20is%20far%20from%20over     A well-curated compilation from one of the English scholars who typify The Conversation, about the “stuttered” history of sexology as a discipline and some of what that might mean for human beings: “The exhibition traces the development of this science, revealing how, as curator Kate Forde says: ‘each generation likes to think that it invented sex’ – or, at least, how sex ought to be.  Everyone has an opinion on what French philosopher Michel Foucault described as the ‘secret’ of sexuality.  The 19th-century Argentinean politician, Juan Bautista Alberdi argued that ‘to govern was to populate.’  British campaigner Marie Stopes believed that making contraceptives available, especially to the poor, would enable the ‘race’ to improve.  The Austrian psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich, explained sexual repression as a consequence of an authoritarian character, providing one of the earliest explanations of the rise of Nazism as a result of damming up the ‘orgasmic convulsion.’  The list goes on.”

CULTURE & POLITICS, UKRAINIAN STYLE

http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/22534/1/boys-don-t-cry?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Dazed+Sex+Survey%3A+US+vs+UK+|+Jacques+Greene%27s+New+Video+|+Guide+to+Breaking+the+Internet&utm_campaign=20141120_m123194012_Dazed+Sex+Survey%3A+US+vs+UK+|+Jacques+Greene%27s+New+Video+|+Guide+to+Breaking+the+Internet&utm_term=1097162_JPG     A briefing and overview of a Kiev photography-and-culture collective that critically examines life in its lenses, from Dazed, in a no-critical-distance-whatsoever bow to imperial supremacy, one of hundreds of grassroots reports about Ukrainian on-the-ground realities–ranging from the minimally distorted to the fatuously false–in realms as disparate as politics(http://www.alternet.org/world/how-israel-lobby-protected-ukrainian-neo-nazis?akid=12483.279476.rjePv2&rd=1&src=newsletter1027326&t=3) and militarism(http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/13-Persons-Killed-Every-Day-in-Ukraine-Since-the-Cease-Fire-Began-20141120-0012.html) and social engagement and more: “With Vladimir Putin leaving the G20 summit early this week after reports the Russian president copped some (much deserved) flack from other world leaders – here’s looking at you, Obama – and essentially realised that no one really wants to hang out with him, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to showcase Ukrainian photography collective GORSAD’s Boys Don’t Cry.  Putin has certainly fuelled creative fires around both the Ukraine and Russia, allowing for fertile ground to garner ideas, momentum and of course, controversy.  But there’s no denying that the country’s uneasy political climate has been a thorn in GORSAD’s – and other artists’ – side.  ‘We publish mainly abroad,’ the collective explain.  ‘Therefore, there is no problem with the lack of understanding.'”

SOCIAL DIVIDES, DIGITAL DIVISION, & THE INTERNET

http://www.worldwatch.org/digital-dilemma-internet-killing-or-saving-planet     A new report from WorldWatch Institute about the paradoxes and possibilities of virtuality and rise of web culture, in terms of creating sustainable relationships(http://www.worldwatch.org/bookstore/publication/state-world-2014-governing-sustainability) among ourselves: “When the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, the collection of ideas and artifacts that is now known as the Internet was only a research and development program at the U.S. Department of Defense.  Meanwhile, environmental advocates of the era were fighting large, complex technological systems, such as nuclear power and industrialized agriculture, as threats to both the ecosphere and democratic self-governance.  Yet when big digital systems began to take hold in the 1980s, these expanding pervasive and powerful technologies were rarely criticized.  Today, a true understanding of their environmental and social impacts is urgently needed in order to navigate—or resist—technology’s growing influence.”

EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF CLIMATE CHANGE REVERSAL POSSIBILITIES

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change/?utm_source=techalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=112014    A massive longform assessment from two participants in Google’s now-abandoned renewable-energy electricity initiative, via the Institute for Electrical & Electronic Engineers, of empirical and analytical perspectives about the challenges of carbon, cost, and power production: “Google’s boldest energy move was an effort known as RE<C, which aimed to develop renewable energy sources that would generate electricity more cheaply than coal-fired power plants do.  The company announced that Google would help promising technologies mature by investing in start-ups and conducting its own internal R&D.  Its aspirational goal: to produce a gigawatt of renewable power more cheaply than a coal-fired plant could, and to achieve this in years, not decades.  Unfortunately, not every Google moon shot leaves Earth orbit.  In 2011, the company decided that RE<C was not on track to meet its target and shut down the initiative.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FREDERICK DOUGLASS PORTALS

http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2014/11/frederick-douglass-activist-and-autobiographer/     Insightful and extensive tools and approaches for pondering Frederick Douglass specifically and the experience of enslavement from the slave’s perspective generally, from Library of Congress: “Last November, we published a post addressing the controversies associated with Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  A recent comment pointed out that Huck’s views on slavery are those of the dominant society of the time.  Because the post featured a letter from Frederick Douglass as a supplement to the novel, the commenter wondered ‘why not present the experiences and views of the oppressed rather than the oppressor?’  That struck me as an intriguing question, so here are a few places to start exploring those views and experiences with your students.”

CROWDSOURCING FROM UNICEF

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/unicef-crowdsources-report-on-worlds-children-to-inspire-innovation-and-localize-solutions/?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101&ftag=TRE684d531     A Tech Republic gateway to recent UNICEF publications(http://sowc2015.unicef.org/report/part-1/) on innovative approaches to youth issues, work that the agency has in no small measure crowdsourced as a collaborative, grassroots venture(http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SOWC_2015_Summary_and_Tables.pdf) on the twenty-fifth anniversary of United Nations Convention on The Year of the Child(http://www.unicef.org/crc/): “Kartik Sawhney was denied access to study science in India because he is visually impaired, and authorities said there were too many visual elements to the courses.  He finally convinced them to let him in, but none of his textbooks were in a format he could use.  He had to type them out instead.  The real trouble came with graphs — he had difficulty figuring out the shape of graphs to analyze them.  So, he developed software that would allow the graphs to be translated into audio — ‘like an arc of sound,’ he said.  If there’s an increase in frequency, the graph is obviously sloping upwards.  If it’s constant, the slope is at zero.  Sawhney’s story is just one inspiring example of tech innovation led by children that is highlighted in UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children Report – Reimagine the future: Innovation, which was released Thursday, Nov. 20 on the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

MEXICAN MELTDOWNS, INTENSIFYING

http://portside.org/2014-11-19/main-mexico-leftist-party-verge-dissolution-leader-says   A brief from PortSide Labor about the collapse that appears imminent in Mexico’s institutional ‘leftist’ organization, as a result of violence–especially against students and youth–and the ongoing impact of the grotesque and murderous fraud of the so-called ‘War-on-Drugs,’ topics that a wide range of media outlets such as The Guardian have also been reporting deeply(http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/20/mexico-protests-anti-government-anger-violence-students-president?CMP=ema_565) of late: “The elder statesman of Mexico’s main leftist party said on Sunday the group was on the verge of falling apart after a series of mistakes and the disappearance of 43 students in a state it runs in the southwest of the country.  Three-times presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas said the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which finished runner-up in Mexico’s last two presidential elections, had lost its moral authority and needed urgent reform.”

‘TREATMENT’ PROFITEERING

http://www.afsc.org/sites/afsc.civicactions.net/files/documents/TIC_report_online.pdf    A relatively short White Paper from the American Friends Service Committee about one of its signature areas of investigation, for profit prisons, in this case focusing on so-called ‘treatments’ that increase corporate income but reduce chances for rehabilitation or even functionality among the fallen, a peek into the ubiquitous research and manipulation surrounding ‘illegal drug’ use, on the one hand(http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626460/?sc=dwhn), and prescribed ‘medicine,’ on the other hand(http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626432/?sc=dwhn): ” Private prison corporations have profited from, and at times contributed to, the expansion of tough-on-crime and anti-immigrant policies that have driven prison expansion.  This confluence of special interests and profit-driven policy-making has been referred to as the ‘prison industrial complex.’  This brief describes the expansion of the incarceration industry away from warehousing and into areas that traditionally were focused on treatment and care of individuals involved in the criminal justice system–prison medical care, forensic mental hospitals, civil commitment centers, and ‘community corrections’ programs such as halfway houses and home arrest.  While the prison industrial complex was dependent on incarceration or detention in prisons, jails, and other correctional institutions, this emerging ‘treatment industrial complex’ allows the same corporations (and many new ones) to profit from providing treatment-oriented programs and services.”

UBIQUITOUS RENEWABLE ISSUES & NETWORKSFarmerBooFaveScrSh

https://medium.com/solutions-journal-summer-2014       An issue of Rocky Mountain Institute’s journal, Solutions, which brims with articles, leads, and briefs about the potential to proffer power to people in much more sustainable and ecologically benign fashion than is currently the case, a proposition that recent research in battery storage(http://www.technologyreview.com/news/532311/a-battery-to-prop-up-renewable-power-hits-the-market/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20141114) and close-to-unanimous community support for wind and similar projects(http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626131/?sc=dwhn) make clear, while compensation for nuclear giants from Germany(http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/nuclear/swedish-energy-giant-vattenfall-nets-billions-for-nuclear-phaseout/?utm_source=energywise&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=111914) and intense debates about a role for nuclear(http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/11/17/the-nuclear-power-debate/?utm_source=Tikkun+Daily+Daily+Digest&utm_campaign=3ac09f91a7-DAILY_DIGEST_EMAIL&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_19adec7513-3ac09f91a7-106980657) provide further context.

VAST L.O.C. & GOVERNMENT DATA TROVES

http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2014/11/all-the-news-thats-fit-to-archive/     Another portal to the incalculably invaluable Library of Congress collections for writers, in this case one of several digital archiving initiatives in relation to newspapers and news sites, with context about other efforts from LOC also present, one of dozens of outreach notes in a given period of time that cover such diverse topics as street-art-&-poetry(http://blogs.loc.gov/catbird/2014/11/the-writings-on-the-wall-found-poetry-in-street-art/), accessing treaty information(http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2014/11/u-s-treaties-a-beginners-guide/), identifying and using primary source material to facilitate storytelling skills(http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2014/11/storytelling-and-songwriting-making-connections-through-primary-sources/), and even podcasts of primary source and other online learning experiences(https://locosi.adobeconnect.com/p2gb4wd0h4f/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal), materials that various news reporting organizations supplement by illuminating other governmental moves to open up access to the almost incalculable quantity of data that our government collects(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/18/theres-a-commerce-department-swat-team-opening-up-government-data/): “Our newspaper collections are invaluable to researchers.  Newspapers provide a first-hand draft of history.  They provide supplemental information that cannot be found anywhere else.  They ‘fill in the gaps,’ so to speak.  The way people access news has been changing and evolving ever since newspapers were first being published.  We recognized the need to capture news published in another format.  It is reasonable to expect us to continue to connect these kinds of resources to our current and future patrons.  Websites tend to be ephemeral and may disappear completely.  Without a designated archive, critical news content may be lost.
WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLSNYT

STORIES’ INHERENT SYMPATICO TO ‘PITCHES’

http://theconversation.com/ utm_medium=e  product%20placement    A lovely contextualization from The Conversation of the historical background, without much in the way of political economy or social conceptualization, of writers who receive ‘patronage’ from megabucks corporations as exemplary of a ‘long tradition’ of this sort of relationship: “Boyd is in good company when it comes to this kind of sponsorship.  In 2001, Fay Weldon took a cheque from jewellers Bulgari to write her novel The Bulgari Connection, while BMW commissioned writers to produce audio books in 2005.  Ian Fleming was commissioned by the Kuwaiti Oil Company to write a book on the country and its oil industry (though it was never published because the Kuwaiti government disapproved).  Artists need patrons, and patrons have priorities.  It was ever thus.”

HOMEPAGE’S CRITICAL FUNCTIONS

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/Newsletter/Columns/Digital-Publishing–There-s-No-Place-Like-Home    A dose of textual realpolitick for our digital age, from Editor & Publisher, providing both the basis for and some of the superstructure of how homepages are essential as an interface for engagement in any media work: “Despite the reduction in traffic, newspaper homepages harken(sic) back to the historic place the front page of a newspaper had in the community.  Forgive me for sidestepping into marketing speak, but editors should think of their news organization’s homepage as their ultimate brand statement.  In an instant, members of the community (both readers and advertisers) can quickly see what the site is about, what’s going on that’s important to the community and why they should bother spending time there.  In an Internet ecosystem that is becoming more and more scattered, media organizations do have an ability to build brand loyalty with readers, and the homepage can still play an important part in nurturing that loyalty.”

POSSIBLE GREAT NEWS FOR JOURNALISTS FROM EGYPT

http://www.france24.com/en/20141120-egypt-general-sissi-exclusive-france-24-libya-jazeera-journalists/    From France24, a twenty-five minute video interview between a correspondent and Egyptian President Abdel al-Sisi, in which the possibility for a pardon of Al Jazeera journalists is one topic of conversation: “In his first-ever interview with a European media outlet, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that issuing a presidential pardon for three al Jazeera journalists currently imprisoned in Egypt ‘is currently under discussion.’  The journalists were sentenced to at least seven years in prison in June for aiding a ‘terrorist organisation’ and undermining the national interest for their dealings with members of the Muslim Brotherhood in a ruling that sparked an international outcry.  Al Jazeera has denied the accusations.”

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

DIVIDE-&-CONQUER PROPAGANDA VIA FILM

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/20/east-n20.html   Another deeply-reported review essay from World Socialist Website about a quarter-century old ‘Eastern European’ film festival that takes place in Germany near its border with Poland, in environs beset by social meltdown and growing inequality and reaction, thanks to restored ‘free markets’ and ‘freedom’s’ imperial imprimatur generally, a dandy context, from the perspective of rulers, for playing up identity politics: “Increasing disillusionment with official politics in Eastern Europe is expressed in record low turn-outs in one election after another.   Political parties and slogans are regarded as interchangeable.  Plutocrats have now decided that often the best way to defend and expand their business and financial interests is to finance their own political parties and run the government.  The most prominent example is Ukraine, currently ruled by billionaire Petro Poroshenko, the ‘Chocolate King,’ who has the full backing of the EU.  Against such a background of explosive tensions, the organisers of the 24th Cottbus film festival decided to dedicate one of the event’s central sections to what its programme describes as ‘homosexual life worlds.’  There can be no doubt that gays and lesbians face considerable discrimination in many eastern European countries where the church and nationalist, homophobic groups play a significant role in political life.  But the prioritisation of gay rights in the current situation sends a definite signal.  In particular, it creates a platform for parties such as the Greens and various pseudo-left organisations working together with selected NGOs to elevate identity politics above social issues.”

ROBOTS A-COMING

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/532431/rise-of-the-robot-security-guards/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20141120   An MIT Technology Review report about a company’s ‘autonomous security robots’ that will permit centralization and reduction of human guardians in various contexts, such as Microsoft campuses, one of many recent examinations of the horizon of autonomy(http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=133392&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click), looming ever closer: “In order to do the kind of work a human security guard would normally do, the K5 uses cameras, sensors, navigation equipment, and electric motors—all packed into its dome-shaped body with a big rechargeable battery and a computer.  There are four high-definition cameras (one on each side of the robot), a license-plate recognition camera, four microphones, and a weather sensor (which looks like a DVD-player slot) for measuring barometric pressure, carbon dioxide levels, and temperature.  The robots use Wi-Fi or a wireless data network to communicate with each other and with people who can remotely monitor its cameras, microphones, and other sources of data.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

COLOMBIAN ‘PEACE PROCESSES’ & VIOLENCE

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Colombia-The-Early-Signs-of-a-Violent-Peace-20141117-0044.html     A news-analysis from TeleSur that shows the intricacies and dire conflicts that underlie Colombian attempts to bring peace and reconciliation in relation to the Andean nation’s longstanding civil conflicts, in which revolutionary groups confront a government that is close to one hundred percent a ‘creature’ of U.S. imperial and corporate interests, in between both of which social forces citizens and indigenous people often find themselves: “A billboard set up by FARC with Cano’s picture, reads, ‘We will not relent for one instant in the struggle for a political solution to the conflict, for our principles, for the certainties that motivate us, because we are revolutionaries, because we love peace. – Sixth Front, Western Bloc, Commander Alfonso Cano.’  While the FARC considers northern Cauca to be its territory, and recruits Nasa people to its ranks, the Nasa have struggled at great cost for autonomy in their territory.  Over the decades, the Nasa have liberated much of their territory from the speculators and large landowners who had stolen it from them, established their own municipal governments, and administered their own traditional justice system, at communal assemblies.  In order to resist armed attacks, usually by the state and paramilitaries but too often also by the FARC, the Nasa have a traditional ‘indigenous guard’, a standing organization of people who carry nothing but traditional sticks as a symbol of their authority, who have played a major role in maintaining the indigenous people in their territory, resisting all of the forces that have sought to displace them.”

PREPARING ‘EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION’ IN FERGUSON

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/20/ferg-n20.html   Incisive analysis from World Socialist Website of the political repression that Missouri is preparing to deploy against social protest over police murder in and around Ferguson, as well as a critical examination of the almost total void of either analysis or critique of these developments among corporate media outlets: “One searches in vain in the establishment media, including its ‘left’ representatives, for any criticism of the move, or even any serious analysis of its consequences.  Outside the commentaries and interviews with area residents posted on the World Socialist Web Site, moreover, there is no reporting on the immense hostility among workers and youth in Ferguson to the decision, which is correctly seen as an assault on their democratic right to protest police violence.  (I)n its editorial pages,…(t)he Wall Street Journal urges Obama to intensify the crackdown in order to ‘defend the rule of law and public order,’ while the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Nation magazine have not commented on the frontal attack on First Amendment rights taking place in Missouri.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
TOLSTOY’S APPEAL TO WORKING PEOPLE
http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_pdf/Tolsto One of those seminal works that, even as one might critique it on different grounds, one must first read and understand it, since it lays a foundation for understanding important aspects : “I have but little time left to live,and I should like before my death to tell you, the working people, what I have been thinking about your oppressed condition and about those means which will help you to free yourselves from it.  Maybe something of what I have been thinking (and I have been thinking much about it) will do you some good.”

WAR & HOMELESSNESS, FROM CRS

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34024.pdf   A typically thorough overview from the Congressional Research Service, only available to scrappy scribes and citizens as a result of the advocacy of the Federations of American Scientists, in this case a research compilation about the issues that surround homelessness among veterans: “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans.  Researchers have found both male and female veterans to be overrepresented in the homeless population, and, as the number of veterans increased due to these conflicts, there was concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately.   The 2007-2009 recession and the subsequent slow economic recovery also raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans.”

 

 

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20: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

December 1, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Twenty

 Picture 3

 

My goodness gracious me!  The thrumming fan from upstairs seems to come from within Jimbo’s head.  He feels as if he could sleep through till tomorrow’s dawn peaked through the clouds on the ridges that lead to Wolf Laurel.

Jimbo had absconded with himself to Well Bred bakery so that his love and her mother—whom he presented with a pair of folding fun tickets engraved with Ulyssess S. Grant—could create a semblance of order in the chilly chaos that currently characterizes our hovel-in-a-hole.

And that they did.  After contextualizing matters upon returning home a bit more, after more loving yummy thrummy with his sweet love, chilly or not, Jimbo bedded down relatively early—i.e., before three, though John Gardner’s yummy humming kept him up till near dawn as he consider Mickelson, ghosts, and sexual love.

A week prior to Thanksgiving the heating capacity of our stove seems as iffy as ever.  Whoops!  Here is a note that I sent to World Watch Institute.

 

“That has changed over time.  When I gave to WWI, for instance, I was in a ‘back-supporting-my wrist’ phase, so I donated on principle.

 

Now my wrist supports my back; thus, both principle and access are determinative.  An  organization that links to or publishes my work gets cash first.

 

I have a profound commitment to expanding participation and democracy.  As such, I would have an interest in information that emanated from collaborative networking with which WWI had associated. 

 

Of course, this assumes that WWI has any such affiliations.  Does it?”

 

“Call me sometime; 404-944-9919.  You can check out some recent work here: http://www.nwuat-large.org.

 

I’ve been writing quite a bit.  I’d love to catch up.

 

Solidarity Forever”

Cardboard-500x375

Who knows?  Anyhow,

Listening to UFO TV as he writes, Alternative One—exploding nukes to save the atmosphere; Alternative Two—deep underground bunkers; and Alternative Three—colonizing Mars in secret, courses through his machine, the contention that a global elites’ evil plans involve destroying the Earth in order to own the rest of the Solar System.  “A pre-determined schedule” seems to portend “mass populartion reduction” in service to an “insatiable greed mentality” that discards humanity like “so many used up Styrofoam cups.”

 

A Thought for the Day

Since expertise almost universally both operates to stifle inquiry, or even to squelch it altogether, and emanates from interested stakeholders in widely varied technical transactions, to state or imply that experts’ voices should weigh more than citizens’ input in the determination of social and authoritative knowledge runs a huge risk of corrupting results in at least two ways, first by disallowing or at least alienating local and common information that does not fit expert paradigms and protocols, and second by ignoring the different mechanisms that bias specialist conclusions toward the ends that their patrons wanted all along.
Quote of the Day

All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do. …Every one who has a heart and eyes sees that you, working men, are obliged to pass your lives in want and in hard labor, which is useless to you, while other men, who do not work, enjoy the fruits of your labor—that you are the slaves of these men, and that this ought not to exist.”  Leo Tolstoy: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Leo_Tolstoy.

 

This Day in History

Today is Universal Children’s Day; eight hundred twenty years ago, the armies of French king Henry VI conquered the Palermo principality; in Brazil, three hundred nineteen years back, Portuguese interlopers condemned and murdered the last indigenous leader, Zumbi; two and a quarter centuries before the here and now, New Jersey was the first US state to ratify the Bill of Rights; in an event partially responsible for Moby Dick, a hundred ninety four years ago, a gargantuan sperm whale attacked a whaling ship 2,000 off the coast of South America; in a European incursion in South America 169 years back, French and English naval forces blockaded the Rio de la Plata in an action against Argentina; one and a quarter centuries ago, the baby boy who would become astronomer and cosmologist Edwin Hubble came into the world; an infant born 106 years before this day grew up to become historian Alistair Cooke; Francisco Madero one hundred four years prior to the present pass denounced Mexican president Porfirio Diaz and initiated revolutionary action in his country with his Plan de San Luis Potosi, and, 7,000 miles to the North East, iconic Russian writer Leo Tolstoy died; seven years later and half a world away, as Russia devolved in revolutionary upheaval and withdrew from World War One conflict, Ukraine for a time became an independent republic before it rejoined the nascent Soviet Union;  eighty eight years ago, an infant who grew up to become British novelist John Gardner was born; seventy eight years back the infant male who matured into acclaimed novelist Don DeLillo drew his first breath; three quarters of a century prior to this point, comedian, the baby who became comedian, thinker, and writer Dick Smothers was born; Hungary seventy four years back signed the Tripartite Act and joined the fascist Axis; five years subsequently to the day, 24 accused Nazis stood in the dock at Nuremberg in the first trials against those fascists who had likely committed atrocities; President Kennedy stopped the blockade of Cuba and ended tie Missile Crisis fifty two years ago, after Russia agreed to remove its missiles from the island; seven years hence, in 1969, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer published photographs of murdered corpses from My Lai, Vietnam, and eight thousand miles away, Native American activists seized control of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, till US law enforcement officials ousted them eighteen months later;  forty years before the here and now, the final anti-trust lawsuit against AT&T began, leading to the breakup of the telephone monopoly; Egyptian president Anwar Sadat three years later became the first contemporary Arab leader to visit the state of Israel; two years later to the day, hundreds of Sunni radicals seized over 6,000 hostages during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, an uprising which Pakistani special forces helped the Saudis to quell; Microsoft Windows 1.0 first issued twenty nine years ago today; Russian space authorities sixteen years ago launched the first module on the way to the completion of the International Space Station; eight years ago, American director and screenwriter Robert Altman died.

Flugzeuge Junkers Ju 87

SEARCH OF THE DAY
“property rights” “intellectual property” critique OR disadvantages OR difficulties “alternate models” OR “alternative models” commons analysis “political economy” history OR origins = 18,700 Results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

QUESTIONS CONCERNING COMMONS

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/The-Commons-and-Defending-the-Public-20141117-0020.html    An insightful and persuasively articulated opinion essay from TeleSur that poses a question of the current moment that may rank as more important, ultimately, than any other inquiry, to wit, how are different ‘publics’ to go about creating common rights and spaces and actions in the context of more or less total privatization and commoditization of almost everything that exists: “The gathering ended with this … open question (about the problems and prospects of working within a State for a public good).  For me they are two different things.  One must defend the public, but only as an emergency measure, we must take over those services and spaces that are public and private and collectively create commons, running them substantially differently, in form and content.  At the same time we need to be creating commons and communing everywhere we can, expanding these practices, linking them, and creating something else – something different – not something that will yet again fall into the administrative and political hands of the state.”

