Wednesday, June 30, 2010
not long ago
before the onslaught of
when the oceans were
filled with the living and
death did not run rampant.
There was a time
not long ago
when sticky strands of
black death and
balls of tar
did not foul the
beaches and marshes,
places of birth and renewal.
There was a time
not long ago
when the birds that feasted
upon ocean’s bounty were not
consumed by human folly.
There was a time
not long ago
when expansive islands of
Styrofoam and the detritus of
the modern age
did not awaken
to our cumulative stupidity.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Wilhelm Reich (March 24, 1897 – November 3, 1957) was an Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, known as one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry. He was the author of several notable textbooks, including The Mass Psychology of Fascism and Character Analysis, both published in 1933.
Reich worked with Sigmund Freud in the 1920s and was a respected analyst for much of his life, focusing on character structure rather than on individual neurotic symptoms. He tried to reconcile Marxism and psychoanalysis, arguing that neurosis is rooted in the physical, sexual, economic, and social conditions of the patient, and promoted adolescent sexuality, the availability of contraceptives, abortion, and divorce, and the importance for women of economic independence. His work influenced a generation of intellectuals, including Saul Bellow, William S. Burroughs, Paul Edwards, Norman Mailer, and A. S. Neill, and shaped innovations such as Fritz Perls's Gestalt therapy, Alexander Lowen's bioenergetic analysis, and Arthur Janov's primal therapy.
Later in life, he became a controversial figure who was both adored and condemned. He began to violate some of the key taboos of psychoanalysis, using touch during sessions, and treating patients in their underwear to improve their "orgastic potency." He said he had discovered a primordial cosmic energy, which he said others called God, and that he called "orgone." He built "orgone energy accumulators" that his patients sat inside to harness the reputed health benefits, leading to newspaper stories about "sex boxes" that cured cancer. (read more)
Wilhelm Reich (March 24, 1897 – November 3, 1957)
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont. It is an adaptation of the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The film stars Tim Robbins as Andrew "Andy" Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding.
The film portrays Andy, who spends nearly two decades in Shawshank State Prison, a fictional penitentiary in Maine, and his friendship with Red, a fellow inmate.
Despite a lukewarm box office reception that was barely enough to cover its budget, the film received favorable reviews from critics, multiple award nominations, and has since enjoyed a remarkable life on cable television, VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray. This revival is reflected in its high placement on various lists of great movies.
Chicago Sun-Times film reviewer Roger Ebert suggests that the integrity of Andy Dufresne is an important theme in the story line, especially in prison, where integrity is lacking.
The Shawshank Redemption is an allegory for maintaining one's feeling of self worth when placed in a hopeless position.
Angus C. Larcombe suggests that the film provides a great illustration of how characters can be free, even in prison, or unfree, even in freedom, based on one's outlook in life. (read more)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Everyone seems to be evading and avoiding the fundamental issues that present themselves to us in such a graphic form. At the very heart of this disaster there exist a number of factors that belie the world view that is a fundamental aspect of modern industrial, technological and capital-driven civilization. Primarily, we have come to regard the individual pursuit of happiness as defined by and through material acquisition as being of absolutely critical importance. This is so fundamental to our collective conception of self that the rest of the living world and even the less “fortunate” members of our species are seen as essentially expendable in relation to this goal. Secondarily, our awareness of the biologically diverse and vibrant planet upon which we live has become deadened and eviscerated by our destructive allegiance to the idea of progress that we hold so dear.
The death of so much vital living abundance not only on the Gulf Coast but also of those creatures who navigate through that vast body of water poisoned by the human thirst for energy and all our various commodities that are fashioned by so-called “black gold” does not seem to be understood. There is no great outcry regarding this monumental desecration; there is no mass protestation in favor of life and a sane and viable future for those that follow us. I do not hear any call for us to recognize our own participation in this madness.
It seems to me that there is an important object lesson in this disaster. We need to reorder our priorities and incorporate the entirety of the living world in our understanding of ourselves and the way we do business. If we go on as before, we will risk the future of our species. Are we capable of this level of intelligence, or will we continue to allow our behavior to be directed by avarice and fear and the destructive emotions they engender?
