Everyone's quick to blame the alien.
Sep. 16, 2017, © Mother Jones
When filmmaker Lynn Novick signed on to co-direct The Vietnam War, the new 10-part, 18-hour PBS documentary, with Ken Burns, she advocated incorporating a large dose of Vietnamese perspective into the project. Novick—who, at 55, came of age in the war's aftermath—had long sensed that the United States' failure in the conflict hinged in part on our country's ignorance about the Vietnamese and their priorities. "What was at stake for them? Who were they?" Novick says. "These are questions that we've never really, as a society, been able to understand." full article>
To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.
—Hubert H. Humphrey
By Scott Colvin
September 15, 2017, © Truthout
In a December 2011 article, Noam Chomsky noted that in addition to those preaching skepticism of climate change, there exists another group of climate commentators whose input is ignored by the mainstream media: those who insist that the dangers of climate change go far beyond what we are told is the scientific consensus. full article>
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
by Paul Street
September 15, 2017, © Counterpunch
Numerous correspondents sent me the latest lengthy Atlantic essay by the brilliant and eloquent but bourgeois Black Identitarian Ta-Nehesi Coates and asked for my reflections. I reluctantly agreed to read and comment on Coates' long treatise.
"The Mind Seizes"
There is plenty to concur with and even applaud in Coates' prolonged reflection, which bears the provocative title "The First White President." The author is, I think, quite correct to note that that Donald Trump is a vicious white supremacist dedicated to denigrating and even erasing the legacy of the nation's first technically Black president Barack Obama. full article>
The sad souls of those who lived without blame and without praise.
9.11.17, © The New York Times
Don't mess with Miss Texas. That's not exactly the famous saying, but maybe it should be after last night.
Margana Wood may not have won the crown at the 2018 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City on Sunday night, but she won the hearts of many on social media during the question-and-answer portion of the competition. Wood had an actual substantive question tossed her way by pageant judge Jess Cagle, the editor-in-chief of PEOPLE magazine. full article>
Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today's events.
By Paul R. Pillar
September 6, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program, is for Donald Trump one more of the Obama administration's achievements to be trashed. It goes alongside the Affordable Care Act, the Paris climate change agreement, and other measures (most recently the "dreamers" program involving children of illegal immigrants) as targets for trashing because fulfilling campaign rhetoric is given higher priority in the current administration than whether a program is achieving its purpose, whether there are any realistic alternatives available, or what the effects of the trashing will be on the well-being of Americans and the interests and credibility of the United States. full article>
No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.
By Sam Jackson
September 8, 2017, © The Washington Post
A few weeks ago, the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" demonstrations – where violence wounded at least 34 people and killed one counterprotester — drew a tremendous amount of national attention. Much of the discussion focused on two opposing groups: the white supremacists who call themselves the alt-right and the counter-demonstrators who came to oppose racism. But a third group was there as well: militia members, wearing camouflage, carrying long guns and claiming to be there to keep the peace and protect free speech. full article>
It's great to reminisce about good memories of my past. It was enjoyable when it was today. So learning to enjoy today has two benefits: it gives me happiness right now, and it becomes a good memory later.
04/09/2017, © La Vanguardia
El fotógrafo Joan Colom falleció ayer a la edad de 96 años, dejando tras de sí una destacada obra gráfica en la que ocupa un lugar especial una visión de la Barcelona más realista en los años cincuenta y sesenta. Una Ciudad Condal alejada de la postal oficial, de perfil duro y marginal que se extendía por el Barrio Chino, el Born o el Somorrostro. Considerado uno de los pioneros del fotoperiodismo, Colom fue uno de los grandes renovadores de la fotografía de posguerra española así ... full article>
04/09/2017, © La Vanguardia
"Yo trabajo de la plaza Catalunya hacia abajo, este es mi territorio. Cuando empecé a hacer fotos vivía en el barrio de Sant Antoni y cuando me asomaba a Ciutat Vella era maravilloso, era como entrar en la escenografía de una obra de teatro, con personajes peculiares: putas, travestis, borrachos... aunque eran los niños los que verdaderamente me motivaban a la hora de hacer fotos". full article>
My poetry is often criticized for a failure to communicate, but I take issue with this; my intention is to communicate and my feeling is that a poem that communicates something that's already known by the reader is not really communicating anything to him and in fact shows a lack of respect for him.
by K. Jessica Hsu - Mark Schuller
September 5, 2017, © Counterpunch
Yes, to not ask questions about climate change is indeed dumb, as Senator Bernie Sanders pointed out.
It is dumber to not also question the current global economic system and policies perpetuating racial inequalities. The conversation must shift toward climate justice. full article>
In history, the moments during which reason and reconciliation prevail are short and fleeting.
September/October 2017 Issue, © Mother Jones
Novelist Robert Stone once likened the Vietnam War to a piece of shrapnel "embedded in our definition of who we are." Who better to extract that shrapnel than Ken Burns, America's preeminent documentary filmmaker? Ever since his definitive 1990 series, The Civil War, attracted a record 40 million viewers to PBS, Burns has been tackling historical topics ranging from jazz and the national parks to World War II, often in collaboration with director Lynn Novick. Ten years in the making, The Vietnam War, Burns and Novick's 10-part journey into the most divisive of our 20th-century conflicts, premieres September 17 on PBS. full article>
We live our lives, made up of a great quantity of isolated instants So as to be lost at the heart of a multitude of things.
By DAVID ORR and DINITIA SMITH
SEPT. 3, 2017, © The New York Times
John Ashbery, a poet whose teasing, delicate, soulful lines made him one of the most influential figures of late-20th and early-21st-century American literature, died on Sunday at his home in Hudson, N.Y. He was 90. full article>
Chimps are very quick to have a sudden fight or aggressive episode, but they're equally as good at reconciliation.
August 18, 2017, © Democracy Now
Walnut Tree of the Day
Juglans Nigra (Eastern Black Walnut):
Family: Juglandaceae Native Range: Eastern United States Zone: 4 to 9 Height: 75 to 120 feet. Under forest competition, it develops a tall and straight trunk. When grown in an open area it has a short trunk and broad crown. Spread: 75 to 100 feet Odour: Most parts of the tree including leaves, stems, and fruit husks have a very characteristic pungent or spicy odor. This odor is lacking in the nut itself. Bark: The bark is typically grey-black and deeply furrowed into thin ridges which gives the bark a diamond shaped pattern. Pith: The pith of the twigs is chambered and light brown. Buds: The buds are pale silky and covered in downy hairs. The terminal buds are ovate, and 8 mm long, and slightly longer than broad, the lateral buds are smaller and superposed. Leaves: The leaves are compound and alternately arranged on the stem. They are 30–60 cm (1–2 ft) long, typically even-pinnate but there is heavy variation among leaves. The stems have 15–23 leaflets, with the largest leaflets located in the center, 7–10 cm long and 2–3 cm broad. The leaflets have a rounded base and a long pointed (acuminate) tip as well as having a serrated edge. The leaves are overall dark green in color and are typically hairy on the underside. Leaf scar: The leaf scar has 3 prominent bundle scars and has a notch on the side which points toward the tip of the branch (distal side) Flowers: Black walnut is monoecious. The male (staminate) flowers are in drooping catkins 8–10 cm long. These are borne from axilary buds on the previous year's growth. The female (pistillate) flowers are terminal, in clusters of two to five on the current year's growth. Fruit: Ripens during the autumn into a fruit (nut) with a brownish-green, semifleshy husk and a brown, corrugated nut. The whole fruit, including the husk falls in October or November; the seed is relatively small and very hard. Bloom Time: May to June Bloom Description: Yellowish-green
Black walnut is primarily a pioneer species similar to red and silver maple and black cherry. Because of this, black walnut is a common weed tree found along roadsides, fields, and forest edges in the eastern US. It will grow in closed forests, but is classified as shade intolerant, this means it requires full sun for optimal growth and nut production.