RECENT BLOG-POSTS

book hor2

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

OVERALL NEB/NEC NOTE
The National Executive Board and National Executive Committee weekend took place over the period November 14-16, 2014.  Friday’s NEC gathering was during the day, with a presentation in the evening about ‘Who Pays the Writer?’  The At-Large Chapter Chair offered a comment which Chapter members will soon enough be receiving.  For Saturday’s overview, readers may check in tomorrow, and for Sunday’s recap, Monday’s Daily Links will offer a few words.

NATIONAL WEBSITE NOTES

 

NWU NEWSLETTER

Our union’s newsletter welcomes notes about member work and publication, about the lives and times of union writers, and insightful briefings that concern aspects of media and text and so forth; these mini-essays can be as long as 500 words or even a bit longer, significantly expanded from what prevailed under the aegis of the former editor.  Inquires should go to Pamela Johnson, at ????????????
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

NANOTECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15519/nsf15519.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click    A program solicitation from the National Science Foundation, for which the letter of intent is due in mid-February upcoming, that concerns the development of nanotechnology projects in a way that results in an infrastructure for such work.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

WORLDWIDE OVERSIGHT

http://www.worldwatch.org/worldwatch-institute-annual-reports     A portal to the annual reports of the Worldwatch Institute over the past decade, which provide rich data and analysis that–though clearly slanted toward a certain ‘non-profit, foundation’ orientation–contain useful bit and pieces for almost all scrappy scribes.

U.S. CONTINGENCY PLANS RE IRAN
http://www.globalresearch.ca/chossudovsky-s-new-book-america-s-contingency-plan-to-attack-iran-with-nuclear-weapons/29977  An overview from Global Research that conveys the dicey danger of the plans that U.S. powers-that-be are contemplating in Iran, including various ways of launching preemptive nuclear strikes, which, of course, would be the world’s second nuclear war in the context of the same bureaucratic forces’ having initiated the first such scenario: “‘(T)he United States of America and Israel (are the true threats to Global Security),’ he adds. What’s more, Western European governments have joined the bandwagon and ‘have endorsed the U.S.-led military initiative against Iran.’  (Michel Chussodovsky) goes on to say, ‘At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable — a nuclear holocaust which could potentially spread in terms of radioactive fallout over a large part of the Middle East.’ …(T)he U.S. currently has several, nuclear-armed carrier task forces in waters near Iran and has built more than 40 military bases in the countries surrounding Iran.  The U.S. reportedly has 20,000 nuclear bombs available to use and Israel reportedly has another 200, whereas Iran is not known to have one.  U.S. military spending of $700 billion a year, moreover, is 100 times the rate of Iran’s $7 billion annual military outlay.”

LOC TEACHER RESOURCES & INTERACTIONS

http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2014/11/see-you-at-ncte-resources-for-english-teachers-from-the-library-of-congress/     An entry to Library of Congress’ many services and offerings for teachers, in this case in regard to LOC’s attending the National Council of Teacher’s of English annual conference, although other materials are on display for social studies(http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2014/11/were-coming-to-boston-for-ncss-resources-for-social-studies-teachers-at-the-library-of-congress/) instructors and more: “This year’s NCTE conference, Story as the Landscape of Knowing, will take place November 20-23 in the Library’s hometown, Washington, D.C.  You will find us at booth number 236 in the exhibit hall Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Whether or not you can attend, check out this selection of our favorite ideas and resources for English and language arts teachers from the Teachers page from the Library of Congress.  You might start with primary source sets, one of which focuses on American Authors in the Nineteenth Century: Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow, Stowe, and Poe.”

‘LIBERALISM’S’ SOCIAL BARGAIN IN A STATE OF COLLAPSE

http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2014/10/new-challenge-market-democracies      A substantial overview from the Brookings Institution, which varied columnists(http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/robert-samuelson-the-twilight-of-democratic-capitalism/2014/11/19/fc82912a-700f-11e4-8808-afaa1e3a33ef_story.html?wpisrc=nl-pmopns&wpmm=1) hither and yon have also examined at some length, concerning the way that contemporary ‘deliverables’ of the ‘grand Keynesian bargain’ are not coming through, the upshot of which is a weakening of the social fabric, with threats of putsch, uprising, and more seemingly assailing the present framework at every turn: “What I will call the liberal democratic bargain has defined the era since the end of World War II.  The terms of this bargain are clear: working with elite bureaucracies, popularly elected governments will deliver economic growth with steady reductions in poverty, rising standards of living for all, expanding physical and economic security, and—not least, health care that increases longevity and works toward Descartes’ dream of defeating death with science.  For some, liberal democracy may be an intrinsic good, an end in itself.  For the majority, however, it is a means to peaceful, commodious, ever-progressing lives.  It is a tree known by its fruit.  If it ceases to produce the expected crop, season after season, all bets are off.  For a substantial period after WWII, the bargain held, and public support for liberal democracy and its leaders remained high.  More recently, the bargain has been called into question, and public support and confidence have waned.”

TURNING PROFITS INTO MEDIA

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2014/11/19/jeff-skoll-makes-a-new-kind-of-bet-on-storytelling-with-a-gi.html     From Inside Philanthropy, a profile of an e-Bay billionaire who used his cashout to support grassroots and socially beneficent films, a going proposition now that might well interest scrappy scribes: “Using what he’d learned building eBay, Skoll’s idea was to fund feature films and documentaries that promote social values while still being commercially viable, and support complementary organizations through his foundation.  While the impact of some of Participant Media’s films, like Syriana, or Good Night and Good Luck, can be hard to measure, they were certainly box office successes, and helped enable the production of documentaries like An Inconvenient TruthFast Food Nation, and The Cove.  Now the new twist: Skoll is institutionalizing the link between his media work and his philanthropy with a $10 million donation to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television to create the Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment.  ‘I founded Participant Media in the belief that a story well told has the power to ignite positive social change,’ Skoll said.  This new center at UCLA TFT is an extension of that vision, with the goal of empowering a new generation and elevating storytelling as a tool to create impact and empower people to connect to the social issues which can have a profound impact on our world.”

PROJECTED ENERGY DECLINE AS IF THE SUN DID NOT EXIST

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626417/?sc=dwhn    Yet one more intriguing research pathway from NewsWise, which in this instance examines environmental psychology hypotheses from the University of Michigan which predict a diminished capacity for stuff and activity that relies on energy inputs–for example, fertilizer and long-distance travel–in the relatively near future as carbon energy sources deplete to next-to-nothing, a forecast that does not countenance renewable energy sources as sufficient to maintain relatively robust consumption: “Though prices at the gasoline pump have dropped below $3 a gallon in many parts of this country and domestic production of oil and natural gas is booming, these are short-term trends when viewed from the perspective of a many-decades-long transition, De Young said.  The planet’s carbon stores have always been finite, and continuous growth in the use of these resources is unsustainable.  And though fossil fuels will likely be extracted from the Earth’s crust for years to come, the amount available to society over any given time period will slowly decline, he said.  The global production rate of liquid fossil fuels soon may begin—or is already beginning—a drawn-out leveling and then a slow descent, with other fuels and materials soon to follow the same pattern, he said.”

COLLABORATIVE TRANSFORMATION ONLY ALLOWED

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40272.htm    A cool, if cosmically groovy, look at the alienating tendencies and dispiriting proclivities of existence in the current context, which the author believes might conceivably yield, together, mechanisms and interactions that could proffer real change from the bottom up: ” Much of the literature on ‘Why people need to escape’ looks at it from very individual perspective: that is, how do you as an individual stop smoking pot?  Or why do you feel the need to drink wine daily?  Take a look in Amazon’s spirituality and self-help section and you will see thousands of books, all telling you how to change YOU.  Never before in recorded human history have we had access to such a vast amount of knowledge as to what’s required for a person to be happy and fulfilled.  Yet here we are: seemingly getting unhappier, more depressed, more stressed and more distracted.  Looking at this exclusively as an individual problem fails to factor in the environmental context.  Like throwing a seed on a slab of concrete and wondering what’s wrong with the seed when it fails to transform into tree.  Not many people come out and say ‘Being depressed is a perfectly natural response to living in such depressing, unfair and impersonal society.’  Our wider social view doesn’t get discussed.  The propaganda infrastructure allows thousands of books to be produced on what makes a good seed, in which we can debate, discuss or even argue.  We can talk about the rights of seeds, how seeds need to be treated, how all seeds should be equal and so on.  Yet books on what makes good soil are sadly hard to find.”

COLLABORATIVE VENTURES IN COMMUNITY WEALTH

http://democracycollaborative.org/new-anchor-mission    An extensive investigation from the Democracy Collaborative into what different local and regional foundations are accomplishing in regard to forming community networks for empowerment and production, on the one hand, and exploring new models for wealth-building at the local level, on the other hand, without, one might note, any critical note about possible models other than the profit-based modes that we’ve inherited from the past, for all of whichaccess to a complete report(http://democracycollaborative.org/sites/clone.community-wealth.org/files/downloads/ANewAnchorMission_FINAL.pdf) also available: “As the community foundation field reaches the century mark and faces growing pressure on its business model, many communities at the same time are struggling with economic distress.  To meet these converging challenges, an innovative group of community foundations are beginning to deepen and shift how they work—adopting an anchor mission that seeks to fully deploy all resources to build community wealth.  They are calling on all assets at their disposal—financial, human, intellectual, and political—in service of their communities’ economic well-being.  Moving into territory relatively uncharted for community foundations, they are taking up impact investing and economic development—some in advanced ways, others with small steps.  This report offers an overview of how 30 representative community foundations, large and small, urban and rural, are working toward adopting this new anchor mission.”

PATREON’S $MILLION A MONTH

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/19/crowdfunding-patreon-creators-musicians-youtube?CMP=ema_565    News analysis here from The Guardian, in the form of a platform profile of Patreon that indicates how the operation functions and the parameters of its impact on the thousands of creators who are now members: “Patreon was founded in 2013 by Jack Conte, one half of YouTube music stars Pomplamoose, who saw it as a way for artists to earn regular income from their fans, rather than separate crowdfunding campaigns for individual projects.  The company signed up 15,000 creators in its first year and paid out $1m to them – a sum it’s now distributing every month.  Patreon takes a 5% cut of pledges, while payment transaction fees come out of creators’ share.  Patreon itself has raised money from more conventional sources: venture capital firms and talent agencies, with a $2.1m round in August 2013 followed by a $15m round in June 2014. …(I)ts growth … “confirms a massive cultural shift that we all felt but had trouble describing.  It’s a restless movement, developing simultaneously right now in arts communities around the world.  The public is demanding to pay creators.  As the cost of consuming digital media drops to zero, the masses are beginning to visualise the peril on the road ahead for creatives, and now they’re doing something about it.'”

SOCIAL MEDIA CROWD ‘ANYTHINGING’ BEST PRACTICES

http://www.crowdsourcing.org/editorial/does-a-successful-crowdfunding-campaign-hinge-on-strong-social-media/34688    A down-to-earth and real set of advisories from a consultant, via CrowdSourcing,  that lay out a set of protocols and approaches for using social media to build and interact a ‘crowd interface’ for one’s work, projects, and so forth: “Get yourself known.  Way before you launch, your campaign, a good 6 to 12 months before, start to establish a social media presence.  If you haven’t already set yourself up on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (all the platforms you feel both appropriate to your business idea and comfortable using).  Don’t mention your idea yet.  Just work on building up a following.  Join Facebook groups, Twitter conversations, and Google+ circles relevant to your background, interests, and business idea.  Get yourself known. Impart knowledge.  Build credibility and make friends.  People like to help friends.  Tease your audience.  Over time, start to slowly allude to your idea.  Drop in little nuggets of information without hitting people over the head with it.  See if there are any events or groups taking place that tie in with your idea and get involved.  For example, if your campaign is going to be funding a children’s book, give readings at libraries, local schools, literature events, etc.  Pre-launch.  By now, people know who you are.  You have extended your network beyond friends, family, colleagues, and ex-colleagues.  Your network should now include people you have never met, have never spoken to, and probably never will.  Now, it’s time to tell people exactly what your idea is, how your campaign will work, what the rewards will be, and when you are launching.  If you can, get some local press coverage.  People love to get behind a local cause.  You want people to be eagerly waiting for the campaign to launch, ready with credit cards in hand.”
WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

EVERY STUDENT A WRITER

http://magazine.good.is/articles/826la-personal-statement-weekend?utm_source=thedailygood&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailygood     An article from Good Magazine’s daily online offering that presents data and anecdotes about minority and poor college applicants and how the process of crafting personal statements on their applications can be a way of improving their skills as scribes and more: “Ortega says she’s gone through elementary, middle, and high school knowing that she wants to attend college.  Her ambition, she admits, comes from seeing what happens to those who don’t do well in school.  ‘I don’t come from a background where it’s like, ‘Oh, we have movie nights and this is what we do on family weekends,’ and stuff like that,’ she says.  ‘I have suffered.  I’ve gone through very tough times, and it’s not really easy to put it down on paper.’  And so the challenge becomes conveying that sentiment in 1,000 words, the combined maximum for the two prompts on the University of California application.  ‘It’s really hard, even for adults, to really look at yourself critically and analyze your life.  But with the help of these volunteers, them finding that story or that defining moment in their life is one of the most amazing things we can do for these students,’ Sanchez says.”

STORYTELLING, WRITING, & JOBS

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/Newsletter/Columns/Business-of-News–Wanted–Motivated–Talented-Storytellers    An assessment from Editor & Publisher about the dire straits that parents of journalism students believe their offspring will face given their career path, an opinion that the author here countervails, noting that storytelling skills are important in many contexts and may become more crucial still in the coming period: “Indeed, to be a student in Florida’s school of communications and journalism, one needs to be fluent in digital languages.  ‘They don’t all have to be coders, but they have to know what coders can do.  The key is to know what is possible,’ McFarlin said.  A look inside Florida’s Innovation News Center finds students preparing nightly newscasts, weekly newspapers, websites and blogs.  They dip into the databases of companies that have nothing to do with journalism, and work partnerships with websites that are non-traditional.  It all comes down to training for a single skill—accurate, interesting story telling.  ‘We emphasize storytelling and holding tighter than ever to the fundamentals of good journalism,’ said McFarlin.  ‘Our ethics curriculum is starting to evolve over social media, citizen-generated content.  There is a great need for verification when you are dealing with that content.'”

APPS FOR THE WRITER’S TOOLKIT

http://www.fastcompany.com/3038333/17-tools-for-remote-workers     A set of applications for remote and collaborative workers generally, many of which would particularly apply to writers, one of many recent items(https://gigaom.com/2014/11/17/how-to-take-dependable-notes-with-the-iphone-and-ipad/?utm_source=GeneralUsers&utm_campaign=88ac1e5c77-c:mobd:11-19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1dd83065c6-88ac1e5c77-99696401) that detail functions(http://www.poynter.org/mediawire/top-stories/283153/pop-up-archive-releases-new-tools-for-transcribing-audio/) that might readily benefit scrappy scribes: “We see online tools and apps as a key part of our philosophy of working smarter, not harder.  It’s also a lot of fun to find a great new tool!  So when the tool-finding team at Product Hunt asked us at Buffer to curate a list of our top tools for remote workers and mobile teams, we jumped at the chance.”

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

OBAMA NET NEUTRALITY DECONSTRUCTION

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/19/obama-on-net-neutrality-principle-or-politics/    From Counterpunch, an assessment of President Obama’s recent speech in favor of managing Internet Service Providers as Title II Communications Act public utilities, a stance that many ‘progressives’ have promoted, and that the author here presents in terms of Democratic Party priorities in terms of donors such as Google and that may or may not impact community issues in relation to information and access and such: “(A)ll those supporting Net Neutrality (should) remember that, while he appoints the FCC, Obama doesn’t control it.  It can do as it wants.  So the pressure that has forced it to back off on previous destructive proposals and has drawn the President out of his shell to finally make a strong statement must continue and grow.  It’s more important than ever to push for protection of Net Neutrality, remind the powers that are that the President has declared himself part of our movement and remind the President that it behooves him to stay in our ranks.”

GUY FAWKES MEETS MONA LISA OVERDRIVE

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/huxleyed-into-the-full-cory-orwell-cory-doctorow  Some high-concept s**t here, courtesy of Vice’s platform, MotherBoard, in the form of a flash fiction entry about the constrictions of speech and assembly that result from rules and bureaucracies that people will always try to resist: “WHEN THE FBI ARRESTED ME IN 2001 FOR TELLING PEOPLE HOW TO UNLOCK THEIR EBOOKS, PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS ABOUT COPYRIGHT, BUT IT WAS ABOUT FREE SPEECH, THE RIGHT TO TELL PEOPLE HOW THEIR COMPUTERS WORK.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

CHICAGO POLICE TRAINING IN ISRAEL

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Police-Visit-Israel-to-Learn-New-Strategies-20141117-0066.html      A chilling brief from TeleSur about the reach of the Israeli police model, based on occupation of insurgent neighborhoods by militarized police armed with heavy weapons : “Police officers from Chicago, Illinois, in the United States, which is one of the countries with the most militarized police corps, visited Israel, which has one of the most repressive security agencies, to learn ‘cutting-edge policing strategies and technologies.’  The public security officials attended the Third International Homeland Security Conference held last week in Tel Aviv.  The U.S. delegation was led by the Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who spoke at the conference, according to the Jewish United Fund (JUF), which sent the officials to Israel.”

EGYPT’S CENSORSHIP OF MILITARY REPORTAGE

http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_l205404201_text     A recent entry from Library of Congress’ Global Legal Monitor Update, which in this installment presents an Egyptian Law that criminalizes most–arguably all–non-vetted reporting about any aspect whatsoever of the nation’s military establishment: “The draft law prohibits the publication without permission of any information or news about the armed forces in daily and weekly newspapers, on TV and radio channels, and also on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (The Final Text of a Draft Law on the Prohibition of Publishing News on the Army [in Arabic], AL BAWABA (Nov. 9, 2014).)  The draft law also requires that advance permission be obtained from the General Command of the Armed Forces before the following kinds of information are published: the number of Egypt’s military units, statistics or data on the movement of forces, the performance of those forces, military strategies, and ‘any other information that might harm the security of the members of the armed forces.
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

CONGRUENT BIG-SCIENCE BRAIN RESEARCH

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626273/?sc=dwhn     An overview from NewsWise of huge brain-research-initiatives in three powerhouses of ‘big-science’–the U.S., Japan, and Europe–which are coordinating their efforts through such initiatives as an upcoming international conference on this arena of knowledge: “‘There is a revolution occurring in experimental neuroscience,’ said session panelist William Newsome — Harman Family Provostial Professor and Professor of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Director, Stanford Neurosciences Institute.  Newsome is also co-chair of the National Institutes of Health working group on the BRAIN Initiative.  Speaking ahead of the meeting, Newsome said, ‘There’s the potential for incredibly rapid progress because of new tools that have been invented in the last five to 10 years that are enabling neuroscientists to make measurements of the nervous system that were simply unimaginable 10 years ago.  We could think of them in science fiction but we couldn’t think about them in science reality.  Yet now these things are becoming reality because of the new technologies.'”

THE ‘POLITICS’ OF BIG-MONEY NUCLEAR ‘SCIENCE’

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/11/13/16270/nuclear-weapons-lab-used-taxpayer-funds-obtain-more-taxpayer-funds?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=watchdog&utm_medium=publici-email&goal=0_ffd1d0160d-71b6baba3e-100283069&mc_cid=71b6baba3e&mc_eid=774d0ede1e    An introduction to a complex topic, the lobbying by a Federal contractor for more work, utilizing the funds from a Federal contract, which is illegal, but which Sandia laboratory has apparently done in its efforts to get more money for its nuclear weapons lab work in New Mexico and elsewhere: “Friedman’s slender six-page summary of his extensive investigation — many details of his work were declared ‘For Official Use Only’ — is noteworthy because it’s an unusual broadside against what many in the Capitol say is a common way of doing business: Get one federal grant, and then use the profits to hire lobbyists — including former members of Congress — to meet with federal officials, lawmakers, and others who can help orchestrate a new, even richer federal grant.”

 

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19: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

December 1, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Nineteen

 

media papers hor

11/19/2014

Again, the assembly line is operational.  An aspect of memory is its spottiness, like a radio signal that at one instant can yield little but the noisy static of background radiance, in which—no matter the intensity of the light—little that is visible appears.  Yet a moment after, the pulse of recollection might be strong enough to erect the world, so to speak, or to stop the heart with little palpitations of fearful recall.

Anyhow, Chapter Eighteen should have included a ‘mement’ about wood and fire and the requisites of drawing stoves, necessities that are far from certain, if not more than far from certain.  Jimbo’s and Alicia’s—she of the “Rediculo, Rediculo, I’d like to lick your Schnickulo!!” tidbit as Jimbo composes this near deadline—stove fits the category of non-drawing devices.

They could freeze.  They might find themselves impelled to buy Kerosene.  Boo even suggests pulling the Kerosun from ‘cold storage,’ so to say, in the garage, in order not to freeze off our titties and our testicles and other exposed chilly parts.

When Ms. Monica enters our cavern of chaos and rolls up her sleeves, Alicia’s loving assistant for the day, her chief fear is that pnemonia and bronchitis and other forms of suffocation will be our fate.  As such, she bets five dollars, a wager on which Alicia piggybacks, that the stove will remain dysfunctional past Thanksgiving.

And impresario Jimbo exits to let his love and her mother have at the cavernous madness that envelops our heroes’ space.  He visits Well Bred Café, where so many students have responded to his ministrations.  He writes; he thinks; he drinks—though not consciously enough, since he arrives home later with no spare caffeine; he works his way through tasks aplenty while contemplating the universe in his usual way.

And he returns home with a bounteous harvest of fresh rasberries and other treasures from Fresh Market, the beauties that surround our heroic home once again impressed on his eyes.

The stove does not cooperate.  Research will be essential.  Or perhaps a miracle will intercede.

 book hor2

A Thought for the Day

In some sense, most people’s worst quality—everyone’s at one point or another—is that they willingly, even eagerly blame dysfunction on, or assign its causes to, relatively minor symptoms or attributes or scapegoats for wider, systemic problems, addressing which would require thoroughgoing and dangerous action against the SOP and the powers-that-be.
Quote of the Day

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she

With silent lips.  ‘Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

                                 I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

Would-that-it-were-true Department: Emma Lazarus–http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm.

This Day in History

Today is World Toilet Day; one thousand three hundred and seventy-eight years ago, forces of the Rashidun caliphate won out over their opponents in what is now Iraq; nine hundred nineteen years back, Pope Urban II called a council at Clermont to consider mounting the first Crusade in the so-called ‘Holy Land’; exactly two years shy of four centuries later, in 1493, Columbus went ashore with a party of sailors on the main island of what we now know as Puerto Rico; one hundred ninety-eight years before the here and now, Warsaw University first came into existence; one hundred fifty-one years back, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address to the fallen in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; one hundred twenty seven years before this day, renowned American poet Emma Lazarus died at the age of thirty eight; one hundred two years prior to the present pass, Serbian soldiers captured Bitola, and terminated over five hundred years of Ottoman hegemony; three years later, industrialists and officials in Utah murdered labor leader, songwriter, and champion of working people Joe Hill for a crime that he did not commit; 365 days hence, Samuel Goldwyn and his partner founded what would eventually become Metro Goldwyn Mayer; eighty one years back, an infant boy drew his first breath on the way to a career as journalist and talk show host Larry King; at the Battle of Stalingrad seventy two years ago, Soviet armies launched counterattacks that turned the tide of World War Two decisively, and, half a world away, the baby girl who became well known poet and critic Sharon Olds was born; exactly one year subsequently, after thousands of Jewish inmates rise against their Nazi prison guards and attempt a mass escape, Nazi forces killed everyone at the Janowska concentration camp in Ukraine; Europe’s oldest private TV channel opened sixty years back in Monte Carlo under the ownership and leadership of prince rainier, the small state sovereign; a single year afterward precisely, National Review issued its first installment; forty seven years ago, Hong Kong’s first TV broadcasting service began under British rule; two years further on, in 1969, during the Apollo 12 mission, two American astronauts became the third and fourth people to walk on the moon; new Iranian leader ayatollah Khomeini 35 years ago ordered the release of thirteen female and Black captured Americans in the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis; six years down the road, in 1985, Pennzoil’s litigation against Texaco for tortious interference with contractual relations, regarding Pennzoil’s purchase of Getty Oil yields a US$10.53 billion judgment, the largest civil award in US history to that point; three years still further on, Serbian Slobodan Milosevic claimed that Serbia was under attack as a result of an international conspiracy against the Yugoslav nation; the House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings sixteen years ago against Bill Clinton for perjury in relation to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, interestingly enough, at about the same time that the Central Intelligence Agency admitted that many of Gary Webb’s allegations in Dark Alliance were true; a single year later to the day, the People’s Republic of China launched its first spacecraft; just a year ago, a massive suicide bomb explosion at the Iranian embassy in Beirut killed 23 people and injured scores more.

Pensive Parakeet

SEARCH OF THE DAY
emigration OR immigration OR “mass migration” refugees OR “displaced persons” “cause of war” OR “underlying conflict” OR “creating tension” OR “social conflict” = 14.4 Million Hits.

