Category Archives: politics

“The Media, They’re Surrounding Us…”

…and fake crying? 

Chris

WTF: Billy Pumpkin Bully Pulpit’s Congress

First of all, let me acknowledge that I’m well aware that the term “bully pulpit” is pejoratively misused in the title of this post.  I understand the true definition of the term, as coined by Theodore Roosevelt.  However, jackin’ the shit out of the English language is sometimes the only way to come up with a blog title.  Especially when you are lazy.

Now that that’s out of the wiz-ay, the following is a video of Billy Corgan testifying before the Hiz-ouse Judiciary.  See, I tried to jazz that sentence up so that you wouldn’t be asleep by the time you reached “House Judiciary”.  I hope that when I finally go completely bald I don’t become as big of a prick as Billy Smashkins has become in the past few years.  Zero.

Chris

Experiments in D’oh!: Oklahoma Politicians Do It Again

evolution2

Just when you think Oklahoma politicians might be learning to keep their mouths shut rather than risk embarrassing the state…Rep. Todd Thomsen writes a Resolution admonishing the University of Oklahoma for inviting Richard Dawkins to speak about *gasp* Evolution.

I have been out of town, thus I’m getting around to this a bit late, but below are the two bills he presented:

STATE OF OKLAHOMA
1st Session of the 52nd Legislature (2009)
HOUSE
RESOLUTION 1014
By: Thomsen todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov

AS INTRODUCED

< StartFT >A Resolution expressing disapproval of the actions of the University of Oklahoma to indoctrinate students in the theory of evolution; opposing the invitation to Richard Dawkins to speak on campus; and directing distribution.< EndFT >

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry, not indoctrinate students in one-sided study and thinking; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma has, as evidenced on the departmental homepage, been framing the Darwinian theory of evolution as doctrinal dogmatism rather than a hypothetical construction within the disciplines of the sciences; and

WHEREAS, not only has the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma been engaged in one-sided indoctrination of an unproven and unpopular theory but has made an effort to brand all thinking in dissent of this theory as anti-intellectual and backward rather than nurturing such free thinking and allowing a free discussion of all ideas which is the primary purpose of a university; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma has planned a year-long celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s controversial theory of evolution, called the “Darwin 2009 Project”, which includes a series of lectures, public speakers, and a course on the history of evolution; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma, as a part of the Darwin 2009 Project, has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book “The God Delusion”, and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma; and

WHEREAS, the invitation for Richard Dawkins to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma on Friday, March 6, 2009, will only serve to further the indoctrination engaged in by the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma by presenting a biased philosophy on the theory of evolution to the exclusion of all other divergent considerations rather than teaching a scientific concept.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives hereby expresses its disapproval of the current indoctrination of the Darwinian theory of evolution at the University of Oklahoma and further requests that an open, dignified, and fair discussion of this idea and all other ideas be engaged in on campus which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the University of Oklahoma, the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Oklahoma, and the Chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

52-1-7145 < KB > < 03/02/09 >


STATE OF OKLAHOMA
1st Session of the 52nd Legislature (2009)
HOUSE RESOLUTION 1015
By: Thomsen todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov

AS INTRODUCED

< StartFT >A Resolution opposing the invitation to Richard Dawkins to speak on campus; encouraging the University of Oklahoma to engage in a certain discussion of certain scientific theories; and directing distribution.< EndFT >

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma has planned a year-long celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s theory of evolution, called the “Darwin 2009 Project”, which includes a series of lectures, public speakers, and a course on the history of evolution; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma, as a part of the Darwin 2009 Project, has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book “The God Delusion”, and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma; and

WHEREAS, the invitation for Richard Dawkins to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma on Friday, March 6, 2009, will only serve to present a biased philosophy on the theory of evolution to the exclusion of all other divergent considerations rather than teaching a scientific concept.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives encourages the University of Oklahoma to engage in an open, dignified, and fair discussion of the Darwinian theory of evolution and all other scientific theories which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the University of Oklahoma, the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Oklahoma, and the Chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

Here’s the introduction to Dawkins’ speech:

I suppose Mr. Thomsen has nothing better to do than write inconsequential bills that will assure him plenty of Baptist Bucks in the future.  Evolution appears to be stuck in a bar ditch next to Wal-Mart.

Chris

I Hear America Singing

obama I was thirteen when the Supreme Court appointed George W. Bush the forty-third president of the United States. This was the same year I first wrapped my sweaty palms around Orwell’s 1984, as well as the only biography of Malcom X in the Madill Junior High library. It was also the year I discovered punk rock. More than the year of the “hanging chad,” or the world’s first teetering step into a new millennium, the year 2000 was especially pivotal for me in that it was the year during which I began to get an inkling of the kind of adult I would later become.

Since then, I’ve had a borderline obsessive infatuation with American politics. While it may have started in my bedroom, endlessly spinning The Subhumans’ The Day the Country Died on my first turntable and pretending that I knew something about injustice, this puny expression of small town frustration — symptomatic of the more troubling and increasingly undeniable sense that the way I was beginning to see the world was exponentially different from everything that I saw and heard from everyone around me — had come to be an indisputable fact of life. I’ve since read more, absorbed more, and learned why people like George Orwell, Malcom X and The Subhumans were so upset in the first place.