The nuts are food for many rodents and make up to 10% of the diet of eastern fox squirrels.The nuts are also eaten by species of birds. The leaves are browsed by white tailed deer,although they are not a preferred food. Squirrels benefit this species by distributing and burying the seeds; if the seeds are not reclaimed by the squirrel, they will germinate and help disperse the species.
Where the range of the eastern black walnut overlaps that of the Texas black walnut (J. microcarpa), the two species sometimes interbreed, producing populations with characteristics intermediate between the two species. J.nigra and J. cinerea often grow in the same range as well but they do not hybridize naturally.
The tree's roots often form endomycorrhizal relationships with fungi in the genus Glomus. Some endomycorrhizal relations improve the plant's growth.
Species often associated with J. nigra include yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), white ash (Fraxinus americana), black cherry (Prunus serotina), basswood (Tilia americana), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), oaks (Quercus spp.), and hickories (Carya spp.). Near the western edge of its range, black walnut may be confined to floodplains, where it grows either with American elm (Ulmus americana), common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), and boxelder (Acer negundo), or with basswood and red oak (Quercus rubra) on lower slopes and other favorable sites.
(Sources: missouribotanicalgarden.org and Wikipedia)
By Harrison Smith
August 25, 2017, © The New York Times
Cecil D. Andrus, a former logger and self-described "political accident" who served a record four terms as governor of Idaho, and who as President Jimmy Carter's interior secretary spearheaded conservation efforts including the protection of millions of acres of Alaska wilderness, died Aug. 24 in Boise. He was 85. full article>
Storms make trees take deeper roots.
By John Washington
August 25, 2017, © The Nation
Between 2013 and 2015, more than 100,000 unaccompanied child migrants showed up at or crossed the US-Mexico border, seeking asylum or some other form of legal status. Numerous articles and reports documented these children en masse, pointing out the violence they were fleeing and the violence of the policies that met them. And yet misperceptions still abound: Though classified by the US government as "unaccompanied" because they arrived without their parents, most of the children—they continue to arrive—are not actually traveling alone, but are accompanied by family members or trusted guides. And though the numbers and the media reports may conjure images of small children toddling across the border, an overwhelming majority of these children are teenagers. Even if some Americans have warmed to their plight, images of raucous protesters shouting at the children to go home, as well anti-immigrant rhetoric and draconian policies still spewing from the Trump administration, continue to haunt our national immigration conversation. full article>
Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.
Friday 18 August 2017, © The Independent
I don't know what the people of Barcelona think about Trump's demented and repulsive tale of bullets and pig's blood – but I know what Mark Twain would have said. He was the finest American political writer of his time – perhaps of all time – and he wrote with bitterness, sarcasm and disgust about the US military's war crimes in the Philippines in 1906. No doubt Trump would have approved of them. full article>
It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
—Robert Louis Stevenson
By Mike Ludwig
Friday, August 25, 2017, © Truthout
He has come for Mexicans, Muslims, Black people, trans people, Democrats, the news media, activists and even leading members of Congress from his own party. Few have been spared Donald Trump's scorn, but when it came time to condemn white supremacists for inciting deadly violence last week, the president was quick to argue that it wasn't entirely their fault.
A storm of media controversy followed, but Trump refused to back down, defending his initial remarks about the racist invasion of Charlottesville, Virginia. Then he held a rally in Phoenix, Arizona this week where he threatened to shut down the government over funding for his unpopular border wall and flirted with pardoning former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a known racist who is facing jail time because he refused to stop racially profiling Latinos. full article>
To such an extent does nature delight and abound in variety that among her trees there is not one plant to be found which is exactly like another; and not only among the plants, but among the boughs, the leaves and the fruits, you will not find one which is exactly similar to another.
—Leonardo da Vinci
By Brent Millikan and Christian Poirier
08/18/2017, © International Rivers
In a major victory for indigenous peoples, Brazil's Supreme Court ruled unanimously this week in favor of indigenous land rights in two separate lawsuits, setting an important legal precedent.
"This is a very important victory for our people and our family...who are fighting for health and territory," said Adilio Benites, a Guarani Kaiowá leader celebrating the decision in Brasilia, after holding an all-night vigil outside of the Supreme Court. Indigenous tribes and allies had protested around the country for several days before the Court's decision, and international allies from around the world lent their voices to the call for land rights. full article>
I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.
By Robert Parry
August 25, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com
Despite the chaos and ugliness of the past seven months, President Trump has finally begun to turn U.S. foreign policy away from the neoconservative approach of endless war against an ever-expanding roster of enemies.
This change has occurred largely behind the scenes and has been obscured by Trump's own bellicose language, such as his vow to "win" in Afghanistan, and his occasional lashing out with violence, such as his lethal Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian airfield. full article>
Dying people often become childish.
By EILEEN SULLIVAN and MAGGIE HABERMAN
AUG. 15, 2017, © The New York Times
President Trump shared on Twitter a cartoon on Tuesday morning of a train running over a person with a CNN logo covering the person's head, three days after a fatal collision in Charlottesville, Va. Mr. Trump deleted his retweet minutes later. full article>
In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
By Austin C. McCoy
August 15, 2017, © Truthout
White supremacist James Alex Fields Jr.'s murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and near-massacre of antiracist protesters at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville turned the mobilization into a flashpoint for politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as for media outlets. Heyer's death shifted the mainstream portrayal of Charlottesville from a "street fight between the right and the left" to a terrorist attack aimed at the antiracist left. full article>
Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.
Michael Eric Dyson
AUG. 12, 2017, © The New York Times
The late, great Gore Vidal said that we live in "The United States of Amnesia." Our fatal forgetfulness flares when white bigots come out of their closets, emboldened by the tacit cover they're given by our president. We cannot pretend that the ugly bigotry unleashed in the streets of Charlottesville, Va., this weekend has nothing to do with the election of Donald Trump.
In attendance was white separatist David Duke, who declared that the alt-right unity fiasco "fulfills the promises of Donald Trump." In the meantime, Mr. Trump responded by offering false equivalencies between white bigots and their protesters. His soft denunciations of hate ring hollow when he has white nationalist advisers like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller whispering in his ear.
Such an ungainly assembly of white supremacists rides herd on political memory. Their resentment of the removal of public symbols of the Confederate past — the genesis of this weekend's rally — is fueled by revisionist history. They fancy themselves the victims of the so-called politically correct assault on American democracy, a false narrative that helped propel Mr. Trump to victory. Each feeds on the same demented lies about race and justice that corrupt true democracy and erode real liberty. Together they constitute the repulsive resurgence of a virulent bigotocracy. full article>
I was standing in the old Western Studio 3 in Los Angeles looking at record albums. I saw a Johnny Rivers album with a song whose title intrigued me. I didn't know if 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix' was about the town or about the mythological bird coming out of the ashes.
By MICHAEL POLLAK
AUG. 8, 2017, © The New York Times
Glen Campbell, the sweet-voiced, guitar-picking son of a sharecropper who became a recording, television and movie star in the 1960s and '70s, waged a publicized battle with alcohol and drugs and gave his last performances while in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, died on Tuesday in Nashville. He was 81. full article>
I like to start the day early, it keeps me out of trouble.
