Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Future of Radio

If you can't tell my monikor or by some of the links on the sidebar, I am a fan of radio. Since listening to NPR with my mom and reading Avi's Who Was That Masked Man Anyway? as a child, I've been in the love with the medium and have been constantly disappointed with the failure to embrace its creative potential. I wrote an article for about the future of radio in the age of the internet.

From the period of the 1920s into the onslaught of television in the 1950s, radio was the dominant outlet for entertainment and news throughout the Western world. When Pearl Harbor hit, it was through radio that most Americans received news of the attack by Japanese forces on the Hawaiian naval base in 1941. Likewise, dissidents and sympathizers of the Allies within Nazi-occupied territories would listen to BBC broadcasts (as current pope Joseph Ratzinger did with his father and older brother).

During that period, news was not all that radio provided. Radio dramas and comedies flourished. The bulk of Orson Welles can be heard through his radio broadcasts, from the infamous 'War of the Worlds' to the chilling tale of 'The Hitchhiker'. Radio was (and still is) a natural place for the adaptation of literature, allowing it to come alive while still keeping a demand on the imagination and intelligence of the listener.

While the medium was extraordinarily popular in the United States, it pretty much died away after television came to town. All the popular shows, such as 'The Lone Ranger' and 'The Jack Benny Show' were turned into television shows. The medium lived on in Europe, but was left to the memory of senior citizens in the US.

In Great Britain, the medium never went away. While American networks abandoned it, the BBC decided to keep it going. As a result, a lot of great stories came out of that outlet. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Mighty Boosh and Red Dwarf started off on the radio before launching into successful enterprises in other formats. Throughout the last few decades, the BBC has produced thousands of episodes, ranging from adaptations of famous books to the continuation of soap operas like The Archers, which has been broadcast since 1950. Shows for radio are very inexpensive to produce in comparison with television, and can provide a good launching pad for new writers and actors.

As podcasts and web broadcasting have flourished over the last decade, the dead zone of radio drama in the US may start to breathe life again. Whereas non-music radio was relegated previously to AM talk radio hosts and public radio, shows can now be produced by anyone with the gall to do it and distributed to a potential global audience. This gives a better chance of revival in the medium in North America than at any time since the late 1950s. 'If anything's to happen with radio drama in this country, its in the hands of the independents', Frederick Greenhalgh, creator of the podcast Radio Show Revival! said, 'none of whom have time, money or millions of listeners, but the web at least gives us a little more of an ice cube's hope in hell.'

The problem with reaching American audiences lies in the fact that only a few geeks even know what audio drama is. Greenhalgh adds, 'Listeners won't tune in to radio drama because they don't know what it is. Listeners don't know what it is because nobody plays it. And the vicious cycle only continues. With so many bombs and political upheavals in the world, it's only a miniature tragedy, but it's a damn shame nonetheless.'

Audiobooks remain popular, with sites iTunes and selling books online for often the same price as print editions. Greenhalgh adds, 'The best hope of audio drama's revival, in my mind, is to tap into audiences from the audiobook world, and to bring in top, name authors, and maybe even known voices to the productions. Once listeners hear great audio drama, I'm convinced they'll want to hear more.'

We'll see what happens.

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Young voters leaning more Democratic?

From Pew Research Center:

Trends in the opinions of America's youngest voters are often a barometer of shifting political winds. And that appears to be the case in 2008. The current generation of young voters, who came of age during the George W. Bush years, is leading the way in giving the Democrats a wide advantage in party identification, just as the previous generation of young people who grew up in the Reagan years -- Generation X -- fueled the Republican surge of the mid-1990's.

In surveys conducted between October 2007 and March 2008, 58% of voters under age 30 identified or leaned toward the Democratic Party, compared with 33% who identified or leaned toward the GOP. The Democratic Party's current lead in party identification among young voters has more than doubled since the 2004 campaign, from 11 points to 25 points.

In fact, the Democrats' advantage among the young is now so broad-based that younger men as well as younger women favor the Democrats over the GOP -- making their age category the only one in the electorate in which men are significantly more inclined to self-identify as Democrats rather than as Republicans. Use the interactive tool to track generational differences in party affiliation over time.

The take away question for me is: Do enough young people vote to make a significant electoral difference?
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"We The Living"

I'm currently reading Ayn Rand's book We The Living, a novel about a young girl growing up at the dawn of the Soviet Union. There's a passage whereby her and her lover, Leo, try to get a room in the country and are met by the wonders of socialist bureaucracy:

Once, Kira and Leo attempted to spend a night in the country.

