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heuriskein / ευρισκειν



MUSIC POETRY POLITICS



Updated: 2018-03-06T07:49:31.682-05:00

 



xmas wishes

2008-12-25T02:37:54.440-05:00

for peace and happiness to all
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(photo of fulton street in palo alto, california by geoff holden)



upcoming performances

2008-12-11T17:44:05.403-05:00

friday december 12 in toledo, ohio
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saturday december 13 in buffalo, ny
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---------------
UPDATE: more notices of the buffalo performance coming in...

from the soundlab myspace page

from buffalo's weekly artvoice a nice little writeup (scroll down)
Language Foundry / Suite 440

Saturday (Dec. 13) Big Orbit’s Soundlab unites two multi-media collectives: Cleveland, Ohio’s Language Foundry (“A Forward Movement of Non-Idiomatic Expressions”) and Buffalo’s Suite 440 (“Sonic, Visual, and Written Craftsmanship”) will present (In)proper Words With(in)proper Borders: An Evening of Non-idiomatic Sound and Language. The performance features poets J.S. Makkos and Tom Orange, with guest musicians from the Language Foundry, and the Reactionary Ensemble (from Buffalo), featuring KG Price and Brian Milbrand. This will be an event that brings together experimental poets, musicians, and artists from both cities to highlight the community goal to find new and forward-thinking forms of expression and creativity. Visit www.languagefoundry.org or www.suite440.net to get a better idea (or any idea at all) of what we’re talking about. There will be small press books and CD-Rs for sale to help promote and develop the relationship and hopefully bring about future events between the two cities.

9pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (www.bigorbitgallery.org/soundlab)



439 percent

2008-12-03T20:08:07.090-05:00

that's how much college tuition has increased over the past 25 years; by contrast, median family income has risen only 147 percent. (numbers adjusted for inflation.)

these, according to this morning's new york times, from a report by the national center for public policy and higher education. (the 36-page report is available in PDF format here.)

as a share of family income these numbers are especially staggering: "Last year, the net cost at a four-year public university amounted to 28 percent of the median family income, while a four-year private university cost 76 percent of the median family income."

unfortunately neither the nyt article nor the report itself (whose main objective is to assess the individual 50 states measure up in terms of preparation for, participation in, affordability of, and completion rates for higher education) give much sense of the root causes of such increases: at state universities, the increases have "largely been to make up for declining state appropriations."

the center's president, patrick callan: "When the economy is good, and state universities are somewhat better funded, we raise tuition as little as possible. When the economy is bad, we raise tuition and sock it to families, when people can least afford it."

(image) except that this is visibly untrue, as the center's own graphic demonstrates with its steady upward trajectory for tuitions regardless of whether the u.s. economy is doing well or poorly.

no folks, unless you have blinders on or are simply in serious denial, it's quite easy to see (especially in private universities) where the cost increases are being incurred. it's certainly not going to faculty budget lines.

UPDATE: rodney's absolutely right: in that last paragraph i should've written "easy to see where some of the cost increases are being incurred." clearly there are other factors contributing to rising tuition costs beyond bloated senior administrator costs, including but not limited to bloated middle management ranks, bloated coaching and athletic program costs, etc.

i would also add that it's the same patrick callan, who erroneously asserts in today's article that tuition is directly tied to the national economy, this is one and the same patrick callan who with the news two weeks ago of some university presidents turning in their some of their six- and seven-figure salaries, declared: "People are getting tuition increases, some faculty are facing layoffs, it just doesn’t look too good for presidents, no matter how capable they are, to be getting so much money." notice he says, "it just doesn't look too good," not "it's fundamentally wrong." he's clearly more concerned with image than substance.

in other words, it sometimes seems those officially sanctioned to diagnose the problem are least effectively able to. (in fairness, callan elsewhere writes: "On the other hand, universities are spending huge amounts of money on construction – for new dorms, new athletic facilities, and new student centers – as part of an 'amenities arms race.' And administrative overhead at many universities has ballooned, due to an explosion in niche student services and fund raising apparatuses. It is doubtful that these developments have improved student learning.")



