Friday, December 21, 2007

Food First

Every year the issue of "overpopulation" comes up in my classroom. Lots still believe in the "too many mouths to feed" arguement about poverty and malnutrition. I remember reading Food First's Diet for a Small Planet years ago and the arguements are as pescient today as ever. Check out 12 myths about hunger.

Myth 3
Too Many People

Reality: Birth rates are falling rapidly worldwide as remaining regions of the Third World begin the demographic transition - ­when birth rates drop in response to an earlier decline in death rates. Although rapid population growth remains a serious concern in many countries, nowhere does population density explain hunger. For every Bangladesh, a densely populated and hungry country, we find a Nigeria, Brazil or Bolivia, where abundant food resources coexist with hunger. Or we find a country like the Netherlands, where very little land per person has not prevented it from eliminating hunger and becoming a net exporter of food. Rapid population growth is not the root cause of hunger. Like hunger itself, it results from underlying inequities that deprive people, especially poor women, of economic opportunity and security. Rapid population growth and hunger are endemic to societies where land ownership, jobs, education, health care, and old age security are beyond the reach of most people. Those Third World societies with dramatically successful early and rapid reductions of population growth rates - ­China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Cuba and the Indian state of Kerala - ­prove that the lives of the poor, especially poor women, must improve before they can choose to have fewer children.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I haven't seen the new Dylan movie but here's a review:

Looking back.

It riffs on the idea of originality.

Thomas Frank got me thinking about Dylan's "authenticity" a few years ago:

The conquest of cool.

Not saying I totally agree but not something in the Dylan context that I had not thought of before.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Death Watch Religion

Thousands march in Sudan for death of teacher who's students named a teddy bear Muhhamed during a lesson about animals and their habits. And we think we have it bad?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Le douche

Douche-bags are an underapreciated entity these days. Living in the Midwest I can attest. Our snark, boorishness and condescension can only take us so far professionally so we need other outlets of self-aggrandizement, and let's not leave out megalomania. In an effort to celebrate the d-b the Red and the Black has started a new feature: Le douche. Le douche will celebrate all aspects of la universidad that is doucheiness. The opening salvo in Le douche will be dedicated to a trifecta of doucheiocity, the three people of late that make me think "Summers Eve:"

I. Matt Cale

This guy has some problems, with women that is.* That being said he is a brilliant social observer, writer and film critic.

II. Maddox

Maybe the Provost of Douche-Bag University?

III. J.F. Page

More on this guy.

Not an original yes, but nonetheless...

*A common affliction of douche bags.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Death Watch Religion

British teacher arrested after her students name teddy bear Muhhamed.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

At Stake in France

"Sarkozy wants to fight his battles one by one. France has sluggish economic growth, a huge budget and social security deficit and massive debt that is worrying the EU. At the top of Sarkozy's long list of changes for France is installing a new work ethic where the French work more and for longer. Currently France works on average 617 hours a person a year, compared with 800 hours in Britain. To the government, reforming the special early pensions perks of 500,000 public sector workers was a logical place to start. It was also symbolic: in 1995 three weeks of crippling transport strikes brought France to its knees and forced Jacques Chirac to cave in on the same reform."

Some unconventional wisdom:

"Despite the mythology surrounding French unions in reality they are weak and divided. Trade union membership in France is among the lowest in the West. At 8% of the public sector and 5% of the private sector, membership is far behind the UK and even the US. There are more unemployed people in France than trade union members. In an average year the French miss proportionately fewer working days from strikes than Americans do. The transport strike has flagged up the weaknesses of unions as hardline grassroots continued their strike even as negotiations began."

The Guardian's repoting on Sarkozy and labor.

The BBC's more measured approach.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Death Watch Religion

Saudi poobahs endorse 200 lashes for rape victim.

"The 19-year-old, who has not been named, was travelling in a car with a male friend last year, when the car was attacked by a gang of seven men who raped both of them."

