Library Chronicles on Obama

Posted by mikedaum on February 13th, 2008

Library Chronicles has a long post today which breaks down the landscape of U.S. politics and the current election runup, focusing on the ideas of Obama, hope, and Martin Luther King.  This is a must read!  The essay elegantly puts into words so many of the thoughts and feelings I’ve had lately about the players, the process, and the broader society.  I can’t go into even a fraction of the well executed insights presented, so please take the time to read it.  As a teaser, here’s the essay’s summary:

Barack Obama represents a slightly less offensive alternative to Hillary Clinton and, if he becomes the nominee, will similarly represent a slightly better choice than John McCain (whose new video is out, I see). Given the choices, there isn’t necessarily anything horribly wrong with casting a vote his way. But the a-historical cultists would have us believe that there is something inescapably right about doing so. In making their case, the cultists have invited comparisons between their candidate and some of the giants of the 20th century. Such comparisons find their man laughably inadequate.

Because Obama is too timid to speak clearly about poverty and class, because he is not committed to rolling back American imperialism, because he lacks the courage of Martin Luther King who challenged Americans to reexamine their values (even at the expense of his own personal safety and ultimately his life no less), Obama does not deserve to be compared with a leader like King. Democrats need to get their heads out of the clouds and go to war (in multiple senses of the phrase) with the candidate they actually have.

Reared against the southern sky

Posted by mikedaum on February 4th, 2008

How many times have you heard the talking heads about one team or another “wanting it more”?

Well here it is:

We are the ones who make a brighter day

Posted by mikedaum on February 3rd, 2008

Music is so evocative.

http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2008/02/02/william-says-yeswecan/

So manipulative.

I’m fighting to stay cynical.

Even though I have a lot of practice…it’s hard.

Oyster Poboy

Posted by mikedaum on January 22nd, 2008

This was my lunch on Sunday.  Why haven’t I done this before?

MegaMan parody illustrates RCMP’s tasing acumen

Posted by mikedaum on January 4th, 2008

I was outraged last month by the brutal murder of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski by agents of the RCMP.  I watched the entire video of the event, which showed Dziekanski lost and confused in the Vancouver airport.  He was performing mildly aggressive actions, such as throwing a computer and yelling.  That might have been because he had been stuck alone in the baggage claim area for several hours.  He spoke no English and had never been outside of Poland.  The RCMP arrived and murdered him within 25 seconds, despite the fact that he posed no threat to them ( they were 4 trained, armed men and he was alone and unarmed ).

It still makes me furious to think that this happened here.  The RCMP should be disbanded, or relegated to shows and parades where they can wear their Dudley Dooright outfits to the delight of the crowd.  Worse still is the fact that the story has completely disappeared, despite the 300 or so groups promising full inquiries at the time.  So it was refreshing to me to see Wired post this nice parody of the events.  In the video below, you can see the MegaMan version of the violence.  I’d be tempted to say that it trivializes the events, but it actually does a very good job of capturing the outrageous situation.  And the presentation actually works well to show the cartoonish and thoughtless approach which the RCMP bring to the job.

DISBAND THE RCMP

  1. Chase Jer, have Jer chase you, hide in round clothes racks until parents or store management make you stop
  2. Ride escalators up and down — they’re crisscrossed so you can watch people and throw balls across until parents or store management make you stop (n.b. balls are available in the Sporting Goods section
  3. Play keyboards in the electronics section, turn volume down when forced by parents or store management
  4. Watch intro screens of Atari tapes, wishing you had a joystick
  5. Linger around the creepy popcorn and candy stand near the west entrance.  Wonder, even as a child, who the target market is and what it says about the broader society
  6. Proceed to tiny arcade at the west entrance.  Watch intro screens, check coin return slots for quarters

Human Faced Fish: Down the YouTube hole

Posted by mikedaum on December 29th, 2007

It all started with a nice link-follow from Boing Boing to this nice video about some nice carps with human faces. They’re quirky and a bit cute, and the video is in korean.

So I felt pretty good about that. Good enough to want a little more human-faced fish action. Which led me to the following clip from a Contra variant (pardon the deep geek pun, it was sadly intended) which is at least 60 generations more advanced than any “Contra” I’ve ever played.

There was something nice about that “horrible” Sandinista fish smashing his tank, and it made me feel nostalgic. Which of course just upped the ante on my craving for human-faced fish. So I thought I’d wander a little closer to the margins and see if I could actually run this thing to ground. To wit, I browsed on over to the following:

Well that actually started to make me feel weird. Not sure if it was the somewhat mournful sounding Arabic soundtrack, or the creepy look of the man fish himself. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was the clip’s comments, which assumed the reader had an enormous background in Islamic human-fish studies, a field which is apparently more real than I’m comfortable with.

Anyway, I was a bit freaked out at this point. So I thought for sure one more human faced fish is enough for me tonight. Let’s see, oh yes, how about that one called “Homunculus”. I’m in Montreal at the moment, so the spirit of Wilder Penfield possessed me and led me to this:

And there it is. I haven’t seen anything quite so disturbing since Eraserhead (which was really disturbing, and featured a human-faced fish). What language is this video in? Is it fake? Is it an ad for a website. Does it matter, because I’m pretty much shivering and paralysed at the moment.

I think I’ll just leave off with a little Brecht:

We need a type of theatre which not only releases the feelings, insights and impulses possible within the particular historical field of human relations in which the action takes place, but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the field itself.

New Orleans housing activists beaten, maced

Posted by mikedaum on December 20th, 2007

This just breaks my heart. Two years and change since Katrina and where are we in the recovery? The government is trying in earnest to remove the possibility of poor people returning to their homes by systematically destroying public housing in New Orleans. People stood up today to say it wasn’t right, and they were rewarded with mace, tasers and beatings from police. You really must see the video to get the flavor of the injustice. While you’re watching…try to remember Bush speaking in Jackson Square after the disaster:

That is our vision for the future, in this city and beyond: We’ll not just rebuild, we’ll build higher and better.

Should have known the bastard was talking about Condos.

Update: NYT coverage, Live blogging of the vote at NOLA.com

Update #2: The vote has not taken place yet, but as of 10 minutes ago, a majority of the council have indicated that they will vote to approve the demolitions

Update #3: Vote results are in.  It’s unanimous!  7-0 in favor of smashing the public housing.  Now home to drink.

Capitalism and the death of irony

Posted by mikedaum on December 13th, 2007

I haven’t felt this uncomfortable since…

U.S. Majority Supports Bombing Iran

Posted by mikedaum on October 31st, 2007

If anyone had any doubts about which country poses the most significant threat to world peace, this should settle them. I’m stunned.