Tuesday, May 5, 2015
The Kent State massacre, 45 years later, remains a red mark on our nation’s history. On a sunny spring day, May 4th, 1970, National Guardsmen attacked—with a 13 second barrage of bullets—a group of unarmed students, gathered for an anti-war protest. Nine were wounded, and four (Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheuer and William Schroeder) were killed. Those four, forever immortalized in Neil Young’s “Ohio,” bear witness to a divisive political landscape that exists as much today as it existed in 1970. The recent events in Ferguson and Baltimore make the remembrance of this national tragedy all the more timely.
Alan Canfora, a young student at Kent State, and a member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), was involved in the Kent protests during the days leading up to the massacre. These protests, sparked by Nixon’s announcement that the Vietnam War was to be expanded into Cambodia, came at a particularly emotional time for Canfora. A few days earlier, he had attended the funeral of his friend, Bill Caldwell, who was killed in Vietnam. As a memorial, Canfora prepared a black flag for the May 4th demonstration, declaring “I purposefully chose black material to match my dark mood of despair and anger following the recent death of my friend.”
A photograph of Canfora waving the black flag before a crouched, aiming regiment, moments before they fired 67 rounds into a group of unarmed demonstrators and bystanders, has become one of the iconic images of that tragic event and of the anti-war movement itself.
Alan Canfora, on the practice football field, 250 feet away from aiming Guardsmen. Ten minutes before the massacre. Photo by John Filo.
Minutes after that photo was snapped, the National Guard fired a volley into the crowd. Canfora, who was shot through the wrist by an M-1 bullet, claims that only eight of the thirteen victims were active in the protest. Five were simply bystanders, including Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder who were killed while walking to class.
Canfora’s website contains a heart-breaking account of the events of May 4th. What is noteworthy, throughout Canfora’s recollection, is the utter disbelief that the Guard would be using “real” bullets on unarmed students:Just as I reached safety, kneeling behind that beautiful tree during the first seconds of gunfire, I felt a sharp pain in my right wrist when an M-1 bullet passed through my arm. With shock and utter disbelief, I immediately thought to myself: “I’ve been shot! It seems like a nightmare but this is real. I’ve really been shot!” My pain was great during that unique moment of unprecedented anguish but I had another serious concern: the bullets were continuing to rain in my direction for another 11 or 12 seconds.
Among the 76 Ohio National Guard soldiers stretched across the hilltop, only about a dozen members of Troop G—the death squad—stood calmly aiming in a firing line. They killed four Kent State University students and wounded nine others, including me. One wounded victim, Dean Kahler, remains paralyzed as a result.
During the gunfire, I was in great pain and distress but quite aware that I had to remain tucked behind that narrow, young tree which absorbed several bullets intended for me.
I then heard my roommate Tom Grace screaming his severe pain after a bullet passed through his left ankle. While the bullets were still flying, I yelled over to my best friend, Tom Grace, “Stay down! Stay down! It’s only buckshot!”
Canfora, wounded, kneeling behind a tree, an M-1 bullet wound having pierced his right wrist—225 feet downhill from Ohio National Guard shooters. This tree saved Canfora as well as Tom “Aquinas” Miller, who was standing behind the tree. Canfora and Miller are looking right to Tom Grace who was shot through his left foot nearby.
Even as he had reached the hospital for treatment of his wound:
When I got to the hospital, as I walked alone toward the emergency room door, I looked inside the open rear door of a parked ambulance. I saw my friend Jeff Miller lying dead and bloody on a stretcher. I assumed he was only unconscious from a facial flesh wound. I still wrongly-assumed non-lethal shotguns shot us.
During those terrible seconds as I stood alone gazing at my friend’s bloody form, I vainly hoped that plastic surgery would repair Jeff’s face where a gaping 2-inch bloody hole destroyed Jeff’s always-smiling face. I did not know that a powerful M-1 bullet had passed through Jeff’s head and he was killed instantly.
Photo by John Filo
Canfora went on to graduate Kent State with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies and a Master’s Degree in Library Science, and has remained a vociferous activist, both as a student organizer, and in the justice movement for the victims of May 4. He took time out of his busy schedule, working on the 45th anniversary commemoration, to talk to Dangerous Minds about the events at Kent State and their repercussions today.
