Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Peter Greenaway - "Bill Viola is worth ten Scorseses."

Issue three of Otoliths

Like the previous two issues, there is a diverse mix of people & styles. Issue three contains work by Ray Craig, Jordan Stempleman, Jeff Harrison, Andrew Topel, Corey Mesler, John M. Bennett, Reed Altemus, Lars Palm, Jesse Crockett, rob mclennan, Pat Nolan, Jenna Cardinale, Rochelle Ratner, Ian Finch, Paul Siegell, Thomas Fink & Tom Beckett, Ayşegül Tözeren, Glenn Bach, T. Walden, Tom Hibbard, Raymond Farr, Aki Salmela, Jill Jones, Nico Vassilakis, Kirsten Kaschock, Martin Edmond, Eileen Tabios, Sheila Murphy, Rebeka Lembo, Jonathan Hayes, Jenny Allan, Geof Huth, Kevin Opstedal, Adam Fieled, Derek Motion, Caleb Puckett, Scott Hartwich, harry k stammer & Serkan Işın, & has a cover by Michael Rothenberg.

Justice for Brad Will sent by Akilah Oliver

As most of you are aware, our friend Brad Will was shot and killed in Oaxaca Mexico last Friday, October 27th while covering the civil unrest there.  3 others were killed as well.

Brad's brutal death must be addressed.  Here is a small step we can take.

Please sign and pass on this petition to all your friends.  Let's try to get a few hundred signatures by Friday, November 3rd.

To sign the petition, simply click the link below, sign, and pass on to your friends!  (or paste into your browser).

The petition is being sent to U.S. Embassy in Mexico, Consular Agent in Oaxaca, Mark A. Leyes

To view the press release on the death of Brad by U.S. Ambassador Garza, go
the U.S. Embassy website:

Several news sources are currently covering the story:

Monday, October 30, 2006


President Bush has insisted that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is an essential tool for military and CIA prosecution of the war against terrorists. And yesterday, Vice President Dick Cheney argued that choking someone in water to gather needed intelligence is a "no brainer" and that the MCA covered the White House's "fairly robust interrogation program," including this technique. Legislation of this sort is always slippery, and the newspapers and legal blogs are full of disagreements about exactly what the new law means and what its effects will be. But one lasting effect is almost certain: Historically, laws like the Military Commissions Act have powerful corrupting forces on the militaries that use them, making them less able to achieve their ultimate goals. more...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Academic Freedom on the Rock(s): The Failures of Faculty in Tough Times by Robert Jensen

Threats to academic freedom -- direct and indirect, subtle and not so subtle -- come from a variety of sources: Politicians, the general public, news media, administrators, corporations, and students. In my academic career, I have been criticized from all of those quarters. Though these attacks have been relatively easy to fend off in my particular case, the threats are real and should trouble us; they require of us sharper analysis and a strategic plan to fend off attempts to constrain inquiry. But, even with that understanding of the seriousness of these external threats, I will argue that the most important aspect of the current controversies is how they mark the complacency and timidity of faculty members themselves.

How homosexuality, widespread in the animal kingdom, may have evolved

WHAT is taught in a country's schools reveals much about the national psyche. The Norwegian curriculum requires that all 14-year-olds learn about homosexuality. Assisting with this education, the National History Museum at the University of Oslo has just opened an exhibition of gay animals.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

GOP ads warn of 'homosexual agenda' from S.F.

Washington -- Republican charges of a San Francisco "homosexual agenda'' and allegations that a liberal "San Francisco majority'' in Congress would endanger the nation have emerged as themes in the final two weeks of the Nov. 7 midterm election campaign. The latest salvos are variations on a constant GOP refrain this year, tied to the prospect that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a "San Francisco liberal,'' would become speaker if Democrats make at least a 15-seat gain in the midterm elections. "You know, they use me all over the country, my radical homosexual agenda,'' said Pelosi, in San Francisco Friday before heading to campaign stops in Colorado and New Mexico.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Joel Rickett on the latest news from the publishing industry

JSince relaunching in 2002, Salt Publishing has marked itself out as a vigorous presence on the poetry scene. This Cambridge-based company draws authors from around the world - John James, Tony Lopez, Peter Robinson, John Wilkinson, Charles Bernstein, Maxine Chernoff, Forrest Gander, Peter Gizzi, Paul Hoover, Ron Silliman, Susan Wheeler. Unlike many small presses, Salt is unashamed about sales and marketing. Its books have stunning cover images and full-blooded launch campaigns; its slick website really exploits the potential of poetry online. In a recent blog posting, Salt's founder Chris Hamilton-Emery criticises the notion that publishers should simply churn out material without trying to find readers: "I find it rather hard to support any idea of artistic quality and value when no one wants something. It's hard to see what any available criticism and even academic support can make of all the dead stock, or indeed how anyone can establish a Canon of the Unread." He's even written a guide called "101 Ways to Make Poems Sell". This week Salt announced that it has won a £185,000 grant from the Arts Council to help it become one of the largest independent poetry and short-story publishers in the UK. Under a plan drawn up by former Waterstone's managing director David Gilbert, it aims to become a "self-sufficient, web-focused business". If it can become even moderately profitable, that would probably be a first for a modern poetry publisher.


My heart and mind longed for resolution and communication. Hence I write. I must admit that this is for the first time. I have more inclination to share than impose. Also I am on brink of a precipice, which makes it imperative that I reach out before being pushed.

For what reason DO I write? I do not know. One I have already made clear. But there should be many, with equal goals. The intensity could not be submitted but it can be subdued for purpose of forging, so I do. The mere fulfillment of goals shall not be the only aim, I hope I can win friends and fraternity. I could have expressed it in a much shorter form and could have used a more advanced (oops, ambiguous) form of language. But one of the first things I had learnt in language was not only to produce my ideas in it but also to make others understand it easily. I feel at times philosophy being plagued by people who by their language want to make an idea appear deeper than it is. That's the worst form of pedantry. I want the reader not to be mislead by my simple use of language for the ideas are deeper than they might appear at first and most of all -- enjoy! and pardon grammatical and spelling mistakes. more...

Free speech online 'under threat'

Bloggers are being asked to show their support for freedom of expression by Amnesty International.

The human rights group also wants web log writers to highlight the plight of fellow bloggers jailed for what they wrote in their online journals.

The organisation said fundamental rights such as free speech faced graver threats than ever before.

The campaign coincides with the start of a week-long UN-organised conference that will debate the future of the net. more..

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Coconut 6

New poems by Cole Swensen, Eleni Sikelianos, Josh May, CS Carrier,  Eric Baus, Gloria Frym, CJ Martin, Natalie Lyalin, Ada Limon, Jonathan Minton, Laurel DeCou, Rusty Morrison, Megan Johnson, James Grinwis, Marty Hebrank, James Sanders, Michelle Greenblatt and Sheila E. Murphy, Mairead Byrne, Jeff Harrison, Kristine Snodgrass, Brendan Lorber, Bruce Covey, & Hazel McClure--is now live on the web. 

Coconut 6

Denise Levertov's Speech for a Rally at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, April 15, 1970

Today, I believe we cannot bring the wars to an end--and I use the plural "wars" because there are wars going on in many countries, and in all these wars the United States has a hand--we cannot bring the wars to an end without bringing the capitalist-imperialist system to an end. These wars, whether in Asia or in Latin America or wherever they erupt, are wars of national liberation, in which people are fighting for self-determination against America's puppet governments, America's CIA and its "advisers," America's napalm, America's giant corporations, even when American troops are not involved.

Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

Cheney confirms waterboarding

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called waterboarding, which creates a sensation of drowning.

Cheney indicated the Bush administration doesn't regard waterboarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said. more...


The victim is strapped to a board and either tipped back or lowered into a body of water until he or she believed that drowning was imminent. The tortured person then is removed from the water and revived. If deemed necessary, the routine is repeated.

Although there are several forms of water-based interrogation, all variants have in common that the victim almost drowns, but is rescued or re-animated by his or her captor. The technique is designed to be both a psychological and a physical torture. The psychological effect is inherent to the fact that the victim is made to understand that he or she shall be killed outright, by drowning, unless the demanded co-operation is promptly given. This perception reinforces the interrogator's control, giving the torture victim sound cause to experience mortal fear. more..

Severe Election Problems Seen in 10 States By Jason Leopold

    A nonpartisan organization tracking election reform across the United States released a report Wednesday warning that 10 states are likely to experience severe problems on November 7 because of electronic voting machines and new voter identification laws that could call into question the results of some races.

    "The November 7 election promises to bring more of what voters have come to expect since the 2000 election - a divided body politic, an election system in flux and the possibility - if not certainty - of problems at polls nationwide," the report says.

    Electionline.org issued a 75-page report, "Election Preview 2006: What's Changed, What Hasn't, and Why," which claims that a handful of the midterm election's hotly contested campaigns in states such as Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida and Indiana may face particular trouble because of the transition to electronic voting machines. The machines have been proven unreliable in choosing the right candidate, as demonstrated by numerous tests cases in the years that the machines have replaced paper ballot.more

From: CAConrad

Green Party blocked from debates ALL ACROSS THE NATION!

Tim Martin - where is my village

where is my village

it burns

touches found histories

in private accounts

inflame sense of occupation

an american vesuvius

in time of video isolations

is this an installation

when the longest march

still plans ahead

this was my lifetime

to lock & unlock doors

in a tension of thumb & finger

where are my children?


what we find appropriate

drops conversation sudden

it senses my motion

forbids whistles in the dust

subverts my text

in masculinated packs

that some could be a party

i am consumed in the corner

or every peopled room

whispers about me

without my village

this is an array of education

texture of flame

earthbound gatherer

armies of defense

call an advantage

resemble my blood

reassemble trails of tears

how one feels involved

in imaginary theaters of


Tim Martin: here,
& here

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

US troops on active duty call for Iraq withdrawal

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - More than 200 active duty U.S. armed service members, fed up with the war in Iraq, have joined an unusual protest calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, organizers said on Wednesday.

The campaign, called the Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq, is the first of its kind in the Iraq war and takes advantage of Defense Department rules allowing active duty troops to express personal opinions to members of Congress without fear of retaliation, organizers said.

"As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq," states the appeal posted on the campaign's Web site at www.appealforredress.org .

"Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home," it adds. more...

Hooray for Kinky Friedman by Jesse Walker

It's not whether he wins or loses—it's how he derails the game

Pity the aging Gen Xer. Like a geriatric hippie desperately seeking signs that the '60s are returning, I'm condemned to celebrate anything that smacks of a '90s revival. In that spirit, I offer three cheers for Kinky Friedman and his campaign to be governor of Texas. The singer/novelist/comedian is unclassifiable politically, he appeals to both urban ironists and back-country militia types, he tells dirty jokes without worrying about the FCC, and he plays alt-country music. He even has Jesse Ventura campaigning for him. He's a walking, belching flashback to that happier, simpler decade, a time before America lost its innocence to Janet Jackson or Osama bin Laden, I can't remember which. more...

The Vocabulary of Fascism by Steve Yoder

Just in time for the November elections, the White House is again trying to make the case that the “global war on terror” has this in common with World War II: the enemies are fascists bent on world domination. President Bush said in August that the United States is “at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.” Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said that the administration’s critics are trying to appease “a new type of fascism.” Bush and Rumsfeld are right on message: the Associated Press reports that “Islamic fascism” is indeed the Republican buzzword for the fall campaign.

In fact, that term often has been the administration’s baton for clubbing the opposition whenever an election approaches or another outrage surfaces about Iraq. Calling out fascists also has been an easy substitute for evidence that the “war on terror” has achieved anything except create more hatred of the United States. more...

Cowboy Nation By Robert Kaga

These days, we are having a national debate over the direction of foreign policy. Beyond the obvious difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a broader sense that our nation has gone astray. We have become too militaristic, too idealistic, too arrogant; we have become an "empire." Much of the world views us as dangerous. In response, many call for the United States to return to its foreign policy traditions, as if that would provide the answer.
What exactly are those traditions? One tradition is this kind of debate, which we've been having ever since the birth of the nation, when Patrick Henry accused supporters of the Constitution of conspiring to turn the young republic into a "great and mighty empire." Today, we are mightier than Henry could have ever imagined. Yet we prefer to see ourselves in modest terms--as a reluctant hegemon, a status quo power that seeks only ordered stability in the international arena. James Schlesinger captured this perspective several years ago, when he said that Americans have "been thrust into a position of lonely preeminence." The United States, he added, is "a most unusual, not to say odd, country to serve as international leader." If, at times, we venture forth and embroil ourselves in the affairs of others, it is either because we have been attacked or because of the emergence of some dangerous revolutionary force--German Nazism, Japanese imperialism, Soviet communism, radical Islamism. Americans do not choose war; war is thrust upon us. As a recent presidential candidate put it, "The United States of America never goes to war because we want to; we only go to war because we have to. That is the standard of our nation." more...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wal-Mart Workers Walk Out

For months, politicians and activists have been saying that the low prices at the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), come at a tremendous cost to its low-paid employees. They point to lawsuits that contend the company discriminates against women and forces low-paid employees to work through lunch breaks and after their shifts, without extra compensation. Wal-Mart has also been boosting its political contributions to stop initiatives aimed at forcing the retailer to raise pay and benefits (see BusinessWeek.com, 9/28/06, "Wal-Mart Doesn't Discount Politicians").

Now, as Wal-Mart rolls out a new round of workplace restrictions, employees at a Wal-Mart Super Center in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., are taking matters into their own hands. On Oct. 16, workers on the morning shift walked out in protest against the new policies and rallied outside the store, shouting "We want justice" and criticizing the company's recent policies as "inhuman." Workers said the number of participants was about 200, or nearly all of the people on the shift. more....

Global ecosystems 'face collapse'

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Joel H. Vega - The Fifth & Careful Season

Beyond October, before the lure

Of orange, the swarm flies across

Nevada's skies.

Listen, the talebearer says,

Listen as they drag the weight

Of distances from as far as Peru

And Cebu.

Head, thorax, abdomen,

Two antennae, six legs.

Lepidoptera. Scaly wings

Open (inhale) close (exhale)

The dusty breath

Of mute birds.

What is an army of itinerant moths?

A catapulted piece of the moon,

Flung to earth from the Sea of Tranquility. more..

