Sunday, April 30, 2006

CLOSED

This Weblog is Closed for May 1st in solidarity with the immigrants' rights boycott and day of action. You should be out in the street.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

National Anthem in Spanish? How About Not At All

As a discussion over immigration - focused on immigrants from Latin America with little if any debate over immigrants from Europe or Canada - continues, we continue to discover that racism is alive and well in the United States. The latest controversy is over a Spanish version of our National Anthem - The Star Spangled Banner. Some idiots are upset that anyone would sully our great anthem by singing it in a language other than English - despite the fact that the U.S. has no official language .......... yet.

How could any non-racist American patriots have a problem with an anthem that has been rewritten to say, "Its stars, its stripes, flew yesterday; In the fierce battle; in a sign of victory, The glow of battle, in step with liberty"? It is basically an anthem created to incorporate Spanish-speakers into that mass of America that blindly believes in the basic goodness of our country and stands for nationalist solidarity. There is some allusion in the song to an ongoing battle for human rights ("My people keep fighting; It’s time to break the chains"), but most of the song is simply a reflection of the actual anthem, which is a very noble and romantic song about our revolution for independence from England, but which is used, like the pledge of allegiance, as a tool for false unity and forced pride over a nation today that does more to crush liberty around the world than to support it.

I'm unimpressed with the creators and supporters of the song for this reason, but I certainly support their battle against their most public detractors: reactionary bigots all of them.

Instead of this song, I recommend The Coup's "Head (Of State)" from their new album Pick A Bigger Weapon. Much better lyrics: "war aint about one land against the next, it's po people dying so the rich cash checks."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Soldier Commits Suicide, Mom Blames the Military

Private Dylan Meyer reportedly committed suicide and left a note on his MySpace page. I believe you can find his myspace page here (beware music will start playing). When I looked at it there was this message, supposedly from his mom and then quoting her son:
THIS IS DYLAN'S MOM I cannot let my sons death go without question. The military wants it to be forgotten...... Dylan was making plans for the future something a person considering suicide does not do. There is more to this.............We as a people cannot let this happen, there has to be other soldiers who feel the same as Dylan. Dylan made his choice, he also wanted his treatment to be known. if we can save one other soldier then Dylan's death will not be in vain. If anyone knows anything about Dylan's treatment or other ill treated soldiers within his command. Please let me know through Mexicant85@hotmail.com I Love you Dylan for your courage, Mom.......................................................................................................................................How am I in Dylans My Space? My son gave me his password a year ago when he went to basic training because he would be out of pocket for so long. He trusted me, I want to assure all of you that any correspondence I receive will be totally confidential. This I swear in my sons honor. DYLAN'S LAST WORDS................................................Jesus, I don't know if any of you have heard what has happened to me yet, but I just want to remind you not to be sad. Laugh, that's what lifes about. When it is all said and done, and all the bull shit is cleared away, it is the ones you love who you will remember. There is nothing that poisons life more than arguing about religion, politics, gay straight, white black. Oh, and if you fall in love, hold on to it no matter what it takesnot everyone is so lucky, ya know? This song on my myspace says it all, dry your eyes. My dads number is . If some one could get that to christina, that would be awesome. Dad, or mom, contact Elliot Hunt at . I left him a safe. The combo is dads address followed by *. Love everyone. Peace out, and film for life.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

All Out On May 1st

Will it be big? It's hard to say with the Democrats trying to kill another movement and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency intimidating immigrants, but I hope it will be huge. The next day of action for immigrant rights is May 1st - May Day - and the plans in San Francisco begin at 8:30 in the morning. Some businesses are already posting signs saying they will be closed as everyone is being asked to shut down and skip work if possible.

We had another march in San Francisco just this past Sunday and the media estimated 10,000 people - it isn't the half a million L.A. had, but it would be the biggest immigrant rights march in SF since this movement began. Here's a photo ...



Check it out everyone jumped up to get right in front of the federal building. The cops were not ready to block access to the building, but most of these folks were families with children, not ready for such serious civil disobedience. Maybe next week.

What's happening in your town?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Kirk Cameron Reminds Me I'm Agnostic

Check out this video where Kirk Cameron and some other dude explain why all atheists are wrong, mostly by utilizing intelligent design arguments.

