Thursday, November 29, 2007

Facebook U-turn

Yesterday David posted a message on our group board asking us to consider joining the Facebook protest group against Facebook. Well, things move pretty fast in cyberspace.

This last night on the Times;
Facebook prodded into privacy U-turn

A Facebook spokesman said: "Facebook is listening to feedback from its users and committed to evolving Beacon so users have even more control over the actions shared from participating sites with their friends on Facebook.

This morning's New York Times reports;
Facebook Retreats on Online Tracking

Late yesterday the company made an important change, saying that it would not send messages about users’ Internet activities without getting explicit approval each time. Civic Action, the political group that set up the online petition, said the move was a positive one.

I'm on the mailing list so I had received an invitation to join the Facebook protest via MoveOn about a week ago. MoveOn has over 3 million members. I'm not a member, just on the mailing list so I don't know the actual number of people who would have received this petition notification. The activist/political blogosphere was also very active in promoting the cause and condemning Facebook. The mainstream press then picked up the story and it became an international event.

What I find most interesting is not only the speed of which this became an; issue, protest, conflict, then resolution, but also the transnational nature of the activism. I think of this as transnational viral grassroots activism. Furthermore, I think this may be the first significant example of cyber social/political action challenging policies relegated within the cyber sphere.

There are two earlier posts about Facebook worth reading if you haven't already, here and here.

CNN/youtube 2008 Election Debates

"With five weeks to go until the first contest of the 2008 nominating season, the Republican candidates engaged in a free-for-all, trying to differentiate their views on immigration, the Iraq war, abortion, gun control and even whether they believed every word in the Bible was true.
Unlike previous debates in which the candidates focused most of their attacks on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Wednesday night's attacks were launched at each other."

I think it is both interesting and refreshing to see the Republican candidates comment on each other, rather than on the Democratic candidates. One of the interesting things about this debate, was the incorporation of technology, youtube, and how this enabled voters to interact, at least to a certain extent, with the candidates.

Viewers were able to ask the candidates specific questions on several important topics. Some of the answers given were very revealing. John McCain took a strong stance on torture, while criticising Mitt Romney for not doing so, and Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney had a shown-down on immigration. One viewer asked the candidates if they believed every word of the Bible. My favorite answer is from Mike Huckabee, when he asks Rudy Giuliani if he needs to help him out on this one.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Huckabee to win the Republican nomination

from TPM

"It looks like Mike Huckabee is starting to catch on with a lot of conservative voters. A new poll from Republican firm Insider Advantage shows Huckabee now taking a strong second against Rudy Giuliani Florida. As for the other Southern conservative in the race, Fred Thompson, it's not going so well.

The numbers: Giuliani 26%, Huckabee 17%, McCain 13%, Romney 12%, Thompson 9%. This represents an 11-point surge for Huckabee since Insider Advantage's last Florida poll in early October — and a ten-point plummet for Thompson."

We were discussing US politics over Thanksgiving (of course) and I was asked who my dark horse candidate was on the Republican side.

My reply: Mike Huckabee

With an endorsement by Chuck Norris, he simply can't loose. I predict he'll take Iowa, propelling him into a number 3 spot in a very tight New Hampshire race. If he wins Iowa and stays competitive in NH then anything's possible for the karate lovin' konservative.

Here is a poll taken after last night's CNN/YouTube debate;
You can watch the debate, with rolling transcript here.
What's interesting may be how these numbers may reflect the mood of self-identified Republican voters. Huckabee was portrayed by the other candidates as the "liberal Republican." There is an undeniable shift to the left across the general population. Whether this translates into more liberal or progressive government is yet to be seen. I've been reading a fascinating book by David Paletz and Robert Entman, "Media, Power, and Politics." Paletz was a an American Fulbright scholar at SDU back when it was Odense University. Their thesis is that "the silent conservative majority" has always been a myth and that the majority of Americans have always been more populist or liberal than political parties and the media portray.