Friday, October 20, 2006

Voting One's Conscience by Gilles d'Aymery

America, please vote your conscience, not your calculations. Vote on the issues.
Do you want to bring the troops home NOW, not launch another war, this time against Iran (or the Sudan), and have a more proactive policy to end the Israeli-Arab conflict? Do you want to defend our civil liberties by abolishing the USA Patriot Act, defend unions' rights and women's right to choose, as well as civil rights for the gay and lesbian communities, and equal rights for immigrants? Do you want universal health care? Do you want to spend more on education and less on incarceration, and abolish the death penalty and the three-strikes nightmare? Do you want the wealthiest 1% of America to pay a fairer share of the tax burden and lower taxes for the bottom two quintiles of the citizenry? Do you want environmental policies that tax corporate polluters, develop real alternative energies, and tend toward conservation, away from consumerism? Do you, in the last analysis, want to put people before profits? more...

University Bans Humor Quotation From Student's Door By Nathan Burchfiel

Officials at Marquette University have ordered a Ph.D. student to remove a quotation critical of the federal government from his office door, because the hallway the door faces is not a "free speech zone."

In August, Stuart Distler, a doctoral student teacher, posted a quotation from humor columnist Dave Barry on his office door. "As Americans, we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless," the sign stated. "I refer, of course, to the federal government."

On Sept. 5, Philosophy Department Chairman James South informed Distler via email that the sign had been taken down because it was "patently offensive."

The world after Bush by Michael Lind

On 20th January 2009, George W Bush, barring his death, resignation or impeachment, will be succeeded by the 44th US president. Whether Republican or Democrat, the next president will not only inherit a number of crises, but will be in a considerably weaker position to deal with them.

Much of America's weakness will be the result of self-inflicted wounds: the unnecessary invasion of Iraq, along with the Bush administration's gratuitous insults to allies, its arrogant unilateralism and its hostility to international law. But as tempting as it may be to put all of the blame on the Bush administration, the truth is that most of the trends that will limit American power and influence in the next decade are long-term phenomena produced by economic, demographic and ideological developments beyond the power of the US or any government to influence. The rise of China, the shift in the centre of the world economy to Asia, the growth of neo- mercantilist petro-politics, the spread of Islamism in both militant and moderate forms—these trends are reshaping the world order in ways that neither the US nor any of its allies can do much to control.

Do ‘computer police' have too much power?

On Saturday morning, Sept. 23, 2006, many police vehicles appeared in our driveway. Men in black with flak jackets ran to and around our house.

My wife was at home alone. I drove up and asked, “What's going on?”

Men ran at me, dropped into shooting position, double-handed semi-automatic pistols pointed at me, and made me put my hands against my truck.

I was held at gunpoint, searched, taunted, and led into the house. I had no idea what this was about. I was scared beyond description. I feared there had been a murder and I was a suspect. more...

RIP pink plastic flamingo

It seems that the plastic pink flamingo is going the way of dodo. The plastic bird, a kitsch icon that has populated the front lawns of American homes since the 1950s, is about to become extinct.

Union Products of Leominster, Massachusetts, which has made the birds since 1957, is going out of business. more...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

U.N.: Number of Ocean 'Dead Zones' Rise

Bush Guts Posse Comitatus, Grabs National Guard! by Major Danby

I'm not really all that much of a states' rights guy.  I fall more on the "strong federal government" side of the spectrum.  So when someone like me starts screaming about a massive sneak attack on federalism, you might want to pay attention.

If I told you that Congress was considering passing a law that gives the President -- this President -- the power, in the event of any "disaster, accident, or catastrophe" that he deems to require it, to:

- involuntarily take National Guard troops from State A and

- require them to work in State B for up to a year,

- in law enforcement rather than just traditional areas like disaster relief,

- over the objection of both state's governors

would you believe it?  Probably not.  And you'd be right.  Congress is not considering such a bill.


ALBANIA by Yang Li

back in those days all of us knew about Albania there was no one who didn’t know it was a bright light of European socialism the other bright light was ourselves. back in those days from Beijing to Tirana, we all knew the song with a friend who knows your heart, distance won’t keep you apart. it was only later I realized that these were lines by the Tang-dynasty poet Wang Bo he died long ago, and never went to Tirana of course, we knew nothing about the place: that it was actually extremely small a friend of our, Wei Guo, once said to us mysteriously: the whole of Albania is like the ancient Chinese kingdom of Yelang. I remember this, and I guarantee: it was in 1974 and we had all just turned 12. we thought what he said was reactionary. more...

Yang Li (1962)

A falsely accused “enemy combatant” describes his imprisonment in Guantanamo. By Moazzam Begg

Moazzam Begg is a second-generation British Muslim. In 2002, he was arrested in Pakistan and held for two years by the United States as an “enemy combatant.” Below, he describes his arrival and interrogation in Guantanamo after being held at both Kandahar and Bagram. He was released in 2005, and now lives in Birmingham, England, with his family. Today, Begg can lecture only in Britain because, despite the absence of charges against him, his passport was withdrawn as a condition of his release. He hopes to be able to travel and lecture more widely in the future.

It is considered a sin in Islam to despair, but in Bagram, during the worst days of May 2002, I had been unable to hold despair at bay. Here in Guantanamo, in this steel cage with its mesh sides, steel roof and floor, steel bed, steel toilet, all inside a white, new-looking brightly lit room, I felt despair returning as I took in my surroundings for the first time.

All I had in the cell was a sheet and a roll of toilet paper, not even my glasses. I asked for something that I could use as a prayer mat, and they brought a thin camping mat, which became my mattress for the next two years.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pisa and Venice by Thomas Bernhard

The mayors of Pisa and Venice had agreed to scandalize visitors to their cities, who had for centuries been equally charmed by Venice and Pisa, by secretly and overnight having the tower of Pisa moved to Venice and the campanile of Venice moved to Pisa and set up there. They could not, however, keep their plan a secret, and on the very night on which they were going to have the tower of Pisa moved to Venice and the campanile of Venice moved to Pisa they were committed to the lunatic asylum, the mayor of Pisa in the nature of things to the lunatic asylum in Venice and the mayor of Venice to the lunatic asylum in Pisa. The Italian authorities were able handle the affair in complete confidentiality.

from Five stories fromThe Voice Imitator, by
Thomas Bernhard

Our Broken Constitution By Sanford Levinson

THE UNITED STATES Constitution may be the most revered text in the nation. It is our foundational document, which our presidents pledge to preserve and protect and which our judges continue to interpret and reinterpret Talmudically more than 200 years after it was written. It is the symbol of the American democracy that we often insist is the greatest in the world.

Yet in reality, the Constitution is so far from perfect that it threatens our ability to resolve the daunting problems facing our society. It has created a political order that suffers from a "democratic deficit," a term often applied to the European Union but, alas, ever more accurate with regard to our own society. ..... more...

Swifa za Mahaba - In Praise of Love

Give me a writing board of Indian wood, 

ink and a precious pen, 

let me praise love for you.

It has entered my heart 

forsooth, oh pupil of my eye, 

you are like cool antimony.

I will care for you, come to me, 

like my eldest child, 

your love is not half as strong as mine.

Let me praise love for you 

let me tell you what I feel, 

so that you can look into my heart.

My heart is full of love, 

if it had a lid, 

I would open it for you.

For you I would open it, 

so that you would know my love, 

it is bursting my inmost being.

It is splitting my inside, 

and yet I feel no pain, 

so much do I love you.

