Saturday, October 30, 2010

A nice response to the Left/Right equivalency drawn by Jon Stewart at today's rally: "Dear Jon, Sane People Protest Crazy Wars by Medea Benjamin"

Which details how The Daily Show wanted to use Code Pink as an example of freaks and nuts on the Left that we have to 'restore sanity' from. The only reason Code Pink is being picked on is because they're effective and get air time. Instead of thinking that getting publicity for progressive causes is a good thing, the Daily Show seems to feel that it's evidence of scary extremism that's destabilizing the country.

"When Jon Stewart was on Larry King's show talking about his Rally to Restore Sanity, he likened himself to Alice in Wonderland and the rally as the Mad Hatter Tea Party. But is Jon Stewart really Alice, trying to find sanity in an upside-down world? Or is he the March Hare, the ultimate "slacktivist" who thinks it's always teatime -- time to sit back and jibberjabber?

The 10-30-10 rally on the capital's mall is looking more and more like a celebration of "slacktivism." Stewart is courting people who do not want to open their window and yell, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" As he says in the Rally for Sanity website, he's looking for the people who've been "too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs)."

So let's get this straight: people who were so horrified when the U.S. invaded Iraq that they joined millions of others to protest are not sane? We shouldn't speak out against Wall Street bankers whose greed led to millions of Americans losing their jobs and homes? It's irrational to be angry when you see the Gulf of Mexico covered in oil because BP cut corners on safety? Don't get upset when the Supreme Court rules that corporations are people and can pour unlimited funds into our elections?

Stewart often roasts the warmakers and corporate fatcats on his show, but he seems to think that his viewers should be content to take out their frustrations with a good belly laugh.

When Jon Stewart announced the Rally to Restore Sanity, he included CODEPINK among the "loud folks" getting in the way of civil discourse. He also equated progressives calling George Bush a war criminal with right-wingers calling Obama Hitler.

So we started a facebook page asking Jon Stewart to invite us on the show to set the record straight. Beware of what you ask for. We did, indeed, get a call from the producers but it was not for a live interview with Jon Stewart. No, it was for a taped session with myself, a Tea Party organizer and a tear-gas dodging, anti-globalization anarchist "giving advice" to Daily Show's Samantha Bee about how to organize a good rally. It was clear they wanted to portray us as the crazy folks who should not come to their rally for reasonableness.

I consulted with my CODEPINK colleagues. Some said, "Don't do it. It's a trap and will only further marginalize us." We'd already been ridiculed several times on the show, like when we stood up to question General Petraeus at a Congressional hearing or when we organized protests at the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley. But the majority of my colleagues thought it would be crazy to decline the chance to get an anti-war message out to millions of viewers.

The producers told us to come to the New York studio "in costume." The anarchist, Legba Carrefour, was all in black, including a black bandanna covering his face. The Tea Partier, Jeffrey Weingarten, came in patriotic red, white and blue. I decided to "go professional," with a CODEPINK t-shirt and a gray suit. The producers were disappointed. They had wanted me to appear in one of the wild outfits we have worn in Congress -- like a hand-lettered pink slip accessorized with a hot-pink boa and a glittery "no war" tiara.

But my attempt to look professional was thwarted by the fourth guest who suddenly appeared and was positioned right behind me: A huge, scary puppet head of Iranian President Ahmadinejad."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rand Paul Tea Party supports stomp on head of woman trying to give a pro-corporate award to Paul

How's that Populism for you? That's what she was doing. Literally, Tea Party folks wrestling down to the ground and stepping on a woman who was trying to give Rand Paul a mock award for his support of corporations. Glenn Beck would be proud.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Revolutionary Piggybacking

I'm reading Max Elbaum's excellent book Revolution in the Air, which I can't recommend highly enough. It's not the story of Marxoid Maoist groups but the story of what folks were doing before they solidified and rigidified into the groups that we now know and love, and they were doing some pretty good work despite the overall flaws in their political ideology. One thing, though, has stuck out in reading the accounts of these groups: the reliance of white activists recruiting in civil rights movement derived groups of people of color for members as opposed to doing the heavy lifting of getting white workers to be revolutionary.