The iconic photograph of you waving the black flag before a National Guard regiment, with weapons raised and pointed at you, has been compared to the image of the so-called “tank man” at Tiananmen Square. Both photographs evoke a David vs Goliath sentiment—standing up to a monstrously armed force of authority. Of course, our cultural narrative programming has us shocked that an unarmed student would be fired upon in the United States—and maybe also shocked that a man standing in front of a tank in Communist China could stop that tank from rolling forward. Do you see similarities in the two images?
Alan Canfora: The “tank man” definitely was risking his life, at a time when many students were actually killed. By standing in front of the tank he showed great courage. It’s similar to my situation in 1970 in that he did risk his life for the cause that he believed in.
So, when that image was taken, at that moment you felt that your life was in danger?
AC: Absolutely. I think any time that there’s someone aiming guns at you with their fingers on the triggers, you definitely think that your life may be in danger. I had to confront the possibility at that moment. I certainly didn’t plan for the moment. I had no idea I would be in that situation until the Guardsmen got down and started aiming at me. It seemed like an absurd situation—I didn’t think that I was doing anything to deserve being shot or to even have guns aimed at me—I was 150 feet away—it was broad daylight—they hadn’t shot anyone while the National Guard was on campus the two previous evenings, even though some students were stabbed by bayonets, and other students were beaten with clubs the night before on May 3rd. I just didn’t think that in broad daylight on a sunny Spring afternoon that they would just start shooting into a crowd of unarmed students.
At that moment I started thinking about why I was there. Only ten days prior, myself and my roommates had attended the funeral of a nineteen-year-old soldier who was killed in Vietnam—his name was Bill Caldwell—so we were at that funeral on April 24th, and we were already very anti-war, and some of us were very experienced with protest actions… and at that funeral we swore a vow that we would take action at the soonest opportunity to send our message to President Nixon that he should stop the war in Vietnam. Too many young people were coming home dead or wounded, and we understood that the war in Vietnam was genocidal—our government was killing two or three million Asians.
Six days after that funeral, Cambodia was invaded by Nixon—the war was expanded into another country. We watched the announcement on television, and we were very angry, and we said tomorrow night we are going into action. From May 1st through 4th, we were some of the leading militants on the streets of Kent. And so when I was out there with them aiming the guns at me, that was the culmination of four days of protests—and I didn’t anticipate that moment, but I had to think to myself “this is why we’re out here—to make the most powerful statement that we can about stopping the war.” So I didn’t back down, I stood my ground there, and I basically tried to communicate with the Guardsmen who were aiming at me from 150 feet away… I remember shouting at them “if you support the war in Vietnam, then why aren’t you IN Vietnam?” I said “my friend was killed there just a few days ago, and we attended his funeral, and that’s why we’re out here—we’re trying to stop the war.”
Their commanding officer ordered them to stand up and then march away—it looked like a retreat—they started going back up this hill, and then when they got to the hilltop, that’s when they got the order to turn and fire.
The Guardsmen depart the practice field in what many thought was a retreat. They soon marched uphill & fired 67 gunshots downhill into a crowd of unarmed students. Canfora was shot when he ran to a tree—225 feet away from the hilltop shooters.
That’s what seems so absurd—there was no imminent threat to them whatsoever.
AC: They were under no significant threat throughout the entire twenty-four minute confrontation—we all knew that they had stabbed people the night before—every step of the [confrontation] is on film and you can see second-by-second that every time they marched toward the students, the students evacuated.
Just as they started to shoot, there was one student standing off to the side raising his middle finger toward the Guard—he was shot twice—once in the stomach, once in the ankle. He was 72 feet away. Another student behind him was 90 feet away, just taking pictures—he got shot in his chest. Down near the bottom of the hill is where I was—225 feet away when I got shot through my right wrist. When I heard the guns firing I thought “they must be firing blanks, there’s no reason to shoot.” But I thought “just in case these are real bullets,” I started to zig and zag as the bullets were flying around me and I jumped behind a tree, and just as I did I felt a bullet go through my right wrist.
Having read your heart-breaking account of those events, what affected me the most was the confusion you felt. The assumption that the Guardsmen would not have bullets in their guns—and then, even when you were aware that you had been shot, you were still assuming that it must have been “buck shot”—I get the sense that the realizations about the use of deadly force in that moment may have been just as traumatic for you as the physical pain of being wounded.
