Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Videos of the year

My usual criteria for "best video" is: the one I listened to the most, after I first posted it. This year, departing a bit, and starting with CUTEST VIDEO OF THE YEAR!

Or the decade, maybe.

Their little tails are so adorable!!! SQUEE!

Hopping goats (they're babies!!!! Ohhh my gaaaawwwwwddd!)



Funniest video, I found over at Tumblr, so unfortunately, not sure how to transfer it over here. So HERE is the link. Shake it off, shake it off... (I'm sure I've seen that guy.)

~*~

And here is Dead Air's official VIDEO OF THE YEAR. The thing is, I neglected to post it, just listened to it a bunch of times. Luckily, I can rectify that now. NOTE: The song is only about 4 minutes long (if that), but this video length is over 8 minutes. (?) The last 4 minutes are just silent. Not sure what's up with that... but the song itself isn't long.

It's totally addictive to anyone (like me) who grew up listening to old country music and slide guitars!

Ray Wylie Hubbard - Three Days Straight



I went down to see the fortune teller
was gonna get my future read
She looked at my hand, she said its bad
Crossed her eyes and fell back dead


I hate it when that happens.

Commercial: Tonight, WNCW-FM features the annual Warren Haynes Christmas pre-jam rebroadcast at 8pm EST, so tune in all you jambandz fans. (livestreaming HERE)

Happy Deadhead New Year, yall!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mistake of the year, and other talk radio revelations

Daisy listens in earnest to one of our radio callers at WOLI studios in McAlister Square, home of the redoubtable Occupy the Microphone.

Yes, pardon the cheesy Xmas mom-shirt. I was trying to deck the halls and all like that. It used to be my daughter's shirt when she was young, and her grandmother has a Christmas video of her playing the clarinet while wearing it. Christmas nostalgia! (((sheds predictable mama tears over her baby being all grown up now)))

I therefore find it impossible to get rid of, and I usually end up wearing it at least once every yule season.

~*~

I hate to admit when the Consigliere is right, but yes, he is.

Gregg thought we'd get lots better at the radio thing, by doing the show every day, and we have. Practice makes perfect, and it really has made a huge difference to do the show daily for drive-time radio (LIVE AT FIVE!). The main thing: I am no longer afraid. I am often at a loss for words (what? me?) but that's the great thing about having two co-hosts: they bail me out with regularity, and I do the same for them.

We now have time to cover all the news that isn't fit to print (and subsequently gets ignored, especially around here), and we are committed to doing it from a lefty political perspective. Although Double-A is our resident Democrat, we don't hold it against him. We are determined to make a Green Party member of him, yet!

Ours is the only left-leaning talk radio show for hundreds of miles.

I am SO PROUD of all the guests we have had on the show over this past year, both in person and as callers. Some of our guests include: Reverend Pat Jobe (who wrote a really good novel that you all should read!); journalist Alexa O'Brien (who covered the Chelsea Manning trial); Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping; Sheila Jackson of MoveOn, an official health care navigator; Jasmine Lowrance of Inspirational Wisdom; Mary Olsen of Nuclear Information and Resource Service; SC State Senator Karl Allen; Greenville City Council candidate Teresa Slack; Reverend Jack Logan of Put Down the Guns Now, Young People; the amazing Cynthia McKinney (Green Party presidential candidate, 2008); Lucia McBath (mother of Florida-SYG victim Jordan Davis); Amy Parham (mother of suspended autistic student Rhett Parham); Ralph Poynter, husband of political prisoner Lynne Stewart; Jill Stein (Green Party presidential candidate, 2012); Dr Margaret Flowers; the legendary Sylvain Sylvain (((fangirl scream))); the legendary John Sinclair (((more fangirl screams))); Amelia Pena, discussing domestic violence and outreach programs in SC (our state was recently ranked #1 for number of women killed by men per capita); Jess Bayne, one of the organizers of the local March Against Monsanto; our governor's famous ex-boyfriend and popular conservative blogger, Will Folks; local internet-pop star Brandon Hilton ... and countless others I have missed and I'm sure I will probably have to edit in later.

These folks are in addition to our regular guests, Black Talk Radio Network powerhouse Scotty Reid (our fabulous online producer), local activist Traci Fant, the terribly-centrist 'voice of reason' Eric Wood, wonderful Liz Anderson-Smith (of York County Greens) and Malcolm X Center for Self Determination's Efia Nwangaza.

Thank you to everybody who has taken the time to talk to us and our listeners! WE LOVE YOOOOOOU!!! (blows kisses)

~*~

On or around World AIDS Day, one of our guests was Tracey Leigh Jackson of Piedmont Care, which provides local resources, prevention and treatment for HIV. (HI TRACEY!) After the show, we chatted a bit and suddenly, everybody in the studio was peppering her with sex-questions, LOL. She promised to send our engineer, Jonathan, a box of fancy (did she say they were EDIBLE?) condoms. She also mentioned lube, and I asked her if she had ever heard of Liquid Silk. She had, and promised to include samples of Liquid Silk (or something very similar in quality) in our promised box of goodies.

Sometime during the next show, or possibly a few days later, I reminded Jonathan... my mistake, of course, was in saying this during one of our commercial breaks. No, I wasn't paying attention. I have a hard time remembering how long some of the breaks are (and since our commercial breaks are of unequal length, I never remember!) ... so there I am... saying hey, some of that stuff in the box is supposed to be for ME. He said, what? I answered, Liquid Silk!

"Its supposed to be for me, so don't forget to give me the samples."

"Liquid Silk?" Jonathan wrinkles his brow. The commercial was turned up a bit louder than usual. "The lube!!!!" I shouted, and yes, we were suddenly on the air, and I was not paying attention.

I was shouting over the commercial that was playing in the studio, or thought I was:

"DON'T FORGET TO GIVE ME THE LUBE! I AM SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING THE LUBE!!!"

Yes, I am afraid that DID go out over the airwaves.

The later version was edited, so luckily, it hasn't been saved for posterity.

God knows what our listeners thought of that ... or maybe we picked up a few more?

~*~

Stay tuned, as we learn on the job! And please join us during the next year. We are LIVESTREAMING HERE every weekday, LIVE AT FIVE, and we welcome callers of all political persuasions, which serves to keep things interesting.

Studio: 864-751-0115 or toll free 864-751-0116
Listen Only: 1-559-726-1300 Participant Code: 810246#

ONWARD AND UPWARD!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Family


We featured all of these songs on our Christmas-edition radio show, broadcast on Monday, December 23rd. (It was just me and Gregg, and it was Double-A's turn to take a break.)

