Thursday, April 28, 2011

Florida radio journalist arrested for asking questions at Allen West's townhall meeting

This is fellow Floridian Nicole Sandler asking a followup question of Congressman Allen West at a townhall in South Florida yesterday.

West was reciting the party line, namely, that the Republicans have this brilliant idea--"Let's bring in the magic of the marketplace to run health care for seniors, because something something competition and lowered prices, oooh, look at the birdie!"

And Nicole had the gall to stand up and call it what it is: "You're PRIVATIZING Medicare!"

So they arrested her.

That is correct: at a townhall meeting, wherein politicians are supposed to engage their constituents in debate and conversation about pressing topics of concern--and, I'd add, right here in the United States of America--a concerned, compassionate citizen and mother is ARRESTED and taken to jail for daring to point out that the dishonest puppet Emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

More as details develop.


Michael at Pushing Rope also has videos of Nicole's arrest, however in the second clip (not posted here) it's obvious the footage is edited. Not by Michael, it must be noted, but rather, by whoever shot that footage. Said cameraperson removed the parts shown in the first one (which *is* posted above)--that is, the part where Nicole stands up and calls West out on his Medicare-killing and asks if this isn't privatizing; she keeps repeating her questions. The footage then jumps straight from Allen's previous comments to Nicole being led out and then handcuffed. Her actual questions to Allen were removed so as to be able to use the smarmy title Allen West heckled; Heckler arrested. *sigh*


Nicole Sandler will appear on Cenk's show on MSNBC at 6:15pm this evening.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Frankly Saturday: Frank Zappa's Bogus Pomp; UCLA, 1975

Frank Zappa and the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra perform Bogus Pomp, from the album Orchestral Favorites. Set to video footage of the Other Famous and Relatively Recent Royal Wedding.

I'm somewhat torn between loving the visual spectacle and gorgeous costume of British tradition and loathing the silly notion of spending obscene amounts of public money on private people simply because they were born to one set of parents as opposed to another.

On balance, I submit that our finest crowns and heartiest accolades should go to the artists, musicians, teachers, and scientists among us--that we should celebrate those who make life on earth a happier, healthier, and more meaningful experience for their fellow humans.

I have a feeling Maestro FZ would agree. As would his famous forefather, Marcus Tullius Cicero:

Salus Populi Suprema Est Lex

(The welfare of the people is the ultimate law.)

What say you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In honor of the many lives shattered and snuffed out by BP this time last year...

...I offer this beautiful and provocative video installation, by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist.

Rist created the work in 1997, and I first saw it in New York's MoMA back in 2000, while touring the latest featured collection with my co-author Linda Lindroth, herself an artist whose works can be seen there as well as the Met and other art museums.

It's a violent, beauty-destroying world out there. As they have since time immemorial, the corporations are acting all corporation-y, and as the saying goes, one can either conform, go crazy, or become an artist.

I took a good whack at the first option for, oh, the first few months of my life. (Or so I'm told. That particular time is immemorial, ha!) As soon as I could form words and choose colors, though, the second and third options seemed both inevitable and a whole lot more appealing.

As Robert gets ever-closer to his goal of running an all-wind-and-solar-powered farm, I hereby pledge that when it comes time to retire my current vehicle, the next one will be a hybrid or, better yet, a slick little electric car that I can plug into my solar-powered outlet.

Pass the sledgehammer.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Let America be America Again

This is America, yesterday* and today. What will she become?

Let America be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

-- Langston Hughes, American poet

[H/T Rick Santorum, the possible Republican presidential candidate who lifted the theme--Let America be America Again--of Hughes' famous poem and used it in his campaign slogan. And then denied doing so, of course.

And many thanks to Lee Fang of ThinkProgress, who called him on it.]

* New Orleans, September 2005