Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

War Is A Drug


War is a force that gives us meaning
by Chris Hedges
Amnesty International NOW magazine, Winter 2002

War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of Central American roads, locked in unnerving firefights in the marshes in southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi Republican Guards, strafed by Russian Mig-21s in central Bosnia, shot at by Serb snipers and shelled with deafening rounds of artillery in Sarajevo that threw out thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments. I have seen too much of violent death. I have tasted too much of my own fear. I have painful memories that lie buried most of the time. It is never easy when they surface.
And yet there is a part of me that remains nostalgic for war's simplicity and high. The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it gives us what we all long for in life. It gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of our lives become apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our news. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble. And those that have the least meaning in their lives-the impoverished refugees in Gaza, the disenfranchised North African immigrants in France, even the lost legions of youth that live in the splendid indolence and safety of the industrialized world-are all susceptible to war's appeal.
WAR AS CULTURE
I learned early on that war forms its own culture. The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug, one I ingested for many years. It is peddled by myth makers -historians, war correspondents, filmmakers novelists and the state-all of whom endow it with qualities it often does possess: excitement, exoticism, power, chances to rise above our small stations in life, and a bizarre and fantastic universe that has a grotesque and dark beauty. It dominates culture, distorts memory, corrupts language and infects everything around it, even humor, which becomes preoccupied with the grim perversities of smut and death. Fundamental questions about the meaning, or meaninglessness, of our place on the planet are laid bare when we watch those around us sink to the lowest depths. War exposes the capacity for evil that lurks just below the surface within all of us.
And so it takes little in wartime to turn ordinary men into killers. Most give themselves willingly to the seduction of unlimited power to destroy, and all feel the peer pressure. Few, once in bottle, can find the strength to resist.
The historian Christopher Browning noted the willingness to kill in Ordinary Men, his study of Reserve Police Battalion 101 in Poland during World War ll. On the morning of July 12, 1942, the battalion was ordered to shoot 1800 Jews in the village of Jozefow in a day-long action. The men in the unit had to round up the Jews, march them into the forest and one by one order them to lie down in a row. The victims, including women, infants, children and the elderly, were shot dead at close range.
Battalion members were offered the option to refuse, an option only about a dozen men took, although more asked to be relieved once the killing began. Those who did not want to continue, Browning says, were disgusted rather than plagued by conscience. When the men returned to the barracks they "were depressed, angered, embittered and shaken." They drank heavily. They were told not to talk about the event, "but they needed no encouragement in that direction."
WAR AS MYTH
The most recent U.S. conflicts have insulated the public and U.S. troops from both the disgust and pangs of conscience. The Gulf War-waged from bombers high above the fray and reported by carefully controlled journalists-made war fashionable again. It was a cause the nation willingly embraced. It exorcised the ghosts of Vietnam. It gave us heroes and the heady belief in our own military superiority and technology. It almost made war fun. And the chief culprit was, as in many conflicts, not the military but the press. Television reporters happily disseminated the spoon-fed images that served the propaganda effort of the military and the state. These images did little to convey the reality of war. Pool reporters, those guided around in groups by the military, wrote once again about "our boys" eating packaged army food, practicing for chemical weapons attacks and bathing out of buckets in the desert. It was war as spectacle, war, if we are honest, as entertainment. The images and stories were designed to make us feel good about our nation, about ourselves. The families and soldiers being blown to bits by iron fragmentation bombs just over the border in Iraq were faceless and nameless phantoms.
The moment I stepped off an Army C-130 military transport in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, to cover the Persian Gulf War, I was escorted to a room with several dozen other reporters and photographers. I was told to sign a paper that said I would abide by the severe restrictions placed on the press. The restrictions authorized "pool reporters" to be escorted by the military on field trips. Most of the press sat in hotel rooms and rewrote the bland copy filed by the pool or used the pool video and photos. I violated this agreement the next morning when I went into the field without authorization. The rest of the war, most of which I spent dodging Military Police and trying to talk my way into units, was a forlorn and lonely struggle against the heavy press control.
The notion that the press was used in the war is incorrect. The press wanted to be used. It saw itself as part of the war effort. Most reporters sent to cover a war don't really want to go near the fighting. They do not tell this to their editors and indeed will moan and complain about restrictions. The handful who actually head out into the field have a bitter enmity with the hotel room warriors. But even those who do go out are guilty of distortion-maybe more so. For they not only believe the myth, feed off of the drug, but also embrace the cause. They may do it with more skepticism. They certainly expose more lies and misconceptions. But they believe. We all believe. When you stop believing you stop going to war.
I knew a Muslim soldier, a father, who fought on the front lines around Sarajevo. His unit, in one of the rare attempts to take back a few streets controlled by the Serbs, pushed across Serb lines. They did not get very far. The fighting was heavy. As he moved down the street, he heard a door swing open and fired a burst from his AK-47 assault rifle. A 12-year-old girl dropped dead. He saw in the body of the unknown girl Iying prostrate in front of him the image of his own 1z-year-old daughter. He broke down. He had to be helped back to the city. He was lost for the rest of the war, shuttered inside his apartment, nervous, morose and broken. This experience is far more typical of warfare than the Rambo heroics we are fed by the state and the entertainment industry. The cost of killing is all the more bitter because of the deep disillusionment that war usually brings.
WAR AS CRUSADE
The disillusionment comes later. Each generation again responds to war as innocents. Each generation discovers its own disillusionment-often at a terrible price.
"We believed we were there for a high moral purpose," wrote Philip Caputo in his book on Vietnam, Rumor of War. "But somehow our idealism was lost, our morals corrupted, and the purpose forgotten."
Once again the United States stands poised on the threshold of war. "We go forward," President George W. Bush assures us, "to defend freedom and all that is good and just in the world." He is not shy about warning other states that they either stand with us in the war on terrorism or will be counted as aligned with those that defy us. This too is a crusade.
But the war on terrorism is different in that we Americans find ourselves in the dangerous position of going to war not against a state but a phantom. The crusade we have embarked upon in the war on terrorism is targeting an elusive and protean enemy. The battle we have begun is never-ending. But it may be too late to wind back the heady rhetoric. We have embarked on a campaign as quixotic as the one mounted to destroy us. As it continues, as terrorist attacks intrude on our lives, as we feel less and less secure, the acceptance of all methods to lash out at real and perceived enemies will distort and deform our democracy.
And yet, the campaign's attraction seems irresistible. War makes the world understandable, a black-and-white tableau of them and us. It suspends thought, especially self-critical thought. All bow before the supreme effort. We are one. Most of us willingly accept war as long as we can fold it into a belief system that paints the ensuing suffering as necessary for a higher good; for human beings seek not only happiness but also meaning. And tragically, war is sometimes the most powerful way in human society to achieve meaning.

