Friday, October 31, 2008

Weird Bird Friday

Birds Have Elections, Too

Big Bird, for example, won the Sesame Place election for president.

Mr. President

And the Hoopoe Bird had to campaign hard to win the election to become Israel's national bird.

Ms. National Bird of Israel

Happy election day, all.


UPDATE: Ms. Hoopoe had to spend quite a bit to get that special hairdo. Not quite as much, however, as Sarah Palin.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jury acquits DNC protesters, tells them to be "more lawful" in future

Bizarre. The News:
Three protesters arrested for blocking the street during the Democratic National Convention were acquitted today by a Denver jury who told the trio they hoped they had learned their lesson.

Foreperson Julia Bucher told the three, "our verdict does not absolve you of the obligation to behave in a more lawful and responsible manner in the future."
Can you say "nullification"?
Michael Loeffler, 23, of Maryland, Justin Whitaker, 20, and Jeffrey Labow, 21, both of West Virginia, were acquitted Wednesday on a municipal charge of blocking a passageway at 15th Street and Court Place on Aug. 25.
The rest of the story describes the contending versions of what happened at 15th and Court Place on the first night of the DNC, when almost every one of the 150-odd protesters who was arrested during convention week was actually arrested. Fave quote:
Humphreys [a "legal observer" at the protests] said he wore a bandanna around his neck as a preventive measure in case he were gassed.

"When you're surrounded by 200 police wearing riot gear and gas masks you get very concerned and try to protect yourself," he said.
Wonder if the jury believed that one? In any case, it wouldn't bother me if all the protesters were acquitted or the city just dropped the remaining cases. The important thing is that during the convention, they didn't get their way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Some petroglyphs from the recent river trip:

Big-horned sheep. See the kind of scribbled one lower right? Wonder why? Maybe the neighbors didn't like people messing up their rocks.

Adjacent panel, almost certainly done by a different artiste.

Detail: Happy elk. This guy was a born cartoonist. In fact, the Bullwinkle-lookalike was something of a specialty. He carved the exact same figure miles downriver.

Another detail: Billy Bob of the Gods.

Ancient Enumclaw?

Oh yeah, Space Alien Baby says whooo:

Always wondered what he's so startled about.

The bull head right next to SAB is just scary.

And for traditionalists, some plain old rock:

A dry stream bed up some canyon or other.

Update: Humiliating to report, but Snapple correctly corrects your darling d-blog, who originally said the animals in the top pic were elk, not what they fairly clearly are, big-horn sheep.

Just received

From the Food Fight Vegan Grocery in (maybe) Portland, OR:

Nacho Teeze Chedder [sic] Cheese!

Hey loved ones.


We just got in a case of Nacho cheese from our friends at The Chicago Soy Dairy, the same folks who brought you the Teeze mozzarella. You know you need this.

I do need that. But even if soy cheese weren't my cup of rancid fermented curds:

We also sell tofu and have one copy of a Ward Churchill book.

I'm on my way. Think I'll take the train. And the boat. After all, there's no hurry. No hurry at all.

Update: Weird how they don't mention which book.

Speaking of the decline of newspapers . . .

MediaNews Group (publisher of the Denver Post and many other papers) CEO Dean Singleton suggested to an industry group last week that copyediting and other newspaper editorial functions might be outsourced--even overseas--to save money:
[S]ingleton, who also serves as chairman of the board of The Associated Press, told the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association that his company was exploring outsourcing in nearly every aspect of their operations.

"In today's world, whether your desk is down the hall or around the world, from a computer standpoint, it doesn't matter," Singleton said after his speech. . . .

Singleton said sending copyediting and design jobs overseas may even be called for. . . .

"Fond memories of dead newspapers will do nothing for our communities," he said.

Naturally, a copyeditor group, the American Copy Editors Society (ACES--both dorkily self-congratulatory and a true acronym; how unexpected from the pissy little farts) is hurling its green eyeshades and waving its tiny ink-stained fists in fury: "Will this idea never die?"
Once again, a powerful name in journalism is floating the idea of consolidating and outsourcing copy editing. This time it's MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton, speaking at the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association's annual convention. . . .

How often do we have to repeat this? Sending copy editing overseas is a sure way to kill a paper's credibility. Maybe not immediately, and maybe not in one dramatic gesture, but every time that desk 9,000 miles away overlooks some nuance that local readers will spot, the newspaper's credibility dies a little. Oak Lawn, Oak Cliff, Oak Park, Oak Hill? What's the diff?

A lot, if you live in one of them. And don't think for a minute that readers will fail to notice if you run a photo of Gerald Ford the ex-president instead of Gerald Ford the local businessman. Or if you say American Airlines' headquarters is in Dallas instead of Fort Worth.

Some things just can't be measured in terms of money. It's easy to say that you'll save thousands of dollars by hiring overseas workers to edit your copy. It's not so easy to say how much that loss of credibility is going to cost you when they miss errors a local person would have caught. But cost you it will.

According to the AP, "Singleton said Monday that local editors would always maintain final control and that no page would go to press without their approval."

But that little dose of final approval is a far cry from the collective wisdom of a locally based copy desk, with its inevitably diverse and quirky knowledge of the community. And let's not even start on the tragicomic workflow disaster an overseas desk would cause. Just think of the last time you had to deal with an overseas customer service call center.

Newspapers are still the place to go for the authoritative word on your community. If we lose that authoritative voice, we may as well outsource our readership as well, because local readers, not to mention advertisers, won't find any value in what our publications have to say.
ACES is totally wrong on this. The d-blog has outsourced his copyediting overseas for years, and it's been the greatest work- and money-saver ever, with absolutely no diminution in copy quality. Nun. Don't want to say exactly where I have it done, but its a contry that deeSires only piece in its' region, even while militarist lackeys of the capit8lists are turning rightly acrosss teh border, ready to attack with th3e angry bees of plutocratic subjugation! Running pug-dogs of the capitalists! You die now! Glory to our Dear Leader! Dear Leader will love forever! Hegemonist America! Don't go indiscriminately wild! Juche! Juche!

