Just Wanna Know

Revolutionary Propaganda Organ

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fantastico FCB!!!!

Or so the grafitti went in Tangier. That's FCB as in Barca or "Futbol Club Barcelona," who beat Arsenal 2-1 in a European championship final (UEFA Champions League) back in May. Let me tell you, the streets of Tangier were mad that night. Here's Ronaldinho on Saturday with a wicked bicycle kick against Villareal. Barca took it 4-0.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Now I've Got the Fame Down

Fortune must be just around the corner. I hereby claim credit as the sole discoverer of nevertheless used as a negative-form additive connector in American English. That is, until the real discoverer steps forward.

If you do this with a bird or insect, you get to call it after yourself, right? How does "schaeferensis" strike the ear?

More typical negative-form additive connectors include not to mention, nevermind, or to say nothing of. Here are my two examples so far:

"N.C. State fans don’t take well to losing to the hated Tar Heels, nevertheless 23-9 to a 1-9 UNC team playing for a lame-duck coach."

"Miami can continue to have both and help kids that may never have seen the campus of college, nevertheless a private school."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

One Bank, With Each Other

Our credit cards just changed names, so we know what this pitifully beautiful video of a U2 cover (viral advertising?) is talking about:

Found via Umlo.com, a listing of the top viral videos.

Monday, November 20, 2006

China and Africa Redux

The latest New York Times magazine has a great article about China's relationship with African countries. However, there's some dissimulation going on:

...China offered a model of development, driven from above and powered by high-tech investment, vastly more gratifying and reassuring to third-world elites than the Western gospel of unleashing growth through democratic and marketplace reform. Western donors, led by the I.M.F., conditioned aid on the achievement of meaningful, and often painful, reform. China, by contrast, offered aid without “conditionality.” According to China’s official African policy, published earlier this year, China seeks “a new type of strategic partnership,” which, among other things, “respects African countries’ independent choice of the road of development.” China invokes this doctrine of noninterference when defending the grossly abusive regimes in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Eritrea and elsewhere with which it carries on a flourishing business.
Now, I myself recently pointed out that the Chinese government has been accused of "looking the other way" when confronted with a client nation's human rights failings.

But one needn't dig too deeply into the details of Euro-American economic growth between 1798 and 1956 to uncover the fact that this growth had very little to do with either democracy or free markets. More recently, how closely did Belgium toe that line when it continued to trade with Mobutu's Zaire/Congo? How much did the Netherlands overlook when Suharto was in power in Indonesia? What about the United States and Morocco back in the 1980s--did that regime qualify as "grossly abusive"? For that matter, what about the US and the entire Western hemisphere? Has the US ever taken a hard decision to cut off trade ties to a grossly abusive Latin American regime, so long as that regime remained pro-capitalist and continued to trade with the US?

Further problems: A closer look at this eerie paragraph shows a mention of IMF-led "meaningful, and often painful, reform." But everyone knows that the reform the IMF is talking about involves little more than such acts as selling off state-owned industries to multinational corporations. This means, on the ground, that the government becomes directly responsible for the loss of income for the families whose breadwinners used to have good jobs with the government and now have been fired by XYZ Corp. Inc. Such actions have nothing at all to do with increasing press freedom, releasing dissidents, and lifting bans on political parties. In fact, they'll probably lead to the opposite: a weakening of the government and a crackdown on the bread rioters.

Yet the implication of the next few lines' mention of "grossly abusive regimes" leads readers to believe that the IMF cares at all whether the real opposition parties get equal airtime in the media, or whether their leaders get tossed in jail every couple of years. Yet another example of the conflation of economic and individual liberty, anyone?

There nevertheless remains a stated goal of political as well as economic freedom in many of these trade pacts with the West, a goal that is not stated for trade pacts with China. So does it matter that belief and practice fail to coicide? What's worse, to hold lofty principles but ignore them, or to hold low principles and measure up each time?

Many world leaders seem to know that they can trade with the West and oppress if they want to or need to, just so long as they (1) keep their opponents silenced quietly, as Egypt appears to be trying to do--although with the Internet's persistent pressure and global reach, such coverups might be over (for example, Slashdot has taken up the cause of the opposition bloggers who have been arrested for publicizing the appalling and grotesque sexual abuse of female protestors)--and/or (2) make sure the violence is perpetrated by vaguely "non-governmental paramilitary groups," as is the case in Colombia or Iraq, in which case the government can just blame overly zealous patriots for getting out of hand. But this is what's happening in Sudan, right? These suspiciously well-armed and pro-government Janjaweed "rioters" technically have no formal ties to the government, right? So why does the New York Times have to argue so insistently that the Sudanese government's evil deeds differ so starkly from those of Western allies?

I'm media-critiquing here--I actually favor using any necessary and effective means to deter human rights abuses. But I guess I'm just suspicious whenever news stories critical of China and Sudan seem to ignore history and reproduce conventional wisdom when the evidence is sadly lacking. Sounds like desperate anti-Chinese panic to me...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Are You Latin-Arabian?

Of course, with the mass conversion of Chiapas to Islam and the Lebanese takeover of Mexican telecoms and cinema, it was only a matter of time...

Here's the Rough Guide's latest fusion compilation, The Rough Guide to Latin-Arabia. Aurgasm clued me in to it, and you can listen here to the entire cut by Moroccan-born musician Rhany, a cover of Compay Segundo's "Chan Chan" (popularized in the Wim Wenders film Buena Vista Social Club). Rhany was born in Marrakech but lives in Tunisia and Paris. He traveled to Cuba to record with Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, et al.