Chris Hedges is a reporter with the New York Times where he was part of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on global terrorism. He won Al's 2002 Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. This article was adapted from War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning (Public Affairs, Perseus Group, 2002).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bertrand Russell Made Me Who I Am...




http://www.charliewagner.net/russell.htm

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gram Parsons Opens for Stones at Altamont





Gram Parsons at Altamont (1969)


KEITH RICHARDS credits late country star GRAM PARSONS with preventing THE ROLLING STONES infamous Altamont free concert from turning into a bloodbath. A fan was stabbed to death at the 1969 show, but the WILD HORSES guitarist is convinced more lives would have been lost if Parsons, who supported The Stones with his band THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS, had not been on stage. He says on new Parsons DVD FALLEN ANGEL, "He had a very commanding presence. He was up there, a very gentle guy with a very soothing effect on people and he knew it. I think he at least stopped some other heads getting broken."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ike Was Right


"A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction...

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together." - Dwight Eisenhower

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Darwinism is Dead...



"Francisco Ayala is presenting at the "evolutionary mechanisms session" in Rome. He was trained in Catholicism, Spanish-style, as a Dominican. We were in California at a meeting with Whiteheadian philosopher John Cobb. At that meeting Ayala agreed with me when I stated that this doctrinaire neo-Darwinism is dead. He was a practitioner of neo-Darwinism but advances in molecular genetics, evolution, ecology, biochemistry, and other news had led him to agree that neo-Darwinism's now dead.

The components of evolution (I don’t think any scientist disagrees) that exist because there's so much data for them are: (1) the tendency for exponential growth of all populations -- that is growth beyond a finite world; and (2) since the environment can’t sustain them, there’s an elimination process of natural selection.

The point of contention in science is here: (3) Where does novelty that’s heritable come from? What is the source of evolutionary innovation? Especially positive inherited innovation, where does it come from?

It is here that the neo-Darwinist knee-jerk reaction kicks in. "By random mutations that accumulate so much that you have a new lineage." This final contention, their mistake in my view, is really the basis of nearly all our disagreement.

Everybody agrees: Heritable variation exists, it can be measured. Everybody agrees, as Darwin said, it’s heritable variation "that’s important to us" because variation is inherited. Everyone agrees "descent with modification" can be demonstrated. And furthermore, because of molecular biology, everybody agrees that all life on Earth today is related through common ancestry, as Darwin showed.

Everybody agrees with ultimate common ancestry of Earth's life, because the DNA, RNA messenger, transfer RNA, membrane-bounded cell constituents (lipids, the phospholipids) that we share – they’re all virtually identical in all life today, it's all one single lineage. So that part of Darwinism – that we’re all related by common ancestry –no scientist disagrees with.

The real disagreement about what the neo-Darwinists tout, for which there's very little evidence, if any, is that random mutations accumulate and when they accumulate enough, new species originate. The source of purposeful inherited novelty in evolution, the underlying reason the new species appear, is not random mutation rather it is symbiogenesis, the acquisition of foreign genomes.

When (Stanley)Salthe says we haven't seen that, he’s talking about new species. He’s not saying we haven’t seen natural selection, he's saying we haven't seen natural selection produce new species, this particular aspect of neo-Darwinism." - Lynn Margulis

Now write 1000 times: darwinism is dead...darwinism is dead...darwinism is dead.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

My God, It Looks Designed!!


There are probably millions of "genes" and possibly even, an
unlimited number of genes. The process of gene expression is far more
complex than was previously realized. Most genes are split, and
require a considerable number of unique cutting and re-splicing events
for the assembly of the different mRNA molecules. This allows the
genome to access an almost infinite amount of information. The
recombinational mechanism greatly expands the total number of genes
far in excess of those identified by the gene sequencing project. This
possibility increases ( a point that the news release ingores) the
total number of unique adaptive traits in mammalian genomes to
millions if not billions, numbers that render all other anti-darwinian
arguments superfluous. If you combine the information storage ability
of the DNA, along with the energy producing mechanism of the cell and
the practically unlimited potential of the protein synthetic
apparatus, the cell becomes nothing less than a universal automaton.
Add to that the functioning of the immune system, whereby responses
can be generated to an unlimited number of foreign substances and the
human brain, in which the development of specific connections requires
the tagging of individual nerve cells with specific biochemical
markers, which alone may necessitate the existence of billions of
genes and you have a complex biochemical machine that could not
possibly have arisen de novo by any mechanism of random mutation and
natural selection. The argument for intelligent design is compelling,
convincing, and overwhelmingly supported by the observational and
experimental evidence.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Come Away Melinda - The Big Three

Written by Fred Hellerman of the Weavers, "Come Away, Melinda" was covered by Harry Belafonte, Tim Rose , Theodore Bikel, Judy Collins and Uriah Heep...And of course by this group, featuring "Mama" Cass Elliot.


One of the best anti-war songs ever...


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Poem

Winter

The glacial air bears heavily on my shoulders
as they slump towards the glistening snow.

God! I hate winter.

Scrunch, scrunch.
In the pure and penetrating endless silence
I hear only the sound of myself as I flounder onward alee.

Scrunch, scrunch.
As my boots splinter through the thin crust of ice
That has frozen over the surface of the recent snow.

But wait! There is more !
The mistral howling and wailing sure resurrect a lot of ghosts.
Spirits that call out to me.
From ahead or from behind?

I can't tell.

Ahead, the powdery, falling snow slowly begins to obscure
the path laid down by those who went before.

Yet they draw me forward, calling for me to follow.

Behind, the spirits urge me on, reminding me of the fact that
this is done. The steps behind call out-
"You can't go back...

And all along the way the warm glow of homefires
fill the homes with affability and kindness.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

John Charles Nickels







Welcome to the world!

Infant Joy
William Blake


"I have no name;
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am, Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!
Pretty joy!
Sweet joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while;
Sweet joy befall thee!

