Wednesday, April 30, 2008

fake outrage story of the day

The news media continues to spin Rev. Wright's words into something they aren't. One is left to wonder, "did you hear the whole speech?", "have you read the entire text." The answer appears to be, for the most part, apparently not. This includes the editorial board of the NYTimes.

Rev. Wright never embraced the anti-Semitic views of Farrakan. What he said was that anyone who can get a million people of any color together on the national mall is an important figure. Why isn't the quote that follows from Nelson Mandela ever discussed, "You don't tell me who my enemies are?"

Any discussion among the papers, the talk shows, the pundits about any of the theologians mentioned by Rev. Wright in his speech have been non-existence. The speech was about black liberation theology; there's been little reportage on that. Guess what. America still doesn't understand black liberation theology. Wright is after all, a theologian. Who said, "free my people, now." It wasn't Charleston Heston. Please stop making a pastor into a campaign advisor.

Has anyone reported on Wright's role in Obama's announcement of his candidacy for the Presidency. He was down in the basement, leading the family in prayer, that's what pastors do. It was not a political moment, it was a godly moment.

He also did not say that the US Govt. was responsible for the HIV virus. Read the text! What about the Tuskegee experiment? What kind of government allows this to happen to it's own people? The prevailing wisdom at the time among the ruling white power elite was that this could be done because they were black and illiterate. Just as the wisdom among the ruling white power elite is that we can defame Rev. Wright for his remarks today. Because he is black. Unfortunately for the ruling class, he is not illiterate and he choses to defend himself.

Outrage. Outrage. Everyone is so outraged. It's all a fake. What's really seems to be driving these diatribes by the press and pundits are: racism, fear of discussing racism, and fear of the black man who talks openly about racism.

Why isn't John McCain labeled a racist for his opposition to the MLKing holiday? You think that is just an isolated event and the rest of the time his golfing buddies represent the rainbow coalition? Maybe, but I seriously doubt it.

Why isn't he labeled a racist? McCain is from the ruling white power elite and if he, like much of America, had their way, any black man with the courage to stand and say "ENOUGH of THIS" would be sent to the back of the bus. Electing them President? Oh my. Can they be trusted?

And you trusted Bush and Cheney?

OH, and by-the-way, exactly how many years did Cheney serve in the military? Cheney may be a patriot, but he's certainly not a very good Christian.

disney takes advantage of hannah montana

The Disney Corporation has complained that Vanity Fair took advantage of a 15-year old (Miley Cyrus) in order to sell magazines. Disney, which operates a muli-million dollar a year juggernaut known as the Hannah Montana Show, knows all about taking advantage of young folks to sell them things. Tickets to Hannah Montana concerts frequently run close to $1000 on the open market.

We're left with another fake controversy to ease the addled minds of those facing foreclosure. The only thing this controversy really serves to prove is that Billy Ray Cyrus (her father and manager) is a creep, but then so are Disney execs, Americans are still prudes, and that even when we don't want them to - children eventually grow up to be adults.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. for V.P. or how many years did cheney serve?

No wonder Reverend Jeriamiah's church is full on Sundays. He knows of which he speaks. Exerts below of his address to the National Press Club, April 28th, 2008. Washington, DC.

The black religious experience is a tradition that, at one point in American history, was actually called the "invisible institution," as it was forced underground by the Black Codes.

The Black Codes prohibited the gathering of more than two black people without a white person being present to monitor the conversation, the content, and the mood of any discourse between persons of African descent in this country.

Africans did not stop worshipping because of the Black Codes. Africans did not stop gathering for inspiration and information and for encouragement and for hope in the midst of discouraging and seemingly hopeless circumstances. They just gathered out of the eyesight and the earshot of those who defined them as less than human.

They became, in other words, invisible in and invisible to the eyes of the dominant culture. They gathered to worship in brush arbors, sometimes called hush arbors, where the slaveholders, slave patrols, and Uncle Toms couldn't hear nobody pray.

From the 1700s in North America, with the founding of the first legally recognized independent black congregations, through the end of the Civil War, and the passing of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, the black religious experience was informed by, enriched by, expanded by, challenged by, shaped by, and influenced by the influx of Africans from the other two Americas and the Africans brought in to this country from the Caribbean, plus the Africans who were called "fresh blacks" by the slave-traders, those Africans who had not been through the seasoning process of the middle passage in the Caribbean colonies, those Africans on the sea coast islands off of Georgia and South Carolina, the Gullah -- we say in English "Gullah," those of us in the black community say "Geechee" -- those people brought into the black religious experience a flavor that other seasoned Africans could not bring.

It is those various streams of the black religious experience which will be addressed in summary form over the next two days, streams which require full courses at the university and graduate- school level, and cannot be fully addressed in a two-day symposium, and streams which tragically remain invisible in a dominant culture which knows nothing about those whom Langston Hughes calls "the darker brother and sister."

It is all of those streams that make up this multilayered and rich tapestry of the black religious experience. And I stand before you to open up this two-day symposium with the hope that this most recent attack on the black church is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright; it is an attack on the black church.
Maybe now, as an honest dialogue about race in this country begins, a dialogue called for by Senator Obama and a dialogue to begin in the United Church of Christ among 5,700 congregations in just a few weeks, maybe now, as that dialogue begins, the religious tradition that has kept hope alive for people struggling to survive in countless hopeless situation, maybe that religious tradition will be understood, celebrated, and even embraced by a nation that seems not to have noticed why 11 o'clock on Sunday morning has been called the most segregated hour in America.

We have known since 1787 that it is the most segregated hour. Maybe now we can begin to understand why it is the most segregated hour.
..............
I take and trace the theology of the black church back to the prophets in the Hebrew Bible and to its last prophet, in my tradition, the one we call Jesus of Nazareth.

The prophetic tradition of the black church has its roots in Isaiah, the 61st chapter, where God says the prophet is to preach the gospel to the poor and to set at liberty those who are held captive. Liberating the captives also liberates who are holding them captive.

It frees the captives and it frees the captors. It frees the oppressed and it frees the oppressors.

The prophetic theology of the black church, during the days of chattel slavery, was a theology of liberation. It was preached to set free those who were held in bondage spiritually, psychologically, and sometimes physically. And it was practiced to set the slaveholders free from the notion that they could define other human beings or confine a soul set free by the power of the gospel.

The prophetic theology of the black church during the days of segregation, Jim Crow, lynching, and the separate-but-equal fantasy was a theology of liberation.
............
This principle of "different does not mean deficient" is at the heart of the prophetic theology of the black church. It is a theology of liberation.

The prophetic theology of the black church is not only a theology of liberation; it is also a theology of transformation, which is also rooted in Isaiah 61, the text from which Jesus preached in his inaugural message, as recorded by Luke.

When you read the entire passage from either Isaiah 61 or Luke 4 and do not try to understand the passage or the content of the passage in the context of a sound bite, what you see is God's desire for a radical change in a social order that has gone sour.