There was a huge emphasis on making the new movement, the New Communist Movement as it's called, inclusive, but it seems to me that this was in a sense a dodge because half the work in recruiting people of color was already done through non-Marxist organizations who had started and maintained the various civil rights movements. Folks who were people of color were already energized. It was white workers, particularly white male workers, who weren't in on it and who the right then as now was courting for support, who were the constituency that needed the most attention in terms of organizing, and folks seemed to shy away from that task. Perhaps it was a measure of comfort: easier for white middle and upper class activists to recruit in foreign communities of color than it is for them to go to their own communities and confront people who might have called them on bullshit. It could be said that white organizing in general wasn't a problem, since so many people came from the white middle class, but that only when working class was added to the label did organizing whites suddenly become something contentious, something that people debated about whether or not it should be done.

To me, this seems like a huge cop out. At the most extreme level you have the pre-Prairie Fire Weathermen who seem to have totally sold out the white working class. The challenge isn't to go along with the current, where things are easy, for instance linking the civil rights struggle with movements for national liberation, but to go against it and do what folks would rather not do, in this case organizing white workers who might be distrustful of the New Left, distrustful of anti-Vietnam War organizing, distrustful of the Women's Movement. Calls for inclusivity shouldn't conceal weaknesses in constituency: sure, white middle class college students may have been over represented, but to counter that over representation with recruiting people of color who are workers without simultaneously recruiting white workers just creates a new imbalance, one which only appears to not exist if you're a white middle class person who doesn't particularly like the working class when it doesn't have some sort of exotic label attached to it---i.e. black or other minority culture. Exoticism and fetishism of the other may have possibly played a part, but again, reality is often not romantic, and it has to be dealt with if a strong coalition that won't fracture is to be built.

*on edit: I could add to this that there seems to be a stereotype among folks even today that white male workers are all the type of people who are "rednecks". This is absolutely false and is simply another way of discounting people who may be harder to organize than groups of people who are already mobilized.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Over the top racism that has to be seen/read to be believed: Central Illinois State Senate candidate on black men doing drugs rather than go to college

"And it's a pretty good reason. Most of the women who are single parents have to find work to support their family. The minority men find it more lucrative to be able to do drugs or other avenues rather than do education. It's easier." Here, the man in question being Al Reynolds. It gets better....but let me just comment....if black people aren't promiscuous and single parents they're drug dealers and users....but since being a single parent is a responsibility more black women go to college.

"Reynolds' comments came in response to a question about increasing the number of black and Latino students at the University of Illinois.

"I've been in the city and the dichotomy of the women and the men in the minorities, there is a difference in the fact that most minority women, either the single parent or coming from a poor neighborhood, are motivated more so than the minority men," he said. "And it's a pretty good reason. Most of the women who are single parents have to find work to support their family. The minority men find it more lucrative to be able to do drugs or other avenues rather than do education. It's easier.

"We need to provide ways that are more incentive, other than just sports avenues, for the men for the minorities to want to go to college and get an education and better themselves before the women have to support them all."


"Look at the number of black men who opt out of getting a job and opt out of higher education. They don't even make it out of high school because the lucrative drug trade is so rampant that it's just easy for them to fall into that. What are the avenues for the black man to get out of the ghetto? He becomes a star athlete or he does drugs. I mean very few men of the black race get out of that ghetto through education. The women do. The women do because, number one, they're forced to because they don't have anybody to take care of them. They do a good job. A lot of the women are very good about getting out and getting an education. The men just have a more ... you know, the lure of high money because it's high money in drugs without having to pay the price of going to school."

To what extent are anti-immigrant and anti-muslim sentiments in the U.S. influencing Europe's rightwing turn?

This is something that would be good to look into. I'm sort of convinced that the anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe is enabled and fueled by anti-Islam sentiment in the United States, and that the Tea Party in general is also enabling these folks to go farther than they ordinarily would.

In Europe lots of the immigrants are at the same time Muslim, so it works out really well: feed on our prejudices and use them as green lights to go at people who live where you are.

Folks don't seem to take into consideration that just because the average immigrant hating conservative who thinks Islam is a heathen religion doesn't know a damn or give a damn about the internal politics of France, Germany, or Sweden doesn't mean that they don't have influence due to the sorts of things they come out with being rebroadcast around the world as typical representations of what Americans believe.

But the more anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim the U.S. becomes the more it will embolden people on the Right in Europe and elsewhere to go forward, even if in their normal rhetoric they take a condescending view towards Americans in general. That's just what they have to say in order to keep up the appearance of having some sort of pride in themselves.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A favorite: Dead Kennedys-Cesspools In Eden

Nice song, although as Jello Biafra says, the guitar quality on the album is strangely better than the vocals....

