Monday, April 30, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
The further adventures of the crying wolf
and read the comments below the strip.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Lee Iaccoca speaks truth to power...are you ready for The Rapture?
Check out this rant...lovely.
But, wait, there's more! Lee Iacocca is channeling Noam Chomsky!
OK, someone should have caught it when he started in on our "ships of state...going over cliffs" (how about our ship of state hitting a titanic iceberg? Or our train of chiseling political sycophants following our (non) president over the cliff of neo-fascist coup d'etat? Ships going over cliffs? Nah... too Bush League.
But, heck, I'm not complaining. You go Lee!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Has anyone noticed that Amy Goodman talks like Walter Cronkite?
Labels: amy goodman
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Depressed? Panicked? Blue? Use the Coffee With Milk Mantra!
non-sexist and adorable. But if you go there in spite of the caveat, well, you were warned.
The good news is that if you do watch it, you can use it whenever you need a good belly laugh.
The video is from youporn.com but it ain't porn IMHO.
In its own weird way, it points up some of the best things about the
American character, and we need that don't we?
Obviously, it's REAL. The expression of the guy with white hair and
smoking a cigarette is priceless.
There is a music track, but the voices were not recorded. After you
watch it a couple of times it reflects some of the finest values of
silent film comedy.
I have googled for the back-story on this video (there's a banner on the video but I found no links there), but no luck so far, if you find any, do let me know.
However, my google did take me to a wonderful blog:
Check out her very funny husband/wife dialog:
Monday, March 19, 2007
Australian Scientist: 1 Million Iraqis Killed Since Invasion
- http://democracynow.org (Headlines March 19 '07)
COMPARE AND CONTRAST:
US/Vietnam war (never declared) lasted 9 years.
US participation in WW2: 4.5
US/Iraq War (not declared, but yes, Virginia, it's a goddamn war) 4 years, one day and counting.
Anybody want to take the time how long all "our" other wars lasted, how many of "them" and how many of "us," how much they "cost," please let me know and we'll publish it here.
I think it's a pretty darn good idea to remember how craven the Dems have been throughout this thing, starting from the time Gore caved in during the 2000 election, Kerry in the second on throughout all the depradations of the Bush junta, including the castration of all three branches of the government and (the very easy) co-option of the mainstream media.
I also think that we need to change to a PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM and that this, plus:
- Global warming
- The population bomb,
- PAPER VOTES
- TAKING MONEY OUT OF POLITICS AT ALL LEVELS
An educational system that did not automatically drop-kick kids from one grade to the next would be nice (and I'm not talking about "No child left behind" crap, either.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Pithy and Always Relevant Quotes
“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
- Sinclair Lewis
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle"
- George Orwell
Book One, Chapter 5
"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… Has it ever occurred to your, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?…The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." - Syme
"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face… was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime…"
Book Two, Chapter 10
"It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same—everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another's existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same—people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world."
- "1984" George Orwell
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
In which Hugo Carves George a New One
Yes, I know: how can you carve a new asshole for a someone who's already ALL asshole?
Here's how. Enjoy.
(I have made abbreviations and editing notes. Emphases are mine.)
Excerpted from http://democracynow.org
"As President Bush tours
"You know, not far from the White House, there’s a statue of the great liberator Simon Bolivar. He’s often compared to George Washington -- Jorge W. Like
We are the sons and daughters of this struggle, and it is our mission to complete the revolution they began on our two continents. The millions across our hemisphere who every day suffer the degradations of poverty and hunger have a right to be impatient. And I'm going to make them this pledge: The goal of this great country, the goal of a country full of generous people, is an
"Today, we’re going to play an excerpt of one of Chavez's speeches, this at the mass really in
The imperial little gentleman that's visiting
George Washington won a war to gain the independence of the North American economic elite from the English empire, and when Washington died, or, rather, after his independence and after having been the president of the United States, after ordering the massacre of the indigenous peoples of North America, after defending slavery, he ended up being a very rich owner of slaves and of a plantation. He was a great landowner. That was George Washington.
