Saturday, January 30, 2010

RIP Gabrielle Bouliane 1966-2010, performance poet and videographer

Some of her poems.

Her obit on The Poetry Asylum LJ community

Her bio: Think: a tomboy smartass geek in a bunny suit. Ok, wait... I'm part tomboy and part floor-length velvet with fishnets. I just moved back to my hometown after 8 years in Seattle and travels to 23 other cities. Talk to me because I can write poetry that doesn't suck, but you won't have to hear it. Because I make people look like rock stars for a living. Because I [have] no idea what's going to happen next, but I'm ready for anything. Literally. Because I may be the one who can keep up with you. Because I'm an excellent co-pilot. Because I've had a motorcycle license and have the recipe for lemon bars memorized. But enough about me... Because you like curves. Because you want someone to watch Blade Runner for the 127th time. Because you need someone in your life who knows the difference between xlr, rca, ieee, and bnc cables. Because you can teach me something new. Because you haven't met enough women who work hard, play hard and then go out for an IPA with a bourbon back. Because you know that secretly, women in control want to not have to be all that all the time. Not only do you already know that, but you're strong enough to do something about it.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The truth behind Tebow's tale: The star athlete's "pro-life" story has a dark underbelly

Quarterback Tim Tebow during practice

For just a moment, forget the debate about whether advocacy ads belong in the year's biggest night in sports. The Center for Reproductive Rights has taken an entirely different tack in fighting Focus on the Family's scheduled Super Bowl spot: Countering the personal anti-abortion tale Tim Tebow and his mother are expected to deliver with cold, hard facts. 

In case you haven't been reading Broadsheet lately -- for shame! -- and are unfamiliar with the particulars of Pam Tebow's story: While pregnant working as a missionary in the Philippines, she fell ill with amoebic dysentery and was treated with robust antibiotics, which she says doctors told her had caused fetal damage, but she refused their advice that she have an abortion for her own safety. Luckily, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy -- and to a perfect anti-abortion tale. Only, one detail has so far been excluded from Tebow's public tellings of the story: abortion was, and still is, illegal in the Philippines. There isn't even a single exception allowed for cases where the mother's life is in danger. In a letter to CBS protesting the Super Bowl spot, CRR explains:

Physicians and midwives who perform abortions in the Philippines face six years in prison, and may have their licenses suspended or revoked. Women who receive abortions -- no matter the reason -- may be punished with imprisonment for two to six years. Abortion is so deeply stigmatized in the Philippines that women who seek care for complications from unsafe, illegal abortions are routinely punished by healthcare workers, who threaten to report them to the police, harass them verbally and physically, and delay care.

The letter also raises the question of "whether physicians in the Philippines would have urged a married pregnant woman to illegally terminate her pregnancy in 1987." Even women with life-threatening conditions are generally forced "to risk their lives, either by continuing their high-risk pregnancies or seeking unsafe abortions." So, just how much of a "choice" did Tebow's mother really have, anyway? That question might not be central to her personal story, seeing as she paints her decision not to abort as a result of her strict Christian faith and, presumably, not a lack of access. But it is an issue for, oh, the 1,000-plus women who died in 2008 because of the Philippines' abortion ban, and the 90,000 more who suffered serious complications as a result. The dark underbelly of this heartwarming s0-called "pro-life" story? Death.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

on love and clarity

I'm fond of David Shapiro's unedited sometimes rambling Facebook posts; he posted this one today:

"You are always clear when you are in love. You are clear and you love everything a little more. And you enjoy being clear."--Kenneth Koch as quoted by David Shapiro.

Shapiro goes on to quote "Laura Huxley[,] a therapist by the way[, and] wife of Aldous[,] says again and again to judge love by [the] clarity it gives. If "love" makes you feel opaque twisty niggardly exclusive unhappy, it is not love. Late Freud agrees... and says all human love is darkened by too great early dependance. And so Kenneth Koch was speaking perhaps of the joy of no longer depending[,] and the forthrightness of simple things."

Perhaps Laura Huxley was drawing a distinction between love and limerence.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

prostate biopsy

It was not fun, but was necessary. The doc must have taken seven or eight tissue samples, and I could feel each incision. Afterward I felt weak and light headed but was able to walk home; on the way I stopped at the Park Slope Sweet Melissa Patisserie on Seventh Avenue and got a chocolate chip cookie (very rich and very sweet) to raise my diminished blood sugar level. I should get the results of the biopsy in a week. The ultrasound showed calcium deposits which would be the likely explanation for my elevated PSA should the results turn out to be negative. It would also confirm my hunch that I should switch from dairy to soy milk/yogurt.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

Three Russian minimalist poets translated by Alex Cigale & three Yiddish poets translated by Zackary Sholem Berger

Suspects in La. senator phone tamper try released - Yahoo! News (tx, novapsyche)

NEW ORLEANS – A conservative activist who posed as a pimp to target the community-organizing group ACORN and the son of a federal prosecutor were among four men arrested and accused of trying to tamper with phones at Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office.

Activist James O'Keefe, 25, recorded two of the other suspects with his cell phone as they walked into the office dressed like telephone repairman and said they needed to fix problems with the phone system, according to an FBI affidavit.

A federal law enforcement official said one of the suspects was picked up in a car a couple of blocks away with a listening device that could pick up transmissions. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not part of an FBI affidavit that described the circumstances of the case.

O'Keefe said "veritas," Latin for truth, as he left a suburban jail Tuesday with suspects Stan Dai and Joseph Basel, both 24. All declined to comment.

"There will be a time for that," Dai said.

As he got into a cab outside the jail, O'Keefe said, "The truth shall set me free." His biography on a Web site where he blogs says he works at">, though that Web site does not currently work.

