Friday, July 23, 2010

Read This Now - It's Gonna Be Quiet In Arizona

Rage Against the Machine has organized the Sound Strike, a musical boycott of Arizona in response to it's new immigration law.  Several groups have canceled scheduled shows and hundreds are vowing not to visit the state...

"We have to intervene in order to do whatever we possibly can to limit that state's ability to function and implement the law," Zack de la Rocha, of the band Rage Against the Machine, says in a Web video he's produced. He's organized a boycott of Arizona called The Sound Strike. So far, he's recruited artists ranging from Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails to Latino bands such as Los Tigres del Norte. Jorge Hernandez says Los Tigres del Norte's decision to join the boycott was personal: If the Los Angeles musicians were to come to Arizona, he says, they worry that police could detain them. 
NPR has the story, check it out.

By the way Los Tigres are kind of a big deal. Try to find yourself a copy of the May 24th New Yorker article, it's a good one.

So Long Dan Schorr

Sunday mornings will never be the same without you.

For as long as I've been listening to NPR Dan Schorr has been providing insight and context for whatever the major issues of the moment might be.  He was always straightforward and forthright and he never failed to call it like he saw it.

NPR devotes and anyone who's ever read, listened to, or watched the news lost a friend when he passed away today at 93.

NPR, of course, has the story (listen to the special here).  And many big names in today's news world are remembering him fondly tonight.

Until about an hour ago I had never seen a picture of Dan Schorr, even though I could recognize his voice in an instant...

(this one's from the NPR website)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Read This Now - Larger Context

Eugene Robinson does not, as they say, mince words in putting the Sherrod story in the larger context of attacks on the Obama Administration...

The Sherrod case has fully exposed the right-wing campaign to use racial fear to destroy Obama's presidency, and I hope the effect is to finally stiffen some spines in the administration. The way to deal with bullies is to confront them, not run away. Yet Sherrod was fired before even being allowed to tell her side of the story. She said the official who carried out the execution explained that she had to resign immediately because the story was going to be on Glenn Beck's show that evening. Ironically, Beck was the only Fox host who, upon hearing the rest of Sherrod's speech, promptly called for her to be reinstated. On Wednesday, Vilsack offered to rehire her

Shirley Sherrod stuck to her principles and stood her ground. I hope the White House learns a lesson. 
Be sure to read the whole thing.

Someone picked the wrong lady to railroad this time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1/21 Of The Story - The Vilsack Affair

I think that folks are right to be hard on the Obama administration and particularly on Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack over the whole Shirley Sherrod affair.  The way the Administration comported itself reeked of fear, shortsightedness, and unfairness.  I won't take up your time rehash the sordid details, you've already read them somewhere else from someone who is probably a better writer than I am (if you haven't Glenn Greenwald has a good outline and a few links).  I will say that you should take two or three minutes (the length of the edited video) and read Amy Davidson's post from the New Yorker.

Then you should take 43 minutes, when you have a chance, and hear what Sherrod actually had to say.  It's not a bad talk and her message is a good one...

Now that things are starting to get put back in place and appropriate apologies are being made one can only hope that this travesty will serve to make the media and the Administration take a deep breath and ask all the important questions the next time a right wing site sets out to smear someone.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What If The Tea Party Was Black

This is one of the best and most creative political uses of Youtube I've seen in awhile, plus the song is actually good, and there's no denying that the man has a point...

(via JW)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The New York Times Can't Handle The Truth

Not when it comes to torture at least.  The NYT has been refusing to call it torture when Americans do it, but if the same tactics are used in China (or elsewhere abroad) well clearly that's torture...

From a Thursday article on Bush Administration authorized torture (yeah, you heard me)...

A former Bush Justice Department official who approved brutal interrogation methods by the C.I.A. has told Congress that he never authorized several other rough tactics reportedly inflicted on terrorism suspects — including prolonged shackling to a ceiling and repeated beatings. 
And on Friday the same abuse perpetrated by the Chinese...
Others named in the same warrant and caught by the Chinese police had described beatings, suffocation, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and other forms of torture to get them to disclose details about the human rights group to which they all belonged. 
That's what we call a load of bull (astute readers will have noticed that the NYT even went with torture in the headline for the Friday piece).

