Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Moon Base Newt



Yep, it seems Newt is really serious about this moon base,

 "By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be American," Gingrich promised during a speech in the city of Cocoa, on Florida's Space Coast, Jan. 25.

The daffy one just can't seem to let go of this notion despite the absurd timetable he set,

"When we are not expecting a U.S. crewed launch to the ISS until 2016-2017 and are just getting started on a lunar-class launch vehicle, establishing a lunar outpost by 2020 is a fantasy," space policy expert John Logsdon, professor emeritus at George Washington University, told SPACE.com via email. "It would be much better to set realistic goals, but that is not Mr. Gingrich's strong suit."

But, as usual Jon Stewart gets the best dig.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Manufacturing Consent


A little blurry, but here is the full video of Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent, in which he probes the media's role in shaping politics.  The companion book was published a few years back by Random House and became a bestseller.  I suppose he is the Lefties' answer to Ron Paul -- a shrewd intellectual liberal who has the ability to cut through existing situations, if not always providing the best alternatives.

He gained notoriety when Hugo Chavez plugged his book, Hegemony or Survival, at an UN address in 2006.  Chomsky existed on the fringe of mainstream political thought, but that reference thrust him into the limelight.  However, that didn't stop him from criticizing Chavez for concentrating too much power in his own hands.

Chomsky's criticism of the mainstream media is largely with the "world view" it promotes, not much unlike the Soviet propaganda machine, only in this case it is largely promoting corporate interests at home and abroad.  He takes aim at the way the media covered protests at the World Trade Organization conferences, which were the genesis of the current Occupy Wall Street movements.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Divided We Stand


This looks like an interesting new book, American Nations, by Colin Woodard, which examines the cultural and political divide in this country as seen in 11 distinct regions.  It is a further exploration of similar books by Joel Garreau and David Hacket Fischer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What to read?



Couldn't resist this image.  Can you guess what book she is reading?

Any suggestions for our next group read?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Taking the Long View


For all those doubting Thomases, including myself, here is a good article on Obama's first term by Andrew Sullivan, in which he stresses the "long game" Obama has taken and how it is finally starting to pay dividends,

What liberals have never understood about Obama is that he practices a show-don’t-tell, long-game form of domestic politics. What matters to him is what he can get done, not what he can immediately take credit for. And so I railed against him for the better part of two years for dragging his feet on gay issues. But what he was doing was getting his Republican defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to move before he did. The man who made the case for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was, in the end, Adm. Mike Mullen. This took time—as did his painstaking change in the rule barring HIV-positive immigrants and tourists—but the slow and deliberate and unprovocative manner in which it was accomplished made the changes more durable. Not for the first time, I realized that to understand Obama, you have to take the long view. Because he does.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC


On a lighter note, Stephen Colbert is shaking up things in his home state (again) by officially exploring a presidential run in South Carolina.  He handed his super PAC over to Jon Stewart in this hilarious episode of The Colbert Nation to free him up for a run.  It seems Colbert's main aim is to show how easy it is to exploit PACs and Super PACs, which David Axelrod estimated would spend as much as $500 million in ads against Obama this year.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Birth of a Dream



I still think this is one of the best books written about King and the origins of the Civil Rights Movement.  My big moment came in documenting the Sixteenth St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, for the Historical American Buildings Survey.  It gave a much deeper sense of the events that shaped the movement.  It was also the summer I read the book.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's in a Caucus?



Ever since the Iowa caucuses propelled McGovern in the 1972 Democratic race, a lot of interest has been put into this state.  What this bodes for Rick Santorum remains to be seen, but here is a short history of the Iowa caucuses.

You have to marvel at how the former Pennsylvania senator went from a virtual nobody in this election cycle to a virtual tie with Romney in Iowa.  But, with the two of them together barely getting 50% of the caucus vote, you can still say it is a "hung jury" as far as a clear frontrunner in the GOP race.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Indian Land Cessions

  
The map at left is "doubtless" too small to read the fine print.  However, on the bigger image which you can access here http://www.floridahistory.com/chickasaw-land.html, the scale is 35 miles to one inch.  In other words, these cessions were huge.  What it seems Sutpen got hold of was a land cession, or a tract of land ceded to the Chickasaw by the United States government.  Whether someone could have actually obtained title to one of these land cessions, I don't know.  But as Faulkner is on record as saying, poets are not interested in the facts, they're interested in the truth.  And the truth is that we "gave" the Indians land on the one hand only to take it away on the other.