Saturday, May 18, 2013
Minor Threat Live at the Rollerworks, Los Angeles, CA. 2 April 1983
What A Great fucking show - JUST LOOK AT THIS!
I think this was the night before I brought them to skate at Kenter the next day. Great show, Suicidal was also on the bill.
I was there to have some fun, no camera ;-)
and really another, maybe even better show in Philadelphia at Love Hall:
and in DC
Friday, May 17, 2013
from The Guardian
The American academic and firebrand campaigner talks about Britain's deep trouble, fighting white supremacy and where Obama is going wrongActivist ... Cornel West is arrested during a protest against policing methods in Harlem in 2011. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/AP
His tour ends in London, where even a man who looks like Cornel West can be anonymous if he needs to. But he didn't come to hide his light and so, after dinner at the high table at King's, he takes his encore in the studios of BBC Newsnight. Sitting with Gavin Esler, Obama's image dwarfs them both on a screen in the background. But West stands out here, as he stood out at Cambridge; as Esler frames the questions, he rocks back and forth, eyes narrowed, head nodding. One who had not seen it all before might be alarmed. But this is merely West in the zone, as sportspeople call it. Ready to go "deep". Primed for something "rich". The questions and answers are familiar to anyone who has seen him, as is the appearance: whip-sharp suit, watch and chain, the shock of steel-flecked hair; but what strikes is how he narrows the space between himself and his interlocutor. Esler becomes "my brother Gavin" and as the credits roll West grips the presenter's hand. The two chat, as if they had spent the previous hour over drinks and dinner. We don't get to see, but no doubt the encounter ended with a hug.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
05-27 Las Vegas, NV - Punk Rock Bowling
06-07 Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
06-08 Detroit, MI - Orion Music + More Festival
06-09 Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
06-13 Buffalo, NY - Town Ballroom
06-14 Toronto, Ontario - NXNE Festival
06-15 Montebello, Quebec - Amnesia Rock Fest
08-24 Los Angeles, CA - FYF Fest
09-13 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
09-16 Baltimore, MD - Baltimore Soundstage
09-18 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero
09-19 New York, NY - Irving Plaza
09-20 Boston, MA - The Paradise
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
EARLY last month, a triple suicide was reported in the seaside town of Civitanova Marche, Italy. A married couple, Anna Maria Sopranzi, 68, and Romeo Dionisi, 62, had been struggling to live on her monthly pension of around 500 euros (about $650), and had fallen behind on rent.
Because the Italian government’s austerity budget had raised the retirement age, Mr. Dionisi, a former construction worker, became one of Italy’s esodati (exiled ones) — older workers plunged into poverty without a safety net. On April 5, he and his wife left a note on a neighbor’s car asking for forgiveness, then hanged themselves in a storage closet at home. When Ms. Sopranzi’s brother, Giuseppe Sopranzi, 73, heard the news, he drowned himself in the Adriatic.
The correlation between unemployment and suicide has been observed since the 19th century. People looking for work are about twice as likely to end their lives as those who have jobs.
In the United States, the suicide rate, which had slowly risen since 2000, jumped during and after the 2007-9 recession. In a new book, we estimate that 4,750 “excess” suicides — that is, deaths above what pre-existing trends would predict — occurred from 2007 to 2010. Rates of such suicides were significantly greater in the states that experienced the greatest job losses. Deaths from suicide overtook deaths from car crashes in 2009.
If suicides were an unavoidable consequence of economic downturns, this would just be another story about the human toll of the Great Recession. But it isn’t so. Countries that slashed health and social protection budgets, like Greece, Italy and Spain, have seen starkly worse health outcomes than nations like Germany, Iceland and Sweden, which maintained their social safety nets and opted for stimulus over austerity. (Germany preaches the virtues of austerity — for others.)
As scholars of public health and political economy, we have watched aghast as politicians endlessly debate debts and deficits with little regard for the human costs of their decisions. Over the past decade, we mined huge data sets from across the globe to understand how economic shocks — from the Great Depression to the end of the Soviet Union to the Asian financial crisis to the Great Recession — affect our health. What we’ve found is that people do not inevitably get sick or die because the economy has faltered. Fiscal policy, it turns out, can be a matter of life or death.
At one extreme is Greece, which is in the middle of a public health disaster. The national health budget has been cut by 40 percent since 2008, partly to meet deficit-reduction targets set by the so-called troika — the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank — as part of a 2010 austerity package. Some 35,000 doctors, nurses and other health workers have lost their jobs. Hospital admissions have soared after Greeks avoided getting routine and preventive treatment because of long wait times and rising drug costs. Infant mortality rose by 40 percent. New H.I.V. infections more than doubled, a result of rising intravenous drug use — as the budget for needle-exchange programs was cut. After mosquito-spraying programs were slashed in southern Greece, malaria cases were reported in significant numbers for the first time since the early 1970s.
