Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The World Is Full of Crashing Bores

Morrissey- The World is Full of Crashing Bores

You must be wondering how
The boy next door turned out
Have a care, But don't stare
Because he's still there
Lamenting policewomen policemen silly women taxmen
Uniformed whores, They who wish to hurt you, Work within the law

This world is full, So full of crashing bores
And I must be one, 'Cuz no one ever turns to me to say
Take me in your arms, Take me in your arms, And love me

You must be wondering how
The boy next door turned out
Have a care, And say a prayer
Because he's still there

Lamenting policewomen policemen silly women taxmen
Uniformed whores, Educated criminals, Work within the law

This world is full, Oh oh, So full of crashing bores
And I must be one, cuz no one ever turns to me to say
Take me in your arms, Take me in your arms
And love me, And love me

What really lies, Beyond the constraints of my mind
Could it be the sea, With fate mooning back at me
No it's just more lock jawed pop stars
Thicker than pig shit, Nothing to convey
They're so scared to show intelligence
It might smear their lovely career

This world, I am afraid, is designed for crashing bores
I am not one, I am not one
You don't understand, You don't understand, And yet you can
Take me in your arms and love me, Love me, And love me

Take me in your arms and love me, Love me, love me
Take me in your arms and love me, Take me in your arms and love me

Morrissey- The World is Full of Crashing Bores [download] buy it on iTunes
Morrissey - You Are the Quarry - The World Is Full of Crashing Bores

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The Visible, The Untrue

by Hart Crane

Yes, I being
the terrible puppet of my dreams, shall
lavish this on you—
the dense mine of the orchid, split in two.
And the fingernails that cinch such
And what about the staunch neighbor tabulations,
with all their zest for doom?

I'm wearing badges
that cancel all your kindness. Forthright
I watch the silver Zeppelin
destroy the sky. To
stir your confidence?
To rouse what sanctions—?

The silver strophe... the canto
bright with myth ... Such
distances leap landward without
evil smile. And, as for me....

The window weight throbs in its blind
partition. To extinguish what I have of faith.
Yes, light. And it is always
always, always the eternal rainbow
And it is always the day, the farewell day unkind.

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Cyrano Fernandez

or Cyrano comes to Caracas.

I came upon this image

with the caption "People watch a movie premiere at the densely populated hillside neighborhood of 'Barrio'San Miguel in Caracas, Venezuela, February 25, 2008. The movie Cyrano de Fernandez is a hard-bitten version of the classic French play Cyrano de Bergerac set in a gun-plagued Venezuelan neighborhood. Hundreds of residents of the San Miguel 'Barrio' crammed alleys and rooftops to see the national premiere of the film, projected in a local ball court."
so of course being interested and curious as to what they were watching I found the trailer, and... it looks pretty good and intense and stars The Asset from the Bourne Ultimatum, Edgar Ramirez as Cyrano
Cyrano Fernandez

I know how the story ends but I'd love to see the South American adaptation. It has always been one of my favorite plays

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Hope's For Dopes

one of the more revealing articles about where, once all the rhetoric is through and the governing begins, we might find ourselves, as predicted through the experiences of Emerson through Barack's potential "wrang wrang" Deval Patrick (via Slate) by Fred Siegel, who is not the fashion guy

Yes, We Can’t
From Ralph Waldo Emerson to Deval Patrick, the politics of hope have been a bust.

Aging baby boomers see in Barack Obama’s down-the-line liberal voting record the promise of a left-wing revival. The college students and twentysomethings of the Millennial Generation see in him a way of pushing the quarrelsome, narcissistic baby boomers off the stage. Someone is bound to be disappointed by this extraordinary performance artist. But what both the boomers and the Millennials share is a desire to be part of what Ralph Waldo Emerson, writing in the 1840s, called “the politics of hope.” Emerson wrote during a time of numerous experiments in utopian living. Obama—whose candidacy rests upon a standard utopian dichotomy between the earthly evils of poverty, injustice, war, and partisanship, and the promise of the world to come if we allow him to rescue us—appeals to the same Elysian strain in American and Western political life, largely in remission since 1980, when the 1960s truly ended.

America’s founding fathers were a famously hard-headed lot; they understood that government had to be structured to remedy the “defects of better motives.” Since self-serving interest groups—or factions, as Federalist 10 calls them—were an unavoidable element of liberty, interest could only be checked by competing interest. But while this insight is the main stem of our political tradition, there is another, albeit punctuated, branch—a utopianism that derives from the millenarianism of the sects that emerged from the Protestant Reformation and eventually populated America. “Utopian . . . ideas,” notes Daniel Flynn in his new history of the American Left, are as “American as Plymouth Rock.” This is why, as Sixties activist Bo Burlingham put it, “the Left bobs up and down in American history, a battered and leaky craft which often disappears beneath the tide, but somehow never sinks.”

In the wake of bloody utopian experiments in 1930s Europe, a slew of erudite authors launched compelling attacks on them. Jacob Talmon, Karl Popper, Raymond Aaron, Czeslaw Milosz, and Hannah Arendt laid waste to the historical, philosophical, sociological, and literary assumptions that supported communism and fascism. But their arguments didn’t endure, despite their power. By the mid-1960s, utopianism had again taken hold, and its lure was such that even Arendt, once a vocal opponent, found herself drawn to the religion of politics. Propelled by her disdain for America in general and the Vietnam War in particular, as well as the promise, as she saw it, of worker-control experiments in Europe, she effectively reversed much of her earlier writings.

She wasn’t alone. In 1949, Arthur Schlesinger had published The Vital Center, the canonical statement of disillusioned, empirical, and anti-utopian post–World War II liberalism. Schlesinger praised “the empirical temper” and a realistic sense of man’s limitations that recognized that “freedom means conflict.” Tracing the shared assumptions behind Brook Farm—the famous American utopian experiment of the 1840s—and the Soviet Union, he distanced liberalism from an optimism born of eighteenth-century rationalism and a nineteenth-century romanticism about progress, which left “too many unprepared for the mid-twentieth century.” Democracy, he wrote, “brooks no worship” of great leaders because “it knows that no man is that good.” And Schlesinger rebuked the leftists who, admiring the USSR, couldn’t believe that “ugly facts underlie fair words.” It was an intellectual tour de force.

But a little more than a decade later, Schlesinger—romanced by John F. Kennedy—walked away from these arguments. His admiration for the liberalism of a “moderate pessimism about man” was replaced by hero-worship and a sense of the dashing, aristocratic, articulate Kennedy as someone who could transcend standard political categories. Kennedy’s untimely death canonized the hard-nosed Massachusetts pol—with a mixed record at best as our first celebrity president—as JFK, a Lincoln-like martyr to civil rights, the King of Camelot who, if he had lived, would have made all right with the world. This Kennedy passed into Democratic Party legend and still inspires some today: remember Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign ads, featuring a picture of the young Clinton visiting the White House with a group of young student leaders and shaking hands with Kennedy. Kennedy, the ads implied, was passing the torch.

Obama, the celebrity-like candidate drawing on his generational appeal and noble bearing, fits better into Kennedy’s robes than Clinton did. Unlike Kennedy, who didn’t think of himself in messianic terms, Obama seems short on irony. Still, for lovelorn boomers and for youngsters who’ve known only the failures of the Bush years, Obama promises a Camelot-like reenchantment with politics. “I’ve been following politics since I was about five,” says TV host Chris Mathews. “I’ve never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers, he’s the New Testament.” In this view, just as Kennedy’s victory in 1960 brought the country out of its Eisenhower-era stupor and put the Catholic question to bed for good, so an Obama victory will reenergize our politics and bring an end to poverty and racial division.