God's desire is for positive, meaningful and permanent change. God does not want one people seeing themselves as superior to other people. God does not want the powerless masses, the poor, the widows, the marginalized, and those underserved by the powerful few to stay locked into sick systems which treat some in the society as being more equal than others in that same society.

God's desire is for positive change, transformation, real change, not cosmetic change, transformation, radical change or a change that makes a permanent difference, transformation. God's desire is for transformation, changed lives, changed minds, changed laws, changed social orders, and changed hearts in a changed world.
...........
REVEREND WRIGHT: I feel that those citizens who say that have never heard my sermons, nor do they know me. They are unfair accusations taken from sound bites and that which is looped over and over again on certain channels.

I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?
...............
MODERATOR: In light of your widely quoted comment damning America, do you think you owe the American people an apology? If not, do you think that America is still damned in the eyes of God?

REVEREND WRIGHT: The governmental leaders, those -- as I said to Barack Obama, my member -- I am a pastor, he's a member. I'm not a spiritual mentor, guru. I'm his pastor.

And I said to Barack Obama, last year, "If you get elected, November the 5th, I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people." All right? It's about policy, not the American people.

And if you saw the Bill Moyers show, I was talking about -- although it got edited out -- you know, that's biblical. God doesn't bless everything. God condemns something -- and d-e-m-n, "demn," is where we get the word "damn." God damns some practices.

And there is no excuse for the things that the government, not the American people, have done. That doesn't make me not like America or unpatriotic.

So in Jesus -- when Jesus says, "Not only you brood of vipers" -- now, he's playing the dozens, because he's talking about their mamas. To say "brood" means your mother is an asp, a-s-p. Should we put Jesus out of the congregation?

When Jesus says, "You'll be brought down to Hell," that's not -- that's bombastic, divisive speech. Maybe we ought to take Jesus out of this Christian faith.

No. What I said about and what I think about and what -- again, until I can't -- until racism and slavery are confessed and asked for forgiveness -- have we asked the Japanese to forgive us? We have never as a country, the policymakers -- in fact, Clinton almost got in trouble because he almost apologized at Gorialan (ph). We have never apologized as a country.

Britain has apologized to Africans, but this country's leaders have refused to apologize. So until that apology comes, I'm not going to keep stepping on your foot and asking you, "Does this hurt? Do you forgive me for stepping on your foot?" if I'm still stepping on your foot.
................
MODERATOR: You just mentioned that Senator Obama hadn't heard many of your sermons. Does that mean he's not much of a churchgoer? Or does he doze off in the pews?

REVEREND WRIGHT: I just wanted to see -- that's your question. That's your question. He goes to church about as much as you do. What did your pastor preach on last week? You don't know? OK.
..............
MODERATOR: Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the father but through me." Do you believe this? And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?

REVEREND WRIGHT: Jesus also said, "Other sheep have I who are not of this fold."
....................
MODERATOR: You're welcome. And we've got one more question for you. (APPLAUSE)

We're going to end with a joke. Chris Rock joked, "Of course Reverend Wright's an angry 75-year-old black man. All 75-year-old black men are angry." Is that funny? Is that true? Is it unfortunate? What do you think?

REVEREND WRIGHT: I think it's just like the media. I'm not 75.

fake patriotism fosters sunday-morning racism

On last Sunday's Fox News program, Barack Obama, who'd graciously declined the offer to be skewered by assholes masquerading as pundits for nearly 2 years, stated that race wasn't an issue in America today. Obama was making the stump speech point that Americans have moved beyond the divisive politics of yesteryear and would support a woman or man of African heritage for Presidency. I believe this to be true, but Obama has begun to speak in a voice of someone who's been forced to be ever more cautious with language as his opportunity to be the Democratic candidate for President moves closer and closer to reality.

Race may no longer be an issue in America. But racism still is. And anyone who wears a flag-lapel pin to prove their patriotism is a bigot.

Witness all the faux outrage generated by Rev. Jerimiah White's comments. This fake outrage, as fake as lapel-pin patriotism, isn't any different than the years-gone-by attitude that condemns the oppressed for speaking out against the oppressors. The years-go-by and whitey still clings to its fear of a black planet. Imagine the tv ads yet to come. If Obama gets the nod, this will be the first election cycle where Republican ads feature ganster rappers. Bling bling. Bang bang. How stupid will it get? You can bet, pretty damn stupid.

Monday, April 28, 2008

sarah starr vs. the age of unreason

Your children often ask you to do things that you don't want to do. And you do them anyway. Because you love them. And because they ask. Things could be worse. They could not ask for your help.

My Darling Daughter Dora nee Sarah Starr, who as child I did my best to instill a love for dinosaurs, dinosaur fossils, and twenty foot prairie dogs wanted a tattoo. Of a dinosaur. On her arm.

It's not her first tattoo, which didn't come until she turned the legal age of 18, because as a parent, I had to draw lines SOMEWHERE. I had my reasons for the "not until you're 18", but don't recall them. They might have been reasonable, or they may not have been, but they were certainly parental. That first butterfly was later crushed by a robot and now the 'bot is set to battle the Age of Unreason.

I'm drawing different lines these days. Starr wanted a tattoo of a Tyrannosaurus rex on her arm, and since I have a Rare West Tibetan Mountain named Trex, rhymes with Tricks, short for T-Rex, and since I kept her up past her bedtime to watch Jurassic Park and Godzilla vs Mothra on late-nite tv, and since I'm the one who insisted we raid the dinosaur graveyard in the 110 degree South Dakota sun, the one who took her to see Cretaceous-shark's-teeth folk art interpretations of the Bible, the one who insisted she stare down the saber-tooth tiger... we'll she tapped me for the tat design.

And how could I say no? So I didn't.

Ink by Jason Strait @ Mercy Seat Tattoo.
Elsewhere:
mercy seat

Sunday, April 27, 2008

kim wade, city hall's chauncey gardener

Everyone loves a flower. Kim Wade gives us bouquets. Of tulips. And advice. And to the public servants and citizens who pass by the thousand or so blooming tulips everyday at City Hall, she provides these to us for little more than a moment of our time. Small payment indeed, so that we might find moments of happiness in our cubicle world of deadlines, traffic snarls, and congestion.

Wade, whose area of expertise spans the gamut from children's literature to organic gardening (the secret is pulling all the weeds by hand!) to olde timey music and then some, maintains the grounds of Kansas City's City Hall and adjacent Municipal Court and Communications Center. Last fall when the mums were blooming Mayor Funkhouser was heard to remark, "in my twenty years of working at City Hall, it's never looked better."

Indeed. Citizens deserve as much. Here's to blooms, blossoms, and local color in places you don't expect to find it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Felicia Resor charts the past, present, and future


I like the simplicity of this video by Felicia Resor. I don't know the text that is referenced but suspect it's somewhat akin to works on Natural Capitalism.

