January 20, 2012 archive

The little things

Dad kept his axes head-down in

a coffee can of water to keep the wooden

wedges wet so the axe heads wouldn’t fly

off when he’s “fixing things” in the ever-

less-forested regions of the world.

My brother bought him a solid iron axe

at the empty Sear’s store (where the attentive

and only clerk bummed a smoke), for Christmas.

You think Mom cared about his sorry

axes?  Hellz no.   We sons noticed

the unfit outrage, the abominable travesty,  

in the corner of the garage at

the cabin.  Geez, Dad, it’s a good thing

you had sons to look after.

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

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This Week In The Dream Antilles



Joe was enthusiastic. He bought a .32 and a box of bullets at a pawn shop and was headed across the fields to shoot some beer bottles.  Target practice.  “Man,” he smiled at me, “Man, you need one of these, too. For protection. You can never tell what will happen around here. You have no idea how crazy these people are.” He got there before me. He, too, was from New Jersey. Maybe he knew what he was talking about. But we weren’t supposed to have guns. We were supposed to be non-violent. But maybe I did need protection. There were a lot of people around who were not thrilled at our arrival. There were rumors. And, of course, threats.

The police headquarters was on the dusty, main street of the town. On the white side of the tracks, down the block from the gin, across the street from the drug store. I walked in in the middle of the afternoon.  The old police car was parked out front. The street was quiet, it was hot, and there was a single officer inside. He woke himself up, pulled himself out of the wooden armchair he was leaning against the bars. I put the brown paper bag (he would have called it a “sack”) on the counter, and quietly informed him, “There’s a gun in there. It’s mine. I want you to look at it and write down the serial number, and I want you to take my name and address, so that if I have to shoot somebody, you’ll know it was me who did it.”

He didn’t seem at all startled by the request. He already knew who I was. And why I was there. He knew all about the rumors. And the threats.

In the bag was a heavy, black, snub nosed .38. A police special.  It wasn’t at all for shooting targets. Neither beer bottles, nor small animals. If you wanted to hit something, or more likely someone you’d have to be standing right next to it or him. But this gun had one enormous virtue. When you fired it in the dark, it was very loud. Like a cannon. And it made a bright yellow flash. In other words, it was perfect for me. One squeeze of the trigger would scare anybody to death. Including me. You’d think of just going home. Or back to wherever you were before. You wouldn’t think about much more than that. You’d want to leave.

After my visit downtown I put the loaded gun under my pillow. And life went on more or less as before. Community organizing. Playing with the dog. Going to meetings. Visits to the store to buy single cigarettes. Trips down the highway to buy cheap, hot beer.  Answering questions from distant supervisors about what was going on. The constant talking of organizing. Eating barbecue. Putting coins in the jukebox.  Talking some more. Visiting the neighbors. Talking some more. After a while, it wasn’t a big deal any more that there was a bump under the pillow. I took it for granted. I continued to watch my back. And my step. But the ugly rumors continued that they would get me.

One Fall Saturday night it was cold and raining. I was alone at home watching television. Home at the time was a run down, rotting shack in the edge of a small cotton field near the railroad tracks. The dog was sleeping on the floor. A leak in the roof near the entrance was dripping into a coffee can.  I heard two or three cars pull up, heard their doors slam, and heard the occupants yelling and bumping into things. They were calling me all kinds of unkind names, telling me how they were going to beat my posterior, telling me immediately to bring my buttocks out of the house. When I looked out the window, it looked like they might be carrying shotguns or rifles. I couldn’t recognize any of them. I turned the lights off. I went to the bed and reached under the pillow. They continued to yell epithets and threaten and describe the things they were planning on doing to me. They said they were going to inflict various kinds of physical injury on me, burn my house down to the ground, and kill the dog who they thought only barked at white people. It was true about who the dog barked at, so he started to growl and bark at them. I quietly opened the window at the side of the house, pointed the gun toward the sky, and fired a single shot. Boom. The boom echoed around the town. As I was afraid it would, it scared me nearly to death.

“Oh hell,” one of them shouted. “I told you he’d shoot. Let’s get the hell out of here.” They jumped back in their cars and drove off into the rain.

My heart was pounding. I was shaking. I picked up the phone to call Joe.  “Listen,” I told him. “Something just happened. You know that gun I got?”

