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jueves, marzo 31, 2011

Ceremony For Japan/Ceremonia Para Japon

May this help. Please spread far and wide. Spanish first, English second. Espanol primero, Ingles secundo.

A todas las personas del mundo:

¡Por favor manden sus oraciones de Amor y Gratitud al agua de la Planta Nuclear de Fukushima, Japón!

Después de sufrir el gran terremoto de la magnitud 9 y por efectos devastadores del Tsunami, más de 10,000 personas aún están desaparecidas hasta ahora… aunque ya pasaron 16 días desde el día del desastre. Lo que hace peor en este momento es que el agua de los reactores de la Planta Nuclear de Fukushima empezaron a la fuga contaminando el océano, la atrmósfera y las moléculas de agua que se encuentran en zonas aledañas.

La sabiduría humana no ha sido capaz de resolver el problema, y está tratando solamente enfriar materiales radiactivos que existen dentro de los reactores echando agua fría con mangueras.

¿Realmente no hay otra cosa que podemos hacer?

Yo digo que sí. Durante más de 20 años de investigación sobre las tecnologías de medir Hado y de fotografiar los cristales de agua, he sido incontables veces el testigo de que el agua se transforma en positivo cuando recibe la vibración pura de oraciones de seres humanos no importa cuán lejos estén esas personas.

El verdadero significado de la fórmula de Energía de Albert Einstein, E=MC2 es: Energía = el número de personas multiplicada por cuadrado de sus consciencias.

Llegó el momento de practicarlo. Vamos a unirnos nuestra consciencia para llevar a cabo una ceremonia de oración para el agua como ciudadano de la Tierra. Les pido a todos ustedes, no solamente en Japón, sino en alrededor del mundo, que por favor nos ayuden para encontrar la forma de superar esta crisis de nuestro planeta Tierra.

Nombre de la ceremonia:
“Vamos a enviar nuestros pensamientos de Amor y Gratitud a todo el agua que existe en la Plantas Nuclear de Fukushima”.

Fecha y hora:
Juevez, 31 de Marzo de 2011, a las 12:00 del día en la hora local.

Vamos a pronunciar la siguiente frase:
“El agua de la Planta Nuclear Fukushima, lo sentimos mucho por haberte causado este sufrimiento. Por favor perdónanos. Te damos gracias, y te amamos.”

Pueden decir a voz alta o en silencio. Repiten 3 veces juntando las palmas de sus manos ofreciendo su sincera oración.

Les agradezco de mi corazón.
Con amor y gratitud
Masaru Emoto
Mensajero de Agua

To All People Around the World
Please send your prayers of love and gratitude to water at the nuclear plants in Fukushima, Japan!

By the massive earthquakes of Magnitude 9 and surreal massive tsunamis, more than 10,000 people are still missing…even now… It has been 16 days already since the disaster happened. What makes it worse is that water at the reactors of Fukushima Nuclear Plants started to leak, and it’s contaminating the ocean, air and water molecule of surrounding areas.

Human wisdom has not been able to do much to solve the problem, but we are only trying to cool down the anger of radioactive materials in the reactors by discharging water to them.

Is there really nothing else to do?

I think there is. During over twenty year research of hado measuring and water crystal photographic technology, I have been witnessing that water can turn positive when it receives pure vibration of human prayer no matter how far away it is.

Energy formula of Albert Einstein, E=MC2 really means that Energy = number of people and the square of people’s consciousness.

Now is the time to understand the true meaning. Let us all join the prayer ceremony as fellow citizens of the planet earth. I would like to ask all people, not just in Japan, but all around the world to please help us to find a way out the crisis of this planet!!
The prayer procedure is as follows.

Name of ceremony:
“Let’s send our thoughts of love and gratitude to all water in the nuclear plants in Fukushima”

Day and Time:
March 31st, 2011 (Thursday)
12:00 noon in each time zone

Please say the following phrase:
“The water of Fukushima Nuclear Plant,
we are sorry to make you suffer.
Please forgive us. We thank you, and we love you.”

Please say it aloud or in your mind. Repeat it three times as you put your hands together in a prayer position. Please offer your sincere prayer.

Thank you very much from my heart.

