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Archive for September 2006


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Suddenly, I’ve seen the light, joined the “sensible left,” and set myself upon all the soul-selling that goes with it. TNR subscription inbound, Lieberman donation outbound, and in the middle, an ‘merican flag perched off the porch. Why? Well, the threat of a dry caliphate, of course…

The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al Qaeda in Iraq, issued a statement on a Web forum vowing to continue its holy war against the West. The authenticity of the statement could not be independently verified.

The group said Muslims would be victorious and addressed the pope as “the worshipper of the cross” saying “you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. … We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword.”

After all this time, busily doing my academic leftist bestest to inaugurate the worldwide caliphate… only to find out that they’re going to, what, spill all the liquor? When you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers, Mujahedeen Shura Council… I do my liquor spilling well enough for myself, thank you very much…

It is funny, though, isn’t it, how both sides cooperate in telling the same ridiculous story…

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September 18, 2006 at 2:18 pm

Posted in empire, war

to show that it can

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Krugman has a nice one up, behind the firewall of course, at NYT:

So why is the Bush administration so determined to torture people?

To show that it can.

The central drive of the Bush administration — more fundamental than any particular policy — has been the effort to eliminate all limits on the president’s power. Torture, I believe, appeals to the president and the vice president precisely because it’s a violation of both law and tradition. By making an illegal and immoral practice a key element of U.S. policy, they’re asserting their right to do whatever they claim is necessary.

In other news… Has my mother-in-law started consulting for the Pope?

I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.

That sure as hell sounds like her work – the patented passive-agressive pseduo-semi-projective-non-apology.

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September 18, 2006 at 9:59 am

Posted in america, empire, war

pass it on

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Homeland Security is after Greg Palast:

Fatherland Security has informed me that television producer Matt Pascarella and I have been charged with unauthorized filming of a “critical national security structure” in Louisiana.

On August 22, for LinkTV and Democracy Now! we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind a barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans. It’s been a year since the hurricane and 73,000 POW’s (Prisoners of W) are still in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere. One resident, Pamela Lewis said, “It is a prison set-up” — except there are no home furloughs for these inmates because they no longer have homes.

To give a sense of the full flavor and smell of the place, we wanted to show that this human parking lot, with kids and elderly, is nearly adjacent to the Exxon Oil refinery, the nation’s second largest, a chemical-belching behemoth.

So we filmed it. Without Big Brother’s authorization. Uh, oh. Apparently, the broadcast of these stinking smokestacks tipped off Osama that, if his assassins pose as poor Black folk, they can get a cramped Airstream right next to a “critical infrastructure” asset.

So now Matt and I have a “criminal complaint” lodged against us with the feds.

The charges, which apparently were initiated by Exxon, don’t, of course, have anything to do with the sort of reasoning that he performs in his new book

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September 11, 2006 at 10:13 pm

Posted in america, empire, war


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Another University is Possible!

According to Florida’s five-year plan for the college, the university will cut the English department’s budget for graduate students and adjunct faculty members by $120,000, or 16 percent, by the 2010-11 academic year. The plan would reduce the number of full-time faculty members to 51 from 60 and shrink the number of graduate teaching assistants to 54 from 59.

The number of faculty members in the department of Germanic and Slavic studies would drop to 14 from 20, and funds for graduate students and adjuncts would shrink to zero from $104,500 this year, according to the plan. The mathematics department would lose about six full-time faculty members and 10 graduate teaching assistants.

Under the plan, six departments — biology, botany, chemistry, criminology, psychology, and zoology — would receive increased funds for graduate teaching assistants and see a rise in full-time faculty members.

This is not good. It seems to be happening here as well, from what I can tell…

Mr. Ray said the news had prompted some professors to consider seeking jobs at other institutions. “This is potentially a reprise of Larry Summers and the humanities department,” he said, referring to the former president of Harvard University, whose emphasis of so-called hard sciences over liberal-arts disciplines had angered many faculty members at that institution.

Problem is, of course, that soon there’s not going to be jobs to seek at other institutions…

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September 5, 2006 at 11:15 am

Posted in america

in my place…

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..put there. I deserve it, and actually really need it. Healthy for this sort of thing to happen. Really. It is. No, seriously, I can take it.

So I just now received an email from one of my undergrads, an exchange student, which I skimmed rather quickly, sniffing out the part where she says that one of my former students “told [her] that [my] class is really wonderful,” and that’s why she enrolled.

Hmmpf. But of course. You know, I try. Glad that they’re paying attention, glad that it registers, my enthusiasm and, well, wonderfulitude.

A minute or so later, I get another email from said exchange student. Apparently, the previous message was meant for one of my colleagues. No problem – we all make mistakes. I should have read it more closely. But on further inspection, sifting down to search out mention of my wonderfulness, I find, in the equivalent position in the new message, the fact that my former student “told [her] that [my] class is not that hard.”

Hmmpf. Err. OK. Yes, I try. I try very hard… not to be hard. Glad that it, um, registers…

Thanks, former student.

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September 4, 2006 at 12:41 am

Posted in housekeeping

shooting war

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Spent some time tonight making my way through this:

No Civilians.jpg

Nothing more than a link blog, nowadays, my site. But… were I to venture a read on this, I guess I’d say something like the graphic novel – especially a free, on-line one – seems to me a medium especially attuned to the current state of affairs. To impute the depth of more insistently discursive forms (a la the not-so-graphic novel) is automatically to generate alibis, libelous overestimations of the way things are. * This problem is encountered, as well, in works like Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, where the very effort to give the story shape is itself a mystification, and Conrad (as well as Marlow, to a certain, distracted degree) knows it… But this is underfed, and so, no, just a link blog tonite…

* The blog is one of the rare forms that match the graphic novel in its highly attuned depthlessness…

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September 4, 2006 at 12:21 am

Posted in america, war


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Perhaps “on n’a pas besoin de” rather than “il n’y a pas de,” in this case:

(There’s a better version here).

via City of Sound, where a commenter nails it: “That’s wonderful. Amazing to realize that you could pretty much navigate this context–a train station–entirely by media/logo/ui.” The fact is, we don’t feel entirely lost while watching this film, despite the fact that the unwritten world has faded to black…

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September 3, 2006 at 10:37 pm

Posted in distraction, marketing


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Deeply sorry that there’s been nothing here of late. Beginning of the semester, that’s all….

….well, aside from the fact that I’ve been a bit anxious about the fact that this site has degenerated into a forum where I say rude things about silly stuff in the media and/or make relatively useless statements of disgust about geopolitical events.

Not sure what to do about that. I’m hard at work on things not conducive to blogging, so there’s little else for me to say. With luck and a better attitude, this will change relatively shortly.

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September 2, 2006 at 12:12 am

Posted in meta