Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution

Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution

Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:05

By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks, The Daily Take | Op-Ed

 

You might want to think twice about streaming that “subversive” documentary about the Weather Underground on Netflix. If Republicans have their way, you just might end up on a watch list somewhere.

This week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the 1988 Video Protection Privacy Act, which forbids movie rental companies from sharing or selling their customers’ viewing history. The Senate is expected to take up the amendment soon.

If this passes, what you watch on Netflix may soon become public information that your friends, employers, and even the government will have access to. Are you regretting streaming the latest Harold and Kumar yet?  Or all those soft-porn chick-flicks?

Netflix favors the law change because it will help them branch into social media and connect Facebook customers to each other based on their similar tastes in films. Unmentioned by Netflix is the enormous profit-potential in selling your viewing history to advertisers who can target specific demographics based on your preference in movies. Also unmentioned by Netflix is just who else might get this information once it’s taken out of the privacy lockbox.

The current version of the amendment does include a provision requiring Netflix to get their customers’ consent before sharing their viewing history. That’s helpful to those of us who are aware of the online threats to our privacy. But the vast majority of Americans, especially younger generations of Americans, are completely unaware that their privacy is in danger when they plug into the Internet. And it’ll probably end up being part of those notorious “terms and conditions” that you check the “I agree” box for, just to get onto the site.

via Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution.

Slow-Rolling Massacre Unfolds in the Shadow of Shocking High-Profile Shooting Sprees

See on Scoop.itOUR COMMON GROUND News Board •● ☥●• The Third Eye Parenthesis

What happened in Newtown isn’t supposed to happen anywhere.

OUR COMMON GROUND Omnibus‘s insight:

Slow-Rolling Massacre Unfolds in the Shadow of Shocking High-Profile Shooting SpreesThursday, 20 December 2012 09:16By Dina Rasor, Truthout | Solutions 

Please support Truthout’s work by making a tax-deductible donation: click here to contribute.

 

A personal perspective about a nation’s shock and grief over a horrific act in a place where such things "aren’t supposed to happen," and the places where similar tragedies occur almost every day, where children grow up in a relentless tide of violence.

My heart is torn by the unspeakable violence to the people in Newtown Connecticut. The son of one of my dearest friends is a clergyman in that town and he is spending day and night ministering to the townspeople while his own children are shaken to the core. I grew up in towns like Newtown, mainly Lexington, Massachusetts and Kettering, Ohio, with beautiful homes and picturesque town centers. They were places that invested in education and their children because they had the tax base, educated parents and wealth to do so. My parents gave me a great start and by the time I started college in California in 1974, I could have tested out of freshman English but decided to take the easy As.

These towns were also so homogenous that by the time I reached California to attend the University of California at Berkeley, I think that I had only slightly known two or three African Americans, one or two Asians and no Hispanics by the time I was 18. That drastically changed by living near San Francisco and living a stint on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC after I graduated from Berkeley. I came back to Berkeley several years later for my husband to go to graduate school and chose to live in El Cerrito, California, a town that is about the size of Newtown but much less rural. We have a high school with a great football and debate team, a marching band and a homecoming float-parade down the main street every year.

 

See on truth-out.org

Domestic Abuse Survivor Goldie Taylor on Giving Up Her Gun and the Unseen Plague of National Violence

Domestic Abuse Survivor Goldie Taylor on Giving Up Her Gun and the Unseen Plague of National Violence

Friday, 21 December 2012 10:48

OUR COMMON GROUND Voice, Goldie Taylor

By Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Interview and Video

Truthout combats corporatization by bringing you trustworthy news: click here to join the effort.

After losing both her father and her brother to gun violence in St. Louis and later being victimized by domestic violence, Goldie Taylor purchased a gun for her own protection. On Monday, three days after the Newtown massacre, Taylor wrote: “After my father and brother were murdered, owning a gun made me feel secure. Now it’s time to give it up.” As President Obama vows new action on gun control, Taylor joins us to discuss her own case and the gun violence from Newtown, Connecticut, to the streets of Chicago, where nearly 500 people have been murdered this year, mostly by guns. Taylor, an MSNBC contributor and managing editor of “The Goldie Taylor Project,” calls on the corporate media to do a better job reporting all gun-related killings, regardless of race, economic class and gender.

