Thursday, September 30, 2004

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Some of the latest on the Charter school debate. The links.


Some of the rules for the "debate!"

This post is from Politics1, see website at your left.

A SUGGESTION FOR THE FIRST KERRY-BUSH "DEBATE." Instead of the 32-page list of rules approved by the Bush and Kerry campaigns -- restrictions so stultifying as to render Thursday's so-called "debate" into nothing more than side-by-side memorized monologues -- I have an idea to liven things up. Under the agreement, the two sides mandate camera angles, the before and after handshakes, who sits in the audience and where, podium height, allowable pens and paper for each candidate, bans props, prohibits the two men from addressing each other directly, imposes severe restrictions on the moderators, etc. So ... here's my idea to fix the problem. Since the debate is to be televised live -- and live TV is, well, LIVE -- what would happen if the moderator, with cameras rolling, says "Gentlemen, these rules are ridiculous. They don't allow for a meaningful exchange of ideas, so I'm simply going to set them aside and tell you how we're really going to do it tonight so that the American people can benefit from a real debate ...." And, while we're at it, I hope the TV networks break the restriction that prohibits them from unexpectedly filming either man while others are speaking while all this is going on.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Health Care

New Flash! The health care industry, notice I don't use the word system, is bankrupting the nation! Oh, this isn't a news flash?!

The Ground Game

Some analysis on the get out the vote efforts in Ohio and Florida.
I think the Democrats are in a panic and this is trying to make them feel better. I have also heard that registration is up but I would be very surprised if the turnout is 3 points higher than 2000.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Send Carter to Florida

This is probably one of the few instances that I would support the Carter group "observing" elections.

Demonstration Elections?

Will the January elections in Iraq be manipulated? Is that a rhetorical question?

Voting strategies in the upper mid-west

Where will future votes for the Democrats come from? Latino voters?

Legal battles or a program?

A. Cockburn on what a progressive left wing campaign should look like. I agree.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Live in a Craptown?

I know there is some class bias here but there is some fun to be had. Is your town a craptown?

Los Amigos

Los Amigos Invisibles have a new album. I have not heard it yet but their first three are amazing. Latin American disco that rocks!

Was it Emma Goldman?

"Wahhabism, the state religion in Saudi Arabia, and the inspirer of al Qaeda, is especially known for its hatred of music. In
Wahhabi theology, all music except for drum accompaniment to religious chanting is haram, or forbidden."

Is that where Tipper got her ideas about punk?

I don't know if this is true but it just makes me chuckle. The article was from a neo-con at the Daily Standard.

September 11 and Iraq Revisited

Take a look at this dialogue between US stooge Alawi and Macleherror. Amazing!

JIM LEHRER: What would you say to somebody in the United States who questions whether or not getting rid of Saddam Hussein was worth the cost of more than a thousand lives now and billions and billions of U.S. dollars?

(notice he doesn't mention the Iraqi dead)!

PRIME MINISTER IYAD ALLAWI: Well, I assure you if Saddam was still there, terrorists will be hitting there again at Washington and New York, as they did in the murderous attack in September; they'll be hitting also on other places in Europe and the Middle East.

How Democratic is the Constitution?

Robert Dahl, a longtime (he's 88) mainstream Political Scientist, wrote a book a couple of years ago, that I read this summer, on the anti-democratic nature of the US constitution. He particularly takes on the Senate and the Electoral College. Here's a good review.

Would Big States Rule?

I ran across the old argument about big states running rough shod over small states if we got rid of the Senate. See my comments at the blog.

Taxation Without Representation?

Should felons be banned from voting?

Dogs vs. MRI's

Dog's can "sniff out" cancer in humans. Read article here.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Union Forever


Musicians Local 8 is fighting for a first contract at the Skylight Opera

Theater. The Musicians won a representation election in January of

2003. The employer has yet to agree on payments to the union pension

fund, a fair pay scale, and job security issues. Since January, the

management has agreed to only one face-to-face meeting with Union


Please support the Musicians by joining an informational picket line

(kazoos will be provided) on Friday, September 24 at 7 PM at the

Broadway Theater Center, 158 N. Broadway. That is opening night for the

Skylight production of Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio".

