This show, about 2 and a half hours long if you listen
to everything (hey, no commercials), features two very rare performances
by Mahavishnu Orchestra. There's an excellent chance that you won't see
any of these songs on VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, MTV Hits, or BET on J. It's a
nice mix of old and new. So enjoy. This is the second installment of the
Anti Lawrence Welk/Anti VH1 Soul Jazz show. And, quite frankly, it
features better performances, song writing and outright talent than you
will ever see on those aforementioned stations.
First, the evildoers at BET on Jazz transformed themselves into BET on J,
where the only time I'll be hearing jazz will be on commercials or the
station promos. Yet I at least had Ovation, which would show one or two
interesting concerts per week. Not much. But something if you're over 14 and
like tunes. Today, they got rid of Ovation--its in my luxury tier and they
didn't even bother to ask me if this was something I wanted--and replaced it
with movie channels. That gives me about 40 or so movie channels. Nothing
for jazz. Thanks fellas.
On the other hand, I just discovered YouTube and its virtually a mecca for
I'm really impressed with this
online comic designed for the PSP. If
you've never read William Gibson, well, this is kind of what's its like.
Some of it even works like animation. Nice effort. I couldn't put it down
or, rather, stop clicking.
This week we celebrate
the work of Karl Bang, who
I discovered while doing public interest porn research. Someone has to do
that you know...
. First, I think
movies with a political bent--be it Passion of the Christ or the newest Mike
Moore movie-can sell. You just have to accept that the Mike Moore audience
isn't the same as the Passion audience. From what I've seen of the V for
Vendetta film it looks to be outstanding but I must admit that I'm a Mike
Two, I think Alan has some right to complain about how his adaptations have
turned out. But I sort of blame him for signing away ownership of his books
to begin with! That's not something that the world's smartest writer should
be doing. For the life of me, I don't know why Tom Strong, Promethea and Top
Ten aren't the newest series by HBO or Showtime. He could get excellent
directors like Terry Gilliam, and he must have Frank Miller's phone number
somewheres. I think he's right in thinking that a 2 hour visual medium
couldn't do his work right. But you give me 14 hours on HBO/Showtime, with
Terry Gilliam or the Sin City crew producing, and I'll give you some great
great art, period. Alan: Let me be your manager. Just once.
PS: If you don't like V for Vendetta, then don't watch it. I'm going to be
first in line. I think terrorists are made, not born, in films and in real
life, whether it's a fictional future England or Iraq...
Item: Quick movie reviews. I enjoyed Syriana
although I agree with Max Sawicky that you would need to show Israel playing
some role. Glad Doc Bashir got a great movie role. I just don’t think
Firefly is that interesting and the fact that the lead reminds me of a
confederate guy…not so cool. I thought the South was wrong. There I said it.
Perhaps it’s my cultural bias. Who knew. Need to know a little bit more
about what he was fighting for…God what a heartbreaking yet brilliant movie
Million Dollar Baby is. The Morgan Freeman voiceover is a guarantee of a
level of excellence. Really is. Don’t let Morgan approach you with that one
Yellow Glove…One thing though: I wouldn’t have chosen death. Despite
that South Korean hack there will be some promising therapies at the end of
this year, but I guess the point of the movie is that there are no happy
decisions in this particular reality. Choose between the two bad draws…I
respected her choice.
Item: I found out about Kaki King’s sexual
preference and I’m disappointed. Damn this sexual evolution…I drown my
sorrows with an update over at Red Light. By the way, some of
those erotic pics rise
to the level of Great Art. Look at that water…
Item: My disturbing yet brilliant (really)
short story, “The Science Fiction Story as Life Metaphor” will be published
this weekend by the Front, imaginary God a willin’…It’s about time someone
alluded to Richard Wright, Henry Miller and William Gibson in a science
fiction story. I’m not sure if that someone is me but you never know…Ya
Item: Now, what is an Atheist supposed to do on
Christmas? I would imagine that I would get some work done. So, here's a
xmas-y update at the Red Light District. In
related news, I promised not to link to this story featuring nude women
photo shopped in superhero clothes. I must show some restraint despite my
cultural proclivities. Must. Not. Link. Yes, it combines comics and soft
I am not strong...
Item: This is something that I just noticed but the best atheist
propaganda I've seen on television comes from the mouths of toons. I'm
thinking of the two South Parks that demolished Mormonism and Scientology.
And last Sunday's Boondocks ("A Huey Christmas")--which kinda sucked when it
first started but is getting better--there was a nice history of Christmas,
which restates its origin as a pagan holiday which used to be illegal--
--Now that I think of it: isn't the message of Christ a message against
materialism? Why would he care if there was a slump in winter sales?--
--There was even an episode of "Drawn Together" that featured gun toting
fundamentalists. Of course, the religious person can't ever be wrong. He or
she communicates with Allah or God or Ron Hubbard and could never get it
wrong. That's why those fundie liars in Dover, chastised by the Republican
judge as such, were so scary. They didn't mind lying under oath, swearing
upon a Bible no less, because their lies served a higher purpose...to them
anyway. To a more impartial observer it looked like deliberately keeping
people stupid, which seems to be the purpose of most religious thought.