AC: It just didn’t seem like any kind of a shooting situation, in fact, when you consider what had happened already on May 1st in downtown Kent—about 43 windows were smashed out—about 28 of those were in one bank, and other specific corporate targets were hit like the gas company, the electric company, the telephone company, the conservative Republican newspaper—those windows were all smashed out and nobody got shot down there that night—fourteen students were arrested. The next night, the Kent State ROTC building was burned down—the National Guard arrived that evening and they didn’t shoot anybody—so, by May 3rd several students were bayoneted after a peaceful sit-in in the street. Several male and female students were slashed and stabbed by the National Guard, and a bunch of students were beaten with clubs—but no one was shot. [By comparison] the rally on May 4th was anti-climactic. We didn’t have any plan or agenda—it was just a gathering. As soon as one student got up and spoke about a national student’s strike, that’s when the Guardsmen attacked with teargas and then [shortly thereafter] began aiming guns at me and others. To attack our rally on May 4th—we were doing NOTHING wrong—we were just standing there starting to chant anti-war slogans. One kid just started to speak, and that’s when they attacked. Ultimately they shot 67 gunshots into a crowd of unarmed students—and that was the ultimate absurdity.
Canfora, upper right in photo, face covered by scarf, with black flag at hilltop as Ohio National Guard attack and chase students away from Victory Bell and over Blanket Hill. Note KSU student, Allison Krause, under concrete “pagoda” at hilltop. Allison was shot in the chest & killed 20 minutes later.
There’s no logic to it.
AC: It’s so illogical unless you understand that among the 26 Guardsmen who marched out against us, tear-gassing us, chasing us over a hill, there was a small group there called Troop G of the 107th cavalry unit, there were about a dozen of them and several of their officers—they were like the cream of the crop of the hardcore nastiest National Guardsmen on the scene. When those guys knelt and started aiming, those guys were picking out their targets, and who they were aiming at?—there were two black flags that day, I made both of them, and my room-mate was carrying the other one—who’s carrying a black flag? Who’s throwing stones? Who’s giving the finger? Who’s cursing at them? Who’s taunting them? And among the group that they ended up shooting, Jeff Miller was very active—he was killed. Allison Krauss threw a couple of stones—she was killed. I was waving a black flag—I got shot. Joe Louis was giving the finger—he got shot. John Grace was a protester standing next to me when he got shot through his foot. Eight of the thirteen victims were active in the protest. Five were just by-standers.
You had a group of Guardsmen who were on a twenty-four minute hunting expedition, seeking human prey. And once they committed that massacre, they simply turned, regrouped, and marched away. Mission accomplished.
And what did the Guard do after the shooting?
AC: They had three big lies that they tried to perpetrate. The general had two news conferences that afternoon and said, first of all, “the students were shooting at us, there was a sniper, and we returned gunfire.” That was a lie. The second big lie was “the students were about five feet from us, about to overrun us, we thought our lives were in danger, and we thought they were gonna take our guns from us.” Well, the photographs came out the next day, and the closest student was not five feet away, but 72 feet away. The third big lie was they said the students were throwing rocks, bottles, and other objects, and their lives were in danger so they fired in self-defense. That was proven to be false. When the FBI came to town over the next two months, at the end of their investigation, the Department of Justice concluded that the National Guard’s claim of self-defense was, and I quote, “fabricated, subsequent to the events.”
Some people were throwing stones, some people felt so provoked that they picked up whatever was lying on the ground—but there was such a distance between the students and Guardsmen that day, that the stones fell short—there were also photographs showing Guardsmen throwing stones at students—and those fell short too. So both sides stopped that—it was basically a stalemate. And then when the [Guardsmen] were retreating, we felt “the confrontation is over, they’re going away.” And they got to the top of the hill and that’s when there was a verbal command, “Right here. Point. FIRE.”
A student cassette recording made at the scene was found which corroborates this—verified so far by three digital audio analysts.
All of this information and evidence is on my website alancanfora.com and on may4.org.
>This was an intentional massacre based on an order to fire.
Canfora returns a tear-gas cannister toward the attacking Guardsmen.
