Archive for January, 2011

Time for a new direction

By Steve Klinger

A grown man is not supposed to cry when a retired baseball player of 84 dies in a convalescent hospital in southern California, seek but this wasn’t just any old baseball player, asthma
it was Duke Snider, prostate and I can still remember hearing the cheers in the apartment where I grew up, eight block from Ebbets Field, when the Brooklyn Dodgers mounted a rally back in the mid-50s, and the wind was blowing right.

This was the graceful, gliding centerfielder who rivaled Mays and Mantle in his heyday, before he stepped in a hole in Wrigley Field and tore up his knee, who was described by one sportswriter as having “steel springs in his legs.”  There was even greater torque in his hips and shoulders as he drove the ball out of the park on 407 occasions – or perchance struck out, which he did a lot as well.

But he was the Duke, probably the greatest of the Boys of Summer, and I kept a scrapbook of his exploits, only to leave it behind when I went away to college and my parents moved to Florida. It wound up, like most of my belongings, flooded in my aunt’s suburban basement a couple of years later.

The memories of Snider’s heroics in the 1955 World Series and numerous pennant races of that era were strong, however, and I couldn’t forsake the Duke and his cohorts even after Walter O’Malley uprooted them for more lucrative pastures in Los Angeles. While some of my friends became Yankee or, later, Met fans, I finessed the AM radio dial late into the night, searching for an LA Dodger broadcast. I even wrote to Vin Scully, who actually answered me, to relate that there were no radio stations from LA sending Dodger games back to Brooklyn. Where was MLB.com when I needed it?

About 15 years ago, I happened to be driving up the Florida coast on my way to the Orlando airport during spring training, and on an impulse I stopped at the Dodgers’ fabled training camp in Vero Beach to take in a Grapefruit League game. The crowd was sparse that day, but I spotted Snider, then about 70, sitting all by himself in the stands up behind third base. It took all the courage  I could muster, but I approached him and introduced myself. He was gracious and willing enough to talk about the Dodgers’ days in Brooklyn and their controversial departure, which he blamed not on O’Malley but on Robert Moses, a New York City official with great power over land use in those days.

Be that as it may, we had a pleasant chat and I drove off to the airport, tearful then as I was today, with those innocent days of baseball hero worship fresh in my heart.

I can’t think of anything more traumatic in my childhood than the day the New York Post announced the Dodgers were abandoning Ebbets Field — not for Jersey City, which would have been bad enough, but for California, and taking the Giants with them!

A couple of years later, the wrecking ball smashed into the 50-year-old bricks of that hallowed ballpark so that a man named Marvin Kratter could demolish it to build apartments.  I clipped out the photo and put it in my scrapbook.

Snider grew slow and fat and mercifully retired after a year with the Mets and another, inconceivably, with the San Francisco Giants.

But my boyhood bond was strong, and I was elated when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980.  In retrospect, his career statistics don’t measure up to those posted by the other New York centerfielders of his day, but for a few seasons he could run and field and throw with the best of them and blast the ball as high and far as anyone. In fact, he hit more home runs than anyone in the National League in the decade of the 1950s.

He was the Duke of Flatbush, and today I wept for him and, I suppose, for the dreams of childhood, so irrevocably replaced with adult realities, where greed trumps glory every time.
By Steve Klinger

A grown man is not supposed to cry when a retired baseball player of 84 dies in a convalescent hospital in southern California, seek but this wasn’t just any old baseball player, asthma
it was Duke Snider, prostate and I can still remember hearing the cheers in the apartment where I grew up, eight block from Ebbets Field, when the Brooklyn Dodgers mounted a rally back in the mid-50s, and the wind was blowing right.

This was the graceful, gliding centerfielder who rivaled Mays and Mantle in his heyday, before he stepped in a hole in Wrigley Field and tore up his knee, who was described by one sportswriter as having “steel springs in his legs.”  There was even greater torque in his hips and shoulders as he drove the ball out of the park on 407 occasions – or perchance struck out, which he did a lot as well.