TRANSCRIPT:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Funerals continue in Newtown, Connecticut, after Friday’s shooting rampage that left 20 students and six staff members dead at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Four more children were laid to rest Wednesday, as well as the principal of the school, Dawn Hochsprung, and teacher Victoria Soto. Soto died while shielding her students from gunfire. She was remembered by a friend after her memorial service.

CONNIE DELOTTINVILLE: She was one of the most beautiful people, like the really super popular person, but she was friendly with everyone, like she did not have a mean bone in her body, always smiling and laughing, and you could hear her down the hallway. She was a great person. So, this is just such a tragic loss. And we were going to have our 10-year high school reunion next year, and I was really looking forward to seeing her and seeing everyone again. And quite the damper on things.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Meanwhile, President Obama announced Wednesday he would appoint a new White House-led effort, chaired by Vice President Joe Biden, to reform gun control policies, which he would outline in his annual State of the Union address next month.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence. That’s why I’ve asked the vice president to lead an effort that includes members of my cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January, proposals that I then intend to push without delay. This is not some Washington commission. This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific task: to pull together real reforms right now.

via Domestic Abuse Survivor Goldie Taylor on Giving Up Her Gun and the Unseen Plague of National Violence.

Women Prisoners Endure Rampant Sexual Violence; Current Laws Not Sufficient

Women Prisoners Endure Rampant Sexual Violence; Current Laws Not Sufficient

Friday, 21 December 2012 00:00

By Eleanor J Bader, Truthout | Report

Mary Thompson at the California Institution for Women in Corona, California, in July 2009. (Photo: Monica Almeida / The New York Times)

Do you

Allowing male guards to oversee female prisoners is a recipe for trouble, says former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn. Now a frequent lecturer on incarceration policies and social justice, Whitehorn describes a culture in which women are stripped of their power on the most basic level. “Having male guards sends a message that female prisoners have no right to defend their bodies,” she begins. “Putting women under men in authority makes the power imbalance as stark as it can be, and results in long-lasting repercussions post- release.”

Abuse, of course, can take many forms, from the flagrant – outright rape, groping, invasive pat-downs and peeping during showers or while an inmate is on the toilet – to verbal taunts or harassing comments. And while advocates for the incarcerated have long tried to draw attention to these conditions, they’ve made little to no headway. But that may be changing thanks to the promulgation of rules, finalized in June, to stem the overt sexual abuse of prisoners. The nine-years-in-the-making Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is the first law in US history to address the sexual abuse of those in lock-up, and its passage made clear that the sexual abuse of the incarcerated – men and women – is a pervasive problem in prisons throughout the 50 states. But let’s hold off on PREA for a minute and first zero in on the reality of female incarceration more generally.

According to The Sentencing Project, between 1980 and 2010, the number of incarcerated women ballooned by 646 percent, from 15,118 to 112,797; most were convicted of nonviolent offenses. Add in females who are incarcerated in local jails and the number increases to approximately 205,000. In addition, more than 712,000 women are presently on probation, and another more than 103,000 are on parole.

Prisoners’ rights activists note that, more often than not, these women enter the criminal justice system with long histories of domestic and other abuse. Indeed, a 2007 study by The American Civil Liberties Union found that 92 percent of California’s female prisoners had been abused in some way prior to being taken into custody.

via Women Prisoners Endure Rampant Sexual Violence; Current Laws Not Sufficient.

 

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Gifted Students Have ‘Special Needs,’ Too – Chester E. Finn Jr. – The Atlantic

2 DEC 22 2012, 9:00 AM ET 3

It’s not elitist to pour more resources into educating our brightest kids. In fact, the future of the country may depend on it.

A high school senior paints a portrait at the School for Talented and Gifted in Dallas. (Reuters)

Are our national education-reform priorities cheating America’s intellectually ablest girls and boys? Yes — and the consequence is a human capital catastrophe for the United States. It’s not as dramatic or abrupt as the fiscal cliff. But if we fail to pay attention, one day we’ll be very sorry.

