Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Pasta (No-Cook Sauce)


Summer Pasta (No-Cook Sauce)


1 pound dried pasta
6 cups chopped tomatoes (combine different types of tomatoes)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese for topping: Parmesian or Feta.


1. In large glass bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper, gently toss to combine, cover with saran wrap. Leave out at room temperature. Can be left out all day if it's not too hot outside.

2. Toast walnuts or pine nuts over medium heat in frying pan.

3. Cook pasta.

4. Combine tomato mixture with the cooked pasta.

5. Serve. Sprinkle toasted nuts and cheese on top of each serving.

Serves 4

NOTE: you can add other ingredients to the "sauce," such as, for example, chopped mushrooms, zuchini, or olives. Whatever you like.

Mommy, Where Does LSD Come From? "A Bicycle Trip."


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hair: Facing A Dying Nation.


Hair was an anti-war musical which originally opened in a small theatre off-Broadway in New York City in 1967. The main story revolved around a young man who had been drafted, and did not want to go to Vietnam to fight in the U.S. War Against Vietnam.

The characters in the play were all "hippies," who smoked dope and had sex outside of marriage, wore long hair (the name) and cotton tie-dyed clothing. They were tree-huggers and earth-lovers, recycled before anyone knew what that meant, environmentalists who believed we should consume less, waste less, live more simply. The hippies, and those represented in this play, were both horrifying and fascinating to the rest of society because they represented such a radical break with the buttoned-down Dick Nixon 1950s suburban America which these young people were rejecting.

The show rejected and ridiculed the mindless patriotism of those who come to attention everytime they see a flag, which is exactly what has again taken hold of this country with the Flag-Lapel controversy about which we've heard way too much. Some young people at the time burned American flags to show their disgust with this nation's wars of aggression, and the right-wing to this day always wants more laws passed making it criminal for anyone to burn a flag. When is the last time you heard about somebody burning a flag?

But the main theme of Hair was anti-war. Although the U.S. War Against Vietnam would not end for many years, Hair helped to bring anti-war views into the mainstream, helped lay the groundwork for what eventually would turn the public against that war.

In the 1950s and 1960s in America, hairstyles for men were usually pretty limited to the military cut (like a flat top) and kept short. "Real" men had short hair. Longer hair, and that's just a tad longer, like Elvis Presley, for example, was something for the pretty boys, the lover boys, but not for normal men. But for the young men who joined the counter-culture, became hippies or just adopted some of the lifestyle, wearing their hair long became a symbol to the entire world that they were against the U.S. War Against Vietnam, and were against the typical limited role for men in this country.

That's why you get a song like "Almost Cut My Hair" by Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Young men with long hair at that time were verbally assaulted by other men, could be physically assaulted, and were often called queer, or faggot, or other derogatory names for homosexuals. When they were drafted, and their heads shaved, it was a double wound, one which reflected the loss of their individual choices and their recruitment into a brutal war where they would be sent to kill and die, like gladiators being set out to the slaughter. Hair, on young people's heads, took on enormous significance.

By the time Hair opened on Broadway, it also included nudity, something unheard of in legitimate theatre in the U.S. The show also contained "strong" language which led its performance to be banned in some countries. The show opened on Broadway in 1968 with a fully integrated cast, which also was rare in theatre, but fascinating to Americans who had been educated by the Civil Rights struggles, but still mostly lived and worked in segregated communities.

For women, the image and fashion of the hippies, and as portrayed in Hair, was a radical rejection of mainstream society dictates. In the 1950s and 1960s in the U.S., women's style and fashion was strictly dictated by men who ran the clothing industry, and who shared the Protestant view that women's bodies were evil, that sexuality was bad and women were bad unless restrained. Women's hair, for example, was permed, curled, "styled," teased or back-combed, then sprayed with tons of hairspray designed to keep the hair from moving. Because we all know how slutty it looks for a woman's hair to move.

Undergarments for women were harsh, starting with girdles made of stretchy canvas and worn very tight from the waist to the lower theigh, to make sure nothing on the woman "jiggles." Bras were also sturdy and big garments to prevent breasts from jiggling, although oddly enough, they were cone-shaped and sharply pointed at the end to make sure that men knew that yes indeed, this female specimen has a pair.

The female hippie fashion style, therefore, was almost the equivalent of a girl saying "Look at me, I'm a slut." The hair was not cut or permed or colored or curled. It was allowed to grow and grow, was never cut, and simply flowed around the head with no hairspray or artificial products. Hippie women did not wear bras or girdles, so they did jiggle, and they felt just fine about it. It was shocking.

After the New York Broadway version had taken hold, another theatre opened the show in Los Angeles. After that, nine other groups opened in cities around the nation, many of them travelling to additional places. By 1968, Hair was also showing on stage in London, followed by France, Germany, and Mexico.

By the early 1970s, Hair was an international success with productions in many nations including productions in Europe, South America, Japan, and Israel. The show was also an enormous financial success. The music has been recorded by many different artists, and some of the songs are now a well-established part of American popular music.

