Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Law and order in USA

Teacher suspended, incarcerated for science fiction story
But nearly forty years ago another teacher got away with it: Wikipedia article on Carrie by Stephen King. In this article Against Law, for order from April 2012, Mike Konczaldescribes the evolution of the incaceration system from niht-watchman role to an active system of preventin possible disorder "The concept of the night watchman is re-purposed: instead of the quiet, passive night watchman looking over the rules of property and law, the government is active, participating, constantly at war with disorder, pushing the laws against its constraints to save the system. This expansion of police power, discretion and punishment isn’t matched by an equal emphasis on those accused."

Monday, September 01, 2014

A different perspective on Ukraine

So far I have been reading mainly western main stream media which seem propagandist  (they are silent on MH 17 crash probe for a while after initially pointing the finer at rebels and Russia) or leftists sistes like global research or Vineyard of The Saker. From the second set, Putin comes out as a statesman of vision and strength. It is difficult to believe that Putin is an angel thouh he has shown restraint on this issue. Here is an article new site which I have come across which looks more reasonabe to me: Eastern Ukraine peoples' republics between militias and oligarchs. Excerpt:
"How Strelkov was lured to Moscow, and what was done to him there in order to extract from him his “voluntary” resignation (if in fact he signed such a statement at all), we can only guess. He may have been threatened with a complete halt to Russian supplies to the liberated territories of Novorossiya. To a substantial degree, this dependency of the people’s republics on outside supplies is a result of inept management by the people whom Strelkov removed from their posts in July and early August – they were unable, or refused, to organise the economy in the rear, and to ensure the normal distribution of resources. By August a situation had arisen in which the republics were threatened with disaster unless shipments of food and ammunition were brought from Russia. More than likely, it was this lever that was used by the Kremlin intriguers to get rid of Strelkov.
One way or another, the conservative forces took their revenge, and the Donetsk military leader was removed. People suspected of links to the oligarchs were appointed to a series of key posts. In Moscow during these very days the Ukrainian politician Oleg Tsarev, representing no one and driven out of Donetsk by the militia fighters, unfurled a “new flag of Novorossiya”......The Russian press is already reporting openly on an agreement reached between the Moscow bureaucrats and the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. In the best traditions of the ancien régime, the Kremlin bureaucracy has decided to sacrifice the liberated territories to its new vassal, in exchange for his services as a mediator in its relations with Kiev and prospectively, the West. At the same time, contacts are being revived between Russian and Ukrainian diplomats, and lively discussions are under way on the ultimate fate of the south-east. After the failure of its latest offensive, and faced with growing internal difficulties, Kiev might well be ready to strike a deal.
The only thing the authors of this scenario have not taken into account is the thinking of the people of Novorossiya and Ukraine, along with the moods of Donetsk residents and the overall logic of a revolutionary process into which Russian society too is gradually being drawn. The militia fighters and activists who, beneath the bombs, are constructing a new state are no longer prepared to be docile agents of outside decision making, no matter where, in Moscow or Kiev, the decisions alien to their interests are being taken. In Novorossiya, the idealistic sympathies with an abstract Russia that characterised the first months of the uprising are now being replaced by a growing hatred for the Kremlin bureaucrats, whom supporters of the republics accuse of sabotage and treason. The same moods are growing, in the fashion of an avalanche, within Russia itself. As for Igor Strelkov, a new group of field commanders is taking his place, in many ways accepting him as an example but differing from him in their far more radical and left-wing views.
Through apparatus intrigues, blackmail and manipulation, it may be possible to achieve tactical successes, and to banish one or another figure from the leadership. But it will not be possible to stop the revolutionary crisis whose development is now gathering strength."
P.S. An earlier article by the same author gives some of the backround, particularly in the section 'Donestk in the shadow of Moscow' http://links.org.au/node/3838

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Daniel Little on incareceration in America

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the criminal justice system is an important component of the system of race in the United States today." says Dan Little.
At one time, there were profit aspects too "The end of the Civil War and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment threatened to undo Texas’s sugarcane industry.
Foreign sugar imports were still subject to a steep duty, and American growers sometimes enjoyed subsidies. But profits would be severely diminished by the abolition of cheap forced labor. The problem was solved, though, during the early days of Reconstruction.
First, the Texas legislature introduced laws aimed at incarcerating freed slaves and their early descendants. Vagrancy laws were a favorite, but black men could be imprisoned for a host of frivolous reasons. You could do a nickel for stealing blackberries off a bush. The first series of laws—known as the Black Codes—was overturned by the federal government, but the practice of mass incarceration continued by a more localized, less visible, fiat.
Once incarcerated, the prisoners were leased to large agricultural corporations, which put them to work in the cane. " from Ground down to molasses: The Making of an American folk song.
To some extent that continued with the privitization of the prison system "The federal indictment says the two judges accepted $2.8 million in kickbacks from the owner and builder of two privately-run juvenile detention facilities. In exchange, the judges agreed to close down the county’s own juvenile detention center, which would have competed with the new, privately-run facilities. In addition they guaranteed that juvenile offenders from their court would be directed to the privately-run facilities." from an article in The Christian Science Monitor