In contrast, Iceland avoided a public health disaster even though it experienced, in 2008, the largest banking crisis in history, relative to the size of its economy. After three main commercial banks failed, total debt soared, unemployment increased ninefold, and the value of its currency, the krona, collapsed. Iceland became the first European country to seek an I.M.F. bailout since 1976. But instead of bailing out the banks and slashing budgets, as the I.M.F. demanded, Iceland’s politicians took a radical step: they put austerity to a vote. In two referendums, in 2010 and 2011, Icelanders voted overwhelmingly to pay off foreign creditors gradually, rather than all at once through austerity. Iceland’s economy has largely recovered, while Greece’s teeters on collapse. No one lost health care coverage or access to medication, even as the price of imported drugs rose. There was no significant increase in suicide. Last year, the first U.N. World Happiness Report ranked Iceland as one of the world’s happiest nations.
Skeptics will point to structural differences between Greece and Iceland. Greece’s membership in the euro zone made currency devaluation impossible, and it had less political room to reject I.M.F. calls for austerity. But the contrast supports our thesis that an economic crisis does not necessarily have to involve a public health crisis.
Somewhere between these extremes is the United States. Initially, the 2009 stimulus package shored up the safety net. But there are warning signs — beyond the higher suicide rate — that health trends are worsening. Prescriptions for antidepressants have soared. Three-quarters of a million people (particularly out-of-work young men) have turned to binge drinking. Over five million Americans lost access to health care in the recession because they lost their jobs (and either could not afford to extend their insurance under the Cobra law or exhausted their eligibility). Preventive medical visits dropped as people delayed medical care and ended up in emergency rooms. (President Obama’s health care law expands coverage, but only gradually.)
The $85 billion “sequester” that began on March 1 will cut nutrition subsidies for approximately 600,000 pregnant women, newborns and infants by year’s end. Public housing budgets will be cut by nearly $2 billion this year, even while 1.4 million homes are in foreclosure. Even the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s main defense against epidemics like last year’s fungal meningitis outbreak, is being cut, by at least $18 million.
To test our hypothesis that austerity is deadly, we’ve analyzed data from other regions and eras. After the Soviet Union dissolved, in 1991, Russia’s economy collapsed. Poverty soared and life expectancy dropped, particularly among young, working-age men. But this did not occur everywhere in the former Soviet sphere. Russia, Kazakhstan and the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) — which adopted economic “shock therapy” programs advocated by economists like Jeffrey D. Sachs and Lawrence H. Summers — experienced the worst rises in suicides, heart attacks and alcohol-related deaths.
Countries like Belarus, Poland and Slovenia took a different, gradualist approach, advocated by economists like Joseph E. Stiglitz and the former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. These countries privatized their state-controlled economies in stages and saw much better health outcomes than nearby countries that opted for mass privatizations and layoffs, which caused severe economic and social disruptions.
Like the fall of the Soviet Union, the 1997 Asian financial crisis offers case studies — in effect, a natural experiment — worth examining. Thailand and Indonesia, which submitted to harsh austerity plans imposed by the I.M.F., experienced mass hunger and sharp increases in deaths from infectious disease, while Malaysia, which resisted the I.M.F.’s advice, maintained the health of its citizens. In 2012, the I.M.F. formally apologized for its handling of the crisis, estimating that the damage from its recommendations may have been three times greater than previously assumed.
America’s experience of the Depression is also instructive. During the Depression, mortality rates in the United States fell by about 10 percent. The suicide rate actually soared between 1929, when the stock market crashed, and 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president. But the increase in suicides was more than offset by the “epidemiological transition” — improvements in hygiene that reduced deaths from infectious diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia and influenza — and by a sharp drop in fatal traffic accidents, as Americans could not afford to drive. Comparing historical data across states, we estimate that every $100 in New Deal spending per capita was associated with a decline in pneumonia deaths of 18 per 100,000 people; a reduction in infant deaths of 18 per 1,000 live births; and a drop in suicides of 4 per 100,000 people.
OUR research suggests that investing $1 in public health programs can yield as much as $3 in economic growth. Public health investment not only saves lives in a recession, but can help spur economic recovery. These findings suggest that three principles should guide responses to economic crises.
First, do no harm: if austerity were tested like a medication in a clinical trial, it would have been stopped long ago, given its deadly side effects. Each nation should establish a nonpartisan, independent Office of Health Responsibility, staffed by epidemiologists and economists, to evaluate the health effects of fiscal and monetary policies.
Second, treat joblessness like the pandemic it is. Unemployment is a leading cause of depression, anxiety, alcoholism and suicidal thinking. Politicians in Finland and Sweden helped prevent depression and suicides during recessions by investing in “active labor-market programs” that targeted the newly unemployed and helped them find jobs quickly, with net economic benefits.
Finally, expand investments in public health when times are bad. The cliché that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure happens to be true. It is far more expensive to control an epidemic than to prevent one. New York City spent $1 billion in the mid-1990s to control an outbreak of drug-resistant tuberculosis. The drug-resistant strain resulted from the city’s failure to ensure that low-income tuberculosis patients completed their regimen of inexpensive generic medications.
