Dissolve into Evergreens
Obama At House Republican Retreat In Baltimore: FU...
AIG Loses Exec, Wins TARP Comp Ruling - Regulatory...
Man v. Nature
not why, but why not
Tea Party Zombies
Squishy Mice Pumpkin
Star Trek Pumpkin
Star Trek Follow Up
The Flaming Lips
The New Radicals
Death Cab for Cutie
Badly Drawn Boy
Coheed and Cambria
Atom Site Feed
“Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator”
Title from a Tulsa Tribune editorial from May 31, 1921
Tulsa Historical Society
On the morning of May 30, 1921, a young black man named Dick Rowland was riding in the elevator in the Drexel Building at Third and Main. The white elevator operator, Sarah Page, claimed that Rowland grabbed her arm, causing her to flee in panic. Accounts of the incident circulated among the city's white community during the day and became more exaggerated with each telling.
So we witness the 82nd anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riots. Nearly 300 died.
Some History of the Race Riots
Political Compass Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -7.38
Out there, way past Ghandi even!
Scientific American: Video Games Good for Visual Skills
"By forcing players to simultaneously juggle a number of varied tasks (detect new enemies, track existing enemies and avoid getting hurt, among others), action-video-game playing pushes the limits of three rather different aspects of visual attention," the authors conclude. "Although video-game playing may seem rather mindless," they add, "it is capable of radically altering visual attention processing." --Kate Wong
I seem to recall making this case before. Nobody believed me. I felt like the drunk that keeps insisting he drives better when drunk. I think that playing video games is a good primer for learning to drive. Minus the violence and senseless gore a enjoyable game should be employed to get young people ready for the unpredictable world of the open world, one where you can really get hurt.
Just so you know: Its my B-day. Wish me a happy one.
This Land is My Land, Used to be Your Land
I few visitors wandered (or stumbled, as was the case over at fly over country, great name by the way) over from Motherload recently. For which I am grateful. But it does make me realize once again just how out of place my political opinions are here in Oklahoma.
Today an older man I was helping asked me if I was from Tulsa. How odd? I told him I was, I was born here, lived here most of my life except for a couple of years I lived down in Dallas. But you see, I'm a mixed heritage person, its hard to tell just what I am. I get this vague feeling that people don't know quite what to make of me. Since I speak english very well (I can slip into an okie accent when I want to, and english is my first and only language as well) I can't be pegged as a foreigner. I am an okie. I make my home here, out of choice and neccesity.
What I don't own is the mythologized history of Oklahoma that people 'round here seem to accept. I can't help but look at culture and history with an objective eye. I like to think that its something I learned having to deal with mixed heritage, by thinking of myself as a product of two streams of human activity that just happened to intersect with my parents.
Lynn over at Reflection in d minor commented on this recently:
I noticed two things right away when we moved here. The first is that everybody's great grandfather was in the Land Run. And second, every Oklahoma politician has at least three generations of ancestors who were "born and raised" in Oklahoma. I heard one who claimed five generations. Don't even think about running for public office in Oklahoma unless your entire family has lived in the state since the beginning of time. Not that there's anything wrong with being proud of one's family heritage but around here it just seems a little too exclusive.
I'm not sure of her intent in this remark but my take on this is similer: Its not that everybody had ancestors in the land run but rather its better that you associate yourself with the dominant cultural group. A quick reading of Oklahoma history shows that many people here should also be talking about how their grandparents were agitating socialists that fought in harsh labor struggles. But I think its a matter of not mentioning that to your grandkids and letting them think that you were one of the orginal okies that settled here. Or at least taking it upon yourself to adopt the mythology that will let you claim an elevated status in society. (Do we all just eventually adopt the history of the winners?)
What do I mean by mythology? Well this.. for one.
“Soon, the most visible landmark in Oklahoma will be the Oklahoma Land Run Memorial,” Istook said, “a series of 36 giant statues by the Bricktown Canal, in full view of travelers on Interstate 40. It depicts the Land Run, frozen in motion as pioneers race to stake a claim. This is a federal, state and private team effort, and this bill provides the one-third federal share. The federal government created the land runs to open up Oklahoma Territory for settlement. This monument will become the defining symbol of Oklahoma’s heritage, and of the people who came here to live out their hopes and dreams and stake their claim in America.”
Sometimes I can barely stand the heavy weight of irony (and you thought it was the humidity?) of people here in Oklahoma going on and on about how "the government" is going to come in and take over their land and tell them what they can do on their land! With barely a mention of the fact that these same white people wouldn't be here on their land if it wasn't for the federal government getting rid of the people that were here on their land before it was taken away and given away to the white settlers. (slaps forehead)
On the road to success you should burn all the bridges behind you.