I was seventeen when John Kerry lost his 2004 bid for the presidency. Oh, how the times had changed. I had read Chomsky, gluttonously consumed every Dylan album my anemic movie-jerk paycheck would accommodate, and had spent weekends composing and distributing my own leaflets and reading lists outside the two movie theaters showing Fahrenheit 9/11. As I was four months away from being of legal voting age, the only exercisable option afforded me during the months leading up to the election was to  canvass door-to-door throughout the cultural backwash of South-Central Oklahoma. Back then, there was no quicker way to get a door slammed in your face than to utter the words “Hi, I’m Jezy Gray and I’m representing the John Kerry campaign.”

The election was as tough a loss for me as it was for most thoughtful Americans, but so far it had been the nature of the game: you work from the outside, from the fringes — and you lose. Always.

I don’t have to tell you that 2008 was a truly extraordinary year. Not because of the mind-boggling circus of a primary and general election, the surreal ecstasy of seeing the first black man elected President, the near-collapse of our entire financial framework, or the crushing disappointment that America’s first experiment with socialism in the 21st Century was the lobbing of money at corporate Goliaths  in order to see what would stick (surprisingly little, it turns out). What made 2008 so undeniably extraordinary is that it’s the first time — in my experience at least — that we won something big. As the handful of hours left in the Bush administration begin to pare closer and closer to oblivion, the reality of it all is becoming more and more electric. We won.

There are some people who will try to convince you otherwise. And when your TV set is perpetually looping images of vacuous celebrities spouting off empty buzz words like “change” and “hope,” chased with a two-hour special on how Obama takes his coffee, it’s easy to forget this simple, irrefutable fact: you won.  If the images from Abu Ghraib make you ashamed to live here, you won. If the last eight years have left you feeling bitter, defeated, hopeless — you won. If the sobering reality of living in the most violent, brutally aggressive superpower of this century leaves you feeling sick at your stomach, you won. If the war against the poor, against women, against homosexuals, against black people and brown people, against literacy and journalism — against rationality, in general — has made you regard the term “American idealism” as inherently laughable abstraction, then you’ve won something very real and very imporant.

Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

Chase that feeling.

Jezy

Brian Eno vs. Israel

This video is courtesy of The Daily Swarm and has already made the rounds to other blogs, but I feel that it is worth posting again here. While the biggest news grabbers continue to be the “stealing” of Senate seats and the need for a college football playoff, the violence in Gaza is something that should be shaking us out of complacency.

Brian Eno is one of my favorite musicians, producers, and visual artists, but he has also done much over the past few decades to encourage peace and understanding among diverse cultures. I think that, while Hamas’ actions in the past have been extreme, it is important to remember that the people living in Gaza are every bit as human as the Israelis, and that the Israeli government should not be excused for countering terrorism with their own form of retaliatory terror.

An Experiment in Provocation
Stealing Gaza
By BRIAN ENO

It’s a tragedy that the Israelis – a people who must understand better than almost anybody the horrors of oppression – are now acting as oppressors. As the great Jewish writer Primo Levi once remarked “Everybody has their Jews, and for the Israelis it’s the Palestinians”. By creating a middle Eastern version of the Warsaw ghetto they are recapitulating their own history as though they’ve forgotten it. And by trying to paint an equivalence between the Palestinians – with their homemade rockets and stone-throwing teenagers – and themselves – with one of the most sophisticated military machines in the world – they sacrifice all credibility.

The Israelis are a gifted and resourceful people who fully deserve the right to live in peace, but who seem intent on squandering every chance to allow that to happen. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that this conflict serves the political and economic purposes of Israel so well that they have every interest in maintaining it. While there is fighting they can continue to build illegal settlements. While there is fighting they continue to receive huge quantities of military aid from the United States. And while there is fighting they can avoid looking candidly at themselves and the ruthlessness into which they are descending.

Gaza is now an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly…and, surprise, surprise – they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment?

Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now ‘under attack’ you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn’t possibly reach an accommodation.

And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland.

I also recommend reading this article:

The Israel Rules

Tonight Sufjan is Penning a Postscript

I have never written seventy-six pages on one subject in my life (that dissertation on Prince’s “Erotic City” is only up to fifty-two); so how does the Illinois governor, Rod Blogojevich, feel about having a seventy-six page complaint filed against him and his chief of staff?  What would I, Christopher Piercy, have to do to get someone to write seventy-six pages about moi?  I have been trying to cause scandals for YEARS now, and the worst I’ve ever gotten is passive-aggressive emails from Baptist youth ministers (ah, First Baptist Praise and Warship Band). 

Perhaps all it would require is somehow worming my way into Illinois politics.  Hey, I’ve been drunk in Chicago too!  In the midst of all this Blago blogging, it’s important to note that TWO previous Illinois governors are already serving prison sentences (George Ryan and Dan Walker).  Illinois is apparently the Cincinnati Bengals of political police-bating.  In that wobbly analogy, I guess Barack would be a less injury-prone Carson Palmer: the calm, handsome guy with a stellar passer rating.  Ahem, this is why I don’t usually write about sports or politics…I can’t tell the damn difference.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the daunting scope of Blagojevich’s misconduct (this guy really delayed building a children’s addition to a hospital because his campaign contributors were late with their forkin’ over?  Cold as ice, man.)

Any scandal which involves Wrigley Field, promises of government assistance in exchange for the ousting of editorial writers critical of said government, attempting to sell a Senate seat the way you would scalp a Bulls ticket, and calling the President-elect a “motherfucker” seems too epic to be true.  But in the same year that Axl Rose attempts to sue Dr. Pepper AND a black man is elected president?  Apparently 2008 was the year of the epic.  Come on, feel the Illinoise!