In a recent New York Times column, I explained how America could benefit from more schools and classes geared toward motivated, high-potential students. Here, I want to look more deeply at why such initiatives are unfashionable, even taboo, among today’s education reformers.

We’d like to believe that every teacher can do right by every child in each classroom. But let’s be serious: how many of our 3 million-plus teachers are up to this challenge? The typical class is profoundly diverse in ability, motivation, and prior attainment. In most cases, instructors — under added pressure from state and federal accountability regimes — end up focusing on pupils below the “proficient” line, at the expense of their high achievers.

You don’t have to search hard for evidence that teachers and school systems are neglecting them. Take, for instance, our longstanding failure to get more than a few percent of U.S. students scoring at or above the National Assessment’s “advanced” level — in any subject or grade level. Study the data showing how far our students’ scores lag behind those of many competitor countries. Consider the ongoing need of high-tech employers to import highly educated personnel from abroad.

Then look at the unmet demand for “gifted and talented” schools and classrooms (and teachers suited to them). For many years, Washington’s only sign of interest in this portion of the K-12 universe was the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program. Since 2004, however, Congress has steadily decreased funding for the program; last year, that contribution dropped to $0. And despite plenty of evidence that America is failing to nurture its gifted students, the problem fails to awaken much interest from education leaders and philanthropists. Why is this so?

Consider these possible explanations.

via Gifted Students Have ‘Special Needs,’ Too – Chester E. Finn Jr. – The Atlantic.

“Out of Our Right Minds – Trauma, Depression and the Black Woman” l Docufilm l Stacey Muhammad

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Out of Our Right Minds – Trauma, Depression and the Black Woman

A short docu film from Award Winning Independent Filmmaker, Stacey M. of Wildseed Films / Intelligent Media Group.

OUT OF OUR RIGHT MINDS, Trauma, Depression and the Black Woman from INTELLIGENT MEDIA GROUP on Vimeo.

This film explores Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and and the experience of trauma, and how the lives of Black women have been affected by these experiences.

Black women and men from all walks of life, speak openly and candidly about depression, mental illness, anxiety, stress…why these discussions are considered taboo in the African American community..and ways in which we begin to … and continue to … heal the wounds.

Dir. by Stacey Muhammad
Asst. Dir. RH Bless
Narrated by: Wise Intelligent
Edited by: Stacey Muhammad
Music by: T. Taylor, Mr. Famous & Masada
Marketing and Promotions: C. Wharton

For more information about booking Wildseed Films / Stacey M. for screenings / lectures / panels, etc. please contact Intelligent Media @ 484-472-3745.

Black Feminist Intellectual: A Conversation with Professor Imani Perry l Darnell L. Moore l The Feminist Wire

Black Feminist Intellectual: A Conversation with Professor Imani Perry

December 20, 2012

By 

DM: At present, you hold a primary appointment as a Professor within the Center for African American Studies and a secondary appointment in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University. You hold a Ph.D. (Harvard University) and J.D. (Harvard Law), and your interdisciplinary research focuses on race and African American culture. You describe yourself as a Black feminist who was born in the South and who presently lives in a major northeast city. Can you give our readers the short version of your amazing journey?

Imani as a little girl with her parents at a protest in Birmingham. The sign reads “Stop the War Against Black America.”

IP: It’s hard to make this short: I was born in Birmingham, Alabama into a large Black Catholic family nine years after the 16th street Baptist church bombing. I am the child of intellectuals and activists; the freedom movement was a constant theme in my coming of age. I moved North to Cambridge, Massachusetts at age 5 (after a brief time in Milwaukee where I attended a “freedom” pre-school that was built in response to a boycott of segregation in city schools.) In Cambridge, my mother began doctoral work again (she had been one of four Black women at Yale in the Theology and Philosophy program before I was born). I was educated at a progressive Quaker school and lived in a counter-culture, multi-racial environment. In the summers, I returned home to Alabama or visited my father in Chicago. My father lived in a gay community and was very active in social justice work around prisons and Central America. I attended camp at Jane Addams Hull House and the New City YMCA, which was a few blocks away from The Cabrini Green housing projects back then. Many of my fellow campers lived in Cabrini. Needless to say, I experienced a wide cross section of American life. I also had access to excellent schools, and my parents are both active scholars and people who have devoted their lives to trying to make a meaningful contribution to the world. It is unsurprising that I became an academic; although, until I was 19, I thought I was going to be a math professor. I attended Yale as an undergraduate student in the era when 3rd wave feminism was born there; the queer community was thriving and our expressions of Blackness were expansive. And I went into a Ph.D. program at Harvard in the “dream team” era in African American studies. I began Harvard Law School when Lani Guinier first joined the faculty. I was educated, and educated well, in an exciting time.