So we build a monument to an act of federal intevention to disenfranchise people and drive them off their land. So you see, we fear not the monsters we build with violence and intimidation, we fear only that they will be turned upon their own creators.
Why Does it Cost so Much?
The universe of opportunity is expanding, in a technological way. The possibilities of what can be accomplished with modern technology boggles my mind. And the way that everyday people respond to that technology baffles me. The common garden variety consumer of technology has only vague notions of what is going on around them. A revolution brews outside their windows so they step out into the world, credit card in hand and they leap into the throng. The possibilities quickly drown out their imaginations. Getting a computer home, unwrapping it and staring at the screen for a few minutes hardly feels like a rush of history sweeping you away. We build dream, idealolized versions of ourselves, molded by commercial messages that weave a world of plugged-in fast moving creative modernity where we weild shiny metalic devices like appendages. And the world changes. The only thing expanding faster than our abilities is our expectations. How else can we explain our complete lack of amazement when a child can hold in his hand more computing power than was used to send men to the moon? Scientists string together a hundred Playstation 2's to build a supercomputer. We have access to an amost endless supply of information at our fingertips. We can self publish our own movies, music and books but do we have the desire to do so?
Plucked from the Ether
Posted by a Jordon over at the comments section of Tacitus
Labor itself has a cost, naturally, which is the subsistence of the laborer for a day's work. However a worker is able to produce more value in a day than it costs to eat, and so real wages typically fall somewhere between the subsistence of the worker and the exchangable and usable value of their work. Here is where the dirty part comes in. Marx calls the difference between subsistence cost of the worker and exchange value of the product "surplus value." Capitalism is the system wherein the capitalist has a vested interest in keeping as much of that surplus value as possible. There are "nice" factory owners just as there are nice drug dealers, who have profit sharing plans with workers, etc., but the ones intent on outbidding their competitors, etc. will keep the real wages as low as possible, since these are the source of "surplus value" and therefore profit.
Letters to the Editor?
I am dubious of the merit of writing into a newspaper. I think that a few letters to the newspaper will not do much to counter the onslaught of pulpit preaching that is leading the debate about science, culture and religion.
Its hard to imagine that an institution so pervasive as Christianity with its multitudes of churches sees schools as a threat to their ideology. What clear minded christians need to remember is that just because a church has a cross out front and call themselves Christian doesn't mean that they represent the same faith as you. A recent viewing of John Hagee of Cornerstone church in San Antonio was evidence enough for me that the christianity with which I was raised was not even present at this so-called christian service. It was a cult of politics shrouded in the mythology of Christ. Very little of the actual message of Jesus was presented. Instead, Hagee shouted ominous messages of the Apocolypse and the Anti-Christ with political messages to "God Bless George Bush" and orders to go out to the world a press an anti-intellectual ideology that attacks education, culture, and free thought in favor of a mind-numbing acceptance, not just of Jesus but a fundamentalist mentality that will spell doom to American society. The corruption of religion is not new, it is as old as religion itself.
Mathew 21:12 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13"It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'
To the Editor:
As a product of both religious and scientific education. I was taught the basics of evolution in a private Christian school with no disclaimers, taught by a Christian brother. Did students throw out their Bibles and stop attending chapel? No, because we understood the difference between science and faith. To see them as competing concepts destroys the beauty of each. Many great scientists were also men and women of deep religious conviction. This continuos assault on science by attempting to put up "warning signs" around it is like a bad rash that keeps coming back. Proponents of disclaimers should realize that many of today's highly technological devices in their very homes make use of theoretical science that hasn't been fully understood yet. Should we throw those out as well? We have seen examples of societies where religious fundamentalists have purged elements they perceived to be against God. Its not a place people want to live, and its not a place we want Oklahoma to be. Do we really want to censor our own minds? I hope not. The day we put warning stickers in our textbooks is the day we should put warning signs on our state's borders as well. Welcome to Okghanistan!
UPDATE: On Sunday May 25th the Tulsa World ran an editorial by David Averill which stated on at least two occasions that the disclaimer idea is nonsense. True enough. Did my letter have anything to do with this? Well, probably not. But absent evidence to the contrary I can still entertain the notion, just a little... right?