Simon Bolivar, however, was born with a silver spoon, and at eight years old his parents died and he inherited a large fortune, together with his brothers, and he inherited haciendas and slaves. Simon Bolivar, when history led him -- and as Karl Marx said, men can make history, but only as far as history allows us to do so -- when history took Bolivar and made him the leader of the independence process in
And Simon Bolivar, having been born with that silver spoon in his mouth, when he died on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, when he died on December 17 in 1830, he was dressed with a shirt of someone else, because he had no clothes. Simon Bolivar is the leader of the revolution of this land. He is the leader of the social revolution, the people's revolution, the historical revolution. George Washington has nothing -- nothing -- to do with this history.
It was in 1823 that James Monroe said, "
Sunday, March 04, 2007
How Easter Got its Name
O.E. Eastre (Northumbrian Eostre), from P.Gmc. *Austron, a goddess of fertility and sunrise whose feast was celebrated at the spring equinox, from *austra-, from PIE *aus- "to shine" (especially of the dawn). Bede says Anglo-Saxon Christians adopted her name and many of the celebratory practices for their Mass of Christ's resurrection. Ultimately related to east. Almost all neighboring languages use a variant of L. Pasche to name this holiday. Easter Island so called because it was discovered by Europeans on Easter Sunday, 1722.
Well, the heck with Bede! What kind of a name is that for a guy anyway?
With the advent of Christianity to the British Isles, an enterprising Pagan baker (or maybe Jewish? His name is lost to history) decided to capitalize on the observation of the resurrection by creating something special for his Christian customers. He named his creation "Yeaster's Bread," an allusion to the traditional observation: "He is Risen." The rest is Yeastory.
Friday, February 16, 2007
OM on the range Or: The Shortest Peoples' History of the United States
- Was The Cuban Missile Crisis about Pearl Harbor? The Main?
- Were the invasions of Panama and Granada about Pearl Harbor? Protecting Our Backyard? Godless Communism?
- Was Desert Storm about Pearl Harbor? Oil?
- Is the war in Iraq about 9/11? Pearl Harbor? Oil?
- Was the Vietnam war about the Gulf of Tonkin? Pearl Harbor? Godless Communism? Oil?
- Was the Korean War about Godless Communism? Pearl Harbor? Oil?
- Was World War Two about Pearl Harbor? A Very Bad Man? You're sure it wasn't Pearl Harbor?
- Was World War One about Pearl Harbor? World War Two?
- Was The Spanish American War about The Main? Pearl Harbor? Yellow Journalism? Patty Hearst? William Randolph Hearst? Teddy's Height Problem?
- Was The Civil War about Pearl Harbor? Slavery? Sudden Onset Indignation?
- Was the eradication of Native Americans about Pearl Harbor? Iron Horses? Buffalo? Rampant greed? Poor Hygiene?
- Was American Revolution about Pearl Harbor? Boston Harbor?
This is an open book test because that's the only kind you can pass. You will find all your answers here, good luck.
America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can't stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don't feel good don't bother me.
I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I'm sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don't think he'll come back it's sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I'm trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I'm doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven't read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I'm not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there's going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right.
I won't say the Lord's Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven't told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over
I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.
Asia is rising against me.
I haven't got a chinaman's chance.
I'd better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I'm a Catholic.
America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his
automobiles more so they're all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1935 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America you don're really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader's Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I'd better get right down to the job.
It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts
factories, I'm nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
More about emailing Al Gore
My techie friends point out that email FORMS pop-up when you click on "contact us" in many websites because it helps them help you by getting vital info up-front, while helping them help them to "harvest" (love that term!) information about the sender. Well, in Mr. Gore's case, even that was not available.
