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Stevie Wonder said Yes We Can!!!! (I was there)

Just saw Stevie Wonder at the White River Ampitheater – Here is the incredible version he did of Chick Corea’s “Spain”.  He also did a nice cover of the Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go Round.”  I woke up with an “earworm” of it going around in my head.

He presented his daughter Aisha who sang a number & is one of his backup singers (“Isn’t She Lovely” was written about her.) We saw the winner of the Sing With Stevie Wonder contest, a white chick from Lynnwood.  Stevie was also joined by Sanjay Malakar of nearby Federal Way, who originally auditioned with “Signed Sealed & Delivered,” which is the song Obama rallies usually close with.  (Someone had to whisper Sanjay’s name into Stevie’s ear so he could announce him, as he apparently doesn’t “follow” American Idol either.)  

Stevie put in about five plugs for Obama – he overtly said he supports him during the introduction, kept talking about positivity, not being afraid to win, change, hope, moving forward, and ended with “Yes We Can!”  He mentioned a racial incident in which some of his band were told a restaurant was closing which obviously wasn’t.  “In 2008, in America, this is simply unacceptable,” he said.








The Ampitheater is huge.  It’s hosted Radiohead, Coldplay etc. and provides some competition to The Gorge Ampitheater further to the east.  You have to cross some interesting terrain to get to it.  Loved the graffiti on the rez and the fireworks stands like Kenny’s Big Kaboom and Safe Insane Fireworks and would drive out there again with a camera, even at today’s gas prices.

The Muckleshoots sold $4 bottles of Dasani water, which is just Seattle water straight out of the tap, and they sold Indian Tacos and Fry Bread for $7, beers for $8.  I smuggled in my own pop and could definitely have brought in a camera but I didn’t know.

(more at… – accepting submissions and comments!)

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Seattle Says Hello Dalai!

The Dalai Lama addressed thousands today.  I narrowly missed getting a free ticket but did manage to run into an old friend I hadn’t seen in a decade as I left Qwest Field.  The area was ultra-high security but there was a steady rush to get inside to hear him.  I did manage to get a free poster (like in the photo above) from the public library.

He said:

“Many problem essentially are own creation; therefore logically, we must have the ability to eliminate this problem.  It is our own interest and responsibility to make this century should be century of dialogue.”

He said the 20th century has become like “century of bloodshed,” and suggested the elimination all nuclear weapons.

“So firstly, on action level, whenever we face problem, different interest, disagreement, the realistic method is nonviolent dialogue. That’s the only way. If you use force in order to solve one problem, it often create lots of unexpected side effect … Nonviolence not just mere absence of violence, nonviolence means facing problem with real determination, vision, wider perspective.”


Seen at 15th & Leary Seattle – OBAMA STREET ART






The Aliens & the Feuding Clans


The Hatfields and McCoys were rival American clans who feuded in the latter part of the 1800s.  They lived on opposite riverbanks and dealt in moonshine.  

The Shiite clans of South Iraq are having family feuds and the new government and its occupiers have been unable to settle them down. It took negotiation from Iran, because clan ties predate national borders.  

Imagine if aliens from another planet had come to the US in the 1800s to intervene between the Hatfields and McCoys!  Ironically, in 2003 they united against their common enemy, “the perpetrators of 9/11.”  check out their next reunion plan here.

Dalai Lama Coming to Seattle

I am going to the Seeds of Compassion website today to see if I can sign up for some Dalai Lama events. I’m hoping he’ll show up, given that China is calling him a “monster with a human face,” given the uptick in the Tibetan liberation movement.

He is to come to Seattle for five days next month with a focus on compassion – at home, in school and in the community. There are events for children, parents, teachers and therapists. On Saturday there will be a city-wide rally and on Sunday, youth from all over the state will gather to show “What Compassion Looks Like.”

Parent Map had a substantial article on it and I happened to pick it up in the lobby of the hospital where I work. As a follower of Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, I had to take a look when I say the title, “Teaching Empathy: Seattle Launches a Compassion Movement.”

Clinton Obama and McCain ALL Show Up in Seattle in One 24 Hour Period


Clinton at the Pier, Seattle 8:30 PM Feb. 7, 2008 – 5000 people
Obama at Key Arena, Seattle 11:00 AM Feb. 8, 2008 – 17,000+ inside (capacity), 3,000 -10000 (outside)
McCain at Westin Hotel, 5 PM Feb. 8, 2008 – unknown

Trying to make their last impressions before our caucus 1:00 PM Feb. 9, 2008

My son went to Obama – said it was all lit up electronically like at a Sonics game with the camera panning around at people dancing to music, doing the wave, etc. & they showed it on four-sided big screen that hangs from the ceiling. He said there were an amazing number of young people but all ages too, lots of minorities, and so many who took off work for it. He had friends who took the day off and couldn’t even get in.