Monday 7 August 2017, © The Guardian
Two US congressional staffers who travelled to London in July and tried to contact former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele were sent by a longstanding aide to Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House intelligence committee and a close ally of the White House. full article>
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox
and which you were probably saving for breakfast
Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold
—William Carlos Williams
AUG. 4, 2017, © The New York Times
For years, Marcy Sherman-Lewis went to a beauty salon in St. Joseph, Mo., every few weeks for a haircut and highlights.
It had become something of an ordeal to prepare her husband, Gene Lewis, for this outing; he has Alzheimer's disease, at 79, and helping him shower and dress, insert hearing aids and climb into the car was a very slow process. full article>
My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light!
—Edna St. Vincent Millay
August 03, 2017, © DoctorsWithoutBorders.org
Gebreel has been sleeping under a bridge in the northern Italian town of Ventimiglia for a month—desperate, yet so far unable to cross the border into France. Like thousands of others of migrants who risked their lives at sea and are now stuck in Italy, he has all but run out of strength as he struggles to complete the last stretch of his journey. full article>
Loving me isn't easy, I have sharp edges, I have missing parts.
August 01, 2017, © Whistleblower.org
Army Veteran, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) employee Christopher "Shea" Wilkes first disclosed secret patient wait lists at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 2013, and the retaliation soon followed. full article>
Surgeons must be very careful When they take the knife! Underneath their fine incisions Stirs the Culprit—Life!
By Brian Stewart
Tuesday, August 1 2017, © Moveon.org
Following their votes to help defeat Trumpcare in the Senate last week, six incumbent Senators have won the votes of MoveOn.org members in their states as part of a "Health Care Heroes" endorsement push; members voted to back Sens. Bernie Sanders (VT), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Mazie Hirono (HI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Chris Murphy (CT) for re-election. Each won more than 99% of votes cast by members in their state. full article>
... lifting my cup, I asked the moon to drink with me ...
Mosquito of the Day
Anopheles freeborni, the Western malaria mosquito, is found in western Canada and in the United States. This species is the principal malaria vector in the arid and semiarid western U.S. The larvae are found in clear seepage water, in roadside pools, in rice fields, and in other similar habitats. Pools that are sunlit, at least part of the day, seem to be preferred, although larvae are occasionally found in rather densely shaded pools. Heavy production of larvae often occurs in matted algal growths in water along the margins of rice fields. The females enter houses readily and feed on man. They are more active at dusk and during the night but occasionally do attack man during the daylight hours in dense shade or on cloudy days. (Carpenter and LaCasse 1955)
Anopheles freeborni larval densities have been shown to have a positive association with plant cover, indicating that vegetation is a key characteristic of their larval habitats. This is reflected by the species' ready utilization of rice fields, although significantly higher numbers of adult Anopheles freeborni are found in riparian and mixed habitats than in rice and pasture habitats.
RESTING AND FEEDING PREFERENCES
Anopheles freeborni is reported to be an opportunistic feeder and host availability appears to be key in determining blood meal source. For example, Anopheles freeborni females collected in cattle areas contained a high proportion of bovine blood when compared to sites of human habitation, near a rice production area, where no bovine blood was found but 35% of the sampled females had fed on dogs. This suggests that the species is zoophilic, although a preference is not always found. Resting mosquitoes have been collected from farmyard sheds, abandoned domestic animal shelters, house porches, artificial shelters, bridges and culverts, indicating an outdoor resting preference.
(Sources: scientistsagainstmalaria.net and Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
(Anopheles freeborni mosquito pumping blood)
The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.
—Philip K. Dick
by Paul Street
August 4, 2017, © Counterpunch
Donald, Trump, the United States' first fully sub-human president, is a rolling atrocity. Tracking the Insane Clown President's idiocies and outrages on and off Twitter is a full-time job. From his first day, spent claiming that the media had under-stated the size of his Inauguration Rally and telling the CIA that the U.S. might have another chance to invade Iraq and get its oil, it's been one horrid episode after another: full article>
He wants you for parts.
—"Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
AUG. 5, 2017, © The New York Times
As we contemplate crime and punishment in the Trump circle, it should be noted that our Russia-besotted president does share some traits with Dostoyevsky's spiraling protagonist, Rodion Raskolnikov.
Both men are naifs who arrive and think they have the right to transgress. Both are endlessly fascinating psychological studies: self-regarding, with Napoleon-style grandiosity, and self-incriminating. Both are consumed with chaotic, feverish thoughts as they are pursued by a relentless, suspicious lawman. full article>
Don't go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.
—Ivanka Trump (Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life)
Aug. 3, 2017, © Mother Jones
"26 hours, 29 Trumpian False or Misleading Claims."
That was the headline on a piece last week from the Washington Post, whose reporters continued the herculean task of debunking wave after wave of President Donald Trump's lies. (It turned out there was a 30th Trump falsehood in that time frame, regarding the head of the Boy Scouts.) The New York Times keeps a running tally of the president's lies since Inauguration Day, and PolitiFact has scrutinized and rated 69 percent of Trump's statements as mostly false, false, or "pants on fire." full article>
So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too.
—Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
By Lawrence Davidson
July 31, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com
As of this July, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli racism and apartheid is 12 years old. This means that over the last dozen years, a worldwide grassroots movement has grown up – a movement of civil society – that has organized active opposition to Zionist racism and Israeli oppression. full article>
The television is 'real'. It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn't time to protest, 'What nonsense!'.
—Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
August 6, 2017, © Al Jazeera
Israel plans to revoke media credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and close the network's office in Jerusalem, the country's communication minister has announced.
Ayoub Kara made the announcement on Sunday during a press conference in Jerusalem, where Al Jazeera was barred from attending. full article>
Why should you want to give up a child's wise not-understanding in exchange for defensiveness and scorn, since not-understanding is, after all, a way of being alone, whereas defensiveness and scorn are a participation in precisely what, by these means, you want to separate yourself from.
—Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
La liberté, c'est de pouvoir choisir celui dont on sera l'esclave.
31.07.2017, © Le Monde.fr
La comédienne, chanteuse, actrice et réalisatrice Jeanne Moreau est morte lundi 31 juillet à l'âge de 89 ans, a annoncé son agent à l'Agence France-Presse lundi. L'actrice à la beauté sensuelle et à l'inimitable voix grave, qui a fasciné les plus grands réalisateurs au cours d'une carrière de soixante-cinq ans, a été retrouvée morte à son domicile parisien, a précisé Jeanne d'Hauteserre, maire du 8e arrondissement. Elle a été retrouvée par sa femme de ménage tôt lundi matin, selon plusieurs sources. full article>
La peur de vieillir abîme plus que l'âge.
Monday 31 July 2017, © The Guardian
Jeanne Moreau, the actor best known for her performance in French New Wave classic Jules et Jim, has died aged 89 at her home in Paris, her agent has said.
A director, screenwriter and singer as well as a stage and screen actor, Moreau came to prominence with a series of roles in films considered part of the French New Wave, including Lift to the Scaffold and Jules et Jim. She also appeared in a number of Hollywood films, such as The Last Tycoon and Orson Welles's adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial. full article>
Knowing how to die is knowing how to live. What is death anyway? It's the outcome of life.
By Dennis J Bernstein
July 31, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com
Not surprisingly, the U.S. mainstream media, which has obsessed over the Russia-gate "scandal" for months, is bashing director Oliver Stone for his four-part series of interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the grounds that Stone should have been tougher. full article>
I'm a great believer in chaos. I don't believe that you start with a formula and then you fulfill the formula. Chaos is a much better instigator, because we live in chaos - we don't live in a rigorous form.