Update: In comments, noted hegemonist Gen. William T. Sherman reminds us: "Great Leader Kim Il Sung is Immortal." Thanks, General!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Amendment 47 foe sends racist e-mail to backer

Charming. The Post:
A former legal adviser to the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, a union opposing the so-called right-to-work measure on the November ballot, sent an e-mail to the measure's co-author using a racial slur and profanity.

DeAngelo Starnes, who until recently was an associate general counsel for the UFCW Local 7, wrote to Amendment 47 co-author Ryan Frazier in August, after Frazier had sent a mass e-mail to Starnes and dozens of others. The e-mail was about an event the Aurora city councilman sponsors to help children receive school supplies.

Starnes replied to Frazier, saying, "You f------ sell-out. Why are you sending this to me?" according to an e-mail obtained by The Denver Post that was sent from Starnes' private account to Frazier's public e-mail account with Aurora. "Take me off your e-mail list, House N----."

Frazier replied: "Hey, no need for the ignorant language. We will take you off immediately. God bless you."

Starnes then replied: "Just keep bending over for the white man, alright?"

Both Frazier and Starnes are African-American.

"Certainly those are words that you don't soon forget," Frazier said. "But I'm a grown-up, and you move on and do what you have to do in life."

In an e-mail, Starnes acknowledged the reply to Frazier, saying, "It was a joke, albeit a crude one."
Oh, well, if it was all in good fun . . .
He said the focus should be on Amendment 47.
No doubt.
"Those e-mails had nothing to do with Local 7 as they were sent unsolicited to me by Mr. Frazier to my personal e-mail account," Starnes said. "I didn't mean any harm to Mr. Frazier."
Uh-huh. Starnes has other problems:
Julian Jay Cole, who wrote Amendment 47 with Frazier, on Monday filed a complaint with the state contending that Starnes has been practicing law without a license.

The complaint states that Starnes appeared as counsel for the union at least three times.

Starnes, who made $110,000 last year as the union's counsel, does not have a license to practice law in the state.

Starnes acknowledged he doesn't have a Colorado license, but said he was admitted to practice law in federal court. That would require he be licensed in another state. He would not say whether he has a license from another state.

He was admitted to the federal bar in U.S. District Court in Denver in July 2000. Labor cases are typically handled at that level.

Records show his law license in Washington, D.C., was suspended in 2003 for six months for making a false statement to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions.

The committee also found he failed to provide competent representation, abandoned his clients, and failed to withdraw as their counsel after he began working full time for a federal agency and could no longer shoulder his duties to his private clients.

Records do not show his license was reinstated.
In short, a scumbag.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Candidate receives crucial endorsement

Manuel Roig-Franzia's piece on Cynthia McKinney in the Washington Post today begins:

They're "probably" in the room, she says ominously.

Listening. Conspiring. Taking it all down.

Cynthia McKinney thinks we're being watched, and she says so, leaning into the mike. The crowd of several hundred in this Atlanta public library auditorium -- graying Black Panthers gathered for a reunion, a pamphleteering Revolutionary Communist Party guy, Pan-African liberationists -- mostly nods in agreement. . . .
Some of McKinney's theories of government:
She believes there are "credible reports" that the U.S. military dumped 5,000 prisoners -- each with "a single bullet wound to the head" -- in Louisiana swamps using Hurricane Katrina as cover.

She believes that Jeb Bush -- the president's brother -- facilitated Colombian drug shipments into the United States when he was governor of Florida.

She believes the "corporate media" are censoring stories about the United States "restarting dirty wars in Latin America" and about "Bush's real problem with Eliot Spitzer," a head-turner that she dangles without specifying which Bush she is talking about or explaining.

"We don't really know who killed Martin Luther King," she says, rolling now as she addresses the Panther group in the auditorium. "We don't really know who killed Bobby Kennedy. We don't really know who killed John Kennedy. We don't really know who killed Tupac Shakur."
Abe Lincoln was gay.
McKinney travels in a rented Hyundai Sonata, taking turns driving with an aide who has accompanied her on at least one all-night drive from Maryland to Louisiana. Her skeleton staff frequently has no idea where she is. The calendar on her campaign Web site is empty. Her phone goes unanswered; the box for her voice mail is full.

She is a Candidate of Mystery.
Candidate of Mystery. She's gonna be a Candidate for Involuntary Commitment if she's not careful.
When she surfaces, as she did for two appearances and a live Internet discussion one recent weekend in Georgia -- the state that sent her to Congress six times and kicked her out twice -- she's got a lot to say about a lot of things, but not much about running for president. . . .
Maybe not, but she's said enough to garner one important vote:
She is joined onstage for a panel on FBI spying by Ward Churchill, a former star University of Colorado professor who provoked outrage by writing that Sept. 11 victims were "little Eichmanns" and not "innocent civilians." For her part, McKinney was ridiculed in the months after the attack for suggesting that the Bush administration knew more than it let on before planes hit the World Trade Center.

Churchill says he has never voted for president, not wanting to validate an "occupation" government that seized land from Native Americans.

But he voted this year.

For Cynthia McKinney.

"She's got integrity," Churchill says.
Anybody else thinking what I am? Yep: wife number six (right after Lynne Stewart).

Post-News circ declines bigtime for millionth straight reporting period

Editor & Publisher:
Daily circ [if they get to say "circ," I get to say "circ"] at the Denver Post dropped 6.5% to 210,585 and at the Rocky Mountain News it was down 6.6% to 210,281. The combined Sunday circulation for the JOA papers declined 9.1% to 545,442.
Ouch. On top of ouch. On top of ouch. On top of just kill me. Now. At least they're not lonely down there:
The San Francisco Chronicle lost 7% of its daily circulation to 339,430 copies while Sunday was down a hair more, 7.4% to 398,116. The San Jose Mercury News was down slightly, 1.9% to 224,199 and Sunday was down much more, 4.3% to 241,518.