TOP OF THE FOLD

GLOBALIZATION, FORCED MIGRATION, & SOCIAL MELTDOWN

http://www.globalization101.org/uploads/File/Migration/migration.pdf   A timely and powerful White Paper from the State University of New York’s Levin Institute, that establishes the empirical and conceptual framework for understanding the way that aspects of contemporary reality act as a forced migration inducement, which in turn serves to initiate social conflict that both induces States to prohibit migrants and has, over the past few centuries, played a major role in initiating one major war after another: ” Transnational flows of goods and capital have driven globalization during recent years.  These flows have been made possible by the gradual lowering of barriers to trade and investment across national borders, thus allowing for the expansion of the global economy.  However, states have often firmly resisted applying similar deregulatory policies to the international movement of people.  As noted by the World Bank in its report, Globalization, Growth, and Poverty, while countries have sought to promote integrated markets through liberalization of trade and investment, they have largely opposed liberalizing migration policies.  Many countries maintain extensive legal barriers to prevent foreigners seeking work or residency from entering their national borders.  In fact, immigration policies across the world are becoming stricter as governments attempt to minimize the economic, cultural, and security impacts of large movements of people between nations.  Despite the reluctance of governments to liberalize immigration policy, however, the number of people living outside their countries of origin has risen from 120 million in 1990 to an estimated 215 million in 2012, which is approximately 3.05 percent of the world population.”

RECENT BLOG-POSTS

 

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The National Executive Board meeting approved–with the At-Large vote the sole negative–a dues increase, which will now be up to the attendees at the last Delegates Assembly to approve or disapprove; the National officers promoting this move make some powerful points about creating inducements to make the uppage palatable to members who are struggling in the current context.

The National Executive Board meeting also approved a continuation of the Organizing Committee process, with Oregon’s Fernando Gaspiran as the chair.
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

RESEARCH FRONTIERS FROM NSF

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15018/nsf15018.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click    A ‘Dear Colleague’ letter that deals with emerging frontiers of knowledge and seeks proposals to facilitate this process of emergence: “Emerging Frontiers in Research & Innovation was established in FY 2007 to serve a critical role in focusing the engineering community on important emerging areas in a timely manner.  Each year, EFRI evaluates, recommends, and funds interdisciplinary initiatives at the emerging frontiers of engineering research and innovation.  These transformative opportunities may lead to: new research directions; new industries or capabilities that result in a leadership position for the country; and/or significant progress on a recognized national need or grand challenge.”

THIS WEEKEND’S CALL–“SHUT THEM DOWN!”

http://soaw.org/november/why-we-mobilize/       An event overview and issue summary in relation to what the Army now calls the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation, but which for many decades went by the name School of the Americas, though Latin American and U.S. progressives termed it the ‘School for Assassins,’ such as Pinochet, Somoza, and more: “This year, we are strengthening our commitment to collective power by ensuring we create a space where activists from around the world can unite their forces to shut down Stewart Detention Center and demand the closure of the School of the Americas.  Organizing together has enriched our movement, and reflects the strength and beauty of the cultures and ideals that continue to be violently repressed by U.S.-led militarization.”

Costa Rican Frog

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

AUSTRALIAN LESSONS RE AMERICAN POLICY FAILINGS

http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/11/sowing-the-seeds-of-a-mass-youth-exodus/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+MacroBusiness&utm_content=Daily+MacroBusiness+CID_83095690d78cae6ee5cd9f0423649e13&utm_source=Email+marketing+software&utm_term=Sowing+the+seeds+of+a+mass+youth+exodus    A pointed illustration from Macro Business, crossposted from the Unconventional Economist, of the blowback and spiral of decline that current ‘neoliberal’ policies toward youth guarantee, whether in the Southern Hemisphere or here in North America: “Instead of attempting to address these failings of the economic model for young Australians, what we received in the May Budget was draconian cuts to unemployment benefits and a radical overhaul of education funding that will dramatically increase the cost of higher education for future students.  The political economy has been systematically rigged against Australia’s youth, which as Burgess points out is utterly unsustainable.  And the end result is likely to be a mass exodus from Australia as younger, working Australians grow fed up with paying ever-increasing taxes to fund an ageing population, whilst receiving less in return.”

RATIONAL HIGHER-EDUCATION REFORMS

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/18/loan-student-debt-zero-free-tuition      A powerfully articulated and rationally developed analysis from the Guardian, regarding the student loan morass and how to fix it–eliminate bogus debt to student-loan factory colleges and make higher ed a free-for-all–all of which requires further participation and movement on the part of citizens and scrappy scribes and more, one of dozens of such recent assessments from every possible section of the ideological firmament(http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-student-debt-bomb-1-22-trillion-and-counting-tuition-up-5x-vs-cpi-since-1985/?utm_source=wysija&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Mailing+List+AM+Tuesday): “The US government should discharge all student debt for people who went to Corinthian’s for-profit colleges and their ilk – and it could.  Thanks to the Higher Education Act, the Department of Education (DOE) has the discretionary power to erase all federal student debt associated with Corinthian schools, and it doesn’t need permission from a dysfunctional Congress to do so.  But the DOE is acting like a debt collector for an unscrupulous lender instead of helping swindled students. …A real vision of free higher education would resonate with young people, but change won’t come from Democrats on high, no matter how reasonable debt relief and affordable, tuition-free universities may be – and no matter how appealing such a platform might seem to an untapped voting bloc.  And even though existing laws might permit it, predatory loans from scam schools won’t be discharged without a mass social movement that puts pressure on elites and scares them silly.”

DEMOCRACY, VOTING, BULLSHIT, & HONEST CONVERSATION

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/27509-it-s-time-for-honest-conversation-about-why-people-don-t-vote    A workmanlike overview from TruthOut about the hypocrisy and dissimulation that characterize the American discourse about elections and democracy, a must-view(and ‘ought-to-follow-up’)for every scrappy scribe: “Looked at another way, the jaw-dropping $3.6 billion spent to buy this election has only further distanced the majority of people from participating in a rigged system.  Many of us already know about the flood of “dark money” that routinely distorts the electoral process.  Most Americans know full well that our democracy is a farce.  We live in a plutocracy where money buys elections and wealth rules supreme.  We didn’t need political science scholars to do a massive study to show us this.  This understanding is the common thread that weaves disgruntled Tea Partiers, marginalized progressives, and frustrated libertarians into one American quilt.  It is what brought millions together in shared sympathy during the Occupy protests back in 2011.  We already know that elections have become an inadequate instrument for democracy on their own.  What has yet to be said is what to do about it – how do people with such diverse ideological views (famous for making us interpret the facts differently) come together and replace the system with one that is more democratic, more pluralistic and more effective at solving the problems we all care about?”

DIXIE’S RACE-TO-THE-BOTTOM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/17/why-the-south-lags-behind-when-it-comes-to-home-broadband-use/     A WaPo blog, The Switch, which here presents an overview of the digital divide’s impacts on consumers from the South, where poverty and greater likelihood of residence in rural areas–and, others would argue(http://all4ed.org/press/alliance-for-excellent-education-and-lead-commission-release-analysis-finding-racial-income-and-rural-inequities-in-students-access-to-high-speed-internet-service/), larger concentrations of minority populations–mean that many more Southerners suffer from lack of Internet access than do users in any other region of the nation: “States in the Deep South have among the lowest rates in the country of households connected to broadband, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  Just 57.4 percent of Mississippi residents live in households with broadband Internet use.  Many other Southern states rounded out the top 10 least connected, with Arkansas at the second to last, and other states, including Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana, also reporting low levels of home broadband use.  The reason is pretty obvious once you compare the above map to one that shows median household income.”

Cardboard-500x375A MASSACHUSETTS TEACHERS’ VICTORY

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/no-more-backroom-deals/      An overview from Jabobin of a recent uprising on the part of the Massachusetts Teachers Association against a proposed mechanism to punish teachers further, by taking away their licenses to instruct and thereby strip them of the capacity to make a living in their field, and the overwhelming response that rank-and-file union members made in defeating this proposal: “Late last week, after a massive backlash organized by the Massachusetts Teachers Association — under the leadership of Barbara Madeloni, the recently elected president of the 113,000 member union — the proposal was withdrawn.  The victory should serve as a reminder that a mobilized rank-and-file and implacable leadership can defeat attacks on public school educators.  Backroom deals don’t get the goods.  And because the proposal will likely appear in other states, teachers around the country should take note.”

COMPARATIVE ELECTORAL EVALUATIONS

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/international/development/electoral-integrity-flawed-contests-worldwide-united-states?utm_source=JR-email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JR-email     A quick literature review, from Harvard’s Shorenstein’s Center, of the past year’s elections around the world, an overview that includes a look() at 66 nations, in which the U.S. scores 26th of the the countries that this one report includes, one of the score or so of portals that a researcher finds here: “Affluent, post-industrial societies generally score better; high-integrity countries include Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Iceland and Austria.  There is a connection between democracy and ‘well-educated and highly literate populations, rich networks of civic associations linking citizens and the state, stable states, and effective public sector bureaucracies.’  In the research world, this is known as the ‘Lipset’ hypothesis, after a 1959 paper first setting forward the idea.”

RECENT IN-DEPTH ANALYSES FROM CONSORTIUM NEWS

http://consortiumnews.com/      Some of the past few weeks’ profferals that Consortium News makes available strictly as a civic service, an attempt to provide instructive, in depth, and engaging materials about critical current topics: “The U.S. government has levied some billion-dollar fines on banks for offenses tied to the financial crisis, but bank officers have avoided the shackled frog-walk and time behind bars, humiliations dealt out routinely to criminals who make off with much less money, says ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.”

 

GRASSROOTS BACKING OPPOSES MAINE UNIVERSITY’S ‘MALLIFICATION’

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/11/university-of-southern-maine-becomes-administration-of-southern-maine-as-students-protest-faculty-firings.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29    A combination literature review and analysis from Naked Capitalism about events and conflicts at the University of Southern Maine, where administrators spend gaily on big-ticket capital projects while trying to constrain spending on teachers and classrooms and graduate students and such, the upshot here a reprinted ‘modest proposal,’ a la Swift: “As the president of USM pursues the first step of a plan meant to transform the university — by cutting 50 faculty positions and two more academic programs — that ‘transformation’ is effectively cutting out the core of what a university should be.  Let’s call the result the Administration of Southern Maine.   A$M, as I’ll call it, has already begun the process of shedding the unsightly, bulky professoriate by excising the programs of American and New England studies, geosciences, humanities at the Lewiston-Auburn College, applied medical sciences and French.  Neque Magistri (Neither Professors)  But why stop there?  The elimination of 50 faculty is effectively a course correction for last spring, when USM’s former president rescinded the individual layoffs of 12 faculty members.  Indeed, who needs those pesky professors with their incessant whining about ‘transparency,’ ‘shared governance,’ and ‘responsibility to students?’  Administration is a powerful, majestic stallion annoyed at every turn by these gadflies.  Eliminating all faculty would solve a problem that has plagued every administration.Neque Discipuli (Nor Students)… .Neque Salariarii (Nor Staff).”

5CiiLEADERSHIP VERSUS MANAGEMENT

http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2014/11/management-and-art-future-thinking/99188/?oref=govexec_today_nl    One of GovExec’s occasional gems, in which it delves some core issue that concerns how organizations operate and can work more effectively, in this case communicating ideas and data about the difference between leadership, and its vision, and management, and its efficiencies: “Leaders and managers operate with different priorities.  As I review my career, I see that I lean toward management.  Which way do you lean?  As a manager, I make things run smoothly by streamlining processes, applying resources efficiently and using performance metrics.  By contrast, effective leaders present a vision for the future.  They grow an organization by moving it in new directions.  There is no right or wrong here.  Clearly, an organization needs both leadership and management to succeed consistently.  What is important is that you understand yourself and the leanings of those around you.”

ATTAINABLE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY GOALS

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/media-center/reports/energy-revolution-2014/   A portal to a Greenpeace White Paper that lays out a roadmap for the U.S.’s achieving close to a hundred per cent renewable electricity within the next three to four decades: “The Energy [R]evolution aims to wean the economy off dirty fuels as thoroughly and quickly as possible, and in a way that is technologically, politically, and ecologically realistic.  This report is part of a global analysis showing how the international economy can transition to nearly 100% renewable energy by 2050, while assuming no new ‘breakthrough technologies’.”

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

WILLIAM GIBSON ON LIFE AND REALITY

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/william-gibson-on-life-inside-and-outside-the-internet-20141118    A briefing about Gibson and his newest book, Peripheral, from Rolling Stone, followed by an interview about writing and life: “At the time you coined “cyberspace,” you’d supposedly barely spent any time on a computer.  That’s hard to believe.
Oh no, I had scarcely seen one.  Personal computers were not common objects at all, and I had been writing short fiction on the kind of manual portable that hipsters are starting to pay really good money for now.  And then a friend of mine called from Texas and said, ‘My dad just gave me this machine called an Apple IIc, and, like, it automates the writing of fiction — you’ve gotta get one.’  So I went down to a department store, which was the only Apple dealership in town.  I bought the IIc and the printer and the bits you needed to make it work and took it all home in a box, and never looked back.  It was a godsend for me because I can’t type, and having this endlessly correctable, effortlessly correctable way to write was fantastic.”

PROFITEERING MONOPOLY ‘NET-NEUTRALITY’ VIEWS & THEIR REFUTATION

https://www.publicknowledge.org/press-release/public-knowledge-refutes-house-and-senate-republicans-letter-to-fcc#When:16:44:00Z   A Public Knowledge deconstruction–via Benton.org, which has studied this matter(http://benton.org/headlines/three-options-future-net-neutrality?utm_campaign=Newsletters&utm_source=sendgrid&utm_medium=email) voluminously for years–of House Republican leadership’s kowtowing to corporate perspectives on this matter about which regular citizens agree regardless of political affiliation: “‘Chairman Fred Upton, Ranking Member John Thune, and the other signatories to the letter praise the values of net neutrality and an Open Internet, but insist that the FCC has no authority to create enforceable rules to protect these values.  The President proposes the way forward to use existing authority — reclassifying broadband as a Title II service.  Rather than engage on the merits, Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Thune respond with a litany of talking points provided by industry lobbyists, choosing to side with a handful of special interests rather than the millions of small businesses, entrepreneurs and ordinary Americans who want to keep the internet a level playing field for all.'”

RECENT ARTICLES & SUCH ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA, THE WEB, ETC.

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/news-media/whats-new-digital-social-media-research-november-2014-dark-web-bittorrent-tracking-technologies-twitter?utm_source=JR-email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JR-email    Another Journalists Resource compilation from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, a selection of materials from November 2014 that deal with digital and social media and related topics: “‘Be Careful What You Wish for: The Impact of Advertisement Choice on Viewers’ Expectations

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214005329From Tusculum College and Kansas State University, published in Computers in Human Behavior. By Stephen C. Nettelhorst, Whitney K. Jeter, and Laura A. Brannon.

radio3Speaking of digital ad models relevant to media, one more recent innovation has been giving viewers of video content a choice of ads to watch at certain junctures, a move that marketers hope will empower viewers and give them some ‘buy in.’  The researchers studied the responses of 271 students to determine how ‘ad choice’ plays out and the cognitive processes associated, particularly gender-specific patterns.  The authors state that, contrary to some prior research that showed effects primarily on females, both male and female viewers build up heightened expectations about ads they choose to view.  However, the study ultimately suggests that merely giving viewers choice is not a ‘panacea,’ as there is potential both for increased engagement and increased disappointment: ‘If utilized well, this technique can lead to various psychological changes that marketers strive for.  On the other hand, providing this choice may do nothing or potentially lead to negative consequences if viewers do not experience what they desire.'”

 

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

CUTTING EDGE INFORMATION TRANSMISSION & EFFICIENCY

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626204/?sc=dwhn  One of those projects, reported here via NewsWise, that lets an observer peak just over the present horizon at what might be coming in regard to information transmission and storage, in this case in regard to ‘spin waves,’ a physical property that associates with electromagnetism and has potential to transfer huge amounts of information with relatively low expenditure of energy: ” By contrast, short-wavelength spin waves can move over greater distances, more quickly, and with less energy, and thus present the possibility of improving a range of communications and electronic devices.  In the Nature Nanotechnology study, the researchers conducted a series of experiments in which they built nanometer scale electrical contacts to inject spin-polarized electrical currents into magnetic materials—a process developed to create and control the movements of its spin waves.”

AN ORAL HISTORY TED-PRIZE WINNER

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/17/business/media/david-isay-wins-2015-ted-prize-for-storycorps-an-oral-history-project.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=2       A breaking news-analysis from The Times about the winner of the annual TED Prize, this year a project that conducts long-feature conversations between people who like and respect each other, a way to contextualize caring and social interaction at one and the same time: “StoryCorps, which was founded in 2003 and is based in Brooklyn, puts two friends or loved ones in a room with a microphone and a facilitator for 40 minutes of conversation.  At the end, a CD of the conversation is given to the participants, and, with permission, to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.  By the end of the month, StoryCorps expects to have had 100,000 participants, adding about 100 conversations a week.  There are StoryCorps booths in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and New York, and a mobile booth that is currently making its way to Dallas, Mr. Isay said.  The conversations are by appointment only — ‘I am an old journalist, and I expect people to prepare for interviews,’ he said.”
RECENT HAPPENINGS

CALIFORNIA PRISON LABOR & MASS INCARCERATION

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/11/17/3592964/how-californias-program-to-have-inmates-fight-wildfires-could-be-keeping-people-behind-bars/     A mandatory read from Think Progress that deconstructs the California Department of Corrections responses to an overwhelmingly-supported citizen initiative on the ballot two weeks back that required reclassifying several felonies–primarily in relation to the criminal conspiracy against citizens that authorities call a ‘War-on-Drugs’–as misdemeanors, which would necessitate release of many inmates, which CDOC is resisting because it relies on the involuntary servitude of prison labor: “The incentives of this wildfire and other labor programs are seemingly in conflict with the goal of reducing U.S. reliance on mass incarceration.  But the federal judges overseeing this litigation were nonetheless sensitive to the state’s need for inmate firefighters.  That’s why they ordered the state to offer 2-for-1 credits only to those many inmates who weren’t eligible for the wildfire program.  This way, inmates who were eligible would still be incentivized to choose fighting wildfires, while those that weren’t could choose other rehabilitative work programs to reduce their sentence.  The Department of Corrections didn’t like this idea, either.  It argued that offering 2-for-1 credits to any inmates who perform other prison labor would mean more minimum security inmates would be released earlier, and they wouldn’t have as large of a labor pool.  They would still need to fill those jobs by drawing candidates who could otherwise work fighting wildfires, and would be ‘forced to draw down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF [Minimum Support Facility] positions.’  In other words, they didn’t want to have to hire full-time employees to perform any of the work that inmates are now performing.”

Bunny!!G-20’S ISOLATION OF RUSSIA & PUTIN’S RESPONSE

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/16/vladimir-putin-leaves-g20-after-leaders-line-up-to-browbeat-him-over-ukraine     A Guardian assessment of the recent early exit of Russian Premier Vladimir Putin from the Group-of-Twenty gathering in Brisbane, Australia, where U.S. and Western European powers actively sought to portray Russia as isolated and suffering as a result of sanctions and so forth: “In an interview with German TV he also accused the west of switching off their brains by imposing sanctions that could backfire.  Putin said: ‘Do they want to bankrupt our banks?  In that case they will bankrupt Ukraine.  Have they thought about what they are doing at all or not?  Or has politics blinded them?  As we know eyes constitute a peripheral part of brain.  Was something switched off in their brains?’ …Although the western media has portrayed Putin as an isolated figure at the summit, he has continued to forge close relations with the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) a grouping that is becoming increasingly organised at the G20 and, in terms of economic size, more than matches the size of the G7 economies.”
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

GUARANTEEING REACTIONARY POLITICAL MAJORITIES

http://projects.aljazeera.com/2014/double-voters/       A deeply researched empirical analysis of ‘Cross-Checked’ voting validation, by Greg Palast in Al Jazeera America, which demonstrates the huge blow against working class impact in electoral politics that current legislative and administrative operations are striking: “The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic.  Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice.  This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters.  White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.”

POLITICAL VISION FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40254.htm    A transcript of an interview with Vladimir Putin that a popular correspondent from German Television, conducted, the multiple insights and analysis of which make the entire document essential for scrappy scribes to consider: ”

Furthermore(in addition to NATO expansion that broke multiple promises), the number of military bases is growing.  Does Russia have military bases around the world?  NATO and the United States have military bases scattered all over the globe, including in areas close to our borders, and their number is growing.  Moreover, just recently it was decided to deploy Special Operations Forces, again in close proximity to our borders.  You have mentioned various exercises, flights, ship movements, and so on.  Is all of this going on?  Yes, it is indeed.  However, first of all, you said – or perhaps it was an inaccurate translation – that they have been conducted in the international European airspace.  Well, it is either international (neutral) or European airspace.  So, please note that our exercises have been conducted exclusively in international waters and international airspace.  In 1992, we suspended the flights of our strategic aircraft and they remained at their air bases for many years.  During this time, our US partners continued the flights of their nuclear aircraft to the same areas as before, including areas close to our borders.  Therefore, several years ago, seeing no positive developments, no one is ready to meet us halfway, we resumed the flights of our strategic aviation to remote areas.  That’s all.”

 

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18: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

December 1, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Eighteen

 

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11/18/2014

 

Having driven past their exit in the snow, distracted by the process of parsing little bits of history, Jimbo in some senses barely made the trek home with complete safety.  But he and his love arrived to find their nest snuggly but oh-so-frigid, like an anteroom to a walk in refrigerator.

Returning from such a substantial diversion as New York and Unions and absolutely ascendant petty-bourgeois and identity-politics claptrap must inevitably present a certain discombobulation, to grab a term phrased who knows when.  In any event, the need to keep up with this novelized process, the need to meet looming deadlines, the need to start a fire in order not to freeze to fucking death, these are elements of the moment that draw Jimbo from slumber to the world.

What draws him back to the nest is the sweet warmth and lovely form of Mistress Boo, so strong and lissome in her wiles.  Hmmmm.  Anyhow, with orders of battle deployed, with this template decreed so as to permit later additions should they prove useful, Jimbo is ready to slurp!

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11/18/14LailyDinks

A Thought for the Day

We enter the world way behind where we need to be, helpless masses of less-than-fully coordinated goo that need our mothers’ nipples for years while we learn to walk, talk, shit, and generally take in the laws of physics and the rules of social reality; paradoxically, we are born with more than enough time for everything that we might want to accomplish and then some, whether in the realm of Nobel prizes or participation in championships or something else altogether—finding and keeping a fully-actualized existence that avoids the pitfalls of never-ending drudgery and alienation from ourselves, each other, and decency represents one way of expressing what having a good life means.
Quote of the Day

“A critic recently described me, with deadly acuteness, as having ‘a kindly dislike of my fellow-creatures.’  Perhaps dread would have been nearer the mark than dislike; for man is the only animal of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid. …To understand a saint, you must hear the devil‘s advocate; and the same is true of the artist. …(After all), (t)he worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.

 

This Day in History

Five hundred twenty-one years ago, the ships under Christopher Columbus’ command first caught sight of what we now know as Puerto Rico; Ottoman imperial troops four hundred thirteen years back smashed Austrian forces at the Siege of Nagykanizsa; the future Frederick the Great, under house arrest two hundred eight-four years ago, gained his freedom after a royal pardon; the future journalist and reformer Dorothea Dix came on the scene as a healthy baby girl one century and fifty-three years back; Mark Twain first published “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” a hundred forty-nine years prior to the present pass; one hundred thirteen years before the present, the baby boy—what were the chances?—who would become famed statistician and polling wizard George Gallup was born; a hundred five years back, the U.S. sent two warships to intervene in Nicaragua after a relatively small force of ‘revolutionaries’ threatened the United-States-installed dictator, Jose Santos Zelaya; ninety-two years ago, the renowned novelist and stylist Marcel Proust drew his last breath; George Bernard Shaw refused the monetary portion of his Nobel Prize eighty-eight years back, claiming that the invention of dynamite was more forgivable than the creation of a Nobel Prize for Literature; John L. Lewis seventy-six years before the here-and-now became the first President of the Congress of Industrial Organizations; a year later to the day, a baby girl entered the world who would compose the acclaimed work of Margaret Atwood; seventy years back, Cuban young people and their advisers inaugurated the Popular Socialist Youth organization in their country, where the likes of Fidel Castro gained ideas and perspectives that affected their later work; fifty-three years ago, John F. Kennedy authorized the dispatch of 18,000 military advisers to South Vietnam; forty-four years before today, Richard Nixon requested $150 million in supplemental aid for the Cambodian government; thirty-six years ago, after Jonestown ‘defenders’ assassinated Congressman Leo Ryan, Jim Jones directs his followers to drink cyanide and kill themselves, in a mass murder-suicide that claims the lives of nearly a thousand people in Guyana, including nearly two hundred children; Ronald Reagan a decade later exactly authorized the death penalty for drug traffickers; a year ago, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched its MAVEN probe toward Mars, where it has recently arrived and landed.