"Certainly," said the landlady. "Certainly, citizens, I can let you have a room for the night. But first you must get a certificate from your Upravdom as to where you live in the city, and a permit from your militia department, and then you must bring me your labor books, and I must register them with our Soviet here, and our militia department, and get a permit for you astransient guests, and there's a tax to pay, and then you can have the room."

They stayed in the city.

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How Hillary can win the Democratic nomination

Thanks to the libertarian blog Free Will for this video:

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"Disordered Eating Is Widespread Among US Women"

This is by way of the left-leaning news site

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of young American women report disordered eating behaviors, and 10 percent report symptoms of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder, a new survey finds.

The findings - from an online poll of more than 4,000 women between the ages of 25 and 45 - found that 75 percent eat, think and behave abnormally around food. The survey was conducted by SELFmagazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"Our survey found that these behaviors cut across racial and ethnic lines and are not limited to any one group. Women who identified their ethnic backgrounds as Hispanic or Latina, white, black or African American and Asian were all represented among the women who reported unhealthy eating behaviors," Cynthia R. Bulik, a professor of eating disorders and director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program, said in a prepared statement.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama's Wright Problem Continues

I listened to an excerpt of Barack Obama's speech on the radio today and was struck by the sharp words that Obama had towards his former pastor. Apparently the days when he could no more condemn Wright then condemn his bigotted grandmother are over. Part of this whole saga is very hard to believe for myself as well as for many people out there. As Allah over at Hot Air said, "if Obama didn’t know Wright held these beliefs he’s a moron and if he did know he’s a fraud." I don't think Obama is the former, so I will have to vote for him being the latter. That ultimately makes him just another politician and not at all "the change we can believe in."
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Monday, April 28, 2008

The world is messed up

This story is beyond messed up:

AMSTETTEN, Austria (CNN) -- Austrian police believe a 73-year-old man held his daughter captive in his cellar for the past two decades and fathered at least six children with her, according to police and state-run news reports Sunday.

The woman, identified as 42-year-old Elisabeth F., has been missing since 1984, when she was 18 years old, police said at a news conference.

The situation came to light earlier this month after her daughter -- a 19-year-old woman, identified as Kristen F. -- was hospitalized in Amstetten after falling unconscious, according to police.

She was admitted to a hospital in Amstetten, outside Vienna, by her grandfather with a note from her biological mother requesting help. Amstetten is a rural town about 150 km (93 miles) west of Vienna.

But police said a DNA test later revealed her grandfather, Josef F., was also her father, according to ORF, Austria's state-run news agency.

What I would want to know is how on earth this guy kept up this chirade for over two decades. To put it in perspective, according to this story this man was holding his daughter hostage two years longer than I have been alive. Unbelievable.
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Craig Ferguson lets loose on the New York Times

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"Could I Stop Being A Muslim?"

BBC Radio 4 has released a radio documentary targetting the important issue of Sharia law calling for the death of those who leave Islam.
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Karzai escapes assasination attempt

Despite the focus on Iraq by both militants and British and American forces, Afghanistan still holds quite a bit of importance, especially with its easy potential of devolving into a terrorist haven. If the attempt on Karzai's life had succeeded it could have spelled chaos for the country.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The concept of diversity

In their world, diversity means different hair colors, skin colors, eye colors, genders and religious backgrounds, but everyone THINKING EXACTLY THE SAME. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but this ad gives a good impression of the socialist groupthink tendencies of the far left.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Star Bores

I dug up this comic strip while looking through the files in my Photobucket acoount. It's quite funny.

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New Design!

I just added a new banner featuring a French Revolution themed painting along with the name of the blog, "Deschamps." I know, I know. "The Greatest GIldersleeve" has been scrapped as a title. Please let me know what you think.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

"What's Your Poison?"

A friend of mine is running a blog, "What's Your Poison?" dedicated to "young black people that don't follow the stereotypes that society has created for them." Go check it out.
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Fred Allen

I thought I was the only one in my generation who knows who Fred Allen was, but apparently not. Some smart bloke at Google put this quote up as today's "Funny Quote of the Day:"

"Hollywood is a place where people from Iowa mistake each other for a star."

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reselling Vitamin Water

I'm a big fan of Vitamin Water, especially the peach and Formula 50 (which is the grape one endorsed by rapper 50 Cent) variants. I think what the product they're putting out is the natural soft drink extension of the mainstream embrace of health bars like Clif Bar, Power Bar and similiar products. However, even I sometimes have reservations about consumer capitalism. Companies are shamelessly biting off of the idea of VitaminWater, creating barely disguised reprouctions of their product. From Sobe's "Life Water" to Snapple's "Antioxidiant Water," these companies have just taken another idea and ripped it off without coming up with much of anything new. Creativity often relies on building off of other's ideas, but that's different than just stealing them and marketting them as your own.