On the East Coast, daily circulation at The Boston Globe plummeted 10.1% to 323,983 copies. Sunday circ was down 8.4% to 503,659. The Baltimore Sun’s daily circ declined 5.9% to 218,923 while Sunday fell 3.8% to 350,640.

Daily circulation at The Philadelphia Inquirer slipped 11.0% to 300,674 copies. Sunday plunged 13.7% to 556,426. At the Daily News in Philly, daily circ slipped 13.2% to 97,694. . . .
The piece has lots more figgers, almost all bad. Interestingly (I claim) another story at Poynter Online quotes an expert of some sort (always lots of experts hanging around Poyndexter, er, Poynter) on why newspapers are in such a sorry state:
Trusted bylines have disappeared overnight. Readers notice, and talk to their friends, and they're saying: it's not the newspaper it used to be. When the subscription notices come, they're a little less likely to be acted upon.
He mentions several other factors, but of course never the biggie. I'll whisper it.

No, I can't.

(via, again, Poynter Online)

PPCers quoted in Rocky story on young political activists

Not one, not two, but three of our pals from the People's Press Collective get a chance to push their fascistic conservative agenda in the Rocky. First up is Wes Dickinson:
Wesley Dickinson, a 30-year-old Denver engineer [he runs the Tiny Town trolley--ed.], thinks the economy is forcing people near his age to confront politics more so than at any time since the 1970s economic downturn created a generation of Reagan Republicans. Since then, people have been able to live relatively comfortably and didn't care so much about what the government did; that no longer is true, he said.

"They haven't had to worry about the economy like our parents did," said Dickinson, a limited-government supporter who has had a keen interest in such things for many years. "The economy's been booming in general steady growth. And now we're getting into the first election times where people are scared."
Then it's Justin Longo's turn:
And it is precisely because younger people can do almost anything in front of a computer monitor - organize a campaign event, donate money, air their opinions on a blog - that they are newly active, Justin Longo said. In the days of door-knocking and phone-calling drives 20 years ago, it was hard to hold down a full-time job and be an activist. Now, people of any income level and any work schedule can do so at any time.

"I'd like to think that without the Internet we would be so active. But I doubt it, because the costs of activism are so low this way," said Longo, 26, who is a "Web monkey" with the conservative Independence Institute in Golden. "With only a few key strokes, you put yourself in the role of an activist."
Longo's only 26? Why, he's young enough to be the son of Independence Institute head Jon Caldara--which, for the record, Caldara has always vehemently, not to say violently, denied.

And finally, Amanda Teresi:
Internet users can find meetings or activities very specific to their peer and interest groups. . . . It's how 26-year-old Amanda Teresi founded Liberty on the Rocks, a group of free-market backers that gathers at bars twice a month in the Denver area to discuss politics or watch the presidential debate, as members did last week.
Not gonna mock Amanda; she'll break my face. But you'll never see a finer group of drunken young activists anywhere.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

OHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhh Ohohbama!

Rode my bike (I'm so green) downtown to check out the rally for Obama. Amazingly, not a soul showed up:

Finally a kindly stranger, seeing me wandering about aimlessly, clued me in that it was a block over:

Oh, yeah, this must be the place.

That pic was taken from the Capitol steps, looking toward the City and County Building, just in front of which the stage was set up. In other words, there were lots of people. The Post:

Standing in front of more than 100,000 supporters in Civic Center park, Barack Obama said today he is ready for the final nine days of the presidential campaign and vowed to stay focused on improving the country's faltering economy.

"Do you ever have small crowds in Denver?" Obama asked the crowd, which shouted back "NO!"

Civic Center park holds 34,000, and there were several thousand more in the streets surrounding the park and on the steps of the state Capitol.

More in a sec. Let me wedge some pics in.

Obama pin.

Framed letter signed by Obama thanking Obama-pin seller for sending Obama a pin.

Obama bling. No thank-you letter.

The Estate of Charles M. Schultz for Obama.

Obama Sound College t-shirt.

The speakers before the main attraction appeared roughly in their order up the food chain (I'm missing a few, but they were little people): Denver mayor Chickenpooper, former Denver mayor and Obama campaign biggie Federico Pena (I'll dig up a tilde later), Rep. Diana DeGette, Gov. Ritter, and Senate candidate Mark Udall. None said anything interesting.

First up, though, were the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star-Spangled Banner, both included no doubt to prove to the rest of America that Democrats really aren't (all) communists. Unfortunately, the guy leading the P of A got it wrong. He said, "And to the NATION for which it stands . . . "

Thus: communist. The woman who sang the anthem gave it the decreed-by-law gospel-blues-squeal treatment. Whitney stinkin' Houston, I hate you. At least this one sang the right anthem.

More pics:

Well, I'm the one I'VE been waiting for, anyway. Give us a kiss.

One follows the other totally by coinkidink.

More entrepreneurship:

More shirts:

Drummer. He stood right next to the (single open) entrance to the Park with his goddamn bongo. Totally captive audience, really bad drummer: OOOOOOhhhhhhhh-Ohohbama! (Cudda-thunk cudda thunk cudda thunk cudda thunk). OOOOOOOHhhhhhh-Ohohbama (cudda-thunk cudda-thunk cudda thunk cudda thunk) . . .

Some gink tried to smuggle a camp chair through the metal detectors. The TSA was wise to the ploy, and he was tasered and subdued. (Kidding, I think.)

Obama was only about half an hour late. He spoke well, but didn't say a whole lot (where have I heard that before?). Actually what struck me was what struck many about his speech at Invesco a couple of months ago: it was a letdown for a crowd that had really cranked itself up. Barack's rhetoric seemed just a little deflationary. More Post quotage:

"It's true that I want to roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans and go back to the rate they paid under Bill Clinton," Obama said. "John McCain calls that socialism.

