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This Week In The Dream Antilles

Many years ago, there was a small railroad that ran on the docks in Brooklyn.  It was called the Brooklyn Dock Railway.   It wasn’t connected by track to other railroads.  Back then, they put railroad cars on barges and floated them to and from New Jersey across the New York City harbor.   When BDR went out of business about forty years ago, a friend of your bloguero picked up some artifacts from its offices.  And he gave your bloguero one, a small stamp that was used in making hourly entries in a lined log book.  The stamp says, “NOTHING TO REPORT.”

A perfect stamp to put on today’s digest.  At The Dream Antilles a week of bemusement. A week of distraction.  A week of dreams.  A week of memories.  A week of wondering.  A week of ennui.  A week of nothing to report.


The Newark Space Flight Center is fiction, but it has girders anchored in fact.  Your bloguero likes this piece.  A relative of your bloguero , on the other hand, wants your bloguero to know that he doesn’t recognize Pops as Luis, your bloguero’s actual grandfather.  “But, but, but,” your bloguero stammers, “It’s part fact and part fiction.  It’s faction.  It’s….”

At Last notes the arrival of the peepers on the pond.  The surest sign that Spring has begun.

April 4, the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is marked by In Memoriam,

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is now posted early Saturday morning.   Your bloguero will see you next week, planetary and his psycho-emotional condition permitting.  If you read this, please drop a note.  Your bloguero last week had a personal understanding of  Handel’s interpretation of Isaiah, “The voice of him that cryeth in the wilderness…”

This Week In The Dream Antilles

A week of perplexity.  A week of indolence.  A (last?) week of winter.  A week of introspection.  A week of distraction.  You name it.  In other words, your bloguero has his moods (read: excuses) for a week of low productivity.

Sometimes it’s hard for your boguero to keep up.  Like everyone else riding this blue planet round the nearest star, your bloguero has concerns about survival.  His survival, the planet’s survival.  He doesn’t write a lot when he’s got worries about the state of the planet and its inhabitants.  And to confess, he is becoming slowly convinced that he’s silently and secretly being irradiated and mutated, as all of you are also, into a glowing, green,  cridaria.  One that doesn’t require any sea water.  One that is a giant, amoeba like, creeping, green ectoplasm.  In this progression, the end, and who knows how far away that might be, is looking like human silly putty.  Your bloguero has trouble typing when he’s worried that his fingers are being radiated into spongy tendrils.

On the other hand, if we’re all really hurtling like crash test dummies into a future as glowing silly putty, this week’s blog output is the least of your bloguero’s concerns.  Or yours.

On Thursday, in an effort to stave off life as Sponge Bob, your bloguero invited everyone to a Ceremony For Japan/Ceremonia Para Japon.  If as Dr. Emoto argues, water is responsive to prayer, your bloguero was in no mood to ignore the possibility of an energetic transformation of the ocean.  Alas, the news on Saturday suggests that this ceremony hasn’t prevented radiation from seeping into the Pacific Ocean.  The next thing your bloguero anticipates is the appearance of a particularly angry Rodan.

And then there’s your bloguero’s slowly turning The Dream Antilles back to its original conception as a Lit Blog in The Market Of Dreams and the the Haiku that inspired it, which was in turn inspired by Eduardo Galeano.  Your bloguero enjoyed these two pieces and considered them among his best.  They weren’t cross-posted anywhere because, well, there really isn’t another place they fit.  Your bloguero hopes you enjoy them.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is now posted early Saturday morning.   Your bloguero will see you next week, planetary and his psycho-emotional condition permitting.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

Nothing like Internet interruption to get the priorities re-oriented.  Nothing like the Mac announcing that it’s “looking for networks” and the persistent message from Vonage that things are not well in VOIP land.  Friday brought high winds.  First, phones out.  An otherworldly, beeping, static laden dial tone.  And then, when the phones mysteriously returned all on their own, no Internet.  Red lights on the modem.  Whirling beach ball email symbols.

