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IT IS A GREAT, GREAT MORNING IN THESE UNITED STATES
Jan 21st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

…But enough for now about the Sonics announcement (more on that to come).

via huffington post

We now have a president, at the height of his power, who has spoken in favor of gay rights, economic fairness, peace, and climate action at the single most public forum available to him.

I know my “radical” friends carp, and always will carp, that Obama isn’t nearly half as progressive as they’d like.

But real-world politics isn’t about a hierarchy of sanctimony. It’s about getting real stuff done, overcoming real obstacles. And right now, this president and this Democratic Party are our best vehicles for that.

RANDOM LINX FOR 1/2/13
Jan 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

Remember, one and all: Our anual fantabulous MISCmedia In/Out List arrives later this week. Look for it.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/18/12
Sep 18th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

seanmichaelhurley.blogspot.com

  • My ol’ pal and fellow Stranger refugee, painter/illustrator Sean Michael Hurley, worked the “safety patrol” at the Downtown Emergency Service Center for the past two years, until earlier this month. Here are his poignant reminiscences of this tough job.
  • Not since (or even including) Dukakis have I seen a Presidential campaign come apart at the rivets so thoroughly, so quickly. Having apparently abandoned even most of the remaining “swing states” (of which some polls say there are now only six), the Romneyites are retreating to their remaining hardcore base—their billionaire donors. That’s the reason for the masses-bashing speech Romney gave to some donors last week, which got leaked to Mother Jones.
  • Next, the Romney cronies will try to double down on the “culture war” nonsense, to try to keep the wingnuts interested in propping up the GOP downticket races.
  • Wall Street was re-occupied, with the expected police over-reaction.
  • Timothy Harris at Real Change, meanwhile, insists there’s life yet in the Occupy shtick.
  • Nanci Donnellan, KJR-AM’s former “Fabulous Sports Babe,” has had major health issues in recent years, but is still doing the brassy-mama act on the air in Tampa.
  • Did a European magician try to copy one of Penn and Teller’s (well, Teller’s) signature bits? Or is it all just another of the team’s elaborate hoaxes?
  • Today’s lesson in officially homophobic institutions covering up rampant child abuse comes from the Boy Scouts.
  • So the organized anti-American attacks in the Mideast aren’t really due to an awful, no-budget American movie. But if they had been, so many more cringeworthy-bad films are out there. Where’s the rioting over Manos the Hands of Fate or The Wasp Woman?
  • There are still vast places in America, nay in Wash. state, where there’s no cell phone service and previous little Internet service. Some people who don’t live in these places imagine them to be heaven. I do not.
  • A Tacoma teacher says education reform has become like the unsolvable training exercise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I think it’s more like one of those Doctor Who season finales that require a millennium or two to resolve.
  • Jen Doll at the Atlantic says the changing book biz means the end of the cloying back-cover blurb. (You’ll also enjoy the article’s stock photo of the old Elliott Bay Book Co. location.)
  • Harvard researchers claim “a wandering mind is not a happy mind.” I’d tell you more about the story, but I had these 30 other browser tabs open at the time….
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/11/12
Sep 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

the impossible project via engadget.com

  • Now you can turn images on your smartphone into real Polaroid®-like instant film photos! (Or you could, if the Kickstarter money gets raised.)
  • KIRO-TV has now posted the entire J.P. Patches/Chris Wedes memorial celebration, including the parts cut for time from the telecast version. And here’s the band Aaiiee’s song “Boris S. Wort,” as heard during the event.
  • Good news, sports fans: Looks like the Seattle City Council has reached a revised pact to get the Sonics arena going, with some developer-contributed cash toward transportation improvements. Now all we need is a team or two to come up for sale.
  • Meanwhile at Crosscut, longshoremen’s union leader John Persak reiterates the line that we can only have either a new arena or a working seaport. I’ve already called this BS, so I won’t do so again.
  • Rain! Eureka! The Crops Are Saaaaved! (Oops, maybe not.)
  • The Wall St. Journal has a major piece about the Hanford cleanup megaproject. The Dept. of Energy is slowing down construction, while it and various other parties argue whether the current design will work at keeping highly toxic radioactive gunk out of any potential contact with the ecosystem.
  • The Slut Walk might not be “redefining feminism” (as the hereby linked Linda Thomas story suggests), but it and similar protests are helping redefine the range of “acceptable” looks/attitudes among those trying to persuade.
  • Some parents don’t like the fact that the Seattle Public Schools are accepting advertising again. Their means of protest: an ad.
  • NIMBY-ism gone tricky: A Montlake neighborhood group doesn’t want walking/bike lanes on any new 520 bridge.
  • Digital media advertising grew in the first half of this year. But print media advertising fell more than digital grew. A lot more.
  • Toys “R” Us will sell its own branded Android tablet.
  • “We all live in a narco submarine….”
  • Third-world forced prostitution is just as tragic when it involves men.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/26/12
Aug 25th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