Friday, August 29, 2014

Lisa Mitchell on mother tongue

Just finished reading 'Language, emotion and politics in South India: The making of a mother tonuge' by Lisa Mitchell (suggested by Paruchuri Sreenivas). In the middle I was turned off since some of the statements seemed to be over the top and some based on scant single author evidence. But now I think that it is a very interesting book with a number of ideas new to me and worth investgating more thorouhly. A review of the book by Rama Sundari Mantena here. Here is an interesting video about Telugu of a particular caste group kammas in Tamilnadu (via J.K.Mohana Rao):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrZGpaimNvA


Thursday, August 28, 2014

A dance inspired by an FDR speech

'The Forgotten man' speech trancript The dance from The Gold Diggers 1933  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzMy7-7WV44
Two write ups about the dance and speech from The Sheila Variations and
http://thestrangedeathofliberalamerica.com/fdrs-forgotten-man-speech-the-reaction.html

Buddy Bradley remembered


A short biography"Buddy Bradley was one of the great, unsung geniuses of stage and screen choreography in America and England. He was recognized throughout the entertainment community in New York during the late ’20s and early ’30s, but — because he was black — was never acknowledged in public for any of his work in the United States, even though he trained and devised dances for a generation of screen legends.......... his other clients in the late ’20s included Eleanor Powell, Ruby Keeler, Fred Astaire, and Adele Astaire, who danced a Bradley-choreographed number in the 1929 Ziegfeld Follies. He also revised and re-staged all of the dances used in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1928, but he got no public credit for his work — the man who did take the creative bows was the original choreographer Busby Berkeley, who parlayed the recognition that he received in this and other theatrical productions into a renowned Hollywood career."
and a video http://vimeo.com/8048957

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bhairavi?

My vague memory of Bhairavi is a wake up god song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vtvVV-DKLQ) from Vipranarayana (1954); but it seems that it is Bhupali. It is also supposed to be the favourite raga of Shanker-Jaikishen and used by them in several songs. Here is a video about their adoption of the raga but it starts with an Egyptian song by Asmahan which is close to 'ghar aya mera pardesi' from Awara https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-wPa4S8FtQ
A list of Hindi film sons based on Bhairavi here and a Telugu article on Bhairavi by Kodavatianti Rohiniprsad

Zach Stafford's story

I am black, my brother is white...and he's a cop who shot a black man on duty "My white brother isn’t a racist – and he didn’t intentionally kill that man because he was black – but that’s not the point. In his case – in Ferguson and in so many other cases – we see the deaths of unarmed black men as “accidents”. And until the day we all recognize them as casualties of something much bigger, we will continue to see black men dead on the news.
We will continue to see brothers killing brothers."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GMO research on food

Recently there is a put down of Vandana Siva in New Yorker by Mecael Specter and a defence in Counterpunch. I have not read any thing by Vandana Shiva though I heard that she won some biopiracy battles. I usually read Glenn Davis Stone and Sunita Narain on GM foods and sustainable development issues. These are very technical matters and perhaps take long term trials on efficency as well as their side effects. Generally those who object to quick introduction of these technoloies are being termed anti-science. Stone has written about the battles on GM cotton in India "The NGO reciprocal authentication system, with its sometimes dubious claims and disregard for peer review, irritates many scholars and policymakers and leads to a fetishising of journal standards that have their own flaws. The industry-journal authentication system, with its myopic view of Bt as a readily isolatable technological tweak and its cosy alliance between GM manufacturers and ostensibly independent researchers,encourages many to seek out the more critical perspectives offered by NGOs. Therefore demand for both narratives will persist and both authentication systems will continue to entitle both sides in the GM debates to “their own facts”"
GM corn and soybeans are supposed to be the most successful versions of GM technology and have been widely planted. Now even these have proved problematic and there are some bans in Mexico and Europe, here, here and here. I am sure that science research including GMO research is important and will play a part in future food security but introducing them in a hurry does not seem to address the concern of many.