7 lbs 14 oz.

More pictures here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

A New Poem

Winter

The glacial air bears heavily on my shoulders
as they slump towards the glistening snow.

God! I hate winter.

Scrunch, scrunch.
In the pure and penetrating endless silence
I hear only the sound of myself as I flounder onward alee.

Scrunch, scrunch.
As my boots splinter through the thin crust of ice
That has frozen over the surface of the recent snow.

But wait! There is more !
The mistral howling and wailing sure resurrect a lot of ghosts.
Spirits that call out to me.
From ahead or from behind?

I can't tell.

Ahead, the powdery, falling snow slowly begins to obscure
the path laid down by those who went before.

Yet they draw me forward, calling for me to follow.

Behind, the spirits urge me on, reminding me of the fact that
this is done. The steps behind call out-
"You can't go back...

And all along the way the warm glow of homefires
fill the homes with affability and kindness.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Do not go gentle into that good night...


Richard Burton recites Dylan Thomas' Poem


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


I grew up in Levittown, Long Island in the late 50's and early 60's. We had moved there in 1954 from Brooklyn. I went to Island Trees (yes, *that* Island Trees) High School, an almost brand new school district carved out of the potato fields of central Nassau County, adjacent to Levittown. Like most every kid who came to Levittown from Brooklyn, when I became a teenager, I did what was expected of me: I became a hoodlum.
Black leather jackets, garrison belts that our fathers had brought home from the war, motorcycle boots (Georgia Giants were the best) and of course, lots of Vaseline in the hair. I took shop classes, hung out at the candy store and focused my attention on two major areas of life: girls and cars.
But in 1959, something changed. Somehow I got into this English class (it was called "honors") with mostly Jewish kids who carried around copies of "Ulysses" and read the New York Times. On the weekends, they went to jazz clubs or to the movies to see films like "The Seventh Seal" and "The Mouse That Roared". And they all had read "Portrait".
We were assigned a book report to do over Christmas vacation and we could pick any book. I had some books in mind that I thought were "good" that were summarily rejected by the teacher. We didn't have Cliff Notes then, but we had Classic Comics! Finally I asked one of the other fellows what I could read. Someone handed me a copy of "Portrait". I never looked back. All of a sudden, *I* was Dedalus. I read Joyce's words over and over, absorbing their meaning and incorporating them into my own consciousness.
I therefore offer to you, one of my favorite sections, the end of Chapter 4:


"There was a long rivulet in the strand and, as he waded slowly up its course, he wondered at the endless drift of seaweed. Emerald and black and russet and olive, it moved beneath the current, swaying and turning. The water of the rivulet was dark with endless drift and mirrored the high-drifting clouds. The clouds were drifting above him silently and silently the seatangle was drifting below him and the grey warm air was still and a new wild life was singing in his veins.

Where was his boyhood now? Where was the soul that had hung back from her destiny, to brood alone upon the shame of her wounds and in her house of squalor and subterfuge to queen it in faded cerements and in wreaths that withered at the touch? Or where was he?

He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the sea-harvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures of children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.

A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane's and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird's, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.

She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt his presence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quiet sufferance of his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long she suffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bent them towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hither and thither. The first faint noise of gently moving water broke the silence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep; hither and thither, hither and thither; and a faint flame trembled on her cheek.

-- Heavenly God! cried Stephen's soul, in an outburst of profane joy."

Iwo Jima


My father went ashore on Iwo Jima with the 4th Marine Division.
He was shot in the leg on the first day and was evacuated to a hospital ship.
He was awarded a Purple Heart (his second)




Iwo Jima Today


Monday, November 17, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Poem By Philip Larkin




"I came across this in a poetry anthology when I was at school. My juvenile sixth-form friends and I thought it was great because it had some rude words in it.


This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Pleiades (The Seven Sisters)



The Pleiades Star Cluster



Elihu Vedder (1836 – 1923) was an American symbolist painter,
book illustrator, and poet, born in New York City.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Your Duty To Repudiate These Morons!


This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween, an Irish Tradition!



Click on image to enlarge

"There Peggy was dancing with Dan
While Maureen the lead was melting,
To prove how their fortunes ran
With the Cards ould Nancy dealt in;
There was Kate, and her sweet-heart Will,
In nuts their true-love burning,
And poor Norah, though smiling still
She'd missed the snap-apple turning.

On the Festival of Hallow Eve."


Snap-Apple Night by Daniel Maclise portrays a Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland, in 1832. The young people on the left side play various divination games, while children on the right bob for apples. A couple in the center play "Snap-Apple", which involves retrieving an apple hanging from a string.

Halloween is very popular in Ireland, where it originated, and is known in Irish as Oíche Shamhna (pron: ee-hah how-nah), literally "Samhain Night". Pre-Christian Celts had an autumn festival, Samhain (pronounced /ˈsˠaunʲ/from the Old Irish samain), "End of Summer", a pastoral and agricultural "fire festival" or feast, when the dead revisited the mortal world, and large communal bonfires would hence be lit to ward off evil spirits

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sarah Palin: "Fuck You!


Jon Stewart:

"He (McCain) made an interesting vice presidential choice.

I like the woods...I just don't know if I would pull my vice president out of the woods randomly.

She came out again today. She was talking to a small town, she said that small towns, that's the part of the country she really likes going to because that's the pro-America part of the country.

You know, I just want to say to her, just very quickly...fuck you.

I've never seen someone with a greater disparity between how cute they sound when they're saying something and how terrible what they're saying is.

Don't ya know, Obama, by golly, he just is a terrorist? What? Oh, you know, he just, gosh, kills babies, you know.

I'm so over the idea that only small-town America is the heart and soul. Small-town America is fine, but it's the same as cities. Cities are just a lot of towns piled on top of each other in one place.

They have this whole thing that somehow we can write off entire swaths of the country, that we are somehow...I get it. You know, New York City wasn't good enough for [expletive] Osama bin Laden, it better be good enough for you.

I can't take it anymore. After eight years of this divisiveness, we're back to this idea that only small-town America is the real America.

I get it. I'm from New York. We have a lot of gay people. But homosexuals don't have sodomy on Russian flags."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sarah Palin is TOAST! !


A legislative committee investigating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has found she unlawfully abused her authority in firing the state's public safety commissioner. The investigative report concludes that a family grudge wasn't the sole reason for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan but says it likely was a contributing factor.