via theatlanticwire.com

  • Microsoft’s new logo is so highly appropriate. They’re literally proclaiming themselves to be a bunch of perfect squares!
  • Parker’s Casino and Sports Bar, the legendary Aurora Avenue roadhouse (once known as the Aquarius Tavern) where everyone from Paul Revere and the Raiders to Heart got their starts, has been gutted and may be demolished.
  • Thirty-eight percent of Seattle homeowners still have “underwater” mortgages.
  • James Fogle, 1937-2012: The Drugstore Cowboy author spent three quarters of his life behind bars, for robberies fueled by a lifelong drug habit. Never learned any better way to live.
  • Beloit College’s annual list of things today’s college frosh don’t know about includes such expected fading memories as VHS tapes, film cameras, car radios, The Godfather, and printed airline tickets. SeattlePI.com’s Big Blog adds that today’s 18-year-olds never personally experienced the Frederick & Nelson department store, the career of Sir Mix-A-Lot, and The Far Side comic strip.
  • Also mostly forgotten: the fact that Belltown’s American Lung Association building, finally razed for a high-rise apartment complex following years of ownership squabbles, was once the regional office of Burroughs Computer. In honor of that connection, the tower’s topping-off ceremony ought to include a reading from Naked Lunch.
  • Today’s Scrabble-related crime story comes to you from Kamloops, B.C.
  • Item: “All nine people injured during a dramatic confrontation between police and a gunman outside the Empire State Building were wounded by gunfire from the two officers.” Comment: So much for the idea that all you need to stop people with guns is more people with guns.
  • A HuffPost blogger claims “straight identifying” guys are having more gay sex than out-gay guys.
  • The “indie” music site Pitchfork Media posted a reader poll of top all-time favorite recordings. Almost all of them were by white guys (even more predominantly so than Pitchfork’s own coverage range of acts).
  • The late founder of the San Diego ComiCon was quietly outed. Very quietly.
  • The tiny, India-designed “car that runs on compressed air” is not really pollution-free. You need energy to power air compressors. Usually electric power. Power that’s often generated from coal or oil or plutonium.
  • Only in Putin’s Russia could there be such a wholesale rehab of the Stalin legacy.
  • On a “radical left” U.S. website, a Russian writer bashes Pussy Riot for being anti-populist, anti-Christian, in it just for the money, and led by (wait for it)… a Jew.
  • The Campaign, that comedy movie previously mentioned here in regard to its stars’ Pike Place Market promo fiasco, turns out to be a bold and broad satire of today’s corporate-bully-controlled politics.
  • Today’s rant against “the Fanatical GOP” comes to you courtesy of Robert Reich.…
  • …while Lindy West thoroughly demolishes a National Review writer’s quasi-homoerotic ode to Mitt Romney’s alleged masculine prowess.
  • Carlos Castaneda: Author. Guru. New Age legend. Harem keeper. Manipulator. Liar. Fraud.
  • As I keep telling you, right-wingnuts actually do read books. They read wingnut books. A lot of wingnut books, it turns out.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/10/12
Jul 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

makela steward via rainiervalley.komo.com

Welcome to all our kind readers who still have Internet connections after “Malware Monday.” In today’s randomosity:

  • Let’s congratulate the Seattle woman who just became Ms. Plus Size America.
  • The Tacoma Art Museum is getting a big collection of “western American art,” and a big new building addition to put it in.
  • Wash. state’s wine biz has become big enough for the Gallo empire to move in on it, buying up Covey Run and Columbia Winery. I remember, of course, the late ’70s days when Gallo was radical America’s favorite brand-to-hate, a status later taken by Nike and later still by Wal-Mart.
  • Another sometimes-radical-hated company, Apple, said it will stop submitting its products for “green electronics certification.”
  • Ex-Posie Ken Stringfellow has done a lot since his last solo CD in 2004, including abandoning the States to become a free man in Paris. Now he’s finally getting another set of music out, incluidng a duet with comedian Margaret Cho. Title: Danzig in the Moonlight.
  • One fifth of all “adult fiction” physical books sold in the U.S. this past spring were Fifty Shades of Grey (the submission-porn story set in Seattle by a British author) or one of its sequels.
  • Underwater oil-exploration teams have found the lost city of Atlantis in the North Sea, if you believe the U.K. tabloid Daily Mail (which you really shouldn’t).
  • As banking-behemoth blunders spread to the Brits, one analyst notes that, within the industry, “it had become acceptable or perhaps even encouraged to provide false information.”
  • David Carr summarizes recent developments in the newspaper biz, and, as you might expect, sees a biz whose troubles just keep getting worse.
  • Romney (hearts) the Koch Bros., those campaign-funny-money far-right oil/chemical/paper-towel barons who occasionally claim to be “libertarian” (as in, you know, protecting the “freedom” of mega-corps to control everything and ruin the planet).
  • Extreme heat, like they’ve had everywhere in the contiguous states except here, is lousy for the fish.
  • And finally, local-politics site extraordinaire PubliCola is back! Yaaaayy!
RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/18/12
Jun 17th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

ford 'seattle-ite xxi' car display at the world's fair; uw special collections via edmonds beacon

  • In the revived Baffler, self described “anthropologist and anarchist” David Graeber has a long “salvo” of an essay that starts out by asking some of the questions a lot of folks have asked during the World’s Fair semicentennial: Where the heck are the flying cars, missions to Mars, or other techno-wonders we were promised back then? Graeber smoothly segues from that into a more general modern malaise, in which nothing seems to be getting better except info-tech—and that’s turned us all into serfs to bureaucracy, even in our private lives. His answer: a more egalitarian economy. (I know, easier to say than to make.)
  • Online Media Shrinkage Watch: The combo of Crosscut and Publicola turned out to be more of a springtime fling than a marriage. Crosscut’s cutting back. Not just on its new hires (Publicola founders and city hall insider reporters Josh Feit and Erica Barnett), but the site’s existing staff and freelance budgets. Three big funding sources are expiring around the same time. Crosscut founder David Brewster says a new funding scheme (and a reorganization, with Brewster stepping back from full hands-on management of the site) is on the way. And Feit’s talking about restarting Publicola with his own new reorg. Weezell see….
  • As Wash. state’s privatized booze biz rolls on, could people actually start drinking less?
  • Attendance at Occupy Seattle’s “general assembly” meetings has plummeted. Is the organization fading away? If it does, its range of causes has not and will not go away. Tactics change. Goals remain. Eyes on the Prize and all that.
  • While the alpha-male hustlers running most all of America’s tech companies (and the equally estrogen-lacking tech journalists and bloggers) weren’t noticing, Internet usage has become majority female. So are the usages of GPS, e-book readers, Skype, text messaging, mobile-phone voice usage, and more.
  • The Waterfront Streetcar might or might not run again. If it does, it won’t be for at least seven years.
RAY BRADBURY, 1920-2012
Jun 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

bradbury in a stan freberg-directed prune commercial (1969); via io9.com

The author who, as much as anyone, turned science fiction into a mass-audience genre kept at it until the bitter end. After his last stroke he could no longer operate a keyboard, so he dictated stories to his daughter via a landline phone.

In 2003 I participated in a panel discussion at the Tacoma Public Library, premised on Bradbury’sFahrenheit 451 and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. I argued against the ol’ grossly oversimplified stereotype of “books = good, TV = evil,” as advocated by Postman and others.

I said that words were more important to society than before (and they’re even more important now); and that the human race needs “entertainment” storytelling (the kind at which Bradbury was a master) as much as it needs more hi-brow cultural artifacts.

Bradbury’s works proved that commercial stories in formula genres could express tons of truths about the human condition.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/21/12
May 20th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