neoconservative tears

2008-12-02T11:17:51.076-05:00

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peter gabriel's fourth

2008-12-02T10:57:12.653-05:00

peter gabriel's fourth solo album after his departure from genesis, known in the u.s. as security, was released a little over 26 years ago. "the south bank show" on britain's ITV network then broadcast this documentary on the making of gabriel's album. his compositional techniques and processes are fascinating, and it's especially interesting if you know the album to watch the songs germinate from the idea stage through the recording process and into live performance. beyond this, the documentary also touches on other interesting topics, including technology and how far we have or haven't come (on this album gabriel extensively used the fairlight computerized synthesizer, which was essentially the first audio sampler) and appropriation of non-western musics (gabriel was really a pioneer in this respect).

part one (31:18)
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part two (17:13)
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vintage public image limited

2008-12-01T18:51:38.574-05:00

the sophomore effort from public image ltd (john lydon's project after the demise of the sex pistols and his nom de plume johnny rotten) was originally released as metal box and consisted of 3 12-inch 45rpm discs in a film canister, subsequently reissued on 2LPs (and single CD) as second edition. this is arguably PiL at their best: a crack rhythm section anchored by the bone crushing bass of jah wobble setting down the grooves, keith levene's guitar scrapings and prophet-5 keyboard noise-sheeting, with john's caterwauling intonations and hecklings overtop.

"careering" (from the BBC tv show "the old grey whistle test," always a source of excellent viddies)
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"poptones" (also from the OGWT)
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"death disco"
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"chant" (complete with post-performance interview walkoff)
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eco-heroes

2008-11-30T22:39:29.153-05:00

the cover story of this week's riverfront times, the st. louis free weekly i picked up while i was there over the holidays: longtime missouri hog farmer russ freeman has gone back to the old healthy way of doing things and organized a thriving co-op around it.

meanwhile, former weapons engineer jim merkel lives in vermont on $5,000 a year and explains how his program of radical simplicity works.



fifth anniversary

2008-11-26T11:17:32.082-05:00

(image) monday night of this past week marks five years since i've smoked a cigarette. according to the statkeeper at quitnet.net:
Your Quit Date is: 11/24/2003 9:52:00 PM
  • Time Smoke-Free: 1828 days, 13 hours, 18 minutes and 7 seconds
  • Cigarettes NOT smoked: 27428
  • Lifetime Saved: 6 months, 29 days, 12 hours
  • Money Saved: $4,801.12
this was based, if i remember right, on 15 cigarettes a day and $3.50 a pack so the actual numbers may be quite higher. tho i'm always curious how they figure those lifetime saved stats.



physicians, heal thyselves

2008-11-22T11:53:41.739-05:00

it's fascinating to watch the right-wing diagnosticians concoct various remedies and treatments for what ails their body politic.
The key is not to abandon conservative positions, but to explain them in novel ways to the majority who might find them more in tune with human nature — and consequently more humanitarian than their usual caricatures of being too selfish, tough, or insensitive. (victor davis hanson, NRO)
in other words, lie about them because the caricatures are accurate.
At the GOP governors' meeting this month, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota argued that Republicans need to stay conservative but also modernize. A revitalized conservatism would push for tax reform with an eye on middle-class families, not hedge-fund operators. It would seek solutions to global warming rather than deny that it exists. It would place a higher priority on making health care affordable than on slashing pork programs. It would promote the assimilation of Hispanics rather than regard them as a menace or a source of cheap labor. (ramesh ponnuru, time)
in other words, take up positions that obama and the democrats already effectively own.
The future of the Republican Party is in the hands of the party’s grass roots. In the months to come, some of us will be concentrating on organizing the people who are the real base of the party and fighting to restore the party’s values as represented by my father’s administration. (michael reagan, human events)
in other words, that portion of the electorate that is shrinking almost daily.
I think it's pretty obvious that conservatives need to find new ways to address issues, new ways to apply conservative solutions to problems, new ways to shape conservatism to make it more appealing to a broader slice of the population. I haven't figured out what those new ways are, of course. (john hinderaker, power line blog)
finally, someone without delusions!



