Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Displaced in France

So, I have accepted some invitations for interviews for long term projects in France- what great timimg! So, dear Friends, I will be gone to France for a couple of weeks- I will be doing the American out of water thing for a couple of weeks. I hope I am considered for the projects, and I will be following all the Portland and US election news from Paris, bien sur!

A Bientot!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Fiscal Responsibility

Every since I was a little girl, I have heard people on radio and TV call themselves 'fiscal conservatives' saying that government stood in the way of success of the common people, and people who took aid from the government were basically the spawn of Satan. Regulation was bad, social programs were bad, having programs in the common interests was bad.

Never mind that the first few words in the Declaration is 'We, the people'. Never mind hat the very word, democracy, literally means 'rule by the people'. These people made the government the enemy- the very structure put into place by the people.

Of course, this message worked. Along with the racism that a lot of conservative movement revelled in,( because, you know, Black and Hispanics take every single penny of entitlement programs, Asians were 'invisible' and Arabs were violent) the idea that people somehow, in some way, do everything by themselves appealed to the vanity and venality of many people in this country. The idea that low, low taxes and high, high spending were God's own gift to Americans had a powerful draw to many. The lack of true intellectual inquiry, the mental laziness, the lack of true ambition beyond making money the quick and easy way, came to be the defining aspect of this country.

And now we see the fruit of a 30 year sustained effort to tear down the protections of this economy, the logical and brutal conclusion to deregulation and lack of fiscal responsibility. For it was conservatism, the definition of which is to preserve, but fiscal recklessness and fiscal arrogance, fiscal stupidity and fiscal contempt.

Now, instead of having single payer or two tier healthcare- which apparently, we could have had for years now, if the Treasury is being asked for 700 billion- we get to wipe the asses of these fools on Wall Street in a desperate attempt to stave off the coming contraction to our economy ( we call it a depression.)

Maybe we need a Depression. Maybe people who think they have money because they have credit cards need to not have that money anymore. Maybe we do need tgo collectively suffer for a while.

It's remarkable, really, looking at how people conducted themselves during the Great Depression. Racial crap in this country was allowed to start to die. Women got better rights. The underlining structure of our country was built during that time.

Maybe we need discover each other beyond the easy BS all of us have been fed over the last 30 years.

We shall see.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Campaign ads should be in Spanish

It sounds so much more menacing:

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Does AIG=Single Payer Healthcare?

This is something I saw on Daily Kos:

Does our rescue of AIG mean that we can have single payer healthcare? After all, AIG is an insurance company...

Of course, the question is said in jest, but sometimes a jest can illuminate what is right in front of our faces.

Somehow, the government deemed it wise to rescue AIG due to cascading effect if the mega insurance company failed.The economy could have destroyed completely. The thing is, there is also a cascading effect when people have patchy healthcare coverage and not enough medical coverages. There is bankruptcy from medical bills, hospitals are not compensated adequately for services rendered, doctors go into piecemeal specialisation in order to make a living, drugs are overpriced due to the need to make a profit ( even though a good percentage of drug r&d is started with government grants and funds) and if you are unemployed, then woe is you.

Somehow, we as a country have not yet reach the conclusion that the cascading effects of not having health care means a strain on the economy and the destruction of well being of citizens. Yet we are seeing this play out, all in real time.

If the we, the people can scrape up money to rescue AIG, and can seriously consider a loan to Auto industry ( after pissing in people's faces about fuel economy, and realising the Japanese and Koreans were paying attention), then I think we can come up with simngle payer healthcare or a two tier system system.


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There goes my retirement

So, like, I lost a bit of money in my retirement fund. Sweet!

Now, every thing is deadly dull long term bonds- and here's hoping even that will stay together.

Faith in God, faith in people- but faith in the 'markets'?


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Invited to leave

Okay, we have great friends!

1) Venezuela has kicked out our Ambassador, Patrick Duddy. So, in return, we are kicking out Venezuela's ambassador as well.

2) This comes after Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, order the US ambassador to leave as well.

Now- it used to be that being an ambassador meant that you had the utmost skill in diplomacy, had great, piercing intelligence and understood how to communicate to reach mutual goals.

Something is desperately, terribly wrong when these two South American states, places that should be our sympathetic neighbors, are kicking out our ambassadors.

What are we communicating to our neighbors? Why are they doing this rather hostile act? What is the media not telling us, between stories of Troopergate and fall fashion?

