Monday, April 07, 2008

Police State UK--Was it like this for the Irish?

"Through a myriad other routes Britain attempts to evade internationally recognised legal restraints. Several years ago Tony Blair attempted to deport an Egyptian human rights lawyer who had been the victim of truly terrible torture in his own country: Blair argued that an assurance from Egypt of the man’s safety would suffice. Unusually, during a court challenge to the legality of his detention, private memoranda between Blair and the Home Office were made public. Across a note from the Home Office expressing concern that even hard assurances given by Egypt were unlikely to provide real protection against torture and execution, Blair had scribbled: ‘Get them back.’ Beside the passage about the assurances he wrote: ‘This is a bit much. Why do we need all these things?’ The man succeeded in his court challenge, but today, on the basis of secret information provided by Egypt, he is the subject of a UN Assets Freezing Order managed by the Treasury. He has no assets, no income and no work, and can be given neither money nor ‘benefit’ without a licence. ‘Benefit’ includes eating the meals his wife cooks. She requires a licence to cook them, and is obliged to account for every penny spent by the household. She speaks little English and is disabled, so is compelled to pass the obligation onto their children, who have to submit monthly accounts to the Treasury of every apple bought from the market, every bus fare to school. Failure to do so constitutes a criminal and imprisonable offence. A few weeks ago in the House of Lords, Lord Hoffman expressed horror at ‘the meanness and squalor’ of a regime ‘that monitored who had what for breakfast’. The number of such cases now multiplies daily. They have nothing at all to do with national security, they only succeed, as they are intended to, in sapping morale; they have everything to do with reinforcing the growing belief of the suspect community that it is expected to eradicate its opinions, its identity and many of the core precepts of its religion..."

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Trabant Man

"A Derbyshire man who has spent almost 20 years collecting East German Trabant cars has lost his final appeal against an order to remove them...

...Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Keene said: "The reality here is that he was, to a large extent, the author of his own misfortune."

farewell Charlton Heston--the last actor who could play iconic figures without the need for cheap irony--try and think of any actor currently working who could do Moses, El Cid & the last man on earth, twice...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

happy birthday Bette Davis

celebrate her centenary at TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES
The establishment media in a nutshell

"Every day, it becomes more difficult to blame George Bush, Dick Cheney and comrades for their seven years (and counting) of crimes, corruption and destruction of our political values. Think about it this way: if you were a high government official and watched as -- all in a couple of weeks time -- it is revealed, right out in the open, that you suspended the Fourth Amendment, authorized torture, proclaimed yourself empowered to break the law, and sent the nation's top law enforcement officer to lie blatantly about how and why the 9/11 attacks happened so that you could acquire still more unchecked spying power and get rid of lawsuits that would expose what you did, and the political press in this country basically ignored all of that and blathered on about Obama's bowling score and how he eats chocolate, wouldn't you also conclude that you could do anything you want, without limits, and know there will be no consequences? What would be the incentive to stop doing all of that?"

Friday, April 04, 2008

John Fahey - March! For Martin Luther King

Letter From A Birmingham Jail

"One may well ask, "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "An unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust..."

Local trees

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Gouge and Bite

"Eye gouging represented neither the "real" human animal emerging on the frontier, nor nature acting through man in a Darwinian struggle for survival, nor anarchic disorder and communal breakdown. Rather, rough-and-tumble fighting was ritualized behavior – a product of specific cultural assumptions. Men drink together, tongues loosen, a simmering old rivalry begins to boil; insult is given, offense taken, ritual boasts commence; the fight begins, mettle is tested, blood redeems honor, and equilibrium is restored. Eye gouging was the poor and middling whites’ own version of a historical southern tendency to consider personal violence socially useful – indeed, ethically essential..."

