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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,513

Journal Archives

Somebody needs a new outlook for Christmas......


It's beginning to look a lot like ...... early March?

40 degrees, sunny, and not a flake of snow on the green grass in southeast Michigan.

..... and Happy Holidays, DU!

Compassion Is Our New Currency: Notes on 2011’s Preoccupied Hearts and Minds

from TomDispatch:

Compassion Is Our New Currency
Notes on 2011’s Preoccupied Hearts and Minds

By Rebecca Solnit

Usually at year’s end, we’re supposed to look back at events just passed -- and forward, in prediction mode, to the year to come. But just look around you! This moment is so extraordinary that it has hardly registered. People in thousands of communities across the United States and elsewhere are living in public, experimenting with direct democracy, calling things by their true names, and obliging the media and politicians to do the same.

The breadth of this movement is one thing, its depth another. It has rejected not just the particulars of our economic system, but the whole set of moral and emotional assumptions on which it’s based. Take the pair shown in a photograph from Occupy Austin in Texas. The amiable-looking elderly woman is holding a sign whose computer-printed words say, “Money has stolen our vote.” The older man next to her with the baseball cap is holding a sign handwritten on cardboard that states, “We are our brothers’ keeper.”

The photo of the two of them offers just a peek into a single moment in the remarkable period we’re living through and the astonishing movement that’s drawn in… well, if not 99% of us, then a striking enough percentage: everyone from teen pop superstar Miley Cyrus with her Occupy-homage video to Alaska Yup’ik elder Esther Green ice-fishing and holding a sign that says “Yirqa Kuik” in big letters, with the translation -- “occupy the river” -- in little ones below.

The woman with the stolen-votes sign is referring to them. Her companion is talking about us, all of us, and our fundamental principles. His sign comes straight out of Genesis, a denial of what that competitive entrepreneur Cain said to God after foreclosing on his brother Abel’s life. He was not, he claimed, his brother’s keeper; we are not, he insisted, beholden to each other, but separate, isolated, each of us for ourselves. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175483/tomgram%3A_rebecca_solnit%2C_occupy_your_heart/#more (follows a brf intro)

Robert Parry: America’s Debt to Bradley Manning

from Consortium News:

America’s Debt to Bradley Manning
December 24, 2011

Exclusive: The cables and videos allegedly leaked by Pvt. Bradley Manning offer the American people gritty “ground truth” about what the U.S. government has done in their names, such as the slaughter in Iraq, but the information also sheds light on a possible future war with Iran, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

One criticism about the value of the information that Pvt. Bradley Manning allegedly gave to WikiLeaks is that most of it was known in some form and thus didn’t justify the risks to sources who might be identified from the diplomatic and military cables. However, that complaint misses the importance of detailed “ground truth” in assessing issues of war and peace.

For instance, the prospects of war with Iran escalated last month because of a toughly worded report by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, which compiled some old and new evidence to argue that Iran continues to make progress toward a nuclear bomb. Immediately, the U.S. news media accepted the IAEA’s report as the unquestioned truth – and as further repudiation of the 2007 U.S. intelligence estimate that Iran had ceased work on a nuclear weapon in 2003.

One might note the irony in this flip on Iran. In the run-up to war with Iraq, the U.S. media embraced CIA reports of secret Iraqi WMD programs while mocking the IAEA’s doubts. Regarding Iran, the CIA and IAEA have traded places, with U.S. intelligence analysts – chagrined over swallowing the bogus Iraq-WMD evidence – being more skeptical of the Iran-nuke allegations, while the IAEA has taken the role as chief WMD exaggerator.

So, it was useful to examine the WikiLeaks documents regarding the election of the new IAEA leader in 2009 to understand why this flip may have occurred. What those classified State Department cables show is that the IAEA’s new director general, Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano, credited his victory largely to U.S. government support and promptly stuck his hand out for U.S. money. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/24/americas-debt-to-bradley-manning/

Technically a sellout at the Redskins game, but........


FedEx Field has capacity for 82,000 fans. Announced attendance on Sunday was 68,370, with actual attendance far lower still. Look at that picture. It was taken midway through the first quarter on Sunday, yet the upper deck looks like it does in the fourth quarter of a blowout on a rainy day. If that's a "sellout" then Rex Grossman is Sonny Jurgensen.

