Archive for Get Your War On

Bobby vs. the Volcano

Posted in politics, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

I haven’t wanted to punch someone in the face this bad since watching Jar-Jar Binx’s horrendous condescension in Episode One of Star Wars. Good Gawd! Hot Damns! Will you listen to this oblivious dastard?

For real? Is this guy remotely serious? There are universal tears of laughter coming from media punditry of all political stripes and stars. Some Republicans are even opining the return of Sarah Palin to put us all out of our misery. My fave is from David Rees (you may remember David from such productions as Get Your War On)

Boosh! Checkit!

Don’t know about you, but I am FIRED UP about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s speech last night. After “Communist-in-Chief” Barack Obama spoke to Americans like they were a bunch of babies (all the while scheming to steal their money and give it to the banks, which he would then nationalize, meaning he would get a huge year-end bonus), it was refreshing to see a politician who isn’t afraid to speak to Americans like they’re adults.

I’ll admit, I haven’t really been paying attention to the USA Leninism Stimulator Act, or whatever it’s called. (All I knew was that it cost about fifty quadrillion dollars, and if you started stacking $100 bills on top of each other the day Jesus was born, they’d eventually reach all the way around the equator and into outer space and we’d all be forced to walk to the moon on a stairway of dollar bills made from how wasteful the government is.)

But it took Bobby Jindal’s confident, manly speech and ferocious, slashing hand gestures to really bring home to me just how wasteful the Stimulator Package really is.

Did you know the USA government wants to spend your money on something called “Volcano Monitoring?” Are you kidding me?

Like Jindal said, “Americans can do anything,” and that includes monitoring our own d*mn volcanoes. Seriously, how hard can it be? It’s probably like ice fishing. Just get some binoculars and some graph paper and a thermometer and sit around looking at a stupid volcano and every once in a while, write down some data, like, “The volcano is still sitting there, lookin’ like an off-brand mountain with a hole in it. 10 + 50 – 20. Pie chart.”

Remember: Americans can do anything. They don’t expect the government to fix everything. True Americans aren’t afraid of the drama and risk of the free market — the transformative thrill of creative destruction — the hot explosion of the unexpected — the dynamism of having your outmoded assumptions (and your home) buried in the burning lava of innovation — the full-throated cries of agony as yesterday’s losers are turned to ash and new, more productive members of society are birthed!

Ladies and gentlemen, Americans can do anything! Let’s prove it to the world! LET’S ALL GET KILLED BY VOLCANOES!

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Gaza, Stripped

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

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This has been making its way around the internets, and seemed approps for a repost up here. Apologies for my technical insufficiencies that make it nearly impossible to read whats going on. So the green areas are/were Palestine and the white area was/is Israel. The maps march us through time from 1946, to 1947 (the UN partition), to 1949-67 (get yr war ons), to 2000 (redux!).

One of the crucial functions that maps play in my life, is having images like this ingrained in my mind whenever the heavily audio/ rhetorical media & political world tries to parse things this way or that, minimizing or obliterating historicity. For all of my epistemic issues with borders/ frontiers etc, mapping out terrain like this, with dates and places and clear histories of who was presiding over what land and when (as for instance the UK trying to wash its hands of this whole Middle-East situation), is essential to our understandings of what is going on in the world and how that has stemmed from what took place beforehand. They try to rewrite that shit every day (listen to Condoleezza Rice speak on any given region) but you hear all of it differently when you have a clear picture in your head that puts dates, and scales, and geography all in one scope.
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This is why it freaks me out that a majority of (North) Americans can’t find the United States on a map, and struggle to name even four countries that begin with the letter “U” (in english).

To even listen, let alone further engage in conversation about Palestine, it is so important for one to see images like the one above over and over and over. Maps need to be part of the conversation. At least thats our ethos at Black Maps. Elsewise we get people like Sarah Palin getting up in front of the entire country saying she can see Russia from her front porch in Alaska- and have people both believe her and vote for her…

I got this today from my friend Micha. Lets consider it some follow up on my earlier post about Blogging Gaza. Buh-here’s what Micha wrote:

Hi folks. My friend, Brian, started up a project called “Alive in Gaza“, following his work on “Alive in Baghdad”. He helps get reporting equipment into war zones and then helps publish reports from people on the ground. Check it out http://www.aliveingaza.org . He’s looking for various help with fundraising, translating, etc. I thought you might be interested in knowing about it.

