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LJ has annoyed me for the last time. Now, following [livejournal.com profile] witchwillow's lead, I have made a separate community called [community profile] the_world_around_us, (after a radio show that used to play on Sunday afternoons when I was young) and I'm moving the LJ version of usualmusic there. Why a community? Because I wanted to keep this content mostly separate from what I post at my personal dreamwidth blog. Feel free to join, lurk and do whatever else you used to do here to keep up with me. I'll be around in various comms and I'll set up an RSS to follow some of you all (taking this opportunity to do a friends chop cause I am so overburdened it ain't funny , but this is the end. I love you all and look forward to seeing you on the other side!


And I'll finally be able to merge tags! HURRAY!


EDIT: I made it into a community, not a personal journal. and apparently comms cant crosspost. I'm sorry guys.
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HOW TO ACCOMMODATE AN UNINFORMED ELECTORATE

HOW TO ACCOMMODATE AN UNINFORMED ELECTORATE....


If you're reading this blog, you're almost certainly well versed on the basics. You're well aware of the fact, for example, that Republicans have opposed health care reform en masse and that overcoming constant filibusters poses an almost insurmountable challenge.
But you're far more informed than the typical person. And there are consequences associated with an uninformed electorate.
The public has consistently expressed strong interest in the health care debate, but relatively few Americans can correctly answer two key questions related to the Senate's consideration of health care legislation.
In the latest installment of the Pew Research Center's News IQ Quiz, just 32% know that the Senate passed its version of the legislation without a single Republican vote. And, in what proved to be the most difficult question on the quiz, only about a quarter (26%) knows that it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate and force a vote on a bill.
This obviously poses a serious political problem. Americans don't really know what's in the Democratic health care reform proposal, but just as important, the vast majority of Americans don't know what it takes to overcome a filibuster.
It creates a situation in which the public sees a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, and doesn't understand why more isn't getting done.
Democratic strategists and officials occasionally think Republicans will be punished for their unprecedented, reflexive obstructionism. But it's worth remembering that most of the public doesn't really follow this stuff. They don't know about the constant filibusters -- they may not know what a filibuster even is -- and generally don't care about procedural matters.
In other words, Republicans have embraced one simple tactic -- the single most important weapon in the GOP arsenal -- and used it to prevent the governing party from functioning. And Americans aren't really aware of that.MORE



Obvs the media ain't doing the job of informing Americans. But what I want to know is, are we taught in school how congress works? Are kids taught why this is important? And this is creating serious black humor for me as well...


Why FL just got High Speed Rail


The American public unfortunately lacks patience for and understanding of civil works projects. Frustration with perceived high costs and delays dovetail into conservative anti-government and anti-labor memes.

The Florida high speed rail project is expected to take a mere 4 1/2 years. Even accounting for construction delays, should President Obama be reelected, he can indeed fulfill his promise and ride the first train while in office. We are looking at a project that can be completed possibly before the 2014 midterm elections, and hopefully with certainty before the 2016 general election.

Allowing for the low cost of the 84mi rail line is Florida's uniformly low grade and plentiful right of way, with an elevation change of less than 150ft along the route. Interstate 4, known for its traffic and congestion, currently permits about 90min of travel time between Tampa and Orlando. At 160mpg, the Florida High Speed rail link could make the trip in a mere 44min.

3. The Domino Effect:

By starting with the easiest effort first, that is most likely to succeed and produce a tangible (and hopefully attractive) result quickly, other regions of the community will hopefully demand equal federal investment in high speed rail travel for completion long after President Obama has left office. It's no longer a matter of pointing to Europe or Japan, but come 2014, pointing to Central Florida. If they can build a high speed rail line there, quickly and inexpensively, why can't they build one everywhere?

As progressives, it is so tempting to be impatient.

Why only $8.5 billion for high speed rail? Why not $85 billion in high speed rail, especially when compared to the Pentagon's budget or what Nations like China are investing?