At any rate, we certainly are seeing a new Al here (I still think it's not to late for him to drop some quality Sandoz product and REALLY not take it anymore). He's been instrumental in the creation of the new billion dollar prize for a global warming solution, and although I have not seen it yet (my bad, I know) I think I'm on terra firma in opining that "An Inconveniant Truth" is the most compelling (popular/non-academic) case yet made for the FACT and CRITICAL NATURE of global warming.
Which brings me to talking about Hillary Clinton's latest response to why she voted for the war in Iraq. Allow me to summarize her response (minus the firm voice and steely girl-scout gaze):
"Well...uh...I jes thought...uh...my gawd...mah president is tellin' me that these ayrabs have weppuns of mass destruction and ...uh...well jeez...mah own husband wuz a presidaint oncet...so I couldn't imagine that any presidaint could tell a lie!!! So..uh...of course I voted for the war appropriations."
Oh what a bunch of brainless fuckwads we are....To listen to this horseshit, to allow all three branches of "government" to get gang raped by neo-nazi hooligans (not that the rapees aren't scum too), to allow TWO elections to be stolen, to allow the camel of religion back under the tent (first the nose, then the hump), to send hundreds of thousands of people to unbelievably cruel deaths and maiming and loss, and to have the unmitigated conceitedness to worry a thousand times more for "our" dead and wounded vs. "their" dead and wounded, and perhaps most egregiously of all, to sanction by innaction an educational system that educates just enough people to keep the military/industrial complex alive while allowing 99% percent of the population to "graduate" from high school, college and university with just enough information to do their jobs and still not be able to find the US on a world map.
An hour ago, I heard (on demacracynow.org) a US senator say that he had no idea that the World Bank countenanced the sell-out of poor nations' debts for pennies on the dollar. And I believe the poor bastard...he did not know...just like poor Hillary didn't know.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Preaching to the choir.
I take issue with some of Maurice's perspective on the hippies/politicos dichotomy in his fascinating article "1968 and all that."
As a preface, I address this to issues at Reed as reflected in the World Outside.
Maurice states: "...we discovered to our dismay that most of our fellow Reedies failed to show much interest in joining us at the barricades in a replay of the 1968 Columbia Strike. Reed SDS neither enrolled nor spoke for most students. One problem (sic) was that the campus harbored many more hippies than it did politicos. To the outside world, the two groups may have been indistinguishable, but at Reed each knew how they differed from the other camp (...) for the hippies it was a revolution in consciousness and spirit, as in "you'd better free your mind instead."
If, as he says, many in the "youth movement" of that time looked indistinguishable to earlier generations, it was not just that they (we) dressed similarly and wore long hair, beards and so on, it's that there was a significant gray zone between what it was to be a "hippy" vs. "politico." Was Arlo Guthrie a political or a hippy? Alan Ginsberg? And don't throw Tim Leary at me, OK? That's not fair.
Just because one did not join SDS or PRYM did not make one not political (sorry about the triple negative). If you wore the hippy/left drag of the day, it could be safely taken as rather reliable a priori statement about one's political convictions. At that time and place, you were pretty much on target in believing that most most of us who were called "hippies," whether members of the above or related political organizations or not, were indeed actively against the war. The marches and day to day protests were fueled by many more people than the relatively small faction of "activists" that Maurice refers to.
Many years back, Marlena Smith (political commentator on radio free KBOO, 90.7 on your FM dial), did a broadcast where she read an article about the world's debt to hippies (not SDS, hippies). I found it to be a very moving, concise and articulate statement. Maybe someone can Google it or ask Marlena, but I just want to step up to the plate and say that the politico-social matrix was more complex than what he describes.
Whether one was more on the "hippy" or "political" side of things was the result of a complex of social phenomena. Social background, class and education affected which end of the spectrum people settled into (then as now). But one thing is sure, self-identified "hippies" like myself didn't just sit around smoking banana leaves and worshiping George Harrison.
