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20 April 2006

Big business sees a chance for ethnic and class cleansing

Gary Younge, writing in the Guardian comment section, covers the resurgence of Jim Crow in a more subtle guise, as mostly poor and black Katrina evacuees struggle to vote. New Orleans mayoral elections this year see big businesses ex-friend Nagin as the only black major candidate against two white men who are better friends of big business than he proved to be. The mostly white neighbourhoods are far more resettled, and looking to expand their gentrification into the wastelands left behind. Evacuees in Houston, facing constant harrassment in a daily struggle just to live, now have to find a way to vote postal with no mailing address, or travel hundreds of miles just to exercise their right to vote.

19 April 2006

Bye, bye, Scott McClellan

Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

I really like the Queen

I really like that she does stuff like this. I would be very disappointed to find out that it was the brain child of some civil servant/courtier. It doesn't sound like that sort of thing, but like something she would just think would be "fun". Like, hey, I'm the Queen, I have been very very good for years, I am 80 years old soon, why not? And then we are watching - yawn - yet another "reality show" "competition", this one to see which famous celebri-chef will cook a grand birthday feast in June for HM and a few hundred guests. But get this, she doesn't choose the menu, the British public chooses it. These are the same people who vote which D-list celebs have to eat slugs in Australia, so I think it is mighty brave of her to agree to this. She is a game old bird, in a lot of ways. And you gotta respect that. I still don't want to swear allegiance to her, though.

18 April 2006

Can you judge a book by its cover?

The Guardian Education section has this article about the old proverb "You can't judge a book by its cover". According to recent research, apparently you can. Well, at least, 77% of the time you can.

Piters and Stokmans's unabashedly bookish study, called Genre Categorization and Its Effect on Preference for Fiction Books, was published just a few years ago, in the journal Empirical Studies of the Arts. Their experiment builds on a pilot study Piters conducted in the mid-1990s. There, he found evidence that a book cover "has to visually represent what the book is about since that might be an important cue in identifying a book as belonging to a specific genre".
Of course, I couldn't help thinking, that's a pretty old proverb, and probably when it first started, book covers looked like this:-

10 April 2006

Thousands Rally for Immigrants Across U.S. - Yahoo! News

There have been times lately when I have despaired for my country. News from the USA often speaks of a people who have lost their heart, their compassion and their greatness.This reassures me.

05 April 2006

America's ghost town

A review of a hip hop video by Louisiana artist Juvenile is a forum for a searching look at embattled black New Orleans. Things are not really improving there, people, despite the fiery grass-roots spirit of a lot of black and white musicians and workers of all kinds. Valiant community effort will only get you so far against obstacles like these. From City Pages.

04 April 2006


I am going to Barcelona for May Day. I will post more later when I have the time. Oh, yes, there will be pictures.

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