Huckabee: 32%
Romney: 16%
Giuliani: 12%
McCain: 10%
Thompson: 7%
Paul: 6%
Tancredo: 2%
Hunter: 0%
Rest: undecided
Huckabee: 44%
Giulani: 18%
Romney: 13%
McCain: 10%
Thompson: 5%
Paul: 4%
Hunter: 1%
Tancredo: 1%
Rest: undecided

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Disintermediated Progressive Party

As many of you know, my current areas of research have dealt with contemporary political movements with an emphasis on progressive and populist activism. I've been exploring the online political left and its challenge to neo-liberalism within the Democratic party. "Progressive" has become the preferred label of the New New Left as it both references back to the early progressive movement and is not hampered by the negative right wing images of liberalism. I love this new ad, (there are actually several ads) which were created by the Center for American Progress and There is an online vote, hosted by Moveon, which includes a citizen donation drive to get these ads on the air. The vote is being promote through blogads on various high profile political web journals around the virtual public sphere. This is a powerful example of how the new Progressive Left is using new technologies to create and disseminate messaging by bypassing the traditional channels of funding and communication. This ad is incredibly effective as it rebutts right-wing talking points and redefines patriotism within popular American leftist and progressive traditions.

Monday, November 26, 2007

No Caption Necessary

click for larger image

I just came across this new ad for Hummer. see below

I think this ad is what makes the above caption so ironic. Back in Texas, virtually every Hummer had/has one of those ubiquitous "W" bumper stickers on the back. The SUV has become a socio-political signifier. For (most) people on the political Left, Hummer represents an ideology of blatant arrogance in the face of global warming created by over consumption of petrochemicals that is enhanced by SUV’s; Hummers being literally the largest offender.

This ad could well be any contemporary right-wing political ad, combining fear with the notion of unitary action. The America of post 9-11 is alone in a dangerous and threatening world. On some levels, this ad is seen as justification for the theory of the unitary executive and unilateral military aggression. There's also a not so subtle reference to the image of the Firefighters of 9/11 rushing into the burning World Trade Center. As the narrative states, "After disaster strikes, most people run from point A to point B. Then there are a qualified few, who run from point B to point A." The final view of a tranquil blue planet Earth from space goes far beyond irony.

Another reading of this ad may be;
HUMMER - Helping you survive the disasters we create…

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Seminar, Copenhagen University: "What is an American in the twenty-first century?"

Reading from their work and discussing the question

“What is an American in the twenty-first century?”

Thursday 6 December, 13-16, 22.0.11

JUNOT DÌAZ was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New Jersey at the age of six. He published his debut collection of short stories, Drown, in 1997; the volume became a bestseller and won the PEN/Malamud Award. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best American Short Stories. His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was published to widespread acclaim in 2007.

RICK MOODY was born in New York. His debut novel, Garden State, was published in 1992, and was followed by The Ice Storm (1994; a well received film adaptation appeared in 1997). Moody has maintained a prolific rate of publication: his other books include the novels Purple America (1998) and The Diviners (2007); the short story collection Demonology (2001); and the memoir The Black Veil (2002).

EMMY PÉREZ is from Santa Ana, California. Her first collection of poems, Solstice, appeared in 2003. She has published her poetry and short stories in Prairie Schooner, New York Quarterly, Story, Indiana Review, and North American Review. She teaches creative writing and English at the University of Texas, Pan American.

for more info email:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007: Rantings and Reflections from an Expatriate

This year I'll be celebrating my first ever Thanksgiving outside the US. I think I've been outside the US on this date at least 6 or 7 times.

Many students and faculty will be meeting on campus Thursday for our 1st (hopefully annual) Thanksgiving potluck dinner. On Sunday, my wife and I, with another Danish/American mixed (or mixed up) family will have a Turkey dinner here in Nyborg.

I've honestly been a bit cynical these last years over anything remotely consumeristic or overtly corporate sponsored. Yet many of these traditions I grew up with, and when I'm honest with myself I miss them, well some of them anyways. I can do without the Macy's Day Parade, but I doubt I'd deprive my son of it. Its a major spectacle, (3 million in attendance and 50 million TV viewers) which marks the beginning of most "ordinary folks" Thanksgiving morning. The women would start early with prepping of food, the men and boys would go outside and throw the football around, and kids would sit in front of the TV, watching that damned parade. As a young boy I fondly remember going nuts over the Snoopy float. Snoopy was by far my favorite cartoon character. Snoopy was just cool. I didn't realize I was being predisposed to purchase Met Life Insurance.

The annual Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving game is another over-hyped, over-produced, celebration of consumption. It's also some pretty good football (not soccer). If the Boyz win this game they'll be 10-1! Unfortunately, no Danish channel will be broadcasting the game. I'll also miss the famous coach and sportscaster John Madden present the official NFL Thanksgiving Turducken. A Turducken is "a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken."

