The vegetation in the Chernobyl zone has flourished. Flora and fauna have made the best of the situation without human interference and claimed their space. Scientists found that since 1990, growth flourished and the ecological effect has been positive. Eighty percent of the zone is now forested; before the disaster, it was just 20 percent. A total of 240 species of animals have been counted within the exclusion zone, most of which were present only in low numbers before the disaster.
I remember seeing the film, Everybody's All American, starring Dennis Quaid. In the film, a superstar professional (American) Football player retires and then can't resist coming back even though he is far past his prime. Sound familiar, Brett Favre? Michael Jordan?
Professional athletes have a hard time knowing when to call it quits. I suppose when a sport is how you have defined yourself for your entire life, giving it up just because you aren't your best or making the big bucks doesn't really compute.
Though Iranian officials occasionally sputter about "espionage," the only charge they face is "illegal border crossing," punishment for which is a fine, not indefinite detention.
Sarah -- who is in solitary confinement -- told them she is suffering from depression and a severe gynecological condition. Shane, originally also held in solitary but now sharing a cell with Josh, told them he is enduring a stomach ailment.
The three have lamentably become political pawns in the U.S.-Iranian staring contest. The fact is, despite the West's belligerence towards Iran, these three individuals demand our support and solidarity.
Arizona continues to wallow in a pool of fascism and racism. Boycotts seem to be gathering steam. Whether or not you ever bought products from AZ companies or intended to travel to AZ, this boycott campaign seems worthwhile as companies are getting scared.
It is always enjoyable to dig out some music you virtually forgot about to re-discover and enjoy it.
Close to 10 years ago, I loved the chaotic dance post-punk of Dance Disaster Movement. I recently threw DDM on and I still really enjoy it. A little bit like The Rapture x The Make Up + lo-fi synth wave. I have really fond memories of seeing the duo of Matt & Kevin spazz out live in their all white outfits. Those guys were two super friendly and funny dudes. Their pinnacle, in my opinion, is the track "The Shots". Towards the end, the duo seemed to grow tired of their all-white schtick and dance rhythms and moved more towards chaos.
I encourage everyone to check them out posthumously. MySpace (I am shocked to see their MySpace account was logged into as recent as 3/10/10)
If you don't know already, the insane fascist state of Arizona marches on with a new law that blatantly targets Latinos and makes Brown skin reason enough to be stopped by the law.
The media loves to call this law "harsh" or "strict" but using those words only serves the narrative that this is a just law which is solving a problem albeit with uneasy-to-stomach means. It is not. It is a racist law and nothing less. (It is interesting that the laws never actually target capital which is free to cross borders.)
This is directly aimed at Latinos (approx. 40% of the state) and you can bet they will be stopped, pulled over, and harassed on any whim to harass and provide identification. Without losing sight of that, what else does this law do? State identification not only targets those it seeks to exclude but also forces the state onto those the law seeks to include. It defines and codifies who you are. Another frightening ramification of this is how it will undoubtedly affect dissidents who seek anonymity. If you are protesting in any legal or extralegal fashion, cops can stop you at any point and legally demand identification. Not stopping and providing documentation is illegal.
Let no aspect of Arizona be safe. Let the state that found discomfort in honoring a Black man who tried to show White people the meaning of civilization again find discomfort as the state is besieged. Once this racist law is gone, let the offensive continue. That which cannot be changed should be cut off and destroyed like a poisoned limb.
I have been regularly attending shows at 924 Gilman St. for 18 years. It has served as a geographic focal point in my life more than any other place. I would hate to see it go. Hell, I can't even imagine the Bay Area without it. Probably equally as scary is to see the club be forced to morph into something completely different than intended to survive.
This rent problem comes at a time when, it appears, show attendance is at a low. These things happen. Punk/hardcore seems to go in cycles and a lot of the fair weather kids leave and smaller groups of lifers carry on. Last time I heard about scary rent problems threatening Gilman, it was probably also during such a lull.
What if Gilman did close its doors? 924 Gilman opened with a purpose in a specific area that would allow the club to do its own thing. That area has completely transformed from an industrial wasteland into family friendly yuppie joints. The club has been forced to adapt on some levels. Does this mean punk and Gilman ought to find a different location? Would it make more sense to keep it real in another abandoned area of the Bay Area and carry on in a similar spirit?
Is punk even sustainable at this point? The world is completely different than it was in the 80's and I don't see the influx of young blood into the scene that used to be common. I don't know if there is another scene or genre that is the same thing punk was in 1982. The world and the internet have destroyed what once made underground scenes so vibrant and essential. All this is not to say that us lifers need a place too. We do. Gilman, in many ways, is the center of our community and I would be heartbroken to see it go away.
April 15th was supposed to be a big showing of force for the Tea Party Movement. There was supposed to be armed rebellion, brawls with anarchists, liberal subversion, massive media coverage, and the fulfillment of a truly sustainable mass movement... But did any of that happen?
It would seem that this Tea Party really kicked off when the government decided to raise taxes for people making over $250k/year. So was this working class average american movement angry about that and rallying to the rescue of the super rich? Were they being manipulated? Or was it really this super rich fuckers who were out with the misspelled signs?
