February 15, 2009 archive

Academic Freedom and a Republican County

Also posted at Orange here

At first glance, the problem with the College Board election in DuPage County, IL seems like a traditional spat over not filling out the petitions correctly. However, delving a little deeper and remembering that DuPage County has been Republican controlled for 135 years, one sees a little different slant to the objections. It seems that those who are being challenged in their opportunity to run for the four open seats on the DuPage College Board are Democrats! And those who question their petitions’ legality are not only present Board Members who are also running for those open seats, but Republicans.

Then there is the innocuous little matter of the board wanting to adopt the “Academic Bill of Rights” written by David Horowitz for the college without discussion and in its entirety.

Iceberg? What Iceberg? Oh . . . That One . . .

In a Bill Moyers interview with Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the IMF and now a Professor of Global Economics and Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Johnson expressed a pessimistic view of those empowered to lead us out of this economic crisis.  

Jane Hamsher at FDL explains:

Johnson isn’t for “nationalization” per se, he’s for “scaled up FDIC intervention,” breaking down the “oligarchy” by pitting one faction against the other.  Based on his analysis of who is holding the financial keys at the moment, he fundamentally believes that the people in charge of determining the outcome of the situation have a vested interest in not standing up to the banking interests and doing the things that need to be done.  And that is not a comforting thought.

No.  It’s not a comforting thought.  There’s no comfort in knowing that Captain Geithner seems intent upon ramming into the same iceberg Captain Paulson rammed into, there’s no comfort in knowing only the elites will get to board the lifeboats, there’s no comfort in being trapped below decks in steerage class while all of this iceberg ramming is going on.  

They didn’t want him as the DNC Chair, either.

Why not Dean for HHS?  He did a hell of a job, and he gets squat while failed WS bankers get billions for failing.

In backing Dean, Newsweek columnist  Eleanor Clift admitted he’d be an unconventional choice. But as The Nation noted in a recent editorial, isn’t that what Obama’s “team of rivals” philosophy is all about?

Wrote Clift:

Obama prides himself on how magnanimous he is, so you can’t rule out that he might reward someone who like him was an early and consistent opponent of the Iraq War, who helped lead the party out of the wilderness and who many Democrats think has been badly treated. Obama certainly wouldn’t have to give Dean the dual portfolio with the White House title that he had so easily conferred on Daschle. And Emanuel is a political realist. If Obama went with Dean, he wouldn’t fall on his sword over it; he’d probably find other ways to get his revenge. That’s how Washington works: don’t get mad, get even.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

As you know, Sunday Weekend News Digest builds throughout the day leading to my Sunday Overnight News Digest.

Currently contaning 46 stories of interest from the Yahoo News Top, World, U.S., and Politics categories, expect updates for Business after 8pm (et).

1 Japan to launch ‘fresh stimulus package’


Sun Feb 15, 7:35 am ET

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan is to launch a fresh stimulus package as the world’s second largest economy faces a sizeable contraction, a ruling party official and local media said.

Prime Minister Aso Taro will “shortly” announce a plan to compile the fresh economic package, Yoshihide Suga, a senior official of Aso’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), told reporters.

Some LDP members already suggested that the package should be worth 20 trillion yen to 30 trillion yen (217 billion yen to 326 billion yen), Suga said, adding: “I think we need such a size.”

Café Discovery: Learning my part

There are Sundays when I don’t have much in the way of words.  At least not much in the way of my words.

This is apparently one of them.

I mean, I had a story just before I fell asleep last night and it migrated into a dream, I’m pretty sure, but as these things happen, when I woke up, it was gone.  I have a little suspicion of what it was about, but if I try to force it, I know I will be displeased with the result, that it wouldn’t end up being what it wanted to be.

So I’m going to leave that up to my subconscious to play and do with what it will.  Maybe the story will reappear and maybe it won’t.

Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be learning some lines from Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.  We have rehearsals Monday and Tuesday nights and it’s show time on Wednesday and Thursday.

Specifically, my part comes from They beat the girl out of my boy…or so they tried.

But I’ve spent most of the day with my art program instead.

Best Thing I’ve Seen this Weekend

From Lew Rockwell.com

Dear Federal Government,

Drop dead.

Excuse us. Some may consider such bluntness to be indecorous, but why beat around the bush? In any case, we’ve been around this bush (Bush?) too many times to count already. It’s time to let you know what we really think of you, what we say behind your back, what we whisper to each other when you leave the room.