Joy is the fruit of love, 

when my purpose 
    [to make you love me] 
 is accomplished 

I will give you a present for life.

I will not leave you all my life, 

until death may follow, 

may we live in mutual affection.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Beyond a Politics of Resentment by Rebecca Falk

The notion of resentment carries the flavor of the problem, which has both positive and negative sides. The knowledge that one has been harmed for another's benefit first comes as a moment in which awareness shifts. The knowledge potentially opens the field of one's attention. It would be impossible to abandon this moment, yet it is not a sufficient ground upon which to build complex human relations. It is not really a ground at all, but it is a step toward locating a new ground. That individuals or groups hold to this step as if it were a ground or a goal in itself, is not surprising. Is another way of proceeding visible? Social relations that have been thought to be positive ones are now seen to contain too many sacrifices on the part of some, while promoting the apparent interests of others. This is not an alternative to identity politics in the eyes of those who feel the imbalance. Finding our way out of this stalemate requires some ability to notice what goes into the positive aspects of social relations, even when the worst aspects of identity politics reign. Most who attempt to do this seek to reestablish the domination required for orderliness, instead of seeking clues that can be fruitful for a postmodern condition. The goal should be to allow the multiplicity of voices, or the cultivation of a variety of creative energies. How can the moment of resentment become a stepping stone to this goal within a better set of relations? How can we avoid the trap of undoing or unraveling every possibility, and still avoid the reestablishment of domination?more...



for the ghostly bodies showing through the plastic wrap. [*] No words for the faces of despair and elation bubbling from the TV screen, faces of hatred and madness and dedication to death, faces that have had the truth of ‘collateral damage’ played out to them over the cell-phone videos even before the sound of the drone has faded. 


No one who witnessed the moral bankruptcy of the media during the Iraq campaign can be left with the least illusion about the world the networks show us. But something is shifting in the pattern of image dissemination. The reality of ‘statecraft’ and ‘deterrence’ is more and more on view. And it is a reality that lies at the heart of modernity. For more than a century, modernity and state terror from the air—modernity and mass civilian death—have been mutually constitutive terms. But never before so instantly, so vividly, so ubiquitously. more...

The Stupor Passes—Something Else Begins by Walt Whitman

BUT the hour, the day, the night pass’d, and whatever returns, an hour, a day, a night like that can never again return. The President, recovering himself, begins that very night—sternly, rapidly sets about the task of reorganizing his forces, and placing himself in positions for future and surer work. If there were nothing else of Abraham Lincoln for history to stamp him with, it is enough to send him with his wreath to the memory of all future time, that he endured that hour, that day, bitterer than gall—indeed a crucifixion day—that it did not conquer him—that he unflinchingly stemm’d it, and resolv’d to lift himself and the Union out of it. more..

Getting colder: climate change and America's elections

Climate change, the defining issue of 21st-century politics, barely registers in the United States's pre-election debate. The reason lies in the current grain of American politics. more..

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Sudanese poet Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi

'There is a Sudanese culture'

In the face of Sudan's long conflict between the supposedly Arabic north and African south, Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi's poetry blends influences from both. Richard Lea meets him

The Sudanese poet Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi is worried about the direction our conversation is taking. He shakes his head and speaks to our interpreter. "It's heading too much towards the political side and I'm not really an expert," he says. "The cultural side is a lot more important."

He's trying to explain how his generation of poets in Sudan have grappled with the country's dual identity - its unique position as part of the Arab world and part of Africa. He's at the centre of a web of multiple identities, a complexity he feels is never reflected whenever Sudan's troubled political situation is discussed. more...
I can not see you

can not tell whose binding binds

can not tell where ends

and begins another somewhere

something never accounted

never captured

can not tell

made eight days a week

a book

a bird

street names

with body faces

gone, moved a self to

encounter disbelief

perparing contingencies

forced containment

moving stupid

can not hear you through

more devotion deprived

inconvient nothing

over investment menacing

grammer distorition clatter

The Energy Crisis Ivan Illich

It has recently become fashionable to insist on an impending energy crisis. This euphemistic term conceals a contradiction and consecrates an illusion. It masks the contradiction implicit in the joint pursuit of equity and industrial growth. It safeguards the illusion that machine power can indefinitely take the place of manpower. To resolve this contradiction and dispel this illusion, it is urgent to clarify the reality that the language of crisis obscures: high quanta of energy degrade social relations just as inevitably as they destroy the physical milieu.

The advocates of an energy crisis believe in and continue to propagate a peculiar vision of man. According to this notion, man is born into perpetual dependence on slaves which he must painfully learn to master. If he does not employ prisoners, then he needs machines to do most of his work. According to this doctrine, the well-being of a society can be measured by the number of years its members have gone to school and by the number of energy slaves they have thereby learned to command. This belief is common to the conflicting economic ideologies now in vogue. It is threatened by the obvious inequity, harriedness, and impotence that appear everywhere once the voracious hordes of energy slaves outnumber people by a certain proportion. The energy crisis focuses concern on the scarcity of fodder for these slaves. I prefer to ask whether free men need them.more..

Human-Machine Design by Brian Massumi

"Early in the next millenium your left and right cuff links or earrings may communicate with each other by low-orbiting satellites and have more power than your PC." Have you ever wondered what your earrings would say to each other if they could have a confidential conversation? I have to confess I hadn't. One of the endearing things about Nicholas Negroponte, who conjured up this image, is that he hasn't either. What fascinates him, in Being Digital (1), is the possibility of the connection. Why bother with gossipy cuff-links? Because they would connect. The titillation is less in the gadget itself, or in the goal of the gadgeting, than in the joy of connection. Negroponte is animated by a connection fetish that is refreshing in its lack of moralizing about what we should do in the future Negroponte's Media Lab is so busy manufacturing for us. For Negroponte, it is never really a question of goals or utility. Being Digital is all about interface, for interfaces' sake. Why?more....


Tioga County landfill is where Hector, Jr., is found. Or his “remains”—battered and badly decomposed, his mouth filled with trash. He couldn’t have protested if he’d been alive, buried, as he was, in rubble and raw garbage. Overhead are shrieking birds; in the vast landfill, dump trucks and bulldozers and a search team from the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department in protective uniforms. . . .

And now, in the early morning of April 17th, Mrs. Campos answers the phone on the first ring. These terrible weeks that her son has been missing, Mrs. Campos has answered the phone many times and made many calls, as her husband has made many calls, and now the call from the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department they have been dreading. Mrs. Campos? Are you seated? Is your husband there?

Giovanni reviles Blackwell

Giovanni shocked the crowd Saturday as she read her dedicatory poem on Fountain Square by referring to Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, as a "son of a bitch" and a "political whore." more...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Towards a Synergistic Understanding of Synaesthesia by Daniel Smilek & Mike J. Dixon

Imagine for a moment, that every time you heard a particular sound or viewed an ordinary black digit, you experienced an accompanying perception of a highly specific colour. Although for most people such experiences are completely beyond the realm of normal, for some, such occurrences characterise their typical day-to-day experiences. The term given to these extra-ordinary experiences is synaesthesia. For some synaesthetes the stimulus and the elicited experience occur in the same modality (e.g., printed digits or letters trigger colours called photisms). For others the inducing stimulus and the elicited experience cross modalities. For example, taste can elicit tactile experiences (e.g., Cytowic, 1989; 1993), or sounds can elicit colours (e.g., Wheeler, 1920). more...