Why people who know philosophy don't like to talk about Ayn Rand

Randoids are often pissed off because people criticize her and yet often don't want to go through the trouble of conducting a critique of her that draws on all her major works as well as her minor ones. There's a reason folks don't want to do this, and it's quite simple: from virtually the first paragraph in her works on philosophy it's apparent that her arguments are so bad, so flawed, and so ignorant that there's little motivation to keep on and on and on unless a person is a masochist who enjoys punishment. Her writing isn't real philosophy. It's not even real intellectualism. It's something that Rand thought was profound and thought was insightful but is ignorant of basic philosophical ideas and history. Her work is basically very similar to someone who read a summary of Enlightenment philosophy on the back of a cereal box, decided she knew what was being talked about, and then procedes to write article after article, and book after book, based on this assumed knowledge.

It's bad. It's fucking bad. There's almost no parallel to how stupid Rand is with regards to philosophy. People who know philosophy likely see Rand as someone who's not worth the time in responding to. But if you don't have any background in philosophy, i.e. you're a high school student, it might seem profound.

* in other words, most people who know philosophy would be more likely to claw their eyes out than to give a full on treatment to Ayn Rand's philosophical ideas.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Slavoj Zizek thinks democratic tolerance means you can't say what you think in public


"What really worries me is—I will say something very simple, almost commonsensical, that, you know, for me, I’m here always for censorship. Through democracy, tolerance, in an authentic sense, means that you simply cannot say certain things publicly. You are considered—you know, like if you say publicly an anti-Semitic, sexist joke, it’s unacceptable. Things which were unacceptable ten, fifteen years ago are now acceptable."

Hmm....interesting. Maybe it's his poor English skills that lead him to say "I'm here always for censorship" or maybe not. I thought that in a democracy tolerance meant the protection of minority voices, even when those voices are unpleasant. I mean, who's to say what I 'can't say publicly', Zizek? Today it may be folks talking about anti-Semitism, tomorrow it might be people who think that Left wing positions are unacceptable and shouldn't be publicly tolerated. Zizek doesn't seem to remember that the same principle that he's talking about now was present in the Communist system that he was a part of, which made lots of things that which you 'cannot say publicly', for fear of being fired, ostracized, and given a job as a street sweeper for the rest of your life. This is not what we should aim for in a democracy. If the democracy is to be authentic we should counter what we consider to be bad speech with good speech, not turn up the level of social unacceptability when people start saying things that we don't like.

Anything used against the Right will eventually be used against the Left. This is my personal belief, something that I sign up to 100%, and it's something that folks like the ACLU also believe in. I'm sure that few of the folks working on the case of the Nazis marching in Skokie thought that Nazism was cool, but they realized practically what could happen if groups started to be arbitrarily denied the right to march because of their political positions, no matter what they are.

Zizek seems to have a sort of lacunae, or inexplicable blind spot, that some Europeans tend to have: in one sense, many European intellectuals are very cultured and knowledgeable, but in many cases this knowledgability also co-exists with stupidity over basic issues that folks elsewhere learn about in grade school.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Picaso in Seattle.......saw it, it was great, will post something more substantive later

Want to note though that even though this great exhibit was and is here in Seattle, one of the things that I heard from one of my fellow Seattleites was a guy making fun of the name "Braque", because it sounded funny to him. Way to go America, of which Seattle is a part!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Helping the economy.....why not put up walls to companies moving jobs overseas?

It would help. Put something in the way of the globalized market dictating where the American economy should go. It wouldn't be Statist so much as it would be an assertion of Sovereignty over our country, saying that the actual people who make up the United States matter more than market forces.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Roman life wasn't necessarily that different from our own: a letter from Seneca

I've said before, but when you actually look at Greek and Roman writings you find that they're quite current, as compared with those of the Bible. I think that part of the disdain folks have for the classical world is that they think that what's covered in the Bible is what it was all like. In fact, it seems that the Biblical world was a sort of primitive backwater compared to the more cosmopolitan centers of life, and that Jerusalem was a kind of cow town compared to Rome. Yet religions based on the thoughts of backwoods sheep farmers continue to dominate our lives. In any case, take a look at this description of Baiae, a Roman holiday town, that Seneca puts out in Letter 56 to Lucillius, taken from the new Oxford World's Classics translation of the Letters. Seneca lived from 3 BC to 65 AD, so was writing at the same time as Christ. He was also a tutor of Nero in his later years:

"I'll be damned if silence is as necessary as it seems for a man withdrawn for study! Here a mixed hubbub surrounds me on all sides. I am living over a public bath. Just imagine all the varieties of cries that can fill the ears with loathing; when the tougher fellows are exercising and thrusting arms heavy with lead, when they are either straining or imitating those under strain, I hear their grunts, and whenever they let out the breath they have been holding, I hear their whistles and bitter panting: when I come upon some feeble fellow content with the common-or-garden massage, I hear the crack of hands slapping the shoulders, which changes pitch as it hits them flat or hollowed. But if the umpire of the ballgame joins in and begins to count the balls, that is the end. Now listen to the brawler and the thief caught in the act, and the man who likes the sound of his own voice in the bath. Then add those who leap into the pool with a great splash, as well as those whose voices, if nothing else, are loud and clear. Imagine the depilator suddenly emitting his thin, shrill cry, calculated to make him more conspicuous, constantly uttering and never silent except when he is plucking the underarms and forcing the other man to cry out instead. Now I hear the different cries of the cake-seller and the sausage-seller and pastrycook and all the hawkers from the snack-bars selling their wares with a special distinct intonation."

So you have that, then you have these pleas to Jehovah for mercy for some sort of imagined transgression, people wailing and moaning on their knees to atone for some guilt that their Father has seen and is supposedly punishing them for.

Wow, the person who wanted to shoot up the Tides Foundation cites Glenn Beck as an influence

From Democracy Now!

Quite amazing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Because of course the first thing I think of when I see this photo is whether or not the people in it are located in Mexico

Republicans’ ‘scary’ immigrant photo depicts Mexicans in Mexico, photographer reveals". I mean, when I see photos of people who are brown who are depicted as menacing thugs, my first thought is "Are they really living in the USA, or are these scamps trying to put one over on us?" I mean, the outright racism, on par with the Willie Horton ad in its crudity, isn't what catches my eye.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"I Am Curious (Yellow)" one of the best modern films I've seen

And I don't say that lightly. This film from Sweden in '67 is just as relevant today as it was back then. Despite the uproar about the nudity in it, the film is about politics. It's not just implicitly political, it's explicitly political, with Lena staging various protests about issues, interviewing Olaf Palme, going to the headquarters of the LO, Sweden's trade union federation, and interviewing people about class in Sweden, on and on. The opinions implied and the questions asked are very current. They even interview Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who has some very interesting opinions. So the fact that you have a 22 year old girl with big boobs naked for a good portion of it, or at least half naked, is sort of besides the point--although the nudity was part of the point for sure. But I think that it was intended as a politics in a broader sense, in relation perhaps to Naturism and to erotic freedom, rather than as porn. If you want to see a Swedish 22 year old's breasts, get a magazine. If you want to see a provocative film that makes you think about social issues, see "I Am Curious (Yellow)". The film is so current that it could have been made today. Now I sound like an advertising slogan....

Glenn Beck and Nazism

There's a parallel that disturbs me in his conspiratorial thinking, which declares that Progressives were behind both Communism and Nazism itself. This doesn't come out of the blue, and it doesn't just come out of the fact that the Nazis had "socialist" as part of their name, but builds on an established theme in conspiracy theory literature that says that both the Left and the Right are being funded and controlled by some sort of secret force. For present day hard core conspiracy theorists the Left and Right are being funded by people supporting a "New World Order", who in turn are controlled by the global elite. Back track about 90 years and you'll see Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi ideologist, saying essentially the same thing, only in his formulation both capitalism and Communism are funded by the global elite, and the global elite are bankers who are Jews. Bankers also show up in present day New World Order conspiracy theories as being part of the global elite. The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is based on this premise. The function of these equivalences is to try to argue to people that, no, despite the Left being for regular people and against elites that somehow that's not really the case, and that instead of supporting people who say they're taking on elites you should support reactionaries who in non-conspiratorial thinking are more closely associated with real elites than Communists or Socialists have ever been. Here's a quote from Rosenberg, from his book "The Folkish Idea of State":

"And yet National Socialism knows that Italian Fascism has not yet surveyed the final consequences of its great battle and especially has not yet realized that in the long run it does not help to fight only the results, without also making clear to the entire people the causes of these results. Fascism still lacks the insight to see that international private and stock-exchange capitalism, against which Fascism has not begun to fight, was and is the very same element which pays for Marxist propaganda throughout the world, that a community of interest between Marxism and international loan capital existed and still exists--namely, to make the national industries which are tied to the soil dependent on mobile loan capital. And Fascism has not yet comprehended that this community of interest is symbolized by the fact that the leadership of one as well as the other power finds itself almost exclusively in the hands of the Jewish race or of a few personalities compliant to Jewish money"

George Soros, anyone?