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Vintage Video: "Marihuana!"

According to Weirdo Videos, this is "a trailer for a nudie film that masquerades as an anti-'marihuana' morality tale." Seems a little crazier than "Reefer Madness," a more well known anti-marijuana propaganda film.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Candidates on WWE Raw

Egads, is it just me or does McCain seem a little too knowledgable of wrestling? I like Obama's Rock reference also. Barack and the Great One actually have quite a bit in common. They both come from mixed ethnic backgrounds, both have ridiculously high levels of charisma and charm and both have sought out championship gold in the name of "the people." Hillary Clinton seems a little bit like one of her aides had to tell her what the WWE was before she filmed this.

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Avi Lewis on America's "Rise of Hate"

Canadian documentary filmmaker Avi Lewis has gained distribution through Al Jazeera (Surprise!) and his latest masterpiece is "Inside USA - Rise of Hate," in which he makes the case that racism is becoming more and more mainstream, and that the inner bigotry of all Americans is finally beginning to open up.

The video is put to the backdrop of Pat Buchanan and Michael Savage, some of the most reviled members of the right, who have near zero clout within the Republican Party or mainstream conservatism. Much less convincing is when Lewis puts up a clip of Michelle Malkin, a Filipino-American, criticizing the government's response to illegal immigration and tries to tie it to white supremacist hatred of Latinos. Yeah, Avi, that makes alot of sense.

Avi Lewis got a lot of rotation in American talk radio circles last year when he got pummelled on air by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born ex-Muslim who has literally put her life on the line and has to be accompanied by bodyguards everywhere due to the criticism she has levelled at Islam. I can't help but find Ali to be heroic, as she has said what many think but not dare say. Lewis doesn't risk anything by demonizing America.

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Snoop Dogg in Deutscheland

B/W of Ill Roots.

It's nice to see that celebrities are still going international to make random and strange TV commercials. This one featuring Snoop Dogg in no way meets the classic Japanese ads that Arnold Schwarzenegger did in his Hollywood days, but it's pretty funny.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Wow, Hillary Clinton, you're prepared for any situation!"

Colbert sounded a wee bit like The Boy Wonder at the end there. Funny nonetheless.

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Colostomy Explosion

I've finally created an electronic music project. I've been listening to the genre for the past ten years ever since I first discovered The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim, later moving on to Orbital, Moby, Gary Numan and into hip-hop as well. The beats, bass and quirky keyboard effects shaped my taste for music, so I decided why not use spare time to create a tribute to the genre?

The title of the project, you could call it my DJ name, is Colostomy Explosion. The name lets you know that it's not a pop act, and it's not for everybody. You can listen to a few MP3s, including the prelminary version of the song "Chewbacca," on my MySpace page.
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John Ridley on the Weather Underground

A little background on the Weather Underground and Bill Ayers in particular by way John Widley's blog on NPR:

Back in the day, Ayers was a radicalized liberal in the worst way. Not merely because he and his comrades turned to indiscriminate violence, but because of the reason they turned. Chiefly, their paternalistic belief that blacks could not secure civil rights without their helping, explosive hand to guide them. "Black people have been fighting almost alone for years," read the first communique of the Weather Underground. "We've known that our job is to lead white kids into armed revolution."

Armed revolution.

Going metaphorically arm-in-arm with Dr. King — as innumerable liberal-minded folks of all persuasions did — was not enough for the Weather Underground. They had to blow stuff up. And they did it without regard for the fact that they were essentially spitting on the memory of a man who was committed to nonviolence. Yes, they were partially radicalized by the killing of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton at the hands of the Chicago police. But many vented their very righteous anger without lighting fuses. But many, also, didn't fancy themselves modern John Browns leading otherwise helpless blacks to freedom.

The Weather Underground claimed to want to avoid human suffering. But you can't express yourself with explosives without somebody getting hurt. And the people who got hurt were three of its members, blown up in an accident so tragic it's actually empty of irony.

But I'm sure at the time the Weather Underground figured they were doing something noble.

And I'm sure Ted Kaczynski figured he was doing the same.

The issue, though, isn't what Ayers thought then; it's what he thinks now.

Read Ayers' memoir, Fugitive Days, which was published — in actual horrific irony — on Sept. 10, 2001. Though I have to admit it's pretty well written, it's filled with more paternalism ("A squad of cops in Cleveland had dragged Black men from a motel and shot them down in cold blood, and now we would, I thought, even the score.") and romanticism of what were ultimately terrorist acts. Ayers was also quoted in 2001 saying that he has no regrets for his past actions, but rather he feels that "we didn't do enough." Take a gander at his Web site and see if you find contrition or self-aggrandizement.

