"I give you this one rule of conduct. Do what you will, but speak out always. Be shunned, be hated, be ridiculed, be scared, be in doubt, but don't be gagged. The time of trial is always. Now is the appointed time."

--John J. Chapman, Commencement Address to the Graduating Class of Hobart College, 1900
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Watching The Road with Sean. Moved, once again, by the shouting match about worry near the end of the film. "You're not the one who has to worry about everything!"  mumble... "What'd you say?" Defiance and desperate anger: "Yes I am! I am the one who worries!"

Perfectly captures the conflict between the generations that keeps going on and on.

so sez Matt Duncan at 2:10 PM [edit]

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

COM 121 - Inspiration and Resources
Nancy Duarte:

Simon Sinek:

so sez Matt Duncan at 4:51 PM [edit]

Saturday, January 07, 2012

For ENGLISH 112 - info graphics, etc.
My first Prezi presentation:
  Toby Ng infographics "the world of 100"
  When to Use a Semicolon by The Oatmeal
  Infographics Showcase
  10 Tips to Improve Your Grammar
  Literally by The Oatmeal
  Oatmeal Grammar Pack
  Sitting is Killing You
  Daily Infographic
  iPhone 3GS vs. iPhone 4

so sez Matt Duncan at 1:02 AM [edit]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

He Didn't JUST Write Conan Stories
Robert E. Howard's Weird Western Tale - The Horror from the Mound

so sez Matt Duncan at 11:45 AM [edit]

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Civil War: A Cause for Celebration
Great points offered in Ta-Nahesi Coates opinion piece on why the Civil War isn't tragic. Among them, excellent ammunition to refute the "States Rights" argument, including these (from Mississippi's secession document):

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth."

coupled with:

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition."

In honor of striking the biggest blow to THAT line of thinking... yes, sir. A cause for celebration.

so sez Matt Duncan at 11:35 AM [edit]

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Difference Between "Wounded" and "Butthurt"
linked for TRUTH:

so sez Matt Duncan at 10:45 AM [edit]

Sunday, May 08, 2011

DJ Setlist - Butterfly in Kyoto - April 7
Messiah - "Temple of Dreams"
Lady Bouncer - "Dirty Mary"
KREVA - "Practice Session feat.SONOMI"
DJ Shadow Feat. Mos Def - "Six Days The Remix"
Pendulum - "Slam"
Whale - "Hobo Humping Slobo Babe"
MIA - "Paper Planes"
MGMT - "Time to Pretend"
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - "Dance The Way I Feel"
Christina Aguilera - "Not Myself Tonight"
Justin Timberlake feat. Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes "Sexy Back Pt. II"
Placebo - "Pure Morning"
Robyn - "Konichiwa Bitches"
KARA - "Mister"
Cee Lo Green - "Fuck You"
Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"
Lady Gaga - "Born This Way"
LMFAO Feat. Lil Jon - "Shots (Dirty)"
Flo Rida - "Club Can't Handle Me (feat. David Guetta)"
O-Zone - "Dragostea din tei"
THE BLUE HEARTS - "リンダ・リンダ"
Chumbawamba - "Tubthumping"
Naughty By Nature - "OPP"
Far East Movement - "Like A G6"
LMFAO - "Girl Can't Help It"
DJ Mugen - "gaga medley" (Just Dance, Bad Romance, Love Game)

so sez Matt Duncan at 3:58 AM [edit]

Monday, March 21, 2011

Music Blog?
Not sure exactly when/how I'm going to do it, but I may be starting/shifting some of my blogging to a greater music focus. My twitter is mostly posts from my audioscrobbles and my posts. I've seen some tools I can use, and I've started working on some remixes and some DJ tracks/mixtape sorts of things. More info to follow soon.

so sez Matt Duncan at 11:11 PM [edit]

Monday, March 07, 2011

Higher Education, Pay, and Unions
Just did a search and discovered:

At University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, full-time English Instructors in 2010-11 made around $28,500. That's a job that requires a Masters Degree (6 years of education with accompanying tuition/debt). I would hazard that the same folks could probably work overtime each term plus teach a class in the summer and make an additional $4000 - $6000, maybe — if the classes are available and the department decides to give them to instructors.

