What's Wrong With Obama?

There was a great op-ed in the Times over the weekend that does a convincing job of explaining what Obama's problem(s) have probably been, what has stopped him from being the great president we thought and hoped he would be. It also contains a brilliant idea of roughly the sort of speech that Obama should have delivered on Inauguration Day and kept delivering over and over, but didn't and isn't:

“I know you’re scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn’t work out. And it didn’t work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can’t promise that we won’t make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again.”

And maybe he's just kind of naive, inexperienced, and timid:

Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues. 

The problem now is, where does the hope come from now? In November 2012 we will only have him to vote for again, because as usual the other evil will be fantastically worse, and 3rd party alternatives will be a waste. Mass disillusion is ahead, which is exactly what I've been afraid of ever since November 2008. Read more>>>

the wheels were rolling until we used the brakes.

This is a collaging and "folding" of video collage generated at a live performance of the Tucson Bikeastra in December 2010, during the BICAS Art Auction in Tucson. Additional live footage of the performers is also included.

The Bikeastra was Glenn Weyant and Scott Kerr playing musical instruments fashioned from bike parts, with live video accompaniment and additional electronic soundscapes by Steev Hise. For this mashed-up document, realtime manipulated video from the set lasting a total of approximately 40 minutes was edited down, chopped up and superimposed on itself in a 4-way screen split, resulting in an increased density of video information. The sound is collaged from the recorded audio channel coming from Steev's laptop. No recording of the actual performed mix that night exists.

Cast: steev hise and Glenn Weyant

Tags: experimental, live, vj, bikes, transportation, bicycles, art, music and avant garde

More Myths, More Hypocrisies, More Dreams

In the wake of the amazing and incredibly moving revelation on the part of award-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas (who has written for the Washington Post, Huffington, the New Yorker, and many other news outlets) that he has been an undocumented immigrant living illegally and in fear in the U.S. for 18 years, and the hypocritical media firestorm that has erupted around it, I'm reminded that I still haven't finished blogging about the excellent book about immigration myths, "They Take Our Jobs." 

A couple months ago I summarized some major points and passages from the first half of the book. Now I'll finish the job:

 

  • "Conquered peoples have historically been more marginalized, and more reluctant to give up their cultural heritage, than voluntary immigrants."
  • "From the outside, it may look like Latinos are not learning English. But what's really happening is that as one generation learns English, new Spanish speakers are arriving. At the same time, more Latinos are speaking both languages than has historically been the case for European immigrants. They learn English without giving up the Spanish."
  • on the general trend from colonized peoples moving from subsistence production to wage labor, "People who had formerly produced most of what they consume now produced for others and used their wages to consume goods imported from the metropolis."
  • "Not surprisingly, people with other options tend to avoid the most onerous ones. Employers then find that they can't fill their positions, and the government helps them to import workers who have fewer options."
  • "Colonialism sets up a system in which colonized peoples work for those who colonized them. This system is not erased after direct colonialism ends. Rather, it evolves and develops."
  • "Pundits and politicians demand a solution to the immigration 'crisis.'... With so many well-placed voices talking about a crisis, people begin to feel there really is one... Perhaps the pundits and politicians who are spending so much energy whipping up this immigration scare are trying to distract us from some other, more pressing, national - and global - issues."
  • "... guest worker programs by their very nature create a group of people who are not full citizens, and who are easily exploited and abused."
  • "[P]eople who lived in areas with very few immigrants were much more likely to have negative views of immigrants than people who lived in areas with high concentrations of immigrants [according to a Pew Foundation study]... This suggests that for many people, anti-immigrant sentiments come less from personal experience than from outside sources."
  • "Immigration is a humanitarian problem... what is needed is a humanitarian solution - one that redistributes the planet's resources more equitably among its inhabitants, and one that respects and nourishes traditional peasant lifestyles."
  • "Population control becomes a method for preserving white dominance."
  • "In societies divided between haves and have-nots, the haves often see eliminating the have-nots as the solution to inequality, rather than redistributing resources."
  • On border security myths:
    FBI stats: in 2000, no international terrorism incidents inside the U.S. 8 domestic terrorism incidents.
    In 2001 there were 12 domestic, 1 international (9/11)
  • all but 4 of the 9/11 attackers were in the country legally.
    A study of 48 "militant Islamic terrorists" who committed crimes in the US found that 36 of them were in the country legally... 17 were either permanent residents or naturalized citizens.
  • "There is just no logical relationship between border security and the prevention of terrorism."
  • "[C]urbing US military agression would probably be the most effective way to achieve a global reduction in attacks on unarmed civilians."
  • On "the rule of law":
    "Rosa Parks broke the law when she refused to move to the back of the bus. Harriet Tubman broke the law when she fled slavery and helped to create the Underground Railroad." "The law was designed not to allow certain groups of people to have the rights that others enjoy."
  • "What they really want is to be treated like Cubans. Cubans don't need to wade the Rio Grande or walk the Sonoran Desert."
  • "People have been moving around the earth every since they stood upright millions of years ago."
  • "As long as [neocolonialism] keeps resources unequally distributed in the world, you're going to have people escaping the regions that are deliberately kept poor and violent and seeking freedom in the places where the world's resources have been concentrated: in the countries that have controlled, and been the beneficiaries of, the global economic system that took shape after 1492."
  • "Some migrants leave their homelands for fun, adventure, or curiosity. The vast majority, though, leave because they have no alternative. They leave their homes, their families, and their loved ones as a last resort."
  • (Chomsky quoting Eduardo Galeano): "The precarious equilibrium of the world depends on the perpetuation of injustice. So that some can consume more, people must continue to consume less. To keep people in their place, the system produces armaments. Incapable of fighting poverty, the system fights the poor."

