Sunday, March 27, 2011

Do the Math

"For months the US Government has wagged the dog at us that a single terrorist with a suitcase bomb consisting of TNT mixed with radioactive isotopes could wipe out an entire American city, yet now we have a half-dozen wrecked and leaking reactors spewing radiation across half the planet and we are told it is no big deal!"

Michael Rivero

Somebody's lying about something.


I Get By With a Little Help From My Franz

I've Got a Little Liszt

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Ruse by Any Other Name....

Clear, concise and right on point.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Same Old Song

Jack, PU-LEEZE...!'re embarrassing me in front of the other horses!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Getting Away With Murder

Shot to Death for Nothing, Family Says

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - Police officers responded to a family's complaint that their diabetic son may have been in danger from driving without taking his medicine by running him off the road into an interstate highway median and shooting him to death, the family says.
Joey Tucker's father, Perry Tucker, and his fiancée Brieanne Matson say they were "concerned about his health" when they called Salt Lake City Police. Joey Tucker had not taken his diabetes medication and "had possibly taken a sleeping pill," according to the federal complaint.
The family claims a Highway Patrol trooper rammed Tucker's pickup into a concrete barrier as Tucker drove on Interstate 80, then Salt Lake Police Officer Louis "Law" Jones shot him to death while he "was simply sitting," all of which was recorded on officers' dashboard cameras.
"Perry Tucker was concerned that his son had not taken his medication for diabetes and had possibly taken a sleeping pill" and called police, the complaint states.
"Accordingly, Brieanne contacted the police to assist in locating Joey because the family was concerned about his health."
Both callers told police that Tucker was unarmed and had not been drinking alcohol.
Joey Tucker visited his fiancée at her workplace after she and Tucker's father made the calls, and police followed him as he left the business.
Officers Jones and Lisa Pascaldo and Highway Patrol Trooper Lawrence Hopper trailed Tucker on city streets and the freeway, according to the complaint.
Hopper "attempted a pit maneuver while Joey was traveling below the speed limit," the complaint states. A pit maneuver involves forcing a pursued vehicle to turn sideways to its direction of travel, immobilizing it.
Hopper's first attempt was unsuccessful, but on his second try he made Joey Tucker's vehicle "spin and collide with a cement barrier as he was traveling on I-80," the complaint states.
"Immediately after Joey's vehicle came to a stop with the vehicle in reverse with Joey sitting there with his hands on the steering wheel surrounded by Officer Jones, Officer Pascadlo, and Trooper Hopper, Officer Jones fired three shots, killing Joey," the complaint states.
"Joey was surrounded and there was nowhere for him to go. According to the dash cam video, it did not show Joey accelerating or putting his vehicle in drive to move his vehicle in an area toward the officers. At no time did any of the other officers or Trooper Hopper shoot out Joey's tires or spike the tires."
The complaint states: "Immediately after hearing Officer Jones discharge his gun in a careless, reckless manner, the only thing you can hear on the dash cam video was Trooper Hopper exclaiming, 'Oh, no! Oh, shit!'
"After the use of unreasonable excessive deadly force, Officer Jones was not terminated or reprimanded by Salt Lake City Corporation. ...
"The dash cam videos reveal that Joey did not take any action, make any threats, or do anything to cause any immediate or [im]minent threat of harm to any of the officers. Joey was simply sitting in his vehicle."
The family seeks punitive damages for wrongful death, loss of consortium and civil rights violations, and medical and funeral expenses.
They are represented by George Waddoups with Robert J. Debry & Associates.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hey, Mom......!

A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over... is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.

G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Remember Karen Silkwood

… (Karen Silkwood) took a $4 per hour job as a metallography technician at the Cimarron plutonium plant operated by Kerr-McGee near Crescent, Oklahoma. Her duties there included polishing fuel rods packed with radioactive plutonium pellets. While at the plant, she joined the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union, who staged a strike at Cimarron not longer after she started working there. When the strike ended in failure, many of the workers severed ties with the union. Not Silkwood, however, and as a member of the bargaining committee (the first woman to hold the position in the union’s history) was charged with investigating health and safety issues at the plant.

In the summer of 1974, Silkwood testified to the Atomic Energy Commission that she had found serious violations of health and safety regulations – including evidence of spills, leaks, faulty fuel rods and enough missing plutonium to make multiple nuclear weapons. She also alleged the company had falsified inspection records.

Not long after, some strange things began happening.

On November 5th, during a routine check, Silkwood discovered she had been exposed to over 400 times the legal limit for plutonium. She was sent home with a sample kit to conduct more self-tests. The following morning, despite having handled no dangerous materials as part of her job that day, she tested positive once more. On the 7th, plutonium contamination was found in her lungs and she was sent to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico for further testing.

Silkwood believed she was deliberately contaminated as a result of her whistleblowing efforts against Kerr-McGee. The company would later maintain in court that she willfully contaminated herself in an effort to make them look culpable. While radiation levels at her apartment were high, no radiation was detected either in her car or her work locker.

