March 14, 2008 archive

Media finds increased support for Iraq occupation since reporting on it stopped

In the latest head smacking example that shows just how much impact the corporate media has on how people feel about things, we see that people’s views of Iraq are “better” over the past few months.

It is also interesting to note that there has been a decrease in the overall reporting about Iraq from 15% of the total stories as recently as last July to a mere 3% in February 2008.  And what do we get in that time period?

Pony Party, Phone it in Friday

Through the Darkest of Nights

Every Friday over the next several months I will be posting installments of a novel I’ve written about life, death, war and politics in America since 9/11.  This first post is the Prologue of Through the Darkest of Nights.  It is an intensely personal story of hope, reflection, determination, and redemption, and contrasts the protagonist’s idealism with the apathy and moral decline of a nation that has lost its way.  

Self-righteousness and self-delusion are so entrenched in conservative America’s collective consciousness that half the nation is literally insane.  Facts mean nothing to them.  The self-delusion and propaganda of these people and their leaders dominate political discourse.  They are a lethal threat to the survival of America and the world, their leaders are as dangerous as they’ve ever been, and despite indications that their power and influence are declining, they have already inflicted so much damage to our political system, our economy, and our media that America’s journey out of the darkness is going to be a long one . . .    


Docudharma Times Friday March 14

And what you say about his company

Is what you say about society.

Friday’s Headlines: Economy Hammered by Toxic Blend of Ailments: Ozone Rules Weakened at Bush’s Behest: Body of kidnapped archbishop found in Iraq: Islamic Jihad resumes rocket attacks on Israel after brief lull: How to spot a mafioso: a tourist’s guide:  EU presses ahead with substantial cuts in emissions: China admits sending in troops to quell Tibetan monk demos: Victory for Kazemi as Home Secretary halts deportation to Iran: Maria Barragan wants her parents jailed:  Questions about Venezuela as Rice arrives in Brazil: Chad and Sudan make peace

Iraq: teachers told to rewrite history

MoD accused of sending propaganda to schools

By Richard Garner, Education Editor

Friday, 14 March 2008

Britain’s biggest teachers’ union has accused the Ministry of Defence of breaking the law over a lesson plan drawn up to teach pupils about the Iraq war. The National Union of Teachers claims it breaches the 1996 Education Act, which aims to ensure all political issues are treated in a balanced way.

Teachers will threaten to boycott military involvement in schools at the union’s annual conference next weekend, claiming the lesson plan is a “propaganda” exercise and makes no mention of any civilian casualties as a result of the war.

They believe the instructions, designed for use during classroom discussions in general studies or personal, social and health education (PSE) lessons, are arguably an attempt to rewrite the history of the Iraq invasion just as the world prepares to mark its fifth anniversary.

What are you reading? Science Fiction

If you like to trade books, try BookMooch.

cfk has bookflurries on Weds. nights

pico has literature for kossacks on Tues. nights, but it’s on hiatus

What are you reading? is crossposted to dailyKos

If you have ideas for future weeks, let me know (one idea is Fiction vs. nonfiction, I may do that next week)

Science fiction is my favorite fiction genre.  The book that turned me from someone who knows how to read into someone who reads a LOT was Maeline L’Engle’s  A Wrinkle in Time, which is really from the sister-genre of fantasy.  I devoured Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke in my teens.  The ‘big three’ are still classic, but I’ve got some other favorites, too.

John Varley.  Varley writes amazingly well, he has interesting ideas.  He likes to surprise the reader, not by smacking you in the head when you least expect it, but in more subtle ways.  Persistence of Vision, for example, is a short story about a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s a lovely, gentle, moving piece.   Press Enter, is a short story about the near future, and it is as scary as anything.  Many of his novels are set in a world where mankind has been wiped out on Earth, and survives only in the rest of the solar system, but in none of those novels is that the main theme.  He also likes to mess about with sexual roles.  

Neal Stephenson.  Some of what Stephenson writes is SF and no question about it.  Snow Crash, or the Diamond Age, are SF novels.  Other of his work is more ambiguously SF.  I am re-reading Cryptonomicon, and it’s hard to say that this is really SF, but it feels like SF.  The Baroque Cycle is more clearly not SF, but still involves a lot of things that SF often does.  

Terry Pratchett.  Discworld!  His early books are good, some are very good indeed.  Small Gods is a hysterical send-up of religion and fanaticism.  But they get better.  He takes on big social issues, and stays funny.  Monstrous Regiment takes on sexism and the military.  Thud! takes on racism and bigotry (as does Jingo).  (By the way, the Discworld, shaped like  disk, floats through the universe on the back of four big elephants, who stand on a giant turtle).

Robert Heinlein.  OK, his politics (a sort of libertarianism) gets in the way of his writing, especially in his later work, but man, can the guy tell a story.

Theodore Sturgeon.

Samuel Delaney.  Some of his books are, IMHO, unreadable (e.g. Dhalgren).  Others are great (e.g. Babel 17).

There are others whom I like: Nancy Kress, Charles Stross, Connie Willis….) but let’s get to the comments

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

Focus On War: Call for Submissions

March 16-22 Docudharma is doing a week-long Focus on War.  This is a pilot project  – an experiment in collective blogging.  

Featured Post Schedule (9 PM Eastern)

Mar 16

Mar 17 Something The Dog Said

Mar 18 dharmasyd

Mar 19 MouseOfSuburbia

Mar 20 meteoriot

Mar 21 pinche tejano

Mar 22 Militarytracy

Call for Submissions:

Anyone who wants to write an essay that has anything to do with war can participate.  All you have to do is include the “Focus On War” tag in your essay.     Essays with Action are particularly encouraged:   give us some reasons to write LTEs, contact Congress, or to support an anti-war candidate or your favorite charity. Yell Louder!!!

Here are some more ways to contribute:

To submit war-related artwork, YouTubes, blogs & websites, and causes that are worthy of donations, please go to one of the following.  

Thanks to all for participating!

War Blogs & Websites

This is the place to recommend blogs that are specifically related to war. Links to other war websites and resources are welcome too.  

  • No limit on submissions.  Post as many as you want.

  • Please include the name and URL of the site.

Compiled List:

Voices in Wartime

Poets Against War

Worthy Causes

This is the place to post charities, organizations and other causes that are anti-war or that provide support for troops, veterans, and military families.  Refugee relief agencies and anti-war political candidates are some other ideas.

  • Provide a link to the Donation page for the charity or organization.
  • Vouch for the donee – explain why you think people should give money to them.

Art Gallery

This is the place to post art, poetry, photography, or audio recordings about war.  

  • No limit on submissions! Post as many as you want.

  • Artwork should be original, fair use, creative commons, or public domain.  Or expressly permitted by artist.  
  • If not original, an attribute and/or link to the artist is best practice.
  • Do not link directly to images on other sites. Save pictures and upload them to your own image host.
  • For bandwidth sake, please no YouTubes here.  There is a separate Gallery for video.
  • Images should be max. 500 pixels in width.

YouTube Gallery

This is the place to post YouTubes about war.  

  • One video per comment please.
  • Indicate the title of the video in the subject line and the artist in the text.
  • Include a statement of why you chose the video if you wish.    

On Prostitution

In 1917, the legal prostitution district of New Orleans, the infamous “Storyville“, was shut down over the strong objections of the city by the Federal government.  In response, New Orleans Mayor Martin Behrman said “You can make [prostitution] illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”

The Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, recently demonstrated that ninety years of nearly universal prohibition of prostitution in this country has done nothing to make Behrman’s prophecy untrue.

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