Hope you all have happy holidays, as we continue to Occupy the Microphone for another year.

~*~

Merry Christmas from the Family - Robert Earl Keen



~*~

Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade



~*~

I believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake



~*~

Slipping into Christmas - Leon Russell

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday links and round-up

At left: State Senator Karl B. Allen, District 7, was one of our guests on Wednesday's edition of OCCUPY THE MICROPHONE.

~*~



Wednesday's radio show was titled, "Putting the brakes on violence in South Carolina"-- and many community activists were highlighted, as they shared their personal experiences with our listeners. (Our guests also included Traci Fant, one of my favorite people and local powerhouse activist.)

This was a major landmark for us; I don't remember having that many people in the studio at once before! Gregg was absent, so it was all up to me and my fearless co-host, Double-A.

If you'd like to listen to the show, check us out at our radio blog. And remember to catch us everyday, LIVE AT FIVE, livestreaming HERE.

~*~

Interesting links, that I meant to share earlier:

Yes, I'm nothing if not prompt!

[] Worst house you've ever seen. (Curbed) Really! Apparently, it was designed by a pimp, and ... well ... it totally defies description.

It seems to be hemorrhaging money, too, which just makes it all the more incredibly bad.

[] For the two or three of my readers who are theory-heads: Marxist feminism as a critique of intersectionality. (Neo-colonialism and its discontents). I have some issues with intersectionality (the new trend in feminism, and suddenly everyone's new favorite word) and Will Shetterly accurately outlines some of my issues HERE.

[] Ayn Rand-loving CEO destroys his empire (Salon) If you've been wondering what's wrong with Sears, and why it looks like a dump these days, here's your answer.

Something else to blame on Ayn Rand.

[] Peter O'Toole has passed on, and here is a pretty good obit. (Los Angeles Times) I loved him in the film The Stunt Man, and if you've never seen it, you might want to hunt it down for a viewing. It's rather surreal, and O'Toole is perfect.

[] Why we need grandpas and grandmas (NPR) Required reading if you are an animal lover, or an anti-ageism activist... or both.

[] And finally: here is your DEAD FROM CUTENESS pre-Christmas video. I've been posting it everywhere, so if you've seen it already, you can probably blame me! (I want that puppy!)

~*~

CAR OF THE MONTH: Buick LeSabre, outside the Publix.

What year? Not sure, but appears to be Third Generation, possibly 1971. If anyone has any better estimates, let me know.

(((waves to car-photo lurkers and wishes you all Happy Motoring Holidays!)))

~*~

Hope you are all doing well at this crazy hectic time of year. I attended a great Solstice/Yule celebration last night, although I passed a dead body (covered up) in the road on my way there, which brought me up short and reminded me of what's important.

Gratitude.

Happy holidays!

Daisy's Duck Dynasty rant (from Thursday's show)

Gregg and Scotty, my amazing producers, made it into a YouTube clip! :) (The whole show is at the radio blog.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Another one bites the dust

My always-vigilant, intrepid spies tell me the fundamentalist Christian world has been rocked by still another scandal. In addition to the hoopla brought about by Stephen Jones resigning the presidency of Bob Jones University, we learn that Vision Forum Ministries will be permanently shutting down.

And the hits just keep on comin.

Christian Post reports that misogynist nuisance Doug Phillips resigned from heading up Vision Forum, because (nah, go on!) he couldn't keep his hands to himself. As a response, Vision Forum is calling it a day. Good riddance!

But hey, that's a lotta dough:
According to Vision Forum Ministry's 2011 tax returns, the nonprofit wing of the organization, its total revenue was $3,345,150, while its total expenses were $1,734,985.

Phillips announced his resignation at the end of October, describing it as "inappropriately romantic and affectionate," though he denied any sexual relationship between him and the woman, asserting that he had not known her in a "biblical sense."
Yes, we all know what this means... another powerful man who doesn't know what the meaning of IS, is. ;)

(For more, check out Jen's blog; she properly clocks his worthless ass and has been for some time now.)

Phillips is well-known in fundie circles for his infamous "Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy" a guide popular among Quiverfull households. (Phillips and his spouse Beall have 8 children.)

Religion News reports:
Phillips is a leader among conservative Christians who reject birth control and believe that large families are a sign of God’s blessings, as seen in his friends Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s family on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” He preaches a message of “biblical patriarchy,” in which a man is called to “rule over his household” and “the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household.”

Phillips also takes a dim view of women in the public sphere, saying it is not “the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals” outside the home in business, government and the military.
The damage done by these oppressive, repressive charlatans is hard to quantify, but here is one such example, from Spiritual Sounding Board:
I don’t know where to begin…as I have read through so many of the posts about the [Doug Phillips] mess, I have been forced to reevaluate my own life. Let me state from the beginning that we are not a part of any Integrated Church, and not a part of the “patriarch movement”…but we did, long ago, embrace some of their teachings….like having a large family, homeschooling, courtship, and such.

We have ten children. Six of them are out on their own, five of those are married. Not a single one married with our blessing/agreement….three lived with their spouse before marriage. One son is involved with drugs…one daughter is tattooed like crazy….two remain active in “church work” ……but none “honor” their mother and father…and this is where I find myself…in a time of really re-evaluating what I believe. I feel that for our older six to be who they are must be connected to our wrong beliefs….at least to an extent.

As painful as it is to admit, I am beginning to see that we fostered some pretty difficult beliefs upon our older children all in the name of “protecting” their futures.
We are a divided family now, and my hope that there will ever be a time that we can be all at peace with one another wanes with every passing day.

This Thanksgiving…the children are celebrating without mom and dad…as I just couldn’t host another holiday with all this underlying pain/issues.

My request is to pray for us…as we face this holiday season, as I work through this season of looking at myself and what I believe squarely in the eye…that I will find real answers….maybe for the first time in a long, long time. Thanks for a safe place to express these rather painful admissions.
When I get mad at the Bob Jones people for messing up this town for so long, I try to focus on what I know must be the internal damage that is not readily apparent to the rest of us. This passage, from this mother in pain, reminds me to be compassionate and remember that there is so much more going on than meets the eye. The seemingly-united front and moral superiority that they unfailingly present to non-fundamentalists can be shattered in an instant... because much of it is based on the egos of these selfish, hypocritical religious shysters, who created their empires for themselves, not for God.

And humans are fallible. There is not one righteous. No, not one.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tom Laughlin 1931-2013

I once showed the film BILLY JACK (1971) to my daughter, and she rolled her eyes most of the way through. I was so crestfallen that she didn't get it. Or rather, I saw that she easily got it, since it all seemed so obvious to her.