The fourth suspect, Robert Flanagan, the son of Shreveport-based acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan, was not with them. It was not immediately known if he had already been released on the $10,000 bail set for each suspect.

It sounded like a Watergate-style operation, but federal officials have not yet said why the men wanted to interfere with Landrieu's phones, whether they were successful, or even if the goal was political espionage.

According to the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel showed up at Landrieu's office Monday morning carrying white hard hats and dressed in jeans, blue work shirts, fluorescent green vests and toolbelts. They told an employee they were there to fix problems with the phone system. O'Keefe told an employee he was there waiting for someone.

The affidavit says Basel asked for access to a phone at the reception desk, then manipulated the handset and tried to call the phone with his cell phone, but said he could not get through. Flanagan tried to call as well, according to the affidavit.

They said they needed to work on the main system and asked where the telephone closet was. They were directed to another office in the building, where they again said they were telephone repairmen and an employee asked for their credentials. They said they had left them in their vehicle.

They were arrested later by U.S. marshals. Details of the arrest were not available. Dai was also arrested, but Letten's office said only that he assisted the others in planning, coordinating and preparing.

Landrieu, a moderate Democrat, declined comment Tuesday through spokesman Aaron Saunders. Saunders did say Landrieu was in Washington, not in her office, when the men showed up Monday. Landrieu has been in the news recently because she negotiated an increase in Medicaid funds for her state before announcing her support for Senate health care legislation.

Bill Flanagan's office confirmed his son was among those arrested, but declined to comment further.

An FBI criminal complaint charging the men was unsealed Tuesday. None of the defendants, each wearing red prison jumpsuits, commented at a court hearing held in the afternoon. All four were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony, which could bring up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

"It was poor judgment," Robert Flanagan's lawyer, Garrison Jordan, said in a brief interview outside the courthouse. "I don't think there was any intent or motive to commit a crime."

O'Keefe was the brains behind a series of undercover videos that have caused major problems for ACORN — the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now.

He managed to do what Republicans have been trying to for years — hurt the political affiliates of ACORN, which have registered hundreds of thousands of voters in urban and other poor areas of the country.

By producing undercover videos shot in ACORN offices, O'Keefe brought a firestorm of criticism that the group was helping its low-income clients break the law.

Using a hidden camera, O'Keefe, posing as a pimp and accompanied by a young woman posing as a prostitute, shot videos in ACORN offices where staffers appeared to offer illegal tax advice and to support the misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children.

Edited videos of those visits to ACORN offices were first posted on">, a site run by conservative Andrew Breitbart.

In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press, Breitbart said: "We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O'Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu's office. We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon. We have no information other than what has been reported publicly by the press. Accordingly, we simply are not in a position to make any further comment."

In the past, Breitbart has said O'Keefe — now a paid contributor to — is an independent filmmaker, not an employee.

O'Keefe has been sued in Pennsylvania and Maryland based on the ACORN videos; he does not have an attorney of record in either case and attempts Tuesday to locate a lawyer who might represent him were not successful.

ACORN calls itself the largest grass roots community organization of low- and moderate-income people in the country, claiming over 400,000 families, more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in about 75 cities.

Until the controversy last year over the videos at ACORN offices, 10 percent of ACORN's funds came from federal government grants. In September, Congress blocked previously approved funds from going to the group.


Associated Press Writers Kevin McGill in New Orleans, Pete Yost in Washington, Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles and Ben Nuckols in Baltimore contributed to this report.

I'm glad the dirty tricksters were finally caught. This should discredit their smear campaign against Acorn.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sasson's sick tummy


Today I noticed a large amount of blood in Sasson's stool, so I took him to the vet who took a stool sample, took Sasson's temperature (slight fever), and gave him two injections. As per Dr's orders Sasson has to fast until morning and then has to take oral antibiotics for five days. He's hungry, is not a happy camper, and quite vocal. Poor cat. We're trying to distract him from his hunger through play and affection. I hope he lets us sleep tonight.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

School district pulls dictionaries for 'oral sex' | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

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School district pulls dictionaries for 'oral sex'

January 24, 2010 |  8:39 am


Menifee school district in Riverside County has removed the 10th edition of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary from all school shelves after a parent complained about a student running across "oral sex" in its pages. The Press-Enterprise reports:

School officials will review the dictionary to decide if it should be permanently banned because of the "sexually graphic" entry, said district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus.

The move did not sit well with everyone. One parent told the paper that it is incumbent upon parents to be able to answer children's questions in a way that's age-appropriate. A member of the school board suggested it should be up to the board, not individual parents, to set policy.

The online version of Merriam-Webster's dictionary includes a definition for "oral sex." It reads:

Main Entry: oral sex
Function: noun
Date: 1973

: oral stimulation of the genitals : cunnilingus, fellatio

Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, told the Associated Press, "common sense seems to be lacking in this school."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo by Southernpixel via Flickr

More in: education, words

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Comments (2)

" is incumbent upon parents to be able to answer children's questions in a way that's age-appropriate."
And that answer will be what? "None of your business," perhaps?
As if kids are going to be comfortable running up to their parents to ask about it. Do the parents who object prefer it to remain a phrase learned on the street, and defined by schoolyard peers?
Can I submit a list of words I don't like, to be removed from the dictionary, too?

Posted by: moi | January 24, 2010 at 09:56 AM

It's pretty ridiculous to pull a dictionary because it contains a phrase some find objectionable. The Bible contains some naughty stuff, too, by the way.
I went to a religious school and asked what "adultery" meant, since it was listed among the Ten Commandments. I was told it meant "acting like an adult." That commandment didn't make sense in that context and definition, so I looked up "adultery" in the dictionary. At that age I thought sex was yucky anyway, so I wasn't titillated.
P.S. - I'm betting most kids can't ask their parents about oral sex, so they'll learn it on the street and get inaccurate information.