Asides. 1) There are other sources of books in addition to neanderthal.com. Yes, I know it's easy, but you can try your local bookstore and if they don't have it, guess what, they can order it!

2) Is it only surprising to Republicans that endless consumption is not only bad for the planet but also our pysche? Can you name one altruistic visionary who was also a proponent of massive consumerism - besides Batman?

Elsewhere:
m.o.i.: natural capitalism or color field?

Friday, April 25, 2008

mark funkhousers 2008 state of the city address

The Full Text of the State of the City Address delivered by Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser – April 24, 2008

Thank you all for coming today.

Over the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a great many people that I would have never gotten to know if I hadn’t become mayor. People like Stretch and Bill Drummond from the Crossroads. Bill Haw and John O'Brien from the West Bottoms. Lali Garcia from the Westside. Marie Young of the Black Chamber. Anita Dixon. Pat Clark. Jay Stock. Jane Rinehart. KB Winterowd… The list goes on and on.

Recently I had a conversation with Ollie Gates. He told me how when he was younger, the neighborhoods on the East side were as vibrant and alive as any in the city. There were grocery stores, dime stores, restaurants—you name it. The sidewalks were full of people. Today, we see a hint of that time that Mr. Gates spoke of—in the fake storefronts at 18th and Vine built for Robert Altman’s movie, Kansas City. In that film, the bustling K.C. of the early 20th century seemed so real and exciting that city leaders kept the movie sets and built around them. A year after the movie came out, the Jazz District Redevelopment Corporation was formed, and the city opened the Jazz and Negro leagues museums.

Today, the Jazz District is an indispensable part of Kansas City. We visit the museums often, catch shows at the Gem Theater, dance at the Rhythm and Ribs festival, and wile away the wee hours at the Mutual Musicians Fund. And we’re eager for more. We peer through the windows of the empty storefronts along 18th Street and dream about the day when they’re filled with shops and restaurants once again. Unfortunately – we can’t help but see the vacant lots behind the old movie sets. We can’t help but notice that there’s still work to be done. All across the city, we find similar signs of success, promise – and unfinished work. In Kansas City we have attractions fine enough to draw envy from any city on earth. In addition to the Jazz and Negro League museums, we have the Country Club Plaza. The Sprint Center. The Nelson. KCI. Our parks and boulevards. Our Fountains. Gate’s, Bryant’s, and Manny’s. And on and on… And there’s more to come…

Downtown is experiencing a tremendous rebirth, with more restaurants, theaters and even a grocery store. Out south, we’ll have a soccer stadium. In the Northland, the possibility of a worldclass airplane manufacturer. And on the Eastside, Ollie Gates’ plan for the Black Heritage District.

Yet the people who live here – those of us who travel to and from work on this city’s streets – proud as we are of everything that makes Kansas City great – and all that will make it greater still…We see. We see the vacant lots between the museums. We see the reality amid the renaissance. We see the reality that many of the streets and sidewalks leading to our new attractions are – quite simply – broken. They’re broken because we have not paid to get them fixed. They’ve been so broken for so long that it’ll cost billions to fix them.

We see the reality of our neglected sewer system. Bringing this system into the 21st century will cost more than $3 billion. We see the reality of our debt. We pay $120 million per year—roughly the cost of 3,000 miles of resurfaced streets or the salary of 2,000 city employees—just to service the debt. And the unpleasant reality is that, despite our hard work this year, our budget remains structurally imbalanced. Our expenditures will grow at 4 percent while our revenues grow at just 2 percent.

And if our citizens are happy with the new Sprint Center, the reality is that they’re unhappy with lots of other stuff. In the annual citizen satisfaction survey, they ranked us below the metropolitan average in almost every single category. And there were—care to guess?—44 such measures. In several areas, we were dead last. I keep hearing that perception is reality. But I’m here to tell you: reality is reality.

And it’s time for us to align our reality with our imagination – not just at 18th and Vine – but throughout the city. This year, your new Mayor and Council have taken giant steps toward making this happen.

First, we agreed as a Council to reign in our debt. Debt was out of control because the city didn’t have a debt policy. Now we have a good one. A second step was to bring discipline to our use of economic development tools. For years, we did not have a policy to guide our use of incentives. Now we have a good one. A third and critical step was to bring our spending under control. The highlight of my first year was when the City Council and I came together to adopt a budget that was---- refreshingly . . . sane! This was politics at its best.

These are major accomplishments! If we were to do nothing else for the next three years, our first term together will have been a success. We made three major steps that our predecessors were unwilling or unable to make. And while all of my colleagues on the council deserve credit and thanks, there is one council member whose leadership was instrumental in all three of these achievements. Deb Hermann. – From the bottom of my heart – I want to thank Deb not only for the budget, but for helping to make this rookie’s first year in office a productive one.

Of course, challenges remain. Today I’m going to outline ten of them. This council is the most informed, engaged and energetic the city has seen in decades. In the coming weeks, I’m going to be talking with my fellow council members to find a champion for each of these challenges: The first of these challenges is the need to fund basic infrastructure maintenance. We need to resurface the streets. We need to fix curbs and sidewalks. We need to keep our bridges safe and in good repair. According to our citizens these are the most important services the city provides.

And yet – year after year – citizens tell us they’re not satisfied with the way these services are being provided. They tell us in surveys, and they tell us to our faces at town hall meetings. From a business perspective – this is not a good thing. Our citizens are our customers – and we’re competing for them with other cities and towns across the region. If we fail to provide the services they want most, they’ll live somewhere else.

Second, we need to bring our sewer system up to modern standards. Our system has over 6 billion gallons of overflow each year. This is bad for the environment—not only for our neighbors down stream, but also for our own neighborhoods. And we’re under the gun from the federal government to fix it.

It’s a simple fact that we have to face these challenges and overcome them. But it won’t be easy. We have to find the money. So then the third challenge—to build regional partnerships to fund regional amenities. We need to do this not just because of fairness, but to be smart with the money. And that means being efficient and effective. Kansas City, Missouri has always been the region’s flagship and will remain so. We give the region its identity. The suburbs depend on us.

During the budget debate, the zoo’s supporters flooded us with e-mails urging full financial support for the zoo. Most of those supporters live outside the city limits. But if the region wants a world-class zoo, a world-class arena and a worldclass war museum, then the region has to help provide them. One city simply can’t afford to do it alone. That’s an effectiveness issue.

And if Kansas City alone tries to fully fund these amenities, we have to cut elsewhere—namely basic services. When we do that, people move away – encouraging even more sprawl. That’s an efficiency issue. It impacts the overall efficiency of the metro area, which shows, for example, in the rising costs of transportation. So this isn’t a complaint about Kansas City taking one for the team. This is a challenge to us all to take pragmatic steps to maintain the quality of life the entire metro area has come to depend on.

A fourth challenge is to bring our retirement systems and health care benefits in line with standard business practices. Most workers across the country handle their retirements through 401K programs. Our pension fund is about as modern as our sewer system.

We can also save money by consolidating our health insurance packages. Right now we have different insurance plans for different sectors of government. We can get a better deal if we buy for the entire work force. To the citizen, these changes seem like no-brainers. But at City Hall, no change goes un-resisted. Still, I know that this council has the political will to get these changes made.

A fifth challenge is to make it easier to do business in Kansas City. Last summer, several council members and I met with a group of frustrated restaurant owners. They showed us a thin file of documents needed to open a restaurant in Kansas. Then they hoisted a fat folder stuffed with forms – including a $10,000 lawyer bill – and said that’s what they needed to open an identical business in Kansas City.

We can’t keep doing business this way. If it’s easier and cheaper to open shop across the state line—shop owners will go across the state line. A sixth challenge is to make it easier to move around Kansas City. If conventional wisdom is to be believed, we’re not yet ready for a regional light rail system. But that same conventional wisdom had it that Clay Chastain’s plan would get voted down.

It’s clear to me that if we present voters with a light rail system that gets them where they want to go—from downtown to the suburbs and the stadiums and the airport—they’ll vote for it in a heartbeat. Especially in a November election. A presidential election. When tens of thousands of people flood the polls to vote for progress and change.

A seventh challenge, and a critical one, is improving our educational system. On a recent trip, I met a man who told me he used to live in Kansas City, Missouri. But, he said, like so many young families, they chose to move to Kansas when his kids reached school age. Then he told me that he and his wife earn a combined income of four hundred thousand dollars a year.

We can’t afford to keep losing families this way. But – as long as we remain divided and at odds about education in the urban core – families will continue to look elsewhere for better options. I believe we should start with a bottoms-up educational summit. We need to build a political consensus about what we want from our schools. And that consensus must cross racial lines.

An eighth challenge is to build a new agenda for dealing with the leadership in Jefferson City and Washington D.C. Part of the reason why we had such a hard time with the budget this year is because we - as a city – have to shoulder much of the burden of services that should be provided by the state and federal governments. We need to change the focus of our efforts in Jefferson City and Washington.

In recent years, the city has focused its legislative agenda on development incentives like TIF. We need to focus instead on larger issues that better reflect our values. We need to fight for more money for health care, for alternatives in crime prevention, and for education and social services. And we need allies. An urban alliance.

The moment is right. It’s an election year. Politicians will listen to us— especially if we speak in unison with our counterparts in Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, St. Joe, Columbia, Springfield, and – yes – even in St. Louis.

As a ninth challenge, we need to continue using incentives to encourage our economy to grow. Not just downtown or on the Plaza or north of the river. But in the forgotten parts of our city. In my inaugural address, I said that the first TIF that crossed my desk had darned well better be for the Eastside. What I didn’t understand then is that the tools we have—like TIF—don’t work well there. They’re geared toward big projects in wealthier areas.

So we need to create "New Tools" for economic development. New tools that will help revitalize the economically distressed areas. Tools that will work for us as we turn our attention to neglected neighborhoods. Tools that will help us make 27th and Prospect – once again – as nice as 63rd and Brookside. In this effort, I intend for us to take a national lead, – to make Kansas City a model for other cities to look to for solutions to the problem of disinvestment in the urban core.

To create these new tools, I’m convening a symposium on May 5 where we’ll generate ideas for economic development in the urban core. I’ve invited several dozen community, business and political leaders to participate. From there, I’ll work with the council and city staff to transform these ideas into policies and plans. Then – we’re going to make them work. In a sense, what we’ll be doing is turning the old façades at 18th and Vine into reality. We’ll be making the vibrant neighborhoods that Ollie Gates remembers come alive again!

All of these challenges culminate in a tenth challenge—the most critical one we face. We need to repopulate the urban core. Since the 1980s, we’ve gained 50,000 new residents north of the river and lost almost as many south. As a result, our tax base has all but flat-lined. Worse, our economy has weakened. In 1970, Kansas City, Missouri’s market share of the metro economy was 40 percent. Now it’s less than 20 percent.

If you go to 44th and Cyprus—in the heart of our city—you’ll feel as if you’re in a rural area. All around you’ll see open fields of grass, with nothing but crumbling concrete steps coming up from the street to remind you of the houses that once filled the neighborhood. To reverse this trend, Kansas City will need great strength. Fortunately - that’s something we have in abundance. We have strength of location. That’s why a great city rose in this spot. It’s where the Missouri meets the Kaw and turns northward—a perfect station for western expansion. It’s where the railroads later converged, and then the highways, and the international Airport. It’s where our ability to adapt and grow has forged a new crossroads for the global economy. We also have strength of character and personality. For whatever else the great cities of the world might have—not one of them has the Spirit of Kansas City. This Spirit is the one-of-a-kind quality that opened the eyes of Dan and Debra Engravalle.

Not too long ago, the couple – who come from the New York area – scored some free plane tickets. Dan said to Debra, “I’m hungry for barbeque. Let’s go to Kansas City.” After being here just a few days, Debra said—“I’d like to live here.”

And they moved! Now they’re settled in the Northland. And they’ve brought their business with them. Best of all, they’re urging friends and family to move to Kansas City too.

I’ve asked Engravalles to come here today. Dan, Debra, could you please stand so your fellow Kansas Citians can meet you? The Engravalles love how there’s so much to do here. They love how they can enjoy the amenities of big city life and still see deer and wild turkey from their patio. They love that they can see and do it all without the East-Coast hassle. And what they love the most is the friendliness of the people. Folks – Let me tell you – Boomtowns have been built on less.

Looking across this room, I see the political strength we’ll need to take this city over the top, to help 50,000 more people see what the Engravalles’ see: a community of choice. We’re going to pull this off!

We’ll do it with the big things like light rail. And, more importantly - we’ll do it by paying attention to the small things: Basic services – Infrastructure – Better business practices. And development incentives for neighborhoods that need them most.

My friends, we are a strong city. And we are about to emerge as a city that dreams. A city that plans. And, above all, a city that works------for everyone.

Thank you.

Trilby Lundberg sucks big oil's derrick

Trilby Lundberg doesn't know the answer and NPR doesn't ask why. Ask yourself, why not? Remember please, it's National Public Radio and the National stands for the public interest. Why else give them our tax dollars?

Every week there's a segment on NPR asking the why's and why nots about the price of oil and gasoline and every week Trilby Lundberg trots out some lame party line about oil refinery capacity, hurricanes in the Gulf, Saudi Oil princes, or some other bullshit that doesn't have any relation to the price of beans in Malaysia. But NPR reports it as fact. What? There is only one oil market analyst in the entire world. No one ever stops, least of all a JOURNALIST, to ask, hey wait a minute, if it takes approximately 3 months for oil to reach the US market, then why the daily volatility in prices?

Well here's the simple answer. Trilby Lundberg doesn't know her ass from apple butter. The price of gas is always changing, but when was the last time you saw someone actually changing the price, and WHY? A few days ago, heading to work at sunrise, I caught someone in the act of changing prices. They were lowering the price by a penny. I asked them why.

"The boss sent me out here to do this." Exactly. They don't have a clue as to why and they don't really care. A penny today, a nickel tomorrow.

Or should I say, a billion dollars this year, two billion the next. A war today and a war tomorrow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

parsing racism in america

The fallout from the Pennsylvania primary is starting to land. Not one, but two, editorials in today's NYTimes calling for Hillary Clinton to step aside given the still very long odds of her securing the nomination. Basically, it still involves a goodly portion of the super delegates who've already said they're committed to Obama to switch to her. The Clinton's, and regardless of what people like to say, it really is both Hillary and Bill, know that as long as you're in the race, anything can happen. (I tend to share this same attitude in athletic races and still end up finishing way down the list; but you never know when a tornado will wipe out the front half of the field!) They're hoping that some demon from the black lagoon steps forth and sinks Obama for good. If that happens, HRC is ready for the call-to-action. Don't bet the farm on it.

And Obama still can't win the nomination outright without a majority of the outstanding super delegates going over to him. He needs 293 delegates to secure the nomination. There are 7 primaries left that have a total of 408 delegate up for grabs. If he wins 55 percent of the vote in all of them, he nets 224 delegates and he's still shy of victory. We've known for some months that the super delegates will end up deciding this race, and it's still true. What will they use to make up their mind? Popular vote? Nod to Obama. Total victories? Again, nod to Obama. Big states? Nod to Hillary. So on and on and on it goes, where it will stop, only the super delegates know.

The good news from the bad. One in five voters said that race was an issue in their decision yesterday, which tells me that only 20 percent of the white folks are still racists, and a lesser number of them are still misogynists since those who didn't vote for Obama voted for HRC. Depressing yes, I know, but hey, these numbers are way down from the past when 80 percent of the white folk were racist bigots.

If we can get past this election, maybe someday all the bigots will have lost and no one will have to wear a made-in-China flag lapel pin if they don't want to. Unless you happen to still be a Republican and then we'll be forced to pry the lapel pin from your cold dead hands, and trust us, friendo, "we'll be happy to do so."
Elsewhere:
black like you by john strausbaugh

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

tough girl stance

One of Hillary Clinton's more ardent supporters adapted her campaign slogan after the Tine Fey sketch on SNL back in the March. This attitude has been what's kept HRC in the race, and if she'd adopted this approach earlier in the campaign the race would be over. It's not. And won't be for at least 2 weeks -- if not longer. What remains to be seen is if anyone in America is left to care about the outcome once the insults stop flying.

Oh, and those of you who thought Florida and Michigan had been settled? No. By Thursday, you'll start hearing again of the importance of these two key states and how the democratic process isn't being served if 'millions of American's votes aren't allowed to stand.' I won't be surprised if at the end of the entire primary race, if the loser doesn't immediately suggest, 'best two out of three?'.

bush still doesn't get it

"We're not in a recession, we're in a slowdown." El Presidento Bush told the crowd gathered on Tuesday in New Orleans.

Bush said this as housing prices continued to tumble to near record lows. As employment continues to rise, as gas prices rise, as food prices rise, and as unemployment slowly inks upward. Bush should tell his economic slowdown joke to the Parks Department superivisor that I meet last week who was having to cut 17 positions from one city department to meet tightening budget demands. That's 17 people who will be looking for work to support their family, to feed and clothe them.

But this just in from a source you can trust - the PENTAGON! - the wars in Iraqi and Afghanistan are expected to now cost slightly less than 170 billion dollars. Yes, b, as in billion. This year alone.

And John McGruff the Crime Dog, no longer the presumptive Republican candidate, but the real one, he learned everything he knows about the economy from George W. Bush. Yee haw.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

KC Green Summit

The 2008 Kansas City Green Summit will be held April 25. The City, which has declared its intent to be a leader in the public realm of green infrastruture, will soon be facing billion dollar challenges that can allow this to happen. The momentum can advance beyond rhethoric, but citizens will have to keep pushing because there's a long hike ahead of us. The City hopes to build a new model for doing business, one that can enchance neighborhoods, the quality of life, and build the economy.

KC Green Summit 2008, being held Friday at Bartle Hall, 301 W. 13th St, the city's first LEED certified silver building, will offer opportunities for citizens to learn how the city plans on being a truly Green city. Speakers at the event include Majora Carter, executive director of Sustainable South Bronx and one of the 25 most influential African-Americans of 2007, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, City Manager Wayne Cauthen, and architect Bob Berkibile.

The summit will include professional presentations about green solutions and green infrastructure and will feature exhibits by local companies and corporations that currently utilize green solutions. For example, one can find out if green-collar jobs involve more than mowing the edges of a raingarden. An afternoon interactive session will allow participants the chance to work with elected officials, environmental professionals, and other interested citizens to help shape the future of some of the city's largest green projects.

Non-profit participants can attend for free by signing up at:
green summit registration

dems oil the machine

One more day in the body-slam politic and nothing is likely to be decided so don't get your hopes up too high. The only way the Democratic fight ends tomorrow is if Barack Obama channels Apollo Creed and delivers a late-round knockout blow to the never-say-die puncher Hillary Rodham Clinton. No, more likely HRC wins by single digits and garners a small number of the delegates up for grabs tomorrow.

There are 158 delegates at stake in Pennsylvania, and if the final tally is 52 percent Clinton and 48 percent Obama, then she would win 82 delegates to Obama's 76 delegates. Hardly hoopla numbers but any victory by the Clinton camp will be ballyhooed with banners and bazookas.

Then it's on to North Carolina, where guess what, the reverse will likely happen. Obama holds a commanding lead in North Carolina and let's for the sake of this arguement, keep the final percent the same, except reverse the numbers, Obama 52 percent to Clinton's 48 percent. It that were to happen, then he would get 60 delegates and Clinton would be awarded 55 of the 115 total available. Between the two is Indiana, which is even more of a toss-up, and the vote could be close enough to spilt the 72 Indiana delegates right down the middle.

So after 6 weeks between the last primary, and many millions of dollars spent, and a lot of rancor stirred up in the party, the shift would actually be 1 more vote to Obama. One more vote! Do the math. This is why the party regulars keep slowly shifting toward Obama. There's no way, without landslide victories that the rest of the primary season can be spun as a Clinton victory. Why don't you hear about this in the media? Well the millions of dollars being spent on the campaign, wouldn't be being spent if it were already a done deal.

There was this today though from the DNCC.