With love and gratitude,
Masaru Emoto
Messenger of Water

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domingo, marzo 27, 2011

The Market Of Dreams

Where has it gone? I wander the dark streets, I avoid the dangerous blocks, but it seems to have moved. I can’t find it. I take a cab. The driver nods and seems to know where it is. When I get out, I’m in a block I haven’t seen before, there’s nobody around, and still it’s nowhere to be found. I wander around looking for it. It’s not here. I decide to go back to the beginning and start over again from there. Maybe I made a mistake, a wrong turn, and that’s why I can’t find it now. Then I can’t find the beginning. The streets seem to have been changed around. They don’t go to the same places. So I walk in what I think might be the correct general direction back toward the beginning. After a while, nothing seems at all familiar. I’m not really lost, I think. I just can’t find it. I wonder how I could get lost in a city I’ve known for decades, one I know so well, one has such familiar streets. It doesn’t make sense. The sky starts to turn pink and orange, the sun will soon come up. I notice the birdsongs. Now it’s too late anyway. The market will be closed before I can find it. I resolve to try again soon.

Eduardo Galeano writes,

“She wanders through the market of dreams. The market women have spread out dreams on big cloths on the ground.

Juana’s grandfather arrives at the market, very sad because he has not dreamed for a long time. Juana takes him by the hand and helps him select dreams, dreams of marzipan or of cotton, wings to fly with in sleep, and they take off together so loaded down with dreams that no night will be long enough for them.”

Memory of Fire (Genesis)(1658).

Why am I looking for this market? Dreams are like everything else. When they become tattered they have to be repaired. And if they’re worn out completely, they have to replaced. Because eventually they stop working. What once was a red, steel arched bridge high over a wide, muddy river, with a border checkpoint at the very peak and hundreds of people pulling pushcarts waiting for admission, waiting to have the guards read their papers, has crumbled. It’s rusted out. Nobody goes there any more, and most people don’t even remember it. And the river is gone also. The waiting for admission, the conversations, the smells, the sun, all gone. Even the Asian languages they spoke are gone. I’ve tried, but I can’t go there any more.

It’s not like I want to find a new bridge at the Market. That’s not how it works. You give the market woman what remains of the dream you wore out, and you gently haggle about it and what she has for you on her blanket, and then you pick out something completely different. Something you think will work. The very best thing they have are the wings. I like mine. But mostly, I like to wander the streets of this sleeping city on foot.


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sábado, marzo 26, 2011


The wind whispers this:
Go to the market of dreams,
Find a new story.


viernes, marzo 25, 2011

Leonard Weinglass, RIP

The LA Times notes the passing of a hero:

Leonard Weinglass, a crusading lawyer who championed radical and liberal causes and clients in some of the most controversial trials of the 1960s and '70s, including the Chicago 7 and Pentagon Papers cases, died Wednesday in New York City. He was 77....

Weinglass, who practiced in Los Angeles for two decades before moving to New York, developed a reputation as a firebrand during the Chicago 7 conspiracy case against anti-Vietnam War protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The defendants included Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Although Weinglass was considered less boisterous than co-counsel William Kunstler, he was nonetheless cited for contempt 14 times during the five-month trial, which resulted in acquittals.

He went on to defend other notorious clients, including Jane Fonda, Symbionese Liberation Army members William and Emily Harris, Angela Davis, Kathy Boudin and Mumia Abu-Jamal. He also represented former President Carter's daughter, Amy, who in 1987 was charged with disorderly conduct after an anti-CIA demonstration at the University of Massachusetts.

A true and fearless advocate. He will be sorely missed.

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To talk to the clouds
Climb the hill or tallest tree.
Open wide both your hands.


A cloud has no feet,
just a face and two plump hands.
And wind for a voice.


What stories clouds tell!
I cannot write them down here.
They are too fragile.

After Eduardo Galeano's Memories of Fire (Genesis), "Juana At Four"


jueves, marzo 24, 2011

Our Nominee For Understatement Of The Week

I know. Most US officials are ahistorical, meaning that either they don't know history of they've conveniently forgotten it. It's in this context that you have to read these remarks by Dan Restrepo, the National Security Council "point person" on Latin America. States Mr. Retrepo:

At a briefing Monday for reporters traveling with Obama, the National Security Council point person for Latin America, Dan Restrepo, indicated that some U.S. actions in the region were “bad.” However, he declined a reporter’s suggestion to be more specific about the impact of U.S. backing for Chile’s brutal [Pinochet] dictatorship.

