October 13, 2005

Totally unexpected press coverage

Disorienting the wires...
"Profanity sprinkled" my ass.

See for yourself--www.sbdisorientation.org

UPDATE: More shameless DisO plugage, this time from (that bastion of free thought) MTV.

Total Recall Arnie

Over the din of shouting protesters kept out of an invitation-only "town hall" meeting in Santa Barbara, Mr. Schwarzenegger appealed for help in passing a package of propositions on November's ballot.
The Governator made an impromptu, very hush hush visit to SB today to promote his special election agenda. Like all things Schwarzenegger, the appearance was totally transparent and democratic--you could only find out the location and the time if you RSVPed, and though the governor's office was billing it as a "town hall," it was just him and his tiny contingent of SB cronies (where have I heard that strategy before...). Totally obscure location, in a MarBorg warehouse in the industrial part of downtown. MarBorg is the local trash collector--no punchline required there--and the huge hollow metal structure had acoustics perfectly suited for chanting. I think we drowned out the PA system, and that was just outside the building. We got in very briefly thanks to a (naturally) sympathetic construction worker, made some noise and migrated outside to the open end of the warehouse without much pushing and shoving. Totally exhilarating. Here's my silly audio, recorded during a live newscast today.

October 10, 2005

SB IndyMedia blitz

Darfur Freedom Fest
Howard Zinn at Campbell Hall

SB DisOrientation in the News Press

Lefty guide at UCSB urges return to student radicalism

Part liberal manifesto and part how-to manual for radicals, the first UCSB Disorientation Guide appeared on campus last week, signaling that a new season of student activism has begun.

The "Diso" guide exhorts students to become activists and points them toward campus groups on the political left. The first copies were handed out Thursday night outside Campbell Hall to students hoping to attend a packed address by pacifist historian Howard Zinn.

While the guide is clearly aimed at students, it gives Santa Barbara a snapshot of the latest generation of liberal-leaning campus activists here, and the issues they'll be marching, and chanting, and petitioning about. It's an eclectic list, from ending the war in Iraq and opposing globalism and sweatshops, to support for unisex campus restrooms designed for disabled or transgender users.

The guide is not an official UCSB publication. Its creators, eight students and former students, acknowledged that so many students have come and gone since the heyday of counterculture and anti-Vietnam movements at UCSB that many are only dimly aware of even the infamous 1970 torching of the Bank of America in Isla Vista. In an attempt to revive the spirit, but not necessarily the violence, of the "old days," the guide details the history of student activism here. The last mass event noted is a 2003 march by about 1,000 students protesting the Iraq war as part of a nationwide student walkout. Tanya Paperny, a student and guide organizer, said that is why the Diso guide is needed. "A lot of people have passion for certain issues, but never direct it to work on campus because UCSB has this reputation for being apathetic."

The guide drew some criticism before it came off the press. One contributor, a UCSB staff member, objects to some of its raw language. And the leader of College Republicans has questioned the propriety of cash contributions by some professors to help pay for printing costs.

Only 1,300 or so copies of the guide are in print, but its cyber version evidently is getting attention. Since the www.sbdisorientation.org site was completed a few weeks ago, it has received more than 6,000 "hits," said Darwin BondGraham, a graduate student who helped organize the project.

The Diso guide covers aspects of campus life that are not seen in UCSB's official orientation materials, he said.

Similar guides have appeared recently at several universities nationwide, including Columbia, Stanford and the University of Texas at Austin. UC Berkeley has produced an online "Disorientation Zine" for 10 years. Last year, UC Santa Cruz produced a guide that was downloaded by more than 8,500 visitors, according to the UCSC guide Web site.

The self-defined radical publication at UCSB comes at a time the volume of campus discourse is rising over issues such as the war in Iraq, the presence of military recruiters on campus, the ban on affirmative action, and state funding cuts. Although only a few hundred out of 20,000 undergraduates consistently participate in grass-roots political activities, conservative and liberal student groups have been increasingly visible on campus in the past year or so. Both sides spent time this summer gearing up for the start of the fall term.

