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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 72,290

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That's my song!

Everyone, please mark your calendars...

If I filled out my SF86 like these guys, they would have kicked me out of the USAF...

...To bury me under a federal prison:

Do Americans Know How Weird and Extreme Their Collapse is Getting?

Even the Dark Ages Would Laugh at Where We’re Going

umair haque

Here’s a tiny question. Do Americans know how extreme, bizarre, and weird American collapse is getting? How far off the charts it is? Forget the charts of “normal” — I mean the charts of history. Even the Dark Ages, ancient Rome, and the barbarians might laugh, astonished, at the backwardness of America in 2018. Doubt me? Indulge me — while I prove it.
Consider a tiny but telling and particularly awful example. There’s a GOP candidate in North Carolina, I read today, who proclaims that “God is a white supremacist.”

Now, you might laugh. It’s funny, in an absurd kind of way. But do we call such a belief? What does it take for a mind to think such a thing?

It’s not simple fascism — because fascism, at least the sort we know of in history, tends to reject the church. That’s because, of course, Nietzsche preached a different gospel: that Christian values make people weak, that only the strong survive, and that the job of the strong is to dominate the weak. Fascism is simply an expression of this perverse belief system, this ideology, and in that way, it tends to demonize religion — just as the Nazis did, ruling over a church they despised with an iron fist.

So what is it? Theocracy? Well, it’s not theocracy either — again, at least as we know it. Because in theocratic systems, God is an equalizer. You’re oppressed until you’re pious and faithful, maybe beaten, starve, punished, jailed, as in Iran or Saudi Arabia — but when you are pious, then you’re accepted into the community of believers. In other words, even in hardcore theocracies, God isn’t a racist (LOL) — he might be a vengeful, terrible, angry God, but he’s an equal opportunity abuser. He might call for women and gays and minorities to suffer terribly — but when they renounce their sin, and they’re pure, then they belong to society too. But “God is a white supremacist” is a belief so strange, so bizarre, so fundamentally new in history that it goes even further than that.


The famous La Marseillaise scene from Casablanca.


You know, this scene is so powerful to me that sometimes I forget that not everyone who watches it will understand its significance, or will have seen Casablanca. So, because this scene means so much to me, I hope it’s okay if I take a minute to explain what’s going on here for anyone who’s feeling left out.

Casablanca takes place in, well, Casablanca, the largest city in (neutral) Morocco in 1941, at Rick’s American Cafe (Rick is Humphrey Bogart’s character you see there). In 1941, America was also still neutral, and Rick’s establishment is open to everyone: Nazi German officials, officials from Vichy (occupied) France, and refugees from all across Europe desperate to escape the German war engine. A neutral cafe in a netural country is probably the only place you’d have seen a cross-section like this in 1941, only six months after the fall of France.

So, the scene opens with Rick arguing with Laszlo, who is a Czech Resistance fighter fleeing from the Nazis (if you’re wondering what they’re arguing about: Rick has illegal transit papers which would allow Laszlo and his wife, Ilsa, to escape to America, so he could continue raising support against the Germans. Rick refuses to sell because he’s in love with Laszlo’s wife). They’re interrupted by that cadre of German officers singing Die Wacht am Rhein: a German patriotic hymn which was adopted with great verve by the Nazi regime, and which is particularly steeped in anti-French history. This depresses the hell out of everybody at the club, and infuriates Laszlo, who storms downstairs and orders the house band to play La Marseillaise: the national anthem of France.

Wait, but when I say “it’s the national anthem of France,” I don’t want you to think of your national anthem, okay? Wherever you’re from. Because France’s anthem isn’t talking about some glorious long-ago battle, or France’s beautiful hills and countrysides. La Marseillaise is FUCKING BRUTAL. Here’s a translation of what they’re singing:

Arise, children of the Fatherland! The day of glory has arrived! Against us, tyranny raises its bloody banner. Do you hear, in the countryside, the roar of those ferocious soldiers? They’re coming to your land to cut the throats of your women and children!

To arms, citizens! Form your battalions! Let’s march, let’s march! Let their impure blood water our fields!

BRUTAL, like I said. DEFIANT, in these circumstances. And the entire cafe stands up and sings it passionately, drowning out the Germans. The Germans who are, in 1941, still terrifyingly ascendant, and seemingly invincible.

“Vive la France! Vive la France!” the crowd cries when it’s over. France has already been defeated, the German war machine roars on, and the people still refuse to give up hope.

But here’s the real kicker, for me: Casablanca came out in 1942. None of this was ‘history’ to the people who first saw it. Real refugees from the Nazis, afraid for their lives, watched this movie and took heart. These were current events when this aired. Victory over Germany was still far from certain. The hope it gave to people then was as desperately needed as it has been at any time in history.