Obama said he is looking forward to a debate with the presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain. “I think it will be fun.”

The emails are starting to come in:

I recall going to the Cow Palace in San Francisco to see JFK during the campaign and they shut the doors after 20,000 jammed the old barn. That’s when I knew something special was happening.


Suzy and I drove over to Key Arena to hear Obama!! Went past the Pacific Science Center and saw A LINE OF FOLKS ALL THE WAY FROM THE KEY ARENA past the PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTER and down to the STREET! Finally got parked, walked 5 blocks upto the THE KEY. The MOB was 15,000 capacity inside [no we didn’t get inside!] and another 10,000 folks outside. Lots of announcements about keeping FIRE EXITS clear!!! Amazing !!

PS -Hillary got 5,000 at Pier 30 last night! GO OBAMA!!!

Across the Universe to be Beamed into Space!

Nasa will broadcast the song, Across the Universe, through the transmitters of its deep space communications network on Monday – the 40th anniversary of its recording at London's Abbey Road studios. The music will be converted into digital data and sent on a 431 light year-journey towards Polaris, the North Star, in a stunt that also commemorates the space agency's 50th anniversary. February 4 has also been declared Across the Universe Day by Beatles fans across the world, who are urged to play their own recording of the song at the same time as Nasa begins its own broadcast, 7pm in the US, midnight in the UK and 1am Tuesday in Spain. "I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe," said Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, who has given her backing to the project. story Here is the original version, with space imagery, one of several Beatles versions. Fiona Apple's version is nice, and Rufus Wainwright has a beautiful version but he has disabled embedding. Then there is the movie version which I wrote about after seeing it in the theater and liked enough to recommend renting. _________________________________________________________________________________________
Beatles_ys Across_the_universe_copy_2 (image credits: &

Euphemisms: In War & Peace

When I took my last long trip, I took along George Carlin’s “When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops.”  I’ve been a fan for years, but was particularly struck by his treatment of the prevalance of euphemisms.  For a long time, I’ve noticed sanitized language used to talk about war (eg. “collateral damage” or “precision bombing”).  It’s not hard to find it when reading history (eg. “Indian removal” or “internment camps”).  I’ve been thinking about the propaganda and the framing of messages we’ve seen in the more recent past, and it all fit.

As George points out, euphemisms obscure meaing rather than enhance it; they shade the truth.  They may replace words that people are uncomfortable with or simply put a better face on things that sound too negative.  They may also dress up something that seems too ordinary.  “Thighs” become “drumsticks,” “crow’s feet” are “laugh lines,” and “pimples” are “blemishes.”

“Toilet paper” is “bathroom tissue,” and “sweatpants” are “active wear.”  “Second-hand clothing” is now “vintage apparel.”  “Toupees” have been referred to as “hair appliances” or even a “hair replacement system,” much as an “answering machine” is an “answering system” or a “mattress and box spring” is a “sleep system.”  Cars now have “braking systems” rather than just brakes, and the seat belts and air bags are an “impact-management system.”  We watch “animation” rather than lowly “cartoons” or “daytime dramas” rather than “soap operas.”  

Theaters have become “performance spaces,” and arenas are now “event centers.”  Hospitals are “medical centers,” libraries are “learning resource centers” and so on.  “Profits” are “earnings,” “criticism” is “feedback” and “special delivery” is now “priority mail.”  “Trailers” are “manufactured homes,” “mouthwash” is a “dental rinse,” “soap” is a “clarifying bar,” and “hair spray” is a “holding mist” or “sculpting gel.  “Cough drops” are “lozenges,” and “constipation and diahrea” are “occasional irregularity and lower gastric distress.”

Euphemisms have been used to “soften the language” when it comes to the condition in combat where a soldier’s nervous system has reached the breaking point.  In World War I, it was called “shell shock.”  In World War II, it became “battle fatigue,” definitely less harsh-sounding, though two syllables became four.  

By the Korean War, the condition became known as “operational exhaustion,” nice and sterile sounding, like something that might happen to your car.  Finally Vietnam, and “post-traumatic stress disorder.”  It still has eight syllables, but has been hyphenated.

