July 12, 2010 archive

Utopia 24: First Day of School

And I  say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made  one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew  one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and  one father.

Black  Elk

Swiss Diss US, Polanski Skates!


Time Magazine was shocked!

Shock: Swiss Block Extradition, Free Roman Polanski

In yet another surprising twist to the 33-year-old case, Swiss officials have rejected a request by the U.S. government to extradite movie director Roman Polanski. Arrested in September, under house arrest since December, Polanski will go to bed Monday night a free man.

The Guardian celebrated!

The prurient hounding of Roman Polanski is over at last

Roman Polanski is a free man, at long last. Justice and reason have finally prevailed after nine months of mass hysteria on both sides of the Atlantic, hysteria and moralistic prejudices.

Twitter exploded with excitement!

Roman Polanski extradition rejection top Twitter trend

Roman Polanski’s still such a hot topic that when the news that his extradition to the United States was denied by the Swiss today, Monday, it was a top Twitter trend and a “hot topic” on Google Trends at the same time.

Worse yet, the best reporting about this mess appeared on Fox News, which was virtually the only venue which bothered to explain why the Swiss refused to extradite Polanski!

The Swiss government said it was denied access to confidential testimony given on Jan. 26 by Roger Gunson, the Los Angeles attorney in charge of the original prosecution against Polanski.

Fox also provided more background than most of the rest of the national media.

The Oscar-winning director of “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist” was accused of plying a 13-year-old girl with champagne and part of a Quaalude during a 1977 modeling shoot and raping her. He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

In exchange, the judge agreed to drop the remaining charges and sentence Polanski to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. However, he was released after 42 days by an evaluator who deemed him mentally sound and unlikely to offend again. The judge responded by saying he was going to send Polanski back to jail for the remainder of the 90 days and that afterward he would ask Polanski to agree to a “voluntary deportation.” Polanski fled the country on the eve of his Feb. 1, 1978, sentencing, and has not returned since.

90 days of “evaluation” for raping a 13-year-old girl!

Completely cured in six weeks!

But that was way back in the permissive Seventies. What kind of sentences do similar offenders get today? According to the Los Angeles Times…

Since 2004, there have been 50 cases in L.A. County that mirror the procedural contours of Polanski’s. In 72% of those cases, the defendant got a sentence of a year or more.

Although comparable statistics are not available for the 1970s, figures cited at the time by Polanski’s attorney indicate that no one convicted of unlawful sex with a minor then went to prison and more than a quarter of defendants didn’t see any time behind bars at all.

So a lot of people have skated on charges of “unlawful sex with a minor” then and now, in the United States of America, where the mandatory minimum sentence for “receiving child pornography” is five years in federal prison, and if you had a picture of Roman Polanski sodomizing a child, you would be guilty of a much more serious crime than Polanski himself.

And possessing those naughty pictures is apparently also a much more serious offense than murdering unarmed civilians from a helicopter, or torturing prisoners, or destroying the American economy, because almost nobody is serving any kind of sentence for any of those crimes in our silly country, much less a mandatory minimum.

Open Monk


News at Noon

From Reuters

Uganda bombings kill 70

By Elias Biryabarema

July 12, 2010

Reuters) – Suspected Somali Islamists carried out two bomb attacks in the Ugandan capital that killed 70 people watching the World Cup final at a restaurant and a sports club, authorities said on Monday.

Suspicion fell on the al Shabaab rebel group, which claims links with al Qaeda, after the severed head of a suspected Somali suicide bomber was found at one of the blast sites.

The explosions ripped through two bars packed with soccer fans watching the final moments of World Cup final in an Ethiopian-themed restaurant and at a gathering in a Kampala rugby club on Sunday.

Related Stories

Kampalans stunned by bombs

Factbox: Who are Somalia’s al Shabaab rebels?

Damage Has Consequences

I am and have always been a vocal proponent of therapy, medication, and introspection.  All three in tandem have proven to be invaluable to my own understanding of self, as well as an effective treatment plan.  I am not the only person who has reaped great benefit from them, too.  Recent developments, however, have given me a greater understanding of the limitations of each of these methods of attaining mental health.  By this I mean that a friend recently pointed out once again my infamous difficulty in setting adequate boundaries for myself and alongside it, unintentionally exhausting people with my need to constantly reach out.

The Slaves’ Rebellion and Revelation


How? That was always the question. How might the slaves rebel against their servitude and chains. How do people powerless and oppressed rise up against their Owners who have all manner of control available to them? The Owners had the power over access to food, water, shelter and safety. They had the Law established to protect them from the ambition of slaves to be free. Property was power and only owners could own. Slaves had to rent from the owners with the pittance of their slave wages. It wasn’t called Slavery, as it was a PR problem, so they called it Freedom.