I realized: much of what we once fought for had become passe. These truths are now just a given.

And that's a good thing, isn't it? In one way, of course. But it also means the young people do not understand how it was for us. They do not understand that what they now take for granted, was risky and dangerous for us--something as simple as standing at a bus stop, wearing patched jeans and scruffy hair. Or whites and non-whites entering an ice cream shop together.

That's when I knew the magic Billy Jack moment had passed forever, and doesn't even really translate well to the next generation.

Thus, the passing of Tom Laughlin is even more sad than expected.

From the New York Times:
Mr. Laughlin wrote, directed and starred in all four of the Billy Jack films, earnest tales of a tightly wound, half-Cherokee Vietnam veteran named Billy Jack who protects Indians, wild horses and progressive ideals against attacks.
...
By most accounts, the single-minded, loner-idealist tough guy at the center of the Billy Jack franchise was based on an amalgam of cowboy archetypes, Asian martial-arts film archetypes and Mr. Laughlin’s image of himself. Colleagues and family members described him as driven, stubborn, uncompromising and intensely attracted to quixotic endeavors.

After a succession of small film and television roles during his first decade in Hollywood, he and his wife, Delores Taylor — who later co-starred in the Billy Jack films — opened a Montessori school to keep their children out of what they considered the mediocre public schools of Southern California.

A half-dozen years later Mr. Laughlin decided to return to the movie business, but on his own terms. He wrote his script and raised money for the motorcycle movie “Born Losers” (1967), the first to feature Billy Jack. He later became an outspoken environmentalist and antinuclear activist and sought the Democratic nomination for president on several state primary ballots in 1992, 2004 and 2008.
At age 13 or 14, I wanted to go out west and go to the Freedom School run by Billy Jack's almost-girlfriend (and real-life wife) Jean. When my mother told me the school was all make-believe, I cried over it.

No, no, NO... the school is REAL. Billy Jack is REAL.

Just like Santa.

~*~

My deepest condolences go out to Laughlin's partner, Delores Taylor, who embodied the lovely, strong-willed Jean. The first lead actress in a Western movie who didn't seem to have on any makeup and didn't seem to care. Film critic Pauline Kael said Taylor's performance marked the first time she had ever seen a woman discuss her own rape in a movie, and what it meant to her life. "The film pauses for these moments, which were perhaps improvised by Delores Taylor," she wrote, amazed. Yes, and so did we. In the 70s-theater I was in, you could have heard a pin drop, as Delores Taylor relates the incident. Not a single woman was breathing, we hung on her every word. My mother said it was the greatest thing in the movie. (Later that day, she would finally tell me of her own experience.)

And see? We can turn on Law and Order SVU at any time of the day or night and see this scene over and over (with not nearly the gravitas) ... but once upon a time, it was odd enough that a New Yorker critic saw fit to mention it as almost-miraculous.

~*~

In Billy Jack, during a scene at the Freedom School, some kids are re-enacting the life of Jesus Christ. A black kid plays Jesus (which apparently is still pretty radical stuff!--but I digress).

One of the kids asks him, when you return, how do we know its you? Give us a sign! And he gives the black power salute, his fist in the air.

The kids, of all races, stand and silently return the salute.

And so, at about 2:04 in the video below, you see the significance as Billy Jack is taken away by the law. The kids, once again, give 'the sign'--the black power salute. And right in the shadow of a cross. (Sobbing at 2:39, in the purple shirt, is Laughlin's daughter, Teresa.) Whatever you think of Tom Laughlin's Jesus-complex, this was some bang-up B-movie film-making, folks.

Billy Jack finally controls his violent temper, for the greater good of the whole group. He sacrifices his own freedom to keep the Freedom School open. As one who often fights to control my own temper, do I have to tell you?

It always makes me cry.

~*~

Rest in Peace, Tom Laughlin. I would love to have known you.

One Tin Soldier - Coven (theme of Billy Jack)

Tuesday Tunes

This 53-year-old tune is somewhat spooky and weird. I heard it on late-night TV and scribbled down the title to share with you all. The verses remind me of another song (can't put my finger on which one, though, faster tempo) and the vocalized harmonies ending the chorus sound especially familiar.

I am sure both were mined for some later rock song(s), so if you can recognize the melodies, let me know. Driving me crazy.

Green Fields - Brothers Four (1960)



~*~

Early techno brilliance from the celebrated producer of the Beatles' ABBEY ROAD, as well as Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON.

I Robot - Alan Parsons Project (1977)



~*~

He really needs NO introduction.

Rebel Music - Bob Marley and the Wailers (1974)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dead Air Church: Invictus, a tribute to Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was buried today, in his ancestral village Qunu. I reprint the following comic in his honor.

For those who doubt that comics can be inspirational art, I defy you not to get chills and/or cry at the end. I first saw this on Tumblr and could not get it out of my mind. It easily eclipses all the TV-talking-heads trying to capture his spirit in mere words.

Invictus is by Australian artist Gavin Aung Than, at his amazing website, Zenpencils.com.

He's got a million of em, and I also greatly enjoyed his tribute to Roger Ebert. Great talent and great work!

Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela.

~*~

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Southern Culture on the Skids

I MET MARY HUFF! I talked to her! Seriously! A thrilling moment of my life, to be sure. (Isn't it so great to meet our personal musical heroines?)

I told Mary about my late mother, who played bass and dressed just like her... and she high-fived me.

MARY HUFF HIGH-FIVED ME!!!

I floated out of there... after purchasing an autographed copy of DIG THIS, DITCH DIGGIN, VOLUME 2.




And here are some photos from this very entertaining, landmark event, which was yesterday at Bohemian Cafe. (you can click to enlarge) More photos at my Flickr page.


~*~


Friday, December 13, 2013

Stephen Jones resigns as Bob Jones University president

Stephen Jones is resigning as president of Bob Jones University, according to our ever-worshipful Greenville News.



Jones, son of Bob Jones III and empty suit, supposedly suffers from bad health (and yet has no trouble sneaking up to North Carolina to see popular movies that BJU-students-and-affiliates are not permitted to watch locally). And so he must depart.

The rapidly-sinking popularity of Bob Jones University might have something to do with his exit, although of course this fact isn't mentioned in the story. That wouldn't be NICE, and the Greenville News is always always always extremely NICE when it comes to our local cult, to the point of refusing to investigate scandals. (see last link)

From the Greenville News:
Bob Jones University President Stephen Jones plans to resign, the school said Friday, citing health issues.

The university said in a statement Jones submitted his resignation at the regular meeting of the BJU Board of Trustees.

