Thursday, May 31, 2007

Kyl Revealed as the Anonymous Senator

An anonymous hold on a bill that would remove the shroud of secrecy that perpetually engulfs Washington, D.C. machinations has finally been claimed - by none other than the Junior Senator from Arizona.

Kyl revealed his name Thursday, days after the bill's backers launched an e-mail and telephone campaign, urging their supporters to help in "smoking out 'Sen. Secrecy.'" They pointed out the irony that an open government bill was being blocked using a rule that allowed secrecy.

Supporters say the bill would plug loopholes in the FOIA law by, among other things, clarifying when federal agencies would have to pay attorney's fees if they miss deadlines to provide information, and bolstering deadlines for the government's response to requests under the law.

The Justice Department objects strenuously to several provisions. Chief among them is a section that would eliminate exemptions allowing the government to deny access to privileged or law-enforcement sensitive information.

Major kudos to the bloggers who had a big hand in "smoking out" Senator Secrecy. SusanG over at DailyKos led an effort at that blog, as well as la gente buena at PorkBusters.

Now which journalist do you think will earn a batch of galletas de azucar rosa for asking Kyl why he's afraid of having the light shown directly into the cucaracha nest?


I couldn't think of anyone either.

[UPDATE] Here is the contact information for Kyl's offices, demand that he stop stalling the "Open Government Bill" - as always, be polite ;-)
Online Contact Form link
Phoenix Office: (602) 840-1891
Tucson Office:
(520) 575-8633
Washington, D.C. Office:
(202) 224-4521
[UPDATE the 2nd] Apparently this is a different bill than the one targeted by SusanG and Porkbusters - what's with the GOP and their cowardly tactics to stall legislation?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Another Helping of Schadenfreude Sundae

I never get tired of serving this menu item

Mad Max Kennedy, one of the few members of the Minuteman Project who actually lived at the border and who I featured in a recent profile, called to let me know he has left Campo and probably won't return. His disgust with some in the leadership finally drove him off.

Meanwhile, the other major faction of Minutemen, called the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, is also imploding. Last week, its founder, Chris Simcox, tried to quell a coup by dumping several members of his inner circle. A Simcox statement reads in part: "Regrettably … after reports to national headquarters from state and chapter directors around the country it became clear that a very small group of volunteer administrators within the organization had become ambitious of power, ineffective and distracted from our primary mission, and were in fact determined to attempt to defame and oust the (board of directors and executive director). Local leader reports, intercepted emails and phone calls revealed plans to attempt to install their own Board and to take over the organization."

As Salon noted, the Simcox statement reads as if it were "copied directly from a press release dictated by Joseph Stalin to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics." Or by Jim Gilchrist in dealing with his own rebellious Minuteman faction.

And that's just the Califas strain of vigilante'ism. Check out what's going on here in the Grand Canyon State.
A man who mortgaged his home in order to help the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps build border fencing on private land in Cochise County is suing the group and its president, Chris Simcox, for fraud and breach of contract.

In a complaint filed May 22 in Maricopa County Superior Court, Jim Campbell, a retired homebuilder and Air Force veteran from Fountain Hills, accused Simcox and the MCDC of falsely promising to build a multi-layered Israeli-style security barrier on the Palominas ranch of John and Jack Ladd. Campbell alleges that, after hearing the MCDC publicize the plan in April 2006, he had three telephone conversations with Peter Kunz, project manager for the effort, in which Kunz promised the Israeli-style barrier would be built along 10 miles of the Ladd ranch.

Only in this current political climate can it be reported that the Minutemen vigilantes are being sued for not building the Great Wall of America™. I wish I could say that I felt sorry for Mr. Campbell - but unfortunately he's yet another example of a Valley of the Sun resident meddling with the affairs of Baja Arizona.

Anywho - ¡Buen provecho!

Migrant Trail Shines the Light on Human Rights

Derechos Humanos and their activist allies here in Baja Arizona are midway through their 75 mile trek across the Sonoran Desert to bring attention to the plight of immigrants who, out of utter desperation, enter this country to ensure family survival.
The walk is not intended to simulate the experience migrants face as they cross the gauntlet of death. Walkers are accompanied by support vehicles, unlimited food and water, and medical attention: things that the migrants themselves desperately lack. However by walking 75 miles in the hot summer sun we try to make a small contribution that will some day lead to change on the border. No one should be forced to risk their life in order to provide for their family.

