Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chelsea Clinton Makes a Lovely Bride

Found at Talkleft

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Burn a Qur'an on 9/11

You just can't make this stuff up.

My life consists of TRYING to become a christian, day by day, belabored breath after breath, after reading about Jessica's surgery on 10 August.

Nevertheless have worked with and regard highly some folk who would not spend a second in thought before condeming others to Hell.  If you take the Bible literally as i am wont to do and my flavor of Lutheranism demands, you can define current humans as Amalekites whom God told his Jews to slaughter.
That ain't good.

Burn a Qur'an.  When will they burn the Bhagvad Gita, the Talmud, the Jefferson Bible?       

Like Satan told the atheist in Kaufman's Critique of Philosophy and Religion, you need to read all the important books of humanity.  Satan says in the dialog eternity with unread folk will bore him, "As for you, I hope you go to heaven."


"At some point [,] the world shits on everybody."

From Shit My Dad Says.

Have to do humourous/ironic post before nest pray for Jessica post


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Willie Nelson on Shirley Sherrod

[Shirley Sherrod has been a great friend to me, Farm Aid and family farmers for 25 years. She has always worked to improve economic opportunities for family farmers in the South, going back to when I first met her as the director of the Georgia Field Office for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Like Ms. Sherrod herself has said, she's always tried to help those who don't have so that they can have a little more.
The real story of Shirley Sherrod deserved to be told a long time ago. She has had an amazing impact on the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of families and communities throughout the South. Farmers of every race have struggled with the income inequities that have persisted for generations, and advocates like Ms. Sherrod have moved mountains to ensure that families can remain in their homes and on their farms.

While all family farmers in our country face an uphill battle to stay on their land, growing good food for rest of us, black farmers have lost their land at an alarming rate, faster than any other family farmers. Lending discrimination and inequities in agriculture programs are largely responsible for the shrinking number of black farmers. Farm Aid began supporting the Federation in 1985, where Shirley worked at the time, because of the group's unique ability to reach out and help struggling farm families in the South. Many had owned their land for generations and were, and continue to be, under constant threat. We continue to support the Federation's work to this day, and hundreds of farmers are still on their land because of Ms. Sherrod's efforts.

During her time at the Federation, she fought to make sure that family farmers got what they needed to stay on their land. She has been a national leader for family farmers and a compassionate, courageous advocate for all struggling family farmers. Shirley Sherrod has dedicated her life to working on behalf of family farmers, civil rights and the alleviation of poverty and it's up to Secretary Vilsack to right this wrong immediately.

This country desperately needs more farm advocates with Ms. Sherrod's expertise. But this is not just about a job -- it's about ensuring that Shirley Sherrod has the opportunity to continue to support family farmers and the rural poor, something she has spent her life doing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

College Athletes: Prostitutes or Indentured Servants?

[Letter to Mike Bianchi at Orlando Sentinel who wrote, "If you're going to prosecute the pimp, you better prosecute the prostitute."]  emphasis added

Dear Mr. Bianchi:

Since the last shall come first, your clever turn of recent phrase--really love alliteration and rhyme in non-fiction and forgive me in advance for stealing it--conflated a biz transaction deemed illegal while latter boils down to 1st amendment issue since NCAA an ASSOCIATION rather than legally constituted state authority, witness the BCS Congressional hearings.

Real hypocrisy in college athletics lies in colleges raking in $billions--Billions, BILLIONS!!!--off money sports and pretending revenue funds all sports, and athletes should endure sainted status of "amateur."

People literally kill themselves pursuing their sports dreams and I enable it idly watching my bread and circuses while comparatively young men die and have autopsy evidence of chronic brain trauma. Pee Wee, Pop Warner, junior and senior high school, college, and then pro football combine to kill or infirm, see Telander's columns at Chicago Sun-Times.

In 1983, a friend of mine pitching for UCF against Rollins for 9 innings lost 1-0 and could not the next day raise a beer to his lips with his pitching arm and soon after coach Jay Bergman ran him off, took his scholarship.

Where lies the prostitution there?

Or rather than a society deemed criminal case, should we look to whom the Massa and whom the slave?

Look, while not judging you for "working"--writing--to feed your family, even I, an addict of sports, know WE feed the beast.

Question remains; do you?


Dan Hill


PPS: If 1st amendment reference unclear, anyone free to stuff $ in my pocket--please shop for back to school supplies with blog button for Amazon at my humble little empireofdirt--but NCAA rules--not LAWS-prohibit same with athletes.