The Republican vice presidential nominee has been accused of firing a commissioner to settle a family dispute. Palin supporters have called the investigation politically motivated.

Monegan says he was dismissed as retribution for resisting pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rebirth


Autumn is coming. I can feel it.
The cool nights when I pull my bedsheet up to my chin and dream about spring.
Rebirth. The great cycle of life.
Life is renewed, but living things are not.
Living things, like all other machines
Wear out and die...
Like me.

What am I to make of this? The finite within the infinite.
From which pool do I drink?
Should I celebrate my immortality or grieve my mortality?

I despise not knowing.

Soon, it will be winter.
We will retreat inobtrusively into our cloistered sanctuaries
carrying with us the divine spark, nurturing the finespun flame
Until it is called forth again by the pleasant and friendly power of rebirth.

Spring!

For some, the vital principle will be lost forever
and they will lie still in the warm earth, their mortal remains
dissolving and their sempiternal essence dissipated back to the
Everlasting Universe.

In others, the divine spark will emerge anew,
to burn as brightly and defiantly as before.

Lebensmude


He was a heavy-set man of about 60 years old, who was once taut and muscular, but now succumbed to the inevitable ravages of time. I looked closely at his face, which seemed to be in a permanent state of slightly squinting, perplexed puzzlement. He probably had not smiled in many years. There was no joy in his demeanor, no peace in his bones, no tranquillity in his voice. He was a man who had spent the better part of his life trying to save people from themselves and had mostly failed. Now he was desperately trying to save what was left of himself. He had wanted to change the world, to cure the ills, to settle the disputes, to mediate the conflicts, to turn this ugly and sick world into the thing of beauty that he envisioned. He had entered into the lives of people and had not emerged unscathed. Instead of bringing them up to his expectations, they had dragged him down. Now, he had nothing much left and he was tired. Very tired. Lebensmude, as the Germans say so aptly, sick of life.

He yearned for renewal, to be young again and carefree. To recapture the joy of his youth. He wanted to swim in the ocean, to roll in the grass, to swing on an old tire from a tree limb, to meet a young lady and fall in love, to walk in the park holding hands on a cool, summer night. He wanted to paint, to play music, to sing, to experience all of the sensations that he had missed in his journey to wherever he was going. But most of all, he wanted to be free. Free of the lives of the people he had known, the lives that choked him and sucked every drop of blood and joy from his countenance. He had entered into the lives of sick and ugly people, and he had not emerged unscathed. And now he was angry. Very angry.

He spoke to me in harsh tones, loud and shrill, and somewhat disjointed. Like a small explosion was taking place inside his head and little pockets of energy were emerging through tiny cracks. He was, in effect, ranting and raving.

"You are young," he said, "you cannot possibly understand. To you, it is all so simple. You have your youth, you have your health and you have your mind. You have not entangled yourself in the lives of sick people, you have not walked in my shoes. You cannot possibly know."

He became suddenly more somber and thoughtful. "I have tried to love those whose paths I crossed. For me, love is the only way. To love, to sacrifice. It is the highest ideal that a person can aspire to".

I now became annoyed at his attitude. "You are a fool", I replied. "You have chosen your fate, you have walked in the pasture and you have stepped in the offal. No one forced you to do this, you did it of your own free will. Even I, at my young age, know that you cannot immerse yourself too deeply in the lives of men and women. It is like a maelstrom, a whirlpool, that has sucked you in. You have tried to cure what cannot be cured. It is the universal sickness and we are born with it. You are a fool."

If Only the Election was Tomorrow


FLORIDA: Obama 49 - McCain 43 pre-debate; Obama 51 - McCain 43 post-debate; OHIO: Obama 49 - McCain 42 pre-debate; Obama 50 - McCain 42 post-debate; PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 49 - McCain 43 pre-debate; Obama 54 - McCain 39 post-debate Friday's presidential debate, Gov. Sarah Palin's sagging favorability and more voter confidence in Sen. Barack Obama's ability to handle the economy are propelling the Democrat to wider likely voter leads over Republican John McCain in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to simultaneous Quinnipiac University Swing State polls released today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Out Of Her League




"Rising up from a source deep in my subconscious. I saw a woman fully aware that she was out of her league, scared out of her wits, hanging on for dear life. I saw this in the sag of her back in her serious black suit, in the position of her hands, crossed modestly atop her knees, and in that “Mad Men”-era updo, ever unchanging, like a good luck charm." - Judith Warner, NYT
(http://warner.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/25/poor-sarah/?ref=opinion)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Debate: What they said doesn't matter...



It's the visceral effect on the audience:

McCain: OLD

Obama: PRESIDENTIAL

The Universe: Simply gorgeous, even transcendential:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

These People are Friggin' CRAZY!!!


An e-mail being circulated by Xtian fundies...

" Dear friends:

Barack Hussein Obama has taken the nation by storm. From obscurity, with zero executive experience, or much of any kind, he has vaulted into the position of Presidential frontrunner. It is stunning. On the surface, it appears attributable only to his eloquent oratory and his race. But an invisible factor may be a strong spiritual force behind him, causing some people to actually swoon in his presence.

I have been very concerned that he has publicly said that he does not believe Jesus is the only way to heaven. This makes both the Bible and Jesus a liar, and it means that Christ has died in vain. A person cannot be a true Christian who believes that there are other ways of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with God. Only Jesus has paid the price for that.

Therefore, there is, indeed, another spirit involved. And this spirit has come into our national life like a flood. Last week at Obama’s acceptance speech, that spirit exalted itself in front of a Greek temple-like stage, and to a huge audience like in a Roman arena. Omama was portrayed as god-like. His voice thundered as a god’s voice.

At the end, Democratic sympathizer Pastor Joel Hunter gave the benediction and shockingly invited everyone to close the prayer to their own (false) gods. This was surely an abomination, but it was compatible with Obama’s expressed theology, and Hunter’s leftist leanings.

God was not pleased.

And God says, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).

Enter Governor Sarah Palin. With incredible timing, the very next day, Sarah Palin also appeared out of nowhere. Her shocking selection as John McCain’s running mate stunned the world and suddenly took all the wind out of Obama’s sails.

We quickly learned that Sarah is a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian, attends church, and has been a ministry worker.