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More Fiscal Conservatism

Here is a trailer from a documentary that is currently making the rounds:

As a country, the doctrine has been the following:

"We want good roads, good schools and good services to make our communities run well. We want to wage war as needed or not.

But we don't want to pay taxes for it.

and as for our goodies, we don't want to save for it later- we want to be able to buy it right now, with easy, easy payments."

That's our fiscal conservatism, in a nutshell.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yet more Fiscal Conservatism


Lehman Brothers has gone bankrupt! Merrill Lynch might be bought out by Bank Of America!

But hey, the economy is 'fundementally sound'!



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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lovely September.. and time sinks


Displaced will go to DC, but not before doing a tiny bit of work for a friend in France and perhaps getting some ideas myself. As lovely as fall is here, getting a chance to go to France and for some writing work is even better. Plus, after being a campaign volunteer for so long during this season, it would be good to get away from this country and get a breather.

So will be definitely flying to Paris - will be leaving on 2 October, so I really need to get my cameras together ( digital and film, plus fix my steadicam) and do some run in shots.

Ah, the City of Light- and of heavy expenses. It will definitely be a hit to the savings, but no matter. I will be back in time to pack and move.


Michael W asked me to join Facebook, so hey, why not.

What a time sink. And look, all the people I thought I fogot from Ripon...are there. On Facebook.


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Twenty Questions

From Foreign Policy ( one of the magazines I used to read in college)

Twenty questions for Sarah Palin

Damn. I had to look up a few myself!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Food and Culture

My super smart yet underestimate friend Betty has started a new blog, cool chicken over at Wordpress, and she has some interesting questions abot irradiation technique used to preserve food. Help her out, wouldja?

It brings to mind what James Kunstler has remarked about our foodways: it is agribusiness, not agriculture. Agribusiness is the raising of food, often monoculturely, for sheer profit. Agriculture ( from the Latin De re cultura) is the tending of land and food crops.

What is the difference? Agribusiness is the viewing of crops as distinct commodities. These commodities have no bearing on the environment in which they are raised nor on people who consume them. It is just a way to make money, like working in an factory or prostitution- just another way to have a product for consumption.
When I was in Wisconsin, many rural families spent their money at the local supermarket- even though they had land enough to produce veg and fruit to feed their families for the year. Instead, they overpaid for food imported far away, and felt no connection to the coop corn they grew on the acreage. They just grew it as a way to make money, but as a way to make a living

With agriculture, there is an understanding of the soil, of the crops, the environment and a connection to the people who tend the land. In the Southeastern USA, many people have veg and fruit gardens plus they have cooking techniques handed down from English/Scottish settlers, African slaves and French traders. That's why Southern Food, for the most part, is so darn good- an understanding of food when it is in season, using seasoning with care, and the right cooking methods.

People need to ask themselves what they want- business food or soul food.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

The Press? So what?

Some of my more Naderite-ish friends have been saying "You'll see, Edie, once sarah Palin gives an interview to the press...""

The Press? So the heck what? The Press, our Fourth Estate, has focused on bullshit for the last 8 years. They have willing swallowed propaganda from the White House, has willingly allowed coverups and crimes to go unabated with nary a whisper. Indeed, The Press has been more willing to examine Britney Spears lack of underwear than the continual degradation of our civil rights.

So, sorry, the McCain people really don't give a rip about The Press. The Press has shown themselves to be whores, cooing over McCains former 'accessability' while failing to investigate his voting record ( especially for veterans) and expose his background. All of this spittle from The Press is simply because they were not told first.

A far better article can be found here, at Salon.

And because when it comes to pithy explanations, no one does it better than the British, here's The Economist, one of the best magazines on the planet. It combines a free market economic stance with a
worldly outlook and a liberal bent. It has a clear, smart explanation of what McCain/Palin tickets looks like to the world.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fiscal Conservatism- literally


Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in recievership!

Free markets! Free markets! Let the market find the answer...until the big shot investors realise they'll lose a mint, and they come crying to The Government, the big evil Government that they did not want regulation from, to save them.

We need sensible regulation of our banking system. Seriously, we are incredibly vulnerable in ways that do not include stupid, disaffected terrorists who happen to come from nations we are indebted to for oil.

Guh- and people worry about gay marriage and whether somebody's else daughter is having an abortion!

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

The World through Spectacle

What did the state spectacles show us?