One need not be an economic ideologue — we certainly aren’t — to recognize that the price of austerity can be calculated in human lives. We are not exonerating poor policy decisions of the past or calling for universal debt forgiveness. It’s up to policy makers in America and Europe to figure out the right mix of fiscal and monetary policy. What we have found is that austerity — severe, immediate, indiscriminate cuts to social and health spending — is not only self-defeating, but fatal.
David Stuckler, a senior research leader in sociology at Oxford, and Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine and an epidemiologist in the Prevention Research Center at Stanford, are the authors of “The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills.”
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Space Oddity for real.
A revised version of David Bowie's Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.
Behold... the Original music video for the David Bowie song Space Oddity from Bowie's promotional film, 'Love You Till Tuesday', originally released in 1969
and the more common mix from the Ziggy Stardust era of Bowie in 1972
I think I like Commander Hadfield's version the best!
Monday, May 13, 2013
An old interview mostly on Chomsky's linguistics work, philosophy, and some remarks on political views near the end.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
On the Vintage Ads LiveJournal, a fascinating set of anti-war ads from the 1930s protest group World Peaceways (see the full-sized version to read the text). They ran an anti-imperialist anti-war campaign that described soldiers as pawns in the corrupt games of the rich and powerful, and called on everyday people to refuse to involve America in future wars.Sunday Sampler of Anti-War Ads
World Peaceways (1930s pacifist/anti-war organization) produced some of the boldest propaganda posters of that era, largely aimed at looking at what had come about in the aftermath of the First World War, including the Depression, and death on a scale the world had not seen before, as well as lasting enmity that was quickly brewing into the Second World War.
The name "World Peaceways" was used in the famous Star Trek episode "City on the Edge of Forever" to represent the pacifist movement that Edith Keeler belonged to. The story claimed that her peace work would keep America out of the war for too long and thus lead to Germany winning and taking over the United States. Kirk HAD to let her die - because if he saved her (as he apparently had) then all of history would change.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
In an effort to provide abused children with a safe way to reach out for help, a Spanish organization called the Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation, or ANAR for short, created an ad that displays a different message for adults and children at the same time.
The secret behind the ad's wizardry is a lenticular top layer, which shows different images at varying angles. So when an adult—or anyone taller than four feet, five inches—looks at it they only see the image of a sad child and the message: "sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it." But when a child looks at the ad, they see bruises on the boy's face and a different message: "if somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you" alongside the foundation's phone number.
The ad is designed to empower kids, particularly if their abuser happens to be standing right next to them. And while this is a great and worthwhile use of lenticular images, how long will it be before toy companies start doing to the same thing to hawk their products directly at kids?
Friday, May 10, 2013
We've Got to Find a Way to Stop the Imperial Presidency
Before It Permanently Destroys Our Great Country
Killing innocent men, women and children abroad creates blowback that lasts for generations.
In watching the massive media coverage and the reaction to the brutal bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the wise poem “To A Louse…” composed in 1785 by the Scottish poet Robert Burns came to me:Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/weve-got-find-way-stop-imperial-presidency-it-permanently-destroys-our-great
“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!”
“And would some Power the small gift give us
To see ourselves as others see us!”
What must the “others” in the Middle East theatre of the American Empire think of a great city in total lockdown from an attack by primitive explosives when Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Yemenis experience far greater casualties and terror attacks several times a week? Including what they believe are terror attacks by U.S. drones, soldiers, aircraft and artillery that have directly killed many thousands of innocent children, women and men in their homes, during funeral processions and wedding parties, or while they’re working in their fields.
Here’s what they are thinking: that America is very vulnerable and ready to shake itself upside down to rid itself and protect itself from any terror attacks. The Bush regime, after 9/11, sacrificed U.S. soldiers and millions of innocents in the broader Middle East, drained our economy, so as to ignore the necessities of saving lives and health here at home, and metastasized al-Qaeda into numerous countries, spilling havoc into Iraq and now Syria. We have paid a tremendous price in blowback, because of Mr. Bush’s rush to war.
Why is the reaction to the events in Boston viewed by some as bizarre? Our president said “We will finish the race.” Do we really think that the attackers are doing this to disrupt our pleasure in foot racing?
The attackers, be they suicide bombers over there or domestic bombers here, are motivated by their hatred of our invasions, our daily bombings, our occupations, our immersion in tribal preferences leading to divide-and-rule sectarian wars. Studies, such as those by the University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape, and former adviser to Barack Obama and Ron Paul during the 2008 presidential campaign, conclude that entry into paradise is not the motivation for these suicide bombers. What drives them is their despair and their desire to expel the foreign invaders from their homeland.
Another “ithers’ – admittedly a smaller number – must see a giant country going berserk with media, speculation, rumors, accusations, and random mobilizations of military equipment. There are enough of these younger people who must say to themselves, maybe it is worth giving up their lives for a place in history – to make a nation be fearful because of their rulers’ staggering overreaction.