"So let me be crystal clear: If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year — which includes 98 percent of small business owners — you won't see your taxes increase one single dime. Not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes — nothing. That is my commitment to you."
Oddly, the Post left out the part right after he said "98 percent of small business owners" where he added, "and 99.9 percent of plumbers"--a dig, of course, at you-know-who.

More pics:

Sound it out.

The Post doesn't mention it, but Obama also talked about placing a three-month moratorium on foreclosures. Maybe that's new. At least, I hadn't heard mention of it before (which means nothing, of course).

Relaxed: No armor, no crap cannon, no feces bombs, no "Fucking do it again!™."

Note "ha-ha"s. By then I was gettin' a little grungy myself.

Oh! Yes We Can.

Not ten, not twelve. Yes, that's Jimmy Carter lower right. Did you know he's been attack-rabbit-free for almost 30 years now?

What is this "wack" of which the smirky young man's undershirt speaks?

Update: The Post's David Sirota does his patented swoon.

Update II: The Post also has a local version of those "can we overcome our racism and vote for Obama?" stories. Apparently we can:
Late one afternoon, Roy Loeks rushed into the Obama campaign office in a Castle Rock strip mall and signed up to volunteer.

In Republican-leaning Douglas County, it's easy to assume this Franktown retiree — with his steel-gray hair, plaid flannel jacket and denim jeans — might be less than thrilled at the prospect of a black Democrat as president.

But he's proof that looks can deceive.

"He could be one of America's great presidents," he said of Barack Obama.

Like Loeks, Americans are not always what they appear to be. They may say one thing and think another, hold deep-seated prejudices they themselves don't quite understand — or they could surprise themselves and rise above race entirely.
That's a news story. Incredible.

Update III: El Marco has his inimitable pics up. Can't believe I missed the Bush Whacker.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Night at the Radio!

Jack Webb as Frisco (as natives call it) private eye Pat Novak: For Hire: "Jack of Clubs" (20 February 1949).

Beautiful dame: Come over and sit next to me. I don't bite.

Novak: That's too bad.

Sure wish there were more of these.

And Information Please! With the World Series in full flower (as baseball men say), this one has sportscasters Bill Stern and Red Barber, and was recorded during that year's Series (4 October 1943).

I'd forgotten this story (from Stern's wiki):
One day, while doing radio play-by-play for a football game, as a player broke away towards a long run for a touchdown, Stern misidentified the runner several times as he proceeded towards the score. Noticing the error just before the runner crossed the goal line, Stern announced he had lateraled the ball to the correct player, who then scored. Sometime later, Clem McCarthy, that era's most prominent announcer for horse racing, described the wrong horse as having won a race. The verbose Stern chided him for this error, and McCarthy replied, "You can't lateral a horse, Bill."

Strained analogy of the week!

The Rocky:
Campaign lessons can help in your landscape's race against weeds

Election fever is tolerable if it happens around plants. At least in the garden, mudslinging and manure spreading are honorable activities, and if you dig up a little dirt, no one seems to mind.

Our yards have a lot in common with the political landscape, and when the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado ( offered these fall talking points, we couldn't resist sowing a little humor into them.
Yeah, humor. Here's a good line, though:
Weeds, like political ads, pop up over and over, leaving us with the desire to take a hoe and pummel them. . . .
Let me try it! Cutesy writers, like political ads, pop up over and over, leaving us with the desire to take a hoe . . .

DNC protest arrests go to trial

Of the first nine cases, seven were dropped, one ended in a hung jury, and one was thrown out. The Post:
In the nine cases, like many of the others, police and prosecutors were unable to make specific allegations about what each defendant did. Instead, during the trials of Bryson Smith, Eli Hardy and Tiffany Bray this week — all charged with blocking a passageway — prosecutors simply alleged that they were protesters who disobeyed police orders to disperse.
Not exactly surprising. Expect some crowing from Spagz, et. al. And maybe some lawsuits:
But attorney David Lane, who represents several of the accused protesters in possible civil suits, said the city's insistence on taking weak cases to trial is only going to make it harder on them when the lawsuits follow.

"If they continue to lose cases, they are going to be looking at a lot of civil suits," he said.

"Taxpayers in Denver should ask themselves why are police arresting people without probable cause and why is the city spending all this money prosecuting people when they don't have enough evidence to convict?"
Because they can't just let protesters get away with breaking the law? In any case, whatever those lawsuits might cost, it'll be worth it to have kept the kiddies' tantrums in check.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Atlantic makeover

The magazine unveils its eighth redesign in 151 years (sixth since 1947):

Very retro.

No, here's the November, 2008 cover:

Man, is that ugly. And not even groundbreakingly ugly.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


But do not, on your honor, contrast. The DP:

Tough times hit Colo.

Across Colorado, public-assistance rolls have swelled with first-time applicants who represent the newest flotsam of a foundering economy.
And the DP:

Jobless rate dips to 5.2% in Sept.
Colorado's unemployment rate declined slightly last month, but state labor officials warned Tuesday the drop is probably only temporary. . . .

The number of Coloradans with jobs rose by 9,600 in September to just more than 2.6 million. The number of people who were looking for jobs but failed to find them fell by 5,400.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kaffiyah Watch!

And Trip Report!

Not really, you lucky bastards (and beeatches!). No trip report. Okay, a tiny one: We had great weather and saw many beautiful and interesting stuffs. I fell in the river only once.

Probably won't even post many pics, because they suck (yeah, I know: why let that stop me now?). Here's one I didn't take, of your own darling river rat, sporty in his custom-made kaffiyah:

Believe it or not, it's actually an old dishtowel! The d-bog: hip on a budget.

I fell in, by the way, while trying to find these carvings by the no-doubt-crazed French trapper Denis Julien:

Giant winged eyeball: Denis needed to get off the river.