The SDS did not stop the war on their own, hundreds of thousands of frustrated, angry, peace-loving, militant, druggy, non-druggy, long haired, short haired, outraged, GI Joe's Clothes wearing, paisley-clothed wearing young people, plus many from earlier generations, marched, fought and went to jail stopped the war. These same people promoted and advanced every other progressive issue that we still deal with today.
Furthermore, if more people did not identify with the politics of SDS and related organizations, it may be because some of those who did not join certain organizations did not have to wait 30 years to be disaffected by a lot of the attitudes, beliefs and narrow-mindedness of "The Left."
If The Left traditionally factionalizes over "nothing," this perception that Maurice espouses that many were called but few were chosen (ie. politically correct and not hippies) is an example of why Leftish politicos were and are so ineffective so often: they preach to the converted, unlike say, the Black Panthers.
(A side note: I worked on the successor "underground paper" to the "Willamette Bridge" alluded to in the article, called the "Portland Scribe" for which Maurice wrote many excellent articles. I believe that both these underground papers were published by Michael and Mary Wells. I'm not sure whether they were SDS members, I rather doubt it. Just a thought).
Frank Poliat, '70
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Hey NPR, why not chat with Noam about why you make him wanna hurl?
Highlited below (3rd paragraph down) in bold is Noam Chomsky's dig at NPR. Yes, NPR does have enough dignity left to occasionally broadcast some Chomsky via their Alternative Radio show. But wouldn't it be sweet if they had the balls to do an actual reportage/interview with some NPR journalists about just WHY NPR makes him want to toss his cookies?
From a talk by Noam Chomsky available at
World-renowned scholar and linguist Noam Chomsky recently spoke an event titled, "What's Next? Creating Another World in a Time of War, Empire and Devastation." It was held at the Emmanuel Church in Boston and sponsored by sponsored by Massachusetts Global Action. Chomsky, who is a professor of Linguistics at MIT, returned from Latin America in October. He talked about the recent elections in the region, which have brought leftist, governments to power that are challenging U.S foreign policy. Chomsky also spoke about Iraq and Iran in the context of Latin America. [includes rush transcript]
(...)In fact, the attitude of the public here towards the political system is very dramatic. I mean, about a third of the population in the United States, according to recent polls, believes that the Bush administration was responsible for 9/11. But they don't think it's a problem, like they don’t think that’s anything to worry about it. Yeah, of course, they’re all crooks and gangsters and murderers, tell us something new, you know. It doesn't have much to do with us. That's a shocking commentary on the state of American democracy.
There's a lot of talk here about, you know, we have a divided country. We have to unify. We need a unifier, somebody who will bring it back together. Red and blue, and so on. That's pretty marginal. It is a divided country. It's divided between public opinion and public policy. A very sharp divide. And on issue after issue, the whole political system is well to the right of the public and public attitudes. And we know a lot about these, because it’s a very well studied topic in the United States.
Just to give one last illustration, I was driving home from work the other day and torturing myself by listening to NPR, and -- I have kind of a masochistic streak I can’t get over. Actually, some day I’m going to sue them. Sometime -- once they got me so angry that I started speeding. I lost control of what I was doing, and I was stopped by a cop, and I was going like 60 miles an hour in a 30 mile zone. Maybe a basis for a civil suit, if there are any lawyers around here. But they had a section on Barack Obama, the great new hope. And it was very exuberant: what a fantastic personality he is and a great candidate, thousands of people coming out. And it went on for about 15 minutes of excited rhetoric. There's only one thing missing. They didn’t say a word about what his policies were on anything. It’s kind of not -- doesn't matter, you know. He’s a unifier. He looks at you when he talks to you. He’s a really decent guy. Great background. OK, that's an election. Bolivia was radically different, and that's a very striking comparison, and it in fact generalizes(...)