On the right, the long-established UCSB College Republicans spent part of the summer arranging to bring conservative pundit Ben Stein to UCSB on Thursday. They hope he will sway opinions ahead of an expected faculty vote later this fall on whether to keep military recruiters on campus, said Sally Marois, the UCSB College Republicans president. By the 11th day of classes, campus Republicans also conducted Support Our Troops days, gathering signatures on a banner to send to a UCSB alumnus in Iraq.

Also over the summer, the Disorientation Guide's creators solicited students, staff and others for articles and assembled the publication and Web site. "We want to help build up the antiwar movement, get the word out about different progressive organizations," said Mr. BondGraham.

The Diso guide includes biting profiles of UC regents, and commentaries on topics from feminism and corporate media to proper "queer" terminology and the value of blogs. It has interviews with the campus's "most politically active" professors, and a directory of liberal organizations on campus and in Santa Barbara.

UCSB staff member Barbara Hirsch, who co-authored a guide page listing UCSB's environmental accomplishments, lamented that the publication's raw four-letter-word language might be counterproductive. There could be a more positive way of expressing it, she said.

But Will Parrish, a former UC Santa Cruz student who brought the guide idea to Santa Barbara, defends the language. "One of the things we were trying to do is appeal to students in a way that they don't think we're part of the establishment, or what we're doing is watered down in any way."

Some UCSB professors who donated up to $100 for the guide's printing costs stepped over the line, said Ms. Marois. "I think it would be inappropriate for (the College Republicans) to have professors listed under our magazine, The Gaucho Free Press, or to give us money."

One of the donors, Dick Flacks, a sociology professor and outspoken liberal, said he has not read the guide yet. "In fact, I will probably disagree with a lot in it."

In any case, he said that he can contribute to it what he wants when he wants. He also said that he believes it is only inappropriate for professors to sponsor something "that would cause injury to the institution or individuals. I thought (the guide) was a nice project for the students to have worked on."

October 04, 2005

LA Times raises eyebrows (and eyelids)

On A14 of the LA Times, the headline reads:

DeLay Is Indicted Again' Charges Are Graver

At the bottom corner of the page below the fold, the ad reads:
For more beautiful eyes, go to an Eyelid Specialist
...This means tha tif you have droopy upper lids, baggy lower lids and fine lines and wrinkles, Dr. Fett's advanced knowledge of eyelid structure combined with years of experience as a laser eyelid specialist, can give your eyes a more natural, balanced and beautiful look.
I kid you not. Coincidence? Maybe...but a ridiculously funny one, nonetheless. DeLay--doctors may have been able to make you look a little less like Droopy, but my guess is they probably won't be able to save you from jail.

Norman Solomon at UCSB

Audio at SBIndyMedia.

October 02, 2005

Facebook's CIA ties?

The Facebook.com: Big Brother with a Smile

The article plays six degrees of Kevin Bacon--The Facebook received $13 million in venture capital from Accel Partners--a firm whose manager sits on the board of the National Venture Capital Association alongside members of the CIA's datawarehousing group In-Q-Tel.

I'm a little skeptical, seems like a bit of a stretch...though I suppose the Facebook wouldn't need any direct government links, since it's a pretty useful, self-sustaining database on its own, and I suppose it could be used for surveillance...though the CIA must really be scrounging if they need the Facebook to keep track of radical students. Meh, if they started using it, they'd probably get addicted to it and waste all their time looking up friends from middle school anyway.

In any case, though the author comes off as a bit paranoid, he's got a good strategy:

So in the meantime I am using TheFaceBook to my advantage. I have listed myself as a “Very Conservative” intern at the Dan Quayle Library with a penchant for books by Oliver North.
I figure if they were really hell bent on going after someone like me, my CodePink alliegance is on FBI file, and that'd be enough to make me ripe for the Thought Police's picking.

One last conspiracy theory before I go--Deadly Bacteria Detected in US Capital During Anti-War March. No symptoms thus far.

Alright, removing the tin foil hat now.

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