UIUC has no faculty unions.

In 2001, I was hired as an Instructor at Northern Illinois University. At the time, salary was $22,000. A few months after I was hired, the union completed negotiations that brought Instructor salaries up to $27,500 and made it retroactive to the beginning of the year. The collective bargaining agreement also set up a schedule for raises over the next several years.

UIUC's faculty have had merit and other pay raises recently at a level of around 4%.

Unionized universities in Illinois and the surrounding states have had raises at around 16%.

Ultimately, 10 years later, and the un-unionized university instructors (and you should have no doubt - your children are taught by instructors, esp. in the first two years of school, as much or more than they are taught by graduate students [compensated with tuition and a stipend usually somewhere in the ballpark of $10,000 a year for teaching 3-4 classes each year, or about half what an instructor teaches], and particularly more than they are taught by actual professors) are making only $1000 more each year than the unionized teachers were making in 2001.

You do the math, and don't forget to factor in the 6 years (minimum) of university study (undergrad and grad) required to get that job. Don't forget the accompanying debt.

Get rid of the Instructors, and you can double the pay to hire an Assistant Prof (who needed at least 8 years of school, and maybe more like 11, to be qualified for the job). Of course, that Prof will teach less than an instructor (in an ideal situation, which no school currently has in this economic climate) because s/he is expected to be publishing and professionalizing in order to be eligible for tenure and promotion (the accomplishment of which is partly responsible for the school's accreditation). It can take such profs, making $45,000 - $60,000 as long as 5 years to successfully earn tenure and a raise to the $50,000 - $80,000 range, and there's no guarantee unless they go through the process again (5-10 years later?) that they'll get up to the $75,000 - $150,000 range of the Full Professor.

Those figures are for un-unionized professorial faculty. At unionized schools, bump it up some.

That's for English.

A significant portion of my students every year that I taught university-level English 101 could not adequately write nor communicate professionally or academically in English (or any other language), meaning such classes were not merely required for graduation but also necessary for academic success.

This is the value we place on education? No wonder educators at any level seek out union representation.

so sez Matt Duncan at 10:42 PM [edit]

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Finally Doing Something Right
I'm not a huge fan of Pope Benedict. He's said and done a lot of sketchy stuff in the past, and he's way more conservative than both of his predecessors. But recently he has written and made public his theological exoneration of the Jews for the death of Jesus.

Non-Catholics, especially atheists, may find the whole thing somewhat comical and meaningless, but it's huge. The number of Catholics in the world, the number of countries that follow Catholicism as de facto state religion... it matters. And Bendict's status as a theologian, steeped in study of Scripture, adds weight to his assertions throughout all of Christianity. Jewish leaders are hailing the statements as incredibly important in combating antisemitism worldwide.

So finally, Benedict comes through. He's got a long way to go to even come close to his predecessor, but he's also got a lot more problems (some of his own design during his tenure as John Paul II's right-hand-man) to deal with. Hopefully, before his term is up, he'll make more positive steps like this one.

so sez Matt Duncan at 3:27 AM [edit]

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

video tools
Motherlode link for DVD ripping, codecs, and related audio/video tools:

so sez Matt Duncan at 11:52 PM [edit]

Monday, January 31, 2011

97X - BANG! - The Future of Rock n' Roll
So, once again the realities of radio broadcasting in the 21st century are catching up with WOXY, 97X. If they can't find new investment/management (?) by March 23, they're gonna shut down.

This means a lot to me because WOXY was THE college radio station in southwestern Ohio when I was a teenager. I could rarely get it on the stereo at my house, but my friends with cars usually had it tuned in when they weren't listening to tapes, and every time we went to Cincinnati we tuned in.