And therein lies the problem with the recent "compromise" in the Senate on comprehensive immigration reform. Nada - nada - in the bill takes a look at our trade and economic policies that affect the global market, most especially Latin America.

Instead, the hard-liners are busy making sure their militarization campaign continues full speed ahead along la frontera, while the corporatists ensure that their modern day slave trade lives on in a guest worker program. It seems as if, once again, the human rights aspect of this entire situation is being ignored.

U.S.-born Americans need to understand something fundamental: As long as you support this government's strong-arm economic tactics that feeds its superpower ego and 'Low, Low Prices', you must live with its consequences.

Entire families are not coming to this land because of the climate or culture, they are coming here out of necessity for survival. To take an elitist stance that advocates deportation or denies a path to full citizenship rights is the equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.

You don't get to pretend that the well-being of U.S-born Americans is more important than, say, Latin American-born Americans; especially when the system you support through taxes, political donations (to either party), and everyday expenditures that feed the corporate beast of greed is specifically designed to keep the imbalance more secure than Dick Cheney's undisclosed bunker.

There is certainly a crisis going on with respect to immigration reform, but if you take off the American Exceptionalist Goggles for just a moment, and put on some Tierra-Colored Grafas de Sol, you'll see that perhaps those people walking from Sasabe to Tucson this week are on to something deeper - the rise of the United States Empire has come at the expense of countless indigenous lives and livelihoods, and we are all now seeing the seedlings of an equalized future.

Ever heard of birth pangs? I am now beginning to believe that we must undergo this period of hard-line nativism in order to finally shake awake the consciousness of todos los Estados Unidenses.

There should be no more ignoring of the deaths that happen every year in the Sonoran Desert. Nor any dangerous campaigns to repeal the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The pretending must end that English is the only language that matters in a land that spoke Spanish, Diné, Wabanaki, Oneida, and countless other indigenous tongues before the government-sponsored genocide began in the 16th Century.

It will be a while before those dreams in my heart become a reality, but Latin American culture is resilient and intimate on a level that the Puritanical regime will never be able to fathom.

El Alma will always win against La Palea.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Georgia Inmates Now Plucking Your Chickens

This seemed like a notable piece of info.
The Crider poultry-processing plant in Stillmore, Ga., lost two-thirds of its work force last year after a federal immigration agency raid.

Since then, Crider has scrambled to replace the employees. It has staged job fairs, boosted starting pay and even contracted for Georgia prison inmates to work on its production line. In an unusual experiment, Crider has also recruited a small group of Laotian Hmong refugees to move from Minnesota to Georgia, hoping they'll start a new community.

linkage (emphasis mine)

A trial balloon had already been floated in Colorado regarding this innovative way of making sure corporate profits remain 'full-speed ahead'.

Ever since Colorado passed tough immigration laws last year, farmers have worried that the immigrant laborers they depend on to plant and harvest their crops will not show up in the fields this season. So, a state legislator has proposed a novel idea: Send in the prisoners.

In a pilot program officials hope to roll out before the May planting season, minimum-security prison inmates will work five farms in southeastern Colorado to fill in for migrant workers. The inmates will earn the state's standard prison pay of 60 cents per day.

I guess that's one way to make sure Americans™ fill the job void after the Brown Menace is eradicated. [/cynical sarcasm]

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cindy Sheehan's Memorial Day Message to Dems

Dear Democratic Congress,

Hello, my name is Cindy Sheehan and my son Casey Sheehan was killed on April 04, 2004 in Sadr City , Baghdad , Iraq . He was killed when the Republicans still were in control of Congress. Naively, I set off on my tireless campaign calling on Congress to rescind George's authority to wage his war of terror while asking him "for what noble cause" did Casey and thousands of other have to die. Now, with Democrats in control of Congress, I have lost my optimistic naiveté and have become cynically pessimistic as I see you all caving into "Mr. 28%"

There is absolutely no sane or defensible reason for you to hand Bloody King George more money to condemn more of our brave, tired, and damaged soldiers and the people of Iraq to more death and carnage. You think giving him more money is politically expedient, but it is a moral abomination and every second the occupation of Iraq endures, you all have more blood on your hands.