The music was written by Galt MacDermot, lyrics and book by James Rado and Gerome Ragni. Among the hit songs from Hair are the title song "Hair," "Let The Sunshine In," and "The Age Of Aquarius." After opening off-broadway in 1967, it moved to Broadway in 1968 and to London that same year, then to numerous productions throughout the U.S. and the world. It has been revived at least 3 times, most recently in 2009 in New York City and in 2010 in London. It was also made into a movie.

As the music and the play became more popular, and the songs played on the radio, so did much of the fashion and other views of the hippies become part of mainstream. The right-wing was opposed to everything represented by the Hippies, and by the anti-war youth of this country. The movie forrest Gump is an example of a right-wing revisionist propaganda piece that distorts everything that happened in this country in the 1960s and 1970s, and is an interesting contrast to the play Hair. In Hair, the young people supported peace and opposed war. In Forrest Gump, the protagonist and his friend support war, and go to war to kill, because they are "good" Americans.

In Hair, the women own and control their own bodies, and are comfortable with their own bodies, decide with whom and when to have sex. In Forrest Gump, the pretty young woman has sex outside of marriage then immediately gets Aids and dies (even though there was no Aids back in the 1970s). And so on.

Those battles continue today, and are commonly called the culture wars. Crew-cuts versus natural hair, burkas vs. cut-offs, the same underlying beliefs fuel both sides. One group (the heirs to the hippies) are anti-war and believe people should live simply, cooperatively, contribute to community, and take care of the earth. The other group, the Republicans and tea-baggers, believe in neverending war, that greed is good and people should acquire and consume as much as possible, live in gated communities separate and apart from others, and rape the earth, stealing everything from it.

Hair certainly did not end the war or, ultimately, control the obsessive greed of the people who run this country. But it did briefly present a different world view. It's a shame that the right fought back so hard. For example, if we had followed the direction of the hippies, there would be a lot more bicycles and fewer cars. People would work fewer hours and have smaller homes, develop their communities instead of their egos, be cooperative instead of competitive, re-use and re-cycle, wear old clothes, and when they're too old to wear, sew on a colorful patch and wear them anyway.

If we had made a national commitment to end wars and to live in harmony with nature, we would have so much money that we could have spent to help others, bring other people up to a good level with housing, medical, education, food, and we could have avoided all those wars, all those dead people.

It was a great story.

Let The Sunshine In
We starve, look at one another, short of breath
Walking proudly in our winter coats
Wearing smells from laboratories
Facing a dying nation of moving paper fantasy
Listening for the new told lies
With supreme visions of lonely tunes

Somewhere, inside something there is a rush of
Greatness, who knows what stands in front of
Our lives, I fashion my future on films in space
Silence tells me secretly

Manchester, England, England
Manchester, England, England
Across the Atlantic Sea
And I'm a genius, genius
I believe in God
And I believe that God believes in Claude
That's me, that's me, that's me

We starve, look at one another, short of breath
Walking proudly in our winter coats
Wearing smells from laboratories
Facing a dying nation of moving paper fantasy
Listening for the new told lies
With supreme visions of lonely tunes

Singing our space songs on a spider web sitar
Life is around you and in you
Answer for Timothy Leary, dearie

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in

Monday, June 28, 2010

Senator Robert Byrd: 11/20/1917 - 6/28/2010


Senator Robert Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr., in North Carolina in 1917. One year later, in 1918, his mother died in the influenza pandemic that swept the world killing millions, which was commonly called the Spanish Flu. After his mother died, all of the children were sent to live with relatives. Robert was sent to live with his aunt and uncle Vlurma and Titus Byrd, who re-named him Robert Byrd, and raised him in a coal-mining town in West Virginia.

Byrd was first elected to Congress as a representative and later became a Senator, serving a total of 58 years in Congress representing the state of West Virginia. He was a Democrat whose reputation was clouded by his membership in the Ku Klux Klan when he was younger. He not only belonged to the Klan, but held various leadership positions including "Grand Cyclops." He later apologized for his membership in and support of the Klan, and became a supporter of civil rights.

“ I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened." (Robert Byrd, 2005)

While Senator Robert Byrd, who even then was an old man, stood up on the floor of the Senate and spoke at length against the proposed U.S. War Against Iraq, and logically laid out multiple reasons why the war was wrong, and would be a disaster, and why Democrats needed to use their brains instead of simply supporting war because they would receive corporate bribes from the defense industry if they did so, many of the Senate Democrats voted in favor of that war.

Robert Byrd's speech against the proposed U.S. War Against Iraq, Part 1:

Robert Byrd's speech against the proposed U.S. War Against Iraq, Part 2:

Some of the Democratic Senators who voted for the U.S. War Against Iraq, like Senator Diane Feinstein, have spouses or relatives in the war business, and they make money off of war. Was that her motive? Isn't she rich enough?

Others simply wanted to be part of the fascist military parades they knew would come, be "pro-military" for the next election. In fact, pretty much every Democratic Senator in a leadership position voted in favor of the U.S. War Against Iraq, including Biden, Edwards, Kerry, Clinton, Daschle, Dodd, Feinstein, Landrieu, Lieberman, Reid, and Schumer. They were wrong. They were wrong, and it has cost the American public $1.0 Trillion, as well as causing the deaths of over one million citizens of Iraq.