In addition, the Musician's need volunteers for help on the evening of

Wednesday, September 29. Please call Dave Lussier (332-5000 or

262-385-1862) if you can participate in that activity.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Communists and Rightists do well in Eastern German Elections

Article on German elections.

"Tommy Franks: "We don't do body counts"

Body Count/Iraq


Take a look at this site. I show it to my students on a daily basis. The variability is incredible particularly because he incorporates all polls into the spreadsheet. Read his comments on poll methodology, quite insightful.

Maybe Cat Stevens was on board?

The local airline in Milwaukee grounded a flight this week because someone on board found a dangerous code in the in flight magazine. It was FARSI!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

2046 To Be Released In Britain

Wong Kar-wai's new film 2046 is to be released in Britain soon. Did I not say much awaited?

Motorcycle Diaries

"But the film is so beautiful," say Salles's fans. No--it's pretty. Eric Gautier photographed it, with frequent and unnecessary use of the wan light and monochromatic effects that are now high-fashion clichés of their own. With this much sense of visual discovery, The Motorcycle Diaries could spawn a glossy magazine: Condé-Nast Revolution.

Stewart Klawans on The Motorcycle Diaries, a biography of Che's early years, adapted from the book. Here's the entire review.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Putin's Move Towards Dictatorship

Here's the Economist's take on Putin's power grab last week.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Name of this Post is Bliss

This record changed my life. Or it was the soudtrack for a transformative time of my life. Listen to this album. It's free at this site. Thank you very muuuuch!

Friday, September 17, 2004


I strongly recommend going to this site (referenced below) if you are at all interested in Mesoamerican history. The images in the galleries are amazing.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Maya Expalined

For many years I have listened to people explain the Maya writing system. This person should be awarded a medal for explaining it so well.

Now Only Tommy Remains

Johnny Ramone dead at 55. When will this dying end?

Milwaukee Brewers Need Your Help

Brewery Workers Local 9 needs your help. Please call Miller CEO Mr.
Norman Adamai at 414-931-2294 to express your concern. They are in very
difficult contract negotiations with Miller Brewery. There are 3 key
issues that remain unresolved:

" Mandatory overtime. Our forefathers in Milwaukee lost their lives in
1886 in the fight for the eight hour day. What they said then applies
today as well. Working people should expect eight hours to rest and
eight hours to do as they see fit after spending eight hours on the job.

In an era where we are all concerned about stresses on our family
structures, we should have the right to go home after an eight hour

" Unreasonable increases in health care out-of-pocket expenses. We are
all highly aware of the outrageous increases in the cost of health care
in our community. Your employees have consistently foregone wage
increases to help shoulder the load of premium increases. However, the
current proposal will make health care too expensive for many of your
employees, encouraging them to forego prevention and early intervention.

This will further escalate your health care costs.

" Loss of jobs. As recently as Thursday morning, at the United Way
campaign kickoff, Miller has publicly stated its support for family
supporting jobs in the Milwaukee community. Your plan to restructure
production into multi-skill teams will lead to the loss of many good
jobs at your own facility.

For more information, call Brewery Workers Local 9 at 475-5898.

opeiu 9 afl-cio

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Todd Gitlin: Red Baiter

Todd Gitlin seems to be heading in the Chris Hitchens direction.

The Logical Outcome of the "War on Terror"

Putin's latest draconian measures point to outcomes that lots of authoritarians in this country would like. I am not saying that a putsch is in the air but the "conservatives" that run the US these days are not conservative in the least. They will employ radical anti-democratic means because they distrust the people and open societies. Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, et al are more sophisticated than Putin but in the back of their minds they wish they had the kind of power Putin has grabbed.

Election Results in Wisconsin

Some amazing outcomes in Wisconsin this primary season.

In the district 4 democratic primary State Senator Gwen Moore (the most progressive candidate) swamped the to white guys handily. Many thought the white vote would be split by Flynn and Carpenter but clearly most white liberals and Latinos voted for Moore sending Wisconsin's first black female to Congress. I assume this will be the case because District 4 tends to vote 75% Democratic.

