Thursday, May 27, 2010
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 5:33 PM
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Y'know, I don't really think so. Neither does anyone else who truly understood the Black Panther Movement.
My father, Robert Seth Hayes, was a member of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and ever since that day some 37 years ago, he has been a political prisoner in the state of New York. So when I read Cord Jefferson‘s article, “Is the Tea Party the New Black Panther Party?” on The Root.com, I could not help but remember, and relive, the pain and trauma of that day. I also became frustrated and angry because Jefferson’s article is ahistorical and continues the tradition of attacking the Party and misrepresenting its history and legacy. What’s more, it does so in a forum that prides itself on getting African American history correct.Jefferson begins his piece predictably, by drawing on caricatures of the Party – images of armed, angry, Black men going to war against the US government. But the images that are used aren’t even of Panther members. His opening lines are accompanied by a photo of Malik Zulu Shabazz, a member of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), an unaffiliated group founded in 1989 that has no connection to the BPP other than the name that it appropriated.In fact, original BPP members openly reject the NBPP because its ideology promotes violence, separatism, and nationalism, values my father and other BPP members have long abandoned as part of an effective political ideology and strategy. In fact, the NBPP was successfully sued by Huey P. Newton’s foundation in an effort to keep them from calling themselves the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the BPP’s original name.
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 4:15 PM
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Every May 25th is celebrated as Towel Day. Those of us "in the know" carry a towel around with us all day.
WTF??? I can hear those of you not "in the know" saying.
Okay, the 25th of May, Towel Day, is the day that the late author Douglas Adams' many fans around the world carry a towel in his honor.
Adams, as you may not know, was the author of the sci-fi series of books (and television shows) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which ultimately became an increasingly-misnamed trilogy of five books.
Adams died in 2001 at the age of 49, much too young. Who knows what other works of monumental genius would have sprung forth from his ingenious mind had he lived?
Remember: "42"... and don't panic.
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 2:10 PM
Monday, May 24, 2010
I haven't kicked around my favorite nutjob religion in quite a while, but here's something I ran across that I just couldn't keep to myself.
The Mormon church has something it calls the Strengthening Church Members Committee. Its sole function, as I understand it, is to monitor books, magazines, interviews, letters to the editor, etc., for evidence of church members who are bold enough to publicly question the One True Church and its leaders, specifically the "prophet, seer and relevator". Once Elder Big Brother identifies the guilty individual, he or she is handed over to local church authorities for remedial action, which can include anything up to "disfellowship" or out-and-out excommunication.
BTW, did you get that Orwellian name? Strengthening Church Members? Call me crazy, but I don't consider having someone look over my shoulder and examine my writing for impure thoughts or treason against the church (i.e., criticizing the authhorities) as strengthening. I call it weird and creepy.
But it's been kind of an open secret for years amongst the Mormons themselves -- the most obsessive record-keepers of all religions -- that there is a secret vault hidden in the deep granite recesses of the Wasatch Range wherein is kept a record of every single slander, libel, complaint, criticism, etc., ever leveled against the church.
And come Judgment Day, people like me will have all of our writings, blog posts, letters to the editor, etc., waved in our faces. Right before we get on that cosmic train bound for the Outer Darkness (It's my understanding that Mormons don't really believe in "hell". The damned are just sent off for an eternal journey in darkness; bad enough, but it sure beats roasting on a spit over a bed of hot coals while demons probe you with pitchforks...)
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The new book of the week is an absolutely must-read for anyone who seeks to understand the nature of the pernicious influence of Religious Right fundamentalism.
Jeff Sharlet's The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, is a at once a thorough examination of the history and sociology of American Fundamentalism and a sweeping indictment of a secretive group that has insinuated itself slowly and surreptitiously into our government and our institutions.
The Family -- or The Fellowship as it is also known -- was also at the center of the C Street House controversy that has been bubbling up over the last couple of years.
Sharlet's skills as a historian and an investigative reporter have combined to make this book one of the most important of the 21st Century.
The Family, from its humble beginnings in -- gasp -- Seattle in 1935, has been like an evil worm eating at the core of power in this country. And not only here, but also around the world. The Family's amoral reach has included snuggling up to most of the most corrupt politicians, the worst dictators and mass murderers in the world: Nicaragua's Samoza, Cuba's Batista, Indonesia's Suharto (The Family doesn't make many distinctions between Christianity and Islam, just so long as the power is there to attach themselves to). Their leader, Doug Coe, has spoken frankly of his admiration for Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Chairman Mao and Pol Pot.