Dividend Voodoo (washingtonpost.com)
Now the Senate says that dividends should be tax-free to recipients. Suppose this measure goes through and the directors of Berkshire Hathaway (which does not now pay a dividend) therefore decide to pay $1 billion in dividends next year. Owning 31 percent of Berkshire, I would receive $310 million in additional income, owe not another dime in federal tax, and see my tax rate plunge to 3 percent.
It encourages me to see people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates Sr. that seem to understand that despite their immense financial success that they are not annointed by God but are rather the recipients of a system that isn't always just or fair, and the only reasonable way to be rich is to understand that its more about stewardship of assets and less about ownership. Can one person really expect to own so much of the world with a clear conscience?
Some people really believe in capitalism and free markets. Many have come to detest the crony nature of the market here in America and the distorting role that people with money have in manipulating what should be a fair playing field. I respect that opinion because I can see where capitalism can be a good idea if executed with restraint and with none of the built in wealth protection schemes that we have now. I see inheritence as a cancer in a capitalist system, and in this regard I am in the company of Bill Gates Sr. who has fought the latest attempts to repeal the estate tax.
Here's Bill Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins, an heir to the Oscar Meyer fortune on NOW with Bill Moyers:
MOYERS: Are we living in a new gilded age...do you fear that we're living in that kind of time again?
The fact that rich capitalists find themselves on the other side of people like the Club for Growth for me just goes to show me that the so called free market capitalists are really just Wall Street profiteers that are pushing for anything and everything that will drive a greater and greater concentration of wealth despite the possible result being the destruction of the very country that makes their fabulous wealth possible.
Daily Kos: Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation
RonK has a great post up that covers the great myths of American society. Generally our view that time and history don't apply to the U.S. that we have always been the greatest, are the greatest, and will always bethe greatest. Just not true. I don't think loving America means ignoring the flaws, but rather accepting the flaws and to be willing to make things better. Assuming everything is great is stagnant thinking.
Some Battles aren't Worth Winning
Many Americans are triumphant that we defeated Saddam's regime in Iraq, and we are victorious. But that's like saying you fought to get your Mother-in-Law to move in with you and your victorious there. But like Iraq, did we really want what we won? I always thought that winning the war might be just as bad as losing it. After all, now we have a nation of people that depend on us for their well being. They're located halfway across the globe, and they're not so happy that we're there.
Yeah, we won alright.
Empty Rooms for All
OK, this has been on my mind. A quick analogy.
scenario 1)You walk into a empty room with four other people already inside. They have traced chalk lines on the floor marking the area that is "theirs". You walk into a part of the room not already claimed and you make it your own.
scenario 2) You walk into the same empty room, but this time the four people have claimed all the space in the room. In order to have a place to stand you have to do favors for the people already there and they agree in return to give you a little place to stand.
scenario 3) ... like #2 except that after being in the room for a while, and having earned a space for yourself another person enters the room and replaces one of the original four people who leaves the room for good. You now have to do favors for this replacement in order to get more space for yourself.
scenario 4) A new person comes into the room. This new person is a friend of one of the four orginal people. One of the four divides his area in half and invites his friend to have it. After a while the original person leaves and gives the remainder of the space to his friend.
scenario 5) one of the original four people leave and his space is left empty, the next person to come in the room takes it for themselves.
scenario 6) one of the orginal four leaves and the space is divided up amongst the remaining people in the room.
scenario 7) one of the original four leaves and his space is walled off so nobody else can stand there.
That's the abstract view. In reality we are born into a limited environment. All the resources have been claimed by somebody. We are either born with nothing, or with something our parents can give us. You either enter a room and work to get some space for yourself, or you enter a room and somebody gives you some. The latter is called inheritence. And its the reason why the whole notion that wealthy people have earned their wealth is baloney. In a scenarion where we are all born with nothing handed to us for free that would be more true. But since some people start of with something to sell then they have a distinct advantage. They can immediately call others to do their bidding without having to do some first. Money is after all an accumulation of favors in many regards. So how can you transfer that to another person? If someone saved my life and I promised to repay them. I would not expect that promise to hold to the children as well. If we were all born with nothing then we would have to spend at least the first early parts of our lives as workers. We would have to earn something from others to start. Giving children a pass to the front of the line only means that people will have to work for those that have earned nothing for themselves. In effect repaying a service to one that has not rendered one in return. So while I understand why parents want to pass their wealth to their children it undermines the notion of merit and debunks the notion of wealth meaning success.
Krugman for President!!!