Sarah is that standard God has raised up to stop the flood. She has the anointing. You can tell by how the dogs are already viciously attacking her. But they will not be successful. She knows the One she serves and will not be intimidated.

Back in the 1980s, I sensed that Israel’s little-known Benjamin Netanyahu was chosen by God for an important end-time role. I still believe that. I now have that same sense about Sarah Palin.

Today I did some checking and discovered that both her first and last names are biblical words, one in Hebrew the other in Greek:

Sarah. Wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. In Hebrew, Sarah means “noble woman” (Strong’s 8283).

Palin. In Greek, the word means “renewal.” (Strong’s 3825).

A friend said he believes that Sarah Palin is a Deborah. Of Deborah, Smith’s Bible Dictionary says, “A prophetess who judged Israel…. She was not so much a judge as one gifted with prophetic command…. and by virtue of her inspiration ‘a mother in Israel.’”

Only God knows the future and how she may be used by Him, but may this noble woman serve to bring renewal in the land, and inspiration.

Jim

The Bear



There's a different quality to the silence in the wilderness. I don't know if you've ever noticed it. It's a purer, more penetrating silence than we experience in the populated areas. It gets inside your head and it clears out a lot of the cobwebs, leaving more room for introspection. It has a real calming effect on the spirit. No, it's not total silence. That can be very unnerving. It's more of an honest silence, the gentle rustling of the trees in the soft breeze, the trickling of water coming from a small spring on the side of a hill, the birds chirping pleasantly and the insects buzzing around your head.
And off in the distance, the unmistakable sound of someone, or something approaching. I crouch down quietly in the brush and check the direction of the wind. Damn! It's blowing directly towards the sound. Not good. He'll have my scent in just a moment. I reach behind into my backpack and take out the field glasses. And wonder. Moose? Elk? Bison? I catch a glimpse of the brown fur and I notice the silvery tips of the brown hairs. Double damn! Ursus horribilis...the grizzly bear.
He stops and looks up straight in my direction. He's got the scent. He probably doesn't want me, but these bears know that where there are humans, there's usually human food. I do what I've been taught to do by those who say they know. Nothing. Maybe he'll lose interest and continue on. But he continues towards me, and I reach down and pull the revolver from its holster and wait. All the while, I'm wondering why I loaded it with .38 specials. They're not going to help me all that much against this bear.
He's probably about 10 meters away now, so I stand up straight in order to back slowly away. Now his dark eyes are focused directly on me. He stops about 3 meters away and I raise the revolver so it's pointing directly at his head. Right between the eyes. It's the only chance I have. We are now frozen in time, him and me, just standing there, waiting for something to happen. I'm fascinated by his elegant beauty and power. The hump behind his head is pure muscle and the long claws are used for digging. His rump slopes downward and is much lower than his head. I look directly into his large eyes. Damn, I really don't want to hurt this guy. But if you walk in the woods, and a bear bites your butt, is it the bear's fault? He's only doing what he's supposed to do. I'm the intruder here. Now I begin to see something happening.
He's still looking directly at me, but his mouth seems different. The corners have turned upwards and I can see his teeth clearly. Is he getting ready to attack? But then I realize what is happening. His mouth has curled upward into a ...smile. He turns his head slowly to the right and then again, slowly to the left. I can almost hear him thinking to himself "well buddy, I could mess you up pretty bad if I wanted to, but today is your day. Enjoy!" And he just turned and walked away.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

God, It's Beautiful...




Starry Memories


My life was like a canyon
As deep as it was wide
And I, a lonely traveler
Just looking for a place to hide.
My path was filled with darkness
And emptiness ahead.
Night after night, under starry skies
I wished that I was dead.
But then you came into my world
And darkness turned to dawn.
Your essence swept into my life
Helping me to be reborn.
Your specter crept into my dreams
Each and every night.
You wandered in my brain from room to room
turning on each light.
You'll probably never realize
How much it meant to me
That you were there beside me
Helping me be free.
And you'll probably never realize
The emptiness inside
That comes to me each night
You're not sleeping by my side.
But I've still got those memories
That swirl before my eyes.
Of you and I lying peacefully,
Beneath those starry skies.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Palin and Pegler


Sarah Palin:

"We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity," the vice-presidential candidate said, quoting an anonymous "writer," which is to say, Pegler, who must have penned that mellifluous line when not writing his more controversial stuff. As the New York Times pointed out in its obituary of him in 1969, Pegler once lamented that a would-be assassin "hit the wrong man" when gunning for Franklin Roosevelt."

According to:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014661.php

PALIN AND PEGLER.... In her convention speech last week, Sarah Palin quoted "a writer" who extolled the virtues of small-town America. Palin didn't identify the "writer" for a very good reason -- she was quoting the belligerent right-wing columnist Westbrook Pegler.

It was an interesting source for Palin to use in such a high-profile setting.

It's an odd source because Pegler, who moved further right as his career went on, ended up very, very far out. Frank (Rich) notes that he talked hopefully of the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt.

He was also known for what Philip Roth described as his "casual distaste for Jews," which had become so evident by the end that he was bounced from the journal of the John Birch Society in 1964 for alleged anti-semitism. According to his obituary, he'd advanced the theory that American Jews of Eastern European descent were "instinctively sympathetic to Communism, however outwardly respectable they appeared."

So, let's see here, the McCain campaign wants to cut off U.S. financial support to Israel, Palin is quoting a notorious anti-Semite at the Republican convention, and Palin's church welcomes the "Jews for Jesus" crowd.

No wonder Ed Koch finds these guys scary.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Alaska Women Reject Palin

Mudflats (the go-to blog for Alaska politics):

http://mudflats.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/alaska-women-reject-palin-rally-is-huge/

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn’t honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn’t happen here.

So, if you’ve been doing the math… Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin’s rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy…Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans.


Good Advice


“If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”

Saturday, September 13, 2008

An Audacious Prediction



Neither Sarah Palin or Joe Biden will be on the ballot on Election day.

Sarah Palin will self destruct and Joe Lieberman will take her spot.

Barack Obama will come to realize the enormity of his error and Joe Biden will withdraw (health issues?) and be replaced by Hillary Clinton.

Obama and Clinton will be elected in a landslide.