Holy fucking shit, Limbaugh declares that some people are just "born slaves"

Here, from Raw Story:

But that's fine, Limbaugh explained, because "everybody's needed for something."

"There is no equality," Limbaugh said on his radio show. "You cannot guarantee that any two people will end up the same. And you can't legislate it, and you can't make it happen. You can try, under the guise of fairness and so forth, but some people are self-starters, and some people are born lazy. Some people are born victims. Some people are just born to be slaves."

Limbaugh seemed to be echoing the "objectivist" philosopher Ayn Rand's belief that only a few gifted people are capable of moving society forward, while all others must depend on the efforts of the elite few for their well-being.

"Some people ... are born and they're not going to take anything from anybody," Limbaugh continued. "They're going to be totally in charge of their lives. They're not going to sit around and wait for something. They're going to make it happen. You can see this throughout the American population.""

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The One Nation Working Together working class whites favoring Republicans 58%, something is wrong here

The 58% figure comes from This Story. Basically, the count saying that the One Nation Working Together rally was 165,000 people is bullshit. No non ultra-partisan news source has confirmed it, and pictures taken of the rally show it to be significantly less attended than Glenn Beck's. My conclusion is that the folks who ran the One Nation rally are out of touch with basic America if they can't even draw the same amount of people as Glenn Beck to their rally. It's not surprising, looking back on it. These folks are the organizations representing the old New Deal Coalition, albeit with minority organizations from the New Social Movements of the '60s and '70s added in. As such, their political reality does not reflect what's going on in America right now and probably hasn't since the '80s. That they've sort of limped on and are now coming together, with little change, speaks volumes to their strategic thinking or lack thereof. Which is not to say that all the groups that participated are wrong or ineffectual; the NAACP was part of it, for example, but it is to say that this particular strategy of depending on rump union support combined with minority organizations alone, with maybe an environmental group thrown in for some variety, is not the way to go. The overall strategy isn't working.

Instead, what we need is a broader based socialism that appeals to regular people in general, including but not exclusively aimed at white working class voters. Socialism in particular needs to cut itself loose from the old union movement and forge new ties with folks on the grass roots level if it's ever going to be a force that can compete with the Tea Party. So let's start doing this.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The destructive assumptions of "Say's Law" with regards to technological unemployment

"Say's Law" in its popular form is that supply creates its own demand. There are a couple of applications for this, one of which has to do with people put out of work not because of a downturn in the economy but because technology has rendered their jobs obsolete. Ideally, the amount of people who are now unemployed would drive down labor costs because of more competition for jobs and so make it attractive for businesses wanting to expand, or to start up, to hire more people. I say 'ideally' not in a moral sense but in the sense of this is what the principle if working according to its premise would do. But there's a problem there. If a person's job is eliminated by technology it means that the economy can get along just as well without them being employed, putting them outside of the system. The only way for them to be integrated back into the system is if the economy expands and grows. Economic expansion and growth doesn't just mean more businesses but more production, which needs more consumption to make it work. Therefore, the cycle of technological unemployment combined with businesses taking advantage of Say's Law is premised on infinite and continued expansion not just of production but of consumption as well. While at the beginning of technological innovation more consumption and more production might have been a good thing, we're at a point now where excess consumption is destroying the planet. Technology and the disruptions that technology creates are now fueling this destruction through making increased consumption and further consumption part of normal life. 