What someone did 40 years ago — within reason — should not damn that person forever. But that's assuming offending individuals pay their debt to society and repent. Ayers has done neither.

I'd never heard of this guy, but I am familiar with a few terrorist groups from that era from books and films. It doesn't sound Ayers himself could bring down Obama, but if figure after figure keeps popping up from his life (Obama's) that have politics somewhere to the right of Che Guevera, it's going to harm Obama greatly. And equating members of terrorist groups with politicians he knows who said strange things won't make things better. I hope he realized when he got in this thing that he is running for President of all 50 states, which means all those "bitter" people that "cling to guns and religion" and not just Seattle, San Francisco, Berkeley, Chicago, New York and Washington.

What I would really fear in an Obama defeat would be a backlash by some blacks and minorities that will see it as proof that a black man can't be elected in America. That would be very depressing, since it would have really been his leftism that was his undoing.

By the way, John Ridley has a nice operation going at his "Visible Man" blog. His theme of an "intersection of politics and pop culture" is alot like what I've got going here. Check him out.
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Examiner Article: Bringing new products to the marketplace

From today's San Francisco Examiner:

SAN FRANCISCO (Map, News) - Richard Donat, CEO of the consumer products company AbsolutelyNew, wants to democratize the marketplace.

AbsolutelyNew started out as a marketing services company, but according to Donat, it transformed after he saw that many inventors were being faced with a lot of difficulty finding a means to get their innovations into the marketplace and in front of consumers.

“We found that individual inventors didn’t have that opportunity from big companies,” Donat said. “A company like Wal-Mart doesn’t want to buy products from an inventor.”

For Donat, starting a company that catered to these inventors, who are often pigeonholed by larger companies as “single-product vendors,” wasn’t an act of charity but what he saw as a big business opportunity.

“I saw an opportunity to have the inventor market as a platform to launch many different businesses. I can sit and think of many different ways to get inventors into the marketplace,” he said.

Donat was born and raised in Berkeley, and as a teenager he worked as a lifeguard for the city. He continued that job as he studied physics at UC Berkeley and competed nationwide as a rugby player, until he decided that it was time to get what he called “a real job.”

Donat said he has been very fortunate in avoiding a lot of challenges and hardship in his business career, especially in the tumultuous period following the collapse of the dot-com bubble.

“I was lucky because I was working at Apple and Ford Motor Co. and had big corporate experience,” Donat said. “I was lucky to be one of those who was always employed while companies were bought and sold.”

While working for Ford Motor Co., Donat found himself traveling a lot and running into a shortage of personal time to spend with his wife and children.

“My wife said, ‘Change jobs or change families,’” says Donat, who chose the former. He soon found his way into the position of vice president of sales at AbsolutelyNew, where he eventually moved up to his current position as CEO.

The name AbsolutelyNew came out of a group effort to find a name that succinctly described what the company was trying to do.

“We had an internal contest to find out who could come up with a name,” Donat said. “This name described exactly what we were doing. It described that we are bringing to the world the most innovative products in the marketplace.”

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Onion: Popular 'Iron Man' Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Feature

This is hilarious on many levels, from making fun of comic book geeks who overanalyze adaptations of their favorite characters to the fact that the Iron Man trailer told everything about the plot of the movie except the conclusion. I always have to say that The Onion picks some pretty good actors for their videos. They're able to do deadpan really well.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Aeroscraft ML866

From Kanye West's blog, I bring you shots of the Aeroscraft ML866. This is some science fiction stuff right here. It looks pretty luxurious too. It'd be nice if they started commissioning airplanes that didn't put people together like sardines in a can.

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Rapping for Obama

This sort of thing is going to look even dumber than it already does when John McCain wins in November.

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Berkeley activists talk nonsense

The East Bay area of Northern California has a top notch weekly newspaper, East Bay Express, which I have to say takes on issues very fairly. As a result, they seem to anger those that cannot handle the idea that anyone doesn't agree with them. Case in point are the following letters, which I'm posted in context before I dissect them:

Both Sides Hide

So now your intrepid police beat reporter Anneli Rufus wants us to believe there was no police violence at the Feb. 22 protests in Berkeley, that those poor riot-gear-clad officers were provoked and threatened by a group of Berkeley High School students yelling at them. And Berkeley taxpayers paid how much in overtime for this farce!?!