But why should YOU care? Well... maybe you've seen a film called Rain Man. There's a great scene in which Dustin Hoffman's character repeats the slogan above "97X - BANG!- The Future of Rock n' Roll" over and over and over... it was awesome to see that in a movie when I was a teenager. The film's set in the Cincinnati area (at least part of it is) so it's appropriate, and it sparks nostalgia.

When I was a kid, the first time I ever heard Dream Warriors ("Wash Your Face in My Sink" and "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style") was on 97X. When I was in grad school, the first time I ever heard Smoosh or Vendetta Red was on 97X online. This station matters. To me, and to lots of other freaks and dorks from SW Ohio.

Back in 2002, 97X went offline for a bit, but it made it back. 9 years later, and reality may finally catch up with the station. I hope not... I hope someone out there helps them out. And if you're in the Cinci area or know someone with a truckload of money just waiting to be spent - buy in and keep the music alive.

so sez Matt Duncan at 10:02 AM [edit]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Plastician (fka Plasticman) on the History of Grime

Labels: , ,

so sez Matt Duncan at 9:38 PM [edit]

Sunday, January 02, 2011

I just woke up from a sequence of dreams fueled by anxiety.

Firstly, I lost my iPhone Saturday morning. I'm fairly convinced that I sat down on the train, and it was in my back pocket, then when I stood up it stayed on the seat. At any rate, it wasn't among my effects when I arrived home, alas. ><

Secondly, I believe I suffer from sleep apnea. I know that I snore horrendously, and I've been told that I also stop breathing often throughout the night. This sometimes breaks my sleep schedule up into very short patterns, especially if I fall asleep on my back.

So I'm sure it was a sequence of dreams, but it became one big narrative, at least for awhile. I'm sure there's something in my conscious mind that has stitched the various parts together.

Parts of it were... wonderful.

I was about 20 or 21 again. Sean was still a little guy. I had a pink mohawk all in braids. Pink and neon magenta were themes in at least one dream - it was the color of some event on campus.

At first, I was in a combination skate shop and music (instruments/gear) store. I had been looking for my inline skates, and couldn't find them, and Sean couldn't help me. We were in the basement of our old house on Tuttle Ave. A guy from the music store was a cancer survivor and I was visiting him at a special hospital. The hospital was more like a college campus - it was a huge complex, and some of the doctors lived in apartments on one level, while some of the patients and students lived in a dorm nearby. I was a student who was being checked for an injured leg. My family (Mom, Max, and Sean) were all having dinner with a group of people including one of my doctors/professors (I wasn't sure which, really).

That's where the wonderful parts get undermined by anxiety. No one knew what was wrong with my leg. I couldn't get the jeans I was wearing to fit right. I couldn't find the right wing, then the right floor, then the right room to meet the doctor. I didn't know anything about how the campus worked. I couldn't find my skates. I couldn't find the guy I wanted to visit. I was worried that he had a relapse. I couldn't find what I wanted to buy at the store.

But it all served to remind me, when I woke up, that things are just things. It's a colossal hassle that I lost my phone. It's distressing that there's no sign of it, but I can still complete calls to it, but no one answers. At least my privacy is protected because I have a password on it... But it's still out there, and gone but not quite gone. And to replace it won't be cheap. There are some people I may never be able to contact again, because I don't know their email/phone number. I can't even explain it to them easily.

But things are just things. And I'm not dead. My friends and family are relatively healthy (I hope!), and in the end, everything's going to be all right. I need that reminder more and more often.

Very frustrating.

so sez Matt Duncan at 1:16 AM [edit]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In about 1991, my dear friend Roo the Reaperboy introduced me to Coil's music by playing the CD Horse Rotorvator repeatedly. I found a used copy on vinyl. It's a masterpiece that challenged everything I thought I understood about music and the "scene" I was desperate to be part of - a sort of pre-Grunge post-punk pseudo-rivethead kind of alt.rock. This wasn't Nine Inch Nails, this wasn't Ministry, this was something beyond angry guitars and drum machines. This was magick and Art.

Coil's singer, John Balance, died just before I moved to Japan. A tragic accident. He fell from a building.