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SEARCH OF THE DAY
“myth of the individual” OR “myth of individualism” narcissism OR solipsistic OR “self centered” socialization OR inculcation analysis history = 579 results–(See Also, “myth of the individual” OR “myth of individualism” = 181,000 Citations)

TOP OF THE FOLD

UAW COUPS IN CHATTANOOGA

http://chieforganizer.org/2014/11/12/uaw-reveals-the-deal-for-vw-recognition-in-breakthrough/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ChieforganizerBlog+%28Chief+Organizer+Blog%29   An ‘I told you so’ moment for the Chief Organizers Blog of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a prediction that the United Auto Workers would network behind the scenes with Volkswagen and German unions to achieve a victory in the narrow defeat UAW suffered in Chattanooga in the Spring, a forecast that is coming true: “Enough said!  The haters and the baiters and the politicians are going to have to grin and bear it, and shut their pie holes this time, because the union is now going to be there to stay in the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The South and the Union will rise again!”

RECENT BLOG-POSTS

 

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

TRUTHOUT CITATION, WITH HEADING AND SYNOPSIS

Colombia Resolution, DITTO ABOVE
Mumia Resolution, DITTO ABOVE

General announcement about NEB meeting, with more particular expressions of the gathering’s results to come

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

DATA SCIENCE FOR SOCIAL GOOD INTERNSHIPS

http://dssg.uchicago.edu/faq/   The application option for next Summer’s University of Chicago Data-Science-for-Social-Good opportunities, with video explanation(http://dssg.uchicago.edu/#video)also available: “The Eric & Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good fellowship is a University of Chicago summer program for aspiring data scientists to work on data mining, machine learning, big data, and data science projects with social impact.”

LONGSHOT CONTEST, $5,000

http://givingsideofbusiness.maker.good.is/   A window from the Daily Good that lets a ‘business’ pitch itself as worthy of receiving five thousand dollars to support a particular community, an opportunity for every scrappy scribe Union chapter perhaps: “Help inspire your fellow small businesses by sharing how your company is making a difference in the world.  We want to celebrate businesses that align their core values with their actual operations.  Enter the Giving Side of Business Maker Challenge for the chance to receive $5,000 to help your business further its impact.
Submissions are open from Monday, October 27th to Thursday, November 20th, 2014, noon Pacific Time.  The chosen company will be selected based on its ability to creatively integrate profit and purpose into its business.  The winning company will also win a feature on GOOD to inspire other companies through its successes and challenges.”

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ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

INVESTIGATIVE IMPACT

http://impact.gijn.org/    A gateway from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to its Investigative Impact project, which connects viewers and readers to ongoing and completed depth-reportage from agents of corruption and duplicity around the world: “Investigative Impact showcases the impact of investigative journalism around the world.  It focuses on the critical contribution made by in-depth, systematic reporting to fighting corruption, promoting accountability, and fostering transparency.  Despite its often dramatic results, the field receives relatively little support and is routinely under attack.  This project includes 10 case studies of high-impact reports, video interviews with leading investigative journalists in 20 countries, and a comprehensive survey of available resources.”

RADIOTOPIC THOUGHTS AT KICKSTARTER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N0aZc7kw4c&utm_source=PRX+-+Public+Radio+Exchange&utm_campaign=6fddfc9894-Storytime_Radiotopia_11_12_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_31613e47c3-6fddfc9894-176637593     A YouTube space for RadioTopia, via Kickstarter, where “extraordinary stories of ordinary life” show up, with advice and ideas and networking options galore.

GETTING RID OF PRISONS

http://www.thecrimereport.org/viewpoints/2014-11-changing-the-priorities-of-a-prison-happy-country    A potent statement from The Crime Report about the at best foolish, or insane, infatuation with punishment that typifies American ruling elites, and which in too many ways citizens accept, and how different alternatives might be possible to develop: “We should encourage legislatures to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences and allow courts to fashion alternatives, in the hope that a reduction in prison population will free money for prison services.  For example, restoring Pell grants would allow prisoners to complete college educations as was done before.  We should improve mental health services.  We have more mental health patients in prison than in all hospitals combined.  We should encourage communities and states to support after-school programs and mentoring efforts such as those occurring in New Orleans.  We have an abundance of good ideas that have proven their worth.  Let’s share them and use them!  The Brennan Center for Justice’s recent publication, “Federal Prosecutions for the 21st Century,” focuses on success measures for federal prosecutors and suggests ways for U.S. Attorney’s Offices to reorient their practices toward the ‘twin goals of reducing crime and reducing mass incarceration.'”

BECOMING LINKWORTHY

http://searchengineland.com/real-reason-one-wants-link-206819?utm_source=marketo&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=scap&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonv6TOZKXonjHpfsX%2B7O0rWK%2BylMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4ATcFmMa%2BTFAwTG5toziV8R7fHK816y9AQWxXm       A workmanlike and insightful set of guidelines to increasing the likelihood of interaction on the basis of web presence, and more: “4.Are you missing social sharing buttons on your posts?  If I’m linking to something, then I want it to show signs of life.  Why would I want to promote a post that the author doesn’t even feel like promoting?  Obviously, this applies only to certain types of content, as most people aren’t going to be tweeting your About Us page.  However, if it’s a blog post, take the two minutes to install a WordPress social buttons plugin. …6. ATROCIOUS WRITING.

ANTI-WAR VETERAN REMEMBERANCE

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/11/11/iraq-war-veteran-outspoken-war-critic-tomas-young-dead-34     A chilling, heartbreaking report from Common Dreams that details the slow death as a result of war trauma of a veteran whose dedication to ending the imperial war machine’s plunder of American life was stronger than the fact of his death, including a moving video of his reading of his last letter to Bush and Cheney: “In 2013 Young wrote ‘The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran.’  From the letter: You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.  Asked by Democracy Now! last year how he would want to be remembered, he said: ‘That I fought as hard as I could to keep young men and women away from military service. I fought as hard as I could to keep another me from coming back to Iraq.'”

SPINDOCMTN BANNERPOWERFULLY DEFENDING READER COMMENTS

https://gigaom.com/2014/11/11/ending-reader-comments-is-a-mistake-even-if-you-are-reuters/    An assessment of the recent Reuters decision to disallow future commentary on-site, which represents both a diminution of an arguably important space for dialog and a ‘outsourcing,’ so to speak of this function elsewhere: “(W)hat Reuters is really doing is two-fold: it is effectively offloading the cost of moderation to its writers — who will now be responding on Twitter and Facebook either on their own time or during work hours or both — and it is handing over much of the value of that engagement with readers to Twitter and Facebook and other social platforms.  The bottom line is that if the discussion and debate and interaction around a news story occurs somewhere else, then soon the readers who are interested in that engagement will start to think of the platform where it occurs as the important part of the relationship — not the site that actually created the content.  Facebook is more or less counting on that to happen, which is why it wanted to get news publishers and other sites to implement its commenting tools in the first place.”

ELECTIONS & DECLINING ‘CIVIC LITERACY’

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/10/higher-education-in-crisis-the-2014-elections/    News analysis here from Counterpunch that, unfortunately, mixes some awesome reasoning and articulation with some presumptuous cliches about elections, basically in the process creating an argument for more of the same horrifying nonsense that the author so aptly critiques: “In terms of spotlighting public ignorance, the election results are particularly sobering for Illinois, where I currently live.  The reactionary billionaire gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner prevailed over Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn. I can’t say I’m surprised, in light of the backhand that Quinn applied to organized labor in the last year.  Quinn pushed through a reactionary pension reform, which state officials claimed was necessary after decades of state incompetence and fiscal mismanagement of the pension fund.  The reform mandated significant cuts in pay for state retirees and reduction in health care benefits.  From what I’ve been able to gather, significant contingents of organized labor in Illinois (particularly throughout the central to southern regions) failed to put up much of a fight in terms of mobilizing and organizing for Quinn.  One can hardly blame them considering his actions and his spit in the face to state workers – historically a strong force in Illinois electoral politics.  At my current teaching institution (located in central Illinois), there was scarcely a word uttered among union representatives about organizing for Quinn.  I get the impression it was much the same elsewhere, as people feel like there is little reason to support a candidate who does not fight for workers.”

MEDIA, ELECTIONS, POWER

http://rabble.ca/news/2014/11/searching-media-democracy-amid-mainstream-corporatocracy     A deeply reported and provocatively analyzed piece from Rabble.Ca about the depredations of corporate media, the systematic defunding of civil society and any independent media that might support it, and the political impact of these and similar deleterious patterns: “Unfortunately, independent media and the social movements continue to face the same grave challenges in terms of unequal access to the resources, financial stability and tools to rival mainstream conglomerates.  Reilly Yeo, Co-founder of Groundswell and community engagement specialist at OpenMedia.ca, spoke about these barriers and how they are not unique to independent media — they affect all levels of a capitalist society, and marginalize the communities and voices that threaten its agenda.  Ultimately, though, Yeo mentioned how media can be seen as central to the web of power and corporate control in our lives.  Additionally, as was brought up at the MDD workshop on Saturday — ‘Sharing Practices and Digital Tools for Social Change’ featuring Marcos Gomez (ACORN BC), Meghan Sali (OpenMedia), Stefan Avijas (Leadnow) and Tara Mahoney (GenWhy Media) — there is a digital divide in the access to technological tools and information sharing, which disproportionately affects low-income communities.”

EVERY WRITER INSURED

http://www.springboardexchange.org/features/everyartistinsured.aspx?utm_source=VerticalResponse&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=Every+Artist+Insured+-+A+Goal+and+an+Opportunity&utm_content={Email_Address}&utm_campaign=Declassifying+the+Classics    A definitely useful and arguably critical opportunity for scrappy scribes and their organization, in regard to assuring that every artist–which could include every writer–receives a chance to obtain affordable insurance coverage, though without much acknowledgment of the vicious situation that Southerners face in these matters: “There are real financial protections as well.  Insurers can no longer impose annual or lifetime dollar limits on medical benefits.  And plans must limit an enrollee’s out-of-pocket expenses (including the deductible) to $6,600 for an individual or $13,200 for a family (2015 amounts). The social significance of this cannot be exaggerated – it ends the era of ruinous medical debt, with bills of 100K or more sending afflicted families into bankruptcy. At the heart of the ACA, the feature that makes health insurance affordable for low and middle income artists, are the premium subsidies (tax credits) and other cost reductions.  The amount of the subsidy depends on actual income and family size, and works on a sliding scale. ”

ENDING THE BLAMING OF EDUCATIONAL VICTIMS

http://theconversation.com/stop-blaming-poor-parents-for-their-childrens-vocabulary-33281?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+11+November+2014+-+2076&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+11+November+2014+-+2076+CID_67fca7a7cfefd8ebe31c6f9bc4be3ff7&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Stop%20blaming%20poor%20parents%20for%20their%20childrens%20vocabulary      A piece from researchers at Furman University in South Carolina, via The Conversation, about the tendency to blame poor children or their parents for diminished skills, literacy, etc., which is both an injustice and a factually crazy position: “Ultimately, a shift in focus from the quantity of words a child hears to the quality of those words does not usher in a step-change in policy.  This is because the myth persists that the flaws of impoverished parents are passed to their children – and so the impoverished continue to be blamed for their poverty.  The deficit must be filled: first it was more words, now it is higher-quality words.  Neither approach turns our attention away from the victims of poverty and toward the social conditions creating it.  This results in differences in language among social classes – often related to grammar or vocabulary – that reflect not failed people but an inequitable society.  Such debates simply allow cultural stereotypes to determine what research matters publicly and politically – and how.  Whether we argue that impoverished parents fail to share the same number or quality of words with their children when compared to middle-class or affluent parents, we are still blaming those parents and not the social inequity driving poverty.”

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

CROWDFUNDING PITCHES, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, & MORE

http://www.crowdsourcing.org/editorial/speedlancer-is-looking-to-make-crowdsourcing-more-efficient-and-lucrative/34521     A business model that cannot help but border on perfidy while it pitches, but which may nonetheless contain all sorts of golden nuggets for scrappy scribes, in this case a CrowdSourcing precis about and interview with the CEO of a company that supposedly will help freelancers with ‘efficiency issues’ in fundraising and their work generally: “What problems do you see in the current crowdsourcing landscape, and how do you plan solve them?  A huge problem with many crowdsourcing sites is that only one seller gets paid.  This inequity means that the design industry, for example, is possibly the only industry whereby sellers are expected to work for free, and that led me to this model, where all sellers are paid.  If a customer wants more than one design, they can submit more than one duplicate task (the cost ends up working out the same as some of the most popular crowdsourcing sites out there, for say 20 designs if you wanted that many).  Another issue is that crowdsourcing sites seem to service one specific market.  We are a ‘one stop shop’ for all things design, writing, and data entry (with more to come!)”

GRASSROOTS INVESTIGATIVE MODELS

http://www.icij.org/blog/2014/09/people-power-lone-wolves-turn-citizen-masses-data-help    With examples from Argentina, France, Ukraine, and the U.S., an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists article that shows ways that depth reporting can engage communities as various sorts of participants in these time-consuming and massive projects: “Technology has opened very exciting opportunities for journalists willing to dig into data, but it also brings a new challenge: scale.  When documents are produced in the form of PDFs, when they are handwritten and are not structured in a way that allows a computer to analyze them, reporters have no choice but used the old method of entering the data manually. …Getting citizens to participate is just the beginning.  Outsourcing data transcription also comes with legal concerns.”

LOCAL JOURNALISM’S FUTURE

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/11/is-there-hope-for-local-news/382516/    An insightful and incisive examination from Atlantic about the present travails of local news, with ubiquitous attrition and decline despite the vast information needs now unaddressed, with possibilities for growth out of the mire: “Like some others across the country, Tim Redmond is trying to fill the gap with very little money or resources.  In January of this year, he launched a new site, which he calls 48 hills, to cover local stories in San Francisco with a progressive twist.  (There are 47 named hills in San Francisco, he said, but ‘in the social justice movement, we know there’s always one more hill to climb.’)  Rather than try to cobble together enough money from advertisers to launch the site, Redmond went a different route:   He structured the site as a nonprofit and asked friends, family, and private donors for money.  He held fundraisers at Bay Area restaurants and put a “donate” link on his website.  He got donations as small as $5 and as large as $15,000, and after six months, he had raised $85,000.”

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GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

COMMENTS COMMENTARY

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40197.htm      A potent assessment by analyst Paul Craig Roberts, who examines on Information Clearinghouse the trollish tendencies of comment sections when what he and his ilk are attempting to do is to compensate for the hideous deficiencies of corporate news outlets, where trolls have little or no sway: ” Websites, such as OpEdNews and Information Clearing House, that I permit to repost my columns return the favor by having comment sections in which government trolls, assorted kooks, Reagan haters, and uninformed individuals can slander me, assault my reputation, misrepresent what I write, and do their worst to counteract the information that I supply to readers.  Trolls and their ilk do the same thing to any number of writers who try to compensate for the absence of an honest Western media.  Look at who is under attack.  It is not the presstitutes at the New York Times, Washington Post, and Fox News; it is Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald, for example.  One is said to be a rapist, and the other an accessory to the theft of documents.”

CORPORATE ‘NEWS’ PRIORITIES = KNOWLEDGE AVOIDANCE
http://www.salon.com/2014/11/07/the_new_york_times_doesnt_want_you_to_understand_this_vladimir_putin_speech/   A gratifying article from Salon that has the good sense to make the same points that Daily Links has made since it opened shop, which is that ‘Westerners’ ignore the down-to-earth common sense and goodhearted openmindedness of Vladimir Putin at the immediate and continuing peril of the destruction of life on Earth, in this case a report about the recent Valdai Conference presentation: “‘A unilateral diktat and imposing one’s own models produces the opposite result,’ Putin asserted. ‘Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, instead of sovereign and stable states we see the growing spread of chaos, and instead of democracy there is support for a very dubious public ranging from open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.’  Such is Putin’s take on how we got here.  His view of where we have to go now is yet more compelling.  Our systems of global security are more or less destroyed — ‘weakened, fragmented, and deformed,’ in Putin’s words.  In the face of this reality, multipolar cooperation in the service of substantial reconstruction agreements, in which the interests of all sides are honored, is mandatory.  ‘Given the global situation, it is time to start agreeing on fundamental things,’ Putin said.  Then:  What could be the legal, political and economic basis for a new world order that would allow for stability and security, while encouraging healthy competition, not allowing the formation of new monopolies that hinder development? It is unlikely that someone could provide absolutely exhaustive, ready-made solutions right now. We will need extensive work with participation by a wide range of governments, global businesses, civil society, and such expert platforms as ours.

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RECENT HAPPENINGS

COMING UKRAINE EXPLOSION

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/12/ukra-n12.html     An intense and scary article from World Socialist Website about the recent intensification of fighting in Ukraine, which the U.S. is backing in all manner of ways and which might easily lead to wider war or even catastrophic conflict: “A law purging the public sector and civil service that was passed before parliamentary elections held by the Kiev regime in October is being used to bring the state apparatus into line.  Numerous posts that were previously occupied by people critical of the government are being handed over to the extreme right-wing forces that played a critical role in the coup that overthrew pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last February.  Juri Michaltschisin, who founded the Joseph Goebbels Institute in 2005, is reported to be the new head of the department of ‘propaganda and analysis’ of the Ukrainian secret service, the SBU.   Neo-Nazi Vadim Troyan was appointed Kiev police chief by the Interior Ministry.  Right-wing battalions of the National Guard, which are funded by various oligarchs and play a crucial role in the civil war, sought to intervene more directly into politics by running representatives in the parliamentary elections.  Although the openly fascist parties received relatively few votes, the major parties co-opted numerous right-wing extremists onto their slates.  One prominent representative is Yuri Bereza, leader of the notorious Dnepr Battalion, which is responsible for numerous human rights violations.”

IRAN: FURTHER U.S.-RUSSIA FLASHPOINT

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/12/world/europe/russia-to-build-2-nuclear-plants-in-iran-and-possibly-6-more.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=2      A breaking-news analysis from The Times about how Russia’s view of Iran’s nuclear program is moving forward despite disagreement with and resistance from the United States: “The agreement shows that Russia is pressing ahead with its own vision for ensuring that Iran does not build nuclear weapons, by supplying civilian power technology that will operate under international monitoring.  The approach won acceptance from the International Atomic Energy Agency and, grudgingly, from the Bush administration over the last decade as Russia completed Iran’s first civilian nuclear plant, at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf coast.”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

COLOMBIAN PRISON & CLASS STRUGGLE

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2014/whitney111114.html   One of those pieces behind which the entire world lurks, the understanding of which therefore reaches the level of consciousness and ideology, which are inevitably necessary to impact if one wants to move then into the action sphere: “Beginning on October 20, hunger strikes and rejection of prison rules spread throughout 14 Colombian prisons.  Spokespersons for the National Prison Movement (Movimiento Nacional Carcelario — MNC), organizer of the demonstrations, denounced overcrowding, miserable healthcare, impediments to family visiting, poor food, filthy sanitary conditions, and contaminated and scarce water.  They accused prison authorities of torture, reprisals, and corruption.  Guards at Cómbita prison bent on intimidation placed political prisoners in isolation.  Tramacúa prison in Valledupar was cited as the “the number one center for torture and systematic violation of human rights.”  Tramacúa, some say, is the ‘Guantanamo of Colombia.'”

EDUCATIONAL INEQUITY LITIGATION

http://www.pilcop.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/1.-Complaint-e-filed.pdf     A powerfully articulated lawsuit from low-and-middle-income plaintiffs against the school authorities in Pennsylvania for completely and systematically ignoring best practices and crushing the educational prospects of youngsters: “Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, Respondents have an obligation to support a thorough and efficient public school system that provides all children an equal opportunity to receive an adequate education.  Through legislation and regulation, Respondents have established state academic standards that define precisely what an adequate education entails.  But rather than equip children to meet those standards and participate meaningfully in the economic, civic, and social life of their communities, Respondents have adopted an irrational and inequitable school financing arrangementthat drastically underfunds school districts across the Commonwealth and discriminates against children on the basis of the taxable property and household incomes in their districts.”

 

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17: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

December 1, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Seventeen

 

11/17/2014

"Love Coffee" by Ahmed Rabea from Manama, Bahrain - Love Coffee. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Love Coffee” by Ahmed Rabea from Manama, Bahrain 

Ditto the above initial observation, and then some.  Having decided never again to court Panera Bread Company, Alicia and Jim look for a wi-fi spot in Winchester, Virginia, after a morning of adventures there.

Writing a Craigslist ad for Jimbo’s friend is just one of the little jobs upcoming.  The main thing now is catching up.

Car naughtiness three times: what sorts of fiends are our sojourners?  Lovely fiends, loving fiends, luscious fiends, yum.

The gray portends snow, but none of the mountains wear the mantles of white as of yet.  The road, so blithely entered at an hour just past noon, drives Alicia berserk with boredom. 

Does she intuit or foresee a Virginia Highway Patrolmen as darkness beckons these travelers to Tennessee?  He awaits, in any case.

Production while driving is certainly fun.  Day in History links seem to fly faster when Jimbo and Alicia collaborate on parsing the pass as the landscape zooms by at seventy-five miles per hour.

The snow, a blanket of balm that greets them after their encounter with John Law, again brings to mind mortality.

 

Pensive Parakeet11/17/14 DailyLinks

TOP OF THE FOLD

‘NON-PROFIT’ FINANCIAL POLITICAL CLOUT

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2014/11/12/lever-of-power-how-philanthropy-shaped-the-2014-election.html    A detailed and critically important examination from Inside Philanthropy about the megabucks of 501-(c)-3 organizations that primarily support a ‘long game’ contextualization of reactionary and imperial agendas in electoral politics, which tax law prohibits such groups from engaging directly: “One reason the President’s polling numbers have stayed in the dumps and Americans have remained so gloomy is that a well-financed conservative network of 501(c)3 policy shops has pounded the administration for its every misstep, cast endless doubt on Obama’s key policies, and ceaselessly argued that the economic glass is half full, no matter what the latest numbers show.  Bill Clinton famously claimed that a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ was trying to bring him down.  Today, though, the universe of conservative groups is both bigger and better funded than it was in Clinton’s day.  The Heritage Foundation’s budget is over twice what it was in the 1990s, thanks to the generosity of foundations and wealthy individuals.  Among other things, Heritage has relentlessly attacked Obama on the immigration and Common Core, both red meat issues for GOP base voters.  The American Enterprise Institute, which houses many of the experts bashing Obama’s foreign policy, has experienced a spurt of funding in the past few years, including a recent $20 million donation.  The Cato Institute, where David Koch sits on the board, may be more influential than ever, supplying ammunition for libertarian critics of the president like Rand Paul.”

RECENT BLOG-POSTS

 

ALGORITHMS IN THE FIELD

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15515/nsf15515.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click    A National Science Foundation Request For Proposals due early February, 2015, concerning computer science theory and applications: “Algorithms in the Field encourages closer collaboration between two groups of researchers: (i) theoretical computer science researchers, who focus on the design and analysis of provably efficient and provably accurate algorithms for various computational models; and (ii) applied researchers including a combination of systems and domain experts (very broadly construed – including but not limited to researchers in computer architecture, programming languages and systems, computer networks, cyber-physical systems, cyber-human systems, machine learning, database and data analytics, etc.) who focus on the particular design constraints of applications and/or computing devices.”

UPCOMING JOURNALISM AWARDS

http://www.poynter.org/mediawire/top-stories/281365/21-journalism-contests-you-should-enter/   From Poynter.org, a listing of 21 prizes for a wide spectrum of journalistic excellence.

YES! STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST

http://www.yesmagazine.org/for-teachers/exemplary-essay-project-registration-form?utm_source=EdNews&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=20141112    An opportunity from Yes! magazine for student writers, with entries due mid-January, 2015.

MAGNA CARTA DECEMBER PROGRAM

https://www.facebook.com/events/660494074065315/    A Library of Congress presentation December 9, via a FaceBook portal.

cardboard1ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

PASSIONATE DRUG REFORM LEADERSHIP

http://www.drugpolicy.org/blog/ethan-nadelmanns-fiery-ted-talk-what-has-war-drugs-done-world   A briefing and video from Drug Policy Alliance of a recent TedTalk by the organizational executive director, worthy of a standing ovation and plenty of reflection about our government’s corruption and venality in the matter of drugs, despite the speaker’s contention that the repeated and predictable results of a century of such policies were not the intention of the policies’ promoters: “Twenty years ago, Ethan Nadelmann left his teaching position at Princeton University to become a full-time advocate for ending the drug war.  As the founding executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the largest and most influential organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, Ethan’s vision and leadership have had a monumental impact on public opinion and changed the course of history.”

JASON HIRSCHORN ON CNN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njVAxby5MaQ&curator=MediaREDEF    A forty minute interview between Jason Hirschorn and CNN’s Brian Stelter, about REDEF’s coming paywall and the present pass in relation to mediation, information, commodification, and a lot more: Must Listen!