I personally witnessed police shove one man to the ground in front of the police station, as I'm sure the dozens of others who were outraged that the cops started pushing students around also saw. This was after a youth was arrested and students and World Can't Wait folks gathered in front of the police station to call for the youth's release. Does poor old Police Chief Hambleton really expect us to believe that the police were afraid the students would try to storm the station to release their comrade? The students aren't that stupid, as BHS spokesperson Mark Coplan seems to think. He insults the intelligence of these thinking young people when he says they are "fourteen, fifteen – literally babies."

My fifteen-year-old son was among the protesters. He's a veteran of dozens of protests since he was a baby, including the first protest against the then-impending Iraq war in October 2002 in Washington, DC. He's lived almost half his young life under the shadow of George Bush's war; he and his fellow students know they are targets of the predators at the Marine recruiting station, and that the endless oil war/terror war is running out of willing cannon fodder. I was so proud of my son that he skipped school March 19 to protest again and chanted "Hell No! We Won't Go!" But Anneli Rufus is just outraged that students would commit the heinous crime of skipping classes, saying nothing about the war crimes these students refuse to be part of.

To suggest that these intelligent young students are stupidly following the World Can't Wait crowd because they are given free T-shirts and bandanas is ridiculous. They can think for themselves. I told my son to be careful and be aware that there are agents provocateur who do try to incite violence. I know from 25-plus years in leftist politics that the Revolutionary Communist Party has engaged in this before; their cult of personality around Chairman Avakian doesn't serve any useful purpose. It's certainly possible that World Can't Wait recruiters hide behind youth while screaming at police. It's certain that Marine recruiters hide behind police while lying to our youth.

Paul Burton, Oakland

Embedded Journalism Right Here in Berkeley

If you're looking for "embedded" journalism that lies in the service of an illegitimate war, you don't need to turn on Fox News. Just check out Anneli Rufus' article "Who Baited Whom at Berkeley Rallies?" Not only is Rufus' attack on antiwar protesters one-sided, quoting extensively from a police spokesperson and other pro-police sources without any commentary from World Can't Wait, but the article completely evades the substance and nature of the two sides that have been facing off in Berkeley. On one side are the protesters, tired of waiting (five years now) for their "elected representatives" to stop an illegal and immoral war that has already taken 1 million Iraqi lives and forced 5 million to flee their homes, and determined to bring it to a halt by stopping the lying recruiters from sucking more young people into it. In opposition, pro-war forces (bearing signs like "Waterboard the Liberals") are trying to intimidate and silence what they perceive as a real threat to the status quo.

Rufus quotes the school district's PR man, Mark Coplan, who accuses World Can't Wait activists of provoking police while "hiding behind" the youth (whom Coplan calls "literally babies"). This is false, condescending, and paternalistic. The youth have minds and opinions of their own. In fact, one of the best things to happen in Berkeley in a long time is that so many high school students have taken stopping the war into their own hands.

Who is really manipulating the youth? Antiwar activists who tell the truth about the war, or the recruiters with billions of dollars at their disposal to lie to the youth? Who lurks around grade schools in souped-up Hummers, telling kids that war is like a video game? Do recruiters mention that one-third of women soldiers report being raped in the service? Or that this war is based on 935 lies told by the Bush regime? Do they describe the war crimes that US troops are ordered to carry out every day, including torture, collective punishment, and targeting of innocent civilians? If the recruiters told the truth, no one would join. Nothing about this war and occupation is "honorable" and troops that carry out these orders should not be supported.

Military recruiters do not have any "right" to be in Berkeley or anywhere else, since their "right" to recruit conflicts with the right of the Iraqi people to live and to be free of an illegitimate war and occupation.

Giovanni Jackson, World Can't Wait Youth Organizer, Berkeley

First, let's look at some of Paul Burton's letter:

The students aren't that stupid, as BHS spokesperson Mark Coplan seems to think. He insults the intelligence of these thinking young people when he says they are "fourteen, fifteen – literally babies."

Teenagers aren't "stupid," as that insulting term usually describes someone with a permanent below average intelligence like Tom Hanks' character in Forrest Gump. However, teenagers don't know much of anything. The world is still new to them, and most of them are just starting to think politically. Naturally, they'll latch on to the first radical things they find and think they're the first ones to think that way. I did this myself when I read Malcolm X and protested the war in Iraq, not knowing very much about the more in depth aspects of the civil rights era or the conditions that precipitated the invasion of Iraq. I still don't know as much as older generations for what should be obvious, common sense reasons.