friday news roundup

2008-11-21T14:40:04.050-05:00

how will he govern? george packer writes in the new yorker how obama's ideology is, if anything, one of pragmatism more than traditional liberalism or conservatism. he bases this on people who know obama's thinking and reading (what a pleasure itself, a president who reads!)paleopartisanship? unfortunately the right and left are objecting to attorney general nominee eric holder from their traditional quarters. according to the nation, holder sounds like a bushie in 2002 when claiming national security bureaucrats clinging to their turf should be gotten rid of, and he was also part of the team that helped secure reauthorization of the patriot act in 2005. for the national review, the holder pick signals "a return to the September 10 mentality." quel surprise.watch 'em squirm: salon has a feature on "the conservative crack-up" in which many of the right's leading luminaries -- and i mean actual smart people like ross douthat and renegades like kathleen parker in addition to blowdried blowhards like tucker carlson -- go round and round the bend on the fate of conservatism in america. it ain't pretty, but ah, sweet sweet schaedenfreude...niall ferguson may well be the smartest guy out there writing about our current economic woes. he has a long piece in vanity fair which, if you're at all like me with my straight C's in college econ, you'll probably need to read two or three times, but still it's the clearest and most synoptic view i've come across. check out also his long piece from two years ago on the end of the so-called "american century," and his brand spanking new book "The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World" is on my wish list."liberal" media? finally, in what should keep inquiring readers busy for months, project censored has issued its list of 2009's top 25 list of censored stories. seriously folks, some of these are devastating, including my favorites:#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation#4. ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?#5. Seizing War Protesters’ Assets#12. Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind#13. Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq[...]



collected poems of barbara guest

2008-11-20T13:05:54.066-05:00

after a long wait, it's finally here. i picked up my copy of the collected poems of barbara guest this past weekend from rod smith at bridge street books.and it's indeed a lovely book from cover to cover and all 525 pages in between. the dust jacket image is a 1951 collage by guest herself entitled "wheel." the text is edited by guest's daughter hadley, and contains all the poems previously published in guest's trade and limited edition artist books, along with a handful of poems composed after her final volume (the red gaze, published in 2005 when guest was 85 years old). no other uncollected or previously unpublished material is included. the volume also contains an intro by peter gizzi, a timeline of guest's life, a bibliography of her works, and an index of titles and first lines.guest was born barbara ann pinson in 1920 in wilmington, north carolina. she spent much of her childhood traveling and being shuttled between various relatives as her father looked for work as a probation officer. education was prized: she could read by age 3 and largely grew up in los angeles so she could attend better schools. she took a year off from undergrad at ucla -- where she met her first husband, painter and sculptor john dudley -- to go to a junior college where she thought the teachers knew more about modern poetry. she eventually graduated from uc berkeley and worked in los angeles as a social worker, helping air force pilots recover from WWII bombing missions.she and dudley moved to greenwich village in the late 1940s, which provided her entry into the world of visual artists and the company of poets who would eventually be known as the new york school poets: john ashbery, edwin denby, kenward elmslie, kenneth koch, frank o'hara and james schuyler. from there on out, her chronology is largely a list of book publications and literary awards: she truly led a life in literature.the world of literature, however, was often slow and on occasion downright failed to recognize her. she was one of only four women among the 44 poets donald allen included in his watershed anthology the new american poetry: 1945-1960 and was omitted altogether from the anthology of new york poets edited in 1970 by ron padgett and david shapiro.the 1980s were seemingly a fallow period for guest's poetry (discounting herself defined, the biography of the poet h.d. she published in 1984), until fair realism appeared in 1989, showing her at the peak of her powers and beginning -- again, at nearly 70 years of age -- a remarkable period of productivity that saw her double the number of book titles published previously in her life.i won't offer anything like a critical assessment here, as i plan instead to sit down for a long slow read of these poems. instead i'll offer just a few initial impressions that strike me.there are two of guest's books here that i've never owned and possibly never even seen, so i'm psyched now finally to read them: the location of things / archaics / the open skies (1962) and moscow mansions (1973)the timeline lists the following plays written by guest: the ladies choice [sic?], 1953; the office: a one act play in three scenes, 1963; port: a murder in one act, 1965; the diving board, 1966; chinese ghost restaurant, 1967; the swimming pool, 1975; three of these were published in the recent special issue of the chicago review, and kevin killian staged a number of them at small press traffic in san francisco in 2000; i wonder if/when we will ever get to read or see the rest? the timeline also makes frequent references to guest's own works of visual art: is there enough of these to mount an exhibit?most of the poems here that are surprises because i've never heard of before are from artist book collaborations, for example i ching: poems and lithographs with sheila isham (1[...]



geraldine monk

2008-11-18T22:23:42.274-05:00

reading from "mary through the looking glass" at the district of columbia arts center, washington dc, 16 november 2008

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regrettably i stopped shooting before she completed her lovely gloss on the noun "tuckle." other images from my recent travels here.

view the full set of photos from my recent excursions in ohio and DC here.



