|By: dakine01 Thursday May 5, 2011 10:30 am|
|By: Lisa Derrick Wednesday December 15, 2010 5:43 am|
On Monday, May 20th, FDL Movie Night interviews director/photographer Eric Minh Swenson about his work chronicling art and artists in Southern California. Swenson has gained unprecedented access to artists, collectors, curators, gallerists, and art world denizens from San Diego to Ventura. His photos and interviews are revealing portraits of both the Southland and the artistic impulses–shaped by the area’s geography, climate, history, and cultures–that express themselves here. His growing body of work–over 200 short film about Southern California art to date, and thousands of photos– is unique, far ranging and in depth. The art scene in any city has yet to be documented this extensively.
The short documentaries Swenson creates are fluid and evocative, pieces of art themselves. This summer, he begins work on Mana, his ambitious feature-length documentary about a group of Southern California artists, produced by Andi Campognone, curator at Lancaster’s Museum of Art and History, and artist Alex Couwenberg, whose doc is shown below.
Join us Monday at 5pm West Coast time on the front page of Firedoglake.com.
|By: danps Friday November 12, 2010 6:19 pm|
Cross posted from Pruning Shears.
We’ve had three big stories this week, each showing how the right plays the scandal game better than the left. Of the three, one is a non-scandal (Benghazi), one is a minor scandal with the potential to turn into more (IRS),1 and one is an honest-to-God scandal right now (AP). Republicans don’t bother with such fine distinctions though, and that’s why they are better at playing it than Democrats: when they get something they can run with, they do.
The targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS is a good example.2 It was wrong of the IRS to target them, but at the end of the day what it all amounted to was more paperwork and delay. It’s much less onerous – and much less overtly political – than the actual audit the IRS did of the NAACP when it was critical of George Bush.
Yet the Democrats basically sat on their hands for that, and the best they can muster now is a weaksauce “oh yeah? Well why weren’t you outraged back then, GOP?” Republicans stand up for their allies in real time – they don’t sit back and watch them get pummeled. They don’t quietly file those episodes away, holding them as examples to be thrown back as countercharges down the road if need be. They seize the moment and take as many swings as they can.
Similarly, the business with the AP has Republicans once again schooling Democrats on this not-difficult-to-grasp aspect of politics. Any Democrats tempted to decry some Republicans’ newfound concern over the surveillance state should reflect instead on why their own party declined to weigh in as forcefully during the Bush years.3
It isn’t even worth pointing out that all these trips to the fainting couch are hypocrisy because the right was silent on it during the Bush years. They don’t pretend to adhere to a logically consistent set of principles; they just want to go after Obama. He wasn’t president in 2004, so they weren’t concerned then. Now he is, so they are.
The righteous indignation of media outlets, on the other hand, is a bit hard to take. There’s been a great deal of hyperventilating about how this is such a big deal because of its chilling effect on the press, and in case you hadn’t noticed the press is singled out in the First Amendment for protection!. Of course, in that very same clause – and before the press is mentioned, incidentally – the First Amendment prohibits abridging freedom of speech for anyone.4
And there’s certainly been a lot of free speech abridgement going on for the last twelve years! It isn’t hard to find, say, a catalog of sins produced by the Patriot Act (personal favorite), or reports on the wholesale seizure of ordinary citizens’ phone records (and by the way, Congress would have to grant retroactive immunity to the phone companies who cooperated with the AP seizure for the current episode to sink to the lows of the FISA Amendments Act), or the indiscriminate collection of Internet traffic, or the thuggish repression of media outlets that are not the right kind of nice, respectable media outlets.5
These kinds of outrageous abuses have been going on for years, yet the national press corps never bothered to rouse itself to the kind of adversarial pushback we are now seeing.6 It’s one thing to spy on the common rabble or disreputable operations like WikiLeaks, evidently, but when that treatment gets turned on reporters who thought they were comfortably embedded with government officials: First Amendment!
I’ve been reading The Operators by Michael Hastings, and one passage towards the end has a striking relevance in the current situation. He describes the fallout in Washington over his Rolling Stone article on Stanley McChrystal which resulted in McChrystal’s dismissal. He refers to a “schmoozy relationship” between the political and media class and the icy reception he received from journalists in the capitol. Apparently he violated some vague but powerful etiquette that requires journalists to not report anything newsworthy (extended excerpt here.)
The rule of thumb is: don’t make waves. You’ll have a good gig as long as you don’t rock the boat. But that is exactly what the phone record seizure does. It’s a rude awakening for any reporters who thought they were on the same team as the officials they cover. The bureaucratic inertia of an ever-expanding intelligence gathering apparatus has combined with this administration’s maniacal pursuit of leakers to produce a very serious breach of etiquette in the village. It may have been illegal, who knows, but it was unquestionably gauche. It upset some very comfortable relations. That, in the end, may be a greater transgression among media elites than any violation of the Constitution.
|By: Elliott Thursday July 28, 2011 11:00 am|
Today, 5pm ET, 2pm PT
Little Red: Three Passionate Lives Through the Sixties and Beyond [Angela Davis, Tom Hurwitz, Elliott Abrams]
Chat with Dina Hampton about her new book. Hosted by David Farber.