Posted by: ed | January 25, 2010 at 02:10 AM

This is another absurd example of sex-phobic censorship.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Free Abbas Khalili Dermanaki (tx, RS)

This is the statement of some Iranian writers and artists who are declaring their support for freedom of Iranian critic and essayist Abbas Khalil Dermanaki.

Free Abbas Khalili Dermanaki

"With emphasis on unity, concurrence, and solidarity of the Iranian literary society, intellectuals and literary figures inside and outside of Iran, this petition aims to direct global attention to atrocities and the violent and inhumane conducts that have violated Iranian people's full individual and civil rights. These calamities have not solely affected political activists and the brave and freedom-seeking students, but currently extended to several dignified and peaceful Iranian writers. Many of our intellectual and literary colleagues are currently in prisons under gruesome conditions while the Iranian literary society and their families have no information about reasons for their arrests, ensuing legal procedures, and their physical and emotional well-being. (Abbas khalil Dermanaki)Khalil Dermanaki is one of such detainees, a writer and literary critic who has been arrested since December 27, 2009 pursuant to the events triggered by the Ashoora demonstrations in Iran and has been in Evin prison since. Due to what sin? which crime?"

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

A Constitutional Amendment to Wrench Control Away from the Corporations

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Geithner, Summers Eclipsed As White House Changes Posture (tx, JL)

New White House Posture Shakes Up Staff

Rolling out his new, more aggressive approach to Wall Street, President Obama turned to some advisers who hadn't been seen much in the past year. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Obama were former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and Vice President Joe Biden. Council of Economic Advisers member Austan Goolsbee was brought out to brief reporters.

Biden has been pushing for a year for more focus on the middle class and Goolsbee and Volcker have been waging a lonely campaign to encourage the White House to be tougher on Wall Street.

One White House official didn't deny that that there has been "a shift" in the presentation of their economic policies and who is presenting them. Two other officials, meanwhile, pushed back to insist that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and senior adviser Larry Summers fully participated in crafting the new strategy.

Shortly after sharing the stage with Obama, however, it was Volcker who went to Capitol Hill to sell his idea to top Republicans.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) met him for a 45-minute, one-on-one meeting and ribbed the former Fed Chairman about the abrupt turnaround in his administration stature: This wouldn't have anything to do with a certain special election in Massachusetts, would it?

"I kidded him a little bit about that, to be candid. Was this more about votes or more about substance?" Corker said. "I kidded him about--you know, in the past they've used him as a prop."

Volcker, whose exile has at times been literal -- his biggest speech was delivered in Germany -- insisted that he was no prop, that the administration meant business. "From his standpoint, obviously it's about substance, and strongly encouraged me that from their standpoint it was, too," Corker said.

Volcker had company coming in from the cold. Goolsbee, long excluded from the White House's economic inner circle, took the lead in briefing reporters on the Volcker plan. Goolsbee is the chief economist for the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, a panel that was designed so that Volcker could chair it and advise the president. Little of that advice got much traction in the first year, however, as Geithner and Summers dominated.

Story continues below

The White House is now hoping to insert Volcker's proposal into the comprehensive package in the Senate.

Time will tell if the change is real, but to the extent that a president's words and stance have power in and of themselves, the message is clear. There is a new sheriff in town.

Corker said he and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top ranking Republican on the banking committee, want Volcker to come testify and sent a letter to Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) asking him to invite the now prominent adviser. Shelby said that he also met with Volcker and personally asked him to testify before the committee, although he stressed that only Dodd can make invitations.

Geithner, meanwhile, was tossed to the populist mob by "financial industry sources" who told Reuters that "Obama's newest Wall Street crackdown was met with hesitation" by Geithner, who is "concerned that politics could be sacrificing good economic policy."

There's meaning behind the shifting public image, said one Democratic economist who informally advises the White House. "It's more than faces," he said in an e-mail. "Volcker is pushing and the White House seems to be moving towards much broader regulation of financial institutions, including limits on how big they can be, regulation of compensation arrangements and effective limits on their risks, which Summers and Geithner have sidelined but Volcker has pushed.

"On top of that is the president's neo-populist repositioning on the banks, which started before the election (but after the WH and most Dem pros in town had written off Coakley). Summers, of course, will 'adapt.' Harder for Geithner," he said.

Peter Morici, a professor at the Robert Smith School of Business the University of Maryland School, said that the lack of results is driving Geithner and Summers out.

"Geithner is just not doing a very good job of shaping and focusing bank reform on Capitol Hill. Worse, he is getting the president no points for championing it. So what you are seeing is the president is going to his bench and Volcker," he said. "Volcker is much more of a traditionalist. He wants to separate banks out and, while this doesn't go very far in that direction, it does go in that direction."

The two White House officials who said that Geithner and Summers were key players in the latest decision were adamant, however. It is the case that "Secretary Geithner and Director Summers were asked by the President to develop proposals, that they worked closely with Volcker, that they worked out a plan over the holidays, and that the plan was submitted to the President with a unanimous recommendation from the economic team," one said.

"Summers and Geithner deliberated over the concern that proprietary trading was not at the heart of the problem that fueled the crisis but concluded that reform needed to be about more than just fighting the last war, it needed to address sources of future risk as well," said another.

Sam Stein contributed reporting

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Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

Time to Cowboy Up - Opinionator Blog (tx, JG)

Timothy EganTimothy Egan on American politics and life, as seen from the West.