“There are 34 countries in the Americas and … that time could cover 200 years. The U.S. has had a complicated history with different countries in the Western Hemisphere over the course of our independence,” Restrepo said. “So, if you had a long time, we could go through each country and whether the U.S. was good or bad in a particular decade or a particular century.”

Yes, we could go through each country decade by decade, and what we would discover, if I may be permitted to summarize and simplify, is indisputable: the US has committed atrocity after atrocity after atrocity in Latin America, exploited and expropriated its natural resources, oppressed its people, manipulated its governments, and bestrode it like a Colossus. Generally, the US thinks of Latin America as its Plantation. Not just in 1970s Chile or 1980s El Salvador or 2011 Honduras. In fact, the US has had institutions for a centuries devoted to promoting this role, from United Fruit and the Army to the School of Americas (now WHINSEC) and CAFTA and NAFTA.

"A complicated history." What a joke. My nominee for understatement of the week.

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miércoles, marzo 23, 2011

Cops Of The World

Simultaneous War III continues. Nobody knows its goal or how or when it ends. Or who's in charge of operations. Or what a success might look like. In fact, the many questions US airstrikes on Libya have raised seem to have struck many (including me) dumb. Why? Because I just don't get it. I don't understand the point of this latest military adventure. Or what it is supposed to accomplish. Or how.

There are lots of countries in which dictatorships with varying degrees of brutality toy with the lives of the citizens, suppressing dissent, imprisoning, killing, disappearing, repressing in one way or another. These countries are not democracies. How many are there in which tyrants of one stripe or another are in charge and acting like, well, tyrants? I don't know, but you can bet that Libya isn't the only one in Africa. And, of course, all of these countries, to one degree or another, have nascent opposition groups that are involved in various kinds of opposition to the tyrant, including demonstrations, rebellions, or outright armed insurrection. But the US isn't busy lobbing $1 million missiles at these countries in support of the rebels, or flying airstrikes to blow up their military defenses, or coordinating with the allies to advance the opposition, or even threatening them to straighten up and fly right. Or else. Libya is special, probably because of oil.

And who is this utterly disorganized opposition in Libya? Yes, they are opposed to Ghaddafi. But other than their opposition to the despot, what's their plan, assuming the tyrant is toppled? Are they talking democracy? Is there a reason why they are somehow worth the potential loss of US lives and the enormous cost of this operation when other insurrections don't merit attention? I just don't understand how deposing G (or is it K) and a victory by the rebels assures democracy or any other worthy goal. And I don't understand why it matters to the US. Unless, of course, it's about the oil.

As the great sage County Joe put it many years ago, "And it's 1, 2, 3 what are we fighin for? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn."

And now we have President Obama's lame effort to address some of these concerns. CNN reports:

"Our hope is that the first thing that happens once we clear this space is that the rebels start discussing how they're able to organize themselves, how they articulate their aspirations for the Libyan people," Obama said.

Is this an announcement that the rebels are still disorganized and have no plans for the future other than deposing G (or is it K)? Or does it mean that the US is now bombing in behalf of people who are leaderless and acting without any plans, forget about long term goals? And then there's this, which is very had to understand:

The president acknowledged the irony of being a Nobel Peace Prize winner who ordered the U.S. military into action on the eight anniversary of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but said the goal in this case was humanitarian.

"I'm accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also somebody who aspires to peace," Obama said, adding the Libya mission was to protect the Libyan people from Gadhafi's military.

"We're not invading a country; we are not acting alone," he said. "We are acting under a mandate issued by the U.N. Security Council."

The American people will see no contradiction between someone who believes in peace and "who wants to make sure people aren't butchered because of a dictator who wants to cling to power," Obama added.

What? I see a contradiction. A huge one. Is this a case of making war to make peace? Is this destroying Libya to save it? And is the President saying that in other nations, those who are being "butchered because of a dictator who wants to cling to power" can make a claim on US military assistance which the Peacemaker President will dutifully grant?

What a steaming hot mess. The US continues to play out Phil Oakes's song, "Cops of the World."