Hillary Clinton has searched in vain for a way to combat Obama’s appeal. In the recent Austin debate, she criticized Obama for borrowing generously from the speeches of his good friend and coeval Deval Patrick, the first African-American governor of Massachusetts. “Lifting whole passages from someone else’s speeches,” she challenged in the debate’s one charged moment, “is not change you can believe in, it’s change you can Xerox.” Clinton’s arrow here was not aimed so much at plagiarism—all candidates borrow heavily from each other and from past campaigns—as at Obama’s claim to authenticity. But with the press, on both left and right, all but openly rooting for Obama, little came of her attack; more important, the press missed the true importance of the Patrick comparison.

Bay State journalist Rick Holmes describes Obama and Patrick, fellow Harvard Law School graduates, as “peas in a pod.” Patrick is the Obama campaign’s national cochair. Obama’s presidential campaign has modeled itself on Patrick’s gubernatorial campaign. Patrick’s 2006 campaign slogan was “Together we can,” while Obama’s is “Yes we can.” The brilliant Chicago political operative David Axelrod has managed both men’s campaigns. Both candidates have made persistent appeals to “the politics of hope.”

So Clinton’s criticism seems an opportune moment to ask how Patrick’s inspirational rhetoric has translated into governing a state where Democrats control both houses of the legislature—the likely scenario for Obama, too, should he take office. Patrick’s governorship is the closest thing we have to a preview of the “politics of hope”—and that governorship has been a failure to date. As Joan Vennochi observes in the Boston Globe, “Democrats who control the Legislature ignored virtually every major budget and policy initiative presented by a fellow Democrat.” Patrick’s record in office, Vennochi concludes, “shows that it can be hard to get beyond being the face of change, to actually changing politics.” His stock has sunk so markedly that Hillary Clinton carried the state handily against Obama in the Democratic primary despite, or perhaps because of, Patrick’s support for his political doppelgänger.

In one area, however, Patrick has achieved some of his goals. In thrall to the state’s teachers’ unions, he has partly rolled back the most successful educational reforms in the country. Most states gamed the federal testing requirements that were part of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. But Massachusetts, thanks to Republican governors William Weld and Mitt Romney, created the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability to ensure that the state’s testing methods conformed closely to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—federal tests that are the gold standard for measuring educational outcomes. In 2007, Massachusetts became the first state to achieve top marks in all four categories of student achievement. One of Patrick’s first efforts as governor was to eliminate the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability.

Patrick hasn’t delivered reform, much less the transformation that both he and Obama promise. This should come as no surprise. Obama’s utopian vision of transcending the interests that make up the fabric of our democracy is unlikely to fare any better than the “politics of hope” did in Emerson’s time. The key question at hand is whether Obama’s Edenic bubble bursts before or after the election.

and from the Boston Globe an article about Turning Hope Into Action that looks at Deval's time in office so far, and I can see the Obama administration doing the same thing

Cynics get things done if for no other reason than they don't have their heads in the clouds and so know what it looks like on the ground

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How'd That Work Out For Ya?

Stephon Marbury in July of 2007 upon hearing the news that Zach Randolph had become a Knick

7 months later here is that Zach Randolph in action in a game against Toronto this week

There's no way you can fully appreciate how much those made me laugh

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Archuleta's The Idol

once again I don't watch American Idol but I've heard so much good stuff about this kid David Archuleta that I had to check him out

wow. wow. first that boy does not sing like a 17 year old at all, Randy was right. secondly him meeting the season 1 finalists when he was 11 makes me feel really old. thirdly singing Dreamgirls at 11- he's gayer than a goldfish (even if he doesn't know it yet) but damn can he sing. hopefully they don't try to "straighten" him out. Paula is terrifying, btw
and yes i am prone to making outlandish statements like the title above based on 2 minutes of singing, I've done it before...
p.s. he kind of looks like Marco from Degrassi

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Bruce Pearl is Howard Dean

(Alternatively titled The Howard Dean of College Basketball)

If not in terms of results then at least in intensity and fieriness of rally speeches.

Fanhouse had this video of Bruce Pearl at a rally for the Volunteer faithful before their game against #1 Memphis /

And in the middle of watching that it struck me as being oh so familiar and that’s when it came to me- Howard Dean, 2004, Iowa

Except for Pearl lacking that unhuman scream of Dean’s they are way similar
And they kind of look the same too, don't they? like in the way where they both have grayish hear covering a squarish head and...shoulders?

right? am i right?

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Jew Haters Split on Love for Obama

On the one hand we have Anti-Semites for Obama

NASHVILLE, TN - The Tennessee Republican Party today joins a growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.

“It’s time to set the record straight about Barack Obama and where he really stands on vital issues such as national security and the security of Israel,” said Robin Smith, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. “Voters need to know about two items that surfaced today which strongly suggest that an Obama presidency will view Israel as a problem rather than a partner for peace in the Middle East.

On Sunday, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan on Sunday likened Obama to a new messiah, calling him “the hope of the entire world.” That’s the same Louis Farrakhan who has a history of making openly anti-Semitic statements, calling Judaism a “gutter religion,” and suggesting that crack cocaine might have been a CIA plot to enslave blacks.

Farrakhan, addressing 20,000 people at the annual Savior’s Day celebration in Chicago, praised the Democrat presidential candidate, calling Obama “The hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better.”

He also compared Obama to the founder of Islam, remarking that both had a white mother and black father, according to the Associated Press. “A black man with a white mother became a savior to us,” Farrakhan said. “A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.”

Obama, (pictured dressed in Muslim attire in a 2006 visit to Africa) has on the campaign trail pledged to rapidly remove American soldiers from Iraq regardless of the resulting instability and the creation of opening that would be filled by Islamic extremists, like Al Qaeda, in Iraq’s government and military.

Obama has pledged to hold a Muslim Summit to determine Middle East policy with the very leaders that have as their goal to remove Israel from the map, referenced Jews to be “dogs” and “pigs,” among other vile references.

Over the weekend, news reports surfaced casting more disturbing evidence of Obama’s anti-Israel leanings.

The board of a nonprofit organization on which Obama served as a paid director alongside a confessed domestic terrorist granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a “catastrophe.”

The co-founder of that organization, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, who also has held a fundraiser for Obama, is a harsh critic of Israel and has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror. Khalidi reportedly has worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and was labeled by the State Department as a terror group.

The Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit that describes itself as a group helping the disadvantaged, provided a $40,000 grant in 2001 to the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, for which Khalidi’s wife, Mona, serves as president. The Fund provided a second grant to the AAAN for $35,000 in 2002. Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. Tax records show he was paid $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2001.

Also serving on the Wood’s Fund board alongside Obama was current University of Illinois-Chicago professor William C. Ayers, who was a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow of the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971.

“You don’t even have to go outside Obama’s campaign to find advisers who are anti-Israel,” said Bill Hobbs, communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party. “Robert Malley, a principal foreign policy adviser to Obama, has advocated negotiations with the Iranian-funded radical terrorist group Hamas and urged that Hamas – which sends suicide bombers to kill innocent women and children - receive international assistance.”

According to, an online guide to the political Left, Malley “consistently condemns Israel, exonerates Palestinians, urges U.S. disengagement from Israel, and recommends that America reach out to negotiate with its traditional Arab enemies.”

“Nothing in Barack Obama’s history or his choice of advisers suggests he will be a friend to Israel,” said Hobbs. “On the contrary, supporters of Israel should view a possible Obama administration with extreme caution, as America’s ally is being put in the cross-hairs by the anti-Jewish left.”

(via Wonkette)

but then we have those master haters, the KKK who are quite emphatic in their denial of ever endorsing Barack

Ku Klux Klan DOES NOT Endorse Barack Obama for President

Despite some rumors, the Ku Klux Klan is not endorsing Barack Obama for President. In fact, Thomas Robb, national director of The Knights Party says his organization has serious questions it would like Barack to answer. Said Robb, "Is he willing to stand for the protection of white men, women and children who are quickly to be America’s new minority. Just over two years ago, the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. stated that white children under the age of five were counted for less than 50% of the population. I do not feel it is an exaggeration to be very concerned about America’s future." Where does Barrack Obama’s allegiance lie? And what about Hillary Clinton or John McCain? Will they voice concern for the sons and daughters of the Republic?