The polls had barely opened in Massachusetts on election day, a winter dawn that showed Democrats really were going to lose the seat of the lion Teddy Kennedy, when the stocks of big health care companies started to surge.

You could hear the cheers from Wall Street, the boo-yahs from the bottom line crowd. Yeaayyyyy! Up went the big insurance companies, up went the big pharmaceutical conglomerates, the drugmakers and H.M.O.s. Health care reform is dead — hooray for the status quo!

“Investors scooped up health care shares,” as Reuters wrote, trying to explain to the rest of the world why a change in one Senate seat could mean so much money for a handful of big companies, on a bet that a single new Republican “could stall U.S. President Barack Obama’s reforms and remove a threat to profits in the sector.”

Jim Cramer, of the aptly named “Mad Money,” was equally ebullient — no reform equals no change equals larger profits for those who gain from the ossified medical industrial complex. About 47 million Americans will remain without health care — yes!

The markets fell on other concerns Wednesday, but the biggest beneficiaries of not fixing the system had made their point.

The public never saw it that way. They saw a spend-crazy Congress backing Wall Street and bailouts. Health care reform seemed like just another reckless gamble, complete with special deals for whining senators, at a time when unemployment is 15 percent or more in some states.

“It’s a message of ‘that’s enough,’ let’s stop the giveaways and let’s get jobs going,” Marlene Connolly, 73, told The Times. A lifelong Democrat, she voted Republican for the first time, she said.

Of course, Martha Coakley, the Democrat who lost in a state where only 13 percent of voters identified themselves as Republicans, ran a campaign that should be a mandatory lesson for all her supporters in Cambridge.

Among other great sins, she belittled the retail politics of her opponent, who stood in the cold of a Bruins hockey game at Fenway Park, thus disparaging three great New England institutions in a single two-second sound bite. It follows, then, that she didn’t know that Curt Schilling, the Boston pitcher who bled through his sox, was a Red Sox fan. Stealing a page from Mike Dukakis when he decided to spend August mowing his lawn while the 1988 presidential contest slipped away from him, her campaign essentially went dark with a double-digit lead. And she did what no Kennedy had ever done — she took the voter for granted.

But make no mistake. Scott Brown’s win was a rout, a repudiation of Democrats and Obama. In famously well-educated Massachusetts, it cannot be said that the voters were stupid.
But those Red Sox also offer a way out for Democrats — they can cowboy up, to use the rallying cry of the 2003 team, back when they were still lovable underdogs and not entitled favorites.

The t-shirt then said it all: “Are You Gonna Cowboy Up or Just Lay There and Bleed?”

Democrats are good at bleeding, kvetching and woe-is-me-ing. Particularly the left, which has never come around to the idea that Democrats have to govern in a country that is essentially center-right.

While the filibuster-proof margin is gone, the Democrats still have a 58 seats in the Senate — perhaps 59, depending on Joe Lieberman’s loyalty of the hour. This huge majority, as America’s most astute political observer, Jon Stewart, pointed out, is far more than George W. Bush ever had, and he used it to do whatever he wanted to with the country.

Critics will say: listen to the people, the voters don’t want health care. But in fact, when you break out the major points on reform — getting rid of policies that deny coverage for preexisting conditions, expanding care and choice, forcing insurers to put more money into treatment and less in their pockets — there is strong support. Majorities also back a public option, but that’s off the table, for now. See Lieberman, Traitor Joe.

What people are against is “the bill” — this radioactive product of arcane deal-making. They even tried to keep C-Span out! What is there to hide? Who knows. But most people believe it will add to the deficit, instead of reduce costs as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said.

Democrats swept the land in 2008 by running on a couple of things: not being George Bush, change in the economy, health care and getting rid of a lobbyist-rich culture in Washington that seemed to work only for those on the inside. The voters knew, as they did in Massachusetts on Tuesday, what they were doing.

If Democrats waste this majority, and have nothing to show for it but bailouts of the biggest banks, auto companies and insurers, they deserve to be returned to minority status in the fall.

Who are they governing for? They can cowboy up, pass health care that helps right the major wrongs of the system, and then explain what they’re doing. One way to start is to point to the bottom line, the market, and ask who gets rich when nothing changes.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

The astonishingly deep effect of primary metaphors in our lives By Jody Radzik | Institute For The Future

In 1980, cognitive linguist George Lakoff and philosopher Mark Johnson described the notion of the embodied metaphor in their landmark book, Metaphors We Live By, mapping out the brain’s amazing exaptation of its motor functions into the fundamental units of human cognition. In 1999, they wrote another landmark book, Philosophy In The Flesh, in which they further describe the “embodied mind,” the veritable (and largely cross-cultural) syntax and grammar of human reason, and use the notion to incisively critique a good cross-section of Western philosophy. Now, in 2009, these ideas are beginning to surface in more mainstream media, including a recent article written by Drake Bennett in the Boston Globe.

Metaphors aren’t just how we talk and write, they’re how we think. At some level, we actually do seem to understand temperament as a form of temperature, and we expect people’s personalities to behave accordingly. What’s more, without our body’s instinctive sense for temperature--or position, texture, size, shape, or weight--abstract concepts like kindness and power, difficulty and purpose, and intimacy and importance would simply not make any sense to us. Metaphors like this “don’t invite us to see the world in new and different ways,” says Daniel Casasanto, a cognitive scientist and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. “They enable us to understand the world at all.”

An embodied metaphor, or primary metaphor, is a mental reflection of an action or condition of the physical body. For instance, you “engage” “in” a “heated” conversation with your coworker, until you “cut” him “off,” or “short.” In “essence”, there is no “way” to “avoid” “using” an embodied metaphor “in” “communicating” a notion. All human cognition “rests” “on” them like an ocean “on” its seafloor. (That was an example of a descriptive metaphor.)  Now, these ideas are beginning to bear fruit in experimental psychology, and the implications of what is being discovered have the potential to reach into almost every aspect of human social life. To whit, very simple physical manipulations can have profound effects on our subsequent cognition.