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lunes, marzo 21, 2011

Pinetop Perkins, RIP

The NY Times reports:

Pinetop Perkins, the boogie-woogie piano player who worked in Muddy Waters’s last great band and was among the last surviving members of the first generation of Delta bluesmen, died on Monday at his home in Austin, Tex. He was 97....

From his days in the groups of Waters and the slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk to the vigorous solo career he fashioned over the last 20 years, Mr. Perkins’s accomplishments were numerous and considerable. His longevity as a performer was remarkable — all the more so considering his fondness for cigarettes and alcohol; by his own account he began smoking at age 9 and didn’t quit drinking until he was 82. Few people working in any popular art form have been as prolific in the ninth and tenth decades of their lives.

A sideman for most of his career, Mr. Perkins did not release an album under his own name until his 75th year. From then until his death he made more than a dozen records on which he was the leader. His 2008 album, “Pinetop Perkins & Friends” (Telarc), included contributions from admirers like B. B. King and Eric Clapton. His last album, released in 2010, was “Joined at the Hip” (Telarc), a collaboration with the harmonica player Willie Big Eyes Smith.

He will be missed.

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sábado, marzo 19, 2011


The biggest full moon.
Go outside and howl at it.
How else to greet her?

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viernes, marzo 18, 2011

War Du Jour, Part III

War, endless war. Evidently, Iraq and Afghanistan, even taken together, cannot sate the US's taste for armed combat and blood. No. Not a chance. Those are insufficient. Today we learned that the US was going to get involved in yet another war, a third one, this time in Libya, again complete with ill defined purpose, the possibility of massive and uncontrolled escalation, and no exit plans. Yes, I know. No ground troops are being committed. Yet. Right now. But this intervention is a lot more than just imposing a "no fly zone". Let's call it what it is: it's an open invitation for the US to get embroiled in yet a third, simultaneous, distant ground war.

How so? Let's suppose that air power can keep Libya's air force on the ground. But let's also suppose that Libyan armor attacks Benghazi. Or Libyan mercenaries and infantry attack some other civilian center in which there is resistance to the Gaddafi government and its tanks and infantry and mercenaries. It's clear that to defend the rebels (read: the less well armed Libyan people) there would have to be at the very least an air attack on the advancing forces. And the Libyan response to that would be an escalation of some kind, and the response to that, in turn, another escalation. Have we seen this particular sequence and its consequences before? Or more to the point, haven't we seen it far too often? And hasn't it killed enough US soldiers? And enough foreign soldiers? And enough civilians?

MSNBC reports:

NATO allies meeting in Brussels were drawing up plans to enforce a United Nations resolution authorizing military action to prevent the killing of Libyan civilians Friday as Western leaders delivered an ultimatum to Moammar Gadhafi.

Fighting continued Friday in Libya despite the government's declaration of a cease-fire to comply after the U.N. resolution passed a day earlier.

President Barack Obama and other Western leaders said military response would be swift if Gadhafi forces continue attacking protesters trying to end his 42-year rule.

I think we've heard that line about "swift" elsewhere, perhaps in the different context. At least so far we've been spared the silly prediction that the Libyan people would greet US troops in the streets of Tripoli with flowers. We'll have to wait until next week or next month for that. Right now there is already video of people in the streets with Libyan flags supposedly cheering the UN/US decision to intervene. Those videos are positively Chalabi-esque.

But it's the language about "military action to prevent the killing of Libyan citizens" that's the real problem. That very phrase opens the door wide to yet another quagmire. You remember quagmires. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Now Libya. What does this phrase mean about the limits, if any, of US/UN intervention in Libya? As far as I can tell, not so very much.

And how does our present War President explain (video) why the US cannot sit this out in the peanut gallery and try to nurse it's own economy and Japan back to a modicum of health? Ah. Well. He doesn't. You have to watch the entire statement. Very nice rhetoric. Very broad. Very fierce (where has this fierceness been hiding for the past two years that it gets to show off now?). Yes, it's intolerable that Gaddafi's forces are killing civilians. Yes, Gaddafi has abused the populace for more than four decades. Yes, he's violated human rights. Yes, he's suppressed expression and the right to assembled. And worse. We've heard all that before about Mubarak, and Saddam Hussein, and [fill in the name of the dictator who is now out of favor in the US]. Yes, he's a bad, bad man. And, yes, he has oil, oil, oil. How coincidental.

