Radical media, politics and culture.


'Cities' Author Jane Jacobs Dies at 89

AP News

Jane Jacobs, an author and community activist of singular influence whose classic "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" transformed ideas about urban planning, died Tuesday, her publisher said. Jacobs, a longtime resident of Toronto, was 89.

Jacobs died in her sleep Tuesday morning at a Toronto hospital, which she entered a few days ago, according to Random House publicist Sally Marvin. Jacobs' son, James, was with her at the time. The author, who would have turned 90 on May 4, had been in poor health.

A native of Scranton, Pa., Jacobs lived for many years in New York before moving to Toronto in the late 1960s. She and her husband, architect Robert Jacobs Jr., were unhappy that their taxes supported the Vietnam War and turned to Canada as their permanent home. Robert Jacobs died in 1996.

Jacobs, who based her findings on deep, eclectic reading and firsthand observation, challenged assumptions she believed damaged modern cities — that neighborhoods should be isolated from each other, that an empty street was safer than a crowded one, that the car represented progress over the pedestrian.

Her priorities were for integrated, manageable communities, for diversity of people, transportation, architecture and commerce. She also believed that economies need to be self-sustaining and self-renewing, relying on local initiative instead of centralized bureaucracies.

Math teacher arrested

Associated Press

At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math's instruction.

“Al-gebra is a fearsome cult,” Gonzales said. “They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'there are 3 sides to every triangle'.”

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math's instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.”

"Haiti's President Elect Begins Visit to Cuba"


Haitian President-elect Rene Preval begins a working visit to Havana
Wednesday, at the invitation of Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Preval is accompanied by several of his future cabinet members and
other Haitian public figures. His visit is within the framework of
the historic ties of brotherhood and solidarity among the peoples of
Haiti and Cuba.

The president-elect's visit coincides with the arrival in Cuba of a
new group young Haitians scholarship students, as well as low-income
patients who will have free eye surgery as part of Operation Miracle.

During their stay on the island, Preval and his delegation will meet
with Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and complete an extensive agenda
that includes visits to places of scientific and social interest, as
well as hold talks with other local authorities.


While traveling in foreign parts
Avoiding arrows dodging darts
And guided by some ancient charts
I bought from an Arab
I came across a manuscript
Half buried in a dusty crypt
Called exodus from old Egypt
Inscribed on a scarab

As I remember it the Jews
Built pyramids and sang the blues
So Pharaohs could forever snooze
Above the baking sand
Egyptian lords embalmed in spice
Lay in eternal Paradise
While Jews their lives a living sacrifice
Slaved in a foreign land

And one was born named tongue-tied Moses
One chosen by the God of the long noses
To free his people from the rubber hoses
The Pharaoh's men would wield.
By trick of fate he chanced to be
Raised in Egyptian luxury
Brought up within the Pharaoh's family
And one day God revealed…

But let's all drink a toast to Moses
To the God of the long noses

And one day God revealed his plan
To free His people from the Man
And thus to Moses he began:
“Early tomorrow morn
Rise up and go to Pharaoh's door
Take brother Aaron as your orator
Say let my people go we slave no more”
And deep as a French horn

God's mighty voice in anger boomed
God who appeared that day costumed
As bush that would not be consumed
Although it burned in flame
So Moses eighty years of age
Stepped up upon the Pharaoh's stage
To free his people from their prison cage
He called upon God's name

And gave his staff a little shake
And hurled it down as it would break
And lo it turned into a snake
Then Pharaoh gave a sign
And his magicians threw their rods
Which turned to snakes in writhing squads
But Moses' snake ate all the other bods
On each one did it dine

Let's drink to slavery's abolition
To Pharaoh's mummy's slow decomposition

But Pharaoh would not let them go
And thus the Lord spake unto Mo:
“Stretch out thine hand you and your bro
And wherever waters flow
They will be turned to blood” and lo
It came to pass exactly so
Before the peoples' eyes, before Pharaoh
And still his word was No

And so the Lord sent frogs, then lice
Then flies, then cattle paid the price
All of them dead to be precise
Then boils on everyone
Then hail, then locusts filled the air
But still the Pharaoh didn't care
He'd say “Go free” caught up in his despair
Then when a plague was done

He'd change his mind insist they stay
Then God sent darkness every day
So thick Egyptians felt it weigh
Upon their every breath
Until the Pharaoh cried: “Go free
But leave your herds right here with me”
“We need our herds” “Then stay in slavery
And it will be your death…”

