Best of Los Thunderlads

Political Perceptions

2008/12/11
Published

Political Perceptions

http://rightwingnytimes.cf.huffingtonpost.com/

Scroll over The New York Times masthead for different perceptions.

“Amarillo”

Colin R. Tribe covers an old favorite.

Alexis Alchorn

Alexis Alchorn and Jason Tagg

Alexis Alchorn and Jason Tagg

Recently I posted about the Corktown Ukulele Jam, a Wednesday night event at the Dominion on Queen.  One of the performances I embedded there was by Alexis Alchorn.  I admit she could use a bit more training, both with her uke playing and her singing, but she really is an excellent songwriter and a pleasant stage presence, as you can see in this episode of Midnight Ukulele Disco from last year.  The episode runs about 26 minutes, I’ve had it on in the background as I’ve been working this morning.  Here’s a link to her myspace page.

Best of Los Thunderlads

(The following was originally posted by Acilius on 4 Sep 2007.)

The following paragraphs began an article by Columbia University’s Mahmood Mamdani comparing Western attitudes to Iraq and Darfur.  The article originally appeared in the LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS in March and was reprinted in THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE last month. 

The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency

Mahmood Mamdani

The similarities between Iraq and Darfur are remarkable. The estimate of the number of civilians killed over the past three years is roughly similar. The killers are mostly paramilitaries, closely linked to the official military, which is said to be their main source of arms. The victims too are by and large identified as members of groups, rather than targeted as individuals. But the violence in the two places is named differently. In Iraq, it is said to be a cycle of insurgency and counter-insurgency; in Darfur, it is called genocide. Why the difference? Who does the naming? Who is being named? What difference does it make? (more…)

Best of Los Thunderlads

When Is a Clone Not a Clone?

2008/12/10
Published

jang.com.pk
jang.com.pk

In a laboratory somewhere, an evil scientist is trying to create and grow viable human clones past infancy, and running out of room for the clone “rejects.”

The Nation, 18 May 2009

nation-18-may-2009It was William Wordsworth who asked “Where are they now, those wanton boys/ for whose free range the daedal earth/ was filled with animated toys/ and implements of frolic mirth;/  with tools for ready wit to guide,/ and ornaments of seemlier pride,/ more fresh, more bright, than princes wear;/ for what one moment flung aside,/ another could repair; what good or evil have they seen/ since I their pastime witnessed here,/ their daring wiles, their sportive cheer?”   

That was what Wordsworth asked.  As a columnist for The Nation, Katha Pollitt isn’t allowed to ask such congenial questions.  In this issue, she asks where the Bush-Cheney administration officials responsible for the torture regime are now.  Wanton boys they are, indeed.  But no longer do they range quite so freely over the daedal earth; Judge Baltasar Garzón has ruled Europe off limits for them.   Former assistant attorney general, now federal judge Jay Bybee gave an opinion that treatment which did not result in permanent physical injury could not be considered torture; as if “what one moment flung aside, another could repair.”  Their “animated toys” are to be released from the Satanic toyboxes of Guantanamo Bay and the leftover Gulags of eastern Europe; the “implements of frolic mirth” the wanton boys once directed to be used are to be relegated to the ever-more distant past, along with the photos that came from Abu Ghraib prison five years ago.  True, the new administration’s reluctance to prosecute the architects of the torture regime does raise the worry that they may be looking on that regime as so many “tools for ready wit to guide.”  And the wanton boys themselves do not seem to be suffering; banks, investment firms, universities, and think tanks have given the worst of them positions that could pay for “ornaments of seemlier pride, more fresh, more bright, than princes wear.”  Pollitt jokes that she herself would be better off had she quit journalism and taken a job marketing torture:

I could have nicknamed waterboarding “drinking tea with Vice President Cheney,” although come to think of it, waterboarding is a euphemism already. Maybe that’s why people didn’t catch on that it was the same thing we prosecuted Japanese interrogators for doing in World War II. In the Tokyo trials it was called “the water treatment,” or “the water cure,” or just plain “water torture.” Calling it “water torture” was probably what got those Japanese into trouble. That, and losing the war.

(more…)