PPPS: Will publish this and your full article without permission under Fair Use Doctrine on my humble little blog and double dog dare you and Trib to sue me. Hey, if twitter dude can make bank, maybe my lone voice howling in the wind could prove remunerative.

PPPPS: From your column: "If you're going to prosecute the pimp, you better prosecute the prostitute."

PPPPP: [HOOVER, Ala. – Here we go again.

The requisite defiance.

The obligatory indignation.

The necessary deniability.

The first day of Southeastern Conference Media Days predictably turned into a forum for coaches such as Florida's Urban Meyer and Alabama's Nick Saban to stand up and rail against these evil, unscrupulous sports agents preying upon their poor, naïve players.


Meyer referred to the agents as "predators" and "piranhas preying on our kids."

"It's ridiculous and it's entrapment of young people," Saban said. "… Agents that do this, I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp? I have no respect for people who do that to young people, none. I mean, none. How would you feel if they did it to your child?"

Question for Saban: If the agents are pimps, doesn't that make prostitutes out of the players who knowingly take the illicit cash and gifts? And, by the way, Nick, isn't there something a little hypocritical about a $4 million-a-year college football coach essentially referring to agents as blood-sucking parasites?

As you probably know by now, both Florida and Alabama, the big dogs of the SEC, are not only fighting for league supremacy; they are battling over who is has a more embarrassing agent controversy.

The Gators are investigating allegations that former star offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey received $100,000 from a sports agent before last season ended. Pouncey has vehemently denied the allegations as did his twin brother Mike here Wednesday. Meanwhile, Alabama is investigating whether one of its current stars — junior defensive end Marcell Dareus — attended an agent-related party in South Florida over the summer.

And, as has become customary, everybody is being held accountable for the agent problem in college football except the most guilty people of all – the players themselves.

Can we stop painting these players as the innocent victims when really they are the culpable villains?

Let's make this clear: We don't know whether Pouncey is guilty of taking $100,000 from a sports agents as has been alleged, but if he did, don't give me this garbage about how he was victim of entrapment. Good grief, the guy is a 21-year-old junior in college. He knows how the game works. He has been lectured ad nauseum about the evils of taking money from a sports agent. He knows it is wrong to take $100,000 in cash.

These players know exactly what they're doing when they have their hands out taking money from any agent who will give it to them. And why shouldn't they when there are no ramifications for their actions.

Alabama's Dareus is a perfect case study. I can almost guarantee this is how his "punishment" will go down because this is how it always goes down: He will be ruled ineligible at some point in the next few days, but Alabama will then immediately apply to the NCAA have his eligibility restored. Translation: Dareus may be suspended for a game or two, but you better believe he'll be on the field when the Tide reaches the meat of their schedule.

Saban can talk all he wants about how players need to be held responsible, but what player isn't going to take free money when all he's risking is a two-game suspension? I've been writing this for more than a decade: If you want to stop players from taking handouts from agents then expel them from the team and ban them from NCAA competition permanently. Put their NFL futures in jeopardy – and you will quickly get their attention.

These players are intentionally breaking the rules. They know they are jeopardizing their school's stature, image and future. Yet, still, they suffer no meaningful repercussions.

Look at what Reggie Bush cost Southern Cal. He destroyed the school's reputation. He caused coaches and administrators to get fired. He got massive NCAA penalties levied against the school.

Everybody got punished for Reggie Bush's actions except Reggie Bush. He jetted off and made millions in the NFL while the USC program and the players left in it now have to deal with the monumental fallout.

It's time for coaches, administrators and, yes, law enforcement officials to start getting tough on players. Ask yourself this: Why is there is a state law in Florida making it illegal for agents to pay college players, but it's not illegal for college players to accept money from agents?

The bottom line is this:

If you're going to prosecute the pimp, you better prosecute the prostitute.] emphasis added

Read Mike Bianchi's blog at and listen to him every weekday at 9:30 a.m. on ESPN-1080 AM. You can e-mail him at

Enter to win $5,000 from

"God Hates Jedi"

Seriously, the seriously disturbed Westboro Baptist "Church" went to San Diego to protest against a comic book convention.