OBVERSE ‘DRUG’ ISSUES–ADHD

http://maglomaniac.com/making-adhd/     An essential examination of mandatory-‘medication,’ an opposite tendency that connects seamlessly with the so-called ‘War-on-Drugs,’ from Maglomaniac: “And the stimulants used for ADD/A.D.H.D. are a disaster for kids who actually have anxiety.  But rather than thinking of alternatives to drugs, when classroom management is the main goal, psychiatrists proscribe ‘toppers’ to calm them down.  Though the drugs often come with suicidal thoughts and are admitted to block creative thought, specifically drawing ability, this cocktail is widely disseminated.  So where does our next generation of innovators come from to invent new industries and inspire a skilled work force?  Not in a United States, where a generation of children suffer the stigma of labels.  Worse yet, little research has been done on the long-terms affect of drug cocktails on growing brains.  Managing a classroom for convenience is a choice that has impoverished the lives and futures of children, their families, and our nation.  You have only to look at The Economist’s comparison of the U.S. and Britain, where only 2 out 10 boys are diagnosed to the U.S.’s staggering 8 out of 10.  In Britain, the treatment is cognitive therapy, in the classroom and home, with a 98% success rate.”

REALITY TV’S NEWS CONTEXTUALIZATION

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/80718/some-question-mixing-reality-tv-tv-news?utm_source=NetNewsCheck-rss&utm_medium=latest-news-feed&utm_campaign=latest-news-feed-Some-Question-Mixing-Reality-TV-TV-News&utm_reader=feedly    Via Benton.org, an article from TVNewsCheck that deals with a new phenomenon, the creation of ‘reality television’ versions of how news rooms and journalism operate: “‘There’s a high level of staging and direction that goes on in these shows, so the news personnel effectively become actors.’  The show, Breaking Greenville, is an eight-episode ‘character-driven docu-soap’ scheduled to debut in December on Turner’s TruTV (there’s no set date yet).  The show chronicles the lives of those reporting and producing the news at ABC affiliate WABG and CBS affiliate WXVT, the two news-producers in the country’s 190th largest market.”

VERIFICATION TOOLS

https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/5-tools-storyful-recommends-for-social-media-monitoring-and-verification/s2/a563015/     A portal from Journalism.Co in England, providing access to tools that can assist writers in interacting with and verifying information stated on social media platforms: “‘People are realising now that there’s a wealth of sources and information out there to help you do a different type of journalism, and it allows stories to emerge from regions that may otherwise not have had that reportage or coverage,’ explained Malachy Brown, news editor at Storyful.  The social newswire, which was bought by News Corp at the end of last year, has carved a niche for itself in monitoring conversations which are emerging on social networks around newsworthy events using platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Google Maps.  ‘By effectively organising social media you are able to listen to those conversations and exclude all of the crap that you don’t really need to listen to,’ explained Brown.”

DATA JOURNALISM LINKS

http://gijn.org/2014/11/10/top-ten-ddj-the-weeks-most-popular-data-journalism-links-35/    From the Global Investigative Journalism Network, a ‘top-ten’ list of data-journalism links: “6. Guardian launches open-source data journalism tool

Collaborative data journalism platform Swarmize has launched today to offer editors and journalists better tools for the use of data, including real-time visualisation.  Swarmize, now in alpha, won funding through the Knight News Challenge in June, and has been built at the Guardian over the last four months.”

 

Photograph by Rama via Wikimedia Commons

Photograph by Rama via Wikimedia Commons

REPORTING WHAT VLADIMIR PUTIN SAYS

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40201.htm    From one of the handful of sources that carry transcripts and complete videos of Vladimir Putin’s speeches and presentations, Information Clearinghouse, the Russian premier’s sitdown at the Asia Pacific Economic Conference last week, like most of what Putin has proffered of late, an absolute mandatory listen and read for scrappy scribes who don’t want to be crappy fools: “Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region is one of Russia’s strategic priorities.  The overall constructive spirit that characterises our relations with the vast majority of countries in the region is very important.  We value this spirit greatly and will do everything possible to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas.   Many Asia-Pacific region countries offer successful examples of roads to follow in developing their competitive abilities.  They have taken the lead in innovation sectors and have considerable financial and investment resources at their disposal.  Even faced with the negative global trends of recent years, they have kept up a good pace and had only a slight slowdown in growth.  At the same time, in order not to end up caught in a more protracted slowdown, countries in the region will need to carry out significant structural reforms.  It is not by chance that our Chinese friends, for example, have made this issue one of the priorities for the APEC presidency.”

UNION ROOTS IN ‘ASSEMBLY’

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626010/?sc=dwhn    From NewsWise, an entryway to critical and important thinking about rejuvenating the labor movement from its present paltry pass: “In “Re-Assembling Labor,” published online Nov. 5 in Social Science Research Network, the authors seek to draw the lessons of assembly into contemporary labor law — to re-assemble labor law around the theory and doctrine of assembly that formed its early core.”

FADDISH DEATH MEDICINE

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626002/?sc=dwhn     A research portal from NewsWise that examines the horrifying expansion of so-called ‘medicines’ that doctors prescribe and drug companies profit from, supposedly to ‘cure’ all sorts of ‘mental disorders’ that have sketchy scientific basis at best: “Why are psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants, psychostimulants, anxiolytics, and antipsychotics… increasingly prescribed in North America?  Drawing a parallel between the dilemmas facing medicine in the nineteenth century and those that currently exist in the field of mental health, the sociologist and historian Johanne Collin, a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Pharmacy, believes this increase in prescriptions is partly explained by the therapeutic reasoning of physicians.   ‘There is an increase in the number of people who receive prescriptions for psychotropic drugs and a growing tendency to prescribe several psychotropic drugs to the same patient.  More and more children, adolescents, and young adults are taking psychotropic medications and are increasingly prescribed more than one psychotropic medication at a time,’ Collin said.  Many theories could be advanced to explain this phenomenon: physicians’ lack of knowledge, the influence of the pharmaceutical industry, patient demands or even a possible ‘fashion factor’ when new drugs are marketed.”

NON-INSANE, HUMANE CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY

http://theconversation.com/university-courses-for-prisoners-could-reduce-re-offending-rates-33757?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+12+November+2014+-+2079&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+12+November+2014+-+2079+CID_d67d06d1848357dd267d2b6ec7c182dd&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=University%20courses%20for%20prisoners%20could%20reduce%20re-offending%20rates      Another gem from The Conversation, dealing with data and other reality-based ways of looking at prisons, to wit, helping those in jail to gain college experience helps them to avoid future incarceration and helps society at the same time: “Given the opportunity to study in prison, they often complete all the basic education on offer and want to progress to higher-level (post-secondary) study on offer through distance-learning.  The Open University is the largest provider, with nearly 1,700 students in prison in 2012-13.  Previous research has shown there are many barriers to distance-learning in prison – but also that prisoners appeared transformed by their study and thought that it would help them in the future.  To investigate how prisoners were changed by their study and whether it actually made a difference to them after release, I interviewed 51 adult prisoners who had studied (or attempted to study) with a variety of distance-learning providers, in ten prisons across England and Wales.  I traced more than half of them after their release and re-interviewed them many times during the following year.  I also interviewed ten former prisoners who had been released for many years, as well as more than 60 education, prison and probation staff, family and peers.”

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

CONTENT MANAGEMENT POINTERS

http://www.fiercecontentmanagement.com/story/how-washington-post-accidently-innovated-its-cms-platform/2014-11-12?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal   From the Fierce organization’s Content Management blog, a look at WaPo’s experience of serendipity and empowerment via its Pagebuilder experiment over the past year, about which Poynter.org has also reported(http://www.poynter.org/mediawire/274377/how-a-small-experiment-at-the-washington-post-revolutionized-its-content-management-platform/), all arguably useful, even crucial, for scrappy scribes to note and follow: “For a CMS to be truly useful to organizations, it must be intuitive and super fast, and must make it easy for users to create and post content.  Looking at such systems primarily as a content storage and management system is a bad idea.  Sure you want to be able to record, store and summon content at will, but if content creation is impeded what have you gained?  Add to that inconvenient truth the need to present the content across a variety of mobile platforms and things get complicated quickly.”

193px-Film_stripFORCING PAYMENT FROM VIRTUAL MEDIA

http://digiday.com/publishers/blendle-co-founder-defends-low-paid-user-figures/    A briefing from DigiDay about Blendle’s business model, consisting of skeptical thoughts from some analysts and a spirited defense from the company itself: “Dutch journalism startup Blendle offers content from a range of Dutch- and English-speaking publishers to users who pay by the article.  Having launched in April 2014, this iTunes-like service now claims to have 145,000 users, 20 percent of whom pay for access to articles once they’ve read their allotted free content.”

FACEBOOK CENSORSHIP

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/223626-group-asks-facebook-for-more-info-on-censorship-requests    A report from The Hill about an Electronic Frontier Foundation expose about FaceBook’s acceding regularly from national ‘requests’ to withhold links to unwanted information, from the perspective of the State: “Those censorship requests are highest in India, Pakistan and Turkey, where local laws prohibit criticism of a religion or the state.  Facebook notes that it only takes down content that is ‘illegal under local law.’  When those local laws do not violate Facebook‘s terms of service, it only restricts that content in the specific country.  ‘We report data on the number of pieces of content we have restricted because they are alleged to violate local laws.  All such cases have been subject to legal review,’ the company notes.  The EFF said that the technology companies regrettably must comply with censorship requests when they open an office in some foreign countries.  But the group said that wasn’t the case for Facebook in Pakistan or Turkey.”

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES
PSYCHOLOGIZING THE SOCIAL AS FETISH
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/10/kitt-n10.html      Another insightful review from World Socialist Website that illustrates with crystal clarity why so many ‘well-crafted’ media projects end up unsatisfying at best, basically as a result of the hideously petty-bourgeois presumption about class and entitlement that underlie the entire social outlook of the makers and performers in these pieces: “The characters’ pain in Olive Kitteridge is not derived from their life situation, by and large, but from their individual psychologies and relatively arbitrary traumas.  Even in certain recent American films, such as Nebraska and Frozen River, the hurt in people’s lives flows from their social circumstances.  Instead, Cholodenko’s miniseries tends to depict human suffering as daytime talk shows see it, as inexplicable and almost akin to an act of nature.  Herein lies the connection between the complacency of the generally well-off people who made Olive Kitteridge and the timeless, asocial character of the piece.  There is no hint of the fact that Maine is the poorest state in New England and a state where in a number of rural areas more than one in three people live in poverty.  The filmmakers are not especially angry at social conditions, and their self-satisfaction seeps into the series in various ways.”

HISTORICAL ADMINISTRATION OF MEDIA

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2014/11/10-comm-act    From Brookings, an overview of a panel about the legacy and forthcoming transformation of the Telecommunications Act of 1934: “Predicting the Future…is difficult if not impossible for bureaucrats. …In 1934, legislators were only dealing with radio spectrum.  There were no televisions, cellphones, voice over Internet protocol, apps, etc.  In 1996, when Congress last reauthorized the law, long distance telephone was considered the most important issue and the word ‘Internet’ received only a single mention.”

Money_CashRECENT HAPPENINGS

U.S. SUPPORT FOR NAZIS

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukrainian-neo-nazi-commander-the-us-is-training-and-funding-us/5413538      A powerful and frankly terrifying update and assessment from Global Research about the high levels of support for Ukrainian fascists from within U.S. policy, legislative, and military circles: “(Semyon Semyonchenko)was also received by IRI (International Republican Institute) and NDI (National Democratic Institute), the international branches of the two main American political parties, and met with democratic Senator Robert Menendez and republican senator Robert Corker.  ‘Menendez and Corker are the two senators who have sponsored the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, a bill that will allocate money to provide assistance to Ukraine, including the supply of weapons.   Radar, anti-tank weapons, drones, communications systems and many other useful things for our army.’  One of the main goals of his trip was to get training and much more from the US military.  Judging by his FB post, it seems he has accomplished this.”

HOUSTON’S POLICE-STATE TACTICS

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27370-documents-houston-police-use-stingray-surveillance-technology-to-sweep-up-cellphone-data    A TruthOut news analysis of the Houston Police Department’s embrace of invasive surveillance: “For the past two years, the Houston Police Department (HPD) has been quietly using contentious surveillance equipment that can amass records from cellphone calls and text messages even up to a half a mile away, records obtained by Truthout reveal.  HPD purchased the surveillance equipment, called ‘StingRay,’ in October 2012 after Houston city council members approved $100,200 in asset forfeiture funds to be used for its purchase.   The department is just one of a growing list of local police departments across the nation which have obtained the technology and have kept its use secret, citing nondisclosure agreements with Harris Corporation, the technology’s manufacturer, and the FBI.  Houston residents who have nothing to hide from law enforcement should still be concerned about the technology’s use, because, if they happen to be in the same neighborhood as a police target, their information will also be spied upon, and possibly retained by the department for an unspecified amount of time.”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

TESTING MORASS’ REJECTION

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/us/states-listen-as-parents-give-rampant-testing-an-f.html?emc=edit_ee_20141110&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=66212615    A Times news analysis of the grassroots outcry against the current testing regimens that have become characteristic of public education at every level, wherever the common core holds sway: “Last month, state school chiefs and the heads of large city districts were the latest to express their concerns by committing to review the panoply of tests students must take.  In Florida, which tests students more frequently than most other states, many schools this year will dedicate on average 60 to 80 days out of the 180-day school year to standardized testing.  In a few districts, tests were scheduled to be given every day to at least some students.  The furor in Florida, which cuts across ideological, party and racial lines, is particularly striking for a state that helped pioneer accountability through former Gov. Jeb Bush.  Mr. Bush, a possible presidential contender, was one of the first governors to introduce high-stakes testing and an A-to-F grading system for schools.”

SEXUAL CONSENT & ‘RAPE’

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ruth-marcus-in-sexual-assault-charges-dangers-for-male-and-female-alike/2014/11/11/16045622-69c8-11e4-a31c-77759fc1eacc_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opin&wpmm=1     For parents of males and for young men themselves, an absolutely mandatory analysis from WaPo, which examines the present pass in regard to sexual consent, full of potentially lethal traps for ‘boys who want to have fun,’ even if their partners agree:”‘Don’t let me try to seduce you though,’ she texted at one point, followed by a second: ‘Because that is a distinct possibility.’  Her next text: ‘I mean . . . sex is awesome, and I might try to get it from you.  But I shouldn’t.  I don’t think.’  The male student then texted that his roommates were out and his roommate’s bed was ‘looking rather comfy.’  The woman responded: ‘None of my roommates are here and I’m too hammered to make it to [your dorm].  Is this a bad idea. . . .” The male student said he was “on my way.”  The woman responded: ‘Goto [sic] my room I’ll be there soon.‘  According to the male student’s account, ‘little more than ‘Hello’ was said before she grabbed [him], kissed [him] and [they] began to have sex.'”

 

 

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16: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

November 27, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Sixteen

 

It’s got the zhuzzhh!” says Amanda, about the web work. Man, has Jimbo got some yarns. Out the door from Amber’s little apartment in the big house overlooking the Hudson, a less sunny and even chillier day pends.

The train ride to Manhattan has become nearly a routine, though the $19.50 round trip tariff would never become old hat, so to say. The different personalities of the various North Metro Rail personnel—one very tubby White guy with glasses, a smile, and the psyche of a hopeful elf grown overweight; one focused Black woman of medium build, probably a graduate student; one less intense White woman of similar frame who seemed lost inside herself, and, three times, the same stout, fit thirty-something White fellow who seemed to be carrying on a longstanding inner dialog about issues of great moment to him, but which he wanted to dismiss as trivial at the same time—might merit a study were New York a fated venue for our couple.

Thanks heavens that such is not the case. Hence, quite plausibly the last arrival that Jimbo will ever make into Grand Central unfolded with the same bemusement by many who saw him, with his own orientation that of someone who now knows his way and, once exited, can therefore look up at the skyscrapers and notice the monumental architecture: the Public Library’s stolid square block embodiment of human brainpower and story; Grand Central’s imperial perkiness, like a massive ballerina who can still perform a pirouette flawlessly despite her gigantic footprint, as it were; building after building that could provide a chapter in a modern design dissertation; and the storefronts at street level, somehow making ends meet in New York, mostly of recent vintage but occasionally—like Ben’s Cafeteria, which posits, “Our corn-beef is home-cured; our chicken soup cures everything else”—of more or less venerable lineage.

En route to his appointed nexus, Jimbo examines it all with astonishment, even as his heart feels like a leaden weight in his chest. He’d as soon skip the whole affair, but he’ll show up nevertheless.

As our fellow passes the 42nd Street library entrance, out of nowhere emerges a diminutive golden gnome, an ageless monk who bows and presents him with a little card that guarantees ‘peace and light’ or something similar. Helplessly, Jimbo smiles at the gilded wrappings that flow round this figure who smoothly places a prayer bracelet on our heavy-hearted trade unionist’s right wrist.

The prelate’s English is weak, or he has taken a vow of silence perhaps. In any case, as Jimbo bows and prepares to continue on his way a little lighter in his center, the spry Buddhist holds up an admonishing finger, with which he then points into a tiny booklet filled with indicia of ‘donations’ for the card and the beads.

Happily, Jimbo digs into his pocket to find one of his remaining thirteen dollars. Unfortunately, though, this draws forth a dour grunt, almost dire in its implication. “Mmmmmmm,” with a falling intonation and a breath of warning at the end. He opens the book again and identifies the amounts that those who’ve benefited from this wanderer’s largesse have seen fit to chip in: $20; $10; $10; $50; $30; the book snaps shut.

Jimbo laughs. “It’s not a problem;” he removes the elastic string and hands back the golden, red, and silver benediction.

The monk then smiles too, for the first time. Shaking his head and wagging his finger, something like speech emerges. “No, no, for you,” though this may have been body language and breathy music rather than words.

Then a definite statement: “Five dollar.”

Jimbo’s repeated pantomime of removal and return precedes his honest statement. “I’m a poor man, like you. You can get full value from someone….”

No, no, no. For you!” As he prepares to put up his book, however, the astute golden robed shaman inquires, “Two dollars?”

And with a grin and a chuckle, Jimbo forks over a second dollar bill, thinking to himself that eleven dollars remaining is arguably luckier than a dozen. And onward to the West Side and further interactions he goes.

He’s early enough to claim his seat from the day before. Not so a pair of his comrades: “Well I’m here now,” states a nasal-voiced Chapter Chair from South of us.

Yes, but I was here yesterday, and I’m sitting here again today.” This came from an imposing and tough-minded Chapter Chair from the Midwest.

Who says we have to sit in the same place?”

Nobody said any such thing; but I’m sitting in the same spot that I sat in yesterday.”

Easy access to juice for a power supply is one issue. A place for the horse’s ass who dissed Jimbo yesterday is the other side of things.

Somehow, this minor scuffle lightens Jimbo’s burden further still. He has his computer today and will churn out some Day-in-History material and log-in to the web with his UAW-Guest pass. His e-book reader already has Upton Sinclair’s voice queued up for the time, which will come at some point, for Jimbo to make his final stand about everything.

The day is full of interaction and ideas worth noting. Resolutions in support of freedom of speech for incarcerated people—stemming from Mumia Al Jabal’s experience in Pennsylvania—and in solidarity with injured General Motors employees in Colombia are on tap. A report on the new website hardens Jimbo’s resolve even more.

It is a tame presentation; the At-Large URL is already doing much of what this new iteration hopes to achieve, and for tons less cash outlay too. Jimbo wants to ask a simple question, about the FaceBook tie and give some kudos, but the presenter, an all-too-typical ‘diversity-girl’ on parade, valley accent and “like, you know?” eye-rolls in tandem, literally calls on half a dozen other people three or four times, and several others twice, while skipping over our jolly roger.

In the end, he merely leaves his hand raised, so that people start to stare and shift uncomfortably at this display. Finally, with an eye-roll as prelude, she asks, “Yes?”

Then, Jimbo inquires about the FB feed and, when she dismisses him before he can finish, interrupts to make an additional point about engagement and virtuality and more, ideas that he had not intended to share but decided to in the context of her obvious, and mean-spirited, treatment.

The union’s NGO makes a pitch. Other odds and ends move from agenda to discussion. Before the penultimate spree—resolutions and such—the assembled group takes another look at the organizing process.

Several responses, combining snark and general critique, to Jimbo’s late night e-mail about Edward’s points rolled in prior to this direct exchange of views. He in turn replied equably, if sternly, to all and sundry.

To wit, to a Grievance & Contract Division Chair: “Thank you Barbara.  However, those are your words–“DECIDE anything for the union.”

On the other hand, my point is undeniable.  The committee did make the determination that I stated, for itself.

Solidarity Forever.

And to her apology for making ‘inferences:’ “Hey there!

No harm done.  Apologies accepted.

The Organizing Committee might change its conclusions or decision.  But we cannot do that at this meeting, except inasmuch as the Organizing Committee accedes to that change.

Solidarity Forever.

And to our treasurer: “Thank you Mitzi!

I am well aware of the organizational and legal responsibilities of the Chapter Chairs in relation to the NWU  bylaws.   I am also aware of the organizational and legal responsibilities of the NWU in relation to the United Auto Workers Constitution.

Thus, I repeat.  In the At-Large Chapter, our articulation of the NWU by-laws will be more open and inviting than what appears on National literature and so forth.  Such a choice matches perfectly the rights and responsibilities of sub-units according to the UAW Constitution.

Solidarity Forever.

The conversation about these points, almost miraculously, turns humorous, despite attempts to patronize and condescend to our fellow. He pokes fun at himself and others with the same pitchfork. The overall point is pretty simple: he understands that the reality of whom the union accepts contravenes the tone of the outreach language—which relentlessly calls for professional writers who have made a mark so to speak, but facts, not feelings, prove that this approach puts people off. “If that’s what y’all want, that’s y’all’s business; but the At-Large will approach things differently, thanks all the same.”

And then the focus switches to strategic conceptions as such. Kim wants, and assumes an acceptance of, a focus on social justice issues. Several people disagree, saying that we risk offending the apolitical and the Grand Old Party writers who, by some bizarre concatenation of miracle and interest, might join the union.

The UAW rep’s rejoinder to this is magnificent. “We caught flack for bailing MLK out of jail; but I defy anyone now to say that this was the wrong action then. We sat in solidarity with ANC actions in South Africa for years, and once more we got plenty of negative feedback; but I defy anyone now to say that this was the wrong action then. We’ve always been a social justice union. It’s how we’ve kept members and gotten new members.”

Jimbo had already chipped in about best practices and the way that, pretensions aside, little or no empirical basis exists for avoiding social outreach. Unions, scholars, and grassroots activists have uniformly affirmed this perspective’s validity.

The final sequence comes around again to Jimbo. He once more induces laughter. “I have never been a particularly social, or sociable, person.” And then he’s clear. “But I’ve also never much appreciated bullshit. Y’all know, like Harry Frankfort, political philosopher from Princeton says: ‘The most salient feature of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. We all contribute our share and we all feel rather confident of our ability to avoid its snares.’

Instead of living in a land where bullshit reigns supreme, I call for us to honor reason and fact. And that requires conversation. Personally, as a writer, what I want is to write, to be heard.”

A universal nod of agreement did accompany this statement. Jimbo nodded too and continued. “And that’s what all writers, without exception, want first and foremost. And the system that we have now is not delivering. This is our big opportunity, because we could grow the union in a way that would deliver the goods—a place to speak, a forum for hearing, and so on.

tw bkAnd that’s not all. Corporate media, again without any contravening cases, are corrupt and fraudulent. My perspective on this flows from rational interpretation of data, and plenty of others have reached similar conclusions. Upton Sinclair was one. His harsh critique of American journalism, The Brass Check, is little-read now; we should all read it, however, and we can listen now to a brief excerpt.

I believed, and still believe, that (the Associated Press) was a perfect case of news suppression(especially in relation to the Ludlow massacre and Rockefeller). Here was the closest approach yet to the social revolution in America; here was the class war, naked and undisguised—on the one side the lives of thirty or forty thousand wage slaves, on the other side a hundred million dollars of invested capital, controlling the government of an entire state, and using this control to suppress every legal and constitutional right of American citizens, and to drive them into armed revolt. To this conspiracy the Associated Press had lent itself; it was being used, precisely as the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, precisely as the puppets of State government. The directors and managers of the Associated Press were as directly responsible for the subsequent starvation of these thousands of Colorado mine slaves as if they had taken them and strangled them with their naked fingers. If it had been such individual crimes of strangling, all society would have agreed on the need for publicity. I have made it my task in life to force the same kind of publicity for the economic crimes of predatory social classes.”

Soon after this, Jimbo was ready to exit. He assigned his proxy vote in favor of both resolutions to Larry, el Presidente. In the midst of the break that Jimbo used as a cover for his parting, Larry thrust a sandwich upon him and gave him an unexpected bear hug. Certainly, the whole process contained many interesting moments.

The return to Nyack was like returning to an earlier time. Salaam to Amber, shoes again on our feet—the Muslim custom of removing them had characterized the stay here—we left with smiles and hugs and promises of continued contact.

The Blue Man again offered guidance. Zooming around the New York metro interstates, who knows whether we dotted all our ‘i’s’ or crossed all our ‘t’s’ correctly? We were racing South to Winchester and waiting for Jersey’s and Pennsylvania’s cheap gas to fill Tina Toyota’s tank again.