One of the worst offenses that The Family is responsible for is its support of one David Bahati in Uganda. Bahati, you may not know, is a Fellowship associate who first proposed the "death to all homosexuals" law in Uganda. In the meantime, the influence of The Family redirected millions of dollars in US aid to Uganda away from real sex education programs and into "abstinence" programs, with the result that Uganda's AIDS rate, which had been dropping, suddenly skyrocketed.
There's a lot more in this valuable book. Everyone should read it, if only to learn what is being done by this secretive hard core and powerful organization. Remember, knowledge is power, and with that power we can get a clearer idea of the theocracy that will await us if we don't remain vigilant.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Patently that does not extend to Hooters management, as this clip makes clear:
I mean come on! Five foot eight and one-thirty-two?. That's perfect. What fucking planet do these people live on, for crissakes?
And get a load of that manager! It's a damn good thing for him that he isn't held to the same standards.
And while we're on the subject, how the fuck does Hooters get away with this shit? We have such a thing as Fair Labor Standards Act in this country which ought to, one would think, eliminate this kind of thing.
But no, really, take another look at that manager. Jesus. What a fuckin' fatty HE is. It is obvious that there is a double standard in play here.
And, oh by the way, did you catch that HE is a fuckin' FATTY?
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 3:49 PM
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Yesterday's election results were good news for progressives across the board. Especially in Pennsylvania, where a Democrat kept control of the Murtha Seat in Congress, and where Republican turncoat Arlen Specter lost -- and lost big time -- in the senatorial primary.
And that was despite the fact that the big guns in the Democratic party all campaigned for him, including some "robocalls" made by Obama himself.
Why did he lose? People are fed up with Democrats who are "Rethug Lite" -- look at Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, for example -- and are ready to go with the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.
Besides, I believe that a lot of people, myself included, have never forgiven Specter for the two things that will live in infamy in American history: The appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court is one.
And the other?
The Single Bullet Theory in the Warren Commission investigation into the assassination of JFK.
The Theory, dreamed up and fabricated out of whole cloth by none other than Arlen Specter himself when he was a Warren staff attorney, has never been able to stand the cold hard light of reality, despite desperate attempts by such disparate persons as Gerald Posner and the otherwise-rational Vincent Bugliosi.
It, almost by itself, derailed the actual investigation and assisted in the now-decades-long confusion and coverup of the true facts.
No, I'm not ready for the tinfoil hat just yet, but I've been a student and critic of the Warren Commission and its phony "report" for 45 years, and I can say with absolute certainty that there is simply no way under the laws of physics that Commission Exhibit 399 (aka the "Magic Bullet") could have been responsible for all of the damage it was alleged to have caused to two separate individuals.
At this point I'm willing to concede that we will probably never really know the truth about the Kennedy assassination(s). Thanks, Arlen. G'bye and don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. Good riddance.
To my parents' generation, the Forgotten War was Korea. WWII had been over for just a few years, the country was back to producing consumer goods and baby-boomer children, and nobody wanted to think about the frozen quagmire that was Korea.
Our forgotten war is Afghanistan. It was always overshadowed by its bully big brother, the Iraq War, but now that things seem to be winding down in Iraq, we want to forget that Afghanistan even exists, let alone that we have troops there who are fighting and dying -- yes, dying -- for what appears to be no good reason at all.
I just learned that we have reached a sad milestone in that war: The 1,000th American death:
He was an irreverent teenager with a pregnant girlfriend when the idea first crossed his mind: Join the Army, raise a family. She had an abortion, but the idea remained. Patrick S. Fitzgibbon, Saint Paddy to his friends, became Private Fitzgibbon. Three months out of basic training, he went to war.Why are we still there?
From his outpost in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, he complained to his father about shortages of cigarettes, Skittles and Mountain Dew. But he took pride in his work and volunteered for patrols. On Aug. 1, 2009, while on one of those missions, Private Fitzgibbon stepped on a metal plate wired to a bomb buried in the sun-baked earth. The blue sky turned brown with dust.
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 2:41 AM
This probably comes as a surprise to no one, but when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I tended to exhibit what some would now call "troubling" symptoms: A pattern of "negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures" including losing one's temper, annoying people and being "touchy".
Jeez, who knew? All this time I thought I was normal. Now I find that it's not true and I was actually laboring under something called "oppositional defiant disorder".
At least according to the proposed additions to the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is the bible of the wackjob-doc crowd, aka psychiatrists and those of their ilk.
Jesus, had my parents only known (instead of just suspecting) that they were dealing with an out-and-out crazy person instead of a resistant, recalcitrant and unrepentant teenager, imagine how much better things could have been.
For them. Not for me. The shrinks could have cranked up their volume-dampening chemical headphones with that whole litany of krazy-kid drugs like Ritalin, Valium, and -- hell, it was the 50s -- even Miltown, and I could have blissfully zoned my way through adolescence. And young adulthood. And fuck, who knows, even middle age and now, my dotage...
Except I could never have written A Bad Attitude: A Novel from the Vietnam War. After all, I wouldn't have actually been able to have that "bad attitude", now would I?
I also wouldn't be writing this blog. And I'd probably be voting Republican...
Which is probably what the Medical-Industrial Complex is after: Maximize their profits while at the same time doping up the rambunctiously annoying little fuckers so much that they can't even see the oppression, let alone fight against it.
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 12:47 AM
The ink wasn't even dry on the award scroll before the wingnuttery came unglued over the crowning of Miss Michigan, Detroit's own Rima Fakih, as the new Miss USA. Miss Fakih, being from the -- gasp! -- large Muslim population of Detroit, the Lebanon-born daughter of immigrants, is automatically suspect.
After all, in the twisted world of the right wing, the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim, right?
No less a personage than the self-styled "expert" on "radical Islam", Debbie Schlussel says so. Whatsa matter, Debbie, is Rima too good looking for you to compete with? A little jealous, are we?
I mean really, take a look at that mug and tell me.
In the meantime, take a look at this photo of the "terrorist in a bikini" and tell me exactly where is she hiding that IED?
I rest my case.
[HT to Badtux the Snarky Penguin for letting me steal the image]
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 12:01 AM
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
... my "hometown" newspaper, the Longview Daily News, has a terrific interactive Mt St Helens website, which you can explore here.
For those who don't know -- which means pretty much all of you -- the Daily News won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the disaster.
Pretty good for a small-city family-owned (at the time) newspaper. And frankly, Longview doesn't have a lot in the way of things to engender civic pride (aside, of course, from the Nutty Narrows Squirrel Bridge), so they can rightfully be proud of this accomplishment.
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 4:03 PM
Exactly 28 years ago today, Mount St. Helens in SW Washington State erupted, 57 people died, and the resulting pyroclastic flow and ash cloud caused untold destruction of homes, businesses, highways, bridges and National Forest old-growth timber. It was a blow to the area that it has yet to recover from, even now.
I was fortunate enough to work at the official "Disaster Center" in Kelso, only about 50 crow-fly miles away from the mountain, for the next week, so I got firsthand accounts from people who had survived the blast. It was a terrible time but I was working with FEMA so I could witness firsthand the calm professionalism that they displayed to getting the job done. You remember FEMA, don't you? This was back in the day when they had competent people at the top and not Republican hacks.
I even got to meet and shake hands with Mister Peanut himself, Jimmy Carter.
One week after the major eruption -- one in which the prevailing winds sent the ash cloud to the east -- there was another eruption, and this time the winds sent it to the west. It was also raining that day (typical for the Pacific Northwest) and that meant it was raining mud. Electrical lines broke, phone lines were questionable, and driving in it meant that you would likely get sanded scrapes on your windshield from the muddy sandy grit being sluiced from side to side by your windshield wipers.
Anyone who lived through that time that close to the actual disaster will never forget it.
Which is why a year ago I watched with an odd combination of ironic mirth and gut-level disgust as Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal singled out volcano monitoring for a typical Republican swipe. He asked why it was included in the stimulus package, and then, obviously thinking he was scoring some rhetorical points, said "Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington".
Yeah, really clever, that Bobby Jindal. He probably thinks the US Geological Survey people truck the money up to the lip of the volcano and dump it in.
Actually, he and his teabag followers probably actually DO believe that.
Okay, so at the time I proposed a tradeoff. We'll stop the money for volcano monitoring in the Pacific Northwest (one of the most geologically active parts of the US) if he'll accept an equal cut for hurricane monitoring on the Gulf Coast.