Why give these contorted young minds, frustrated by what they perceive as U.S. attacks on their religion or their ethnic group in their home countries, such incentives?
Massive overreactions by the mass media (have you seen CNN’s frenzied, nonstop quest for every bit of trivia and speculation hour after hour?) crowds out coverage of far greater preventable loss of life and safety in our country. Other commentators have covered the lesser-known yet huge explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer factory that destroyed far more property and took more human lives than the Boston Marathon assault. But, the dangerous fertilizer plant was corporate criminal negligence, or worse.
Every day in the U.S. there are preventable tragedies that receive no media coverage because they aren’t part of the “war on terror”, which has been crowding out stories that would have led to corrective actions to leave this country safer from the corporate predators within its borders.
Individually, many Americans intuitively understand the consequences of neglecting problems in our own country to engage in lawless wars and military adventures. Unfortunately, Americans collectively sing the song “que será, será” or “whatever will be, will be” because the big boys in Washington and Wall Street will always make the decisions. Be assured that they will often be stupidly harmful in the long-run to our country, and not just to millions of defenseless people abroad who have become victims of the collective punishment or random ravages of our massive push-buttonweapon systems.
In an impressive collection of excerpts titled Against the Beast, a Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire  edited by John Nichols; the eminent historian Chalmers Johnson had this to say:
“. . .where U.S.-supported repression has created hopeless conditions, to U.S.-supported economic policies that have led to unimaginable misery, blowback reintroduces us to a world of cause and effect.”
At a first-ever Senate hearing earlier this week on the use of armed drones away from battlefields, initiated by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and arrogantly boycotted by the imperial Obama Administration, Farea al-Muslimi, a young Yemeni from a village just attacked by a U.S. drone strike, gave witness.
Al-Muslimi said, “When they think of America, they think of the terror they feel from the drones that hover over their heads, ready to fire missiles at any time. What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: there is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.”
As President Obama told the Israelis about the Palestinians, “Put yourselves in their shoes.”
In country after country, the terrifying whine of 24/7 hovering drones and the knowledge that special U.S. killing teams can drop from the skies at any time, creates a state of terror.
A brute-force foreign policy waging war can never effectively wage peace or sensibly engage in early conflict prevention or resolution. An illegal brute-force policy aligns itself with repressive regimes that crush their own people with American weapons and American political/diplomatic cover.
Jeremy Scahill, author of the new book Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield , who has been in these countries and spoken with these villagers, says that our government has created unnecessary enemies and banked lots of revenge among these people over the past ten years. “This is going to boomerang back around to us,” he fears, adding that we’re creating “a whole new generation of enemies that have an actual grievance against us…have an actual score to settle.” Killing innocent men, women and children creates blowback that lasts for generations.
From these overseas regions, the message from the bombing at the Boston Marathon is that, until now, the high-tech buttons were only being pushed by the drone operators against them. After Boston they can see that other low-tech buttons can now be pushed inside the U.S. against defenseless gatherings of innocent people.
For our national security, the American people must recover control of our runaway, unilateral presidency that has torn itself away from constitutional accountabilities and continues to be hijacked by ideologues who ignore our Founding Fathers’ wisdom regarding the separation of powers and avoiding foreign entanglements that become costly, deadly and endless quagmires.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
When I was thirty, I was living my dream. I’d already accomplished most of what I’d set out to achieve professionally: leading scorer in the NBA, leading rebounder, leading blocker, Most Valuable Player, All-Star. But success can be as blinding as Bill Walton’s finger in the eye when battling for a rebound. I made mistakes. Plenty of them. In fact, sometimes I wish I could climb into a time machine and go back to shake some sense into that thirty-year-old me. If I could, here’s the advice I would give him:
1. Be more outgoing. My shyness and introversion from those days still haunt me. Fans felt offended, reporters insulted. That was never my intention. When you’re on the public stage every day of your life, people think that you crave attention. For me, it was the opposite. I loved to play basketball, and was tremendously gratified that so many fans appreciated my game. But when I was off the court, I felt uncomfortable with attention. I rarely partied or attended celebrity bashes. On the flights to games, I read history books. Basically, I was a secret nerd who just happened to also be good at basketball. Interacting with a lot of people was like taking someone deathly afraid of heights and dangling him over the balcony at the top of the Empire State Building. If I could, I’d tell that nerdy Kareem to suck it up, put down that book you’re using as a shield, and, in the immortal words of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (to prove my nerd cred), “Engage!”
2. Ask about family history. I wish I’d sat my parents down and asked them a lot more questions about our family history. I always thought there would be time and I kept putting it off because, at thirty, I was too involved in my own life to care that much about the past. I was so focused on making my parents proud of me that I didn’t ask them some of the basic questions, like how they met, what their first date was like, and so forth. I wish that I had.