We live in hope. With any luck we won't die in despair!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

McCain's Poor Judgment


Candidate McCain’s Big Decision

New York Times
Published: September 2, 2008

More often than not, the role of a vice president is a minor one, unless some tragedy occurs. But a presidential nominee’s choice of a running mate is vitally important. It is his first executive decision and offers an important insight into how that nominee would lead the nation.

If John McCain wants voters to conclude, as he argues, that he has more independence and experience and better judgment than Barack Obama, he made a bad start by choosing Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

Mr. McCain’s supporters are valiantly trying to argue that the selection was a bold stroke that shows their candidate is a risk-taking maverick who — we can believe — will change Washington. (Mr. Obama’s call for change — now “the change we need” — has become all the rage in St. Paul.)

To us, it says the opposite. Mr. McCain’s snap choice of Ms. Palin reflects his impulsive streak: a wild play that he made after conservative activists warned him that he would face an all-out revolt in the party if he chose who he really wanted — Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

Why Mr. McCain would want to pander to right-wing activists — who helped George W. Bush kill off his candidacy in the 2000 primaries in a particularly ugly way — is baffling. Frankly, they have no place to go. Mr. McCain would have a lot more success demonstrating his independence, and his courage, if he stood up to them the way he did in 2000.

As far as we can tell, Mr. McCain and his aides did almost no due diligence before choosing Ms. Palin, raising serious questions about his management skills. The fact that Ms. Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is pregnant is irrelevant to her candidacy. There are, however, very serious questions about her political past and her ideology.

If Mr. McCain wanted to break with his party’s past and choose the Republicans’ first female vice presidential candidate, there are a number of politicians out there with far greater experience and stature than Ms. Palin, who has been in Alaska’s Statehouse for less than two years.

Before she was elected governor, she was mayor of a tiny Anchorage suburb, where her greatest accomplishment was raising the sales tax to build a hockey rink. According to Time magazine, she also sought to have books banned from the local library and threatened to fire the librarian.

For Mr. McCain to go on claiming that Mr. Obama has too little experience to be president after almost three years in the United States Senate is laughable now that he has announced that someone with no national or foreign policy experience is qualified to replace him, if necessary.

Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who has been one of Mr. McCain’s most loyal friends, said Tuesday that he was certain that Ms. Palin would take the right positions on issues like Iraq, Russia’s invasion of Georgia and Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. That seemed based largely on his repeated assertion that Ms. Palin would be tended by Mr. McCain’s foreign policy advisers. That was not much of an endorsement.

Some of the things Ms. Palin has had to say in the recent past about foreign policy are especially worrisome. In a speech last June to her former church in Wasilla, Ms. Palin said the war in Iraq was “a task that is from God.” Mr. Bush made similar claims as he rejected all sound mortal advice on how to conduct the war.

Mr. McCain, Mr. Graham and others also claim that Ms. Palin is a fearless reformer who is committed to fighting waste, fraud and earmarks. Ms. Palin did show courage taking on some of the Alaska Republican Party’s most sleazy politicians. But she also was an eager recipient of earmarked money as a mayor and governor.

Mayor Palin gathered up $27 million in subsidies from Washington, $15 million of it for a railroad from her town to the ski resort hometown of Senator Ted Stevens, now under indictment for failing to report gifts.

The Republicans are presenting Ms. Palin as a crusader against Mr. Stevens’s infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” The record says otherwise; she initially supported Mr. Stevens’s boondoggle, diverting the money to other projects when the bridge became a political disaster. In her speech to the Wasilla Assembly of God in June, Ms. Palin said it was “God’s will” that the federal government contribute to a $30 billion gas pipeline she wants built in Alaska.

Mr. McCain will make his acceptance speech on Thursday, and Ms. Palin will speak on Wednesday. Those two appearances will go a long way to forming voters’ views of this Republican ticket.

As Senator Graham noted, Mr. McCain has to reach out beyond the party’s loyal base. “We’re going to have to win this thing,” he said. “This is not our race to lose.”

Mr. McCain’s hurdles are substantial. To start, he has to overcome Mr. Bush’s record of failures. (The president addressed the convention Tuesday night and now, McCain strategists fervently hope, will retire quietly to the Rose Garden.) That record includes the disastrous war in Iraq, a ballooning deficit, the mortgage crisis — and the list goes on.

To address those many problems, this country needs a leader with sound judgment and strong leadership skills. Choosing Ms. Palin raises serious questions about Mr. McCain’s qualifications.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where I am, I don't know, I'll never know, in the silence you don't know, you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on.


I looked intently into his face but he turned his gaze downward. He looked like a man who had been broken by life. We sat alone in the dingy room for a long time, in silence. Suddenly he raised his head and his eyes fixed on mine. They were burning like hot coals and I knew that the volcano was about to erupt again. "I cared about everyone", he raged, "but no one cared about me. I have as much right to be happy as anyone else. I did all the right things and life was never fair to me. Look at me now, I'm alone and I'm sick and I just want to die."

"The world did not owe you anything", I replied, "and you didn't owe the world anything. It was your own responsibility to give meaning to your life, and to find happiness. The world is indifferent to our needs. We all need to be cared for, to be loved, to be indulged. The world is not cruel, it is uncaring. Only human beings have the capacity to care about each other. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. They are not cruel, they are just indifferent".

"It just doesn't seem right", he went on, "that life should not return the favor. Maybe I expected too much of people. I expected everyone to think like me and to act like I would have acted in that situation. I expected them to sense my needs and to provide me with what I needed. I was always disappointed...always".

"That is because you always expected something in return. You were selfish. Now you are angry because you didn't get the return on your investment that you had hoped for. There was a fundamental flaw in your thinking. You did not help people out of the goodness of your heart. There was no nobility in your gestures. You loved people because you wanted them to love you back. You helped them because you wanted their gratitude. You have no right to be angry. Your self pity is contemptible."
He glared at me long and hard. Perhaps I had gone a bit too far. I looked directly into his watery eyes. "I only wish that I was young again. I do not accept my fate gracefully. I resent every day that passes. I see nothing in my future but pain, sickness and death. I am just waiting each day for the next horrible thing that will happen to me. I cannot be saved. It is too late. I have only my dreams to keep me alive.
I am walking along the beach, with the ocean waves dancing at my feet, with the blood-red sun setting on the horizon. I am walking on the street in a quiet New England village with snow gently falling and the smell of wood burning in the hearths. I look into the warm, peaceful homes and I see the families gathered around the dinner table. I am sitting under a large oak tree in a summer pasture, filled with wildflowers and buzzing with insects. I am with a young lady and we are having a picnic. I am young and strong and handsome, and I am hopelessly in love. I want to sing, to dance, to recite poetry, to listen to music. There is no anger, no hatred, no envy, no pride, no sorrow, no fear. I am at peace and time is standing still, frozen in a great crystal of beauty. I want to be here forever, because I am young and happy and free".


