Archive for geo-politics

For the love of God, let Texas have her way!

Posted in art & music, maps & mapping, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

“I got a timebomb in my mind mom, She’s gonna go off, but I don’t know when”

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A passport to see SouthBySouthwest?!

A new poll out Friday shows that, should Texas Gov. Rick Perry decide the time is right for his state to secede, he might not have much support. Seventy-five percent of Texans would like to stay in the union, according to Rasmussen. However, a sizable minority would be with him: 18% would vote to secede, and seven percent are not sure what they’d choose. And a full 31% of Texas voters believe that their state has the right to secede from the United States and form an independent country if it wants.

And who is to stop them?! Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Austin, Amarillo, and Texarkana as much as the next kid (looooooves me some Austin!), but aside from Fox and Rush Limbaugh who would both suffer from significantly diminished political power, who the fuck wouldn’t say Good Riddance and click their heels in glee? I mean, we might want to track down this dastardly fucker before it comes to complex legal extraditions, but otherwise, I say we put the lone in lonestar, non? I’ve been whining about their glut of electoral votes and U.S. House Reps since before GWB ever muttered the words “I suh-ware Ahm from Texus, not Connecticut”.

Contrast the above image with this guy:
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Now, I get that it would be a liberal, NPR-listener’s dream to raise the sails and let Texas have her way. Though we’d ultimately agree, I’m not coming from the same place as the Democrats. I’m just saying that state autonomy is a good move, in the first place, Texas has an ego too big to fit into a 50 State Union (without trouncing places like Delaware, North Dakota, and California? Nah big ego, Maine). More borders is a bit of a problem, but we’ll work that out over time. Shit, we don’t have social movements for nothing. Seriously, if Governator Rick Perry wants to put this on the ballot I’ll drop ev’r thing and knock on doors down there to Get Out the secession Vote.

Although, I can think of 97 old reasons why, even if she does have the right, I might miss Texas if she goes…

The State is Yours (you can keep it!),
Sunshine Superboy

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The Palestinian Archipelago

Posted in maps & mapping, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

I would like to propose a paradigmatic shift from geo-politics to aqua-politics. Who’s with me??

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One of my relatives sent me this Land in Fragments piece, which compliments the maps pretty well:

I haven’t been able to bring myself to blog about my friend Tristan who is in critical condition after being shot in the head by Israeli police a month ago. 640_tristan_face_by_alisa_smith I still kinda can’t, but there are so many great fundraisers that folks are organizing everywhere and I want to at least give a plug to support those and to check out any of the many many blogs and websites that are keeping us updated on his condition as well as the broader political conditions that brought Tristan to Palestine in solidarity.

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Strange Maps has some words from the author of the Archipel de Palestine pictured above:

this map of L’archipel de Palestine orientale (‘The Archipelago of Eastern Palestine’) “is not about ‘drowning’ or ‘flooding’ the Israeli population, nor dividing territories along ethnic lines, even less a suggestion of how to resolve the conflict,” gasps Julien Bousac, the Frenchman who created this map.

“Maybe posting the full map would help to take it for what it is, i.e. an illustration of the West Bank’s ongoing fragmentation based on the (originally temporary) A/B/C zoning which came out of the Oslo process, still valid until now. To make things clear, areas ‘under water’ strictly reflect C zones, plus the East Jerusalem area, i.e. areas that have officially remained under full Israeli control and occupation following the Agreements. These include all Israeli settlements and outposts as well as Palestinian populated areas.”

Mr Boussac took advantage of the resulting archipelago effect “to use typical tourist maps codes (mainly icons) to sharpen the contrast between the fantasies raised by seemingly paradise-like islands and the Palestinian Territories grim reality.” The map does have a strong vacationy vibe to it – but whether that is because of the archipelago-shaped subject matter, or due to the cheerful colour scheme is a matter for debate.

Personally, I like the little ferry routes. Now what was that you were saying about a renewed call to politicized piracy on the high seas?

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The World=Yours,
Sunshïne Superboy

ps- while we’ve got island paradises on the brain, I am positive it will get so much better, but I just saw the pilot episode of LOST (I know, homeboy is beaucoup behind the times!!!) and I was not that impressed. Still, because I trust all of you enthusiasts, I’m giving it a shot (and because that guy who was the hot older brother from Party of Five is guaranteed to get cuter as the show progresses, yes?)lost-season-1

Barely Legal Heroes: Homeboys, Ninjas, Pirates, and… well, Buffy

Posted in anthropology, comics, feminism, maps & mapping, politics, race with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

Admittedly, most of my favorite heroes do wear tights, but I’m leading off today’s post with a few everyday, real-world warriors who embody one key virtue: persistence

The 5th Grader
My favorite thing in the world right now is this kid, who has launched a pretty robust national media campaign to interview some guy named Barack Obama. His credentials (though one might wonder what anyone needs credentials for to ask a question or two)? He had already interviewed VPOTUS-elect, then Delaware Senator Joe the Biden (back before the election), and the last American Princes/ would-be Junior Senate appointee Caroline Kennedy (of… New York? Really?!), not to mention a phalanx of NBA players, and presumably his congressional rep who hooked him up with tickets to the inaugs in DC.