In a paper in the current issue of Psychological Science, researchers in the Netherlands and Portugal describe a series of studies in which subjects were given clipboards on which to fill out questionnaires--in one study subjects were asked to estimate the value of several foreign currencies, in another they were asked to rate the city of Amsterdam and its mayor. The clipboards, however, were two different weights, and the subjects who took the questionnaire on the heavier clipboards tended to ascribe more metaphorical weight to the questions they were asked--they not only judged the foreign currencies to be more valuable, they gave more careful, considered answers to the questions they were asked.

This suggests a whole new approach to understanding human behavior, and by direct extension, all of human culture and society. Perhaps more nefariously, it suggests a set of tools to manipulate behavior (and get people in the mood to buy.) But ultimately, the idea of the primary metaphor will help us to reshape elements of our lives in a way that will enhance our day-to-day experience.

A few psychologists have begun to ponder applications. Ackerman, for example, is looking at the impact of perceptions of hardness on our sense of difficulty. The study is ongoing, but he says he is finding that something as simple as sitting on a hard chair makes people think of a task as harder. If those results hold up, he suggests, it might make sense for future treaty negotiators to take a closer look at everything from the desks to the upholstery of the places where they meet.

IFTF has long recognized the value and importance of the neurocognitive sciences as a reservoir of new ideas and thinking, allowing us to constantly develop and expand the inventory of tools we provide to organizations looking to increase their flexibility in the face of the VUCA world. The emergence of embodied mind theory represents another rich vein from which we may unearth more incisive, elucidating and productive tools and lenses to help our clients enhance both their organizations and the world at large.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

Bashing Israel for saving Haitians - Haaretz - Israel News (tx, RI)

Bashing Israel for saving Haitians
By Bradley Burston
Tags: Haiti Earthquake, Gaza 

Click here for more articles by Bradley Burston


I'd like to say a word of honor and thanks and, yes, pride for the Israelis, paramedics, physicians, nurses, midwives, and medical imaging technicians, who went to Haiti to save lives.

That's it.

I believe that they are people, individuals, who went there to save limbs from gangrene and amputation, stanch internal bleeding, relieve crushing pain. To deliver babies. To risk their lives, using jackhammers and hydraulics and their hands to make crawl spaces under tons of concrete and silt, going in themselves to pull children and adults to safety.

For all the time that they've been working, however, people far away, snug in the comfort of their laptops, have been furiously busy as well, people who are enraged to the boiling point by news reports of the Israeli rescue mission. People who see it as their mission to tell the world exactly what's wrong with all of this.

Over the past week, the work of the Israeli medical team has become a kind of Rorschach for how people view Israel and Israelis. Most of the comment, it must be said, is supportive. Even on the part of those who cast the humanitarian misery in Gaza in contrast.

But for a shocking number of others, the bottom line is simple: Israel,
and Israelis, can do no right.

In its most extreme form, there are those who have accused Israel of using the Haiti catastrophe as a new reservoir for harvesting organs.

But even many of those who shun blood libels, have seized on the Haiti mission to bash Israel, revealing in many cases a hatred - and a bigotry - that borders on the visceral.

"I guess giving Israel credit for good deeds in Haiti," wrote reader John Smithson on the widely read Mondoweiss site, "is like watching a serial killer or other sociopathic type mow an old woman's lawn (or some other charitable thing)."

The contention is that Israel sent aid to Haiti on purely cynical motives, harnessing public relations to divert attention from the Goldstone Report, to divert attention from Gaza, to divert attention from its never-ending, always expanding internal crises.

The implication is that Israel, and Israelis, are constitutionally incapable of doing good for its own sake. Or that whenever they appear to do good, people of conscience should recognize that the evil designs behind it render any good that may be done, complicit in wrongdoing.

True, it is willful blindness to contend that Israel can do no wrong. But it is nothing short of racism to maintain, in Haiti and in general, that Israelis can do no right.

Israel, like all countries where war is endemic, like much of the unfortunate world, and like Palestine, is a nation whose people have been ruined, distorted, permanently traumatized, emotionally stunted. Yet Israelis, like people in all countries where war is endemic, and like Palestinians, have demonstrated enormous reservoirs of humanity under inhuman stresses.

As Palestinian-American journalist Ray Hanania wrote of the Israeli aid effort this week: "200,000 Haitians died in an earthquake. They sent doctors and supplies to help. That is a good thing. Just because we are fighting with Israel doesn't mean we should sneer at that assistance to people in need. YES, I wish Israel could show the same compassion for Palestinians. But Israel and Haiti are not at war and Israelis and Palestinians (mainly Hamas and the settlers) are."

People who truly know this place as more than a moral cartoon, also know that there is no such thing as a clear conscience in the Holy Land. Either your conscience is conflicted, or it is no conscience at all.

No one knows better than Israelis - not even their worst critics abroad - how flawed and wrongheaded their country's behavior, and that of their countrymen, so often is.

No one knows better than Palestinians and their supporters, what it is to be tainted by bigotry, take missteps in conflict, and be dismissed by hatred.

I'd like to say a word of honor and thanks for the Israelis, paramedics, physicians, nurses, midwives, and medical imaging technicians, who went to Haiti to save lives.

Israelis, and Jews in the wider world, should not be forced to recite a catechism over how terrible, how flawed, how often mistaken they already know Israel to be, just in order to earn the right to feel and express their admiration, their gratitude, and yes, their pride.