Monday, January 08, 2007
Saturday, August 26, 2006
(reference: http://www.kaboodle.com/frank/cosmic-relief.html )
The Gettysburg Address
Richard "Lord" Buckley, 1906-1960
Milords and Miladies of the world of people
most restfully and most humbly and with the deepest reverence
for the great and precious American Saint Abraham Lincoln.
I shall translate in the modern semantic of the hip,
this new zig-zag semantic, his beloved Gettysburg Address.
Lincoln himself, a great lover of humor and beauty,
would understand and condone, I'm certain, this prelude to the address.
Now let me hip you cats and kitties
just how the scene went down.
Every cat that swings with the rhythm of love of life
has some certain cat that he digs more than he does the next cat.
Now, you see that cat over there by the tree?
Well he's a G.O.T. Washington cat.
He digs duckin the flow and stoppin' the woe.
But the cat next to him, he's a Benny Franklin cat.
He digs watchin' his cash and coolin' his stash.
And the cat right next to him with the feather in his hat,
he's an Eisenhower kiddie.
He digs "let's not play the fool and lose the cool."
But dat pretty chick right next to him,
wid da violet eyes and da crazy look, she's a Sinatra chick.
She digs sweet rhythm swings the world.
But me. I'm a Lincoln Cat.
I dig old sweet long lanky non-stop Abe.
"Lanky Linc" dey call da cat back in dem days.
Well Lanky Linc went to a speechafyin' one time
and had a little MISunderstandin'.
Dere was an LP type talkin' cat named Eddy Everet.
And dis here cat got up on de podium
and wailed away and beat on his chops for so long
and so loud
that he shaved the place twenty-seven times,
rearranged it nine,
and adjust it twice,
and da cat is still up dere beatin' on his chops,
and Lanky Linc is sittin down in da bleachers goofin' with his scratch pad,
tryin' to get somethin down.
And he's gettin' somethin' down.
But, what he's gettin' down ain't movin' him.
But when dey called old Lanky Linc up to de podium
and he dug all dem cats and kiddies swingin' on the green sward,
great love look come on his Saint face,
and he put dis issue down to 'em, he say:
Four big hits and seven licks ago,
our before-daddies swung forth upon this sweet groovey land
a jumpin' wailin' stompin' swingin' new nation,
hip to the cool sweet groove of liberty
and solid sent upon the Ace lick dat all cats and kiddies,
red, white, or blue,
is created level in front.
We are now hung with a king size main-day Civil Drag,
soundin' whether this nation or any up there nation,
so hip and so solid sent can stay with it all the way .
We have stomped out here to the hassle site
of some of the worst jazz blown in the entire issue.
We are here to turn on a small soil stash
of the before-mentioned hassle site
as a final sweet sod pad for those who laid it down
and left it there
so that this jumpin' happy beat might blow forever-more.
And we all dig that this is the straightest lick.
But diggin' it harder from afar we cannot mellow,
we cannot put down the stamp of the lord on this sweet sod
because the strong non-stop studs,
both diggin' it and dug under it,
who hassled here
have mellowed it with such a wild mad beat
that we can hear it, but we can't touch it.
Now the world cats will short dig nor long stash in their wigs
what we are beatin' our chops around here,
but it never can successively shade what they vanced here.
It is for us the swingin'
to pick up the dues of these fine studs
who cut out from here
and fly it through to endsville.
It is hipper for us to be signifyin'
to the glorious gig
that we can't miss with all these bulgin' eyes,
that from all these A-stamp studs we double our love kick, too,
that righeous line for which these hard cats
sounded the last nth bone of the beat of the bell.
That we here want it stuck up straight
for all to dig that these departed studs
shall not have split in vain,
and that this nation
under the great swingin' Lord
shall swing up a whopper of endless Mardi Gras,
and that the big law by you straights,
from you cats,
and for you kiddies
shall not be scratched
from the big race.
And there's why I'm a Lincoln Cat.
