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.


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.