Afterall, who's more likely to think the Pope doesn't talk to God: The guy
who can comprehend
"Why I'm Not a Christian" or the guy who can't read and gets all his
food from the church. Why, it would seem to me that the church would have a
profound interest in keeping the masses poor and stupid. It makes for better
So, until they give the Infidel Guy his own cable show, look at South Park,
Drawn Together, and the Boondocks for your religious criticism. No wonder
Bill O Reilly doesn't like Comedy Central...
I've also come to the conclusion that there's something hard wired into
people that makes them accept silly notions--whether its the scientology
aliens, or the Mormon's New World Jesus or popes in funny hats or virgin
births or dozens of virgins after you die and so on--when they cross dress
as Religions. I could actually see, before the current age of science and
reason, why a fairy tale afterlife might seem necessary just to survive. It
really is an opiate in that sense. And, frankly, religion appears to be a
drug that a lot of people need.
Item: Speaking of subversive television, I
kind of enjoyed
Sleeper Cell, which featured an undercover black Muslim. As much as I
loved Peta Wilson in La Femme Nikita and will probably watch Jack Bauer
again in 24, if you were going to infiltrate Al Q then an angry black Muslim
would probably be a wise choice. Of course, he might also have some
potential as a double agent. Frankly, if you kill 100000 Iraqis and steal
their oil shouldn't you expect a backlash? If you were a citizen in the
Middle East (excluding, possibly, Israel. Although I think the war on terror
makes Israel more of a target) would you feel safer that the US knew they
could kill your citizens and take your resources without hint of payback or
consequence? I wouldn't. And no Mr. NSA minder that doesn't mean that I
would join terrorist fundies--which I loathe whether they worship Allah or
the Catholic Clergy--just that I can understand why they Hate us: For Good
By the way, when did I know this was a work of fiction? When our lead
character actually showed some remorse when a kid talked about his time in
Gitmo. He even showed shame and pain. That's when I knew that I was watching
a fantasy television show...I might note that if you have this new fangled
OnDemand feature with your cable you can watch all 9 episodes at once...
Item: Even though I'm thrilled with the Dover decision, the bitter
reality is that the courts aren't on Reason's side. For example, we (the
forces of Reason and Light and free porn) lost an appeals court case where
the court ruled that there is no
separation between Church and State. More than likely, had that judge
been presiding over the Dover case Reason would have lost. And being that
was an appeals court, there's an excellent chance that Dover could be won on
appeal, probably through the sixth circuit. Scary stuff. That's just great.
Of course, now I can proudly
post my Flying Spaghetti Monster T shirts by all mangers and such. Hey,
my Imaginary God is just as good as yours...
Item: I really hope the La Guitara
must know who they are, and above all,
what they can do!") put out a
live DVD of their concert. La Guitara is like a who's who of the best female
guitarists on the planet. It's both an
a concert series.
It features Mimi Fox, Patty Larkin, Muriel Anderson and Kaki King. It would
not be unlike a tour that featured male guitarists like Stanley Jordan,
Allan Holdsworth, Tuck Andress and Preston Reed. I'd pay for that show, too.
Mimi Fox talks about the tour here and you can see pictures of the
Guitara quartet over at Muriel Anderson's site, apparently lil' Kaki
likes Merry Go Round Ponies purple dinosaurs. Yeah, I can
think of a lot of things I'd like Kaki to ride...because she's so talented
n' all, if she even likes boys. No matter. I'm working on an Anti-Tony Mowad
Jazz Show podcast and Kaki will be in it. Please don't sue me. (Tony already
The above novel was written by my cousin Leonce Gaiter. I didn't
even know he had written it and published it. I discovered it when someone else linked to it--I think it was Steve Gilliard.
He also has a
blog where he writes about New Orleans and his family's past, which also happens to be my past.
Here's an excerpt:
King of spades: My parents got out of New Orleans decades before Katrina, but for the same reasons that begat the
tragedy. I lived there only briefly, but even as a child I knew that the attitude among the city’s poor, black population
was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. My parents were 60s bourgeois strivers, and they insisted on three things:
excellence to thwart the race hatred that threatened them, controlled rage to keep its memories fresh because more often
than not, cultures die before they change, and finally arrogance in the knowledge that while the majority with all its power
did its best to belittle us—they had failed.
Instead of this sustaining triumvirate, in New Orleans I saw hopelessness and resignation. There was about the people a
sense that they would never get but crumbs from someone else’s plate. And to make this bitter pill palatable, they had only
the Jesus that white people had thrust upon them hundreds of years ago with the express goal of making their ancestor’s
enslavement less troublesome to maintain. Enslavement, Jim Crow, reeking prejudice, and then malignant neglect. Yes, history
lives; and racial history lives longer.