From Lord Buckley Live, Shambhala Lion Editions, 1991
Transcribed by Earl Rivers
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Emailing Al Gore
I kinda like old Al, warts and all. But have you noticed that the websites of the Big and Powerful never actually list an email address? No, you have to fill in little boxes and hit send. Cute. At any rate, in the case of Mr. Gore, a diligent search of the net has netted zero in terms of ANY contact information for Al.
This particular show is one of many that blows the sleepy dust off of important events, check it out.
"It's been said that truth is the first casualty of war. In this week's show, we try to get the real stories from three very different wars.
Prologue. Ira talks with a Lance Corporal from the Marines' Eighth Communication Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, about what his superiors told him about Iraq at his pre-deployment briefing to go overseas. (7 minutes)
Act One. Jarhead. Anthony Swofford reads an excerpt from his memoir, Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles, about his experience fighting in the first Gulf War, in 1991, as a Marine sniper. (20 minutes)
Act Two. What's the Truth Good For, Anyway? For many years, Israeli citizens learned a sanitized version of what happened during their War of Independence in 1948. They learned that 700,000 Arabs fled the country on their own accord. But in the late eighties, a group of Israeli historians gained access to most of the government documents from the war and started writing a truer, less flattering version of the story -- that in some cases, the Palestinians were forced out, or scared away, and then not allowed to return. Ira discusses the real history -- and its impact on the Israeli public -- with some of the men who uncovered it: Benny Morris, author of The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947 -1949, and Tom Segev, who wrote 1949, The First Israelis. He also talks to BZ Goldberg, one of the filmmakers behind the Emmy-winning documentary about Israeli and Palestinian kids, called Promises. (20 minutes)
Act Three. Jar Jar Head. John Hodgman tries to tell the real version of a war movie that's already been written, filmed and released on DVD -- Star Wars. "
Monday, August 14, 2006
There is an endless supply of White Men
Watched the last ten minutes of 1970 film from book by same name, "Little Big Man"...
"There is an endless supply of White Men, but the trouble is, there has always been a limited supply of Human Beings*."
*Cheyenne referred to themselves as human beings.
(Little Big Man, by Thomas Berger...I'm quoting from the movie made from the book, so this may not be accurate)
Watched "Rendez-Vous" on library video yesterday, 1985 (6?) French film, reminded me of one of may favorite poems, later put to wonderful music, and wonderfully interpreted by Juliette Greco:
"Je suis comme je suis,
Je suis faite comme ca,
Quand j'ai envie to rire,
Oui je ris aux eclat.
J'aime celui qui m'aime,
est-ce ma faute a moi,
Ci ce n'est pas le meme,
Que j'aime chacque foix?"
"I am the way I am,
That's the way I'm formed,
When I laugh,
I laugh till I burst.
I love the one who loves me,
Is it my fault if
I don't love the same one
Open letter to Al Gore
I just composed and sent an email to Al, don't know if I had the correct email address (actually it bounced, anyone know?) and here it is:
Dear Mr. Gore:
Just received your midterm fundraising letter dated "Tue morning".
I switched my allegiance to the Green Party some time ago and I am considering switching back to the Democratic party out of sheer desperation...and out of admiration for your film.
I have never thought of the Democratic Party as being a true alternative to the Republican Party (I'm 57 and long time far-left radical), since American Imperialism has been with us from the start, first with the genocide and invasion of the continental USA and thereafter, our "protectorates" (or whatever we choose to call 'em) and our transparently aggressive wars and battles of imperialism beyond the north american continent since the late 19th C.
Nor has the DP shown any spine throughout the Bush dictatorship, nor did you yourself, when you did not stand up to protect your own election.
As far as I can tell, the only thing that makes the DP look "good" now or in the past, is the GOP.
Primarily, I fault our two party system. Messy as it is, only a parliamentary system gives credibility to the idea of the actual implementation of a genuine, working democracy. Otherwise, all we get is a perpetual swing between bad and worse.We have had just as much adventurism (if not more) under Dem. OR Rep. sway.