You would expect a large outcry about this newest of US wars. But so far, I don't hear much. I'm amazed that committing the US's military to anything like this can happen so easily. Have we become that desensitized, that habituated to war for oil?

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miércoles, marzo 16, 2011

A Beautiful Day To Die

The World In 2011

The earthquake and the tsunami and the nuclear event have finally shut me up. I haven't been able to write. I don't have anything clear or witty or insightful to say about these events. I am avoiding the talking heads on TV, and I'm reading as little as possible about the event on the Internet, and I've been absent from this blog. Why? Because I have no confidence at all that what I'd hear or read would be the truth. And I have the dreadful thought that the situation in Japan is far, far worse than what we are being told. I have no proof for the last sentence other than the plethora of contradictions I find in the news stories. And a tight feeling in my heart and chest and stomach that warns of impending, large scale disaster. I hope I'm wrong about this, but alas, I don't think I am.

I don't like to think of myself as a dead fish that won't rot because it's been thoroughly irradiated.

I don't like to think of myself as sporting a wonderful and fatal radiation burn all over my body until I die, and then lying in my coffin for decades, if not centuries without decomposing. I hope this won't happen. I expect to be cremated. I would like to wait until I am dead for that.

I don't like to think of my children and relatives and friends and acquaintances and even people I detest as charbroiled by radiation and suffering from malignant tumors for long periods of time before they prematurely die. Old guys like me have had our day. If we die, it's all right. Younger people who haven't yet had their chance deserve something far better.

I don't like to think of the tens of thousands of Japanese people who are now dead or will be shortly. I don't want to think of their widows and orphans and friends. I don't want to think about those who were buried alive or swept into the sea or trapped under water. I don't even want to think about their pets. And I hate thinking about the missing, those who disappeared who will never be accounted for.

I don't like to think about the inadequacy of my insights, my thoughts, my writing, my prayers in the face of this tragedy.

I don't like to listen to the radio because I don't want to hear shills for energy companies talk about how nuclear power is safe and how nuclear reactors that can be built now are so much better than those they built 40 years ago. And I don't want to hear how this is a good time to invest in uranium or nuclear power. Or the stock market. Or commodity futures. Or gold. And I don't want to hear the many offered distractions, so I would ignore these events. I can't stand the radio.

I don't like to think about how many people live within 10 kilometers or 20 kilometers or 30 kilometers or 50 miles of where I am now sitting. I don't like to think about an evacuation that would empty most of three counties of people.

There is now so much suffering, and there is so much more to come. The suffering will soon be everywhere. I fear that what is coming will make the sufferings foretold by biblical prophets seem a quaint, historical understatement.

So I have not been writing. What could I write in these circumstances?

It's a time when there is new meaning in the phrase, "It's a beautiful day to die." It's a time when having a smile on my face is particularly important.

May all beings be happy, and may all beings be free of suffering.

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martes, marzo 15, 2011

El Pato Ha Vuelto!

(reprinted from 4/12/07, with update)

Many years ago in early April I bought four mallard ducklings at Blue Seal Seed and Feed in Chatham. They were tiny, and like most poultry in this county, they had been mailed with their siblings to the feed store when they were one day old. They lived in a crate and swam on the pond. One survived the nightly predators to full maturity. And because we wouldn't clip his wings, when Fall finally arrived, nature's plan took over. He flapped his wings, circled the pond, quacked a few times, and flew away toward the South. His name was "Tricky Duck." And he was a traveler.

Remarkably, he came back every Spring. He brought his mate with him. And then his children-- I imagine they were his children-- returned each Spring with their mates. And then his grandchildren. And their mates. For almost twenty years.

This Spring has not really arrived yet. Winter persists. There is still snow cover. The pond remains mostly frozen.

This morning was cold. Last night the temperature was in the upper 20's F. There are no peepers yet. Maple sugaring continues. But there was a surprise. I heard him quacking in the early morning light. Tricky Dick's unmistakeable quack. Quacking to the dog to stay away. Quacking to the sky spirits. Quacking aloud. Quacking for joy. The duck has returned. And he's brought with him his mate. And what seem to be a few of his children. When I go to the car, they move to the far side of the pond. The young ones fly off. But Tricky Duck and his mate just swim around in the shallows.

