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The radical imagination -- American style

By Michael J. Smith on Friday August 10, 2007 07:33 AM

Cindy Sheehan announced her candidacy for the House seat held by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Ms. Sheehan, a peace advocate, said last month that she intended to run against Ms. Pelosi if Ms. Pelosi did not move to impeach President Bush by July 23.... She said would run as an independent on a platform of universal health care and making college affordable.
Now if she wanted to make college illegal -- I'd quit my job and go volunteer for her campaign.

Comments (9)

Wow, gotta love that stiff, understated NYT Style: "Ms. Sheehan, a peace advocate".

Still, that platform...universal health care, affordable college -- that sounds like a DP platform from about thirty, thirty-five years ago.

And, why such a bland platform? I mean, I can totally get down with universal health care and an affordable college education, but...where's Iraq? Where's Afghanistan? Where's the shutdown of Guantanamo Bay? Where's the closure of US gulags overseas where the US State is torturing people? Where's the repeal of the Patriot Act? Where's the dissolution of the NSA, DHS and TSA?

Seriously, Cindy...I can't believe with all the sound and fury of a few weeks ago, this is the best platform you can come up with. Huh. Damn.

Oh, and btw, if my parents hadn't been able to afford a decent university-level arts education, it would've been a helluva lot tougher to develop my talent to the level it's at today -- not to mention missing out on all those keggers, stinky buds, four-way blotters, and road trips.


Mike F -- I have somewhat mixed feelings about college myself. Over time the mixture is becoming increasingly sour, however. I now refer to the education industry as "the credentialling sector", and I think it's getting too big for its britches.

In my ideal world there'd be places for people to study and learn after the age of 18, but they would administer no exams and award no credentials, except for places that trained various categories of specialized workers -- doctors, plumbers, that sort of thing.

Actually, Smiff, you're right on about the "credentialing sector"; I notice this a lot when perusing the graphic-arts job ads in the Post and on Craigslist -- they seem to value experience and a strong portfolio enough, but a lot of them really seem to crave that BFA in my creds.

And, yeah, more and more these days, when I see the kind of psychotic behavior of university administrators, and the kind of goofy-assed studies being reported in the press -- remember that one guy who caused a big shitstorm when he released that study that claimed proof that women who dress attractively or provocatively were "asking for it" (rape) -- and some of the nutty-assed behavior of public-school teachers and administrators these days, it makes me wonder, "Jayzus, I thought these were some serious universities these people went to, and it looks like they're handing out degrees to anyone with a pulse and respiration."

What really worries me is just how the hell this country's supposed to realize its purported Vision For Space Exploration when places like Cal Tech, Purdue and MIT start filling up with freshmen coming from public school systems where they were taught that humans and dinosaurs lived on Earth at the same time, and that the Universe is ten thousand years old.


Mike is right on, but in Cindy's defense I imagine she does not have a big time political consultant helping her. I wonder if the article is even accurate, or being accurately summarized? How could Cindy be running against Pelosi WITHOUT mentioning the war, the Patriot act, the military/congressional complex?

As for colleges, sad to say I guess you're probably right. I didnt learn much either, until I went to grad school. it's a good thing I wasnt working, though, during that time of my life. I would have been fired in a week.


Ah, fellas, you use phrases like "serious universities" and "learn .. at grad school" - what or where on earth are you talking about? These are credential mills, all of them, now corporatized and bottom-lined, but where is it Donald Rumseld and George Bush and Ted Kennedy went to get their purported degrees? 911 may be a joke, but that's kid stuff compared to the trillions that have been wasted on giving America's youth the impression that now they know something and can go out there and do their stupid jobs with impunity. Look at the graphs of America's expenditures on higher education and its levels of economic inequality - two post-war bolts upward, in tandem, hand in hand.


I rather like how Michael Parenti describes his own abortive academic career: "I've been kicked out of some of the best colleges in America".