Notice the male who was raped is not getting flogged.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bringing the Public Back In


I have received the following email from a number of people and want to explain why I think it's a good idea for ALL salaries to be public information. Let's suppose you are a worker whose salary is "privately" held, this is the case for most workers in the private sector by the way. In such a circumstance two people working side by side doing exactly the same job could be paid widely different salaries by a subjective decision of their employer. It might be illegal for an employer to discriminate according to ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation but if salaries are not public then how would one know? Also, even if the employer was not discriminating what good is being served by not knowing one's fellow worker's wage? The only purpose I, and employers through the ages, can see is dividing workers by favoring one type of worker over the other. Who might these privileged workers be? maybe one that works harder but it could also just as easily be one that does not "make waves" or one that is a "team player" or let's be straight forward here, one who is a rat.

Another reason public workers should be in favor of public salaries in a word is democracy. For instance, do you think we should not know the salary of Superintendent Andrekopoulos or President George Bush? Both are public employees who's salaries we know because we as voters are their boss. If we think that they are over or under paid it is incumbent upon us to change the compensation they get or fire them if we don't think they are doing a good job. Accountability is the key idea here not just for the President but for all civil servants on down to teachers, garbage collectors and secretaries. Just as we hope the people should be vigilant for abuse of power at the higher levels of the bureaucracy we should also keep our eyes open for abuse on the street level.

Now the Journal-Sentinel publishes the information because they are right wing populists pandering to the suburban anti-tax crowd who think teachers and other public sector workers are overpaid because in the last 30 years or so they have seen real purchasing power go down and they want to blame you. But this shouldn't stop us from supporting transparency and openness in government for which we all benefit.

I was reading through the Journal this afternoon and found that ANYONE can look up teacher salaries in WI. I found me at.....
Maybe the salaries have always been available, but geez, in this time of "everything is private" they put us in the paper?? UGH!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Death Watch Religion

GOLD: Biblical scandal rocks Atlanta Mega-Church. It looks like Earl Paulk the titular head of stadium prayer school has been diddling his brother's wife and lordy, lordy they have a love child. I'm sure the lord will forgive however.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE: "I am so very sorry for the collateral damage it's caused our family and the families hurt by the removing of the veil that hid our humanity and our sinfulness," said D.E. Paulk, who received the mantle of head pastor a year and a half ago.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Kid Could Paint That

Above behold Jackson Pollock's "The Laughing Squid:" a masterpiece?

Yes, this painting is pleasing at some level, but something we should consider a pinnacle of our civilization? An interpretation of squid laughing only unveiled by the artist himself? Or a splotch of no meaning at all? And meant to be that.

My Kid Could Paint That sets out to explore just these issues, is abstract expressionism elaborate intellectual masturbation mixed with 94% hucksterism or something we should celebrate as a radical form of uhm... expression. I say sets out because after an initial love fest spent with Upstate New York's Gen X "Leave it to Beaver" Olmstead family with the prodigal daughter, whose 4 year old's paintings were getting ink in the New York Times, the film maker inadvertently shifts gears chronicling a family in crisis. Why the crisis? Because the intrepid journalists at 60 Minutes had once again sniffed out some bullshoot and planted a camera and mic in the basement of the budding artist's home to see if she can actually produce the works that are now fetching thousands, not just in the greater Binghamton, NY area, but soon to be at Sotheby's. You can guess the outcome. But what becomes most compelling at about a third the way into My Kid is whether Bar-Lev, the film maker, should continue now that he smells a rat. The other compelling story line is whether not beautiful mom can now believe her Eddie Vedder look alike husband who shifts and squirms on film as if recently afflicted with a bad case of Cholera when asked about the authorship of the paintings.