post-election roundup

2008-11-08T15:18:29.823-05:00

(image) salon's michael lind offers the theory that american politics moves in 72-year cycles split in halves: an initial 36-year period of government centralization and nation-building followed by a second 36 years of downsizing and individualism; lind says we are now in the midst of a new 72-year cycle.

the good folks at mediamatters.org refute the myth that we live in a fundamentally center-right nation, with polling data showing that americans' beliefs are largely progressive even if they do not call themselves liberal or progressive.

mcclatchy's frank greve has an interesting take on how the obama campaign might use its tremendous netroots operation post-election

josie delap of the economist compiles for the new york times the reactions of middle eastern bloggers to the election results, while huffpo's jason linkins rounds up reactions from the right-wing blogosphere (which begs the question, who is it again who hates america?)

liz cox barrett of the CJR points out that time magazine's joe klein stands alone among his peers for refusing to overlook or ignore mccain's filthy campaign on the basis of his "classy" concession speech. it should be quite the opposite.

the nro's andy mccarthy attributes, falsely, the increased youth vote to "the Left's dominance of the academy" (which in fact has little to no impact on students' political or world views).

max blumenthal looks at the reclusive billionaire who funded one of this past week's political disappointments, the success of proposition 8 in california.

and peter beinart calls sarah palin, in what i hope could be the final word on her, the last of the culture warriors.



Thomas Willett Orange (1937-2008)

2008-11-18T21:00:39.446-05:00

(image)
b. January 2, 1937 - Paducah, KY
d. November 3, 2008 - North Ridgeville, OH

flickr photoset



Obama and the Weatherman

2008-10-25T10:47:44.191-04:00

[since i'm unlikely to get two letters to the editor published in two successive weeks, i include this one here. i think it's actually better than the one published last week. 200 words exactly!]

How many "associations" does a law student, community organizer, 6-year state senator and 3-year U.S. senator make throughout his career? Certainly hundreds. Yet Kevin O'Brien insists Bill Ayers is uniquely indicative of Obama's character. Indeed Ayers did some terrible things 40 years ago. A president also took us into war under false pretenses. A general told us he had to destroy a Vietnamese town in order to save it. Back home, cities burned.

Today Ayers is the ultimate toothless radical, a university professor. "Poisoning the minds of future teachers against America," as O'Brien claims? A reviewer for the conservative Chicago Tribune wrote, "There must continue to be thoughtful books like Ayers' that illustrate the profound flaws of today's juvenile-justice system and society's abandonment of the young and poor." Ayers claims his more recent remarks on "no regrets" and "not doing enough" applied only the Vietnam War, and he has publicly condemned the attacks of September 11.

According to polls, 50-60% of voters say Ayers does not matter. So talk about him all you want, Mr. O'Brien: Americans are not listening and not interested in reigniting culture wars. As Gertrude Stein said famously, there's no there there.



ACORN's activities are no threat

2008-10-19T11:30:24.573-04:00

(image) Once again, facts must come to rescue Kevin O'Brien. His column Thursday on ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is right-wing boilerplate, this time regarding the alleged voter fraud the conservative media have gotten themselves all frothed up about.

First off, O'Brien's claim that ACORN is "one of the prime sponsors of the mortgage meltdown that's throttling the economy" is patently false. ACORN is an organization that works to achieve living wages, better housing and schools, and neighborhood safety for low-income families -- the kind of community organizing for which some Republicans have active disdain.

ACORN pays underemployed individuals to collect voter registrations, and a small number of them clearly try to game the system. ACORN identifies many potentially fraudulent registrations.

Now even if O'Brien's estimates of the number of fraudulent registrations were not wildly overblown, he never manages to explain how fraudulent registrations translate into actual voter fraud. Five Mickey Mouses registered to vote does not mean that five Mickey Mouses will show up at the polls and actually vote for the desired candidate. The likelihood of that is slim to none.