William Hazlitt "The Fight" 1822

"From this time forward the event became more certain every round; and about the twelfth it seemed as if it must have been over. Hickman generally stood with his back to me; but in the scuffle, he had changed positions, and Neate just then made a tremendous lunge at him, and hit him full in the face. It was doubtful whether he would fall backwards or forwards; he hung suspended for about a second or two, and then fell back, throwing his hands in the air, and with his face lifted up to the sky. I never saw anything more terrific than his aspect just before he fell. All traces of life, of natural expression, were gone from him. His face was like a human skull, a death's head, spouting blood. The eyes were filled with blood, the nose streamed with blood, the mouth gaped blood. He was not like an actual man, but like a preternatural, spectral appearance, or like one of the figures in Dante's "Inferno." Yet he fought on after this for several rounds, still striking the first desperate blow, and Neate standing on the defensive, and using the same cautious guard to the last, as if he had still all his work to do; and it was not till the Gas-man was so stunned in the seventeenth or eighteenth round, that his senses forsook him, and he could not come to time, that the battle was declared over. Ye who despise the FANCY, do something to show as much pluck, or as much self-possession as this, before you assume a superiority which you have never given a single proof of by any one action in the whole course of your lives!"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

priceless YouTube - LISA STANSFIELD (Live) - All Around The World from "Live at the Apollo" in 1990...

"Magnolia After Midnight" from Anodyne

JJ Cale:--"Magnolia" (awesome Poco version) "After Midnight"

I have fond if very ancient memories of this 1970 spaghetti western The Five Man Army which it turns out MIGHT have been directed by Dario Argento--anyway its on TCM at 2300 Pacific. What promises entertainment more than the presence of Bud Spencer??

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Local trees

not new, but...Alex Ross on Adorno

"Adorno’s subsequent thunderings about Auschwitz have a self-corrective aspect, as if he were making up for years of not quite looking evil in the face. Some skeptical commentators argue that he continued to promote a nationalist musical agenda, excoriating almost all composers who were not German or Austrian. It could be said that Adorno used the Holocaust a little too freely, a little too superciliously, as a way of escalating aesthetic battles that predated Hitler’s rise to power.

In 1949, it worked: "The Philosophy of New Music" wowed the confused young minds who were seeking new certitudes, new laws, new gods. Adorno, together with his comrade-in-arms Boulez, probably succeeded in frightening more than a few composers of the neoclassical type into thinking that their music was not just bad but criminal. It is instructive to look at the names of works that were played at Darmstadt from 1946 on. In the first few years, you see titles such as Sonatine, Suite for Piano, Chamber Symphony, Scherzo, and Concerto in E Flat. After 1949, the year of the "Philosophy," neoclassical titles dwindle and are replaced by phrases fit for a "Star Trek" episode: "Music in Two Dimensions," "Schipot," "Polyphonie X," "Syntaxis," "Anepigraphe." There was a fad for abstractions in the plural: "Perspectives," "Structures," "Quantities," "Configurations," "Interpolations." Audiences enjoyed "Spectogram," "Seismogramme," "Audiogramme," and "Sphenogramme." Emblematic was the career of the minor composer Hermann Heiss, who, back in the Nazi regime, had written a "Fighter Pilot March." At the first Darmstadt gathering, in 1946, he was represented by a Sonata for Flute and Piano. In 1956, sensing which way the wind was blowing, he showed up with "Expression K..."

good essay on Fear & Gentrification

"And then there was the neighbor across the street, a white man whom my husband met while I was swimming. He told my husband that he had lived here for twenty years, and asked how we liked it. “Oh, we love it,” my husband said. “We’ve been enjoying Clark Street.” The tone of the conversation shifted with the mention of Clark Street, our closest shopping street, which is lined with taquerias and Mexican groceries. “Well,” the man said, in obvious disapproval, “we’re pioneers here.”

The word pioneer betrays a disturbing willingness to repeat the worst mistake of the pioneers of the American West—the mistake of considering an inhabited place uninhabited. To imagine oneself as a pioneer in a place as densely populated as Chicago is either to deny the existence of your neighbors or to cast them as natives who must be displaced. Either way, it is a hostile fantasy..."

Washington Phillips - The Key to the Kingdom

"Washington Phillips is like the painter Fra Angelico, whose humility separates his paintings from every other renaissance artist. He crafts small, unassuming gems which hold an authority born of wonder, honesty, and a devotional attention to detail. Both artists do what medieval churches do: they make me want to believe in a simple, holy glory upon which I can rest my burden and be lifted up. This music is not about salvation; it is salvation..."