The compelling, interwoven life stories of three remarkable schoolmates illuminate the rise, demise, and long-lasting impact of the radical political movements of the 1960s
In the 1960s, a remarkable crop of students graduated from a small, New York City school renowned for progressive pedagogy and left-wing politics: Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School.
Entering college at the peak of the transformative era we now call The Sixties, three of these “Little Redders” would go on to change the course of American history: Angela Davis, African American intellectual activist and Communist Party member; SDS activist and filmmaker Tom Hurwitz; and Elliott Abrams, who would play a key role in the Republican Neoconservative movement.
Based on extensive original interviews and archival research, Little Red follows these characters’ divergent, occasionally intersecting, public and private paths through the seminal events and political struggles of the second half of the twentieth century, from the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War; the Summer of Love to radical feminism; Iran-Contra to Occupy Wall Street.
Dina Hampton is a graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and has worked for more than a decade as a reporter and editor for publications including the New York Times and the Daily News. She is a late 1970s graduate of Little Red and also later served as its alumni director and archivist. She lives in New York City. (Public Affairs Books)
|By: anotherquestion Friday May 17, 2013 8:46 am|
The mainstream media was exceptionally quiet this week about immigration reform. Summaries last Friday and over the weekend about immigration reform by the usual talking heads conveniently omitted any discussion of high skill visas (H-1B). Usually, they at least included a sentence about how H-1B visas are necessary to growing our economy, omitting any supporting evidence. For example, they do not talk to The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) which generally supports a path to citizenship, but opposes some of the H-1B proposals that could import non-citizens comparable to 10% of the US engineering workforce.
Recently, US Senator Amy Klobuchar chaired hearings on long-term unemployment for which she received well deserved respect. Yet, she is the same senator who first introduced the provision to greatly increase the number of H-1B visas which compete with existing US workers for jobs. Any discussion of immigration reform before this proposal was about DREAM Act Youth and poor Mexicans crossing the Arizona desert. The competition from H-1B visas for good middle-class jobs is especially noticeable for older workers over 50 years old, but even for those 35 years old in Silicon Valley. There was recent news coverage about the sharp increase in rates of long-term unemployment and rates of suicide among those over 50 years old.
The situation is a lot like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership which promise jobs, but mostly deliver hardship and more corporate control. It’s unfortunate that celebrated progressives like US Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tammy Baldwin, and Patty Murray are all advocates of more H-1B visas and more austerity in government (bipartisan debt reduction). Is that what Emily’s List means now? As posted before: “Dear Left, Enjoy Your Pot and Gay Marriage Because That’s All You’re Getting”
|By: David Swanson Thursday February 17, 2011 4:25 pm|
After years of mismanagement, the Tribune Company newspapers — including the Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times – are up for sale. And one of the potential buyers? The Koch brothers. And wow are people outraged!
Yes, it’s those Koch brothers:the billionaire businessmen who run Koch Industries, a sprawling multinational corporation involved in everything from oil to fertilizer to paper towels. But you probably know the Koch brothers for how they spend their considerable wealth: bankrolling right-wing political causes like the Tea Party movement, and funneling millions of dollars to front groups and politicians devoted to their anti-regulatory, anti-labor, and pro-corporate ideology. The Kochs have spent millions propping up climate-change deniers, and have been instrumental in funding ALEC, the powerful business lobby that pushes corporate-friendly policies at the state level.
What would the Kochs do with a few major newspapers? They would push public opinion and public despair further to the right and further into the depths. This is why taxing billionaires is not a policy driven by greed or jealousy or even the desire to put vast sums of riches to good use. Taxing billionaires is necessary if we are going to have representative government. We talk about “freedom of the press.” Never mind government surveillance of reporters’ phone records. Never mind the prosecutions of whistleblowers and journalists. If billionaires can dominate our communications system with what to them amounts to pocket change, while we blog dissent to people who believe nothing that doesn’t appear on Tee-Vee or in a corporate paper, whose freedom of the press is it?
Some recent reports indicate that many L.A. Times staffers would consider leaving the paper if it were purchased by the Kochs — which is probably music to their cost-cutting ears. Better than staff promising to quit is subscribers promising to unsubscribe:
“I will cancel my subscription and so will family members. We have no need for propaganda dictated by far right-wing spoiled billionaires with an anti-citizenry, pro 1% agenda. This will be the death of your struggling paper in a town that once had a proud history of journalism. It’s a disgrace.”
That comment was posted with a signature on this petition. Here are some more:
“If you want to increase the circulation of the New York TIMES in Los Angeles, let the Koch brothers buy the Los Angeles TIMES.”
“No Koch news!!!”
“If the Koch brothers get their hands on your paper, it will only be useful as tp.”
“Don’t give up the integrity of your company for a measley few bucks.”