Go read the whole thing

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday Nite Tour of tha 'Hood

Hi there tourists. Welcome to the Eegeehood Tour. I'm James and I'll be your guide tonight. Nanette is using up some of her paid leave time, and since these tours just don't happen without a tour guide, here I am. We hope you remembered to bring your binoculars (if not, we will gladly offer some for rental - see the assistant near rear exit). Fresh coffee and bagels are also being served as we speak. So, everyone, get out those celebrity Z-list bloggers maps and get ready for the ride of your lives.

First on our route is the home of Manny, without whom we would not have an Eegeehood, and hence I'd be out of a job as a tour guide (these gigs are hard to come by). As you can see, there is a lovable basset who patrols the grounds, and a good friend or two offering up the latest example of nativist racism. Remember to drop by and offer a few good words of support for Manny.

Since the home of tonight's humble tour guide is just next door, let's take a peep there next. Obviously you will not see me there at this very moment (unless you've consumed some primo blotter acid), but I can assure you that the house is far from empty. Dominating the front lawn is a post on my absolute disgust with the Dems' latest sell-out. They've done a heck of a job folks. Give 'em a hand (or the bird). Crooks and Liars picked it up, and mi casa has seen more visitors in one day than had dropped in during the previous week. But enough about me.

The guest house is my jazz joint (Nothing Is), but we're taking five as they say in the biz. Drop by later in the week, when we'll be droppin' some slammin' tunes.

Nezua always has something happening at his pad, including his chronicles. His is one blog to just start at the top and keep reading.

Duke at Migra Matter catches possible Presidential candidate Fred Thompson acting like a bigot (well, true he's an actor, but he really is a bigot).

Xicanopwr has a few things to say about the current immigration reform efforts in Congress and how it will screw a lot of good people.

Catnip has some more food for thought (truly a feast for the brain), as well as a video of Black Uhuru from the mid 1980s. A quick bit of trivia: in the graphic novel version of V for Vendetta, the title character makes reference to Black Uhuru in one of his early conversations with Evey.

The big pink estate just down the street is Mo Betta Meta, which has plenty to say about the Big Orange palace this week.

Boran is painting part of New York City! I see many visits to Home Depot in the future. I know bad joke.

Intrepid Liberal Journal has a few thoughts for the Memorial Day weekend.

The Family Man has something to be proud of! Congrats on your 10,000th visitor.

Olivia's place is the neighborhood's garden, with so many beautiful flowers to admire. This of course is a good place to stop and smell the roses.

Our neighborhood is also home to a place dedicated to health improvement. Want to learn a few things about nutrition, or about the mindset needed to lose weight? Always a welcoming place to visit.

Tonight's tour ends here, Everybody Comes From Somewhere, where I shall direct your attention to the tribute to anti-war protesters.

We at Eegeehood Tours, Inc. hope you have enjoyed your visit. Please don't forget to schedule another tour with us - possibly as soon as next Sunday. You never know which Z-list celebrities you might just run into.

Peace out.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Bud Blogging

My apologies for the crappy, cell-phone quality pic of Bud today - but he's finally here for Friday Bud Blogging. It has been a rough few weeks, to say the least.

When I took this picture a few minutes ago, he was plastered to my side - cuddling in his own Basset Hound way - because I had just returned from a funeral. The six week old baby of one of my closest childhood friends passed away suddenly earlier in the week and we came together as family, friends and community today to say our final goodbyes.

In moments of grief like this, I get alot of questions from people that sortof go something like this: "Why did God let this happen?" "Why do some people have to suffer so much?" "Where is God in all of these tears?"

I don't even begin to pretend to have an answer.

For me, someone who has lost alot of loved ones over the years, and watched as lives become shattered through loss, drugs, whatever we can dream up to take the pain away - all I can do as a Christian, as a human being, is to love them and be there for them.

Religion is a funny thing because all of the preaching, all of the hymns, all of the stories handed down to us throughout the millenia, boils down to one thing if we choose to see them through that lens - Love.

And that's the way it is with all life. For those who choose to believe in a higher power, or those who don't, we all have to find a way to make it through this world together. It is a lesson that is lost on those who pervert religion by preaching with hate-colored glasses adorned on their face.