But two days ago, the other half of Coil joined him in death. Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson died in his sleep on 11/24/2010 at the age of 55.

Other people will remember him better than I can:

so sez Matt Duncan at 10:50 PM [edit]

Saturday, November 13, 2010

WhyNot Party playlist - September 11, 2010 - PURE
D.J. Shadow & Mos Def - Six Days
Miyavi - Girls, Be Ambitious
The Prodigy - No Good (Start the Dance)
IAMX - Think of England
Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch
Ayaka Ikio - Spin Me Round
Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal
Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disco
Muse - Uprising
Plumtree - Go!
Reel Big Fish - Beer
Save Ferris - Come On Eileen
The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go
Weezer - Beverly Hills
Puffy - No. 5 (Boogie Woogie No. 5)
Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way?
The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love
Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama Out Tonight
Steve Winwood - Valerie
MIA - Paper Planes
Jay-Z & Alicia Keyes - Empire State of Mind
Keri Hilson - Knocks You Down
Aoyama Thelma (with Soujah Boy) - Soba Ni Iru Ne
Sean Kingston - Me Love
Eminem & Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - Dance the Way I Feel
MGMT - Kids (Soulwax Nite Remix)
David Guetta ft. Akon - Sexy Bitch (Original Club Mix)
Kylie Minogue vs. Ludakris - Can't Lick You Out of My Bed
Lady Gaga (ft. Colby O'Donis) - Just Dance
Nina Sky ft. Vybz Kartel - Move Ya Body (remix)
Dee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart
MIA - 10 Dollar
Mr. Hudson & The Library - Everything is Broken (ft. Kid Cudi)
All Time Low - Umbrella
Weezer - Pork & Beans
Sean Kingston - My Girlfriend
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back Pt. II
Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling
Little Boots - Remedy (A1 Bassline)
Andre 3000/Outkast - Hey Ya!
Lady Gaga - Bad Romance (David Guetta mix)
Pitbull - Hotel Room Service
Pink - So What
Blue Hearts - Linda Linda
House of Pain - Jump Around
Chumbawumba - Tubthumping
Black Eyed Peas - Let's Get Retarded
Cee Lo Green - Fuck You
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Lady Gaga - Pokerface
Journey - Don't Stop Believin'
Bon Jovi - Livin' On a Prayer
O-Zone - Dragostea Din Tei
Gunther - Ding Dong Song (You Touch My Tra La La)
Simple Minds - Don't You Forget About Me

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so sez Matt Duncan at 3:28 AM [edit]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Scariest" My Ass
Stumbled onto's list of the 50 Scariest Movies last week. Marked the ones I've seen with an X. Commentary and challenges follow the list.

50. Arachnaphobia
49. The Innocents (61)
x48. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
x47. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (71)
46. Wicker Man (73)
x45. The Blob (88)
x44. Rosemary's Baby (68)
x43. The Brood (79)
x42. Event Horizon
x41. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
x40. Eraserhead
x39. Amityville Horror (78)
x38. Pet Sematary
37. Open Water
x36. Nightmare on Elm Street (84)
x35. The Fly (86)
x34. 'Salem's Lot (79 - TV)
33. Gates of Hell (Italy 80)
32. Session 9
x31. In the Mouth of Madness
x30. Altered States
x29. Mothman Prophecies
x28. The Mist
x27. Videodrome
x26. Seven
25. War of the Worlds (53)
x24. Saw
23. Janghwa, Hongryeon (Korean 03)
x22. Silence of the Lambs
x21. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (74)
x20. Hellraiser
x19. The Changeling (80)
x18. 28 Days Later
x17. Labyrinto del Fauno (Mexico/Spain 2006)
x16. Jacob's Ladder
x15. Jaws
x14. The Exorcist (?!)
13. Quatermass and the Pit (68)
x12. Cloverfield (?!)
x11. The Shining (80)
10. Audition (Japan 99)
x9. Halloween (78)
x8. Evil Dead II (87) (?!)
7. Dawn of the Dead (78) (only in pieces, never all the way in one sitting)
x6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (78)
x5. Alien
x4. The Ring (USA 2002) (?!)
3. Rec (Spain 2007)
x2. Juon (Japan 2000) (?!)
x1. The Thing (82)

Some great inclusions. The top of their list (John Carpenter's THE THING) is my favorite horror/sci-fi movie ever, definitely. Some of the movies on this list do deserve more respect and more viewers. But you really want me to believe that Evil Dead 2 is SCARIER THAN The Exorcist? Who are you trying to kid? The list undermines itself every time it redeems itself.