Jul. 31, 2017, © BroadwayWorld.com
BroadwayWorld has just learned that playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director Sam Shepard has passed away. Shepard, who had been ill with ALS for some time, died peacefully on July 27 at his home in Kentucky, surrounded by his children and sisters. He was 73 years old. full article>
I feel like I've never had a home, you know? I feel related to the country, to this country, and yet I don't know exactly where I fit in... There's always this kind of nostalgia for a place, a place where you can reckon with yourself.
By SALLY Q. YATES
JULY 28, 2017, © The New York Times
The spectacle of President Trump's efforts to humiliate the attorney general into resigning has transfixed the country. But while we are busy staring at the wreckage of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' relationship with the man he supported for the presidency, there is something more insidious happening.
The president is attempting to dismantle the rule of law, destroy the time-honored independence of the Justice Department, and undermine the career men and women who are devoted to seeking justice day in and day out, regardless of which political party is in power. full article>
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.
—George W. Bush - 43rd US President
By Mickey Huff
Thursday, July 27, 2017, © Truthout
In this wide-ranging interview with Mickey Huff, head of Project Censored, Henry Giroux addresses a number of issues that constitute various elements of US authoritarianism. He brings together a number of issues affected by the concentration of power and wealth, including the emergence of a culture of cruelty, hardness, corruption, militarism, racism and violence that has reached down into everyday life while compromising a number of public institutions, including higher education, the criminal legal system and health care. full article>
A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him.
By Eugene Robinson
July 27, 2017, © Washington Post
The Court of Mad King Donald is not a presidency. It is an affliction, one that saps the life out of our democratic institutions, and it must be fiercely resisted if the nation as we know it is to survive.
I wish that were hyperbole. The problem is not just that President Trump is selfish, insecure, egotistical, ignorant and unserious. It is that he neither fully grasps nor minimally respects the concept of honor, without which our governing system falls apart. He believes "honorable" means "obsequious in the service of Trump." He believes everyone else's motives are as base as his.
The Trump administration is, indeed, like the court of some accidental monarch who is tragically unsuited for the duties of his throne. However long it persists, we must never allow ourselves to think of the Trump White House as anything but aberrant. We must fight for the norms of American governance lest we forget them in their absence. full article>
Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
By Todd E. Pierce
July 27, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is reportedly considering closing the Office of Global Criminal Justice, a tiny agency with a meager budget of $3 million a year, located within the State Department.
According to its website, the office "advises the Secretary of State . . . on issues related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide." It "also coordinates U.S. Government positions relating to the international and hybrid courts currently prosecuting persons responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity — not only for such crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia — but also in Kenya, Libya, Côte d'Ivoire, Guatemala, and elsewhere in the world." full article>
There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
By James W Carden
July 25, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com
In May, the founder of the mercenary-for-hire group Blackwater (now since remained Academi), Erik Prince took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to propose that the Pentagon employ "private military units" and appoint a "viceroy" to oversee the war in Afghanistan.
According to Prince, who has been actively lobbying for what he calls an "East India Company approach" as the solution to America's longest war (16 years, $117 billion and counting), "In Afghanistan, the viceroy approach would reduce rampant fraud by focusing spending on initiatives that further the central strategy, rather than handing cash to every outstretched hand from a U.S. system bereft of institutional memory." (Prince naturally failed to say if his were among those "outstretched hands") full article>
One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don't go into government.
By Ben Norton
July 25, 2017, © FAIR
A new Vox video (7/17/17) is the latest addition to a media onslaught that propagates numerous misleading talking points to demonize Iran—just as the US government, under Donald Trump's vehemently anti-Iran administration, is ratcheting up aggression against that country.
The 10-minute film, titled "The Middle East's Cold War, Explained," is a textbook example of how US government propaganda pervades corporate media. With the help of a former senior government official and CIA analyst, the Vox video articulates a commonplace pro-US, anti-Iran narrative that portrays the violent conflicts in the Middle East as sectarian proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia. full article>
Tell the truth and shame the devil.
by Patrick Cockburn
July 24, 2017, © Counterpunch.org
The catastrophic number of civilian casualties in Mosul is receiving little attention internationally from politicians and journalists. This is in sharp contrast to the outrage expressed worldwide over the bombardment of east Aleppo by Syrian government and Russian forces at the end of 2016.
Hoshyar Zebari, the Kurdish leader and former Iraqi finance and foreign minister, told me in an interview last week: "Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them, especially by the Federal Police, air strikes and Isis itself." full article>
There is but a step between a proud man's glory and his disgrace.
by John Nichols
July 21, 2017, © The Progressive
When Congressman Brad Sherman proposed the first article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, the California Democrat carefully explained the necessity of the resolution, the legislative strategy he would employ to advance it, and the difficult political landscape that would have to be traversed in order to hold to account the most irresponsible and lawless President in American history.
"I act not for partisan advantage. Having served with (Vice President) Mike Pence in the House for twelve years, I disagree with him on most issues of public policy," Sherman explained in June, acknowledging Democratic discomfort with Trump's likely successor, were the president to be removed from office. "But we must move forward as quickly as possible to ensure a competent government that respects the Constitution and the rule of law . . . " full article>
I think it's a great shame that America stopped being a republic and became an empire.
Wednesday 26 July 2017, © The Guardian
Donald Trump faced criticism on Tuesday for a speech to the annual Boy Scouts of America jamboree in West Virginia in which he urged his audience of 12- to 18-year-olds to boo Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, pitched for Republican healthcare reform and bragged, again, about the size of his electoral college victory. full article>
What makes the pain we feel from shame and jealousy so cutting is that vanity can give us no assistance in bearing them.
—François de La Rochefoucauld
By Chris D'Angelo
07/24/2017, © Huffingtonpost
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) — who has spent his career cozying up to fossil fuel interests, dismissing the threat of climate change and harassing federal climate scientists — is now arguing that pumping the atmosphere full of carbon dioxide is "beneficial" to global trade, crop production and the lushness of the planet.
Rather than buying into "hysteria," Americans should be celebrating the plus sides of a changing climate, Smith argues in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Daily Signal, a news website published by the conservative Heritage Foundation. full article>
Hardly can it be judged whether it be better for mankind to believe that the gods have regard of us, or that they have none, considering that some men have no respect and reverence for the gods, and others so much that their superstition is a shame to them.
—Pliny the Elder
Corn of the Day
Yellow Dent Corn:
James L. Reid developed Yellow Dent Corn, the most popular variety of field corn grown world-wide during much of the 20th Century. Most of today's hybrid corns were derived from Yellow Dent. Dent Corn originally was created by crossing flint and floury corns.
Corn is one of the most important production grains in the United States today. So the development of Yellow Dent Corn -- also known as "field corn" - had remarkable implications for U.S. farmers. Most of the corn grown in the United States today is Yellow Dent. It has a very high Vitamin A content and is perfect for a variety of uses. Yellow dent corn gets it's name because of a small 'dent' on both sides of each kernel. It is the corn of choice for many food manufacturers and is used in corn chips and taco shells. Cornmeal is also derived from Yellow Dent Corn, which is used in the baking of cornbread, and other products. Corn starch is turned into fructose which is used as a sweetener in many processed foods and soft drinks.
Yellow Dent Corn differs from the "sweet" corn served as a vegetable in several ways. Sweet corn is full of sugar and softens readily when heated. Sweet corn can even been eaten off the husk in a corn field. But Yellow Dent Corn has a very thick outer skin that does not soften when cooked but must be soaked or ground for processing.