So we have had nearly four weeks of spectacle- The Chinese showed us the power of ancient yet emergent culture hurtling into the 21st century; the Democrats showed us the power of hope and happiness amidst difficult times and the Republicans showed us anger and contempt.

The differences were striking. The Chinese, with a culture that goes back to the time of the pharaohs, wanted to really impress the world- or rather, the Western World. In little less than a hundred years after being as colonialist fodder by the British, the Beijing Olympics showed the power of literally masses of people being directed by a iron fist and desperate, hungry ambition to build a country as powerful and as influential as The United States. They hold a great deal of US general bond debt; about 80% of our clothing is made in Chinese factory (including high cost, ‘designer’ goods) and great deal of toys furniture, computers ( perhaps even the one you are reading this blog on ) plastic containers and other gadgets for everyday living is also made in China.

China is the provider of the lifestyle of the current 21st century – quick, fast, cheap, disposable, paid off in low, easy, easy payments with compound interest and no longevity. It’s what Americans are told what they want- and Chinese do their part in providing it. But in providing it, they showed Americans their own lifestyle that has endured- slow, carefully done, handed down, purchased once and with work in kind.

Will the Chinese succumb to the own products and lifestyle that they provide? I hope not. I hope that the mass will they displayed was not just a spectacle of State Power, but a statement about people can and work together to make moments of beauty.

Then, almost immediately after, came the Democratic Convention. Of course, it was already determined that Barack Obama was to be the Democratic nominee. But the show of putting together the Democratic Party had to go on, and it was well choreographed. But what was striking to me was the sense of true optimism, of sense of purpose and dignity. There was Dennis Kucinich, hopping on his tippy toes, his face glowing with genuine warmth and happiness: “Up with people! Up with peace and prosperity! Up with workers!”

There were listening stations for citizens of Denver, there were bikes to borrow and use, and there were examples of locally produced beer and fine locally grown food. There was street theatre, prayer circles and serious discussions amongst ordinary people- bus drivers start up owners, hippies, café owners, librarians, soldiers- about what they could do in their lives to make this country a little better.

Yes, of course there were the lobbyists and favor seekers- yes, there was apparently operatives and reps from the Medyedev/Putin government seeking an audience with the Obama camp. That was to be expected – there could be a change in the government, and it’s good to start making good now.

But the overall sense to show the diversity of America’s mosaic- creating a picture of a modern country trying to work together.

The climax was at the Stadium, where people stood in lines miles deep to hear Barack Obama accept he nomination. Despite what many commentators would state, it was stirring, it was inclusive and it was very good. But it could not be non partisan. That sense of purpose and optimism had a goal- to change the direction in which the country has been, and meant criticism of the Administration and of the party that produced the Administration.

But, when you looked at the people’s faces, you saw genuine, warm love- that quality known as agape. The hugging of each other, the kisses and high fives. They had every reason to rancorous and angry- and yet they were not. Extraordinary.

Yes, the Democratic Convention was a spectacle- to not only show off the Presidential Nominee, but to also display possibilities of living, opportunities for serious discussion, and optimism. It was an example of the republican ideals of the good life- a deliberate, conscious way of living a life with neighbors.

After hurricane Gustav had past, the Republicans got to have their convention. It was just as choreographed as the Democrats, and just as dependent of music and cheering. But the cheers seemed stuck in the throat, and there was pervasive air of injured dignity, tight lipped disapproval, a strange, pathetic fear and a sneering, snarling anger.

It was baffling at first: they were just introduced to an attractive, strong willed Governor from Alaska, Sarah Palin. She was a conservative, a proud mom of five and a career woman- something to offer and identify to many voters. Their party held the Presidency for 8 years. They had gotten all the tax breaks, all the religious power within reason and the Constitution, all the war contracts, all the expansion of Federal Government ( that would benefit many of the people who were delegates at the convention) . St. Paul had turned into a police state for their behalf. There were plenty of lobbyists paying for extravagant parties for them.

What on Earth could these people be angry about?

And why were the most privileged, most elite of the elite (Why, yes, I am talking to you, Mitt Romney and especially you, Rudy) the most civil and erudite (that’s you, Huckabee) and the most thoughtful and righteous (Lieberman, brother, really?) speaking to these permanently angry, afraid people? Why the graphic display of destruction of property and human life on 9/11- as if most of us did not see it already, did not live it already, and for those of us in grew up in New York, still have headaches from our brains trying to replace what was destroyed?