And what about...

...The Evil Dead? While Evil Dead 2 is basically a "do-over" of the first movie in many ways, it's a completely different approach. The first Evil Dead movie is SCARY. Terrifying in places, and the cheaper effects VERY MUCH add to that fright factor. Evil Dead would be on my list, but not Evil Dead 2.

... The Sentinel? Terrifying, but also disturbing in an exploitative way. One could perhaps include Tod Brownings's FREAKS in the same vein. But beyond the exploitation angle, The Sentinel also has a really creepy dichotomy about the role of guardian at the gates of Hell itself.

... Ringu? Including the American remake of Ringu, but dissing The Grudge, yet including Ju-on and not even mentioning Ringu? WTF? While I think all 4 films have their merits, and I do enjoy The Ring, skipping Ringu entirely is laughable and undermines some of their other good choices. Also, their discussion of the plot of the original Ju-on is a bit off, and ignores the entire last 20% or so of the movie.

... Friday the 13th? Seriously? Not ONE single movie in that franchise makes the cut, even though the other superhuman horror staples of the 80's (Elm St. and Halloween) both make it? I'm not a fan of these movies at all, and I've only seen 2 or 3 of them, but I'm kind of shocked. I found the story behind the origins of Jason Voorhees and his homicidal mother to be terrifying as a child. Given some of the other inclusions, this seems odd to me...especially things like Mothman Prophecies(!) and Pet Sematary.

... An American Werewolf in London? It's funny, but it's scary as hell in its own way, too. And the dead guy near the end of Pet Sematary sure seems to be riffing off this movie in a big way.

... Blair Witch, because it's "gimmicky"? And then to include Cloverfield? WTF? I wasn't so much "scared" as I watched Blair Witch, as I was tense and on the edge of my seat the entire time. Creeped out, for sure. It was a stressful film to watch, and it was one I hadn't anticipated correctly. Cloverfield was less stressful than annoying, most of the time. And if you want a film that at least seems more honest about how it handles "the characters are shooting documentary/mise en scene" - Diary of the Dead beats both these films, ultimately (though it's far less successful than either, I'd also argue - it's just more believable in this conceit).

... Sixth Sense? While I can understand wanting to distance one's list from Night's shenanigans, his first major film was spooky, with or without the twist. Perhaps the twist even undermines the fear factor, but that girl under the bed sure as hell didn't.

...Kaidan? Some of it feels dated, but there are some really spooky goings-on in this Japanese movie based on Lofcadio Hearn's documentation of Japanese horror folklore. Along these same lines, Kurosawa's DREAMS (Yume) has a couple of downright terrifying sequences.

... other Asian films - Eye? Shutter? Two very spooky movies (not from Japan or Korea) whose absence is obvious to anyone who has seen them. I'm ignorant of other choices, but I'm sure there are folks who can clue me in.

... Requiem for a Dream? Though it's not marketed as "horror," it's one of the most terrifying (and depressing) examples of film-making I've ever seen. It's also well-acted (by everyone, esp. Mr. Wayans) and has some of the most horrifying visual effects I've ever seen. The film version was also partially inspired/informed by a very creepy anime called Perfect Blue by the late, great Kon Satoshi. If we're going to include Altered States (a film I love, but hardly a staple of horror, and more along the lines of sci-fi than anything else), then it's pretty easy to argue for including Requiem.