When we stopped, in the bitter chill a few miles from the Keystone State line on I-78, we encountered the amazing benefit of having a designated gas-pumper, which both helped the local economy and guaranteed that no ‘topping-off-the-tank’ would increase the level of atmospheric carbon. Our attendant was a little fellow with a certain lilt to his accent.

After Alicia departed for her omnipresent ‘business’ needs, Jimbo inquired, “So where are you from originally?”

The dapper man paused in his routine, arching his eyebrows. “China” was his deadpan response.

Really! China?”

Yeah, sure, what’s wrong with dat?”

Hey man; nothing wrong, it’s just that you sound, I don’t know, like maybe you were from Romania or Hungary or something like that.”

He didn’t blink as he stared at Jimbo, almost a glower. Then he shrugged; almost sotto voce, he said. “I’m Ukrainian.”

Even as the reason for his reticence became absolutely clear, Jimbo was ebullient. “Ukraine? Really?”

Yeah. So what?”

I’ve written articles about Ukraine.”

You don’t say.”

Yeah, sure; two in the past month.”

You’re kidding, right?”

Nope.”

So what’d you write about?”

I talked about all the stuff that the bullshit on the media doesn’t mention. You’ve heard of Nikita Khrushchev, right?”

A nod ensues.

He was from Donbas.”

No.”

He was. And Leonid Brezhnev was from Sevastopol I think. And you know who Leon Trotsky was, don’t you?”

Yeah, sure, Trotsky, big revolutionary.”

Right, well his was seventh generation Cossack family from North of Kiev.”

You don’t say.”

It’s true.”

I’ll be damned.”

And Jimbo gives him a card, amazed to find out that he’s over fifty and that his two daughters still live there, near Lvov, hard up by the Polish border.

Through nearly frozen rain, mixed with sleet, Alicia and her mensch traverse Pennsylvania, bypassing TMI yet again, and well past dark cross the abbreviated neck of Maryland and the tiny stretch of West Virginia that lead them to Winchester. There, dear Monica and Kurt have arranged a Hampton Inn.

Checked in, showered, and set up for Internet radio, Jimbo manages a half hour’s nap, while Alicia does crunches and treadmills and free weight repetitions in the gym on the first floor. Their radio is disjointed but transpires without a hitch.

They disport like wanton teens in their big bed, firm and inviting, before they drift into dreamland without even the need for an alarm. Dreams of roadways and paths to perdition and heaven at once usher in their dreams.

 

 

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15: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

November 26, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Fifteen

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

At best, the almost universally touted notion of individual responsibility—with its implication that one can make of oneself what one will—lies somewhere between foolish and insane on any rational evaluative scale: this will ever remain so till some individual can manage to engender, gestate, and bear himself fully formed into the world, not to mention the task of rearing himself from helpless infancy to the fatuous fullness of self-regard that imagines his capacity as so awesome as to dispense with others’ inputs and assistance in creating a ‘self-made’ product.

Man, the shit is so cool of late. “It’s not a problem.” Thus, this novel of now and November continues, as the Ides of November pass by.

This iconoclastic text intentionally flavors its pages with documentation. Its characters center on Chilean Alicia and Appalachian Jimbo.

Its flow resembles a stream of consciousness that also consciously embodies a narrative. Its semblance of reality contains constructs wholly fabricated, emanating from fantasies and images that no more happened than Jimbo’s father bore this boy in daddy’s womb.

Yesterday, Alicia and Amber ambled around Manhattan in a visit to the Museum of Modern Art. Today will take them to the Guggenheim. The ways are legion that make New York City the epicenter of capitalist culture, and these two experiences are among those embodied bourgeois sensibilities.

Multi-billion dollar endowments, multi-billion dollar collections, exhibitions that have all the ‘credibility’ that multi-billion dollar capacities and producer buy-in can manifest, under such circumstances, the vortex of making markets and establishing standards inevitably circles around these institutions.

Their every move is news. Their very being is an expression of the voluntocracy, of the ‘not-for-profit’ funding and actualization model that both absolutely prohibits politics except as a fetish and induces individualist and narcissistic eventualities over and over and over again.

That said, these spaces and experiences are magnificent. They truly magnify what is soulful. They are spectacular, making of some spectacle a substitute for social engagment, wisdom, transformation. They do a difficult job well for ‘stakeholders’ who truly have everything at stake, since in aggregate they own all but small slices of the entire planet, including all of its ‘verifed’ cultural output and production.

And this is a perfect contextualization of Jimbo’s involvement from nine to five at the union headquarters atop the building on the West Side. The organization president weighs in, with a focus on a wider context that includes Palestine, Amazon, and poverty. The United Auto Workers chime in, with a call for solidarity and action.

Money_CashHowever, most of the morning’s discussion deals with money and dues, about which the general consensus is that, having negotiated a method-of-paying our UAW input that would leave us little worse off after the overall uppage than we were prior to it, NWU itself should raise its rates so as to close the still real $50,000 gap between income and outgo, in which dear Duna Norton’s advice from long ago and far away is still apt: “If your income don’t exceed your outgo, your upkeep’s a gonna be your downfall.”

Jimbo’s report from At-Large, that a general resistance to higher dues was prevalent, was neither here nor there in this regard. His prediction that a dues hike would lead to a falloff of plus-or-minus fifteen percent in membership elicited a wager with Mr. Larry, of twenty bucks, that the drop would be closer to fifteen than to five percent.

What do we do for people?” was a query that underlay much of this chatter. Press passes, and their implementation, contract and grievance advice and intervention, and a sense of solidarity were real enough. But what else we proffered was not at all clear to many people.

Jimbo suggested that insurance ought to be a priority, and that a venue for publication, a constant linking and job-referral function, a slough of classes and programming opportunities, as well as contests, list-servs, translation and digitization services, ought also to be part of what NWU regularly promotes for its writers and members.

He wrote about all this here. “Specific Opportunities for Growing Ourselves:

In regard to the appended ‘Strategic…Overview,’ here are a very few very specific actions and eventualities that we could and ought to do.

  • We ought to have a national platform, and encourage chapters to develop either connected or their own platforms, to which only members could contribute blogs or other commentary, writing, production, but which would be open to public view and participation.
  • We ought to have regular opportunities—some don’t like ‘contests,’ but certainly ‘opportunities’ might be possible that included both competition and some mix of collaboration and participation.
  • We ought to move toward publishing, producing, and distributing news, books, podcasts, video, radio, and film that are first and foremost—arguably exclusively—an option for our members to develop and share their work.
  • We ought to position ourselves to promote critical thinking and expression skills among the young, both in terms of encouraging teachers to join us and in terms of facilitating networks of schools and educators in which our members would participate, for pay, in inculcating writing and comprehension excellence among students, especially those who are the children of workers.
  • We ought to form a student Chapter of the NWU, or something similar.
  • We ought to call, or work with others to promulgate, a conference on the formation of a working-class conscious ‘labor’ political party.
  • We ought to begin exploring and operationalizing actions that employ the traditional economic weapons of labor—what I call “Quit Down Strikes” are one example; boycotts are another.
  • We ought to reach out to cultural workers in nations, particularly in the Western Hemisphere—Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, Nicaragua, and more—whose policies are more socially democratic, with the goal of establishing an aggressive presence ourselves in support of workers’ cultural rights and the rights of cultural workers.
  • We ought to identify festivals and events that have particular resonance for writers—labor film festivals; social justice in fiction conferences; the possibilities are basically endless—and either prioritize attending such happenings or make sure that instances of such work are forthcoming.
  • In regard to work among Hispanic writers especially, we ought to create a ‘translation’ and cross-seeding process for both new and ‘iconic’ texts.
  • We ought to identify key statutory areas of concern for writers and create a Model Working-Writers Legislation program, or something similar: copyright, telecommunications, privacy, and journalistic shields are a few examples.
  • We ought to develop a project for identifying materials in the public domain—the La Follette Committee Hearings; the works of socially conscious authors such as Upton Sinclair and activists such as Eugene Debs; and the reports of various government agencies that are currently only occasionally accessible; background documents about social, political, and economic history, including many classics—that are not digitally easy to find or download, and begin making them available online.

Of course, one might continue. But this ought to suffice as a ‘primer.’”

In the back and forth about these matters, a variety of difficulties and possible pragmatic solutions came up. In the final analysis, the vote for a 25% dues surcharge recommendation from the National Executive Committee passed unanimously, except for Jimbo’s lone ‘Nay’ vote.

The afternoon session, after we ate very well indeed at lunch—from soup to nuts and all ‘food groups’ in between—focused on the organizing process, on the Newsletter, on the Who Pays Writer connection potential, and on a pair of successful wage-recovery campaigns that NWU orchestrated, both of which yielded not just money but significant bumps in our numbers and a big jump in activism among our adherents.

Most of the contention revolved around organizing. Tim Scipes insisted that we ponder why we’re not more popular, not only among potential recruits, but also among our own fucking ranks. Fernando delivered the general orientation. Discussions were lively and revealed many nuanced points of view.

Jimbo again won the ‘least-popular-trope’ award with his take. “We’re not willing to look far outside the electoral arena politically; we’re sticking to the Democratic Party like that organization really represents us; we’ve overwhelmingly oriented our work to adherence to the programs and plans of the United States Government, as if that apparatus is in our favor; we show no willingness to discuss alternatives to capital and private property as the organizing principles that govern our efforts at mediation, our work as writers. These are all profound strategic errors,” he contended.

He also recorded his ideas, as the following illustrates. “Strategic Organizing for Writers: An Overview

Everything here, with the exception of the premise and the two final outlined items, has appeared in one or more of the multiple documents that I have presented to folks, most of them offshoots or reconfigurations of work from the At-Large Steering Committee. I’ve made these points repeatedly in our interactions as a committee as well. Thus far, little or no discussion on these points has occurred; we’ve just agreed not to talk about them and accede to their ongoing interest to the At-Large Steering Committee.

We can continue to ignore these points. As the Zen aficionados express the upshot, “I am not attached.” But I do insist on advancing both these ideas and my belief that they are of critical import.

I could be wrong. However, if I am correct—and that has to be possible—then our proceeding without contextualizing these matters will lead to our failure, or our reliance on random outcomes for our success.

Furthermore, my opinions do stem from reasoning, an activity of considering facts and making arguments that I am capable of actualizing now and again. The following are some examples, which appear here and at the end.

First, except for the morning of August sixth, 1945, the world stands closer to a nuclear war than it ever has, with the attendant potential now for conflagration, annihilation, even extinction. Second, the government of the United States of America is promulgating in many instances explicitly fascist political solutions to socioeconomic problems that characterize its corporate empire. Third, working people everywhere, and in some ways especially our vaunted ‘freelancers,’ face crushing, even catastrophic near-term diminution in already straitened circumstances. Do such eventualities make a difference to our work? Should they? The answer to such queries is at a minimum an arguable affirmative.

These assertions bring me to the premise, and the massively abbreviated expression of these notions, for this particular iteration.

  • Reason, as in Tom Paine’s famous Appeal, can make a difference. However, it is only possible if the voices of those who are part of a process—and the discourse that they ‘appeal’ for folks to consider—receive a hearing that includes at least a thorough joining of the issues; put most plainly, we have to talk about what Fernando is asking, what Tim Scipes is suggesting, and what I am requesting, as thoroughly and as urgently as we need to agree on some overall or general ‘statement’ to give to members. In fact, any such statement to members, without such inclusive conversations, will likely mean ineffective, or even disastrous, outcomes.
  • In any sort of successful discovery of knowledge and the strategy and planning that depend on understanding, presumption is an absolute death sentence for any result other than a hope or chance, arbitrary and lucky, of succeeding. Anyone who has ever played a skill game knows that this statement is indisputable. Our work evinces two absolutely obvious assumptions that we have not dealt with, except to gloss them over and insist that we’ll move forward anyway.
  • The first such assumed element concerns our work as an organization in relation to writers, citizens, and action for improving our lives and the world’s prospects.
  1. We assume, or our orientation and programs reflect an assumption, that our target audience should primarily focus on so-called ‘published authors.’
  2. We assume, or our orientation and programs reflect an assumption, that the options that we encourage in relation to that group should center-around established forms and institutions.
  3. We assume, or our orientation and programs reflect an assumption, that our organization has no place leading the way toward alternatives to these SOP mechanisms.
  4. We assume, or our orientation and programs reflect an assumption, that socioeconomic action and political-economic analysis have no core place in our labors; they are at best ancillary, ad-hoc, after the fact.
  5. We assume, or our orientation and programs reflect an assumption, that even the standard tools of labor unions—strikes and other direct actions to attack those who crush us—are off-limits to us, because of ‘laws’ or other protocols that, more than anything else, are social constructs of oppression and injustice.
  • The second such presumed component is in relation to our organization as a union, a member of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, in regard to which we more or less completely embody several approaches to our work in the current sociopolitical and political economic context.
  1. In this regard, four presumptions are particularly troubling. First, we presume, or our programs and orientation reflect a presumption, that the realm of politics first and foremost includes electoral matters, along with attendant lobbying, lawsuits, and related administrative and legislative work.
  2. Second, in relation to this first accepted truism, we presume, or our programs and orientation reflect a presumption, that the National Democratic Party is our party, not only the default choice but also, practically, a rational selection for benefiting workers’ organizations and workers themselves.
  3. Third, we presume, or our programs and orientation reflect a presumption, that the United States Government is both an eternal, even omnipotent force that we have no choice but to accept, and in fact an ally with whom we can and must collaborate.
  4. Fourth, and perhaps most insidious and pervasive, we presume, or our programs and orientation reflect a presumption, that capitalism is, along with its primary contemporary expression in the aforementioned U.S. imperial phalanx, ineluctable, and that ‘realistic’ and pragmatic efforts in our own regard must accept such omnipresent and ongoing omnipotence with at most a sigh and a shrug.
  • As I note here once more, having called attention to it again and again, we have not discussed this NWU twofold presumptuous organizational character. If we don’t discuss this, and then make conclusions and take action in relation to this that are the consequence of our discussions, then our initiatives will fail. Just in case anyone didn’t notice this is a testable prediction or hypothesis.
  • One response to this entire course of intervention, which I have been attempting since I and the At-Large Steering Committee played a key part in getting this organizing project underway, is to ignore them or dismiss them. Such a preference has thus far been characteristic—“This is neither the time nor the place;” ‘This will never be the time, nor will we ever provide a place:—to which my response has been a uniform and respectful, “I disagree.” We owe it to ourselves to make the time and place here and now, and moving forward from here and now.
  • In fact, I state unequivocally that the most radical and revolutionary sorts of ideas need to be part of our intercourse in this matter, radical not only in terms of political and social agendas, but also in terms of how we conceive of our organizational work and attempts to expand; revolutionary not only in terms of social and political transformation of the most profound sorts, but also in terms of how we actually expand and specify the National Writers Union.
  • Finally, we are living in scary times. First, except for the morning of August sixth, 1945, the world stands closer to a nuclear war than it ever has, with the attendant potential now for conflagration, annihilation, even extinction. Second, the government of the United States of America is promulgating in many instances explicitly fascist political solutions to socioeconomic problems that characterize its corporate empire. Third, working people everywhere, and in some ways especially our vaunted ‘freelancers,’ face catastrophic, even crushing near-term diminution in already straitened circumstances. Do such eventualities make a difference to our work? Should they? The answer to such queries is at a minimum an arguable affirmative.”

In the event, most of the afternoon, up till New York’s twelfth story dusk was well underway, dealt with other matters than what Jimbo suggested. Some of all of that, coming from Fernando primarily, considered closely related issues—figuring out how to organize more inclusively, how to position ourselves so as to be able to manifest some of the weapons of struggle that unions have typically embodied, and more. Yet even adding such points, the lion’s share of the time from 1:00 to 5:00 cogitated other matters altogether.

What will the upshot of these exchanges be? A novel-of-November will be unlikely to reveal an answer to such inquiry. But time will tell, one way or another.

Before the final bell, in any case, a half-day interloper by the name of Susan Davis had wandered in. She said various things, stentorian and pointed in her tone. Much of what she articulated seemed strong and worthwhile.

At one point, Jimbo, agreeing with an idea that she promoted, which had ended with a question about who would do this work, stated, “So now you have to be the one to carry this forward, the price of having such a dandy concept.”

And she turned on dear Jimbo like a rabid cur. “NO! I’m sick, I’ve got a pacemaker for God’s sake, and people like you, with your pushiness, make me especially sick and tired! I’ll do nothing of the kind.”

Somehow or other, despite feeling wounded by her intentional viciousness, Jimbo said little more than that he hoped she’d get better. He did, however, develop a strong inclination to avoid socializing with a crowd that would provide her a special place at their table, as things had transpired directly adjacent to our erstwhile ‘hero.’

Here’s another little something that Jimbo wrote to the crowd at NWU. He delivered it after spending an evening at Panera Bread in suburban Tarrytown, amazed at a clerk’s sweetness to two seemingly grassroots police officers on their overnight lunch hour.

He had elected, after sober reflection, to forego a trek to a museum and a dinner with this generally ‘hostile audience,’ so to speak. He found some lovely flavored coffee and read more of Upton Sinclair’s Brass Check, where every other page delivered a rousing affirmation of Jimbo’s thinking.

Hey all!

This country boy got all turned round.  I am so sorry I missed the lovely dinner and apologize for any worry that I might have caused.

I just got access to a computer again, so I wanted to write to let everyone know that I’m swell.  I did manage to find Grand Central Station.

I also wanted to make a couple of points about what Edward said today concerning publishing.  He spoke powerfully and passionately about our responsibility to educate people about copyright and that therefore we should not change our wording in relation to a ‘requirement’ either that our members have ‘publishing credits’ or that they are ‘seeking publication.’

Despite his articulate persuasiveness, I beg to differ.  We might stipulate that one useful service or benefit of NWU could be to provide insights about things like copyright.  However, even if we made that stipulation, and I would insist on a very different contextualization of our duty in that regard, as it were, in relation to copyright issues and so on, his conclusion does not follow from the premise.

The Organizing Committee discussed this at length–overall a minimum of an hour and a half over a couple of meetings.  I made the point, heatedly disputed by many, that the wording of the current language could be–and in identifiable instances of my experience–had been offputting.  Thus, whatever duty that we might have to educate the ‘ignorant’ about matters that some of us assume that we all agree about, we would never have the chance to do this supposedly necessary inculcation if my contentions about alienating language were correct.

In this context, Terri Lapinski made an interesting point.  She didn’t join the NWU for a period of months, or even years–I forget the exact length of time, but we could find out, eh?–precisely because she read our language of ‘engagement,’ and she said, “Oh, I don’t qualify.”

The conversation took a turn then.  We did agree to change that language. 

Now Edward’s opinions are passionate and articulate, and he is a powerfully persuasive speaker.  Nonetheless, we cannot change the fact that the Organizing Committee process decided differently.  I just wanted to point that out.  The organizing committee decided otherwise.

In any event, the At-Large website is going to continue contextualizing this in a very inclusive way indeed. 

If you use words in your work or otherwise to do your job or improve your prospects, you’re a writer; please join us—you are welcome!

If you use words to facilitate greater social justice or democracy, you’re a writer; please join us—you are welcome!

If you use words to improve human understanding or contribute to knowledge, you’re a writer; please join us—you are welcome!

And the North Metro train did indeed operate to deliver JImbo from evil. He tarried not at all in Tarrytown, but after a certain degree of due diligence, he did manage to find a lovely spot to hang out till Alicia and Amber made their way to environs close at hand.

Ultimately, he ended up ensconced under his coat near the homestead’s driveway, where sweet Alicia found him a bit after 10:30. Again, he and his love and her friend, taking many sojourns down metaphorical pathways about media and work and connection, spoke for hours about the day that had typified an obscure union office in Midtown Manhattan.

Then, finally, a shower and a hard floor beckoned once more, in anticipation of a final round of conversation on Sunday.

 

 

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14: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

November 25, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Fourteen

Despite an unforgiving floor, given the extent of the push that has transpired over the past twenty-four hours or so, Jimbo crashed to some deep place where plus-or-minus five hours of sleep on Amber’s carpet restores something like equanimity and reality orientation.

Snow stories, weekend expectations, Serbian encounters at Starbucks and tons more in the way of meetings and recollections are worth noting. A lanky athlete was hunkering down over his keyboard while Jimbo settled in at a Palisades perch.

The only outlet in the little triangle of caffeine and sugar and cream cheese and half-and-half required that Jimbo stretch a wire through this strapping lad’s stool in order to couple plug with juice. “Excuse me. Could I just….”

Oh sure.” That accent sent a shiver.

I don’t want to trip you up.”

It’s not a problem.” The rumbled swallowing of the pronoun, the particular music of the enunciation, resonated like an old song.

As Jimbo stood from joining power to device, he asked, “You’re not Serbian, are you?”

Bug-eyed stares are such a delight; especially when they last a few beats. “I ammm!!”

Jimbo’s nodding chuckle reveals his joyful affirmation.

But how did you know dat?”

I wasn’t sure, but the way you said, ‘T’s nut eeh prewblem’ reminded me of a friend. She said the same thing. She was the craziest woman I’ve ever met and every inch a Serbian.”

We exchanged a bit more about the current context of a ravaged land. Then we worked. He gave me a bottle of wine when he left; he took Jimbo’s GRE-wizard card. And that was that.

A suburban New York mall thus yields yet one more chance evolution of the cosmic yum’s whispered hello. For Spindoctor’s purposes, though, the materials in regard to the get-together in Manhattan this evening, and over the remainder of the weekend, take precedence.

They’ll represent an integral part of the ‘fictionalization’ of the day. After a two day period of deconstitutionalized constipation, Jimbo’s bowels return to their normal prolific form, less convenient in a crowded mall, but the work goes forward, and he lugs everything across the atrium to the toilet as necessary.

He also completes all of the necessary documentation that he wants to share, first of all an overview of how to conceive of ‘writers’ and their ‘payment’ in terms that contemplate a different ‘marketplace’ than what now holds sway. “Another world is possible,” insists Jimbo.

Alternate ‘Pay the Writer’ Modalities: Initial Ideas

By Jim Hickey, Current At-Large Chapter Chair

Just as, in the past, unions owned radio stations where members could speak and make music and offer dramas and more for listeners, until the Radio Act of 1927 and the imposition of advertising-supported models took hold completely; just as, in the past, unions operated newspapers and magazines and publishing outlets where workers and members had a forum to communicate with each other and the world, until the monopoly-media model so powerfully demonstrated by Ben Bagdikian and William McChesney and others achieved almost total hegemony; just as in the coming to pass of the present, entire societies have assumed control of their own media—before which the imposition of these same sorts of ‘business models’ had predominated—in such a way as to make the hiring and engagement of working scribes and cultural operatives a matter of social rather than ‘private’ concern, so too here and now and with the efforts of our modest National Writers Union we might imagine growing to such an extent that we also could proffer chances for our members to publish, to produce, to create, to participate, to collaborate, and to distribute—for decent pay—media of all forms and types; in fact, insuring that such opportunities transpired could become a substantial contributing factor to the process of growth on which the financial capacity to compensate people depends.

In the event, after leaving the mall’s standardized environment, he sallies forth to Tarrytown, where he has just read in Upton Sinclair’s evisceration of American Journalism, The Brass Check, that Rockefeller maintained a household when he was busy orchestrating the murder of miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado. There on this chilly November afternoon exactly a century later, figuring out the logistical and statutory basis for leaving a car takes an hour, and induces the purchase of some dandy pizza to garner the change for the parking meter.

The trek to Manhattan is like a journey back and forward in time simultaneously. Jimbo’s attention rivets on the untrammeled brutality that Kissinger and others were visiting on Chile at precisely the point that Jimbo’s first trek to New York unfolded.

At the same time that memory was carrying him back to these youthful forays, and odd bits of Chinese-marketed opiated wine yarns—from U-Haul returns that then turned into backgammon interludes—also traipsed across the mental screen, however, his thoughts cast forward in time, to an all-too-likely fusing annihilation of this agglomeration of humanity, a sacrifice to the gods of war and the inadequacies of capital in this current context of anything-but-growth. One never knows, either about a receding pass or an onrushing tomorrow, but echoes about the former and lightning flashes regarding the latter do present themselves.

Extricating himself from Grand Central Station and wending his way a mile or so to West 38th Street proves much easier than he feared. But after walking through the canyons of New York, he certainly doesn’t want to walk up twelve flights, especially given that he’s late.

Nevertheless, he lets himself in to a room with plus or minus forty people following a panel that consists of a heartfelt trust-fund girl who has come up with a genius concept—Who Pays the Writer, a young journalistic wizard, and a union aficionado who feeds them questions. The conversation centers around the need for standards in relation to asking for more money and support from corporate thugs.

Jimbo manages to read all but the final sentence from above, before a designated hit-girl—the Newsletter editor, no less—cuts him off. Everyone who ventures away from accommodating capital receives similar treatment too. Before she hushes the group after she has spit out a ‘cease-and-desist’ to our Jimbo, a spontaneous burst of applause almost uncranks itself when he quits talking.

