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Posted on Nov 24, 2010

Today on the list: Bribing Israel, the possibilities of precognition, the value of banks (it’s complicated), and the incredible shrinking withdrawal date.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

Bribing Israel: Enhancing the Swag
The breathless will-they-won’t-they coverage wasn’t quite as extreme this time, but there’s still been way more attention paid to the latest U.S. “settlement freeze” offer to Netanyahu than it deserves.

The Incredible Shrinking Withdrawal Date
Going, going, gone! You can almost hear the announcer’s voice throbbing with excitement, only we’re not talking about home runs here, but about the disappearing date on which, for the United States and its military, the Afghan War will officially end.

College Costs, the Sequel
Between the late 1940s and today, the inflation-adjusted prices of dental services and of higher education have behaved in a strikingly similar way.

The extreme pleasure of voting
A political ad by young socialists in Spain shows a woman orgasming at the polls. Cue the outrage!

Marx, Engels, Mao and a brand new fridge
The Chinese government wanted rural farmers to buy more appliances. So let it be written, so let it be done.

Milestone in Science: Severed Head Life Support System
In 1908, Charles Guthrie was able to successfully amputate one dog’s head and sew it onto the neck of another dog, rerouting the blood flow so that the animal had two (somewhat) functioning heads, according to Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.

ONLINE COMMENTS SHOW HOW NEWS SPREADS
Online communication isn’t just about photos of cats; it also reveals how information and ideas spread across a network.

Feeling The Future: Is Precognition Possible?
Most science papers don’t begin with a description of psi, those “anomalous processes of information or energy transfer” that have no material explanation.

Banks, what are they good for?
The answer to the question, what are banks good for? is not at all obvious. Nor, as it turns out, is it the right question.

First Flag Made by Betsy Ross Actually Shirt for Gay Friend
The Onion (i.e. not real): Historians at the University of Pennsylvania announced the discovery this week of a personal diary from the late 18th century that reveals the first U.S. flag sewed by Betsy Ross was originally intended as a shirt for her flamboyant gay friend Nathaniel.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication.

A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

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By mdgr, November 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

On the topics of precognition and blame:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/sarah-palins-presidential_1_b_788283.html

Well, at least Robert Reich is looking at Palin’s presidential strategy and actually taking it seriously. This is an analysis of the obvious, true, but it’s way too far out for most people, both R’s and D’s alike.  Actually, things in 2012 are likely to be even worse than our prognosticators suggest. There will be a series of perfect storms hitting us from all front, including some monstrous solar flares. Denial will grow even more opaque, along with the more snarky element of projection.

Ironically, we’re wasting our energy blaming Palin, Beck or Fox. The liberal class, as Chris Hedges so eloquently states, is entirely co-opted. There is absolutely no one in the liberal camp—not even the much-vaunted Dennis Kucinich—who dreams of doing anything but continuing to sing the Democratic Party’s swan song. 

In our slide toward the kind of scenario that Reich portends, one should not blame Palin’s strategists or publicists. Instead,  one should blame the progressive caucus in Congress that remains joined at the hip to the party of Party of Collaborators, to the Party of Vichy. One should blame it for its lack of courage and lack of resolve. It talks the talk but dares not walk its talk.

If it did, it would publicly resign from the Democratic Party. It would renounce the DNC and its vast network of lobbyists.  And it would declare itself a third party. This certainly is the right time for that, and it is the failure to do that which will cause the final curtain to fall on America, not Mrs. Palin.

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By the worm, November 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

And speaking of turkeys ...

Let’s compare campaign rhetoric with actions.

Rhetoric:
Obama said he was going to pursue victory in Afghanistan; Obama said he was
against ‘dumb wars’. 

Recent Events:

1 The Taliban have been expanding their base of operation and increasing the
number of attacks - up 70% over a year ago.
2 We don’t want to ‘win’ any more, just ‘break their momentum’.
3 A shop keeper fooled us into believing he was a Taliban leaders (he was just
pretending).
4 We negotiated the impostor, giving him money and rides on planes – now, we
cant find him.
5 We want to ‘drive a wedge between Taliban leaders and the Taliban ‘rank-
and-file’, but we cant identify them and, even if we could, we wouldn’t know
which is which.
6 Karzia, the person we planned to have as our puppet, takes suitcases of
money from Iran and from us, and wont dance anyway.

So, is it victory yet or is it a ‘dumb war’?

But we’re not after victory any more, just ‘breaking their momentum’. But are
we still opposed to ‘dumb wars’? Im still confused. Good thing ‘the best & the
brightest’ are on the case !

Oh, the turkey … it was saved !

(By the way, there’ve been over 2228 ‘allied’ casualties in Afghanistan. And, oh,
yes, most ‘on-line newspapers today dont have a single story about
Afghanistan – congratulations to Truthdig for keeping your eye on reality.)

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