Democratic Senators, International War Criminals, Who Voted In 2002 In Favor Of The U.S. War Against Iraq.

Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Breaux (D-LA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Cleland (D-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Daschle (D-SD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Edwards (D-NC)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hollings (D-SC)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Miller (D-GA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Schumer (D-NY)
Torricelli (D-NJ)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Michael Jackson - 8/29/58 - 6/25/09

I want silver sparkly socks and a black sequined jacket. I want to be able to sing and dance on a stage in front of millions, with such grace and magic that everyone who ever sees the performance will swear that I took flight.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jack Abramoff: Doing The Right Thing?


Jack Abramoff, the convicted felon, is out of prison and, as the media tells the story, he's working in a pizza joint. Well, kind of. He won't really be rolling out the dough, slopping on the tomato sauce or driving around town in one of those cars with the sign on top that says "Hot Pizza." Remember the Spike Lee character from his brilliant film "Do The Right Thing?" Mookie? The pizza delivery guy who carried boxes of hot pizza up and down the stairs of hot New York City apartments? Not what Jack will be doing.

Instead, Jack Abramoff will be "advising" the business owner, coming up with new ideas. Who wants to bet Abramoff will invite the native american tribes from the region in for "pizza" night, then have Ralph Reed get together a group of Christian Fanatics to picket the joint, then Abramoff will offer his services to negotiate a settlement. For a fee. Yeah -- ideas he's got. The problem is, he's a criminal.

(From the AP): Abramoff's hiring doesn't change kosher pizzeria
By BEN NUCKOLS, Associated Press Writer Ben Nuckols, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jun 23, 7:14 pm ET

BALTIMORE – A lively mix of regulars and families with small children ate lunch at a kosher pizzeria in northwest Baltimore on Wednesday, and several said they have no problem with the restaurant's new employee: disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Tov Pizza's owner hired Abramoff because he thought his business savvy could jazz up the shop's marketing. Abramoff could not be spotted behind the counter, and owner Ron Rosenbluth said he would not be working in the kitchen.

"He's in the back. He's working," said Rosenbluth, who declined to make Abramoff available for an interview. He said it was his understanding that Abramoff could not speak to the media while he remains under the supervision of the Bureau of Prisons, which lasts until Dec. 4.

Abramoff was released from a minimum-security prison camp in western Maryland on June 8 after serving about 3 1/2 years for fraud, corruption and conspiracy. He spent three days in a halfway house in Baltimore before he was placed in home confinement, in part because he has a job, said Edmond Ross, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons.

Rosenbluth ... said he would look to the former lobbyist ... to provide some new ideas for his 26-year-old restaurant. ...

"There are certain things that I know that I'm short on. I'm not very good at keeping up on our website," Rosenbluth said. "It's always good to have a fresh eye on the place."

[Tov Pizza's] customer base comes from the conservative and Orthodox Jewish communities in northwest Baltimore and nearby Pikesville. Most of the men inside wore yarmulkes, and several women wore headscarves, long sleeves and long skirts on a sweltering, 95-degree day.


Abramoff, who is Jewish, always claimed to be very religious, so I guess the theory is that other Jewish religious people might be more likely to trust him. I've got two words for these people: Bernie Madoff.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Famous Lady From Times Square / VJ Day Photo Dies At 91.


Edith Shain was her name. She was a nurse. When the announcement came that the war was over -- really over this time, VJ Day, Victory in Japan, August 14, 1945, Edith like many others gathered in Times Square to celebrate that joyous moment. And while she was there to cheer, a young sailor carried away by the moment grabbed her, threw her back, and landed a big kiss on Edith.

Edith died on Sunday in Los Angeles, at the age of 91. She is survived by three sons, 6 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. So it looks like she kept pretty busy after the war too. She'll certainly always be remembered, or at least her photo will.


Duder is a "show," currently available online, about some young guys in Brooklyn. The creators say that they were influenced by Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office, among other shows. You can see the influence. It's very funny. Quite offensive, and very funny. Most of the episodes are available at you tube. Here's a link to their website:

Episode 1, Part 1

Episode 1, Part 2

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In The Land Of The Free: New Film About The Angola 3


The Angola 3 refers to three black American men, former members of or associated with the Black Panther Party, who have been imprisoned (collectively) for 100 years in the Angola prison in Lousiana. There is overwhelming evidence that these three men are innocent, but justice in Lousiana is hard to come by.

There is a new film coming out about the Angola 3. Maybe this would be the right time, finally, to put pressure on Kenneth the Page aka Bobby Jindal, Governor of Lousiana, to get him to free these men.

Angola prison, sometimes called "The Farm," is located in the state of Lousiana. It consists of 18,000 acres which formerly were a slave plantation. Most of the slaves who were brought in chains to work at that plantation had been kidnapped from Angola in Africa, and that's how the plantation, and eventually the prison, got its name. Angola has a long history of cruelty and brutality against its prisoners, many of whom will never be released from prison. There are 5000 prisoners at Angola with 1800 staff.

The prisoners still work in the hot fields of corn, sugar cane and cotton, sometimes for as much as 16 hours a day, and are paid pennies for their labor. 80% of the prisoners are black. The warden is a Christian Evangelical and claims that he believes the prisoners can be saved by hard work and prayer.