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
"I propose to create a civilian conservation corps to be used in simple work, not interfering with normal employment, and confining itself to forestry, the prevention of soil erosion, flood control and similar projects. I call your attention to the fact that this type of work is of definite, practical value, not only through the prevention of great present financial loss, but also as a means of creating future national wealth"...Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program for unemployed men age 18-24, providing unskilled manual labor related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural areas of the United States from 1933 to 1942. As part of the New Deal legislation proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the CCC was designed to provide relief for unemployed youth who had a very hard time finding jobs during the Great Depression while implementing a general natural resource conservation program on public lands in every U.S. state, including the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The CCC became the most popular New Deal program among the general public, providing jobs for a total of 3 million young men from families on relief. Implicitly the CCC also led to awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources, especially for city youth. The CCC was never considered a permanent program and depended on emergency and temporary legislation for its existence. On June 30, 1942 Congress voted to eliminate funding for the CCC, formally ceasing active operation of the program.
During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide that would become the start of most state parks, developed forest fire fighting methods and a network of thousands of miles of public roadways, and constructed buildings connecting the nation's public lands. (read more)
We should restore the CCC, it was a good thing.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
(11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997)
was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist,
filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and
researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.
He co-developed the aqua-lung,
pioneered marine conservation and
was a member of the Académie française.
He was commonly known as "le Commandant Cousteau"
or "Captain Cousteau".
Happy 100th birthday,
from the people of earth.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I have a simple solution to the
take down all the walls and declare
the population there in as Israeli citizens.
Arab and Jew, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Samaritans.
...but nobody ever listens to me...
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
World War Two lasted 44 months.
The American Civil War lasted 48 months.
The Vietnam War went on for 103 months.
U.S. forces attacked Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001.
As of today, the war will complete its 104th month.
(you are a prisoner of war)
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It is believed the pyramid was built over a 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Khufu's Great Pyramid originally rose 479 feet but has been reduced to 449 feet with the loss of its limestone casing.
The mass of the pyramid is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes. The volume, including an internal hillock, is roughly 2,500,000 cubic meters. Based on these estimates, building this in 20 years would involve installing approximately 800 tonnes of stone every day. Alternatively looking at the construction from another angle, since the Great Pyramid consists of an estimated 2.3 million blocks, completing the building in 20 years would involve moving little more than 12 of the blocks in place each hour, day and night, during the 20 year period.
The accuracy of the pyramid's workmanship is such that the four sides of the base have an average error of only 58 millimeters in length. The base is horizontal and flat to within 21 mm. The sides of the square base are closely aligned to the four cardinal compass points (within 4 minutes of arc) based on true north, not magnetic north, and the finished base was squared to a mean corner error of only 12 seconds of arc. The completed design dimensions equate to π/2 to an accuracy of better than 0.05% (corresponding to the approximation of π as 22/7).
Based on measurements taken on the north eastern casing stones, the mean opening of the joints are only 0.5 millimeters wide (1/50th of an inch). The largest granite stones in the pyramid, found in the "King's" chamber, weigh 25 to 80 tonnes and were transported more than 500 miles away from Aswan. The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Coleen Rowley (born December 20, 1954) is a former FBI agent and whistleblower, and was a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 2nd congressional district, one of eight congressional districts in Minnesota in 2006.
Shortly after she became a Special Agent with the FBI, Rowley was assigned to the Omaha, Nebraska and Jackson, Mississippi Divisions. Beginning in 1984, she spent six years working in the New York Office on investigations involving organized crime. She also served in the U.S. embassy in Paris, and the consulate in Montreal. In 1990, she was assigned to the FBI's Minneapolis office where she became the chief legal adviser to the office.
After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Rowley wrote a paper for FBI Director Robert Mueller documenting how FBI HQ personnel in Washington, D.C., had mishandled and failed to take action on information provided by the Minneapolis, Minnesota Field Office regarding its investigation of suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. This individual had been suspected of being involved in preparations for a suicide-hijacking similar to the December 1994 "Eiffel Tower" hijacking of Air France 8969. Failures identified by Rowley may have left the U.S. vulnerable to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Rowley was one of many agents frustrated by the events that led up to the attacks, writing:
During the early aftermath of September 11th, when I happened to be recounting the pre-September 11th events concerning the Moussaoui investigation to other FBI personnel in other divisions or in FBIHQ, almost everyone's first question was "Why?--Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case? (I know I shouldn't be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBI HQ personnel had to be spies or moles, like [Robert Hanssen], who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis' effort.)
