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Posts from August 2004

Democracy in Iraq

(I owe the link on Al-Jazeera to Roderick’s News from the Front)

Now that Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical regime is nothing more than a terrible memory, and resistance to the new, friendly, liberal regime is just about almost sorta kinda crushed, we can no doubt look forward to dramatic progress toward the creation of a vigorous, free, American-style democracy in Iraq. For example:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Police ordered Al-Jazeera’s employees out of their newsroom Saturday after the Iraqi government accused the Arab satellite channel of inciting violence and closed its office for 30 days.

Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said the closure was intended to give the station a chance to re-adjust their policy against Iraq.

They have been showing a lot of crimes and criminals on TV, and they transfer a bad picture about Iraq and about Iraqis and encourage criminals to increase their activities, he said. We want to protect our people.

from Iraqi Government Shuts Al-Jazeera Station, the Guardian 2004-08-08

You might think I’m just being sarcastic–and very heavy-handedly so. Not at all: I really do think that, in spite of many obvious differences, the new state of Iraq and the polity of the United States are growing more alike with every passing day:

Michael Moore may be prevented from advertising his controversial new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, on television or radio after July 30 if the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today accepts the legal advice of its general counsel.

At the same time, a Republican-allied 527 soft-money group is preparing to file a complaint against Moore’s film with the FEC for violating campaign-finance law.

In a draft advisory opinion placed on the FEC’s agenda for today’s meeting, the agency’s general counsel states that political documentary filmmakers may not air television or radio ads referring to federal candidates within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election.

The opinion is generated under the new McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, which prohibits corporate-funded ads that identify a federal candidate before a primary or general election.

. . .

The FEC ruling may also affect promotion of a slew of other upcoming political documentaries and films, such as “Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War,” which opens in August, “The Corporation,” about democratic institutions being subsumed by the corporate agenda, or “Silver City,” a recently finished film by John Sayles that criticizes the Bush administration.

. . .

Since the FEC considers the Republican presidential convention scheduled to begin Aug. 30 a national political primary in which Bush is a candidate, Moore and other politically oriented filmmakers could not air any ad mentioning Bush after July 30.

from Fahrenheit 9/11 ban?, The Hill 2004-06-24

Welcome to the new Iraq and the new America: where democracy is defended by giving the State massive new powers over citizens, and where speech is free as long as you don’t criticize the government.

Here I Am, O Blog

I have returned from six weeks of teaching Logic to gifted junior high and high school students in upstate New York. Yes, if you read the New Yorker, it was that nerd camp–although it’s hard to say, from reading the article, how much of a picture you’ll actually get of what happens (it seems more interested in giving a gawking impressionistic portrait of tricks that really smart adolescents can do–rather than giving an idea of what it’s like at the camp, or taking up an argument on some of the serious ethical and educational dilemmas that a program like CTY raises. The online interview with the author, Burkhard Bilger is actually much better in some ways than the article that appeared in print.) This is one of those things that I’ll hopefully be getting to shortly. In the meantime, though, there’s still plenty to do:

  1. Finish unpacking and clean up around the house
  2. Finish grading post-tests and send them off to the overlords in Baltimore
  3. Apply for substitute teaching jobs in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor
  4. Post articles to the weblog about two or three things I’ve been meaning to post about for the past 6 weeks
  5. Visit the fam in Auburn. Possibly do a bit of paid petitioning for the Libertarian Party while in Alabama.
  6. Prepare applications for graduate school. Try not to gnaw my gnails down to the knuckle.
  7. Post articles to the weblog about 5,000,000 things or so that I’ve been meaning to post about for the past 6 weeks
  8. Finish reading Toward a Feminist Theory of the State and some other stuff. Work with Roderick on a co-authored paper on libertarianism and radical feminism for the APA Eastern Division.
  9. Smash patriarchy
  10. … and the State.

Cheers, all! I’m glad to be back, and you should be hearing from me again soon.

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