The United States of America is a great nation! How great will we be should a traitor take office as President? Is America headed down a dangerous path? We believe so. While we do not take an official position toward any candidate, we feel that we represent the opinion of many dissatisfied people throughout the country who worry for the future of their children. Will anyone, be it Republican or Democrat, stand up and voice their support for white Christian Americans?

Rachel Pendergraft, the national spokeswoman for the organization said, "We pray for the day when we will see a strong candidate; a God fearing white man or woman, who will restore the principles of the Constitution, promote free enterprise versus a planned economy, put military troops on the border to stop illegal immigration, put an end to the social experiment called forced integration which has had a devastating effect on all races, and return our schools to a wholesome environment of learning by removing homosexual indoctrination"

(via Radar)
always seems to come back to the gays, doesn't it. But I must admit that the fact the KKK's website is so horrible and inept and glitchy, as well as their grammar really makes me feel better and gives me a good laugh.

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I guess they couldn’t dress him up as God

But let’s be honest we all know that’s what Kobe is.
Anyway as part of I guess a new sneaker campaign Nike has Kobe in costume as great geniuses of history

As Da Vinci (Kobe’s more talented all around)

Kobe as Mozart (Kobe’s more musical)

Kobe as Einstein (Kobe didn’t even need to go to college)

Kobe as George Washington Carver (people aren’t allergic to Kobe unlike peanuts. Oh and Kobe can dunk)

there’s one other Genius ad coming out to complete the series, though I’m not sure when it will be released or who Kobe will be. I kinda feel that for that one it’ll be cheesy and predictable and Kobe will play himself as like a genuis of the court, but I hope to be surprised

Nike Zoom Kobe III- Genius

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“Barack Called Me an Asshole”

is it perhaps possible that Barack isn’t some deity sent down to save us all in our darkest moment but is actually just a man and a [gasp!] politician?
(But messiahs aren't supposed to curse!)

Here is one reporter’s heroic tale of dealing with “the meanie"
as a young reporter covering a hungry state legislator It seems that the real Barack emerges

some excerpts

It's not quite eight in the morning and Barack Obama is on the phone screaming at me. He liked the story I wrote about him a couple weeks ago, but not this garbage.

Months earlier, a reporter friend told me she overheard Obama call me an asshole at a political fund-raiser. Now here he is blasting me from hundreds of miles away for a story that just went online but hasn't yet hit local newsstands.

It's the first time I ever heard him yell, and I'm trembling as I set down the phone. I sit frozen at my desk for several minutes, stunned.

I was flipping through right-wing rants on AM radio. Dennis Praeger was railing against Michelle Obama for her clumsy comment on being proud of her country for the first time.

Praeger went on to call her husband a blank slate. There's no record to look at, he complained, unless you lived in Barack Obama's old state Senate district.

Well, I lived and worked in that district for three years — nearly half Obama's tenure in the Illinois Legislature. D-13, the district was called, and it spanned a large swath of the city's poor, black, crime-­ridden South Side.

It was 2000 and I was a young, hungry reporter at the Hyde Park Herald and Lakefront Outlook community newspapers earning $19,000 a year covering politics and crime.

I talked with Obama on a regular basis — a couple times a month, at least. I'd ask him about his campaign-finance reports, legislation he was sponsoring and various local issues. He wrote an occasional column published in our papers.

Then, in 2002, dissatisfaction with President Bush and Republicans on the national and local levels led to a Democratic sweep of nearly every lever of Illinois state government. For the first time in 26 years, Illinois Democrats controlled the governor's office as well as both legislative chambers.

The white, race-baiting, hard-right Republican Illinois Senate Majority Leader James "Pate" Philip was replaced by Emil Jones Jr., a gravel-voiced, dark-skinned African-American known for chain-smoking cigarettes on the Senate floor.

Jones had served in the Illinois Legislature for three decades. He represented a district on the Chicago South Side not far from Obama's. He became Obama's ­kingmaker.

Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city's most popular black call-in radio ­program.

I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

"He said, 'Cliff, I'm gonna make me a U.S. Senator.'"

"Oh, you are? Who might that be?"

"Barack Obama."

Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

"I took all the beatings and insults and endured all the racist comments over the years from nasty Republican committee chairmen," State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of landmark racial profiling and videotaped confession legislation yanked away by Jones and given to Obama, complained to me at the time. "Barack didn't have to endure any of it, yet, in the end, he got all the credit.

"I don't consider it bill jacking," Hendon told me. "But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book."

During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama's stats soared. He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law — including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced.

It was a stunning achievement that started him on the path of national politics — and he couldn't have done it without Jones.

Before Obama ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, he was virtually unknown even in his own state. Polls showed fewer than 20 percent of Illinois voters had ever heard of Barack Obama.

Jones further helped raise Obama's profile by having him craft legislation addressing the day-to-day tragedies that dominated local news ­headlines.

For instance. Obama sponsored a bill banning the use of the diet supplement ephedra, which killed a Northwestern University football player, and another one preventing the use of pepper spray or pyrotechnics in nightclubs in the wake of the deaths of 21 people during a stampede at a Chicago nightclub. Both stories had received national attention and extensive local coverage.

I spoke to Jones earlier this week and he confirmed his conversation with Kelley, adding that he gave Obama the legislation because he believed in Obama's ability to negotiate with Democrats and Republicans on divisive issues.

So how has Obama repaid Jones?

Last June, to prove his commitment to government transparency, Obama released a comprehensive list of his earmark requests for fiscal year 2008. It comprised more than $300 million in pet projects for Illinois, including tens of millions for Jones's Senate district.

Shortly after Jones became Senate president, I remember asking his view on pork-barrel spending.

I'll never forget what he said:

"Some call it pork; I call it steak."

Hyde Park was the most racially integrated neighborhood in a city with a long, tortured history of segregation. Along 53rd Street, the neighborhood's main commercial corridor, chess players filled the parks, student activists chanted political slogans and women clad in bright colors and elaborate headwraps sang church hymns while strolling the sidewalks.

I would sometimes sit smoking on the fire escape outside my office and feel like I'd wandered into a Spike Lee film.

The communities surrounding Hyde Park were predominantly black and impoverished, marked by high crime, boarded-up storefronts and vacant lots. In some residential areas, banks and grocery stores were several miles away.

On the stump, Obama has frequently invoked his experiences as a community organizer on the Chicago South Side in the early 1990s, when he passed on six-figure salary offers at corporate law firms after graduating from Harvard Law School to direct a massive voter-registration drive.

But, as a state senator, Obama evaded leadership on a host of critical community issues, from historic preservation to the rapid demolition of nearby public-housing projects, according to many South Siders.

Harold Lucas, a veteran South Side community organizer who remembers when Obama was "just a big-eared kid fresh out of school," says he didn't finally decide to support Obama's presidential bid until he was actually inside the voting booth on Super Tuesday.

"I'm not happy about the quality of life in my community," says Lucas, who now heads a black-heritage tourism business in Chicago. "As a local elected official, he had a primary role in that."

In addition to Hyde Park, Obama also represented segments of several South Side neighborhoods home to the nation's richest African-American cultural history outside of Harlem.

Before World War II, the adjacent Bronzeville community was known as the "Black Metropolis," attracting African-American migrants seeking racial equality and economic opportunity from states to the south such as Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Storied jazz clubs such as Gerri's Palm Tavern regularly hosted Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker and many others. In the postwar era, blues legends Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King all regularly gigged in cramped juke joints such as the Checkerboard Lounge.

When the City of Chicago seized the 70-year-old Gerri's Palm Tavern by eminent domain in 2001, sparking citywide protests, Obama was silent. And he offered no public comments when the 30-year owner of the Checkerboard Lounge was forced to relocate a couple years later.

Even in Hyde Park, Obama declined to take a position on a years-long battle waged by hundreds of local community activists fighting against the city's plan to replace the historic limestone seawall along Lake Michigan — a popular spot to sunbathe and swim — with concrete steps.