Rowley testified in front of the Senate and for the 9/11 Commission about the FBI's internal organization and mishandling of information related to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Mueller and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pushed for and got a major reorganization, focused on creation of the new Office of Intelligence at the FBI. This reorganization was supported with a significant expansion of FBI personnel with counterterrorism and language skills.
Rowley retired from the FBI in 2004 after 24 years with the agency.
Rowley jointly held the TIME "Person of the Year" award in 2002 with two other women credited as whistleblowers: Sherron Watkins from Enron and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom. She also received the Sam Adams Award for 2002. (read more)
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The controversial chemical dispersants that have been used by British Petroleum (BP) to break the oil down into small droplets may have contributed to the creation of these plumes. The naturally occurring oil-eating bacteria “feeding” on this oil are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, for as they rapidly grow and divide they are consuming oxygen. Doctor Joye said the oxygen had already dropped 30 percent near some of the plumes in the month that the broken oil well had been flowing and, “If you keep those kinds of rates up, you could draw the oxygen down to very low levels that are dangerous to animals in a couple of months. That is alarming.” In addition, the natural rate of replenishment of oxygen in deep water from the surface is a slow process.
In my estimation this oil spill will prove to be an ecological disaster of immense proportions if the flow of oil is not stopped in a timely fashion. The fowling of the gulf with oil will add an additional insult to the acidification of the oceans that is a direct result of the ever-increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In my mind, there is a powerful connection between the state of the natural environment as evidenced by the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and prospects for a peaceful planet. The seemingly constant cycle of violence and retribution throughout the world diverts humanity's focus from the real issues that require our immediate and concerted effort.
As a young boy in America he was captivated by the image of Abraham Lincoln. This interest inspired him to explore the life of this illustrious American president, and was moved and influenced by what he had learned. His family was conservative in politics and orthodox in religion. Although his family was devoutly religious, Muste was never exposed to hellfire preaching growing up in the church. In spite of the fact that his father was not particularly happy with his son’s avowed political beliefs, Muste eventually persuaded his father to accept the idea of pacifism
For half of a century, Muste was a radical activist with an untiring devotion to the causes of peace and social justice. He was, in fact, one of the pioneers of non-violent resistance as a technique for social action. In fact, he was referred to as the “American Gandhi”; Gandhi was an inspiration to him. Muste was so influential and charismatic that his followers were called, “Musteites.” During his long personal history of social action, he went through a number of stages during the maturation of his personal philosophy.
As a young man, Muste entered Hope College and ultimately pursued a career in the ministry, training at the Graduate Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church in America and the Union Theological Seminary. In 1909, he was ordained minister of the Reformed Church. During his sojourn as minister, World War I broke out in Europe. Despite intense pressure from his contemporaries, Muste stubbornly held on to his pacifist beliefs. Ultimately, his convictions led to his ejection from the ministry. He was forced to resign from his church in Newtonville, Massachusetts. The fact that the church sided with the government in this regard and abandoned what Muste believed was fundamental Christian principles left Muste considerably disheartened.
Muste ultimately drifted away from religion and began to embrace political action around the area of social justice. He became involved in the struggles of labor during the tumultuous era when workers were attempting to organize into labor unions as a way of forcing changes in the abysmal nature of labor conditions at that time. He became General Secretary of the Amalgamate Textile Workers. He held this position from 1921 through 1933.
During this period, he became the Director of the Brookwood Labor College – an institution dedicated to the training of militant and progressive labor leaders. In the course of his work he was attracted to Trotskyist-Marxist ideas in regards to the plight of workers and the need to organize labor. During this era, the communists were very much involved in the early formation of labor unions. He became involved in numerous strikes, including the Toledo Auto-Lite, GM and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber strikes.
Ultimately, Muste became disenchanted with communism; he found the tactics that the party employed were disingenuous and heavy-handed. He came to see Trotsky as yet another dictator not unlike Lenin or Stalin. In 1936, he rejected Marxist-Leninism and rejoined the non-violence movement.