Let's drink to innocent Egyptians
To God who caused Pharaoh conniptions

“If once again you see my face
On that day shall your death take place
You'll disappear without a trace”
And then the Lord dealt out
Of all His punishments the worst
The land of Egypt was accursed
It came to pass that night he killed the first
Born and a tremendous shout

A shout throughout the land a cry
Went up from every mouth unto the sky
Because in every house at least one did die
Except among the Jews
For God had given strict instruction
On how they could avoid destruction
And more important than mere reproduction
He said they must forever fuse

The image of this holy day
Upon their souls and never stray
In the least detail from this holy way
For God said: “Kill a lamb
And smear its blood upon the door
Tonight when I do what I swore
And smite Egyptian first born by the score
I God of Abraham…”

We must drink up for Abraham
To the blood of the sacrificial lamb
To the God of those who eat no ham

“I shall Passover the marks of red
While filling Egyptian homes with dead
This night eat ye unleavened bread
And ye must eat in haste
There is no time for dough to rise
Eat bitter herbs to symbolize
The pain of bondage and to memorize
Forever slavery's taste”

And Pharaoh called for Moses in the middle of the night
“Begone with all your people thou accursed Israelite”
And so six hundred thousand folk on foot began their flight
And then the manuscript
Went on: “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial”
Spake God unto His children God the incorporeal
“And ye shall keep it as a feast for time immemorial
How I brought you out of Egypt

And went before to lead the way
By night a flaming pillar, a ray
In a pillar of cloud I led by day
I led you in my glory
Remember how I divided the sea
Gave you water from stone, from the sky toast and tea
Gave you a commandment on adultery
But all that's another story”

Now eat we this unleavened bread
With bitter herbs as the Lord said
And drink to God the fountainhead

That's why we celebrate the miracle
Of Passover it's just empirical
And sometimes the Lord likes to hear it told lyrical

So remember
The Lord of Hosts lays down some heavy shit
And He insists that all ye mortals hearken unto it.

Libby Says Bush Authorized Plame CIA Leak

Associated Press

April 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick
Cheney’s former top aide told prosecutors President Bush authorized the
leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court
papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.

Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury
investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him to pass on information and
that it was Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers say.
According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, 2003,
conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

Norman Leonard, Defender of Rebels and Dissenters, Dies

Wofgang Saxon, New York Times

Norman Leonard, an eloquent courtroom voice for unpopular causes — West Coast longshoremen in the 1930's, left-wing dissenters in the 1950's, free-speech rebels and antiwar protesters in the 1960's and 70's — died on March 7 at a hospital in San Francisco. He was 92.

Mr. Leonard, who represented the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union for five decades, became nationally known with the government's efforts to deport the union's founding president, Harry Bridges, as an undesirable immigrant. Mr. Leonard defended him against perjury charges when Mr. Bridges, an immigrant from Australia, was accused of having falsely denied being a Communist at his naturalization hearing.

UN flays India for slum demolition

From Rediff

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing has
criticised India for demolishing slums in Mumbai and New Delhi in his report submitted at the ongoing 61st session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

Miloon Kothari presented an overall situation of slums across the world. In his report, he specially mentioned the poor condition of slums and people living in shanty towns in India, and said it a
'matter of concern'.

Countries and voluntary groups from across the world are debating human rights issues during the session. Adequate housing is
considered part of the human rights of citizens.

Kothari stated that in Mumbai 80,000 homes were demolished between December 2004 and January 2005, rendering 300,000 people homeless. For majority of those evicted there was no advance notice, the
evictions were violently carried out and their belongings damaged. Those evicted were not even offered alternative accommodation.

He said, "The chief minister (Vilasrao Deshmukh) explained these brutal demolitions as the only way to create a world-class city."

Coming down heavily on the Indian legal system, the special
rapporteur noted with concern the impact of laws that directly or indirectly criminalised homelessness.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"Sorry, Mr. Prime Minister, Afghanistan Is Not Canada's War"

John Chuckman

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has trouble understanding Canadians who feel ardently that their country's soldiers should not be involved in Afghanistan." — Toronto Globe and Mail

Afghanistan is not our war, Mr. Prime Minister.