We hate you. We want you to drop dead. Or, anyway, to go away and never come back. You are not welcome anymore. We have tolerated you – and we emphasize “tolerated” – for a long time, long after whatever romance there may have been was gone. We can pretend no more. You are disgraceful, boorish, nauseating, corrupt, shameful, arrogant, dishonest, self-serving, parasitic, disgusting, hypocritical, and rotten to the core. You have not even one redeeming quality. There is nothing you offer that we want any longer. We’re not even sure what it is we ever saw in you to begin with.

We suppose you can be forgiven if this letter comes as a shock. “Why,” you say, “what do you mean? I still command great respect and inspire widespread adulation. And I still care about you. Isn’t it obvious?”

It’s true that, in public, we often nod our heads and agree with you, even defer or appear to defer to you. But we assure you that this happens not out of respect; rather, it arises merely from the fact that you have a lot of guns and a bad temper. Inside, we are seething and resentful. Inside, we imagine your demise in the most vivid and gratifying of ways. We may fear your irrational and violent behavior, but we manifestly do not respect or agree with you. We don’t love you. We don’t even like you. (See the part about hate, above.)

At any rate, our revulsion toward you has finally come to outweigh any fear we have of you. We refuse to keep our real feelings in for even one more second. We want you gone from our lives. And we mean completely. Vamoose. Go. Die.

Please understand we aren’t here to argue. No special new subsidy, tax break, or privileged “loophole” is going to sway our opinion or make us change our minds about this. We’ve been there, done that, for too many decades to count now. Likewise, your threats are starting to make us yawn and even laugh. You see, we know all your tricks now. We can see through your lies because we’ve heard them all so many times before. We are fully aware of your true nature, and we see that that nature is radioactive evil, wrapped in a tattered blanket of ignorance, foolishness, and stupidity.

Look, we know it’s only a matter of time anyway. Your dimwittedness, greed, fraudulence, and moral bankruptcy are finally starting to catch up to you. Even your former employees admit as much. Do you remember Paul Craig Roberts, one of your past Treasury officials? Today he says of your latest economy-wrecking and warmongering efforts:

“The world has never seen such total mindlessness. Napoleon’s and Hitler’s marches into Russia were rational acts compared to the mindless idiocy of the United States government.”

Mindless idiocy: We could not have said it better ourselves. Wait, yes, we could have, because we would have also mentioned your meanness and malevolence.

Our state governments are starting to feel the same way about you that we do. Many are openly refusing to obey your so-called “REAL ID” attempt at creating a national “your papers, please” regime of Hitlerian proportions. Some are even starting to make noises about the Tenth Amendment, which reiterates that you aren’t allowed to just do anything you feel like doing. (We are not big fans of our state governments either, but at least they don’t start wars, counterfeit our money, and prop up tyrannies across the globe.)

You see? Look in the mirror for once. The emperor not only hasn’t got any clothes, he’s a quadruple amputee demanding that everyone admire his muscular physique. We don’t know whether to laugh at or feel pity for such a pathetic creature.

In conclusion and just so we’re clear: We’re done. Pack up and get out. Better yet, don’t pack – all that stuff belongs to us in the first place. Just get out. And when you finally, mercifully, do kick the bucket, please make sure it is in some place far away from us, where we won’t have to smell the stench of your hideous, rotting corpse.


Every Normal Human Being in America and the Rest of the World

Going To The Woodshed

Saxophonist extraordinaire Ornette Coleman dropped off the face of the earth in 1963.  He had tremendous success with two trailblazing albums, The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959), and Change of the Century (1959).  But for reasons that he’d never fully explain, but which you might intuit, he decided to go to the woodshed to re-tool himself, to update, to refresh, to experiment, to practice.  And he stayed gone from the music scene for two years before he re-emerged.

I always admired Ornette, and I loved Ornette’s mustic.  I loved his plastic saxophones.  I loved that “free jazz” was, in fact, partially written.  I loved the incessant repetitions of Dancing in Your Head (1976).  I loved that later in his career his son played drums for him.  But most of all, I admired his knowing that he’d benefit from pulling the plug in 1963 and his going to the woodshed without any fuss.  For a while.  Not forever. With the intention to return.  Just for then.  Just to attend to what he wanted to attend to.  In 1963 I was in high school.  The idea that a premiere musician and one of my favorites could just leave struck me.  To me, it was as if Coleman were Henry David Thoreau, and the woodshed was Walden Pond.  And I thought only good things could come from that.

