Through The Static

August 21, 2008

For America’s Scholars Of Race, An Obama Dilemma

Filed under: Elections,Politics,Race — disciplepete @ 9:34 pm

This article from Black Agenda Report talks about the effect on race relations an Obama victory in November would have. The article reports the viewpoints of American race scholars on the issue. I really dug it cuz I’m a big fan of Derrick Bell, whom they quote, also they got input from Joe Feagin and David Roediger whom I also like. I was pretty surprised though by what some of em had to say. Anyways, I’ll quote the article and then I’ll throw my 2 cents in…

For scholars of race, Barack Obama presents a new American dilemma. On the one hand, his election as president would be a breathtaking symbol of racial progress. On the other, an Obama victory could prove illusory, doing little to dismantle racism while crippling their ability to call attention to it…

…”At this point, any conflict I might have is more than eased by the knowledge that Barack Obama, if elected, could be the salvation of a country in free flight failure,” Derrick Bell, a professor of law at New York University, who taught Obama when he was a student at Harvard Law School, replied via e-mail.

Pete’s note: Derrick Bell, in an awesome book he wrote called Faces at the Bottom of the Well (you must read it…extremely creative) argued that racism is a permanent feature of American life. So yeah, I guess I’m a bit surprised that he seems optimistic about Barack. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, I mean he’s not saying that racism will be over or anything.

Anyways, back to quoting..oh wait, the article mentions what I just said about Bell’s view of racism..ahh well, I’m keeping what I wrote! Ok:

In books like Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, Bell, who is black, offers a bleak view of the possibility of racial progress in America, a view much at odds with the hopeful promise of Obama.

“If he sounded as I might wish him to sound, he could not be elected,” Bell wrote in his e-mail. “And he may not be elected even as his intellect and savvy puts him worlds ahead of his Republican counterpart. And that is all I wish to say on the matter.”

Another renowned pessimist — University of Pennsylvania political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. — did not respond to an interview request.

But in a blistering recent post on, Reed, who is black, argued that while Obama might be better than John McCain in the short run, in the long run he might be worse. This, Reed reasoned, is because, having co-opted so much of the left, Obama may move the boundary of acceptable discourse on race and class well to the right.

“I’m not arguing that it’s wrong to vote for Obama, though I do say it’s wrong-headed to vote for him with any lofty expectations,” wrote Reed, indicating his intention “to abstain from this charade.”

David Roediger, a race historian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, evinced a particle more enthusiasm for Obama’s candidacy. “I feel this sometimes has something to do with something I care about and, as things go in U.S. politics, it’s not the worst thing to happen,” said Roediger, who is white.

But, as he notes in the conclusion of his book – How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon, due out this fall – “Obama does not represent the triumph of an advancing anti-racist movement but rather the necessity, at the highly refracted level of electoral politics, of abandoning old agendas, largely by not mentioning them.”

Hey, they quote a scholar from UCSB!!….

And [Howard] Winant, a leading race scholar of the left and director of the Center for New Racial Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, called this “a very promising moment.”

“It’s hard,” he said, “to give up that thrilled sense of possibility, that thrilled sense that something really big might be changing in this area, which is so long overdue.”

There’s more stuff in the article, check out the link if you wanna read it.

I’ve thought about this question a bit, and right now I think an Obama presidency would be a positive thing for race relations. Certainly not a revolution, but when you know the history of this country, I can’t help but see a Black president as a significant thing. But like I read someone else saying in the blogosphere, Barack Obama in the White House isn’t gonna stop a single dude in the ghetto from selling crack. I think that’s a good way to put it: it’s just business as usual with a Black face. And to me, that’s some type of progress, although far less than I think is possible.

Anyone out there reading, I’d love to hear what you think…


McCain unsure how many houses he owns

Filed under: Elections,Politics — disciplepete @ 11:29 am

Don’t be too hard on the guy…I mean, do you think YOU could recall how many houses you own off the top of your head? Politico:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own. 

“I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain told Politico in Las Cruces, N.M. “It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.”