Published also today at Democracy Cell Projectand Silenced Majority Project

AntiWar Rally Today: Seattle Reporting (Photos)

Dsc05643I headed off to the “staging area,” which was Judkins Park, in a quiet area of town mostly populated by minorities.  Participants organized with their respective groups, mostly “usual suspects” (ie. committed and brave and patriotic in the best sense of caring truly about humanity) BUT with a notable lack of community participation.  If 60% or more oppose the war nationally, and 90% or so here in Seattle before it even started, where were the rest?

Why was it that I counted ONE BUS (belonging to “Pastors for Peace,” who travel to Cuba, Mexico, Central America – though not necessarily in the bus) but on the way home I counted MORE THAN NINETY busses of University of Washington football fans?  I know that football is immensely popular in the fall and tailgate parties are a tradition, along with Jack’o’Lanterns but what about our country?  Our future?

The rally was intended to go from Judkins Park down (or up) Jackson Street to Occidental Square, which may not mean anything to someone who doesn’t live in Seattle.  To me though, it is a traditional labor march route, much as the one from Place de Nation to Place de Republique has been in Paris, via the site of the storming of the Bastille.  In both cases, the routes are now off to the side of the zones of commerce, and the populist marches for justice no longer seem to strike fear in the hearts of the bourgeoise.  In both instances, the media appears to be aligned with the increasingly more right-leaning government, contrary to what the far right says.

It seem, like Tom Hayden warns, that the antiwar movement was discouraged from developing after 9/11, through the use of fear.  Once it developed, a huge PR campaign has been forged on the right, to try to marginalize protesters as “goofy.”  Indeed, I did a “search” for antiwar at MySpace and found military spouses who wanted protesters to impale themselves on the sticks of their protest signs.  Pressed further, some of them still appeared to believe the 9/11-Saddam link or that civil warring factions were intending to somehow head through the skies to attack rural America.

More pictures below- ek

No Brains For Oil: Zombie Nation Strikes Again!

Sometimes I can be impulsive with my camera, and yesterday was one of those days.  Someone at FaceBook let me know that in a few minutes, a bunch of zombies would be assembling at “The Troll” that lives under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont (“Center of the Universe”) in Seattle.  I headed out.

Why zombies?  It’s Halloween season and there are new horror films out.  That’s not all though.  Zombies are also party a manifestation of a healthy “question authority” attitude spawned in San Francisco with the guerilla “occupation” of straight bars by gays and lesbians.  It has mushroomed into groups of marauding zombies, hordes of Santas who last year rode the carousel downtown and infiltrated a fetish convention, and legions of brides of both genders who will marry promient “phallic” monuments (such as the Space Needle and Hammering Man), come spring.


(more photos & discussion at http://www.silencedm…)

Conrad Crane Knew (& So Did We)

Dsc03636I am a huge NPR listener, especially on my commute and on Saturday, when “This American Life” is on.  Today was part of a pledge drive, since they are “listener-supported” public radio, so this was a repeat.  My internet connection wasn’t working, but I wrote the name “Conrad Crane” down on an envelope, because he warned that it was folly to invade Iraq and not plan for the Reconstruction.  From his study of history, he knew that what would befall our country, the Iraqi people and their neighbors would dwarf what had been experienced under the government of Saddam Hussein.

As soon as my internet connection was up, I discovered Rod Dreher at BeliefNet had written “Conrad Crane Told Us So” after hearing the original NPR podcast.  Concrad Crane knew .. and so did the man I photographed in late 2002.

From Rod’s piece:

I get “This American Life” via podcast, and listened to the latest one this morning. It was a stunner. One of the segments was about the work of Conrad Crane, a historian at the US Army War College, who with colleague W. Andrew Terrill produced this February 2003 monograph. It was a document, based on study of historical experience, intended to guide the American occupation of Iraq, by warning the military what would happen if they did, or failed to do, certain things. Like the TAL correspondent said, it reads like a letter from the future predicting exactly what did happen in Iraq. (See PDF at end of article) Note especially the warning that to disband the Iraqi army would be to annihilate one of the only sources of unity in the country, and could send its soldiers straight into the arms of sectarian militias.

This is not a new story; James Fallows reported on it a couple of years ago in The Atlantic.  The point is, nobody in the administration can say they weren’t warned about what could happen in Iraq. They were. They chose to ignore it because it didn’t suit their ideological vision. Nothing that happened in Iraq after the end of the first phase of the war surprised Conrad Crane. It shouldn’t have surprised President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, or any of them. They chose not to believe it.

It seems that Rumsfeld et al chose to disbelieve it because if historian Crane was right, then he, Rumsfeld, was wrong in his theories about how the US military needed to be transformed. So he — and the commander in chief he served — chose theory over experience. The arrogance simply begs belief.

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