Corn has been a native crop in the Americas for over 7,000 years, and is said to have been brought to Spain by Christopher Columbus.
(Source: heartland science.org)
July 8 2017, © The Times
Loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it.
by PEPE ESCOBAR
JULY 11, 2017, © Counterpunch
A future history of the G20 in Hamburg might start with a question posed by President Donald Trump – actually his speechwriter – a few days earlier in Warsaw:
"The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive."i
What initially amounted to a juvenile/reductionist clash of civilizations tirade written by Stephen Miller – the same one who penned the "American carnage" epic on Trump's inauguration as well as the original Muslim travel ban – might actually have found some answers in Hamburg. full article>
Through loyalty to the past, our mind refuses to realize that tomorrow's joy is possible only if today's makes way for it; that each wave owes the beauty of its line only to the withdrawal of the preceding one.
By Vera Eidelman, William J. Brennan Fellow
JULY 7, 2017, © ACLU
If the government wants to search your Facebook account—snooping through everything from your posts, photographs, and videos to your private messages, check-ins, likes, and search history—shouldn't you know about it in time to protect your constitutional rights? We certainly think so. And that's what we told the D.C. Court of Appeals last week when we filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a largely secret case concerning the government's search of Facebook accounts. full article>
My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation's history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language and culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time.
Saturday 8 July 2017, © The Guardian
Their first encounter had been a brush-by in the VIP lounge of the G20 conference centre in Hamburg during the morning. President Putin had intended it to be the briefest of handshakes, forgetting there is no such thing as a quick handshake with Donald Trump. The US president had thrust out a clammy right paw, grabbed hold of his arm with his left hand and then pumped it enthusiastically for rather longer than was comfortable. The man clearly has no sense of personal space. full article>
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.
—Dr. Seuss (The Lorax)
Por JOSEPH ZÁRATE
2 de julio de 2017, © The New York Times
RÍO BLANCO, Honduras — Bertha Zúñiga supo desde niña que defender un río o un pedazo de tierra podía ser una ocupación mortal. Lo supo a través de su madre, que marcó los recuerdos de su infancia: mamá en televisión denunciando la corrupción del gobierno durante una protesta; mamá llegando de noche con el brazo morado por el garrotazo de un policía; mamá vigilada por un extraño en un coche sin matrícula.
"Ser hija de Berta Cáceres a veces era muy agobiante. Era tan frecuente el peligro, que se volvió normal vivir así', dice ahora Zúñiga, junto a un altar de flores rojas. "En un momento pensé: 'Ojalá mamá se dedicara a otra cosa'. Luego comprendí que el mundo necesita gente como ella'. full article>
"Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving is remembering without pain.'
Par Francis Marmande
29.06.2017, © LE MONDE
Geri Allen, " pianiste renommée et directrice des études de jazz à l'université de Pittsburgh ", dixit Scott Mervis dans son journal, le Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, est morte à Philadelphie (Pennsylvanie), mardi 27 juin, des suites d'un cancer. Née à Pontiac (Michigan) le 12 juin 1957, elle avait 60 ans.
Pianiste dans le Tennessee, son père, Mount Vernell Allen Jr, " aimait Charlie Parker ". Sa mère, Barbara Jean Allen, maîtrisait piano, chant et harmonium – il serait temps que critiques et historiens du jazz révisassent leurs classiques et leurs modernes en anthropologie, pour cesser de colporter des âneries sur le rôle ou le non-rôle des femmes dans le jazz... full article>
The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.
JULY 03, 2017, © Democracy Now
At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time."
By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin
July 1, 2017, © The Washington Post
The Trump administration is debating whether to launch a governmentwide effort to question the science of climate change, an effort that critics say is an attempt to undermine the long-established consensus human activity is fueling the Earth's rising temperatures.
The move, driven by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, has sparked a debate among top Trump administration officials over whether to pursue such a strategy. full article>
To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.
by Evan Popp
July 3, 2017, © The Progressive
Inauguration Day protests. The Women's March. The March for Science. Protests against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In the age of the Donald Trump presidency, demonstration has become an essential tool of The Resistance.
But now, that fundamental right is under attack. full article>
Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundations instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man's evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.
JULY/AUGUST 2017 ISSUE, © Mother Jones
Whether for stabbing salads at our desks or slurping up late-night Thai, plastic cutlery has become a signature side to our growing takeout habit. It's hard to say exactly how many forks, spoons, and knives Americans throw away, but in 2015 we placed nearly 2 billion delivery orders. If at least half those meals involved single-use utensils, that would mean we're tossing out billions of utensils each year. They don't just disappear: A recent study in the San Francisco Bay Area found that food and beverage packaging made up 67 percent of all litter on the streets. full article>
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
Jellyfish of the Day
It is not a bad stinger, but it is better not to touch it.
It is common along Portuguese coast and, in general, throughout the Atlantic Ocean, but it was never recorded from the Mediterranean Sea, until Maria Ghelia photographed it in 2010, in the waters of the Pantelleria Island.
How to identify it:
It is similar to Rhyzostoma pulmo but it does not have the typical bluish-purple umbrellar margin typical of this species. It is a beautiful animal and, in some countries, it is used as food.
So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too.
—Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Breakfast of Champions
BY STEVEN HARPER
JUNE 26, 2017, © Bill Moyers
Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here's an updated summary (so far). full article>
Poverty wants some, luxury many, and avarice all things.
—Lucius Annaeus Seneca
BY JANINE JACKSON
JUNE 27, 2017, © FAIR
Looking for news on Amazon's proposed acquisition of Whole Foods, you'll find yourself awash in articles like "Is Whole Foods a Healthy Option for Amazon?," "Big Prize in Amazon/Whole Foods Deal: Data" and "Speculation Grows That Amazon Will Face a Rival Bidder." Other topics: What's Instacart to do? What will happen to Grubhub?
The implication that news readers should be engaged primarily as stockholders or market watchers has little to do with people, of course, and much to do with a corporate media system of owners and advertisers happy to finance that angle on things. full article>
We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
by Karen Wolfe
June 22, 2017, © The Progressive
Four days before the end of the school year, Venice High School students, organized by the Black Student Union and the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, walked out of class to protest their principal allegedly firing an African American college counselor. full article>
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
By Nada Bakos
June 23, © The Washington Post
Every time President Trump tweets, journalists and Twitter followers attempt to analyze what he means. Intelligence agencies around the world do, too: They're trying to determine what vulnerabilities the president of the United States may have. And he's giving them a lot to work with. full article>
To abandon oneself to principles is really to die - and to die for an impossible love which is the contrary of love.
By C.J. Polychroniou
Thursday, June 22, 2017, © Truthout
Since the late 1970s, the world's economy and dominant nations have been marching to the tune of (neoliberal) globalization, whose impact and effects on average people's livelihood and communities everywhere are generating great popular discontent, accompanied by a rising wave of nationalist and anti-elitist sentiments. But what exactly is driving globalization? And who really benefits from globalization? Are globalization and capitalism interwoven? How do we deal with the growing levels of inequality and massive economic insecurity? Should progressives and radicals rally behind the call for the introduction of a universal basic income? In the unique and exclusive interview below, two leading minds of our time, linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky and Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang, share their views on these essential questions. full article>
The moment you give up your principles, and your values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period.
by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
JUNE 23, 2017, © Counterpunch
This year the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to grow larger than ever. Oceanologists predict the lifeless expanse of water below the Mississippi River Delta will swell to an area bigger than the state of Vermont, an aquatic ecosystem despoiled by industrial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, oil leaks and the lethal effects of a warming climate. But the desolate waters of the Gulf pale next to the electoral dead zone now confronting the Democratic Party, which seems to occupy about two-thirds of the geographical area of the Republic—a political landscape deadened by the Party's remorseless commitment to neoliberal economics, imperial wars and open hostility toward the working class base which once served as its backbone. full article>
By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.
