Monday, July 28, 2014

Kiev Destroys Evidence at MH-17 Crash Site

De Telegraaf (link in Dutch): Ukraine Army is to gain control of MH-17 crash scene and obliterate evidence of Kiev's involvement.

Was this part of the plan? To set up Russia as the Evil One, I'm sure, with USA approval. The tragedy is that those wonderful people who lost their lives on MH17 have become geopolitical pawns.

Even Jaap van Deurzen, RTL-reporter, has to acknowledge Kiev's efforts to destroy evidence now...(Link in Dutch),

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Story Poem

Here's story poem by Louie Clay, founder of Integrity, a writer and teacher from Alabama, who I've had the privilege to meet on several occasions.
Read the story. It's about youth, fathers and sons, mentoring, tolerance, and respect. But mostly it's about Respect. I still think America's best writers are from the South. Louie's story has a Southern Feel, in the vein of Eudora Welty's short stories and Truman Capote's stories of his youth. Please read it.

 Going Fishing

"Mister Crier wants to take you fishing,"
Dad said, but I knew better than to say I'd go.
"He's living with a woman and they're not married,
and he swears a lot," I pouted.
As a Baptist 8-year-old in Alabama in 1944
I guessed those facts would carry weight for deacon Dad.

Dad said only, "You've been listening to gossips, son."

Actually on my own I'd heard Mister Crier
laughing and swearing when he and other house painters
loaded the new paint cans, brushes, and turpentine
into their old rattle-traps parked
in the alley behind Dad's hardware store.

True, I learned about the woman,
--who was really no woman, but a 16-year-old girl--
when I eavesdropped on women playing Canasta with Mother.
"And Crier's at least 40!" they'd hissed.
"Jim Crier is a good man," Dad said,
"and he puts on no airs.
When a poor widow's roof needs fixing,
Jim Crier fixes it for free,
and when he's fixed all he can afford,
he goes to other house painters and carpenters
and tells them 'It's your turn.'

"Mister Crier is a good friend to me,
I can't be a good friend back
if I insist that he try to be like me.

"He wants to be nice to you, son, and
I hope you will go fishing with him.
You will enjoy it."

I wanted to complain some more,
"Mister Crier has a beat-up old Dodge!" or
"Mister Crier lives in the last house
on the good side of town!"
but I realized I'd used up my bigger thunder,
and it had gotten me nowhere.
As a proper little sissy boy in the making,
I wondered what to do.

And I went.

Not whole-heartedly, but I went.

I liked Mister Crier's beat-up old Dodge.
It had a radio in it and ours didn't.
Mister Crier brought a huge thermos of hot chocolate,
some deviled eggs, and several kinds of sandwiches.
Maybe his girlfriend made them. I didn't ask.
I didn't really want to know.

He took me to a lake I had never seen, in a state park.
I caught several bream, and he cheered me each time.

Mister Crier didn't say much about himself
but seemed interested in what I had to say.
I probably talked forever,
especially about school and the war.

I remember little else, except Dad.
He knew that he could show me a much bigger world
without having to leave the county.

— Louie Clay

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Did Police Attack a Man on a Hospital Stretcher?

FLANDERS NEWS:
Three police officers from Brussels are under investigation following a violent incident in the Sint-Pieters Hospital in the capital. The officers including a woman PC stand accused of maltreating a man who was manacled to a stretcher.
And no doubt they're being paid while on leave during the "investigation." I've seen first hand how police wrongdoing and abuse has lead to a breach of trust in other cities where I've lived. Will the "investigation" result in an exoneration, a white wash? Too often that is the case. If not, then the police officers should publicly apologise, pay restitution to the man (not from some police slush fund), and return the Euros they "earned" while on leave.