Discussion of the events at Kent State seems especially timely considering many of the events that have recently occurred in Ferguson and Baltimore. We have seen the National Guard called out, and it seems to have the opposite of the intended effect, making people much more frustrated, angry, and volatile.
AC: I think it does. For example, when we saw those 1200 Guards rolling into Kent on May 2nd, we thought it was provocative to send in armed troops against students who were only assaulting property. And we knew that same thing was happening all across the country. It was like throwing fuel onto the fire. Especially with those “weekend warriors,” as they were known. These were not full-time, professional, law enforcement personnel. They were beating the students, and stabbing the students, and ultimately they shot us. They were poorly trained, they were over-armed, and they had very poor leadership—unlike full-time professional law enforcement personnel. It’s really a recipe for disaster.
I don’t think the National Guard should be called into a civic disturbance. No longer are National Guardsmen sent into a crowd control situation armed with M-1 rifles. Now days they try to emphasize non-lethal weapons, which of course are still actually lethal. But I don’t think you’ll see another situation where they shoot 67 gunshots into a crowd of unarmed protesters. That was such an extreme example of excessive force. It was about a year after Kent State that they started using rubber bullets, plastic pellets, beanbags, and different things like that. I don’t think you’ll see the same kind of carnage on a mass scale—at least I hope not. When you consider the volatility of our country right now, when you have people that are so oppressed because of income inequality and class discrimination—people that are driven further and further down into poverty, that they are so desperate that they go into the streets—I think there’s a danger that this could be happening not just in Baltimore or in Ferguson, but it could start happening across the country simultaneously [and if this occurred] people would realize that our country had descended into a revolutionary situation.
There’s a cultural polarization that takes place that allows for events such as these, and then people are actually surprised when it happens!
AC: Our governor at the time, James Rhodes, was very hostile against civil rights protests in the urban areas, but he was also very hostile to student protests - especially the ones right before the upcoming election - he was already the governor of Ohio but he was seeking to become a US senator - and he was 8% behind in the public opinion polls [due to student protests]. So he was desperate, and he had to act like he was cracking down on the protesters. He came to Kent and gave a news conference on May 3rd, the day before the massacre, and was pounding his fist on the podium with all of the TV cameras pointed at him, and he said “these Kent State students are the worst type of people we harbor in America. They’re worse than the Communists and the Brownshirts.” And he pounded his fists and said “we’re going to eradicate the problem.” He exaggerated the situation in order to appeal to the conservative Republican voters that were going to be voting in that primary election on May 5th. And he basically provoked or incited the National Guard to commit violence that evening when they stabbed students, and also the next day when they shot us.
April 7, 1970, less than a month before the Kent State shootings, Governor Ronald Reagan in California said “these students want disruption - if it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.”
There is a real danger when a situation is polarized—and then you put guns into the hands of the people that are the most hateful, and that’s a formula for a disaster. They hated us, they didn’t understand us, they resented us, to the point where they shot us with absolutely no hesitation.
Canfora and roommate confront Ohio National Guard from 250-feet distance on practice football field minutes before Guardsmen march uphill & shoot.
Anyone who experiences a traumatic situation like this deals with effects of it for the rest of their lives. Many members of the radical left or anti-war movement of the Vietnam era have assimilated into mainstream culture. Would you say that being shot in 1970 was a crystallizing moment that kept you dedicated to activism?
AC: No. My father was a union activist in Akron, Ohio, with the UAW; and he was very political, and raised all four of his kids to be very strongly liberal and progressive minded. He led a two month strike against Goodyear in the 1950s. In the ‘60s he was on our hometown City Council as a liberal Democrat—a very progressive guy. So we were already politicized in my family from the time, even back to the 1950s when my dad opposed a “right to work” law—he had us aware of that stuff even when I was nine years old. When I saw the students beaten in the streets at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, I knew that I wanted to become an activist—to try to fight for the same cause. At Kent State, I first joined the College Democrats, and within a month I quit them and joined the SDS, because they were more leftist intellectuals - the leadership of the SDS at Kent was among the most brilliant and militant in the whole country.