Ace of Diamonds: Even conservatives are bashing Bush and his government’s and his personal response to this tragedy. Andrew
Real conservatives believe that the state should do a few things that no one else can do – defense, decent public education,
police, law and order among the most obvious – and leave the rest to individuals. Funding FEMA and having a superb civil
defense are very much part of conservatism’s real core. It’s when government decides to reshape society, redistribute
wealth, socially engineer, and take over functions that the private sector can do just as well that conservatives draw the
line. The reason I’m mad as hell over Katrina is precisely because I’m a conservative and this kind of thing is exactly what
government is for.
PHIL'S ONLINE MP3 AND VIDEO EMPORIUM
That's jazz rock hero John Mclaughlin.
ONLINE MUSIC EMPORIUM
Interspersed Theme: Girl with the Beautiful Tone
Lately, I've been addicted to Broadcast. They're a part of
that Birmingham Trip-Hop scene that I really can't get enough of. They
have some vids on the Internet. Here's a list of what I think is the best
music on the net. This is an ongoing list.
Best Online Music Sites
Belew (prog rock)
He has the right attitude. All
of his personal vids are available for download. My fave is the duet
with David Bowie. Pretty Pink Rose.
Will Know Us By Our Trail of Dead (alt rock)
Actually, I don't like all of
their tunes, but I think "Relative Ways" and "Early Morning Stoner"
are some of the best rock vids I've seen over the last 10 years. I
also like what I 've heard of their new album. www.trailofdead.com/media/
(alt trip hoppy acidy jazzie)
I can't get enough of this band.
If you're a fan of
Portishead or Esthero, then you'll probably like Broadcast. I also
highly recommend City in Progress, Come Let's Go, and the World
Backwards, when you buy them legally at your fave online music
downloader, or from Emule, which would be wrong, probably....
The only place on line that
I've seen actual real life jazz rock music. Buckyball seems to be made
up of the remnants of the great Brit fusion band Brand X, most notably
sinewy Jaco-like bassist Percy Jones and flashy guitarist John
Looks like they're putting all
of her first album out there for free at her first label. You can't
download it. But you could tape and then record it as an Mp3, if you
had the proper equipment and hated America I guess..
You have to scroll around.
moved up to the big label Sony of course and she now has a video,
which you can actually see on vh1 megahits between the mostly garbage
that they play... (I'm never going to purchase anything from the
Killers. Not gonna happen.)
You can get her new vid plus live performances at the above URL.
I was sniffing around Kaki's
old label and I ran into this incredibly acid jazzy band called Kudu.
Nice stuff. I'm an acid jazz junkie. I don't do the drugs but I sure
love the drug music. Bitches Brew forever....Neo soul at its finest. I
don't think I'll be hearing this on WAMO anytime soon.
Frank Kelly Freas passed
away several days ago. He's famous for creating Mad Magazine's grinning
The Sin City
Trailer looks good. It feels like the comic and Rourke as Marv
(below) is an inspired bit of casting. He's played ugly men before. I
still think that Ronin or Martha Liberty or even his Batman books would
have been better as films but I can see the gritty appeal that Sin City
would offer. If I remember the bespectacled character correctly, then
Elijah Wood plays a very cool corporate assassin.
For those of us
who long for another Portishead record or keep on wondering what happened
to that gorgeous vocalist who headed Esthero (Update:
Esthero just put out a new album and the
first song is here. Kinda of a rockin' tune where she says Britney and
rapists of little girls (R. Kelly I think but that seemed consensual,
urine notwithstanding...) get way too much vid time. Mentions MTV
mediocrity by name. I guess I won't be seeing her video too soon..), Ilya
might just fill your need for cinematic grooves and beautiful soulful
lyrics. If you don't believe me, then watch the incredible video for
Bellissomo. It's stunning. Trust me. You can watch it either here at
Soundgenerator (A great online site for videos by the way in case
you're sick of MTV. They do this relational thing where they point out
that if you like Portishead, you might like Ilya. And they were right.) or
band's site. And here's
an interview with the band. The new album, blaring in my personal
background, is called They Died for Beauty.
If you're looking
for more of this kind of music, I
highly recommend Soma online, which actually plays about several
different brands of Acid Jazz. I usually have the Secret Agent stuff in
All Hail the Return of the King:
And speaking of stunning artists you won't be seeing on the MTV countdown
anytime soon--or anywhere on MTV for that matter--Kaki King
has a new album out. You might remember I declared Kaki the best
female guitarist that I had ever seen, just narrowly beating out Joe Pass
Mimi Fox, also incredibly gifted. At her website, she has about three
video downloads where you can check out her incredible Stanley Jordanesque
tapping style. You can also find a
Kaki King NPR interview, which features another video and four of her
are just as mind-blowing as her technique. You're watching a living
legend, once in a generation kind of artist. Now, if they would only play
her on the radio. All Hail the King.
