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What if the Tea Party Was Black? & The End of Whiteness

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Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams’s demotion in the amorphous movement—read the foul bit of racial satire he wrote that prompted it—has put the Tea Party’s racial issues in clear focus lately, which made me think of two hip-hop-generation responses to where racial politics stand in the country.

First: Hua Hsu wrote his piece “The End of White America?” for The Atlantic‘s January ‘08 issue, many months before the Tea Party crystallized white resentment. Launching from the refined racial paranoia in The Great Gatsby, Hsu delves into a high-level overview of whiteness and how whites are fleeing both from and into it. The core of it:

Today, the arrival of what [Pat] Buchanan derided as “Third World America” is all but inevitable. What will the new mainstream of America look like, and what ideas or values might it rally around? What will it mean to be white after “whiteness” no longer defines the mainstream? Will anyone mourn the end of white America? Will anyone try to preserve it?

Lots of food for thought, and still highly relevant. Please check it.

Second (and more rhetorically), check Pittsburgh MC Jasiri X‘s new video, based on Nashville anti-racist writer Tim Wise’s essay which asked the same trenchant question:
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Kisses for Cumbio: Argentina’s strangely civilized debate on gay marriage

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For a Catholic country that’s endured more coups in the past century than a Tea Party rank-and-filer can conceive of, Argentina seems to have come into its democratic own this week as it joined the other nine nations that have legalized same-sex marriage.

Andrés Duque’s great Blabbeando blog has provided great coverage, including some enlightened sport-star involvement in the issue and the segment below featuring baby-dyke blogstar Cumbio. In a report for Buenos Aires TV magazine Vertigo, homegirl and her camera crew walk right up to participants in an anti-gay marriage demonstration and starts engaging them, taking in a bunch of the usual insulting arguments against equality. But in a startling scene that you couldn’t imagine in a similar segment here in the US, she’s actually embraced and kissed by some of the maternal types among the evangelicals who insist on the old cliché that “it’s the sin, not the sinner.” Cumbio comes out of it a little annoyed, but notes later that they “didn’t treat [her] badly.”

Kinda refreshing, eh?
 

 
Bonus clip after the jump: Federacion Argentina LGBT’s simple and powerful ad for marriage equality…
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Happy Birthday to us: Dangerous Minds turns one today!

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With all of these nutty Bastille Day celebrations going on (huh?) I nearly forgot to mention that Dangerous Minds officially turns one year old today. You can stroll through the very first week’s posts here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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I-Dosing Exposed! Suburban High School Kids Plagued by That Hi-Tech Sound Drug Thingy!

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Thanks to XLR8R staff writer Cameron Macdonald for the heads-up. No, that’s not Cameron above.
 
In a heartland drenched in booze, Oxy, Xanax, sugar, and TV, it only makes sense for parents to take action on the hugely important issue of their kids listening to mind-altering sounds, right?

We’re back here again, are we, Mr. and Mrs. America?

The whole thing seems to have started this spring when KFOR NewsChannel 4 reported on a letter that Mustang, Oklahoma school administrators sent to parents about the “new and dangerous fad…called I-Dosing, or digital drugs.”
 

More after the jump…
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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The creativity crisis in American children

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When I was a kid in the 1970s, I took the Torrance test three times, so I am well-acquainted with what it is and probably many of you reading this are as well. The idea that Torrance test scores, which measure ingenuity, problem solving and creativity, have fallen, dramatically, has very poor implications for the planet. Are we raising a generation of spectators with short attention spans, more interested in downloading Internet porn and playing video games than the arts and sciences? There’s been a lot of discussion in the culture of late, about older folks having a dim view of the “entitled” or “bratty” attitude of many of today’s twenty-somethings. Whether you buy into that or not (I can’t decide personally if this is an accurate perception/legitimate observation, but anecdotally speaking… well, maybe it is) this seems to indicate that a trend towards something not altogether positive might be accelerating, and that an evolutionary epigenetic change might be in the works. Not a good one.

High IQ parents, it’s up to you!

Like intelligence tests, Torrance’s test—a 90-minute series of discrete tasks, administered by a psychologist—has been taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.

Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.”

The potential consequences are sweeping. The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future. Yet it’s not just about sustaining our nation’s economic growth. All around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions, from saving the Gulf of Mexico to bringing peace to Afghanistan to delivering health care. Such solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others.

It’s too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.

Read the entire article:
The Creativity Crisis: For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it. (Newsweek)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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GodBlock: Web filter that blocks religious content
07.09.2010
07:40 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Current Events

Tags:
GodBlock

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What is GodBlock?

imageIt is targeted at parents and schools who wish to protect their kids from the often violent, sexual, and psychologically harmful material in many holy texts, and from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions. When installed properly, GodBlock will test each page that your child visits before it is loaded, looking for passages from holy texts, names of religious figures, and other signs of religious propaganda. If none are found, then your child is allowed to browse freely.

Update: Is this a parody? Read here. Thanks, David Pescovitz!
 