JUN. 22, 2017, © Mother Jones
During the campaign, Donald Trump promised to "get rid of" the Environmental Protection Agency "in almost every form" and leave it in "little tidbits." He's begun to make good on that pledge during his first few months in office by putting climate change deniers in charge, bringing Obama-era regulations to a standstill and asking Congress to slash the agency's budget by a third. But Trump's attack on environmental policy hasn't been limited to changing rules—he's also undermined the workplace culture at the EPA. That lowered morale is evident in a report released this week filled with warnings from the people who know the EPA best—its longtime staffers. full article>
To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
June 25, © The Washington Post
A "friendly fire" incident in which an off-duty St. Louis policeman was shot while coming to the aid of fellow officers has taken on racial overtones after an incendiary claim by the injured officer's attorney: The officer was viewed as a threat because he was black. full article>
Divendres 30 juny 20 h
Auditori de l'Ateneu de Banyoles
Salamander of the Day
(Photo by Benny Trapp)
Karpathos Lycian salamander (Lyciasalamandra helverseni), one of several Lyciasalamandra species named in recent decades (specifically, 1963). Most remarkable is the soft, dorsally projecting spike that some male salamandrids possess at the base of the tail. Once a female has expressed interest as a mating partner, the male manoeuvres himself to get beneath the female, and inserts the spike into her cloaca (Sever et al. 1997), presumably to get her into position for spermatophore collection.
Salamandroidea – also named Salamandriformes or Diadectosalamandroidei – is also known as the 'internally fertilizing salamander' (or IFS) clade (Larson & Dimmick 1993). This is the clade that contains the vast majority of salamander species and lineages, including the (mostly) American lungless salamanders or plethodontids, the chunky mole salamanders (or ambystomatids) of the Americas, and the (mostly) Eurasian salamandrids. While its roots are in the Mesozoic, Salamandroidea is mostly a Cenozoic clade that exploded in diversity during the late Paleogene and Neogene.
How are these salamanders capable of 'internally fertilizing' when males don't have an intromittent organ? As all amphibian fans will know, they produce an elaborately shaped sperm package (the spermatophore) that they deposit on the substrate. It's then picked up by the female's cloaca (some salamanders do all of this on land, others on the floor of a pond or stream. Some species are, err, well stocked and can produce multiple spermatophores in fairly rapid succession).
(Source: Scientific American)
Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.
20 JUN 2017, © El País
El gran pulso del Brexit empieza por fin, y lo hace precisamente después de que las legislativas británicas asestaran un nuevo contragolpe a las fuerzas nacionalistas de Occidente. Tras haber contenido a Norbert Hofer en Austria, Geert Wilders en Holanda y Marine Le Pen en Francia, los defensores de las sociedades abiertas recibieron nuevo oxigeno con el voto británico. Los tories y su proyecto de Brexit duro quedan debilitados; el UKIP desapareció del mapa. Como en las elecciones francesas y estadounidenses, en las británicas también se divisa un vigoroso choque de ideas entre ciudades y periferias, y otro parecido entre jóvenes y mayores. Los primeros favorecen sociedades abiertas, los segundos, el repliegue. full article>
There are two problems for our species' survival - nuclear war and environmental catastrophe - and we're hurtling towards them. Knowingly.
Monday, June 19, 2017
By Dean Baker, © Truthout
In their desperation to provide $600 billion in tax cuts to their rich campaign contributors, the Republicans have decided to abandon all the standard rules by which Congress has governed itself. The actions might seem extraordinary, but we know how desperately the richest people in the country need tax cuts, so who can complain if the normal procedures are not being followed?
Unfortunately the debate over the "repeal and replacement" of Obamacare is being confused with a debate over health care. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate don't give a damn about health care. This is about getting $600 billion in tax cuts for the people who pay for their campaigns and will offer them jobs as high paid lobbyists when they leave office. The fact that the tax cuts are associated with health care for tens of millions of people is just a coincidence. full article>
Of the primary emotions, fear is the one that bears most directly on survival. Children show fear. Adults try not to, maybe because it's shameful, or, in some circumstances, dangerous. The fear response is automatic, though, and your body runs through its reflexes whether you want it to or not.
BY ADAM JOHNSON
JUNE 19, 2017, © FAIR
CNN, the New York Times, Daily Mail and News.com.au all decided to use last night's horrific attack on London's Finsbury Park Mosque welfare center as a chance to litigate the mosque's past behavior.
A 48-year-old white man rammed his van into a crowd of people outside an Islamic welfare center associated with the Finsbury Park Mosque, killing one and injuring up to ten. Immediately, the "context" trolls at major corporate media decided to jump in and began digging up dirt on the victims' place of worship. full article>
In a world where change is inevitable and continuous, the need to achieve that change without violence is essential for survival.
by Celine McNicholas
June 16, 2017, © Economic Policy Institute
It is becoming routine in the Trump administration to assign each week a policy theme. Last week was "infrastructure week," which sounded promising but for the fact that the Trump administration had already proposed a budget that would slash infrastructure investment. This week is "workforce development" week. Again, in spite of the designation, workforce development does not fare well under the Trump budget proposal, which included significant cuts to job training grant programs. More troubling than the gimmicky, hollow marketing the administration routinely employs to mask these budget maneuvers is the true tradition of the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress: diligently working each week to strip working people of hard-fought rights. This week, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans focused their efforts on taking away workers' right to join together and bargain for better wages and working conditions. full article>
I've taken regular gigs, I've worked in grocery stores, worked as a dishwasher, a porter in different places, all for survival. I don't feel bad about doing it. I wished I could have done better. And still do.
Turtle of the Day
The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) is the most widespread native turtle of North America. It lives in slow-moving fresh waters, from southern Canada to Louisiana and northern Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The turtle is the only species of the genus Chrysemys, which is part of the pond turtle family Emydidae. Fossils show that the painted turtle existed 15 million years ago. Four regionally based subspecies (the eastern, midland, southern, and western) evolved during the last ice age.
The adult painted turtle female is 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long; the male is smaller. The turtle's top shell is dark and smooth, without a ridge. Its skin is olive to black with red, orange, or yellow stripes on its extremities. The subspecies can be distinguished by their shells: the eastern has straight-aligned top shell segments; the midland has a large gray mark on the bottom shell; the southern has a red line on the top shell; the western has a red pattern on the bottom shell.
The turtle eats aquatic vegetation, algae, and small water creatures including insects, crustaceans, and fish. Although they are frequently consumed as eggs or hatchlings by rodents, canines, and snakes, the adult turtles' hard shells protect them from most predators. Reliant on warmth from its surroundings, the painted turtle is active only during the day when it basks for hours on logs or rocks. During winter, the turtle hibernates, usually in the mud at the bottom of water bodies. The turtles mate in spring and autumn. Females dig nests on land and lay eggs between late spring and mid-summer. Hatched turtles grow until sexual maturity: 2–9 years for males, 6–16 for females.
In the traditional tales of Algonquian tribes, the colorful turtle played the part of a trickster. In modern times, four U.S. states have named the painted turtle their official reptile. While habitat loss and road killings have reduced the turtle's population, its ability to live in human-disturbed settings has helped it remain the most abundant turtle in North America. Adults in the wild can live for more than 55 years.
