Saturday, May 31, 2008

Burnt Fruit

Today is Saturday, 31 May 2008.

On this day in 1921, hundreds of white Tulsa, Oklahomans, jealous of the prosperity that Black Tulsans had built, by blood, sweat, and tears, for themselves, in the ghetto in Tulsa known as Little Black Wall Street, those white Tulsans conducted a pogrom, akin to those in the Czar’s Russia or Hitler’s Germany, and burned down the ghetto, and murdered more than 300 hundred Black Americans, and drove many others into exile.

CORRECTION: HH "Out of the Loop"!

Today is Saturday, 31 May 2008.

My apologies to "Out of the Loop", in RE comment on column of 25 May 2008.

I didn't realize that the YouTube video of a classic 1958 Miles Davis and John Coltrane rendition of "So What?" didn't include the commentary indicating that this was the name of the tune; HH didn't mean it as a comment on the column itself or its contents.

HH bad.

Herewith, Coltrane, 1961, you'll recognize the tune:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Butchers of Crawford

Today is Thursday, 29 May 2008.

In relative terms, members of the U.S. Army committed suicide in 2007 at the highest rate since the Army could be bothered to begin keeping records in 1980.

(How convenient the Army neglected to notice suicides during the Vietnam War. Or so they say.)

Perhaps it's because the Army is the primary weapon of the Bush-Cheney war criminal cabal in exterminating civilians in Iraq?

More info:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Today is Monday, 26 May 2008.

So What

Today is Sunday, 25 May 2008.

Miles Davis was born on this day in 1926.

Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was born on this day in 1878.

Two immortals: Bojangles and Nina Simone:

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on this day in 1803.

Beverley Sills was born on this day in 1929.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"W"'s Leg Up

Today is Saturday, 24 May 2008.

Cluster bombs, which are air-delivered (planes or artillery) anti-personnel munitions (bomblets), are designed to be seeded over large areas. Drive over one, get a flat tire. Step on one, lose your leg. As do landmines, cluster bombs remain viable for years, and maim or kill more civilians than they do combatants.

The Bush-Cheney crime family is currently attempting to scuttle a treaty which would ban these devilish devices, which are an obvious criminal violation of the laws of war, which ban weapons which are unable to discriminate between combatants and civilians.

I would suggest writing in protest to the Butcher of Crawford, but an epistle would be futile, since he is worse than conscienceless. Like all sociopathic personalities, W actually enjoys his work.

For more information:

1883 - My favourite, the Brooklyn Bridge, opened to traffic

Happy 125th birthday, BB!

How many times I stood outside the Staten Island Ferry Terminal at South Ferry, Manhattan, waiting for the ferry, smoking a cig, looking up the East River at the Brooklyn Bridge.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cooked Geese

Today is Friday, 23 May 2008.

As anyone who has studied economics or USA/USE government statistics can tell you, the three official measures upon which most Americans base their view of the nation’s economic health are, unbeknownst to them, largely fiction.

For example, beginning in the Kennedy administration, the jobless rate (U-3, one of six unemployment measures) has been increasingly distorted by the simple expedient of subtracting certain categories (e.g., “discouraged workers” and “marginally attached workers”) from the total number of unemployed. If you’ve ceased to look for a job because there are none in your area for which you are qualified, you are classified as “discouraged” and disappear from the ranks of the unemployed.

At any given moment, the true number of unemployed is between two and three times that of the official (U-3) number.

Similar manipulations have degraded the Consumer Price Index and the Gross Domestic Product. In the former case, the magic is achieved by eliminating from the “core” inflation rate the values for food and energy, historically the most volatile. Thus, while everyone is in fact paying more for gasoline and milk, the official inflation rate declines to recognize the fact.

While the jobless rate and the CPI are distorted downwards, the GDP is distorted upwards by simple bookkeeping fiddles. Last year, 15% of GDP was created by arbitrarily assigning quantities to values such as the birth/death rate of businesses and a truly scrumptious dodge called “imputations”. (The money one saves by owning a house, instead of renting, is “imputed” to homeowners as if were cash income they actually received.)

(This was all brought to mind by a marvelous article in the May issue of one of my favourite magazines, Harper’s: “Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know”, by Kevin Phillips.)

As the man said: Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Read ‘em and weep.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Not in Memoriam: Ted Kennedy

Today is Saturday, 17 May 2008.

The Museum of the Bourgeois is in solidarity with Senator Ted Kennedy in his illness.

Herewith, RE Bobby:

Bush Appeases Bigots

Today is Friday, 16 May 2008.

Speaking this week before the Knesset, “President” W. Bush, declared: “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

(Bush’s speechwriters hypocritically neglected to mention that the senator was a Republican, William E. Borah of Idaho.)

Obviously, as White House staffers confirmed to CNN, this reference was an attack on Senator Barack Obama, Equally obviously, even so ignorant and delusional a political hack as W. Bush cannot sincerely imagine that diplomatic negotiation is to be equated with ingenious arguments to persuade the other fellow he’s wrong. (Note that Bush implicitly damns Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, who all, by the Bush standard, were appeasers for negotiating with the USSR.)

Thus emerges the second great theme of the John McCain-McBush-McCheney presidential campaign: Obama is a traitorous weakling who will surrender America to Islamic terrorists and radicals. (With the Grand Old American subtext that Muslim males, like Black males, want to rape your white mothers, wives, and daughters.)

Which meshes nicely with the first great theme of the McC-McB-McCh campaign, which was demonstrated in the tempest-in-a-teapot generated around Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Do everything possible to remind white voters that Obama is “N----r! N----r! N----r! Do you want the slave race to rule you?”