My fifteen-year-old son was among the protesters. He's a veteran of dozens of protests since he was a baby, including the first protest against the then-impending Iraq war in October 2002 in Washington, DC. He's lived almost half his young life under the shadow of George Bush's war; he and his fellow students know they are targets of the predators at the Marine recruiting station, and that the endless oil war/terror war is running out of willing cannon fodder. I was so proud of my son that he skipped school March 19 to protest again and chanted "Hell No! We Won't Go!" But Anneli Rufus is just outraged that students would commit the heinous crime of skipping classes, saying nothing about the war crimes these students refuse to be part of.

I feel so sorry for this man's son. If he is fifteen now, that means that he was ten or eleven years old when the case for war in Iraq was being presented. There is absolutely no way that he fully knew what he was protesting against at that age. All he knew was what his parents had told him, which is a bunch of leftist nonsense.

Now let's move on to Giovanni Jackson's letter.

On one side are the protesters, tired of waiting (five years now) for their "elected representatives" to stop an illegal and immoral war that has already taken 1 million Iraqi lives and forced 5 million to flee their homes, and determined to bring it to a halt by stopping the lying recruiters from sucking more young people into it. In opposition, pro-war forces (bearing signs like "Waterboard the Liberals") are trying to intimidate and silence what they perceive as a real threat to the status quo.

What the hell? Why did she put "elected representatives" in quotation marks? I can understand putting "representatives" in quotes if one is arguing that they are not doing a good job of representing their electorate, but it seems as if she is suggesting that because they don't agree with her, they must not have been fairly elected.

If there was a sign that said "Waterboard the Liberals," that's pretty disgusting. Frankly, much should not be expected of people representing either side that go out and demonstrate. In an era where anyone competent can make their voices heard much more eloquently, this seems like the environment for the more intellectually challenged. For the insinuation that the overweight middle aged women in pink that have a Woodstock in front of a Marine recruitment center pose a threat to anybody or anything anywhere, please come out of the Twilight Zone and tune into Sanity Radio. You're simply a nuisance. The Daily Show made fun of you, I'm making fun of you and you make fun of yourself without realizing it.

Do recruiters mention that one-third of women soldiers report being raped in the service?

One should be wise enough to cite their sources whilst criticizing a journalist.

Or that this war is based on 935 lies told by the Bush regime?

Do those lies all come in a waffle cone?

Do they describe the war crimes that US troops are ordered to carry out every day, including torture, collective punishment, and targeting of innocent civilians?

The insinuation that the military is being ordered to kill, torture and "punish" civilians is reprehensible and disgusting. It takes all there is in me not to resort to profanity. The ones doing that are the people that burn children, who are later treated by the military.

Military recruiters do not have any "right" to be in Berkeley or anywhere else,

Sorry, but they do as long as Berkeley remains part of the United States of America. That's how the laws of this country work. You don't get the roads, the financial aid and the infrastructure for free. I hate to resort to being a token conservative, but if you don't like it there are several other countries to live in where the eyesore of US Marines will not haunt you. Ever try Sudan?
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Speaking of great podcasts

I also want to report on the NPR show "The Bryant Park Project." I had no idea what to expect when I listened to this, but it was definitely worth listening to. NPR goes towards a more entertaining feel, departing from the Bob Edwards years (which were ended rather abruptly for such a veteran of the medium) and moving forward towards a new media age. It may seem a bit tabloid-ish for some people, but I think it was wise and surprisingly daring for NPR to finally a start a show that isn't aimed at baby boomers. There's a supplementary video podcast related to the show in addition to the broadcast and podcast feed of it.
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Listen to The Moth

There is a great series of podcasts called "The Moth," which features comedy writers going in depth into their most personal crisis - in front a small audience. They're guaranteed to make you laugh. The latest one features comedy writer Cindy Chupack, who after marrying him was told by her husband that he's gay. She jokingly says in retrospect that the tiger print jacket should have been a giveaway. Egads, I have leopard print pants and don't have a girlfriend.....
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Monday, April 14, 2008

True Beauty

I was doing some window shopping at one of my favorite online clothing stores, Karmaloop, and was struck by this beautiful model. I don't usually for ogoling or any sort of Maxim-style softcore porn on my blog, but - damn.

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Big government = That 70s Show?

I was reading the cover story for US News and World Report recently and found this bizarre paragraph:

Here's a little straight talk: Whether you pull the lever (or fill in the oval or touch the screen) for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or even John McCain in November, you're probably still going to end up in 2009 with a push for Big Government of the sort not seen in a generation. More taxes. More regulation. More spending. "It's going to be like watching That '70s Show," says Daniel Clifton, political analyst at Strategas Research Partners, which provides research to institutional investors.