June 19, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com
By Ann Wright
The militarization of U.S. foreign policy certainly didn't start with President Donald J. Trump; in fact, it goes back several decades. However, if Trump's first 100 days in office are any indication, he has no intention of slowing down the trend.
During a single week in April, the Trump administration fired 59 Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airfield, and dropped the largest bomb in the U.S. arsenal on suspected ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan. This 21,600-pound incendiary percussion device that had never been used in combat — the Massive Ordinance Air Blast or MOAB, colloquially known as the "Mother of All Bombs"—was used in the Achin district of Afghanistan, where Special Forces Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar had been killed a week earlier. (The bomb was tested only twice, at Elgin Air Base, Florida, in 2003.) full article>
Those who can't change their minds can't change anything.
—George Bernard Shaw
June 15, 2017, © Jim Hightower
President Trump might have dodged military service in his youth, but he certainly is militaristic – he is bellicose, likes to issue commands, and is constantly firing off militant tweets at anyone he perceives to be an enemy (which seems to include everyone who dares to disagree with him). full article>
All our days are marked with unexpected affronts—some disastrous, others less so but the process is wearing and continuous. Attrition rules. Most give way leaving empty spaces where people should be.
by Shannon Young
June 15, 2017, © The Progressive
On May 15, Mexican journalist Javier Valdez was pulled from his car and shot twelve times in broad daylight. It happened in the middle of a street in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa. In the month since, no arrests or major breakthroughs have been made. full article>
I pledge allegiance to the living, and I will defend art from history. I will rescue art from the future, from its attrition into taste, and from the speculative notion that it will become more valuable with time.
JUN. 19, 2017, © Mother Jones
Energy Secretary Rick Perry told CNBC Monday morning that he doesn't believe carbon dioxide is primarily responsible for global warming, contradicting the overwhelming scientific consensus on the causes of climate change.
When asked by interviewer Joe Kernan whether CO2 is the "primary" driver of changing temperatures, Perry responded, "No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in." full article>
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
—George Bernard Shaw
The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like ( Write it!) like disaster.
Simplicity is not an objective in art, but one achieves simplicity despite one's self by entering into the real sense of things.
Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.
by JONATHAN COOK
JUNE 15, 2017, © Counterpunch.org
Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump's supposed "ultimate deal" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy.
The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington's envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood. full article>
The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas. In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur of design, and by that element of the bizarre which seems inherent in them.
Thursday 8 June 2017, © The Independent
The Qatar crisis proves two things: the continued infantilisation of the Arab states, and the total collapse of the Sunni Muslim unity supposedly created by Donald Trump's preposterous attendance at the Saudi summit two weeks ago. full article>
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.
By Eric Levitz
June 9, 2017, © New York Magazine
It's been less than five months since Donald Trump became commander-in-chief. But for the president's detractors, it's felt like centuries — long medieval centuries chock-full of plague, illiteracy, and barbarians running roughshod through the ruins of the old republic. But we aren't actually living in the dark ages (yet). So we might as well shed some light on what the barbarians have been up to. full article>
Vulture of the Day
The Egyptian Vulture:
The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is one of the more elegant vulture species.
Size: 58-70 cm
Weight: 1,6-2,2 kg
Wingspan: 155-170 cm
Life expectancy: up to 37 years in captivity
Features: This vulture species is considerably smaller than the other vultures in Europe. Adult animals have a bald yellow head and throat, and a white collar. The plumage is a creamy white, in sharp contrast with the black wing coverts. Young birds are brown with paler wings coverts, and slowly whiten with each mould. Like Bearded vultures, Egyptian vultures sometimes rub themselves with soil rich in ferric oxides, hence the German name 'Schmutzgeier'.
Distribution: During the last decades, the number of Egyptian vultures declined dramatically in Europe. The largest European population is located in Spain (1300 to 1500 pairs). Except in France, where there are currently around 70 breeding pairs, the number of birds across Europe is still decreasing sharply, with over 50% in the last three generations.
Behaviour: Egyptian vultures are opportunists and eat very varied. Their diet consists mainly of carrion, but also small mammals, young birds, fish, eggs and even rotting fruit. The species can fly up to 80 kilometers per day in search of food. Due to their smaller size, Egyptian vultures must often wait for other species to have finished eating. The thin beak is perfectly adapted to catch the small pieces of leftover meat on carcasses. Also, they can break an egg by repeatedly dropping stones on it.
The Egyptian vulture is the only European vulture that migrates to Africa in winter. This is why they breed later in the year than other vulture species, and lay on average two eggs in April or May. Couples build nests together, in rocky areas, often on cliffs.
There are two general classifications of vultures - Old World vultures and New World vultures. While both types share striking characteristics and occupy the same environmental niche as "nature's clean up crew" there are actually great geographic and evolutionary distinctions between them.
Vultures are often underappreciated, misunderstood birds. While there may be only 23 vulture species in the world - depending on how individual species are split or lumped by different organizations - each one of them fills a vital ecological niche. All of these birds help clean up the environment by eating carrion, which prevents the spread of diseases from old, rotting carcasses. Those diseases could affect other birds and wildlife, including humans, and could impact soil and waterways as well, contaminating crops and water sources with dangerous bacteria and infections.
Unfortunately, 14 of the vulture and condor species in the world - more than half of the total vulture species - are considered threatened or endangered, some of them with significant population losses in recent years. Because of a range of different threats, including poisoning, vehicle collisions and electrocution, these vulture populations will continue to decline without urgent help. Learning more about these unique birds is the first step toward effective conservation, and the first thing to learn are the different types of vultures and their common and scientific names.
No one and nothing can harm us, child, except what we fear and love.
The arts (painting, poetry, etc.) are not just these. Eating, drinking, walking are also arts; every act is an art.
Saturday 10 June 2017, © The Guardian
Bernie Sanders has criticised the Democratic party's current direction as "an absolute failure" in a speech at the People's Summit in Chicago.
Speaking to a crowd of 4,000 activists, Sanders hailed the "enormous progress in advancing the progressive agenda", saying the increasing House and Senate support for a $15 minimum wage and the opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership showed the success of the movement. full article>
You write poems because you need a place where what isn't may be.
June 10, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com
By Lawrence Davidson
On May 26, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of British Labour Party, made a speech which dealt in large part with security and foreign policy. Much of his presentation was surprisingly accurate. Here is what he said:
—There is a cause-and-effect relationship "between wars our governments supported and fought in other countries and terrorism here at home." For instance, the May 22 Manchester bombing, which killed 22 people, may well be connected to the United Kingdom's involvement in the overthrow of the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi and the subsequent civil wars. full article>
... the hills of one's youth are all mountains ...
By Zoë Carpenter
June 9, 2017, © The Nation
Quickly and in secret—that's how lawmakers operate when they're about to pass legislation that is both harmful and deeply unpopular.
This week, while everyone was distracted by former FBI director James Comey's testimony, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell put the Republican health-care overhaul on fast track. His caucus is writing its bill in secret, and McConnell's move means he could bring the legislation up for a vote anytime, without holding a single public hearing. All signs indicate that Senate Republicans are preparing to copy their colleagues in the House and jam through a massively destructive piece of legislation before the public knows what's going on. full article>
The closer we come to the negative, to death, the more we blossom.
Thursday 1 June 2017, © The Independent
Somewhere over the Atlantic, I've always suspected, there's a giant glass curtain through which Americans view the Middle East – through a glass darkly, perhaps – and which utterly distorts their vision.
Even when they arrive in the region to chat to their "moderate" friends, the Sunni Muslim head-choppers, dictators and torturers who are now enlisting a mad American President in their alliance against Shia Muslims, the Western visitors do no more than mouth their propaganda and agree with Sunni Gulf plans to annihilate Iran. full article>
I would always rather be happy than dignified.