He also introduces a “point of information” about Contributoria and has at least half-a-dozen brief chats with various of his fellow travelers before he meets the person who could only be Larry G. and the person who somehow does not fit the form that he had created for Ms. Mitzi.

The following document is also one that he sent on to his colleagues. “A Specific Strategic Necessity: Health Insurance

No other development has so hamstrung our ability to attract and retain the authors who represent our default audience—whether such a choice is apt is another matter—than has the loss of a national health insurance option. Under such circumstances, only one move is possible, if we intend to strengthen our capacity to become larger and stronger, especially among those potential members whose work and interests are our primary orientation.

 

We must find a national health insurance option that works for all—or at least all our United States—members. No excuse or difficulty in this regard is acceptable. It is a sine qua non, moreover, that all manner of evidence suggests that we can in fact successfully address.

 

A single item from the At-Large websites Daily Links follows in this regard. It is one of several over the past couple of months that has dealt with this issue.

 

EVERY WRITER INSURED

http://www.springboardexchange.org/features/everyartistinsured.aspx?utm_source=VerticalResponse&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=Every+Artist+Insured+-+A+Goal+and+an+Opportunity&utm_content={Email_Address}&utm_campaign=Declassifying+the+Classics    A definitely useful and arguably critical opportunity for scrappy scribes and their organization, in regard to assuring that every artist–which could include every writer–receives a chance to obtain affordable insurance coverage, though without much acknowledgment of the vicious situation that Southerners face in these matters: ‘There are real financial protections as well.  Insurers can no longer impose annual or lifetime dollar limits on medical benefits.  And plans must limit an enrollee’s out-of-pocket expenses (including the deductible) to $6,600 for an individual or $13,200 for a family (2015 amounts). The social significance of this cannot be exaggerated – it ends the era of ruinous medical debt, with bills of 100K or more sending afflicted families into bankruptcy. At the heart of the ACA, the feature that makes health insurance affordable for low and middle income artists, are the premium subsidies (tax credits) and other cost reductions.  The amount of the subsidy depends on actual income and family size, and works on a sliding scale.’”

The city-that-never-sleeps wraps around his psyche for a trek up the Hudson. He and Amber and Alicia talk about writing and art and life deep into the night. The rugged bedding again embraces him, once he finishes a barely warm shower and a few questions for his fellow laborers.

Moreover, as always, the world offers up a daily display.

A CAMERA-LENS VIEW

A Thought for the Day

Unlike the cycles of the wild, which instruct us in the paradoxical and dialectical necessity of light and dark, hot and cold, venture and return, and similar forms of revolution, on the contrary the harsh strictures of management and its myriad forms of imperial imprimatur, which ever insist on uniformity and consistency as prerequisite to existence, inculcate enslavement of ourselves and profiteering for the plutocracy as the eternal, unchanging, given order of the Earth: thus, nature’s is the school of life, whereas the empire’s tutelage enrolls its minions in academies of annihilation.

 

Quote of the Day

“I took upon myself to enact the part of a poor unfortunate crazy girl, and felt it my duty not to shirk any of the disagreeable results that should follow. …I always made a point of telling the doctors I was sane, and asking to be released, but the more I endeavored to assure them of my sanity, the more they doubted it.”  Nellie Bly, about her investigative sojourn at a mental ‘asylum’: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/n/nellie_bly.html.

 

This Day in History

Noting another widespread killer, medical authorities have designated today as World Diabetes Day; two hundred ninety-eight years ago, more or less to the day, the philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz died; one hundred eighty-three years gone by, revered and studied philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel passed away; three decades later, to the day, in 1861, a baby boy was born who matured as historian and writer Frederick Jackson Turner, promulgator of the Frontier Thesis in American History; a century and a quarter back exactly, a pathbreaking woman journalist, Nellie Bly, initiated a trek around the world, to be completed within eighty days, which she in fact finished up seventy-two days later; a plane successfully took off from the deck of a naval vessel a hundred four years ago in Hampton Roads, Virginia; just one year less than a century back, famed Black leader and promoter of improvement-through-business Booker T. Washington breathed his last; one year later, economics innovator and writer Henry George died; the Communist Party of Spain formed ninety three years before the here-and-now; a year later, the British Broadcasting System began its radio programming in England on a regular schedule; sixty-seven years back, the baby boy who developed the razor wit and writing precision of P.J. O’Rourke came into the world; an American physicist forty-seven years prior to the present pass received the first patent for a laser; forty-five years ago, the second Apollo Mission to land on the moon launched from Florida, under the auspices of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; two years hence, NASA’s Mariner 9 craft entered a stable orbit around Mars; thirty-nine years ago, Spain foreswore all claims on its former colony in the Western Sahara; four years later, in 1979, Jimmy Carter issued an executive order that froze all Iranian assets in the U.S. part of the administration’s actions against the Iranian rebels’ seizure and holding of hostages from the American embassy; thirty-two years ago, Soviets released Solidarity leader Lech Walesa from internment near the Russian border; six years prior to this day, the first G-20 summit began in Washington, simultaneously as the world economy appeared on the verge of meltdown; four years later, in 2012, Israeli Defense Forces launched Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
“standard operating procedure” OR “dominant ideology” resistance OR critique OR rebellion history analysis “political economy” OR radical OR marxist = 292,000 Citations.

TOP OF THE FOLD

WILL FERGUSON START A FIRE?

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/11/12/3591240/ferguson-grand-jury-ruling-prep/?elq=~~eloqua..type–emailfield..syntax–recipientid~~&elqCampaignId=~~eloqua..type–campaign..campaignid–0..fieldname–id~~       An update that ought to act as a warning, from Think Progress, about a social explosion of such intensity that its extent will be almost unbelievable, if not in Ferguson, Missouri, then in one of the next places where the ‘forces of order’ wantonly murder some hapless citizen and then tell those who protest to sit down, shut up, go away: “Meanwhile, Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, spoke before the U.N. Committee Against Torture on Tuesday, calling for global intervention in America’s policing tactics.  The couple asked a panel to recommend that ‘racial profiling and racially-biased police harassment across the jurisdictions surrounding Ferguson’ stops, and for the Department of Justice to ‘conduct a nationwide investigation of systematic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities, and youth in particular,’ adding that the ‘methodology and findings of this investigation must be made publicly available.'”

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RECENT HAPPENINGS
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13: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

November 24, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Thirteen

 

IMG_0194Tally ho! Clare Conaston’s and Maggie McGhee’s responses to our Contributoria outreach, to put the matter mildly, irritate Jimbo to the point of nausea. He can imagine corresponding with them in decidedly unfriendly fashion.

I’m so sorry, my dear, that you are so swamped that you can’t take five minutes from your life to join a platform, for free, and give a stalwart laborer in the vineyards of the struggle, so to speak, a meager reward that costs you nada. The outlay is so trivial that your refusal indicates either a blithe detestation of a fellow traveler or a mistrust that has no basis in fact other than your own lack of belief in your own trustworthiness.”

Now, of course, such an assessment might or might not be true. The main thing against it would be in the ‘burning-bridges’ department. If we ever do leave the country, folks may well imagine that the Spindoctor will delight in torching a few causeways, or perhaps a few more than a few.

That travel is transformative cannot be something that people doubt or traduce; and so things prove again today. Even a modicum of detail would fill a volume.

Despite staying up till three or so, finishing up everything from packing to yummy orgasmic frenzy, along with various texts, of course, our loving couple roust themselves from Morpheus’ grip and are on the road a little before eight. The sky’s leaden gray cast and threats of polar vortex notwithstanding, the winding trail to Mars Hill and the Interstate to New York reel Jimbo and Alicia along like fishes on a stringer.

Our pair’s adventures begin when they pick up an even odder couple than they represent, as Feral White Man and Wild Woman Wonder. He stands well over six and a half feet tall, gray beard’s trailing down his chest past his belt, substantially more extensive than is the case with Jimbo.

She is as lithe as a fence post, as dour as a duck that doubts its hunter’s intentions are anything other than a search for roast dinner. Her head nestles into his armpit as the Toyota decelerates a mile past the Tennessee line.

While Russell discourses merrily about his web-hosting legerdemain, she stares unblinkingly at the passing landscape, which is leaking its last Autumnal glory for its threadbare Winter’s coat. Their destination, further into Cumberland Gap where a Rainbow Gathering apparently as secretive as Davy Crockett’s mission to Texas, only permits the briefest introduction of these four randomly arranged cousins.

Russell preaches and codes his way from coast to coast; Maria follows as an angel might stick to a troubadour whom the deity has promised protection—unenthusiastic but stalwart. Alicia and Jimbo communicate with their eyes that such a start to their ventures might pop up unbidden, with the two travelers shoehorned among soft luggage and nested technology in Tabby Toyota’s back seat.

Boston City FlowUpon their discharge, Jimbo accedes to Ms. Alicia’s insistence to allow her to drive a while. He sleeps into Virginia, dreams of bits and bytes flashing behind his eyelids like sun-dappled minnows in a stream.

He wakes just in time to rescue his lover’s bladder, which always chooses journeys to show its capacity for hyperactivity. What might have been a relatively tame three hundred mile run along a Dominion’s highways turned crazy again and again. Each instance of honoring a Chilean urinary fury led to a ‘no-return-access’ moment.

Broken cabins lined potholed roads the first time, missing windows indicative of missing occupants, while black plastic associated with smoke that poured from cracked chimneys like a molten miasma of slowly leaking phlegm. Miles hence, a place to piddle presented itself, in the bushes adjacent to a ruined church, past which a lively stream icily cavorted.

Swim!!” shouted Jimbo.

Let’s GOOO!!!” intoned Alicia as she hiked up her drawers.

How they returned to I-81, neither of them could say.

Their next turnoff led them past a plodding wagon, drawn on by a horse as stout as a tractor. Again, neither the hoped for ‘services’ nor the assumed capacity to keep going were immediately present, though with switching back and forth, they finally found themselves near Blacksburg, where the crazy and hypermedicated Korean a decade ago shot up a few dozen matriculants.

Alicia recalled a focus-group gig that Blacksburg statistical wizards had orchestrated: “Would you rather swim here?” Opposite belched a paper mill. “Or would you prefer to fish here?” Nearby feeder streams promised falling waters close at hand.

I just wanted to ask if they were on campus when it happened.”

But that would be so rude.”

You!!!”

Not to mention crude, and socially awkward.”

YOUUUU!!!”

No, ….you.”

Smoothcie.”

Yes. Smootchie on your cootchie!”

The Barnes & Noble close to Virginia Tech’s ivied halls fed Alicia’s fiendish longing for Pumpkin-spice crack. Jimbo rifled through an entire stand of atlases so as to see on paper what New York’s upcoming morass would present.

In the event, the blue man and Alicia’s nonorganic hotspot led them along precisely the correct pathway to Westchester County. But first, they had to pass the hulking husk of Three Mile Island, and shake their heads at the prospecet of purchasing forty-thousand dollar row houses in Harrisburg that were, to this day, up to half the time bathing in wafting irradiated breezes.

And what might we note about passing briefly through the venue from which Jimbo emerged sixty-one years back? Or the even briefer passage through Maryland?

In the event, Pennsylvania soon enough gave way to New Jersey, in the Pocono regions of both of which great fat flakes of snow cascaded down from on high. At the last gas station in the Keystone State, Jimbo encountered graffiti that suggested such deep-seated social pathology that he immediately thought of the suburbs of Paris in 1788.

Obama’s negritude and purported ‘communistic’ tendencies stood for one side of the dialog scratched with nails into the black-painted stall. The other tendency vacillated from tired vomitus, directed at ‘tea-baggers,’ to nihilistic threats to nuke all and sundry in order to cleanse our planetary home of the human vermin that “obviously” inhabit it.

After he copied a few pages from this dark chapbook, he emerged to already drifting snow. This elicited yarns about the various frosty occasions that might have eliminated his input from the genetic dance that is unfolding all round.

The sliding bus in Aspen still lives. The owner’s imprecation after Jimbo drove into a snowbank rather than risk careening down a hundred foot embankment remains a fresh imprint. “You’re a goddamned fool!”

This, back in 1974, drew forth from young Jimbo a disgusted retort. “I didn’t do it to save your pathetic neck, or even everybody else along for this stupid ride. I did it to save my own ass, which I’ve done, you’ll notice.”

The New York State Throughway blizzard in 1998, more or less; the mad dash from Sacramento to Reno through a maelstrom of sleet and slush in order to play backgammon; the drug-fueled run along a snow-lashed section of Interstate 10 outside El Paso; these were just a few of the occasions that Jimbo and Alicia considered as their little Tina Toyota came out of the frozen precipitation into the thirty-six degree drizzle of Metropolitan New York.

And Ms. Amber awaited them as promised. Her bare domicile was so spare that the bedrolls that Alicia had prepared furnished the place. But the carpet was just thick enough to prevent backbreaking slumber; a couple of abandoned boxes served as a platform for computational interaction.

And lovely Nyack bedded our partners down for the first of three nights.

193px-Film_strip

A CAMERA-LENS VIEW

A Thought for the Day

Allegiance to national flags amounts to little more than honoring certain forms of chauvinism
Quote of the Day

“A widely heralded view holds that nuclear power is experiencing a dramatic worldwide revival and vibrant growth, because it’s competitive, necessary, reliable, secure, and vital for fuel security and climate protection.  That’s all false.  In fact, nuclear power is continuing its decades-long collapse in the global marketplace because it’s grossly uncompetitive, unneeded, and obsolete—so hopelessly uneconomic that one needn’t debate whether it’s clean and safe; it weakens electric reliability and national security; and it worsens climate change compared with devoting the same money and time to more effective options.”  Amory Lovins; The Nuclear Illusion: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Amory_Lovins.

 

This Day in History

An ever-apt celebration, today is World Kindness Day; a hundred seventy-three years ago, James Braid, based on a presentation that purports to show animal magnetism, came up with the idea that he developed into the discipline of hypnotism; a male baby one hundred sixty-four years ago was born, destined to grow up to be iconic poet and writer Robert Louis Stevenson; one hundred six years back, an infant male came into the world who grew up as C. Vann Woodward, distinguished historian and social thinker; just two years later, another baby came into this realm, later to become the journalist and writer William Bradford Huie; a century before the current day, Berber indigenous fighters mauled a force of French soldiers in Morocco; two years later, the Australian Labor Party expelled its leader, Australia’s Prime Minister, who supported conscription policies that would result in the mass slaughter of working class soldiers; seventy-four years ago, Walt Disney’s animators released Fantasia for its premier in New York; seven years hence, in 1947, Soviet arms makers developed the first version of the world’s first—and still arguably foremost—assault rifle, the AK-47, and the baby boy who became environmental activist and author Amory Lovins was born; the U.S. Supreme Court fifty-eight years back effectively ended the Montgomery bus boycott when it decided that segregated conveyances were illegal; forty-five years ago, protesters staged a large March Against Death to register their opposition to the continuation of U.S. intervention and war in Southeast Asia; one year later, union activist and radiation victim Karen Silkwood died in a mysterious one car accident that happened in the midst of her whistleblowing against the Kerr-McGhee company; twelve years afterward, in 1982, veterans in Washington marched to the site of the Vietnam War Memorial for its unveiling; thirteen years ago, George W. Bush signed an Executive Order that permitted military tribunals to conduct trials against anyone who was considering ‘terrorism’ against the United States, effectively suspending Fourth Amendment or other criminal procedural protections of anyone suspected or accused of crimes.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
energy productivity automation OR mechanization “economic history” necessity OR inevitability history analysis “political economy” = 167,000 Results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

OBAMA’S LAST SHOT

https://www.techdirt.com/blog/netneutrality/articles/20141110/17372829099/anti-net-neutrality-crowd-reaches-deep-craziest-possible-response-to-president-obamas-call-real-net-neutrality-rules.shtml    A brilliant, in-depth examination from TechDirt of the reactionary blowback against Barack Obama’s very modest call for utility-style Internet regulation as a way of preserving Net Neutrality, causing an ‘extension of time’ plea from the FCC(http://www.computerworld.com/article/2845148/fcc-to-take-more-time-on-net-neutrality-following-obamas-position.html), plus all sorts(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/10/obamas-gone-old-school-net-neutrality-a-tim-wu-qa/) of SOP media(http://thehill.com/policy/technology/223496-obama-reclassify-internet-to-avoid-fast-lanes) statements, the upshot of all of which is the President’s own proposal(http://www.whitehouse.gov/net-neutrality) in favor of net neutrality, which is at least reasonably progressive(https://gigaom.com/2014/11/10/obama-tells-the-fcc-to-implement-real-net-neutrality-and-hes-serious/) and could conceivably survive(http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/11/10/response-unprecedented-public-outcry-obama-goes-big-net-neutrality) court challenges, massive undermining(http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/237966/obamas-net-neutrality-stance-baffles-internet-s.html#reply?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=comment&utm_campaign=77767) etc., at the same time that–like every bourgeois reform–it will likely lead to monopoly’s more complete control of everything: “And if that wasn’t crazy enough, let’s take it up another notch.  We got an unsolicited ‘statement of Roslyn Layton’ in response to President Obama’s proposal.  I have no idea who ‘Roslyn Layton’ is and, frankly, have no interest in doing the Google search to find out, but I know plenty from the fact that she’s actually claiming that this new plan to make sure that the internet is open and free from unfair blocking for all is somehow a victory for the Russians, Chinese and Iranians… .Except that’s the opposite of fact.  A plan that specifically calls for ‘no blocking, no throttling, increased transparency and no paid prioritization.’  Does that really sound like a plan from China, Iran and Russia?  Does Layton think anyone thinks that statement is even within the same area code as the truth?  While some others are making similar statements, they at least admit that those countries will use “any action” by the US government as a supposed defense for seeking to regulate the internet.”

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12: A Month of Nows, Roots of Thens

November 23, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Chapter Twelve

 

11/12/2014

My, oh my! Things are cooking. Further dreams, in which orderly expressions of reform and transformation happened, instructed Jimbo’s sleep.

Despite her insistence that her consort and playmate roust her from the chaos of blankets and layered clothing and burrowed warmth that typified her bedded nest, Alicia has remained nestled in, though a trek of many hundreds of miles is less than a single solar cycle distant, if things go even slightly according to plan. The reader can listen.

Honey Bunny!!” The third adoring call to rise emanates from Jimbo.

Coming.” Again, the promise is vague and choked with sleep.

Mmm hmmm!” Judgment from the Spindoctor.

Measures are sometimes necessary, despite their inevitably harsh appearance and shouted pleas for mercy; measures of solicitation and mirth, admittedly, but measures nonetheless.

No, no! I’m getting up, I’m getting up.”

Mmm hmmm!!”

No. Please. Please! AHHHHH,” insane laughter courses through the nest. “Please stop. I have to pee; I have to pee”

Jimbo relents. Yet measures are sometimes necessary. “Just get me up when you get up,” he says in Booish singsong.

I don’t know why I’m so sleepy. It took me an hour to go to sleep again,” Alicia states matter of factly about their relatively early entrance to their marital chamber, a little before four.

Hmmm!” Jimbo has no insight about all of this.

Wait, wait. Help me make the bed.” And so the day begins, shared little chores en route again to the production vortex, where both of these striving actors hope for a pipeline that gushes brilliance and success, or at the least saleable products and income.

In truth, as more and more words pour out of Jimbo’s mind and fingers, he has serious doubts that he’ll ever be much more than a second-rate hack, or maybe a third-rate poser. If this were not the case, wouldn’t more people be reading? And they’re most assuredly not doing that, so far as he can tell, though he’s in touch with a lot of people at least occasionally.

In addition to communicating with the Black petty bourgeois of East Texas and the minor landed gentry of the Appalachian South, Jimbo has another ‘assignment.’ His friend, Mike McDonough, he of the complex sexuality and manipulative toddler and Hungarian wife who believes that she’s gotten fat—which is all too plausible, at least to an extent, as in heavier, given her stress-related uptake of more and more sugar—wants a narrative statement of a relationship formula that he wants to try with Ivana.

No doubt this format results from some off-the-shelf marital-help rubric; Jimbo feels a powerful critical response to this general sort of template, but that’s neither here nor there in the assignment as such. What follows attempts to incorporate what Mike has provided, beginning with an e-mail to contextualize everything.

Hey man!

I’ve attached the narrative that I’ve interlocuted—or if you prefer that I’ve articulated in your stead. I would have a lot to add were I to come up with something like this. You know, the whole realm of politics and society is altogether absent.

Still, this incorporates what you’ve given me and some things that I’ve gleaned from our interaction. It does not, quite consciously, try to cover the whole rubric that you sent me. To try to do too much, when what you must do, before anything else, is engage your lover and wife, would lead to disaster in my estimation.

At the same time, I allude to what is not present here, as the basis for an ongoing series of conversations. And we might intend that in a ‘biblical sense,’ as in interludes of discourse and intercourse of every sort. Yay and yum.

To deviate course a little bit: in regard to Contributoria, whenever possible, offer your account points to the new project as well as your wife’s fifty. If that’s already the case, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Call me to let me know that you got this. Love and Solidarity.

Anybody with eyes open can see we’re in trouble as a couple. Nevertheless, I start with a simple affirmation.

*****

I love you as a woman; I adore your body; I treasure your spirit; I profoundly respect your mind and work and the way that you use your imagination. I’ve felt that way since that first day, really, in BOOGLIE-BOOGLIE, when we were making Fango-Dango together.

I want us to have another marriage ceremony, like a second wedding almost. Even if it were pretty small, the two most important people there—you and I—would learn anew how much we care for each other.

These feelings have persisted through thick and thin. I’m praying that they will help us understand where we’ve ended up, where these powerful emotions of love and friendship don’t seem to have any room to grow.

*****

I consciously am not trying to cover everything that we both probably want to discuss: money, work, social life, health and wellness, and more are not part of the discussion here. To start with, and maybe for a while, we need to wrestle with our relationship as a man and a woman, who have a marriage that we want to work because we know how crucial that is to both ourselves and our son.

When we feel as if we’ve solidified our love affair, our deep connection as male and female, our partnership as spiritual animals really, then we’ll really be ready to deal with everything else. At least, that’s what makes sense to me as I think about all of this.

Therefore, I’ve decided to focus on five areas that we can start to improve right now, that we must choose to make better starting this second. Here goes.

KINDNESS

I’m basically not religious, but I think Buddhists have a lot of cool and important things to say. One of these is that treating people with kindness is the supreme value that characterizes a good life.

I know that I have sometimes failed in this regard. I ask for your forgiveness. I commit to being gentle and decent and ask that you seek to be kind to me as well.

Part of this is about attitude. But even when the demons in our heads are screaming, we don’t have to act with rage and cruelty. We can help each other with chores. We can touch with loving-kindness. We can ask if we can do anything for each other. We can think about what we both need and want instead of just responding to what fears and anger that we might individually feel now and then.

FRIENDSHIP

The way that we started was as colleagues who liked each other. From the start, we really wanted to hang out together. We wanted and valued each other’s ideas and opinions.

This flows naturally from kindness, but it includes a lot more. We can be nice and decent to drunk homeless people, but we don’t necessarily hope to befriend them. A hundred things might be useful to think about when we think about how our marriage can have friendship at its core.

  • For sure, however, we need to have regular conversations, deep and real and honest. That is what friends do.
  • Other times, one of us will need mostly just to listen. We have to be available if one of us wants to unburden a heavy heart. That is what friends do.
  • We need to make time to play together, just to hang out, to have fun and check in. A minimum of once a week—that’s fifty-two times a year, at least—we need to have a ‘date’ where we just do something wonderful and joyous. That is what friends do.
  • We need to notice what the other wants, even craves. Little gifts can help to show this sort of consideration; sometimes, the greatest gift is just paying attention. That is what friends do.
  • We need to notice when one of us is floundering. We can be present at those times; we can offer assistance; we can just show that we care. That is what friends do

Like I said, I could offer a lot more here. I’d like to hear your thoughts first. So ‘hit me with your best shot.’

PARTNERSHIP

The world is so complicated and scary that anyone who tries to make it alone is likely both to fail and to be lonely and frightened in the attempt to go it alone. We both know this firsthand: no one person can ever make a movie worth a damn.

Partnership is an ancient concept. It has endured because it has served our foremothers and forefathers. Our ancestors absolutely depended on their mates’ mainly honoring such connections; otherwise we’d all have been toast. As with friendship, almost countless specific examples of how we can be better partners to each other are possible to enumerate. At the least, the following make sense.

  • We’re a team, so even—or maybe especially—in our home we should have regular projects and plans that we’re working on to make things better, brighter, easier, etc.
  • Like partners in business, we should meet a minimum of weekly to discuss our plans—moving to Atlanta, developing creative projects together, supporting each others goals and objectives, checking out finances, exactly in the way that folks in a company partnership would do.
  • Each of us should develop something that at least resembles a plan every year: “Here is what my hopes and goals are between now and 365 days from now.” We could even do something like this on your birthday and my birthday, so that we’d meet twice every year, and make the point that nothing that we give to each other is more important than the way that we willingly and enthusiastically share our minds and hearts.
  • When we buy things, they should—more than anything else—support our partnership: SOMETHING ABOUT HER WORK THAT MAKES SENSE; similarly, for me, we might look at equipment and courses that would make me more likely to do better and better, and more and more lucrative, production as a director.