Amir Bar-Lev puts himself, and the issue at hand, out there. He likes the family. They like him. But he knows if he continues on he is part of the problem. So what's an earnest documentarian to do? In interview after interview, non-chronologically, Bar-Lev in a seemingly honest way, tries to figure out whether or not to continue. Is he betraying his new found confidants? Does he have a duty to expose the fraud? Some characters come off sleazy and calculatingly unconcerned with any of these issues as long as they make a buck but our films true protaganist, Laura Olmstead, the mom, seems to have an epiphany on film. And at its core it is the question of her entire life; is my husband a lying piece of da-da? The dilemma of filmer and watcher, and eventually participant, is why exactly should we be taking part in this Montell moment? The voyuerism is bile inducing, I thought of walking out, but at the same time I thought they, maybe Vedder more than she, wanted this exposure. They invited the filmmaker into their home. They cashed the checks. They mounted a defense even after the 60 Minutes episode. Did she really have no doubt? She wanted the fame and the chava.

A good film always keeps you thinking, not just about the topic at hand but about one's own dilemmas. My Kid will get you thinking.

Death Watch Religion

Saudi women who was gang raped gets 200 lashes and 6 months in jail for her "crime."

"The rape victim was punished for violating Saudi Arabia's laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man.

On appeal, the Arab News reported that the punishment was not reduced but increased to 200 lashes and a six-month prison sentence."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The East is Red

Went to the Milwaukee Bucks/Memphis Grizzlies basketball game last night. The Bucks have recently acquired Chinese sensation Yi Jianlin who is a huge star in China. Beyond his play, he's pretty good, the most incredible occurrence of the evening was presence of the crimson banner of Chinese communism in the crowd. Handed out prior to the game, the golden star of Chairman Mao's vanguard and the supporting cast of workers, intellectuals, peasants and progressive bourgeoisie were waved with glee by the proletariat and assorted petty middling classes of Milwaukee.

Harry and Lynde Bradley ,the game was at the Bradley Center, would be proud.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Cleveland, once a giant now has the dubious distinction of being the US leader in home foreclosures. The storm was thought to be over when a couple weeks ago a number of banks came "clean" on the staggering nature of the liabilities but it seems they are not out of the woods yet in the strange world of derivatives and such. 1 trillion alone in the Duetche Bank mess! This is real money.

And even the Supermodels don't want the greenback any more.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Death Watch Religion

Saint Francisco? Our latest mitered one thinks the black shirts in Spain got a bad rap so he wants 400 or so to be sainted.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Day in the Life

116 years ago Joseph Robert's, father of 5, wife packed her husband an orange and saw him off in the morning in Staffordshire, England. He never made it home.

One of the millions of nameless over the long slog that has toiled so that we all can warm, chatter and enjoy.

The story impelled me to search "world mining disasters" and came up with this site. Another reminder of those who missed their citrus this noon.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Right, Hippies and Hillary

The Right's effective effort to turn a right wing Democrat into a mix between Rosa Luxemburg and Joan Baez. Or why the right still redbait.
Waldman's wonderful article here dissects the Right's political tactics and social role. And it's quite well written and funny too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Doctor Watson's Race Problem

Why Nobel Laureate Dr Watson is wrong about race.

Stephen Jay Gould's take.

In Gould's own words.

Here's why the term "Caucasian" was coined by Friedrich Blumenbach:

"Caucasian variety - I have taken the name of this variety from Mount Caucasus, both because its neighborhood, and especially its southern slope, produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian; and because all physiological reasons converge to this, that in that region, if anywhere, it seems we ought with the greatest probability to place the autochthones (birth place) of mankind."

Odd he thought his "race" the most beautiful, no?

Race: The Power of an Allusion.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crossover Dream or

Why Bollywood is the future. A must see!

De-Industrialization: Auto


Sales (volume) Sales ($bn) Profit ($bn) Market value ($bn) Workforce
GM 8.3m 192 -10.9 20 335,000
Toyota 8.2m 176 12.5 208 285,000
Daimler/Chrsyler 4.8m 185 -1.7* 65 382,000
Ford 6.6m 153 -12.7* 16 300,000
Volkswagen 5.2m 118 5.2 43 344,000
*2006 (Chrysler only)
Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2005

The decline of Detroit.

The Case for Letting Malibu Burn

Mike Davis on the "natural disaster" that is the fire out West.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Death Count Religion

Billy Graham lackey of the war machine.

Death Count Religion

This October day inagurates a new feature here at the Red and the Black Death Count Religion. The body count is high and although seemingly a secular tide has been rising since the late 1700's the authoritarians always know the route to control is a little bit of angel dust with a touch of eternal damnation. In an effort to try and shed a tiny light on the horror show that is GOD Death Count Religion with periodically high light the body bags. Todays entry is somewhat commical but the consequences tragic for Delhi's Deputy Mayor who fell a story after fighting off monkeys who are protected given the worship of Hanuman by millions in South Asia.

The story.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


In March of this year liberals John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt put out a mild critique of the Israeli lobby and unleashed a shit storm. They have weathered the storm and have put out a reply to some of the hysterics.

The Liberal Washington Post

The Washington Post comes out against passing a resolution condemning the Armenia genocide. On what grounds? Turkey is an ally of the US and instrumental in waging war in Iraq, thus let's not get them mad. The Post also works a little genocide denial into the article as they put in quotes around the term itself.

The Post still likes to ride on the coattails of the Watergate days when they helped topple a President but historically they have been a flak for US power. This latest grand stand is just part in parcel in their long traditional of standing for power of the state over truth.

A few sources on the Armenian genocide.

By the way the Clinton Administration also played the game of denial in the interests of national security under its watch.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Che's Assassin Treated by Cuban Doctors

In Bolivia last year Cuban doctors operated on the man who killed internationalist hero Che Guevara. The operation was part of a Cuban program that offers free eye care to people throughout Latin America.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Church on the Cutting Edge

The head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique claims that some condoms made in Europe are deliberately infected with HIV. He also says that anti-retro viral medication is a plot to finish off the people of Africa.

The answer to the HIV crisis, according to the grand puba? abstinence.

Once again the church is trailblazing new ground in meta-physics.

$190 Billion More!

"Considering this, I would like to close with a word about something I know we can all agree on — the honor, courage and great sense of duty we have witnessed in our troops since September 11th," his testimony said.

Secretary of Defense Gates on why the spineless, Democratic controlled Congess, who daily say they are against the war. should vote for $190 BILLION more for the carnage.

In other words, if you even think about voting against this you will be tarred with the dishonor of not supporting the troops who have died for the attacks of 9/11.

The 9/11 Iraq link lives on with the kinder, gentler, honest killer that heads the Pentagon.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Democracy and Privatization

Blackwater back to work in Iraq after being banned by the Iraqi government, looks like we know who is pitching and catching in this relationship.

Blackwater's atrocity is unfortunately only a small example of how "democratic" governments can avoid accountability to the people that supposedly rule their socities. Privatization, counter to the rat-a-tat of neo-liberalism's flaksters, is the opposite of democracy. The privatization of the military seems a particularly egregious slap in the face to the poor slobs that howl "USA, USA" as the F-16 fighters scream across the stadium given that now there is absolutely no accountability for parts of the ultimate symbol of US power, the military.

Do you think the Iraqi's or Afghani's who are murdered by Blackwater death squads do not blame you and your government for their mayhem?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Soviet Poster Blog

Every strike of hammer - hits the enemy!
V. Deni, A. Dolgorukov, 1941

A Soviet poster blog! Isn't Late Capitalism great.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Search for Inequality

The expensive search for reckless plutocrat Steve Fossett has turned up six lost plane wrecks in the last couple weeks. This begs the question from the Red and the Black, why the fuck are they looking for Stevie boy if they didn't have the time, resources or interest in looking for the other dentists and thrill-seekers in their expensive toys lost in the greater Nevada wasteland?

This NPR story is actually quite moving as a middle age man talks about the sense of loss he has had for 40 years because of the loss of his dad in a plane crash when he was young.