Another longstanding tradition is the Presidential pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey. The photo to the right is President Truman giving the "first ever presidential pardon of a Turkey." This photo is taken from the official White House web site, which also provides a gallery of photos from past administrations titled, The Annual Pardoning of the Thanksgiving Turkey. Never mind that the Truman Presidential Library claims that they have no record of Truman ever granting a Thanksgiving pardon, or that this photo is of a Christmas turkey presented on December 15, 1947. Apparently George Bush didn't personally start this falsehood. The White House is merely repeating a media produced national myth as it were fact.

The Library's staff has found no documents, speeches, newspaper clippings, photographs, or other contemporary records in our holdings which refer to Truman pardoning a turkey that he received as a gift in 1947, or at any other time during his Presidency. Truman sometimes indicated to reporters that the turkeys he received were destined for the family dinner table. In any event, the Library has been unable to determine when the tradition of pardoning the turkey actually began.

National Geographic has a 2001 piece (if you really want to waste your time), Where Do Turkeys Go After Being Pardoned by the President? I generally enjoy National Geographic but this spectacle is just too much.

There are actually two turkeys that receive the pardon. An alternate is always chosen in case the first one dies before it's been pardoned. In 2001, they were named Liberty and Freedom. This year the selected names are; May and Flower, you know, after the Mayflower ship which brought the early puritan settlers to Plymouth Rock. May and Flower, not very original. But it's interesting to note that even the Turkeys were co-opted into the "War on Terror" message campaign in those few months after 9/11. If we read turkeys as tea leaves what does this years naming suggest?

I guess my biggest gripe about Thanksgiving is the day after, known as "Black Friday." It's one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with many stores opening as early as 5am. I especially hated the "holiday" shopping season as I worked retail all through college. I witnessed first hand a truly "National Hysteria." Instead of looking in from the outside like I do now, I felt more like a trapped goldfish looking from the inside out, out into the wide world of consumption chaos. It was in those years that I came to appreciate "our postmodern condition" and began to understand what Baudrillard meant by "the desert of the real." I can't see how the experience is in any conceivable way gratifying for the shopping masses either. The traffic everywhere is horrendous and the crowds are down right frightening to borderline violent at times. Most shopping malls hire off-duty police officers to police the parking garages and mall corridors. This means there probably isn't a cop in the land at home on Friday. It's like coordinated chaos. The Department of Homeland Security could learn a thing or two from municipal government management of holiday shopping logistics. This year, just about everyone will give thanks to consumption. Even the national turkeys are joining the consumer celebration as they won't be retiring to a little farm in Virginia this year but traveling to Disney World instead.

Tomorrow I'll be on campus, at the Center for American Studies, enjoying a bit of camaraderie with mostly Danish scholars of American society. I won't be the only American however, and many of the Danes have lived and worked in the States so there is an appreciation for what this thing is all about. I'm also looking forward to Sunday. We just got news that our host friends are expecting another child. So there is much more to celebrate. You see, above it all, beyond commercialization and consumption, after the historical revisionism and media spectacles, past the silliness of hokey traditions I was raised to believe that Thanksgiving was a day to give thanks. I don't doubt that most Americans still believe that. Millions volunteer their time and money every year providing Thanksgiving meals to the poor and homeless. More families in America come together for Thanksgiving than any other holiday, including Christmas. I do have much to give thanks for. My life is fairly decent and I've been blessed with a wonderful wife and beautiful baby boy.

I'm quite content here in Denmark but I do miss home from time to time, especially this time of year, spectacle and all. My two brothers will be driving their families down from Austin to Corpus Christi to see our mother. The weather will be warm and humid. They'll eat Turkey and Tamales, (a South Texas Thanksgiving tradition) until they nearly pass out. The kids will watch the Parade on TV and the boys will watch football. Mom will brave the streets on Friday and find her way to the "biggest sales of the year." I'll be here, thinking of them all.

the carnival of contemporary democratic public culture.

via No Caption Needed

Monday, November 19, 2007

Call for papers

: emerging voices in american studies
calls for submissions by 1. December 2007

is a new, annual, peer reviewed journal for young American Studies scholars in Europe. It is a platform for the best work done by American Studies graduate students below the PhD-level. It aims to foster academic exchange among young Americanists across Europe, and to thereby advance the field and its genuine European perspective on 'America' and its presences and effects around the world.

is the only American Studies journal specifically targeting graduate students enrolled in MA programs in Europe. It is located at the American Studies MA Program at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Every issue will contain peer-reviewed, academic work, as well as a section of art, poetry, and other contributions. Its first issue, scheduled to be in print in March 2008, will aim to produce a snapshot of graduate American Studies in Europe.