We are not threatened by voices in the Middle East opposing American policy, unless you believe one reference in a recording of bin Laden mentioning Canada along with other countries. That recording, along with other post-invasion recordings, was almost certainly a CIA fraud, for Osama bin Laden had to be killed in the heavy bombing of his mountain redoubt.

Global Action Day for the global struggle at Gate Gourmet 7 - 8 April 2006

- Strike at Airport Düsseldorf since 7 October, 2005

- Struggle against the mass sacking of 800 workers at London-Heathrow
Airport since 10 August, 2005

- Conflict at many other Gate Gourmet locations

Gate Gourmet is the world’s second largest catering company for airlines
with more than one hundred locations. It has 22,000 employees working in 29 countries. Gate Gourmet is the paradigm for how capital tries to squeeze the most out of workers.

In 2002, Gate Gourmet was bought out of the bankruptcy assets of Swissair
by Texas Pacific Group. This investment and buyout in particular triggered the so called debate in Germany about “locusts”, i.e. firms that only buy other firms for a short period of time to squeeze them dry. The strategy of such private equity companies is to sell the firm within a few years at an enormous profit. In order to achieve this, they send management consultants, like McKinsey, into the firms. They use time and motion study and the standardisation of work practices to speed up the work and intensify the workload in an extreme way.

Companies like Texas Pacific Group show us how modern capitalism operates.
Established structures and connections of the workers are systematically destroyed. In London Heathrow, management quite openly declared that it didn’t want to work any longer with its workforce; ninety percent of which consisted of Asian workers. The workers resisted stubbornly against the
new, tightened work practices. That was the reason why nearly 800 workers
were sacked on 10 August 2005 and replaced by temp workers from other countries.

In Düsseldorf, workers tolerated an extreme increase in productivity for
two years. Work was “flexibilizised” in such a way so there was hardly any social life left for the workers. The anger of the workers at this treatment is what supports their strike, which on April 7 they will have conducted actively and decidedly for half a year. The strikers express the aim of this struggle in one single phrase: “Human Dignity!” This struggle is not about a few percent increase in wages but, in a real essential way, about the question “How we can assert ourselves vis-à-vis the excessive claims of the capital owners and bosses?” Gate Gourmet concerns all of us.

The Gate Gourmet workers from London and Düsseldorf have build up contacts
and got to know each other. They have visited and bolstered each other. They know that one single workforce can not win against Gate Gourmet or Texas Pacific Group. But these companies are all over the world. At all locations they impose pressure upon the workers to increase productivity and profits.
Texas Pacific Group is not responsible for the terror of speed ups at Gate
Gourmet alone – it has rolled up the German company Grohe (bad products and fittings), it controls Burger King, it bought into Mobilcom, and the list goes on . . .

The action day on 7 - 8 April 2006 is to support the struggles still going
on at Gate Gourmet in London and Düsseldorf. We also want to find out at which other Gate Gourmet locations workers are resisting this tightening and we want to build up links between the workers.

The determination of the struggles in London and Düsseldorf encourages all
of us to no longer accept the dictatorship of money and profits.

Distribute leaflets at Gate Gourmet locations or airports! Ask questions
and learn from the workers! Get information about their situation and support them in their resistance! Publicity actions or direct action have the impact to build up pressure against Gate Gourmet and Texas Pacific Group.

Let’s show global capital that there is a global worker’s struggle!

More information (mostly in German): www.gg-streik.net

Contact the solidarity support group in Düsseldorf (you can write in any

The Real Bias in the Classroom

Inside Higher Education

Much of the debate over the Academic Bill of Rights has concerned the
claims of conservatives that students are punished by liberal professors
for deviating from some sort of ideological orthodoxy.

There may be political bias in the classroom, but headed in the other
direction. A new study — soon to be published in PS: Political Science &
Politics — finds that students are the ones with bias, attributing
characteristics to their professors based on the students’ perceptions
of their faculty members’ politics and how much they differ from their own.

The authors of the study say that it backs the claims of proponents of
the Academic Bill of Rights that students think about — and are in some
cases concerned about — the politics of their professors. But the
authors also say that the study directly refutes the idea that students
are being somehow indoctrinated by views that they don’t like. “Students
aren’t simply sponges,” says April Kelly-Woessner, part of the
husband-and-wife team of political scientists who wrote the study.
Further, she adds that the study suggests that not only do students not
change their views because of professors, but may even “push back” and
judge professors based on politics, not merit.


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