And then go home, leave off the computer, leave off the television, leave off the radio/CDs/iPod/whatever, put foam earplugs in your ears if you have to (sometimes I do), sit down, and read it.
Just... read it.
Actually, anything else you can find by Chris Hedges, you'd do just as well to sit down and read. And stick with him as time goes by. I mean, Howard Zinn is dead. Studs Terkel is dead. Molly Ivins is dead. Noam Chomsky is alive, but he's also 82 -- he might have another twenty years, he might have another twenty hours, it's often hard to tell when someone's that old. Other than Jim Hightower and Tim Wise, Hedges may be pretty much all we have left to hold onto for a while longer -- and unlike Hightower and Wise, Hedges scares the hell out of me...
a part of my life passed away on tuesday. i just received an email that grandmaster duk sung son, leader of chung do kwan in korea following grandmaster won kuk lee, passed away from pneumonia. the grandmaster was 88 years old.
for a six year period, beginning my sophomore year in college and for several years after i graduated, i practiced grandmaster sun's style of tae kwon do at least six days a week. i had the honor of meeting grandmaster sun on many occasions and have always been proud of the association. i met him when he would come to my school to administer testing for advancement and also on three or four times when i was able to take a class at his school in new york city. i can remember every story i ever heard him tell. that period of my life, the people i knew in tae kwon do, remain among my happiest memories.
a good biography and characterization of grandmaster son can be found here. there is a photo of him here. he was an exceptionally fine human being.
according to this article at msnbc.com, the reason we have a jobless recovery is that us workers are so productive, companies don't need any extra ones. so it's our fault after all, not the fault of the companies.
so why did companies send those jobs overseas if u.s. workers are so productive?
sorry to have been absent for awhile, but i have to admit, i'm battling depression. what is happening in the political realm is mindbogglingly maddening....the devastation in japan is just heartbreakingly sad. watching the news...reading the news....taking it all in has just overwhelmed my senses. i'm probably needing some anti-depressants, but being marginally employed with no health insurance, that is not an option for me.
they say that depression is anger turned inward....i guess i just need to work on sending it outward again.
for more than thirty years i have been wondering about an obscure song i heard just a couple of times when i was an undergrad. my inquiries drew blank looks from my music-loving friends. even the cool ones had never heard of robots for ronnie. some of them mocked me for it. mocked me! the man who owned a copy of dust's hard attack (until i sold it to a used book and album store last year because we were getting rid of all of our vinyl and i figured it wasn't going to go up in price beyond where it was--they paid me $8 for the re-issue, which was fine with me; it's not like i was gonna get rich off it or anything).
so i was listening to some iggy pop on youtube when i remembered robots for ronnie. i searched youtube and there it was. turns out it's a song by crack the sky, a group i can't remember for the life of me. and now, for your listening pleasure, i present the song that has haunted me for 30+ years...robots for ronnie:
gee, that was a swell speech last night obama gave. wish i could believe a word of it. get a load of what's happening in cote d'ivoire. we don't have a humanitarian interest in the people of cote d'ivoire because there's no oil in cote d'ivoire. libya is different, though. we have a humanitarian interest in libya. we must liberate the libyan oil fields from the clutches of a ruthless dictator.
oh i used to be disgusted, and now i try to be amused. (i find myself quoting that line from elvis costello more and more as time goes by...as time goes by, there's another good song.)
Bob Herbert is leaving the Times. Good for him -- the so-called paper of record is nothing but a fat load of garbage anyway.
As is the bulk of what passes for our information media outside of Comedy Central these days. We keep complaining that the folks in the media aren't doing their jobs. Nonsense. They are doing their jobs very well, and that is to treat their viewers, listeners, and readers like mushrooms: feed them crap, and keep them in the dark.
part of it was watching that richard pryor video about the n-word that abl put up a few months ago, part of it was realizing, once and for all, that when people outside the top one percent of incomes fight amongst ourselves about this or that silly difference, we’re just doing the work of our galtian overlords. as commenter kdaug put it:
i think we get trapped into a false paradigm of “right/left”, “democrat/republican”, “christian/athiest” all the time. and i think it’s deliberate, propagated by the people who own the media and broadcast it.
the real paradigm: rich/poor.
and it’s always been the paradigm. in all cultures, in all countries, throughout history.
hoisted on their own petard again. the hardly-ever-right has once again shown its true colors, as an indiana gop prosecutor resigns after being caught promoting fake violence disguised as left-wingers. wisconsinwatch.org:
an indiana deputy prosecutor and republican activist resigned thursday after the wisconsin center for investigative journalism uncovered an email to gov. scott walker in which he suggested a fake attack on the governor to discredit union protesters.
carlos f. lam submitted his resignation shortly before the center published a story quoting his feb. 19 email, which praised walker for standing up to unions but went on to say that the chaos in wisconsin presented “a good opportunity for what’s called a ‘false flag’ operation.”