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sábado, marzo 12, 2011

For Mike

We've learned that last night, Mike, husband of our sister Port Writers Alliance bloguera, Diane, passed over. He was at home and his passing was peaceful. He was the love of her life, her best friend, her inspiration and muse.

Please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers.


Wisconsin: It Is Not Over Until It's Over

And it won't be over then, either.

Today's demonstration via MSNBC:

Thousands of pro-labor protesters are circling the Capitol in Wisconsin with dozens more inside.

While Gov. Scott Walker has already signed a contentious collective bargaining bill into law, demonstrators insist the fight is not over.

For some, the focus has shifted from trying to stop passage of the bill to generating momentum for recall efforts against Republicans. Others are simply venting their frustration over the law taking away most of public workers' collective bargaining rights.

Well, not quite. How about this, if I can edit this last paragraph so it reflects events, rather than MSNBC's "analysis." Yes, the recall is important. Yes, some are frustrated. But, and this is the big but, this is the start of a movement. It's the start of a movement to resuscitate labor unions, to build a strong alliance among middle class citizens, and to oppose the concentration of political and economic power sought by the Oligarchy and their Teapublican supporters.

So of course, the demonstrations aren't over. They're not going to be over at any time soon. This is the beginning and not the end of a movement.

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viernes, marzo 11, 2011

Kyrie Eleison For Japan

Kyrie Eleison
Hashem Yerachem (ה' ירחם)

May all beings who are exposed find shelter.
May all beings who are hungry be fed.
May all beings who are thirsty have water.
May all beings who are injured be healed.
May all beings who are in pain have relief.
May all beings who are lost be found.
May all beings who are trapped be freed.
May all beings who are searching find what they seek.
May all beings who are sick be well.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be comforted.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be free from fear.
May all beings be free from despair.
May all beings breathe freely.
And may all beings have peace.

Let it be so.

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jueves, marzo 10, 2011

Six Night Court Haikus


Town Court meets at night.
Lit up building filled with cops.
The judge, a farmer.


Without the highway
no lead foot cars or lawyers,
only swaying cows.


There is no dinner.
Glacial negotiations.
The time stands too still.


Trial by combat
is messy, unfair, brutal,
a small improvement.


If a circus van
arrived at this wax museum
I would run, join it.


It is no secret:
No one can abolish it.
Court is forever.


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miércoles, marzo 09, 2011

On Wisconsin!

I'm enraged. Wisconsin's union workers this evening were temporarily outflanked by a legislative maneuver of questionable legality. And of despicably sleazy intent. The Senate decided that, as everyone in opposition to it has been saying for months, the union busting bill really wasn't a fiscal measure, the previous pronouncements that it was be damned. No, it wasn't a fiscal measure. It was a union busting measure. And therefore, the bill didn't need a quorum in the Senate. It could pass the Wisconsin Senate with no democrats voting. Or even appearing. So there. This wonderfully disingenuous piece of legislative legerdemain has-- let's call it what it is-- temporarily screwed Wisconsin's public unions by withdrawing their right to bargain collectively.

And now. And now, amigo@s, comes the real test. Will the unions and their supporters and the demonstrators and you and I all throw up our hands in defeat and despair and slink home? Will we say in words or actions, "Oh, we lost, it's over, let's just forget about it and move on?" Or will we stand up now and fight on (nonviolently) with ever renewed dedication to overturn this evil, unpopular, antidemocratic, antiunion measure?

I hope that hundreds of thousands of people show up in Madison tomorrow to demonstrate against Governor Walker and the Koch funded Teapublicans. I hope an equal number will show up in Lansing. And in Union Square, New York. And in San Francisco. And Chicago. And in every town and city in America that recognizes the dignity of workers and their right to bargain collectively. I hope the recall efforts will be redoubled. I hope that the demonstrators inspire a nationwide high school strike tomorrow at 2 pm. And I hope the demonstrators will invite farmers to show their support, to come to Madison, to ride their tractors to and surround the capitol. And I hope that across Wisconsin and across America teachers and nurses and garbage collectors and firemen and bureaucrats and policemen will all link arms with other workers, students, progressives, anyone who supports the unions and sees that the withdrawal of public unions' collective bargaining rights is a step back, a regression into the darkness of the Nineteenth Century.