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Art 101: art sale to help Haiti earthquake relief

My January 13th article and my January 20th article discussed ways to donate money to earthquake relief in Haiti. Here's a way to write a check for earthquake relief and take home a work of here to read the article

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nepal charter to grant gay rights- Hindustan Times

Nepal charter to grant gay rights
Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Kathmandu, January 19, 2010
First Published: 01:11 IST(19/1/2010)
Last Updated: 01:13 IST(19/1/2010)

Like most people in love Tripti Shah and Darshana Thapa (names changed) want to get married and start a family. But unlike most they will have to wait some more time to get legal recognition for their union.

In less than five months Nepal will have a new constitution that will be the first in Asia to guarantee equal rights to sexual minorities. And once that happens, Tripti and Darshana, a lesbian couple, can formally wed.

The couple in their 20s was thrown out of Nepal Army nearly three years ago due to their sexual orientation—albeit ‘disciplinary ground’ was cited as the reason for their removal.

It is such kind of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered and inter-sexed (LGBTI) that the Himalayan nation’s new constitution seeks to prevent.

“Rights for LGBTIs have been well drafted in the new constitution. They will ensure non-discrimination and separate citizenship IDs for third-gendered people,” says Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal’s first openly gay lawmaker.

I wish our constitution were this progressive. Other nations should follow Nepal's example.

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NY Jewish cultural events this week: Haiti fundraiser, drum circle, ASL museum tour, lecture, jazz,

Monday, January 18, 2010

1958: America's blood supply desegregated

On a C-Span book talk yesterday I learned that in 1958 President Eisenhower desegregated America's blood supply by executive order. Prior to that blood for transfusions in blood banks were segregated as "white" and "black," and the "white" blood was further segregated as "Christian" and "Hebrew."

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Another Rohmer appreciation

New York Times
My Nights With Eric
Op-Ed Contributor

My Nights With Eric

Published: January 15, 2010

TO those of us who have seen all of Eric Rohmer’s films it is impossible not to remember when, where, with whom we saw each one. I even remember the second and third time I saw his films. “My Night at Maud’s,” “Claire’s Knee,” “Chloe in the Afternoon” are grafted onto my life. Something happened between me and these films at the Thalia, at the Brattle, at the old Cinémathèque, or at the old Olympia Theater on the Upper West Side. But I can no longer isolate what that something is. I don’t even care to know what was exclusively Eric Rohmer’s and what was mine, what he was ever so cautious to convey and what I most likely misunderstood completely. The mix, as sometimes happens, becomes the work of art.

But then with Mr. Rohmer, who died this week at the age of 89, the mix is not incidental; it is essential. To see an Eric Rohmer film is not to escape from the drudgery of our daily lives; it is to sit quietly and have someone show us lives that are not entirely different from ours but different enough, situations we’ve all been in and couldn’t wait to get out of but could have learned from, if only we’d had the patience and the courage to sit through them.
Mr. Rohmer was the master of tact — tact in the way his characters behave with one another, tact in the way he himself, as a director, spun his tales, and ultimately tact with truth and fiction. In his hands, sex could be suspended, and passion, without ever boiling over, seldom went cold.
I can’t forget the scene in “My Night at Maud’s” when the very pious engineer in the business suit decides to sit on Maud’s bed while she is lying under the covers with only a T-shirt on, determined to seduce him. They stare at each other, and they talk, and she tells him things, and he tells her things, and still they talk, and it’s clear to everyone, including the characters themselves, that though this strange couple has just met hours earlier and may not share a sliver of love between them, what we’ve just witnessed is one of the most intimate scenes in movie history.
It is impossible to watch this scene or certain moments in “Tale of Autumn,” “A Good Marriage” or “Full Moon in Paris” and not envy the candor of Eric Rohmer’s men and women, their impulse to dissect each nuance of desire and then turn around and confide it right away to those who’d aroused them.
With my friends we used to call these situations Rohmerian. You meet A, you are drawn to A, but neither you nor A wish to rush things. You simply want to stop time a bit, and because neither of you cares to hide what you’re really doing, you decide to confess your maneuvers and are wildly grateful when told they were by no means unknown to the other. Rohmerian. What comes after this is seldom the business of art; it is the stuff of humdrum prose.
Since his death, the usual clichés about Eric Rohmer are once again pullulating on the Internet. He was talky. He was a mannerist. He was a classicist. Eric Rohmer — whose men are more into themselves than the women they are allegedly trying to seduce. Eric Rohmer — whose films, in the words of the character played by Gene Hackman in “Night Moves,” are like “watching paint dry.” Eric Rohmer — for whom courtship is a conceit for how people jockey into position vis-à-vis the things they want and seldom believe they’ll get.
What the commentary has missed is that Eric Rohmer was above all things a “moraliste.” The word is difficult to translate. All the men in his “Six Moral Tales” are either married or engaged to be married but, through a series of accidents, find themselves tempted to betray their beloveds. Each therefore is faced with a “moral” quandary.
It’s worth remembering that Mr. Rohmer was playing with words, using the word “moral” in a way that harks back to the French Moralists of the 17th century. Despite their emphasis on morality, men like Pascal, La Rochefoucauld and La Bruyère were urbane and disabused analysts of manners, mores and the human psyche. They were perpetually on the lookout for every insidious motivation in others and every instance of self-delusion in themselves. In the hands of a moralist, even sex becomes a conceit.
For all their self-analysis, Eric Rohmer’s men and women are not as penetrating as they wish to be. No one is evil, no one is too good either, and no one suffers, or at least not for long. They all muddle through courtship, never get their hands dirty; and the hard truths they must face are always given obliquely enough and never hurt. There are ugly facts enough on the outside.
With Eric Rohmer, as with Mozart, Austen, James and Proust, we need to remember that art is seldom about life, or not quite about life. Art is about discovery and design and reasoning with chaos. If there is one thing I will miss with Eric Rohmer’s death, it is the clarity, the candor and the pleasure with which one human can sit with another and reason about love and not forget, in Pascal’s words, that “the heart has reasons that reason knows nothing of.”
André Aciman, a professor of comparative literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center, is the author of the forthcoming novel “Eight White Nights.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