The prison is surrounded on three sides by the Mississippi River. The movies "Dead Man Walking"and "Monsters Ball" were filmed, in part, at Angola prison. The blues singer and guitarist Leadbelly served a four year sentence there. Angola is legendary for its cruelty, and many singers have written songs about it. There is a great book by James Lee Burke called Last Car To Elysian Fields that has a subplot about a black blues singer from Mississippi who had disappeared 50 years earlier while he was imprisoned at a brutal prison in Lousiana, presumably Angola. It's a haunting description of a prison in which southern white men were allowed to carry on the traditions of the Klan in brutalizing or even murdering black men.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Black Panther Party was formed to demand justice for black people in the U.S. The closet-dwelling and cross-dressing J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, created his own secret program called Cointelpro to frame, imprison, and/or have murdered any people or group that he considered to be a danger to society. Hoover said he thought the Black Panther Party was the most dangerous organization in the country. (No, Edgar -- that would have been the Republicans). Many members of the Black Panther Party were framed, many still are in prison, many were murdered. At around the same time, black communities around the country were flooded with drugs. The CIA was implicated in running drugs from southeast Asia, and some believe that the infusion of drugs into black neighborhoods was part of an overall program to destroy the black community and particularly its young men.

"The Land of the Free" is a new film about 3 men, members of or associated with the Black Panther Party, who were imprisoned in the former slave plantation known as Angola prison, in the state of Lousiana. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film tells the tragic story of the three men known as the Angola 3. Overwhelming evidence shows they were framed and wrongfully convicted of murdering a white prison guard. Even the widow of the murder victim supports their demand for freedom. International support has grown to demand justice for these men. One of the three, Robert King, was finally released from prison in 2001. The other two men, Herbert Wallace and Albert Woodfox have been held in solitary confinement for over thirty-seven years.

Wallace and Woodfox both were members of the Black Panther party. Angola was known as being the bloodiest prison in the country, and Wallace and Woodfox began organizing the prisoners to try to end the violence among prisoners. Because of these efforts, the prison block in which they are held became known as the Panther block, and Wallace and Woodfox were considered to be radicals. There were no black guards. The prison was violent, and had an organized sex-slave system by which prisoners were bought and sold for sexual purposes. The warden at that time was later himself sentenced to a 50-year prison term for the attempted murder of his wife (he shot her 5 times).

A prison guard named Brent Miller was murdered. He was stabbed to death. Wallace and Woodfox were charged with the crime, although they both deny having done it, and neither of them had any history of violence. The main prisoner witness who testified against them was quickly released from prison after the warden personally lobbied for his release. Other prisoner witnesses later recanted. One of the prisoners that the prosecution called to say that he "saw" Wallace and Woodfox kill the warden was a blind man. Four fingerprints including one bloody fingerprint and a knife were found near the murdered guard. The fingerprints did not match either Wallace or Woodfox, and their prints were not on the knife. Despite that, the warden refused to have the prints run against those of the prisoners which were already on file.

Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, learned about the efforts of Wallace and Woodfox to prove their innocence through an attorney who was representing them, and she became a big supporter of the efforts, and brought international attention to their situation. Roddick died in 2007, but others have stepped forward to continue efforts to gain freedom for Wallace and Woodfox.

Here's a link to a website that allows you to send a message to Attorney General Holder and Governor of Lousiana Bobby Jindal asking them to free the two members of the Angola 3 who still remain in prison: Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. It will just take a minute, and it might help.

One way you can help out and contribute a little money is by buying some of the Angola 3 support items available at their website, here:
They've got T-shirts, canvas bags, posters, postcards -- even baby clothes, all supporting the demand to free the Angola 3.

See also:

(Gwen Filosa, 3/17/08, Times Picayune)

Angola 3 is a song produced by Dave Stewart in protest of the incarceration of the Angola 3 featuring Saul Williams, Nadirah X, Asdru Sierra, Dana Glover, Tina Schlieske, Derrick Ashong and Dave Stewart. Visit and for more info.

The Prisons Video Trust: Angola 3, USA

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jerry Brown Says Meg Whitman is Like A Nazi. What Do You Think?

(Eva Braun - notice the hairdo?)

I can't get over Meg Whitman's pageboy hairdo. She's supposed to have spent $70 million of her own money so far, and willing to spend another $70 million, to become governor of California, a bankrupt state. Jerry Brown says Meg Whitman wants to become President of the United States (God help us all) and that's why she's insanely over-spending to buy herself the job.

Jerry Brown also complained that Meg Whitman is exceedingly manipulative and dishonest in her campaigning. He said that she'll probably be out telling people he's a pedophile, that's now dishonest she is. Like Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda for Hitler.

So now the big stink today is "Jerry Brown Says Meg Whitman Is Like A Nazi."

(Eva Braun: pageboy hairdo. Probably the last adult female I've ever seen with a pageboy. And check out the blonde color.)

Okay, here's the thing. The pageboy hairdo. I can't get over the fact that a woman who would spend $70 million on a primary couldn't afford to get her hair done. So there must be a reason she is wearing the preferred hairdo of 4th graders across the nation, the pageboy, with that odd gray-blonde coloring of a cheap bottle job.