I did check it out and it really is well done and exciting nah, its fantastic! Both in concept and delivery. It looks pretty spanking new, but so far it features audio dispatches from Gaza (with expressed intent of daily updates!), maps, and on-the-ground news updates of the situation over there.

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And because size and scope are important (especially in this age of GoogleMaps and GoogleEarth), here is a non-google zoom in on the Gaza Strip. Again, so you can situate voices from blog dispatches to NPR who are speaking from and about Rafah, Erez, Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and all the rest of it. This one of, if not the most densely populated places in the world. Since Israeli forces pulled out of Gaza a couple years ago it has been penned in and made into what many folks are calling the largest prison in the world.

Scroll back up to that map at the top (the green and white one). With that map in mind, does this prison analogy seem a bit less metaphorical? Kinda makes you think people aren’t just embellishing when they talk about the Palestinian people getting fenced in

I’m gonna sign off here and leave you with a map I dug up of the West Bank and an excerpt from this awesome democratic media project, Alive in Gaza.

Godspeedyoucartographers!

Esteban Sunshine Superboy

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Dispatch from Muhammed: “Non-stop Shelling”
January 13th, 2009

[Original Editor’s Note: “The following dispatch is a letter from Muhammed Al Ja’bawi in Gaza to our Regional Bureau Chief Omar Abdullah”]
Salam Alaikum Omar,
The situation is deteriorating each day inside the Gaza Strip. I cannot find the words to describe what is going on now in Gaza. The shelling is non-stop from the north and east of Gaza.
The Israeli troops are slowly approaching the northern side of Gaza, where the Hamas resistance is still on.
Today I contacted my cousin Ahmad, who lives close to northern Gaza in (….) Quarter. He said the Israeli troops suffered grave loss, whereas Hamas emplaced a great deal of improvised explosive devices targeting the Israeli forces as they were advancing.
As for me, I had to evacuate my house after we heard loud sound of shooting and missiles. We are now staying in an UNRWA-run school. Thank Goodness there is not any Hamas operatives or other resistance members among us in this school, but we do not know what tomorrow is holding for us. This is our first day in school. We have enough food and some supplies that will see us through for a number of days.
I will try to contact you again today, or tomorrow morning, God willing. I will most likely get hold of a new battery for my mobile phone. You can call me tomorrow morning at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. Gaza local Time.
God bless brother Omar,
Muhammed Al Ja’bawi

[Ed: “The letter in its original arabic”]
السلام عليكم اخ عمر
ان الوضع يتأزم يوم بعد الاخر داخل القطاع,
لاتوجد كلمات توصف الحدث
القائم في غزة الان, القصف مستمر من الجهة
الشمالية و الجهة الشرقة من
القطاع, القوات الاسرائلية تتقدم ببطئ من
الناحية الشمالية لقطاع غزة و
المقاومة من قبل حماس مستمرة , اتصلت اليوم
بأبن عمي احمد و هو يسكن
بالقرب من المنطقة الشمالية للقطاع في حي () و
قد اعلمني ان القوات
الاسرائيلية قد تكبدت عدد من الخسائر في حين
ان حماس اقمت بنصب عدد من
العبوات الناسفة لاستهداف القوات
الاسرائلية عن تقدمها
اما بالنسبة لي فقد اضطررت الى اخلاء منزلي
بعد سماعنا اطلاق نار كثيف و
دوي عدد من القذائف, نحن الان نسكن في مدرسة
تابعة الى الانوروا , و
الحمد لله لا يوجد اي من اعضاء حماس و اي من
جهات المقاومة الاخرى معنا
في هذه المدرسة , و لكن لانعرف ماهو مصيرنا
غدا , اليوم هو يومنا الاول
في المدرسة , يوجد لدينا ما يكفي من الطعام و و
بعض المعدات لعدة ايام
ساحاول ان اعاود الاتصال بك مجددا اليوم او
غدا صباحا ان شاء الله , و
على الاغلب ساحصل على بطارية جديدة لهاتفي
النقال , يمكنك ان تتصل بي غدا
صباحا بي الساعة التاسعة و العاشرة صباحا
بتوقيت غزة
في امان اللله اخي عمر
محمد الجبعاوي
[For more independent citizen journalism, please support Alive in Gaza]