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Senator McCain: Read your bible!!


"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty." (Prov. 16:32)

"A man of quick temper acts foolishly, but a man of discretion is patient." (Prov. 14:17)

"He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly." (Prov. 14:29)

"A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention." (Prov. 15:18)

And, from the Christian New Testament's Letter of James: "Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rimbaud


Farewell
¯¯¯¯


Autumn already! - But why regret the everlasting sun, if we are sworn to a search for divine brightness, - far from those who die as seasons turn.

Autumn. Our boat, risen out of a hanging fog, turns toward poverty's harbor, the monstrous city, its sky stained with fire and mud. Ah! Those stinking rags, bread soaked with rain, drunkenness, and the thousands of loves who nailed me to the cross! Will there never, ever be an end to that ghoulish queen of a million dead souls and bodies and who will all be judged! I can see myself again, my skin corroded by dirt and disease, hair and armpits crawling with worms, and worms still larger crawling in my heart, stretched out among ageless, heartless, unknown figures... I could easily have died there... What a horrible memory! I detest poverty.

And I dread winter because it's so cozy!

- Sometimes in the sky I see endless sandy shores covered with white rejoicing nations. A great golden ship, above me, flutters many-colored pennants in the morning breeze. I was the creator of every feast, every triumph, every drama. I tried to invent new flowers, new planets, new flesh, new languages. I thought I had acquired supernatural powers. Ha! I have to bury my imagination and my memories! What an end to a splendid career as an artist and storyteller!

I! I called myself a magician, an angel, free from all moral constraint, I am sent back to the soil to seek some obligation, to wrap gnarled reality in my arms! A peasant!

Am I deceived? Would Charity be the sister of death, for me?

Well, I shall ask forgiveness for having lived on lies. And that's that.

But not one friendly hand! and where can I look for help?



Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

St. Michael the Archangel




As a young lad I was obsessed with St. Michael the Archangel. So much so that I chose Michael as my confirmation name.

I recited the prayer to St. Michael after every mass:

"Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."

Recently I noticed that this prayer is used by Martin Scorsese in the opening scene of "Gangs of New York".

Imagine my dismay when I read this:

NEW YORK (AP) ― A 15th-century sculpture at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has been damaged after it came loose from its moorings and fell to the floor.

The museum says the damaged piece is a terracotta sculpture of Saint Michael the Archangel by Andrea della Robbia.

It fell late Monday night or early Tuesday. It had been hanging over a doorway in the European Paintings and Decorative Arts Galleries since 1996.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Robert F. Kennedy




And here is Teddy's eulogy:


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

John Brown by Bob Dylan


John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore.
His mama sure was proud of him!
He stood straight and tall in his uniform and all.
His mama's face broke out all in a grin.

"Oh son, you look so fine, I'm glad you're a son of mine,
You make me proud to know you hold a gun.
Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get,
And we'll put them on the wall when you come home."

As that old train pulled out, John's ma began to shout,
Tellin' ev'ryone in the neighborhood:
"That's my son that's about to go, he's a soldier now, you know."
She made well sure her neighbors understood.

She got a letter once in a while and her face broke into a smile
As she showed them to the people from next door.
And she bragged about her son with his uniform and gun,
And these things you called a good old-fashioned war.

Oh! Good old-fashioned war!

Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they did not come.
They ceased to come for about ten months or more.
Then a letter finally came saying, "Go down and meet the train.
Your son's a-coming home from the war."

She smiled and went right down, she looked everywhere around
But she could not see her soldier son in sight.
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last,
When she did she could hardly believe her eyes.

Oh his face was all shot up and his hand was all blown off
And he wore a metal brace around his waist.
He whispered kind of slow, in a voice she did not know,
While she couldn't even recognize his face!

Oh! Lord! Not even recognize his face.

"Oh tell me, my darling son, pray tell me what they done.
How is it you come to be this way?"
He tried his best to talk but his mouth could hardly move
And the mother had to turn her face away.

"Don't you remember, Ma, when I went off to war
You thought it was the best thing I could do?
I was on the battleground, you were home . . . acting proud.
You wasn't there standing in my shoes."

"Oh, and I thought when I was there, God, what am I doing here?
I'm a-tryin' to kill somebody or die tryin'.
But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
And I saw that his face looked just like mine."

Oh! Lord! Just like mine!

"And I couldn't help but think, through the thunder rolling and stink,
That I was just a puppet in a play.
And through the roar and smoke, this string is finally broke,
And a cannon ball blew my eyes away."

As he turned away to walk, his Ma was still in shock
At seein' the metal brace that helped him stand.
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
And he dropped his medals down into her hand.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Chimes of Freedom

Bob Dylan changed my life...it's that simple.



Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Obama Has It EXACTLY right.....

And everyone else got it ALL WRONG!!!

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Not In Our Name


We believe that as people living
in the United States it is our
responsibility to resist the injustices
done by our government,
in our names

Not in our name
will you wage endless war
there can be no more deaths
no more transfusions
of blood for oil

Not in our name
will you invade countries
bomb civilians, kill more children
letting history take its course
over the graves of the nameless

Not in our name
will you erode the very freedoms
you have claimed to fight for

Not by our hands
will we supply weapons and funding
for the annihilation of families
on foreign soil

Not by our mouths
will we let fear silence us

Not by our hearts
will we allow whole peoples
or countries to be deemed evil

Not by our will
and Not in our name

We pledge resistance

We pledge alliance with those
who have come under attack
for voicing opposition to the war
or for their religion or ethnicity

We pledge to make common cause
with the people of the world
to bring about justice,
freedom and peace

Another world is possible
and we pledge to make it real.

Not In Our Name

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Surge Is Failing! Don't Lie To Me!

Why do I, an American citizen, have to go to other sources for the truth?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fractals with Chaos




This was made with the shareware release of James Gleick's CHAOS: the Software. The software was written by Josh Gordon, Rudy Rucker and John Walker for Autodesk, Inc., with Josh Gordon doing the lion's share of the programming work.