Will add links , maybe if my revulsion at the Phelps idiots and general ennui subside but really, a picture is worth a billion words.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gandhi Quote

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary -- the evil it does is permanent.
- Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Craven, Lickspittle [FL] State Legislature " or "When Billboards Kill Trees"

["The very craven, lickspittle state Legislature has deemed it appropriate to give the billboard companies the ability to cut down trees on public property to enhance their ability to make money on private property," he said. "In many states, this type of legislation wouldn't have a prayer of passing. But in Florida … we have the most billboard-friendly statutes in the United States."]

So much outrage; so little time.

On some days--with murders, oil spills, and starving children in the news--it gets hard to blog.

Political outrages du jour?  Atrios does it better.

Scouring news feeds and posting progressive points?  Suburban Guerilla rules.

Shining a klieg light on how race and racism still inform and infirm American society?  Read the Field Negro.

Why do my 3 fave bloggers write from Phiilly?  I don't know.  Why do I root for the Cubs?  Unfathomable.  How can a Jamaican born, US educated, Philly lawyer write better 'bout race than a literate southerner?  Beats the Faulkner out of me.

Some days, stories just fall into into my lapbook as with this item from Ft Lauderdale Sun Sentinel--the former some area south of Orlando but north of Miami, the latter owned by Zell Miller's Tribune Corp.--which dettails how my state legislature gives favors to monied interests through sweetheart laws.

[Hoping to beautify a stretch of State Road 84, a group of boating businesses planted rows of sabal palms along the swales and median, brightening their gritty industrial corridor with patches of green.

Clear Channel Communications Inc. was not pleased. The national radio and advertising company owns two billboards on the street, now partially blocked by the trees. The company filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Transportation, which notified the Marina Mile 84 Association it would have to move 18 of the trees or see them destroyed.

It is an increasingly common occurrence in South Florida, as Clear Channel aggressively invokes a 2006 state law that requires unobstructed viewing areas of 350 to 500 feet for billboards. Companies can win compensation in court for lost profits if the state fails to arrange the removal of trees on public rights of way...

Bill Brinton, a Jacksonville lawyer and board member of Scenic America, which fights what it considers visual blight, said the 2006 law was one of several favors the Legislature has done for the industry.

"The very craven, lickspittle state Legislature has deemed it appropriate to give the billboard companies the ability to cut down trees on public property to enhance their ability to make money on private property," he said. "In many states, this type of legislation wouldn't have a prayer of passing. But in Florida … we have the most billboard-friendly statutes in the United States..."

Margaret Croxton, executive director of the Marina Mile 84 Association, said they may be able to reach a compromise that will allow the trees to remain on the street and Clear Channel to make money from its billboards.

"I don't mind billboards — they're ugly, but I don't mind them," she said. "But when billboards kill trees, it's ridiculous."] emphasis added and found link at

Lickspittle: "1.A fawning toady; a base sycophant."

Craven:  "1.Unwilling to fight; lacking even the rudiments of courage; extremely cowardly."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If a Gator Ain't Botherin' Ya, Don't Mess With It.

[Dirk Alan Willms, 44, has bite marks on his leg, he has bite marks on his hand and he has a citation from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission charging him with possessing an alligator, commission spokeswoman Joy Hill said.

Willms spotted an alligator crossing a road in Sanford Monday night and decided to catch it, Hill said. The gator was trying to get to some nearby water, she said.

He grabbed the 45-inch gator by the tail, but the gator whipped around and bit him on the leg, Hill said. Willms dropped the reptile and it crawled into some nearby bushes, she said.

Willms, whom officers said appeared to be intoxicated, didn't learn his lesson from the first bite, Hill said. He reached into the bushes to try to grab the gator again and was bitten a second time, she said.

When Willms finally caught the gator, he put it in his truck and drove it to his home in the 500 block of Lemon Street near Sanford, Hill said.

Someone saw him with the gator and called the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, which in turn contacted wildlife officers.

Commission officer Naomii Tye issued a citation to Willms for possessing the alligator. That is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine...

"The moral of this gator tale is if something isn't bothering you, leave it alone," Hill said.],0,4536941.story

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thousands of Laptops Stolen from US Special Ops Command

[TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Thousands of laptops were stolen from the Florida office of a private contractor for the U.S. military's Special Operations Command.

U.S. Special Operations Command coordinates the activities of elite units from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. A spokeswoman said Tuesday that none of the stolen laptops contained military information or software.