But now that I think of it, that'd probably be just dandy for the Rethugs. They were, after all, the ones that brought us the real disaster of Hurricane Katrina...
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 2:51 PM
Here from TomDispatch is an absolutely must-read piece by Greg Grandin that analyzes the long-standing trends in American history evident in the teaparty movement and shows that they are rooted in centuries of racial demonization.
The story is the ironically -- even sarcastically -- named Glenn Beck, America’s Historian Laureate
Americans, it’s been said, learn geography when they go to war. Now, it seems, many get their history when they go to a Tea Party rally or tune in to Glenn Beck.There's a lot more, and all of it is necessary for us to understand the driving forces that motivate the teabaggers.
At the heart of Tea Party history is the argument that “progressivism is fascism is communism.” Conceptually, such a claim helps frame what many call “American exceptionalism,” a belief that the exclusive role of government is to protect individual rights -- to speech, to assembly, to carry guns, and, of course, to own property -- and not to deliver social rights like health care, education, or welfare.
When Tea Partiers say “Obama is trying to turn us into something we are not,” as one did recently on cable TV, they are not wrong. It’s an honest statement, acknowledging that attempts to implement any government policies to help the poor would signal an assault on American exceptionalism, defined by Beck and likeminded others as extreme individualism.
The issue is not really the specific content of any particular policy. As any number of frustrated observers can testify, it is no use pointing out that, say, the healthcare legislation that passed is fundamentally conservative and similar to past Republican healthcare plans, or that Obama has actually lowered taxes for most Americans, or that he gets an F rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The issue is the idea of public policy itself, which, for many on the right, violates an ideal of absolute individual rights.
In other words, any version of progressive taxation, policy, and regulation, no matter how mild, or for that matter, of social “justice” and the “common good” -- qualities the Texas School Board recently deleted from its textbook definition of “good citizenship” -- are not simply codes for race. They are race. To put it another way, individual supremacy has been, historically speaking, white supremacy.
[T]he teabaggers who reject any move by Big Government when it comes to social policy at home remain devoted, as Andrew Sullivan recently wrote, to the Biggest Budget-Busting Government of All, the “military-industrial-ideological complex” and its all-powerful commander-in-chief executive (and surprising numbers of them are also dependent on that complex’s give-away welfare state when it comes to their livelihoods).
As James Bovard, a consistent libertarian, has observed, “many ‘tea party’ activists staunchly oppose big government, except when it is warring, wiretapping, or waterboarding.” For all the signs asking “Who is John Galt?,” the movement has openly embraced Arizona’s new “show-me-your-papers” immigration law and mutters not one complaint over the fact that America is “the most incarcerated society on earth,” something Robert Perkinson detailed in Texas Tough, his book on the Lone Star roots of the U.S. penitentiary system. The skin color of those being tortured, rounded up, and jailed obviously has something to do with the selective libertarianism of much of the conservative movement. But this passion for pain and punishment is also an admission that the crisis-prone ideal of absolute individualism, forged in racial violence, would be unsustainable without further state violence.
And here’s the irony, or one of them anyway: in the process of defining American exceptionalism as little more than a pitchfork loyalty to individual rights, Beck and other right-wingers are themselves becoming the destroyers of what was exceptional, governmentally speaking, about the United States. Like John Locke’s celebration of inalienable rights, Founding Father James Madison’s distrust of the masses became a distinctive feature of American political culture. Madison valued individual rights, but in the tripartite American system of government he worked hard to help fashion, a bulwark meant to contain the passions he knew they generated. “Liberty is to faction what air is to fire,” he wrote in 1787, and in the centuries that followed, American politicians would consistently define their unique democracy against the populist and revolutionary excesses of other countries.
Considering the right’s success at mimicking the organizing tactics of the left, it would be tempting to see recent calls for rebellion and violence as signs that the conservative movement is entering its Weathermen phase -- the moment in the 1960s and 1970s when some left-wing activists succumbed to revolutionary fantasies, contributing to the New Left’s crackup. Except that violence did not really come all that easy to the American leftists of that moment. There was endless theorizing and agonizing, Leninist justifying and Dostoevskian moralizing, from which the left, considering the ongoing finger-pointing and mea culpas, still hasn’t recovered.
While they are fun to ridicule and easy to dismiss, we ignore them at our peril.
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 11:18 AM
Monday, May 17, 2010
Okay, I'll bite: How much is it?