But apart from all this "Spanish inflection," it's still nice to identify with a North African city in which most people actually do speak Spanish..

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


This is a nice shot of Tony Ugoh, the latest SEC offensive lineman of the week.
Ugoh, a senior from Houston, played 65 snaps and graded out at 95 percent. He was 100 percent on pass protection and 93 percent on running plays. He also had seven knockdown blocks.
From Hogwired.

(For those of you who missed it: Arkansas is currently as dominant as this picture suggests. They're in the running for a national title.)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Best Music Writing

This book claims to contain the best music writing in 2006.

wayne&wax's celebrated "we use so many snares" blog entry--in which he uses his patented "What's that sound like? Here's what it sounds like" technique--is featured. Go here to find most of the other chapters online.

(The "claims" above speaks to the book's claim to be exhaustive and/or representative, not to the excellence of the writing, which is assured, at least for wayne&wax's chapter.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Muslim opens his Hip Hop Shop

Just after I leave Tangier, Muslim opens his own Hip Hop Shop!

Here's a link to his website:

"Muslim Shop," the first store in Tangier dedicated exclusively to selling Hip-Hop clothing and accessories: T-shirts, XXL pants, hats, bags... Everything, really! Muslim explains: "Need justifies this project. Personally, since I was a kid until now as a rapper, I've had trouble getting what I wanted in Tangier." Thanks to his strong will, the support of a friend, and the efforts and courage of many, the shop is now open.

If you're in Tangier or the area, don't miss this opportunity. Muslim is in the shop, where he serves customers himself, and believe me, the ambience is great! All that's left to do is connect, since Muslim holds promise to be one of the heavies in the future, whether solo, in a group, or in his crew!

ChadStoune has a video introduction.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Atonement

Ohio has tried to atone for electing Dubya in 2004. They have done so by voting in nearly every Democrat they could--no matter how untested--and throwing out almost all the Republican bums, even the (few) reasonable and competent ones. Yay Democracy!

Governor: I understand why they rejected Ron Blackwell. He's a right-wing ideologue, too close to the colossal incompetence of Bob Taft, and even closer to some of Ohio's abysmally seamy corruption scandals. Corruption is typical in Ohio, but some of this stuff the past two years has been enough to turn the stomachs of even the state's most jaded politicos. To tell the truth, I never heard enough about Ted Strickland to convince me why he was better than anyone else apart from Blackwell. But with Blackwell so far behind in the polls, it really didn't matter. So I voted Green.

Senator: This is the one that really bowls me over. Two-term Senator Mike DeWine was one of the "Gang of Fourteen" that opposed Bush on a judicial appointments, and he's shown himself to be both independent and an accurate representative of his constituents, a moderate and reasonable Republican. So how did the voters reward him? "Throw the bum out!" Sherrod Brown has impeccable left credentials, but his campaign ads focused either on his opponent's supposed failings or his own opposition to the war. Now, I'm as down on the war in Iraq as the next leftist academic Middle East expert (wannabe). But that doesn't mean I'm going to reduce myself to voting for a one-issue candidate. I actually kinda liked the spirit of the dialogue and conviviality that DeWine tried to inject into Congress's poisonous partisan atmosphere. But I knew DeWine would lose so I voted for him, as much a reward for standing apart last year as for anything. (No Greens were running.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Ethnic Kurds"!?

I heard this on National Pentagon Radio this morning: Saddam Hussein is again in court today, this time for an incident that resulted in the death of hundreds of "ethnic Kurds."

What is an ethnic Kurd? How is an ethnic Kurd different from any other kind of Kurd?

Since we can talk about Navajos, Manchurians, Berbers, Bantus, and other sociolinguistic ethnic groups without the ethnic prefix being necessary, why do we need to have it here? Google "ethnic navajos" and there's nothing, while "ethnic kurds" returns 95,000 hits.

Does this nomenclature reflect the pressure of the Turkish foreign ministry on American public radio newswriters?

I'm assuming to talk about "Kurds"--Turkish Kurds, for example, instead of Kurdish Turks--would be too much to take, given the close identification between Turkish nationality and Turkish ethnicity. Use of the noun instead of the adjective would be taken as proof that the writer supports Kurdish nationalism! Even the other option, to say that Saddam killed "Iraqi Kurds," could be taken as evidence of bias. It's as if the writer must introduce the adjective "ethnic" in order to reassure worried listeners that those killed were merely speakers of the Kurdish language and not violent PKK separatists...

Such close identification between nation and ethnicity would be far less likely in, for example, Syria, Egypt, or (still?) Iraq, the classic Arab nationalist states.

Which brings us back to the evilness (and counter-intuitiveness) of the current ethnic cleansing in Iraq: Where did all this come from? I have my ideas... And yes, this version does have something to with media, colonialism--of which Saddam was an agent--and self-fulfilling prophecies.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Is this the America we believe in?

Link it

Friday, November 03, 2006

China-Africa Trade

Interesting map.

One guy I talked with in Tangier said African leaders like to work with China because the Chinese don't ask uncomfortable questions.

But Ghana has been trying to build the Bui Dam for 40 years, and only now--with Chinese money--does it look like the dam's going to be built. It's hard to argue with that kind of support.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Index of Civil Conflict

From the New York Times.