Yes, I'm enraged. But I'm also hopeful. I'm hopeful that we, you and I, amig@s, will not let Walker and the Koch funded Teapublicans get away with this. I'm hopeful that this is the beginning not of a demonstration, but of an actual, popular movement. I hope that the movement will continue with increased strength and focus to preserve the rights of workers to organize and to bargain collectively.

Yes, I'm idealistic. And maybe pretty unrealistic. And not particularly practical. That doesn't matter. I believe that what we are about to see is a real change. Coming from an organic movement. And that we will now begin in earnest to link arms and stand in Solidarity in the struggle for what I believe is the survival of the middle class. Here's John Lennon:

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lunes, marzo 07, 2011

Haiku For March


Winter continues:
The same, hard snow, ice, wind, sleet.
Going back to bed.


March comes in like
an enraged alligator
leaves like a gerbil.



domingo, marzo 06, 2011

Moacyr Scliar, RIP

The New York Times reports:

Moacyr Scliar, one of Brazil’s most celebrated novelists and short-story writers, whose existential allegories explored the complexities of Jewish identity in the Diaspora, died on Feb. 27 in Porto Alegre. He was 73. ...

Moacyr Scliar (pronounced Mwa-SEAR SKLEER) lived all his life in the city of Porto Alegre, the capital of Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, to which many Eastern Europeans, like his parents, immigrated in the early 20th century.

The city and its Jewish quarter, Bom Fim, provided him with inexhaustible source material, as did his own preoccupation with the predicament of Jews in Brazil. The protagonist of his best-known novel, “The Centaur in the Garden” (1980), is a Jewish centaur born to Russian immigrant parents.

“At home, you speak Yiddish, eat gefilte fish and celebrate Shabbat,” he told the Yiddish Book Center in 2003. “But in the streets, you have soccer, samba and Portuguese. After a while you feel like a centaur.”

He also "inspired" The Life of Pi:

“Max and the Cats,” about a Jewish youth who flees Nazi Germany on a ship carrying wild animals to a Brazilian zoo and, after a shipwreck, ends up sharing a lifeboat with a jaguar, achieved fame twice over. Critically praised on its publication in 1981, it touched off a literary storm in 2002 when the Canadian writer Yann Martel won the Man Booker Prize for “Life of Pi,” about an Indian youth trapped on a boat with a tiger.

Mr. Martel’s admission that he borrowed the idea led to an impassioned debate among writers and critics on the nature of literary invention and the ownership of words and images.

“In a certain way I feel flattered that another writer considered my idea to be so good, but on the other hand, he used that idea without consulting me or even informing me,” Mr. Scliar told The New York Times. “An idea is intellectual property.”

May he rest in peace.

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sábado, marzo 05, 2011

Alberto Granado, RIP

The NY Times reports:

lberto Granado, who accompanied Ernesto 'Che' Guevara on a 1952 journey of discovery across Latin America that was immortalized in Guevara's memoir and on-screen in "The Motorcycle Diaries," died in Cuba on Saturday. He was 88. ...

Granado and Guevara's road trip, begun on a broken-down motorcycle they dubbed La Poderosa, or "The Powerful," awoke in Guevara a social consciousness and political convictions that would help turn him into one of the most iconic revolutionaries of the 20th century. ...

Granado was born Aug. 8, 1922, in Cordoba, Argentina, and befriended Guevara as a child.

As young medical students, the two witnessed deep poverty across the continent — principally Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela — and their stay at a Peruvian leper colony left a particularly deep impression.

They parted ways in Venezuela, where Granado stayed on to work at a clinic treating leprosy patients. Guevara continued on to Miami, then returned to Buenos Aires to finish his studies.

Granado was described this way by Jon Lee Anderson:

[He was]"barely five feet tall and had a huge beaked nose, but he sported a barrel chest and a footballer's sturdy bowed legs; he also possessed a good sense of humor and a taste for wine, girls, literature and rugby."

May he rest in peace.

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Solidarity With Wisconsin's Workers


The AFL-CIO has called for another massive demonstration today in Madison, Wisconsin.

If you're too far away from Madison to participate in person, please stand in Solidarity with the demonstrators by doing something to show your support. Buying pizza is always good. Posting on a blog is good. Organizing your own demonstration is great. You get the idea. Let's do it.