"Not only will our Convention be technically flawless, but the rules and Party business conducted in the lead-up to and during Convention week will be open, orderly and credible," said Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the DNCC. "DemConvention.com will be a tremendous resource for those interested in the significant amount of Party business that sits at the core of every Convention. I think this new content makes clear our goal is to run this Convention as a well-oiled machine, while producing an engaging celebration of the strength of the Democratic Party, the diversity we embrace, the values we share and the change we will accomplish on behalf of the American people."

Open, orderly, and credible. Like a debate?

Monday, April 21, 2008

danica patrick makes a fool of helio castroneves

Funny picture of the week. Danica Patrick stands by her first place trophy as second place finisher, Helio Castroneves, flaunts his business. Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 auto race on Sunday.

Patrick joins other women race car drivers who have won major races:

*Pat Moss-Carlsson who won the Liege-Rome-Liege rally in 1960.

*Michèle Mouton, won the SanRemo World Rally Championship in 1981 and after wins in Portugal, Brazil and Acropolis in 1982 very nearly won the World Championship. She was also the first woman to win the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb race in the US.

*Jutta Kleinschmidt won the Paris-Dakar rallye in 2001.

*Then there's superwoman Shirley Muldowney who won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 1977, 1980 and 1982. Muldowney was also a featured singer in L7's (an all-female punk band) track titled Shirley, on their album, Hungry for Stink.

(AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

wake up! wake up! please, please wake up!

All you right-wing naysayers out there who've been suggesting that progressive calls against the government propaganda which for years has spun out of the Bush Administration and into the homes of America via the nightly news was misinformed or naive. All of you right-wing jackasses with a military contract up your ass, who've been shitting poisonous propaganda against reason and which results in death, destruction, and world instability, jackasses who have repeatedly suggested that those against the Iraq military intervention were incorrect or wrong, just might want to read the following:

Elsewhere:
pentagon propaganda, american diggs it

Saturday, April 19, 2008

army celebrates earth day by blowing up the world

The truth no longer matters to anyone. Recently, I stumbled onto these Earth Day posters produced by the Army to celebrate Earth Day. Apparently the earth is limited to the homeland, eagles, and the American flag.





























I decided to make my own army Earth Day poster.

Friday, April 18, 2008

pope performs drive-by mass

Hey, he was in a hurry. Lot's of people demand His Holiness's time. And he just turned 81, so better a quickie, than nothing at all.


Elsewhere:
75 years of Mercedes-Benz Popemobiles

grounds for divorce?


Proof of the adage, Truth is stranger than fiction.

city of industry to build stadium for papal visits

The City of Industry announced plans on Thursday to build a stadium in Los Angeles large enough to hold papal masses. When the pope is not in town, it's hoped that an NFL team might also use the stadium.
According to a statement originally attributed to Harvey Keitel,

The proposed 600-acre site is already secured by Majestic Realty Co. through a long-term lease with the City of Industry. It is located some 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, near the junction of the 60 and 57 freeways.

Mr. Keitel, who some say is prone to spontaneous outbursts of questionable action, reportedly made the announcement after buying a candy bar from a newstand and discovering the last remaining golden ticket inside.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

clinton to offer flag lapel bill

Senators Clinton, Lieberman, and McCain are expected to jointly offer a bill that make it a crime for any America to appear in public without a USA flag lapel pin. Violators may be subject to extreme interrogation techniques and repeat offenders may also be forced into Chinese internment camps to produce even more fake cloisonne pins for patriots who would rather talk about who got bounced from last night's episode of American Idol than racism or the cost of the war in Iraq.

black women in sport to honor peanut johnson

Peanut Johnson, a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns, who amassed a 33-8 record while playing in the Negro Leagues in the early '50's, will be honored this week as part of the Black Women in Sport Convention to be held in Kansas City. Peanut, known for a wicked curve she perfected after some instruction from Satchel Paige, went 11-3, 10-1, and 12-4 over a three year stretch, a record anyone would be proud to have.

Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, Rhythmic Gymnastics Olympian Wendy Hilliard, Fencer Nikki Franke, Golfer Renee Powell and Basketball great Cynthia Cooper will all be honored on Saturday, April 19th at the Legend's Ball, Kansas City Convention Center.



elsewhere:
black women in sport
scott simon interview with peanut johnson

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

mccain drawn into food fight

While John McGruff the Crime Dog goes about growling about Barack Obama suggesting that voters might be somewhat bitter over the current state of affairs in politics, his wife Cindy, heir to a fortune, posts recipes for passion fruit mousse, ahi tuna with Napa cabbage slaw and farfalle pasta with turkey sausage, peas and mushrooms stolen from the Food Network web site.

Doesn't much sound like lunch pail food for blue-collar workers. But the Republican tradition of lying and stealing seems awfully familiar.

mcgruff offers grits and growls to the working class

John McGruff the Crime Dog offered more of the same in a speech on his economic platform delivered at Carnegie Mellon University on Tuesday. More of the same Republican rhetoric offered for the last 7 years. Cut taxes, increase military spending, and ignore the fact that Republicans generally spend more money than the Democrats while in office, yet somehow manage to always claim they are fiscally responsible.

The only thing you can count on with a Republican administration is that when they cry fiscal responsibility, what they are really saying is 'line the pockets of the wealthy with gold'.

McCain's speech reminds me of what he said before he became the presumptive Republican nominee. "I don't know much about the economy."

Amen to that brother. Nothing could ring more true in Philadelphia nor be as cracked as the Liberty Bell. Here's just an example.

For years, Congress has been buying time, and leaving the great challenge of entitlement reform for others to deal with. And now the two contenders in the other party have even proposed enormous new federal commitments before the old commitments have been kept -- trusting that others, somewhere down the road, will handle the financing and make all the numbers come out right.

But there will come a day when the road dead-ends, and the old excuses seem even more hollow. And it won't be the politicians who bear the consequences. It will be American workers and their children who are left with worthless promises and trillion-dollar debts. We cannot let that happen. And you have my pledge: as president I will work with every member of Congress -- Republican, Democrat, and Independent -- who shares my commitment to reforming and protecting Medicare and Social Security.
John McCain apparently forgets that the Republicans controlled the White House and both arms of Congress for 6 years and did nothing about reforming Medicare and Social Security. John McCain also conveniently neglects to mention our trillion dollar war in Iraq and who, besides the taxpayers, will pay the bill for this fiasco?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

tax day offers valuable prizes

candidates agree on one thing

"It was a poor choice of words."

bring on the mermaids

We forgot to celebrate last week. Warrior Ant Press, the blog, is one year old. 1 year, 415 posts, and a mermaid. We're swimming in it.