Jerry Casale from DEVO [was in the Kent State SDS, and] was there, and he witnessed the massacre. Two of his good friends, Jeff Miller and Allison Krauss were killed, and that radicalized a whole lot of people who witnessed the event including Jerry Casale who was already a radical. He formulated his theory of de-evolution—that human society was de-evolving, and the Kent State massacre helped him reach that conclusion—that society was not evolving any longer.
Terry Robbins [of the Weathermen], who got blown up in a townhouse, saw me at the SDS events and looked at me and said “you’re an action freak.” For Terry Robbins to call me an “action freak”... I consider that to be quite a compliment.
By 1969 most of the leadership of SDS had gone underground and joined the Weathermen. I did not. I thought that was a tactical mistake. I thought we had to stay above ground and continue to organize and fight against the war, out in the open. There were only a few of us from SDS still there, and we continued to remain anti-war, and when the invasion of Cambodia happened in the Spring of ‘70 we were among the most active students, sparking the protests. I don’t think that being shot made me more of an activist, but it made me more of a proponent for justice against the cover-up of murder.
“They hated us, they didn’t understand us, they resented us, to the point where they shot us with absolutely no hesitation.”
In finishing up our conversation, I mentioned, off-the-cuff, that many people consider Canfora to be an American hero. He was very quick to dismiss such praise, stating, “I’ve never considered myself to be a hero - I consider myself a foot soldier in the anti-war army.”
Canfora will be participating in the 45th annual commemoration at Kent State and is currently in final-edit of his memoir, which should be wrapped up by Summer. His website contains volumes of information on the events at Kent State, and is well worth your time and research.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Iggy and The Stooges at their most primal proto-punk prime, filmed at the Goose Lake music festival in Michigan in 1970.
If the Stooges sound a bit “thin” here, this performance was done without original bassist Dave Alexander, who arrived at the gig too fucked up to stand, let alone play.
Alexander was promptly fired. A heavy drinker, he died at the young age of 27 in 1975. He was name-checked a few years later in Iggy’s spoken-word intro to The Idiot’s “Dum Dum Boys”:“How ‘bout Dave? OD’d on alcohol.”
Sunday, May 3, 2015
I bookmarked these videos of Malcolm McLaren being interviewed on the intersection of fashion, rock music and marketing to young people a while back but didn’t get around to watching them until this morning. Absolutely fascinating stuff. If you have any interest in the history of fashion or in the wiley Mr. McLaren himself, trust me this is most certainly worth an hour of your time.
What this is is three 20 minute Betacam camera reels (raw footage) of McLaren being interviewed for Rock Influence what is presumably a program firstly about fashion and secondly about music as it relates to and influences fashion trends, in late 1984. In the first of the tapes, he starts off talking about the birth of Parisian couture fashion, and how Christian Dior’s signature La Belle Époque-inspired silhouette ended up being adopted in the 1950s by American girls who “wanted to dance with James Dean.”
Throughout the hour-long interview, in which the interviewer gets to ask precious few questions—as anyone who ever met him can tell you, “conversations” with Malcolm McLaren were so decidedly one-sided that “monologue” would be a better term to use—the infamous trouble-maker who spun “cash from chaos” spends a lot of time talking about the Beatles and their influence on fashion and contrasting them, and what they stood for, with the Rolling Stones. He discusses clothes being marketed to post-war Britain’s youth for the first time beginning in the mid-1960s, gay fashion in London, Teddy Boys, the “Cinderella” women of Motown and Carnaby Street.
There's one particularly interesting section, I think it’s in part two, where he explains the sort of shops that were open on the King’s Road in London in the early 70s when he and Vivienne Westwood first opened their boutique (which had various names like Let It Rock, Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die, Seditioaries, SEX and World’s End). Basically it was stores catering to glam rock and glitter all around them, but what they were doing was simply buying up overstock on the togs of 1959 and reselling it for Teddy Boy and rockabilly revivalists. Consider that even a few years before this, there would have been NO “cool” or “fashionable” section of town, any town, even in a city like London, to begin with. That entire notion was just beginning to be expressed for the first time historically, but already, in one of the small handful of such stores in the capital city at the time, the marketing of nostalgia was starting to rear its head. Today there’s any number of “looks” one can choose in the supermarket of style… punk, hippie, Victorian, Edwardian, that fucking Jeremy Scott look that DAZED magazine always pushes, etc, but at that point and time, selling the clothes of 1959 to young folks was a fairly bold—almost counterintuitive—thing to do. Also, consider that selling 1959’s fab gear in 1972 would be comparable to selling the fashions of 2002 today, for a lil’ perspective.