Huh? Perhaps I'm a little dense, but I don't really understand how this relates to That 70s Show. If it's a metaphor for us pushing towards a Carter-era government, the writer may have been better served in explaining that.
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Name Change, Sidebar Updates

I've added a few elements to the sidebar. Scrolling down, you'll find a list of my top nine creative and intellectual influences, ranging from Malcolm X to Orson Welles. All of them are ones that I have read, read about, listened to or thought about for several years and are not the result of a recent fixation. If you're at all curious why I chose any of them, feel free to ask.

More importantly, however, I have changed the name of the blog!! Scrapping the far too French Deschamps, I have instead gone towards the screen name I have been using for over a year, Gildersleeve. Once again, if you have never listened to the old radio show The Great Gildersleeve, do yourself a favor and do so.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Steyn on American public "education"

Mark Steyn's latest column is a work of art. The problem of sociopaths running American public schools, something I know all too well, seems to finally be cracking into mainstream media coverage and with it is understandable outrage on the part of people who care about the well being of children. My favorite part of Steyn's column comes when he illustrates that the standards for "school officials"' behavior is actually lower than that of a four year old student:

So who does get a little breast and butt action in American schools these days? Obviously not your four-year-old gropers and six-year-old predators: The system’s doing an admirable job of cracking down on those perverts. No, if you want to get up close and personal with body parts you’ve got to be a “school official.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit recently heard oral arguments in the case of Savana Redding. Back in 2003, Savana was an Eighth Grader at Safford Middle School in Safford, Arizona, when the vice principal, Kerry Wilson, “acting on a tip,” discovered a fellow student to have a handful of ibuprofen tablets in her pocket. The other girl said she got them from Savana, who denied it. She had no tablets in her own pockets or in her backpack. Vice Principal Wilson, whose mind works in interesting ways, then decided that Savana might be hiding the ibuprofen in her cleavage or her crotch. So, without contacting the girl’s parents, he ordered a school official to strip-search Savana. She was obliged to expose her breasts and “her pelvic area.” If Vice Principal Wilson were a four-year old pre-schooler who’d been involved in a stunt like that, he’d now be a registered sex offender for life. But fortunately he’s a “school official” so if he decides to apply search techniques associated with international narcotics traffic he pretty much has a free hand to do so. After all, ibuprofen is serious stuff. As Reason’s Jacob Sullum put it, “It’s a good thing the school took swift action, before anyone got unauthorized relief from menstrual cramps.”

If you are a parent of a child, I really do beg of you that you exhaust every single possible option before you even consider sending your child to a public school. Your children will thank you with a lack of psychiatrist's bills.
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Review: Thomas Jefferson, Author of America

Christopher Hitchens’ “Thomas Jefferson: Author of America” certainly isn’t written for beginners. To be able to understand it, one has to have familiarity with not just early American history, but also with the intellectual movements that were a part of it. Thomas Paine is written about as casually as John Adams, and the affair of Sally Hemmings is only moderately explained.

Trusting that you have at least an elementary understanding of this era in history and of this great figure of that era, “Author of America” is an enjoyable supplement that explores many of the lesser known aspects of Jefferson’s life. Hitchens explores Jefferson’s battles with the Barbary pirates, carefully hinting at the similarity between their rhetoric and that of the Islamic terrorists of today without mentioning current events, the affair between Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, whereby Hitchens rejects claims that there was a “master-slave” relationship whereby Jefferson dominated Hemmings, the looming question of slavery and the love-hate relationship that Jefferson had with public life.

By the end of the book, one great impression that I walked away with was that Jefferson never was a great political or military leader, but more of an intellectual and scientist who was pushed into that position by the times he lived in. Jefferson notes this paradox himself, saying in a letter to Pierre Dupont de Nemours, “Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight. But the enormities of the times in which I have lived, have forced me to take a part in resisting them, and to commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political passion.”

The hypocrisy of Jefferson’s relationship with the issue of slavery looms very large in the book, and he never reconciled himself with it by the time he died. Along with the prediction that Unitarianism would one day be the largest religious sect in America, his prediction that economics would slowly and bloodlessly eventually do away with slavery has become historically laughable. Despite his militant response to the enslavement of Americans by Muslim pirates, it is illustrated in the book that he politically passive to the continuation of enslavement of Africans and even personally continued the crime by holding slaves at Monticello.

Hitchens shows surprising restraint, not letting loose with venom on historical figures in the way he has done with Mother Teresa, Bill Clinton and Henry Kissinger. He isn't a historian, but he acts like it in "Author of America," helping readers to learn new aspects of Jefferson and making them look at him in a new way.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

"Nancy Thornborrow: Leading a new wave of female business leaders"

One of my stories, on the Dean of the Mills College Business School Nancy Thornborrow, was on the front page of today's San Francisco Examiner. If you don't live in San Francisco, you can read it on the website:

SAN FRANCISCO (Map, News) - Nancy Thornborrow has broken ground at Mills College in more ways than one.