I recall when I was in Boy Scouts as a young child, having this small lesson hammered into my head whenever we camped: Leave the environment around you better than you found it.

It is a creed that I pray everyday to strengthen within me. Even on days like this, when the sunlit sky seems darker than a cavern deep within the Earth - every hug shared, every eye-to-eye look of love given, every tale told of days gone by - we must remember that the world will be made brighter if we would only reach out to one another beyond our pride and past mistakes and simply be.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being you.


Now go and spread some of that Love to everyone around you. It's the best way I know to honor Baby E today.

The disingenuous benevolence of nativist rhetoric

This past Sunday, as is my usual weekend routine, I sat through the weekly carnival of double-talk and spin that make up the Sunday morning TV gab-fest.

At the top of the list of this week's topics was the compromise immigration reform measure announced last Thursday.

Demonstrating the fact that opinions really are like buttholes – and everybody's got one, I watched as one pundit or politician after the next took a whack at reducing this complex issue down to a 15 second sound bite.

But what was most revealing about these gaseous exchanges was not what they exposed about the speakers limited knowledge of the intricacies of the issue or detialed facts, but rather how willing they were to play fast and loose with them to make a point.

Perhaps nowhere was art of obfuscation brought to such a masterful level then during the rants of America's favorite crotchety old racist, Pat Buchanan, during his weekly stint of on John McLauglin's shouting match.

Buchanan has never failed to demonstrate why he's been a national embarrassment for over forty years. Yet, given a forum to discuss his views on the non-white population under the guise of the immigration reform was like listening to a barrage of off-color, racists jokes from a drunken relative at a wedding …you can't believe this stuff is coming out of his mouth and you just wish he'd pass out already.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- a complete sellout of working America. The vast majority of these 12 million folks are uneducated and unschooled. They compete directly against African-Americans, single moms, people who didn't get out of high school….


MR. ZUCKERMAN: High school graduates do not want to take these menial jobs. We have a shortage of employees at the low end of the employment spectrum and at the high end. And this bill is going to help us in both areas. It's exactly what we need.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, let me tell you --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's the first rational bill we have, instead of pandering to all the people who just want to condemn immigration, which has been the DNA of this country.

MR. BUCHANAN: You made your point. You made your point, Mort. Half the African-Americans in this country and half the Mexican- Americans don't graduate from high school. And the ones that do have got eighth-grade educations. You're taking their jobs away and you're bringing in millions of workers to compete with them. You're betraying these people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also, to add to what Pat's saying, teenage unemployment is at its highest level ever. Do we really need to bring in unskilled workers to take the jobs right out of the hands of those teenagers?


Before we look at what Pat was really saying during his little tirade, lets look at some facts:

First off, half of all Black and Hispanic kids are not high school dropouts. While dropout rates are higher for minority students…it's far from 50%.

Black and Hispanic youth are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to drop out of high school. In 2004, 7 percent of non-Hispanic whites ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school and had not completed high school, compared with 12 percent of blacks and 24 percent of Hispanics. The high rate for Hispanics is in part the result of the high proportion of immigrants in this age group who never attended school in the U.S. Asian youth, with a dropout rate of 4 percent, had the lowest dropout rate among all racial and ethnic groups in 2004.

Secondly, the most recent study on the effects of immigrant labor on the wages of native workers with lower educational levels shows it to be negligible.

Using individual data on the task intensity of occupations across US states from 1960-2000, however, we find that foreign and native-born workers with low levels of education supply very different occupational skills. Immigrants specialize in manual tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and building. Native-born workers — who have a better understanding of local networks, rules, customs, and language — respond to immigration by specializing in interactive tasks such as coordinating, organizing, and communicating. This increased specialization in tasks complementary to those performed by immigrants implied that wages paid to native workers — even those with little formal education — experienced little decline both in the aggregate and in states with large immigration.

Since native-born workers respond to inflows of immigrant labor by specializing in interactive tasks, wage losses associated with immigration are minimal. Immigration caused wages paid to native-born workers with less than a high school degree to drop by just 0.7% between 1990 and 2000.