dangerousminds.net

  • With the death of Robin Gibb, only one Bee Gee (Barry) is still with us. I could try to say something about this tragic loss; but, you know, it’s only words.…
  • The UK mag NME lists “50 Massively Depressing Facts About Music.” Most of them have to do with great artists who’ve sold a heckuva lot fewer units than mediocre artists with great marketing. In other words, the same gripe the oldsters used to say about that teenybopper “rock n’ roll” crap pushing out quality material like “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?”.
  • As SIFF moves into full gear, a UK film critic has pot out a book listing 100 Ideas That Changed Film. I haven’t seen the full book, but I have seen the list. Not included in it: product placement, Tyler Perry, or “soundtrack” records that don’t include the actual music in the movie.
  • The downtown condo biz is apparently back from the dead.
  • Wearing hot pink duct tape in lieu of a top in a bar: cool. Freaking out and attacking cops: not so cool.
  • The big Facebook IPO is apparently a failure. The offering’s megabank underwriters had to step in and maneuver in order to keep the stock’s price at or near the offering price through the course of the first day. Perhaps “retail investors” felt Facebook was too reminiscent of the first-wave dot coms (no real “product,” just a lot of site visitors (for now; that could drastically change). Or perhaps there just aren’t as many suckers who still have money to waste anymore.
  • Thanks in part to our country’s innumerable tax loopholes, the U.S. has done better than some countries at keeping its own super-rich, instead of losing ’em to citizenships-of-convenience in the Caribbean or Singapore (or wherever Mick Jagger officially resides these days).
  • “Black bloc” anarchist protests are getting more violent. Official reactions to them are getting more violent than that, on a virtually logarithmic scale.
  • Radical playwright Bertolt Brecht had some caustic caution words against folk who considered themselves too good to be involved in politics. (I don’t know whether Brecht said these words before or after he became a stooge for the East German regime.)
RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/16/12
May 15th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The recession has claimed another victim, the Betsey Johnson boutique on Fifth Avenue.

  • King County Exec Dow Constantine was caught with an email revealing he’d had an affair with a co-worker. At a press conference, “No Drama Dow” (who has an unmarried live-in partner) quietly admitted the indiscretion.
  • The city and county could announce they’re signing off on the Sodo arena plan as early as today.
  • KOMO’s Ken Schram insists that the poor (and everybody else) should still get to buy things with cash.
  • A community activist group says light rail has accelerated the gentrification of the Rainier Valley, making the mixed-race neighborhood a lot paler.
  • Video footage helps a May Day protester escape prosecution.
  • The wages of not supporting the iPhone: T-Mobile USA‘s laying off another 900 workers.
  • First it was nuns. Now the right-wing Catholic bishops are harassing the Girl Scouts. (Make your own joke about how everybody knows they prefer boys.)
  • ‘Future of News’ Dept.: A spokescritter for Rupert Murdoch’s iPad news app The Daily (no relation to the infinitely more distinguished UW Daily) insists the online newspaper is on the road to profitability.
  • Even with health insurance, medical care is getting prohibitively expensive.
  • America’s real first gay president? Buchanan.
  • Michael Lind at Salon asks, “Why do conservatives hate freedom?”…
  • …while “MinistryOfTruth” at Daily Kos makes brutal accusations toward your sterotypical teabag conservative:

I don’t think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn’t exactly like you.

sobadsogood.com

PARTYING LIKE IT’S 1999
May 2nd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Darn, this is gettin’ retro. And not in a good way.

Just like on N30, a serious mass protest against the rule of big money was the target of an attempted hijacking.

Yep, another “black bloc” of masked vandals claiming to be anarchists busted stuff up.

As if that was any more a “political” act than the busting up of stuff last June in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, many thousands more people participated in real May Day protests.

They made statements, made banners, spoke, sang, rapped, networked, and forged connections.

Their goal was not to feel powerful, nor to get their testosterone rocks off, nor to “live without dead time.”

It was, and is, to change the direction of the world.

Socially, politically, and especially economically.

That’s a mighty tall order.

But that’s what Occupy ____ is about.

No single demands.

No simple solutions.

No instant utopias.

No small dreams.

Nothing less than the end of greed, cronyism, and megabuck-influence-peddling; and the revival of democracy.

IT MEANS ‘HELP ME’ IN FRENCH
Apr 30th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

may1stseattle.org

The whole Occupy movement is staging a nationwide spring “season premiere” Tuesday.

Mayor McGinn has personally warned the local protests just might turn violent, deliberately invoking memories of the WTO riots. (Yes, those really were 12 and a half years ago!) That’s an odd thing for a self styled progressive to do.

Local organizers, in contrast, are billing their events as a “Day of Solidarity, Wonderment, and Merrymaking.”

They’ve got a whole day of speakers, rappers, and musicians at Westlake Park, and a march to the Wells Fargo tower.

And they’re calling for folks to leave work and school, refrain from shopping and banking, to think of Tuesday as a one-day general strike.

