Saturday, January 13, 2007

Further attacks on a free society...

According to CNN:
Charles "Cully" Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, said in a radio interview last week that companies might want to consider taking their business to firms that do not represent suspected terrorists.

Stimson's remarks were viewed by legal experts and advocacy groups as an attempt to intimidate law firms that provide legal help to all people, even unpopular defendants.Sonnett said in a statement that Stimson had made a "blatant attempt to intimidate lawyers and their firms who are rendering important public service in upholding the rule of law and our democratic ideals."

Stimson on Thursday told Federal News Radio, a local commercial station that covers the government, that he found it "shocking" that lawyers at many of the nation's top law firms represent detainees.

Stimson listed the names of more than a dozen major firms he suggested should be boycotted.

"And I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms," Stimson said.

Who needs to live by the ideas in the Constitution.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Death Threats over PIzza

From CNN: A pizza joint in Dallas received death threats and hate mail since it catered to its office, I mean, allowed customers to pay in pesos. One email stated, "This is the United States of America and not the United States of Mexico." According to the business, 60% of its customers are hispanic. So far pesos payment accounts for 10% of the sales.

This seems to be very peculiar, especially because of the location. When I lived in New York, no one cared whether or not customers paid for their goods in American or Canadian currency. Most of the sales clerks knew the currency exchange rate, customers would pay, and then receive any change in U.S. currency.

In Texas, the story is quite different. While some of the outcry is over "illegal immigration" this does not make sense. Either the business is doing an excellent job of attractive new customers on a consistent basis or the business caters to illegals that have an unlimited supply of pesos. Both of these seem unlikely. I do not want to speculate, though I fear I know, what this really suggests.

Criticism of this business plan seems as ridiculous as towns that make either English or Spanish the official language of a given subdivision.

In both issues, it seems to make an "other" out of a group. Worse, one strategy in the immigration debate is to characterize any non-white as non-American. You can only be "American" if speak English and look "American."

Maybe, if more laws like this pass, we should make a requirement that Americans should speak and write correctly. Isn't that the next logical step?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Artist of the Week

Maybe the first of multiple installments. It depends on the availability of artists,

Here is a link to the song "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez. He is a bluesy-indie/folk singer/ songwriter. "Heartbeats" reached #9 on the UK charts.

On the downside, the video in question is a commercial for SONY Televisions. This is not a plug for that, but it certainly is for his work, especially his album "Veneer".

Another first...

In light of the debacle about which Solon reports in "Playoff? What do you mean playoff?" (The Rhetorical Situation, 08 January 2007), I will be the first major media figure to declare that a playoff is needed for college football.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Playoff? What do you mean playoff?

As the BCS Title Debacle reaches an ending and the score now 41 - 14 in the fourth, who will be the first to declare that a playoff is needed for college football?

And how do you convince the presidents of the major Universities that college football needs a playoff?

And how do presidents of major universities declare to the nation that academics for division schools, especially for football players, are not important?

How do you ask universities to schedule one less game (with the loss of guaranteed profits), for a chance at another game?

Just some basic questions, that's all.

Political Communication through Music

This semester I will be instructing a Political Communicaiton class. While trying to find new ways to reach my students, I decided to spend a week discussing music as a form of political communication. The songs must address political issues, with political being thought of as control and use of the basic resources and interests of a community or the arrangement of relationships between individuals in a community.

I have been putting together a list. Here are some example listed by artist, song, and theme. I am sure that there are multiple songs tha I am missing, especially when it comes to Rap (this is one genre of music I know little about).

(1) What am I missing? (Especially in regards to minority voices such through women artists and in rap)

(2) Why is there a dearth of political music in the 1990s? (There may be a few answers to this quesiton such as an "era of Good Feeling" after the end of the Cold War, an economic boom, the rise of Clear Channel and the centralization of playlists, the lack of social unrest to protest, and the rise of individual angst and the commodification of that angst.)

Here a brief list (there are many songs i am missing):

Barry McGuire “Eve of Destruction,” (imminent apocalypse, 1965)
Bob Dylan, “Blowing in the Wind,” (civil rights, anti-war; 1962)
Bob Dylan, “"The Times They Are a-Changin’” (Social Protest; 1963)
Creedence Clearwater Rivival “Fortunate Son,” (Those that did not fight, 1969)
Merle Haggard, "Oakie from Miskogee," (Anti-Protestors; 1960s)

Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On,” (Vietnam; 1972)
John Lennon, “Imagine,” (anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-religion, anti-corporation, 1971)
John Lennon, “Give Peace A Chance,” (1972)

Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A,” (Soldiers Retuning from War, 1984)
Nina- “99 Red Balloons” (Nuclear Proliferation, 1984)
R.E.M. “Orange Crush” (Vietnam)
U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” (The Troubles in Northern Ireland, 1983)
Fugazi, “Suggestion” (Objectification of Women” 1989)
Public Enemy, “Fight the Power,” (1989)

Arrested Development, “Tennessee,” (lynching; 1992)
Guns N’ Roses, “Civil War; (a tribute to anti-war songs; 1992)
The Cranberries, “Zombie,” (The Toubles, Easter Rising; 1994)
Rage Against the Machine (multiple songs though there may be something rotten in Denmark about this band)

Alan Jackson, “Where were you,” (September 11th; 2002)
Toby Keith, “Country of the Red, White, Blue, Blue” (September 11th; 2002)
Dixie Chicks, “Travelin Soldier,” (Anti-War; 2002)
Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” (Anti-Bush Remarks,, 2006)
Bruce Springsteen, “Into the Fire” (September 11th; 2002)
Green Day, “American Idiot,” (Ridicules American under GWB; 2004)