If you’re not already famills, I’m happy to introduce you to 10 year old badass, Damon Weaver:

I mean, he straight up calls Joe Biden his homeboy! Godspeed-you-Damon-Weaver and your audacious mission to get Barry O’B to keep it real!

The Senior Citizen Ninja Nigress
Lets see. Second only to my new favorite 5th grader is this 86-year-old black women who according to the New York Times

fought off an intruder armed with a knife who broke into her home in South Jamaica, Queens, on Sunday morning, crept into her bedroom and apparently was going to smother her

Vivian Squires, “described by neighbors and family members as a feisty, independent woman” was clearly not feelin the whole up-in-my-grill-with-a-knife routine. Last I heard, she was being hospitalized, but her family and neighbors did not see her going down so easily…

You know who else aint going down all quiet-like?
Actual Rearing Pirates!
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Well, black pirates. Somalian pirates! Johann Hari thinks that you are being lied to about pirates:

Who imagined that in 2009, the world’s governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labeling as “one of the great menace of our times” have an extraordinary story to tell — and some justice on their side.

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Am I surprised the British Royal Navy would deploy anything larger than an inner tube with a rudder to feel more ‘in control’ of the Red Sea, or even the Black, White, or Yellow ones, or the Green fucking Bay for that matter? Hell no- what surprises me, is that in this cuckoo-bananas world so antsy to label pretty much anybody a terrorist, the media have totally bypassed the potent term for a somewhat innocuous one. I mean, pirates?? Even if I wasn’t informed about the pillaged and embattled Somalian peasants, there are very few things in a post-Pirates of the Caribbean world that win over public sympathies quicker than pirates.

Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the “golden age of piracy” – from 1650 to 1730 – the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage thief that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda-heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often rescued from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why?

You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, If you slacked-off you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.

Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied against their tyrannical captains – and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what [Marcus] Rediker calls “one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the eighteenth century.” They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.

I actually just wrote a historiographical research paper about gossip, mutiny and rebellions in the downfall of Atlantic empires called “Loose Lips Sink Ships”- I won’t mention the subtitle here :/

And just because I’m being brainwashed to stamp everything in life with ethnography:

The words of one pirate from that lost age – a young British man called William Scott – should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: “What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirating to live.” In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste.

You’ll have to read the rest for yourself here, but I think their persistence here is noteworthy.

HIV, the Playa, and the Slayer
Finally, I was already planning on linking to this fierce and heartfelt post that my friend and co-conspirator (and Minneapolis former Green Party Mayoral and City Council candidate) Farheen Hakeem sent to me, but what put me over the top was yesterday when I was reading the latest Buffy trade paperback (Wolves at the Gate) which had more than one gay moment, including some sexual tension between Xander and… wait was I in the middle of making a point before I started geeking out?

Ahem… so Brandon is a friend of Farheen who wrote about Living with HIV Buffy the Vampire Slayer Style on blackpower.com (yes, white people, there is such a thing). Brandon begins:

There are days when I feel like Buffy the Vampire Slayer except less blonde, with better legs, and no breasts. Nevertheless, there are days when I wake up and feel as if I spend my entire existence fighting demons, attempting to drive stakes through my internal craziness, and doing everything I can to keep the Seal of Darkness from opening and letting all hell break loose.

I am a black, Latino, Native American, white, HIV positive, queer man coming off eight years of Bush and living in the worst recession since the Great Depression. I grew up with a single mother. I watched her be physically abused. I survived mental and physical abuse and somehow I have made it into my early 30s. Did I mention that I am also a recovering meth addict, and my boyfriend lives in New York while I live in Oakland? When I say there are days I feel like Buffy. I am not exaggerating.

I will direct you to the full story to get the full linkage between Brandon’s life and the Scoobies, but not before sending you off with this piece of eye candy. Bon apetíte:

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Inventing Air, Blogging Gaza

Posted in politics, science with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

So… its gonna take a few weeks to get everything up and running toward anything resembling my vision for Black Maps, but that won’t stop me from sharing some interesting tidbits. What to do on such a blank canvas?? I figure, why not start with the categories from the banner up top? Are you game? Today, we’ll hit up science and politics. Tomorrow, I got some good stuff on unsung heroes and buffy, and etymology of maps in the works.