The Virginia-based company iGov was awarded a $450 million contract earlier this year to supply mobile technology services linking special operations troops worldwide. A company executive says iGov is cooperating with authorities and the March 6 break-in at its Tampa facility remains under investigation.
Surveillance cameras caught up to seven people loading the computers into two trucks for nine hours.] emphasis added,0,246131.story

How's that war on terror goin' anyway?

Gulf Disaster Harming Food Chain

Let me get this straight, drilling for oil in the Gulf only produces 8% of US fuels used but it has to go on to keep people employed even though drilling killing fishing careers for generations in perhaps the whole Gulf of Mexico.

Hypocrisy, thy name be Bobby Jindal.

[NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Scientists are reporting early signs that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is altering the marine food web by killing or tainting some creatures and spurring the growth of others more suited to a fouled environment.

Near the spill site, researchers have documented a massive die-off of pyrosomes - cucumber-shaped, gelatinous organisms fed on by endangered sea turtles.

Along the coast, droplets of oil are being found inside the shells of young crabs that are a mainstay in the diet of fish, turtles and shorebirds.

And at the base of the food web, tiny organisms that consume oil and gas are proliferating.

If such impacts continue, the scientists warn of a grim reshuffling of sealife that could over time cascade through the ecosystem and imperil the region's multibillion-dollar fishing industry.

Federal wildlife officials say the impacts are not irreversible, and no tainted seafood has yet been found. But Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who chairs a House committee investigating the spill, warned Tuesday that the problem is just unfolding and toxic oil could be entering seafood stocks as predators eat contaminated marine life.

"You change the base of the food web, it's going to ripple through the entire food web," said marine scientist Rob Condon, who found oil-loving bacteria off the Alabama coastline, more than 90 miles from BP's collapsed Deepwater Horizon drill rig. "Ultimately it's going to impact fishing and introduce a lot of contaminants into the food web."

The food web is the fundamental fabric of life in the Gulf.] emphasis added

[Toby Dalton takes on another kind of work. He's been out checking boom, suggesting spots for extra protection against the impending oil slick.

The third-generation oysterman is on the front lines in the fight for the sensitive estuaries that spawn oysters in a Gulf community where water is the region's lifeblood.

``We're the first responders,'' said Dalton, 28, standing on the edge of his small wooden skiff, a pile of oysters at his back. ``We know the sensitive areas that need tending to.''

In a county of 12,000 people, where the economic engines of fishing and tourism are intertwined, the steps to guard against the oil have meant a fight for not only livelihood, but identity....

``My granddaddy done with push pole, back before they even had motors, he push poled out,'' he said, talking about his time as an oysterman. ``If I can't work on this bay, I don't know what else to do. It's all I know. I lose this bay, I lose 90 percent of my life. Ninety percent of my memories are on this bay. If we lose this bay, this town will lose a heritage.''] emphasis added

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"We all lost, because a voice that spoke the truth was silenced by mean and little men."

Decades ago chanced to meet a gentleman at the Melbourne Times weekly paper who treated me with kindness. Only years later did I learn he should have received a Pulitzer rather than disgrace in a criminal case.

The homophophobic Johns Committee, formally known as The Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, sought to investigate the usual subjects in the early 60's: communists, homosexuals, and nigra agitators.

An Orlando Sentinel reporter, Robert M Delaney--Tallahassee correspondent and criticc of the committee- suffered arrest, lost his job, and his marriage after a criminal conviction yet remained, to my knowledge, a kind gentleman.

Echoes of this time still ring in misguided FL ban on adoption by homosexuals: "Similar claims that unrestrained homosexuals would prey on children were later repeated and widely publicized by Anita Bryant in her successful Save Our Children campaign to repeal Dade County's gay rights ordinance in 1977. Partly due to her victory there, in 1978 the Florida Legislature, still dominated by a small group of North Florida senators, passed a bill prohibiting homosexuals from adopting children; the statute has survived several court challenges, and was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in 2004.[10]"

Ironically or perhaps suitably, the committee only disbanded after publishing the Purple Pamphlet detailing homosexual activity with pictures later deemed pornograhic and sold in NY City.


Can't you just imagine those FL senators of yore poring over pictures with hands firmly on their crotches, harumphing at the depravity pictured, "Can you pass me that last one again, the one with the "young man" bound in ropes," says a sweaty Senator, feeling a tingle in his groin yet unknowing where the urge comes  from, denying their latent homosexuality, and projecting their libido onto hapless homosexuals.

Sure. I knew you could.

"{9} ...[T]here is nothing new under the sun... {11} There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow."