But we must never forget that something so appealing to the sane is still a hard sell in a country populated by so much insanity. A case in point would be the "We Don't Need No Stinkin' Bullet Train" bumper stickers, combined with successful lobbying from Southwest Airlines, that doomed the Texas high speed rail plan.MORE




In the good news dept:In the meantime, Pres. Obama apparently beat the living HELL (rhetorically) out of the Republicans this morning at their GOP conference in Maryland. And FOX news decided to cut off the questions in the middle of the question time:




Transcript
Obama: Let me say this about health care and the health care debate, because I think it also bears on a whole lot of other issues. If you look at the health care package that we've presented ... But at its core, if you look at the basic proposal that we put forward, that has an exchange so that businesses and the self-employed can buy into a pool, and can get bargaining power the same way that big companies do, the insurance reforms that I've already discussed, making sure that there's choice in competition for those that don't have health insurance -- the component parts of this thing are pretty similar to what Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and Tom Daschle proposed at the beginning of this debate last year. Now, you may not agree with Bob Dole and Howard Baker, and certainly you don't agree with Tom Daschle on much, but that's not a radical bunch.
But if you were to listen to the debate -- and frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot! No, I mean, that's how you guys, that's how you guys presented it. And so I'm thinking to myself, 'Well, how is it that a plan that is pretty centrist' -- no, look, I'm just sayin', I know you guys disagree, but if you look at the facts of this bill, most independent observers would say this is actually what many Republicans -- it's similar to what many Republicans proposed to Bill Clinton when he was doing his debate on health care.
So all I'm saying is, we've got to close the gap between the rhetoric and the reality. I'm not suggesting that we're going to agree on everything, whether it's on health care or energy or what have you. But if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.
I mean, the fact of the matter is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your home base, in your own party. You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion, because what you've been telling your constituents is. 'This guy's doin' all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America!' MORE



And the Repubs themselves are regretting that they allowed him in with TV cameras.
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Via: [livejournal.com profile] racebending


From the Confessions of an Acafan Blog... The Last Straw or How Loraine Became a Fan Activist featuring [livejournal.com profile] glockgal commenting on the Avatar: The Last Airbender mess and her activism, starting with founding [livejournal.com profile] racebending and the website Racebending. Its really really good.
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George Tiller, MD: "I Am a Woman-Educated Physician"



In this 2001 interview, George Tiller, MD, explains why he became an abortion provider. In 2009, he was murdered for performing abortions. The video is an outtake from Voices of Choice, a documentary by Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. For more information about Dr. Tiller, visit our website, prch.org.



George Tiller, MD: "Abortion Services Are a Heart Issue"



In this 2001 interview, George Tiller, MD, explains why he provides abortions despite being a target for violence and harassment. He was murdered in 2009 for performing abortions. This video is an outtake from Voices of Choice, a documentary by Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. For more information about Dr. Tiller, visit our website, prch.org.
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Apparently Ben "Let me get all up in your uterus!!!" Nelson and Joe "Let's fuck up Healthcare!!! Lieberman were sitting together at the SOTU. Josh Marshall was not impressed and pronounced them the axis of weasels.


So. Look at ontd_politicals Viking Celebration Post. Then consider the Viking Kittens. The contrast will make you cry with laughter.
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LIVE@SUNDANCE 2010: Around the World



especially to see:

Pumzi by Wanuri Kahui

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US cover The US cover is ridiculous. The protagonist is a poor girl from the Caribbean. Why on earth is she wearing clothing and standing in a house that marks her as middle class?


UK cover is much better. And I like the way that the stance is not sexualized either as most pictures taken from that perspective tend to be.
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UPDATE: Changed to "more" link to Master list. Chromatic Disney!!! Chromatic Friends!!!Chromatic DISCWORLD!!! WOOOT!!!!

In the wake of another round of whitewashing POC YA adult book covers...called simply Coverfail Part One. To say nothing of the news that the new Harrison Ford/Brendan Fraser vehicle Extraordinary Measures completely and utterly erased the Taiwanese doctor who found the cure, Dr. Yuan-Tsong Chen, and replaced him with a completely new white character played by Harrison Ford. And while we're at it, check out this detailed and beautifully illustrated article Yellowface: A Story in Pictures. I do declare that I will post something that makes me happy. This meme has been floating around my fav haunts for the past couple of weeks.

[livejournal.com profile] heather11483 LORD OF THE RINGS!!!!  SQUEE FOR GANDALF!!!!

More Here

grittv

Jan. 26th, 2010 03:33 pm
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Melissa Harris-Lacewell: Citizenship is a Long-Term Game



In the wake of what some called the worst week for democracy since Bush v. Gore, with the Democrats seeming to give up after losing one Senate seat and the Supreme Court allowing unlimited corporate influence on elections, we turn to Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Princeton professor, Nation contributor, and author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought for some clarification–and consolation.
Harris-Lacewell offers some thoughts on why it’s lazy and dangerous to refer to political opponents as crazy, on the way the health care reform process has provided a valuable civics lesson, and how political campaigns are beholden to money.



Though as I listen I think it may be problematic in its use of the terms "crazy" and "mad". Am I right?