So I'm pretty depressed about the Alito nomination. Yes,
the end of choice, decided upon by a buncha conservative fellas...that's
going to go over really really well. You know why I like V for Vendetta?
Because I think that's the operating metaphor for the future. And that's
just the beginning. People forget the other awful corporatist agenda that
this guy will implement with an iron hand. Guess I'll have to pray to the
flying spaghetti monster, my lord and savior (and if you don't believe in
the superiority of mine lord then you'll have to be killed so that you can
understand his love or I'll have to severely curtail your reproductive
choices, or something...)for that singularity to come on real fast. I'm
flying to Mars, or to the busier ends of the spiral...what? You don't know
what that means?
Well, it's obvious that the spiral arms, full of stars
and peaceful aliens like The Alien or the Predator or the Neitcheans
or the Dominion, are where the action is at. Note to self: leave Earth as
soon as feasible..
Item: Well, I'm certainly very frightened about
our government trying to access our Google records. I see that Yahoo and
Microsoft have already turned me in, so, thanks fellas. Good thing I never
used your services. I'm confident that Google will prevail and my evil NSA
minders will never
find this, or
even this. Damn You NSA. my fist shaking in the air Jon Stewart stylee,
the possible space drive is very cool. Looks like the guy might have
done some good work even though he blew off his arms working for the Nazis.
He lived in Germany, right? Accident happened during the 40s…He’s probably a
Nazi…did his work in German and wanted Father Germany to benefit from the
find (?)…But hey William Shockley did some good work…Hate the scientist love
means, if it works, is Mars in an hour and 11 light years in 80 days. Wow.
It’s more like hyperspace than a warp drive but I’ll take it. More later on
Two "We're All Gonna Dieeeeee"
Stories from Future Pundit. There's
increasing possibility that you will die from the Avian flu. The flu
has an 80 percent mortality rate. He assures us that he will give us some
helpful hints to survive if he's not killed by the plague. As for his
second massive death scenario, Futurepundit suggests that the geological
that happens every 60 million years or so is overdue. Could be, and
this is my speculation, something that distorts the outer rim of the solar
system and forces meteors and comets streaming our way,perhaps that long
rumored twin star or a rogue black hole. Who knows. Just something to
worry about that you can probably do nothing about--at least not without a
viable space program.
I disagree. I
thought it was a gorgeous looking film with a fairly compelling story. In
fact, as I started watching it I wondered why I had never seen it even in
Pittsburgh's Indy film theaters. After I finished watching it, I could
make a guess. It was produced by French people and featured a doltish
fundamentalist lead character who was leading his people to doom. All of
this set on a tree of bio tech wreckage, where our female hero disdains
hierarchy and gives power to the masses. El Jefe said he saw this coming.
Okay. Perhaps El "drowned in Ayn Rand's musky aroma" Jefe didn't like the
commie Up With Computer Generated People message at the end. His loss.
And famous pulp fiction
painter James Avati, whose work and style you've seen even if you never
knew his name (like me), passed away recently. So, whenever an artist
shucks off this mortal coil I will honor him here by showing his work. I'm
sure someone will do the same for me. ("Ack! Phil's resistance cell has
been blow'd up! So, check out Phil's
computer art pieces here.....")
Our Media is up and running and not
very interesting, yet. Potentially, though, it could be very very
interesting. I've checked out some of the 8 music vids--not in favor very
much from music channels these days--and I enjoyed the one tune from the
ex Throwing Muses Kristen Hersh.(B-) There's also a
related story in Wired about a band using P2P to distribute their video,
even features a slam against Launch, which, with current memory, should
have every video ever made but doesn't.
Both books by my
Cyborg Democracy pals are recommended by Scientific American. How's
that Morrisey tune go...Don't you hate it when your friends become
successful? And out of a jealous raging spite, I'm permalinking
Ramez Naam. His book is
called "More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement."
Not to be confused with this excellent Theodore Sturgeon graphic novel,
which I used to own, until I gave it away like an idiot...
Item: I got this from a number of voting rights
groups. I support their efforts today but shouldn't Ed Rendell, a Democrat
who needs poor and black voters to win, veto such a bill (?)..Oh wait, this
is the Democratic Governor who supports Alito and gave us this dynamic
Republican proxy Bob Casey Jr. for the DNC Senate Primary. I see now.
Nevermind. That's just asking too much that the
Generals Party fight for the rights of its base. What was I
More here from 2 Political Junkies. By the way, if the county is looking
for a savior
strongly suggest Vote Pad. Press release here:
Urgent! Calls needed now!
The Protect Our Vote Coalition has learned
that the Anti-Voting Rights Act (HB 1318) is on the calendar and may be
voted on as early as Tuesday 1/31.