In 1940, he became Executive Secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the United States. He held this position until 1953. Muste became convinced that in order to achieve a just society, major social dislocation is necessary. In 1962, he wrote, “We are now in an age when men will have to choose deliberately to exchange the values, the concepts of security, and much else which characterizes contemporary society, and seek another way of life. If that is so, the peace movement has to act on that assumption, and this means that the whole picture of our condition and the radical choice must be placed before people – not a diluted gospel, a program geared so that they are ready to “buy now.”
Seeing the inevitability of the American entrance into what would be referred to as World War II, Muste refuted the argument that governments are sometimes called upon to resort to war to oppose an “aggressor” nation. In his book entitled, Non-violence in an Aggressive World (1940), he claimed that “The line-up in the world is read in terms of “peace-loving” versus “persistently aggressive” nations. That is superficial and misleading. It is the same reading that brought us disaster twenty years ago. The real line-up is between satiated powers, determined to hang on to the 85 percent of the earth’s vital resources which they control, even if that means plunging the world into another war, and another set of powers equally determined to change the imperialist status even if that means plunging the world into another war.” He went on to caution that as soon as a nation finds itself on the path of war preparation, it strengthens the forces on the right and moves the society towards fascism.
In regards to war preparations prior to World War II, A. J. Muste further stated, “The United States is not ready for disarmament and war-renunciation. What then shall we propose? A little war-preparation, purely defensive preparation, refined economic warfare which can be safely waged at a distance against supposedly sinful nations? Surely they are no alternatives at all (such as moderate war-preparations in this day!), or they are alternatives which lead straight to disaster.” As a result of these strong convictions, he advocated total draft refusal. This was a remarkably courageous stand in terms of the strong national sentiment that slanted towards war.
Following the Great War, Muste became deeply concerned over what he saw was the drift towards a nuclear holocaust. He became the Chairman of the Committee for Nonviolent Action, a member of the executive committee on the War Resister’s League and a participant in Omaha Action, a group dedicated to nonviolent action against nuclear policy. As a member of the latter group, he was arrested in 1959 for climbing over a barbed-wire fence at the Atlas missile base near Omaha, Nebraska. He became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, and editor of Liberation Magazine.
In his life, Muste underwent a number of personal transformations, but a tenacious adherence to the causes of peace and social justice resided at the core of his being.
AJ Muste died on February 11, 1967. One of Muste’s cohorts in the pursuit of peace through nonviolent action made the following comment, “A.J. is the spiritual chairman of every major pacifist demonstration in the country and often is the actual chairman. He’s the number one peacemaker in America.”
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
His dates are 1923 - 1998, so he lived a moderately long life. An aspect of literature that has always captivated me is the war-time experiences of the authors and how those experiences have shaped the works that they have written. So, having completed his secondary school studies, Miroslav Holub could not go on to university study (during the Nazi occupation, the Germans closed down Czech universities) and he worked as a labourer at a warehouse and at a railway station. After the Second World War, Holub studied at Charles University in Prague, first at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, then from 1946 at the Faculty of Medicine. After this he became a notable immunologist and an international poet.
In the Irish language revival we had a return to "caint na ndaoine" ("the talk of the people") with the likes of An tAthair Peadar Ó Laoghaire, Pádraig Mac Piarais and Pádraig Ó Conaire. Wordsworth sought to do the same with the language of English poetry - using the language of ordinary people. Together with S.T. Coleridge he wrote Lyrical Ballads (1798), in which they sought to use the language of ordinary people in poetry. Likewise Holub maintained that "only by capturing life around us we may be able to express its dynamicism, the immense developments, rolling on around us and within us." This also meant that it was necessary to give up regular, rhymed and melodious poetry and to adopt irregular and free verse. This was the poetics of Holub's first collections, especially Denní sluzba (Day duty, 1958) and Achilees a zelva (Achilles and the tortoise, 1960), His later collections developed it further.
The poem I would like to share with my readers is called The Door. My father used always quote the old saying, "God never closes one door unless he opens another." Opening a door is a very positive image or metaphor, letting the air of liberty and imagination in.
Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there's
a tree, or a wood,
or a magic city.
Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog's rummaging.
Maybe you'll see a face,
or an eye
or the picture
of a picture.
Go and open the door.
If there's fog
it will clear.
Go and open the door.
Even if there's only
the darkness singing,
even if there's only
the hollow wind,
nothing is there,
go and open the door.
(translated by Ian Milner)
Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." --
Albert Einstein !!!