3. Become financially literate. “Dude, where’s my money?” is the rallying cry of many ex-athletes who wonder what happened to all the big bucks they earned. Some suffer from unwise investments or crazy spending, and others from not paying close attention. I was part of the didn’t-pay-attention group. I chose my financial manager, who I later discovered had no financial training, because a number of other athletes I knew were using him. That’s typical athlete mentality in that we’re used to trusting each other as a team, so we extend that trust to those associated with teammates. Consequently, I neglected to investigate his background or what qualified him to be a financial manager. He placed us in some real estate investments that went belly up and I came close to losing some serious coin. Hey, Kareem at 30: learn about finances and stay on top of where your money is at all times. As the saying goes, “Trust, but verify.”
4. Play the piano. I took lessons as a kid but, like a lot of kids, didn’t stick with them. Maybe I felt too much pressure. After all, my father had gone to the Julliard School of Music and regularly jammed with some great jazz musicians. Looking back, I think playing piano would have given me a closer connection with my dad as well as given me another artistic outlet to better express myself. In 2002, I finally started to play and got pretty good at it. Not good enough that at parties people would chant for me to play “Piano Man,” but good enough that I could read music and feel closer to my dad.
5. Learn French. My grandparents were from Trinidad where, though it was an English-speaking country, the school system was started by the French. Whenever my grandparents wanted to say something they didn’t want me to know, they’d speak French. The language seemed so sophisticated and mysterious. Plus, you earn extra James Bond points when you can order in French in a French restaurant.
6. Get handy. I always wanted to be one of those guys who, whenever something doesn’t work, straps on a tool belt and says, “I’ll fix it.” I like the Walden-esque idea of complete self-reliance. Build my own house, clean out the carburetors, find out what carburetors are. Recently my washing machine broke and flooded my entire downstairs. I was forced to stand idly by waiting for a plumber to arrive while water rose around my ankles because I didn’t know how to shut off the water. That’s the kind of experience that makes you have your testosterone levels checked.
7. Be patient. Impatience is the official language of youth. When you’re young, you want to rush to the next thing before you even know where you are. I always think of the joke in Colors that the wiser and older cop (Robert Duvall) tells his impatient rookie partner (Sean Penn). I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like: “There's two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one: ‘Hey pop, let's say we run down there and screw one of them cows.’ The older one says: ‘No son. Let’s walk down and screw 'em all.’” Now, to counter the profane with the profound, one of my favorite quotes is from the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: “Talent hits the target no one else can hit; genius hits the target no one else can see.” I think the key to seeing the target no one else can see is in being patient, waiting for it to appear so you can do the right thing, not just the expedient thing. Learning to wait is one of my greatest accomplishments as I’ve gotten older.
8. Listen more than talk. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
9. Career is never as important as family. The better you are at your job, the more you’re rewarded, financially and spiritually, by doing it. You know how to solve problems for which you receive praise and money. Home life is more chaotic. Solving problems is less prescriptive and no one’s applauding or throwing money if you do it right. That’s why so many young professionals spend more time at work with the excuse, “I’m sacrificing for my family.” Bullshit. Learn to embrace the chaos of family life and enjoy the small victories. This hit me one night after we’d won an especially emotional game against the Celtics. I’d left the stadium listening to thousands of strangers chanting “Kareem! Kareem!” I felt flush with the sense of accomplishment, for me, for the Lakers, and for the fans. But when I stepped into my home and my son said, “Daddy!” the victory, the chanting, the league standings, all faded into a distant memory.
10. Being right is not always the right thing to be. Kareem, my man, learn to step away. You think being honest immunizes you from the consequences of what you say. Remember Paul Simon’s lyrics, “There’s no tenderness beneath your honesty.” So maybe it’s not that important to win an argument, even if you “know” you’re right. Sometimes it’s more important to try a little tenderness.
11. Cook more. After I got divorced I missed home cooked meals and the only person I had to rely on was the guy in the mirror. Plus, I found it impressed women if you could cook a good meal. Once, very shortly after I started cooking for myself, I had a first date with a woman I really wanted to make a good impression on. Of course, I could have done the usual celebrity thing: fancy restaurant, signing autographs, wait-staff fawning. But I wanted this to be special, so I decided to cook for her, everything from soup to dessert. Some women get a little freaked seeing a 7’2” black man with a carving knife and butcher’s apron, but she appreciated the effort. Which was good because the soup was a little salty, the steak a little overcooked, and the flan a little watery…
12. When choosing someone to date, compassion is better than passion. I’m not saying she shouldn’t be passionate. That’s a given. But look for signs that she shows genuine compassion toward others. That will keep you interested in her a lot longer.
13. Do one thing every day that helps someone else. This isn’t about charity, this is about helping one individual you know by name. Maybe it means calling your parents, helping a buddy move, or lending a favorite jazz album to Chocolate Fingers McGee.
14. Do more for the community. This is about charity, extended to people close by whose names you don’t know. You can always do more.
15. Do one thing every day that you look forward to doing. It’s easy to get caught up in the enormous responsibilities of daily life. The To Do List can swallow your day. So, I’d insist to my younger self to make sure he has one thing on that list that he looks forward to doing.
