Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

mash up award…

May 14, 2009

Penn student Willaim Strasser and his winner of the 2009 Penn Mash up Contest through Penn Libraries.

I had to chance to attend a great conference at Case Western  and this video was highlighted as a contemporary form of art. I think it is a great piece of work and the Auden poem has never sounded better. I would just call it dope, but the ivy league may demand a more elaborate description.

Here is Strassers explanation of the piece:

Whether in Classical mythology, Renaissance painting, 20th century poetry or modern music videos, depictions of suffering have never ceased to captivate audiences. I aim to juxtapose these depictions in order to highlight ways they have changed and ways that they remain the same, identifying something inherent to the human condition.



Senator Arlen Specter To Switch Parties

April 29, 2009


Five-term GOP Sen. Arlen Specter said Tuesday that his party had “gone too far to the right” and he would defect to the Democrats. But he promised to maintain his independence and not be an “automatic” vote for his new party. Specter, 79, said in a statement that he had surveyed his supporters and officeholders in Pennsylvania and it had “become clear” that his support of the White House stimulus package had “caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable.” Later, appearing for a news conference in Washington, he said in a reference to a likely 2010 Republican primary challenge that he was “not prepared to have my fate decided by that jury.” “I know I disappoint my friends and colleagues,” he said. “But, frankly, I have been disappointed by some of the response. So, the disappointment runs in both directions.”

Specter was one of only three GOP senators to vote for President Obama’s stimulus bill. Widely viewed as among the most moderate GOP lawmakers, Specter had found himself at odds with the party line on several times over the years, particularly over his support of abortion and gay rights. With Specter, Democrats would have 59 Senate seats. Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, whose election is still in question months after voters went to the polls, could become a 60th vote, giving the party the number it needs to block filibusters by GOP senators. Specter, however, took pains to say he would maintain his hallmark independence. “I will not be an automatic 60th vote,” he emphasized. “I have always agreed with John Kennedy that sometimes a party asks too much. And if the Democratic Party asks too much, I will not hesitate to disagree.”

President Obama telephoned Specter to offer his “full support,” saying the Democratic Party was “thrilled” to have him, The Associated Press reported. The senator said Vice President Biden had recently urged him to become a Democrat. Specter, whose likely opponent in the 2010 GOP primary would have been former conservative Rep. Pat Toomey, had publicly acknowledged that to win, he would need thousands of Pennsylvania voters who had switched from Republican to Democrat in last year’s presidential election to vote for him. Senate colleagues in the Republican Party reacted with either disappointment or resignation, while Democrats welcomed a new member to their caucus.

Arizona Sen. John McCain expressed his regret. “I think it’s pretty obvious the polls showed him well behind his primary opponent,” the former GOP presidential candidate said. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said he was “disappointed” at the decision. “Arlen’s a good friend, a great guy.” he said. Asked if he was surprised by the move, Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin said: “I’m surprised it happened this quickly. I thought it might have to germinate a little bit longer,” before adding, “But, this is fine.”

The move, however, left others wondering about the future of a party that has increasingly edged out moderate voices. Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe said she has also been wooed by Democrats but has “no plans” to do the same as Specter. She nonetheless expressed concern over the direction of her party. “The statements that are coming nationally from the Republican Party … nurture a culture of exclusion and alienation,” she said. “I really think this is a time for the Republican Party to … re-evaluate and redefine.” As one of the most senior Republicans in the Senate, Specter enjoyed powerful posts on the Judiciary and Appropriations panels. Democrats must now decide how much seniority he gets credit for in their committee assignments.

From NPR and wire service reports

the rubber room

April 22, 2009

the rubber room movie is a documentary discussing the numerous issues that exist in the new york public school system.  i first caught wind of this situation when marklscott played the podcast for me.

more information on the film can be found here.


