Memorial Day

Adia (Sarah Maclachlan)



Gil Scott-Heron 1949-2011


James Blake

Save Me San Francisco (Train)



Who's the Racist?

May 18, 2011

During an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" on Wednesday night, Sarah Palin suggested that David Gregory, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked a "racist-tinged question" in pressing presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on an eyebrow-raising characterazation of President Barack Obama he made last week.

The former House Speaker criticized the president as "the most successful food stamp president in modern American history" while speaking in Georgia. Here's an excerpt of the exchange that went down between Gingrich and Gregory after a clip was played of the remarks.

GREGORY: First of all, you gave a speech in Georgia with language a lot of people think could be coded racially-tinged language, calling the president, the first black president, a food stamp president.

GINGRICH: Oh, come on, David.

GREGORY: What did you mean? What was the point?

GINGRICH: That's, that's bizarre. That -- this kind of automatic reference to racism, this is the president of the United States. The president of the United States has to be held accountable. Now, the idea that -- and what I said is factually true. Forty-seven million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism? I have -- I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.

GREGORY: Well, what did you mean?

GINGRICH: Well, it's very simple. He has policies -- and I used a very direct analogy. He follows the same destructive political model that destroyed the city of Detroit. I follow the model that Rick Perry and others have used to create more jobs in Texas. You know, Texas two out of the last four years created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. I'm suggesting we know how to create jobs. Ronald Reagan did it. I was part of that. We know how to create jobs. We did it when I was speaker. And, and the way you create jobs is you have lower taxes, you have less regulation, you have litigation reform. When the New York Stock Exchange puts its headquarters at Amsterdam, Holland and, by the way, follows 40 other companies in the last year; when General Electric pays zero in taxes; there's something fundamentally wrong with the current system. The Obama system of the National Labor Relations Board basically breaking the law to try to punish Boeing and to threaten every right-to-work state. The Environmental Protection Agency trying to control the entire American economy by bureaucratic fiat. The Obama system's going to lead us down the path to Detroit and destruction. I think we need a brand-new path. It's a path of job creation. And one of the central themes of this campaign is going to be paychecks vs. food stamps

"Well, talk about racism, that was a racist-tingest question from David Gregory," said Palin of the exchange. "He made it sound like if you're black you're on food stamps and the president is referring to you as being on food stamps. I think that's racist. And, you know, enough is enough of this calling out, this racism, these false charges."

Palin Is “Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, And Mean”

September 5, 2008 By Charley James (LA Progressive)

“So Sambo beat the bitch!”

This is how Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin described Barack Obama’s win over Hillary Clinton to political colleagues in a restaurant a few days after Obama locked up the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat’s primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively.

“It was kind of disgusting,” Lucille, who is part Aboriginal, said in a phone interview after admitting that she is frightened of being discovered telling folks in the “lower 48” about life near the North Pole.

Then, almost with a sigh, she added, “But that’s just Alaska.”

Racial and ethnic slurs may be “just Alaska” and, clearly, they are common, everyday chatter for Palin.

Besides insulting Obama with a Step-N’-Fetch-It, “darkie musical” swipe, people who know her say she refers regularly to Alaska’s Aboriginal people as “Arctic Arabs” – how efficient, lumping two apparently undesirable groups into one ugly description – as well as the more colourful “mukluks” along with the totally unimaginative “f**king Eskimo’s,” according to a number of Alaskans and Wasillians interviewed for this article.


Ode to Joy



You Gotta Be (Des'ree)

God and Same Sex Marriage


Michael Moore: 'Bin Laden Was Executed'

Osama bin Laden wasn’t killed by a Navy SEAL team -- he was straight up executed, Michael Moore told TheWrap on Wednesday.

The “Fahrenheit 9/11” director has been setting Twitter aflame Wednesday afternoon urging the Obama administration to come clean about the circumstances surrounding the terrorist leader’s death -- particularly in light of the White House’s shifting account of last weekend’s firefight in Abbottabad.

The Oscar-winning director has been tweeting about his belief that Bin Laden should have received a trial, and his theory that Pakistan was keeping the Al Qaeda head under house arrest. TheWrap grilled Moore about his controversial views.

Is Obama lying about how Bin Laden died?

Common sense tells you he was executed. That was the plan all along. Just tell us that and quit treating us like children.

I have a lot of faith in Obama, but we’ve received three different stories in three days. We heard, "There was a firefight." "He used a woman as a shield." Now it turns out none of these things were true. He wasn’t armed.

Does it matter if he was executed? Do you think he deserved a trial?

I am a Catholic, and the position of the Catholic Church and the Pope is that we are 100 percent against the death penalty unless it is in self-defense. Look at the Nuremberg Trials. We didn’t just pop a bullet in the heads of the worst scum in history. We thought it was important to put them on trial and expose their evil. In a democracy we believe in a system of justice and we believe in a judicial system that gives people a day in court...and then we hung them.

It doesn’t mean we can’t hang them afterward.

Do you think people will be angry if it turns out the operation was less heroic than it originally seemed?

It was heroic. There was no need to embellish things. People in positions of power tread so gingerly around the electorate. Some people may not like it, but don’t bullsh*t us anymore about stuff like this.

The government, especially the Pentagon, has a poor track record of telling the truth, starting with Jessica Lynch. Pat Tillman, that was all made up, and this firefight is going to turn out to be hooey.

Will it hurt Obama if the story turns out to have been partly false?

It won’t hurt him, because the basic facts will remain the same. Osama is still dead and everybody is happy about it.

In your tweets you say that Pakistan was safeguarding Bin Laden.