16. Don’t be so quick to judge. It’s human nature to instantly judge others. It goes back to our ancient life-or-death need to decide whether to fight or flee. But in their haste to size others up, people are often wrong—especially a thirty-year-old sports star with hordes of folks coming at him every day. We miss out on knowing some exceptional people by doing that, as I’m sure I did. I think the biggest irony of this advice is that it’s coming from someone who’s black, stratospherically tall, and an athlete: the trifecta of being pre-judged. And I have a lifetime of hurtful comments to prove it. Yet, that didn’t stop me from doing the same thing to others. You have to weigh the glee of satisfaction you get from arrogantly rejecting people with the inevitable sadness of regret you’ll eventually feel for having been such a dick. A friend of mine told me he routinely attends all of his high school reunions so he can apologize to every person he mistreated back then. He’s now on his fortieth reunion and still apologizing.
17. When breaking up with a woman, you can’t always remain friends. I have managed to stay friends with many of the women I have dated because I truly liked and respected them. But sometimes emotions run too deep and efforts to remain friends, while that might help you feel better, actually might make the other person feel worse. Take the hit and let it go.
18. Watch more TV. Yeah, you heard right, Little Kareem. It’s great that you always have your nose in history books. That’s made you more knowledgeable about your past and it has put the present in context. But pop culture is history in the making and watching some of the popular shows of each era reveals a lot about the average person, while history books often dwell on the powerful people.
19. Do more yoga. Yes, K, I know you do yoga already. That’s why you’ve been able to play so long without major injuries. But doing more isn’t just for the physical benefits, it’s for the mental benefits that will come in handy in the years ahead, when your house burns down, your jazz collection perishes, and you lose to the Pistons in a four-game sweep in your final season.
20. Everything doesn’t have to be fixed. Relax, K-Man. Some stuff can be fixed, some stuff can’t be. Deciding which is which is part of maturing.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
from the Guardian (UK)
Hello Jello. How's it going?
I'm all right, thank you. I hope you're ready for my lovely conversational grammar, or lack thereof …
I never thought I would wait so long between bands. It happened at a Stooges show in San Francisco for Iggy's 60th birthday party in 2007. It occurred to me while I was watching the Stooges that, holy shit, I turn 50 next year! I should put something together and if it is as half as good as the Stooges then I will declare victory.
Your new album, White People And the Damage Done, seems to have more of a Dead Kennedys vibe than anything you've done in decades.
No matter what I do, my songs come out in a certain style and if that sounds like Dead Kennedys then there's probably a reason for it. Don't forget I wrote most of those songs, music and lyrics. Of course, later on the other members claimed they wrote them all, which is kind of like a secretary who types up someone's novel claiming they wrote the book. It's not fun when guys you thought would be your brothers your whole life turn out to be an entire coven of Mitt Romneys. (1)
Dead Kennedys - Moral Majority on MUZU.TV.
How do you feel about the state of punk rock in 2013?
I do fear for the generations of people who came of age thinking that pop-punk is what punk is, and that all the rebellion you need is just to stick your tongue out in the mirror every once in a while. A lot of that stuff is just the Eagles with loud guitars. But I have no patience with people who mope around saying "Punk rock died when the Sex Pistols broke up" or whatever. Come on! Put down your drugs, get out of the apartment and go see something new.
It's depressing how conservative people can be despite supposedly belonging to a supposedly alternative subculture.
Any alternative culture that inspires a lot of passion and inspiration is also in danger of being set in its ways, almost from the moment it's born. That even included the Occupy movement in some ways. It was discussed whether or not to participate in the electoral side of the system at all, which I thought was a good idea. Why not run people for offices and knock off some of the tired old corporate puppets in the primaries, like those lovely people in the Tea Party have done with the Republicans? But other people chose not to do that.
You've been involved with the Occupy movement. (2) The initial media storm around it seems to have died down …
I think that anyone who declared that Occupy was a failure was very much mistaken. I knew it would have a ripple effect, like throwing a big piece of concrete into a lake and just watching the waves ripple. In a way, Obama owes Occupy big time for saving his ass in the 2012 election. Occupy brought the issue of inequality and Grand Theft Austerity, as I call it, right to the forefront.
You've beenoutspoken when it comes to Obama. Over here he is widely regarded as a force for good …
Well part of the reason you have that view is that Obama is a fantastic public speaker. He could be another Martin Luther King or Malcolm X or much, much more, but instead the echelons of the Democratic party iare dealmakers instead of leaders. Rather than trying to really initiate something important and push for it, it's more: "Oh, what kind of buck-passing can we do here to keep our backers and puppeteers happy?"
Are you optimistic about Obama's second term?
The key to how I feel about that is a song on our Shock-U-Py EP called Barackstar O'Bummer (3), and it basically details the Obama policies versus the Obama persona. You've got to have an ego as big as Mars to want to think that you, of all people, are better than anyone else to be president of the United States. People that vain, they want their place in history and they want to be able to control how much they'll be worshipped by future generations. What is Bill Clinton going to be remembered for, besides his dick? Obama is a much more electrifying speaker than Clinton. But what is his dream? What is his light at the end of the tunnel: "Oh, I cut deals and compromise on a bunch of stuff and now I'll go play golf"?