D.C. Police Confirm Condom Policy that Endangers Public Health | Women's Rights (tx, novapsyche)

Women's Rights

Women's Rights

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D.C. Police Confirm Condom Policy that Endangers Public Health

by Alex DiBranco

categories: Health, Sex Work

Published January 12, 2010 @ 05:41PM PT


Washington, D.C.: home to the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the country. So you'd think they'd do everything possible to prevent the spread of the epidemic, such as promoting safe sex techniques. Why, then, do police do exactly the opposite by using condoms as evidence that prostitution is occurring?

DCist contacted the Metropolitan Police Department for comment on its policy after they reported on an article I wrote last week about the use of condoms as evidence in "Prostitution Free Zones." According to DCist, MPD spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump confirms that condoms can be used as a factor leading "an officer to suspect (reasonable suspicion) that a person is engaged in prostitution," but stresses that possession of rubbers alone isn't sufficient cause for an order to disperse or arrest.

This mirrors the San Francisco police's position: they have defended a similar practice by saying that "a pocket full of condoms alone is not a basis for arrest." This defense of the policy appears to be motivated by the desire to dodge privacy concerns and outrage from the many women who like to prepare for a night out (seriously, that's a lot of women they'd be calling sex workers). However, it doesn't address the major problem with this practice: the danger to the health of sex workers and the public.

Considering condoms as even one factor for arrest deters sex workers from using protection. "The risk of catching something is better than being arrested," according to Patricia West, a sex worker and outreach volunteer for San Francisco's St. James Infirmary, which provides health care for members of the world's oldest profession.

While Crumps states that possession of condoms alone would be insufficient for a disperse order or an arrest, what exactly would be sufficient cause? She tells DCist that a police officer could order someone to leave a PFZ if that person were "congregating with at least one other person ... late at night with no apparent destination, and in possession of multiple condoms." On its website, the MPD says that not dispersing on the order of an officer "will result in arrest without a second warning." In addition, leaving, but then getting discovered again later congregating within the PFZ, will also lead to arrest without warning.

Given these regulations for "sufficient cause," I can definitely understand why sex workers would be afraid to carry condoms. To prevent the spread of STDs, this practice has to go.

We must prioritize the health of sex workers and the public. Especially in D.C. -- once again, highest HIV/AIDS rate in the country.

Photo credit: Mer

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Comments (1)

  1. Patrick Harris

    What I want to know is what the condom manufactures have to say about this, as their products, in Washington, D.C., will be treated as if they were a controlled substance, birth-control or STD prevention paraphernalia, or just maybe they are planning to criminalize the manufacture, sale, and purchase, because it seems they are already testing or sneaking in criminalization of the possession of them...WOW...when will they ever learn that prohibition only creates criminals, however, in this case it will lead to greater numbers of abortions, greater spread of STD's, and death! This type of law will affect everyone, not just women...not just those that gain their living through sex trade...yeah, it will affect your children, you...everyone...for it creates a new class of criminal and will make responsible teens afraid to be safe because they could get arrested for having over the legal limit of condoms...that's just wrong!

    Posted by Patrick Harris on 01/14/2010 @ 07:59PM PT

Comments on are meant for further exploration and evaluation of the ideas covered in the posts. To that end, we welcome constructive comments. However, we reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, abusive, or off-topic; that contain ad hominem attacks; or that are designed to subvert or hijack comment threads rather than contribute to them. Repeat offenders may be permanently removed from the site at our discretion.


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Alex DiBranco

Alex DiBranco is a Editor.

Alex is passionate about feminism, queer issues, sex positivism, atheism/secular humanism, full rights for everyone who crosses our borders (voluntarily or not), and critiquing America’s flawed educational system. She has interned and written for The Nation, Political Research Associates (a think-tank that monitors the right-wing), and the Center for American Progress. Alex is now based in New York City and writes poetry on the sly.

In Washington, D.C., "condoms can be used as a factor leading 'an officer to suspect that a person is engaged in prostitution.'"

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Men more evolved? Y chromosome study stirs debate - Yahoo! News (tx, novapsyche)

WASHINGTON – Women may think of men as primitive, but new research indicates that the Y chromosome — the thing that makes a man male — is evolving far faster than the rest of the human genetic code.

A new study comparing the Y chromosomes from humans and chimpanzees, our nearest living relatives, show that they are about 30 percent different. That is far greater than the 2 percent difference between the rest of the human genetic code and that of the chimp's, according to a study appearing online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

These changes occurred in the last 6 million years or so, relatively recently when it comes to evolution.

"The Y chromosome appears to be the most rapidly evolving of the human chromosomes," said study co-author Dr. David Page, director of the prestigious Whitehead Institute in Cambridge and a professor of biology at MIT. "It's an almost ongoing churning of gene reconstruction. It's like a house that's constantly being rebuilt."

Before men get too impressed with themselves, lead author Jennifer Hughes offers some words of caution: Just because the Y chromosome, which determines gender, is evolving at a speedy rate it doesn't necessarily mean men themselves are more evolved.