For more information on and our mission statement, please refer to

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The revolution will not be televised

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" is a poem by Gil Scott-Heron, a Chicago native, son of Jamaican footballer Gil Heron, who was one of the first black professionals to play in the UK.

His poem has influenced countless artists and been sampled, covered, and reworked by groups like; The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, The Last Poets, Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Public Enemy, and Common.

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything" is the title of Joe Trippi's biography of the 2004 Howard Dean campaign. Trippi is now working as John Edwards campaign manager. I've got the book on my shelf if you want to borrow it. If you do any research on political blogging or online political movements you'll come across Trippi. The Dean campaign is generally considered the defining moment when internet activism (the Netroots) became an established "constituency" in American politics.

Incidentally, my original intent was to post Common's "The 6th Sense" (posted bellow) which drew me to look up Gil Scott-Heron.

But first, back to Scott-Heron's original poem. The video here I believe is from a 1971 recording album "Pieces Of A Man." I had heard samples of this from countless artists but the first time I heard the original was back in 96' at a club in Hamburg called the Mojo Club. The Dj's at the Mojo were part of a Transatlantic cultural movement that was digging up "rare grooves" from the 60's and 70's, spinning these records, re-sampling and re-working them into long musical sets and fresh recordings. For artists like Common, Scott-Heron was not some "found," "rare-music" but part of a cultural and musical heritage.

Now here is Common's "The 6th Sense" with lyrics bellow. "The 6th Sense" is just a fantastic piece of post-modern African-American music, and one of my favorite hip-hop songs. From a historical perspective I see these pieces as a continuation of cultural expressions of Black activism and resistance. As I sit here in my office and play music for my young son, I'm reminded that it's also great music and poetry.
(The weird 1/2 second bikini shot is not part of the original video. This was just the best quality copy I could find on Youtube.)

The revolution will not be televised
The revolution is here
Yeah, it's Common Sense, with DJ Premier
We gonna help y'all see clear
It's real hip-hop music, from the soul, y'all
Yeah, check it, yo

The perseverence of a rebel I drop heavier levels
It's unseen or heard, a king with words
Can't knock the hustle, but I've seen street dreams deferred
Dark spots in my mind where the scene occured
Some say I'm too deep, I'm in too deep to sleep
Through me, Muhammed will forever speak
Greet brothers with handshakes in ghetto landscapes
Where a man is determined by how much a man make
Cop Cognacs and spit old raps with young cats
with cigarettes in their ear, niggerish they appear
Under the Fubu is a guru, that's untapped
Want to be in the rap race but ain't ran one lap
Ran so far from the streets that you can't come back
You tripping with nowhere to unpack, forgot that

Chorus: (Scratched by DJ Premier with variations):

"This is rap for real, something you feel"
"And you know, yes you know"
"Rap for the black people"
"Heeeeyyyy, heeeeeyyyy"

In front of two-inch glass and Arabs I order fries
Inspiration when I write, I see my daughter's eyes
I'm the truth, across the table from corporate lies
Immortilized by the realness I bring to it
If revolution had a movie I'd be theme music
My music, you either fight, fuck, or dream to it
My life is one big rhyme, I try to scheme through it
Through my shell, never knew what the divine would bring to it
I'd be lying if I said I didn't want millions
More than money saved, I wanna save children
Dealing with alcoholism and afrocentricity
A complex man drawn off of simplicity
Reality is frisking me
This industry will make you lose intensity
The Common Sense in me remembers the basement
I'm Morpheus in this hip-hop Matrix, exposing fake shit


Somedays I take the L to gel with the real world
Got on at 87th, stopped by this little girl
She recited raps, I forgot where they was from
In 'em, she was saying how she made brothers cum
I start thinking, how many souls hip-hop has affected
How many dead folks this art resurrected
How many nations this culture connected
Who am I to judge one's perspective?
Though some of that shit y'all pop true it, I ain't relating
If I don't like it, I don't like it, that don't mean that I'm hating
I just want to innovate and stimulate minds
Travel the world and penetrate the times
Escape through rhythms in search of peace and wisdom
Raps are smoke signals letting the streets know I'm with 'em
For now I appreciate this moment in time
Ball players and actors be knowing my rhymes, it's like

Chorus til fade

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Absolut Vodka and the pulse of America?