Get it HERE

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rickie Lee Jones



Nobody Knows My Name

For a thousand years
I've lay upon the Lake Victoria
I was winged and many-colored
And nobody knew my name

For a thousand years
I fell out of the sand into the Guadeloupe
And I made many songs into the air
And nobody knew my name

I fell like water
In sweet gasps of hydrogen up
Into the sea over the Bikini Islands
And I dove into the liquid concrete of sweet silver lake
The liquid concrete of down by the river
And nobody knew my name

Now I walk among them and I sing to them
And I open up my wrists
And nobody knows my name

And I translate into many hours of history
But nobody knows my name
I stood in the four winds
I stood in the four winds
I stood in the four winds
And nobody knows my name

So I walk again
Yeah, I walk every night
So I walk again
I look at you
Sweet every face
Do you know my name
Do you, do you know my name
Do you know my name
Do you know my name
Say it
Do you know my name
Say it
Do you know my name
Do you know my name
Do you know my
Do you know my name
Do you know my
My...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wildernes by Carl Sandburg

THERE is a wolf in me ... fangs pointed for tearing gashes ... a red tongue for raw meat ... and the hot lapping of blood-- I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go. There is a fox in me ... a silver-gray fox ... I sniff and guess ... I pick things out of the wind and air ... I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers ... I circle and loop and double-cross. There is a hog in me ... a snout and a belly ... a machinery for eating and grunting ... a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun--I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go. There is a fish in me ... I know I came from saltblue water-gates ... I scurried with shoals of herring ... I blew waterspouts with porpoises ... before land was ... before the water went down ... before Noah ... before the first chapter of Genesis. There is a baboon in me ... clambering-clawed ... dog-faced ... yawping a galoot's hunger ... hairy under the armpits ... here are the hawk-eyed hankering men ... here are the blond and blue-eyed women ... here they hide curled asleep waiting ... ready to snarl and kill ... ready to sing and give milk ... waiting-- I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so. There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird ... and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want ... and the mockingbird warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes-- And I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness. O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve heart-- and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where-- For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gram Parsons

If you don't know anything about Gram Parsons, take a moment to watch this video and go to http://www.gramparsons.com.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Few Words In Defense Of Our Country



The Voyage of Life






The Voyage of Life : Old Age
Thomas Cole

And the sky cracked open,
and terrifying forks of lightning split the earth,
releasing deafening explosions of roaring thunder.
And the mighty wind blew,
creating a maelstrom of fury and rage...
And then all was quiet, and the gentle sea
serenely rolled on, as it has since the beginning of time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I'm A Liberal...Suck on that!

I'm a fighting liberal

by Steve Gilliard

You know, I've studied history, I've read about America and you know something, if it weren't for liberals, we'd be living in a dark, evil country, far worse than anything Bush could conjure up. A world where children were told to piss on the side of the road because they weren't fit to pee in a white outhouse, where women had to get back alley abortions and where rape was a joke, unless the alleged criminal was black, whereupon he was hung from a tree and castrated.

What has conservatism given America? A stable social order? A peaceful homelife? Respect for law and order? No. Hell, no. It hasn't given us anything we didn't have and it wants to take away our freedoms.

The Founding Fathers, as flawed as they were, slaveowners and pornographers, smugglers and terrorists, understood one thing, a man's path to God needed no help from the state. Is the religion of these conservatives so fragile that they need the state to prop it up, to tell us how to pray and think? Is that what they stand for? Is that their America?

Conservatism plays on fear and thrives on lies and dishonesty. I grew up with honest, decent conservatives and those people have been replaced by the party of greed. It is one thing to want less government interference and smaller, fiscally responsible government. It is another thing entirely to be a corporate whore, selling out to the highest bidder because the CEO fattens your campaign chest. They are building an America which cannot be sustained. One based on the benefit of the few at the cost of the many. The indifferent boss who hires too few people and works them to death or until they break down sick. Cheap labor capitalism has replaced common sense. "Globalism" which is really guise for exploitation, replaced fair trade, which is nothing like fair for the trapped semi-slaves of the maquliadoras. In the Texas border towns, hundreds of these women have been used as sex slaves and then apparently killed,the FBI powerless to do anything as the criminals sit in Mexico untouched by law.

For the better part of a decade, the conservatives made liberal a dirty word. Well, it isn't. It represents the best and most noble nature of what America stands for: equitable government services, old age pensions, health care, education, fair trials and humane imprisonment. It is the heart and soul of what made American different and better than other countries. Not only an escape from oppression, but the opportunity to thrive in land free of tradition and the repression that can bring. We offered a democracy which didn't enshrine the rich and made them feel they had an obligation to their workers.

Bush and the people around him disdain that. They think, by accident of birth and circumstance, they were meant to rule the world and those who did not agree would suffer.

Liberal does not and has not meant weak until the conservatives said it did. Was Martin Luther King weak? Bobby Kennedy? Gene McCarthy? It was the liberals who remade this country and ended legal segregation and legal sexism. Not the conservatives, who wanted to hold on to the old ways.

It's time to regain the sprit of FDR and Truman and the people around them. People who believed in the public good over private gain. It is time to stop apologizing for being a liberal and be proud to fight for your beliefs. No more shying away or being defined by other people. Liberals believe in a strong defense and punishment for crime. But not preemption and pointless jail sentences. We believe no American should be turned away from a hospital because they are too poor or lack a proper legal defense. We believe that people should make enough from one job to live on, to spend time on raising their family. We believe that individuals and not the state should dictate who gets married and why. The best way to defend marriage is to expand, not restrict it.

It was the liberals who opposed the Nazis while the conservatives were plotting to get their brown shirts or fund Hitler. It was the liberals who warned about Spain and fought there, who joined the RAF to fight the Germans, who brought democracy to Germany and Japan. Let us not forget it was the conservatives who opposed defending America until the Germans sank our ships. They would have done nothing as Britain came under Nazi control. It was they who supported Joe McCarthy and his baseless, drink fueled claims.

Without liberals, there would be no modern America, just a Nazi satellite state. Liberals weak on defense? Liberals created America's defense. The conservatives only need vets at election time.

It is time to stop looking for an accomodation with the right. They want none for us. They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?

Steve Gilliard
http://tinyurl.com/ytocqy