The dean of the graduate school of business at Mills — which was rechristened the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business this week — Thornborrow was instrumental in creating a degree at Mills in business economics in the late 1980s to combat the poor representation of women in business education.

She has helped raise $30 million so far — much of it from Lokey, the founder of Business Wire and a major supporter — for the MBA program she helped found in 2001, the first program in the West and the second in the nation aimed specifically toward women.

She has also presided this year over a groundbreaking of a more literal sort, for a 28,500-square-foot, environmentally sustainable new home for the business school, designed by architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. The building will open in the fall of 2009.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Colbert is still campaigning for President in the Marvel Universe

I think it would be pretty cool if Marvel went all the way and took the Colbert presidential run to its ultimate conclusion, a Colbert presidency. Who the president is in Marvel Comics has always been a little sketchy. In World War Hulk, we only read his voice off panel and could tell that he was from the South because of his mannerisms, but it wasn't spelled out that he was President Bush. For years, there would be more focus on prominent fictional politicians like Senator Kelly or Graydon Creed (Wow, I can't believe I remember that name after 12 years!) than on who the Marvel commander in chief is. Over in the DC Universe, Lex Luthor became president during the 2000 election, which could be a precedent for fictional presidents.

From the Comedy Central blog, here is an interview with a Marvel Comics pollster. There's nothing like fictional journalism:

Discussions about Americans' readiness for a black or female commander-in-chief may soon become irrelevant: 43 percent of respondents to a DB poll conducted this past week said they would welcome Stephen Colbert into their homes to break bread and discuss the issues this country faces."The number goes as high as 48 percent if they can meet with Colbert at a restaurant or diner," said DB polling director James White, Jr. "That additional spike may be a matter of people just not wanting to cook while discussing matters that mean a lot to them."

The poll's results, White admitted, don't specify whether or not electors would actually vote for Colbert. Nevertheless, the numbers are encouraging for his supporters, as his opponents are left to battle over the remaining 57 (or 52) percent. And according to White, seven percent of that remainder wrote in a dinner guest of their own choosing. Write-ins ranged from perennial Forbes favorites (including billionaire industrialist and Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tony Stark) to celebrities like actress Mary Jane Watson.

"I think it means that people trust Colbert enough to at least sit down and discuss the topics that concern them most," White said. "And at the end of the day, the presidential race will come down to that one question: Who do you trust?"

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are autistics high functioning?

Over at the Asperger's syndrome website Wrong Planet, a blogger differed with a review on Huffington Post of Autism: The Musical that claimed that the majority of those with autism are low-functioning. The argument is a good one, and really questions the intentions of many organizations that we assume at face value are working on the side of the angels, so to speak.

This paragraph stood out:

The simple answer is that people such as Kirby and organizations such as Autism Speaks benefit from the public incorrectly believing in a picture of autism that is completely wrong. How do they benefit exactly? Think about how many people donate to autism organizations because they want to help the "poor autistic children." Granted, Asperger's Syndrome isn't the easiest thing to be diagnosed with. But would as many people donate money if they knew that more than half of the 1 in 150 'sufferers' are actually not suffering from anything other than social skill problems, sensory issues, and mainly being misunderstood by society?

This is very true. When someone sees a banner (similiar to the one above) that says 1 in 150 children have autism with a picture of a child with a vacant look on their eyes, they can be led to believe that 1 in 150 children is being born totally incapable of doing anything and set up for a life of not doing anything and leeching off the society. I doubt the average person connects autism with someone like myself, who is an enthusiastic writer, lives on his own in a different state from his parents and has a very well developed vocabulary, but has difficulties in physical coordination and in relating to other people that the average person never has to face. The ultimate goal should involve removing stigmas, and to simply reinstate "autism" as a word for "retarded" won't have accomplished very much.

I'm sure I could get in trouble for this next paragraph, but it doesn't surprise me that the misinformed article was on a liberal site like the Huffington Post. My first exposure to special education was through a program at a school in the Seattle School District headed by the demented bully Dennis Nusbaum, who years later I learned was a Democratic partisan who had been reprimanded for using public resources to promote political initiatives. Eugenics and programs of exterminating the disabled took hold on the Left, and that sort of the political divide has a very long history of committing horrors under the bravado of improving society.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The entire run of Twilight Zone and the original Star Trek is online

For free, able to watch in high quality whenever you want. Thank you, CBS. Now if only BBC would allow full streaming of some of their comedy classics.

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