Hat tip to the BAG news Notes

Absolute has been running it's perfect world campaign, well all over the world. These guys (and gals) are some pretty clever marketers. I've always been pretty impressed with Absolut's marketing and brand identity creations.
Have a look at French television ad, "Absolut Pillow Protest" which plays on the long standing tradition of street protests in France.

What I find most interesting about the American campaign, apart from it's sheer creativity, is their depictions of an unrealized progressive American landscape.

Take the first ad for example. Here we have a commuter bike lane on the bay bridge, which links San Francisco to Oakland.

The image bellow depicts Times Square re-covered with fine art, in place of all the busy electronic billboards and steaming video.

Here we have a depiction of the otherwise known urban concrete flood control ditch , the Los Angeles River is a lush urban greenbelt, filled with enough pristine-quality agua to support boats and other recreational watercraft.

The Real Los Angeles River

Now compare this image of interstate 10 during the Hurricane Katrina evacuation of New Orleans... the Absolut world. Here the inbound freeway is jammed with trucks bringing in heavy machinery for building and reconstruction. Are these ads simply creative and "playful" or are they tapping into a deeper psyche among the American public which feels that government has been a failure and the "American Dream" isn't happening anymore? It's only coincidental that I posted this by Pew Research study which finds that a majority of the population now see the country as divided by the "haves" and "have nots."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Nation of "Haves" and "Have-Nots"?

Far More Americans Now See Their Country as Sharply Divided Along Economic Lines

Over the past two decades, a growing share of the public has come to the view that American society is divided into two groups, the "haves" and the "have-nots." Today, Americans are split evenly on the two-class question with as many saying the country is divided along economic lines as say this is not the case (48% each). In sharp contrast, in 1988, 71% rejected this notion, while just 26% saw a divided nation.

The Race for the White House: Animated

Post 9-11 Nativist Campaign Ad

Anyone who's been following the Republican campaigns, with claims like, "I'm gonna double the size of Guantanmo," would have perhaps seen this type of political ad as inevitable.

Josh Marshal writes,

One has to wonder if the plot is taken from the hypothetical terror scenario described by Brit Hume at the first Fox News debate earlier this year, which involved terrorist attacks taking place at malls.
I often wonder if Fox news gets its talking points from the Fox Network produced character Jack Bauer.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Revolt of the Comic Books

America's superheroes take on preemptive war, torture, warrantless spying, and George W. himself.

from The American Prospect

Perhaps the most interesting thing about these stories is why they fail. For as much as they seek to tease out the complexity and moral ambiguity of their themes, the authors of most of these tales clearly mean to convey a liberal or civil libertarian message. So much so that in 2003, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies released a screed titled "The Betrayal of Captain America," by right-wing pundit Michael Medved, decrying leftist infiltration of comics; that same year, professional bluenose Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center condemned Superman as a Ba'athist sympathizer. Yet when these stories go beyond leftish imitations of a previous generation's simplistic propaganda comics, the allegories tend to collapse under the weight of their own internal contradictions. There are, of course, openly conservative comics -- ranging from the ludicrous Liberality for All (starring a cyborg Sean Hannity!) to Bill Willingham's brilliantly layered Fables. But there is often a strong (if unintended) neoconservative subtext even in stories by left-leaning authors.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mr. Green Jeans

Question? Can you guess which high-profile American politician recently said the following;

Hint: He/She is currently not currently serving in government.

"The environment is constantly changing, constantly evolving. But I think that you want to nurture the environment and protect the environment from undue damage largely for moral reasons. It's part of our quality of life, and part of our relationship to a larger world. We ourselves are diminished when the environment is diminished."

Well if your first thought was Al Gore, you'd be wrong.

Second Hint;
"I'm a Theodore Roosevelt Republican. I like the fact that the government requires that I have clean water to drink no matter what restaurant I walk into anywhere in America."

Answer: Newt Gingrich. These comments were taken from an interview at Salon. Gingrich has a new book out, "A Contract with the Earth."