+ Science +
Somebody asked me last night if, as a Philadelphian and science geek, I would be blogging about Benjamin Franklin. To be honest, I hadn’t considered it, but the very question planted a seed in my mind. Why the fuck not? This town has an Independence brew named after the guy and a huge, entertaining museum & research institute dons his name, why not get in on the action?

Well, yesterday I came across an enticing post called blogging the 18th century, which in and of itself, sounds either astoundingly captivating, or boring as all bloody hell. Turns out its the former! Devilstower reviews a new book called the Invention of Air, which chronicles the misadventures of Ben Franklin’s good buddy Joseph Priestly a fancy pants Brit who, despite being hated by pretty much everyone in England, is credited with, oh… discovering oxygen, successfully popularizing science, and launching one of the first attempts to systematically describe English grammar to name a few things. That and he and his family were sent on the run after their home was burned to the ground by the haters.
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Devilstower’s post begins thusly:
Steven Johnson’s latest, The Invention of Air opens with a lone passenger examining waterspouts from the deck of a ship sailing to America. To set the stage, I can do no better than lift a couple of paragraphs from Johnson’s introduction.

This was Joseph Priestley, formerly of Hackney, England, en route to his new home in America. At sixty-one years old, he was among the most accomplished men of his generation, rivaled only by Franklin in he the diversity of his interests and influence. He had won the Copley Medal (the Nobel Prize of its day) for his experiments on various gases in his late thirties, and published close to five hundred books and pamphlets on science, politics, and religion since 1761. An ordained minister, he helped found the dissenting Christian sect of Unitarianism. He counted among his close friends the great minds of the Enlightenment and the early Industrial Revolution: Franklin, Richard Price, Josiah Wedgewood, Mathew Boulton, James Watt, Erasmus Darwin.

But while Priestley’s luminous career had established an extensive base of admirers in the newly formed United States, he had booked passage on the Samson thanks to another, more dubious, honor. He had become the most hated man in all of Britian.

Come on. After that, are you really going to stop reading?

point taken. But what of Franklin?

Finally, though the book is most decidedly focused on Priestley, it’s also a good reminder of something that often gets forgotten: Benjamin Franklin was an astoundingly important figure not just in the United States, but around the world. If all that remains of Priestley for most of us is his name next to Oxygen, Franklin is too often reduced down to bifocals, almanacs, a reputation for romantic dalliance, and some funny one liners. Seeing Franklin from Priestley’s perspective, gives you some sense of what a towering figure Franklin actually was, and how vital he was to the enterprise of both science and democracy.

I’m a little less starry-eyed about Captain Bifocals than my buddy over at Kos, but we have an entire blog to explore the bright side, the dark side and the vast grey area of Ben Frank. The Invention of Air seems to give us a good start in filling him out in three (or maybe even four?) dimensions. Less controversial, at least far as my blank slate is concerned, is this “air inventor” whose life was compelling enough for a solid book contract.

The Invention of Air
Steven Johnson
254 pages
Riverhead Books 2008

so… speaking of air, what gives with the Israeli air raids and all???

+ Geo Politics +
Wither Gaza? Seems like Israel’s military hopes so, or even hopes to expedite the process, despite the best efforts of France’s Top Model Sarkozy and co. And while rumors are flying of a call for a third Intifada, we can stay informed of the whole brouhaha through this ongoing coverage at electronic Intifada, a sweeping blog that ranges from human rights testimonies, to an editorial about the Gaza Ghetto uprising, to the targeting of Palestinian schools and beyond. Pretty inspiring in the midst of all this.

We had a rally and march this past weekend in Philly following this one last week- at the very end of December:

Just to be clear, I am not, nor will I tolerate a hint of anti-semitism in this space. If anything, there are jokes among my closest jewish friends that I am a “jewmaican” (and 2nd generation at that, my father having self identified as a Jewmaican over thanksgiving jamaican brunch, with tongue firmly placed in his cheek). But the maniacal politics of war, invasion, and persecution are unambiguously fucked up. While a confused interplay of guilt, bigotry, and ignorance creates an opening for many U.S. politicians to muddle the misguided zionist project with our love and support for jewish people, you all are too smart for that, and I trust that your friends and neighbors are as well. So lets do all the cliché things for once- you know “keep it real” “speak truth to power” and so on. Yes? I mean, if even some national level politicians can do it, certainly we can my friends.

Update: Please check out this diary of a Palestinian mother by clicking on this orange section.