When I graduated, my first job was as a law professor at Rutgers Camden School of Law. I worked there for 7 years, earned tenure in my 5th year and was double promoted to full professor early. At Rutgers, I taught doctrinal courses like contracts and constitutional law but also taught critical race theory and a good deal of critical race feminism. After teaching a course in African American studies at Columbia and loving it, I decided I really wanted to teach in an interdisciplinary program. I’m now in my 4th year at Princeton, where I serve on the faculty in African American studies. I’m affiliated with other departments: Law and Public Affairs, Gender and Sexuality Studies, American Studies. And I also teach courses cross-listed with the Woodrow Wilson School and the Politics Department. What’s wonderful about that is that I meet students from across the University, and they work together to learn from the texts we read that come from a range of disciplines.

DM: You recently offered a compelling critique via social media in which you noted: “Black feminism used to be inherently radical, critical of classism, sexism, racism, heterosexism, and structures of domination, exploitation and imperialism everywhere. But now we have our own versions of NOW feminism, derivative 2nd wave feminism, and tone-deaf elitist middle class feminism.” Can you say more about these contemporary Black feminisms that you’ve named and why it might be important to remember the political and intellectual frameworks out of which Black feminisms emerged?

IP: Neoliberalism has infected every area of thought, even those we think of as inherently progressive. Feminism that is about “choice” (read consumption) rather than an analysis of power, and comes through the mechanisms, and reflects the priorities, of large corporations has very limited potential to actually say much of anything about the deep structure of inequality. I think it is important to remember early Black feminisms because those women had a deep analysis of inequality, one that began with, but extended far beyond their existences as Black women to address all forms of oppression at home and abroad. Those feminists did not celebrate the powerful, but rather advocated for the least of these. And their intellectual work was never simply about the fact of someone being born in a Brown skinned xx body, but rather about the interpretive power of beginning one’s thought from the experience of being Black and a girl or woman. I am worried when I read the title “Black feminism” applied to championing women like Susan Rice. I think a traditional and sophisticated Black feminist analysis does understand that she was targeted as a function of her race and gender; and yet, it also takes a critical posture towards her ideology which lies contrary to global principles of justice. Black feminist thought is not simply an interest group advocating for powerful Black women, it is about seeing the world with a vision of liberation. At least it should be.

DM: If a shift has taken place, do you think it is possible to conceive Black feminisms that reach back–to recuperate and bring into the present—a tradition of intersectional analyses and radical praxis–and push forward–to rethink and extend analyses and political work in areas under-theorized and not yet explored?

IM: I am currently writing about gender, and I am absolutely trying to do that. I think many other scholars are as well: Sara Ahmed and Sharon Holland immediately come to mind. Moreover, a lot of the women of the generation before me (I’m 40 years old) are still thinking and writing, such as Patricia Hill Collins and Bonnie Thornton Dill. The issue is: how do we get young feminists to turn to the books and to the grassroots, as much as they turn to celebrity feminists and the non-profit industrial complex, for their intellectual and political development? There is nothing more macho than corporate power and empire, feminists ought to be immediately skeptical of both even as we have to engage with them if we live in the United States. I’m worried that not enough self-proclaimed feminists have that skepticism. Black queer studies is probably the most robust area right now, in that it is a field that remains explicitly political and deeply analytical, yet connected to the lives of ordinary people: I’m thinking of scholars like E. Patrick Johnson or Rinaldo Walcott, here. All that to say, I think exposing students to sophisticated ideas and modes of analysis will provide them with the tools to push us further. Young people will be at the vanguard of a revitalized intellectual movement for gender justice.