     

Read more>>>

Brewing Report

brewing maibock - 5
Lots going on lately on the homebrewing front here, even though it's now full on triple-digit summer in Tucson and too hot to really make beer. I bottled my last batch for awhile a few weeks ago, a Maibock, which turned out mostly pretty great - the exception was caused by the weird method I used - I don't have a way to really lager a whole batch in one fermenter, at least when it's not colder outside, so I split it into gallon jugs each with its own airlock. most of them fit in a cooler with icy water but one I had to put in the fridge. It turns out the 40 degree cold of our fridge is too cold for the yeast to do its job, so that one gallon never really fermented. When I went to bottle, that jug's contents was totally a different color than the others!hops growing well - 08Consequently, I had to let that jug ferment longer and i think it got a bit contaminated, judging from early tastes so far. oh well, live and learn. the stuff from the other jugs turned out great, i think.

Meanwhile, I've been growing hops since April and they're now doing great. Many vines are now taller than the front of the house, and cones are already forming. This seems fast to me, since harvest time isn't till August or September, but perhaps the alpha acid-laden oils need time to build up in the cones before it's time to pick them.
I've also been fermenting mead (actually a sort of "cyser", since it has a little apple juice in it, but only a half gallon out of the 5-gallon batch) for the last 6 weeks or so). Yesterday I racked the batch into gallon jugs and did different things with some of them, creating sub-batches: added prickly-pear syrup to one, made "braggot" (which is a mead with malt and hops) with 2 other gallons, one pure, and one dry-hopped.

Today i'm starting a batch of "bouza" which is an ancient egyptian beer, from a recipe in the book "Wild Fermentation" by Sander Katz. Bouza is thought to be the original very first beer, probably accidentally created from old wet bread sitting in a dark corner somewhere. I started with wheat berries, some of which I sprouted (malted) and roasted a couple weeks ago. The rest I ground and made into a sourdough bread that I partially baked this morning. The malted wheat and crumbled bread then get put in water to ferment. I'm going to slightly alter Katz's recipe, because his book seems aimed at folks who don't already have experience or equipment for brewing and hence is mostly going for small, fast batches of stuff that's more about trying some historical oddity than about making something that tastes good. So i'm doing a short boil and adding a bit of hops. I can't resist, especially because some reports online conclude that this bouza recipe is just not that tasty. I'll keep you posted later here when I find out how my attempt works out, as well as the above mead experiments. Read more>>>

Doomsday Averted

So yesterday, as you're aware, Brother Camping was proven wrong once again about when the world would end. To commemorate this I put together a little DJ set of relevant music and sound and broadcast it on ustream. While "spinning" I also played some old vhs tapes on a tv and pointed my webcam at the screen in an attempt at improvising some kind of video element without too much preparation. You can watch/listen below, and below that, read the playlist. I like how i managed to make the set tell a little story, introducing the situation, looking at the people going and the people "left behind" from both perspectives, then getting into the nature of evil while also criticizing the assumptions of the Dispensationalists that believe wackos like Harold Camping and others like him throughout history... then examining the armageddon situation as it would continue, and then some final jabs at Christianity and the worst of those who believe it, and finally it all dissolves away and everything is ok... or is it?
Enjoy.