God I love this scene.


not only did refugees see this movie, real refugees made this movie. most of the european cast members wound up in hollywood after fleeing the nazis and wound up.

paul heinreid, who played laszlo the resistance leader, was a famous austrian actor; he was so anti-hitler that he was named an enemy of the reich. ugarte, the petty thief who stole the illegal transit papers laszlo and victor are arguing about? was played by peter lorre, a jewish refugee. carl, the head waiter? played by s.z. sakall, a hungarian-jew whose three sisters died in the holocaust.

even the main nazi character was played by a german refugee: conrad veidt, who starred in one of the first sympathetic films about gay men and who fled the nazis with his jewish wife.

there’s one person in this scene that deserves special mention. did you notice the woman at the bar, on the verge of tears as she belts out la marseillaise? she’s yvonne, rick’s ex-girlfriend in the film. in real life, the actress’s name is madeleine lebeau and she basically lived the plot of this film: she and her jewish husband fled paris ahead of the germans in 1940. her husband, macel dalio, is also in the film, playing the guy working the roulette table. after they occupied paris, the nazis used his face on posters to represent a “typical jew.” madeleine and marcel managed to get to lisbon (the goal of all the characters in casablanca), and boarded a ship to the americas… but then they were stranded for two months when it turned out their visa papers were forgeries. they eventually entered the US after securing temporary canadian visas. marcel dalio’s entire family died in concentration camps.

go back and rewatch the clip. watch madeleine lebeau’s face.

casablanca is a classic, full of classic acting performances. but in this moment, madeleine lebeau isn’t acting. this isn’t yvonne the jilted lover onscreen. this is madeleine lebeau, singing “la marseillaise” after she and her husband fled france for their lives. this is a real-life refugee, her real agony and loss and hope and resilience, preserved in the midst of one of the greatest films of all time.


Rest In Power Steve Ditko...

Make Extra Money...

Kick that incompetent and crooked asshole, Trump, out of the White House, vote the Republican Party out of the congressional majority and elect Democrats who will fix the tax rate, raise the minimum wage, lower health care costs and help create a better standard of living in this gawd damned country.

Best thing about it, some of you can do this from comfort of your house, if your state has mail in voting. However, wherever you are, register and vote as if your life depended on it

Start today and get your first payment when we make a better country than the one the Republicans are running right now.

This is the kind of shit that happens when Republicans are in charge of the Government

Just as a heads up, the Detroit School system has been under the control of the state since Republican governor, John Engler took in over in 1999...

Take a guess how that's been going since.

Students in Detroit Are Suing the State Because They Weren’t Taught to Read

A federal judge has concluded that the Constitution doesn't require schools to promote students’ literacy.

11:23 AM ET

What to do when a school is infested with vermin, when textbooks are outdated, when students can’t even read? Perhaps the answer is sue the government.

That’s what seven students in Detroit have done. Their class-action suit filed against the state of Michigan asserts that education is a basic right, and that they have been denied it.

Usually, such education-equity cases wend their way through state courts, as all 50 state constitutions mandate public-education systems, while the country’s guiding document doesn’t even include the word education. But this case, Gary B. v. Snyder, was filed in federal court, and thus seeks to invoke the Constitution. And as of this week, it’s headed to the federal appeals court in Cincinnati.

The lawyers filing the suit—from the pro bono Los Angeles firm Public Counsel—contend that the students (who attend five of Detroit’s lowest-performing schools) are receiving an education so inferior and underfunded that it’s as if they’re not attending school at all. The 100-page-plus complaint alleges that the state of Michigan (which has overseen Detroit’s public schools for nearly two decades) is depriving these children—97 percent of whom are students of color—of their constitutional rights to liberty and nondiscrimination by denying them access to basic literacy. Almost all the students at these schools perform well below grade level in reading and writing, and, the suit argues, those skills are necessary to function properly in society. It’s the first case to argue that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to become literate (and thus to be educated) because other rights in the Constitution necessarily require the ability to read.

The case is a long shot. Late last week, the district-court judge in Detroit, Stephen J. Murphy, dismissed it. (The plaintiffs are appealing that dismissal.) Murphy essentially stated that he needed guidance from the Supreme Court if he were to weigh in on whether the students’ abysmal proficiency levels and learning conditions amount to a violation of the Constitution. He also concluded that the suit makes too many hard-to-prove causal claims. Even though Michigan subjects the predominantly black Detroit students to conditions to which it doesn’t subject, say, the predominantly white students of nearby Grosse Pointe, Murphy wrote, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that the state is treating the former group differently because of their race and thus violating the equal-protection clause. Another obstacle: The federal judiciary has grown particularly restrained on educational-rights issues in recent decades, in part because of the backlash from parents and others opposed to integration efforts that followed the wave of school-desegregation rulings in the 1970s and ’80s.


Now a special shout out to my favorite big cat... The Cheetah!

I first fell in love with them as a kid the second I saw one chase down a gazelle on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

Yep, fuck 'em...

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