So you decide. Is this her secret way of communicating to the nazis/racists/fascists/teabaggers: vote for me, I'm one of you? You decide.

Above are photos of the most famous Nazi lady of all, Adolph's gal-pal Eva Braun. Then a picture of Meg Whitman with a blonde paigeboy. Hmmmm.

(Meg Whitman: bottle-blonde with a pageboy. Just like Eva used to wear her hair).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ask The Sick And Mourning People of Libby Montana What We Should Expect From British Petroleum.

(Libby, Montana, mining operations)

We should ask the residents, the sick, the mourning in the dying town of Libby Montana what we should expect from British Petroleum. The town of Libby was the site of a mine owned by another multinational corporation, W.R. Grace. The mine was full of asbestos material, which Grace knew since the 1950s, but did not bother to tell the workers. Now the people of that small town are sick, many have already died, their graveyards are filling up with people too young to die, and they are the biggest environmental disaster site in the entire nation. Or at least they were. Maybe the Gulf Coast will now claim that title. But what did the residents of this town get as help from the exceedingly rich people who owned the mine? Not much.

As long as we allow for-profit privately-owned corporations to move around our country, our oceans, the world, and loot, pillage, and rape the earth to extract resources, for profit, they will continue to destroy the earth and kill every living thing. Including the humans that work for them. Profit is everything, and nothing else matters to a corporation. And our politicians take bribes from the corporations, then sit back and let them pillage our nation, destroy the environment, and kill our people.

In the early 1900s, the small town of Libby Montana had just a few thousand residents, about the same as today. Some of the residents worked in mining, and some of them worked in timber. One of the mines opened up around that time was for something called zonolite, which is a form of vermiculite. Zonolite would end up being used around the country for home insulation and in fertilizer.

Over the years of mining zonolite, the company that ran the mine realized that the materials being brought out of the mine included a form of asbestos called tremolite. Asbestos is extremely hazardous. But instead of providing the workers and the people in town with warnings, instead of providing special protective work clothes and gear, the company decided they would just keep the mine open, keep the workers digging, and make as much money as possible.

Asbestos in buildings is generally described as friable or non-friable. If it is non-friable, that means it's encased in some protective coating and cannot break free. If it is friable, that means it can float through the air, and the tiniest little particle, a speck, breathed in by a human, can turn into the deadly disease of asbestosis and kill. It is also associated with lung cancer and mesothelioma. In each of those deadly diseases, the lungs become scarred and no longer work properly, they eventually fill up with fluid, and the victim dies of suffocation. Asbestos, or the tremolite which was mined in Libby Montana, was friable, was floating through the air, inhaled by the miners, brought home on their clothes and spread through their homes. It spread through the community, in the air, into the schools and parks, across the roads, into the homes, into the earth.

One of the residents of Libby Montana who worked in the mine and got asbestosis was Les Skramstad. He was very happy to get the job, but he developed a chronic cough after working in the mine for only two years. Then he began having trouble breathing. Finally he went to a doctor. He was tested, and told that he had asbestosis, which was fatal, and there was no cure. Les Skramstad later spoke about the day he got that diagnosis from the doctor:

SKRAMSTAD: So, I went out and got in the car and started for home and I suppose, I guess we got about half way home probably, and I said to Norita [his wife], I said "Jesus you know what?" And she said, "what" I said, "I just got a death sentence."

Les Skramstad lived for 10 years after that initial diagnosis, although his health continued to fail. Instead of just waiting quietly to die, Les Skramstad started speaking out to the people in his community, talking about the fact that this mine which had been a part of their small town for generations, was killing them. A lot of the people did not want to hear about it, because so many of them made their living in that mine. They raised their kids there, they drank the water, they owned homes or land, and they did not want to believe that their entire town was deadly and poisoned. Some people spoke against Les Skramstad, called him a troublemaker and a radical. But he continued to speak to people about this problem until he died. And over time, more and more people in that small town also began being diagnosed with asbestotis, so finally they realized that what Les was telling them was true.

At last report, out of the town of 2700, 1400 had already been diagnosed with lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos, including asbestosis, and 270 had died from the disease.

(Mining operations, Libby, Montana)

The mine was owned by W.R. Grace, a multinational corporation which was also involved in the movie and film "A Civil Action" about another small town, that one in Massachusetts, in which the people got sick and died from toxic wastes dumped into the local river. W.R. Grace fought tooth and nail against the small attorneys representing the homeowners in Massachusetts, and I believe they avoided being held liable.

Once the problems in Libby Montana became public, W.R. Grace put its corporation into bankruptcy to avoid having to pay for the injures to the residents of Libby, or pay for the cleanup of that town. The corporation continues to do business, but its assets are protected by the bankruptcy court. In the meantime, guess who gets to foot the bill to conduct investigations and try to figure out how to clean up the town of Libby? The taxpayers of this country. The corporation loots the resources, takes all the money, and leaves it to the working people to pay for the damage they cause.