The other suprise in Wisconsin was the poor showing of car guy Russ Darrow who lost to Tim Michels a ex Green Beret and Construction millionaire in the Republican primary for US Senate. Feingold should beat this right-wing lunatic with ease.

Another ominous development was the election win for Glen Grothman in the West Bend area. Grothman challenged Mary PAnzer the Senate Majority leader and beat her 79-21! This guy is so far right he was recently seen hanging out with Eva Braun!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Jackson Out for at Least 4 to 6 Weeks

The worst news of Monday night. Grady Jackson out for 4 to 6 weeks at least!

Democracy Sweeping the Middle East as Promised

Saudi election "postponed" again.


Bush the lesser of two evils.

The Turkish Parliament Debates Outlawing Adultery

Do they really think this could work? Obviously this is a rhetorical question.

Friday, September 10, 2004

War Crimes in Vietnam?

Did the US committ war crimes in Vietnam?

Cuba: Now and Then

The Cuban Revolution and its place in history.

The Democrats and Democracy

Here's the despicable story of the Democratic Party's anti-democratic tactics in Oregon. By the way they are using similar tactics in other states. This is why the Property Party with two right wings (Gore Vidal) must not be encouraged.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Pro-Imperialist Stance Rebuffed at AFL-CIO Conference

Radicals pass anti-imperialist resolution at conference.

Grasping At Straws

Matt Rothschild on Kerry and the war.

It amazes me to no end how liberals can so easily be hood-winked. Kerry/Dukakis/Mondale are down in the polls, they look like they will lose, so they play up to the base (populism or anti-war, whatever the flavor of the month is) so they are not totally humiliated in the electoral college. Howard Dean road the anti-war horse so Kerry decided to jump on. Even though he voted for the war and has critiqued Bush from the right on military policy, we need more troops in Iraq and around the world, people who should know better, like Matt Rothschild, can still propagate the idea that Kerry is going to take troops out of Iraq. Bush/Cheney are right, Kerry is incoherent on Iraq!

Rupert Murdoch Ponies Up $50 Million To Dramatize Zinn's People's History

Matt Damon and Ben Afflack have approached Fox to get a People's History to the masses. Looks like a great project.

Electoral Votes

Kerry needs to win 2 of 3 of Florida, Ohio or Missouri. It's not looking good. This site is very good. I know it emphasizes the horse race but it also shows the importance of the electoral college.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

On History and Its Uses

Here's an article on how history is used for partisan purposes. Not a new idea but well argued.

The crimes of history are optional. We mix, match and discard according to taste and convenience. It's useful for Applebaum's Tory backers to remember Stalin's crimes because they can still use them to bash anyone who might want to beef up the National Health system with higher taxes. "Today an extra 1% VAT on my Jag convertible, tomorrow Kolyma!" is a very familiar war cry from these crusaders for human rights. Other massacres are dim stats, to be dredged up when necessary. Take, for example, all the tens of millions of dead in the Japanese occupation of China. They are rarely invoked in the West, because we don't need them. The Japanese are thoroughly spent, neither a threat nor a bad example of anything we worry about at the moment. The Chinese are more of a worry, making the invocation of their dead a dangerous concession. And in the Tory mind, those dead are connected with ignominy: the surrender of Singapore without a fight, the sinking of the Repulse and Prince of Wales...and so it goes, with a huge number of tangential mental associations determining which of the billions of corpses clogging the earth will be dug up and flung at one's opponents at any particular moment.

Thanks to Jeff for the

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Creative Class

I've heard a lot about the "creative class" lately (NPR had a story this morning). All our cities need is some gays, some rockers, some coffee shops and some artists and we will all be living the vida loca! There is a shuckster out there by the name of Richard Florida who is one of the primary popularizers of these ideas, and he gets payed a lot of money (the Bader Foundation in Milwaukee just gave him a bunch for speaking here) because lots of city planners and intellectuals love to hear that they are the most productive and important members of social and economic systems. They traffic in it because it's a lot easier to say, look at these new condos and this great new club, see how our city is changing for the better even though populations and wages are declining in central cities in the US. Milwaukee has a lot of this talk lately, downtown is reviving, a new urban space is being created because gays, rockers, and coffee shops are now in the hood.