It would be comparable to representing Barton Creek in Austin, and sidestepping any discussion about conservation.

Obama's aloofness on key community issues for years frustrated Lucas and many other South Siders. Now they believe he was just afraid of making political enemies or being pigeonholed as a black candidate.

Though it didn't make national news, Obama inflamed many residents in his old state Senate district last March when he endorsed controversial Chicago alderman Dorothy Tillman in a runoff election.

Flamboyant and unpredictable, Tillman is perhaps best known for once pulling a pistol from her purse and brandishing it around at a city council meeting. The ward she represented for 22 years, which included historic Bronzeville, comprised the city's largest concentration of vacant lots.

Just three months before Obama made his endorsement, the Lakefront Outlook community newspaper ran a three-part investigative series exposing flagrant crony­ism and possible tax-law violations that centered on Tillman and her biggest pet project, a taxpayer-funded cultural center built across the street from her ward office that had been hemorrhaging money since its inception.

The series won a national George Polk Award, among the most coveted prizes in journalism. Not bad for a 12-page rag with a circulation of 12,000 and no Web site. I had already left the Outlook and had nothing to do with the project.

In the end, Tillman lost the election despite Obama's endorsement, which critics said countered his calls for clean government. Obama told the Chicago Tribune that he had backed Tillman because she was an early supporter of his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.

Many speculate Obama only bothered to weigh in on a paltry city council election during his presidential campaign as a gesture to Chicago's powerful Mayor Richard M. Daley, a Tillman supporter. Even so, Obama should have remained neutral, says Timuel Black, a historian and City Colleges of Chicago professor emeritus who lived in Obama's state Senate district.

"That was not a wise decision," Black says. "It was poor judgment on his part. He was operating like a politician trying to win the next step up."

Obama has spent his entire political career trying to win the next step up. Every three years, he has aspired to a more powerful political position.

He was just 35 when in 1996 he won his first bid for political office. Even many of his staunchest supporters, such as Black, still resent the strong-arm tactics Obama employed to win his seat in the Illinois Legislature.

Obama hired fellow Harvard Law alum and election law expert Thomas Johnson to challenge the nominating petitions of four other candidates, including the popular incumbent, Alice Palmer, a liberal activist who had held the seat for several years, according to an April 2007 Chicago Tribune report.

Obama found enough flaws in the petition sheets — to appear on the ballot, candidates needed 757 signatures from registered voters living within the district — to knock off all the other Democratic contenders. He won the seat unopposed.

"A close examination of Obama's first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career," wrote Tribune political reporters David Jackson and Ray Long. "The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it."

At the time, the Illinois media had fallen head-over-heels in love with Obama and his squeaky-clean image. "As pedigrees go, there is not a finer one among the Democratic candidates," the Chicago Tribune gushed in its endorsement.

All this predated TV pundit Chris Matthews's more recent comment that Obama's speeches send chills up his legs.

"He's been given a pass," says Harold Lucas, the community organizer in Chicago. "His career has been such a meteoric rise that he has not had the time to set a record."

A week after my profile of Obama was published, I called some of my contacts in the Illinois Legislature. I ran through a list of black Chicago lawmakers who had worked with Obama, and was surprised to learn that many resented him and had supported other candidates in the U.S. Senate election.

"Anybody but Obama," the late state Representative Lovana Jones told me at the time.

State Representative Monique Davis, who attended the same church as Obama and co-sponsored several bills with him, also did not support his candidacy. She complained of feeling overshadowed by Obama.

"I was snubbed," Davis told me. "I felt he was shutting me out of history."

The morning after the story was posted online, I arrived early at my new offices. I hadn't taken my coat off when the phone rang. It was Obama.

The article began, "It can be painful to hear Ivy League-bred Barack Obama talk jive."

Obama told me he doesn't speak jive, that he doesn't say the words "homeboy" or "peeps."

It seemed so silly; I thought for sure he was joking. He wasn't.

He said the black legislators I cited in the story were off-base, and that they couldn't have gotten the bills passed without him.

I started to speak, and he shouted me down.

He said he liked the other story I wrote.

I asked if there was anything factually inaccurate about the latest story.

He repeated that his former colleagues couldn't have passed the bills without him.

He asked why I wrote this story, then cut me off when I started to answer.

He said he should have been given a chance to respond.

I told him I had requested an interview through his communications director.

He said I should have called his cell phone.

I reminded him that he had asked me months ago to stop calling his cell phone due to his busier schedule.

He said again that I should have called his cell phone.

Of course a lot of this is old news but I'm hopeful that this time around people actually pick up on it

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The Ol' High School Making Headlines

it's always a treat to see your high school alma mater on the main page of the L.A. Times as the subject and focus of one of the most viewed stories. Just wish it had a better headline (though I guess it's better than this one) (or this WTF HW?

Cheating scandal roils elite Harvard Westlake school

Six students are expelled and others face suspension after midterm tests are stolen and passed around.
Six sophomores were expelled and more than a dozen other students faced suspensions Tuesday in a cheating scandal that has rocked Harvard-Westlake, a top-tier Los Angeles private school with a national reputation for its academics.

Administrators said students conspired to steal Spanish and history tests by distracting teachers in their classrooms. The tests were then shown to several other students before midterm exams last month, said Harvard-Westlake President Thomas Hudnut.

The history department had become suspicious about the world and Europe II exams when several students scored exceptionally well. Then on Feb. 8, the department received an anonymous tip that cheating had occurred. Based on that report, several students were called to the dean's office and accused of being involved, while others came forward to confess, Hudnut said.

The six students accused of stealing the exams will not be allowed to return to the school. Students accused of viewing advance copies of the Spanish III and world history tests were suspended for varying lengths of time, Hudnut said.

Administrators announced the outcome of a nearly three-weeks-long investigation by the school's honor board -- composed of students and faculty -- at an assembly Tuesday at Harvard-Westlake's North Hollywood campus, which serves 10th through 12th graders. The honor board issued expulsions in part because the acts were premeditated, Hudnut said.

Hudnut, who previously was headmaster, said the incident was an unprecedented "breach of trust" at a school that perennially produces among the nation's top SAT and Advanced Placement scores and numerous National Merit semifinalists.

"I've been at the school for 21 years and I have never heard of an exam or test being" stolen, said Hudnut, who was in New York attending a conference. "This is an aberration and as a result, an honor board made up of students and faculty wanted to respond very forthrightly to it because something like this has to be addressed and dealt with."

Hudnut said it was unlikely that the students in those classes would be required to retake the exams, since most students did not cheat. Those who admitted viewing the tests, however, will probably have their grades adjusted. Teachers and deans will hold several forums for students to discuss the school's honor code, which every student must sign.

The cheating scandal has provoked a wave of self-reflection at the closely knit campus, where about 870 students are enrolled. An additional 730 students attend the middle school in Holmby Hills. Harvard-Westlake's annual tuition is $25,000.

Earlier this month, six middle school students were expelled for violations related to drug possession. Those students would be allowed to reapply, but admission was not guaranteed, Hudnut said.

An opinion posted to the online blog of the Chronicle, Harvard-Westlake's campus newspaper, referred to the school's reputation for "superior academics" and said the cheating incident had "tainted the most precious and valued aspect of the school."

"Walking through the lunch area, one is inundated with speculation as to who will not be returning to the Harvard-Westlake community," wrote senior Michael Kaplan. "In classes, teachers have questioned outright whether there is an actual community anymore. At a school where students leave their backpacks strewn across the school, teachers now feel the need to lock their offices and question every piece of 'original' work."

According to a national survey of high school students by the Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute of Ethics, young people display deeply entrenched habits of dishonesty. The 2006 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, a biennial national survey, found high rates of cheating, lying and theft. In that report, 60% of students said they had cheated on a test, and one in three used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.

Hudnut conceded that the incident probably would harm relationships between some students and teachers on the campus, at least initially.