Watching the lackadaisical response of British Petroleum to its oil rigs gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killing everything that is living for hundreds of miles, destroying the coastal land, putting people out of business, dumping dispersants into the water that could be even worse in the long run, exposing thousands of people to chemical cocktails with unknown future health damage, I thought of Libby Montana and W.R. Grace.

The conclusion is obvious: these corporations steal, loot and pillage, pay the local residents pennies for their labor, then they walk away when their looting causes massive environmental destruction, and kills many of the local residents from cancer and related diseases. They take the resources and the money, the working people die, and the taxpayers pay to clean up the corporate damage. As long as we allow privately-owned for-profit corporations to conduct these types of businesses, they will continue to destroy the planet and kill the animals, plants, and humans. And they don't care one bit.

Here's an excerpt from an article that ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper about Les Skramstad when he died:

A bittersweet farewell to a champ of asbestos fight (1/27/07 by David McCumber, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Managing Editor)

Cowboys are supposed to be able to sing, sweet and clear and honest like the high-country air they breathe.

When I last heard Les Skramstad sing, at the American Legion club in Libby, Mont., his vocal cords were still tuned true, somewhere west of Willie and north of Merle, but he kept his lips up against the mike, and the amp was cranked to the max. His lungs were scarred with entirely too much high-country air, not clear and honest but laden with asbestos and corporate denials, and he could barely push enough breath to be heard.

Les ... had worked at the mine for only two years, and had been diagnosed with asbestosis -- the gradual, and fatal, thickening of the lungs caused by embedded asbestos fibers.

Les was a simple man, a cowboy, a mechanic, a millwright and a bar singer who raised his kids in the beautiful Cabinet Mountains of western Montana. He never dreamed they'd be in danger there.

Les won the first jury verdict against W.R. Grace, the company that had purchased the mine and ran it for decades -- not telling the miners about the danger they faced.

(Libby Montana: memorial to the residents who have died from asbestosis)

A few days after [the first stories about Libby Montana and the asbestos problems] ran in the P-I, an Environmental Protection Agency emergency response team showed up -- expecting to find the newspaper account was wrong. What they found instead was the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Eventually the federal government would do a health screening in Libby that showed nearly a third of the town -- more than 1,500 people -- showed signs of lung abnormalities that could signal asbestos-related disease.

After the P-I stories ran, Les kept up the pressure. He became personal friends with the then-governor of Montana, Judy Martz, who, in an act of considerable political courage for a conservative Republican, put Libby on the Superfund list. Les was on a first-name basis with U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and even traveled to the U.S. Capitol, wearing his trademark Resistol hat and a wild Western shirt, to lobby Congress on behalf of asbestos victims.

What turned Les from a soft-spoken cowboy into a hard-nosed activist was not his own health. It was the fact that his wife, Norita, and three of his children also have been diagnosed with the fatal disease.
Les told me that he loved his job at the mine. "I loved it so much that even if they had told me that I was endangering my life, I would probably have stayed.

"But if they had told me it was killing my wife and family, too, I would have run like hell."

So long, Les. We admired your courage and determination. We'll miss your voice, so sweet and clear and angry.

Here's an update from Democracy Now with Amy Goodman:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oliver Stone's New Film, "South Of The Border."

Oliver Stone's new film, "South of the Border," is being released this week. It is about Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and the exciting changes going on in South America as that region tries to throw off the bootheel of the United States. If you would like to see the movie, remind your local theatre to book it.

Music Worth A Listen.


(Stan Getz - Autumn Leaves)

(Charlie Rouse - When Sunny Gets Blue)

(Miles Davis - Summertime)

(Paula West - Fly Me To The Moon)

(Miles Davis Quartet - My Funny Valentine)

(Indiana Nomma - Night and Day)

(Chet Baker - Tenderly)

(Billie Holiday - The Man I Love)

(Miles Davis Sextet - Some Day My Prince Will Come)

(Sarah Vaughan - September Song)

(Nat King Cole - The Very Thought Of You)

(Cannonball Adderly and Miles Davis - Autumn Leaves)

(Al Haig - Isn't It Romantic)

Orly Taitz and Reille Hunter: Separated At Birth? You Decide.

Orly Taitz is an insane lunatic tea-bagger Republican Birther Lawyer who just tried to run for some office in California and lost. She's pretty nuts.

And Reille Hunger is the skanky 40-something woman who had sex with John Edwards and got pregnant (never heard of birth control?) then claimed she had to keep the baby because it had magical powers, all to the tune of millions of dollars she has received for -- having sex with a married man. Then she had sexy photos taken of herself for a magazine, lolling in bed, and just happened to mention that she wasn't wearing any "panties."

Where do these women come from? And why is it they
are so successful? People just throw money at them. Is it the peroxide in their hair? Is it the orange they wear? Does the color orange attract money?

And more importantly, do you notice anything about these two women? They could be sisters they look so much alike.

(Orly Taitz -- crazed Republican lunatic birther-lady in Orange blouse)

(Rielle Hunter, 40-something skank who had sex with a married man but forgot about birth control -- oops -- also wearing orange).

I'll bet both of these ladies is worth several million dollars. For what?

