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Potpourri (Information Overload)

Published by marco on

I’ve read a lot of longer articles and papers recently, filling in history that somehow got left out of the standard U.S. curriculum (pretty much the whole 20th century). It’s a bit of an information overload. There’s a (semi-)interesting read on First Monday about separating fact from dogma and propaganda and the success of newspaper, television and community news services in that regard.

On to the information overload.

On September 18, Noam Chomsky gave another talk at MIT, recapping many of the points he’s gone over before, but in a more narrative manner than that afforded by the question and answer sessions he’s given before. He goes into more depth on some of the details of his arguments, presenting facts that are, in some cases, simply horrifying. The full transcript is at ZMag. If you haven’t read any Chomsky yet, there will be a lot of new information here.

In the U.S., local communities are roiling over some of the same separation of church and state and patriotic issues that have cropped up before. In the context of feeling in America today, though, the debate is intesified and severly polarized. This article at The Progressive tells of a meeting of the school board in Madison, Wisconsin, wherein they discussed their vote of the week before:

<q>In that vote, it had instructed the public schools to forgo having students recite the pledge of allegiance and to offer only an instrumental rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in the classrooms.</q>

This, as you may imagine, was not received well by the community, who, for the most part, felt that students should not be given the choice as to whether to recite the Pledge or sing the Star-Spangled Banner.

Unintended Consequences at AlterNet is a long article about the consequences of our last 50 years of involvement in the government of Iran, how it relates to Afghanistan and what the potential ramifications of our current actions there will be. The fascinating thing is to see the same names coming up again and again in these historical articles: Bush (I), Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell.

The New Yorker published an article running down our history and involvement in Saudi Arabia. The government there is exceedingly corrupt, but also remarkably fragile. The article offers some interesting information, but sometimes wanders into seemingly unrelated areas.

On a good note, the death count from the WTC may actually be much less than the 6000+ we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. That’s on the The New York Times site (so get it while it’s hot, or you’ll need an account to see it tomorrow).


2 Replies



If the U.S./Saudi Arabia and U.S./Iran histories were interesting, finish up with a history of U.S./Istrael relations on the Christian Science Monitor.



Counterpunch has an article (The Left and The Just War) detailing the reactions of the Left that Chomsky briefly touched on in his latest speech.

<q>The left is getting itself tied up in knots about the Just War and the propriety of bombing Afghanistan. I suspect some are intimidated by laptop bombardiers and kindred bullyboys handing out white feathers and snarling about “collaborators” and being “soft on fascism.” A recent issue of The Nation carried earnest efforts by Richard Falk and an editorial writer to mark out “the relevant frameworks of moral, legal and religious restraint” to be applied to the lethal business of attacking Afghans. I felt sorry for Falk as he clambered through his moral obstacle course. This business of trying to define a just war against Afghanistan is what C. Wright Mills used to call crackpot realism.</q>