Last year, your activism helped fend off
provisions of this legislation that would have imposed an ID requirement on
Pennsylvania voters and rolled back the voting rights of former felons. But
now the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is rumored to be trying to
It is imperative that you call your
legislators now and tell them that if HB 1318 includes restrictive voter
identification requirements and rolls back the voting rights of former
felons they must oppose the bill!
TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
TO VOTE NO ON HB 1318.
You can look up your representative's phone number at
www.legis.state.pa.us. See below for a list of House of
Representative Rules Committee Members
Check out the voting record below to see if
your representative voted NO against this Bill the last time it was in the
House. You might be surprised. Call them and urge them to Vote No this time
and thank those who already Voted No and make sure they are voting NO again.
talking points below to aid your discussion with your legislator:
There is no need for photo identification
at the polls because it does not prevent the kinds of fraud that this bill
seeks to remedy. Further, it makes lines at the polls longer, resulting in
Felons who have been released from prison
get jobs and pay taxes, and should be able to vote as well.
Disenfranchising former felons after they leave prison is unfair and
discriminatory. It is unthinkable that in 2006, we would be discussing the
legalized discrimination and disenfranchisement of free Pennsylvanians.
It is time to enact meaningful election
reform, which will remove barriers to voting, increase voter turnout and
eliminate voter disenfranchisement.
Get on the bus! We need to stop this now. We
have a plan and we need your help.
On the morning of Wednesday, February 1,
buses will carry you and other activists from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to
the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
If you can get to the Capitol on your own,
meet us in the East Rotunda between 9:00 and 10:00 AM. Please email
firstname.lastname@example.org let us know you're coming.
The day will begin with a training on the bus
about HB 1318. From 9:00-1:00, you'll visit legislators' offices. (If you're
driving to Harrisburg on your own, we'll train you when you arrive.) At
1:00, meet for a brown-bag lunch and a meet-and-greet with legislators who
support our work. (Please bring lunch or money to buy lunch. Lunches can be
supplied for those of limited resources).
Buses from Philadelphia will leave at 7:30 AM from Project H.O.M.E., 1515
Fairmont Ave., and return at 5:00 PM. To RSVP, call Jennine Miller, (215) 232-7272, ext. 3042.
Buses will leave at 5:30 AM from The Hill House, 1835 Centre Ave. in the
At 6 AM from Allegheny County ACORN, 5907 Penn Ave. in East Liberty. To RSVP, call Celeste Taylor, (412) 628-7867.
The Protect Our Vote and Stop House Bill 1318
campaign is co-sponsored by AARP Pennsylvania, ACLU Pennsylvania, ACORN
Pennsylvania, ActiVote America, Advancement Project, Bike for Democracy,
B-PEP (Black Political Empowerment Project), Center for Civic Participation,
Congreso De Latinos Unidos, Committee of Seventy, Common Cause of
Pennsylvania, Everybody VOTE, Ex-Offenders Association of PA, Housing
Alliance of Pennsylvania, Just Harvest, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Under Law, League of Young Voters, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania,
Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania
Alliance for Retired Americans, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, PA Voters
Coalition, People For the American Way, PA Voter Coalition, Public Interest
Law Center of Philadelphia, Project
H.O.M.E., Project VOTE, Resources for Human Development, Roots of Promise/a
project of The Thomas Merton Center, SEPA Americans for Democratic Action,
Service Employees International Union Pennsylvania State Council,
Southwestern PA Alliance of HUD Tenants, UNITE HERE, Vote for Homes!, VotePA,
X-Offenders for Community Empowerment, WomenVote PA/Women's Law Project, and
other organizations. (Contact
email@example.com or 215-232-7272 to add your organization
and get involved with the campaign to protect our vote and stop HB 1318.)
Item: So, anyway, I've made the argument that the seven
or eight Jewish democratic senators have essentially killed the filibuster
Feinstein refusal to filibuster Alito). I think the argument I've made
(somewhat conspiratorial but makes sense on the face of it) is that Jewish
reps have traded the Democratic Party base for Israel. I might note that a
lot of these same politicians are also DLC members--the calling card for
sellout Democrats. I think this is why the Democratic Party doesn't act or
even faintly resemble an opposition party. If this is true, then we have to
rethink--and by "we" I mean people who are progressive and don't think using
American troops to fight a proxy war for Israel is a good thing (especially
for Israel and Jews)--participation and goals within the DNC. I find this an
extremely uncomfortable argument to make and get no joy out of it. But
that's what the Internets are for.
A long time ago, when it hadn't even occurred to me that
being against the war was anti Israel or anti Semitic, I got some fan mail
over at another blog that I used to write for called
Warblogger Watch. I answered him this way:
(pic of Allen Ginsberg)
Hadda get ridda Saddam with a bomb!
Saddam's still there building a bomb!
Saddam's still there building a bomb!
Saddam's still there building a bomb!
Saddam's still there building a bomb!
Well, I just wanted to post this in response to Fascist Nazi Mark Konrad,
who is one of the few people who at least proudly owns up to the title. I
was amused by the fascist nazi's defense over at Dr. Weevil—a defense which
actually made sense but more on that later--but be warned: I’m not a white
European, at least not mostly. In fact, it could be stated plainly that you
would find my ethnicity as appalling as that of the Jews that you hate so
much. I also want to state this: As an American writer—at war with GOP
Jingoists and Science Racists and Despicable Dogs—that I’m not only inspired
and enlightened by the work of Allen Ginsberg, but: Joe Haldeman, Robert
Silverberg, Woody Allen, Harlan Ellison, Marv Wolfman, Stan Lee, Steve
Gerber, Noam Chomsky, Albert Einstein, Stephen Speilberg, Cory Doctorow,
Cyril Kornbluth, Isaac Asimov, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Paul Auster,
Robert Bloch, Jules Feiffer, David Mamet, Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag,
Darren Aronofsky, J.D. Sallinger, Art Spiegelman, Don Byron, Lenny Kravitz,
Stan Getz, Avishai Cohen, Bob Dylan, Eugene Levy, Winona Ryder, Buck Henry,
Mort Sahl, Jerry Seinfeld and last, but not least, local Pittsburgh writer
Mike Chabon. I might note, that it’s a certainty that not all of these
people—the ones who are alive—may agree with what is written at American
Samizdat or here, especially about Israel. But the disagreements should be
based on argument, not ethnicity. Furthermore: all our lives would be the
lesser without their bright, gleaming lights.
Oh, by the way, Mark, assuming that you're real and not some kind of
counterprop plant, I highly endorse Gene Expression for your viewing
pleasure. Post often. They're your kind of people, all dressed up for the
Item: What good are the
Democrats if they can’t filibuster Alito? If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it
a thousand times, literally—and I mean that—I thought the Ralph Nader runs
were big mistakes but I know why he ran. Let’s review why he ran: He said
that there was no major difference between the major parties. I haven’t seen
one filibuster yet. Not a one. I’d like at least one. Of course, dipping
into my conspiracy theory bag, what if the Jewish Democratic Senators have
sold out the party in order to support the proxy war for Israel? The truth
of the matter is that you can’t have a filibuster in the senate without
Jewish senators. I just see the deal in the back of my mind: You want us to
fight a proxy war for Israel in order to stop even the hint of hostile Mid
East powers getting the bomb?—
way, I don’t think that’s a minor reason. What would you do for your tribe?
Would you kill 58 million Iranians and 20 million Iraqis to possibly save 3
million of your tribe…I think the math is bad but what if it’s your
--Well, here’s what we want: We want to
overturn the New Deal and annex the oil fields and no we don’t care if that
sets the stage for World War 3 or yet a very silly conflict over imaginary
gods that will cost the lives of millions…One other note: I don’t think this
helps Israel or creates safety for the Jewish people. (I don’t want to live
like the Israelis.) And yes there
are Jewish people who agree with this assessment. I just think that’s
the deal and its being played out everyday. And to take us back to the Nader
position there are lots of Democrats who don’t mind those outcomes.
Item: And what of Arlen? Here’s a tale of
what I’m finding to be very disturbing about Pennsylvania: I think the
leaders of labor in this state are pro life. (And, of course, if you buy
into the argument what more important issue can there be?) That would mean,
in practice, that you support the Republican Party, whether it’s Arlen or
creating a situation where there are two pro life candidates vying for the
office. That usually works out for the Republicans. I suppose I should hope
that Atrios is right and that Arlen doesn’t want to affirm the man who would
overturn Roe, but I keep thinking that deal is in place…
No taserin' at last
Saturday's demonstration against military recruiting. But I see that there
were donuts, the nemesis of overzealous police officers everywhere.
and photos here.
Conscience Pittsburgh, a group
of local Pittsburghers who oppose the Iraqi war and probably all
meaningless wars for that matter, testified in front of the Pittsburgh
School Board last night. Their very honorable goal is to request a
presence in the public schools so they can tell kids that enlisting in the
army probably means a quick death. I couldn't find a story about it at
either of my local dailies. So, here's some breaking news.
Daily Kos: "I
wouldn't be half the person I am today without my military service. I used
to always say I'd want my children to follow in my footsteps. But that was
before we made a habit of unprovoked wars of aggression. The best way to
talk parents into letting their children join the service? Stop using them
as cannon fodder in unecessary wars waged for political expediancy. You
see, in wars like Bush's, the bodybags don't seem worth the sacrifice to
your average parent.
But hey, if the Army and
Marines want a heck of a PR score to encourage parents to sacrifice their
children, here's how to do it. It's a guaranteed winner:
Have the Bushes -- all of
them with military-aged children and grandchildren -- ship their kids off
to basic training."