... Mulholland Dr.? Or, for that matter, Lost Highway? Once you figure out what's happening in either of those films (it can take a few viewings), they're pretty scary. If we're going to include Eraserhead, then David Lynch's ouvre might need its own niche here. While most of his movies fit better into something like "gruesome noir" maybe, there's still a supernatural horrific presence in just about every one of his original films (except for the biopic The Straight Story, but even in the novel adaptation "Wild at Heart"). The Fungus-Faced Bum from Mulholland Dr. and the Mystery Man are pretty disturbing presences. Even Blue Velvet or Fire Walk With Me could fit here (Ben and his cronies, and the assorted residents of the Black Lodge!). I found Eraserhead far less "scary" than Mulholland Dr. and less creepy and tense than pretty much everything else I've mentioned here. Weird? Yes. Scary? Depends on what you're afraid of.

so sez Matt Duncan at 11:59 PM [edit]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In the countdown to Halloween, I have discovered Highschool of the Dead, an ongoing manga series (season 1 of the anime covered the first 3 collections, so hopefully once there's enough stuff published they'll make a season 2). It's also got stupid amounts of fan service (NSFW). Yen Press will release it in the USA starting in January 2001.

In light of my ongoing fascination with zombies (I've got about half a script for a 30 minute film featuring zombies that I wrote maybe 10 years ago, and I know the whole story I'd like to tell. I even did casting at one time among my friends, but schedules didn't allow for it...), I'd also like to see the following:

Zeder (Italian, 1983)
Deadgirl (2008)
Zombi 2 (Fulci, 1979)
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie / The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (1975)

and number one on my "want to see" list:
Dead Snow (2009)

Other, non-zombie want to see movies:
Rec (Spain, 2007)
Session 9 (2001)
Quatermass and the Pit (1968)
The Innocents (1961)

Old favorites I may rewatch (or did):
The Thing (1982)
Juon (Japan 2000)
Ringu (Japan 1998)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Changeling (1980)
Perfect Blue (Japan 1998)

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so sez Matt Duncan at 1:06 AM [edit]

Saturday, July 31, 2010

15 Albums in 15 Minutes
Another meme thing...

Nothing's Shocking - Jane's Addiction
Energy - Operation Ivy
Allroy's Revenge - ALL
Appetite for Destruction - Guns N'Roses
Crimson - Alkaline Trio
Too Dark Park - Skinny Puppy
The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste - Ministry
Infliction - Scheer
Rage Against the Machine
Purple Rain - Prince and the Revolution
Ride the Lightning - Metallica
Antichrist Superstar - Marilyn Manson
Exile in Guyville - Liz Phair
The Lion and the Cobra - Sinead O'Connor
Karma - Delirium

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so sez Matt Duncan at 1:22 AM [edit]

Friday, July 30, 2010

First iPhone post

so sez Matt Duncan at 2:34 AM [edit]

Monday, July 12, 2010

Triptych: Attitudes Toward Media
After doing battle with a Japanese cockroach yestereve, was thinking about Starship Troopers and its take on media. Actually a smart film with a nice satirical streak running through it.

Got me thinking about portrayals of media in film. I think this little trio could make a nice addition to several types of curricula, esp. those focused on portrayals of media/journalism. Show Citizen Kane and note the tension between Kane, as media syndicate boss vs. the reporter, an idealized notion of the uncorruptible, impartial and neutral journalist.

Next, show Almost Famous (or better yet, Untitled, the director's cut of the same film). Focus primarily on the fantastic portrayal of Lester Bangs by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and use that as a foil for the development of our hero, a surrogate for the director himself.

Finally, show Velvet Goldmine, which is equal parts each of the previous films. Several scenes are literally shot-for-shot homages to CK, and reconfiguring Kane as Bowie (et al) is genius. But most important is the "humanizing" of that reporter figure in Christian Bale's character, coming of age and coming out in the queer and glam-tabulous 70's. The shift to magazine reporting, the humanizing of the "narrator" as it were, all speaks to our changing expectations for journalism.