DM: How do these questions figure into your present and/or future intellectual/political projects?

IP: As I said, I’m writing a book about gender. It is heavily theoretical, rooted in philosophy, jurisprudence and the literature of Black women of the renaissance of the 70s-90s. I’m pushing in a different direction than intersectionality. If we read the Combahee River Collective Statement, we see something that isn’t so specific or sited at the crossroads, but expansive and frankly both Marxist and infused with the sensibilities of liberation movements across the globe. I’m pushing in the direction they, and others, set forth.

DM: And speaking of your work, you’ve mentioned that your recent book, More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States, “called [you], rather than one [you] looked for.” How so?

IP: I think part of being an intellectual is both being an active and constant reader of books and articles and also reading one’s environment. So when I say the book called me, I mean that I didn’t plan to write it but, rather, it took shape through my reading and thinking and living. The same thing with my current book projects. In academia, we are often told to have a fixed research agenda from the beginning of one’s career. I have never subscribed to that approach. I write consistently, but I write where my passion lies, and that is an ever-changing and growing thing. Living as an intellectual is prayerful. You immerse yourself in ideas; you live and love the life of the mind; and at opportune times you find insight thrust upon you. It is a blessing.

DM: Lastly, who would you name as your Black feminist sheroes, those whose lives and work invigorate your own? And why?

IP: This is an extremely hard question. There are so many, so this is just a handful of them: all women I’ve known. Certainly, the women in my family, helmed by my late grandmother Neida Mae Garner Perry, are all models of organic feminism. The sense of personal power that I learned from them has enabled every aspiration. And, as a girl, I met Ella Baker several times. She was elderly by then, and I took her to the park. Knowing who she was, I learned early on that a woman who developed a politic around ways of thinking that are traditionally conceived of as female–collaboration, participation, inclusion, process, humility–could initiate an organization that would change the world. That had a huge impact on me. Mary Helen Washington’s landmark and beautiful, Black Eyed Susans, was the first Black feminist anthology I ever read–I read it when I was in middle school–and she went to my church so doing this kind of work was “real” for me. When I was a young scholar, she praised me for maintaining a class analysis in my scholarship. That attention meant the world to me. Beverly Smith, one of the authors of the Combahee River Collective Statement, and other women of that community were often in my living room for gatherings when I was young, and the conversations they had influenced me. Kate Rushin encouraged me to read Black feminist writers specifically when I was a teenager. I listened. I also began to read her poetry as an adult. It is so human and so Black and so womanly.

In college, I interned at South End Press and, as a result, spent a significant amount of time with bell hooks. Her way of both naming injustice and the thought that produces it, but also remaining hopeful, was inspiring. And she did away with any thought that feminism had to be staid. And then, in my senior year of college, I read Patricia Hill Collins Black Feminist Thought, and I remember calling my mom and saying “THIS is what I want to do when I grow up!” It turns out she knew Pat from Black Catholic activist days. Years later, I got to know Pat myself, and I continue to be amazed by the complex maps she creates of how gender and race and class operate. Lani Guinier inspired me to go to law school and inspires me still with her ability to be critical of the site of her own privilege as a scholar who is at a very powerful institution. I try very hard to replicate that critical posture. My play-sister, Farah Jasmine Griffin, models what it means to prioritize Black women as creative and intellectual subjects, to challenge their place in dominant epistemologies, and open up new epistemological frameworks that center Black women writers and musicians. She teaches us how much we matter. And, Toni Morrison is everything. She announces to the world that the very best, the most profound, the most beautiful and the deepest cutting words emerge from the embodied lives of Black women. What better license to write could there be?

__________________________________

Professor Perry is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies race and African American culture using the tools provided by various disciplines including: law, literary and cultural studies, music, and the social sciences. She has published numerous articles in the areas of law, cultural studies, and African American studies, many of which are available for download at: imaniperry.typepad.com. She also wrote the notes and introduction to the Barnes and Nobles Classics edition of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth. She is the author of Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (Duke University Press, 2004) and More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States (New York University Press, 2011). Professor Perry teaches interdisciplinary courses that train students to use multiple methodologies to investigate African American experience and culture.

 

The Feminist Wire