According to the consoling voice at the so-called “Internet Help Center,” they are very sorry, very sorry indeed, but your bloguero might be disconnected until, wait for it, Monday or Tuesday.  This news raises the specter of no Port Writers’ Alliance digest this week, or writing it on the crusty Blackberry, or scouting out a local Internet hotspot.  It also raises the fear of no Netflix on demand.  It only occurs to your bloguero after he realizes that no Internet might mean he has a legitimate excuse for no Digest this week and that maybe he will finish reading the first book of Eduardo Galeano’s masterful trilogy, that he first wonders how he will be able to do any work this weekend.  Exactly how good an excuse, your bloguero wonders, is no Internet?

These fertile introspections, of course, can’t last.  They can’t get played out.  No.  The phone rings on Saturday morning and the tech guy at the “Internet Help Center” says all is well and that your bloguero should now re-cycle the router.  Of course, he’s right.  It works.  Your bloguero’s growing reveries about being Robinson Crusoe on an island without WiFi  are shattered.

This week the Dream Antilles marked the passing of a lawyer hero, Leonard Weinglass.  He was held in contempt 14 times by Judge Julius Hoffman during the Chicago 8 7 trial, inspiring me and dozens of other lawyers with his fearlessness in defense of his clients.

Haiku about clouds.  These were inspired by a brief passage by Galeano.

Our Nominee For Understatement Of The Week is about the administration’s pathetic understanding of the US role in the centuries long oppression of Latin America.  Your bloguero thinks he should make a reading list for US officials and take them on a tour of Central and South America so that they can understand how dreadful and anti-democratic US policy has been in the region.

Cops of the World is about Simultaneous War III in Libya.  It was written on Wednesday.   The questions remain unanswered.  One might wonder why the US isn’t lobbing million dollar missiles at Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen this morning.  Meanwhile, Phil Ochs’s song of more than  40 years ago fits the situation.

And an obituary for Pinetop Perkins, a helluva blues piano player.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is now posted early Saturday morning.   See you next week if the creek don’t rise if there’s still Internet.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Cops Of The World

Simultaneous War III continues. Nobody knows its goal or how or when it ends.  Or who’s in charge of operations. Or what a success might look like. In fact, the many questions US airstrikes on Libya have raised seem to have struck many (including me) dumb. Why?  Because I just don’t get it. I don’t understand the point of this latest military adventure. Or what it is supposed to accomplish.  Or how.

There are lots of countries in which dictatorships with varying degrees of brutality toy with the lives of the citizens, suppressing dissent, imprisoning, killing, disappearing, repressing in one way or another. These countries are not democracies.  How many are there in which tyrants of one stripe or another are in charge and acting like, well, tyrants? I don’t know, but you can bet that Libya isn’t the only one in Africa. And, of course, all of these countries, to one degree or another, have nascent opposition groups that are involved in various kinds of opposition to the tyrant, including demonstrations, rebellions, or outright armed insurrection. But the US isn’t busy lobbing $1 million missiles at these countries in support of the rebels, or flying airstrikes to blow up their military defenses, or coordinating with the allies to advance the opposition, or even threatening them to straighten up and fly right.  Or else. Libya is special, probably because of oil.  

This Week In The Dream Antilles

A week of bread and circuses.  Pan y toros.  The shiny object of March Madness on four networks  (CBS, TBS, TNT, TruTV) attempts to eclipse world shaking nuclear disaster in Japan and the initial steps toward US involvement in yet another war, this time in Libya.  Lost in the fray: a judge temporarily enjoined Wisconsin’s union buster law.  And the moon is closest to earth since 1992.  

This week your bloguero was distracted.  And he wasn’t prolific.  Or poetic.  As of Friday night, there wasn’t a single new Haiku on the site.  So your bloguero wrote an apologetic one just for this Digest:

Week without Haiku.

Your bloguero is slothful,

Sometimes disappoints.