Illumine My Ithaca -by Munayem Mayenin

We are luminous vulnerable creatures

Light-sands absorb our weights

We illuminate as we float light

On the infinite floating garden

Of the universe expanding

Perpetually through the space

Only I wish we had the sight

To see this big scale of things

Illumine my Ithaca! Illumine!

And let me take in the lumina!

And I shall make my maiden music

For a people who are all illumanate

We are all luminous vulnerable creatures

Illuminating things, nothing and space

Illumine my Ithaca! Illumine!

Let me walk towards you like lights

Let me learn the grammar of lights

And teach myself how to illumine

The very souls next to me by touching

And sing the melody so they can illumine

Me to ensure infinite darkness digress

Itself to finite infiniteness of our

luminous spell

Illumine my Ithaca! Illumine!

Let me walk towards you like lights

Literature professor Nathaniel Mackey named National Book Award finalist By Scott Rappaport

Literature professor Nathaniel Mackey has been named a finalist for the 2006 National Book Awards. The winners will be announced at a benefit ceremony hosted by writer Fran Lebowitz at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City on November 15. The awards are presented annually by the National Book Foundation.

Mackey is a finalist in the poetry category for his latest book, Splay Anthem. The finalists were selected by four panels of judges who were asked to choose the best books of the year from nearly 13,000 entries submitted by publishers.

“Many of this year's selections take risks in their narrative structure, voice and subject matter,” noted Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation. “In every category, the nominated works represent powerful writing and new approaches to often difficult topics.”

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fundamentalisms and sexuality By Maya Indira Ganesh

Confronted with chaos, the fundamentalist believes that his role is to protect and defend his tradition, fighting back with absolutism and violence. The uncontrolled woman, the woman with rampant sexuality, the outsider, the migrant, is the most tangible symbol of chaos, and the easiest to control

Anyone who has grown up in an Indian household has to have heard this at some stage of growing up. Indians are obsessed with purity. And as humans we are in love with our neat little binaries. The amorphous, the shadowy, and the unclear inspire a deep fear in the human brain that is trained to simplify. The world is thus conveniently ordered into right and wrong, dirty and clean, black and white.

In recent events that smack of this desire for purity, Dr Sanjay Aparanti, a doctor turned IPS officer recently appointed to the Mumbai police, initiated a campaign “…to rid Mumbai of all obscenity”. This drive, led by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, and supported by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, called for the shutting down of dance bars in and around the city of Mumbai. Film posters that show too much skin and sex also came under the state's purity Geiger. The state's concern is that youth are being “led astray” by a surfeit of sexual content in public and media spaces. Small wonder that no one asked the youth what they think. Or that we have no alternative other than to scissor out what we deem offensive. more....

Empty Attachment by Ihab Hassan

It started as a pun, ended in bewilderment, worse, images of a life I never lived, songlines leading nowhere. And why would bewilderment stop here? Why wouldn’t it stretch to query our comings and goings and all? The mysterium tremendum et fascinans, the old mystics called it. All the super strings, wormholes, quantum foam of the universe.

There is nothing mystical about a slipped synapsis, though, a finger fluttering over a keyboard, a pun or long-echoing song. I simply forgot to attach a file to X, and he messaged back: “Empty Attachment.” That was all. Must his words become the indelible stigma of my purloined life? There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.... No, that’s not X, it’s Maeve, Maeve singing in the evening, humming through the shadowy radiance of the day. more....

Poetry: “A Urinal I Invite You To Hang On Your Wall” by Doug Martin

Since James Thomas’ Sudden Fiction anthology was launched in 1980, flash fiction has at least made guest appearances in established literary journals.Now, with the proliferation of online sites and printed journals such as Sentence and Quick Fiction, prose poetry and flash fiction work has fortunately inundated the desks of editors. Having dubbed this movement as PP/FF (prose poetry/flash fiction), Peter Conners (one of the founding co-editors of Double Room: A Journal of Prose Poetry and Flash Fiction) has compiled PP/FF: An Anthology, a collection of 61 of the most daring contemporary writers of this mixed genre. Included are established authors such as Brian Evenson, Gary Lutz, George Looney, Diane Williams, and Noah Eli Gordon, and younger up-and-comers such as Joanna Howard and Aimee Parkison. more...

Kulture Vulture Experiment Five

is on-line and ready for your perusal


featuring poems by:
William Allegreeza, Jack Boettner, Tim Botta, Jenna Cardinale, Peter Davis, Ryan Downey, Thomas Farrington, Skip Fox, Elisa Gabbert, Johannes Gregorsson, James Grinwis, Donald Illich, Brian Kalkbrenner, Sean Kilpatrick, Clay Matthews, Randy Prunty, Kate Schipara, Bronwen Tate, Chris Tonelli, and Amish Trivedi

Friday, October 13, 2006

An Interview with Utah Phillips by Gabriel Ricard

You have to look at anarchy in two different ways. You look at it as a social and political movement, and you look at it as a lifestyle choice. By and large, young people treat anarchy as a lifestyle choice. Making a transition to a political movement is far more difficult. Murray Bookchin wrote a wonderful book about this, which was published by AK Press. If anyone wants to look up AK Press on the web, they'll find it. [And who knows, maybe the editor of this interview will be capable of something as simple as a hyperlink –Ed.] He felt that anarchy as a lifestyle choice and anarchy as a movement were positions that were irreconcilable. I don't believe that. I think that that lifestyle choice is an essential step toward building anarchism as a movement. The two concepts are by no means outmoded. There's still a way out in front of us. There's still a future of self-governing people. We live in a highly cohesive culture. We're entangled in all kinds of cohesive combinations. Boss, employee, student, teacher, parental, marital. And we're not the architects. We don't decide that those are the combinations we want to participate in. We inherit them. We have no control over them. And all we've ever really wanted to do is become self-governing enough, so that we can create, among others, voluntary combinations which serve our needs as we define them, and not as they're defined for us by institutions. We have become accustomed to abandoning our children to institutions and authorities over which they have no control. Kind of like empty milk bottles. They get filled up full of these cultural compulsions. And leaning how, as individuals, to resist that, to become self-governing people, reaching out and forming voluntary combinations to get the work of the world done, without the boss and without the state, is very difficult. Ammon Hannesy, my great teacher, the Catholic anarchist and pacifist, put it in very simple terms. We were working at the Joe Hill House, in Salt Lake. It's a house for transients and migrants and bums and that's what I was doing at the time. And Ammon said to me, “If you and I can agree to do our share of the work of the world, if we can agree to take only what we need and put back what we can, if we can agree not to hurt anybody, all the things you can't get from the boss and the state, if we can agree to these things, then we can, between ourselves, begin to form that voluntary combination. And begin, in our own small way, to get the work of the world done, without the boss and without the state.” more...

The Attack on Human Rights Watch By Aryeh Neier

On August 3—three weeks after a Lebanese Hezbollah raid into Israel set off a war that lasted until August 14—Human Rights Watch published a report, "Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon," that inspired a series of vitriolic attacks on the organization's credibility. According to some of the critics, the organization's executive director, Kenneth Roth, is biased against Israel and an anti-Semite. Unfortunately, the criticisms are based on misunderstandings and distortions of international humanitarian law. They contribute to an atmosphere that makes rational discussion in the United States of Israel's policies and practices increasingly difficult. more...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Review of Eileen Tabios' POST BLING BLING by Garin Cycholl

We all live in a company town. That much seems clear. The question of how we inhabit that town is the question addressed by Eileen Tabios's Post Bling Bling, a pair of cross-genre works. Here, Tabios investigates marketing culture through found and shared language in tightly defined moments, a collection of e-mails by Filipino ŽmigrŽs over four days in May 2005 and a summer issue of Vanity Fair.