By November 13th, she had decided to go public with her story. She gathered evidence documenting the plant’s wrongdoing and was enroute to meet a national representative of her union and a New York Times reporter in Oklahoma City when her car went off the road and struck a culvert, killing Silkwood. She was 28-years-old.

Quaaludes were found both in her car and in her bloodstream, and the Oklahoma State Troopers ruled that she had fallen asleep at the wheel.

But her family and supporters noted there were skidmarks in the road – how could she have hit the brakes while asleep?

Dents and paint scrapes on her rear bumper lead her supporters to believe that she was deliberately forced off the road by a trailing vehicle.

The documents she’d planned to share with New York Times reporter were never found.

The publicity surrounding the case led to a federal investigation of the plant, where many of Silkwood's allegations were proven true. Kerr-McGee closed Cimarron in 1975.

Silkwood’s father and children filed suit against the company, not for wrongful death, but for willful negligence leading to her plutonium contamination.

According to the book The Killing of Karen Silkwood by Richard Raschke, the family's lawyers were harassed, intimidated and even physically assaulted. A key witness for the plantiffs also committed suicide before her scheduled testimony. The jury, nonetheless, found in their favor, awarding the family $10.5 million. On appeal, the amount was reduced to a mere $5,000 – to cover the destruction of Karen’s personal belongings during the decontamination of her apartment. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the case and it was headed for retrial when Kerr-McGee settled out of court for $1.38 million. They admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

Did Karen Silkwood deliberately contaminate herself? Or did she come into contact with plutonium because of lax safety standards at the plant? Or, most disturbing of all, did someone deliberately dose her with plutonium-239 as a way to shut her up? Did she drive off the road, or was she forced off?

The Mysterious Death of Karen Silkwood


Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power
Not safe at any price
No matter what you say
No matter what you do
Nuclear power
You pay for it twice
Once when you get it
And once when it gets you.

"Nuclear Power" by Spartacus Jones, 1974


St. Patrick's Day and the Irish Famine

Christine Kinealy is author of "This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845-52" and other books on Irish history. She is professor of history at Drew University in New Jersey and just returned from Ireland on Tuesday. She said today: "In 1997, the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade honored the victims of Ireland’s Great Hunger of the 1840s. The Irish Hunger was triggered by a potato blight, but suffering was exacerbated by inappropriate and parsimonious relief policies. Consequently, in a period of just six years, over one million people died and an even higher number emigrated.

"At the time of the Famine, Ireland was governed from London, by British politicians who, for the most part, regarded the food shortages as an opportunity to change and modernize Ireland. But Ireland didn’t modernize and the human cost of the policies was that people died. Tormented by hunger, they endured painful and protracted deaths, while vast amounts of food left the country, often under armed guard. Those who emigrated fled from starvation only to face hostility and prejudice in their new homelands. Inevitably, many blamed the British government for their exile.

"Irish folk memory refers to the Famine dead as having 'mouths stained green' -- because their last meal was often grass. When eating our green bagels this week, and celebrating our Irish-ness, perhaps we should spare a thought for victims of famine and social injustice wherever they may be."

Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Boyle is author of "United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law."

He said today: "Some controversy has surrounded the use of the word 'genocide' with regard to the Great Irish Famine. But this controversy has its source in an apparent misunderstanding of the meaning of genocide. No, the British government did not inflict on the Irish the abject horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. But the definition of 'genocide' reaches beyond such ghastly behavior to encompass other reprehensible acts designed to destroy a people." Boyle wrote "The Irish Famine was Genocide."

Background: "The Famine Year" by Speranza, the mother of Oscar Wilde

The above piece came over the wire this morning from
- SJ

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Boxer

"The Pugilist at Rest," by Apollonius. Roman copy of a Greek original.
Tinges of blood-red still visible on the bronze.

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.
Today I feel like Apollonius' boxer looks.

I have a rest between rounds.
Time to staunch the bleeding some.
Take a breath.
Get that endswell on my eye so I can see.
Suck it up and go back for more.
Why am I doing this, again?

As is so often the case in the squared circle, too,
I have no way to tell how the fight is going.
I get mixed reviews from different sides of my brain.
I just know it hurts.
And I know, no matter what, I'm not going to quit.

In the immortal words of Cool Hand Luke, "You're gonna have to kill me..."

And at that thought, I'm reminded that, right now, an old friend is in a fight, too.
A different kind of fight.
A fight for his life.

And I say to myself, "C'mon, ya sissy, what are you complaining about?!"


In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains.

The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fighting Dragons

One thing for certain:
Power without accountability
is a guaranteed formula
for tyranny.

Whether we're talking about a head of state or some jackass whose buddies "elected" him fire chief of a jerkwater town, you can bet that if there's no accountability, that fool will turn into a strutting little emperor faster than you can say "Caligula."

So tomorrow, I will sally forth to do battle with the forces of evil.
I expect to lose.

The good guys always lose.
The bad guys are willing to lie, to cheat, to do whatever it takes for them to win.
The good guys aren't willing to do that.