I'm not sure what film would be the next step...

so sez Matt Duncan at 11:50 AM [edit]

Friday, April 30, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
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For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

so sez Matt Duncan at 8:36 PM [edit]

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Obama's Done - The Good
I'm no huge fan of Barack Obama. I don't hate the guy, but when I see him, and listen to him, I'm disappointed more often than not. He's smooth. He's eloquent. He's someone I want to believe in.

But to me, he's a sell-out. He's a fence-straddler. He's TOO middle of the road. He's TOO right of where I'd like to see the country go. Isn't that ironic? He's not "socialist" enough for me. He's right of Clinton & Carter. He's as centrist as Gore2000 (which is right of Gore2010) and maybe even a little more to the right, actually. Which, from my perspective, if we rewind the clock about 15 years, almost makes him a moderate Republican.

The new healthcare plan is the evidence of that sell-out. It's hardly as revolutionary as, say, Social Security or Medicare. It's pretty similar to what Romney did in Massachussetts (psst- he's a Republican). It's even based in some ways on the counter-plans offered by Republicans in the mid-1990's as alternatives to Clinton's health care reform plan. Obama even acknowledges that it's "middle-of-the-road," and he's stuck to his campaign promise to "reach across the aisle." Kudos for that, but booooo for the result.

I think the healthcare plan is one step in the right direction, but then again - it basically gives the insurance companies GUARANTEED CUSTOMERS. It's like a subsidy for them, almost, to compensate for regulation. Sheesh.

But let's remember some of the GOOD things Obama's done in his year and a quarter in office.
  • The health care bill has a section (insanely - hello modern American politics) that will push $36 billion into the Pell Grant program, but beyond that bill, there was also the following:
  • $5 billion for home weatherization, targeting energy efficiency and jobs to low-income communities
  • $250 million for Choice Neighborhoods, so people can live in a community connected to true opportunity
  • $400 million to open new supermarkets and farmers markets in underserved communities
  • $600 million for summer youth jobs
  • 210 million for Promise Neighborhoods, to spread the powerful message of the Harlem Children's Zone
  • $8.1 billion for nutrition support programs--a $400 million boost from last year
  • $9.4 billion to help preserve more than 1 million rental units nationwide
  • $4 billion for Race to the Top education grants
  • $10.2 billion for early childhood education
  • $144 million for prisoner re-entry programs
  • $4 billion for Community Development Block Grants--plus another $150 million in competitive grants to spark economic development innovation
  • $4 billion in job-training programs for youth, displaced workers and the unemployed
  • An 11 percent funding increase in the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division
  • Three major health bills (SCHIP, tobacco regulation, and stimulus funds for Medicaid, COBRA subsidies, health information technology and the National Institutes of Health) enacted even before comprehensive reform
  • Stimulus contained myriad other individual policy victories, not only preventing a far worse depression but also:
    • Delivered key new funds for education
    • Expanded state energy conservation programs and new transit programs
    • Added new smart grid investments
    • Funded high-speed Internet broadband programs
    • Extended unemployment insurance for up to 99 weeks for the unemployed and modernizing state UI programs to cover more of the unemployed
  • Made large new investments in the safety net, from food stamps (SNAP) to affordable housing to child care
  • Clean cars victory to take gas mileage requirements to 35mpg
  • Protection of 2 million acres of land against oil and gas drilling and other development
  • Executive orders protecting labor rights, from project labor agreements to protecting rights of contractor employees on federal jobs
  • Stopping pay discrimination through Lilly Ledbetter and Equal Pay laws
  • Making it easier for airline and railway workers to unionize, while appointing NLRB and other labor officials who will strengthen freedom to form unions
  • Reversing Bush ban on funding overseas family planning clinics
  • Passing hate crimes protections for gays and lesbians
  • Protecting stem cell research
  • Strengthening state authority and restricting federal preemption to protect state consumer, environmental and labor laws
  • Financial reforms to protect homeowners and credit card holders
  • Bailing out the auto industry and protecting unionized retirees and workers

I can get behind just about all of that, if it's implemented properly.

Let's see what the next 2 years and change can bring.

so sez Matt Duncan at 10:13 PM [edit]
What I'm Listening To: