Monday, February 28, 2011

Divide and Conquer

Why the middle class can't seem to vote in its own interest any more.

what do these two men have in common? coupla made guys?

"A unionized public employee, a teabagger and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the teabagger and says, "watch out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie."

And there you have it in a nutshell. And so it has ever been, and the only antidote for blindness to this shell game is knowledge: education, knowing how to think, how to separate fact from fiction. Hence the move to defang and get rid of public schools so only the wealthy are exposed to real knowledge, the kind of complex knowledge that belongs to the entitled, knowledge beyond how to type, or debug a computer, or clean someone's teeth.
I have enjoyed two long-term residencies in my life, New Jersey and Maine. Oddly enough, these are the two states whose newly elected governors pose the greatest threat to the very people who "elected" them, Paul Le Page of Maine (I'm serious you HAVE to check this site out) and Chris (Crisco) Christie of Jersey. Of the two I don't know which is more frightening; but they both seem to be what America wants to look at these days, what we relate to. Entire tv programs have debuted about folks who are even fatter than you are. The message: there that should make you feel better. Both of these governors are obese, I mean major fatties, what used to be called gluttons when overeating was a sin.
Americans don't seem to want to see people in office (ergo, on their precious big screens) who set good, thoughtful examples, who take responsibility for their health by informed eating and enough exercise. It's why they're suspicious of Oblimey. Only rich people are skinny, and negroes are not rich. Are they? Well, they shouldn't be. And as ol' Trent Lott once reminded us, if things had gone differently they wouldn't be. But that's another story. Skinny is for the wealthy, like shopping at Whole Foods. We like having fat politicians around to knock heads, that's all. To put uppity folks, including unions, in their place. To slap feisty strikers around... You need heft for that.
Obesity costs the economy millions of dollars a year. But why should these two guys care? They are on the public dole! WE are paying for them to have the best health care our tax money can buy; and the way they flaunt their girth should give us all pause, because it's a great big finger in the eye of those who pay taxes, who try to be healthy so as not to be a burden on their society, but have no health care cause they can't afford it. When Christie collapses, friggin Greg House will be there to save him! And dip into the pockets of Jerseyans to pay the bill! Is America finally so utterly paralyzed by the traumatic spectacle of its own slow suicide by mouth? Do you think maybe America has mistaken these guys ( fat = mobbed up?) for Tony Soprano, thinking these are made guys who will take care of business for us, sort it all out? Screw the laws. Laws are for rich people and mobsters to impose on the other 98%.
And that lucky 2% lets people like Christie and Page get elected, and uses them and their ignorance to knock heads. But you can bet your ass Mr. Koch wouldn't let either one of these guys' sons marry their daughter. No sirree. Not gonna happen. Private club. More the fool Christie and Page.
"There is, in fact, something astonishing about the ascent of Chris Christie, who is about as slick as sandpaper and who now admits that even he didn’t think he would beat Jon Corzine, the Democrat he unseated in 2009. Some critics have posited that Christie’s success in office represents merely the triumph of self-certainty over complexity, the yearning among voters for leaders who talk bluntly and with conviction. Yet it’s hard to see Christie getting so much traction if he were out there castigating, say, immigrants or Wall Street bankers. What makes Christie compelling to so many people isn’t simply plain talk or swagger, but also the fact that he has found the ideal adversary for this moment of economic vertigo. Ronald Reagan had his “welfare queens,” Rudy Giuliani had his criminals and “squeegee men,” and now Chris Christie has his sprawling and powerful public-sector unions — teachers, cops and firefighters who Christie says are driving up local taxes beyond what the citizenry can afford, while also demanding the kind of lifetime security that most private-sector workers have already lost.
It may just be that Christie has stumbled onto the public-policy issue of our time, which is how to bring the exploding costs of the public workforce in line with reality. (According to a report issued last year by the Pew Center on the States, as of 2008 there was a $1 trillion gap, conservatively speaking, between what the states have promised in pensions and benefits for their retirees and what they have on hand to pay for them.) Then again, he may simply be the latest in a long line of politicians to give an uneasy public the scapegoat it demands. Depending on your vantage point, Chris Christie is a truth-teller or a demagogue, or maybe even a little of both."
Scary. Le Page lacks Christie's smarts, but he can still wield the wild ax of ignorance and ruin lives. People in Maine will starve because of him this year, or die because he cancelled their health care, or freeze. Make no mistake, that is what both of these men are all about.
Mr. Dickens put us hip to how these guys view the rest of us: Why do they not die then and decrease the surplus population?
If there was one thing i noticed missing in Tahrir Square, and in other "squares" across the middle east it was girth among the various demonstrators. The folks in Wisconsin may move a little slower, but they're out there. It remains to be seen whether Ms. Vanden Heuvel is right, that this is a major turning point for America; that americans will now take to the streets, because first they have to turn off the big screen; and then try and haul their ponderosas off the sofa.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Coke Brothers? Wasn't that an 80s big hair band?

So.... what happened to their hair? Guess being a stingy, selfish, greedy sonofabitch really takes its toll on your zinc supply. These smug bastards are are the very picture of what nasty, narcissistic, I've-got-mine bourgeois America looks like these days. NOT the kindly granpas they would have you believe they are.

Here's a little quote from a blog I caught today found, as usual, in the comments section of an oped in the Times.

We now have a predatory form of capitalism that wishes to dismantle the works

of democracy and thwart the will of the people. Our democracy is under direct siege

by the wealthy, the most notable of whom are the Koch brothers. Here is a clip from

a foundational article in the New Yorker by Jane Meyer:

“With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of

Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual

revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown

spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge.

The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some

four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie

cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products.

Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill,

and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch. who, years ago,

bought out two other brothers, among the richest men in America. Their combined

fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and

Warren Buffett.”

OK, so if you are giving these guys your money, buying whatever
they're selling above, STOP. Make better purchasing choices.
Power mongers like the Kochheads derive their strength from
mindless citizens like Joe the Middle Class Republican. Click on
this link if you want to truly understand why the middle class
votes against its own best interest all the time.

Mindlessness... an inability to connect the virtual dots.
Here's a good one for ya'll. From the recent Harper's Weekly.

The lawyer for a Connecticut man
accused of sexually assaulting a horse complained that
the case was overhyped. "If this was a guy and a sheep
in Litchfield," he said, "this would not have gotten
nearly the media attention it has."

Stuff like this makes life worth livin.
Dare to struggle, dare to win.

Heard on the Comedychannel recently. I could totally relate:

"It has come to my attention that I might be first generation
White Trash."

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Golden Rule: Lost In Cyberspace?

Life Beyond Snark.

Somewhere around the time of the last election I read that it was the Dems' job to restore a civil tone to Washington. Not a bad idea. But, at least so far, the Dems haven't been the ones leading the meanie cyber charge in the nasty world of cryptic cyber commentary. The political cyber-right looks increasingly like the creepy, desperate kid that tries to get a seat at the cool kids' table by grossing everyone out.

So Mo Dowd's recent column on the lack of civility in cyberspace got me thinking about boundaries. Cause that's what it's really about, a lack of boundaries in civil society today and how that gets amplified by internet technology. What hath Zuckerman wrought?

Back in the late eighties/ early nineties the self improvement movement exploded (another story). All kinds of psychotherapy, twelve step programs, workout tapes, a burgeoning industry of self analysis books, and oh, let's not forget those handy cassette tapes you could listen to on your Walkman while driving the kiddies to soccer. It seemed that Boomers were suddenly hungry to know why we were all so uneasy with our "success", disappointed with the folks/parents we turned out to be, walking zombies in the addicted Nation in Denial. Nearly everyone was addicted to something: work, pain, alcohol, sex, drugs, food, co- dependency. Anything to fill the black hole you didn't want to look into.