[fulltext link to Plain Dealer, October 19 2008, Page G5]



A Question of Character

2008-10-17T11:48:30.201-04:00

from tmorangeto pwehner@eppc.orgcc contentions@commentarymagazine.comdate Fri, Oct 17, 2008 at 10:08 AMsubject "A Question of Character" (Wehner, 10/14) Mr. Wehner,Of course, character matters. But the fundamental premises underlying your case for challenging Obama's character are, to say the very least, questionable.Consider this: how many "associations" do you think the average law student, community organizer and state senator makes over the course of his or her career? I think it's safe to estimate the number to be several hundred at least. Now if I understand your case correctly, you want us to believe that three or four association in particular -- ACORN, Ayers, Rezko and Wright -- deserve more scrutiny, or are somehow more indicative of Obama's character, than any of the hundreds of his other associations.Many reasonable observers would, rightly I think, be unwilling to grant you even this basic premise, but I will purely for the sake of argument. You talk about, and I quote, "Barack Obama's past associations with radical figures," "Obama's radical associations" (twice), "Obama's associations with Ayers and Wright and all the rest," that he "hung around with some pretty disturbing characters," and "what we're talking about aren't isolated incidents. It has happened with a slew of people." Notice already what is happening in some of your specific language here: "and all the rest" and "a slew of people" both suggest far more than the four most infamous of Obama's associations I listed above, and yet I've never heard more than these four mentioned by name of the literally hundreds of professional associations he undoubtedly has. Have you?Now let's move from considering the quantity of associations (these four among hundreds) to the quality, which you characterize as "radical figures," "radical associations" repeatedly, "pretty disturbing characters," and in a final flourish, "people who have a disturbing history of violence, hatred for America, and corruption." Are these fair or accurate characterizations of ACORN, Ayers, Rezko and Wright?ACORN is a community organization that works to achieve living wages, better housing and schools, and neighborhood safety for low-income families, It also pays underemployed individuals to collect voter registrations, and a small number of those people clearly try to game the system. Indeed the Republican lawyer who prosecuted the first ACORN case (King County, Washington, 2007) said, "a joint federal and state investigation has determined that this scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting. Instead, the defendants cheated their employer, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or ACORN), to get paid for work they did not actually perform." Obama has in the past done some work for them and given them some of his campaign money.Bill Ayers is now the ultimate toothless radical, an education professor at an Illinois university who committed acts of terrorism some forty years ago, when Barack Obama was eight years old. He claims his more recent remarks on "no regrets" and "not doing enough" have been subject to "deliberate distortion" in being applied beyond the Vietnam War and has publicly condemned the attacks of September 11. Obama has served on some boards with him and did not, contrary to GOP assertions, begin his campaign in Ayers' living room.Tony Rezko is a businessmen with some undoubtedly crooked dealings. Obama has received some campaign contributions from him and did a small real estate deal with him that may have created an appearance of but no actual impropriety.Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of Obama's UCC mega-ch[...]



the ACORN myth

2008-10-12T13:40:53.498-04:00

from tmorange
to aburns@politico.com
cc jharris@politico.com, JVandehei@politico.com
date Sun, Oct 12, 2008 at 1:24 PM
subject ACORN gives GOP new line of attack

Dear Mr. Burns,

Although I was pleased to see your piece in The Politico begin with the rhetorical gambit of debunking, as little more than the oldest game in the political book, overblown notions about ACORN that right-wingers are once again peddling and the so-called liberal media are lapping up this election season, my jaw dropped as your piece unfolded into pure partisan hackery.

You declare "the latest wave of ACORN investigations" and later "the latest wave of registration-fraud allegations" and yet never define what constitutes a "wave." Had you looked to facts, you might have discovered 10 current investigations, which at 20% of states nationwide might seem like a lot. But you might have also attempted to quantify whether the handfuls of fraudulent registrations alleged in each case amount to even a drop in the bucket amidst the hundreds of thousands of new registrations that have been taken place nationwide in perfect compliance with local and federal election law. Let alone whether such investigations have in the past turned up any actual fraud. They haven't, as you eventually report.

Unfortunately these are the least of your oversights. As evidence for your piece, you proceed to cite a recent Nevada raid, cite a McCain campaign memo, and list some unsourced ACORN-obama connections; you then cite three additional GOP sources (Matt Blunt, the McCain campaign website, and Roy Blunt), detail (again unsourced) ACORN's history, and cite an anonymous Republican memo. We hear not a word from any Obama campaign spokespersons. We hear barely a word about the many other kinds of work -- in terms of living wages, better housing and schools, and neighborhood safety -- that ACORN performs on behalf of local communities. (Well, "advocating for issues related to economic and social equity" amounts to 9 vague words.)

We have to get 950 words into a 1290-word piece -- that's over 70% of the way -- to find any exculpatory evidence on ACORN's behalf. We have to get 1120 words into a 1290-word piece -- that's over 85% of the way -- to hear a single word from an ACORN spokesperson.