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What is it about American culture that is so terrified of leftwing ideas?
What you're basically asking with some of these questions is "Why are Americans so fucking stupid?" Let's face it, the good side of that is that I'll never run out of things to write songs about, as long as I live. But the fear you mentioned has become more ingrained since I was a kid. It was Nixon's loudmouth vice-president Spiro Agnew who first started labelling opponents of Republicans as [sneers] "radical liberals". Somehow if you were a liberal you were radical, and being radical is automatically bad because it might make you like the Black Panthers or, worse yet, your kids might have long hair and listen to that weird music. So slowly but surely "liberal" became a dirty word. Look at how averse Americans are to paying taxes. It pisses me off too, but I realise what taxes are for and most people don't because that connection has never been made, especially not in the school system. I remember, even in kindergarten, we were taught about the Boston Tea Party, where the rebel colonists threw the tea off the ship because they didn't want to pay taxes to the British authorities. Taxes are bad! Taxes are bad! People grow up with this drilled into them so you feel emotionally violated every time you write a cheque to the IRS.
How would you change things if you were in charge?
I've spoken often about my belief that there should be a maximum wage. I still totally believe there should be. I think a far worse addiction problem in this world than meth or crack or heroin is wealth addiction. And the only way you can cure people's wealth addiction is to put them in rehab. The problem with wealth addiction is that after you've made your first million, what's the point? You're so proud of yourself for making that money that you want to play the game again and win and then play it again and win. They act like a bunch of crack addicts.
Why do you think there is still so much voter apathy, despite the current economic nightmare?
People say: "People don't get involved, they don't vote because they're apathetic!" My counter is that they don't get off their asses because they're heartbroken and they're really scared. They've seen people all around them losing their jobs and losing their homes. I'd better be metaphorically armed to the teeth in order to preserve what's mine, my home and my family, and fuck everybody else because otherwise I'm going to be eaten alive. It isn't always motivated by greed, it's motivated by fear of Grand Theft Austerity because they don't want their home to be next for the bulldozers.
Is media bias as excruciatingly bad in the US as it seems to be?
Not all of your readers will be aware that there is no mainstream American media like the Guardian whatsoever. Go ahead and toot your own horn if you want. The media debate here is generally between the rightwing and the ultra rightwing. I came over to Europe to do a spoken-word tour about five days after September 11 and even Murdoch's papers offered so many more points of view on what had just happened. I came back to America months later armed with all these insights and facts, thinking people in America knew all this shit too, and they just looked at me dumbfounded.
How has social networkingaffected your ability to get your views across to people?
So much good has been brought in with the digital age, even though I'm not that big on it myself. But I recognise its power and its importance. The power of Twitter during protests and things like that is really good. But whether it makes it harder to actually communicate things of value long-term? I haven't decided yet. It depends whether each individual person is using the tool or if the tool is using them. If they allow themselves nothing more than a Twitter-sized attention span and assume that everything they see on the internet is true, then I've died more times than the average cat! I keep looking in the shower for the blood and the bullet holes but I can't find them, but the latest internet rumour says I'm dead so it must be true!
Do you have a Facebook page?
No, I don't. There are a few fake Jello Biafras out there, though. There is a side of that social networking that doesn't strike me as networking at all. It's more like having a trophy room full of virtual friends. It used to be that living in a world of imaginary friends was considered a mental illness. What do we have now, a mass epidemic of virtual mental illness? Or is it like-minded people finally finding someone that's like them and not feeling alone? That's the other side of it, I guess.
One of your new songs, Crapture, seems to be a fantasy about being left behind when all the religious nuts fly into the sky to be with Jesus. Is it scary to live in a country where Creationism gets taken seriously?
They're building theme parks in this country now. I haven't been able to go to one, but I can hardly wait! There's a creationist museum outside of San Diego too and I haven't been to that yet. (4) I've tried to go undercover to some of these places before. I went to Focus On the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs. I borrowed my dad's clothes trying to disguise myself as a respectable citizen, but they picked me out immediately and started following me around the gift shop! But it was still worthwhile. I hated giving money to these people but I had to get the video about how Beavis and Butthead made people burn down buildings and worship the Devil!
If you didn't laugh, you'd cry, right?
Of course. You have to be able to laugh at your enemy in order to fight them. I realise some areas of my humour have offended some people but sorry, that's part of who I am! Someone puts a halo too close to the top of my head, I find a way to get it removed. Even at the spoken-word shows, I've made a joke about when the Space Shuttle burned up on re-entry to the Earth and how there were astronaut fajitas on hot tiles all over Texas, and there would always be a few audible gasps. It's my way of reminding people that this isn't just a serious political activist event, you're dealing with punk rock here, people.
(1) Dead Kennedys released five albums, including their 1980 debut Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, a top 40 hit in the UK, before splitting in 1986. In 2001, the band reformed without Biafra, who has been in a legal dispute over royalties.