"Enablers" had it the worst, what with no substance to blame directly for their cognitive dissonance. Lack of boundaries was their problem. You had to learn to say "No" to those who would take advantage of you, who ask you to alter your moral compass to suit them, or popular tastes, to infringe on your privacy or your right to choose – anything - or, um ... speak. And there's no pill for that, is there? The 'cure' looked like too much work for most people. A boundaryless President "shared" about the "dysfunctional" household he grew up in, blaming that for his bad choices, so now that was 'cool', evidence that, no matter how phoqued up you were, you too could still become president of the United States, and blame your parents if you screw up. But he claimed to feel great empathy; he could "feel your pain" – which is more than you could say for the next guy. In fact, unexamined family dysfunction, actually became a pre req for political candidacy. Americans now wanted presidents who were as screwed up as we were; true "fathers" of our country. People we could drink with and drown our collective sorrows.

All because we lacked clear boundaries. We decided as a nation that trying to identify and establish them was just too hard. We even ignored international legal boundaries and invaded a country, more than one actually, who had done nothing to us. (The right wing is even more opposed to boundaries than the left; just look at their refusal to stay out of your bedroom, your doctor's office, the collective vagina.) In the nineties we embraced, just like the ancient Greeks with their 'magical thinking' plays, the serialized morality tale of a thriving dysfunctional culture devoid of healthy boundaries or repercussions (See Tony Soprano, prev. blog). His rage and dizzy spells were ours as we rejected boundaries and personal responsibility for the easy fix of titillation, sentimentality and Prozac to deal with the side effects of -- denial! Shows like Friends modeled the kind of funfilled, shallow, ubiquitous human connection we would eventually simulate on Facebook.

By 2000 half the voters, distracted by busting bubbles, voted for a fellow drunk to run things. When buyers' remorse set in a few months later, we were treated to the biggest spectacle/distraction of all, September 11. (According to PNAC recommendations, "something big, like Pearl Harbor").) Glued to the screen, over and over we watched, awed and stupid, willing to believe anything that absolved us from responsibility. We plastered flags in our windows to ward off the evil; we shunned those who refused to salute, questioned their morality. We craved what the bigger screens had to offer, 24 hour constant distraction, terror, titillation, and the balm of noble sacrifice, the righteous suicide of WAR (We Are Right) –– distracting counterweights to the oppression of falling wages, rising executive salaries, "free/ easy money", fairy tale equity, exported jobs, the humiliation of retraining yet again for a 'new economy', costly instant gratification, and growing personal debt.

Denial and blaming someone else (the addict's invariable MO) became our default position for each and every problem the country faced. A healthy sense of boundaries, knowing what's yours to fix and what's mine and where the lines are, promotes healthy relationships and human dignity. But that's bad for the NSA's hungry databases and for the communications industry's bottom line intent on selling us that latest gadget.

Boundaries are now just so passee. The evidence? Anytime Wall Street, a gambling casino, can waltz right into the US Treasury and walk out with billions of dollars with no explanation whatsoever and get away with it that nation is in serious denial about where the boundaries of ethical behavior are and whose job (the government perhaps?) it is to maintain them. Citizens willing to put up with any transgression so long as the pay per view cable keeps working are not "keeping" their Republic. And despite being constantly "connected" and barraged with information, the vast majority of Americans still don't seem to really get what's going on, nor do they seem to want to! Witness the last election – as case of Classic Ballot Box Denial. The confusion about who to blame for the mess is manifest in the desperate drive to drown ourselves in useless information, vent frustration by outsnarking the next guy, a constant yadayadayada about ourselves, our very own show, our lives an open [Face] book, every second of the day, as we lower the civility bar further, sacrifice privacy of thought, relinquish precious time, just to have a place at the "cool kids" table, that precious few seconds of.. visibility. The bombardment of virtual useless information defines reality. For all that gets written that's critical of this phenom (a drop in the bucket compared to the advertising in favor of it), no one really questions -- What price, beyond the few thousand bucks a year it costs each of us to buy this technology (when basic landline phone service is still about 20 bucks month) are we paying for being constantly plugged in, on call, accessible, online, and interrupted? In other words, for our lack of boundaries?