If your editors decide to keep you on the ACORN beat -- though personally I think they should send you back to journalism school to teach you some basics of objective and unbiased reporting -- I encourage you to begin with Josh Marshall's piece entitled "The Gist of ACORN," which should help you put some of your "facts" in perspective.

cc: J. Harris, Editor-in-Chief
cc: J. VandeHei, Executive Editor



issue 1 anthology (part one)

2008-10-10T16:05:51.140-04:00

(image) over the past week, an intriguing experiment has taken place in the poetry community. a week ago today, on october 3 -- a friday, typically the day for the release of bad news that public relations operatives hope will be ignored by the mainstream media -- kenneth goldsmith posted to the poetry foundation's harriet blog an announcement of a "3,785 Page Pirated Poetry Anthology" and proceeded with a list of 3164 poets whose work the anthology, entitled issue 1, purportedly included. "Completely unpermissioned and unauthorized," the announcement proudly declared, "pissing off the entire poetry community. Either you're in or you're not." (download the 3.9MB PDF file here.)

the provocative taunting is part and parcel of the pitch that often sells the latest poetry movement du jour, with goldsmith* as conceptual writing's most visible brand name. and although the issues such taunting raises -- regarding authority, ownership, permission, exclusivity and poetry wars -- warrant both some tongue-in-cheek levity and some serious consideration in their own right, these i think are among the least interesting aspects of the project. that is, the significance of the issue 1 anthology far and away exceeds its conceptualist brand name.

think about it for a moment. visualize a 3785-page poetry anthology: even with the thinnest, norton-style cigarette paper or telephone directory oversized pages, this beast would still need to be bound in multiple volumes. practically speaking, it can only exist in digital format and makes an utter mockery of print and codex technologies.

and besides, who could possibly read the thing? the list of contributors alone is so formidable that a number have already claimed frustration at the difficulty of searching for their names to determine if they've even been included (even though searching a digital text is relatively easy once you know how).

so the first implication i draw from the simple fact of the issue 1 anthology as object -- and it obtains regardless of whether 3000+ individuals wrote the poems in question (they didn't) or a single computer program or programmer "wrote" them (it/he did) -- can be phrased as follows:

1) we are living in a moment of poetic production so abundant that attempts to document it and consume it have approached if not fully arrived at the patently absurd.

[to be continued]

*personally i like kenny quite a bit and find his writing at its best to be some of the most interesting and thought-provoking out there today.




the ayers "relationship"

2008-10-08T15:52:07.682-04:00

from tmorangeto "Stanley Kurtz" (skurtz@eppc.org)date Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 1:20 AMsubject NYT's Ayers-Obama Whitewash Mr. Kurtz,In reference to William Ayers's 1997 book, A Kind and Just Parent, you wrote on The Corner the other day: "That book is quite radical, expressing doubts about whether we ought to have a prison system at all, comparing America to South Africa's apartheid system, and contemptuously dismissing the idea of the United States as a kind or just country." The apartheid charge is one you have levied repeatedly: on Fox News Network's "On the Record" with Greta Van Susteren: "And in that book on juvenile crime, Bill Ayers says a lot of things, a lot of very radical things about the United States, compares the U.S. justice system to apartheid" (September 23); in the Weekly Standard: "Ayers also makes a point of comparing America's prison system to the mass-detention of a generation of young blacks under South African Apartheid" (August 11).Since you never provide specific citations in support of this claim, I hope I am correct when I assume you are referring to the following three instances in which the word "apartheid" appears in the Ayers book.1) On page 87, Ayers is reporting on his visit to The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center School, in which a student named Mario is reading aloud the opening passage of a short story by Reginald McKnight entitled "The Kind of Light that Shines on Texas." Ayers writes, "'Alphabetized,' says Mario. 'Alphabetized. They didn't stick us in the back, or arrange us by degrees of hue, apartheid-like. This was real integration.[...]'" Not do these sentiments belong to McKnight's short story rather than Ayers himself; additionally, they are describing an integrated school, one exactly opposite that of an apartheid system.2) On page 165, Ayers is reporting the words of a South African friend, Michael Freeman, "an official with the Anglican Church in charge of voter education and registration [who has] worked closely with the African National Congress during the resistance and now [1997] works with the Mandela government. Michael is in Chicago to exchange information with community-based voter projects and to meet with foundation officers about strategies for funding his efforts. 'You know,' he tells us early in his visit, 'we face a desperate problem with youth crime. Under apartheid our youth were rounded up and incarcerated in huge numbers. Now, with no formal education, and bearing the scars of growing up in prison, these young people must somehow integrate into the new society. It is a critical, monumental struggle for us.'" Here Freeman, not Ayers, is simply pointing out the implications of mass youth incarcerations based on his own experience in South Africa, perhaps in the hopes that the American justice system might learn from and correct the unintended consequences of such policies. (It's not even clear if he's truly making a comparison with the American system here at all.)3) Finally, on page 183, the same Michael Freeman has just departed from a visit to the same Chicago classroom. "So many black boys in cages," says Freeman, not Ayers. "This feels like apartheid." Notice Freeman, again not Ayers, is drawing a point of resemblance, "feels like" in one specific respect, not "is identical to" in every respect. He knows America does not embrace apartheid but can't help drawing a resemblance in this instance.In claiming that it "compares America to South Africa's apartheid system," you misrepresent the Ayers book in at least three fundamental respect[...]