Americans love to hate taxes and why shouldn't we since we get so little back. Maybe if taxes went to serve the people more than the capitalist machine, we could handle paying them and not devolve into some irrational fear that somehow the people with nothing are actually getting more than me.
A lot has been written about how to approach, fight, befriend, win over, or organize the Tea Party. Perhaps if they die off, we won't have to worry about that (or read all the idiotic proposals). You can't win them over. There is no rational argument against irrational claims and fears. Whether they are working class or not, the liberals, progressives, or left radicals aren't going to get them to switch sides. That type of cultural shift takes decades and, while it might be a project worth the energy, this group ain't coming along.
I really hope we stop seeing these liberal/progressive counter-protests which read more like a guide how NOT to oppose Tea Party than anything else. NONE of the counter-demonstrators seem to have ANY signs opposing anything that Tea Party is about. Sure, a lot of Tea Partiers are racist, sexist, homophobic and I see plenty of people protesting racism/sexism/homophobia but then why have a reactionary counter-demo to vent about those things all in relation to something that doesn't stand for those things? It is like a fuckin knee-jerk reaction that liberals/progressives seem to have. I am not saying all things aren't inter-connected. They are. The left seems to instinctively know this and that is why every demo kinda looks the same. Somewhere, however, I think focus was lost and now every leftist demo just brings out the usual suspects for the usual parade. (Perhaps the popular insurrectionist "totality" crit will bring a new way of approaching this interconnectedness... so long as it doesn't continue to dwell in the privileged ghetto of ignoring race/class/etc.)
Tonight in a dimly lit room of my peers, I was asked a question about this blog, "Blogspot. Are you concerned with who owns what you write?.. Who might be reading what you write?" As always seems the case in these interactions, a quick insufficient answer was spit out before the next storm of noise canceled out dialogue.
There are two distinct questions. With the question of ownership, I am not concerned. I borrow. I steal. A lot of words I post are regurgitated from other sources. I suppose the feudal lords of Google could claim ownership of my words and their league of lawyers would back it up. I don't post here with the concern of how these words will be used after we are done with them.
Am I concerned that state and corporate spies have their eyes on me? I have no illusions that if either wished to see me behind bars or dead, I would be. I am careful. We all must be. Some words are better off not spoken or typed. However, I would rather be part of an empowering chorus than part of a scared underground.
Now let's continue... with our tired bloodshot eyes and our sore arthritic hands.
Let us shatter the overly precious images of ourselves whose reflections lull us into passivity.
Take Our Daughters to Work Day was started in 1993 by liberal feminist Gloria Steinem. The intent was to counter the disenfranchisement of women. The day was designed specifically to address self-esteem of girls and to expose them to careers often not presented to them.
The Day resisted reactionary pressure to include boys initially. Well, in 2003, Take Our Daughters To Work Day was officially changed and promoted as Take Our Daughters AND SONS To Work Day. What is the point of starting a day/program to help out the disenfranchised if you just include the already enfranchised?! There is already a day for that. It is called EVERYday!
Some educators are also asking that parents not remove their children from school to take them to work.
Our children- especially young girls- need to learn they are more than a career. While taking them to work and showing them different environments might promote goals of becoming a successful business person, I can think of nothing less I would want to imprint on a young person than the nightmares of slaving away for capital.
One of the first rap casettes I bought was Gang Starr's Step Into The Arena. It took some time to grow on me and in some ways signaled my move from high bpm rebel rap to more nuanced hip hop.
By the time Hard To Earn came out, Gang Starr was one of my favorite groups. They stand out in that era as the tops. They combined a gully attitude with style and mixed it with some of the best beats. Guru went on to do Jazzmatazz. He was certainly a pioneer of that jazz/hip hop fusion and I loved Jazzmatazz 1 and 2.
Keith Elam aka Guru died today. I don't think anyone could out it better than he did...
No religion could save ya
My religion is rap, r-a-p
Cause when I rock street kids rejoice
I got mad rhymes, still
It's mostly tha voice, that gets you up
It's mostly tha voice, that makes you buck
A lot of rappers got flavor, and some got skills
But if your voice ain't dope then you need to chill
Americans hate taxes... At least, I am told we do, or we are supposed to. We have, at least, hated them since Reagan and his crew told us to. And why? Because we should not trust "big government." It is easy to not trust government when you don't trust anyone.
The series begins with a sort of 28 Days Later sans zombies vibe. It progresses to a dramatic thriller that, at times, feels like Cormac McCarthy's world of The Road (although not as bleak). I highly recommend the series to anyone interested in systems collapse, post-apocalyptical scenarios, survivalism, and/or just a good drama with a lot of character development.
The dvd's will be available in the US later this month.
80% of rap songs contain references to alcohol. (8 percent of rap songs had references to alcohol in 1979, but by 1997, 44 mentioned booze.)