Why the urgency? What's the source? It smacks of adolescent angst, adult version. What does it say about people? Do we all think we'll actually die if we miss something? I sense it is not unlike the moment Oblimey decided FOX news was right, that he DID after all have to don a flag pin to be a credible patriot. That was the moment he, and those who believed him, sold out to the 9/11 mentality of fear and the manufactured need to stay constantly connected.
It's estimated that people spend 14% of their time each day untangling earphones! What are we doing with the other 86% that will matter in the long run? Is it that we all really think The Big One will hit any moment still and we need to stay connected just in case? Really? then what are we doing about that?

Isn't all this just an admission that fear has triumphed? That we're afraid of privacy now? Of that silence, that depth? That old black hole?

The folks in Mo's article think "nastiness" and "shallowness" is the price we pay for constant connectedness. “If we’re constantly interrupted and distracted, we kind of short-circuit our empathy. If you dampen empathy and you encourage the immediate expression of whatever is in your mind, you get a lot of nastiness that wouldn’t have occurred before.” What effect might being constantly open to input via the airwaves, never turning that wavelength off, have on our ability to think, feel, reason, and empathize? Because when you empathize with people the Golden Rule makes a comeback. You think twice. You ask: would I want this done to me? Is it fair?

Is it possible the world we all now inhabit, one of constant digital interruption of concentration and deep feeling, a world that keeps us in a state of incessant shallow (despite personal revelations) interaction with other people in our own homes, many of whom we'd have nothing to do with in 'real' life, is creating an impulsively opinionated, outspoken culture that denies any allegiance to truth or the damage lies can do?

Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist, posits that "online anonymity", the ability to comment without real life identity, forethought or repercussion (and the cultivation of an audience hungry for those rash comments), has created a culture of sadism. Yes, SADISM. Think about that. A culture that is frustrated, angry and factually careless and uninformed, hell bent on expressing its rage with no concern for the results outside achieving fifteen minutes of fame for doing so.

"Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” says technology amplifies everything, good instincts and base. While technology is amoral, he said, our brains may be rewired in disturbing ways."

"Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, recalled that when he started his online book review he forbade comments, wary of high-tech sociopaths.“I’m not interested in having the sewer appear on my site,” he said. “Why would I engage with people digitally whom I would never engage with actually? Why does the technology exonerate the kind of foul expression that you would not tolerate anywhere else?

”Why indeed?"

Friday, February 18, 2011

These are two of my favorite fictional heroes...

Are you surprised? But they're so damn reliable. You always know what you're getting with either of them. Both offer lessons in what constitutes a definitive moral compass, thin on the ground in our modern culture of whining relativity. [The right wing no exception here.) And, however flawed that compass might be, it's reassuring, noble in its way, predictable, AND eminently quotable to boot.


Tony: "Next thing you know it's dysfunction this, dysfunction that, dysfunction... vaffanculo!!"

Here's a conversation between Carm (Tony's longsuffering wife) and the shrink she goes to see:

Carmela Soprano: He's a good man. He's a good father.
Dr. Krakower: You tell me he's a depressed criminal, prone to anger, serially unfaithful. Is that your definition of a good man?... You must trust your initial impulse and consider leaving him. You'll never be able to feel good about yourself. You'll never be able to quell the feelings of guilt and shame that you talked about, so long as you're his accomplice.
Carmela Soprano: You're wrong about the accomplice part, though.
Dr. Krakower: You sure?
Carmela Soprano: All I did was make sure he's got clean clothes in his closet and dinner on his table.
Dr. Krakower: So "enable" would be a more accurate job description for what you do than "accomplice". My apologies... Take only the children - what's left of them - and go.
Carmela Soprano: My priest said I should work with him, help him to become a better man.
Dr. Krakower: How's that going?