“The persistence of my health issues over the last three years is preventing me from providing the leadership the University needs at this time and prompted my personal decision to resign,” Jones, 43, said in a statement.

“The BJU mission is more important than I. Serving the BJU family for over eight years has been one of the great gifts of God to my wife and me, and I am looking forward to serving here in whatever new role God has for me.”

A university spokesman said Jones declined to be interviewed.

Larry Jackson, chairman of the university trustees, said the board accepted his resignation as president effective at the end of commencement, May 9, 2014.

“The Board fully understands the effects of Dr. Jones’ continuing health issues as they relate to the demands of the position,” Jackson said, “and we appreciate his leadership in giving priority to the mission of the University. The Board is grateful for his significant contributions to the ministry of BJU, his dedication to its mission and his love for the faculty, staff and students during his tenure as president.”

In a statement, school officials said trustees will immediately establish a search committee to identify candidates for president and “will prayerfully fill the position as soon as God leads us to a qualified person.”

“The Board of Trustees is completely committed to the historic position and mission of Bob Jones University and to maintaining the University’s firm stand on the absolute authority of Scripture,” Jackson said. “The board will seek a new president equally committed to our mission and biblical position.”
And as we know, Bob Jones IV, who was next in line before Stephen, was mysteriously passed over. Nobody will ever tell us why. (I figure its the same reason older brother Fredo was passed over, in favor of Michael Corleone: "Fredo has a good heart, but he's weak and he's stupid.")

Of course, we're all ready to hear the reason BJIV has been excluded from Apostolic Succession by his father, Bob Jones III (known as "triple-sticks" by some of the former-faithful). But take my word for it, we won't be getting any reasons, which means we can go ahead and fill in our own. I think one possible reason is that BJIV went to Notre Dame (that is to say, a REAL college, not a fake one, like BJU). After preaching against the Catholic Church for decades, Bob Jones III actually paid for his oldest son to attend Notre Dame! The money of the anti-Catholic faithful going straight to "the flagship Catholic University of North America" -- is that some nerve or what? Years ago, I discovered when the fundamentalist zealots periodically invaded the Catholic bookstore (where I used to work), all cranked up on Jonathan Edwards and ready to rumble, all I had to do was ask how they felt about their money going to Notre Dame so that Bob Jones IV could have a REAL education? Why didn't he just go to BJU? Notre Dame MUST be a better school, I protested, or Bob Jones wouldn't want his progeny attending, now would he?!?

I loved how the BJU-fundies would turn almost crimson whenever I brought up this forbidden topic. (Of course, they are not allowed to criticize The Founder or anyone related to him.) But I also noticed that they seemed to be holding back. There was obviously MORE to the story, and (unfortunately for us dedicated scandal-mongers) they didn't want to share it. In the above-linked story, they claim BJIV is working for WORLD magazine, although my spies tell me he has not been on the staff for many years.

So keep in mind, you're only getting a partial version of the truth, and uncomfortable facts are routinely dropped down the memory hole. Every story about BJU is only partial. We will only learn the whole truth after the place totally implodes. The obedient Greenville News takes its marching orders from BJU, even more than they do from the local Republican Party, and yes, there is a predictably heavy, heavy overlap.

The Greenville News has never, ever done any investigative journalism on the many abuses that have taken place at BJU over the years. ZIP. For example, in the above-linked account, we get this:
Last year, after several former and current BJU students and faculty protested the way the school had handled sex abuse allegations on campus, university officials said they contracted with GRACE, or Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, for “an open and objective analysis.”

A final report should be issued early next year, according to officials from Lynchburg, Va.-based GRACE and BJU.
Note that none of this was initially covered by our local newspaper of record. We finally get this defanged, tepid account A YEAR LATER. (more details here and here)

Chances are, we are only getting a small fraction of the story and the real reasons for 1) Stephen Jones being installed as president of BJU in the first place (as the article makes clear, he didn't want the job) and 2) his upcoming departure.

And I wonder who the first non-related president of Bob Jones University will be? Can anyone be as perfect as blood relatives of The Founder? This is obviously a crisis in the House of Jones.

Let's hope it is one more chapter in the slo-mo disintegration of the cult.

Comments welcome. Bob Jones University-apologists will be harshly dealt with, so no whining that you weren't warned.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Father Christmas

... give us some money.

I play this every Christmas season, but I have been rather negligent this year.

I went to a Quaker Christmas party on Sunday, and when they asked what Christmas songs people liked, I thought of this one, but the Quakers are nonviolent and you know, this song ain't. ;)

Shhhh--don't tell.

~*~

Father Christmas - The Kinks



~*~

And I've been getting hits for this one already... everybody loves the Chairman of the Board!

Mistletoe and Holly - Frank Sinatra



Once again, apologies to my fellow vegetarians for the line "tasty pheasants"--which does rhyme with "presents"--after all.

Hope your holiday season is proceeding as planned.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

The media mourning for Nelson Mandela has been shocking to me. Revisionism in my lifetime always rearranges my senses, and here we are again. (Note: Our radio show honoring Mandela was yesterday; our show honoring martyr Fred Hampton was Wednesday.)

It seems that only a short while ago, Mandela was regarded as a dangerous terrorist. Republicans spoke his name with audible contempt. It is dizzying and disorienting to see Fox News being all polite and respectful. I feel as if I have fallen through the proverbial Looking Glass.


As Mark Quincy Adams accurately writes (at Alan Colmes' blog titled Liberaland):
Their failed attempt to co-op the memory of Rosa Parks have not stopped our friends on the Right from trying the same with the late Nelson Mandela. Whether their hope is widespread ignorance of history or an attempt to disguise their true feelings, we must remember that Conservatives have always despised Nelson Mandela.

Dick Cheney, in particular, should be singled out as a leader in the ‘COWSHIT* Coalition’ (*Conservatives On the Wrong Side of HIstorys Tide). He was a vocal opponent of even setting the man free from prison! Sure, he said years later that Mandela had “mellowed out” but that’s hardly a recant of his indefensible position. Clearly, those who populate the Conservative Movement today are equally as hateful toward the man as Cheney and his ilk were in the 1980′s as we see from comments on Ted Cruz’s Facebook post attempting the gentlest of praise of Mandela.

While on some level we should welcome those on the Right who now want to praise Mandela, their sincerity should be met with great skepticism. The good news is there is something Conservatives really have to be genuinely thankful to him for. They should never forget that when Mandela was elected President of South Africa after 27 years in prison, he called for “Truth and Reconciliation” NOT “Truth and Retribution”. That’s a precedent Conservatives across the world should celebrate and hope that others in the future will find the Mandela-like strength to be so forgiving. Given their history, they will certainly need it.
And as Nelson Mandela himself said:
I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.