Early Voting

2008-10-03T13:42:44.170-04:00

from tmorange
to deroy.murdock@gmail.com
date Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 1:33 PM
subject Early Voting

Mr. Murdock,

You wrote on the Corner yesterday: "In Ohio, most dramatically, an individual can register to vote between September 30 and October 6, then immediately receive an absentee ballot. Existing and brand-new electors also can cast ballots at early-voting centers. This is a gourmet recipe for voter fraud."

I wonder, do you have any specific evidence relevant to voter fraud in Ohio right now? You cite an AP report that "Independent groups seeking to increase poor and minority participation also transported voters from places like homeless shelters, halfway houses, and soup kitchens," except that there's nothing inherently fraudulent about these particular constituencies exercising their constitutional rights, is there?

Since I suspect your fears are based in mere speculation rather than actual evidence, let me offer you some, first-hand: I voted yesterday in Ohio. And I voted on a paper ballot since the last thing in the world I'd trust with my vote is a Diebold touch-screen machine.

Let me alleviate your fears: the election officials here in Lorain County are checking state-issued photo IDs, they are checking home addresses, and they are taking their job very seriously; there is little way anyone who isn't supposed to vote is going to be able to.

You conclude, "early balloting assaults the notion of contemplative self-government." Puh-leez. Sure, undecideds should wait. But many of us have seen all we need to see and know all we need to know. By giving more people a greater window of opportunity for exercising the vote in their already overstretched lives, it's plainly clear that early voting encourages and enhances democracy.



more to doubt

2008-09-30T15:52:54.771-04:00

(image)

from the sun sentinel (ohio), september 25, 2008, page a7. the piece appears not to have made it online, so for a better view click here. read the original editorial here.



heavy rotation

2008-09-29T01:52:21.608-04:00

middle-period genesis as i would call it: the three albums after the departure of peter gabriel and when phil collins took over lead vocals but before they made it big on the u.s. pop charts, namely a trick of the tail (1976), wind and wuthering (1977), and ...and then there were three (1978). being a devotee of the gabriel era, i never took these albums seriously because it was so easy to scoff at them. now granted, this judgment was all after-the-fact. growing up on a steady diet of mid-1970s FM radio, i knew "follow you, follow me" and of course the big singles from 1980's duke (the ubiquitous "misunderstanding" and "turn it on again"). and the freshman year high school teacher who turned me onto prog in general certainly played us "dusk" from 1970's trespass (the first real genesis album: "from genesis to revelation" is rather expendable as i heard it). but it was precisely may 31 1984 (the date stamp on the price tag is indelible) when i bought a one-dollar used copy of 1972's foxtrot at warped records in lakewood ohio. and when you've been weaned on this one, no genesis lacking peter gabriel will really do.nevertheless, these middle period records are not without merit. and you can find no better point of comparison between gabriel and collins than trick of the tail's opener, "dance on a volcano" (youtube) and "dancing with the moonlit knight" (youtube) the opener from selling england by the pound (the last truly great gabriel-era album before the enjoyable but completely overblown double-album concept LP the lamb lies down on broadway which gabriel entirely dominated and contributed to his irrepairable rift from the rest of the band). in many ways, trick of the tail was the surviving band's effort at bypassing the excesses of the lamb and going back to redo selling england without gabriel.problem is -- and make no mistake, collins is a superb, entirely self-taught percussionist and a decent singer -- he sounds so close to gabriel and yet is so far. the lyrics and delivery are just never bizarre and compelling enough tho. and so the attempt to sound like gabriel but just not quite being able to pull it off gives the whole thing the slight air of parody.but again, i'm finding them no less enjoyable as a result. "dance on a volcano" got the formula down: the acoustic guitar licked, percussion-flourished and multiple key-changed intro leading into the perfectly nimble and driving 7/8-time section that alternates twice with harder and slower 4/4 main theme ("better start doing it right") before drifting into a bit of trippy atmospherics taking us into a new theme -- all of this before we hit 2:30! but it's all a bit formulaic and just does not have the edge of "dancing with the moonlit knight."the next two tracks on trick of the tail, "entangled" and "squonk," may be the prettiest and most anthematic pieces, respectively, that the band ever put to record. the harpsichord-like 12-string arpeggios and multi-part harmonies of "entangled" are nearly exquisite, and "squonk" gets you diggin in yr pockets for the bic-lighter to hold up in arena-rock fashion with the best of 'em. i know i borrowed trick of the tail from friends back in the day but never bothered to buy a copy; wind and wuthering i likewise borrowed but may never have listened to more than once all the way through, and even now it still commands my attention least. tho again, the best three tracks seem to be the first three: "eleventh earl of mar," "one for the vine" and[...]