At 4 am Saturday that helped your bloguero scrape enough rust off his iron manacles to escape at least temporarily from his ennui.

So the week ended early Saturday with a Haiku.   At 4 am the moon demanded nothing less.

War Du Jour, Part III notes that the US’s involvement in supposedly preventing violence to Libyan rebels with armed force is an engraved invitation to a quagmire in North Africa, and it’s potentially the start of a third, simultaneous US war with no end.  Apparently the PTB think that photos of Obama’s  Brazil visit will convince the world that the US isn’t really pulling the strings in Libya.  Believe that?  There’s a bridge…

A Beautiful Day To Die notes your bloguero’s despair and concern about the enormous nuclear disaster in Japan.  Your bloguero really does not want anyone to be irradiated.  Including particulartly himself.  He would like the planet to thrive.  That doesn’t seem possible in a world with earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear power plants.

The duck, Tricky Duck  (or maybe one of his grandchildren), has returned, El Pato Ha Vuelto.  The annual return of the traveler to the pond, a journey that began decades ago when the original  mallard who would be named Tricky Duck was mailed from an Iowa poultry farm to Blue Seal Seed and Feed in Chatham, NY, and came home with me.  An annual event, marking the start of Spring in earnest.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is supposed to be posted early Sunday morning.  Yes, he knows it’s again Saturday.  Your bloguero, it turns out, likes to post on Saturday.  See you next week if the creek don’t rise on Sunday Saturday early.

Have a wonderful weekend.  

War Du Jour, Part III

War, endless war.  Evidently, Iraq and Afghanistan, even taken together, cannot sate the US’s taste for armed combat and blood. No. Not a chance. Those are insufficient. Today we learned that the US was going to get involved in yet another war, a third one, this time in Libya, again complete with ill defined purpose, the possibility of massive and uncontrolled escalation, and no exit plans.  Yes, I know.  No ground troops are being committed. Yet. Right now. But this intervention is a lot more than just imposing a “no fly zone”.  Let’s call it what it is: it’s an open invitation for the US to get embroiled in yet a third, simultaneous, distant ground war.

A Beautiful Day To Die


The earthquake and the tsunami and the nuclear event have finally shut me up.  I haven’t been able to write. I don’t have anything clear or witty or insightful or clever or new to say about these events.  I am avoiding the talking heads on TV, and I’m reading as little as possible about the event on the Internet, and I’ve been absent from this blog. Why? Because I have no confidence at all that what I’d hear or read would be the truth. And I have the dreadful thought that the situation in Japan is far, far worse than what we are being told. I have no proof for the last sentence other than the plethora of contradictions I find in the news stories. And a tight feeling in my heart and chest and stomach that warns of impending, large scale disaster. I hope I’m wrong about this, but alas, I don’t think I am.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

What a crappy, if prolific week:  A (hopefully temporary) set back in Wisconsin. Violence in Libya.  An earthquake and tsunami and nuclear emergency in Japan.  Bad, winter weather, flooding and power outages, in Eastern New York and New England.  Your bloguero is about ready to push back from the keyboard and run away to join the nearest circus.  Maybe he could be the elephants’ poopsmith.  Although there are signs of Spring’s arrival (redwing blackbirds, March Madness, the first buds), your bloguero’s seasonal affective grumpiness (SAG) continues unabated.  He needs to see the first crocus.  Not a green stem.  No.  An actual, honest to goodness flower.  And he needs it badly.

The week ended on Saturday with a sad memorial, For Mike, the husband of our sister Port Writers Alliance bloguera, Diane.  She and her family are in our thoughts and prayers.  She has our condolences.

The weekend also brought your bloguero the recognition that things aren’t over in Madison, Wisconsin.  No, not at all.  It’s not the end, it’s the beginning of movement.  And, of course, MSNBC got it all wrong.  Wisconsin: It’s Not Over Until It’s Over points out the Trad Media outlet’s folly of pessimism.  Stooges .