(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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iPhone4 vs HTC Evo: “I don’t care!”
07.08.2010
10:52 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Current Events

Tags:
Apple
iPhone
HTC Evo

 
WARNING: Not for Apple fanboys!

Thank you Sean Fernald!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Pizza slice helped link suspect to Grim Sleeper serial killings
07.07.2010
10:30 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
serial killers
Grim Sleeper

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Speaking of ‘Law & Order’—as you do—certainly the above headline, taken from the LA Times, would qualify as a one-sentence high concept for the show. It’s practically a one-sentence short story.

Los Angeles police detectives used a piece of discarded pizza to help build their case against a man accused of being the Grim Sleeper serial killer, sources told The Times.

Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 57, was arrested at his home in South Los Angeles on Wednesday morning after police said they made DNA matches linking him to the killings of 11 people over the last three decades. Prosecutors said they have charged Franklin with 10 counts of murder, noting that he is eligible for the death penalty.

Franklin is a former city trash collector who at one time worked as a vehicle mechanic at an LAPD station, sources said.

“He’s the neighborhood mechanic” said neighbor Eric Robinson, 47. “He volunteers at the park. A very good man. His daughter just graduated from college, I believe. He’s a good mechanic, worked out of his garage. I’ve been here since 1976; that’s how long I’ve known him. I’m not pretty shocked, I’m all the way shocked.”

The killings went on since the 1980s and the Grim Sleeper killer has been tied to the homicides of ten women and one male. A survivor who was shot and raped in 1988 described her attacker as black, in his 20s, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, about 160 pounds, soft-spoken and articulate, with neatly trimmed hair and a pockmarked face.

The Grim Sleeper’s victims were all black and most were hookers or drug addicts. The murders stopped in 1988 and picked up again from 2002 to 2007.

Pizza slice helped link suspect to Grim Sleeper serial killings (Los Angeles Times)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Moscow art curators face 3 years in prison for controversial religious imagery
07.07.2010
09:02 pm

Topics:
Art
Current Events

Tags:
Russia
censorship

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Does a current censorship trial in Moscow indicate a return to the old Soviet ways of doing things, although it’s a newly resurgent Russian Orthodox Church we’re talking about here? A 2007 exhibit featuring some controversial art (such as the painting above, and another of Mickey Mouse as Lenin) was supposed to be against censorship of the arts, but has instead turned its curators into the poster boys for religious censorship. Now, after a 14-month trial, Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev face up to three years in prison:

Even Russia’s culture minister says the two men did nothing to break the law against inciting religious hatred.

But the prosecutors refuse to back down and have demanded a three-year prison sentence when the judge makes her ruling on July 12.

The exhibit “Forbidden Art” at the Sakharov Museum, a human rights center named after celebrated dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov, featured several paintings with images of Jesus Christ.

In one, Christ appeared to his disciples as Mickey Mouse. In another, of the crucifixion, the head of Christ was replaced by the Order of Lenin medal, the highest award of the Soviet Union.

The directors of the exhibit were unprepared for the amount of hate it has generated in Russia, a country that was considered officially “atheist” during the era of the Soviet Union. Now it appears there is less separation between church and state in Russia than in the US of A. I doubt that painting would merit more that a few disgruntled remarks, even in the deep South!

Moscow curators face 3 years in prison (Associated Press)

Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Glenn Beck University: This is not a joke (well, depending on how you look at it)

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Photo by Gage Skidmore.

It is often said that a liberal arts degree only prepares the holder of said degree for a life of waiting tables, but just how valuable would a, well, conservative arts degree be in today’s jobs market? Especially one from Glenn Beck University?

This July, while others are relaxing poolside, head back to the classroom - from the comfort of your own home. That may sound like an oxymoron but Glenn’s new academic program is only available online.

Offered exclusively to Insider Extreme subscribers, Beck University is a unique academic experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history and economics. Through captivating lectures and interactive online discussions, these experts will explore the concepts of Faith, Hope and Charity and show you how they influence America’s past, her present and most importantly her future.

Mother Jones had some possible (probable?) course listings for BU.

Theories of Self and Other in the Autobiography of Ronald Reagan
Mythology 101: Fossils
Presidential History From Harding to Coolidge
Fundamentals of Spelling and Grammar CANCELED
Great Military Heroes: John Wayne
Intro to Theology: Ayn Rand
Advanced Marketing Seminar: Rare Gold Coins
Psych 301: Paranoia as Therapeutic Alternative
Wilde, Proust, and Other Homosexual Europeans
Middle Eastern and Arab Cultures: What’s Up With That?
Studies in Moral Courage: Joe McCarthy
Hermeneutics and Homosociality in The Overton Window
Political Science 300: Reverse Racism and the Modern Presidency
Colloquium on Great Filmmakers: Mel Gibson
Gym Crow
Underwater Conspiracy Weaving

If some good ones occur to you,  #BeckUCourses is a trending hashtag on Twitter. Here in an un-embedable video clip (with the comments wisely disabled) is Beck himself telling his er, flock, why everything they know is wrong.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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