Carmela Soprano: I thought psychiatrists weren't supposed to be judgmental.
Dr. Krakower: Many patients want to be excused for their current predicament because of events that occured in their childhood. That's what psychiatry has become in America. Visit any shopping mall or ethnic pride parade, and witness the results.

Carmela Soprano: What we say in here, stays in here, right?
Dr. Krakower: By ethical code, and by law.
Carmela Soprano: His crimes... they are, organized crime.
Dr. Krakower: The Mafia!
Carmela Soprano: Oh Jesus.
wipes tears from her eyes]
Carmela Soprano: So what? So what? He betrays me every week with these whores!
Dr. Krakower: Probably the least of his misdeeds.
Carmela gets up to leave]
Dr. Krakower: You can leave now, or you can stay and hear what I have to say.
Carmela Soprano: You're gonna charge me all the same.
Dr. Krakower: I won't take your money.
Carmela Soprano: That's a new one.

Dr. Krakower: Have you ever read Crime and Punishment? Dostoyevksy?
Carmela shakes her head 'no']
Dr. Krakower: It's not an easy read. It's about guilt and redemption. I think your husband ought to turn himself and read this book in his jail cell and meditate on his crimes every day for seven years, so that he might be redeemed.
Carmela Soprano: I would have to get a lawyer, find an apartment, arrange for child support...
Dr. Krakower: You, you're not listening. I'm not charging you because I won't take blood money, and you can't, either. One thing you can never say is that you haven't been told.
Carmela Soprano: I see.

I mean, that just says it all, non?

And what about Arnold's Terminator II. Like a shot in the arm. This struck me. I loved this part. I'm sure many moms will relate.

Sarah Connor: [voiceover] Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The terminator wouldn't stop, it would never leave him. It would never hurt him or shout at him or get drunk and hit him or say it was too busy to spend time with him. And it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers that came over the years, this thing, this machine, was the only thing that measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.

My film collection is small and selective, but I own this flick. I watch it when I feel like I just wanna kick someone's ass, when I get really bummed about how corrupt this country has become, not just the government, but the electoral system, and the people (apparently the majority of Americans) who have settled for lives as, to quote the CIO leader of the demonstrations in Wisconsin, "servants" without a union to champion their rights as workers.People who have settled for 'things' bought on credit rather than the dignity of a decent wage.

Unions, people, they're what created the middle class in America. The Unions that Reagan defied international law to bust back in the eighties. Busting unions, destroying the middle class. Welcome to the Third Way's agenda, on both sides of the aisle.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Too Bigger-er to Fail?? What does that mean? Here's your answer...

Flummoxed by the bailout results?? Was this the screwing of the American people? How did we get so dumb? Did no one share the old adage with the bankers? That "Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation". (Eat. Pray, Love) Watch the video above and understand.

and there is this...

Seventeen days after protests began in Egypt's Tahrir
Square, after more than 300 fatalities, and with
hundreds of protesters thought to have been secretly
detained by the military, President Hosni Mubarak gave a
seventeen-minute speech in which he talked in great
detail about the changes he planned to make to Egypt's
constitution, causing thousands of protesters to wave
their shoes in the air and shout "Get out!" and "We're
not happy!" He stepped down the following evening. "I
have friends on anti-depressants who, over the last 20
days, forgot to take their pills and have now thrown
them away
," said Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif. "Such
is the effect of the Egyptian Revolution."

You gotta love that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

And a great big Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!
A BIG HUG and double kisses going out to anyone reading this... hope all your luv wishes come true. Of course many of us have already learned the lesson of "Beware what you wish for", but let's not go there today, shall we?

For in the sixties we learned You Can't Hurry Love. If that little youtube farce doesn't lift your spirits, you're a hopeless old codger no one in their right mind would love anyway.

And fellas, are you actually thinking twice about doing something really nice for your Main Squeeze today? My advice -- go for it. Why? Cause women are feelin the squeeze where they least need it. Try these girlstats on for size and see if they don't put things in a little clearer focus for ya.