He's absolutely right about atheists - I don't understand how people can assert that there is no god. However, I think a lot of atheists aren't saying that the existence of god is impossible, just that it's about as likely as say the existence of chimpanzee leprechauns controlling the weather with voodoo and a giant computer made of sandpiper bones. In other words, they ask why believe in a Christian god versus a Muslim god versus Hindu gods versus Greek gods versus (use your imagination (which I did for a brief moment in the last sentence)).

Still I'm agnostic because I think there really is so little we actually know and/or understand about our world and the universe. One reason I'm agnostic, as opposed to Christian, is because I haven't seen any evidence that a Christian god (or any god) exists. This brings me to the silly argument Kirk and his pal made on the video about intelligent design.

It basically comes down to this: anything complicated, especially if it appears to have some purpose, must have been created by some other intelligent being, therefore God exists and you must worship him or you will burn in hell for eternity. Whoa Kirk!

They use the examples of a building and a car. When we see a building, even if we didn't see anyone make it, we know it was designed and created. Same with a car. We know they didn't just appear. So the same must follow for trees and bananas and the various bacteria that cause vomiting and diarrhea. But we actually know that a building was created because we have actually witnessed a building being built, we've seen it on television or in person, we've heard about it from others, and we quickly discovered at an early age what is created by man and what is not. We base this on what we have actually experienced, not the fact that it is complicated or appears to have a purpose. I've never seen anyone create a tree or a scorpion, though I have seen animals reproduce and plants grow from seeds. That's basically what I know about living things' creation and development, and from this I cannot jump to the conclusion that an intelligent being created living things or designed them for some purpose.

There is ample evidence all over the place and every day that buildings and cars are designed and created by humans, but I've never walked down the street and seen God, with his long beard and birkenstocks, wearing a hard hat and constructing a giant boa constrictor. Have you?

There are so many other silly arguments they make, but I will be lucky if anyone reads this far, so I won't even start to take those on.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Friendster Trivia

Is this a new idea? I thought of it this morning at 4 am. Friendster should create an interface where members can play trivia with questions involving their friends. The same concept could work for My Space and the others.

So using what is in your friends' profiles it could ask questions like "Which one of your friends is seeking men for dating, listens to Coldplay, and went to St. Sebastian Elementary School?" Then there could be 4 photos and names and you click on your answer, etc.

Maybe you could also compete with one of your friends. Each of you would get the same questions only about mutual friends, and whoever scores more wins. That would certainly pass the time.

Can I get paid for this?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Condemning Despicable Acts

Israel - the most powerful force in the Middle East; a nuclear power; a power that is presently occupying the weakest nation (if it is allowed to be a nation) in the Middle East (Palestine); a power that is building an enormous wall around itself and between Palestinian settlements, farms, schools and workplaces; a power that receives billions of dollars and unshakeable support from the behemoth United States of America; a power that controls the lives of all Palestinians living in the Palestinian territories by controlling their air space, their movement, their resources, their employment, and constantly launching military assaults into their cities and villages; a power that has killed many innocent Palestinians, including children, as well as American and European peace activists; was attacked by a suicide bomber today.

Of course the reaction was strong and overwhelming from many Western leaders - the same leaders who barely react to the constant suicide bombings in Iraq - I guess Israeli lives are worth more than Iraqi lives - the same leaders who often praise military action against civilians as long as they approve of the ultimate goal.

I certainly will not praise the suicide bombing, but I cannot condemn it. How do people expect the Palestinian people to react to the suffering and the despair over their occupation? Had the bomber lost friends or family members to Israeli military action sometime in the past? Who knows? If Israel does something immoral or illegal against Palestine, what will the world do? What can the world do? And, what can the Palestinians do? They have no real army, and would certainly fail in a conventional war against Israel.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the act "a despicable act of terror for which there is no excuse or justification." The act is certainly as despicable as the occupation to which it is a response. There may not be a "justification," but there is a reason Israel suffers such attacks - its own unexcusable policies toward the Palestinian people.

As long as Israel is the aggressor and the superpower, I will continue to condemn their attacks before I condemn the Palestinian reaction.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Are the Democrats Trying to Keep the Felony Provision in the Anti-Immigrant Bill?