But lately you've been showing some courage, my suggestion, why not go all the way and stand up for:
1. Exclusively paper ballots on fed and state levels (as a fed. mandate).
2. A parliamentary government. I know I'd be preaching to the choir to tell you about how much safer (for the planet and the nation) a parliamentary government is. You know why parliamentarianism is the only way to fly, and I know you know it and any literate and minimally educated person in the USA knows it (ok, ok, maybe not, but you could make ANOTHER MOVIE about it...or even a website.
Yes, we stand on a precipice (several, actually) today...and I think that a nuclear winter still stands as the most likely resolution for the planet, nevertheless, a Democratic majority in Congress is only a bare beginning.
One last thought, could you have a little talk with Hillary Clinton? Please, if she becomes the front runner, the Republican won't even have to bother stealing the next presidential election.
In sum, I think your heart is in the left place (even if you are fabulously wealthy and have a wife name Tipper) and I urge you to become part of a solution that goes beyond "saving" Congress. Life is short, why not go All the Way?
Monday, May 01, 2006
The "god is good" oxymoron
Here's one that REALLY fries me. I have heard and read countless times:
"Life is good" or "god is good."
These statements are uttered after ritualistic recitals of how someone’s pet cat was saved by a miracle, or some such bullshit.
Really, that's usually the story, somebody's fucking pet doesn't die and bingo, "god is good".
I can tolerate, and even embrace, statements along the lines of "god has been good to me" or "I am grateful to god." But I rarely hear or read that.
What I do hear, time and again, are statements equating the goodness and wisdom of some personal deity based on some petty, selfish, MINUSCULE favor bestowed directly on some quivering, two-legged mass of protoplasm, and their saved kitty.
Or how about this one?
"I bought these shoes?
And they didn't like, fit?
But the next day I walked around in them? And I'm like,
They feel so much better today!
God is good".
I witness this kind of belief system from people with college degrees, jobs, homes, people with arms and legs and heads...people who by any criteria look like ADULTS. Do I live in the same universe as these people? I wonder...
By the time I was seven, I was spending some serious chunks of time wondering why there was so much suffering in the world and what I could do to help change that.
By the time I was 11, I had seen film clips on TV of bulldozer pushing thousands of skeletal human corpses into huge pits.
A disclaimer is in order: as an atheist jew, my thought analogies drift toward "my peoples’" experiences, but I am not, in any way, implying that "our" pain is larger than someone else's pain. I do not believe that it is. There are six thousand million humans on this planet, and from moment to moment, I would estimate that the majority are living under conditions that might closely resemble, by almost anyone's criteria, hell.
Or let's be more specific, on the one hand, we have the god-saved-my-kittten people, on the other hand…
My great grandparents escaped the pogroms of
My grandparents escaped the nazi holocaust.
Question: as a freethinking progressive in the
Question: once global warming, global dimming, and the die-out of plankton reach critical mass, where will we ALL escape to?
Maybe then, god won't look so good to anyone but the hare krishnas.
Hannah Arendt posited "the banality of evil". Imagination and compassion are closely intertwined. Although I am aware of many moving acts of compassion in my own immediate experience (on a daily basis) , as well as from my less immediate experiences, I am still crushed with dismay at the general lack of imagination, by the numbness and paralysis, by the narcissism of my fellow humans.
Is some of what I’m describing a kind of existential “doublethink” (as per Orwell). Time and again, the concept of clinical narcissism comes to mind.
I try to view things as a Taoist. It ain’t easy, but it’s all I got. Being judgmental is stupid. What is, is. But still…I do get pissed off. Mostly though, this shit makes me sad.
Monday, March 20, 2006
My commendation for Pulitzer prize for journalism.
1. Amy Goodman, and her group at Democracy Now and to
2. Ahmed Mansur, Al Jazeera correspondent and Laith Mushtaq, Al Jazeera cameraman.
In spite of the fascist clampdowns in Bushland, there are still many people and organizations striving to make a difference in the Belly of the Tiger (as Che called it).
