I'm glad it didn't show up at my picnic
Cool Space Pic of the Day
Opinions on Politics, Art Stuff, Outrages current & otherwise, an occasional photograph, and of course Cool Space Pics of the Day. Formerly titled "Wudndux"
The ivory-billed woodpecker, a magnificent bird that ornithologists had long given up for extinct, has been sighted in the watery tupelo swampland of a wildlife refuge in Arkansas, scientists announced today.Click here:Click here: The New York Times > Science > Woodpecker Thought to Be Extinct Is Sighted in Arkansas
About 12 percent of Americans are now reading political blogs—26 million people using a medium that didn’t really exist five years ago. It’s an amazing information mutation. The blogosphere may be helping the Right indirectly, too, in that the rise of a left-wing presence on the Web is pushing the Democratic Party to the Left, hurting its electoral chances nationally.Blogs certainly helped John Dean raise remarkable amounts of money via the Internet, altho he wasn't able to turn that into major showings in the primaries for long. Still, the Internet will be used by all sides in the future...if the Federal Government in its infinite wisdom doesn't stop it:
The blogosphere has helped shape our national politics since 9/11. The cancellation of the CBS documentary "The Reagans"; Howell Raines’s downfall at the Times; Eason Jordan’s departure from CNN; the Swifties; Trent Lott stepping down as Senate majority leader; Richard Clarke’s attempted takedown of the Bush administration; of course Rathergate—the list of national controversies is long and growing in which the blogosphere has played a key role. The liberal media has been the big loser to date,...but the long-term influence of blogs will keep all news sources on their toes....I think...that over time we could see an improvement in reporting and argument. Imagine being at Fox in 2005, with so many on the left trying to bring you crashing down. You’re going to make damn sure you don’t air something seriously wrong, or if you do, correct it quick.
PL: Do you think that the Empire will strike back against those of us exploiting the freedom of the Internet? What threats are there on the horizon?What was that yesterday? Ah, yes: ppl so afraid of freedom they work to destroy it before they even know what good it can bring. Bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine because it might help Democrats in the short term. There are Republicans who will help, too: they want content controls (read Censorship) of cable TV content. Censoring the airwaves is at least constitutionally sound (tho terrible policy) because the Feds unfortunatly own the airwaves. Censoring cable TV clearly is abridgement of the 1st Amendment. But then I thought that was the case with McCain-Feingold, and the Supreme Court disagreed with me.
BA: I am very worried about the extension of onerous FEC rules to cover blogs, as obviously are bloggers themselves. And John Kerry just a few weeks back was lamenting the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. A New York congressman, Maurice Hinchey, wants to restore it. Doing so would obliterate talk radio.
Last week, reports from several government departments confirmed what most business travelers and other frequent fliers already knew: after spending more than $5 billion in federal funds on the agency, airport security is hardly any better now than it was before 9/11.
Political talk [radio is] so much part of our national fabric these days that people forget how new it is. [It] owes its existence to Ronald Reagan, whose FCC phased out the Fairness Doctrine in the late 1980s. That doctrine required broadcasters airing political opinions to provide equal time for opposing views. In practice, this would mean a station that broadcast, say, Sean Hannity, and had millions of listeners for his show would also have to air Al Franken or some other left-wing equivalent, even if the ratings stunk, as Air America’s do...What station could run the risk? Better to broadcast blandness.As I recall, Reagan was roundly- and viciously- denounced for ending "fairness". It is funny how so many ppl -not all of them Democrats, by any means- are so threatened by something as simple as freedom that they demand the government end it. Putting an end to one dry little regulation had quite an effect.
With the Fairness Doctrine lifted, talk radio exploded: in the early 1980s, there were only 75 or so stations broadcasting talk shows of any kind on the airwaves; today, there’s roughly 1,400, and there are more than 4,000 hosts broadcasting.
Expiration Of Ban Pushes Police To Get Assault Rifles. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The expiration of the nation's ban on the sale of assault rifles and the appearance of more heavily armed criminals have pushed more than 100 St. Petersburg police officers to order assault rifles of their own for official duty.OK. Except here is Deborah Sontag in the New York Times on April 24th:
Despite dire predictions that the streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of the decade-long assault weapons ban last September...has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime in the past seven months, according to several metropolitan police departments.So, which is it? A wave of assault weapons in crime, or no noticable increase? The NYT again:
The uneventful expiration of the assault weapons ban did not surprise gun owners, nor did it surprise some advocates of gun control.
What's more, law enforcement officials say that military-style weapons, which were never used in many gun crimes but did enjoy some vogue in the years before the ban took effect, seem to have gone out of style in criminal circles.Bad guys with guns over running the country? NYT once more:
Gun crime has plummeted since the early 1990's. But a study for the National Institute of Justice said that it could not "clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence."I have no problem with cops buying their own guns, but these particular guns seem inadequate for the some of the reported purposes:
The rifles may be used only in "a high-risk situation, such as...when confronted by barricaded subjects,...for felony vehicle stops."These guns (AR-15s) fire .223 cartridges, and those are awful for penetrating barricades and cars bodies. Still, if the cops want to shell out $1100 of their own money, that's fine- so long as the rest of us can buy them too.
Andre Gunder Frank was a giant in the socialI Googled him, and found one of his treatises online. If Andre Gunder Frank was a giant, no wonder Latin America has been the economic and political mess it has been for 50 years. He wrote:
sciences and continued to make contributions to all of our work in
many ways more than his crucial underdevelopment concept.
I also accepted the Chinese line, because it appeared more revolutionary. The line and praxis of the Soviet and Soviet aligned Latin American Communist parties were too reformist.That is, he considered the Soviet methods in Latin America as insufficiently revolutionary.