“if you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions,” the email said.
“currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the dnc and umbrella union organizations in the protest. employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. god bless, carlos f. lam" ...
email headers with detailed ip addresses suggested that the message was sent from indianapolis.
lam, an indianapolis resident, at first told the center he never wrote it.
reached tuesday by phone at the number listed on the email, lam confirmed his email address matched the hotmail address appearing on the walker email, but said he had never written to walker.
lam resigned after confessing to his boss, prosecutor brad cooper.
iconic hollywood legend elizabeth taylor has died from congestive heart failure. abcnews:
oscar winning actress elizabeth taylor died today at los angeles' cedars-sinai hospital. she was 79…
taylor, a two-time academy award-winning actress who became notorious for her seven marriages and sometimes eccentric behavior, had reported health problems in recent years and appeared frail in public appearances. six weeks ago, she was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home…
but she's iconic for being one of the most popular actresses of hollywood's golden age. born in london in 1932 to american parents who returned to the u.s. with world war ii looming, taylor bounded into the spotlight at age 12 after starring in the 1944 box office sensation "national velvet." she won acclaim as an adult with 1951's "a place in the sun" and went on to score best actress oscar nominations for "raintree county," "cat on a hot tin roof," and "suddenly, last summer."
in 1963, she memorably starred in "cleopatra." she later won oscars for "who's afraid of virginia woolf?" and "butterfield 8."
beyond acting, taylor is credited with bringing the world's attention to aids with her fund-raising and activism. in 1985, when taylor's lifelong friend rock hudson died of aids, she brought national attention to the growing disease. she raised and donated millions of dollars to the cause, founding the american foundation for aids research (amfar) and the elizabeth taylor aids foundation.
she was gorgeous; it's easy to see why she became one of the biggest movie stars of all time:
rest in peace, elizabeth taylor.
addendeum: a much more comprehensive and eloquent obituary can be found over at the a.v. club.
what horse crazy little girl wasn't inspired by your role in national velvet? i always thought you blossomed into the most beautiful woman in the world. such an amazing and turbulent life you led...but with grace throughout. god speed, liz. god speed.
towns with broken sidewalks that lead to glass buildings and great cities with great slums and highways where cars shrink to fit between the concrete abutments
brown leaves swim in puddles like fish my grandmother, renewed to old age a siamese cat who has never left me for a moment (my dearest truest friend gone eleven years yesterday) the gorilla that chases me my soul mate i never did meet but her name was marian
the tall trees I climbed down to the glade with the swimming pool behind the wire fence
many times my lover awakened me from my nightmare crying a long time now since that's happened maybe because my lover is still here or maybe middle age creeps on
This much is obvious. But we humans have this tendency to take cuteness and blow it all out of proportion, strictly for our own self-indulgence -- in this case, a little polar bear cub that was rejected by his mother, and transforming him into a cash cow for the Berlin Zoo.
And before anyone gives me any bull, listen up: bears are my favorite animals. They are beautiful to me. That's why I'm hot and bothered over this. And while the exact cause of Knut's death remains unknown, I don't find it very surprising that a young creature who seems to get along better with humans than with females of his own species would die without warning. Not when they behave a lot like his mother did.
We all know about the hell fame can inflict upon young humans. Maybe it's the same with young polar bears, who knows...
the epa has 44 radiation monitoring stations for precipitation. 3 of them are in tennessee and none in the northwest. apparently they aren't detecting elevated levels of radiation in the air on the west coast. they are reporting that the air is okay - no news about the rainfall from the jetstream that flows past fukushima
he talks to vanity fair about his piece, "how a tokyo earthquake could devastate wall street and the world economy" first published in 1988....
in 1988, michael lewis traveled to japan for an article that would appear the following year in an issue of the now defunct manhattan, inc. magazine. the piece that resulted, “how a tokyo earthquake could devastate wall street and the world economy,” was part fact, part fiction: what would the economic fallout be if a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck japan’s largest city? lewis discussed whether the country’s infrastructure was capable of withstanding such a high-magnitude earthquake—pointing out that the complex systems in place then were programmed to shut off in extreme conditions, because they could not be trusted to operate effectively. however, much of the economic toll that lewis envisioned was predicated on different, more prosperous financial times in japan. following the publication of the article, the country entered its “lost decade,” sinking into economic irrelevance. but lewis’s article remains eerily incisive throughout: “many of tokyo’s citizens, like holland’s, live on unstable land that has been reclaimed from the sea. neon signs are everywhere. so are bulk-chemical factories. even if the skyscrapers don’t fall, they’ve created new hazards by jamming people into perilously close quarters.”
full edition of lewis' original article...click here.