As a friend of mine is fond of saying, a police truncheon to the head makes a more effective teacher of the reality of class struggle than a whole library full of theoretical Marxism books.

So much damned education is going "online", too...I really enjoyed David Noble's _DIGITAL DIPLOMA MILLS_ while pursuing my MLS and taking as many face-to-face courses as I could, until certain life circumstances (an ugly divorce, mostly) forced me to finish my degree online.

I also experienced an enormous period of intellectual growth in graduate school;
Although this was at the "Harvard of the Southwest", precious little of that intellectual growth had anything to do with what went on in those graduate seminars either, and everything to do with the intellectual ferment going on in the surrounding community of alumni, local artists, local medical school personnel wandering in for a pint at the local student pub, etc.

Classes were more of a distraction than anything--they (i.e. most of the faculty) so SUCKED the life out of my chosen field of study (German Studies) I could barely stand to attend classes, do papers, what have you...I tended to like to read stuff that drove my passions--sometimes it was German stuff, often times not; and even when it was German material, 50%-50% chance it wasn't from the "approved" reading list. That I was declared a "terminal" Masters should come as no surprise.

It was picking up the study of Spanish as an elective on my way to getting credentialed for public school teaching...and also studying the History of Latin America, and the History of US interventions there, and the brutal regimes propped up by the USA---THIS more than anything previously, truly radicalized my perspectives; I didn't stay in teaching, though--just couldn't stand it, I certainly wasn't cut out for it; so I picked up an MLS next, but still have the same dead-end corporate job I did right after I quit teaching but before I went and got my MLS. I think Neil Postman had a lot to say about what ails the way we educate in this country, but few actually listen.

I feel today like a lot of my so-called education has been wasted time that would've been put to better use actually learning a productive skill, like metal-working, permaculture-based organic farming, or becoming an electrician; not in place of all the high fallutin' reading, etc, but alongside it.

I can't top Bill Hicks: "If any of you are in advertising or marketing...kill yourself. No, this is not a f*cking joke, there's no little punch-line. Kill yourself. No, seriously, do. I don't care how you do it, suck a tail pipe, borrow a gun from a yank friend....there's no justification for what you do; you are satan's little helpers, filling the world with violent garbage, you're fucked and you're fucking us, please rid the world of your evil machinations, kill yourself...
"...I know what all the marketing guys are doing right now, too...'ooh, bill's playing that anti-marketing dollar; that's a good market, bill's very smart to do that.'
GOD dammit I am not f*cking doing that you evil scumbags; quit putting a f*cking dollar sign on front of every godd*mn thing on the planet..."

Bill Hicks, George Carlin, the blogosphere (including this 'lil corner of the 'net) and other "stand up philosophers" have taught me a good deal more about this world than a good many of the well-meaning, soft-spoken PhDs I've met through the years ever could.


"And, why such a bland platform? I mean, I can totally get down with universal health care and an affordable college education, but...where's Iraq? Where's Afghanistan? Where's the shutdown of Guantanamo Bay? Where's the closure of US gulags overseas where the US State is torturing people? Where's the repeal of the Patriot Act? Where's the dissolution of the NSA, DHS and TSA?"

Posted by Mike Flugennock | August 10, 2007 8:42 AM

Oh, ye of little faith! Check out her website, which is still under construction:


"Incredibly, even before the November elections, Ms. Pelosi took part of the Constitution off the table and it’s time to put it back on! Ms. Pelosi colluded with BushCo to take away our 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Congress needs to make that body relevant again as a co-equal branch of government that has a responsibility to put checks and balances on the executive branch not be conspirators in its crimes and murder.

The Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act need to be repealed and Habeas Corpus needs to be restored. These things can only happen with fearless leadership, not fearful capitulation to a lying President."


head line news

cindy S
gets support of entire paine clan


Second headline:

Space aliens split SMBIVA thread into two subjects and then return it to the original!!!

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