Researchers took the most detailed examination of the Y chromosome, which females do not have, of both humans and chimps and found entire sections dramatically different. There were even entire genes on the human Y chromosome that weren't on the chimp, said Hughes, also of the Whitehead Institute.

The two-year research took twice as long as expected because of the evolutionary changes found, Hughes said.

There is a bit of a proviso to the comparison to other chromosomes. While all human and chimp chromosomes have been mapped, only two chimp chromosomes have been examined in great detail: Y and chromosome 21. Yet, there's still enough known to make the claim that the Y is the speediest evolver, Hughes and Page said.

Until recently the Y chromosome was considered the Rodney Dangerfield of genetics, especially because it had fewer genes than other chromosomes. A few years ago some researchers even suggested that the Y chromosome was shrinking so that in 50,000 years it would just disappear — and so would men.

"The story is not as cut and dried as many would have liked to predict," Hughes said. "It's kind of fun to say that men are going to die out, but the science is proving — now that we've got data — that that's not true at all."

Page agreed. "The Y chromosome has many more tricks up its sleeve than it was given credit for," he said.

There are a couple of reasons Page and Hughes cite for Y being such an evolutionary powerhouse. One is that it stands alone and isn't part of a pair like 44 other chromosomes. So when there are mutations there's no matching chromosome to recombine and essentially cover up the change, Hughes said. Because women have two X chromosomes, the X chromosome doesn't have this situation.

Another reason has to do with the nature of mating. When female chimps are in heat, they mate frequently and with many partners, so there is an evolutionary pressure on the male to produce the most and best sperm to propagate his genes, Page said.

To test this out, Hughes said she hopes to soon examine the Y chromosomes of a rhesus macaque, which is fairly promiscuous, and the marmoset, which is more monogamous than early humans probably were.

Outside scientists praised the study.

"Wow," said R. Scott Hawley, a genetics researcher at the Stowers Institute in Kansas City. "That result is astounding."

"The Y chromosome clearly has the strength and tenacity to fight back," said Hawley, who wasn't part of the research. "I certainly think the Y chromosome has taken a bad rap for a long time with people doing maps showing areas for channel surfing."


On the Net:


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2 studies point to the importance of vaccines (tx, novapsyche)

Why vaccination of adolescents and pre-adolescents is important: HPV found in 56% of new couples: study

Why we urgently need an HIV vaccine: Study Raises Concerns About Drug-Resistant HIV

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SarcMark - sarcasm puntuation mark

Not yet available for native Mac OSX. Do you think this will catch on?

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Does Google's bold move against China raise the "moral bar" for other companies?

January 15th, 2010

Does Google's bold move against China raise the "moral bar" for other companies?

Posted by Sam Diaz @ 2:30 am

Categories: China, General, Google, Government, Security

Tags: China, Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Internet, Government, Vertical Industries, Hacking, Security, Sam Diaz

Google took a pretty big risk this week when it decided to take on the Chinese government, following its discovery of a targeted cyber attack on its corporate infrastructure that originated in China. Not only was the company no longer going to play by the censorship rules of the most populated nation in the world but it also said it would be willing to shutter its site and close its offices in China because of it.

Google has long been teased over its “Don’t Be Evil” motto, especially as it’s gone from a small Silicon Valley tech player focused on search to a global Internet giant that uses our personal information on the Internet to feed a lucrative online advertising business.

But since Google dropped its retaliatory online bomb on China this week, no one has been teasing Google. Instead, there’s been nothing but praise for the company - with elected officials in Washington and Europe stepping up to not only offer support but to call on other tech giants to also review their policies around conducting business in China.

On Thursday, Neelie Kroes, the woman who currently serves as the European Union’s antitrust commissioner but is expected to be named the EU’s top Internet official next month, announced support for Google and its decision, as well as open Internet for the free flow of information and communications.

Also on Thursday, the White House finally chimed in to offer its support of Google’s decision, even though it remains unclear how U.S.-China relations might be affected by all of this.  At a press conference, a White House spokesman said President Barack Obama believes in universal rights for people around the globe that should not be “carved out” for specific countries.

Finally, U.S. diplomats called on China to explain the cyber attacks while a group of Republican lawmakers called on Cisco, Microsoft and Yahoo to review their business operations with China, saying that to not do so is basically “complicity with this kind of evil.”

That’s kind of harsh - but it also helps explain the sentiment among government officials in free countries. Some have little patience for companies who put business success over the rights of human beings. Google, with its actions this week, has raised the moral bar for large corporations.

And while no one is saying as much, I can’t help but wonder how a rose-smelling Google might do when it goes knocking on the doors of Washington and the EU for things like regulatory approval of mergers or acquisitions. After all, this is the company that put morals in front of money and chose good over evil - or so the perception goes. Google reviewed its options and made a decision to stand on its moral ground. Some might argue that Google wasn’t strong in China yet so it didn’t give up much, But any way you look at it, China is a lot to give up.

Over in Redmond, however, it didn’t take long for Microsoft to review its own business practices in China. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told CNBC Thursday afternoon that the company had no intention of pulling out of China and that it would obey the laws there.

And just as fast, it was put into a different spotlight. The headline on the All Things D Digital Daily blog post Thursday read: “Microsoft: ‘Don’t be Evil’ is Google’s Motto, Not Ours.”


Still, you can’t really blame Microsoft. After all, it needs the support and cooperation of the Chinese government to help it fight off piracy of its software products in that country. Microsoft doesn’t have armies of soldiers to go in and raid piracy operations - but the Chinese government does.

Microsoft had to do what it had to do, just as Google also had to do what it had to do. Everyone has strong feelings about this today - but will the sentiment continue to play out this way once the dust settles?

Sam Diaz

Sam Diaz is a senior editor at ZDNet. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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