Always remember that the distance from the doo-wop era to Sha Na Na aping it ironically at Woodstock was a mere decade. McLaren makes a pretty good case here—without intending to—that he and Westwood were among the very, very earliest pioneers of marketing “vintage” clothing. Because of the short distance from the beginnings of the modern fashion industry to the 1984 date of this interview, McLaren makes one great point after another that have retrospectively become even more true in the three decades since this was taped.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Friday, May 1, 2015
A protester in West Baltimore confronted Geraldo Rivera last night before he went to his live shot for Fox News. He went OFF on Geraldo, asking where were you before this?
Protester: You want to report that we're thugs and we're breaking shit down. You got these two black dudes protecting you (talking about Geraldo's bodyguards) from all these black folks. We're the ones that need protection! Report for us! You're working for Fox News. Adam Jackson just went on Sean Hannity....(Geraldo tries to get away) Why are you running away? Talk to me. Just talk to me. Listen, a black man can raise his voice and you don't have to be intimidated. (Geraldo mumbles something) Because I want you and Fox News to get out of Baltimore City. Because you are not here reporting about the boarded up homes and the homeless people on the MLK. You're not reporting about the poverty levels up and down North Avenue. Two years ago, when the 300 man march and we marched (street names), you weren't here. You're here for the black riots! You're not here for the death of Freddie Gray.The unidentified protester then began saying he wanted to talk to Geraldo and pleaded for the cameras to be turned off before continuing:
I want the white media out of Baltimore City until you are here to report the real story.
His takedown of Geraldo and the media continued. Watch him passionately confront Geraldo Rivera to tell the real story:
Thursday, April 30, 2015
I am a fourth-generation dairy farmer and cattle rancher. I grew up on a dairy farm in Montana, and I ran a feedlot operation there for twenty years. I know firsthand how cattle are raised and how meat is produced in this country.
Today I am president of Earth Save International, an organization promoting organic farming and the vegetarian diet.
Sure, I used to enjoy my steaks as much as the next guy. But if you knew what I know about what goes into them and what they can to do you, youd probably be a vegetarian like me. And, believe it or not, as a pure vegetarian now who consumes no animal products at all, I can tell you these days I enjoy eating more than ever.
If youre a meat-eater in America, you have a right to know that you have something in common with most of the cows youve eaten. Theyve eaten meat, too.
When a cow is slaughtered, about half of it by weight is not eaten by humans: the intestines and their contents, the head, hooves, and horns, as well as bones and blood. These are dumped into giant grinders at rendering plants, as are the entire bodies of cows and other farm animals known to be diseased. Rendering is a $2.4 billion-a-year industry, processing forty billion pounds of dead animals a year. There is simply no such thing in America as an animal too ravaged by disease, too cancerous, or too putrid to be welcomed by the all-embracing arms of the renderer. Another staple of the renderers diet, in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets - the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year. The city of Los Angeles alone, for example, sends some two hundred tons of euthanized cats and dogs to a rendering plant every month. Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies, and road kill. (Road kill is not collected daily, and in the summer, the better road kill collection crews can generally smell it before they can see it.) When this gruesome mix is ground and steam-cooked, the lighter, fatty material floating to the top gets refined for use in such products as cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, candles, and waxes. The heavier protein material is dried and pulverized into a brown powder-about a quarter of which consists of fecal material. The power is used as an additive to almost all pet food as well as to livestock feed. Farmers call it protein concentrates. In 1995, five million tons of processed slaughterhouse leftovers were sold for animal feed in the United States. I used to feed tons of the stuff to my own livestock. It never concerned me that I was feeding cattle to cattle.
Quoted from Howard Lyman's' book Mad Cowboy
Mad Cowboy Official Website
INTERACTIVE WEB SITE MAP
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Professional baseball's Orioles COO John Angelos offers eye-opening perspective on Baltimore protests
After protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent on Saturday, Baltimore sports-radio broadcaster Brett Hollander took to Twitter to argue that demonstrations that negatively impact the daily lives of fellow citizens are counter-productive. Orioles COO John Angelos, son of owner Peter Angelos, seized the opportunity to respond with a qualified and brilliant defense of those protesting.