My article contained the then radical proposition and figures to show that Brazil and Latin America in fact were net capital exporters to the United States, which far from aiding them, thereby exploited them.Could it possibly have been than in the 1960s any reasonable person with money in Latin America would have worked to get it out of Latin America because influential people there saw the Soviet Union as soft on capitalism?
In Brazil I wrote an article on the foreign investment 'Mechanisms of Imperialism' (reprinted 1969) to counter the gospel according to which the Third World needed foreign investment and capital. Received theory was that the principal obstacle to development was the shortage of capital.Yep, what Latin America had was an excess of capital. So guys like this set about scaring it away. Did a pretty good job of it, too.
The upshot of all these theoretical and political reflections...was that continued participation in the same world capitalist system could only mean continued development of underdevelopment. The political conclusions, therefore, were to de-link from the system externally and to transit to self-reliant socialism internally (or some undefined international socialist cooperation) in order to make in- or non-dependent economic development possible.Economic isolationism and self-reliant socialism: Let's produce everything we are terrible at producing, and export nothing which we are good at producing. Destroy all incentives to efficient use of resources. It is amazing that anyone even in those days could take this foolishness seriously, much less today consider him a "giant."
I also gave short shrift to how the necessarily not so democratic (pre) revolutionary means might or not promote or even preclude the desirable post revolutionary end.Paraphrase: I have no idea why my anti-democratic revolutionary ideas might lead where I think we need to go, nor even any theory for why they wouldn't make things even worse, but lets start killing people we dislike (capitalists) and see what happens. That's responsible social activism for you.
Dependence theory and writing, including mine, also made a notable impact on and through the 'theology of liberation,' which was and still is spread through Catholic Church groups in Latin America.Great: He turned the Latin American Catholic church into a bunch of Shining Maoists. That really did a whole lot to improve the lot of the impoverished.
Free to Choose (Milton) Friedman argued that the magic of the market (efficiency?) comes first and freedom (equity?) later. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics, not for peace. The World Bank still gives Chile pride of place for its model. For us, it has cost the assassination of literally countless personal friends, some still very recently.This guy criticizes mass-murdering revolutionaries for killing his friends? He was the one who criticized the Soviet Union for being insufficiently revolutionary. Oh. Sorry: Revolutionary mass murder is just fine when it is Marxists doing the killing. When fascists do it, well, that is a terrible thing. But only then.
From 1974 to 1978 I worked in Germany. I was never able to get a professorship in Germany. The Minister of Culture, an ex police chief who now exercised his political judgment as arbiter of all appointments, told one university president who wished to hire me that 'this Frank will never get a professorship here.' So I left Germany in 1978.A revelation: State control of university systems can lead to political abuses. Well, surprise of surprises. Would Frank have objected if a Maoist commisar had stopped Milton Friedman from getting a job?
About the same time in 1979 soon after we had arrived in England from Germany, my younger son Miguel observed 'England is an underdeveloping country.' I ran to my class to tell my British students, who were incredulous. After several years of British deindustrialization under the government of Mrs. Thatcher, I repeated Miguel's earlier observation to a later generation of students, who then reacted 'of course.'Another shock: Students of an avowedly revolutionary Marxist professor thought Thatcher's capitalist reforms in Britain were a bad idea. The poor Brits have suffered thru economic booms ever since.
In 1986 I wrote that the recovery that began in 1983 generated many new problemsDamn those economic recoveries: better ban 'em.
I analyzed the rapid progress of (the reincorporation of the socialist countries into the capitalist world economy) in detail in 1976 under the title 'Long Live Transideological Enterprise! The Socialist Economies in the Capitalist International Division of Labor and West-East-South Political Economic Relations'Now there is a catchy title for you. I wonder that I didn't hear of it at the time.
I suggested that East Germany faced, and it has indeed become the victim of...sell out to West Germans (who have 'carpetbagged' the entire East German economy and society by closing down its industries that were quite productive and competitive, precisely because they were so!That's the capitalist way to riches: buy productive and competitive industries and shut them down. You can make lots of money by destroying your own wealth. Maybe the Germans should buy MicroSoft and Nissan and shut them down, too.
Therefore, any development 'policy' for a particular country, region, sector, group or individual must identify and promote some selected 'comparative' advantage within the world economy. The 'policy' is to find one or more niches in which to carve out a temporary position of 'comparative' monopoly advantage in the international division of labor.For once he has said something remotely akin to reality, except that even here we can be sure that the "policy" makers will be government bureaucrats who have no shred of agility in adapting to changing conditions. They will lock in some "policy" and even if successful in the short run will in the long run destroy their subjects thru inability to adapt.
Then, it may be possible to derive some temporary monopoly rent from the same. Some specialization is necessary, because advantageous and even loss avoiding presence on all industrial and technological fronts is impossible today. Of course, it is advantageous to do so in a newly leading industry or sector, which is itself able to command temporary monopoly rents. However, each such sector, and even more so each such region or group operating within it, must count on soon losing this advantage again. For soon they will be displaced by competition from others on the world marketAnd that is why political direction of the economy does not work: Conditions change far faster than any central commanders can adapt.
the previously progressive political content or direction of social movements seems to be turning rightward. In Latin America, right wing evangelical fundamentalism is replacing more progressive community organization around the theology of liberation and other popular currents in the Catholic Church.That last does jibe with something I read elsewhere recently: Evangelical Protestantism is apparently making big inroads in Latin America. If the alternative is Shining Maoists, that would be an improvement. Altho Pope John Paul seemed concerned about the lefties in the SA church and removed a lot from power, and the new Pope seems equally so inclined. Neither were/are great proponents of capitalism tho, at least from what I hear. Still, they aren't Maoists.