The devastation in Japan brought your bloguero to prayer.  There didn’t seem to be anything else that could be done.  Kyrie Eleison For Japan is Christian, Jewish and Buddhist, a prayer for those suffering in Japan in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emergency.  Even if you don’t pray, please keep these people in your thoughts and do what you can to be of help to them.

Six Town Court Haikus, are as the title says, six haikus your bloguero wrote while wearing his lawyer clothes and sitting in an unnamed Town Court somewhere in Upstate New York, waiting for justice to be done.  For years and years, lawyers and politicians have tried to eliminate these small, formerly justice of the peace courts to no avail.  The New York Times has criticized them regularly.  Is there an outcry?  Crickets.

The night when Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate acted on their pronounced willingness to do the bidding of the Koch Brothers rather than the citizens and pulled a fast one on the electorate led your bloguero to write On Wisconsin!.  Your bloguero sees this maneuver as a temporary setback, and one that will lead to a real people’s movement.  Maybe your bloguero should thank the Wisconsin Republicans.  Not very forking likely.

Any time you can get an alligator and gerbil into the same poem, you’re doing ok.  Haiku For March does just that.

Your bloguero noted the passing of Moacyr Scliar, who invented the plot for Life of Pi, in which a person and a tiger are together alone in the same small boat, and Alberto Granado, who accompanied Che Guevara on his motorcycle trip.

And your bloguero reminded his six readers of that Saturday’s demonstration in Madison, Wisconsin in Solidarity With Wisconsin’s Workers.  At the time, your bloguero had no hint that Governor Koch-head had a plan to steal the cheese (and the workers’ right to bargain collectively) and would appear later in the week to be running the Wisconsin government as if it were a game of 3-card Monty.

And the week began with hope, the first sign that just maybe, Winter was on it’s way out. At Last: A Hint Of Spring noted the arrival of the first redwing blackbird.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is supposed to be posted early Sunday morning.  Yes, he knows it’s still Saturday (again).  But your bloguero wants to go to the drum circle on Sunday morning and beat his brains out.  See you next week if the creek don’t rise on Sunday early.  No drum circle next weekend.  🙁

On Wisconsin!

I’m enraged.  Wisconsin’s union workers this evening were temporarily outflanked by a legislative maneuver of questionable legality.  And of despicably sleazy intent. The Senate decided that, as everyone in opposition to it has been saying for months, the union busting bill really wasn’t a fiscal measure, the previous pronouncements that it was be damned.  No, it wasn’t a fiscal measure.  It was a union busting measure.  And therefore, the bill didn’t need a quorum in the Senate.  It could pass the Wisconsin Senate with no democrats voting.  Or even appearing.  So there. This wonderfully disingenuous piece of legislative legerdemain has– let’s call it what it is–  temporarily screwed Wisconsin’s public unions by withdrawing their right to bargain collectively.

And now.  And now, amigo@s, comes the real test.  Will the unions and their supporters and the demonstrators and you and I all throw up our hands in defeat and despair and slink home?  Will we say in words or actions, “Oh, we lost, it’s over, let’s just forget about it and move on?”  Or will we stand up now and fight on (nonviolently) with ever renewed dedication to overturn this evil, unpopular, antidemocratic, antiunion measure?

I hope that hundreds of thousands of people show up in Madison tomorrow to demonstrate against Governor Walker and the Koch funded Teapublicans.  I hope an equal number will show up in Lansing.  And in Union Square, New York.  And in San Francisco.  And Chicago.  And in every town and city in America that recognizes the dignity of workers and their right to bargain collectively.  I hope the recall efforts will be redoubled.  I hope that the demonstrators inspire a nationwide high school strike tomorrow at 2 pm.  And I hope the demonstrators will invite farmers to show their support, to come to Madison, to ride their tractors to and surround the capitol.  And I hope that across Wisconsin and across America teachers and nurses and garbage collectors and firemen and bureaucrats and policemen will all link arms with other workers, students, progressives, anyone who supports the unions and sees that the withdrawal of public unions’ collective bargaining rights is a step back, a regression into the darkness of the Nineteenth Century.