I know this much. Friday is makeover day. I'm going to peroxide my hair to the palest shade of blonde, and I'm going to buy an orange blouse, an orange sweater, and an orange T-shirt. I'll let you know if it brings money my way. Or at least scandal.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6, 1944: D-Day

(Americans in England waiting for D-Day).

Sixty-six years ago, on June 6, 1944, the allied nations invaded France on D-Day to begin taking Europe back from the Nazis.
The Allied forces involved in D-Day mostly were Americans, English, and Canadians. The men, weapons, tanks, and ships were all gathered in England in anticipation of crossing the English Channel and landing on the coast of France. The Germans knew that the Allies would come by ship, and knew they would come across the English Channel. They did not know when the attack would take place, and did not know exactly where it would take place.

There were months of decoy operations by the British to try to fool the Germans into thinking the landing would come from the North. Once the preparations were completed, the Allies waited on a day by day basis, controlled by the weather. They could not launch the attack if the seas were too rough, or if there were major storms anticipated. So they waited. And the Germans waited on the coast of France, which they had fortified with concrete and steel bunkers and cannons.

The Landing forces included gliders that were flown to France then released, gliding to the ground; paratroopers who were flown into France then dropped into areas where the Allies hoped the German presence would not be too concentrated. These airborne drops were made to have people in France in advance of the coastal landing. The Allies knew it was imperative to quickly take out the communications lines as well as blow up some bridges and prevent the Germans from communicating to Berlin that the invasion had begun and reinforcements were needed.

On June 6, 1944, the public was briefly advised that the invasion had begun: "Under command of General Eisenhower, Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies this morning on the northern coast of France." The first ships and men hit the beaches of Normandy at 6:30 a.m. on June 6, 1944.

There were 156,000 troops landed in France on D-Day, 73,000 from the U.S.. In addition to the airborne troops who landed by gliders and parachutes, the seaborne troops landed on the beaches in Normandy whose names became familiar to generations who followed: Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno, and Sword Beach. The allied aircraft flew almost 15,000 sorties that day.

The name of the naval part of the operation on D-Day was Operation Neptune. It included almost 7000 vessels consisting of naval combat ships, landing ships and landing craft, ancillary craft, and merchant vessels. Almost 200,000 personnel worked in the Operation Neptune part of the D-Day operation.
There is no "official" casualty number for D-Day because of the chaos of the invasion. But the unofficial figure is that 10,000 members of the allied invading forces died on D-Day. However, recent studies suggest the numbers may have been much higher. In addition, 24 warships and 35 merchant or auxiliary ships were sunk in June of 1944 in connection with D-Day.
From June 6, 1944 through the end of August, over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing in connection with the Allied advances after D-Day. This figure includes over 200,000 Allied casualties. Roughly 200,000 German troops were killed or wounded, and 200,000 Germans were taken as prisoners of war.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 French civilians were also killed on D-Day in the Allied bombing.

Seventy (70) Million people were killed during World War II.

When you look at photos of World War II, or newsreels, there is an obvious respect for the common men and women working and fighting to stop the Nazis, working together, as allies, to protect our world. Not worship, not the nonsense that we hear from the politicians about the military -- just respect for the simple men and women making sacrifices and putting their lives on their line out of a sense of duty to others.
It seems like this may have been the last time that we all were part of a team, working together, united against the clear evil of the Fascist governments of Germany, Japan and Italy. There was a very brief period after World War II when it seemed like our politicians and business leaders acknowledged that American men and women deserve to have jobs, education for their kids, nice communities and homes, living wages, so they created programs and policies to make sure tha happened. No more.
We don't have a team anymore. We have an elite group of incredibly rich people who would steal a lollipop out of the mouth of a child if they thought they could sell it on e-bay, people who see most of us as chumps, clearly not on the same team. These wealthy people have their own team which is made up of the richest people in the world. That's why Daddy Bush was hanging out with the bin Ladens and the Saudi Princes on the morning of 9/11 -- because they're on the same team, and it's not our team. As are Bill Gates, Lloyd Blankfein, Warren Buffett and the Clintons -- not on our team. As are the CEOs of the major corporations, and all the management insiders of Wall Street and the politicians they own.

They're on one team which is not tied to the U.S. or to its people. The entry fee for their team is that you must have hundreds of millions of dollars. We, the working people of the U.S., are on our own team -- but somebody stole our equipment and uniforms, sold our field and the lights, took all the food from our snack bar, stole our cars while we were waiting on the field for the game to start. Now what do we do?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Loch Lomond


(Loch Lomond)

There is a famous Scottish folk song named Loch Lomond. Loch means lake, or sea inlet, and Loch Lomond is a lake in Scotland. There are different stories about the meaning of the song. The song refers to an uprising in the 1700s against England led by by Bonnie Prince Charlie. The English succeeded in putting down the uprising, and killed many of the rebels who had fought against England.

In one theory, the song refers to one of the rebels who is killed (and he will take the low road, beneath the earth) and one of whom lives and can follow the high road. Another view is that the song is sung by a young girl whose lover fights in the rebellion and dies. Another view is that the English chopped off the heads of the rebels and put them on stakes lining the most frequently-traveled roads, which would be the high road. Love the English. They have such a brutal and bloody history of oppressing people all over the world, yet they act like they are the most mannered folks ever to walk the earth. These rebellions were in the 1700s. A poem was written in the 1800s, and made into the song in the early 1900s.