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At Last: A Hint Of Spring

Please forgive the geo-centricity. I realize full well that the summer is coming to an end in the Southern Hemisphere and that in the Southern US Spring has already unfolded. But here, in this cold corner where New York runs out and Massachusetts begins, the snow cover persists. It is melting slightly, but it is deep. And icy. There are more storms predicted: icy mix, rain, snow, wind. But in the midst of enduring seasonal affective grumpiness (SAG), there was a brief glimpse of hope this morning at 7 am ET.

The first redwing blackbird stood in the top of a tall bush and blew its referee's whistle. Over and over again. This bush, the surrounding area, all within his sight, his. Claiming it for himself. Even from others who had not yet arrived but who would surely come. Declaring his turf.

Every year the redwing blackbirds return to this corner of the planet in March just before the NCAA basketball tournament begins. Their return is the true March Madness. It signals that the end of winter is coming, even if the snow still covers the early green of the snow whites and crocuses.

viernes, marzo 04, 2011

Bloger@s: Play The Game Right

It's Friday. Some of my favorite blogs have been convulsed in conflagration. I spare you the facts, the details, the opinions, the analysis. The bottom line is that even though lots of us write under anonymous names, even though we get paid nothing for our labor, we're prone to defend our good names, even if they're not our names, fiercely and without restraint, and we'll fight with each to cyber-death and banning and recrimination and across several blogs all in response to real or perceived calumnies against our good character. In other words, what used to be called "ego trips" abound on the Internet. And they leave the expected carnage behind them. And the carnage travels from URL to URL. Until somebody steps in to stop it.

People who probably have a great deal in common with each other and probably agree with each other about a lot of things sometimes fight bitterly and rant and rave and flame and wag their metaphorical fingers in another's face because, well, they are frustrated or they got mad. They usually get angry because of perceived unfairness or inequality or judgments they dispute. And then, and this is the important part, they defend themselves. It doesn't matter whether or not the grievance is or is not justified. The essays and diaries in which this defense of one's self is taken up and in which the inevitable recrimination is unleashed will get hundreds and hundreds of comments. Far more comments than serious essays about serious topics ever get. Far more readers than serious pieces. People who haven't posted a word in months will suddenly start to comment. This kind of meta, the kind that wakes up most lurkers and makes those in the peanut gallery point and laugh and cover their eyes and hide under the nearest table, convulses blogs and those who read them. Sometimes the blogs never recover. Some participants are thrown overboard, others jump. Most people stand on the sidelines and shake their heads, happy to avoid the stray punch or broken bottle. Months later they will discuss what happened the same way survivors of Katrina talk about that. Except this was no Katrina. Not even close.

We're people after all. And writers. We're prone to exaggeration and umbrage. Only we're not in the same room. And our imagined friends, those whom we support and agree with, and our imagined enemies, those whom we decry and flame, are too often projections of our own insecurities, our hunger for fame, our search for appreciation and validation from external sources, our pride, our need for recognition, and most of all our thinking that we're somehow special. Sometimes we have delusions of adequacy. Other times we're simply grandiose. And ridiculous.

When Charlie Sheen this week repeatedly told reporters he was special, we guffawed. No matter. We then fought and accused and threatened and ranted in defense of how special, though unacknowledged, we really are. And how wrong those who disagreed were, even if they were our friends. We posited how those who argued were involved in evil conspiracies, how they were stooges for others, sockpuppets, paid provocateurs, on and on and on. And of course, we rehashed for the millionth time who gets to make the final decision on who can post on various blogs. And who cannot. And why. Enough. Basta ya.

I am tempted to speak of this as if I were the Prophet Isaiah. For verily, thou hast smitten thy nearest neighbor and have stood on the ashes of his home and have no regrets but your self righteousness abounds and causes others to weep. Or I could speak of this as if I were Polonius:

Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel

But I spare you (and me).

What has once again transgressed is the usual admonition, to be excellent to each other. That's one thing that we haven't done. We pay it lip service. But then we explode. We accuse. We fight. We defend. We should be excellent to each other, but sometimes we forget. We should remember it more. Here's Ziggy Marley:

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martes, marzo 01, 2011

Obama: Get Out Your Comfortable Shoes

h/t to Sam Pratt:

I invited you to please go to Wisconsin. You apparently declined. Or didn't get the invitation. Ok. I guess you forgot about this.

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