But of course, it was the opposite of freedom. A society of owners and the owned.

Docudharma Times Monday July 12

Monday’s Headlines:

Governors Voice Grave Concerns on Immigration

Too Hollyweird for Hollywood? David Lynch asks fans to help fund his movies


Historic oil spill fails to produce gains for U.S. environmentalists

Canada’s economy can teach the U.S. a thing or two


EU misjudges pensions

Spain lifts first World Cup, beating Netherlands

Middle East

Imam arrested for painting Saddam Hussein’s name on mosque

Israeli navy braced for criticism


Japan’s ruling party takes severe drubbing in upper house election

China worries about losing its character(s)


Uganda bomb blasts kill dozens of World Cup spectators

South Africans want a crime-free World Cup to become everyday life

Latin America

Former Farc hostage sues Colombia for $6.8m

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Victory breeds hatred.

The defeated live in pain.

Happily the peaceful live,

giving up victory and defeat.

–The Dhammapada, 201

Phenomena XIII: hurting



Cold raindrops fall

snow clots

into flakes


into ice

hard as rock

and so cold

Sharp water

cuts at my skin

Does your heart bleed

when the cold

drips from its hardness

as it condenses,

becoming not large enough

to contain any love

for people

different from you?

Ice pellets

from so many eyes

and thoughts


into hatred

Are they even

aware of it?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 12, 2008

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

A sense of identity has been lost, of common cause and belonging.  What we, as liberals, are being asked to accept, is what is called pragmatism irrespective of any other value.

There is a tendency, adopted from Republicans, of disliking what they call “pessimism”, of what liberals might call acknowledging the problems confronting us and not only vowing, but actually doing, better.  Optimism grounded in an idea that any disease, any fault, any depredation can be summarily cured.  Cured by a religious faith, hope and belief, that despite what we were before, we can be better than we are.  Bt that hope, that betterness, has to be grounded not only in a vow or a desire, but a practice of different approaches, of different values, of not accepting what always has been, but what could be.

What value optimism, without these things, this vow, this indomitable conviction to start today?  What use, exceptionalism without substance and change grounded in “not today”?

To Republicans, pragmatism is all.  To neoliberal, faux-Keynsian economists, pragmatism is also a holy value, but this is often reframed as incrementalism.  It has gotten a bad name, this incrementalism.  Justifiably so.  What is incrementalism, the idea that things might get better in a world we can scarcely imagine, next to our deaths and the gradual death of the whole world?

Republicans are, we have been told, the devil.

But if Republicans are the devil, the people who use progressive rhetoric and turn tail and enact polices the Republicans might adore, are the deep blue sea.

Late Night Karaoke

Pique the Geek 20100711: Essential Materials. Zinc

Most of us have heard of zinc in passing comments.  Some TeeVee commercials tout the virtues of it in the diet.  Actually, it is an essential trace element, and part of some coenzyme systems, and so is essential for health.  Interestingly, it is more important for men than for women because the prostate gland needs lots of zinc to produce semen and to maintain health.

That does not mean that women do not need zinc, just that they do not lose lots of it in seminal fluid.  The requirements for zinc in the metabolism is the same betwixt the sexes, but, as females lose iron during menstruation, men lose it during ejaculation.  Please follow, and I promise not to be so graphic for a while.

Good and bad news on the oil front.

Good news for BP, it was our yearly allotment of seafloor spew. The freak out occurred for two reasons.

1) It was a light year if this was our gift from the Gulf, not even enough to clump together to make tarballs.

2) Ships from the contaminated oil-slicked waters have been making port calls in Texas without first having their hulls cleaned. This is against the rules, but a little low on the priority list right now. Why, with that gusher of oil doing its best impression of Spindletop, but a mile under water.

On point two, I think we can rest assured that is how oil is getting on the upper Texas coast, because I know those skimmers have been porting in Galveston. This also goes a long way in explaining how oil was able to swim upstream. Rick Perry has agreed to allow BP to dump their Gulf waste into salt cave and injection wells. I don’t see how this could go wrong.

Especially being so close to aquifers. The rumor is, Rick Perry plans to use to sludge as hair gel, which is why he needed so much.

Anyhoo, the concern is now that since we got such little oil, the BP Spill might be sucking away pressure from the entire oil fields under the Gulf of Mexico. There are a lot of dead dinosaurs under there, they all got smacked by an asteroid.

This whole fiasco was a total Kid Icarus moment for global corporations, where their hubris in their technological reach lead to a great disaster. As high as Icarus flew, BP has gone down into the watery deeps of the Gulf of Mexico, both beyond reason.

And speaking of beyond reason, I cannot celebrate for EspaƱa, because that was some of the ugliest futbol pretending to be the beautiful game.


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