The problem with this approach can be summed up in one word, JOBS. People moved to Milwaukee for 100 years because we built tractors, brewed beer, designed and manufactured tools and dies for other industries, because we built motorcycles and engines. We made things. Now we don't. And it was not just because we made things in Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Troy, Albany, and other upper Midwest cities that these cities prospered it was because the workers in these industries organized to demand high wages and benefits that created demand thus raising the standard of living for all in our communities.

The new urbanists and Florida's ilk want us to believe that if we spend our monies on sports stadiums, convention centers and high end performing arts centers we will bring in the "right" kind of diverse people and we'll see them in their outdoor cafe's and this will cause a turn around for urban poverty. Well I think they have it exactly backward. If you have decent high paying jobs people will move anywhere. How many thousands recently applied for the longshoremen jobs in California? How many thousands lined up for auto worker jobs because there was a rumor of jobs last year.

I think people like Florida don't really believe their own propaganda or at least the people that pay their bills don't because we knew in Milwaukee that the convention center would be a colossal drain on funds in this city and would only serve a small group of hotel owners, builders, and restauranteers. We also knew the same for the baseball stadium that sits open 2/3rds of the year and wasn't even put downtown because of the suburban constituency that it serves. Cities like Milwaukee now play the role, at least in the central part, as low wage ghettos. Basketball arenas, convention centers, hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment centers dominate some of our most storied cities. Low wage service workers help keep the prices low for these venues. The central city has reversed its historical role from center to periphery. Suburbanites now use the city primarily for a playground that has been made easily accesible by transportation systems that allow easy access in and out of the city.

Milwaukee and other cities like it need high paying jobs. And if coffee shop staff, rock club bouncers and bartenders and gay go-go dancers got paid $46,000 with decent health benefits and a pension I would be cheering right along with Florida. But in the meantime I say lets have socialized medicine, an industrial policy, support for trade unions on a massive scale and local government that helps people train for the skills that will allow them to make a decent living while they work and a long prosperous vacation when they retire.

Conventional Wisdom?

I was watching an interview with one of John Kerry's daughter's (30) the other day, I might add she was far more articulate and good looking than he. She went to Brown and just finished grad school and she was speaking to a crowd at Ann Arbor or Berkley. I have to admit I was somewhat infatuated but the comment that shook me from my lust was her comment that I have heard again and again this election cycle that this IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN A LIFETIME.

I don't think this is a particularly important election.

Both Bush and Kerry agree on the major issues of the day, war and occupation in Iraq and an unending "war on teror" (whatever that means)-they are both for it, health care-Bush wants to leave it alone to the detrimant of us all and Kerry wants to putz around the edges-he vaguely talks about insuring the uninsured (how he will do this with a Republican congress is beyond me, trade/capitalism-they both want to favor US corporations so that the US can sell things at an advantage over others in the world by subsidizing things we make and by keeping regimes in power that keep wages low thus undermining wages at home.

The most important election in our lifetime? I think not.


Aaarnold lies about his Soviet experience, and nobody cares. Arnold and Ronnie are a lot alike. They are big right wing populists that believe their own propoganda.

Friday, September 03, 2004


The US as empire, something the ideological savvy opinion makers, since the earliest days have tried to deny is dissected in this article in Monthly Review.

The Referendum in Venezuela

James Petras on right and left wing myths about Hugo Chavez.

War With Iran

NPR beats the war drums for an invasion of Iran.

Volunteer for Vietnam? Bad Idea

I certainly do think that from a pratical political point of view Kerry should stress his Vietnam service to contrast it to the chickenhawks who run the show today. But in a sane time this bragging about volunteering for a war that brought the death of 3 million southeast asians from peasant societies would be seen as grotesque to say the least. Here's some perspective on the war in southeast asia.

Would You Hire G.W.B. As CEO?

Juan Cole on Bush's speech at the RNC.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Kerry Zombies and NGO's

Back to Cockburn's rants as we begin the new school year.