Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"We will not apologize for our way of life."

Fred Astaire in the White House

It's true that unlike the previous inhabitant of the White House (remember him?), Barack Obama is sane, intelligent, and mature. He's responsive to what others think. He hopes to institute real change in education, health care, the environment.

But even with his great charisma and silver tongue, he's a proper soldier for the system which is ravishing the planet. As he said in his inauguration speech in January, already aware of the huge financial mess he was inheriting, "We will not apologize for our way of life."

What do these words mean? They mean that the mall-i-zation of the planet will continue. They mean that the commercialization of all of life will not stop. They mean that our massive so-called footprint will never be substantially downsized.

And they mean that the force which has erased indigenous cultures and plant and animal species, which has sullied our air and soil and water, will essentially not be called into question, no matter how many of its most glaring excesses may be curbed.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Recommended reads

Looking for a dose of sanity? Chris Wren's blog is for you.

Elsewhere, Mike Clelland articulates some of my own suspicions and wonders if the Internet (and its attendant telecommunications apparatus) has the potential for sentience:

Is there an evolving giant life form of synaptic fibers emerging within cyberspace? Is it a new set of neurotransmitters, allowing and encouraging an alternative web of synchronistic happenings?

Incidentally, Web-based consciousness is the premise of "Wake," the new novel by Robert J. Sawyer (who hosts "Supernatural Investigator").

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wise counsel

Jim Kunstler writes:

Dear Mr. President, you are presiding over an epochal contraction, not a pause in the growth epic. Your assignment is to manage that contraction in a way that does not lead to world war, civil disorder or both. Among other things, contraction means that all the activities of everyday life need to be downscaled including standards of living, ranges of commerce, and levels of governance. "Consumerism" is dead.

[. . .]

No good, in fact, will come of a campaign to sustain the unsustainable, which is exactly what the Obama program is starting to look like. In the folder marked "unsustainable" you can file most of the artifacts, usufructs, habits, and expectations of recent American life: suburban living, credit-card spending, Happy Motoring, vacations in Las Vegas, college education for the masses, and cheap food among them. All these things are over.

[. . .]

It's not too late for President Obama to start uttering these truths so that we can avoid a turn to fascism and get on with the real business of America's next phase of history -- living locally, working hard at things that matter, and preserving civilized culture. What a lot of us can see now staring out of the abyss is a new dark age.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The burden of agnosticism

Daniel Pinchbeck doesn't know.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Putting science back to work

Ask Obama to Restore NASA's Home Planet Mission

It's long been one of our core principles around here that science, practiced with a full embrace of its core values of openness and service, and leavened with a dash of precaution, is one of the most important drivers of our ability to change the world for the better, and that the openness of science is part of the same societal commitment to openness in general that powers democracy, collaborative culture and transparency in politics, law and commerce.

In other words, if we wish to save the planet, we must deal with the scientific realities of living on that planet and the democratic realities of living with one another. Now it appears that we have a U.S. administration that understands this simple truth.

Here's one of the best small, free ways I can think of for America to signal that change: restore NASA's mission statement of service.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama and "global consciousness"

Collective consciousness and the inauguration (Dean Radin)

This is an exploratory analysis, so it shouldn't be regarded as persuasive as a preplanned analysis would be. But still, the coincidence in time between what was arguably the single most anticipated moment by hundreds of millions of viewers during the inauguration, and the spike in odds at the same time, is quite striking.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Easily the funniest find of the day:

Krispy Kreme Versus US Right To Lifers

The vigilant Chris Wren weighs in here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I like Barack Obama; I suspect his presidency will be a profoundly good thing for both the US and its allies. But Alex Grey's rendering strikes me as self-parodic and creepily messianic, the stuff of dystopian fever-dreams.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Al Gore outlines five steps toward decarbonizing the US in ten years.

Friday, November 07, 2008

For those wondering (like me) what an Obama presidency might herald for science and the environment, here are some interesting links:

Obama promises new era of scientific innovation

Obama on science, in his own words

And for anyone seeking a level critique of the challenges in store, George Dvorsky (Sentient Developments) offers a welcome reality-check:

Obama may have paved through some unprecedented political inroads on election night, but the popular ranking between himself and John McCain was shockingly narrow. Obama's mandate is not as flamingly progressive as many have made it out to be. To go beyond it would not only be political suicide in a stubbornly conservative country, it would run contrary to his rather vanilla election promises.

Many Americans, I'm afraid, have confused his campaigning messages of "hope" and "yes we can" with that of actual progressive politics.
So Little Time, So Much Damage

President Bush's aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others -- few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball.

There's really only one word to describe the mind behind this, and it's most definitely NSFW.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Terence McKenna on individuality and democracy's inherent tendency to atomize, cheapen and reject the human experience: "We have been infantilized by our cultural institutions to accept the notion of ourselves as citizens consuming these regurgitated scientific models which are then hashed through by Madison Avenue and then handed down to us by the organs of mass culture and this is supposed to be what we anchor our lives on."
Sentient Developments on the aftermath of Proposition 8:

Gay marriage, plebiscites, and the tyranny of the masses

Democratic governments should work to protect the rights of minorities not by querying the collective (who at the individual level tend to be ignorant of the intricacies of social justice, law and fairness -- not to mention their often prejudicial and reactive nature), but by having accountable institutions (like the Senate) recognize and enshrine civil rights and freedoms within the constitution or a bill of rights.

Otherwise, governments are enabling the majority to lord it over those who need to be protected from exactly that: the masses.
Suddenly, it may be cool to be an American again

When you're an American abroad, you can quickly become a whipping post. Regardless of your political affiliation, if you happen to be living and working overseas at a time when the United States has antagonized much of the world, you get a lot of grief.

You can find yourself pressed to be some kind of apologist for Washington. And you can wind up feeling ashamed and alone.

On distinctly funnier note, I just surfed over to Richard Hoagland's "Enterprise Mission" site on the hunch that he'd be milking Obama's election for imaginary Fortean relevance. I wasn't disappointed. Click to take in "The Hyperdimensional Election of Barack Obama . . . and 2012."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

On a less morbid note, Obama did, in fact, mention a few points in his victory speech that I found encouraging.

1.) He used the words "planet in peril." So at least it would seem he's aware there's a problem, presumably one that can be lessened by the application of "science and imagination" -- and yes, he used those words too.

2.) Although the context was purely historical, Obama made reference to the Apollo Moon landing. If reason prevails, there will be another . . . and it's not inconceivable that the groundwork could be essentially completed during his own presidency.

"Hope"? "Change"? I'm skeptical, but in the original, healthy sense of the word. I want to see what Obama can do, and I'm willing to offer him my support if his promise to dissolve the corrosive, masturbatory zeitgeist of the Bush debacle has teeth.

Obama's been criticized for waxing "messianic." But "messianic" is something I can handle; the wanton, unapologetic stupidity that defined the McCain campaign (especially in its desperate final months) is not.

Goodbye, Sarah Palin. Farewell, Joe the (sort of) Plumber and Officially Sanctioned Barometer of the American Psyche. You were never anything more than cynical fictions; take solace in your imminent plunge into obscurity.

For the moment, at least, the future belongs to the elitists.

Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President

More essential Onion coverage: Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama becomes first black president in landslide

Just in case you haven't heard.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

This is perhaps the most wincingly delicious prank call I've ever heard.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It just keeps getting scarier:

Christian right intensifies attacks on Obama