Comparative Advantages and Gains from Immigration Giovanni Peri (University of California, Davis and NBER), Chad Sparber (Colgate University)
April, 2007

So basically, Pat was only doing what he's been doing for the past forty years …talking out of an orifice not located on his head.

But that's really neither here nor there, because he wasn't really talking about immigration, job loss or his ideas on protecting US workers.

What he was talking about was his belief that people of color are inherently inferior and unable to perform educationally, so they need his protection in order to keep the social status quo.

If in fact the majority of minority children weren't graduating from high school, and those that did only mastered the skills of an eight grader, as Pat believes, why wouldn’t he be outraged by that? Instead he's trying to make sure they have menial, dead end jobs awaiting them.

If 50% of white children failed to graduate from high school rather than the current 7%, Pat would be calling it a national crisis and demand the heads of the educators and government leaders who had failed to do their job.

Yet, in Pat's world, due to their obvious inferiority, people of color cannot be expected to excel academically and it's best off if they just stick to jobs more suited their limited intellects. The jobs he believes that "12 million uneducated and unschooled" immigrants are threatening to steal.

It’s amazing to see the confluence of all of Pat's warped visions about race come together in one neat little package.

And let's not forget McLaughlin's final remark on teenage unemployment. Because if the uneducable Blacks and Latinos don't want those menial jobs meant for them, surely some white children would be capable of doing them... at least after school or during the summer.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend Cat Blogging

Since Bud won't come out to play, I'll just go back to sleep.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Family Values My Nalga

I am so disgusted with this "breakthrough" that I could spit clavos
WASHINGTON - Key senators in both parties and the White House announced agreement Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border.

The plan would create a temporary worker program to bring new arrivals to the U.S and a separate program to cover agricultural workers. Skills and education-level would for the first time be weighted over family connections in deciding whether future immigrants should get permanent legal status. New high-tech employment verification measures also would be instituted to ensure that workers are here legally.


In perhaps the most hotly debated change, the proposed plan would shift from an immigration system primarily weighted toward family ties toward one with preferences for people with advanced degrees and sophisticated skills. Republicans have long sought such revisions, which they say are needed to end "chain migration" that harms the economy, while some Democrats and liberal groups say it's an unfair system that rips families apart.

Family connections alone would no longer be enough to qualify for a green card — except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.

New limits would apply to U.S. citizens seeking to bring foreign-born parents into the country.

(all emphasis mine)
I shouldn't be surprised. They've been splitting our families apart for over 150 years. Why stop now?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Someday Tour! (or maybe Momday tour!)

Hello everyone, sorry for my absence the last couple of weeks - don't worry, it's not just you! You should see my list of emails that I have to return... oy! Big thanks to James for stepping in last week, by the way - yay James!

But here we are again and boy are we ready to scuttle about peeking in on what's been going on where. I bet some folks have gotten toooo comfortable at not being peeked at and are still in their housecoats and slippers... good for them!

First up... oh gee... Manny, DON'T LOOK! With this cloud blogging of Olivia's, there is no need at all to guess what you are looking at. It's waving! *gives the pretty bug a little wave back and wishes it bon appetit?* Whew, I think the best thing for getting over the heebie jeebies is to scroll down a bit and feast (ack! should I say feast) your eyes on inner bits! Oh wait, not those kind of inner bits... the flowery kind! Buttery calla lilies, and lemony and purple silk tulips!

Guess what!? Boran has finished our cool car, just this week! And he provides the weekly progression of the painting, so we can see what was done from week to week all at once. Way fun! Also, big surprise I know, but someone has done a study and figured out that Bush has not been at all good for wildlife in general. Devastating, in fact. And it's not easy (or ecologically beneficial!) being green... keeping your lawn that way, that is. Boran has alternatives!

ILJ wonders if Guiliani can inspire a secular awakening in the GOP? Heck, any sort of awakening at all would probably do some good, no?

