Month: May 2003 (page 1 of 2)

Commencement Speeches

Bush, in his address to the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Adcademy, accused Europe of hindering efforts to end Africa’s hunger problem. His argument posits that Europe’s ban on genetically modified food has deterred African countries from using this technology and therefore deprived these countries of the benefits of modified high-yield crops. To try and place the blame for Africa’s famines on Europe’s doorstep is censurable and seems to indicate a certain lack of self-examination on the part of the U.S. administration. Perhaps Mr. Bush would do well to read some of Amartya Sen’s work. To say that increasing the food supply would end Africa’s hunger is a gross oversimplification. Even more reprehensible is the disingenuousness of trying to hide the economic interests of big industries behind the guise of humanitarianism.
NYTimes article.

Over in Illinois, NYTimes rerporter Chris Hedges was also giving a commencement speech. He opened by saying ” I want to speak to you today about war and empire…For we are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige, power and security.” He went on to criticize the U.S.’s recent foreign policy, which should not have come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Mr. Hedge’s past work. What was surprising perhaps, was the reaction of the graduates of Rockford College, a small liberal arts college known mainly for being the alma mater of social activist Jane Addams. During the course of his speech, Mr. Hedge’s microphone was unplugged twice, he was interrupted by heckling and chanting from the audience, several students tried to rush the stage, and one student threw his cap and gown on the stage before leaving. What ever happened to insitutions of higher learning as places for fostering the exchange of ideas?
Newsday article.


When someone brought a Powerbook into this guy’s store with a smashed socket on the logic board for the LCD screen, he didn’t just throw it away. Instead he created the the lego mac. And now you can buy it on eBay.

Musical Torture & Larry Lessig Calls For Help

According to MSNBC, US soldiers have been breaking Saddam supporters by forcing them to listen to Metallica and Barney music. If you forced me to listen to Barney for hours, I’d tell you anything you wanted to know too.
Excerpted from lessig’s blog:

“About a month ago, I started sounding optimistic about getting a bill introduced into Congress to help right the wrong of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. I was optimistic because we had found a congressperson who was willing to introduce the bill. But after pressure from lobbyists, that is no longer clear. And so we need help to counter that pressure, and to find a sponsor.

The idea is a simple one: Fifty years after a work has been published, the copyright owner must pay a $1 maintanence fee. If the copyright owner pays the fee, then the copyright continues. If the owner fails to pay the fee, the work passes into the public domain. Based on historical precedent, we expect 98% of copyrighted works would pass into the public domain after just 50 years. They could keep Mickey for as long as Congress lets them. But we would get a public domain. …

Yet the lobbyists are fighting even this tiny compromise. The public domain is competition for them. They will fight this competition. And so long as they have the lobbyists, and the rest of the world remains silent, they will win. …

If you believe this is wrong, here are two things you can do: (1) Write your Representative and Senator, and ask them to be the first to introduce this statute; point them to the website, and ask them to respond. And even more importantly, (2) blog this request, so that others who think about these issues can get involved in the conversation. …”

Mickey D

McDonald’s actually has a webpage telling parents that happy meals are healthy food for kids!

Dick Cheney

The Guardian has a good piece on Cheney and if you read all the way to the end you’ll find this little pearl:

Things he voted against while a congressman: Equal Rights Amendment, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, busing to desegregate schools, abortion even in cases of rape or incest, a holiday to commemorate Martin Luther King.

I Missed Loyalty Day!!

Apparently George Bush proclaimed May 1 as Loyalty Day. And I missed it! It won’t happen again though. Next year on May 1st, you’ll find me eating Freedom Toast and Freedom Fries.

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