Russians Make the "Father of All Bombs"

But as reported on NPR and quoted in this story, it's an environmentally friendly super bomb!

Lucky us. The planet will now be destroyed in an environmentally responsible way.

New Amigos Invisibles

And only 10 bucks on line. Sorry to be shilling on the red site but I really like this band. And you should too!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Iraqis as Political Fodder

So after all the "surge" was just about Bush treading water until the end of his term. According to Petraus, reported by the BBC:

*he envisioned the withdrawal of some 30,000 US troops by the middle of 2008, beginning with 2,000 marines in September

*he expected a decision on further troop cuts next March

*the situation in Iraq remained "difficult".

In other words the "surge" killed thousands of Iraqis and we will be back to the exact same amount of troops, maybe, in the middle of next year. A phony withdrawal then just in time for the election.

But no need to fret intrepid anti-warriors the Democrats are anti-war this season, or are they?

Clinton's "bottom line," re-deployment:

So, the bottom line for me is that we will begin re-deploying our troops as soon as I am President, and we will do so in as expeditious a manner as possible. We will survey the situation to determine whether there are any remaining vital security interests by 2009, and if there are among the ones I’ve mentioned, and among the ones that appear in the legislation passed in both the House and the Senate...


The plan allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces.


Finally, it's also Senator Edwards' position that we will have troops in the region to prevent the sectarian violence in Iraq from spilling over into other countries, for counter-terrorism, or to prevent a genocide. But in the region means in the region - for example, existing bases like Kuwait, naval presence in the Persian Gulf, and so forth.

Democrats positions to leave troops in Iraq for years..

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shock Treatment

Naomi Kline on capital as opportunist.

Solar Plane

Solar plane flys at night, reaches 58,0000 feet. Uh, with no people.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Our Local Paper's Answer to De-industrialization and De-unionization:

Whine! The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal likes to talk about how the working class is working more and getting paid less and has less access to health care. But when it comes to the one institution that has shown results, unions, when it comes raising the standard of living for all, it remains silent and hostile.

A local union leader makes the case.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Cost of Capitalism

Naomi Kline talks about the body count of capitalism's latest stage of "development."

"I don't think our problem is money, lack of resources to act on these
basic ideas. Now, at the risk of being accused of economic populism, I
would just point out that in this city, the employees of Goldman Sachs
received more than $16 billion in Christmas bonuses last year, and
ExxonMobil earned $40 billion in annual profits, a world record. It
seems to me that there's clearly enough money sloshing around to pay for
our modest dreams. We can tax the polluters and the casino capitalists
to pay for alternative energy development and a global social safety
net. We don't lack ideas. Neither are we short on cash."

See Darwin's Nightmare for a graphic treatment of these ideas.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On Being a Tool

Heard this commentary this morning from an African-American student from a working class family that is in her second year as a student at New York's elite Sarah Lawrence College. In it she talks about her alienation from the well healed student body in her first year as a Freshman. The commentary itself is quite compelling but what caught my ear was her quote from Audrey Lorde: "you can't use the master's tools to tear down the master's house."

Yes and no...

Reading? yes. Math? yes. Economics? yes. Science? of course. Now all of these tools can and are used in subjective ways that keep the master in banks, bimbos and armies but as a teacher I notice that lots of urban kids become nihilists and across the board oppositionists. It's a fine line then between having a radical pedagogical perspective and a bent towards progressive change and being an apologist for the system. Because you need to know how something works if you want to break it down to say nothing of putting something positive in its place. Students see that the system is failing them and the larger community so they reject all institutions, including education, and authority because they see any kind of accommodation as selling out, particularly for black males.

The commentary also reminded me of the old story about Che and the National Bank of Cuba. So the story goes that around 1962 or so Fidel called in the tops in reaction to the dismal state of the Cuban economy with Che as the head of the bank. Fidel then said, "hey remember when I asked are any of you guys an economist because I have an important job for you and Che spoke up and said, I am, I want the job?" At that point Che got up and said, "oh, I thought you said are any of you guys a communist?"