But he was the Duke, probably the greatest of the Boys of Summer, and I kept a scrapbook of his exploits, only to leave it behind when I went away to college and my parents moved to Florida. It wound up, like most of my belongings, flooded in my aunt’s suburban basement a couple of years later.

The memories of Snider’s heroics in the 1955 World Series and numerous pennant races of that era were strong, however, and I couldn’t forsake the Duke and his cohorts even after Walter O’Malley uprooted them for more lucrative pastures in Los Angeles. While some of my friends became Yankee or, later, Met fans, I finessed the AM radio dial late into the night, searching for an LA Dodger broadcast. I even wrote to Vin Scully, who actually answered me, to relate that there were no radio stations from LA sending Dodger games back to Brooklyn. Where was MLB.com when I needed it?

About 15 years ago, I happened to be driving up the Florida coast on my way to the Orlando airport during spring training, and on an impulse I stopped at the Dodgers’ fabled training camp in Vero Beach to take in a Grapefruit League game. The crowd was sparse that day, but I spotted Snider, then about 70, sitting all by himself in the stands up behind third base. It took all the courage  I could muster, but I approached him and introduced myself. He was gracious and willing enough to talk about the Dodgers’ days in Brooklyn and their controversial departure, which he blamed not on O’Malley but on Robert Moses, a New York City official with great power over land use in those days.

Be that as it may, we had a pleasant chat and I drove off to the airport, tearful then as I was today, with those innocent days of baseball hero worship fresh in my heart.

I can’t think of anything more traumatic in my childhood than the day the New York Post announced the Dodgers were abandoning Ebbets Field — not for Jersey City, which would have been bad enough, but for California, and taking the Giants with them!

A couple of years later, the wrecking ball smashed into the 50-year-old bricks of that hallowed ballpark so that a man named Marvin Kratter could demolish it to build apartments.  I clipped out the photo and put it in my scrapbook.

Snider grew slow and fat and mercifully retired after a year with the Mets and another, inconceivably, with the San Francisco Giants.

But my boyhood bond was strong, and I was elated when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980.  In retrospect, his career statistics don’t measure up to those posted by the other New York centerfielders of his day, but for a few seasons he could run and field and throw with the best of them and blast the ball as high and far as anyone. In fact, he hit more home runs than anyone in the National League in the decade of the 1950s.

He was the Duke of Flatbush, and today I wept for him and, I suppose, for the dreams of childhood, so irrevocably replaced with adult realities, where greed trumps glory every time.
“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.”
Robert C. Gallagher

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”
Anonymous

By Steve Klinger

Almost eight years ago, physiotherapy
the United States had just begun visiting “Shock and Awe” upon Iraq. Less than two years removed from 9-11, pancreatitis
the mainstream media were waving the flag as vigorously as the Bush administration, prosthesis
but even more sanctimoniously.  Those of us protesting the war and the crackdown on free speech couldn’t get our rallies covered by area newspapers or television stations. We couldn’t even get a letter to the editor published.

So with an idea I had, and some generous help from a local group called PeaceAware and a few individuals, we published a little tabloid called Grassroots Press. The lead story and photographs were done by Thomas Wark, a retired editor with national credentials and a Pulitzer Prize to his name. The first issue, which might just as easily have been the last for all we knew, covered a university solidarity event and the growing peace movement in southern New Mexico and featured an article on the new “’peace candidate” for president, Dennis Kucinich. There was plenty of commentary on the stifling media atmosphere surrounding the war, a discussion of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of America, a warning about developmental threats to the Otero Mesa ecosystem. The centerspread featured photos and comments from community activists and why they were keeping vigil against the war – exactly the stuff the Sun-News and my former paper, the Bulletin, wouldn’t touch. On the back page was a People’s Guide to Internet Resources, an amazing URL list of alternative news and opinion sites, government agencies, social and economic justice sites and what we would soon be calling blogs.

