Friday, July 27, 2007


Here it is....

Thanks to for being on top of your shit!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Republican Achilles heel?

The Democrats think they have it! They are confident they can reclaim the Senate and the Congress! What, pray tell, is it that makes them so confident? Well it’s a number of things, but a big issue besides immigration, the war on terror, Iraq, the economy, international prestige (or lack there of), oil prices, NSA wiretaps, response to hurricane Katrina, the environment, conservative backlash, social security, health care, budget deficits, and over spending is stem cell research!!!

Yes, that’s right; the democrats believe that they can use stem cell research as a rallying call. Of all the things the Democrats could be harping on about, stem cell research doesn’t seem like the one that would top the list, but it definitely is up there. After a recent congressional bill limiting the embryonic cells which can be used for research, the Democrats feel that they (much like transnational social movements are either spawned or gather support from protests) can use this issue to split voters and win the moral high ground.

Whether the take over occurs, or whether the Senate passes the bill, or even whether the American people really care one way or the other about this issue has yet to be seen. What is the case is that the Democrats, though slightly misguided, are definitely aware of the need to find succinct messages and issues and roll with them. The problem with this strategy and stem cell research is that people don’t particularly find it that pressing. A common feeling amongst most Americans is that if they are not immediately affected by something then they most probably won’t care. The Democrats have the right idea but their eye is on the wrong issue.

For all the science fans out there wanting to know the latest on stem cell research!

For an explanation of the picture, click here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Guns, War and Videotape

It has been argued that the American war against terrorism is not a war which can be won solely with bullets. Such suggestions seem to be deflected by the White House as they have already waged two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and the likelihood of a third (Iran) is becoming ever so great. However, it is apparent that the United States still understands the power of propaganda and perceptions during a time of conflict.

Osama bin Laden and co. have released countless tapes threatening the United States and her allies, and displaying an air of bravado and machismo to the rest of the world. In the latest tape released by Zarqawi, the United States decided to show the entire story.

An important moment has taken place in the Global War Against Terrorism. Technology and mass media has been used many a time by terrorist groups in order to gain support and communicate. The United States government has come out before and told the world that Al Qaeda is weak and non-functional, but very few believe such words (especially when the latest edition of “Osama Threatening From a Cave” is released). But by releasing video images of Zarqawi, apparently not quite with it, the US government has found a way of attacking Al Qaeda where it was still relatively strong. Al Qaeda is not so much an organization as it is a philosophy now. One doesn’t have to be part of Al Qaeda to fly airplanes into a building. As long as there is a strong leader, delivering a coherent message then that philosophy will ring strong and survive. But by showing the “prophet” of this message as nothing more than a senile old man, the US government has used a relatively inexpensive and efficient way of kicking Al Qaeda where it hurts.

Control, Alt, SHOOT!

The United States has long been accused of a marketing based on stereotypes. In the past ten to twenty years Hollywood and the gaming industry have pumped out product after product vilifying Muslims as nothing more than rogue terrorists with a mindless agenda. From the early Chuck Norris Delta Force films, to True Lies, to the hit television series 24, Arabs are often portrayed in a negative light. This pattern has transcended itself into video games too, as children can now play as courageous American soldiers fighting against the forces of evil in….the Middle East? Now it appears, though, as if the tables have turned.

“Tech-savvy militants” in the Middle East have actually gotten their hands on these new video games and have modified them so that you can play as the Arabs fighting off an invading, imperialistic American force. Much like the US army created a free video game simply entitled ARMY, Islamic militants are probably hoping that new youths will become attracted to the idea of fighting against “infidels” for real.

The usual American reaction to games such as this (or the Turkish blockbuster about the villainous US army in Iraq) is one of shock and horror (very different from the catchy “shock and awe”). However, we should not be surprised by such attitudes. All great blockbusters and video games depict a classic American hero fighting against a classic, not-difficult-to-hate villain who usually ends up portraying a stereotype. If anti-American games and movies are such a success in the Middle East, is it really that difficult to comprehend that our presence there is not one which will be welcomed with rose petals?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Google This!"

In a move to counteract the continuation of apparent globalization of American products, values, and culture, French president Jacques Chirac has decided to put France back on the map of technological innovation and global influence.

Google and Yahoo! have essentially taken over the internet as the top search engines causing much ire in such foreign nationalists as Jacques Chirac. As a result, he has declared the beginning of a new Franco-German search engine called Quaero.

This new initiative could be seen as understandable through the eyes of Europeans as there is a growing consensus that the United States has assumed the role of world leader and there are currently no checks in place to counteract American power. However, it’s difficult to view the creation of a new search engine as anything more than childish nationalism at play. Whatever the motivations, though, it is clear that the growing American influence all around the world is of great concern to many nations, and as a consequence, states can be seen vying for their place in global power – much like a realist theorist would suggest.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An Unlikely Spokesman

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appears to be seeking reelection despite continuous sagging in approval ratings. Why is he doing it? How is he doing it? Well it appears as if he’s attempting to take on more progressive issues in an effort to re-court the Californian voters.