Of course distribution within the system itself is unequal, and the consumption that already exists could be made more fair, and this should be done, but even so it will not stop the total consumption that's going on which is destroying the planet. This can only be done by decreasing consumption as a whole. There needs to be alternatives to technological unemployment that don't fuel the increasing consumption of natural resources and the destruction of the eco-system.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Mechanistic materialists reduce the possibilities for human achievement

There's a strange dichotomy that goes along with a lot of the scientific materialism that's out there in American culture: on the one hand, we hear that we're more like animals than ever in our behavior and in how our social relationships are shaped by that behavior, on the other hand we communicate with each other through increasingly high tech means that depend on integrated circuits and on science that animals would never be able to formulate. There seems to be a disconnect. Love is reduced to oxytocin and sociobiology reduces group behavior to evolutionary adaptation based on animal drives, and yet we live in cities and we drive cars. To me what this means is that the mechanistic materialists out there and the sociobiologists are missing some essential part of the human experience. If what they say about us, that we're just sophisticated machines and that we're just more well developed animals, was really the last word on the human experience I don't think that we would have produced half of what we see around us on a daily basis. In fact it's jarring sometimes to read about how things like current trends of behavior within romantic relationships derive from ancient evolutionary adaptation from a magazine put together with the aid of computers running sophisticated software, that depends on digitalized photos, and that has used sophisticated offset printing presses to produce it, as well as a network of transportation and distribution to get it into my hands. What's missing is human freedom and the human capability to both collectively and individually determine our own destinies outside of the limits of biology. Economics and social structure play a role in attempting to limit human freedom, but unlike biology they're not set in stone, and neither are the existence of these constraints incompatible with the manifestation of the complex world we see around us and that we actually live in. People may have fantasies about cave men living in the past adapting to life through instincts to hunt, and having their family structures determined by that, but the same people are content to live in the modern world.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Why people are especially upset over the suicide of the gay student at Rutgers

I think that the reason that people are extra upset, me included, is precisely because this didn't take place in the South or in some rural conservative community. The fact is that even in the Enlightened North, the Northeast, and the West, there's endemic anti-gay discrimination that folks face both as students and beyond. It's not like regular life up here is a homophobic free zone. Therefore, the experience of Clemente, and his response, is very understandable. I can see how an asshole at college would do something like that to his room mate. It's perfectly reasonable and likely, and most folks have experienced lesser forms of humiliation by these sorts of folks throughout their lives if they're queer.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Talib Kweli, what utter bullshit

Was hearing some of his stuff at a coffee shop recently. It's like "Yo yo yo, this music is for organizers, you folks who might belong to a Marxist-Leninist sect that worships Stalin, yeah, this music is for you and your struggles as you try to enlighten the people!"

U.S. Democracy---maybe states that have more Senators than Representatives in Congress shouldn't have so much influence

Strange thing is that since every State is apportioned two Senators, but the numbers of Representatives are arrived at through population, you get some States where there are more Senators than Representatives. This means, to be clear, that there are so few people in the State itself that by population they're only entitled to the minimum level of representation in Congress--one Representative. Yet they still have 1/50th of the power of the Senate. The following States have only one Representative. For comparison, the numbers of Reps from California, Texas, New York and Florida will come after.

1. Montana

2. Wyoming

3. North Dakota

4. South Dakota

Combined, they have 8/100 seats in the Senate, or 2/25 seats

By comparison, these are how many Representatives California, Texas, and New York and Florida have in Congress:

1. California 53

2. Texas 32

3. New York 29

4. Florida 29

Now, these also have 8/100 seats in the Senate, or 2/25 of the Senate. But the total number of Representatives that they have is 143 versus the 4 of Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming, which means that they have over 35 times the Reps of these States taken collectively.
Equal power in the Senate, 35 times the Reps in the House.

How can this be even remotely Democratic?
The idea of the Senate was to protect the interests of smaller States, but this system puts North Dakota, which at a population of 646,844 , on par with California. For comparison's sake, Sacramento, the State Capitol of California, has 481,097 people, the City of San Francisco has 845,559, and Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, has 425,068. According to Wiki, the San Francisco Metropolitan Area, which includes San Francisco and Oakland, has 7,427,757 people, or about 11.5 times the population of North Dakota. This goes beyond giving small states a voice, it undermines democracy in the United States as a whole.

*on edit: for comparison's sake, Seattle has 617,334 people, a little less than 30,000 below the entire population of North Dakota. Do we then get two Senators as well?

Friday, October 01, 2010

The suicide of the gay student at Rutgers

I just found out the details of it, unfortunately. What would a fitting punishment for the room mate be? My thoughts, and they're the grim fantasies of someone sitting behind a computer in Seattle, go to piano wire and meet hooks. In various conflicts in the 20th century stringing someone up by piano wire was considered a particularly cruel way for them to die because the death was by suffocation and the victim felt every bit of it until they passed out. But hopefully justice will be done and he'll go to prison for a long time.