The Redskins are hardly the first team to have a sellout in name only, mind you. Sunday in Landover was just another example that such streaks, like season-ticket waiting lists, are promotional rubbish.


FOX Sports, as repugnant as Fox News......

During the Jets-Giants game, whoever does the play-by-play with Daryl Johnson noted that Chris Christie was at the game and commented about Christie: "He's come in and done a good job, hasn't he?.....He's said, 'This is the way we're going to do it, and if you don't like it, too bad.'"

What happens when you combine three of the ugliest footwear designs ever?

Financial reformer Brad Miller in the corporate crosshairs in North Carolina

from HuffPost:

The first major test of the activist progressive fundraising machine for the 2012 elections is developing in North Carolina, where a Republican-engineered redistricting plan will likely pit Democratic Reps. Brad Miller and David Price against each other.

If it survives a civil rights challenge, the redistricting plan would radically change the entire North Carolina political map, with Miller's seat in the 13th District a prime target. Miller and Price have similar, fairly liberal voting records, rely on campaign money from the same interest groups -- unions and lawyers -- and live less than 20 miles from each other. But some believe there's a reason Miller was targeted: his work to reform Wall Street.

"It's a terrible redistricting map and it's certainly not fair to Brad," Price said. "They really went after him."

The Republican redistricting plan would dramatically change the North Carolina political map, likely shifting the House delegation from the current mix of 7 Democrats and 6 Republicans to one with just 3 Democrats and 10 Republicans. About half of the state's African American population -- 21.5 percent of the state -- would be situated in just three districts, making a successful civil rights challenge to the redistricting a very real possibility. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/23/north-carolina-brad-miller-2012_n_1162040.html

Europe's Perishing Parishes: Dutchman Helps to Liquidate Dying Churches

from Der Spiegel:

A drastic exodus from the church is underway in the Netherlands. With two churches shuttered each week, one man has become the country's top advisor on how to repurpose the once holy buildings. Some are demolished, while others find new life as mosques, stores and even recreation centers.

The church pews will be sold according to size. The shortest ones, at 3.6 meters (12 feet) long, can be purchased for €40 ($52), the longer six-meter pews for €60. Churchgoers in the Dutch town of Bilthoven have already carried 17 pews out of their sanctuary.

The pews will not be a problem, says Marc de Beyer. But the organ and the baptismal font weighing hundreds of kilos at the back of the church will be more difficult.

Marc de Beyer is an art historian in Utrecht, located about a half an hour by train from Amsterdam, but one could also call him a liquidator. He's a man who shuts down churches. When a parish is dissolved, when a church is shuttered, de Beyer is there. And he has a lot to do. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,805075,00.html

Ignoring Complaints, Except on Muslims

from Consortium News:

Ignoring Complaints, Except on Muslims
December 22, 2011

In the old days, companies responded to complaints with the saying “the customer is always right.” Not so much anymore, except it seems when a right-wing group gets angry that a TV show presents Muslims as real people, as Michael Winship notes.

By Michael Winship

In the spirit of the season, I’d like to file a complaint – about complaints. Corporate America just doesn’t handle them the way they used to. As in, at all.

I grew up in retail. My father owned a drugstore in upstate New York and was as old fashioned as the next guy when it came to the rules of doing business. As in, Rule #1: the customer is always right. Rule #2: see Rule #1.


In the last few months, I’ve dutifully typed onto my screen various grievances to various companies, including a hotel where, if the sheets were indeed changed daily it was from bed to bed, and a drugstore chain, the branch of which in my neighborhood more and more resembles a Matthew Brady photo of the day after Gettysburg – if you replaced the bodies strewn on the ground with toothpaste cartons, containers of painkiller and shredded circulars.

Not one has been answered, which makes it all the more frustrating that when a store – the hardware behemoth Lowe’s Home Improvement – proves the exception and finally does respond to a complaint, it’s not for anything legitimate but in reaction to a right-wing fringe organization’s hysteria over a cable reality show that depicts Muslims as normal people instead of terrorists. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/22/ignoring-complaints-except-on-muslims/

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