Grassroots Press never grew very large, but we did find a way to keep it going, with a little advertising from local progressive businesses and candidates, subscriptions and some generous donations. Other than the printers and an underpaid graphic designer, the rest of us donated our services, though over time we were able to pay writers occasionally and sometimes find a little gas money for those who helped distribute the paper.  I’ll confess, I became the benevolent dictator in charge of whipping up the bimonthly mix of articles, photos, ads and directories.

Over those eight years we tracked the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and increasingly turned our attention to the growing social injustice and burgeoning violence on the border, and the resistance efforts of groups on either side, from the women’s weaving cooperatives in Chiapas to the besieged and bloodied residents of Lomas del Poleo and the victims of the violence in Juarez. We exposed military recruitment tactics in local public schools; we warned of the dangers of electronic voting machines; we examined the growing threats to civil liberties. Frequently we looked at the growth of militarism in New Mexico and threats to our environmental treasures. Increasingly, we documented efforts at localism, food security, recycling and sustainable energy practices in southern New Mexico.

A few years ago we explored the unsavory circumstances involving the State Land Office, a growth-oriented City Council and a local developer that led to the annexation of Vistas at Presidio. Soon we were in the thick of local political battles that, over a few election cycles, brought a progressive city government to Las Cruces. We supported progressive candidates on state and county levels and watched their efforts also meet with success.

The problems with accountability and transparency in local government have abated somewhat, and sustainability initiatives have increased. But the economy and the national political climate, not to mention the corruption in Santa Fe, brought a backlash at the polls last November and increasingly heated rhetoric on key issues in a divided state.

All the while, looming beyond the day-to-day stuff, the American empire continues its incremental implosion, the corporatists extend their malignant reach into every cranny of government, and the planet continues its slide toward eventual demise as a habitable environment – at least for Homo sapiens.

I won’t pretend there is no further need for the beacon we’ve tried to shine, but I will acknowledge that the time has arrived for me personally to go in a different direction, and thus this current issue will be the last print edition of Grassroots Press (unless a successor should step forward). The entire newspaper industry is shifting away from print as the Internet, computers, tablets, mobile and personal devices remake the media landscape. We will continue the Grassroots Press website from our new home in Santa Fe (no, we’re not going just to be near Susana), and we urge you to visit us at www.grass-roots-press.com and to continue sending your commentary, your articles, your letters and your announcements as we attempt to exert more of a statewide presence.  I believe totally that legitimate grassroots journalism and political activism are the only avenues we have to defend and nurture what is left of our democracy, but I need to do my part in a different way.

There are far too many people to thank for me to list by name. You made it all possible, and you know who you are. Thank you, each and every one. Keep the torch burning.

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If spunk were eggs, we’d all eat omelets

By Thomas Wark
Say this for the handful of true progressives in American political life: they’ve got spunk.

It’s a pity that the likes of Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich have no option in party affiliation except to align themselves with the gutless Milquetoasts who call themselves Democrats.  But such is political reality in the two-party system of the former democracy called the United States. They have to lie down with dogs and accept fleas like the so-called health care reform act, buy generic which passed only after it was so modified that it merely perpetuates the crimes it set out to reform. Dean and Kucinich ultimately supported it because, for a complicated set of reasons, they perceived it as slightly better than nothing at all.

In his working class district of Ohio, Kucinich has retained his seat in Congress in successive elections despite enormous sums of money spent by the Republicans in vain efforts to buy enough votes to oust him. But if they failed at the ballot box, the Republicans now will get rid of Kucinich by the massive scam called redistricting.

Under the law, each state gains or loses seats every ten years according to its new population as determined by the U.S. Census.  Because Ohio lost population, it is required to redraw its Congressional districts later this year.

Here’s what Kucinich said in a recent letter to constituents:

My district might be eliminated. We need to begin to work now to prepare for what is sure to be a major effort to silence your voice. As you know, my work in Congress has never been about me. It’s about the hopes and aspirations of the people of the 10th district and the people of our Nation.