“I refuse to continue my newspaper subscription if the Koch Brothers buy the Tribune. I boycott their other products so I will do the same if they buy the Tribune.”
“If you sell to the Koch brothers, you can remove us from your subscription list!!”
“Don’t let your long tradition of fair reporting be purchased away.”
“Koch purchase is a bad deal for our nation!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Keep the corporate greed off of our free press!”
“Selling out to the Koch’s will pretty much put the kabosh on the 4th Estate’s duty to afflict the comfortable.”
“If the Koch Brothers take over, you’ll lose this loyal reader of the Chicago Tribune forever.”
“What an ignoble end to two fine papers known for excellence it would be if the Koch Bros. became the new owner. Forget about fairness and accuracy; the papers would simply become the latest bullhorn from which Charles and David would spew their propaganda. Has it come to this? Please don’t sell.”
“I am producer/director of Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press. Seldes worked 10 years for the Chi Tribune as a foreign correspondent when their foreign press corps was one of the best in the world! Remember with pride that high-quality journalism of the early Twentieth Century and don’t sell out!”
“This country is going in the wrong direction, don’t help it.”
“As a Chicago Tribune subscriber, I can say we will no longer subscribe to either the print or online version of the Trib if this sale goes through. The reputation and standing of the Tribune organization is on the line, and it will suffer irreparable harm if the sale occurs.”
“I have subscribed for 36 years and will cancel.”
“As the son of a former Editor on the Chicago Tribune I urge you to remember the Colonel and stand for something. Don’t turn the Trib over to men that care only for this country for what they can dredge out of it for their own personal wealth.”
“I am an LA Times reader, my parents are Chicago Tribune readers. We will do everything we can to make sure everyone we know never reads another edition of these papers if sold to the Kochs.”
Add your own comments for the Tribune Company to read.
|By: Ruth Calvo Wednesday September 14, 2011 2:01 pm|
If you are fortunate enough to visit the National Mall in D.C. during the spring, hopefully you will get to the American Native museum of the Smithsonian there. As you come to the museum, there are several displays outside that are worth a look. The figures above are among them, representing themes often chosen by native artists.
We Were Always Here the figures are named, representing Bear and Raven. The artist, Rick Bartow, has written about his creation.
The Bear and Raven, Healer and Rascal sit atop the sculpture poles; one, slow and methodical, fiercely protective of her children, the other a playful, foible-filled teacher of great power. Both Bear and Raven are focused on water and salmon for serious reasons. The salmon are an indicator species reflecting the health of the environment In particular water, the source of all life.
On each pole are repeated lower horizontal patterns that symbolize successive waves, generations following generations, an accumulation of wisdom and knowledge. The tree used for the sculpture is an old growth Western Red Cedar from Washington state. It is approximately 500 years old. The elders say that the power of the sun is stored within the tree. Essentially the tree embodies the fundamental elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, our sacred and precious natural resources.
To do a huge carving is like creating 22 feet of music. It is creating a rhythm that can be sustained over a long period time. It is music created by chisels, hammers, knives and pencil marks. It moves like a tide, slowly and surely along, turbulent around knots and troublesome grain and then surging along oil-smooth over good clear grain, upwards to completion. The Creator gave me this job of being an artist. Now I create out of necessity. Spirit waits for me in the “doing”–the process of working. Whatever comes of the “doing” is what I share. Spirits are pleased. Ancestors rejoice!
Visiting these sculptures in their setting outside the museum reminds us that much of the heritage of native Americans is that of nature, appropriate in the wind, sun, air and breath of the outside world.
I just read a really amazing story about a product that stops table saws from cutting off people’s fingers. You might think that manufacturers would race to incorporate this feature into their products. Yet the opposite happened. A coalition of table saw makers have taken multiple steps over years to suppress this technology.
If you wonder, “Why would manufacturers fight against a product that saves customers’ fingers?” you haven’t been paying attention to the power of association lobbying money.
The article describes all the various methods that the big power tool industry uses to block the incorporation of this technology into their product. It really is fascinating the way they turn losing your fingers into a right while transforming the makers of SawStop into some kind of greedy hucksters.
Steve Colbert did an excellent piece on this over a year ago. What I like about this piece is that they point out the way power tool manufacturing industry uses the same right wing tropes about “nanny state” and “freedom” that we see in the weapons industry. But if you look behind the scenes you see the manufacturers don’t really care about users freedom to cut their fingers off, they really care about their bottom line, the possible costs of lawsuits and having to pay royalties to the patent holders at SawStop.
What if one of them owned the patent for this technology and made it available to everyone for free? Would they then widely introduce it? I’ll bet they would, but after they got a bill passed like the gun makers did, one that keeps them free from liabilities from old saws that were made during the DECADE they fought the introduction of the technology.
I’m sure the people who work against safer products can count on both hands the number of reasons that a safer product like SawStop isn’t necessary and shouldn’t be mandated. Of course if they were using SawStop those 10 fingers would still be attached.
Photo by Mr. Greenjeans under Creative Commons license
Cross posted on Spocko’s Brain