Friday, March 30, 2012

A Different View: Creationism, Theocracy, and the Grand Canyon

Sean Ewart

I recently put in a call to the Grand Canyon Association's book store. The woman answered the phone, “hello? Can I help you?” “Yes,” I said, “I'm looking for a book, but I forget its name... could you help me find it if I told you what it's about?” … She was clearly taken aback; “Um...” she said, “I can try...” “Perfect!” I said, “I'm looking for a book that talks about how god created the Grand Canyon 6,000 years ago.” “Oh!” exclaimed the woman, “you're looking for A Different View.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Science of Politics

Redefining political science by the light of Darwinian logic

Sean Ewart

Political science is billed as the study of the fundamental questions of government, the nature of the acquisition and maintenance of political power, and the means by which citizens can hold their government accountable. Government is the body which dictates – more or less equitably, and with more or less transparency – the distribution of resources both material and existential. Intellectual property rights, for instance, are increasingly within the domain of governmental regulation as the upper strata of human society (encompassing much of Western Europe and her former colonies, Japan, South Korea, etc) moves towards an economy based upon free moving capital and the magicians hat-trick of pulling more value out of a physical commodity by leveraging the forces of supply and demand. The mandate for such power, handed seemingly from the divinity itself (and often claimed as such), is, of course, the issue – though it can be said that political success is its own mandate, and it would be hard to disagree, in practice, with such a position.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 1/2: A Little Kiss

 Joe Chiarenzelli is an editor at The Gadfly Press and wishes he was Don Draper.

 Mandy Lafond is a soon-to-be graduate of St. Lawrence University, studying philosophy with a minor in Asian studies.  She’s currently writing a thesis on postmodernist film theory and Jean Baudrillard. In her spare time she likes philosophizing, playing with her pet rabbit and reading Wikipedia for fun.

Getting angry: because apologizing for white privilege isn't solving anything

Sean Ewart

Trayvon Martin
If my apology could reverse the bullet of prejudice which took the life of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012... it would be given in the blink of an eye. If I could atone for the fact that, perhaps due to my race, I was not even aware of the assassination of Trayvon until weeks after it occurred... I would. If I was able to change the historical facts which have lead up to the point where I, a white man, identify with the shooter, a Latino, almost by default... it would be done. But I can't. So I offer these words to a society which is being forced – again – to confront the ugly sore of racial injustice that we have hidden under layers of costly denial: enough empty words and broken promises, enough political correct talk of post-racial societies, we must deal with race realistically and honestly.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cosmetic Psychopharmacology Part Three

This is the third of a multiple part series exploring Cosmetic Psychopharmacology. It includes the text of Joe's thesis and will culminate in a reanalysis and break down of the piece. Read Part One here.Part Two here Part Four here    

Joe Chiarenzelli

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 13: Beside the Dying Fire

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Violent, Bloody, and Victorious Arab Spring

The Egyptian Case

Sean Ewart

The Arab Spring flared across the Middle East last year leaving toppled dictatorships, festering civil wars, and countless dead in its wake. Billed as a democratic movement spontaneously erupting in opposition to authoritarian governments, the settling dust is revealing a much different picture. A year on and we have apparently endemic tribal warfare in Libya, a civil war in Syria, a military oligarchy in Egypt (with an Islamist government waiting in the wings to seize power), a bloody family feud in Yemen, and a variety of greater or lesser reforms implemented in other nations which have (mostly) pacified the malcontents. Egypt, as the location of some of the most radical changes resulting from the Arab Spring, is an instructive example. Islamists have the people’s mandate; the military is still in control of the real power; and foreign and internal policies are increasingly destabilizing the region. Yes, there is a democratic movement in the Arab world; no, the Arab world is not yet democratic.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kony 2012: the viral mythology

Sharmin Hossain

The Invisible Children Kony 2012 campaign went viral over the past week, sparking a wave of cyber activists who imagine that changing their profile picture or tweeting “#stopkony2012” are effective means of raising mass awareness and somehow altering the status quo of this devastating situation. Invisible Children has made this campaign against Joseph Kony a viral phenomenon, raising awareness through a professional video funded by donors of the organization, with over 100 million views. While the Invisible Children organization is a non-profit group, that fact that it is incorporated makes us question the legitimacy of this organization - and their campaign in general. In the past year, they’ve spent a whopping $9M dollars; over $6M spent on film making, traveling, and salaries. Some of the sponsors include Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and George Bush, which makes us (or maybe just me) skeptical. The organization spends a mere 32% of their millions earned on direct aid, as their public financial statement unveils.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Conservapedia: Where Reality Goes to Die