The magazine's advertisements comprise the found texts of the first work, "Post Bling Bling." Peeled from slick pages, the marketed identities proclaim themselves. In serious stride, Robert DeNiro embraces: "My Life: / My Card: / AMERICAN EXPRESS." At Vegas' Mandalay Bay, you're invited to "Be Yourself At Home / Topless / Wet / White." The metal and verbal technologies craft "the new" in the Lexus hybrid, "not just the debut of a new car, but of a new category." The travel professionals with Ritz Carlton remind us, "THE BEACH IS SERVED / on a silver platter." In the end, it is "Your Choice. Your Chase. . . Subject to Credit Approval." Of course, this play can be extended to the book's front cover, a photograph of a south Pacific beach shadowed by familiar trademarks. We can read this beach in every dimension of authorship as well; the beach itself is trademarked. But is this marking done by the marketers or the author (her name and the book's title as prominent as the well-known circles, ambiguous squares, and swoosh of corporate logo)? The beach seems deserted by all but the photographer. How "dead" is the author? Capitalism itself? more...

Raymond Federman: An Inner-View by David Moscovich

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2006

Who do you write for? That is the question by Orhan Pamuk

ISTANBUL That is the question

For the last 30 years - since I first became a writer - this is the question I've heard most often from both readers and journalists. Their motives depend on the time and the place, as do the things they wish to know. But they all use the same suspicious, supercilious tone of voice.

In the mid-'70s, when I first decided to become a novelist, the question reflected the widely held philistine view that art and literature were luxuries in a poor non-Western country troubled by premodern problems.

There was also the suggestion that someone "as educated and cultivated as yourself" might serve the nation more usefully as a doctor fighting epidemics or an engineer building bridges. more...


A striking consequence of the new picture of the world is that there should be an infinity of regions with histories absolutely identical to ours. That's right, scores of your duplicates are now reading copies of this article. They live on planets exactly like Earth, with all its mountains, cities, trees, and butterflies. There should also be regions where histories are somewhat different from ours, with all possible variations. For example, some readers will be pleased to know that there are infinitely many O-regions where Al Gore is the President of the United States.

In this astonishing world view, our Earth and our civilization are anything but unique. Instead, countless identical civilizations are scattered across the infinite expanse of the cosmos. With humankind reduced to absolute cosmic insignificance, our descent from the center of the world, a process begun by Copernicus, is now complete. more...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Conversation with Victor Hernández Cruz & Quincy Troupe

On This Tortured But Beautiful Planet

From: Quincy Troupe

To: Victor Hernandez Cruz

I started writing poetry in my early 20’s, in the early 1960’s, and have always felt I had a lot of catching up to do: I still feel that way. I started writing poetry after I suffered a traumatic knee injury that ended my promising basketball career: I was living in Metz, France, playing on an Army basketball team and a French one. I was always a voracious reader and while I was recovering from my knee injury I read some poems by Arthur Rimbaud, the French poet, that caught my attention. I already knew about Langston Hughes, Edgar Allen Poe, and Emily Dickenson and a few other American poets I read when I was younger, but none of them made any impact on me at the time because I wasn’t into poetry. Rimbaud caught my attention for some reason. But the first poet who I really loved was Pablo Neruda, the great Chilean poet, after I read his poem, “Only Death.” That poem just floored me and I started trying to write poetry seriously after that. I also loved music at the time, especially Miles Davis, and other so-called jazz musicians, so music had a profound impact on me and my poetry. I wanted my poetry also to be musical, flexible, fluent, magical, mysterious like great music is, and I wanted it to be image based, and full of surprises running through the way the language was fashioned, and the manner in which images were woven throughout the texts. But in order to do all of this I first had to learn to write well and that took a long time.

Iraqi Dead May Total 600,000, Study Says

BAGHDAD, Oct. 10 — A team of American and Iraqi public health researchers has estimated that 600,000 civilians have died in violence across Iraq since the 2003 American invasion, the highest estimate ever for the toll of the war here.
The figure breaks down to about 15,000 violent deaths a month, a number that is quadruple the one for July given by Iraqi government hospitals and the morgue in Baghdad and published last month in a United Nations report in Iraq. That month was the highest for Iraqi civilian deaths since the American invasion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Battle of the Hermaphrodites by Susan Milius

Roughly 15 percent of animal species live a hermaphroditic lifestyle of some form, Michiels estimates. Many of them are sequential hermaphrodites, such as clown fish that spend their young adulthood as one gender and then switch to the other.more...

Information Feeds to the War on Terror by Samuel Nunn

We want to know things before they occur. Anticipate, react, prevent. This idea is embedded not only in counter-terrorism policy, but in the cultural narratives produced by television and cinema. Television programs such as 24 or CSI, and movies such as The Conversation, The End of Violence, Minority Report, and The Siege are self reflexive mirrors of the U.S. war on terror. Through tricky technology systems like the Multi-State Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) and Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) and Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) and TIPOFF and AFIS and VICAP, America seeks policies and programs -- read this as machines and software -- that will anticipate terrorist attacks in order to stop them before they can occur.[1] The desired outcome is complete deterrence. If this outcome was achieved, it would be the most mighty feat of prognostication and prevention ever conceived. more...


ABNORMAL, adj. Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought and conduct, to be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested. Wherefore the lexicographer adviseth a striving toward the straiter [sic] resemblance of the Average Man than he hath to himself. Whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of death and the hope of Hell.

Monday, October 09, 2006

maybe it was a premonition, or realizing it was another dumb show believer recasting the next emanation battlefield broadcast repeating their own regrets, marching endlessly onward, repeating, there is no end in sight,

a picture of something burning for a very long time appeared, perhaps never ends, taken into an idiom that never ends and for a considerable stretch of time, never ends

longing for fishing line hope, I awaken in the night with pieces of lakes pieced together to form piles of scrap metal getaway’s from the detached limbs dangling amongst the wreckage, amongst piles of an incomplete everyone

our collective feet are caught in an under toe, in a gesture of an earth quake swallowing us whole, in a sweat shop production from dawn to dusk

in a flabby orbit around mobile determinism that offers immortal salvation for case managed addiction at the cost of self control, phantom limbs are belittled to nubs, something more than degradation, less than animal more rock.

we count down, surrender to another official version of truth, defeated by grammar, regulated to an instrument of function and kiss the blue lips of death.

