Protests the Cuts at KPFA

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, our local listener-supported Pacifica station has been taken over by lunatics. You can read about the idiocy of firing the staff of your highest fund-raising show, what it’s like to live under management siege – and then get fired, or about the difference between listener democracy and the ballot-box mayhem of KPFA’s elections. But if you can, please support KPFA’s workers – visit their site here – and call Pacifica’s board and Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt demanding that she reinstate the Morning Show, accept the KPFA Sustainable Budget, and then resign. Her number: (510) 849-2590, ext 208.

FYI: Indian Farmers and Widows to Protest Obama’s Visit

Vidarbha farmers, widows to protest Obama’s visit
IANS, November 4 2010

Nagpur – Farmers all over Vidarbha in eastern Maharashtra will stage candle-light protests on the eve of US President Barack Obama’s visit Friday, seeking to draw his attention to the plight of agriculture sector in the region, an official said.

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San Francisco Election Victory: People 1, Ronald McDonald 0

Amid the madness of election night, a small victory went largely unreported: San Francisco’s supervisors passed the Healthy Food Initiatives Ordinance. So, fewer toys with food, less chance of kids pestering parents for meals that are unhealthy. It’s a small victory in the larger war over advertising to children. But it’s one worth savouring.

Goonda Raj

With President Obama on the way to India, it’s time for a couple of India-themed posts. First, while the President may be leaving a country in which the Tea Party activists have a symbiotic relationship with Fox news, he’ll be arriving in a country where the media and the mob are in far closer cahoots. Goonda Raj, roughly, is ‘mob rule’. Arundhati Roy has been threatened with arrest for her ‘seditious’ analysis of India’s state violence in Kashmir. Here’s her account of a recent attack on her home by India’s far-right goon squads.

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Restoring Sanity

Although the Rally to Restore Sanity was, strictly speaking, neither a rally — it was more of a comedy/concert/show — nor terribly restorative of sanity –there were an unusually large number of people with bonkers things to say — it was a hoot. That said, I worry that many folk were lured there in the expectation that they might actually be part of a movement to restore sanity: I spoke to dozens of people, and for all but two, this was their first rally. I fear that their hopes will be swiftly dashed. There’s unlikely to be a new wave of sanity breaking over Washington any time soon.

So how to think about this? One of my favourite pieces is by a writer I’ve just been introduced to by Joe Costello, Mark Ames, whose fine piece, Rally to Restore Vanity, is a powerful dissection of the event and its absent politics. On the other hand, Arianna Huffington has more complementary things to say. My take, also at the ahem Huffington Post, is below.

And, incidentally, if you’d like to hear some back and forth about this, I’ll be interviewing Arianna Huffington in a couple of weeks here in San Francisco (and I’ll post the podcast when it becomes available). If there are any questions you’d like me to ask Arianna, about restoring sanity or her book Third World America or anything else, leave em in the comments.

Polite Laughter on the Mall

Hundreds of thousands came. Theresa Floyd, a 19 year old student and poet, flew from California to try to make the world “marginally better”. Wassim Shazad, a 36 year old brick shithouse of a former-Marine drove four hours from North Carolina, to take aim at racial stereotypes of Muslims in America. For nearly everyone I spoke to, this was their first rally. Continue reading “Restoring Sanity”