~*~

As I get older, I am more and more curious about how history will judge us. The longer I live and the more I witness this kind of revisionism, the more I realize we will be judged in ways we can not even anticipate right now.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that as I stood reading the words on the Confederate memorial downtown, I was struck by the total moral certainty of the poem engraved on the side of that memorial. It never once occurred to the folks erecting the monument, that mores might change; that there would come a time that their moral certitude would be shameful and even regarded as patently evil.

And that will happen to us, too. About the drones, maybe... or the way we have refused to take responsibility for changing the climate. What are we doing right now, that we will be held ethically accountable for in the future? What horrors do we tolerate so we can hold on to our standard of living?

If I contemplate this too long (and I have made the whole "history's judgment" concept a repeated subject of my anicca meditation), I become afraid that I am not doing enough. I can become nearly frantic. It's a scary concept for me, which of course means that I must deal with it, head on.

I am often overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once. I spread myself pretty thin as it is, and yet... I worry it simply is not enough. And I also worry that no matter what we do, it will make no difference.

At least we can look at a life like Mandela's and say, HERE is a life that truly mattered, that made a difference in ways that counted, in ways that endured.

And at such times, when I have doubts that what we do makes any difference, I hold on to one truth:
"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business." -- TS Eliot.
Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

At left: Katie and David Cassidy. Photo credit: Celebrity Photos.







Mr Daisy was watching "Arrow" DVDs, and the actress playing Laurel seemed so familiar to me. It was driving me crazy. I KNEW I'd seen her.

Her eyes. Very distinctive. I knew I had seen them before.

I can usually spot actors in various roles, even if they are wildly different. It's something I enjoy doing--trying to remember where I've seen them; which movie or TV show they were in previously. I especially enjoy solving the puzzle if many years have passed and they look recognizably older. (i.e. Did you realize that's 17-year-old Laurence Fishburne, primarily known to the younger generation as Morpheus, playing 'Clean' in Apocalypse Now?)

But I couldn't remember seeing this person AT ALL. I was confused. Why do her eyes look so familiar?



And so, finally hollering uncle and officially giving up, I went to the indispensable Internet Movie Database, that great settler of marital disputes.

She is David Cassidy's DAUGHTER. Ahh, so that's it! She assuredly has his eyes; Irish Eyes are Smiling.

Mr Daisy offered the observation that I had stared at David Cassidy's eyes on my bedroom wall for YEARS as a teenager, along with The Monkees, The Who, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Michael Jackson, and so many others.

And he's right. David Cassidy's eyes were lodged in my memory. They must have made quite an impression, to make his daughter appear so familiar to me.

~*~

When I visited my father in Indiana as a kid (usually a traumatic experience), I would try to stay away from his house as long as possible by hanging out with my cousins. I liked them a lot, and they thought I was cool for being from a "big city"... yes, you are now wondering why anyone would think Columbus, Ohio, is a "big city"--but in comparison to my father's hometown, it certainly was.

While we would be eating ice cream in front of what was then called the local Five and Dime, somebody would walk by, stop dead in their tracks and then do a double-take and ask me if I was _____'s daughter. In small towns, everyone knows everyone else.

It was galling, intrusive, but strangely validating. I hardly knew my father; years would go by when I didn't see him. Then he would inexplicably get a sudden attack of parental responsibility and drive across state lines to collect me for the summer. In Indiana, everyone would oooh and ahhh at our striking resemblance, which even extended to how we laughed, how we gestured, and our general 'theatrical' nature. It kinda blew my mind, since I had always believed you had to be raised by someone to "be like" them (not just LOOK like them) and it seemed that somehow, that had turned out NOT to be true at all. My mother raised me, not my father, and yet somehow, I was so much like him.

And so it is with young Katie. I knew I'd seen her before, knew she reminded me of someone I had watched before, very closely. It isn't just her eyes, of course. She is similarly LIKE him, as I was "like" my father. "Resemblances" are such an odd phenomenon; it isn't only a physical thing.

The cars stop, the people turn around on the sidewalk and ask Who's Your Daddy?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Music

I miss my mama, who loved this song. I think she identified with the naughty girl in the song.

Warning: its PURE country, which means its pretty sexist. None of this nicey-nice American Idol-assimilated stuff!

Joe Maphis was very talented in the Chet Atkins-style, "thumb-picking guitar" that my stepfather also specialized in. (also described HERE) My parents also played this song in their band.

Nostalgic.

~*~

Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud Loud Music) - Joe Maphis (1953)



~*~

My tags tell me I've never blogged a Dire Straits song! Really?! ((shocked expression)) Corrected forthwith!

This is my favorite Dire Straits song. I love it whole bunches and have since I was 21 years old.


Water of Love - Dire Straits (1978)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Atlanta Braves moving to Cobb County

Atlanta is abuzz over the beloved Atlanta Braves baseball team, which is physically moving from Atlanta to suburban Cobb County.



Turner Field, built in 1996 for the Olympics, will be razed. (Already?!) The people of Cobb County are in shock. Some are ecstatic, while others are already feverishly-planning alternate driving-routes for use during Atlanta's wildly-popular baseball season.

PRICEY REAL ESTATE is at STAKE, people, and its a crisis. The money-men have spoken; the movers and shakers have pushed this through in a hurry and with a vengeance. The property that is now occupied by Turner Field will become a "large-scale development"--and the profits will be astronomical.

What is interesting to me is how the local Tea Party unexpectedly made common cause with some of the liberal Democrats in the area. From a Daily Beast post, aptly titled Tea Party Strikes Out Against the Atlanta Braves:
[Instead of] protests from fans in their current home downtown, the team has gotten an earful from furious Tea Party activists in Cobb County, the Republican-dominated portion of the metro area that was once the heart of Newt Gingrich’s congressional district and will now be home to the 60-acre site the team has chosen for its new stadium.

The Tea Party anger is focused on the county’s usually small-government, anti-tax Republican board of commissioners, which enticed the baseball team with a commitment of $300 million in public funds to go toward a new $672 million stadium for the ball club. But while the county commission called the stadium deal a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” the local Tea Party activists called foul, accusing the commission of rushing to a vote without enough public review and opening up the latest front in the war between Tea Party groups and the Republican establishment that pushed for the deal.