Obviously, the McCain-McB-McCh presidential campaign is taking its cue from the great Herblock cartoon which showed Nixon emerging from a sewer on his way to a campaign rally.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In Fondest Memory: Robert Rauschenberg

Today is Wednesday, 14 May 2008.

Some deaths take longer to reconcile ourselves to than others. Such for me is the passing of the great artist Robert Rauschenberg on Monday evening last.

Here is his obituary from The New York Times:

A selection of works is available on the site “artnet”, and many others:

If you’ve never taken the opportunity to delve into his work, please do so. He had one of the richest, most lyrical imaginations I’ve ever encountered.

And this just in from The Sage of Crawford --- the great sacrifice W. Bush is making for the Conquest of Iraq --- giving up golf:

Friday, May 09, 2008


It is now.

Without further comment.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Is It Time for Obama ...

Today is Thursday, 8 May 2008.

Is it time for Obama … to quit?

Barack Obama has said, and says, that he would not have voted for the Congressional “use of force against Iraq” resolution, had he then been a senator.

However, once he became a senator, Obama has turned 180 degrees, and repeatedly voted in support of funding the war for the conquest of Iraq.

Obama refused to put taxpayer money where his mouth had been: he put it where his mouth had been not.

Instead of voting for funding human need, he voted for funding human greed: war.

Obama’s spin is that he voted to support “the troops”, not “the war”.

However, as Obama well knows: as in every war, the troops are the war.

The troops [rhymes with “dupes”], who are the tools of Bush-Cheney/Cheney-Bush and their cabal, are the instruments of war who facilitate the current murderous chaos in Iraq.

As long as the American and allied troops remain under the command of the neo-colonialists of the Bush-Cheney/etc. regime, the murderous chaos in Iraq will continue.

When it comes to voting for funding the Iraq conquest, Obama has basically the same record as Hillary Clinton. (Given the Republican Party sociopathy about “defense” (i.e. “wars of aggression”), Democrats who wish to run competitively for president must vote for imperialism, much, if not most, of the time.)

Obama’s clever-spinning hypocrisy about the Iraq conquest is repulsive.

“Change We Can Believe In”?


Is it time for Obama to quit?

FULL DISCLOSURE: HH voted for Clinton in his state’s primary, and donated a paltry sum to her campaign.

In Memory: the Dead of Indochina

Today is Wednesday, 7 May 2008.

On this date in 1954, fell the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu, Indochina, putting paid to the French dreams of re-establishing its South East Asian colonial empire.

Unfortunately, the USA/USE of President Dwight Eisenhower et al. picked up the slack, supported the partition of Vietnam into two countries, installed a client government in the southern “country” (colony), and commenced funding and fighting what would become known as “the Vietnam War”.

6 million + dead Indochinese later, 60,000 + dead USAs, later, the war “ended”.

Any resemblance to the present attempt of the Bush/Cheney regime to reduce Iraq to a colony is, as they say on TV, “purely coincidental”.

All died senselessly.

Once again, for your listening pleasure:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

More Birthdays and Delusions

Today is Tuesday, 6 May 2008.

The text upon which today’s sermon is based may be found in the comment by RtR on yesterday’s column, in which I disparaged supply-side economics in passing. The comment recounts an excellent example of the folly of supply-side, which latter I like to compare to the line from Field of Dreams (“Build it and they will come.”): Produce it and they will buy and consume, to the profit of all.

Few lines in the history of economics (as it is misleadingly called here in the States; the accurate and original term is “political economy”) have led to as much nonsense and folly as the following by Adam Smith:

“Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally indeed neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it … He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention … By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.” (An inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations [1776], Vol. 1, Bk. 4, Ch. 2)

O, the awesome power of the invisible hand which guides The Free Market, which can operate only when the latter is set at liberty from burdensome regulation, and each is free to attempt to beggar the others. Piffle! “The Free Market”, in this sense, does not exist, and even if it did, would be mindless.

The Market is simply a mechanism (and not the only one available) by which prices are fixed, at particular places and times, at which particular goods and services are exchanged. That such prices are properly fixed by this mechanism is an assumption, an article of “faith”, which has never been proved, nor can it be.

Besides, only fools and the evil believe in a market completely free of regulation, for otherwise there would be a free market (a willing seller and a willing buyer) in crack, nuclear bomb technology, weapons-grade plutonium, and children for purposes of prostitution.

Notable birthdays:

Maximilien Robespierre (1758), leader in the French Revolution of 1789

Sigmund Freud (1856), fouder of psychoanalysis

Orson Welles (1915), great actor, director, and writer

Notable deaths:

Henry David Thoreau (1862)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Birthdays and Delusions

Today is Monday, 5 May 2008.

Happy Birthday to Soren Kierkegaard (1813) and Karl Marx (1818)!

Following is a fascinating AP story about the latest delusions of the Bush-Cheney/Cheney-Bush regime regarding Iraq: gentrifying the International Zone (formerly the Green Zone).

The thought of a Baghdad Marriot raises an interesting question: will the body armour in each room be included in the basic price, or will it be charged per use, as with the minibar?

Given that the overwhelming majority of Baghdad residents have no reliable sanitation, security, electricity, and water services, this grandiose Five Year Plan is nothing short of criminal. Though I’m sure John McBush will assure us that the benefits will trickle down to the huddled masses, courtesy of the magic of supply-side economics.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

In Memory: Joseph

Today is aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Sunday, 4 May 2008.

The “aaaaa” are an accident of my arthritic hands, but perhaps full of meaning.

1970 – Kent State Killing Day

On this day in 1991, Joseph, HH’s wife’s best friend in NYC, a great friend to HH, died of AIDS.

I held Joe’s hand until the last breath, and then, to spare the others, walked down to the nurses’ station and asked them to pronounce.

2.16am, EDT.