Kind of a generic shot, but this is what the Green looks like along much of the stretch we were on:


Monday, October 20, 2008

Grounded and centered

An Inside Higher Education piece last week by one Jack Stripling, "In Defense of Ayers," covers in amusingly biased fashion the petition in support of terrorist scum Bill Ayers. Ward Churchill makes a guest appearance:
William Ayers has been trashed [sic] by conservative pundits and labeled “an unrepentant domestic terrorist” by Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee [and apparently by no one else], but the University of Illinois at Chicago professor has garnered the support of a growing number of peers who admire his scholarship and see the attacks on him as an affront to academic freedom.
An affront to academic freedom. Academic freedom is awful wussy these days.
Ayers, who helped found a Vietnam-era protest group that was blamed [sic] for bombing government buildings, has been a faculty member at Illinois-Chicago since 1987. In a statement signed by faculty members across the country, professors have spoken out against “the demonization” of Ayers, whose alleged [sic] ties to the Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama have made headlines.
Naturally, almost everyone Stripling quotes believes that, whatever Ayers might have done in the 60s and 70s, he should be considered now only as the influential educational theorist he's become:
Faculty members interviewed for this article stressed that Ayers has emerged as a prominent scholar in the field of education, and they say Ayers’s past is viewed by his colleagues as irrelevant to his current work.
When, of course, his past couldn't be more relevant to the malignant neo-marxism of "teaching for social justice" that is his current work. Speaking of malignity:
The statement lumps the attacks against Ayers into a broader history of “assaults designed to intimidate free thinking and stifle critical dialogue” in all levels of education. The letter specifically cites events at the University of Colorado at Boulder as part of the problematic pattern.

Ward Churchill, a former professor at Colorado whose writings on 9/11 caused enormous controversy, was fired in 2007 amid charges [sic] of academic misconduct. Churchill’s case has been cited by many as an abridgement of academic freedom, although even some of his early supporters were troubled by the allegations [sic] of plagiarism and other misconduct that surfaced after his writings came under scrutiny.

In an interview Monday, Churchill said he sees parallels with his own case and the way Ayers has been depicted in the news media. Churchill, a fellow Vietnam protester who says he met Ayers “back in the day,” is among those who signed the letter supporting Ayers. . . .
Back in the day, that is, that Ayers conveniently can't remember and Dohrn denied, when Wart (he claimed) taught the Weatherpukes how to make bombs. Guess he's finally consigned that lie to the same bottomless lie-hole that holds "I bring you greetings from the elders of the Keetoowah Band of Cherokee--my people." Anyhow, Chutch's former colleague, the exquisitely stupid Margaret LeCompte, is also quoted:
Margaret LeCompte, an education professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said she anticipates continued criticism of academe to come from people like David Horowitz. Horowitz is a conservative activist whose book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, derides liberal faculty.

“I’m sure that all 3,000 of those [who signed the Ayers letter] could be put on the hit list as more ‘dangerous professors,’ and David Horowitz could have a lot of fun with that,” LeCompte said. “But the people who want to think there’s a conspiracy to put more academics in higher education are going to continue to believe that.”
Tenured. Only one Ayersophobe is quoted, but he's a good one: KC Johnson of the Group of 88-busting Durham in Wonderland blog:
“I agree with . . . Palin that there’s a scandal here – but it’s not that Obama, among his hundreds of other associations with academic figures, was acquainted with, and received support from, Ayers and [Rashid] Khalidi,” Johnson wrote on the History News Network.

“The scandal is the evolution of a groupthink academic environment [that] has allowed figures such as Ayers and Khalidi to flourish.”
Johnson's offhand dismissal of the Obama-Ayers connection (maybe that's why he's quoted) will be ignored in light of past brilliance, but you can't argue with that last graf. Stripling eventually reaches a conclusion of surpassing sickeningness:
Eleni Katsarou, a clinical associate professor of curriculum and instruction at UIC, said she expects Ayers to return to the university and to continue thriving as a teacher and scholar.

“He’ll come back in January,” she said, “[and] I just can’t imagine he would have any problems centering and grounding himself.”
No, of course not.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weird Bird Friday

Can you find my canoeing Drunkahusband in the picture below?

Or perhaps he's in this picture:


Monday, October 13, 2008


Socialist-primitivist river trip time. We'll leave late, be in Moab for breakfast, catch our shuttle and get on the river. Whoo, every bit as much as (if not, upon sober reflection, a bit more than) Hoo.

Catch you on the flip side.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Columbus Day protest small, ineffectual, not without conflict

The Rocky has a cursory account:
Denver's annual Columbus Day parade was once again met with protests Saturday, but police said no one was arrested compared with a year ago when 83 protesters were jailed for blocking the parade route.

"It was very peaceful," said Denver police spokeswoman Sharon Hahn. "Both sides got to express their views in a peaceful manner."
An affinity group of malignant narcissists got in the way for a few minutes:

The parade was then stopped briefly when a group of 13 indigenous women tried to present parade organizers with a "Treaty of Transformation," but the offer was declined.

"We have tried many times to hand them a proclamation only to have backs turned on us," said Mano Cockrum, a member of the American Indian Movement of Colorado's leadership council [tho not listed as such on the AIM website].

"We're not against anyone's heritage, only those who worship a slave-trading Indian killer," Cockrum added.

Words of reconciliation, answered in kind:
Parade participants blasted car horns and revved motorcycle engines to drown out a small group of protesters who had gathered along the route.
At the Censored News website, Cockrum has posted a more detailed account of the attempted "treaty" presentation:

Today, 13 indigenous women walked into the parade and read a Treaty of Transformation to the parade organizers. Upon our approach, [parade organizer] George Vendegnia was yelling "Columbus discovered America!" and "It's a free country!" [Fascist!--ed.] . . .

When presented with the Treaty in a last final gesture, he and other men marching in the parade jumped back.

George recoiled in disgust and exclaimed to the other men, "Don't even touch it!