I don’t know where my district will be. But I owe it to you and to all those who have ever supported me to not sit idly while questions are being raised in every major media outlet about whether I will be forced out of Congress by redistricting. I will not let any special interests force me out. Your support will ensure that the debate – on issues as important as ending the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, implementing single-payer healthcare, and remaking our economy for Main Street not Wall Street – will continue.

I’m not going to let our voices and our movement be abolished by the stroke of a pen. There’s too much at stake. This is the time to stand up and speak out. And based on the support and responses I’ve seen so far, I know you’re right there with me.

Good luck, Dennis.  Hell, I remember the afternoon a friend plunked down two bucks at the parimutuel window in Liberty Bell park for a “win” ticket on a 1,000-to-one shot, the longest odds in the history of the venue.  The nag won and my friend took his bride out to dinner at Le Bec Fin.

And here’s Dean:

The question is still what kind of country do we want to live in?

Republicans often play to the worst impulses in human nature and separate people from each other, scapegoating minority groups and dismantling our community support systems. We have a better answer.

We know what we believe.

We believe in community. We care about our neighbors and we help each other. We can provide a bright future to our children with a quality education and we can provide a secure retirement free from poverty and dependence for our grandparents. And we can accomplish it within a reasonable budget so we don’t leave a burden of debt on the next generation. Democrats are responsible and balance budgets. Democrats lift up the community and make sure that everyone has a chance for a future.

We believe in security. We will foster strong partnerships with other nations to ensure the secure and safe prosperity for all. We will reduce our dependence on resources that make us vulnerable to attack. We will use our American ingenuity to strengthen our own economy and our environment. We won’t start wars of choice and then perpetuate them to keep the military contractors in business. We will fund schools and investment in green jobs over funding bombers and missile defense our military doesn’t need or even want.

We believe in liberty. We respect every American’s right to practice their own religion and to live a life free from bigotry, abuse, and harassment. We will fight discrimination and deliver on the promise of equality for all Americans. We believe that no one, not multinational corporations nor the government, has the right to your personal information to keep tabs on you for profit or unwarranted policing.

We believe in community, security and liberty and we will never back down.

Truly, they won’t quit.  But how often do thousand-to-one shots win?  Don’t make your dinner reservations yet.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

Comments (1)

One More Gun

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, injection
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, link
assignments to be made, healing
facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, injection
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, link
assignments to be made, healing
facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, here
Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, injection
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, link
assignments to be made, healing
facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, here
Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, healthful
Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

In these United States, melanoma the bad guys are relentless and have unlimited funding. The good guys dislike the smell of their own sweat and still believe that virtue has amorphous power to prevail against all odds.

No wonder the democratic republic founded on a thesis of checks and balances died a dozen years ago and nobody noticed.

Illustrations abound. Nay, life they inundate us daily. They flood us, case overwhelm us, numb our senses, beat us into a miasmic mass of helpless resignation.

A microcosm: southern New Mexico is blessed with public lands whose unique characteristics are less spectacularly beautiful than, say, the Grand Canyon; whose historical importance is less obvious than, say, Mesa Verde’s; whose archeological value is less self-evident than, say, the great pyramids; whose thundering silence, unchanged openness, vistaed hopes and majestic instancy feed only souls hungering after solace, not not egos bottomless with greed. They deserve preservation, these lands; protection from the predations of the land-rapers, a license of passage to generations unborn.

I came to live here because of these lands. They are my church, my place to recover from wounds, to think, to simply be. I want to share them with anyone and everyone who will respect them, cherish them, leave them simply to be.

Of course I joined the movement to protect them in perpetuity from from human abuse.

Proposals were written, hearings were held, viewpoints were aired, money was spent, alliances were formed, lies were told, facts were presented, “stakeholders” were asked to comment, experts were called to pontificate, ignoramuses were allowed to prattle, legislation was written and more hearings were held.

At the last of these, the same old well-funded prevaricators, distorters and transmogrifiers turned out in force, spewing the same old bilge that had been refuted many times before. Sen. Tom Udall, the junior of New Mexico’s senators, both of whom supported the wilderness legislation, played prosecuting attorney. His skilled cross-examination stripped each of the nay-sayers of any remaining vestige of credibility.