Submission Deadline for DISASTER3: November 15, 2006

a journal of visual art, experimental poetics and radical politics

DISASTER accepts: Text: send hard copy or e-mail attachments Multiples: send handmade or mass-produced multiples in editions of 100 Black and White Artwork: send originals for xeroxing or send digital files of black and white artwork for printout and xeroxing

For all contributions, include: your name, mailing address, titles and layout instruction (if any)

Size of journal pages: roughly 8.5 x 11inches or folded pieces

Notes on xerox: Xeroxes will deviate from the media they copy; xeroxing will yield grainy quality especially in grayscale areas. Disaster is produced with low-tech printers and xerox machines

Notes on formatting: Poems and text works may be slightly reformatted, unless otherwise specified by the author

Notes on theme: DISASTER can be addressed in many ways: as a formal inquiry, a political statement, a personal incident, deadly, a memorial, sometimes with humor

DISASTER3 will grow to an edition of 100 copies in order to accommodate increased participation!
Submission deadline for DISASTER3: November 10, 2006
Send to Marcus Civin 3607 Pacific Avenue #4 Marina Del Rey CA 90292

Contributors may participate repeatedly. As of yet, DISASTER does not have a
web page. DISASTER is free.

Past contributors: William Allegrezza, Amy Barkow, Dawn Blackman, Fran Blau, Amanda Bornstein, Taylor Brady, Joshua Churchill, Marcus Civin, Tyler Denmead, Johnny Dismal, Alan Duke, kari edwards, Ashlee Ferlito with Chris Vick, Maggie Foster, Molly Gage, Rob Halpern, Julia Hyde, Tanya Hollis, Arnold J. Kemp, Wendy Kramer, Josephy Lease, Joan MacDonald, Amanda Schweizer, J.W. Schweizer, Eleni Stecopoulos, Nico Vassilakis, Hannah Wade, Robert Worthy, Sonya Worthy

DISASTER1 and DISASTER2 have been archived in the University of Buffalo Poetics Collection. All the extra copies have been distributed. To view a copy, contact Marcus Civin.

Marcus Civin organizes DISASTER. Marcus is an MFA student at UC Irvine in Studio Art. His War and Peace transcriptions are included in "Many Happy Returns", a group show at High Energy Constructs Los Angeles opening October 21.

Mannequin Envy: a quarterly journal of visual and literary arts   

Mannequin Envy


Jill Khoury  
Teresa White 
three poems
Rebecca Schumejda
two poems
Sharon Auberle
Act of Contrition
Animal Dreams
John Sweet
from shadow to shadow
Arlene Ang
four poems
Cherilyn Ferroggiarro
two poems
Taylor Graham
two poems
Tim Kahl
The Experiment
Allison Eastley
two poems
Corey Mesler
Up, on Stage
Donald Illich
Without Saying Anything
Gerald So 
two poems
Kelly J. White 
two poems
Larry Rapant 
The Loser
M.A. Vizsolyi 
Conversation with a Tree
Jai Britton 
Harvey Goldner
Blinking Christmas Tree Lights
M. Frost
two poems
Liz Gallagher 
Lady in the Bath with Angels

'The Pervert's Guide to Cinema' - Slavoj Zizek interview by Gareth Evans

Zizek recreates 'The Birds' ‘In order to understand today’s world, we need cinema; literally. It’s only in cinema that we get that crucial dimension which we are not yet ready to confront in our reality. If you are looking for what is, in reality, more real than reality itself, look into cinematic fiction.’ more...

Lament for the Fall of Seville by Abu al-Baqa' al-Rundi (d.1285)

Everything declines after reaching perfection, therefore let no man be beguiled by the sweetness of a pleasant life.

As you have observed, these are the decrees that are inconstant: he whom a single moment has made happy, has been harmed by many other moments;

And this is the abode that will show pity for no man, nor will any condition remain in its state for it.

Fate irrevocably destroys every ample coat of mail when Mashrifi swords and spears glance off without effect;

It unsheaths each sword only to destroy it even if it be an Ibn Dhi Yazan and the scabbard Ghumdan

Where are the crowned kings of Yemen and where are their jewel-studded diadems and crowns?

Where are [the buildings] Shaddad raised in Iram[3] and where [the empire] the Sassanians ruled in Persia?

Where is the gold Qarun once possessed; where are `Ad and Shaddad and Qahtan?

What Kafka Knew by Christy Rodgers

I get almost all my news and analysis from the U.S. independent press now. I’m very grateful these sources exist, mostly thanks to the very low end of the FM dial and the as yet un-gated realm of cyberspace. But constant absorption of “alternative” news often makes me feel as if I am trapped inside a locked room. The room is populated with hundreds of highly intelligent people, all shouting at one another, their eloquent voices filled with urgency, with factuality, and sometimes with despair. Of course their eloquence is actually directed beyond the room, at the Powers that operate outside it, but the walls have been pretty well sound-proofed, and only a sort of tinny whine ever seems to break through to the world beyond. I know this because I talk to people who live outside the room, many of whom, to my chagrin, are not even aware of its existence. Another political commentator wisely warned recently that we of the self-identified Left should not mistake a growing public unease about the actions of the powerful in this country for actual awareness, in the sense of real political consciousness; I have to agree. For my entire adult life up to and including the present moment, most of the Left’s sense of injustice, its justified rage and fear, and its warnings of looming catastrophe have fallen almost entirely on the ears of the others in the room. I don’t know how the rest of you feel, but I am increasingly forced to leave the chamber of Left-wing Analysis and seek other sources of insight from time to time, and that is what invariably leads me back to literature and art.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Who are the Prisoners at Gitmo? By Eric Umansky

Thanks to President Bush’s announcement on August 6, we now know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and thirteen other serious terror suspects have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay. But what about the other 400 or so prisoners who have been in the detention facility there now for up to five years? Who are they, and how dangerous are they? This is a question that only a few journalists have pursued since 2001. The answers they uncovered are astounding, yet despite the efforts of these reporters the predicament of the detainees has still not been fully exposed.more...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

David Hume (1772) - Cause and Effect

Propositions of this kind are discoverable by the mere operation of thought, without dependence on what is anywhere existent in the universe. Though there never were a circle or triangle in nature, the truths demonstrated by Euclid would for ever retain their certainty and evidence.

Matters of fact, which are the second objects of human reason, are not ascertained in the same manner; nor is our evidence of their truth, however great, of a like nature with the foregoing. The contrary of every matter of fact is still possible, because it can never imply a contradiction, and is conceived by the mind with the same facility and distinctness, as if ever so conformable to reality. That the sun will not rise tomorrow is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction, than the affirmation, that it will rise. We should in vain, therefore, attempt to demonstrate its falsehood. Were it demonstratively false, it would imply a contradiction, and could never be distinctly conceived by the mind. more...

The Worldwide Class Struggle by Vincent Navarro

Neoliberalism as a Class Practice

A trademark of our times is the dominance of neoliberalism in the major economic, political, and social forums of the developed capitalist countries and in the international agencies they influence—including the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and the technical agencies of the United Nations such as the World Health Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization, and UNICEF. Starting in the United States during the Carter administration, neoliberalism expanded its influence through the Reagan administration and, in the United Kingdom, the Thatcher administration, to become an international ideology. Neoliberalism holds to a theory (though not necessarily a practice) that posits the following:

1. The state (or what is wrongly referred to in popular parlance as “the government”) needs to reduce its interventionism in economic and social activities.

2. Labor and financial markets should be deregulated in order to liberate the enormous creative energy of the markets.

3. Commerce and investments should be stimulated by eliminating borders and barriers to allow for full mobility of labor, capital, goods, and services.

