iOS app Android app

Bob Ostertag
GET UPDATES FROM Bob Ostertag
Historian, journalist, composer, Bob Ostertag's work cannot easily be summarized or pigeon-holed. He has published 21 CDs of music, two movies, two DVDs, and two books. His writings on contemporary politics have been published on every continent and in many languages. Electronic instruments of his own design are at the cutting edge of both music and video performance technology. He has performed at music, film, and multi-media festivals around the globe. His radically diverse collaborators include the Kronos Quartet, avant garder John Zorn, heavy metal star Mike Patton, jazz great Anthony Braxton, and others. He is currently Professor of Technocultural Studies and Music at the University of California at Davis.

Blog Entries by Bob Ostertag

Clown Show at UC Davis -- Too Bad It's Not Funny

0 Comments | Posted April 20, 2012 | 4:06 PM

Remember those videos of campus police pepper spraying seated students in the face at UC Davis last November? Old news, right? Well, it has taken all this time for the task force appointed by the UC president to make its report public (thanks in part to a lawsuit...

Read Post

University of California Gets It Wrong (Again)

8 Comments | Posted March 13, 2012 | 5:23 PM

Why is it that every time an administrator from the University of California opens their mouth about social protest they immediately insert their feet?

First it was UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau claiming that student protestors who linked arms were "not non-violent." Next it was

Read Post

The Chancellor and the Student, or, Speaking Truth to Power

0 Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 10:42 AM

In the wake of campus police pepper spraying seated students on November 18, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has stated, in various forums, to faculty and students, that she tried to meet with the students who were sprayed but was rebuffed. This came as a surprise to Jerika Heinze, who...

Read Post

UC Davis Students' Awe-inspiring Non-violence

0 Comments | Posted November 21, 2011 | 2:14 PM

The police brutality against students at UC Davis last week has triggered an international outpouring of disgust and anger toward the campus authorities.

Hopefully, what happened on the campus Saturday will be seen just as widely, as an inspiring example of the power of the most creative kind...

Read Post

Militarization Of Campus Police

0 Comments | Posted November 19, 2011 | 6:00 PM

Yesterday, police at UC Davis attacked seated students with a chemical gas.

I teach at UC Davis and I personally know many of the students who were the victims of this brutal and unprovoked assault. They are top students. In fact, I can report that among the students I...

Read Post

Climate Catastrophe Forces Perry to Temporarily Suspend Denying Climate Catastrophe

0 Comments | Posted September 6, 2011 | 5:36 PM

Sadly, the new outbreak of massive wildfires in Texas has forced Gov. Rick Perry to return home and temporarily suspend his efforts educating voters that global warming is really "all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight."

Perry cut short a visit to...

Read Post

What's a Million Years?

0 Comments | Posted March 27, 2011 | 10:43 PM

With a nuclear crisis ongoing it Japan, it may comfort you to know that our government has plans to keep America's nuclear waste safe for a million years.

What a relief! Good to know that, unlike in Japan, America's rulers have thought this stuff through.

Yes, the Energy...

Read Post

Feingold Launches the Sort of Political Action Committee We Need

0 Comments | Posted February 17, 2011 | 1:46 PM

I'll be brief and to the point: Russ Feingold launched a political action committee yesterday, and I am hoping that you will give him some money. I just did.

This is not the first time I have stumped for Mr. Feingold. Back during the last...

Read Post

The Main Event

0 Comments | Posted August 13, 2010 | 1:39 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, here it is, the main event you have all been waiting for,

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE.


NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies yesterday published a new report aptly titled July 2010 -- What Global Warming Looks Like. And it...

Read Post

Russia "Gets" Climate Change

0 Comments | Posted August 5, 2010 | 7:05 PM

And it unfolds:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declared a ban on grain exports for the rest of the year. Since Russia is the third largest grain exporter in the world, grain prices immediately shot up, and fears of the consequences circulated around the world. Particularly in Middle Eastern...

Read Post

Floods, Fires, Hipsters: Mission Accomplished

0 Comments | Posted August 4, 2010 | 3:18 PM

And so it unfolds:

  • Record flooding in Pakistan displaces millions, kills 1200, and cholera is starting to spread.
  • It is 106.3°F in the Ukraine. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev reports that in 14 regions of Russia "practically everything is burning." A drought accompanying the heat wave has ruined 25 million acres of...
Read Post

Whatever Happened to "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For"?

0 Comments | Posted August 2, 2010 | 5:23 PM

Anyone else remember "We Are the People We Have Been Waiting For," the signature line of Obama's presidential campaign? People as diverse as Alice Walker and Andrew Sullivan cited it in their endorsements of upstart candidate. What gave it zing was the fact that...

Read Post

Our Era in a Belt Buckle

0 Comments | Posted July 27, 2010 | 3:16 PM

Ancient Egypt had its Rosetta Stone, Ancient Greece had its Venus de Milo, Easter Island has its stunning moai, and now we have the perfect artifact of our time and place: a $100,000 American-flag belt buckle encrusted with rubies, sapphires and diamonds.

The historic piece of work is...

Read Post

Causes and Consequences of the BP Oil Catastrophe: What We Know, What We Don't Know, and What We Will Never Know

0 Comments | Posted June 3, 2010 | 12:10 PM

President Obama stood before the nation and world last week and, as oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, announced that his administration was "moving quickly on steps to ensure that a catastrophe like this never happens again." OK. There is one, and only one, way to ensure...

Read Post

Gulf Disaster: The Fatal Flaw in Obama's "Don't Make the Perfect the Enemy of the Good" Politics.

0 Comments | Posted May 6, 2010 | 2:40 PM

The catastrophe unfolding now in the Gulf of Mexico highlights, in a tragic and irrevocable way, is the fatal flaw in President Obama's "Don't Make the Perfect the Enemy of the Good" politics.

By now we have heard Obama recite his favorite platitude (originally from Voltaire) on numerous occasions: when...

Read Post

The New York Times, Astroturf, and the Gulf of Mexico

0 Comments | Posted May 4, 2010 | 2:19 AM

The New York Times published a major story today which bizarrely claims that the oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is not such a big deal after all. The Times quotes Quenton R. Dokken, the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation which the Times identifies...

Read Post

Finally, A Tea Party Debate Worth Having

0 Comments | Posted April 15, 2010 | 1:22 PM

Today's New York Times/CBS poll of Tea Party supporters found that Tea Party supporters are mostly white men who are wealthier and better educated than the general public, and they are convinced that the economic stimulus package and the health care reform helps the poor more than the...

Read Post

A Good Way to Donate to Haiti

0 Comments | Posted January 13, 2010 | 9:13 PM

If you are thinking of donating to earthquake relief in Haiti, and I hope you are, I urge you to consider donating through Partners in Health. This is an extraordinary organization with a stellar reputation for making maximum use of minimal resources for health work in impoverished parts of the...

Read Post

Governor Schwarzenegger Should Wash his Mouth Out with Soap

0 Comments | Posted December 16, 2009 | 5:13 PM

Governor Schwarzenegger should wash his mouth out with soap. Seriously.

When I was a kid I was over at a friend's house when he said a bad word and his mother washed his mouth out with soap. It was impressive. I don't think my friend said that word again for...

Read Post

Obama's Magical Surrealism in Honduras

0 Comments | Posted November 11, 2009 | 2:41 PM

"I've heard many in this room say that they will not recognize the elections in Honduras. I'm not trying to be a wiseguy, but what does that mean? What does that mean in the real world, not in the world of magical realism?" - W. Lewis Amselem, Obama administration's...
Read Post