The legislation, which had already passed the U. S. House of Representatives, seemed headed toward passage by the Senate and signature into law by the President.

But the corporate and private interests that control us do their real work not in public hearings; they work behind the closed doors of the inner offices inside the Beltway. There the pressures were brought to bear upon our gutless public servants that caused the wilderness bill to languish unvoted on. The lame duck congressional session ended and decades of dedicated citizen legwork within the system died.

The lemmings of Teabagistan are chortling with glee in the usual venues of ignorance: call-in radio and ungrammatical letters to local rags that purport to be newspapers, bumper stickers and bill boards, church message boards and crude trade association pamphlets.

By the time a new people’s movement of enlightened conservationists can be formed — IF such can ever be re-formed — the lands will have been devastated, raped of their historic, cultural and natural beneficence.

Just on the matter of public land management alone, similar dramas of dreams deferred are playing out in Utah, Idaho, Montana and throughout the west. Take Utah: some of our most precious heritage lands have long been coveted by the Midases of extraction and the Huns of off-roading. A death-bed sell-out in the last days of Bush II gave the destroyers license to do their worst; it has taken nearly two years for the Dr. Kidglove administration to reverse the Interior Department rules that allowed their criminal acts. But without supportive action by the whores of Congress, this will come to naught.

The bad guys will win, as they always do in these United States, simply because they do not relent, and they have unlimited finances. And because they really don’t have any opposition.

No sweat, right?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

In these United States, vitamin the bad guys are relentless and have unlimited funding. The good guys dislike the smell of their own sweat and still believe that virtue has amorphous power to prevail against all odds.

No wonder the democratic republic founded on a thesis of checks and balances died a dozen years ago and nobody noticed.

Illustrations abound. Nay, approved they inundate us daily. They flood us, overwhelm us, numb our senses, beat us into a miasmic mass of helpless resignation.

A microcosm: southern New Mexico is blessed with public lands whose unique characteristics are less spectacularly beautiful than, say, the Grand Canyon; whose historical importance is less obvious than, say, Mesa Verde’s; whose archeological value is less self-evident than, say, the great pyramids; whose thundering silence, unchanged openness, vistaed hopes and majestic instancy feed only souls hungering after solace, not not egos bottomless with greed. They deserve preservation, these lands; protection from the predations of the land-rapers, a license of passage to generations unborn.

I came to live here because of these lands. They are my church, my place to recover from wounds, to think, to simply be. I want to share them with anyone and everyone who will respect them, cherish them, leave them simply to be.

Of course I joined the movement to protect them in perpetuity from from human abuse.

Proposals were written, hearings were held, viewpoints were aired, money was spent, alliances were formed, lies were told, facts were presented, “stakeholders” were asked to comment, experts were called to pontificate, ignoramuses were allowed to prattle, legislation was written and more hearings were held.

At the last of these, the same old well-funded prevaricators, distorters and transmogrifiers turned out in force, spewing the same old bilge that had been refuted many times before. Sen. Tom Udall, the junior of New Mexico’s senators, both of whom supported the wilderness legislation, played prosecuting attorney. His skilled cross-examination stripped each of the nay-sayers of any remaining vestige of credibility.

The legislation, which had already passed the U. S. House of Representatives, seemed headed toward passage by the Senate and signature into law by the President.

But the corporate and private interests that control us do their real work not in public hearings; they work behind the closed doors of the inner offices inside the Beltway. There the pressures were brought to bear upon our gutless public servants that caused the wilderness bill to languish unvoted on. The lame duck congressional session ended and decades of dedicated citizen legwork within the system died.

The lemmings of Teabagistan are chortling with glee in the usual venues of ignorance: call-in radio and ungrammatical letters to local rags that purport to be newspapers, bumper stickers and bill boards, church message boards and crude trade association pamphlets.

By the time a new people’s movement of enlightened conservationists can be formed — IF such can ever be re-formed — the lands will have been devastated, raped of their historic, cultural and natural beneficence.