The correct answer is at least four, located in Arizona, California and Virginia, according to his staff. Newsweek estimated this summer that the couple owns at least seven properties. 

In recent weeks, Democrats have stepped up their effort to caricature McCain as living an outlandishly rich lifestyle — a bit of payback to the GOP for portraying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as an elitist, and for turning the spotlight in 2004 on the five homes owned by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. 

US Rep. Tubbs Jones of Ohio dies after hemorrhage

Filed under: Politics — Tranimal @ 12:27 am


Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress and a strong critic of the Iraq war, died Wednesday after a brain hemorrhage, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Tubbs Jones, 58, died Wednesday evening of a brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm that burst and left her with limited brain function, said Eileen Sheil, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Clinic, which owns the Huron Hospital in East Cleveland where Tubbs Jones died.

Tubbs Jones represented the heavily Democratic 11th District and chaired the ethics committee in the House. She was the first black woman to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, where she opposed President Bush’s tax cuts and his efforts to create personal accounts within Social Security.

“After making history as the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Ohio, the congresswoman worked to expand the rights of all Americans,” President Bush said in tribute. “Our nation is grateful for her service.”

Tubbs Jones was a firm supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during the primaries until throwing her support behind Sen. Barack Obama in June. She was to have been a superdelegate at next week’s Democratic National Convention in Denver.


August 19, 2008

Taliban Escalate Afghan Fighting

Filed under: War,World News — disciplepete @ 11:56 pm


MIYAN, Afghanistan – Taliban insurgents mounted their most serious attacks in six years of fighting in Afghanistan over the last two days, including a coordinated assault by at least 10 suicide bombers against one of the largest American military bases in the country, and another by about 100 insurgents who killed 10elite French paratroopers…

…Taken together, the attacks were part of a sharp escalation in fighting as insurgents have seized a window of opportunity to press their campaign this summer – taking advantage of a wavering NATO commitment, an outgoing American administration, a flailing Afghan government and a Pakistani government in deep disarray that has given the militants freer rein across the border.

As a result, this year is on pace to be the deadliest in the Afghan war so far, as the insurgent attacks show rising zeal and sophistication. The insurgents are employing not only a growing number of suicide and roadside bombs, but are also waging increasingly well-organized and complex operations using multiple attackers with different types of weapons, NATO officials say.

NATO and American military officials place blame for much of the increased insurgent activity on the greater freedom of movement the militants have in Pakistan’s tribal areas on the Afghan border. The turmoil in the Pakistani government, with the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf on Monday, has added to the sense of a vacuum of authority there.

But at least as important, the officials say, is the fact that Pakistan’s military has agreed to a series of peace deals with the militants under which it stopped large-scale operations in the tribal areas in February, allowing the insurgents greater freedom to train, recruit and carry out attacks into Afghanistan.

Zimbabwe inflation hits 11,200,000 percent

Filed under: Economics,World News,WTF — disciplepete @ 11:48 pm

The disciple has been lagging a bit lately, my apologies to my devoted (imagined?) following. Anyways…11.2 million percent inflation?! I don’t understand how a country can even stay together with inflation at that level. But hey, they’re obviously trudging along somehow. CNN:

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) — Zimbabwe’s inflation rate has soared in the past three months and is now at 11.2 million percent, the highest in the world, according to the country’s Central Statistical Office…

…”While our case has been aggravated by the illegal sanctions imposed by the Western powers, rising food prices are a world phenomenon because of the use of bio-fuel,” said Samuel Mumbengegwi. “But we will continue to fight inflation by making sure that prices charged are realistic.”

In February, the price of a loaf of bread in the country was less than 200,000 Zimbabwe dollars. On Monday, that same loaf of bread cost 1.6 trillion Zimbabwe dollars

…Once considered the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has been in the throes of an economic meltdown ever since the country embarked on a chaotic land reform program that has decimated commercial agriculture.

Analysts say the crisis has worsened following President Robert Mugabe’s disputed reelection in the June 27 presidential run-off. His challenger Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted the race over widespread allegations of violence and voter intimidation.

The economic crisis has destroyed Zimbabwe’s currency and made it difficult for Zimbabweans to buy basic commodities, electricity, fuel, and medicines. Many Zimbabweans have left the country amid rising unemployment and deepening poverty.

August 14, 2008

Mario creator gagged by Nintendo brass

Filed under: Randomness,robots — disciplepete @ 7:31 pm


When he isn’t designing groundbreaking video games, Shigeru Miyamoto partakes in a variety of interesting hobbies. And Nintendo doesn’t want you to know what they are.

Citing anonymous Nintendo sources, the Times Online reports that the man responsible for smash franchises like Mario and Zelda has been banned by Nintendo from chatting about his non-game interests, apparently because they “could be worth billions.”

If history serves, they’re probably right — Miyamoto has a lengthy track record of converting his hobbies into lucrative games. Plant-based strategy game Pikmin, for instance, was born out of his love for gardening. After his family got a dog, the rest of the world adopted Nintendogs. Most recently, he revealed that exercise game Wii Fit was a direct result of the master designer obsessively weighing himself after turning 50.

Both Nintendo and Miyamoto have, unsurprisingly, remained silent on the matter.

So this is the man who created Zelda and Mario…someone needs to build a shrine to this guy. Those were 2 of my fav. Nintendo games (old school Nintendo I mean, that’s the only one I had)…I also loved Ice Hockey, Double Dragon was pretty tight…hmm can’t remember the others I liked right now. I recently played Karate Kid for the first time, I think my friend got it at a flea market or something…worst game EVER…hard as hell with a stupid ending.

Oh, and I also had Rob the Video robot…that thing came with the Nintendo when it first came out in the States (I got mine in like ’86). If you got your Nintendo later on when it didn’t come with the robot, don’t worry, that robot was the stupidest thing ever!! I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me, despite my maturity and vast experience with technology.

August 13, 2008

US blamed over S Ossetia crisis

Filed under: Gargoyles,Government,War,World News — disciplepete @ 7:54 pm

So you’ve probably heard about Russia’s invasion of Georgia, which was in response to Georgia’s attempt to militarily assert itself over S. Ossetia…if you haven’t heard about it, read some news!! Anyways my buddy Al has a good piece speculating on the U.S. role…Al is so damn patriotic, that’s why I love him.

The US has had stern words for Russia over its military intervention in Georgia to back South Ossietian separatists, but many analysts say that the Bush administration must share the blame for the crisis.

Washington has formed a close bond with the government of Mikheil Saakashvili since he came to power in the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution,’ offering military and economic aid and encouraging Georgia to join Nato.

Jon Sawyer, the director for the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting, said US politicians had encouraged their Georgian counterparts to think they had the backing of the US when Tbilisi decided to launch its attack on South Ossetia last week.

“The US has for several years now mishandled the situation in Georgia,” he told Al Jazeera.

“The way that Mikheil Saakashvili has approached this [has been by] thinking that he could be an extension of the west, a partner of the United States.”

“In many ways we have given him cause for thinking that, with the many visits to the United States, the talk of Georgia as a beacon for democracy.”

Charles Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations, agrees that US encouragement may have made Saakashvili “miscalculate” and send Georgian troops into South Ossetia…

…The US may have welcomed Georgia as its key ally in the old Soviet Union’s sphere of influence.

But analysts point to the presence of key natural resources as a reason for the scale of US largesse.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline runs through Georgia, allowing the US access to oil and gas supplies not pumped through Russia to the north or Iran to the south.

“Underlying all this is a larger, more significant contest: a geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West over the export of Caspian Sea oil and natural gas,” Michael Klare, the author of Resource Wars told the New American Media website….

…Other’s believe that while Georgia have miscalculated the level of support it had from Washington, the US has also erred in thinking it could influence events so close to Russian borders.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former leader of the old Soviet Union, said the US had made a “serious blunder” by allying itself so closely with Georgia.

“By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its ‘national interest,’ the United States made a serious blunder,” Gorbachev said in an opinion piece to be published in the Washington Post US newspaper on Tuesday.

Other analysts say that US diplomats may have underestimated the level of anger the US recognition of Kosovo created in Moscow, leaving it fearful that Georgia would assert itself further in South Ossetia.

“The Kremlin made abundantly clear that it would view Kosovo’s independence without Serbian consent and a UN Security Council mandate as a pThe US has had stern words for Russia over its military intervention in Georgia to back South Ossietian separatists, but many analysts say that the Bush administration must share the blame for the crisis.

The FCC and the Emperors of TV Have No Clothes

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Government,Media — disciplepete @ 6:08 pm

This is a pretty important article from Black Agenda Report…I’d recommend you check out the whole thing…here’s some of it: 

Big Media and their sock puppets at the FCC have engineered a massive theft of public resources — the giveaway of more than ten thousand newly minted digital TV channels to themselves. They have finagled the regulatory process to exclude community groups, unions, local entrepreneurs, women, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, colleges, universities or local government entities from even being able to ask about getting channels for themselves, and imposed a news blackout on their evil deed. Their theft is settled law now, to be consummated in February 2009.

Their only fear is that the nationwide movement for media justice will awaken in time to inform and arouse the American people as it did 2003. A parade of pot-bellied naked corporate thieves are hoping nobody notices the crime scene or their progress to and from it, until it’s too late…

when the transition to digital TV occurs in February of 2009 and the number of TV stations multiplies by from four to ten times, no local entrepreneurs, no unions, community organizations, colleges, universities or other noncommercial, nonprofit broadcasters have any hope of gaining access to the new stations. All the new stations will be the provate property of the folks who already have broadcast licenses, with no obligations to do local news or public service, or educational or even local programming. The existing broadcasters get this gift of public spectrum, thousands of TV channels conservatively valued at $80 billion, for less than what a family in Wilmington NC pays for the yearly state tax on a used Ford — for nothing. And they get it without the bother of new station licenses being issued, since that might attract undue public attention, with people inquiring about why someone else doesn’t get a crack at them.

Are Asians the New Invisible Man?

Filed under: Culture,Race — disciplepete @ 5:58 pm

Good article, check out the whole thing, here’s some of it. Huffington Post:

In the category of Things We Already Know, a new USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that most Americans believe “racism is widespread against blacks in the United States.” As is to be expected, the degree that people hold this belief is dependent on their own race — black, white or Hispanic. The survey in and of itself is worth taking a look at but, like I said, doesn’t exactly stun with unexpectedness.

Except for one thing…

What was interesting to me was that a survey about how “most Americans” feel about racism and minorities didn’t include responses from Asian-Americans.

They’re not minorities? They don’t have views on racism?

Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders make up only about 5 percent of the population, so by default maybe they lie outside the strict definition of “most Americans.” But the poll was culling a variety of racial attitudes, and it managed to include views of racism against whites. You’d think if the survey had room to include views on the pervasive systemic oppression whites suffer through (now go back and read that sentence sarcastically), they’d take the time to chat up an Asian or two.


White Americans no longer a majority by 2042

Filed under: Culture,Oh White People...,Race,White People! — disciplepete @ 5:45 pm

Sorry to break it to you, bobblebot! Yahoo:

WASHINGTON – White people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2042, according to new government projections. That’s eight years sooner than previous estimates, made in 2004.

The nation has been growing more diverse for decades, but the process has sped up through immigration and higher birth rates among minority residents, especiallyHispanics.

It is also growing older.

“The white population is older and very much centered around theaging baby boomers who are well past their high fertility years,” said William Frey, a demographer at theBrookings Institution, a Washington think tank. “The future of America is epitomized by the young people today. They are basically the melting pot we are going to see in the future.”…

By 2050, whites will make up 46 percent of the population and blacks will make up 15 percent, a relatively small increase from today. Hispanics, who make up about 15 percent of the population today, will account for 30 percent in 2050, according to the new projections.

Asians, which make up about 5 percent of the population, are projected to increase to 9 percent by 2050.

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