But this year I watched a news download that in it's way, rivals Ed Murrow's reportage on the blitz in London:
EXCLUSIVE: Al Jazeera Reporters Give Bloody First Hand Account of April ’04 U.S. Siege of Fallujah
You can download the show (and make a financial contribution) at:
The website also has a transcript of the show, but Mansur's voice is part of what makes this such a compelling and touching piece of journalism.
You can view, read, see and hear all of Amy's shows at their archive page:
Finally, if there were a god, I would ask Her to bless Amy Goodman and Democracy Now, one of the most significant Forces For Good in the world today.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Epigrams from hell
The thing that upsets me most about the Republican party is that it actually manages to make the Democrats look good.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to etc...
Call me a soggy blogger, call me Ishmael. Here goes.
Sometimes abortion IS murder. Deal with it. Your world will not fall apart.
Yes, I'm "pro-abortion", but just because a living, breathing human happens to be temporarily lodged inside a woman's body, does not make that "fetus/baby/human" (ie. an organism that could survive an early delivery, with a little help) "part" of that woman's body. That "fetus/baby/human" is NOT her body, and, just as society does have a "right" to tell us what we can and cannot do with out bodies in other instances, society has a right over some aspects of what a woman does with her body.
"Don't tell me what I can do with my body" is a red herring that the media dare not grapple with for fear of being called sexist.
Our attitudes toward abortion are related to our attitudes toward circumcision, ie. babies are "property", ergo we can do what we want with them. The only difference is that babies have no Abe Lincoln to fight for them, just a bunch of fundamentalist Christians, eeyuk.
"This land is my land, this land is my land"
I heard the argument made on public radio today (March 12 06) that the state of Israel is NOT "the last gasp of the British colonial system, but a people's legitimate search for their roots (paraphrase). My response, as a human, a rationalist and a Jew is: fuck that, it IS the last gasp of an exhausted colonial system.
Jews, gays, gypsies and communists lost homes in Germany, Poland and all over Europe, but did they go back and reclaim what was rightfully theirs? Hell no. Why confront your oppressors when you can have your turn at bat beating up on your very own perceived inferiors?
Dad beats mom, mom beats son, son beats sister, sister kicks the dog. Thus it has always been.
Maybe Native Americans finally gave up and told Whitey "OK, you win, we lost, here take all our land and just fuck the hell out of us". But Palestinians never gave up, and as long as they maintain an uninterrupted battlecry of "get the fuck off our land" then that land is theirs, period, and they have no need to compromise one inch of it. "But we made the dessert bloom" blah blah blah, is a pretty lame rationalization.
If Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had strapped dynamite to their bodies and taken any number of good German and Polish men, women and children along with them, would the West have called them "terrorists" or "freedom fighters"?
Jews have the right to "settle" Palestine? They have/had the "right" to settle in a land which they had not lived in for thousands of years, but were not willing to take back their homes and property in Germany, Poland, France, Italy etc....which they had lost only a few years earlier? Hello?
It's been an agonizing, decades-long struggle for me to say and commit to what I've just said.
Here's a modest proposal, let's carve out a piece of Germany, a piece of Italy and a piece of Poland, and call it New Israel, now there's an idea I could go for.
When bad things happen to bad people
The Geneva conventions and other internationally agreed-to policies prohibits torture. I actually heard an "expert" say that torture doesn't work.. I think what he MEANT was they he would like to BELIEVE that torture does not "work". I'm not apologizing for Abu Graebe, Guantanamo and so on, which I consider heinous manifestations of our greedy empire. All I'm saying is that, indeed, if you KNOW that someone knows where the ticking bomb that will kill a lot of folks in 30 minutes is hidden, then yeah, of course, torture the fuck out of him. Jeez. You just better have the right guy, is all.
You may say, "it's not that simple". Yeah, well sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.