Let's all hold our breath.)
according to the news from their website
The April 18 public hearing of the Pittsburgh Public
Schools was highly successful. Scilla Wahrhaftig, DeShauna Ponton, Tim
Vining, Celeste Taylor, Tim Vining, Jon Robison, and others spoke in favor
of getting counter-recruitment literature into schools and opt-out forms
into the hands of parents. And board members Mark Brantley and Randall
Taylor expressed interest in helping making this happen. So now it's up to
us to see this through.
The next meeting of the Pittsburgh Public Schools board
is the Agenda Review Tuesday, April 19, at 6 pm. The meeting is open to
the public. Mark Brantley said that he will raise the issue of getting
counter-recruitment literature into schools at the meeting. So please, if
you possibly can, come and give him your support. We won't have an
opportunity to speak at the meeting, but we can attend and make this
If you can't come to the April 19 meeting, please come
to the Legislative Session on Wednesday April 27 at 7:30 pm. We need to
continue to show our concern about this issue and encourage the Board to
Both of these meetings will be in the board room. Ask
the guard at the front desk and he will direct you. The address is 341
South Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
The next meeting of Conscience will be Monday, May 2 at
7 p.m. at
The Quiet Storm .
Counter-recruitment will be a major topic of the meeting.
Oh my God.
I'm going to actually break some national news, or at least news you won't
see in other media outlets. This is a first for the paper I think. I hope
it's not the last.
Pacifica announces its Purple Strategy.
The Path to Success in 2005-2006
events of the next two years will be critical. We at
Pacifica pledge to:
nationwide affiliate network. We aim to dramatically increase the number
of stations carrying community voices in the next year, focusing on the
Strengthen our Headline
News Service highlighting independent voices from both inside and
outside the United States
community-oriented programming in key neighborhoods nationwide
Go Digital: Rebuild our
studios and Pacifica's satellite and internet radio network which form
the only independent, non-commercial media infrastructure in the United
Town Hall meetings in purple counties nationwide.
Empower Community Voices in 2005-2006!
Take Action Today, Please!
produce our Pacifica programs with a small fraction of the money the
corporate media spends— and wastes—every day.
Please help with a generoerous
tax-deductible donation. Your $500, $250, $100 or $75 sent to
Pacifica—today—will enable us to do what we need to do in these
Some Crazy People Think Iraq
Vote not As Kewl As it Looks. Juan Cole, the best for my money and
remember he originally supported the invasion so he's not automatic
for the leftist cause,
has his well articulated doubts.
Raed thinks the government
used the monthly food rationing cards to bribe the vote.
Christian Parenti thinks there could
be a backlash if Shiite majority votes and then gets no say...Isn't
that the norm? I saw what happened in Ohio.
Robert Fisk, who's in
Iraq risking his life unlike certain pinhead Instapundits I know and
local Pittsburgh clones, says that folks voted so they can tell
the US to get the Hell Out. I agree with Ted Kennedy that that would
be proof of self determination and independence if they asked that.
By the way, if you're not aware of it, Democracy Now is easily one
of the best if not the best news program in the United States. And
when they accuse Democracy Now of being "left" media I can agree
with them. Also check out
Brit leader Jack Galloway, in case American politicians are
wondering what an "opposition" is supposed to sound like:
GEORGE GALLOWAY: They're a
farce. They're rigged. An election held under foreign military
occupation is always, by definition, utterly flawed. But one which
is held in the kind of conditions in which this one is being held is
flawed beyond redemption. The facts are that it is simply impossible
to hold an election when there is a full-scale war going on between
the occupying armies and the resistance forces. The Sunni Muslim
population, which if you add the Sunni Kurds and the Sunni Arabs
together, is some 40% of the population, are deeply anxious about
the way in which the occupying forces are deliberately trying to
divide the country along confessional lines. The Sunni Arab
population has boycotted the election almost in their entirety. The
Iraqis living outside for whom security was not an issue, three
quarters of them have voted with their feet and boycotted the
election. Less than a quarter of the eligible voters have registered
to vote and fewer still have cast their votes. So, this is a
festival, a farce that's been held to validate the American-British
invasion and occupation of Iraq. But it will not validate it,
neither in the eyes of the world opinion, nor, more importantly, in
the eyes of those Iraqis who are resisting the foreign occupation
and the war will go on, I'm sorry to say.
When I was
arguing for embryonic stem cell research over at Ales Rarus the
topic came up about fascism and religion. The crazy religious people
over at Ales
(He wants to ban contraception. God told him too...) made the
argument that fascism was a distinctly secular enterprise. I thought
they were wrong. And it's not just the argument presented by Fromme
in "Escape from Freedom", it's the fact that both religion and
fascism both share a kind of love for the irrational. They're
fundamentally anti-reason. You can invade Poland or France or Iraq
and Iran and nothing bad will come of it. Likewise, your enemies
will be thrown into an eternal pit of hellfire, something a loving
god would do of course.
I came upon this quote over at a weekly Daily Kos piece called the
"The Week in Fascism"
that supports my take. Mussolini: He likes religion.