(2) Biafra is no stranger to politics, running for mayor of San Francisco in 1979 (he came fourth out of a field of 10 with 3.79% of the vote) and campaigning for serial presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
(4) The Creation and Earth History Museum, "dedicated to the biblical account of science and history", might not be as much fun as it sounds, judging by the description of new exhibit The Age of the Earth Cave (which "presents rare minerals and data with explanations defending a young Earth view while dealing with today's common dating methods such as Carbon 14, Radio Isotopes, and Helium Argon processes").
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
from Alternet: The predators on our society will scream about threats to "freedom" as soon as we start going after them, but it's just about trying to protect profits.
1. Attacking the Hungry
The uncontrolled growth of investment wealth is diverting resources away from vital programs, effectively smothering them. The average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  recipient received about $1,500 for food for the entire year. At least ten Americans each made that much in under ten seconds from their investment gains in 2012 , about the time it took each one to fluff his pillow and roll over in bed.
Under capitalism, fortunes accrue to a few while 47 million  Americans, or one out of seven, need food assistance . Almost half of the hungry are children . For every food bank we had in 1980 , we now have 200.
Yet just 20 people made more from their investment income in one year  than the entire 2011 food assistance budget . That's $73 billion, taxed at the capital gains rate. Meanwhile, President Obama couldn't get the $1 billion per year he needed to improve childhood nutrition in schools.
Most recently, the House proposed a farm bill  that would cut another $2 billion a year from the food stamps account.
2. Suffocating the Students
The corporate style of capitalism allows young college graduates, the bright hope of the future, to work in minimum wage positions while carrying an average of $26,000  in student loans, which accumulated because tuition rose ten times faster  than the cost of living, and which now come with interest rates  many times higher than the banks pay.
The great majority of pre-recession jobs have been replaced, if they've come back at all, aslow-wage  jobs in food service and retail. The number of college grads working for minimum wage has doubled  in five years. They may be the 'fortunate' ones. In 2011, about 360,000 Americans holding advanced degrees were on food stamps or some other form of public assistance. Many of them are homeless .
Jobless and frustrated young Americans trusted the system, and it failed them. Yet free enterprise entrepreneurs hustle  them for even more college, in order to extract federal loan money, which goes right to the schools to pay administrative salaries.
Defenders of capitalism say hard work will ensure success. At a recent jobs hearing  in Washington, only one Congressman bothered to show up.
3. Weakening the Children
The disease has been spreading since the 1960s, when life expectancy  began to decrease along with increasing health care costs. Capitalism has betrayed our children. A UNICEF study  places the U.S. 22nd out of 24 OECD countries in "children's health and well-being."
Child poverty, perhaps the main cause of their health problems, is up 50%  since 1973, with the rate for minorities three times that for white children.
Our global poverty ranking is shameful. Despite having the second-highest average income for children among the 30 OECD countries, the U.S. ranked 27th out of 30 for child poverty (percentage of children living in households that are below 50% of the median income).
4. Depleting the Taxpayers
The body of our society has been drained of its vital juices by tax avoidance. Loopholes and exemptions cost the public about a trillion dollars  a year, and underreported  income costs another $450 billion. The total is much more than the cost of our stable but always threatened Social Security program.
Since the recession, Fortune 500 corporations have cut  their tax payments in half, even though their profits have doubled in less than ten years.
Finally, it is estimated  that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed, with up to40%  owned by Americans. U.S. PIRG  estimates that the average taxpayer in 2012 paid an extra $1,026 in taxes to make up for tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. The average small business paid $3,067.
5 .Paralyzing the Voters
Corporations and Congress are a carcinogenic mix. Voters are rendered useless, like withering organs, as all the attention is given to the greedy mass of nutrient-taking super-rich individuals and companies.
A vast majority of Americans want background checks  on guns, an emphasis  on clean energy , job stimulus  programs, taxes on the rich , and an uncut Social Security  program. Yet Congress only hears the ka-ching of campaign contributions. Of the 435 House elections  in 2004, 95% of them were won by the candidates who outspent their opponents.
There's much more to the sickness, like the workplace explosions and fires triggered by cost-cutting measures, banks preying  on working people, the environmental  destruction caused by oil companies  and herbicide  manufacturers, attempts  to profit  from global warming, the middle class collapse caused by corporations transferring jobs overseas and then calling themselves multi-nationals to avoid allegiance to the country that supported their growth. Et cetera, et cetera.
This all allows a small number of people to make most of the money. These are the people who demand 'freedom' at the first hint of regulation.
The post-WW2 American body began to deteriorate around the time of Milton Friedman, author of one of the all-time economic inaccuracies: "The free market system distributes the fruits of economic progress among all people." For forty years the sickness caused by his teaching has spread, at first without pronounced symptoms, but now in an out-of-control process that threatens to incapacitate the better part of America. A revolutionary medicine may be the only hope for recovery. A revolution, that is, of co-ops and small farms and local currencies and solar panels on the rooftops.