Moral of the story: it's not always red over expert.

History and Its Uses

Brian Concannon looks at how the Haitian Revolution is celebrated, or not, and its role in the international abolition movement. Check out the quote by Frederick Douglas.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Kopi Luwak

In an effort to distinguish itself from the crowd in late capitalism the plutocracy must seek wider and wider not only geographically but alas intestinally. Yes, the fruits of the bowls are now being mined for the most unique, and expensive, coffee in the world the elusive Kopi Luwak. Now you may ask what makes this coffee so unique that it could be sold for $50 a cup? The answer my friends is that it first is "passed" through the system of the Asian Palm Civet, a cat like beast that for some reason eats coffee beans. Yes my fellow plebes if you want to be in the elite and feed your addiction in the morning a poor Indonesian must first sort through the scat of the lowly Civet. I'm sure Richie Rich rarely spares his fellow breakfast mate the story of how the bean traveled to his table.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Stories from the Plutocracy

While liberals argue over which country in Asia to bomb and whether or not Michael Moore is nice enough the discrepancy in wealth in the United States has returned to 1920's levels. Below are a few stories about how the super-rich are handling their new ill gotten gain. By the way most of the wealth "created" in the last 20 years or so is not from actual capital (things) but made from selling services, financial and otherwise, and through the massive inflation in real estate.

One personal note: I was at a seminar at Columbia U. this July and one noticeable phenomena on the upper West side and in Central Park I couldn't help notice were the hundreds of nanny's, seemingly mostly women from Latin America, taking care of the children of the super-rich. Not something I had noticed in Gotham in the past.

By the Numbers

Forbes gloats about things billionaires can buy after they get tired of shopping or can't think of anything else to but.

Toys of the Super-rich

NPR is looking for a camp for the young of the rico nuevo.

Camp Teaches Newly Rich how to Manage Money

The Super-rich Are Out of Sight

by Michael Parenti

New York Magazine

Don't Hate Them Because They Are Rich

The Washington Post

The Forbes 400 are all Billionaires

The Wall Street Journal travels to

By the way there are over 500 billionaires in the US.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

CNN vs Sicko

In search of the truth?