In recent interviews Gov. Schwarzenegger has made it quite clear that he thinks global warming is a threat and manmade. While global warming is not an issue the White House appears to pay much attention to, it’s clear that the governor views this as something that can possibly reelect him. Riding the coattails of this recent surge in global warming interest, Gov. Schwarzenegger might actually find himself in the spot light (and perhaps even a spokesperson) for this issue.

Countless amounts of advocacy groups exist that try to inform people about the dangers of global warming and get people on their side. As of now, the vast majority of supporters are liberal. But if they were able to get a Republican governor to begin preaching for their cause it is quite possible that support and interest would grow. In order issues like global warming to be addressed they can’t be viewed as partisan issues but rather general health and safety issues.

"With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"

Who would have known that the advice Spiderman’s uncle gives him on his death would pertain to the United States Senate? For years now, the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan has escalated out of control and thousands more people are either killed or forced to leave from their homes. But somewhat surprisingly the international community has done very little to stop these atrocious acts from occurring.

There has been some debate on the issue of what should be done with the situation in Darfur, but in all honesty debate is the last thing that the people of Darfur need. Angelina Jolie has been a strong human rights advocate and has recently been calling upon the US Senate to finally do something about the purported genocide that is occurring in that region.

Many organizations and sites on the internet call for the international community to come together and prevent genocide from occurring in all regions of the world…however those with the most influence and power appear to be doing very little. In order for something to be done about this, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! During the Rwandan genocide, the United Nations sent peacekeepers to the scene with the orders to protect foreign nationals. Obviously this did nothing to prevent the genocide which occurred. The United States must use its power and position in the world, and follow its ideals of championing human rights and actually send in forces (or at least support foreign forces) in stopping these atrocities from continuing in Darfur.

As the sole superpower and leading advocate of democracy in the world, the United States has an obligation to stop injustices around the world. At the moment the United States is accused of picking and choosing certain issues which only directly affect US interests. But in the case of Darfur, we must look past immediate self interests and towards what is right.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Humanizing the Problem – The Power of Images

The issue of global warming is one that is a highly controversial issue that some argue is not founded on any truths. However, many others loath this mentality and view it as detrimental to fighting “the greatest environmental threat this planet faces.” One such organization which has launched a campaign to raise awareness on the issue is

The area of focus I’d like to bring your attention to is the ads page. Much like An Inconvenient Truth this organization realizes the importance and potential of video and images. It’s one thing to simply discuss what is happening to the planet, but by adding images to this story impacts the audience in a much greater way. To fight global warming the first battle must we won against negligence.

What needs to be stressed (and An Inconvenient Truth and FGW understand this) is that for something to be done, the argument must be framed in a way that makes people care. Right now, people don’t see global warming as an immediate threat. As a result, the argument must be framed in a way that not only informs people of the immediacy of this problem but also makes people aware that if we don’t do anything now then future generations will have to deal with a problem far worse than what we are dealing with now - and quite possibly one that is irreversible.

A Convenient Soap Box?

Former US Vice President Al Gore has begun promoting his new documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, about global warming. The environment has always been a key issue for Al Gore and now he is using this documentary (which received three standing ovations at the Sundance Film Festival) as a means of bringing attention to this issue and at times even attacking the current administration.

While on the surface this appears to be Al Gore using his status of power to garner attention, and perhaps possibly support, behind this cause, one cannot help but wonder about other possible motivations and goals behind this. It has been suggested that Al Gore may be seeking another run at the presidency, and if that is the case, what better way to make headlines than this?

Al Gore does deny claims that he is eyeing another run at the White House, but if he is he would be employing the use of technology in a novel way. This documentary could be used to gather vast amounts of support from around the country and put his face to an important and pressing issue. He’ll also no doubt be on countless covers of newspapers and magazines.

Ignoring all talk of whether he would do well in an election, it appears that he is learning how to connect with people nowadays. The documentary offers a more “hip” version of discussing an issue, and provides a means of reaching a greater audience. Showing images of the world’s climate taking a toll against mankind could just possibly frighten people enough into demanding for something to be done…and perhaps they’ll see Al Gore as the one who can best do it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What Happened to the People?

Time and again we constantly hear politicians at every level of the corporate bureaucracy that is the government, say “The American people want this” or “the American people want that.” Both claim to know the answer, however both say different things. What has become evident from these declarations of the wants of the “American people” is that politicians seem to no longer concern themselves with the interests of their constituency. There is very little dialogue between people and those they choose to represent them.

Things must change…politicians must listen and act! And by listen and act I don’t mean listen to polls and act accordingly. Politicians at every level should talk with their constituency more often; more town hall meetings, pull the Clinton/Gore strategy and travel around actually talking with people. Elected officials must also not do this only when the media is watching. You don’t need journalists to follow you to get the message out there. There is a very powerful too called “word of mouth” and it is extremely underrated. In every election you hear people say, “I can relate to this guy” or as in the last election “he’s too aloof.” If John Kerry were to have not concerned himself with the media and actually went around to small diners, not for photo ops but rather actual conversations, then he definitely would have been better received. The same goes for President Bush and his town hall meetings. If you actually want to know what “the American people” think then listening to possible dissent might not be the worst move.

Politicians, stop referring to the “American People” as if they’re some block of people who can easily be manipulated! Even if that is the case, it is the politician’s duty not to manipulate, but rather to genuinely care and fight for his or her constituents.