The song is a favorite through generations, among nations, and to many different musical groups. It has been recorded and performed all over the world, including by the following:

- 1938, Benny Goodman performed the song with Martha Tilton doing the vocal. The audience loved it so much they demanded an encore.

- 1957, Bill Haley and the Comets, an early rock and roll group, performed a popular version which they renamed Rock Lomond.

1976 - Australian rock group AC/DC released their version and began performing it live during their concerts.

1980s - progressive rock group Marillon made their own version of the song and played it in a medley along with other traditional songs.

1995 - The Real McKenzies, a Canadian punk band, included their version of the song in their debut album.

2007 - Runrig, a Scottish folk-rock band, has been performing the song for over 25 years. They had a top ten version of it in 2007 released in connection with an aid for children concert.

- Dan Zane and Natalie Merchant did a version of the song on a Zane album.

- A Serbian band named "Orthodox Celts" recorded their version of the song.

Loch Lomond (Lyrics)

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me and my true love will ne-er meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomon'.

O you'll take the high road and I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland before you
For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomon.

Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen
On the steep, steep sides of Ben Lomon
Where in purple hue, the hielan hills we view
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.


The wee birdies sing and the wild flowers spring
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping
But the broken heart, it kens nae second spring again
Though the world knows not how we are grieving

Support the Rachel Corrie and Demand an End to the Israeli Siege of the Gaza Strip.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Let's Use "Extraordinary Rendition" and "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" On All The Management Of BP. And Declare Britain A Terrorist State.

Don't blame Obama for this British Petroleum mess in the Gulf Coast. Blame Cheney and the oil regime of bush-cheney, and the oil corporations that push for offshore oil drilling. I don't think the federal government knows how to solve the problem, so they can't really move in and take over, as some suggest. And just think about it: BP has bribed our politicians in congress to get them to vote to say that no matter what BP does, no matter how awful, it could never be required to pay more than -- I think it's $75 million in damages.

So if the Obama administration pushes BP, tells them to get the job done or get out of the way, why wouldn't BP just say fine, Obama, you take over and we'll leave and go to some other place where we have billions of dollars worth of income coming in. This is a liability for BP at this point in time, and I'll bet everything they are doing is directed by their attorneys, not by their engineers. They will take minimal steps, shrug their shoulders, until finally the federal government steps in and takes over. Just like the federal government stepped in to bail out Wall Street. Just watch.

That's why I would grab BP's top management, use "extroardinary rendition" or kidnapping as it used to be called, stick them in some black hole secret CIA prison, used "enhanced interrogation techniques" until the problem is solved. And declare Britain to be a terrorist nation, then invade them. I never liked the English, anyway. Our government is committed to that method when dealing with those who commit acts of terror on our country. What would you call destroying our ocean then refusing to do anything to try to fix the problem? I call it an act of terrorism, with the oil being the weapon of mass destruction.

We routinely kidnap, torture, and murder people from other countries, people we say are friendly with the terrorists. What could be a worse terrorist attack on our country than what BP has done? Who has caused more damage to the U.S.: Osama bin Laden or BP? Honestly, I think BP wins. Maybe only 10 oil rig workers are dead today, but in the future thousands of people will likely die from the exposure to the chemicals being dumped in that part of the ocean by BP. So why doesn't our government use "extroardinary rendition" on the BP top management, stick them in CIA black holes somewhere until they "talk," because of "enhanced interrogation techniques," and until the fix they problem. Then send drones to London to randomly blow up houses and kill their citizens. Isn't that what we do to "terrorist" nations?

There's another little problem no one's discussing. What happens when the corporations destroy a sufficient part of the ocean, when there are more "dead zones" than live zones? Do we all die? Isn't that the inevitable result of these types of industrial pollution and destruction of the ocean? That we all die? I believe that is correct, that the ocean is necessary for our survival. Everybody has a doomsday scenario in mind of a nuclear war, but what about the doomsday that results from the corporate destruction of our ocean? Gives new meaning to the classic book "On the Beach." Everybody On the Beach will soon be dead.

Why doesn't our government get tough with BP? Why not waterboard their management? Televise it. It could be a pay-per-view special event, raise money to save the birds. I'll tell you the answer, save you some time: the people who run BP are rich powerful white men. They're "our" kind of guys. They are just like the criminals on Wall Street: white powerful rich men who rape, loot, plunder, pillage, and murder, destroying everything in their path. And our government never enforces the law against the rich and powerful. You just watch, most of our politicians have probably taken advantage of this disaster to shake down BP for more money in exchange for the politicians going easy on them.

I say the solution to the BP gulf coast oil spill is extraordinary rendition of their management, and "enhanced interrogation techniques" conducted in some black-hole CIA site until they finally fix the problem. Then bomb England, get some justice for my Irish ancestors. Then seize BP, liquidate its assets, and use the money to build a new green industry in our nation so we can get off of oil. And finally, get serious about electing politicians who refuse to take money from corporations, and who agree to enforce the laws even against the rich and powerful. It is once again true: the rich and powerful can get away with anything in this country, even murder.