"The Fascist conception of life is a religious one, in which man is
viewed in his immanent relation to a higher law, endowed with an
objective will transcending the individual and raising him to
conscious membership of a spiritual society. "Those who perceive
nothing beyond opportunistic considerations in the religious policy
of the Fascist regime fail to realize that Fascism is not only a
system of government but also and above all a system of thought.
In the Fascist conception of history, man is man only by virtue of
the spiritual process to which he contributes as a member of the
family, the social group, the nation, and in function of history to
which all nations bring their contribution. Hence the great value of
tradition in records, in language, in customs, in the rules of
There was a car wreck, fire and possibly a
tsunami in your town today.
People were hurt, burned beyond recognition or swept out into an
unforgiving sea in no particular order. Imagine me sticking a
microphone into their faces and asking them how they feel. They will
say something like "Ouch. The twisting cacophony of metal caused me
some discomfort...that and losing my six kids" or "Yowtch. That fire
sure was painful. We lost everything, including possibly the cat, or
something" or "Glub glub. Nearly drowned. Thank God the
Meanwhile, there's an excellent possibility that your
election was stolen and that aside from that there's a continuous
public institutions and to get you to pay for rights and things
that you used to expect for free, perhaps because you thought you
lived in a decent country. You were wrong. You should discard a
corporate media that doesn't tell you this every day, every hour,
HAPPY NEW YEAR. YOUR ELECTION MAY HAVE BEEN STOLEN. TALK
AMONGST YOURSELVES: I spent midnight watching a
Sioux and the Banshees live show on VH1-Classic--a station that's
extremely disappointing at times but not last evening--and was surprised
by how much they rocked. Killer guitar riffs throughout every tune.
I thought I was at a Motorhead concert or something. Her drummer and I
think husband was just an incredible player. Every beat sounded triumphal
and anthemic. Never saw a guy use mallets like that. Most drummers just
live on their hi-hats. You could take those beats to war. Only downside: A
woman pushing 50 doesn't have to take off her top. Besides, with her money
she can pay to look mid 30s forever. Spend it. Still a great set though...
Later on in the day, without the hint of even an
appropriate transition, still watching TV (The sad man's family...)
I caught up with my old friend Jerry Starr on CSpan, who's been a one man
lobbyist machine for a fair and decent public television. I ran into him
when I wrote a media watch column for In Pittsburgh back in the early 90s.
I made the argument then (1995 I think) that the net would be our
salvation because the Conservative Washington DC players would never allow
a progressive public media to emerge, or even an American BBC--I
once begged George Soros to create such a thing using his own trust
fund. No word yet and no checks yet for your humble site. Jerry still
hasn't gotten decent public television but he
does have a website.
He also promotes a number of shows that you can only see on the Internet,
at least here in Pittsburgh. I think I won that point. See the links on
the right if you're wondering what a progressive media would truly look
and sound like.
This is also kind of what this paper aspires to be, a real
alternative to the corporate press. And I don't mean alternative in that I
can say "fuck" and post pictures of nude women--which I enjoy certainly. I
mean alternative in the sense that I can say that the system is fucked up.
It's not fair. It's not even close. You should be thinking about not ever
joining the military--either voluntarily and certainly not by a forced
draft. The Bush administration is evil enough to steal the election.
They've already done it once. You need to respond by getting involved
politically and you should measure your every action,
your every purchase, by how you can
achieve the current regime's overthrow. And with that, I will end my
writing for the day and go spend some time with my real family.
Perhaps you've seen this flag. I think the man behind it is probably
On the other hand, I sincerely hope that the people behind Move On
California are quite serious. I support them. There has to be a more
vigorous way to show our dissent other than voting for Democrats who won't
even fight for our votes. I can't think of anything more serious than
secession. I might add that I'm willing to fight and die for things I
actually believe in, as opposed to slaughtering Iraqi civilians for fossil
fuels. It's aggressive. And it puts the right on the defensive. To use the
crudely inappropriate football metaphor that our Moron in Chief uses to
describe the War on Terror, we get to take it to them. We get to ask
what's so great about the United States? You clearly don't give a fuck
about us. We don't even have basic healthcare. We get to say that if you
criminalize stem cell research or a woman's right to choose, then we're
out of here. I've emailed those Move On folks and I'm not clear if they've
thought of the ballot initiative. I guess there's a question of legality
and this is where you would need some leadership with some balls that
would say: "You just try and stop us from taking this vote and you'll have
a civil war on your hands." And for some strange reason I could imagine
Arnold mouthing those words. Offer him a shot at being the King of
Cascadia or something, or vote someone in who has the guts to move for
radical change. Time it for the 2006 Gubernatorial elections. Condition
it's adoption based on the choice issue or approval of transparency in the
Again, I'm not sure where the MoveOn folks are at in terms of a
constitution or the ballot initiative. But, again borrowing from Oliver
Willis' Brand Democrat theme, here's how you could brand progressive
posted by Philip Shropshire at 6:23 AM Comments (5)