“I’ve had several members of the Chamber of Commerce tell me that the Tea Party needs to stick to federal issues and leave local issues like this alone,” said Debbie Dooley, the head of the Atlanta Tea Party. “Well, that’s not going to happen.” Dooley had mounted a significant opposition to the plan, which she called “a done deal from the beginning,” and formed an unusual coalition among Tea Party activists, the Sierra Club, Common Cause, and other groups from across the political spectrum that opposed the deal for their own reasons.

At the public meeting before the commission voted four-to-one to approve the deal Tuesday night, commissioners heard discussion on “public private partnerships,” new local sales taxes, new taxes on hotels and apartments near the proposed site, and plenty of feedback from Dooley’s coalition and voters opposed to the deal, which was announced just two weeks earlier and did not include an environmental impact statement nor an economic impact statement.

“We’re spending millions of Cobb County taxpayer dollars on this deal and we’re going to take two weeks and ram it though?” said Patricia Hay, a local resident.
The only dissenting vote on the Cobb County Board of Commissioners was Democrat Lisa Cupid (quoted in italics):
"And I certainly can understand why the public has issue with their own tax dollars being committed for 30 years, binding this generation and the generation to follow. And how dare they have questions and want to be a part of this process. I believe this could have been a win-win for so many more people today, if we only took more time to get that win. So many people have asked us to wait.

"It frightens me, the number of threats I've received. If you wanted a 5-0 vote, you could have gotten it. It could have been easy. But I will not be bullied into sacrificing my commitment to the people who put me in this position."


Cobb Commissioner Lisa Cupid explains her decision to vote against the Braves' agreement. She was the lone dissenting vote at last night's Board of Commissioners meeting.
The Tea Partiers seemed to understand what was going on, while the rank-and-file Republicans (dubbed "Chamber of Commerce Republicans" in most of the Atlanta press) do exactly as they are told by real-estate developers.

As Sports Illustrated writes:
Such a move will make it the first of the 24 major league ballparks to open since 1989 to be replaced, and buck the trend of teams returning to urban centers. The proposed park is in the suburbs and closer to the geographic center of the team’s ticket-buying fan base, a much higher percentage of which happens to be white. US Census figures from 2010 put Fulton County at 44.5 percent white and 44.1 percent black, while Cobb County is 62.2 percent white and 25.0 percent black.
Hmmm. Is this about making it (supposedly) "safer" for the white fan-base to attend Braves games? The psychological factor of NOT having to drive into deepest, darkest Atlanta? Eric Brown of International Business Times says yes:
When the Atlanta Braves announced their intention to move from their urban Atlanta home to the suburbs of neighboring Cobb County, the team cited a “lack of consistent mass transit options.” Bafflingly, though, the team’s new location has no mass transit options at all. The real reason for the move? Separating the team's largely white fanbase from Atlanta's black residents.
And where is the money coming from? Guess.

On this one, I have to give it to the Tea Party. From the above link:
The lion’s share of the $672 million facility – a whopping $450 million – will be financed by the county, which will presumably pass that cost on to taxpayers, while the team will kick in just $200 million. By comparison, the current venue, which was originally built as Centennial Olympic Stadium with a capacity of 85,000, was financed by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games — completely with private money — and then retrofitted for the Braves after the Summer Olympics ended.
The increased traffic alone is a thoroughly nightmarish prospect; I have written here before about how much Atlanta traffic freaks me out. I can't imagine it getting worse. (But of course, I realize it can always get worse.)
The new venue is at the intersection of Interstates 75 and 285, said to be a major traffic snarl, “the place so congested we Cobb Countians know to avoid if at all possible,” as the Journal-Constitution‘s Mark Bradley described it. The county has resisted the expansion of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) into its domain since its inception in 1971, so it’s not served by light rail, and while the team claims “significantly increased access to the site” via Home of the Braves, it offers no specifics on the matter.
And is this the beginning of a disturbing new urban trend?
In all, while the announcement of the new ballpark is good news for many suburban Braves fans, it’s unsettling for the industry as a whole. The Oakland A’s have spent the past decade battling for a new park to replace the dilapidated Coliseum, which they’ve called home since 1966, while the Tampa Bay Rays are hamstrung by the location of Tropicana Field. Both franchises would take Turner Field as their home in a heartbeat if it could be shipped to them.

Meanwhile, 13 current major league venues have been in service longer than Turner Field, seven of which opened from 1989-95. If some of those teams start getting restless and looking to build again, local taxpayers could be asked to replace the perfectly functional single-use ballparks that in turn had replaced less aesthetically pleasing multi-use facilities whose lifespans were much longer. Particularly as teams reap a new windfall with increased television revenues, that’s not going to go over well with fans.
More about the move:

Atlanta Braves move to suburbs approved (CNN)

Cobb County commissioners approve plan for Braves stadium (USA Today)

Braves: Moving to Cobb County in '17 (ESPN)

Cobb GOP chairman concerned about (those) people coming to Braves' games (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Cobb Commission Approves Braves Stadium Agreement (WABE radio - NPR)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I used to run this comic every year at Thanksgiving... and I still get hits from all the occasions I've posted it in the past. So I decided to take it out of mothballs for the new vegetarians having their very first meatless Thanksgiving.

Welcome!

~*~



Leave the turkey alone! He/she is innocent and didn't do anything to YOU!

~*~

See yall in a few days, when I get back from wonderful Hotlanta.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What does this bumper sticker mean?

Its our brand new DEAD AIR holiday bumper-sticker-deciphering contest! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?-- please offer your 2 cents.

I haven't thought of any cool prizes yet, but working on it.


I took this photo about two miles from here in a public parking lot in a nice suburb. Not in the backwoods or anything. But of course, this is still the South.



~*~



I understand the basic assertion of the bumper sticker: The Confederacy would never have "left" the POWs and MIAs in Vietnam. (And that's some deliberately-inflammatory rhetoric right there, that they were somehow "left" deliberately. By whom?)

1) Does this mean the Confederacy would have had a Vietnam war too, in some alternative universe that never happened?

2) Does this include the African-American soldiers, too? (Can they be forgiven for thinking that your word ain't much, on this particular score?)

Any other questions, please ask in comments. Play along at home!

~*~

PS: This also gets put in my "You Yankees don't know how easy you've got it!" file.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reflections on Jack Ruby

Depending upon who you read, Jack Ruby was a petty strip-club gangster or an important mobster-friend of Sam Giancana.







NOTE: I first wrote this in 2009 and have re-posted it every November since then. Since this is the 50th anniversary of the assassination, it seems even more pertinent and poignant.

Please limit comments to current post. Thanks.




~*~


It was November 24, 1963.