We had another choice after leaving the streets-- should we take back the treaty from where it lay on the street, or leave it? We left it and the parade continued, driving and walking over the large posterboard with the declaration on it.

They ran over the treaty. That's symbolic on so many levels (not to mention funny). Here's a quote or two from the poor, tread-marked thing:

We thirteen women represent a large community of healing indigenous elders, two spirit people, women, men, and children. Our delegation is comprised of many different indigenous ancestries, not just from this territory-but from all reaches of the continent. We stand before you today in the interests of mutual respect and peace for your community, as well as that of our
own. . . .

The historical legacy of Columbus, for us, represents one of greed, which has led to the exploitation of Mother Earth and the genocide and enslavement of indigenous peoples worldwide. Our efforts to create an educational dialogue between both the community of indigenous peoples, and those who celebrate the legacy of Columbus have not yet been realized-- and today, we hope to remedy that fact.

As women, we are keepers of the seeds -- or rather, protectors of the children and the plants. This includes your children. We hope to reach a diplomatic relationship with the next generation of your community, and to abandon all hatred and meet in good faith to reach peace for the sake of the future, as well as all of our ancestors.

And so on. This is interesting:
The delegation is comprised of thirteen women, in memory and in honor of the thousands of groups of thirteen indigenous people throughout the Caribbean who were hanged and burned to death by Columbus and his subordinates. Countless Native people were murdered, in lots of thirteen, in honor of Jesus and his twelve disciples.
Ever heard that one before? Me neither. More hypocrisy, self-regard and moral superiority follow, of course, but you get the idea.

Friday, October 10, 2008

All we are saying . . .

Is please go away:
It was John Lennon's birthday, so a peaceful time was guaranteed for all.

Peace, in fact, was breaking out all over Civic Center Thursday as the Imagine Peace Paint-In drew hundreds of the curious and pacifists to hear music and talks, including one from May Pang, the ex-Beatle's former companion.
Not even Yoko Ono. Yoko Ono's Yoko Ono.

"I was watching the movie The U.S. Versus John Lennon and saw the great things John and Yoko did for peace," said organizer Dana Cain. She quickly began recruiting not only Ono's support, but her friends in the artist community.

"The live bands followed. That was Yoko's idea. Yoko helped me name it, which was cool."
"Imagine Peace Paint-In." Yoko: still got it.
The free event was to raise awareness about the alternative to war [peace, in case you forgot--ed.], and at least three booths dedicated to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama were on site. The Imagine Peace Foundation's Aleta Antoinette, of Aurora, donated 50 T-shirts to the Department of Peace campaign.

"I started the foundation about five years ago," Antoinette said. "I had a grandson and just decided I wanted to do something to put more peace in the world."
I'd settle for more peace and quiet in the world, Antoinette, hint, hint.
Art students from around the metro area were bused in by the dozens to watch artists create and play with stilts and hula-hoops. A solar-powered bubble tour left soap bubbles drifting across the perfect fall afternoon.
Art students? Like, art students in high school? Grade school? Hmmm. And no, I'm not looking up what a "solar-powered bubble tour" might be.

Pang addressed the crowd of more than 500 at noon, telling them Lennon would have appreciated this gesture on what would have been his 68th birthday. She got a rousing cheer when she urged everyone to vote.
But for whom, May? For whom?
One of the first to sign on with the event was Peace Together of Boulder, which produces T-shirts with messages of peace.

"We really felt like we had to stop complaining [yeah, sure--ed.] and do something positive," said founder Bobbi Benson. "John Lennon had a lot of very wise words and wise things to say about peace. I think we can all learn from that." . . .
Brainyquote Lennon. Eh. A few are funny, hardly any are wise, and none of those are about peace. Fave: "If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace."

Artists at work. Og say: need more rocks (RMN pic).

Walter Cronkite, by the way, has gone completely bonkers. Here he is on the need for a Department of Peace.

Update: Paula Scabdul joins Walter in urging the creation of a DoP. I bring this up only to boast that I have never, ever seen a single episode of American Idol. Ever. Not one.

I knew Clay Aiken was gay, though.

Update II: But I really want another television set.

Protesters plan Columbus Dud

The Rocky:
Protesters do not plan to interfere with the Columbus Day Parade on Saturday as they have in previous years.

Glenn Spagnuolo, a leader of the movement to end the Columbus Day parade, said Thursday that lawyers for the protesters need a break.

The same lawyers who defended the Columbus Day protesters last year - when 83 people were arrested - also represented some of the same people after arrests during the Democratic National Convention.

"That's thousands of dollars worth of legal work that's done for us. You have to be respectful of their time and their resources," Spagnuolo said.
So thoughtful, our Glenn.
The Columbus Day parade begins at 10 a.m. at Court Place and 15th Street. It follows a route that circles about a half-dozen blocks and ends on Broadway.

George Vendegnia, who heads the parade committee, said he can do without protests.

"That would be nice," he said.
Don't get too comfy there, George. You never know whether some "affinity group" or other might decide to do a little independent action of their own.
Opponents will rally instead near the Capitol before the parade, Spagnuolo said.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said, "We'll be adequately staffed for the parade."

Jackson said the opponents don't have a parade permit, but noted they don't need one as long as their activities remain on the sidewalk.

Weird Bird Friday

Now here's a debate I would have been interested in seeing:

Big Bird & Pat Nixon


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Campos: Ayers and Kissinger sittin' in a tree . . .

University of Colorado praw lof, uh, law prof and News columnist Paul Campos on Obama-Ayers:
[Do I need to put in "Republican presidential candidate John"?] McCain has attempted to link Barack Obama to former 1960s radical Bill Ayers, who, as a member of the Weather Underground, set off several bombs that did some serious property damage [ooooh--ed.]. None of the bombings Ayers was involved with killed anyone, but several years later other members of the group took part in an armed robbery in which two police officers and a guard were killed.
Even neophytes at Ayers-watching will notice that Campos leaves out a few bombings (w/deaths) here and there. Oh well:
Ayers has been characterized as an unrepentant terrorist by McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin. At a campaign rally earlier this week Palin accused Obama of "launching his campaign inside the living room of a domestic terrorist."