Glenn Greenwald has been doing the heavy lifting on this story, you should check out his post on these stories and several others following the NYT's piss-poor journalistic standards, especially this long one.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two Good Graphs

The picture kind, it's hard to beat a good visual.  Ezra Klein had a couple of doozys this week...

Why we need extended unemployment benefits:

That's something like 15 million people for whom there just aren't jobs available no matter how hard they're looking.

And meanwhile this happened...

Average folks are out of work, and the corporations who created this mess are enjoying increased earnings, brilliant.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Climate Change

It's happening outside and for several of the Triangle's universities it's finally happening indoors as well.

This week the N&O reported that Duke will set thermostats at 76 in the summer and 68 in the winter (give or take a couple of degrees and excepting dorms and hospital buildings).  State is working on a similar initiative, but UNC isn't mentioned.

This is great news, and not just because it means I won't have to bring a long sleeved shirt to wear in the LSRC during the warmer months while I'm in an ENVIRONMENTAL master program (yes, I was raising my voice there).  The financial savings should be pretty decent as well, which is important in these uncertain times that see universities losing state funding at alarming rates.  Throw in the new NC legislation allowing state universities to keep the savings they reap from energy effeicency improvements and we're off and running.

(sorry I can't find a link to a story on the legislation, trust me it's happening, link in update if possible)
(and yes, that first link does include a wicked burn)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Didn't See That Coming

While the California Prop 8 lawsuit has garnered national attention over the past several months, somehow a federal case opposing the Defense of Marriage Act flew under the radar (or my radar at least).

Suffice it to say, as of right now DOMA is not the law of the land.  Appeals are certain to follow, but for now put this one in the common sense win column.

(via DE)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sports Night

Raise your hand if that short-lived yet brilliant show was one of your too.

Now go check out some of the latest musings on the sports that are currently important (hint: that means baseball and the kind of football that the rest of the world plays, no Lebron will not be making an appearance).

Let's start with some World Cup coverage shall we.  This is probably my favorite sporting event, the stage is enormous, the entire world gets way into it, and the stakes, tension, pressure, and excitement grow with every game.  It was a bit of a rough weekend with Ghana and Paraguay (the sides I was pulling for) going out in heartbreaking style.  Still good showings from both countries but still.  At this point I'm an underdog fan so go Uruguay! I hate rooting for teams that knocked off my previous interest, but that's just how it's gone this time around.  Plus Frolan has been a lot of fun to watch and way involved in every game. Maybe what I really want to say is go Netherlands though...

On the internets, Twitter has been a buzz during the Cup with lots of cool little features like the soccer ball for the #WorldCup and flags if you hash-tag the countries as well.  Also, perhaps not surprisingly, Twitter will often tell you that it's over capacity if you check it right after a goal or a game ends.

Roddy Doyle wrote a terrific little piece for the New Yorker's website on watching England lose.  And Joe Posnanski, who I hadn't pegged as a soccer fan, has been turning in excellent dispatches from his trip to South Africa.  Back at the New Yorker, Reeves Wiedeman has a nice look at the importance of soccer to the ANC prisoners on Robbins island in South Africa's ever-present past.

On the diamond, Joe P had a nice piece on Bob Gibson last week.  He's been on a streak of sorts writing eloquently about older players stars and less recognized guys alike.  Rob Neyer's look at the "rules" surrounding tender young arms is more than worth your time as well.  Now if I could just figure out what the Bull's rotation schedule looked like so I could go see Hellickson throw.

On a final note if you'd like to give your inner sports fan a good scare, or just stay on top of a developing situation the new blog Balls, Strikes, and Lockouts wants you to know that all of the major leagues have labor agreements coming up for negotiation in the next calendar year.  As a hockey fan who's seen two games since the lockout and still misses Coach on NHL Tonight let's hope they get this stuff sorted.  Balls, Strikes, and Lockouts looks to be a spot that will help you keep it sorted along the way.