Mermaid cake by Sally Cowdin for the Reading Reptile

Monday, April 14, 2008

william kristol chokes on his logic

Reading William Kristol's supercilious op-ed piece in today's NYTimes, one is left to wonder exactly what gives with the weak-kneed attacks, the slight jabs launched from behind the safe skirts of the powerful that insinuate that Barack Obama has Marxist tendencies. We're heard these kind of attacks before, masquerading for what passes as logic among the right-wing illiterate. Illiterate in the ways, thoughts, and struggles of the working class; the Republican moneyed-class suggesting they understand the workers of American yet don't know about supermarket scanners or the effects of 3 tours of duty on the family. The right wing trot out these rumors with regularity and use code words to stir the masses into a frenzy: Muslin, madrases, and now Marx. It's mush. But never having to subsist on porridge, they wouldn't know the taste.

Enough.

If William Kristol were a war hero, or had a career of remarkable civic achievement or public service — then perhaps he could be excused for substituting here say for logic. But what has William Kristol accomplished that entitles him to look down on his fellow Americans and insult their intelligence?

By Mr. Krisol's logic, he's as much a Marxist as anyone else in the country, because he's read the work and by reading the work, that makes him one. God forbid we call a recession a recession, a war a war, or the current administration the worse in history.

more:
kritol vomits on reason and barfs up a Marxist tendency

all else the sea

"We are the ship; all else the sea." Rube Foster, founder of the Negro Leagues

My first research job was compiling Negro Leagues statistics from microfiche copies of the Kansas City Call. It was then that I learned that science is as well served by imagination as the fine attention to detail.

The Negro League games were a big deal within the black community, very social affairs that attracted sold-out crowds, especially with a team as good as the KC Monarchs. But the Call's coverage of the team, as were frequently other paper's coverage of teams across the nation, was somewhat limited. The stories were there, but the box scores weren't always complete. A Sunday double-header in the Negro Leagues was frequently a 9-inning game followed by a 7-inning affair. Sometimes there was a box score for the first game, but not the second. White-owned papers, such as the Kansas City Star, did not typically report on Negro League games.

Determining the winning pitcher could often be determined by reading the story line, and home runs were also frequently reported, but reconstructing a complete box scores was sometimes as much art as science. The researcher who hired me, was having people read papers in other cities and together he was trying to compile a complete set of data. It was piece work, we got paid for each game for which statistics were compiled and I didn't make much money, but it was really fun to read old newspapers about baseball games and call myself a researcher.

Memories of that brought me to the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame today to see the work of Kadir Nelson. Paintings from Nelson's most recent book, We are the Ship: The Story of the Negro Leagues have been on display at the museum since January and now that the baseball season has begun, I thought it best to see the work before it left for points beyond.

The work was grand, especially the ones where the central character loomed large in the canvas, serving as mythical creatures, like the childhood fantasy to be a professional baseball player. The work was done to illustrate a children's book and if there's anything mythical to a child, it's a great baseball player and the chance to dream that you might be one as well. Nelson also has a nice way with the adolescent children in the paintings. I think it has something to do with the perspective, frequently done at eye level, or slightly below. The heads appear to be adult size, as are the feet, and in between, the body is that of a child. It's a nice touch that shows children as being somewhere between 2 worlds and to show us that they are the mythical beings of the future.
elsewhere:
kansas city call
kadir nelson

Sunday, April 13, 2008

guns, god, and being goofy

The art of politics. How to make a huge story out the most insignificant thing. My God, no your God. No, OH! my God. Thelma, bring me the big knife, err, big gun, there's something to shoot. See. I can shoot the breeze and tote the bullshit and hit a clay target with the gun on full choke. Yo!, peon, choke on this sound bite, America is for Americans.


Let's clarify something for Senators Clinton and McCain and Rush, O'Reilly, Beck, and Hannity. Middle America is bitter.

And with good reason. Stagnating wages for the last 10 years. A focus on a civil war in another country when our own seems to be falling apart at the seems. America has 1.3 trillion dollars in needed infracture improvements AT HOME that needs immediate attention. We're spent over a trillion dollars in Iraq with little political progress to show for it.

Gas prices continue in an ever-upward spiral. But worse yet, no comprehensive long-term strategy from the government on how to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, or reduce our footprint on the planet.

So yes, there's some resentment on the street. And the silver-spooned pretty-boy fly-by-night son of a son of a 4-star general and former attorney to the Walmarkians from Outer Space are going to find out the hard way. Voters, start pulling the levers, NOW!

Find out what the cost of guns, god, and being goofy has on you by visiting the National Priorities Project. They have an interactive feature that allows you to enter a component of the war budget and it will calculate the costs for a given community, state, congressional district. And show the cost of this madness that you, as an American taxpayer share.

For example, below are other items that could have been purchased with the amount proposed to be spent on the 2009 Federal budget for the so-called missile defense system.

5,406 People with Health Care OR
12,569 Homes with Renewable Electricity OR
368 Public Safety Officers OR
268 Music and Arts Teachers OR
1,970 Scholarships for University Students OR
2 New Elementary Schools OR
145 Affordable Housing Units OR
5,194 Children with Health Care OR
2,135 Head Start Places for Children OR
286 Elementary School Teachers OR
230 Port Container Inspectors
elsewhere:
changing our national priorities

papal visit stirs sales of red hats

The Pope is coming, the Pope is coming! To America.
Those who don't know may want to bone up on the proper protocol for dressing the pope for every occassion (Yes, there are manuals on the subject). Lest we give away the baby in the basket, let's just say that dressing usually begins with a very large hat.

On a more personal note, if you are lucky enough to see the pope, the best thing you can do is wave. The pope is likely to wave back.

Sales of glass coffins may also increase in the wake of the Pope Benedict's visit.

elsewhere:
how to dress like the pope

doping witness to name big names

In an upcoming trial about the widespread nature of doping in America, a chief witness is expected to name the following as major dopes:
George Bush
Dick "the Dick" Cheney
General "we'll know when it's time" Petraus
John "McGruff the Crime Dog" McCain.
And many more to follow.

Who knew? Well everybody.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

the reversible ron paul landscape


Additional things to do with Ron Paul signs left by the side of the road.
This is a reversible sign. We've transformed the front, informed by the landscape just outside of Denver, a place I hope to be come August, into a mountainous terrain. This is where the only hopeful convention action will be during the summer.

The Republican convention, to be held this year in Minneapolis, will have all the drama of lunchtime at the geriatric center. The best you can hope for, is that at some point, a food fight erupts in the cafeteria or that Cheney's heart has to be re-started during one of his speeches - and he carries on without missing a line. The Republican view of the environment has been as just another product to be bought and sold - pretty much they way they view everything else.

Images: top: front of Reversible Ron Paul Landscape.
middle: Denver International Airport
bottom: back of Reversible Ron Paul Landscape
Reversible Ron Paul Landscape, acrylic on found object, 2008, m.o.i., 12" x 24"
elsewhere:
m.o.i: road side shelter for libertarians
m.o.i.: ron paul enters the twilight zone
m.o.i.: belief change
m.o.i.: the caucus badge

anne-sophie mutter: visual reviews of aural entertainment




Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter with pianist Lambert Orkis. The Violin Sonatas. Folly Theater, April 11th, 2008. Full house.