Gingrich constantly finds his way into my research on Al Gore. In some ways they are opposite sides of the same coin. Whether its science and technology, the internet or the environment, these two have historically run parallel to one another.

The timing of this book leads me to believe that a substantial shift in US policy towards environmental issues in general and a "green economy" in particular are on the not so distant horizon. There is tremendous momentum behind the burgeoning green sector. If the Democrats win the presidency and maintain both the senate and congress (which looks extremely likely), then the Republicans will need a new platform for the future. Gingrich perhaps sees the writing on the wall. Any Democratic administration will most likely aggressively push for a "greening" of the US economy. Could "A Contract with the Earth" be the Republican blueprint for countering the likely Democratic environmental agenda?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Academic Blogging

I wanted to point you to two interesting essays about the pros and cons of academic blogging;An Enthusiast’s View of Academic Blogs and, A Skeptic’s Take on Academic Blogs.

Finally, if you take a look on the right column of this blog you'll find a category; "blogs of note." Have a look around and tell me what you think. In particular, have a look at, Public Reason. This is a blog for political theorist which is limited to Ph.d's working in the field. As a new blog they are dealing with some interesting organizational and operational issues which are important for those of us looking to build our own community.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Cyber-Libertarian Candidacy

I spend a disproportionate amount of time examining the Democratic candidates online presence than that of the Republicans. There is some built-in prejudice but mainly that's because the Left is so much more adapt with the new technologies. Furthermore, highly new media literate people vote democratic by some 2 to 1. This is a rough guess as data is still a bit sketchy. When you look at broadband penetration and interenet use across the country, you wind up with that classic red/blue map that shows high levels a blue along the coasts and in major cities. This of course is where the highest concentration of Democratic voters reside.

However, the internet also has a strong libertarian tradition. If you look at all the Republican candidates we see a basic representation of neo-conservatism, nativists and Christian "values voters." However, there is a solid libertarian in the pack, Dr. Ron Paul of Texas.

He's raised over 7 million online and accounts for the largest constinuancy of online Republican activism. Its hard to say who are cyber-libertarians drawn to Ron Paul and who are classic libertarians drawn to the internet because of Ron Paul.

Chris Bowers noted earlier today,

"He started the day at $2.77M raised for this quarter, and is currently up to $6.5M.Looks like he will pass $4M today, which is probably a record amount of money to be raised in a single day online, or something."

Ron Paul is the leading internet candidate of all the parties. He outperforms everyone if we measure Google searches, Youtube views, and web 2.0 social networking. The fact that he is raising "big money" is the real proof of his popularity and viability. Should he not be nominated for the Republican ticket could a 3rd party candidacy be viable?

Time magazine has an interesting article about Ron Paul's cyber presence. He points out an important reason why traditional polling may not be representative of the reality on the ground.
But if Ron Paul tops all of the Web metrics for popularity, like searches and traffic from social networks, then how can he be so far down in the Gallup Poll?

The answer may be in the difference between the people who answer a pollster's phone call and the people who don't. Younger adults are abandoning their landline phones for cell phones, so including this demographic in phone-based polls seems unlikely.
This is a fairly good article but Bill Tancer just can't hold back his contempt for the next generation of online activism, despite working in the field of online marketing. He concludes,
"Despite his success on the Web, the gap between Paul's poll standing and online popularity highlights a bigger problem for the doctor from Texas. Can his wired supporters take a break from shout-outs, sending virtual drinks and writing on virtual walls to shut down their computers and go out and vote?"
It reminds me of the NY Times depiction of online political activists as unemployed 20 somethings living at home in their mother's basement. The NY Times is now blogging of course.

It will be interesting to see how libertarian values are pushed through to the main stream through the internet. I am guessing that there are a lot more people in America that are and have been libertarian than say, neo-conservative. Ron Paul an many ways represents to the Republican party what John Edwards represents to the Democrats; a challenge to party political identity.

The African American Diaspora in Europe

I came across a very interesting blog this morning as I was surfing through the blogosphere. While reading the Agonist, which has been nominated for "Best of the top 501 -1000 blogs," I discovered the 2007 Weblog Awards. There are some interesting categories and some fantastic blogs being represented. One such, which is nominated for "Best European Blog (non UK) is;

Black Women in Europe

"Created by an African-American expatriate for other expatriates and Afro-Europeans. A place to celebrate women in the African Diaspora living in Europe."
Here is a podcast to a series by Austria's FM4, "Being a Black Woman in Europe."