Jury Finds Reporter Guilty in Morals Case:
A newspaper reporter who says he is being persecuted for his opposition to the so-called Johns Committee was convicted yesterday of "attempting" to commit an unnatural act with an e-convict female informer.
A six-man jury convicted Robert Delaney, Orlando Sentinel capital correspondent, after deliberating one hour and 10 minutes. Conviction carries a possible 10 year sentence. Delaney indicated there would be an appeal.

A previous trial ended in a hung jury.

Delaney was convicted mainly on the testimony of a woman who admitted she was "borrowed" by the Tallahassee Police Department from the controversial Legislative Investigations Committee, commonly known as the Johns Committee, for this one outing.

She is Mrs. Janice Chambers Sheffield Godwin Wilkes, alias Jann Lee or Jan Lea, a black-haired bartender from Pensacola with a felony conviction for writing bad checks.

She says she is, or has been, "a professional entertainer."

It was on her word that state attorney Williams Hopkins built his case against Delaney, who was one of the most outspoken critics of the John's Ccommittee--a state investigating committee that gained notoriety for hunting Comminusts and homosexuals on FL college campuses.

Delaney's defense, handled by Julius Parker Sr. and Julius Jarker Jr., was aimed at showing that R. J. Strickland, then chief investigator for the Johns Committee and an enemy of Delaney, teamed up with the Tallahassee Police Department to entice Delaney into a motel room with Jan Lee ande take a picture off him with her in a compromising position.]

Link to abstract of story, full story below

[Reporter a victim of Johns panel

St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg, Fla.
Date: Jul 12, 1993
Start Page: 4.B

A highly regarded capital reporter for the Orlando Sentinel became one victim of the Legislature's investigative Johns Committee in the early 1960s, his marriage shattered, his job gone and his name smeared.

Robert Delaney's trouble started when he began writing columns attacking the panel directed by Sen. Charlie Johns and its witch hunt against homosexuals.

"My father was never the same after that," Kay Sloan, his daughter, told the Times Union & Journal in Jacksonville.

Julius Parker, the Tallahassee lawyer who represented Delaney, said Delaney, who died three years ago, was a recovering alcoholic. He was approached by a woman who told him she was fighting an alcohol problem and needed help.

She called him at 1 a.m. to say she had a bottle of vodka in her motel room and was desperate.

When he arrived, Parker said, the woman was wearing only a bathrobe, which fell open.

Police rushed in and charged Delaney with a felony sex crime. The law later was declared unconstitutional.

After refusing to plead guilty to a lesser charge and after one hung jury, the 45-year-old Delaney was convicted of attempting to commit the crime and placed on five years' probation.

He immediately was fired by his newspaper, which had kept him on pending the verdict.

Delaney moved his family to Miami and tried to put his life back together, but his career was essentially over.

Ms. Sloan, now a Clearwater lawyer, said her mother stuck by her father, but the marriage was never the same. They were divorced five years later.

"My father went on to do wonderful things," Ms. Sloan said. "He was a consultant for alcoholism rehabilitation for the state of Florida. He became a columnist in his later years for the Florida Today newspaper. But there was a long hiatus in his career.

"We all lost, because a voice that spoke the truth was silenced by mean and little men." (emphasis added)

Credit: Associated Press]

Reproduced without permission of the copyright owner under the Fair Use Doctrine as some FL politicians have learned nothing in 37 years. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

Violent Wingnuts from '03 Haven't Gone Away, Just Joined the Tea Party

Michael Moore interviewed at Alternet:

[{I}t got up to nine bodyguards on me, three per shift, twenty-four hours a day, living with us.

You know, I mean, there was the guy in Nashville that came, jumped up on the stage with a knife. There was a guy in Portland that had a metal pipe coming at me. There was the guy in Fort Lauderdale who was just walking out of Starbucks and saw me on the sidewalk and became livid and took the lid off his hot, scalding coffee and threw it in my face. The bodyguard was so fast, he put his face in front of mine to catch it and got second-degree, we had to take him to the hospital, but not before he took the guy down on the sidewalk and handcuffed him. And then, there was the guy who was going to blow up our house. And he was making his practice bombs in Illinois, and one night one went off accidentally. He wasn’t hurt. The neighbors heard it. They called the cops, and they came there, and they saw all the materials and the list of people whose homes he was going to blow up. And it was Janet Reno, Rosie O’Donnell, Hillary and me.] emphasis added