The good guys don't eye-gouge, elbow, hit below the belt or bite your ear.
The good guys play it fair and square, no matter what the bad guys do.
The good guys believe that the truth must prevail.

If I can't win with the truth, I don't want to "win" some other way.
But -- in case you haven't noticed -- the truth has taken a real beating, is way behind on points, and may not survive the championship rounds.

Go down, swinging.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Most DIS-couraging Thing I've Seen Lately

Here's a good example of why I prefer the company of horses to the company of human beings.
These foaming-at-the-mouth pseudo-patriots are so ignorant that they don't know

1. That "God" and "Allah" are the same deity
2. That the US Constitution doesn't say "One nation under God" anywhere in it
3. That the Constitution they love so much -- but apparently have never READ -- guarantees religious freedom for all people within its jurisdiction -- which is anywhere that flag flies
4. That the people that they are screaming at to go "home" ARE home; they are Americans
5. That the "evil" these alleged "terrorists" are engaged in is raising money to support homeless shelters.
6. That there are a hell of a lot more white "Christian" terrorists than Muslim ones.

Not a single one of these morons is worthy of mucking out my horse's stall.

God help America.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Most Encouraging Thing I've Seen Lately

Worth watching on Youtube.

People are fed up.
Mad as hell.
Not going to take it anymore.

About time.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Whistle-Blower Blues

If he'd murdered or tortured, he'd be getting a promotion and a medal.


Bradley Manning has had another week of abuse in the Quantico Marine Brig. He is being forced to be naked every night and to stand naked the next morning to get his clothes back. He is being denigrated and humiliated in an extremely punitive way. He is now in his 10th month of virtual solitary confinement.

Please join us this Sunday, the 13th, at the 5th and K Busboys and Poets, 4p.m for a fundraiser for Bradley Manning. The suggested donation is $20 and there will be a silent auction as well. There will have music and excellent speakers including Kevin Zeese, co-founder of Voters for Peace.

Invite your friends and family! Here is the Facebook event page:!/event.php?eid=146868212035167

A week later, and a day after the a White House protest being led by four veterans groups, that Voters For Peace has endorsed, there will rally to support Bradley Manning in the Quantico/Triangle area at 2p.m., Sunday the 20th. We will gather adjacent to the intersection of Rt. 1 (Jeff Davis Hwy) and C Street. We will then march about a quarter of a mile to the Iwo Jima Memorial and deposit a bouquet of flowers honoring those killed in war. We will then, remaining completely nonviolent turn onto a Fuller Road and approach the main gates of Quantico Marine Base.

Among the speakers at the rally are Daniel Ellsberg, Col. Ann Wright, Jeff Patterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network, and David House who will join us immediately after visiting his friend Bradley at the brig.

Invite your friends and family! Here is the Facebook event page:!/event.php?eid=125274010879028

Thank you for your support of Bradley Manning.

Voters for Peace

Voters For Peace is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose candidates for office.

Go, Wisconsin!

It's the classic confrontation between working people and the corporate snakes.
The Wisconsinites aren't just standing up for themselves, but for all of us.

I hope you'll support them in any way you can.

Liberty & Justice,


Sunday, March 6, 2011

So Near, Yet So Far....

The ponies have started shedding, all right.
But evidently, it isn't summer quite yet.


Speaking Truth About Power

This is the important lesson that history has for the rebels of 2011. Euphoria is not victory. The removal of symbols is not the change of regimes. Whether in Athens or Cairo, Bahrain or even Wisconsin, the revolutions will not be won in the streets. They will not be won early. They will be resisted fiercely, cleverly, tenaciously, and with all the resources that the assaulted powers can muster, including the most important resource of all: time.

- Robert Freeman

"2011 is 1848 Redux. But Worse," by Robert Freeman

This one is a "MUST READ."


Une Femme

While she never became a household name in the U.S., I used to listen to her quite a lot.
Had a terrible crush on her.
Might still.

If you dig Edith Piaf at all, you'll also dig Mirielle.

I hope you do.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

To Maynard G. Krebs, who was, like, a real human being...

This piece flashes me back to Chicago in the waybackwhen...

See, when I was a kid, I hung out with some cats who were maybe the last beatniks in captivity.
Smokey basement coffee house.
Poetry recited with accompaniment of upright bass.
Maybe some flute.
Bongo drum.

These guys could just start jamming, no instruments at all.
Just scat-singing.
And really get cooking.

It was an awe-inspiring thing to behold.

Kind of like this.

I hope you dig it.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Getz & Gilberto

Here's a piece from the soundtrack of my ill-spent youth by the girl from Ipanema, a goddess who had a recurring role in my sweetest fantasies.
At 3am on a summer night, her voice would samba into my mind's ear as if born on the wind coming off Lake Michigan.
Her easy, unselfconscious delivery is a balm for the aching heart.

I hope you dig it.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Once and Future King

Sometimes In Winter
I love you when the good times
Seem like mem'ries in the spring
That never came.

Sometimes in Winter by Steve Katz