May Day has been principally a Euro-radical thing for so long, it’s hard to remember it started with the American labor movement, in its first courageous drives for basic workers’ rights (and the corporate/governmental violent reactions to same).

Meanwhile, BBC economics commentator Paul Mason takes a gander at the new wave of protest-related visual art (a movement accelerated, but not started, by the Occupy protests). Mason believes this populist underground work could be the start of a new art movement, one that could render obsolete “contemporary art” as we know it (i.e., something made within a rarified bohemian elite for sale to “the multimillionaire-oriented art market”).

THE PROBLEM WITH ‘RADICALS’ IS THEY’RE TOO CONSERVATIVE (PART 2)
Apr 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Not voting = voting a straight right-wing ticket. Period.

If you think you’re “too political” to sully your ideological purity, you’re doing just what the Koch Bros., Karl Rove, and Rush Limbaugh would like you to do.

Yes, I know several close friends will adamantly disagree with this.

These friends will agree to support ballot initiatives and referenda.

They’ll make themselves highly visible at protest events.

But they won’t be seen supporting a living breathing politician, except the occasional minor-party candidate like Nader.

Otherwise, they’re content to just protest all the bad things that get done, without doing anything practical to get good things done.

So righteous. So superior. So black-n’-white.

I, however, believe in shades of gray.

The non-theoretical world is a land of deals, hustles, and heartbreaks.

Obama always claimed to be a centrist. You should not feel betrayed when he turned out to really be one.

Yes, he’s compromised, with the defense lobby, the food lobby, the national security lobby, etc.

But the answer to only getting half of the agenda you want is not to throw it all away, to let the whole system be taken over by the guys who want total “freedom” for corporations and the rich, and brutal oppression toward the rest of us.

The only way to make anything happen in that world is to be in it, not to pronounce yourself too perfect to risk being sullied.

And don’t just run a Presidential candidate. Thanks to the Electoral College, there’s no practical way to get elected President without a nationwide, year-round party infrastructure behind you.

You want an American left that’s a real thing? Push for policies AND people, top to bottom, every district, every state.

Run through the Democratic Party structure when you can; through indie campaigns when you must. Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos calls this a push for “not just more Democrats but better Democrats.”

Building a national, permanent movement involves a lot of long, hard, boring work. It’s the opposite of the WTO anarchists’ slogan “Live Without Dead Time.”

But it’s the only way to make national, permanent changes.

Protesting, no matter how vigorous and high-profile, is never enough.

(P.S.: There’s been a highly active comment thread about this topic on Facebook lately.)

THE PROBLEM WITH RADICALS IS THEY’RE TOO CONSERVATIVE (PART 1)
Jan 24th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Here’s the start of another irregular feature on this site, which will probably sputter off and fade away like so many other shticks here.

It’s about how “radical politics” devolved into a lifestyle niche long ago, and how it’s become virtually useless as a vehicle for actual change in North American society.

Today’s course material is a blog post at Huffington Post, by Occupy Seattle advocate Mark Taylor-Canfield.

It was about the local protest against the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling, which one year ago loosened most restrictions against big-money campaign spending by corporate lobbyist outfits.

This protest had been scheduled for last Friday, but was postponed to the following day, due to the continuing extreme weather conditons.

But Taylor-Canfield’s headline is not about the protest itself, or the cause it espoused. It’s “News Blackout Greets Citizens United Protest in Seattle.”

That is NOT the most important aspect of the events being discussed here.

The headline and lead of this piece should not be about what corporate media did or did not mention. It should be about the event ITSELF.

And if you’re the first person to spread the word about it, you can hype that fact up with “Exclusive Scoop Big News You Heard It Here First!” language.

But if your intent is to proclaim alternatives to corporate society, your first priority should not be what corporate society thinks of you.

Besides, if you know anything at all about the dreaded “mainstream media” these days, you know they’re mightily understaffed these days. Especially on the local level, and especially on weekends. If they don’t get around to you, it’s not necessarily an act of overt conspiracy to silence you.

This particular weekend, there were still weather-aftermath stories to cover, which used most of what few people the Seattle Times and the radio/TV stations had in the field that day.

(Many of these sources had mentioned the original protest date’s postponement, even though they didn’t send anybody to the protest when it did occur.)

Besides, anti-corporate movements should neither rely on corporate publicity nor find it “newsworthy” when corporate publicity does not appear.

Especially in the Net era, ya gotta be making your own cultural infrastructure.

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© Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).