This is not a conspiracy theory. This was a garrison city. He was living in a compound attached to their version of West Point.
Where were the bodyguards? There were no bodyguards because the Pakistanis were in charge of him. They had him there under house arrest to contain him.

Was Bin Laden still a threat to the United States, then?

He was put out of business some years ago. Now, we’re dealing with rogue underwear bombers. Bin Laden was probably going, "This is so fucking embarrassing. Just hook me up to the Internet and let me get on with my business."

Were you surprised that we didn’t find Osama in a cave?

Not at all. I alluded to the fact in “Fahrenheit 9/11” that this man was a multi-millionaire, and if you know these kind of people, they don’t live in caves. I said on “Larry King,” he’s in some place comfortable with lots of money, not in a cave in the tribal region.

Why didn’t Bin Laden’s wealth get mentioned more?

From day one, they would use his name and pair it with Muslim, as some kind of fear thing about Muslims. Well, he was as much a multi-millionaire as he was a Muslim, but we didn’t start profiling multi-millionaires. Everybody who flew those planes into the Twin Towers rode in first class.

Do you think Osama was really buried at sea because of his religious beliefs?

That’s bullshit -- "He was buried at sea according to Muslim tradition." I’ve got many Muslim friends where I live in Michigan. When I go to a Muslim funeral in Detroit, we don’t hop in a chopper after the ceremony and drop the body into Lake Erie.

We’re so worried about upsetting the Muslim world. We just shot him in the fucking head, do you think they care how we conduct the funeral?


New Population Projections Show Us Growing Unsustainably, But We Can Put on the Brakes?

Posted by Bryan Walsh Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pencil in October 31, 2011 on your calendar. It's not just the one day of the year you get to dress like Edward Cullen without everyone thinking there's something deeply wrong with you. According to the United Nations Population Division (UNPD)—the demographers who rule over all demographers—that's the day when the 7 billionth person on the planet will be born.

But will population growth be a trick for the planet—or a treat? That still remains to be seen. The new UNDP numbers, released earlier today, project that global population could reach 9.3 billion by mid-century, and rise to 10.1 billion by 2100. That's a revision upwards from earlier numbers, which had projected population to level off at about 9 billion by 2050. The difference? Unexpectedly high and continued population growth in Africa, where the UNDP now predicts population could rise from 1 billion today to an almost unimaginable 3.6 billion by the end of the century, at the highest estimates. Nigeria, already Africa's most populous nation at 162 million, could grow to 730 million by 2100, while Malawi—a country smaller than Pennsylvania—could grow from 15 million to 129 million. Given the difficulties Africa finds today in feeding and supporting itself, more than tripling of the current population could cause havoc and misery—and that's without even counting the impact of global warming, which could further stress agriculture and water, while worsening infectious disease. As John Bogarts, a demographer at the Population Council, told the New York Times:

Every billion more people makes life more difficult for everybody — it's as simple as that. Is it the end of the world? No. Can we feed 10 billion people? Probably. But we obviously would be better off with a smaller population.

Even as Africa continues to multiply, other low-fertility regions like Europe, Russia and Japan will actually decline in population, and age rapidly. (42% of the world's population currently lives in areas where fertility is actually below replacement rate.) China—thanks in part to its one-child policy—will grow slowly to 1.4 billion (up from about 1.3 billion now) before eventually falling below 1 billion, while India will eventually pass it as the world's most populous nation.

All in all, it's looking to be a very crowded future—and since population is the great multiplier of all environmental ills, that would seem to be bad news for the planet. But any prediction made 90 years into the future should be taken with a whole mine's worth of salt—and that's especially true for population projections, as any reputable demographer will tell you. The predictions are made based on fertility data—how many children each woman plans to have—and the projections are incredibly sensitive to any changes. Increase fertility by just half a woman per child, and global population could rise to 16 billion by 2100.

Obviously, that's not too likely to happen. But the most recent projections were revised upward today largely because fertility rates in much of the world—and especially Africa—have remained higher than demographers had expected. In high-fertility countries, fertility is still at nearly 5 children per woman, compared 1.6 per woman in low-fertility nations. The good news is that fertility can be controlled—and not in a controlling way. As countries get better off, fertility rates tend to drop, a phenomenon known as the fertility transition that's been seen pretty much everywhere. But that requires the availability of contraception—and importantly, empowering women to actually use contraception. A quick and revealing stat: while three-quarters of married American women use a modern contraceptive, only a quarter of women in East Africa do, one in 10 in West Africa and just 7% on Central Africa.

Women in these countries need help from overseas, but aid for family planning—at $238 million in 2009—is far too low, and budget problems and social controversies mean the U.S. won't be able to make up much more. That's a shame—actually, it's a tragedy. As Robert Engelman—a vice-president with the Worldwatch Institute—writes in an excellent journal article, unsustainable population growth isn't inevitable, and population control doesn't require authoritarian means. The key is education:

More than 40 percent of all pregnancies are unintended, with higher proportions in developed than in developing countries.

As these figures suggest, it might be possible to end and then reverse human population growth through a strategy aimed at elevating women's status and increasing access to contraceptive services, so that essentially all births result from intended pregnancies. Preliminary calculations based on conservative assumptions suggest that global fertility would immediately move slightly below replacement levels, putting world population on a path toward an early peak followed by gradual decline. The success of such a strategy would have many other benefits, such as reducing disability and deaths among mothers and their children and freeing more women to earn money and participate actively in social affairs.

There are very few truly win-win policies out there, but female education and access to contraception is one of them. Demography is destiny, it's true—but we can control our demography.

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The Aurora

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.