Just on the matter of public land management alone, similar dramas of dreams deferred are playing out in Utah, Idaho, Montana and throughout the west. Take Utah: some of our most precious heritage lands have long been coveted by the Midases of extraction and the Huns of off-roading. A death-bed sell-out in the last days of Bush II gave the destroyers license to do their worst; it has taken nearly two years for the Dr. Kidglove administration to reverse the Interior Department rules that allowed their criminal acts. But without supportive action by the whores of Congress, this will come to naught.

The bad guys will win, as they always do in these United States, simply because they do not relent, and they have unlimited finances. And because they really don’t have any opposition.

No sweat, right?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

In these United States, ailment the bad guys are relentless and have unlimited funding. The good guys dislike the smell of their own sweat and still believe that virtue has amorphous power to prevail against all odds.

No wonder the democratic republic founded on a thesis of checks and balances died a dozen years ago and nobody noticed.

Illustrations abound. Nay, buy they inundate us daily. They flood us, overwhelm us, numb our senses, beat us into a miasmic mass of helpless resignation.

A microcosm: southern New Mexico is blessed with public lands whose unique characteristics are less spectacularly beautiful than, say, the Grand Canyon; whose historical importance is less obvious than, say, Mesa Verde’s; whose archeological value is less self-evident than, say, the great pyramids; whose thundering silence, unchanged openness, vistaed hopes and majestic instancy feed only souls hungering after solace, not not egos bottomless with greed. They deserve preservation, these lands; protection from the predations of the land-rapers, a license of passage to generations unborn.

I came to live here because of these lands. They are my church, my place to recover from wounds, to think, to simply be. I want to share them with anyone and everyone who will respect them, cherish them, leave them simply to be.

Of course I joined the movement to protect them in perpetuity from from human abuse.

Proposals were written, hearings were held, viewpoints were aired, money was spent, alliances were formed, lies were told, facts were presented, “stakeholders” were asked to comment, experts were called to pontificate, ignoramuses were allowed to prattle, legislation was written and more hearings were held.

At the last of these, the same old well-funded prevaricators, distorters and transmogrifiers turned out in force, spewing the same old bilge that had been refuted many times before. Sen. Tom Udall, the junior of New Mexico’s senators, both of whom supported the wilderness legislation, played prosecuting attorney. His skilled cross-examination stripped each of the nay-sayers of any remaining vestige of credibility.

The legislation, which had already passed the U. S. House of Representatives, seemed headed toward passage by the Senate and signature into law by the President.

But the corporate and private interests that control us do their real work not in public hearings; they work behind the closed doors of the inner offices inside the Beltway. There the pressures were brought to bear upon our gutless public servants that caused the wilderness bill to languish unvoted on. The lame duck congressional session ended and decades of dedicated citizen legwork within the system died.

The lemmings of Teabagistan are chortling with glee in the usual venues of ignorance: call-in radio and ungrammatical letters to local rags that purport to be newspapers, bumper stickers and bill boards, church message boards and crude trade association pamphlets.

By the time a new people’s movement of enlightened conservationists can be formed — IF such can ever be re-formed — the lands will have been devastated, raped of their historic, cultural and natural beneficence.

Just on the matter of public land management alone, similar dramas of dreams deferred are playing out in Utah, Idaho, Montana and throughout the west. Take Utah: some of our most precious heritage lands have long been coveted by the Midases of extraction and the Huns of off-roading. A death-bed sell-out in the last days of Bush II gave the destroyers license to do their worst; it has taken nearly two years for the Dr. Kidglove administration to reverse the Interior Department rules that allowed their criminal acts. But without supportive action by the whores of Congress, this will come to naught.

The bad guys will win, as they always do in these United States, simply because they do not relent, and they have unlimited finances. And because they really don’t have any opposition.