For 5 modern examples of Patriot Mouthpieces:
[In the last year and a half, militias and the larger antigovernment "Patriot" movement have exploded, accompanied by the rapid expansion of other sectors of the radical right. This spectacular growth (see timeline) is the result of several factors, including anger over major political, demographic and economic changes in America, along with the popularization of radical ideas and conspiracy theories by ostensibly mainstream politicians and media commentators.]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Republlicans, the unemployment party

Reason 1 billion and 12 why Republicans suck:
[While it may be bad taste to accuse a major national political party of deliberately wanting to throw people out of jobs, there is no other plausible explanation for the Republicans' behaviour. They have balked at supporting nearly every bill that had any serious hope of creating or keeping jobs, most recently filibustering on bills that provided aid to state and local governments and extending unemployment benefits. The result of the Republicans' actions, unless they are reversed quickly, is that hundreds of thousands more workers will be thrown out of work by the mid-terms.

The story is straightforward. Nearly every state and local government across the country is looking at large budget shortfalls for their 2011 fiscal years, most of which begin on 1 July 2010. Since they are generally required by state constitutions or local charters to balance their budgets, they will have no choice except to raise taxes and/or make large cutbacks and lay off workers to bring spending and revenue into line.

State and local governments have cut their workforce by an average of 65,000 a month over the last three months. Without substantial aid from the federal government, this pace is likely to accelerate. The Republican agenda in blocking aid to the states may add another 300,000 people to the unemployment rolls by early November.]

Wrigley Field, Graveyard of Hope

With all due respect to people of all religions and faiths, Cubs fans have become the Jews of the sporting world: always waiting for the Messiah to take us to the promised land but knowing the savior will not come in our lifetime.

So does remaining a Cubs fan come from masochism, insanity, or delusional dreams?

Maybe becoming a Cubs fan comes from my genes as my pops grew up in LA and became a fan because Cubs had a minor league team there back in his day.

Whatever, if I wanted to root for a winner, I'd become a Yankees fan. Nevetheless, I could no more do so than command the sun to rise in the West.

"I Yam what I yam," as the immortal philosopher Popeye says.

Yet hope springs eternal as faith lies "in believing in things yet unseen."

Ah, spring when even the Cubs have a chance at a title. But then summer comes and dreams die in dog days of summer.

Nevertheless, human beings have bought the team rather the old corporate and essentially faceless Tribune Company. Any human Cubs fan has got to feel embarassment--nay rage, disbelief, desire to find torches And pitch forks and march on Wrigley--after a loss like on 3 July when the Cubs lost after giving up nine runs on 3 hits in the seventh inning.

Nine runs on 3 hits in the seventh inning.

Oh please God, make the pain stop

But "There ain't no rest for the wicked until we close our eyes for good."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Journalism has Become a Linguistic Battleground," and My Crusade Against Apostrophe Abuse and Metaphors in General

Robert Fiskwriting in the 21 June edition of the London Independent:
[Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It's Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror...

But I am doing the Israelis an injustice. Their lexicon, and that of the White House – most of the time – and our reporters' lexicon, is the same. Yes, let's be fair to the Israelis. Their lexicon goes like this: Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.

How many times did I just use the word "terror"? Twenty. But it might as well be 60, or 100, or 1,000, or a million. We are in love with the word, seduced by it, fixated by it, attacked by it, assaulted by it, raped by it, committed to it. It is love and sadism and death in one double syllable, the prime time-theme song, the opening of every television symphony, the headline of every page, a punctuation mark in our journalism, a semicolon, a comma, our most powerful full stop: (emphasis added)

Terror has become so ingrained in our lexicon and used to cow people into obedience by propaganda on left and right that has become bereft of meaning.

Just peruse latest headlines where empty suits and generals say, "We have to WIN in Afghanistan."

How do they define winning?

By denying safe refuge in Afghanistan to the Taliban to prevent terror from happening in the USA, the land of red, white, and blue--the land of milk and honey.

Even Wikipedia reflects the battles: a search for "Taliban" yields "Taliban Insurgency."

A rhetorical question for y'all: did King George III consider the Americans fighting his rule as insurgents or patriots?  So what do you think their brother Pashtuns think of the Taleban?

Consider the case of the poor apostrophe ('), "The text character ’ (used to mark the possessive or to show the omission of letters or number," (emphasis added) now used by every charlatan. huckster, and national nabob when they write or say "the nation's interest."