Friday, April 11, 2008

bush to stay the course

El Presidento Bush announced yesterday that we need to stay the course, remain ever vigilant, let things work themselves out with regards to the Iraqi situation. He could had said that many of the stated goals of the Surge, and his mission in Iraq, had failed, chiefly the most important one, to stabilize the region and bring peace and democracy into play but he didn't. Because, as his friend McGruff the Crime Dog likes to say, "not on my watch".

Blind arrogance will always be an impediment to any meaningful solution.

dolly parton joins post-punk revival

Hey there. Ho. Y'all. Let's git.

First we had the Ramones. Then we had Dolly. Or was Dolly first? They both laid down the law. And they both love eagles.

benson to school board

Arthur Benson II, who fought desegregation in the Kansas City School District all the way to the Supreme Court and LOST (but first he WON in the lower courts), has been elected to the school board. Benson, who ran as a write-in candidate after no one filed for the spot, was convinced by his friends to run. Apparently Arthur's myspace page has a few friends. 379 to be exact, which is the number needed to win this election.

We need people to care about our schools, who are willing to devote the time to work on this issue. Arthur will do this. For years the board has suffered from infighting, neglect, and harping that's turned the Superintendent's position into a revolving door of inaction and inefficiency. Time to stop and get constructive with the solutions.

elsewhere:
benson profile
supreme vacate kcmo school district ruling

Thursday, April 10, 2008

torch kidnapped by authorities

The Olympic Torch relay just keeps getting more bizarre by the day. Wednesday, in San Francisco, the torch was briefly held captive in a warehouse, then forced into a van and taken to an undisclosed location so that an impromptu ceremony could be held celebrating its arrival and departure from San Francisco. The subterfuge was done to keep protesters from disrupting the torch relay, who are protesting for among other things, a more transparent, less authoritarian government. It's not exactly clear why our government, the United States, is being complicit in such actions, except that hiding its actions from the public seems to be one of the current administration's modus operandi.

The Olympic torch movement, despite its 1936 origins as a celebration of the strengths of the National Socialist German Wokers Party in fascist Germany, seems today to have become more a celebration of its corporate sponsors - and less an acknowledgement of the spirit and hope of international amateur athletics. S'nuff said.

pinochle is for fun!

Now that Hillary Clinton has professed her love for the game of pinochle you may want to refresh your memory of RULES of the game, just in case they change mid-stream.

Example. If you're feeling ambitious you might just want to:
------------Shoot the Moon

The Winner of the bid may at his/her option declare that they intend to "Shoot the Moon". This declaration must be made after all melds have been counted and BEFORE the first card of the hand is led during play.

With such fun, who can resist?

elsewhere:
single deck pinochle rules
Image: the Meld

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

petraus admonishes war lords to chill out

General Petraus appeared on Capitol Hill yesterday trying to convince Presidential candidates that the Olympic torch can remain safe despite growing reactions around the world and at home that the current practices to protect it aren't working, haven't worked, and won't worked.

Petraus' assessment of the situation can best be described by this quote, "the 3 trillion dollar bottle of champagne has been pushed to the back of the refrigerator". Later, he suggested that a new mascot might be just the ticket to stabilize the surge.

In that end, the Bush Administration has acquired the rights to a giant floating ice cube man, that once installed above the green zone will surely convince all the warring factions in Iraq to chill out for good. Why didn't we think of this before?

more things to do with ron paul signs left by the side of the road


Shelter #2, from the series: Things to do with Ron Paul Signs Left by the Side of the Road. Original dimensions 24' x 36'; current dimensions 24' x 6' x 36' installed. Acrylic on found objects. 2008, m.o.i.

The interstate seems to be a prime focus of the rogue Ron Paul sign. One is left to wonder what the penultimate expression of signage might be if Mr. Paul were to gain the nomination. Would there just be no limit to the signs, would thousands line the roadways like flags during a holiday? Would those opposed to the clutter, have to sue the perpetrators proving we've suffered an economic loss before such actions would be deemed inappropriate?

I was also thinking about the housing crisis while making this piece. Owning your own home has been part of the decreed American Dream for some years, but is that changing? Perhaps Americans are tiring of owning their own home. If you work all the time, or worse yet, if both partners work all the time, and you both have a heavy commute, and you travel frequently, or God forbid, there's the combination of all those factors, maybe owning your own home isn't the right approach. Who has time for all the yard work? What if you get upside on your mortgage? And is this the best use of your time? your money?

The original sign had all the appearances of being slapped together by a construction worker after a long day of listening to right-wing airwave nuts rant about individual rights over societal rights. The support frame was screwed together with rough-in screws and the base was made from two small dish tubs with a small amount of leftover concrete to serve as weight. Whoever made the sign didn't do a good job of calculating the weight needed to keep it upright and they made no effort to rectify their mistake.

The sign appeared one morning by the freeway along my commute and by the afternoon winds had blown it over. After a couple of weeks of seeing it laying in the ditch, I decided it's original purpose was due for reinvention.

elsewhere:

m.o.i.: ron paul enters the twilight zone
m.o.i.: belief change
m.o.i.: the caucus badge

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

the washington post's big dick story


The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prizer yesterday for exposing what everyone already knew. Vice-President Cheney is a Dick.











dick the dick cheney

ron paul signs enter the twilight zone



Shelter no.1 from the series: Things to do with Ron Paul signs left by the side of the road. Original dimensions 24' x 36'; current dimensions 24' x 5.5' x 14'. Acrylic on found object. m.o.i. 2008

The impetus for this remake of the Ron Paul sign was the Army Corps of Engineers logo. It seemed fitting for a number of reasons.

Both Paul and the Corps seem intractable. There's lots of talking around ideas, but once you bore down into them, they seem to be offering the same idea, over and over, just slightly repackaged. Insular. Myopic. Fearful of change. I got an email from some Corps dude recently and he described a meeting as an "opportunity to create situational awareness". More than a few 9th-Wardians wish the Corps had a little more situational awareness prior to Katrina.

You'll notice there are no doors and no drawbridge on either the Paul castle or the Corp castle logo. OK, I stand corrected. The Corps logo does have a door, it's just guarded by toy soldiers. If you're not already inside, you can't enter, and once you enter, there's no leaving. Perhaps I should rename the piece, Twilight Zone.

The original Pual sign was recovered from a ravine adjacent to a suburban McMansion development called The Wilderness, the name of which refers to what was in place before being replaced by lawns manufactured by ChemGrow. Battle stations honey -- the dandelions are advancing! and Survivor is on in 10 minutes.

elsewhere:
m.o.i.: belief change
m.o.i.: the caucus badge