Raj Patel has spent a lot of time studying the way resources are distributed among people, and he’s watched spiraling inequality leave many people with nothing while concentrating wealth in the hands of the few. From the food system, which he studied in Stuffed and Starved, to the bank bonuses still being handed out, he argues that something has to change.
In his new book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, Patel lays out some solutions. He joins Laura in studio to talk about consumerism, labor, violence against women, and the way we need to think about happiness.




ETA: Raj Patel's voice is hitting my British accent kink. And my intelligence kink. AHEM. Back to the point.
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LiveJournal, Malware, Interstitial Advertising and You


If this doesn't get fixed pronto, I am finally moving luggage and all to dreamwidth. This is BS of an order that is insupportable.


Also. I have dreamwidth codes if anyone is interested.

READ

Jan. 26th, 2010 12:33 pm
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The Dangerous Desire to adopt Haitian babies


This week, I’ve been deeply disturbed at the swelling public desire to adopt Haitians. Haitian orphan babies. The very name is problematic. In our imagination, an orphan has no family, but the vast majority of “orphans” all over the world have living parents, and almost every single one has living extended relatives. And the children that need family care are, overwhelmingly, older children.
Quite a few other parents I know are really pissed off about it. If you want to adopt, why not consider adopting from foster care? Why Haitian babies? I can guess at some of the answers. Most of them will not be very flattering.

There’s a certain group of white adoptive international parents that dominate much of the discourse around adoption in this country. The most organized of these are evangelical Christians, but many of them are secular in their beliefs on adoption. They’re across the political spectrum, ultraconservative to ultraliberal, though if I had to hazard a guess, most of them are center-right in politics. I believe these people are, basically, a force for evil. If I put it in any nicer words, that would be a lie. Examining their belief system, and their potential political influence on the recovery efforts in Haiti, is a pretty terrifying process. Continue Reading »


Rush for Adoptions from Haiti Poses Questions



In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, we’ve seen many solutions posed around the world (and even suggested a few of our own). One option that has been raised is allowing more adoptions from Haiti; Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell even got involved in bringing orphans into the U.S., managing to land a plane when relief planes were unable to get in.

But is this really the best answer? We ask David M. Smolin, professor of law at Samford University, who has written extensively on intercountry adoption, Dawn Davenport, author of The Complete Book of International Adoption and executive director of Creating a Family, and Phil Bertelsen, himself an transracial adoptee and award-winning filmmaker, and the director of Outside Looking In, a documentary about transracial adopton.

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with mention of at least two books I want to read.


Re-Whiting History Just In Time For MLK Day


From the comments of that article: A Time to Break Silence: By Rev. Martin Luther King





ETA: Switch the circumstances to today and its bloody eerie and disappointed just how current this speech is.



ETA: funny how that quote about the arc of the universe bending towards justice is so thoroughly divorced from its context in the cultural zeitgist.
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I'm sorry but


you cannot want to be leader of the the free world if some of your citizens want to ban the dictionary.

Cause that? Is a sign that you education system is FUCKED. We CANNOT have ignorant jackasses running the free world.


No really. DO SOMETHING.
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Please Stop, Anderson. Just STOP.

This is a message to Anderson Cooper and CNN...
 
As American citizens concerned about the humanity of the Haitian people, the sensationalist and self-promoting tendencies of American media and the power of pictures, we urge you to: Please stop.  
Please immediately:
-- Stop using the camera to rob people of their dignity when it's the only thing they have left.
-- Stop infantilizing the Haitian people.
-- Stop the pity party.
-- Stop the exploitation of despair to promote your own brand -- especially with those horrible patronizing split-screens.
-- Stop playing savior.MORE
Some of the comments are leaking privledge



Why and How I Lost It Yesterday (Over CNN "Getting Off" On a Haitian Victim Rescue)

Over the course of the day, I heard from several visually-savvy friends who empathized with my need to vent. At the same time, however, several also wrote some variation of this:

While I applaud your effort, I am curious about why. I haven't lived with a TV for about 8 years so I catch CNN/ cable news pretty infrequently. ... So, I'd like to make an appeal for those of us who don't tune in to CNN: What exactly is the problem? Is Cooper emblematic of contemporary Journalism? Or, has he just gone too too far?

 

Fair enough. (And yes, too far.)

Without delving into what upset(s) me about the split screen shots I led yesterday's post with, let me explain the next four screen grabs and describe what happens in Tuesday's CNN Haiti rescue video so you'll see what set me off.

MORE
Warning: What he did is very disgusting.

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