Yes, I’m enraged.  But I’m also hopeful.  I’m hopeful that we, you and I, amig@s, will not let Walker and the Koch funded Teapublicans get away with this.  I’m hopeful that this is the beginning not of a demonstration, but of an actual, popular movement.  I hope that the movement will continue with increased strength and focus to preserve the rights of workers to organize and to bargain collectively.

Yes, I’m idealistic.  And maybe pretty unrealistic.  And not particularly practical.  That doesn’t matter.  I believe that what we are about to see is a real change.  Coming from an organic movement.  And that we will now begin in earnest to link arms and stand in Solidarity in the struggle for what I believe is the survival of the middle class.  Here’s John Lennon:


cross posted from The Dream Antilles  

Let’s Stand With Wisconsin’s Workers Today!


The AFL-CIO has called for another massive demonstration today in Madison, Wisconsin.

If you’re too far away from Madison to participate in person, please stand in Solidarity with the demonstrators by doing something to show your support.  Buying pizza is always good.  Posting on a blog is good. Organizing your own demonstration is great.  You get the idea.  Let’s do it.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

And what a weak week it was in Weequahic.  Also, in the Dream Antilles.  Your bloguero’s seasonal affective grouchiness (SAG) kicked into high gear as Old Man Winter continued to torture the inhabitants of the Northeast with inclemency and frigidity .  Meanwhile, the radio station was broadcasting the Mets from sunny Port Saint Lucie in Florida.  It did not help your bloguero’s disposition at all that Luis Castillo was playing second and Ollie Perez was on the mound.  These two guys, who should have been traded or fired at the end of last season, still get paid 8 figures to do nothing.  Your bloguero would be willing to do nothing for low 6 figures, and he’ll negotiate.  You know where to send the offers.

The week ended with Bloguer@s: Play the Game Right, a meta discussion of recent flameouts at Port Writers Alliance blogs.  The post spares you the details but notes that most of the hostilities are provoked by uncontrolled ego and ego’s stepchild, defensiveness.  Your bloguero asks, “Can’t we play the game right?”

In  Obama: Get Our Your Comfortable Shoes you will find a video of President Obama on the campaign trail in 2007 telling workers in South Carolina how he’ll put shoe leather to the pavement and walk the pick line with them if they have to strike.  Right.   Get out your Guccis.  And Wisconsin?  No, he’s not going there.  Nope.  He’s not even going to give a sternly worded letter to the Governor.  Posts like this heighten the contradictions, as if they needed heightening.

The Times had an article explaining how books were going to be sold in odd locations like clothing stores.  Books And Non Books notes in passing that the “books” being sold aren’t literary gems, they’re non-books.  Put another way, the publishers are going to foist a lot of paper junk on shoppers in the vain hope of keeping themselves above water.  News like this makes your bloguero think about withholding the life preserver.

Duke Snider, RIP notes the passing of a childhood hero, Brooklyn Dodger outfielder Duke Snider.   Your bloguero didn’t think Snider was better than Mays or Mantle, the other iconic New York outfielders of the era, but he loved the Dodgers, and Duke was a part of that team.

Thank You For Supporting Wisconsin’s Workers thanks readers of The Dream Antilles for going to demonstrations on Solidarity Saturday and for buying pizza for Wisconsin’s demonstrators.

Your bloguero notes in passing that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is supposed to be posted early Sunday morning. Well, things happen.  The best laid plans of mice, etc.  See you next week if the creek don’t rise on Sunday early.

Obama: Get Out Your Comfortable Shoes

h/t to Sam Pratt:

I invited you to please go to Wisconsin. You apparently declined.  Or didn’t get the invitation.  Ok.  I guess you forgot about this.


from The Dream Antilles

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