"I think, in all honesty, something like this can sow some seeds of doubt," he said. "But after a tentative period in which teachers and faculty assess the recent actions things will actually not only return to status quo but [the incident will] serve to forge closer bonds."

Mr. Hudnut is now President of the school? Sounds way too official and corporate and business like. Headmaster was far more chummy and charming.
I wonder who snitched, but those kids if they were so smart they wouldn't have gotten caught; back in my day...

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This Is Just Eerie

The last season of the West Wing totally predicted this election. Watch for yourself- Hillary never had a chance

(pragmatic? really? Barack?! wha?!)
So maybe if I had watched the West Wing during that time I'd actually be happy with what's going on right now.
I guess this just goes to show television has a huge impact and influence on us
as does this Slate XX blog (which I usually avoid because of their Barackian vibe) post about what happens if you turn off the t.v. and actually pay attention. Issues not image, much?

I'm afraid to even say that among in this crowd, but I'm just trying to be fair. I mostly read the transcript of the debate, because I got home too late to watch it. And from the transcript, one gets a whole different impression. For one thing, you don't get the full force of her pettiness when you don't see it delivered from her pinched mouth. For another, she is just much more impressive, intellectually. Time and time again, she comes up with a smart and, more importantly, specific response that seals the argument, like the line: "It would be as though Franklin Roosevelt said let's make Social Security voluntary." That is a perfect and pithy summary of what her plan does, and it kills his complaint. And in this case, it was Obama who whined no fair and appealed to the moderator: "Brian, I'm getting fillibustered here." Whereas usually he just resorts to generalities, or refers to his days as a community organizer, or some version of the hope riff.

It's hard not to like him more than her. When I'm watching him, I'm thinking about his first book, and some of his great lines, and his wife, and all the things I like about him. When I'm watching her, I'm thinking of Bill's Jesse Jackson line, and her incredibly tedious books, and that embarrassing "Hillary" jazz-hands video. Unlike her, Obama seems constitutionally incapable of losing his cool. But he does not win these debates. On nearly any subject—health care, Iran, Korea—she's more impressive. So, I guess what I'm saying is I wish people would admit they prefer him just because they prefer him, and not give him points he didn't earn.

word. Poor Hillary if she'd run before 1960 (and been a man I guess) she totally would have won. Beauty before brains :(

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A Transgender History: Rise of Hatred

perhaps not coincidentally hatred's rise occurred along with the rise of capitalism and solidification of Christianity.

Here is part two of Mercedes Allen's 6 part series on Transgender History from Bilerico. Part 1 can be read here

Transgender History: The Rise of Hatred (the Middle Ages)

The advent of class divisions, the acquisition of wealth and power, and the ownership of property fed a movement toward patriarchal governing that ultimately became threatened by the existence of female and transgender spiritual leaders. While patriarchal societies were gradually able to synthesize and later entrench the notion that females should be subservient, gender-variant persons posed a more puzzling quandary, because of their uniqueness. It was for this reason that patriarchal religions, which reached their epitome with the Roman Catholic Church, felt that they had to stamp out transgender people (and also gay / lesbian people, who were often thought of as mixed-gender of a sort in early societies) and demonize their legacy.

This helped to facilitate the development of patrilineal inheritance, keeping the reins of power in hands that grew ever more elite. The status of women was degraded, and by so doing, leadership also typically portrayed any sign of gender variance as "less than male." Dual-spirited gods and goddesses, thought at one time to be doubly powerful, were turned into contemptible, "weak" entities.

For the "Greater Good"

In 186 B.C., when Rome banned the bacchanalia (a pleasure-centered festival to Dionysus), an oppressive campaign followed in the Greek territories, keyed on preventing the lower working classes from seeking their own happiness and betterment, and pushing them to focus on the enrichment of owners, employers and country, and / or to become willing to go to war for patriarchal society. The system became an efficient, self-propagating machine, later evolving into one in which war drove the economy and power trumped reason.

Gender-transgressive and same-sex amoury existence, although greatly reduced, still existed to an extent in Roman culture, but was tolerated only tentatively -- and only if it came from the ruling class or coincided with the agendas of the leaders and generals. Around 60 AD, Emperor Nero reportedly had a young slave boy, Sporus, castrated (eunuching, in early times, was believed to be the primary mechanism of gender change -- "eunuchs" ranged in form from males whose testicles had been removed to those also given a total penectomy), and took him as a wife in a legal public ceremony (Sporus was from then on clothed as an Empress, and accompanied Nero as such).

Birth of the "Homosexual Menace" Campaigns

When factional battles would break out, homosexual and transgender tendencies or loves were often used to justify the destruction of enemies. In 218 A.D., Elagabalus (or Heliogabalus) became emperor of Rome, and was later assassinated, mutilated and dragged through the streets (222 A.D.) before being thrown into the Tiber River. Justification for the overthrow was found in Elagabalus' penchant for wearing womens' clothing and makeup, in his reportedly prostituting himself, in his offering a large sum of money to any physician who can give him female genitalia (never claimed), and from declaring one of his male lovers to be his husband.

When Constantine I arrived in 342 A.D., his fusion of religions (the Roman Catholic church was a synthesis of early Christianity with Mithraism and worship of the sun god, Sol), and fusion of religion with the state strengthened anti-trans sentiment as it bolstered slavery (which had by then become the lot of most gender non-conformists and adherents to older traditions) and set the stage for feudal witch-hunts. These later evolved into the Crusades and the Inquisition, in which any evidence of early matriarchal and transgender-venerating paganism was stamped out. Repressive laws which aimed to crush gender variance and same-sex love evolved into part of the Corpus juris civilis, the Roman body of law upon which many legal systems were later based, including those of England and America.

This occurred because it was necessary to the land-owners (chief of which was the Roman Catholic Church) to break the spirit of the serfs toiling on their behalf, thus pre-empting uprisings. Communal bonds had to be erased, and the idea of communalism had to be demonized. Pagan tradition was reinvented as "witchcraft," and quashed with impunity.

Transgender Saints and Joan of Arc

But in true subversive fashion, what couldn't be completely suppressed was absorbed and reinvented to conform with the new ruling ideal. Early cross-dressing heroes idolized by the peasantry were canonized, with the church reshaping the reasoning behind the admiration of those historical figures, thus co-opting them. Saints Pelagia, Margarita, Marinus (Marina), Athanasia (Alexandria), Eugenia, Appollinaria, Euphrosyne, Matrona, Theodora, Anastasia, Papula and Joseph (Hildegund) were canonized transfolk who were female-bodied but lived as male, along with bearded women Galla, Paula and Wilgefortis (Uncumber). Pope Joan (John Anglicus) appears likely to have been a legend, but this legend was likely cultivated for the same purpose. There are no known male-to-female equivalents of transfolk elevated to sainthood, so it is quite likely that MTFs suffered a zero-tolerance agenda.
In 1429, at the age of 17, Joan of Arc dressed in male clothing, gathered several peasant followers and presented herself at the court of Prince Charles, declaring that her mission and dress were compelled upon her by God, said mission to be to drive out the English from France. The heir to the French throne put her in charge of an army of 10,000 peasants. Ultimately, the drive would be victorious, but she would be abducted by English sympathizers (who called her "homasse," or "man-woman") and turned her over to the Inquisition in England. Although the French king had the opportunity to pay her ransom, he felt threatened by the emotional sway she had over the peasantry, and left her to her fate. Eventually, the Inquisition decided that there was not enough evidence to have her convicted of witchcraft, but she was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431 for wearing men's clothing, which the Church referred to as "idolatry." The steadfastness with which she refused to recant and revert to female clothing, and the fierce loyalty from the peasantry over what her cross-gender expression symbolized to them paints a dramatic picture of old tradition resisting stubbornly under the boot of the now-entrenched patriarchal authority.