>CNN vs. SiCKO
>Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) Action Alert
>Filmmaker Michael Moore appeared on CNN's Situation
>Room on July 9 to talk about his new film Sicko--but
>ended up having an animated discussion with host Wolf
>Blitzer about a CNN "fact check" of the film that made
>several embarrassing errors.
>The piece--dubbed a "Reality Check" by senior medical
>correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta--claimed that Moore
>"fudged the facts" when critiquing the U.S. health care
>system (click here to watch the clip
>Gupta starts by acknowledging that the U.S.
>healthcare system placed 37th in the World Health
>Organization's rankings. The fact that Moore contrasts
>this with the Cuban system led Gupta to "catch" him:
>"But hold on. That WHO list puts Cuba's healthcare
>system even lower than the United States, coming in at
>number 39."
>The fact that the U.S.'s healthcare system does about
>as well as a Third World island that's been under
>economic sanctions for the past five decades isn't much
>of a catch to begin with. But Cuba's WHO ranking
>actually appears in Moore's film. (As Moore's website
>pointed out, when CNN aired the relevant clip from his
>film, a CNN logo covered up Cuba on the list.)
>Gupta's next fact check:
>"Moore asserts that the American healthcare system
>spends $7,000 per person on health, whereas Cuba spends
>$25 per person. Not true, but not too far off. The
>United States spends $6,096 a year per person versus
>$229 a year in Cuba."
>Actually, Moore was much closer than Gupta: according
>to the Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. per
>capita healthcare spending was projected to reach
>$7,092 in 2006, and $7,498 for this year.
>On a July 10 debate with Moore on CNN's Larry King
>Live, Gupta tried to claim that these projected numbers
>were somehow invalid, as if the continuously rising
>costs of healthcare should not be taken into account
>when discussing healthcare expenditures. Ironically,
>during the same discussion, Gupta cited Medicare's
>looming insolvency as a reason not to support expanding
>the program--a financial crunch that of course is also
>based on projections of steadily rising healthcare
>What's more--Gupta's "reality check" got the film's
>claims wrong: Moore said Cuba spent $251 per person,
>not $25.
>Gupta went on to claim that Sicko portrays "medical
>utopia elsewhere," when in fact studies show the U.S.
>system is better in some respects:
>"The film is filled with content Canadians and Brits
>sitting in waiting rooms, confident care will come. In
>Canada, you can be waiting for a long time. A survey of
>six industrialized nations found that only Canada was
>worse than the United States when it came to waiting
>for a doctor's appointment for a medical problem."
>This is a grossly misleading characterization of the
>Commonwealth Fund's survey; instead of stressing that
>the study found that the United States did better than
>one country with universal care in terms of waiting
>time, Gupta could more relevantly have focused on the
>fact that four out of five of the universal healthcare
>countries studied (including Britain) outperformed the
>U.S. on the very measure that he singled out to show
>that you don't find "medical utopia elsewhere."
>It's worth noting that the study that Gupta cited
>placed the U.S. as the worst overall of all the
>healthcare system studied, placing it last or next to
>last in all but one of eight criteria, while spending
>almost twice as much per capita as the next most
>expensive system. Gupta's example was a clear case of
>cherry-picking-- selecting only the data that fits your
>argument-- something he accused Moore of doing.
>When Moore confronted CNN's Blitzer about the
>inaccuracies in their "reality check" segment, he
>responded: "Well, if we get that confirmed, obviously,
>we'll correct the record." And CNN did correct one
>thing--Gupta acknowledged his error about Cuba's per
>capita spending ($25 versus $251). On CNN's Newsroom
>(7/10/07), Gupta seemed taken aback by the whole thing,
>saying, "Yesterday there was a lot said by Michael,
>quite frankly, lots of numbers thrown around, and it
>can get admittedly somewhat confusing."
>He did not apologize for criticizing Moore for using
>current healthcare figures rather than outdated ones,
>or for implying that Moore concealed Cuba's healthcare
>ranking, or for misleading viewers about the findings
>of the survey on waiting times. "We're comfortable with
>what we presented," Gupta said, aside from
>misrepresenting what Moore reported about Cuban
>healthcare costs by a factor of 10, which Gupta
>attributed to "an error of transcribing the number down
>"As a journalist and a doctor the facts are extremely
>important to me," Gupta claimed. That priority is not
>at all evident from his report on Sicko, which instead
>suggested that his chief goal was discrediting Moore's
>film. In pursuit of that mission he ended up making
>more serious factual errors than any he actually found
>in Moore's film. Gupta's failure to retract the other
>falsehoods, beyond his "transcribing" error, suggests
>that facts are actually of little importance to him
>compared to maintaining the pretense that he is an
>expert and that activist/journalists like Moore are not
>to be trusted.
>The tendency for mainstream journalists to resist
>criticism is not surprising. Gupta's CNN colleague Kyra
>Phillips perhaps said it best when she referred to the
>second part of Moore's interview with Blitzer: "You can
>tune in to the Situation Room at 4:00 Eastern for a
>little more unedited Moore interview, if you can
>stomach it."
>The implication couldn't be clearer: If we make false
>claims about your work, it's downright rude of you to
>say something about it.
>ACTION: Contact CNN's Situation Room and demand that
>they correct the other mistakes in Gupta's "fact check"
>on Michael Moore's film.
>Situation Room
>Comment page:
>CNN President Jonathan Klein Phone: (212) 275-7800
>For more background, go to:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Putting the Robber Barons to Shame

A380 superjumbo jet ordered for "personal use."Late capitalism.

Friday, June 08, 2007

1967 War

US ally Israel attacks a US ship, the Liberty.

Green Blood

Patient in Canada bleeds Spock like green blood.