a wisconsin judge has temporarily stayed gov. walker's anti-union law. channel 3000 news:
a dane county judge has issued a restraining order on friday to block publication of the state's collective bargaining law.
judge maryann sumi issued the order to temporarily block the law as dane county district attorney ismael ozanne had requested as part of his lawsuit.
she said the order will stop publication until further order of the court. sumi said that while the order blocks the law's publication, she said she has no authority to prevent the legislature from voting on the bill again.
the state department of justice asked for a stay of the order, but the judge denied the request.
it's pretty obvious the wisconsin gop defied the open meeting law by holding the vote w/less than 30 minutes warning.
addendum: d-day @ fdlnews points out that this injunction stresses the importance of the wisconsin supreme court elections next month.
so the obama administration is suddenly pushing for a tougher stance towards libyan whackadoodle qaddafy. this change in policy is described in the article i linked as a "sharp shift". my big nose smells something. lemme see...libya has oil and whoever wins the fight in libya controls libyan oil. conclusion: somebody high up in the rebellion promised lots of juicy oil contracts to american corporations. i hope we weren't suckered and the rebels keep their (assumed) promise. do we have a strongman dictator type in the wings, just in case the rebels don't play ball like they promised? makes sense to have a plan b, and strongman dictator types are sop for the us.
curious about the safety of nuclear energy in the united states, after seeing so many apologists for nuclar power on television talking about how there have only been three accidents ever (three mile island, chernobyl, and fukushima), i took a little look on the internet tubes to see if that was so.
don't worry. not a lot of people have died. and they're dead now, so don't worry. also, take note of the part about borated water eating into the sides of containment vessels. i know someone who works in a nuclear power plant in nj. he says all containment vessels everywhere are in a state of deterioration and it takes constant vigilance to maintain them.
And Now, Some Perspective When It Comes To Music...
There's quite a bit of Rebecca Black-bashing going on here on the Internets. For those of you who don't know who she is (and I'd never heard of her until today myself), she's a young girl who sings the new song "Friday." Critics are ripping it to shreds. Here's the official video:
I don't understand what all the loathing is about. Personally, this song just isn't up my alley. This is just one of the styles of music that today's kids listen to, far as I'm concerned. Yeah, it abuses Autotune. So does every other new song I hear on the radio these days -- I don't hear anyone complaining about any of those songs. Way I see it, if you don't like what you're hearing, don't listen to it -- listen to what you do like to hear. That's always worked for me.
Now... if you thought Rebecca's song was bad, get a load of Jandek. You want bad? I'll give you bad...
I don't know if this guy is playing that way on purpose, or if he is actually that tone deaf. But he makes Rebecca Black sound like an angel to me. His $#!+ is harsh...
I am watching live streaming video from NHK, the Japanese English-language channel. The nuclear disaster continues. Aftershocks, of intensity great enough that they would be called significant earthquakes were it not for the fact that they follow a 9.0 earthquake, continue to shake the island.
Today I am Japanese. My heart goes out to the people of Japan.
If you wish to monitor NHK, I found a link to it at msnbc.com, although the link has since been replaced by a story about how the Dow Jones industrial average is falling.
UPDATE: They are reporting a 6.0 earthquake at Shizuoka at roughly 9:35 AM Eastern Standard Time (about 10:35 PM in Japan). They are reporting that there is no danger of a tsunami. No damage has been reported.
strange appar8us, who blogs over @ rumproast, has a background in nuclear reactors (as do several of the commentors), so those threads are intriguing reading in light of the fukushima reactor problems.
The most difficult thing about making a true nuclear bomb is keeping the explosion going. Power plants are not designed to do that, so there will not be a million Dark Suns over Fukushima.
But there weren't dark suns at Chernobyl, either. A damaged reactor—like a large battleship—cannot change course immediately. Translation: you have to cool it down before you shut it down.
Easiest way to do that is to put water in it. In fact, the problem gets worse if you don't: the reactor core can melt on itself.
Water cooling turns to stream. Some of that steam is likely DiDeuterium Monoxide. (D2O). That is, it's radioactive steam.
The good news is, the steam isn't very radioactive. Higher than the normal atmosphere, but not likely to be fatal if that's the only thing that happens. (Assumes you don't breathe it in directly, and are in good health and adult. Otherwise, collateral effects may occur. This is why evacuation is safest.)
If the plant is run well, steam leaking will elevated the level of radiation (has to), but not cause serious injury or illness just because it is dispersed into the atmosphere.
If the water cools the reactor enough, you can shut it down. If something goes wrong, the reactor's core starts to melt. (Essentially, the graphite rods are no longer able to stabilize the core so they become part of it.)
Repairing a core is not something to be done with live people. Think Spock near the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Or the area around Chernobyl.
The core can remain contained and become slag. This is the best case scenario if something is seriously wrong.
If you get radioactive steam, the odds are good your reactor is slag too.