“Did you just shoot somebody?”

“Nobody got hurt. But I’m shaking. I need you to come and get me and let me stay at your house tonight. Just for tonight. I don’t want to be here if they come back tonight. It’s too scary.”

He came and got me. To my unending gratitude, they didn’t come back.

Instead, one afternoon about two weeks later one of them drove off the road in his pick up truck. He intentionally ran over my dog and killed him.

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Usually, it appears on Friday. Sometimes, like now and for several of the past weeks, it isn’t actually a digest of essays posted at The Dream Antilles. For the essays you have to visit The Dream Antilles

Anonymous Strikes Back Against FBI & Music Industry

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This afternoon in raids that extended as far as New Zealand, the FBI took down on of the most popular websites in the world, Magaupload.com charging them with internet piracy seizing $50 million in assets and arresting seven people, four in New Zealand. Who needed SOPA?

Megaupload left this comment before the website went dark:

“The fact is that the vast majority of Mega’s Internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch.”

Not long after Meguploads was shut down and the news hit the web, this happened

Hacktivists with the collective Anonymous are waging an attack on the website for the White House after successfully breaking the sites for the FBI, Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America. [..]

“It was in retaliation for Megaupload, as was the concurrent attack on Justice.org,” Anonymous operative Barrett Brown tells RT on Thursday afternoon. [..]

Brown adds that “more is coming” and Anonymous-aligned hacktivists are pursuing a joint effort with others to “damage campaign raising abilities of remaining Democrats who support SOPA.”

Although many members of Congress have just this week changed their stance on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, the raid on Megaupload Thursday proved that the feds don’t need SOPA or its sister legislation, PIPA, in order to pose a blow to the Web.

Brown adds that operatives involved in the project will use an “experimental campaign” and search engine optimization techniques “whereby to forever saddle some of these congressmen with their record on this issue.”

Despite the loss of support for SOPA and PIPA Wednesday night, the Democrats remain the chief sponsors of the bills. MPAA CEO Chris Dodd, the former Democratic senator from Connecticut that blocked all financial reform, and his cohort, former Senate Democrat, now Independent, Sen. Joseph Lieberman have admitted that they want to copy Chinese style censorship. In an guest post article at naked capitalism, Washington’s Blog George Washington follows the money from Hollywood’s music and film industry to the Democrats in the Senate who are the “pillars of support for PIPA”:

Far and away, the top beneficiary in the Senate from interest groups that support PIPA is Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who’s taken in just short of a million dollars from those groups, according to data from OpenSecrets.org. She’s also the most recent Senator to co-sponsor PIPA, adding her name to the list on Dec. 12. The runner-up is Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who’s taken $777,383 from PIPA-supporting interest groups, and has co-sponsored the bill since May 2011.

In fact, a list of the top 20 beneficiaries of special interest money in favor of PIPA reads like a list of the Senate’s most influential Democrats: Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) in third; Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) in fourth; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in fifth; Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the bill’s primary sponsor, in sixth; Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in seventh; Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in eighth; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in ninth; and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) in tenth.

The list goes on like that until Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who places 15th with $274,600 in special interest money promoting PIPA. He has not yet announced an official position on the bill. The only other Republican on the list of the top 20 PIPA beneficiaries in the Senate is Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), in 19th place with $212,312. Corker is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

I have to give at least one Democrat credit although she is not in the Senate, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) opposed SOPA.

This is far from over.


Fresh Hare

WWL Radio #138 Norm Finkelstein Interview

Listen to Diane Gee with Honored Guest Norman Finkelstein live on WWL Radio Friday, January 20th at 6pm ET!

Listen live by clicking the link icon below:

Listen to The Wild Wild Left on internet talk radio

PhotobucketNorman G. Finkelstein is an author and lecturer living in Brooklyn.  He received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

He is currently working on a new book entitled KNOWING TOO MUCH: Why the American Jewish love affair with Israel is coming to an end.  

Norm is a fiery speaker, pulls no punches and is an endless advocate for moving the factions of the Right back to the ideals of the Left: Peace and Human Dignity for All.  I cannot wait to speak with him!

The call in number is 646-929-1264 to join the conversation!

Tip: In order to comment in the show’s companion chat, you must create a BTR account, its free and only takes seconds. Chat is monitored during the show, so make yourself heard.