I remember that I was sitting on a footstool, my nose approximately 8 inches from my family's black-and-white TV set. If I got too close, I couldn't see anything, but I was intent on getting just as close as I could. I wanted to see it all.

It was Sunday morning, and I remember well the hubbub of the adults in the kitchen. I was the only one in the small dining room that served as our TV room. I heard the TV-news announcer say that Lee Oswald was going to be transferred in an armored vehicle. I didn't know what an armored vehicle was, but it sounded awesome. And yet... that little guy? As a six-year-old, I was surprised that such a skinny little guy could be the villain of the hour. I had expected the president's assassin to look something like Brutus, the dastardly evil man of the Popeye cartoons... or at least, he should bear some resemblance to Lex Luthor. This skinny, slight, soft-spoken fellow who calmly denied being near Dealey Plaza? Well, he was just spooky, that's all. They kept calling him a Marxist and a communist, words I didn't yet understand but knew meant that he was a bad person. (I would say the word "communist" in 1963 had the similar gravitas of the word "terrorist" in 2009.) I was enthralled by the constant TV-coverage, the switching back and forth from Dallas to Washington... to our new president, Lyndon Johnson and then back to the basement of Dallas city jail. It was as dazzling as space travel.

Middle-American culture had changed utterly and completely in only two days.

For one thing, the TV had not always been on before. You turned on the TV to watch something, and when it was over, you turned it off. Sometimes you left it on, but usually not. Among the working classes, it was not unusual for some families not to own a TV at all. There were often anti-TV holdouts in these families; cantankerous, old-school types who thought TV was all rubbish and probably unchristian. But after this weekend? This archaic viewpoint was consigned to the dustbin of history. Back in my first-grade class, I would hear about parents who had rushed out to buy a TV at long last. They simply could not bear to be left out.

The TV had been turned on, and stayed on. It was on when I got home from school, dismissed early due to the tragedy, and it was on throughout the funeral. And it stayed on forever after.

And the TV was on as they transferred Lee Oswald to the armored vehicle, or attempted to. There was much talk about security because tensions were running extremely high; there was palpable fury throughout the city of Dallas. When police had forcibly taken Oswald from the theater where they had discovered him, hostile mobs surrounded the police car, and it was said he might have been torn to pieces if the crowd had been able to get their hands on him.

Listening to all this, I was riveted. I remember peering intently as they brought him out, my nose almost right on the screen: There he is!

And then, the inevitable disappointment: such a nonthreatening little dude he was.

I peered and peered and then... bang. Oswald was down.

What?

It was so quick. If not for the firecracker-noise of the gun, I would never have known.

"They shot him!" I shouted, "They shot Oswald! They shot him!"

The adults stampeded as one entity, from the kitchen to the small dining room where I was. My mother, grandparents, some other relatives I have since forgotten... possibly my cousin Charlene.

"I SAW it!" I was shouting, "I SAW IT!"

SSSSSSSssssssshhhhhhhh! Everyone was shushing me. Had I really seen that? The adults' eyes were collectively popping. I felt pretty important for being the one to see it.

"He must be really mad about the president, huh?" I asked.

Nobody answered. They kept shushing me, as obviously-shaken news-announcers talked about what they had just witnessed.

And then, the adults were all looking at each other, that way adults did when they were thinking things that they would not share with children.

Finally, my grandfather said, in what I have come to call his Christian Science Wisdom voice: "Well, that really stinks."

My mother's eyes were wide, wide, wide.

My grandfather shook his head and said "Stinks!" again, rather emphatically. My mother nodded gravely back at him.

I didn't know what he meant then.

The TV-announcers were saying his name: Jack Ruby. The man's name was Jack Ruby.

~*~

Like millions of Americans that day, I saw a murder on live television. Because the murder was widely perceived as an act of justice, nobody worried about the ill effects on all of us children who saw it. And later, many years and decades later, when we began to doubt that what we saw was justice and instead wondered if it had been the silencing of a co-conspirator... nobody worried about the erosion of our morality and the consequential development of our cynicism.

But I trace it all back to that day, the day in the basement of the Dallas city jail.

They ask us, do you remember where you were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated? But I always ask, instead: What did you think when his accused murderer was pronounced dead? Because the silencing began then, the questions asked that will forever remain unanswered. (As Norman Mailer once explained the existence of the angry kids of the 60s: They hated the authority because the authority had lied.)

My grandfather was right. It certainly did stink. And the stench covered everything.

The lies of the powerful were uncovered and exposed before us, that morning in the basement of the Dallas city jail.

Some of us never forgot.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Enjoy the silence... and other updates

From Pendleton Street Arts District here in Greenville. Not sure what the wheel is about, or the sun nuts, but its art, so its okay.


More on my Flickr page.


~*~




As I sit here worrying over whether the entire upstate is being slowly poisoned with radioactivity, I've decided to post some links I've been mulling over.






The adoptive parents of Baby Veronica, not satisfied that they WON their big case, are now suing the Cherokee Nation for court fees. (Do you BELIEVE these people?) They are seeking a cool one million dollars:
NOWATA, Okla. — Attorneys for the adoptive parents of a 4-year-old girl caught up in a custody dispute are seeking $1 million in legal fees from the Cherokee Nation and the girl’s biological father, who is a member of the tribe.

Attorneys representing Matt and Melanie Capobianco have filed paperwork seeking the legal fees incurred while fighting the lengthy custody battle over 4-year-old Veronica.

In September, Dusten Brown handed Veronica over to the Capobiancos after the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted an emergency stay keeping the girl in Oklahoma.

The Tulsa World reports attorneys for the Capobiancos are seeking $1 million to be split among four law firms. The newspaper reports none of the money would go to the Capobiancos.

Attorneys for Brown and the Cherokee Nation declined to comment on the filing.
~*~

Google has been ordered to block images in a privacy case. This may set a precedent, since as you know, ordinary people do not have the right to make Google do squat... but rich people (specifically Max Mosley) sure do! (Biographical note: Max is the son of Oswald Mosley, whom non-British rock fans mostly recognize as the subject of "Less Than Zero" by Elvis Costello.) According to the New York Times:
LONDON — A French court ruled Wednesday that Google must remove from its Internet search results all images of a former Formula One car racing chief at an orgy. The ruling in the privacy case could have ramifications for the tech giant’s operations across Europe.

Max Mosley, the former president of the International Automobile Federation, had filed the lawsuit in September to force Google to automatically filter from its search engine links to images from a British newspaper report in 2008 that included photos and a video of Mr. Mosley participating in a sadomasochistic sex party.

The former Formula One head successfully sued the News of the World in a London court for breach of privacy and was awarded £60,000, or about $96,000, in damages.

