Thursday, June 28, 2007

The First Amendment Must Be Destroyed!

Today is Thursday, 28 June 2007.

As a goof, a high school student, during school time but off school grounds, during a parade, displays a banner: “Bong hits 4 Jesus”.

For this heinous crime, he is disciplined by his principal for promoting drug use.

He sues, the case goes to the Supreme Court, and he loses.

My thanks to Noah Bokat-Lindell, a high school student of Montclair, New Jersey, founder and administrator of, in a letter of this date in The New York Times, for the following quotation.

“In writing his judicial opinion on the case, Justice Clarence Thomas said, “In light of the history of American public education, it cannot seriously be suggested that the First Amendment “freedom of speech” encompasses a student’s right to speak in public schools.””

O ye strict constructionists of little faith!

Nowhere in the First Amendment can I find the words: “This right not valid in public schools.”

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

One can only suppose Thomas (one must deny him the honorific “Mr. Justice”, as by his very being he disgraces the office and robe) assumes that any other government entity than Congress, including school boards, boards of sanitation, taxi commissions, etc. are allowed to abridge freedom of speech.

The “argument” of Thomas tramples on several decades of Supreme Court precedent, overthrows the Constitution, and is a prime example of neo-conservative neo-Stalinist thought at its "finest".

During the times of the Roman Republic, Cato the Elder ended every speech, regardless of subject, with "Carthago delenda est" ("Carthage must be destroyed").

Thomas says: The First Amendment delenda est.

Full disclosure: In high school, your author was a key instigator of political action to preserve freedom of speech in his high school system.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Today is Wednesday, 27 June 2007.

From the Compact Oxford English Dictionary:



(noun) a quality that evokes pity or sadness.

ORIGIN: Greek, ‘suffering’.

In The New York Times of Sunday past, a photograph by Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press, with the caption:

“Salim Akram, left, sold his household belongings under a bridge in the Fashil neighborhood of Baghdad yesterday. After his brother was killed two months ago, Mr. Akram, 35, decided to move to Syria. He is selling his possessions so he can afford passports for himself and his relatives.”

His possessions include plates, cups, saucers, and, most pathetically (see pathos), what is either a bundt pan or perhaps a tangine.

Our tax dollars at work, for VICTORY! and the Mission Accomplished!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

In Memory: Alan Turing

Today is Saturday, 23 June 2007.

On this day in 1912, was born Alan M. Turing, parent of modern computing science and an Allied hero of WW2.

Later, in the abyss of The Cold War, he was persecuted and prosecuted for his homosexuality.

He died on 7 June 1954, a cyanide-laced apple at his side. Some claim it was suicide. Others believe the British security services were eliminating "a weak link".

Friday, June 22, 2007

I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning

Today is Friday, 22, June 2007.

This just in on CNN: Dick Cheney, President of Vice, claims the right to conceal his documents from his employers, the American people, on the grounds he's not part of the Executive Branch.

Would he be a member of the Animal Branch? The Vegetable Branch? The Mineral Branch?

Or just another fascisti?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Existentialism Rules!

Today is Thursday, 21 June 2007.

Jean-Paul Sartre's birthday (1905).

"Existence precedes essence."

Perhaps this could be translated: we cannot "know" who we "are", but we are, and are therefore responsible for all possible kindness to all.

Cups of espresso are hoisted in his honour, and berets are the dress of the day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In Memory: Kurt Schwitters, and for World Refugee Day

Today is Wednesday, 20 June 2007.

The immortal Stokowski, conducting Bach:

Kurt Schwitters, born this day, 1887.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saying Kaddish

Today is Tuesday, 19 June 2007.

On this day in 1953, the United States government assassinated Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison, New York.

They had been convicted of passing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union. There is some evidence to suggest Julius might have done so, but scholarly opinion believes that Ethel was charged only to put pressure on her husband to confess.

If either were so involved, it was because the Soviet Union was the main USA ally during WW2, and they felt an ally should not be denied essential knowledge.

And, to be blunt, the Rosenbergs were what was usually called at the time, “Jew”.