Miss the show? The podcasts are available at the link above, or at the Wild Wild Left

Join Wild Wild Left Radio every Friday at 6pm ET, with Hostess and Producer Diane Gee to guide you through Current Events taken from a Wildly Left Prospective….  

WWL Radio: Bringing you controversial, cutting edge, revolutionary, “out there where the buses don’t run” LEFT perspective since January of 2009!

On this Day In History January 20

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 20 is the 20th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 345 days remaining until the end of the year (346 in leap years).

On this day in 1801, John Marshall is appointed the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an American jurist and statesman whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law while enhancing the role of the Supreme Court as a center of power. Marshall was the fourth Chief Justice of the United States, serving from 1801 until his death in 1835. He had served in the United States House of Representatives from 1799 to 1800, and was Secretary of State under President John Adams from 1800 to 1801. Marshall was from the Commonwealth of Virginia and was a leader of the Federalist Party.

The longest-serving Chief Justice of the United States, Marshall dominated the Court for over three decades (a term outliving his own Federalist Party) and played a significant role in the development of the American legal system. Most notably, he reinforced the principle that federal courts are obligated to exercise judicial review, by disregarding purported laws if they violate the Constitution. Thus, Marshall cemented the position of the American judiciary as an independent and influential branch of government. Furthermore, the Marshall Court made several important decisions relating to federalism, affecting the balance of power between the federal government and the states during the early years of the republic. In particular, he repeatedly confirmed the supremacy of federal law over state law, and supported an expansive reading of the enumerated powers.


Marshall was thrust into the office of Chief Justice in the wake of the presidential election of 1800. With the Federalists soundly defeated and about to lose both the executive and legislative branches to Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans, President Adams and the lame duck Congress passed what came to be known as the Midnight Judges Act, which made sweeping changes to the federal judiciary, including a reduction in the number of Justices from six to five so as to deny Jefferson an appointment until two vacancies occurred. As the incumbent Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth was in poor health, Adams first offered the seat to ex-Chief Justice John Jay, who declined on the grounds that the Court lacked “energy, weight, and dignity.” Jay’s letter arrived on January 20, 1801, and as there was precious little time left, Adams nominated Marshall, who was with him at the time and able to accept immediately. The Senate at first delayed, hoping that Adams would make a different choice, such as promoting Justice William Paterson of New Jersey. According to New Jersey Senator Jonathan Dayton, the Senate finally relented “lest another not so qualified, and more disgusting to the Bench, should be substituted, and because it appeared that this gentleman (Marshall) was not privy to his own nomination”. Marshall was confirmed by the Senate on January 27, 1801, and received his commission on January 31, 1801. While Marshall officially took office on February 4, at the request of the President he continued to serve as Secretary of State until Adams’ term expired on March 4. President John Adams offered this appraisal of Marshall’s impact: “My gift of John Marshall to the people of the United States was the proudest act of my life.”

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Late Night Karaoke

Pay-walling science you already bought

Private academic publishers must die!

Hunter thinks Chris Dodd and the Motion Picture Association of America are corporate parasites for trying to shut-down the internet.  And he’s right, but they are not the only corporate parasites in town these days infringing on the public welfare.  Basically, big scientific publishers want government to pay-wall all publicly-funded scientific research.  

The Research Works Act’s complete bullshit title runs thusly,

“To ensure the continued publication and integrity of peer-reviewed research works by the private sector.” -H.R. 3699[1]

but should more accurately be entitled,

“To ensure extraction of utterly parasitic publisher’s profits completely at taxpayer expense, while strip-mining knowledge from the world and causing needless, heedless damage to the public’s health and welfare in order to profit, profit, profit a few private individuals.”

Thanks for selling us our research, you blood-sucking, segmented worms.

Motherfucking SuperPACs in our Motherfucking Government!

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Modern Stage Combat

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ek hornbeck, The Stars Hollow Gazette, and DocuDharma– your go to SuperSource for embeddable The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC advertising.

<iframes> use Suicidal Sweatshop Chinese Child Labor!

Meet me at Camera 3- (they’re people!).

Our story so far-

Mitt the Ripper- Serial Killer?

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Not Abel?

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What about NO do you not understand?

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ek, don’t you think you’re a little old to be scouring the InterTubes

Yes, yes I am.



Mothers I’d like to Focus Group.

And Cain has a great singing voice.