On Wednesday, the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris backed Mr. Mosley’s attempts to force Google to block references to the images from appearing in Google’s search results worldwide. The company said it would appeal the decision.

Mr. Mosley argued that French law makes it illegal to take and distribute images of an individual in a private space without that person’s permission. But Google said that would limit freedom of speech, forcing the company to block search results without any person or court overseeing the context in which the images appeared.

Analysts said the ruling against Google could lead to greater restrictions on what was accessible through search results and could prompt more people to demand that the United States technology company remove references to their private activities.

“At this point in time, the pendulum is swinging toward individuals’ privacy and away from freedom of speech,” said Carsten Casper, a privacy and security analyst at the consulting firm Gartner in Berlin.
...
As part of the settlement ordered by the French court on Wednesday, Google will have to filter out nine images of Mr. Mosley from its worldwide search results. The company must pay him 1 euro in compensation and it will be fined 1,000 euros every time that an image is found through its search engine, starting at the beginning of next year.

“It’s a fair decision,” said Clara Zerbib, a lawyer at the law firm Reed Smith in Paris who represented Mr. Mosley in the lawsuit. “This case isn’t about censoring information, but about complying with French law.”
...
The lawsuits relate to a 2008 report in The News of the World, a British newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which was later closed because of its ties to a phone hacking scandal. The article described Mr. Mosley’s activities as a “sick Nazi orgy.” The allegations were particularly damaging, as Mr. Mosley is the son of Sir Oswald Mosley, a pre-World War II-era British fascist, and Mr. Mosley had sought to distance himself from his father’s activities.

By pursuing legal action in France and Germany, Mr. Mosley was taking advantage of more stringent data privacy legislation in those countries compared with either the United States or Britain, according to privacy analysts. In France, for example, it is a criminal offense to record someone else without his or her consent in a private space.

Google is facing a number of privacy lawsuits in Europe.
~*~

How would the world's coastlines look if all the ice melted?

Well, for starters, Florida would be history. Here is the interactive map.

Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach would also be gone, meaning that the South Carolina coast would start somewhere around Columbia, by my reckoning.

~*~

I am opposed to assisted suicide. I thought I might have said this before on this blog... but then again, when I do a search, find that I have hedged and have not stated my opposition outright, so here it is: No.

And I recently remembered the reasons for my opposition, whilst reading Bad Cripple's eloquent blog. He is far more poetic and personal on the topic than I could ever be:
I think we people with a disability are feared. We are the one and only minority that can be joined via illness or accident. Our atypical bodies also symbolically represent the limits of medical science. Please do not talk to me about joint decision making strategies between physician and patients. Do not talk to me about informed consent. Do not talk to me about patient centered care. These buzz words are cultural ideals we aspire to reach. I am not suggesting we do away with these concepts. They should be valued. But my reality, my experiences when I try to access health care is radically different. [UK-Guardian writer Stella] Young quotes Marilyn Golden, a long time opponent of assisted suicide who perceptively observed: "we are asking the wrong questions when it comes to assisted death: We have to ask, do people with disabilities have true choice and self determination, in terms of living outside of nursing homes? In terms of housing that is truly affordable and accessible? In terms of the kind of services that really allow them to lead meaningful lives? In many cases, no."

These are the sort of questions we should be discussing. Why do people, all people, want to die? What drives a person to think death is preferable to living? Pain is not the primary variable. People choose to die because they fear losing their independence and autonomy. And here the link between end of life issues and disability is glaringly obvious to me. When I see a person with a disability I think of all the things a person can do. The same can be said for any person approaching the end of life. I think what can this person do? How can their life even with death impending be enhanced? This is not typically how others with no exposure to disability or end of life issues think. Instead we isolate the disabled and elderly--a historic pattern we have yet to break.
~*~

Nico Lang writes at Salon: America still can't accept Lady Gaga's bisexuality, or anybody else's. The title says it all.

The comments are also very interesting and instructive.

~*~

Camille Lewis shared with me this article about icky local Tea Party busybody Harry Kibler:
Kibler’s approach to political activism doesn’t rely on subtlety and consensus-building. He prefers open and direct confrontation, and his energy is inexhaustible. I recently spoke with him about his latest project, an effort to stop the Greenville County Council from imposing a one percent sale tax for the purpose of road maintenance.

“I’ve had so dad gum much fun doing this,” he tells me, “it ought to be against the law.”
Would that it were so.

Read it and weep.

~*~

MORE:

:: Today on our radio show, the redoubtable Occupy the Microphone, we discussed the case of George Stinney, a 14-year-old who was executed by the state of South Carolina in 1944. Currently, there is a renewed effort to clear his name and get his conviction overturned.

:: What happened to the Middle Class? Ask Alice. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

:: I love this! ----> The Myth of Re-enchantment (thinkBuddha.org)

:: The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer (GoodMenProject)

:: Hope your Veterans Day has been good; don't forget my post last year on this holiday. It is even more accurate now than it was then. Take heed and beware.

:: And finally, here is your CUTE QUOTIENT CONTENT for this month... and possibly for the whole year. I have bookmarked this, and I go to it when I need to feel calm, centered and happy. TOO CUTE FOR WORDS: Baby Goats and Friends. SQUEEEEEEEE! Gonna die. Gonna. Just. Die. (And they upload more all the time, from everywhere.)

~*~

Due to Daylight Savings Time, its dark when we leave the radio station now.

There is nothing quite as magical as driving through the crisp, autumnal dark, peering at all the headlights... and then Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode pops up on your radio dial. Otherworldly, perfect.

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed... is for special moments like this to go on forever. :)

Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode

Nuclear reactor shut down at Oconee

EMERGENCY! We warned you Duke Energy had their heads up their asses.

From WSPA:
OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. -
A radioactive leak at an Upstate nuclear power plant has forced the shutdown of one of its reactors.

Emergency officials say the leak was detected Sunday night at the Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca. The leak occurred in a containment building at a rate of 1/10 of a gallon per minute.

According to Scott Kern with the Oconee County Emergency Management Agency, the incident was small and under control. He also says there are no immediate threats and that the public is not in any danger.

The reactor will remain offline as crews work to fix the leak. One reactor was already shut down for repairs. This leaves one functioning reactor at the plant.

Duke Energy will continue to monitor the situation. They say they don't anticipate any delays in meeting the needs of customers as a result of the shutdown.
And that's it. That's all. That's the news. Duke Energy officials cozily proclaim: Everything is gonna be FINE FINE FINE.

Let us hope.

Stay tuned, everyone.