Into Hiding

Little by little, gender transgression became more limited, at first to peasant festivals, and then one by one, those festivals were outlawed. Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve, which was rooted in early matrilineal Celtic society (drawn from celebrations surrounding Samhain), is the most recognizable event still surviving today. The Celtic Winter Solstice (Christianized as the "Feast of Fools") did not fare as well, because it developed into a trans-inspired mocking of the Church.

Yet even the Church itself appeared to assimilate some transgender motifs into its trappings, such as the floor-length gowns, jeweled trappings for hierarchy and such (having a son join the priesthood, after all, used to be referred to sending him "into skirts"). It may also have been that trans priestesses had somehow inspired the practice of recruiting Castrati for Church choirs, even though Roman Catholic rule had technically forbid the castration of youths.

While much of this change relates to medieval Europe and rule that spread at times to Asia, the Middle East and northern Africa, similar transformations happened in some other cultures, or were later imposed on those cultures by patriarchal conquerors or their influence. Native Two-Spirit tradition would persist until the arrival of the white man in North and Central America, and the genocide and cultural subversion that followed. Trans traditions did still persist somewhat in other parts of the world though, such as Japanese Noh dramas, which find their root in the harvest folk dance, dengaku. And in a few untouched places, notably among the Polynesian Islands (parts of Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti), communal and trans-affirming traditions would survive to this day.

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Another New Sketch from Human Giant

Three Brothers Carpet

Carpet Monkey!!! Almost as awesome as Trunk Monkey but far more homicidal and frightening

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Who's Gay Today?

Apparently Ellen Page

I mean, come on already, is she??? You know, Lebanese! She certainly dresses like a, you know, tomboy. And if you google "Ellen Page boyfriend," not a whole lot comes up, except for a link to some interview where she refers to an old beau. And if you google "Ellen Page dating," you get the news that she dated Ben Foster, but then you get a followup saying she denies that ever happened. Who did she go to the Oscars with? I couldn't tell from the cropped shots of her, but it looked like she was maybe with her mother? For guys, that used to signify 100% gay, but for girls, it might just mean young and/or Canadian--or, um, gay. And then there was the web item saying "Ellen Page is an out lesbian," but for all I know the guy who ran that is the same douche who started the whole "Marcia Cross is coming out" campaign.

I personally don't buy Musto's Oscar Date argument- I mean how old is she like 18? If i was that young and going to the Oscars I wouldn't take some guy I'd been going out with like for a month, chances are we wouldn't (and we didn't) stay together forever and that would just be embarrassing.
And here are some comments from that "Is Ellen Page an Out Lesbian" thread he references

  • She was a guest on a local radio morning show in SF a few weeks ago. A caller called in and asked her if she was a lesbian. She was dead silent, then said she didn't want to respond. It was pretty clear by her response that it was true.
  • The Curve magazine interview does contain something interesting: Curve: Do you have any ideas about why the X-men series is so wildly popular among gay and lesbian audiences? Ellen Page: Of course. There’s a whole school of thought that the X-men is basically a metaphor for homosexuality. The whole mutant gene thing, and this group who possesses that gene being ostracized from society. I think it’s public by now that in this film they find a cure for the mutation, right? Curve: Yup. Ellen Page: So, yeah. I was having a conversation about that just the other day. What would we do if they came up for a cure for homosexuality. Which I think is just totally bogus... Plus, Kitty Pryde! I mean, there’s a loaded name. There’s something there, right? "What would we do if they come up with a cure for homosexuality" suggests that Page and her friend be affected by the introduction of such a pill. The lack of an follow up suggests the interviewer is either an idiot or was told to avoid personal questions.
  • Did you see her trying to walk in heels on Letterman last night? That was the giveaway.
  • Ellen Page is from Nova Scotia so it's easy to confuse her with being a lesbian. Have you SEEN Nova Scotian women?!?! Flannel everything!
  • She's deadpan, intelligent and cute. How could she be straight?

and from OurChart
  • Well it appears yes she is. On the Oscars, she had the same blonde woman sitting by her that sat by her at the Independent Spirit awards. Could be some elaborate coincidence but more likely that's Ellen's girl.
  • I have heard many rumors that she is gay or at least interested in girls. I have also heard that her "romantically" being linked to Ben Foster was just a ploy by both of their management to quieten rumors on both of their sexualities. Personally I think shes adorable and an amazing actress. She's just so funny yet intellectual in most of her interviews. She makes a Canadian proud, thats for sure.
    I'm sure that this question will come up quite often if her rumored lesbian werewolf movie comes out with her Juno costar Elizabeth Thirley currently titled Jack and Diane.
  • Maybe she is, and she just doesn't know yet...She would make a good lesbian...

THOUGH if you've seen Hard Candy, a really disturbing movie, you can see why she might hate guys

P.s. you know the whole "gay or european" joke? there really should be a "lesbian or Canadian" correlate.

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Pot Kettle Black

Adnan is an inspiration

Crazy rides rockets
Waves a magic wand
Empty out your pockets
Words without a song

I myself have found
A real rival in myself
I am hoping for
The re-arrival of my health

Sleeping eye sockets
Baby suck your thumb
I'll keep you in my locket
A string I never strum

It's become so obvious
You are so oblivious to yourself

I'm tied in a knot
But I'm not
Gonna get caught
Calling a pot kettle black

Every song's a comeback
Every moment's a little bit later

Lazy locomotives
Wherever you may roll
I think you have no motive
I know you have no home

It's become so obvious
You are so oblivious to yourself

I'm tied in a knot
But I'm not
Gonna get caught
Calling a pot kettle black

Every song's a comeback
Every moment's a little bit later

Every moment's a little bit later
Every moment's a little bit later
Every moment's a little bit later

I'm tied in a knot

But I'm not
Gonna get caught
Calling a pot kettle black

I'm not
Gonna get caught
Calling a pot kettle black

Wilco-Pot Kettle Black [download] buy it on iTunes
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Pot Kettle Black

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Go Back To The Gutter, Adnan

Adnan Ghalib is a sleazy disgusting horrible human being if this recent Star report is to be believed where he's bragging to friends that he's gotten Britney pregnant

"Only weeks after Britney Spears drove to Rosarita Beach, Mexico to exchange marriage vows with Adnan Ghalib, the paparazzo is bragging to friends that she is going to have his baby, Star has learned exclusively.

And what do you know! The fallen pop princess’ belly is starting to show a little bulge, in spite of hours of classes at the Millennium Dance Complex.

“Britney is Adnan’s dream come true. He knows that if he has a child with Brit, he’ll be made for life,” one friend of Adnan’s tells Star.


after reading that Rolling Stones profile on the American Tragedy of Britney Spears I actually thought for a brief momenthe might have Britney's best interest at heart but it appears that he's actually like all the rest just a bloodsucker.
Though I will be honest and admit I was about to call him much worse in what I thought was another example of horrible hypocrisy until i saw the full video and it's only regular hypocrisy

though asking if she's a good kisser is so sleazy and was over the line. Plus didn't you know Adnan only kisses and tells in print.

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Is it better for the Environment to read newspapers online?

I'd always assumed so, just because of the "no tree" thing but Slate's Lantern provides some rather interesting information about it

When I finish reading my Sunday newspaper, I can't help but think I've just committed an egregious environmental sin—all those poor trees that had to die so I could titter over inane op-eds, guacamole recipes, and overpriced real estate listings! The greener choice would be to read the paper online, correct?

The Lantern believes so, but the environmental difference between dead-tree newspapers and their online editions is a lot smaller than you might imagine. In fact, there are learned experts who contend that traditional newsprint ultimately comes out ahead, at least in terms of net carbon-dioxide emissions. Though the Lantern disagrees with some of the assumptions these contrarians make, it's worth exploring their arguments in order to better understand how hard it is to calculate a product's cradle-to-grave impact.

