Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Declining Sperm Counts

From 2010:

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the WHO conference where a Danish scientist first alerted the world to the fact that Western men are suffering an infertility crisis. Professor Niels Skakkebaek of the University of Copenhagen presented data indicating sperm counts had fallen by about a half over the past 50 years.(1)

We are simply poisoning the world we live in. When was the last time you saw a frog ?

Juts raise those acceptable radiation levels another 50%.

1'Out for the count: Why levels of sperm in men are falling' - UK Independent

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Horror Show at My Local Big Box

a prominent one, with much Made in China stuff, in a fiercely non-union reactionary part of the country.

The working class in these parts is dumbed down and preyed upon, and wallows in fundamentalist religion as an opiate.

It's frightening to think of the entire U.S becoming this, and seeing how it could work in a brutal way. Where workers are mostly morbidly obese and a too-high percentage noticeably limping. Unread, untraveled, and submissive to authority. And ruled by a nasty elite who mocks and ridicules them.

This is the political worldview that is winning.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Importance of Tenure

K-12 tenure is crucial for at least two reasons. One, protecting political activists who speak out on matters which generally irritate those in power. No tenure, and the number of people willing to to put their jobs at risk diminishes. Two, it protects against grade inflation. It is common for teachers to quietly relent to the implied intimidation of locally powerful parents when it comes to little Johnny's grade or behavior. It's not the type of thing that usually ends up in confrontation, but rather, in the background, day by day, week by week. Is a teacher really going to say a child doesn't belong in G&T when their parent can call up the principal and force a meeting any time they please ? And when that meeting will go on their record and they have no job protection whatsoever ?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Role of the 'Free Press'

To Censor and Contain:

Commanders in Afghanistan are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered by the publication of "trophy" photographs of US soldiers posing with the dead bodies of defenceless Afghan civilians they killed....

An investigation by Der Spiegel has unearthed approximately 4,000 photos and videos taken by the men.

The magazine, which is planning to publish only three images...(1)

Exactly why WikiLeaks is needed. We don't need our betters minding the store, thank you.

1'US Army 'kill team' in Afghanistan posed for photos of murdered civilians' - UK Guardian

Sunday, March 20, 2011

On the UCLA Anti-Asian You Tube Video

Word is the college student who posted the video has now left UCLA and with her family been targeted with death threats and the like.

The whole reaction has been unimpressive. Our society personalizes things because it is easy. Someone should not have their life ruined over a mistake, one in which the original video was taken down within the hour after recognition of the mistake.

Focusing on the racism or immaturity of an individual college student really does nothing to challenge power or structural racial issues in our society. It just makes people feel good in a vengeful kind of way. It is emotional, not logical. And it is cowardly in the end, because taking on power requires sacrifice; attacking a college student acting on their own does not.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Airstrikes on Libya Begin

Libya is a country that holds little geostrategic concern for the U.S., it is carrying the water for European imperialism and holding up its bargain as king-among-kings. But the worries within U.S. ruling circles can be evidenced by the strong opposition within the U.S. military establishment to the current air strikes. There is no endgame here, NATO's best hope is that Gaddafi is so weak on the ground and has so little popularity that a coup d'etat is staged within his inner circle. Absent that, there is only more airstrikes, civilian casualties and bodybags, and the loss of the moral veil of protecting innocents which Cameron and Sarkozy hide behind. And eventually other actors will get involved, the prize is too great for the so-called energy hungry emerging powers to ignore. The rank hypocrisy is impossible to hide, as the West liberates Libya it fellates murder in Bahrain and medieval style torture in Saudi Arabia. I suspect this will end in humiliation for the 'West', even with Gaddafi as weak as he is.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gaddafi's Libya to Shut Out the West, Open up Oil to BRIC

The events in Libya, I believe, are setting the stage for a 'Great Powers' dispute. It will be ugly and nothing can be ruled out.

Cheap energy is the absolute life blood of the sclerotic and mostly discredited ruling classes worldwide.