The history of African-American pan-African resistance and activism reaches back to the early republic. "Black Women in Europe" could be seen as a continuation of that tradition. I'm primarily interested in this topic as it relates to my research on public sphere theory and communication technologies as tools of social and political participation. Last semester, I gave an exam on "Black Liberation Radio" which I need to develop into a paper. However, I'm also personally interested about how American expats, me being one myself, synthesize and creolize their own cultures. I recall seeing a segment last year on Danish news about newly awarded Danish citizenship. An African-American man (I think from Philadelphia) had been awarded his Danish citizenship after living in Denmark some 10 or more years. He spoke about the difficulty of renouncing his US citizenship in order to obtain Danish citizenship. Despite the difficulty of permanently leaving one's place of birth behind, he felt he was also leaving a life of discrimination and racism behind. I've been meaning to contact him for an interview here on the AC.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The US is a great place to be anti-American

From The Times

It has always amused me that the same people who denounce America as a seething cesspit of blind obscurantist bigotry can’t see the irony that America itself produces its own best critics. When there’s a scab to be picked on the American body politic, no one does it with more loving attention, more rigorous focus on the detail, than Americans themselves.

Atlantic Community screenshot

This is a screen shot of the new AC website. The site is still under construction but I wanted to get your feedback on layout and "feel." Just click on the image to see it in full size.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Humanity’s Ascent, in Three Dimensions

New York Times
"On Sunday, when the Museum of Modern Art’s 30-year retrospective of the sculptor Martin Puryear opens, the New York art world will find itself in what may be an unprecedented situation. For the first time in recent memory — maybe ever — two of the city’s most prominent museums will be presenting large, well-done exhibitions of living African-American artists.

Ms. Walker comes out of Conceptual and appropriation art and makes the bitter legacy of race relations in this country the engine of her cut-paper installations, animated films and language pieces."

Image above; "Ladder for Booker T. Washington" (1996) by Martin Puryear

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Facebook as a Learning Platform

This should be a gooding starting point for thinking about how we can utilize Facebook within our academic environment. Here's an earlier article I link to which makes a similar case.

For the upcoming Free Online Conference - Corporate Learning: Trends and Innovations we wanted to have a way for participants to get to know other participants and hold discussions. While we are going to use Q2 Learning's platform, we could have created a group in Facebook and used the threaded discussion capability there. The advantage of that is that likely a sizable portion of the audience is already on Facebook and thus wouldn't have to upload profile information. This also would allow the relation(friend)ships created during the process to exist beyond the conference.

A Noun, a Verb and 9/11

These debates have been pretty comical over all on the American political scene. Following them can be excruciatingly painful at times as the candidates appear more and more as simulated caricatures of politicians. Part of this is obviously how the media frame the debates both communicatively and visually. All in all the candidates seem to play out their pre-scripted roles, nailing their talking points on que, or not. Occasionally a little personality squeaks through the stage managers carefully orchestrated production. Senator Joe Biden can be very funny and this from last nights Democratic debate was just too funny.

Giuliani is "probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency, Rudy Giuliani - there's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11."

It's quite interesting right now to compare both the media coverage and debate formats in the US and Denmark. I think some comparative analysis of various political and media styles between the two countries could be interesting.

I've been looking at campaign uses of websites and web 2.0 Internet platforms and am working on an Op-ed piece for publication. Last night I spent an hour or so looking at the Danish campaign websites and thinking about not only how they incorporate new media but also what their web presence and use of communication technologies tell us about their ideology. Radikale Venstre is probablly leading in online messaging and internet based social networking. I'm at a disadvantage in that my Danish is only passable. I think there could be a great article written for a Danish newspaper. Contact me if anyone is interested in working on a collaborative comparative article for either a Danish and/or English market.

Finally, and this is mostly for the graduate and Ph.d students, I've got some platforms available for getting readership exposure on some of the U.S. based political and academic blogs. This could be a good platform for working on your 'intellectual public writing' as Shelly Fisher Fishkin suggested. Some of these blogs have reached a fair level of notoriety and many are attracting academics and established journalists. As a non-published graduate student I see writing and publishing on the periphery as an avenue for writing development and low-barrier publication.