Your best case is if the steam comes out and the core remains contained. You'll never be able to use the core again, but you won't irradiate the entire area too badly.
If anything other than steam comes out, you have a major problem.
The above checklist may be useful. If we're all very fortunate, number seven will be irrelevant.
and he's not happy with being labeled "lazy", "greedy", etc.
"losers. i am so sorry that as a teacher, making a tad over $70k, i am taking away your money. really?
come on down and try my job: 26 students, 21 are special ed. and no one reads on grade level. not my fault, as i inherited them from 5th grade. i do what i can with the $48,0000 i take home after taxes.
i am so sorry that you feel i do not need a retirement plan from the state. how am i supposed to put into a 401k? i take home $48k a year. my brothers, all engineers, make $400,000 a year. ok, so they have to save for their own retirement. pay me that, and i will pay for my own retirement.
but, i teach your children. can i please be allowed to retire in peace after doing that for 30 years? or, put me in jail and charge the state the $43k it costs to incarcerate someone in ca. free tv and wifi. my collective bargaining keeps me in your classroom
he buys supplies for his students all the time. out of his own pocket.
he buys books for his students all the time. out of his own pocket.
he feeds his students all the time. out of his own pocket.
he makes sure his kids get their meds on time.
he has been attacked by a student.
he has been attacked by parents.
he has students who live in 2 bedroom houses with 3 other families.
he has students who don't eat even 2 meals a day.
he has had students lose their parents and become orphans because their parents couldn't afford to see a doctor.
my friend didn't bust any freakin' budget. those lazy ass freakin' wall street gamblers did. those lying sacks of shit republicans did...by giving away the bank to their capital croanies. those asswipes couldn't last a day in a classroom dealing with kids.
the gop and the teaparty can go straight to hell...
I swear, that band is cursed. It was bad enough knowing this $#!+ happened to the Boomers in their day -- Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and others all dying before their time. Now it's folks in my generation's turn. This, really, sucks.
Or, that's just my initial answer. Maybe I'm way off base here, but I just don't understand what it is about David Brooks that obsesses you, Doug. It may be a personal thing -- my eyes tend to glaze over every time I read Brooks' nonsense. So I assiduously avoid reading it whenever I can..
Normally, since this is my second post of skippy international tonight, this would be where I would act mostly coherent but somewhat awkward. I do have a history of that here, unfortunately. Sometimes, it's because something pissed me off to no end; other times, I simply forgot to not blog when I'm about half in the bag. (I have a history of that, too.)
Well, there will be none of that tonight. Sorry. Instead, there will be Sly and the Family Stone...
Things have been kind of slow 'round here lately. So, enjoy...
Mainly, it's because he's had it with people thinking they know who Phil Collins is. And not in a good way. He has been called "the Antichrist," the sellout who took Peter Gabriel's Genesis, that paragon of prog-rock, and turned it into a lame-o pop act and went on to make all those supercheesy hits that really did define the 1980s. So, he wants to move on. He could make another original album, but he knows that will bring a rehashing of all the old criticism. It's inescapable. Forget it. He'd rather spend his time in his basement, building up his collection of Alamo memorabilia, which, oddly enough, is his great consuming passion these days. "I sometimes think, 'I'm going to write this Phil Collins character out of the story,'" he says. "Phil Collins will just disappear or be murdered in some hotel bedroom, and people will say, 'What happened to Phil?' And the answer will be, 'He got murdered, but, yeah, anyway, let's carry on.' That kind of thing"...
Collins also admitted that he's had suicidal thoughts -- which is troubling no matter who says that. In light of this RS article, and since Genesis has been my favorite band for more than twenty years, what follows is rather spooky. It was released in 1978, and Tony Banks wrote it, but it may as well have been written by Collins...
"The way you built me up, then knocked me down again." Those lines all but predicted Collins going from being a pop superstar to being the "Antichrist" many years later.
It's not hard to see why he feels the way he does these days...
wisconsin gov. scott walker (r) gave a speech at the state capitol tuesday to unveil his budget for the next two years, even as the debate over his budget repair bill still rages.
....walker's budget would cut spending by 6.7%, or $4.2 billion. in his address, walker said that the cuts would hit harder if the 14 senate democrats who have left the state to avoid a vote on the budget repair bill do not return.
..."if they do not, our schools face massive layoffs of teachers. however, if they do come back, overall savings for schools across the state will outweigh reductions, ultimately allowing schools to put more money in the classroom."
and then when they are caught...they just say "oops. didn't mean it...or i misspoke" and think that it will make it all better.
during a radio appearance yesterday, mike huckabee repeatedly falsely claimed that president obama grew up in kenya. after questioning obama's purported secrecy about the birth certificate, radio host steve malzberg asked huckabee if "we deserve to know more about this man." huckabee responded, "i would love to know more. what i know is troubling enough." - media matter
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