You can read the whole thing in Angelos’ Twitter replies, but it’s transcribed here for clarity. It’s all here because it’s all so good. Read the whole thing:Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident, suffered a spinal injury while in police custody after his arrest on April 12 and died seven days later. Six city police officers have been suspended pending an investigation into Gray’s death.
That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.
The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today.
As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.
It says: "Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."
Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: "Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels."
The recommendation follows advice last year that a vegetarian diet was better for the planet from Lord Nicholas Stern, former adviser to the Labour government on the economics of climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has also urged people to observe one meat-free day a week to curb carbon emissions.
The panel of experts ranked products, resources, economic activities and transport according to their environmental impacts. Agriculture was on a par with fossil fuel consumption because both rise rapidly with increased economic growth, they said.
Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist who co-chaired the panel, said: "Rising affluence is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and dairy products - livestock now consumes much of the world's crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides."
Both energy and agriculture need to be "decoupled" from economic growth because environmental impacts rise roughly 80% with a doubling of income, the report found.
Achim Steiner, the UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP, said: "Decoupling growth from environmental degradation is the number one challenge facing governments in a world of rising numbers of people, rising incomes, rising consumption demands and the persistent challenge of poverty alleviation."
The panel, which drew on numerous studies including the Millennium ecosystem assessment, cites the following pressures on the environment as priorities for governments around the world: climate change, habitat change, wasteful use of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilisers, over-exploitation of fisheries, forests and other resources, invasive species, unsafe drinking water and sanitation, lead exposure, urban air pollution and occupational exposure to particulate matter.
Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday.
Last year the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said that food production would have to increase globally by 70% by 2050 to feed the world's surging population. The panel says that efficiency gains in agriculture will be overwhelmed by the expected population growth.
Prof Hertwich, who is also the director of the industrial ecology programme at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said that developing countries – where much of this population growth will take place – must not follow the western world's pattern of increasing consumption: "Developing countries should not follow our model. But it's up to us to develop the technologies in, say, renewable energy or irrigation methods."
This story was printed originally in 2010, it's amazing how little has changed :-(
WAKE THE FUCK UP PEOPLE!!!
Sunday, April 26, 2015
McDonald’s MCD shuttered 350 poorly performing stores in Japan, the United States, and China the first three months of 2015 as part of its plan to boost its sagging profits.
Those previously unannounced closings, disclosed on a conference call with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday, are on top of the 350 shutterings the world’s largest restaurant chain had already targeted for the year. While those 700 store closings this year represent a fraction of the 32,500 or so restaurants worldwide, they show how aggressive McDonald’s is getting in pruning poorly attended locations that are dragging down its results.
Earlier on Wednesday, McDonald’s had reported an 11% decrease in revenue and a 30% drop in profit for the first three months of year, a continuation of its troubles in the last two years as it has struggled to compete with new U.S. competitors, a tough economy in Europe and a food safety scare in Asia.
McDonald’s CFO Kevin Ozan told analysts that the shuttered stores in China, where comparable sales fell 4.8% in the first quarter, had been underperforming for years. In Japan, where McDonald’s is still reeling from the food safety scare last summer, the stores closed stores were “heavy loss maker restaurants.” As for the U.S., comparable sales were down 2.3%, one of their biggest drop in years as chains like Chipotle ate into sales.
On May 4, the company will start detailing its turnaround strategy.
In the last few months, it has made a few moves that telegraph where it is heading, though it is pretty clear how the big the challenge will be for the Golden Arches.
For instance, earlier in April the company announced it is testing out a larger, pricier, third-of-a-pound burger for $5, two years after dropping the similar Angus burger line because they were too pricey for McDonald’s diners. Despite that earlier failure, new CEO Steve Easterbrook expressed confidence his customers would go for premium burgers.
“I often describe McDonald’s as possibly the most democratic -- with a small ‘d’ -- brand in the world,” he said. “And what customers love the world over, and none more so than here in the U.S., is how they can buy into aspirational quality products, but at a McDonald’s price.”