. . . someday
Paths of Glory : The administration's antiterror campaign makes me think of the way television studios really look. The fancy set usually sits in the middle of a shabby room, full of cardboard and duct tape. Networks take great care with what viewers see on their TV screens; they spend as little as possible on anything off camera.
Krugman's been getting some slack for being (gasp) shrill. This is due to the sheer absence of people that are willing to take the Bush administration to task for its foolishness. For Gawd's sake... ! He's an economist! The fact that he's the only one with the guts to tell it like straight clearly indicates that our media is sitting down on the job. Not only sitting down, they have their faces to the wall and their fingers in their ears.
Thank you Paul.
Here's a handy guide. Keep it near your computer, television, or radio.
Why Conservatives Want this Tax Cut:
INDUSTRYWEEK ARTICLES -- Waking Up To A New World
But Darden's Davis, discouraged by what he describes as "the mad flight" of large, publicly held companies to jettison production assets in their attempts to boost their quarterly financials, believes more than GDP growth and operating strategies will determine U.S. manufacturing's future.
This is a good read for some insight on how the manufacturing industry views the continuing outsourcing of labor to low cost Asia. They are split according to size. The so called Big Guys have already made the move while many of the mid sized companies are trying to survive with their existing US facilities.
The article, which is the first in a seven part series that will run for the rest of the year, asks an important question I don't hear from too many other sources. "Will the low cost bubble burst?" At what point will outsourcing to the cheapest source no longer be a strategy for boosting short term profitability? Shareholders will not see the same stock perfomance repeated like it did in the late nineties while the large manufacturing firms moved to China, or like they did in the early nineties when they all moved to Mexico. There is no lower cost labor than China. Its all uphill from here. Some companies have already set about trying to jettison administrative staff and white collar work.
Inhofe Watch - Bringing home the Bacon!
"I am thankful that the committee agreed with me about the importance of these various military projects in Oklahoma," Inhofe said. "Our uniformed men and women deserve only the best. I will continue to fight for the resources our military men and women need."
great.. its nice to see that we're draining the treasury on one hand and handing out lucrative building contracts on the other. You know Mr. Inhofe, your heros in the military might like a pay raise as well. Simply buying more tanks and building more missles will do little to put food on the table.
On a Personal Note - Working for Intangibles
I Started a new job recently. Its like the other jobs I've held in many regards. The pattern that I notice centers around the idea that workers should be motivated by intangible rewards, things like:
Pride - Accountability - Responsibilty - Personal Relationships - Loyalty - Comptetiveness
Now, these are all good qualities for individuals to posses. But I am always left with the nagging question whenever I've just been assailed with another pep talk about working hard and being proud; namely "Why should I subscribe to such altruistic notions when the company I work for is single mindedly focused on Profit?"
Well, the answer is not so simple. The problem isn't that you feel a sense of loyalty for the people you work with. You are going to form bonds with people, its the nature of the beast. You are going to feel pride in your accomplishments. That's the heart of creativity. But you are a human being not a brainless entity like a business. So while the company demands that you generate larger and larger amounts of revenue (a tangible) it expects that you will accept intangibles as compensation. At each of the jobs I've worked I have heard the same phrase in some form or another that goes like this:
"Hey, you guys, great job, the company made truckfull of money, you should be proud of yourselves, you did good!"
"Hey, you guys, Store so and so across town is doing better business than we are, we can do better than them right?!"
My cynical mind calls up a few choice phrases that I would like to use but never will because of the inevitable repercussions of speaking my mind. Such as...
"Hey, I don't work for pride, I work for M O N E Y!"
"The more you pay me the more I work!"
"Can I use this pride to pay my bills?"
"If we beat other people do we get anything?"
Of course the world that the corporation lives in is one of self interest while the world its employees are expected to inhabit is one of self sacrifice. It would be sacrilegious to ask a company to do anything out of a sense of pride, or loyalty or a sense of responsibilty. We have come to expect that businesses act out of complete and open self interest. They never forgive our debts if we ask nicely. They never help anyone or thing without expecting recognition or something in return. They never offer more money or benefits to their employees unless they have to. Individuals that run companies may decide to do so but never do publically held companies. Depriving additional money from the shareholders is sin number one. Corporations that ignore this cardinal rule suffer a heinous fate. This leaves no room for compassion.
So every time I go to work I must feign undying loyalty and devotion to a company that chastises me on a daily basis, pats me down to see if I'm stealing and watches my every move to make sure that I'm making them money. And I'm amazed at the extent to which this atmosphere is accepeted as not just ordinary but necessary.