Why was there such a ready audience for Sarah Palin speech, which said nothing of any true import? Why no mention of the economic problems? Why vague generalities about how people are doing and

I think that the anger and fear the Republicans was an acknowledgement that when it comes to governance, they make bad choices. It was an acknowldgement that they knew they were being rebuked in the last election cycle 1 ½ years ago, when many Republicans were replaced in House races.

It was also a nasty display of jealousy of Barack Obama- after all, the man can’t help it being smart – and it was sad display of reverting to petty, divisive politics- urban vs rural, hard core religious against moderate or non, guns versus non guns owners- all divisions that exist in spectrum, and do not necessarily preclude the other from being.

But worse of all, it was an acknowledgement of contempt for other people. Speakers talked about individuality, and the party of Lincoln and responsibility. Lincoln would be perfectly aghast. The vulgar clamoring for money, the vicious disregard for those with less than you, and most of all, the open, snarling contempt for those who give of themselves to help other would have shocked Lincoln to his very being- seeing as he was an community organizer who helped build the original Republican party into significance.

Yes, those references to community organizers. While the Democrats were exhorting people to be involved in their community and show their personal excellence, Giuliani and Palin had only contempt for people who did- in essence, pissing on the very founders of our nation, who were community organizers standing up for their rights as people.

Finally, it was a spectacle of mediocrity. Sarah Palin was indeed a fresh face, but as things began flying out of Alaska, we discovered aspects to her governance that is exploitative at worse, and mediocrity at its very best. She’s a hypocrite and a liar, a backstabber and a user. She is petty, and sees nothing wrong in abusing executive power. In other words, McCain made the choice that reflects the current governing style of the Republican party. The delegates on the floor, their upturned faces and laughter resembling starved hyenas, saw their own- a person proud of her ambition, lacking in responsibility, and only sees others as a way to make a mark.

Spectacles reflect the way that world is presented to us. Sometimes spectacles can try to obscure the world and present an illusion of threat and insecurity, sometimes it is meant to impress and awe. And sometimes, sometimes, it can be a combination of the two, trying to address issues while proving it is possible to create impressive moments of grace.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

More Fun with Sarah Palin

And Todd Palin's former business partner has ordered his divorce papers sealed.

This is the media doing the job that McCain's people should have done a long time ago. My goodness!

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oh, yes, the speech

Ah, yes.

Here's the main things I picked up:

Fight, stand up, battle, defend, confront, punch, torture, God, guns.

Nothing policy wise. Nothing particularly specific, butr there was appeal to emotion without a substantive basis,and that does work with the ultra right wing base that controls the Republican party. That base is not rich- they are poor and proud of it, gosh darn it. They like having mediocre lives ( because frankly, not everyone can live in Alaska, dependent on oil subsidy checks and federal money) and like being poor- just as long as their 'values' are not messed with. They will vote happily for McCain/Palin.

For the rest of us who work, have done community work and are true fiscal conservatives, the Obama/Biden ticket is the only sane alternative.

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On Community Organizers

Here a very brief video made tonight-


Barack Obama on Communiy Organizing




Fun with the Daily Show

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Community Organizers

Community Organizers come in may different forms. My mother was a member of a community group that gave free health care to people in Bed Stuy and Crown Heights. My dear friend Christine gave her precious time as a volunteer in Portland Public schools. I have work wih street theatre groups, Freegan groups and Food not Bombs.

Communiy organizers have one thing in common- to serve their fellow human beings in the community who may not have access to power in any way. and you do hav eresponisbility and accountability- results are measured in one more person having a check up, in more kid learning how to read, in an arts group doing Shakespeare in a public park, with free lunch after.

Community organizers do exactly that- organize, coalesce and build connections with a community. They help form charter schools, and lending libraries and coop grocers.

They formed part of the abolitionist and suffragist movement.

Yet the Republicans sarcasticly attacks community service, and those smug, foolish, self centered people on floor laughed. Laughed, their faces smooth and ugly, having never know what it could feel like to thrown out of a job, of being a kid who can't read, of being someone who needs medical care and simply cannot afford the doctor, and these people laughed their laughable, evil laughs at the thought of people working outside the system, challenging the system to give people more.

Here's a more coherent response:

My mother came to this country in 1952; she became a nurse in 1958 and got her MSN in 1972. She was a community organizer and nurse for 25 years, giving free checkup and care when she could do it in various small free clinics in Brooklyn. The speeches tonight also spat in her face, and her Jewish and Puerto Rican sisters who helped right along side her.