Once must recall, that, during the New Deal, many Americans believed that the real name of the American president was Franklin D. “Rosenfelt”, not Roosevelt, since they believed the myth that he was part of a Jewish Dutch conspiracy to rule the world. (How his relative, Teddy Roosevelt, was not part of the conspiracy, they never explained.)

One must also recall, that, well into the 1960s, it was entirely acceptable, in polite society, to refer to “Communism” as “Jewish”.

And the Rosenberg extermination was advanced by an hour or so, when the authorities realized they needed to get the killings in before the deadline of the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.

To borrow the title of Katherine Anne Porter’s book on the assassination of Sacco and Vanzetti: The Never Ending Wrong.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Art of Beauty for This World of Sorrow

Today remains Sunday, 17 June 2007.

Okey-dokey: enough Nixon torture.

An old comrade sent me this, a tune sung by the totally excellent soprano, Renee Fleming. He noted that he would gladly bear her child. (Don't know what his wife would think about that!)

My old friend is a dude of many talents and accomplishments. Were he to discover how to accomplish this, I assume I’m allowed to invest for at least 25% of the net on the reality series, etc.

(And I don't mean "Hollywood Net". I mean I'll have a team of CPAs in there auditing you six ways from Sunday. O: and my entertainment lawyer.)

That such art of beauty exists in this world of sorrow.

Happy Watergate Day!

Today is Sunday, 17 June 2007.

On this day in 1972, Nixon's burglers hit the Democratic Party HQ at The Watergate.

Though hardly the worst of his crimes, which would probably be his involvement, as Vice-President, in the USA/USE replacing France as the genocidal power in Indochina.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

In Memory: Kaloman

Today is Saturday, 16 June 2007.

Is it beneath human dignity to mention this at all: the demise of Kurt Waldheim, former President of Austria and Secretary General of the United Nations?

Despite being personally a fierce anti-nationalist, well, it just shows to go ya, I’m proud that one of my relatives was a prominent leader of the Austrian Socialist Party, and murdered by the Austrian Fascists (“Der Heimwehr”) in February 1934, so I have “issues” with my more-or-less fellow-country person.

Herr Waldheim concealed for decades that he was once a proud Nazi army officer, who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against Greek Jews and Yugoslav civilians and partisans. In a letter released after his death, Waldheim noted that he “dealt too late with these events”, but excused this on the grounds of “the hectic pace of an overloaded international life.”

Sort of like Tom “When in the Course of Human Events” Jefferson, being likewise oppressed by “the hectic pace of an overloaded international life”, neglected to notice the implications of his sweet phrase, “All men being created equal”, while enslaving and raping human beings.

Friday, June 15, 2007

There Will Come Soft Rains

Today is Friday, 15 June 2007.

In 1215, Magna Carta was forced by the vicious barons from King John.

On this day in 1904, the day excursion ship, General Slocum, caught fire and burned, in far Upper New York Harbour. Some 1100 were burned to death.

One may still see a memorial to the dead in Tompkins Square Park, in the East Village, a slight pillar topped by a sleeping baby, worn down almost to incomprehensibility by the years and elements.

On an up [?] note: “There Will Come Soft Rains”, a poem by Sara Teasdale, from 1920, reacting to what they then thought was the post/pre-apocalyptic Great War, which poem also figures in a famous Ray Bradbury short story. I note this because this 5.52 CDT AM, we have soft rains, and frogs are singing in our pond, birds sing out their tiny chests, and, for a shimmering moment, one has hope for humanity, and one continues to hope and strive for that moment, and many moments to come:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

And now a video i found, so thanks to HamburgerParty, and Ferris High School, and Nathan Mascardo, A.C.E., you did great, and hope you don't mind my including you here:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Today is Thursday, 14 June 2007.

Does my brain just “Get ahead of itself”, or is it a sign of old age?

I started to begin this column with “Happy Bastille Day!!!”, until I recalled, HH, dummy, that’s 14 July. But an excellent day all the same.

On this day in 1928, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, “The Great Rebel”, was born. With greatest sorrow, The Museum of the Bourgeois memorializes his death. "The Struggle Continues."

In 1940, Auschwitz opens.

In 1964, Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1989, Ronald Reagan, (Captain, US Army [i.e. he hid out in Hollywood making war flicks while parading about in uniform, while many were dying in that uniform], Ret.) is made “Sir” Ronnie by Elizabeth Windsor, the so-called Queen of England.