This isn't a coincidence. It is a calculated merger of performers and alcohol companies. You can't tell me Jay-Z's very public break from drinking Cristal (which did make a somewhat classist/racist remark but also, apparently, did not pay artists for the name-dropping) and move to constantly hyping Ace of Spades isn't lining his pockets. He's not a businessman. He's a business, man!
I haven't blogged about comics in a long time, but it doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about them. I am actually excited about a few things. DC's Blackest Night and Brightest Day have me very interested but given the scope of the stories, I am waiting for trade paperbacks. Marvel's Civil War was great and they really hit a high with all the unveiling of Secret Invasion but a lot of the Dark this-and-that Norman Osborne stuff didn't interest me.
Now I am looking forward to Marvel's Heroic Age but am a little weary of the new teaser images for "We Are The X-Men." Are they trying to integrate the X-books into Marvel's greater community? I just don't like the idea of (at least, non-traditional) non-mutants as part of The X-Men.
#1: Mike Vanderboegh, former militia member from Alabama, urged readers of his blog to throw bricks through Democratic offices in response to health care legislation. Six animal rights activists were convicted of “animal enterprise terrorism” for doing much less. They were part of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, and ran a website that posted personal information about executives tied to the controversial lab Huntingdon Life Sciences. They were sentenced to between 1 and 6 years in prison. And the former militia member? He hasn’t even been arrested.
#2: The Christian militia, Hutaree, were “part of a group of apocalyptic Christian militants who were plotting to kill law enforcement officers in hopes of inciting an antigovernment uprising. The New York Times doesn’t call this racist, political violence “terrorism.” Yet a group of environmentalists who sabotaged property as part of the Earth Liberation Front, without harming or intending to harm a single person, were smeared as terrorists immediately upon arrest.
#3: Sarah Palin told a rally of 8,000 tea-partiers: “It’s not a time to retreat. It’s a time to reload.” The AETA 4, for example, are not accused of property destruction or threats of violent. They are being charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for protesting and chalking slogans on the streets using children’s sidewalk chalk.
Clamoring to label others as terrorists misses the point, which is that the word, the most dangerous and powerful term in the media and in our legal system, is nothing more than a fluid brand to attack the enemy of the hour.
- Leading up to the Rwandan genocide, Tutsi's broadcast a lot of vitriolic hatred. What is someone broadcast that type of incitement on a major American network? Well, in a comparison, Glenn Beck already does.
- Google vs. China is being hyped up as the private company standing up to totalitarianism... but it isn't. Google cooperates with governments such as Hong Kong and India with censorship. (And in China, anyone can use google.com which is not censored by the government.)
I encourage you to watch this video in its entirety. I realize 17+ minutes is a long time (as I understand it, most peoples' internet attention is less than 60 seconds) but I think we, as Americans, owe it to ourselves and the people of Iraq to view Imperialism in its naked brutality. The video isn't as visually brutal as many Hollywood films or video games. It is brutal in the methodology in which this attack takes place.
It fascinates me just how efficiently these soldiers execute the killing of these men and injure children from the heavens. It isn't efficient enough for the obviously trigger happy gunmen. Seeing a spray of artillery and the resulting cloud of dust. Then seeing these imperialist hunters circling the scene to kill any living and anyone who arrives to help.
Wikileaks has hyped up this video release. Afterall, the US government wouldn't allow its release. They claimed it was too sensitive to national security or some bullshit. What does Wikileaks look to do? It reminds me of The Falcon and the Snowman. In that film when a government worker uncovers dirty deeds done by the US government, his buddy encourages releasing it to the press. His rationale is that the American people would be outraged and public opinion would prohibit such things from continuing. The government worker, however, points out that such acts have been made public before but the US media and public just do not care. I think he is right. In preparation of this video's release, the US military started outing themselves that mistakes have been made and innocents have been killed. This tempers the revelation that it happened one more time. Of course, it didn't happen 'one more time.' It is a systematic assault on the people of Iraq.
Of the dozen or so killed, property destroyed, and two children injured, one man was carrying a weapon. I am sure the US military and their apologists will point to this as "proof" that the label of insurgents used to describe the dead was accurate or at least close enough. I doubt all of us Americans who so cherish our right to bare arms will be rushing to the dozen dead's defense.
The video is classified military footage of a May 7, 2009 air strike which may have killed as many as 97 civilians in Afghanistan. Initially, the Pentagon planned to release the video last year, but backtracked. Wikileaks claims to have obtained a copy and decrypted it. Gen. David Petraeus has said the video proves "the targets of these different strikes were the Taliban." But Wikileaks claims the video will reveal a "Pentagon murder-coverup."
So, what happens when it is released and if it reveals what we all already know and no one cares?
Let me try to break this down... So, White people like to destroy their skin in order to look less (naturally) pale. I guess it is some sort of status symbol of leisure (or perhaps some deep-seated desire to not be White). The government, in desperate need of funds, decides to tax tanning salons. This isn't stopping White people from destroying their skin in the natural sunlight but it adds a few cents when gaining an unnatural orange hue. Then some White folks grasping for anything to complain about declare this taxation as racist. White folks just can't catch a break!