I’ve toyed with leaving la blogosfera for the woodshed before. This past December, I tried to get myself banned from dKos.  It didn’t work.  In fact, it seemed to be some kind of lunatic performance art.  All that happened was I lost my trusted user status briefly.  I didn’t really go anywhere.  I returned to write diaries despite my intentions to break free.

I’ve previously declared that I was on hiatus elsewhere.  In September, 2005, I put my email group, dedicated to fighting state killing, on hiatus.  That didn’t last very long. In less than 2 months, there were enormous injustices I felt compelled to talk about.  The hiatus ended unceremoniously with the 1,000th execution in the US and California’s killing Tookie Williams.  

All of which brings me to my decision to give myself a break.  I’ve previously explained that if I left, I would just go.  But that seems to me too abrupt, and also, I’m not really leaving.  It’s not a GBCW.  It’s not permanent in any way. I just wanted to say that I’m now taking a break from dd and GOS.  I’ll continue to post at The Dream Antilles.  And I’ll be back after I finish with the woodshed.

Before I left, I wanted to thank you all for being here, for reading, for carrying on.

Oh, and I will read the comments.  And perhaps reply.  And then I’m off.

Hasta pronto.

Sunday music retrospective: Kosmic

Janis Joplin

Kosmic Blues

On being authoritative

Last Sunday, I wrote an essay on power, talking about moving our culture from one where power is based on dominance to one of partnership. I’d like to dig a little deeper on that topic this week. In my professional life I’ve been exposed to some knowledge  that has helped me understand the dilemmas we face in understanding what partnership looks like.

Docudharma Times Sunday February 15

What’s More Important?

Party Or Country?

For Republicans Party Comes First  

Sunday’s Headlines:

Finding foreign fugitives on the streets of L.A.

Power sharing in Zimbabwe threatened by five-man cabal

Found: Robert Mugabe’s secret bolthole in the Far East

Trapped Sri Lankans ‘dying in makeshift hospital’

Australian fires: Return to Marysville

Israel: Land of the toxic kingmaker

Palestinian Campus Looks to East Bank (of Hudson)

From the archive: Poland’s communists cave in to Solidarity

Anne Frank guardian reaches 100

Despite Feats, President of Bolivia Stirs Fierce Debate

Inquiry on Graft in Iraq Focuses on U.S. Officers


Published: February 14, 2009

Federal authorities examining the early, chaotic days of the $125 billion American-led effort to rebuild Iraq have significantly broadened their inquiry to include senior American military officers who oversaw the program, according to interviews with senior government officials and court documents.

Court records show that last month investigators subpoenaed the personal bank records of Col. Anthony B. Bell, who is now retired from the Army but who was in charge of reconstruction contracting in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 when the small operation grew into a frenzied attempt to remake the country’s broken infrastructure. In addition, investigators are examining the activities of Lt. Col. Ronald W. Hirtle of the Air Force, who was a senior contracting officer in Baghdad in 2004, according to two federal officials involved in the inquiry.

Global warming ‘underestimated’

The severity of global warming over the next century will be much worse than previously believed, a leading climate scientist has warned.


Professor Chris Field, an author of a 2007 landmark report on climate change, said future temperatures “will be beyond anything” predicted.

Prof Field said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had underestimated the rate of change.

He said warming is likely to cause more environmental damage than forecast.

Speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, Prof Field said fresh data showed greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2007 increased far more rapidly than expected.

“We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we’ve considered seriously in climate policy,” he said.

Prof Field said the 2007 report, which predicted temperature rises between 1.1C and 6.4C over the next century, seriously underestimated the scale of the problem.



Geithner Takes Plan To Global Leaders

Secretary Reassures Counterparts About U.S. Rescue Strategy

By David Cho

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, February 15, 2009; Page A01

ROME, Feb. 14 — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner laid out the Obama administration’s financial rescue program for his international counterparts Saturday in an effort to rally a vigorous global response to the worsening crisis and reassured the world’s leading economies that the U.S. plan is more developed than the outline he unveiled publicly last week, officials said.

Senior finance officials from the world’s leading nations spent much of a six-hour meeting discussing how to deal with the problem at the heart of the financial crisis: the toxic assets backed by failing loans that are clogging banks’ books, according to two senior officials at the meeting, which was closed to the news media.

Late Night Karaoke

Sunday Church Music

I Don’t Think So

Glenn Beck Gets It, But Thinks It’s Funny

From Media Matters Friday the 13th, a video excerpt from Fox News:

“This is what’s coming, America: Depression and revolution”

“The poor are gonna eat the rich…”

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