They are being accused of just this by some of the most vile, reactionary Republicans. It's easy to doubt the honesty of these guys, but on the other hand I wouldn't be surprised if their claims turned out to be true. Notice that none of the Democrats in this CNN story outright deny the claims. Democrats don't really have much to say about this besides spout rhetoric about "national security" and "our best values and our humanity," as Edward Kennedy says. They stay out of the fray - make it a debate within the Republican party - and face none of the consequences from supporters - either moderate Hispanic groups like LULAC or racist labor union leaders.

Why aren't Democrats making the 700 mile fence a bigger issue? Well the Republicans all seem to like the fence idea so they can't muddy the waters there. Why aren't Democrats making a big deal out of the guest worker program that would basically be a modern day "bracero program"? Again, why stick their neck out on something that would just become a debate between Republicans and Democrats? And why oppose something that many of their big business/agriculture/industry donors like?

As always the debate in Washington remains on the right of the spectrum and the rest of America can either go with the default Democrats or demand something better.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More On The FBI's Fake Al Qaida Sleeper Cell

Story from MSNBC

The government's star witness was a fast food employee paid $230,000 over 4 years to spy on the members of a mosque in Lodi, California. There are other problems as well. Sadly there was more media attention when the FBI announced last year that there was an Al Qaida Sleeper Cell in Lodi and preparing to attack targets in the United States.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Thousands March in San Francisco for Amnesty



O.K. so the immigration bill is dead, but all the proposals from our corporate politicians sucked anyway. People continue to march because they feel the power they have when they organize and take to the streets. The march in San Francisco was bigger than a lot of people expected - more marches are planned in the near future. I would estimate at least 10,000 people showed up to a hastily planned march through the Mission District. There were a lot of American flags, but also flags from Mexico, El Salvador and other countries. A number of signs and banners called for general amnesty - not some sort of pro-business pseudo-slavery bracero program. Aqui estamos y no nos vamos!
National Day of Action Today for Immigrant Rights

I also think there is another set for May 1st - known as May Day all over the world, but not so much here.



This photo is from the march in San Francisco on March 27th.

Friday, April 07, 2006

REVIEWS

V For Vendetta - Saw this one on an IMAX screen. Big Ben exploding singed my weekend mustache. The best film of the year so far. One of the more goosebump-inducing scenes was when a huge pattern of dominoes went down. Go figure. This in a movie where two well-known English buildings explode.

Capote - That guy was fucked up. Still an interesting story worth renting.

Good Night And Good Luck - Also worth renting. Proof that there are plenty of reasons to fear fascism, but you simply can't let fear get in the way of bringing the bastards down. (clear throat and say "ahem-tomdelay")

The Weatherman - One of those subtle comedies, similar in its rhythm to the recent Bill Murray movies (Broken Flowers, etc.). It was thoroughly entertaining, and then I got distracted and didn't watch the end.

Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal by Anthony Arnove - An important read, especially at a time when a majority of Americans think we should leave Iraq and neither political party seems to want to represent the majority. Maybe we shouldn't have started the war, but now that we're there, shouldn't we stay and clean up our mess? Or at least make sure Iraq doesn't slip into civil war? Arnove rips the arguments apart and reminds readers that the U.S. created a mess in Iraq that it continues to fuel. What makes anyone think Donald Rumsfeld, Bush or a future Clinton president, will actually do what's right in Iraq? I thought it relied too heavily, at times, on long quotations from other sources, but Howard Zinn's contributions make up for that one tiny flaw.

Right About Now by Talib Kweli - I have to say that it isn't as good as Beautiful Struggle, but there are some tracks that stand out: Drugs, Basketball and Rap as well as Fly That Knot for example. I've only listened to it a few times but Ms. Hill is my favorite right now. Try downloading those on iTunes and see what you think? It seems like he was going for a rougher feel on some of the tracks, but that's hard to pull off well, unless you just want to be considered "experimental." Some of the rhymes were also lacking in relevance or originality.

My Favorite Mutiny by The Coup (with Talib Kweli) - Highly recommended. Complex rhymes and a defiantly catchy bass line. I can't wait for Pick a Bigger Weapon.

More soon.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Austin

Maybe it's the fact that it won't stop raining here (it's been raining for weeks) and people are smoking crack outside my front door, but I miss Texas.