Sunday, May 14, 2017, © InternationalRivers.org
Brazil's archaeologists have lined up alongside conservationists and indigenous rights campaigners to protest against government proposals that they see as a threat to pre-colonial cultural heritage as well as forests, native communities and biodiversity.
The plan, to be debated by Congress on Wednesday, would roll back licensing rules for infrastructure projects, making it easier for construction companies to bulldoze sites of ancient Amazonian civilisations before they have been excavated. full article>
Failure and its accompanying misery is for the artist his most vital source of creative energy.
June 2, 2017, © OurFuture.org
Mr. President, when you took our country out of the global agreement to stop climate change, you said you "represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." As a proud native of western Pennsylvania, I strongly disagree.
You do not represent Pittsburgh. Our people overwhelmingly rejected you at the ballot box, and we have seen your brand of charlatanism before. full article>
Celui qui désespère des événements est un lâche, mais celui qui espère en la condition humaine est un fou.
Juan Carlos Sanz
5 JUN 2017, © El País
Entre el despacho de la joven viceministra de Asuntos Exteriores de Israel, Tzipi Hotovely, en Jerusalén, y el de la histórica dirigente palestina Hanan Ashrawi, en Ramala, hay menos de 20 kilómetros, pero la distancia que separa sus discursos políticos es inabarcable. Hotovely refleja la mentalidad de un amplio sector de la sociedad israelí que aspira a controlar todo el territorio en disputa desde el río Jordán hasta el Mediterráneo. Ashrawi, que ha pasado toda su vida adulta bajo la ocupación israelí, esgrime como la mayoría de los palestinos las resoluciones internacionales que amparan el derecho de su pueblo, aunque no se han cumplido. full article>
Lo grave que está ocurriendo ahora en España y en los países que están pasando una crisis grave es que están recortando en educación, cultura e investigación, y eso es hipotecar el porvenir, cuando se podía hipotecar en otras cosas, como por ejemplo en los soldados españoles que están en Afganistán, ¿qué hacen allí?
Me siento más cómodo cuando me declaran persona 'non grata' que cuando me premian. En el primer caso sé que tengo razón. En el segundo, muy raro por fortuna, dudo de mí mismo.
Javier Rodríguez Marcos
Madrid 4 JUN 2017, © El País
El escritor Juan Goytisolo ha muerto este domingo, 4 de junio, a los 86 años en Marrakech (Marruecos) a consecuencia de los daños causados por un derrame cerebral que sufrió hace dos meses, según ha confirmado la agencia literaria Carmen Balcells, que gestiona sus derechos de autor. El novelista barcelonés, que obtuvo en 2014 el Premio Cervantes, recogió el más importante galardón de las letras en español luciendo en Alcalá de Henares la única corbata que tenía en el armario y dedicando su discurso a los habitantes de la medina de Marrakech, sus vecinos desde que se instalara allí en 1997 con la familia de su amigo, y expareja, Abdelhadi. Hasta ese año, y desde 1956, sus vecinos eran los inmigrantes del Sentier parisino, el barrio en el que vivió con su esposa, la escritora francesa Monique Lange. En París recaló después de abandonar para siempre Barcelona, donde había nacido el 5 de enero de 1931. full article>
Og det øjeblik, man begynder en rejse, så er man samtidig på vej hjem. Jeg rejser ud for at komme hjem. Jeg er altid på vej hjem.
Let's stick to the practical and the concrete: Would you like it if people lived in a virtual world? If machines were smarter than people? If, in the future, people, animals and plants were products of technology? If you don't like these ideas, then for you the computer and biological sciences clearly are dangerous.
La possibilité de jeter le masque en toutes choses est l'un des rares avantages que je trouve à vieillir.
by Gary Leupp
May 31, 2017, © Counterpunch.org
It is a frightening historical moment, fraught with dangers and possibilities.
The big picture, in my view: the U.S. ruling class (in general) screwed up badly last year, and in the last (rigged as always) presidential election, mishandled this particular rigged election. It bungled the normal rigging process. So the candidate backed by the corporate media, academia, and Wall Street, the candidate who got the majority of votes, lost. The buffoon that had been offered as foil to the "most experienced" candidate—a woman finally poised to break that glass ceiling, fated to do so—actually won. full article>
This is a nation that has lost the ability to be self-critical, and that makes a lie out of the freedoms.
Por Flor Ragucci
31 de mayo de 2017, © Página|12
Los esfuerzos, hasta ahora sordos para las instituciones, del primer banco de ADN de familiares de desaparecidos durante la Guerra Civil española, por fin recibieron respuesta. El gobierno de Cataluña firmó este lunes la cesión por parte de la Universidad de Barcelona (UB) de las 180 muestras genéticas que el banco de ADN de víctimas de la Guerra Civil recolectó desde el año de su creación, el 2012, para incorporarlas a la base de datos del Programa de Identificación Genética que el septiembre pasado impulsó la Generalitat (el órgano máximo de gobierno en Cataluña). full article>
You can't get spoiled if you do your own ironing.
By Tom Engelhardt
May 31, 2017, © The Nation
He's huge. Outsized. He fills the news hole at any moment of any day. His over-tanned face glows unceasingly in living rooms across America. Never has a president been quite so big. So absolutely monstrous. Or quite so small.
He's our Little Big Man.
I know, I know... he induces panic, fear, anxiety, insomnia. Shrinks in liberal America will tell you that, since November 2016, their patients are more heavily medicated and in worse shape. He's a nightmare, a unique monster. It's been almost two years since he first entered the presidential race and in all that time I doubt there's been a moment when the cameras haven't been trained on him, when he wasn't "breaking news." (By May 2016, he had already reportedly received the equivalent in "earned media" of nearly $3 billion in free advertising.) He and his endless controversial statements, flubs, tweets, lies, insults, boasts, tales from outer space, and over-the-moon adjectives are covered daily the way, once upon a time, only Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was. full article>
Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can't vent any anger against them; I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence.
FALL SALE $5 TITLE:
In Other Words
Nothing in life is to be feared.
It is only to be understood.
Nothing is easier than to
denounce the evildoer;
nothing is more difficult
than to understand him.
I do not study in order to know more, rather to be less ignorant.
—SOR JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ
We must make haste then,
not only because we are daily
nearer to death, but also
because the conception of
things and the understanding
of them cease first.
Words are like days:
coloring books or pickpockets,
signposts or scratching posts,
fakirs over hot coals.
Certain words must be earned
just as emotions are suffered
before they can be uttered
- clean as a kept promise.
Words as witnesses
testifying their truths
squalid or rarefied
But, words must not carry
more than they can
it's not good for their backs
or their reputations.
For, whether they dance alone
or with an invisible partner,
every word is a cosmos
dissolving the inarticulate
Conquered people tend to
Hijos de la Selva
Perceval Press is pleased to announce the release of HIJOS DE LA SELVA/SONS OF THE FOREST. The book outlines the story of German Ethnographer and explorer Max Schmidt, and includes many of the remarkable photographs that he made in the field while studying the cultures of the Mato Grosso region of Brazil and remote areas of Paraguay between 1900 and 1935.
In our effort to publish and distribute texts that otherwise might not be presented we are offering a three book special purchase of:
The ebook examines six cases of murdered Russian journalists and pairs photos of the murder sites with first-person accounts of the journalist's work and life – from the people who knew and loved them. Now more than ever it is important to understand the silencing of journalists.
© PERCEVAL PRESS