Where in the world is Arcturus!? Say 'hi!" (<---- this is a mini-petition) [UPDATE!] Nezua brings to our attention the young, clear and piping voices of the sad present and the defiant future. I wonder how many people on the other side of the street went home full of shame. Hopefully at least some! Also, three action items! One standing up for the young voices of conscience and justice above, another highlighting a new kid (literally!) on the peace and justice block - amazing work already... and thoughts for her mom, who needs some good ones right now. And dissecting that Quaker Oats guy... and ads in general - the subtle and effective use of imagery to send not so pleasant messages to some.

katiebird has still been firming daily (and providing encouragement for others to do so too), and walking and doing katiebird stuff (take care of yourself, katie!). And being nosy too, she wants to know what you are planning! So, go tell her. Also, guess who's book has just won the Agatha Award for Best Novel!? katie tells us! I bet you will (not) be surprised! Yay, congrats!

Deano is taking a break! For a couple of weeks or more... but he's left us a puzzler in the meantime! Maybe by the time he returns I'll have broken the code. Have a nice and refreshing vacation, deano!

[UPDATE THE LAST!] Original James reports on why "it can't happen here, as least these days" does not often apply... as in the case of US ethnic cleansings. Also, a post of Duke's is a stepping off point to tie in with his own thoughts about right wing authoritarianism, immigration and eliminationist rhetoric! And a couple of funny (and one very true!) screen captures. There is more there, scroll down, scroll down! And Jazzy James has found some Miles Davis stuff, circa 1975! If you're looking to add to your music collection, this is the place to be!

Family Man has been having a time of it... from locking himself out of the house (along with a grudge holding George) to continuing and honoring family traditions - not everyone in the family can do that! to repairing recalcitrant washing machines... with a twist! If you've not had your quota of giggles today (and an "awww"), go read!

Over at everybody comes from somewhere NLinStPaul has thoughts on fear and healing and spiderleaf loves Long Island(?!) and Mexico too, but she'll write about that next time.

All done! (I think... if I've forgotten anyone, let me know!)

In the absence of Bud (although we love the cat... but that's a different cat!) I leave you with an intertubes classic that should not be missed... Dogs in Elk. Do not read it while drinking anything or around anyone who already think you are a bit batty cuz you laugh at a computer screen.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Checking In

Sorry this place has gone semi-silent lately, things have been extremely busy in the realm of reality for me. It's all good stuff, though. I've had the opportunity to cultivate the seeds of cultura in young people through the work I do.

Cinco de Mayo is always a tricky holiday for me because one of my biggest pet peeves is usually set ablaze. It gores the nerves how the alcohol industry has usurped the beauty of the Mexican culture and made what should be a celebration of victory of a perseverant people among horrible odds, into a drunken mockery called Drinko de Mayo.

It's not so much that alcohol plays a central part of the marketing, it's the perversion of an unholy marriage that "Mexican Fiesta = Drunk Time" that gets to me. Luckily I was able to spend the weekend watching and coordinating with young Xicanos performing mariachi and folklorico to a crowd of proud families, friends and community.

The drums of an Aztec Danza de Cuahtemoc, the sweet scent of sage billowing out of a ritual conch bowl, the rattle of shells adorning the ankles of the cultural trailblazers - that is how one can wield the fire of orgullo in the veins alive.

The piercing sound of the trumpet, proclaiming its melodic prayer along the heartbeat of the guitarrón, as the vibrant trajes de Jalisco move in harmony to the ancient dances of indigenous people - a cause for the heart to smile.

So yeah, that's what I've been up to lately.

As my brothers and sisters feel the sting of acid rain in El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciúncula, a hard Truth remains - no matter what century, or what form the conquistadores choose to oppress the spirit of la raza - we shall continue our dance unabated.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Late Sunday Eegeehood Mini-Tour

Damn. It seems like this must be vacation season, as several houses in tha 'hood have been unoccupied as of late. I guess it beats the summer travel rush, when those gas prices are going to hit $4 per gallon. Some of us are still around though, and maybe we should have a block party or something.

I'll bring the tunes: a couple live bootleg Miles Davis concerts from 1975. Check Another Unity from late January 1975 and a bootleg taped Philly gig from mid-May 1975.

I might even drop some Nathaniel Mackey words or reflect on the state of pop music just to get the conversation starting. Mad props due to Arcturus for introducing me to Mackey's work. Arcturus seems to be on an extended vacation. Hopefully it involves touring jazz joints all across the known universe.

Over at Everybody Comes From Somewhere, check nlinstpaul's piece on the growing trend toward multipolarity in international politics.