[Girlfriend, I’ve known my share of English Queens, and she ain’t one of ‘em.]

And, in the spirit of Che, I note [comment just coming in over the AP Wire, attributed to G.W. Bush: “Heh heh, he said “note”, and he’s just about to talk about a Negro-lovin’ folk singer, heh heh! I get that.”] that the great American folk singer (and, okay, the jury is still out on “Holly Jolly Christmas”, but the man had to eat) and actor Burl Ives, was born on this day in 1909.

Well, let HH go all “Western” on ya, pilgrim, cause that’s the theme of the followin’:


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In Memory: Mr. Wizard

Today is Wednesday, 13 June 2007.

Yesterday died Don Herbert, "Mr. Wizard", who gave a generation of us science geeks/nerds the validation that it wasn't a bad thing to be same.

In his honour, something wonderful:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

In Memory: Medgar Evers

Today is Tuesday, 12 June 2007.

Don't have but a moment, and may edit, but wish to recall that Medgar Evers, first field secretary of the NAACP in Mississippi, was assassinated by a white supremacist, on this day in 1963, in my birth state of Mississippi.

The following by some 8th graders, in his memory:

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Portrait of America as The Sopranos

Today is Monday, 11 June 2007.

Several TV critics have foolishly expressed disappointment in the conclusion of last night’s final episode of The Sopranos.

Scene: Tony, having whacked his mortal enemy, is dining with wife and two children. Several characters, who might be suspicious --- even hit persons --- enter, then … black screen.

These critics petulantly complain that Tony didn’t get whacked in a final festival of blood, or, at the very least, we weren’t told what happened next.

Herein, an essential difference between theatre and the very limited vocabulary in most film and TV.

Most Americans like to spout about rugged individualism, but it is Prussian individualism they crave: brutal and exploitative to those below, all fawning subservience to those above. "Don’t expect me to imagine any of the arc of the story for myself--- force me into one possibility accepted by all on orders from on high."

Mediocre film and TV robs audiences of imagination: theatre, like all good art, demands co-creation by artist and audience.

If you can’t live with the latter, which is what being human is all about, then I pity you, and fear your goose-stepping.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In Memory: Cole Porter

Today is Saturday, 9 June 2007.

Cole Porter was born on this day in 1893.

For your listening pleasure:

And just to keep the political responsibility going on here: why is Paris Hilton in jail, and George W. and Dick C. not???

Thursday, June 07, 2007

All the News That Print We Fit

Today is Thursday, 7 June 2007.

Here’s a shocker: did anyone imagine The MoB would say anything good about the Bancrofts, primary owners of The Wall Street Journal?

WSJ and USA Today pretend to be “national newspapers”. Ho Ho Ho.

WSJ, as any financial professional (such as HH once was on The Street) knows, is a trade paper, like “Pesticides Weekly”. USA Today, 90% of the time, is what Reader’s Digest would be if they printed it on steroids.

The New York Times is the ONLY “national newspaper”, for better or worse.

Some of the Bancrofts are just greed-heads, and would love to sell the paper to Rupert Murdoch, who can’t keep his pantz on thinking of the purchase.

[Some folks get all het up about “illegal aliens”, which is a usually code word for the hitlerite word “spicks”, and don’t care that arch-reactionaries like Rupert Murdoch have sneaked into the country and bought citizenship.]

Some Bancrofts would sell, but try to maintain the editorial independence of WSJ. Given the history of Rupie with The Times of London, good luck, suckers.

Now why exactly HH is getting het up about the possible loss of editorial independence of the WSJ, whose editorial line is neo-fascist and 180 degrees opposite that of The MoB?… Well, it’s just one of those Matters of Principle, I’ll Defend to the Death Your Right to Say Stupid Things, First Amendment Absolutist, things …

Deport Rupert Murdoch!

No, better yet: Put Rupert in a freezer, like in that Star Trek episode (“Space Seed”) with Ricardo Montalban, and blast him off into space. Let people a thousand years from now deal with him.

Or would that be too cruel?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Auden, James, Louis, Stephen, and "Kids Today"

Today remains 5 June 2007.