The environmental costs of paper are easy to assess: As you point out, a whole bunch of trees get chopped down in order to provide your Sunday morning entertainment. Manufacturing 1 ton of newsprint, which is enough to create approximately 280,000 broadsheet pages, requires the contents of 12 mature trees. So let's say your weekly indulgence is the Sunday edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which averages 172 pages and has a circulation of 606,698. Those numbers translate into 4,472 trees' worth of paper every week, or 232,544 trees per year.

Forty percent of the Star Tribune's newsprint comes from recycled material, 5 percent higher than the national average. (American newspapers lag behind their European counterparts in this regard—the average for British papers, for example, is 80 percent.) More than 57 percent of American newsprint originates in Canada, mostly the Canadian Boreal Forest; according to Forest Ethics (PDF), a Canadian NGO, clearcutting is the preferred technique in these regions. Though many logging companies replant felled trees on a one-to-one basis, environmentalists believe these replacement forests (which are often harvested once the trees reach a certain age) are not as effective at storing carbon dioxide as old-growth forests.

Once the logs have been cut, the most energy-intensive phase of the process begins. According to this 2007 report (PDF) from the Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology, newsprint production accounts for roughly two-thirds of a paper's energy consumption. Wood pulping is perhaps the "dirtiest" part of this process (PDF); overall, the Department of Energy estimates that the paper manufacturing industry is the nation's fourth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, trailing only the chemical, petroleum and coal, and primary metals industries.

Finally, you've got distribution costs—trucking all those copies to newsstands and homes, then trucking them back to recycling centers or landfills. About 69 percent of American newspapers are recycled, with about one-third of that newsprint getting shipped to China.

The end result? According to a 2006 report, a single copy of the British tabloid the Daily Mirror, weighing in at 6.4 ounces, accounts for 6.1 ounces of carbon emissions.

Paper may be an energy hog, but so, too, are the servers and desktops that make online newspapers possible. Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have estimated that the average server consumes 4,505 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, a figure that includes the power used to cool the hardware. (The average American household uses a bit more than 10,000 kWh of electricity annually.) It's not clear how many servers are required to power the typical online newspaper, but if you factor in the third-party ad servers, it's likely in the hundreds.

You also have to account for the electricity required to power the end user's computer. The Swedish report cited above calculated that a person using a 160-watt desktop with a 120-watt screen who reads an online paper for 30 minutes actually does more environmental damage than if he or she had purchased the dead-tree edition. Granted, this report involved 40-page tabloid newspapers, and the wattage figures are a little outdated. You can also quibble over the assumptions about the environmental cost of disposing of computer hardware, which is factored into the Swedish equation—wouldn't we still buy (and throw away) computers if there were no online newspapers?

But the Swedish conclusion is certainly food for thought, as is this recent blog post by Wired editor-in-chief (and my longtime boss) Chris Anderson. He stirred the pot by claiming that the dead-tree version of his magazine is actually more eco-friendly than the publication's Web site, primarily since carbon is kept locked inside the paper. Ideally, copies of the magazine are recycled. But even if an old Wired ends up in a landfill, Anderson argues, the paper will decompose very slowly and become fossil fuel, rather than releasing its carbon into the atmosphere. (By the time that transition to petroleum is complete, our species will hopefully be well beyond the oil era.)

The Lantern isn't quite convinced by this argument; he thinks it underestimates the long-term consequences and carbon emissions of logging in old-growth forests, as well as the nasty pollution created by the wood pulping industry. So, despite the intriguing Swedish report, the Lantern maintains that online newspapers come out ahead of their dead-tree Sunday rivals.

That conclusion is subject to revision, though, if American newspapers start adopting more sustainable environmental practices. The Green Press Initiative, for example, recommends that publishers increase their use of recycled fibers to 50 percent of the total by 2012 and use only virgin fibers that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

By the time the industry gets around to making those changes, however, we may have already entered the age of the ubiquitous e-reader. And at this point, no one really knows how the proliferation of such hardware will affect the planet.

the more you know...the more you realize that no matter how much you try or think you know, the farther you need to go. But every little bit counts, right?

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Ralph Nader is Good For Something After All

With the news that Ralphie is throwing his hat back into the ring (how many hats does this guy have and seriously how is he still alive- in Colombia they kill you for scoring an own goal) there is some good that came out of it at least.
It allows me to repeat a joke that I thought was hilarious from an old episode of NPR's This American Life.

Here's the set up: this female comic is, I think the only woman in this really tough and funny room of other comics just kinda shooting the shit and like the highest honor is to make the oher comics laugh, but she hasn't been able to get a word in edgewise.
One day while walking her dog she thinks of this perfect joke concerning Ralph Nader but it's like after 9/11 and so he's out of the news. A few years pass and she's still hanging and holding onto this perfect joke but there's not an appropriate or organic place to insert it, because y'know it will be funnier if it seems off the top of their head and done with perfect timing but finally Ralph Nader is brought up again in this comedic cipher and she sees her chance. The topic is Ralph Nader and his support for reinforced cockpit doors from long before 9/11

"You know, years before 9/11 Nader had been advocating for reinforced
cockpit doors. If he'd been elected the attack might not have
she steps in, finally
"Of course everyone probably would have been distracted by all
the flying pigs

You can listen to the episode "It's Never Over" here- it's the last act and the comic is Tami Sagher- she tells it better than I.

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The Apex of Western Culture

it just has to be all downhill after this "Moment of Truth."
be forewarned this is so so sad and difficult to watch

Wow, what a question to lose (absolutely) everything on. We are all going to hell

[RELATED: Here is some information about what happened before the above: Lauren Cleri admitted that she had been fired from a job for stealing money, would rather give food to a dog than a homeless person, knows things about her father that she keeps from her mother and has avoided sex with her husband by pretending to be asleep.

And they're now separated because of it all... That's really sad and makes me feel dirty]

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Fixing Oscar?

As you may have heard this year's Academy Award telecast was the lowest rated one ever. And in case you didn't hear, here's John Oliver of The Daily Show letting Jon Stewart know all about it

And that diminshment in ratings is causing some people, or at least Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times to declare that like every other aging Hollywood star Oscar needs "major surgery."

IT'S now painfully obvious that the Oscars need what nearly every aging star in Hollywood has already had -- a face-lift.

The ratings for the show couldn't have been any worse if they'd been stuck with all of Jay Leno's strike-show guests instead of Jon Stewart and Co. The numbers hit rock bottom, down a million viewers from 2003, the show's previous low ebb, and that was right after a war started. Even worse, the ratings for younger viewers dropped off a cliff, falling almost 25% from last year's telecast. The film academy elders should be very, very worried.

Like the evening news broadcasts, the Oscar is a relic, a cobwebby holdover from a bygone media age when Big Events earned Big Audiences. Those days are going, going, gone. The Grammys' ratings were down, the Emmys were down, the Golden Globes would've been down even if it hadn't been eviscerated by the strike.

Younger audiences just don't believe in appointment viewing anymore. Their lives are full -- they don't stop what they're doing to watch Oscar night. The only show that's held its ratings is the Super Bowl, which had at least three things the Oscars lacked: inventive, state-of-the-art production; a whole second show inside of the show -- splashy new commercials, which are often more involving than the game itself; and a far more suspenseful fourth quarter. Is there really anyone in America who didn't get best picture, best director and three of the four acting awards right in their Oscar pool?

In an era where everyone's lives are twice as busy and their attention span has been cut in half, it is simply suicidal to put on a pokey three-hour-plus award show. As the legendary B-movie master Sam Arkoff once put it, when trying to sell a film that stunk: "If you can't make it a better picture, you can always make it a shorter picture."

The academy should heed his advice. Here's how we watched the Oscars in my household: We TiVo-ed the broadcast, came back from Little League practice, hopped in bed with some snacks and zapped through the commercials, the musical numbers and most of the craft awards, giving our full attention to Stewart's routines, the clip compilations and the big awards and acceptance speeches, starting with best animated feature. Total elapsed time: one hour, 45 minutes, tops.

