Art prefiguring life imitating art imitating life …

23 01 2009

I’ve had to essentially abandon blogging in the near term.  Too much professional writing to do. That said, I couldn’t resist posting this West Wing / Obama mashup.  Yes, it’s early days in the Obama Presidency, but allow me this one moment.  I remember when I heard about plans for the West Wing and I thought ‘a television series about the White House’ will never work. Boy, was I wrong. What would we have done without an ‘acting President’ and his team during those years reminding us that there is a better angel of our nature?


Understanding the financial crisis

10 10 2008

In August 2007, I attended a talk at the Greenbelt Festival, in Cheltenham (UK) by Ann Pettifor titled “The coming first-world debt crisis.” Over a year before the bottom fell out, Ms. Pettifor predicted the chaos-to-come. I recall that she insisted that victims of predatory-lending should not be evicted from their homes. Her presentation was incredibly prescient evoke considerable debate during Q&A.

There’s plenty of commentary and blogging about the growing financial crisis going on, and I’m no economist, but a friend recently drew my attention to an excellent audio primer offered up by This American Life, and I would like to recommend it.  If that episode is any account, then the new Planet Money blog by some of the same commentators should also be helpful.

Why we fight

25 09 2008

I have been showing the documentary Why We Fight in my class this week, and I was pleased to discover this afternoon that you can watch the whole thing online. The film covers the long history of U.S. militarism and imperial projects that have been undertaken by our government but also stresses the ways in which militarism is embedded in our culture. That said, Why We Fight is perhaps most important for its exposure of the military-industrial-thinktank/university complex, since most Americans are not fully aware of the long-standing institutions and systems that predispose us and channel our militarism.

You can also view Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers

If a song could be president

24 09 2008

As we near election time, it only seems appropriate to give a little air time to Linford Detweiler and Karen Bergquist (Over the Rhine) to provide a little vision.

St. Paul City Attorney drops charges against journalists

20 09 2008

The St. Paul City Attorney’s office has opted not to pursue the misdemeanor charges against Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar.

Experience and Prudence

20 09 2008

David Brooks is just a remarkable columnist. His recent piece on McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin is typically insightful and he avoids polemics. He suggests that Palin is not ready, and he compares Bush and Palin, as I have done elsewhere. However, he addresses the whole issue by commenting more on what good governance requires (experience and prudence) than on what Palin lacks.

Its also worth noting that in another life, Brooks could easily have been a social scientist.  He is that rare conservative who is fascinated with human behavior, and he is not afraid to follow the science where it leads and take it into consideration. Consequently, he’s prepared to offer comments like this:

David Brooks

David Brooks

“Geneticists have shown that our behavior is influenced by our ancestors and the exigencies of the past. Behavioral economists have shown the limits of the classical economic model, which assumes that individuals are efficient, rational, utility-maximizing creatures. Psychologists have shown that we are organized by our attachments. Sociologists have shown the power of social networks to affect individual behavior. What emerges is not a picture of self-creating individuals gloriously free from one another, but of autonomous creatures deeply interconnected with one another. Recent Republican Party doctrine has emphasized the power of the individual, but underestimates the importance of connections, relationships, institutions and social filaments that organize personal choices and make individuals what they are.”

Update on Democracy Now arrests

17 09 2008

You can get today’s latest update on the arrest of Amy Goodman and her Democracy Now colleagues. In short the felony charges have been dropped, but the misdemeanor charges remain.  I blogged about this in an earlier post, and I am posting the YouTube videos here.

Amy Goodman Arrest (when she arrived on the scene to inquire about the earlier arrest of two of her colleagues — see below)

Nicole Salazar Arrest