Swans Commentary: The Evolution Of Slavery, by Philip Greenspan - pgreen17
In first world countries corporations have been moderately regulated and their workers were able to get a small piece of the pie. But their power and influence are gradually eroding the protections and benefits of those workers still employed. And so the corporations are off and running to new venues around the world searching for the lowest labor cost. To compound those abominations the natural resources of a country are bought and sold at bargain prices by the same elite parties. In this fashion the masters of the world can control both labor and resources.
Hey look! Somebody get's it....
Philip Greenspan is a retired attorney, a World War II veteran and a Swans' columnist
And he's not just some punk ass high school kid. Who, by the way... don't get it.
Serf's Up! - Paul Krugman
Meanwhile, the New World opened in the west. Sure enough, the colonizing powers tried various forms of indentured servitude - making serfs of the Indians in Spanish territories, bringing over indentured servants in Virginia. But eventually they hit on a better solution, from their point of view: importing slaves from Africa.
In other words, slavery was just a cheaper substitute for serfdom. Slavery blended racism with indentured servitude. Of course the white people thought it a grand solution to their labor problem, but I doubt the Africans felt likewise. Indeed slavery has been the big gapping sore on American history. But those of you that think it was an anamoly should think about the indentured serveants of Europe in the thirteen hundreds. This issue transcends race and at its core these crimes stem from people with power using people without power to do their labor for them. Right now the modern equivalent is our reliance on Third World labor, especially Asian. China suffers from the SARS epidemic because of insufficient health care and rampant poverty for people in the rural areas. Despite the economic growth in China millions remain poor and barely able to survive. We take advantage of that desperate state to gain cheap labor. So that people here in America, who are hardly better than serfs will not revolt against their Lords.
I beleive we are in denial about our blatent exploitation of the people in Asia as our cheap source of labor. It has undermined the gains made by labor in the U.S. and it has brought back the stain of human exploitation. Working people here in America will suffer as well. An injury to one is an injury to all.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | US arms experts 'leaving Iraq'
The 75th Exploitation Task Force is dismantling its operations for a likely departure in June, says the newspaper, after the group failed to find any biological and chemical weapons.
During the debate leading up to the war, a frequent response I heard from people that supported the effort was the excuse that we (the civilians) didn't have access to the same information as the people in charge. Hence, we should let them decide whether or not the war is justified or not. Since the officials were adament that there were WMD's in Iraq that posed a credible threat to the U.S. security many of us who were opposed to the invasion where told to "trust" the president.
It may sound cliche, but haven't we learned by now not to trust people with power. Must it be said that anyone that seeks high political office has an overinflated sense of their own importance. This goes for any president. Do we have to be suprised that people seeking the ultimate in world authority might not be the most trustworthy?
As an Okie, I can say, tornados are a way of life in the spring, some years are bad, others, not so much.
On a side note, about every year at this time we get the same story about some church getting hit and demolished by a tornado (statistically, 'round here if a twister sits down, its about 80% likely to hit a church or two) but the quotes coming out in the story are the same "its the people not the building". But you see, I'm not one to attribute feelings to nature, I think its all just freakish bad luck. But then again, I'm not praying for God to do everything from putting a pigskin through the uprights to doing my grocery shopping. So for people that hold firm beliefs that God controls events on Earth they don't seeem to find it troubling that he keeps blowing down their churches. I know I'd be more likely to be a believer if tornados just ripped through strip clubs and meth labs.
Its the Beauty Thing Again
That phrase keeps running through my mind. Beauty, its what we all seek after all, isn't it? We seek to draw it closer to us where we can find it. In our relationships, the beauty of one's appearance, one's personality, eyes, smiles, dimples. The beauty of song, music, new technology, shiney gears and vision's attained. Its what brings us happiness and heartache. Beauty is not always evenly dispersed and it takes many different forms. Near my parents house which resides a little outside of town, a small forest of tightly packed trees with a little creek runing through it has stood beautiful for years. All through my childhood it was there, beautiful things happened there. Short walks through on the way to the store. Beautiful memories.
Its been cleared to make room for a Truck Wash, a Motel and a Burger King.
I no longer see beauty when I look there. I no longer see beauty when I look at a Dollar Bill.
Scandinavian Showcase - Confirmed Entertainers * Finnish Tango Dancers (Satumma) - Satumma is a group of ten professional dancers from the Dancing Academy of Oulu, Finland. The dancers are very energetic and passionate and because of the great popularity of tango in Finland, they bring the special flavours of it into their show interpreting the nature of tango through modern choreography.
Dissolve into Evergreens