From Libya State TV:

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi urged Russia, China and India on Sunday to invest in Libya's oil sector, state television said.

It said Gaddafi had made the appeal during talks with the ambassadors of the three countries.

"In the discussions with the ambassadors ... a call was made for the companies of those countries to invest in the Libyan oil industry," it said.(1)

There will be a response from the Western powers.

1'Gaddafi urges Russia, China, India: invest in Libya oil' - Reuters

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The NFL is a Business, not a Social Necessity

Are fans so naive to believe they have some sort of personal relationship with the players or the teams ? I can't see why anyone is getting upset. The players should extract as good a deal as they can , considering the average career is 3.5 years and each game is like getting in a major car accident in terms of the physical toll.

Watch football because you like the game, not because of the some made up social importance.

No Chernobyl, Say Experts

Where are all the bought and paid for experts now ? Who 30 minutes ago mocked the notion this could be another Chernobyl.

Shame on the media for not reporting the backgrounds of these crooks. They get their salaries from the nuclear industry, but are presented as neutral.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where is Japan Without Nuclear Energy ?

In a very dependent position.

Nation-state interests are going to making the lying come thick and furious over the next few days.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Leaving the U.S.

There are no utopias, but I don't think the U.S. is going to right itself. In all seriousness capable young people should leave if they can. The U.S. will be an ugly place to live as the Empire slowly crumbles. South Carolina, or Texas is the future politically and economically.

If one follows the debates in Egypt the difference in intellectual vigor between there and here is striking. And the moderate El Baradei is an open democratic socialist.

But to the original point. One can't be blind. The U.S. probably isn't going to change trajectories. The rest of the world is generally much more vibrant, if less wealthy (for now). A U.S. without the supremacy of material wealth will be ugly beyond words.

Unions Lose in Wisconsin

This is a decisive defeat, that will probably be the trigger for an upsurge in resistance. But for working people to improve their situation in this country, a complete break with the Democratic Party is required.

On Democratic sites now the mantra is 'recall'; nonsense, these efforts are unlikely to roll back the legislation first of all, and it is in the staged play-acts of elections that the ruling class is most adept. But a general strike is what causes fear, because money and power is all they understand.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Factions of Libyan Opposition Call for No Fly Zone

Mustafa Gheraini is the media organizer at the Benghazi courthouse, the symbolic center of the rebellion. ...

In Benghazi, the opposition National Council held its first formal meeting Saturday. As the makeshift group tries to consolidate control of governance in the east, it is also expected to renew the call for limited international military help against Colonel Gadhafi.

"As a Libyan, we are united not to have any foot soldiers on our land," added Gheraini. "However, we welcome a no-fly zone. We welcome precision, strategic bombings of his strongholds. This guy has already had defections within his own groups and I think something like that would speed up the process and just lessens the bloodshed that may take place."(1)

Who knows what factions this guy speaks for. But the battle tested members of the Left, the Chavez's and Castro's have been wary about this uprising from the beginning. While I am critical of their 'friendship' with a despot like Gaddafi, they do have a sense for political maneuvering that bloggers don't.

As Robert Gates said, a no-fly zone means knocking out the Libyan anti-aircraft systems and a major offensive, taking more than the resources of an aircraft carrier. It also may force the hand of China, who would oppose any such intervention. Either that, or Gaddafi may actively seek their support if the US starts arming opposition factions, for instance, through Saudi Arabia. Within the week he has mentioned replacing Western oil firms with those from BRIC .(2)

If the West starts actively arming reactionary factions within the Libyan opposition, it may trigger something far broader than its dimwitted functionaries can imagine.

Remembering that the Balkans, at a time of US supremacy, ended in the Pristina airport stand off, and General Jackson blocking Wesley Clark from starting a 'World War 3'.(3)

1'Libyan Opposition Claims Gains in Westward Push' - VOA
2'Gaddafi ‘will invite India & China’ - Daily Mail
3'Confrontation over Pristina airport' - BBC News