Apparently the answer to that question is exactly $79,265.14 -- that's how much ROTC scholarship recipient Sara Isaacson is expected to cough up and pay back for her ROTC scholarship because her idea of integrity included coming out as a lesbian to her commanding officer.
Imagine that. They basically cashiered poor Sara from the officer training program and are now expecting her to pay back her scholarship. All because they drummed into her the concept of "integrity" -- while, tragically, not having any of it themselves.
You can read more at HuffPost and various other sites, but it's sad that the antiquated "don't ask don't tell" rules are still in effect, and from all reports a person who would have made a fine officer is now ineligible to serve.
Isn't it past time to get rid of that stupid rule? GLBT Americans are fully citizens of this country and if they want to serve in uniform, just fucking let them!
As I've said before, this is as abhorrent an abuse of civil rights as keeping African-Americans out of the military except for roles as cooks and servers in the Navy was.
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 2:27 PM
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I had a delicious set of days off and I feel so much better. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and I went with some very good friends of ours up to picturesque Port Townsend, with its collection of Victorian houses and its laid-back post-hippie politically-progressive population.
We'd love to move there. But unfortunately, so does everyone else. Which has driven the real estate prices through the roof. After some looking around, we realized that our current income would rent us a part-time space in a janitor's closet in the classic brick Jefferson County courthouse:
Okay, who wouldn't want to live in a place like that?
Apparently that would be the person I'm married to, since we are now back at home in our middle-class hovel...
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 3:52 PM
Monday, May 10, 2010
I've had some connections problems between Blogger and Firefox for a week or more, and now I'm starting to have them with IE as well.
I'm sure that this is a fairly simple glitch that will be eventually taken care of. I've already filed a series of incresingly strident complaints. Now I'm going to relax on a little mini-vacation.
Check back next week, and once again, thanks for reading.
--The F Man
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 8:13 PM
Friday, May 07, 2010
Here's a video from The Young Turks about that church that will "cure" female addiction to porn and masturbation.
I mean, really... One girl begs for forgiveness because she "touched it" twice last week (!!!???)
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 3:35 PM
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
If it sounds a little off-kilter, a little double-entendre-y, that's because it is.
One George Allen Rekers, of North Miami, was recently seen coming off of an airliner in the company of a Miami "Rentboy". While Rekers admits he was "on vacation" with the youth, he says it's because he hired him to help "lift his luggage". Ummmmm, yeahhhhh....
Why does all this matter? Because Rekers is a Baptist minister and one of the country's most prominent anti-gay-rights activists. He even wrote a book, Shaping Your Child's Sexual Identity.
He's of the "homos can be cured" school, it appears. Maybe that's what he was doing out there with the sleek blond boy that he got from Rentboy.com, a website that caters to men with such amazing descriptions of their menu items as his "smooth, sweet, tight ass" and "perfectly built 8 inch cock (uncut)" and says that he is "sensual," "wild," and "up for anything"...
As Dan Savage says in his snarky biting story in The Stranger, the least we can do is add "lift my luggage" to the lexicon.
Jesus, so many Religious Right Republican hypocrites, so little time...
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 11:39 PM
Watch Jon Stewart lambast the media coverage of the Little Bomber that Couldn't:
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 12:05 AM
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Tap any Fundo Xian on pretty much any topic that has to do with social justice and he will, seven times out of ten, spout a quotation from Leviticus back at you.
You remember the Old Testament book of Leviticus, don't you? That's the book that the fundos are constantly spewing forth with its condemnation of homosexuals. Along with shellfish, pigs, etc... You know, all of those "abominations" that they choose NOT to follow. I guess that's mostly because that edible spawn of satan, bacon-wrapped shrimp just tastes so fucking good.
Nevertheless, Leviticus also has some cautionary words for the One True God bible-thumping members of the Arizona legislature and its contrary-to-gospel-uppity-woman governor:
When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt Leviticus 19:33-34.Got that, Arizona? Based on your own bible, which you proclaim to LOVE and believe in SO FUCKING MUCH, you are going against the word of god. You are damned. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Love the sinner, hate the sin...
Once again, I'm tempted to want to believe in an actual Judgement Day, just so I could watch the surprised look on the faces of oh-so-many "true believers" in Xianity, as their jealous and angry and temperamental and judgmental god pulls that lever and the trapdoor at their feet springs away to drop them into hell...
Posted by Farnsworth68 at 4:44 PM