PS: Here's a list of community organizers. See if you recognise the names:

Martin Luther King
John Brown
Harriet Tubman
Sojourner Truth
Jane Hull
Cesar Chavez
John Adams
Dolly Madison
Thomas Jefferson
Eleanor Roosevelt
Malcom X
Dalai Lama

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On Rudy

And what was with Rudy Guilani's crack about Barack Obama being raised by a 'cosmopolitan' parent?

Rudy Giulani, who was a member of the Opera Club in college, who has dressed in drag,who speaks French and Spanish and Italian, who has had extramarital sex with many a dame in New York City, despite his Italian Catholicism?(Rudy was once sex on wheels.) Rudy Guilani, who was elected by a very broad coalition of people in New York, black and Jew and Italian and Gay?

What was with Rudy's nasty contempt of Barack's community organising background? Rudy's a lawyer, for chrissakes; one of the most successful prosecutors in all of Southern New York. If anyone understands preyed on communities and communities taking back their streets, it would be Rudy.

I'll tell you what Rudy was doing: He was playing dog whistle politics; the politics of division and cultural values, which, as as an cultured Italian American, he does not even believe in! Sorry, folks, Rudy's from Queens, and he smells of garlic and basil, and he went to one of the finest law schools in the country. Yeah, he was a mayor, like Sarah Palin- but of one the largest metropolises in the world. Ruling New York City is like ruling a City State- and Rudy was our Italian Prince, Our New Cosmo.

He is not like you- in fact, he is quite superior to you.

While Rudy can sell that roast to those Republicans, look carefully at his face when the crowd starts with "drill, baby, drill". His look of amused shock that such language would erupt.

Oh, Rudy- I am so disappointed. You were our Italian Prince; to see you playing to these small minded, smug, foolish people is utterly painful.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Not a member of the Washington Elite

Oh, my.

I can see why Governor Palin was so very sucessful in Alaska- very sharp, indeed. But no substance- nothing on energy, nothing on what concerns many citizens in the lower 48. Nice,nasty digs at Barack Obama and at the Media ( which is very, very foolish) Selling planes on Ebay means nothing to people who may lose their jobs in factories that build them. Getting rid of servants doesn't mean much to people who are food workers. And it seems that Governor Palin was for the Bridge before she was against it, and she actively sought federal earmarks for Wasila's fine new Sports Center.

Plenty of talk of oil/gas supplies and of course developing drilling - for drilling, you need to have federal funded infrastructure, which would then give an advantage to oil companies and no discernable lower prices.

Lots of sarcasm, lots of jealousy and terrorism talk and too big government. And taxes, taxes, taxes! All of this, while little Trig is shown continously on camera.

All nastiness and sarcasm, some mention of oil policy, but not much.

No word on the current economy. So much for Sarah Palin.

This is disappointing. The tone is very sad. The Republicans have co-opted Obama's message and made fun of his accomplishments. There is an active nastiness here, a pathetic jealousy and shock over the Obama campaign. The focus is diffuse; centered mostly around McCain's war record and his horrid story of his survival in Vietnam.

But of true substance? Nothing there.

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Narratives are BS

Hey, if you are ever on a TV Show, listen: When they do the cut away, the cameras and the microphones are still on.

Here's Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy, GOP stragetist, on the whole Palin thing:

Ugh. Back to work.

A Baruch:

From two years ago, Joe Lieberman on Barack Obama ( Barack is the Afro-arabic version of Baruch)

Poor Joe- why even show up at the Republican Convbention? He was visible and throughly snubbed for the VP pick, so why even bother?

Sigh. More State Spectatcle!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin's Family Issues are Petty- or, it's the country, stupid

Hey guys-

Please read my post about a couple days ago, and then go ahead and read Bob Herbert's excellent article in the NYT. That articles explains perfectly as to why I really don't care about Ms. Palin's family issues- we all have them- and care much, much more about what she has to say, and the Republicans plan to respond to real issues raised to them.

They should not be so quick to congratulate themselves on Gustav- Hannah and Ike are on their way, and the Dems have a smoking evidence of John McCain voting down 52 weeks of unemployment for Katrina victims.

It's not about Palin, folks. It's about how she and Republican party respond to the issues of the day. Leave the family out of it.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Hookers and Blow

Despite John McCain acting like a, you know, a real, compassionate human being, his fellow Republicans have decided to let the good times roll:

Would you listen to John McCain, save that money and simply stop! Darnit all.