I am so sick of trying to make a decent cup of coffee like the yumminess I could find in any cafe in Montreal last summer (and found, by the way, nowhere in Italy OR France!) I am considering buying every single item mentioned in this article in the Times on a little known fact of modern life: apparently the Japanese are the world kings of coffee.

Lastly, if you ever wonder what happened to the real Left in this country, try listening to what this utterly brilliant and brutally (refreshingly) honest gentleman of integrity has to say in his address to anyone who wonders what must be done here now that the Egyptians have put us to shame. This is the most inspiring talk I've heard in a very long time but an american man of letters who is still capable of penetrating thought. I highly recommend it. And I plan on buying his book as well. Warning: have a pad and pencil handy as he's very quotable and has excellent reading suggestions for those who would be well informed. He writes a regular column for Truthdig as well.

I presume everyone's seen the completely charming VW/Darth ad by now, but in case you haven't, here it is. Awards galore to come, and well deserved. And the little actor that plays Darth is a lovely kid, the survivor of several heart surgeries, and deserves all the accolades he gets.

Ever wonder how we're gonna manage to feed the planet in twenty years and beyond? Here's a guy who 's thinking about it, and has come up with some very interesting ideas worth considering. Check it out.

Ok, sports fans, Now get out there and spread JOY!

love and kisses, everyone!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Because sometimes the only remedy for winter ugly is brando beauty... There's just something about watching Marlon that makes me feel grateful to be alive. Photographs don't begin to capture the intensity of the spell he wove. An artistic purity that was not of this world, except for the 80 years when it was. Just sublime. But you have to see him on screen to really experience it.

From Streetcar to Last Tango -- guaranteed to take the chill off winter.

"You've got to have love," he said. "There's no other reason for living. Men are no different from mice. They're born to perform the same function. Procreate."

He went on, "That has been my main trouble. My inability to love anyone." He stood there as though hunting something - cigarettes were found; inhaling, he slumped on the pallet bed. "I can't. Love anyone. I can't trust anyone enough to give myself to them. But I'm ready. I want it. And I may, I'm almost on the point, I've really got to ..." His eyes narrowed, but his tone, far from being intense, was indifferent. "Because - well, what else is there?"

Though born in Nebraska, where his father was a salesman of limestone products, Brando, the family's third child and only son, was soon taken to live in Libertyville, Illinois. There the Brandos settled down in a rambling house. Milking the cow was the daily chore that belonged to Bud, as Marlon was then nicknamed. Bud seems to have been an extroverted and competitive boy. Rebellious, too; rain or shine, he ran away from home every Sunday. But he and his sisters were devotedly close to their mother. Always, Mrs Brando had played leads in local dramatic productions, and always she had longed for a more brightly foot-lighted world. Her son, talked out of some early clerical ambitions and rejected for military service in 1942 because of a trick knee, packed up and came to New York. Whereupon Bud, the plump, towheaded, unhappy adolescent, exits, and the man-sized and very gifted Marlon emerges.

Brando has not forgotten Bud. When he speaks of the boy he was, the boy seems to inhabit him. "My mother was everything to me. I used to come home from school ..." He hesitated, as though waiting for me to picture him scuffling along an afternoon street. "There wouldn't be anybody home. Nothing in the icebox." Lantern slides: empty rooms, a kitchen. "Then the telephone would ring. Some bar. 'We've got a lady down here. You better come get her.'" The image leaped forward in time. Bud is 18, and: "I thought if she loved me enough, trusted me enough, we'll live together and I'll take care of her. Once, later on, that really happened. She left my father and came to live with me in New York, when I was in a play. I tried so hard. But my love wasn't enough. She couldn't care enough. She went back. And one day" - his voice grew flatter, yet the emotional pitch ascended - "I didn't care any more. She was there. In a room. Holding on to me. And I let her fall. Because I couldn't take it any more - watch her breaking apart, like a piece of porcelain. I stepped right over her. I walked right out. Since then, I've been indifferent."