Kids today.

"James" and "Louis" claim the video following is "something I had to do for school".


Everybody does beautiful music and poetry by W. H. Auden for a school project.

Here's the poem entire:

Funeral Blues (Song IX / from Two Songs for Hedli Anderson)

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Auden's gone these many years, whom I never knew, but I knew his great comrade and friend, Stephen Spender, also now sadly gone.

On behalf: Kids, you done good.

In Memory: Federico Garcia Lorca

Today is Tuesday, 5 June 2007.

Yesterday was indicted by the Republican-dictated Department of Justice Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-Louisiana) on charges of bribery, racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice, etc.

The Republican-dictated Department of Justice continues to refuse to indict George W. Bush on charges of conducting a criminal war of aggression, stealing $2 trillion of taxpayer cash to fund same, etc.

Mr. Jefferson is Black; Mr. W. Bush is white.

On this date in 1967, the State of Israel launched the Six-Day War of Aggression. On this date in 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot; he died the next day.

On this date in 1898, the great Spanish poet and dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca was born; he would be assassinated by the Spanish fascists in 1936, because he was anti-fascist and gay.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Tiananmen 1989: Baghdad 2007

Today is Monday, 4 June 2007.

In response to the Christmas Bombing of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (“North Vietnam”) in 1972, the great American pacifist organizer Al Hassler wrote, “We are governed by liars and lunatics”.

On this anniversary of the massacre of dissidents in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989, this continues to be true of both the People’s Republic of China and the USA/USE.

In its latest fashion turn, the Bush-Cheney Junta is infatuated with a “Korean-Style Final Solution” to the Iraq Conquest: an American military occupation and dictatorship of 50 years and more. Presumably, the Iraqi population will have been exterminated in the meantime, leaving plenty of Lebensraum for American colonists.

Has it occurred to the Junta that Korea was a “conventional” war, with fixed front lines, while Iraq is a guerilla war with fluid lines? Does the Junta know apples from oranges, let alone it’s head from a hole in the ground?

The current crop of gangsters in The White House are as brutal, clueless, and desperate as the gangsters in Beijing in 1989. Their only solution to difficulties is to drown them in blood.

"Having sown the wind, reap the whirlwind".

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Thought for Cindy and Casey Sheehan

Today is Friday, 1 June 2007.

On Memorial Day last, Cindy Sheehan wrote a heart-breaking missive, part of which follows:

“The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried ever since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.

It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

Our brave young men and women in Iraq have been abandoned there indefinitely by their cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on a chessboard of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to death and fates worse than death by people worried more about elections than people. However, in five, ten, or fifteen years, our troops will come limping home in another abject defeat and ten or twenty years from then, our children’s children will be seeing their loved ones die for no reason, because their grandparents also bought into this corrupt system. George Bush will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply, they may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the system will perpetuate itself in perpetuity.

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.

This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.”

HH had intended to provide extensive comments on this statement. HH will defer it; Ms. Sheehan’s statement deserves to stand alone.

As a veteran of the American peace movement of almost four decades, I add only this, a Letter to the Editor HH sent to The Tulsa World:

“The most charitable description of Doug Marlette’s editorial cartoon concerning Cindy Sheehan (31 May) is “nonsensical”.

Ms. Sheehan is depicted holding a globe, crying like a child (or is the implication the sexist “like a girl”?), and saying, “I’m gonna take my ball and go home”.

Ms. Sheehan suffered the death of her child in the war in Iraq, a war we now know was sold to the American public by multiple falsehoods, then executed incompetently, resulting in the slaughter of Iraqis and Americans we see graphically on the TV every minute of the day. Because of exhaustion and the vicious attacks against her by supporters of the slaughter, she has chosen to suspend her part in the struggle against the war crime in Iraq.

Given all that Ms. Sheehan has sacrificed, such a sophomoric cartoon is as thoughtless as it is tasteless and cruel.

Mr. Marlette should be ashamed of himself.”

Thank you, Ms. Sheehan. Your son did not die in vain: he died to awaken us. If we do not rise up, then he shall have died, not in vain, but to no purpose.

Nonetheless, his sacrifice, and hers, and of all the others, lives within our hearts as conscience.