Just as I said above, I want to hear your ideas too. We can really build something awesome together. We’ve been a team before; it’s a real strength of ours.

EROTIC CONNECTION

I’ve been reading an important book. It’s called The Sex Contract, and the author is a pretty amazing woman scientist, an anthropologist whose whole career has been about studying how love really works. I’d like to share, briefly, some of what she says at the beginning of her story.

(T)he game of love matters. So much, in fact, that it has influenced the entire course of human evolution and mades us the remarkably sexy creatures we are today.

But why did we come down from the trees, evolve big breasts and penises, learn to bond and to raise families as ‘man and wife?’ Why do humans feel sexual guilt and jealousy? Why are we promiscuous? Why do we lie? Why do we smile? Why are we the only animals that cry tears? Why do human beings (have language and) call someone aunt or cousin, fear incest, follow rules of whom to marry? …Why do we theorize about life, prepare for death, make love and war?

(I) enjoy working on the maze of human roots and have (identified) the role of sex (as) the spark that I believe ignited all human social life.”

If Dr. Helen Fisher is correct, and she’s studied all of this as much as anyone ever has, then clearly sex is a huge deal. We let it slip away, we sigh and accept its absence, we shrug off its disappearance at the peril of our health and our very lives.

So here is what I propose. It’s a start, at least.

  • We should kiss and hug every single day that we spend even a few seconds together. I want to embrace life’s possibilities by embracing you.
  • We should set aside a few hours, at the absolute minimum at least once every week, when we can be together, with candles and scented oils and massages, naked as the day that we were born, where we play and make love with each other.
  • As well, you should have each week an absolute minimum of one or two ‘duty-calls!’ chances to corral me and have your way with me; the same goes for me—I should also receive ‘ravishing-rights’ to take you aside for loving play at least once or twice a week, spontaneously and passionately.
  • We should have at least one ‘sexy-chat’ a week where we talk to each other about what gives us pleasure, what sex means to us, what we’ve learned about sex and human nature, all kinds of stuff.

Just like what I wrote above, about friendship and partnership, I want to know your thoughts. This is just a set of suggestions, a few ideas that seem pretty good to start.

OUR SON

Through our connection, we made Alex. We both love him more than we do ourselves. In some ways, dealing with how this has become an issue that divides us should be absolutely simple and easy.

What is in his best interest? If we just keep in mind that the answer to this question is our only reasonable guideline, if we can put our own fears and judgments aside and focus on his needs and growth, how can we go wrong?

*****

I know in my soul that we can manage this work together. If we can just address these issues in a way that honors how we started and the real feelings that we still have for each other, we will in the process both give each other immense pleasure and have all the room in our lives for freedom and joy that we so want to have.

I’m not naïve. I know that this won’t happen overnight. But let’s begin.

When this part of our life settles into a way of relating that is kind and loving and hot and sweet, whatever the inevitable difficulties, then I hope that we’ll make time for further discussion. There’s so much to consider.

We can talk about our financial goals. We can think about our friendships with other people whom we want to include in our life together. We can see how we can help each other to stay healthy, to grow as human beings, to achieve the various hopes and possibilities that I know that we both have—I want to play the guitar like a pro; you want TO LEARN CALCULUS.

But before we turn our attention to anything like all of that, let’s turn to each other. Let’s hold each other tight. Let’s come together to that place where we both overflow with each other. We’ve been there, and that place will be ours to share again.

I love you, dear heart.”

And that, as the saying goes, is that. Will such a spate of words save a marriage? By themselves, the answer would have to be, “Certainly not.” But if he can back them with apropos inention and action, they may serve. They may just serve.

A CAMERA-LENS VIEW

A Thought for the Day

To travel, with roots in both travail and Latin forms of work, is to labor toward the unknown with the hope that–fair weather or foul, friendly reception or dour–something useful or at least interesting will turn up down the road.

 

Quote of the Day

When I talked to audiences about the epidemic of eating disorders, for instance, or about the dangers of silicone breast implants, I was often given a response straight out of Plato’s Symposium, the famous dialogue about eternal and unchanging ideals: something like, ‘Women have always suffered for beauty.’  In short, it was not commonly understood at that time that ideals didn’t simply descend from heaven, that they actually came from somewhere and that they served a purpose. That purpose, as I would then explain, was often a financial one, namely to increase the profits of those advertisers whose ad dollars actually drove the media that, in turn, created the ideals. The ideal, I argued, also served a political end.  The stronger women were becoming politically, the heavier the ideals of beauty would bear down upon them, mostly in order to distract their energy and undermine their progress.”  Naomi Wolf–The Beauty Myth: http://tissasasnida.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/The-Beauty-Myth-Naomi-Wolf.pdf.

 

This Day in History

Today is World Pneumonia Day, recognizing the carnage inflicted by this common affliction; four hundred fifty-nine years ago, England’s parliament briefly reestablished Catholicism as the imperial religion; a single year shy of two centuries ago, the baby girl came into the world who would grow into activist and feminist firebrand Elizabeth Cady Stanton; one hundred seventy-four years before this day, the baby boy was born who created all the marvels of Pierre Auguste Rodin; a century and a quarter back, the baby boy who became DeWitt Wallace was born, later to cofound the Readers Digest magazine and publishing company; a British diplomat and representatives of Afghan rebels established the border between what has become Pakistan and Afghanistan one hundred twenty-one years back; ninety-nine years ago, the infant male who grew into critic and writer and philosopher Roland Barthes came onto the scene in France; eighty-seven years before the here-and-now, Josef Stalin successfully orchestrated Leon Trotsky’s expulsion from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, leaving Stalin—a likely British agent—in undisputed control of the Russians; three years after that, the Irish child came into the world who would produce the incredible novels of John McGahern; Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov arrived in Berlin seventy-four years ago to discuss a short-lived alliance between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia; five years afterwards, the baby boy was born who would pen copious popular lyrics as songwriter Neil Young; in Japan sixty-six years back, seven defendants, including General of the Army Tojo, faced death sentences as a result of an international war-crimes tribunal in Tokyo; as the Suez crisis unfolded fifty-eight years ago, Palestinian refugees died in droves in a slaughter instigated by Israel Defense Forces at Rafah, Palestine; fifty-two years ago, the infant girl who grew up to become radical writer Naomi Wolf drew her first breath; a mere year later, the baby was born that turned out to be outing activist and blogger Michael Rogers; forty-five years prior to the present pass, Vietnamese villagers died in carnage conducted by U.S. troops, what we have come to call the My Lai Massacre; a decade afterwards, Jimmy Carter cut off oil imports from Iran in the middle of the so-called hostage crisis that followed the overthrow of mass-murderer and U.S. puppet Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi; one year later, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Voyager interplanetary mission passed close to Saturn and sent back pictures of the massive planet’s rings; only ten years subsequently, Tim Berners-Lee proffered his monumental proposal for the creation of a World Wide Web on the basis of sites along the lines that the architecture of the Internet permitted.

SEARCH OF THE DAY
travel danger OR risk exchange OR profit history analysis geography “political economy” = 8,360,000 Hits.

TOP OF THE FOLD

REMEMBERING AARON SWARTZ

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/aaron_swartz_day_a_vital_legacy_lives_on_20141108     A call from TruthDig for a commemoration of Aaron Swartz and continued action for the web-justice for which he ended up dying: “Swartz would have been 28 years this week, on Nov. 8.  To celebrate his life and legacy, communities across the globe will observe Aaron Swartz Day on his birthday.  He fought for an open and thriving Internet but also for causes like ending corruption and government secrecy, and the day in his honor will mark the full range of his accomplishments and his battles, which remain alive today.”

RECENT BLOG-POSTS

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

GLOBAL CITIES TEAM CHALLENGE

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15015/nsf15015.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click    A National Science Foundation ‘Dear Colleague’ letter that calls for a collaboration among urban scholars, city-planners, and more: “The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) launched the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC; see http://www.nist.gov/cps) with a kickoff meeting on September 29-30, 2014, in Gaithersburg, MD. This meeting brought together city planners and representatives from technology companies, academic institutions and non-profits with the aim of fostering teams that will contribute to a vision for “smart cities” that takes advantage of networked technologies to better manage resources and improve quality of life.”

LAW & SOCIAL SCIENCES PROGRAM SOLICITATION

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15514/nsf15514.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click   An update and announcement from the National Science Foundation of its Law and Social Sciences Program for proffering postdoctoral research and teaching grants, with deadlines just after the first of the year and again in August.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

CONCEPTUALLY IFFY NETWORKING MODELS FOR WRITERS

http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/features-issue-sections/10789/twilight-fandom-publishing-motu/    Even if submissive female sex is not one’s ‘cup-of-tea,’ even if profiteering is not one’s reason for existence, lessons from writers who dig such scenes about how to build a publishing shtick: “The Twilight fandom publishing houses were born in controversy, and they have been mired in it ever since.  For decades, fanfiction was everyone’s dirty little secret.  Fans often lived in fear of the discovery of their hobby and frequently saw their work pulled or deleted off the Internet at the request of the original copyright holder.  Out of this culture of shame and secrecy arose fandom’s most binding ethical code: As long as fanfiction, or fic for short, remains strictly not for profit, it can reasonably be deemed fair use under the protection of current U.S. copyright law.   Fanfiction’s free, just-for-fun status is its biggest protection against claims of copyright infringement, and it also helps create a unique and thriving gift-based fandom economy.  Anything that breaks that code is met with scathing criticism from both fans and professionals, as was the case when Fifty Shades’ fanfiction roots were made widely known.”

USEFUL OPPORTUNITES & MUCH MORE

https://www.contributoria.com/about     An introduction to Guardian Media’s new Contributoria platform, here in the form of an overview and portals to more information, an interesting and perhaps astounding set of possibilities for publication, payment, audience, and more, about which ‘full disclosure’ requires an admission of being a member myself: “Contributoria is an independent journalism community.  The platform enables journalists and writers to collaborate on all aspects of the writing process, including commissioning, editing and publication.”

POWER BEHIND FACADES

http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/11/04/double-government-secret-gets/    A ‘hold-your-breath-and-hope’ kind of piece from WhoWhatWhy, that examines a recent monograph about the nature of contemporary governance–nothing to do with elections or democracy, very little of it benign or oriented toward social justice or mutuality–in terms of increasing levels and capacities of control and diverging elite and public agendas, not altogether a happy set of congruences: “One of the Globe’s pieces was a highly favorable review of Dr. Glennon’s book by former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards.  Edwards, a co-founder of the staunchly conservative Heritage Foundation, has over the years become more and more of a maverick—and more outspokenly alarmed by the path America has taken.  The other piece, which appeared in the Globe the same day,was a Q&A with Glennon. The astonishing headline was: Vote all you want.  The secret government won’t change.  The sub-headline wasn’t much tamer: The people we elect aren’t the ones calling the shots, says Tufts University’s Michael Glennon.  The genesis of the book was a question that confounded Glennon about President Obama: How did a man who won election pledging to change the national security policies of his predecessor effect so little of that?”

ELITE NETWORKS OF CONTROL & HEGEMONY

http://www.weforum.org/news/world-economic-forum-launches-new-think-tank-community     An “Organizational Links & Networking” entry not because scrappy scribes can realistically expect to build relationships with these power brokers at the World Economic Forum and so on, but because these interconnections constitute a nervous system for how the world is going to be operating, something that we need to comprehend if we are to operate in relation to these dynamics: “‘With globalization seemingly in retreat, the world’s 7.2 billion people urgently need not only new ideas, but also new ways to build consensus that involve all stakeholders in moving the best ideas from theory to practice,’ said Martina Larkin, Senior Director and Head of the Global Knowledge.  ‘None of the many issues identified in the recently released Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015 report can be addressed effectively without thorough and continuing consultation across the spectrum of stakeholders.’  A number of events are planned to coincide with the launch of the community at the Summit on the Global Agenda 2014 in Dubai, including a discussion of the main trends coming out of the 2015 Outlook publication, with emphasis on crafting workable responses to pressing issues. The community will also contribute to the Forum’s various events, initiatives and knowledge products, while engaging with various Forum communities to enhance their effectiveness as an important policy formulation group.”

‘CIVIL SOCIETY’ & UNIONS: PARADOXES & POSSIBILITIES

http://theconversation.com/how-activist-groups-became-a-force-in-workplace-relations-33869?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+10+November+2014+-+2073&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+10+November+2014+-+2073+CID_a4177533a7716a2b516046d7ae52eec3&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=How%20activist%20groups%20became%20a%20force%20in%20workplace%20relations     A sobering or even chilling research portal from The Conversation, in which ‘civil society’ organizations are replacing unions in seeking benefits in the lives of working people, which comes down to a replacement of the potential to contend for power with the equivalent of begging for alms: “In a similar vein, campaigning by community network Citizens UK has helped bring to prominence the notion of the living wage – a wage calculated to provide a minimum decent standard of living to workers who receive it. The latter’s sister organisation, the Living Wage Foundation, operates a procedure through which more than 1000 employing organisations have been accredited as living wage employers.  Both are examples of civil society organisations’ growing role in employment relations.  According to our research, there are now about 400 such organisations trying to influence domestic employment in the UK.  They usually rely on charitable donations and grants and sometimes also contracts with government to provide services to fund their activities.”

KNIGHT CITIES CHALLENGE

http://www.govexec.com/state-local/2014/10/knight-cities-challenge/95543/?oref=state_and_local_nl    For twenty-five urban areas, a real chance to gain funding, attention, support, from GovExec, about the Knight Challenge’s most recent urban funding portal: note–due Friday: “What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?  The first-ever Knight Cities Challenge opens today calling on innovators of all types to answer this question.  The national challenge, which seeks new ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work, is an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.”

WHY’S THE WEB SO DAMN SLOW?

http://www.techpolicydaily.com/internet/caused-web-slow-down-comcast-twc-verizon/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=paramount&utm_campaign=cict     A ‘let’s-blame-Netflix’ trope, here, biased toward the largest monopolies instead of the next-to-largest, but just because such a tilt is not surprising from the American Enterprise Institute does not make its conclusions false on their face: “Everyone knew the disputes between Netflix and Comcast/Verizon/AT&T and others affected consumer speeds.  I wrote about the controversy here, here, and here, and my “How the Net Works” report offered broader context.  The M-Lab study, “ISP Interconnection and Its Impact on Consumer Internet Performance,” however, does have some good new data.  Although M-Lab says it doesn’t know who was ‘at fault,’ advocates seized on the report as evidence of broadband provider mischief at big interconnection points.  But the M-Lab data actually show just the opposite.  As you can see in the three graphs below, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and to a lesser extent AT&T all show sharp drops in performance in May of 2013 at the three monitoring points in New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.  Then, performance of all four networks all show sudden improvements in March of 2014.”

USEFUL WORDPRESS FREEBIES

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/blogging-writing-ebooks/    E-books for writers from WordPress, with many back entries from the platform’s dozens of Writing 101 and Writing 201 classes over the years: “Our recent Writing 101 and Writing 201 Blogging U. courses were a huge success — so we thought you should be able to enjoy them even if your schedule didn’t allow you to take them in real time.  We’re happy to announce that both courses are now offered as free ebooks, available for download in .pdf, .mobi (Kindle), and .epub (iBooks) formats.  While conceived with nonfiction writers in mind, fiction writers (we know you’re out there, NaNoWriMo participants!) could find both courses just as useful.”

UNDERSTANDING UN(DER)EMPLOYMENT REALITIES

http://www.citylab.com/work/2014/11/the-rise-of-invisible-unemployment/382554/    A richly contextualized offering from CityLab, which details the many ways that current employment and, especially, unemployment figures are untrustworthy, almost delusional, in regard to the actual experience among workers: “In 2002, official unemployment swamped invisible unemployment.  The official unemployment rate was an accurate description of the labor force.  But the spread between invisible and official unemployment is shrinking.  In the last 20 years, the six months with the smallest gaps between official and invisible unemployment were all in 2014.  That means the official unemployment rate is getting worse and worse at describing the real conditions facing American workers.  Invisible unemployment is hurting the participation rate even more than economists predicted with an aging work force.  The entire developed world is getting older.  But U.S. participation fell faster in the years after the recession that just about any other country.”

‘CLICKBAIT’ REFLECTIONS & IMPLICATIONS

www.mediapost.com/publications/article/237865/these-15-hottest-naked-celebrity-diets-for-getting.html#reply?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=comment&utm_campaign=77744    A MediaPost regular columnist’s provocative and useful analysis of what ‘clickbait’ is, with a lot of unanswered questions about how and why it functions as it does: “Fed Eyes Wage Growth as it Stands Pat on Interest Rates.  Okay, maybe that last one wasn’t on the page, because it doesn’t quite qualify as clickbait.  It’s news.  It affects everyone.  It is slightly technical.  It has no cleavage.  Therefore it holds no allure for the hoi polloi.  Clickbane, I guess you’d call it.  But this exercise got me wondering.  1)Why does the clickbait feature so many bikini-clad women and other boobage, as opposed to beefcake?  Half the audience is female.  Is the soft-porn that passes for ‘content’ of that much interest to women? (I fear for the answer to this).  And are bare male celebrity chests and butts unenticing to women?  It just seems like if you’re going to be in a sleazy online race to the bottom, you should be an equal-opportunity sleaze.  Aren’t some ill-gotten clicks being left on the table?”

WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS

GUIDELINES FOR CREATIVE EMPOWERMENT

http://boingboing.net/2014/11/04/molly-crabapples-rules-for-c.html    From Boing Boing a way above average list, in terms of utility and thoughtfulness, about the aspects of succeeding in such creative endeavors as scrappy scribing: “My success would not have been possible without the (I)nternet.   I’ve used every platform, from Craigslist and Suicide Girls to Livejournal, Myspace, Kickstarter, Tumblr and Twitter.  I’m both sick of social media and addicted to it.  What nourishes you destroys you, and all that.  The internet is getting increasingly corporate and centralized, and I don’t know that the future isn’t just going back to big money platforms.  I hope its not. …15. Be massively idealistic about your art, dream big, open your heart and let the blood pour forth.  Be utterly cynical about the business around your art.”

WHAT JOURNALISTS(&WRITERS)MUST KNOW

http://pressthink.org/2014/11/how-to-be-literate-in-whats-changing-journalism/    A listing of eighteen key conceptual orientations, with links, that a prize winning journalism professor believes his students should know by the end of their first year.

SOME COOL TOOLS & APPS

http://www.techrepublic.com/pictures/five-apps-tools-for-recovering-your-data/?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101&ftag=TRE684d531    A data recovery melange from Tech Republic, which also(http://www.techrepublic.com/article/two-quick-graphic-tricks-that-return-big-results-in-a-word-document/?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101&ftag=TRE684d531) offers snappy graphic tools for MSW users: “Murphy’s law dictates that the data that you’re most likely to lose is the data that has not yet been backed up.  Fortunately, a number of data recovery tools are available.  Here are five excellent choices.”

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

WICKED DEPTH FROM NYRB, RE ‘CREEPY WEB’S’ CREEP

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/creepy-new-wave-internet/    In some ways just a wacky look at the growing intensification of internetification as an instance of quantity shifting into quality, and not necessarily in altogether pleasant or even benign fashion, with the possibilities for everything from absolute control to arbitrary culling ‘right around the corner:’ “For years, a cohort of technologists, most notably Ray Kurzweil, the writer, inventor, and director of engineering at Google, have been predicting the day when computer intelligence surpasses human intelligence and merges with it in what they call the Singularity.  We are not there yet, but a kind of singularity is already upon us as we swallow pills embedded with microscopic computer chips, activated by stomach acids, that will be able to report compliance with our doctor’s orders (or not) directly to our electronic medical records.   Then there is the singularity that occurs when we outfit our bodies with ‘wearable technology’ that sends data about our physical activity, heart rate, respiration, and sleep patterns to a database in the cloud as well as to our mobile phones and computers (and to Facebook and our insurance company and our employer).  Cisco Systems, for instance, which is already deep into wearable technology, is working on a platform called ‘the Connected Athlete’ that ‘turns the athlete’s body into a distributed system of sensors and network intelligence…[so] the athlete becomes more than just a competitor—he or she becomes a Wireless Body Area Network, or WBAN.’  Wearable technology, which generated $800 million in 2013, is expected to make nearly twice that this year.  These are numbers that not only represent sales, but the public’s acceptance of, and habituation to, becoming one of the things connected to and through the Internet.”

FIGHTING CORPORATE BEHEMOTHS WITH FCC HELP

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/technology/in-rural-america-challenging-a-roadblock-to-high-speed-internet.html?emc=edit_ee_20141110&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=66212615    An assessment from The Times from before President Obama’s pro-net-neutrality speech, which indicates at least some institutional commitment to the possibility of a strongly-supportive-of-local-access-rights Federal Communications Commission over a significant time period: “But Tom Wheeler, the Federal Communications Commission chairman, says providing access to broadband Internet is in the public interest.  And for that reason, he says, the commission can override those state laws — setting off a heated debate about the federal commission’s authority over states and about whether local governments or private companies should provide the service.  Mark Cooper, research director of Consumer Federation of America, said he expected ‘a long and vicious fight.  There is a felt need for a higher quality of service at a more reliable price.  There’s a perception of market failure.  If consumers were not upset, they wouldn’t be asking for it.’  At the center of the debate are Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson.  The two cities have petitioned the commission to invalidate their state laws.  A ruling from the F.C.C. is expected next year.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

KISSINGER’S ACCEDING TO U.S. IDIOCY ON UKRAINE

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/even-kissinger-gets-it-america-has-no-dog-in-the-ukrainian-hunt/?utm_source=wysija&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Mailing+List+Sunday+10+AM     A typically level-headed and thorough take about Russia and Putin from Contra Corner, starting off with the recognition that Henry K. himself sees present policy as madness–an excuse for not having a strategy–and then proceeding to provide a comprehensive ‘literature review’ of the weak and fatuous and simply ludicrous perspectives of contemporary ‘authorities’ on these matters, at the center of all of which sits a default strategy for fascism in Ukraine and World War Three as the upshot: “Like lots of people I’ve been trying to figure out Vladimir Putin, our latest foreign devil. I doubt if many of our born-again Russian experts could pass a simple test evaluating and explaining the possible impact of Russia’s history – imperial and communist – on Russia’s present direction under Putin? …My guess is that few can.  Who cares about Russian history anyway?  Instead, our media chatter is about a revived economic, military and political cordon sanitaire or encirclement of the Moscow fiends.  Meanwhile, the Crimean coup is viewed superficially here as an attack on ‘freedom’ and self-determination, at times evoking an image of the Nazi’s 1938 Anschluss of Austria.  Comments about Putin have been almost universally hostile — he worked for the KGB, ignoring that Bush The Elder ran the CIA.  A more reasonable comment came from Fiona Hill, who once worked in the Bush The Lesser administration and co-wrote Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.  ‘He’s not delusional,’ she wisely concluded, ‘but he inhabits a Russia of the past, a version of the past that he has created.  His present is defined by it and there is no coherent vision of the future.'”

VOTING HOLIDAYS

http://www.sanders.senate.gov/democracyday    A practical step toward something more resembling a functioning democracy, a bill from Bernie Sanders to make any National election a Federal holiday: “Nationwide, preliminary indications are that the total turnout for the 2014 elections was only 36.6 percent, according to the United States Elections Project at the University of Florida.  In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process.  Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote.”

GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS

PHARMACEUTICAL MARKETING OF INSANITY AS MEDICINE

http://www.cchrint.org/pdfs/the-link-between-psychiatric-drugs-and-senseless-violence.pdf     Just one of hundreds of evidence-driven sources that call into question the corporate model for labeling emotion as ‘disorder’ so as to medicate it for a price, here in particular looking at side effects that suggest violent ideation and action as a regular concomitant of these prescriptions: “There is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs cause violence: 22 international drug regulatory warnings cite violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis and even homicidal ideation.  Individuals under the influence of such drugs and committing these acts of senseless violence are not limited to using guns and are not limited to just schools.  Recent examples of individuals under the influence of such drugs include Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and Fort Hood shooter Ivan Lopez.”

MELTDOWNS, MAYHEM, & SOP MONEY-MANAGEMENT

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/10/aigs-n10.html    A nasty shock to anyone who hasn’t seen the specifics of how people and workers were the targeted victims of the government response to bailing out the rich after 2008, an examination from World Socialist Website that makes crystal clear that the same–and worse–is in store if our future remains driven by empire and operated by capitalists, for capitalists, and of capitalists: “The Obama administration, after a few rhetorical protests for public consumption, came out in support of the $450 million executive bonus package.  Lawrence Summers, chairman of the White House National Economic Council at the time, told ABC in an interview in 2009, ‘We are a country of law.  These are contracts.  The government cannot just abrogate contracts.’  For the Obama Administration, of course, this maxim does not apply to the municipal workers and retirees of Detroit, whose constitutionally-protected pension benefits are being cut with the administration’s support as part of the Detroit bankruptcy.  Nor did it apply to autoworkers at GM and Chrysler, who had their contractual obligations to health benefits and wages slashed at the White House’s insistence in the 2009 auto restructuring.”

 

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