Following these three tenets, according to neoliberal authors, we have seen that the worldwide implementation of these practices has led to the development of a “new” process: a globalization of economic activity that has generated a period of enormous economic growth worldwide, associated with a new era of social progress. For the first time in history, we are told, we are witnessing a worldwide economy, in which states are losing power and are being replaced by a worldwide market centered in multinational corporations, which are the main units of economic activity in the world today. more..

he Secret of George W. Bush's Power: the State of Exception

In 2005, Factory School published a book by Francis Shor, a professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Wayne State University. Entitled Bush-League Spectacles: Empire, Politics, and Culture in Bushwhacked America, it brings together some of the entries that Shor wrote between 2001 and 2005 for such liberal news/commentary "blogs" as Common Dreams, CounterPunch, The History News Network and Bad Subjects. The book is divided into four parts, all of which refer to the "spectacle": "The Spectacles of Empire" (essays about international events); "The Spectacles of Politics" (domestic events); "The Spectacles of Culture" (domestic pop culture); and "Countering Bush-League Spectacles" (domestic political action). Shor begins his collection with a preface that, in its turn, begins with a quotation from Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle: "The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual deception produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized." But what Shor says right after this epigraph proves that he doesn't really understand Debord. To him,
Spectacles have played a significant part of empires and public life throughout history. From the circuses of Rome to the Nuremberg rallies of Nazi Germany, the staging of public events for mass mobilization has served the interests of the ruling elite. However, in this era of the society of the spectacle where images dominate beyond just the media environment, the spectacle is even more integral to the functioning of society. more..

Friday, October 06, 2006

Phan Nhien Hao

The man leans a summer ladder

on a moon approaching the eclipse

A car discharges blue smoke

into the daily exhaustion

And biological concerns

gape like fish eyes under ice in the ship's hold

without enough oil to reach the horizon where a rainbow bends down

        to drink sea water.

The man and the moon sink down to sleep with seaweeds

on a mist-less morning without milk and eggs

without anyone wearing a bronze name tag to open the hotel door

        ringing a bell

August slowly moves South

on a road redolent of cow manure with threeway intersections

pouncing from abandoned houses

From the picture frame with broken glass there remains

a child's smile. Between the Moon and Seaweeds

Translated from the Vietnamese
by Linh Dinh

Thursday, October 05, 2006

antiphon delinquency

I can not name the inevitable failure
can not be forgiven for what is never known
in an operation no one dares call random

I can not within the oncoming outside fatigue
not change with today to tonight
or watch an unknown detainee
desire in this unforeseen, unimaginable
amorous intractable riddle
get stripped away by
relentless girding
happen time and again
night to day to night

I can not in my own contradiction
know another contraction
in a state of state terror
consuming measurable time bit by bit
in a state nothing more than a statement
for justification of state justification

Sharecropping the 21st Century by Jeff Olson

We often think that sharecropping ended with Steinbeck’s Joads as they fled the Depression and Dust Bowl Oklahoma for the orchards of California. Their tragic story exchanged the myths of the yeoman for those of the wage slave. Sharecropping, however, survived Steinbeck and Depression.

Sharecropping, the exchange of land-use for a portion of the crop, continues, and is in fact, at the heart and the basis of American agriculture–rotting it from the core. Farmers just don’t call it sharecropping. Landlords don’t call it sharecropping. Nor do banks, newspapers, merchants or the federal government. But sharecropping today, just like farming, continues to change with the American economy.

American farming saw its first major transition while Jefferson was still alive. His dream of the independent, yeoman farmer on a small plot of Western land died before he did, we just don’t talk about it. The Market was already taking care of that. more...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Aesthetics and Philosophy: A Match Made in Heaven? by Anja Steinbauer

We might imagine aesthetics, the study of art and beauty, and philosophy as two unhappy partners in a failing relationship, coming to us seeking counselling. “You can’t give me anything”, aesthetics might complain, “you don’t help people appreciate art or beauty, you don’t make artists better at their creative activity. You have no contribution to make to the aesthetic experience whatsoever. I wish you’d simply get out of my life!” “You never listen to reason,” philosophy might grumble in reply,

“You are just so messy, without principles. No universal truths to speak of.”

So what is the point of philosophical aesthetics? Why force aesthetics and philosophy together?

Scepticism about the merits and even the possibility of a philosophical aesthetics has been the subject of irreconcilable controversies among thinkers. It is by no means self-evident that problems of aesthetics should be an object of philosophy: many philosophers have held that issues relating to art and beauty cannot be the object of philosophical work. The rationalist thinkers simply denied aesthetics a place in their systems of thought, while positivist and neo-positivist thinkers argued that it could not be part of philosophical enquiry.

How George Bush Admitted His War Crimes

It was brilliantly deceptive, trumping even his orchestrated dishonesty in leading us to war.

Buried in the 94 pages of the Military Commissions Act of 2006-the "detainee act" or the "torture bill"-the Bush Administration tacitly admits it has committed war crimes.

There is no question war crimes have been committed. Corporal Charles Graner, Private First Class Lyndie England, and several of their teammates are serving time, for mistreating prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

Antarctic ozone hole reaches record size

The hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica this year has surpassed the record size registered in 2000, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday.  The Geneva-based agency said that data from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) showed that the ozone hole had grown to 29.5 million square kilometers.

    "This is the most serious on record," said Mark Oliver, spokesman for the WMO.

    "It has been caused by a particularly cold stratospheric winter, between 10 and 40 km above sea level," he told journalists.
    The new size of the ozone hole was recorded by NASA on Sept. 25,he said. The previous record of 29.4 million square kilometers was set in September 200

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

'Emily Dickinson? She's hardcore'

The Paris Commune

]This is the notes for a talk given to a WSM meeting that was heavily based on The Communards of Paris, 1871: edited by Stewart Edwards, and published by Cornell Paperbacks; CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS

In 1871 France went to war with Prussia and was defeated. The head of the national government was Adolphe Thiers, he had negotiated the details of the peace with Prussia. After doing this he was faced with the problem of regaining control of Paris, of convincing the city that the war with Prussia was over and of disarming the National Guard. Thiers has only twelve thousand troops left after the truce to do this with against several hundred thousand national guards.

He had no time. The rural majority in the Assembly was moving from Bordeaux where it had held its first meetings to be clear of the Prussians, to Versailles, close to Paris.

The Prussians were still occupying Northern France, as security for the payment of the war indemnity which France had agreed to pay as a condition of peace. In order to be able to pay the first instalments on this indemnity and so to secure the evacuation of northern France by the Prussian troops , the French government would need to raise loans. Money could only be raised however is the public had confidence in the new government. Thiers's principal problem was, therefore , the restoration of confidence. Order would have to be re-established, shops opened up, business resumed and life returned to normal. Above all, since Paris was the heart of the nation, Paris would have to be brought under the control of the National government.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Where Big Brother Watches and Talks to You

Middlesbrough, England- Britain stands guard with more than 4 million security cameras, or CCTVs, as they call them over here. That's one for every 14 people in the country. The British are among the most-watched people on earth.
And now one town in the north of England has taken CCTV technology a step further.

The monitors in Middlesbrough's CCTV control room show a drunk put back a traffic cone, a vandal replace a strip light he had pulled off the roof of a pizza joint, and a smoker pick up his cigarette butt from the sidewalk.

Why did they correct their infractions? The operator in the control room spotted their actions, and a disembodied voice coming from a speaker attached to a CCTV camera stopped the offenders in their tracks. It seems to work.