April 20, 2009


by Mr. Fish: Harper’s

fuck you fridays

April 17, 2009


Photo: The Economist

I think when I have a little time of Friday I might try my best to post a big fuck you to people I feel really deserve it. So fuck you republican party! Enjoy being a racist, classist, sexist and most of all undereducated party. I really will never understand how individuals can have ideas that display such hypocrisy and hatred.

Furthermore this is the party that seems to pride itself on being “patriotic”? These motherfuckers take complex issues and whittle them down to provide simple backwards answers to the rural American public, then these supposed “answers” resonate in small town America and infect half the nation with a backwards ideology.


April 8, 2009

I ride by the tent city off the bike path quite a bit. It fucks me up pretty much every time I pass by and halfway down the path I wonder how anyone ended up there in the first place. I think everyone seems to at least state answers that they would deem “obvious” whether it be substance abuse or some other derogatory comment that cheapens the individual as well as their existence. Many attempt to talk about their tax dollars, how no one deserves a “free ride” and so on, but I saw a woman with silver hair trying to push her shopping cart up the hill from her tent. Not that it matters much to mention because this has nothing to do with me, but I pushed it up the hill for her and she thanked me, with a look of disappointment, like her life was once “worth” something and now it has been reduced to this. She looked to be in her 60s at the very least and I didn’t have the guts to ask how she had got there, or how I could help get her out of there, I just watched her push the cart away, wondering the last time she was able to fill it with actual groceries, in a actual store, where she wasn’t viewed as the homeless lady she now happens to be but a lady who is respected and recognized in society, not outside of it.

This morning I packed two lunches and my wife said “are you really gonna be that hungry?” of course I said yes but I didn’t want to tell her one was for the woman in tent city, who I see from time to time in the morning, sadly enough today I couldn’t find her. In any case I have done very little to even begin to assist the homeless population let alone those others in need, it is good to see that someone is working towards an answer to provide some shelter and respect to these individuals.


Tiny pallet houses were designed by students at Emily Carr University and are meant to serve as shelters for the homeless. With a roof and a lock on the door they provide a safe alternative to tents all for around 1500 dollars a piece. A community like this could not only provide safe tiny homes to live temporarily but a place to lock up a few belongings while they are away at work or elsewhere. They could also help people regain a sense of pride which could help them recapture their lives.


More information can be found here. Many thanks to mark.l.scott for the story.

Guilty Pleasures

March 5, 2009

30 Rock.


February 2, 2009

iraq-boot_1249906i Photo: Associated Press

Children walk past a sculpture of a shoe in Tikrit, Iraq. This is a monument to the shoe which was thrown at  former President George Bush when he visited the country. Kenobi has informed me that the shoe has since been removed for political reasons.

faith over leadership?

January 27, 2009


Of course homes that have faith based values can be rather positive for the individual, assuming they do not practice exclusion, but we must acknowledge the fact that homes without these values can produce just individuals as well.


January 22, 2009

tommiesmithMany of you know this story, but it  has always struck me as one of the largest displays of injustice in the history of our country. These men truly stood for something more than themselves or the ideology of a nation. At the Mexico City Games in 1968, two black American sprinters stood on the medal podium with heads bowed and fists raised—a symbol of black power. Teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos had secretly planned a non-violent protest to bring attention to the injustices faced by black Americans should they medal in the 200-meter race.  Which they did, with Smith capturing gold and Carlos bronze. But at the time, the athletes encountered such outrage that they were stripped of their medals, suspended from their national team and banned from the Olympic village. The athletes and their families also received numerous death threats. I have heard terms such as patriot or freedom used sparingly in our culture, unfortunately many individuals have no idea what they truly mean…..


40 years after their silent protest at the 1968 Olympics, Gold Medalist Tommie Smith hugs Bronze Medalist John Carlos, and their wives Delois Smith and Charlene Carlos after Barack Obama is officially sworn in as the President of the United States. Photo taken in the Smith room at the Sheraton Boston in Boston, MA. (Boston Globe/Stan Grossfeld)

My respect for not only our new President, but for those who cleared the path.