In fact, Obama doesn't appear to have met Ayers at any time in the past six years.
Nonsequiturs are fun.
When Obama was running for the Illinois legislature in 1995, Ayers hosted a fundraiser for Obama at his house, and they later served on the board of a community anti-poverty group. Obama claims, quite plausibly, that when he met Ayers he was unaware of Ayers' radical past.
Actually, it wasn't ever very plausible, and now it's not plausible at all. No matter. Campos, as befits a genius law prof, quickly moves to the logical argument that nyeh, nyeh, our guy is worse than their guy-- our guy being that hoary ol' debbil man of the left, Henry Kissinger, who, it seems, is "honorary co-chair of John McCain's New York campaign, and a foreign policy adviser to McCain himself":
And here's a very simple question that almost no one in the media seems to ask: If we're going to make the crimes of the radical left in the 1960s and 1970s a campaign issue - a time period much of which Barack Obama spent in elementary school [another strong logical argument] - then how about the crimes of the radical right?

And make no mistake: Henry Kissinger has done things that, morally speaking, make Ayers' actions, deplorable as some of them surely were, look like the equivalent of
You may remember some of these "things":
An abbreviated list of the events that have made it dangerous for Kissinger to travel overseas, because of the possibility he would be arrested as a war criminal, include: covertly sabotaging Vietnam peace talks in 1968 in order to help get Richard Nixon elected; playing a key role in convincing Nixon to launch illegal wars in Laos and Cambodia (the latter action helped create the conditions that led to the Cambodian genocide); helping to plan the overthrow of Chile's democratically elected government, which included numerous assassinations funded by the CIA (again, all this in direct violation of international law); and helping to facilitate the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which may have killed as many as 200,000 civilians.
Even if one concedes that the supposed Kissingerian defugalites happened the way Campos claims, and were as fundamentally evil as he thinks (one doesn't, of course), the context is always missing. The U.S. just seems to blunder around the world doing bad stuff for absolutely no reason at all, or, at best, for some kind of bogus anti-communism (but really to further the interests of big corporations). Anyway:
Kissinger appears to have had every bit as much contempt for the law as Ayers, with the difference being that his brand of contempt led to millions of deaths.

The other difference is that playing a key role in a radical political movement that manages to take over the United States government [remember, he's talking about the Nixon administration] is much more likely to get you to continue to be invited to swank dinner parties on the Upper East Side of New York, no matter how much blood may be on your hands.
Swank dinner parties on the Upper East Side. Blood on your hands. The man thinks in leftist cliches.
That social fact doesn't make Henry Kissinger more respectable than Bill Ayers.
Wait. Is that what we were arguing about?

Update: Ron Radosh notes a two-year-old interview of Ayers by the laughable Reggie Dylan in the Revolutionary Communist Party's ("our chairman is Bob Avakian!") Revolution magazine, in which Ayers voices his support for another progressive educator--Ward Churchill:
In the interview, Ayers also makes a point of declaring solidarity identifying with perhaps the biggest charlatan in modern American academia - Ward Churchill, who was finally removed from his University of Colorado professorship by the school's president for academic misconduct, including false use of sources, plagiarism and the most extreme politicization of the curriculum conceivable.

As Ayers sees it, Churchill was simply challenging students "with ideas they've never seen before," and with encouraging students "to question things." . . .

To Ayers, Churchill was simply "being pilloried . . . for being a leftist, for being a critic of US imperialism."

Abstract of the Week!

Jennifer Elrod, UC Irvine Law School:

Critical Inquiry: a Tool for Protecting the Dissident Professor's Academic Freedom

Although the 2006 mid-term elections were, in part, a referendum on the Iraq War and voters overwhelmingly expressed their opposition to that armed conflict, the voices of dissent were often muted prior to that election. Between 2001 and 2006, those citizens, including some professors, who did speak out against or question the war, were called unpatriotic, anti-American, and a host of other pejorative names. However, under the third principle of academic freedom promulgated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), all tenured and tenure-track professors enjoy the freedom of extramural utterance when speaking as citizens and are, thus, are [sic] protected from administrative interference when they comment upon political issues, including the Iraq War or a presidential administration.

However, such AAUP protection has often been lacking for dissident professors, as I demonstrate in my paper. I examine Professor Ward Churchill's controversial essay about September 11, 2001. Although Churchill had spoken about the subject, without incident, a number of times between 2001 and early 2005 on college campuses, he became the target of conservative attacks in January 2005 after a Hamilton College professor went to the media with his personal objection to Churchill's appearing on a panel at the college to discuss "The Limits of Dissent." A firestorm of controversy erupted and caused the University of Colorado to investigate Churchill for more than two years. The fallout for Churchill was severe: he was fired from his position as tenured professor.

The absence of meaningful protection under the AAUP's tenet of extramural utterance for a tenured faculty member raises the specter that full, robust, and meaningful debate on political matters can be stifled or silenced by outside actors who are not employed by the academic institution. I propose a solution: critical inquiry as a tool to protect the dissident academic speaker through a mediated, structured forum sponsored by the university in which the speaker's ideas are vetted by other academics. Such a solution protects the university's interests as a metaphorical space in which a broad range of ideas are examined and debated and its mission of training students whose future roles include meaningful and informed participation in a democracy and leadership of the institutions of society.

A mediated, structured forum in which the speaker's ideas are vetted by other academics! (Smacks forehead.) Why didn't we think of that before? Why, if such a device had been in place in 2005, we could have avoided the Churchill mess entirely!
Accepted Paper Series
(As opposed to the Unaccepted Paper Series)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wednesday Night at the Radio!