A nation, by not being a person, cannot own anything that an apostrophe can indicate possession of.

At least "nation's interest" has a bit more meaning than "American self-interest," as the former presumably includes specific institutions like the US government whlie the latter has an amorphous connotation commentators can stretch the metaphor into whatever suits their political or world views.

"American intersts," the "interst of America" and the uber leader of cliches "US national security," all amount to fictions, words strung together to impart some meaning to whatever argument advocated by the person making it.

Whose America indeed? The poor, the sick, the lame, the downtrodden without campaign cash to bribe legislators like can companies endowed with personhood by the Supreme Court?

Just because one writes 'tis does not make it so.

Do not fool yourself into thinking this an unimportant analysis for, "Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours." (Voltaire as translated at Wikiquote)

Consider, the metaphors above lead to wars.

Wars kill people, human beings whether or not one uses the fiction of "collateral damage" rather than "collateral murder."

Politicians decry and civilians and soldiers--warning, graphic photo of a casualty comes with this link--and insurgents die.

Casualty? Casualty my ass. Ain't nuthin' casual about death or maiming.

As Little Steven said, "True patriotism means questioning every m**********r everytime."  (Sis, sorry 'bout the12 letter imprecation; Little Steven said it.)

Image from Anarchtees

Friday, July 2, 2010

"There's A Canopy of Greed Holding Me Down."

"Now I always thought this would be
You see the land of milk and honey
But I come to find out it's all hate and money
There's a canopy of greed holding me down."

"[I]f you lose that undercurrent of divine reverence..."

" lose the point of all life. Even if it's the final bite of bluefin, even if you watch in horror as the polar bears starve to death, even as you hear of nations murdering each other over dusty strips of dirt and pathetic definitions of God, you must, without fail, hold that sense of wonder and awe, nurture it at every turn. Because once that's gone, we're doomed for certain."

From Mark Morford Notes and Errata, "The Last Tuna Nigira."

Morford turns an essay on dwindling blue fin tuna fishing stocks into meditation on the nature of humanity, ending with the paragraph quoted above.

[Simply put, we are gorging our way to the bluefin's oblivion. Stocks in the Gulf of Mexico are now considered to be in full collapse with maybe 9,000 total fish left, all suddenly made far more dire and irreversible by the BP spill, which is destroying millions of fish eggs right at the start of spawning season.

The Atlantic stocks are faring little better, as international fishing boats race to cash in before it's too late. Japan -- by far the largest consumer (but certainly not the only one) -- is taking 80 percent of the catch, caring almost not a whit, citing dubious claims of "tradition" and a cultural need for its rapaciousness. Most depressing, with the exception of Greenpeace and a handful of other groups, few people seem to care about the fate of the bluefin.

Perhaps they should. These astonishing, warm-blooded creatures represent, as the story points out, more than just the last wild food stock in the ocean -- a staggering enough idea all by itself considering the extent of our dependency on the ocean as an essential food. Bluefin are not like salmon or shrimp. They cannot be easily farmed. They cannot be replaced. They are a huge and hugely wild creature, more powerful than we even fully understand.

Destroy them, and we destroy more than just another everyday, "disposable" species. Their destruction will be a profound marker, a signifier of something far larger and more ominous. Like the honeybees, like the drowning polar bears, like the fresh water crisis, the end of tuna will be of those epic fails we look back upon in a few years and say, "There. Right there. That was one of the signs." We don't get many more.

My Republican moment came as I was nearing the end of the piece, feeling sickened and increasingly depressed, to the point where a sense of abject fatalism finally struck, a sense of just giving up, that wickedly painful moment where the heart has to step away from the scene before it implodes, and the survivalist/capitalist mind takes over and just powers through the nightmare, greedily gabbing on to whatever bits of gristle it can suckle.

This ugly voice said: Fine. If we're about to run out, if this is the last gasp of this splendid creature, if there's really nothing I can do about it anymore, well, to hell with it. I'd better get to my fave sushi joint quick and order a big batch of spice tuna rolls before it's too late
I mean, might as well, right? Isn't this what humans do best? Isn't this the Republican way, applicable to everything from SUVs to guns, cigarettes to global warming, to mutter something along the lines of: "Really, who f-ing cares if it's the last tuna on earth? Who cares about words like sacred, ethics, reverence? The fish tastes good! It's ours to gobble up as much as we like! Top of the food chain, baby!]