But he faces an uphill battle in winning over the millions of burger-eaters in the U.S. that have a dim view of McDonald’s offerings: Nation’s Restaurant News published a survey this month rating 111 limited-service chains on 10 attributes including food quality, and McDonald’s was ranked No. 110, ahead only of Chuck E. Cheese. In-N-Out Burger topped the list.
And he also has to get the thousands of franchisees, who own 80% of McDonald’s locations, on board as he works to transform the company, even as many are still smarting from his decision to raise wages at company-owned U.S. restaurants.
“When business is a little tough like it is at the moment in the U.S., with cash flows being challenged, yeah, frustrations do arise,” Easterbrook said.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
The story goes that in 1978, the Cramps made a video, filmed by Alex de Laszlo, for their song “Human Fly,” that featured singer Lux Interior (RIP 2009) in a classic movie-monster transformation scene—but it seemed like nobody saw it, or could even prove it existed. A close perusal of Thomas Owen Sheridan’s collection of contemporary zine articles about the band—itself a rare Cramps collectible—yielded exactly one reference to its existence.
Seriously, that’s it.
The 1990 book Wild Wild World of the Cramps, by Ian Johnston, who also wrote the book on Nick Cave, offered this:
In May, The Cramps made their first tentative steps into the world of promotional video. A friend who was studying at film school suggested his services and a short three-minute film, based on the song ‘Human Fly’ was produced. The film was made for under $200 and featured Lux painfully transforming into a fly. This artefact is now so rare that even Lux and Ivy do not have a copy of the film.In 2011, an amazing blog post by Kogar Theswingingape proffered actual screen caps and a scene-by-scene breakdown, but the video itself wasn’t posted.
The film opens with a countdown and a placard with: Vengeance Productions Presents a Film by Alex de Laszlo. It immediately cuts to a shot of Ivy walking down the street, transistor radio glued to her ear (The Way I Walk is playing), blowing bubbles and holding a glass bottle coke. Cut to a somber looking Lux in a smoking jacket sitting on what appears to be a leopard print sofa. He’s prepping a huge hypodermic needle by lighting a match and holding it under the needle.
Lux then gathers up some flesh from around his throat and slowly injects himself.
The result is immediate; he begins a transformation!
Well, it seems that a couple of months ago, the actual film, AT LONG LAST, after decades of existing as little more than a tantalizing rumor, finally and with little fanfare found its way to YouTube. It’s amazing that this sine qua non of Cramps ephemera has been online for months with such a paltry view-count. Let’s ramp those numbers up a bit, shall we?
Friday, April 24, 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
The capricious career of experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs has produced a lot of inscrutable cinema. His best known movie is Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son from 1969 and it’s the sort of avant-garde project that is probably best experienced on drugs. Jacobs re-cut and altered part of a 1905 silent film, at points actually filming projections of the film so the viewer is watching a movie of a movie. It’s all very meta I suppose, but it goes on for 115 minutes, and the novelty wears down to crushing boredom after the first ten. His 1986 project, Perfect Film, was a far less avant-garde—and far more watchable and entertaining—use of found footage.
Of course, this is probably because Jacobs’ source material was way more interesting. Perfect Film consists of footage and interviews from the day of Malcolm X’s assassination, including an off-the-clock journalist who actually witnessed the shooting, a local Harlem man, a besuited police investigator and clips of Malcolm himself just prior to his death. It’s really an unnarrated documentary composed entirely of unedited raw footage, and it’s compelling as a historical artifact (rather than art), just as Jacobs intended. He explained his decision not to edit thusly:
I wish more stuff was available in its raw state, as primary source material for anyone to consider, and to leave for others in just that way, the evidence uncontaminated by compulsive proprietary misapplied artistry, “editing”, the purposeful “pointing things out” that cuts a road straight and narrow through the cine-jungle; we barrel through thinking we’re going somewhere and miss it all. Better to just be pointed to the territory, to put in time exploring, roughing it, on our own. For the straight scoop we need the whole scoop, or no less than the clues entire and without rearrangement. O, for a Museum of Found Footage, or cable channel, library, a shit-museum of telling discards accessible to all talented viewers/auditors. A wilderness haven salvaged from Entertainment.Perfect Film was actually released in 1986, well before the modern Internet and its tendency to catalog a de facto media archive. At 81 years of age, Jacobs is still kicking—perhaps pleased to witness this dream take shape.