James Novak

What is Conservapedia? It is an online encyclopedia, or wiki, founded by attorney Andy Schlafly to counter the perceived liberal, anti-American, and anti-Christian bias of Wikipedia. It is all about giving the other side of the argument that is not seen on Jimmy Wales' website. I believe that there are many smart people on the right who have well backed up opinions, however, they are not well suited to this website. Conservapedia is a website that promotes bigotry as well as ignorance, and deserves to be ridiculed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 12: Better Angels

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Public and the Protestor: bruising the fruit, destroying the harvest

Sean Ewart

Photo courtesy of the NYSR Facebook page; that's me in the purple!

I was recently an observer at a protest, March 5, 2012, against cuts to state education funding in Albany, New York. Previously I have written about the Occupy Movement, in not-so-flattering terms, and I have been provoked to repetition – though I will also offer my humble suggestions towards improvement. As a product of the State University of New York myself, state funding cuts is an issue which hits close to home. Likewise, since 2010 I have been involved in organizing protests to these cuts here in Albany, the state capital. Enough introduction, regardless of my history, the words which follow are what matter:

“No justice, no peace! Fuck the police!” was the chant chosen by the protestors at the March 5 rally for higher education at the Capitol. The 150 college students and professors, holding signs and wearing their favorite protest garb, had crammed themselves into the hallway outside the governor's office and the War Room. Cologne choice? Accumulated perspiration, for which there was no excuse, these college students have access to showers – State University of New York and City University of New York schools still have money for that, for now. Roughly 35 of these individuals had planted themselves Indian-style on the floor to stage a “sit-in.” The other 115 people (give or take) pushed against the row of cordial police officers and cheered on their compatriots - “go get 'em Joe! Don't let them take away your dignity!” Of course, it is hard to take away the dignity of the undignified.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 11: Judge, Jury, Executioner

We at The Gadfly Press are launching a new initiative to bring more artistic and culture reporting into our coverage. We will be bringing you writing on a whole host of topics, from television to interviews with musicians. Give us feedback about what you like and don't like in the comments section.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 11: Judge, Jury, Executioner

An Interview with Galen Curry

We at The Gadfly Press are launching a new initiative to bring more artistic and culture reporting into our coverage. We will be bringing you writing on a whole host of topics, from television to interviews with musicians. Give us feedback about what you like and don't like in the comments section.

Galen Curry is a singer/songwriter currently based out of Austin, Texas. He is embarking on an effort to create a new album titled Narrative Gravity and is crowdfunding the endeavor through Kickstarter. This will be his second solo album after 2010's Some Perspective. The Gadfly Press talked with Galen about his musical influences, the state of music in general, and the interesting title of his new project.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Human Slavery: New York lawmakers fight back

Sean Ewart

The $32 billion dollar modern day slave trade now has roughly 27 million people in bondage. Of this astronomical figure, 2 million people are coerced into sex slavery and exploited by pimps for financial gain. The United States of America, as the world's wealthiest nation, is not immune. Between 100,000 and 300,000 children are prostituted in the USA alone – the average age for females to enter prostitution is 12-14, while males enter the industry at an average age of 11-13. The reality is, however, that it is nearly impossible to pin down the full extent of the problem; statistics which emphasize the exploitation of children should not be misread to imply that there is no issue of adult coercion. Slavery is, unimaginably, alive and thriving across the globe.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A conversation with Dr. Steven Ekovich on the Arab Uprisings and Syria

Saiful Saleem

Dr. Ekovich says that the Arab Spring
has brought about a significant change in mentality.

The Unoccupied Press sat down a few weeks ago with Dr. Steven Ekovich, a Political Science professor at the
American University of Paris, to discuss the ongoing uprisings in the Middle East, including the growing crisis in Syria.

Dr. Ekovich, a Vietnam war veteran originally from California, is a frequent political commentator on French television and radio. He publishes regularly on American politics and foreign policy. He is also the author of a French book titled Qui est John Kerry? (Who is John Kerry?). The following is an edited transcript of the conversation.