Nezua is on fire. The True Front of Progressivism should be mandatory reading. As the vacationing Nanette would say, his is one of those blogs that you just start at the top and keep reading.

XicanoPwr is prognosticating a new Rage Against the Machine album, and has been giving his readers the 411 on neo-Nazi terrorism in Los Angeles. He also live-blogged this year's May Day activities and provided some much-needed coverage of the May Day police brutality at MacArthur Park. Duke at Migra Matters also has some coverage of the MacArthur Park police freakout.

A couple weeks ago, Janet's blog Peace Gone Wild had a youtube video of some Portland peace protest activity. I hate the war too.

Deano has an impressionist-flavored painting by Ann Marie Coolick available for viewing pleasure. Keeping on the art tip, check out boran2's progress on his painting of a 1959 Volvo. I love Volvos, especially the ones from the 1950s and 1960s. Olivia's always got some gorgeous flower photos to check out, including her latest of a lily. She's also got a guest photo by North Dakota Democrat titled "Spring Sunset in North Dakota" that reminds me of why I love the high plains so much. We've got a theme going on now, so here's a couple pictures of a pond by Family Man (who is back after a brief haitus due to a computer mishap).

Rob at Intrepid Liberal Journal has a podcast interview with Riane Eisler (whose book The Chalice and the Blade is a classic), and a reminder of just how awful corporate media of Junior Caligula's May 1, 2003 photo-op (all we need to say is "Mission Accomplished" to jar the memory) really was.

Katiebird has an informative post on what Melamine does to pets' kidneys, as well as melamine contamination of poultry and hogs slaughtered for human consumption.

Mo Betta Meta has an "offensive" editorial response to the report that 80% of blogs contain offensive content.

Catnip's got a roundup of news, as well as her always ace Sunday food for thought.

As y'all know, Man Eegee's also on a blogging vacation, but occasionally someone drops by to water the plants and feed Bud.

Hopefully I didn't leave any of the non-vacationers out.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

So Where's The Change?

As time has moved on, I've witnessed a lot of people come and go. They always seem to have good intentions, but, for one reason or another, the commitment just isn't there. It's no use asking where they went because they probably weren't there in the first place. How can one possibly be "aware" when he/she is out of it 99% of the time? If anarchy's nothing more than an excuse to get wasted and fall over, I'll have no part of it.

Beware of the person who would rather listen to records instead of thinking for him/her self. The bombs will be dropping and they'll be listening to their stereo.

Music is one of the greatest forms of free expression in the world today, and a powerful inspirational tool, but music, in itself, will never change a thing. The real change lies within you. Working for change requires thinking, creating, acting, writing, reading, learning, and, most of all, living.

If you aren't right with yourself about what you're doing, you're wasting your time. The contradictions are endless. Don't talk to me about unity if you're not willing to join hands. Don't talk to me about peace while you're bashing heads. And please don't bore me with half-witted statements about how things could be, if you're not prepared to give 'em a fight.

That was the intro to an old friend's zine, Pressure #4, from around 1986. A couple more issues would come out before Jon folded it for good in 1988 (his zine ended up being the first place to publish any of my work; an act of kindness on his part for which I am eternally grateful). I lost touch with that friend (Jon) about a decade ago, and was thinking about him recently and decided to dust off some old zines from back in the day (for the kids out there, zines were the precursor to today's blogs, and as a form of communication seem to have plenty of life left in them). A lot has changed in the last couple decades (we'd no longer be talking about records and stereos but rather mp3s and Ipods, for example), but a lot has remained constant. Folks with good intentions continue to come and go, giving plenty of half-witted statements about how things might be if only we vote for their candidate or donate before splitting for the greener pastures of exurbia.

Whether we're talking about some dope lyrics from an aware band, or the words on a blog, keep in mind that these are tools that will hopefully inspire you to look at the world in a different way, or to make a difference in you particular corner of our aching planet. They do no good if you try to be a passive recipient - you have to think, feel, create, improvise on whatever you're reading or listening to in order to get anywhere. That much, my friends, has not changed one bit since the days when an old friend was giving me a copy of his zine to check out.

The good news is that even in these dark days, there are many more good people than I could ever begin to count who are doing what they can to increase the pressure today. My old friend was on to something, as tomorrow we will explode.