Campaign Lies, Media Double Standards

2008-09-24T13:59:44.326-04:00

from tmorange
to STaylor@nationaljournal.com
date Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 1:55 PM
subject "Campaign Lies, Media Double Standards" (NJ 9/20)

Dear Stuart Taylor,

I'm certainly not the only reader who appreciates your genuinely balanced effort ("Campaign Lies, Media Double Standards," National Journal 9/20) to cut through the lies of the current presidential campaign but regrets that you draw the wrong conclusion. Instead of "no longer trusting the major newspapers or television networks to provide consistently accurate and fair reporting and analysis of all the charges and countercharges" you should rejoice in the fact that the press, for the first time in long-term memory, is actually doing its job by scrutinzing the claims and record of candidates who lie, shamelessly and repeatedly, even when their lies have been refuted. As recently as Sarah Palin's interview with Sean Hannity last night, for example, the Governor has still not come clean on the fact that she supported the bridge to nowhere before Congress killed it. (And she kept the money!)

In fact, some of your fact-checking needs checking. First, Charlie Gibson's purportedly "distorting Palin's meaning" about the Iraq War being "a task that is from God" is nothing of the sort. What is the effective difference between stating that the war is a task from God and praying that it is? Simply that a little doubt has replaced certainty. The effect is the same: that God has justified this terrible ill men have wrought. Hardly the "unremarkable exhortation" you make it out to be, it's cut from merely a slightly humbler cloth than this current president's presumption to be the deliverer of God's gift of freedom -- at the barrel of a gun -- to the rest of the world.

Second, Obama's claim that McCain "is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq" is indeed less than accurate. McCain wants a permanent military presence in Iraq, but his qualifying condition -- "as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed" -- rests on an utterly flawed analogy. "We've been in Japan for 60 years," McCain argues, "We've been in South Korea 50 years or so." Those were conventional wars between relatively symmetrical enemies that ended with conventional treaties, armistices or cease fires; the Global War on Terror as currently conceived and waged cannot even contemplate these things. To the extent that McCain cannot articulate what "victory" in Iraq means or how we secure it, he remains delusional as ever.



anchovies and orange juice

2008-09-23T20:57:20.520-04:00

American Public Media's "Weekend America" featured three guests this past Saturday (Jesse Thorn, Amy Hungerford and Dominic Papatola) who completely missed the boat on why anchovies in orange juice are bad news (listen to the segment here). It's bad because the only way the modern food industry can add value to its products is to add nutrients that it has already processed out.

(image) By putting pulverized anchovies into its "Healthy Heart" orange juice, Tropicana is selling consumers unadulterated nutritionist hucksterism. Omega-3 fatty acids are, like antioxidants, oat bran and countless others, nutrients du jour that the food industry adds to processed foods to make them appear healthy. A truly healthy diet rich in both omega-3s and -6s can be had from plenty of green leafy vegetables, which is where fish get them in the first place.

Listeners should forget the "Healthy Heart" orange juice with anchovies, forget the fish oil even. Avoid these other "edible (or in this case drinkable) food-like substances" altogether, as Michael Pollan calls them, read his book In Defense of Food, and follow his succinct advice: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."