The telephone's racket seemed to rouse him from a daze. He walked me to the door. "Well, sayonara," he mockingly bade me. "Tell them at the desk to get you a taxi." Then, as I walked down the corridor, he called, "And listen! Don't pay too much attention to what I say. I don't always feel the same way."

This essay is from Truman Capote's Portraits and Observations

the face of an angel

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"The Revolution will not be televised..."

No, it will be brought to you by Facebook and Twitter.

Above, bandaged from head to toe, (courtesy Al Jazeera) the guy who started it all, Mohammed Bouazizi, here being visited by the now ousted president of Tunisia, who promised to help Mohammed's family get him the medical help he needed, in France if need be. Except that he lied; the help never materialized. And Mohammed, who had set himself on fire in protest of government corruption, died, and a revolution was ignited "with a stone in one hand and a cellphone in another" as the government tried to squelch video communication between protesters and the outside world and failed. Mostly thanks to Facebook and Twitter. Everyone knows I'm no fan of either, but, well... well done there. Credit where credit's due.

One simply can't go on
about the subjective trivia of life in times like these. I actually got an email today from someone concerned about the morality of wearing old mink coats. I'm like, Quoi? Do you see what's going on out there? There are people in the streets putting their lives on the line and demanding to be treated with dignity! With humanity! The people of the Middle East are teaching us all a lesson in what democracy really looks like. And it all started with one very brave 26 year old guy who lived in poor village in Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi. Mohammed wanted nothing more than to sell his fruit in order to feed his family. But he didn't have a permit, and was constantly harassed by the local corrupt police. The last time was the last straw, and he set himself on fire in protest, a match that lit the revolution erupting today in Egypt, and elsewhere. This is global, folks. And it looks to me like it's pretty much be there or be square.

I came late to this party, newswise, and was deeply moved to read the story of this brave young man who died for a principle and inspired the people of northern Africa and now all over the middle east to stand up to the corrupt powers that be. Read the real story of how this came about here.

This story is riveting; it's got me paying attention anyway. Tomorrow will be a big deal as Egyptians pour into the city and deliver the ultimatum, Mubarak goes now or else. If you want to see real coverage I suggest either the BBCA on cable, BBC online or Al Jazeera English, whic you can live stream at ( ). According to them, there have been 300 deaths in Tahrir Square, not 7 or 8. More perspectives on the Middle East here at MEMRI tv. The Egyptian fracas started when Egyptian security services refused to help provide security for Christians and Muslims in Alexandria who tried to call for unity and tolerance. If you're listening to Glen Beck's madness, well, good luck with that pov. He's like the wicked witch of the west, melting down before our eyes. I imagine Ailes will find some reason to fire him soon. He's already lost 30% of his audience I hear.

To the people of Egypt we say:

Dare to struggle, dare to win.

Power to the people, right on..

[I've been trying to get the Al jazeera links to work here but they're overloaded since we americans aren't allowed to have that on our cable lineup, but folks must be watching it online anyway and circuits are loaded, OR , well you know, it's being blocked... well, hopefully not.] seems to be working now... be patient. must be overload.

Btw, It has finally stopped snowing and the sun is, at last, shining. The snow is up to the top of my car in places. You can have this crap weather.

Random thoughts: are camels now the Dodge Rams of Egypt? You know, like the redneck vehicle of preference? Hut hut hut! And Ed Rendell is the corrupt pig behind the biggest art swindle in American history. Why is msnbc looking to him for comment on this situation? And Jamie Rubin? Pulleese. Christianne's hubby? He used to be cute, now gravity (not to be confused with gravitas) is doing its work on his pathetic mug. Obama didn't seem very sincere in his 'support' of the Egyptian people, did he? Everyone knows it's always about who the army chooses to support in the end, true of every government in that region for all of history. Most of these tv guys are sellout cowards who are looking for nothing more than the 'safe' position. One eye on the markets, of course. The only thing that really matters to any of them.