Our family's version of the Oscars, thanks to the magic of TiVo, didn't drag a bit. If academy chieftain Sid Ganis is going to staunch the bleeding, he needs to put the telecast under the knife. Although I'm sure it will cause a firestorm inside the academy, the technical awards -- sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, makeup and costume design -- have to go. No one outside of the academy wants to hear acceptance speeches from people they've never heard of, no matter how heartfelt. The Oscars may have once been a celebration of craft, but the world has changed. Today's audience wants a horse race. The show is just bad TV.

The same goes for those cringe-inducing renditions of the best original songs. With the exception of a wonderfully spare rendition of "Falling Slowly" from "Once," they were all massively overproduced, drenched in so much glitz that they lacked any emotional resonance. I mean, who did the choreography -- Michael Bay? And speaking of Ganis, why is the academy president on camera, taking up valuable time explaining arcane voting procedures? It's just dead air.

There is plenty of precedent for streamlining the Oscar telecast. Just watch the Grammys. In a typical telecast, the Grammys have roughly 20 musical performances while giving out 10 actual awards. The other 100-odd Grammys are presented earlier in the day at a pre-award show with presenters, acceptance speeches and a full audience. As an experiment, this year's pre-show was webcast on with the idea of expanding it into a bigger event in the future.

MTV stages a Web simulcast for its Video Music Awards, with separate hosts situated backstage, giving fans watching on the Internet a chance to see some of the backstage action.

These are the kinds of innovations the academy desperately needs to embrace. It should have a full-on Web broadcast, anchored backstage by someone who's been in a Judd Apatow movie, with live remotes from Oscar parties around the country. The technical awards, beefed up with appearances by younger actors and filmmakers as presenters, would have enough appeal to merit their own telecast, perhaps on a movie channel like AMC or Turner Classic Movies the night before the Oscars. Freed from the weight of academy ceremony and tradition, they could serve as a proving ground for fresh ideas and new talent that could be incorporated into future Oscar telecasts.

Having a separate, less formal tech ceremony would allow the academy to experiment with new ideas, whether it's trying a Web simulcast, showing user-generated parodies of Oscar films or launching a Web-sponsored "pick the host" contest. The show could add star appeal by doing interviews with stars preparing for the big show the following night, playing fun clips from the Independent Spirit Awards or having a live remote from an industry Saturday-night party.

MORE important, some of this informality needs to filter into the actual Oscars. The most obvious place to take the TV audience is backstage. People yearn to get behind the velvet rope, so why not offer frequent glimpses of what's going on backstage during the show? The host is only on camera for a small percentage of the three-plus hours. Wouldn't everyone want to see what Jon Stewart is up to backstage between his official duties?

Today's audience loves being inside the bubble. The NBA regularly mikes players and coaches, letting us eavesdrop on the coach's locker room exhortations and the players' jokes and conversations, replaying the best bits minutes after they've happened. If the image-conscious NBA can do it, surely the Oscars could let us have a feel of what's going on in the green room too.

When it comes to live programming, there is no better TV in America today than what you see every week on ESPN and Fox Sports. It's where practically all the best innovation and new ideas come from. As anyone who's ever been to the academy's nominee lunch will attest, the Oscars' creative team is long in the tooth. With all due respect, it's time for some new blood.

I disagree with a lot of that.I know ratings are still important and the arbiters of quality but instead of expecting massive ratings an appropriate scaling down of expectations in the face of this new media reality would probably be better than having the Oscars, the pride of Hollywood and a symbol for decades of glitz and glamour to the world going the way of the MTV Video awards (which last I checked were dipping in the ratings as well, Britney Spears or no Britney Spears.) A lot of the appeal of the Oscars is the mysterious veil of celebrity and the perfection- if you were to let people see how, for example, Katherine Heigel was jonesing for a ciggie, sure it may appeal to the more TMZ crowd and thus get ratings but it would also be a loss of the mystique and magic which is Hollywood's stock and trade. Of course it's an exercise in excess, but that's Hollywood
His whole point summed up in "The Oscars may have once been a celebration of craft, but the world has changed. Today's audience wants a horse race. The show is just bad TV" isn't that just appealing to the lowest common denominator, one that doesn't appreciate or celebrate craft? I don't think that denunciation or apathy concerning skill and craft is what this world needs more of right now.
Sure this may be good tv but can we at least try to do something better?

I agree a lot of the fluff can go but I don't really think having celebrities off site handing out the Technical awards will really draw voters to watch to see if a guy they've never heard of wins for a film they've never seen and taking your inspiration by the "innovation" of ESPN which as a bastion of self congratulation puts the Oscars to shame, not to mention their own time filling endeavors.

Also the whole "get a face lift" angle- aren't there enough beautiful people who in their pursuit of lost youth have ended up destroying their appearances? Whatever happened to aging gracefully? It can be done- look at Julie Christie or Helen Mirren.

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Shocking, Shocking News

though I'm glad others are catching onto the menace
Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert

Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP.

"They pose a threat to humanity," said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey ahead of a keynote address Wednesday before Britain's Royal United Services Institute.

Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world -- from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones -- can already identify and lock onto targets without human help.

There are more than 4,000 US military robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as unmanned aircraft that have clocked hundreds of thousands of flight hours.

The first three armed combat robots fitted with large-caliber machine guns deployed to Iraq last summer, manufactured by US arms maker Foster-Miller, proved so successful that 80 more are on order, said Sharkey.

But up to now, a human hand has always been required to push the button or pull the trigger.

It we are not careful, he said, that could change.

Military leaders "are quite clear that they want autonomous robots as soon as possible, because they are more cost-effective and give a risk-free war," he said.

Several countries, led by the United States, have already invested heavily in robot warriors developed for use on the battlefield.

South Korea and Israel both deploy armed robot border guards, while China, India, Russia and Britain have all increased the use of military robots.

Washington plans to spend four billion dollars by 2010 on unmanned technology systems, with total spending expected rise to 24 billion, according to the Department of Defense's Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007-2032, released in December.

James Canton, an expert on technology innovation and CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, predicts that deployment within a decade of detachments that will include 150 soldiers and 2,000 robots.

The use of such devices by terrorists should be a serious concern, said Sharkey.

Captured robots would not be difficult to reverse engineer, and could easily replace suicide bombers as the weapon-of-choice. "I don't know why that has not happened already," he said.

But even more worrisome, he continued, is the subtle progression from the semi-autonomous military robots deployed today to fully independent killing machines.

"I have worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination terrifies me," Sharkey said.

Ronald Arkin of Georgia Institute of Technology, who has worked closely with the US military on robotics, agrees that the shift towards autonomy will be gradual.

But he is not convinced that robots don't have a place on the front line.

"Robotics systems may have the potential to out-perform humans from a perspective of the laws of war and the rules of engagement," he told a conference on technology in warfare at Stanford University last month.

The sensors of intelligent machines, he argued, may ultimately be better equipped to understand an environment and to process information. "And there are no emotions that can cloud judgement, such as anger," he added.

Nor is there any inherent right to self-defence.

For now, however, there remain several barriers to the creation and deployment of Terminator-like killing machines.

Some are technical. Teaching a computer-driven machine -- even an intelligent one -- how to distinguish between civilians and combatants, or how to gauge a proportional response as mandated by the Geneva Conventions, is simply beyond the reach of artificial intelligence today.

But even if technical barriers are overcome, the prospect of armies increasingly dependent on remotely-controlled or autonomous robots raises a host of ethical issues that have barely been addressed.

Arkin points out that the US Department of Defense's 230 billion dollar Future Combat Systems programme -- the largest military contract in US history -- provides for three classes of aerial and three land-based robotics systems.

"But nowhere is there any consideration of the ethical implications of the weaponisation of these systems," he said.

For Sharkey, the best solution may be an outright ban on autonomous weapons systems. "We have to say where we want to draw the line and what we want to do -- and then get an international agreement," he said.

I have to admit there was a time when my fear of robots and their eventual destruction of humanity made me think I was insane, but even though me being right means we're all going to die, it's good to know I'm not crazy. After all just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you...

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