No sweat, right?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
Roundtables are held on Sundays from 10:30 – 11:30 am in the library of the Unitarian Universalist Church, more about 2000 S. Solano.
Jan 02 Dr. Jack Soules: Population Prediction for the year 2050
The year 2050 promises that the population will be flat, apoplexy even through the world is round. Jack will
discuss the demography from which he draws this conclusion.
Jack is a retired college professor and physicist.
Jan 09 Dr. Donald F. Neidig: Factors that will influence the discussion about climate change in the coming decades
Despite the preponderance of scientific evidence for global climate change and its attribution to human
activity, this site public and media attention in the U.S. continues to focus mainly on arguments whether global
warming is real. This controversy is more political than factual, and eventually will give way to
practical discussions about impacts and mitigation as the reality of climate change becomes more
apparent in the public mind. Discussions in the future will likely center on three areas: (1) prospects for
stopping or reversing climate change (the difficulty of which is of a magnitude presently unrealized by
the public and political leaders as well), (2) near-term cost of mitigation vs. long-term cost of doing
nothing (the comparison of which is poorly quantified and has been given little public exposure), and
(3) solutions in common between the problems of climate change and energy security (about which the
public is only vaguely aware). A bit of forewarning for future generations: fasten your seatbelts!
Don’s credentials are:
• Emeritus Astronomer, National Solar Observatory
• Principal Astrophysicist (retired), Air Force Research Laboratory
• Formerly faculty member, Alliance College, and Adjunct Professor NMSU
Jan 16 Olga Elena Bashbush: Activities of the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez
Olga Elena Bashbush, from the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez, will speak
about the U.S. Consulate General, the Merida Initiative, the Pillar Four activities being carried out by
the Public Affairs Section, and the U.S. Foreign Service. This is a session you won’t want to miss.
Note: The time of this meeting will be 12 noon to 1:00. It will take place in the church sanctuary
to accommodate a lager auciance.
Jan 23 Gordon Hill: Religion of Ordinary Life
Gordon will give a presentation and lead a discussion of Don Cupitt’s Religion of Ordinary Life as
detailed in his book “Above Us Only Sky” (2008) and on his website
www.doncupitt.com/philosophylife/don-cupitt-philosophy-of-life-religion-of-ordinary-life.html
Gordon is a retired engineer and motivational speaker.
Jan 30 James Peckham: “Deeper Causes of Mexican Immigration Crisis and What We Can Do Now.”
I will discuss the background of devastating US and Mexican policies of Vicente Fox and show how
this has affected thousands of Mexicans and caused them to try to immigrate to the US in order to
survive. I will also provide updates on the Dream Act and suggest practical responses, in light of record
numbers of deportations and repression during the Obama Administration.
James brings us a view of Mexico and the U.S. from a unique perspective. He has a Masters degree in
Mexican history and has lived in many areas of Mexico. Coming from a family with 5 generations of
protestant missionaries, he has traveled extensively; including as a teenager, spending a year living in
the Amazon Basin, among indigenous peoples in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
Roundtables are held on Sundays from 10:30 – 11:30 am in the library of the Unitarian Universalist Church, more about 2000 S. Solano.
Jan 02 Dr. Jack Soules: Population Prediction for the year 2050
The year 2050 promises that the population will be flat, apoplexy even through the world is round. Jack will
discuss the demography from which he draws this conclusion.
Jack is a retired college professor and physicist.
Jan 09 Dr. Donald F. Neidig: Factors that will influence the discussion about climate change in the coming decades
Despite the preponderance of scientific evidence for global climate change and its attribution to human
activity, this site public and media attention in the U.S. continues to focus mainly on arguments whether global
warming is real. This controversy is more political than factual, and eventually will give way to
practical discussions about impacts and mitigation as the reality of climate change becomes more
apparent in the public mind. Discussions in the future will likely center on three areas: (1) prospects for
stopping or reversing climate change (the difficulty of which is of a magnitude presently unrealized by
the public and political leaders as well), (2) near-term cost of mitigation vs. long-term cost of doing
nothing (the comparison of which is poorly quantified and has been given little public exposure), and
(3) solutions in common between the problems of climate change and energy security (about which the
public is only vaguely aware). A bit of forewarning for future generations: fasten your seatbelts!
Don’s credentials are:
• Emeritus Astronomer, National Solar Observatory
• Principal Astrophysicist (retired), Air Force Research Laboratory
• Formerly faculty member, Alliance College, and Adjunct Professor NMSU
Jan 16 Olga Elena Bashbush: Activities of the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez
Olga Elena Bashbush, from the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez, will speak
about the U.S. Consulate General, the Merida Initiative, the Pillar Four activities being carried out by
the Public Affairs Section, and the U.S. Foreign Service. This is a session you won’t want to miss.
Note: The time of this meeting will be 12 noon to 1:00. It will take place in the church sanctuary
to accommodate a lager auciance.
Jan 23 Gordon Hill: Religion of Ordinary Life
Gordon will give a presentation and lead a discussion of Don Cupitt’s Religion of Ordinary Life as
detailed in his book “Above Us Only Sky” (2008) and on his website
www.doncupitt.com/philosophylife/don-cupitt-philosophy-of-life-religion-of-ordinary-life.html
Gordon is a retired engineer and motivational speaker.
Jan 30 James Peckham: “Deeper Causes of Mexican Immigration Crisis and What We Can Do Now.”
I will discuss the background of devastating US and Mexican policies of Vicente Fox and show how
this has affected thousands of Mexicans and caused them to try to immigrate to the US in order to
survive. I will also provide updates on the Dream Act and suggest practical responses, in light of record
numbers of deportations and repression during the Obama Administration.
James brings us a view of Mexico and the U.S. from a unique perspective. He has a Masters degree in
Mexican history and has lived in many areas of Mexico. Coming from a family with 5 generations of
protestant missionaries, he has traveled extensively; including as a teenager, spending a year living in
the Amazon Basin, among indigenous peoples in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, viagra 40mg
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, assignments to be made, facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