First up, since we just saw McCain-Obama in a so-called (thanks, Ward) "town meeting," let's try America's Town Meeting of the Air. The great John Dunning used to play these every once in a while on his Denver radio show. One I vividly recall was a debate between future Secretary of State Dean Acheson and America First leader General Robert E. Wood on the question, "Is a Hitler Defeat Necessary For the Survival of the United States?" (10 October 1941). Acheson was quite eloquent in the affoimative.

I don't have that one. In fact, I can't find a single complete show on the Intermutt--very odd for a program that ran 21 years and was so popular it sometimes got 4,000 letters a week.

All I could find was a piece of one show containing most of an opening statement (on TMotA, each participant got one of ten to 20 minutes) by former CPUSA chairman Earl Browder, who was debating someone named Murray. Great stuff: "The cult of the menace of communism is a reactionary myth, of the same general political significance as--anti-semitism" (24 October 1946).

Here's a 1939 Time piece on "ATMotA."

Mmmmm, trail mix

Trying to put my menu together for the river trip, and while I've never liked gorp or most trail mixes--too sweet--a friend recommended this stuff, and, I gotta say, it's pretty good--so good, in fact, that as usual with camping food I like, I've eaten about half of it before we're even on the river:

It was cheap, too: about eight bucks for 20 pounds (two pounds free!).
Most trail mix is about ten bucks for a single pound.

Police blotter!

This week's episode: "Eco-tears."

A crime victim writes:
Enticed by the steadily rising price of precious metals, criminals have discovered a destructive and environmentally devastating manner to steal from their communities and bring heartache and havoc to its citizens. Copper thefts have been on the rise, and increased patrols in previously targeted industrial, commercial, and construction zones have forced thieves to find new sources of copper to sell for cash.

Our Lakewood home was the target of one such copper theft. At approximately 10:00 pm on Saturday night, Lakewood's own copper criminals struck our quiet Belmar neighborhood.

One or more cavalier criminals trespassed on our property, vandalized our exterior and literally ripped the copper piping and automatic sprinkler mechanism from our exterior wall, while my son slept and my husband and I watched re-runs inside. . . .

With great frustration, we paid the plumber, sprinkler repairman, and the hardware store, knowing that the time and money we spent on repairing the damage far exceeded the dollar amount the perpetrators received when they sold the copper pipes and sprinkler valves to the scrap yard.

But the greatest heartache came when I called the water company two days later. In just under 8 hours, almost 10,000 gallons had gushed from our home and ran down the street before we discovered the damage and shut off the water.

Our family strives to respect Mother Earth and reduce our Carbon Footprint so our son has a healthy, safe world to grow up in. We refuse to buy bottle water or accept plastic shopping bags. We adhere to watering restrictions on the lawn we were required by our developers to install, and we grow many of our own vegetables and herbs. We recycle. We compost. We turn off the water when brushing our teeth, don't pre-rinse our dishes and run the dishwasher only when it is overflowing. Our front loading washer runs on an eco-cycle water level, and we wash all of our clothes in cold water. We work very hard to generate as little waste as possible.

I was born in the desert of Arizona, and my family lives in a high altitude desert where water is precious. The image of thousands of gallons of water running down the asphalt brings eco-tears to my eyes.
(via Yourshlub)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

O-M Bive log!

Lucky you

Another debate live blog tonight! Be here or be squeer!

Columbus Day protest festivities set

Well, looks like Spagz is trying to pull something together at the last minute. From Censored News:
Resist Columbus Day in Denver 2008
1. Speaking engagement
2. Columbus Day Protest March and Rally
3. People's Council
4. Student Walk-out on Racism

Join nationally-known activist Glenn Spagnuolo, co-founder of Re-create 68, for a night of education and dialogue about race in America and resistance to the Columbian Legacy!
When: 5 pm Thursday, October 9, 2008
Where: CU Boulder Campus, Hale Hall Room 240

2. Columbus Day Resistance March and Rally
The annual protest of the Columbus Day Holiday and the racism that it embodies will begin with a march from Four Winds that ends at the Capitol Building followed by a rally for a better future.
When: March starts at 8 am, Rally at 9 am, Saturday, October 11
Where: Start of March is at Four Winds at 5th and Bannock in Denver, CO

3. People's Council
Following the Columbus Day resistance, people will be gathering to organize a new alliance locally that can act as a national vehicle for radicals. Bring your thoughts and cooperative energy. Please come and represent R68.
When: 1pm, Saturday, October 11
Where: The Great Hall at the Iliff School of Theology just past Evans on University Blvd, Denver.

4. Student Walk-out on Racism
Whether you are a student or not, join the students of Iliff, CU Denver, CU Boulder and DU as the educate the public about Denver's hidden racial past on the 101st Anniversary of the Columbus Holiday. There will be a student walk-out, a short rally, followed by a march to locations with a racial history that will end at Civic Center Park.
When: 12 Noon, Monday, October 13
Where: CU Denver's Auraria Campus, The Plaza Building Lawn
Posted by Brenda Norrell at 10:17 PM
Update: Hard to tell from this whether they intend to try to disrupt the parade, which starts at 10:00 a.m. Saturday.

The people's council "to organize a new alliance locally that can act as a national vehicle for radicals," by the way, is apparently what Glenn was referring to in his comment at the Try-Works the other day about the "new venture to challenge the status quo."

Update: A reader sends along the poster:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Westword's Roberts bids Benjie goodbye

And proves (as if further proof were needed) that he's a fool.

Roberts (who reprints Benjie's farewell in full): "Look below for his typically edgy yet amusing explanation."

Last graf of Benjie's farewell: "And I will, of course, be moderating comments until the Painenites get a life. Or die of Metamucil overdose. Whichever comes first."

Edgy and amusing. Like Ed McMahon. Hi-yo!

(h/t, the pirate with the paranoid parrot on his shoulder--"They're watching us, you know. And they hate us.")

Stock market face-holding, round 2

All from today:

Earlier facetime here.

Update: I'm not exactly laughing hysterically myself.