Selfies

I don't understand this selfie obsession some people have. I think they have short memories or are too young to know what used to be before this fancy technology. It's as if they've invented something new. But they haven't. Years ago people would use a timer or remote button thingie on their camera to do the same thing. Also to include themselves in a group shot. The fun part was starting the timer and rushing to get in the picture. Now everything has to be picture techperfect, even if it's crappy selfie. A friend thinks it's an antidote to lonliness. Maybe. Ever since the creation of the Daguerreotype, people wanted to have a visual record of themselves, to commemorate a time and place (I am!). Last week when my sister-in-law, my visiting Dutch cousin, and I went into the city for the day, we saw a lot of folks taking selfies - group family shots, mostly - at each of the Ground Zero memorial waterfall holes. Now everything has to be picture techperfect, even if it's crappy selfie.

Vermont Gas Continues to Exploit Ratepayers to Finance Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Expansion

Are you a Vermont Gas customer and don't want to spend $122 million to expand fossil fuel infrastructure? This pipeline is being financed by the public - current Vermont Gas ratepayers - but does not benefit the people of Vermont. Vermont Gas continues to exploit ratepayers to finance fossil fuel infrastructure expansion in the face of ever-growing economic and ecological crisis. A $35.6 million cost increase is simply unacceptable. This project is not in the public good. Tell the Public Service Board that a 40% cost increase justifies a new evaluation of the permit: sign the petition here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou, R.I.P.

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.


 Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


Here's her obituary in the Guardian. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Real News Replay: Training That Makes Killing Civilians Acceptable

This is the video that Bradley Manning says pushed him to upload to Wikileaks. 

More at The Real News

Paul Jay of TRNN interviews Josh Stieber, who was in Baghdad from February, 2007 to April, 2008 with the military company shown in the Collater Murder video.

JAY: Was there any sense that the guys in the Apache helicopters had done anything wrong? Or this was par for the course?

STIEBER: The people in the video, you know, as you can see, weren't actually on the scene as they saw what happened from the helicopter. So you just kind of trust what you're told. If someone tells you, you know, this is what I saw and this is what I did, then you kind of take them at face value, 'cause there's really no way to prove or to examine otherwise. So perspective from the helicopter, without this video or without other eyewitnesses, really couldn't be verified.

Word

If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don¹t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on. - Terence McKenna

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Parky's Top Table - Mary Berry's Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

The legendary Mary Berry and Michael Parkinson cook a veggie lasagne. First there's a delightful interview about her cooking career, with funny stories; then they cook!  I regularly watched Parkinson's show on telly, when I lived in London.

That time Lyndon Johnson made a killer case against unbridled growth

Grist/John De Graaf

His daughter, Luci Baines Johnson, believes it unfair to judge her father by the war alone; it was never what he wanted, she argues. What he did want, and wanted to be remembered for, was what he called “The Great Society,” a vision of an America not more powerful or richer than others, but transformed to value things other than wealth and power. He laid out his vision in a remarkable speech delivered 50 years ago on May 22, 1964 to graduates at the University of Michigan.

Though Johnson was no silver-tongued orator like President Obama, his words, crafted by speechwriter Richard Goodwin, rang with inspiration and wisdom. And though he didn’t write the speech, there can be no doubt that Johnson shared Goodwin’s values; a man like Johnson would never let another person put words that he disagreed with into his mouth.

The speech was arguably the greatest ever delivered by a modern American president. It was a different take on American exceptionalism, exceptionally different from what America has actually become. Its gender-biased language is dated, but its message is far more advanced than our current dialogue.

Indeed, no president would dare speak Johnson’s words today for fear of being labeled unpatriotic or un-American. The speech was a call to redefine the American dream. We should not let its 50th anniversary pass without recalling it and recommitting ourselves to its goals. It contains a perspective on American life never articulated by any American president before or since then.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

RELAUNCH

After a long hiatus, I'm back blogging. We'll see how long, though. Terribly busy with my own business and co-producing horror films with DeadFi Productions. Our found footage trilogy Dead Static is still in post-production, we are looking forward to the release date this October 27th, 2014. So let's kick this thing off with a poem by Langston Hughes.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore- and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load
Or does it just explode?