Rep. Trent Franks, sildenafil an Arizona Republican who has been outspoken in remembrance of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the wake of the shooting, more about said he wishes there was one more gun in Tucson, Ariz., the day of the massacre. “I wish there had been one more gun there that day in the hands of a responsible person, that’s all I have to say,” Franks said, visibly irritated at a question about increased gun control.

Spoken just like a freedom-loving American NRA champion. One more gun.

That’s what we need. How dare these liberal freedom-tamperers vilify the Second Amerndment and the right to bear a Glock 19 or an AK-47 by talking gun control when a fellow wants to go hunting or defend his family – or get heroic in front of a Tucson grocery store?

So what if the background-check system failed miserably because, while everyone knew Jared Loughner was crazy, no one reported him or did anything to stop him? If we’d had one more gun in Tucson we’d have erased the vermin before he could have shot all 20 of those innocent people. Oh, he might have gotten a few, but that’s just collateral damage for freedom American-style.

So what if the overturned ban on assault weapons has helped pour thousands of automatic firearms into Mexico, where over 30,000 have died of gunshot wounds in the last three or four years?

One more gun and the Virginia Tech shootings wouldn’t have left 27 dead…maybe only half a dozen.

One more gun (or maybe two) and we could have stopped the Columbine killers early on in their spree.

One more gun and there’d be no need to worry about pistol-packing Tea Partiers demonstrating near the President.

One more gun and we could shut up all the Brady bill supporters and the assault-weapon ban supporters and anyone complaining about the plan to allow open carry for Texas college students.

One more gun and someone would have nailed George Tiller’s murderer right in the act.

One more gun and someone might have taken out Lee Harvey Oswald or Sirhan Sirhan or James Earl Ray.

Come to think of it, why stop at guns? The world is a dangerous place, and God wants us to defend it in the name of freedom.  One more fighter jet. One more tank. One more killer drone. One more nuke.

Because as Rep. Franks would have it, one good weapon deserves another.

Comments (2)

‘I hope you jump in rain puddles’

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, injection
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, link
assignments to be made, healing
facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

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