Playlist: Read more>>>

Prescott Juniper Pale Ale

I don't usually blog much about my beer brewing, mostly because I'm really new to it still, but back in February I brewed a beer that I'm really pretty pleased with that is also a creative departure from known recipes: a juniper pale ale.  making Prescott Juniper Pale Ale - 2Back in December Greta and I collected juniper berries from trees that were heavy with fruit in the Prescott National Forest, on the way from Flagstaff and Prescott. I had heard that people made beer with juniper so when we found ourselves in this forest I decided to benefit from Nature's bounty. A couple months later I looked around for recipes online and found a lot of different opinions on the best way to use juniper, but most folks seemed to model theirs after pale ales. bottling the Prescott Juniper Pale Ale - 3 I decided to make a tea from the berries and add it to what is basically a recipe from The Joy of Homebrewing, with different types of hops (I had just bought bulk quantities of Hallertauer and Cascade, so I used those).
You can see the full recipe here: http://hopville.com/recipe/623454/american-pale-ale-recipes/prescott-jun...
It turned out to be a really good beer that people consistently like.prescott juniper pale ale Come over and have glass.

New Juarez Police Chief Suspect In Right Violations

from Mexico Solidarity Network:  NEW JUAREZ POLICE CHIEF ALREADY SUSPECT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Retired army officer Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola, who was appointed last month to head the Ciudad Juarez police department, was accused this week of "enforced disappearance" in the case of four civilians arrested on March 26.  Witnesses told human rights investigators they saw police, dressed in camouflage uniforms belonging to an elite unit that provides body guards for Leyzaola, arrest the four men outside a convenience store.  The men have not been heard from since, and police deny they are in custody.  Later in the week, federal investigators arrested three of the officers, though little is known about the politically sensitive investigation.  The hard-nosed Leyzaola formerly served as police chief in Tijuana where he confronted similar accusations of human rights abuses after reducing murder rates and drug-related violence while reportedly decreasing corruption among police officers.  A secret diplomatic cable recently published by Wikileaks accuses Leyaola of destroying one violent drug gang by cutting deals with rivals.  He was also accused of participating in and supporting the use of torture, including beating and near-asphyxiation of arrestees and police suspected of being on cartel payrolls. Read more>>>

"Pedal People" section from rough cut of "Death and Taxes" film

This is a section of the rough cut of a film I worked on from 2007 to 2009, called "Death and Taxes: Refusing To Pay For War."

This segment of the film focused on a war tax resister who runs a unique bicycle-powered business that was set up to make it easier for its employees to be war tax resisters.

My original vision for the film was for it to be an entertaining and compelling story that also clearly taught the viewer the basics of war tax resistance. (see this blog entry from an early editing stage in the project: steev.hise.org/content/trying-tell-story-war-tax-resistance ) Budgetary and other problems resulted in me being unable to finish the film, but a new editor, Carlos Steward, stepped in to complete it, though the result was quite different than what I'd planned.

For more information about the finished film, see nwtrcc.org/deathandtaxes.php

Cast: steev hise

Original roughcut Julia Butterfly segment for "Death and Taxes"

This is one section of the rough cut of a film I worked on from 2007 to 2009, called "Death and Taxes: Refusing To Pay For War."

My original vision for the film was for it to be an entertaining and compelling story that also clearly taught the viewer the basics of war tax resistance. (see this blog entry from an early editing stage in the project: steev.hise.org/content/trying-tell-story-war-tax-resistance ) Budgetary and other problems resulted in me being unable to finish the film. This section is about Julia Butterfly Hill, the famous activist who withheld the most war taxes in history. The film was eventually completed by another editor.

For information about the finished film, see nwtrcc.org/deathandtaxes.php

Cast: steev hise

Tags: tax, taxes, war, peace, activism, film, filmmaking, julia butterfly hill, death and money

Original "Death and Taxes" Intro

This is the introductory section of the rough cut of a film I worked on from 2007 to 2009, called "Death and Taxes: Refusing To Pay For War."

My original vision for the film was for it to be an entertaining and compelling story that also clearly taught the viewer the basics of war tax resistance. (see this blog entry from an early editing stage in the project: steev.hise.org/content/trying-tell-story-war-tax-resistance ) Budgetary and other problems resulted in me being unable to finish the film, but a new editor, Carlos Steward, stepped in to complete it, though the result was very different and more basic, formally, than what I'd planned to achieve.

With this intro fragment I hope to convey something of the idea I was originally going for - something grounded in personal narrative that would engage people on a different level than a traditional talking-heads type doc.

For information about the finished film, see nwtrcc.org/deathandtaxes.php

Cast: steev hise

Tags: tax, death, war, military, peace, filmmaking, narrative and story

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