25 October 2014

THE WORLD IS WATCHING FERGUSON…

0000 by Jeff Hess

This internal thread concerning events in and about Ferguson, Missouri,
is stuck to the top of the blog, newer, less vital, posts appear below.

Meanwhile, comments on PZ Myers’ Good Morning, America now exceed 1,600…

An excessive police response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of an unarmed 18-year-old earlier this year ran the risk of killing demonstrators and impinged on their human rights, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

The report, by Amnesty observers deployed to monitor the protests, found that the militarised reaction to a small minority of violent demonstrators “impacted the rights of all participating” to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly under the US constitution and state law.

Heavily armed police clashed with demonstrators in Ferguson on successive nights in August after Michael Brown was shot dead by officer Darren Wilson. Teargas, stun grenades and rubber and wooden bullets were shot at crowds to force them to leave the streets.

Noting that the so-called “less-lethal” ammunition that was shot at crowds in Ferguson “can result in serious injury and even death”, Amnesty’s 23-page report said on Friday that “at least two children were treated for exposure to teargas” during the protests.

The report made a series of recommendations to authorities on the policing of protests. It called for any officers responsible for human rights violations during the protests to be “brought to account through criminal or disciplinary proceedings as appropriate, and provide full redress to victims”.

The human rights organisation said the use of heavy-duty military-grade equipment by armed officers at demonstrations, which was sharply criticised during the height of the Ferguson crisis, serves to intimidate protesters and “can actually lead to an escalation in violence”.

“Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict is inevitable rather than possible, escalating tensions between protesters and police,” said the report.

Jon Swaine writing in Ferguson protests: Amnesty report criticises police excesses for The Guardian.

—***—

Ferguson is a city holding its breath as it waits for the other shoe to drop.

The protesters have mostly moved on from West Florissant Avenue, where in August nightly battles with a police force that looked as if it were dressed for war were televised across the US. But the beauty salon, barbecue joint and Chinese restaurant are still boarded up, even if large spray painted letters – “We’re Open!” – make it clear they are still in business.

They are likely to stay that way as their owners anxiously await the next milestone of the Michael Brown tragedy.

Many people in Ferguson expect that the grand jury Continue Reading »

25 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V C…

0600 by Jeff Hess

The whole power structure (and we have already discussed its physical articulation) could not exist at all if there were not a certain metaphysical order binding all its components together, interconnecting them and subordinating them to a uniform method of accountability, supplying the combined operation of all these components with rules of the game, that is, with certain regulations, limitations, and legalities. This metaphysical order is fundamental to, and standard throughout, the entire power structure; it integrates its communication system and makes possible the internal exchange and transfer of information and instructions. It is rather like a collection of traffic signals and directional signs, giving the process shape and structure. This metaphysical order guarantees the inner coherence of the totalitarian power structure. It is the glue holding it together, its binding principle, the instrument of its discipline. Without this glue the structure as a totalitarian structure would vanish; it would disintegrate into individual atoms chaotically colliding with one another in their unregulated particular interests and inclinations. The entire pyramid of totalitarian power, deprived of the element that binds it together, would collapse in upon itself, as it were, in a kind of material implosion.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

25 October 2014

WHAT…? NO CATS…? CALL THE UNION…!

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141025
John K King Used & Rare Books, Detroit, USA: Kings is located in a huge 1940s glove factory, which John bought in the early 1980s after having outgrown his former premises in the Michigan Theatre Building. The shop has twenty employees, two dogs and two canaries.

25 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Campaign Costs
Hotel/motel tax split
Court wants higher pay raises
1990 cold case
Water main break in Belpre

Top Headlines Poll: Are you even more concerned about contracting Ebola?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

24 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V B…

0600 by Jeff Hess

If ideology was originally a bridge between the system and the individual as an individual, then the moment he steps on to this bridge it becomes at the same time a bridge between the system and the individual as a component of the system. That is, if ideology originally facilitated (by acting outwardly) the constitution of power by serving as a psychological excuse, then from the moment that excuse is accepted, it constitutes power inwardly, becoming an active component of that power. It begins to function as the principal instrument of ritual communication within the system of power.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

24 October 2014

MEASURING THE LITERATE…

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141024
The Bookworm, Beijing, China: This store combines reading and partying: “The Bookworm often has impromptu music evenings that bubble up out of nowhere, normally huddled around the bookshop piano. In some rooms the bookshelves are floor-to-ceiling, and there is an outdoor terrace where they serve cocktails,” says Campbell.

24 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Orchard Place
Marietta police chief plans to retire in Feb.
Drug trafficker gets 90-day jail sentence
Seismic testing
Old vs. new in Ohio House race

Top Headlines Poll: Do you plan to support the Children Services levy in the coming election?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously..

23 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V A…

0600 by Jeff Hess

WE HAVE seen that the real meaning of the greengrocer’s slogan has nothing to do with what the text of the slogan actually says. Even so, this real meaning is quite clear and generally comprehensible because the code is so familiar: the greengrocer declares his loyalty (and he can do no other if his declaration is to be accepted) in the only way the regime is capable of hearing; that is, by accepting the prescribed ritual, by accepting appearances as reality, by accepting the given rules of the game. In doing so, however, he has himself become a player in the game, thus making it possible for the game to go on, for it to exist in the first place.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

23 October 2014

FINALLY, A GOOD COLONIALISM…

0530 by Jeff Hess

Bookseller in Calcutta, India: “College Street in Calcutta, India, is known as Boi Para (Colony of Books). Many publishers are based there, and book stalls stretch for half a mile along it”, with pamphlets, paperbacks, out-of-print editions and all kinds of publications in many languages spilling over onto the road.

23 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Seismic testing
Old vs. new in Ohio House race
Local man to get six months
Applications for Secret Santa

Top Headlines Poll: Do you plan to support the Children Services levy in the coming election?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

22 October 2014

RALPH NADER RIGHTS ON KASICH AND ROLDO…

1930 by Jeff Hess

Governor John Kasich
State of Ohio
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117

Dear Governor Kasich:

I have recently been reading articles describing your compassionate conservatism as compared with the more hard-bitten practices of your Republican colleagues. You seem to have a genuine concern for some of the plights of the poor, the deprived and the ailing—again by comparison with many of your gubernatorial colleagues.

Both you and I had a common experience of concern over the huge sums spent on corporate welfare as a result of the first ever hearing you held on that subject when you were Chairman of the House Budget Committee in 1999. You found my suggestion for such a hearing very appropriate and generously invited me to be its first witness. There was a Left-Right presentation that day demonstrating a convergence of views that taxpayers should not be required to subsidize, provide handouts, give away public resources or bail out mismanaged large corporations.

Right after you became governor of Ohio, I wrote you asking for action against the myriad of direct and indirect corporate welfare (aka crony capitalism) that fills Ohio’s statute books at the state and municipal level. At that time you were looking for ways to reduce the state’s deficit. Savings by abolishing those draining corporate subsidies would help towards that goal. There was no reply. So months later I called and wrote again, still no reply.

Maybe this third try will elicit your response. For good measure, in addition to urging you to announce a program to diminish or eliminate various kinds of corporate welfare, you may be interested in a recent enclosed report of corporate welfare in Cleveland, Ohio by legendary investigative reporter Roldo Bartimole—a man of great integrity and sense of what is important for the citizenry to know in detail.

May I hear from you before the election on November 4, 2014?

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader

P.O. Box 19312
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 387-8034

Roldo has been covering Cleveland political and other characters for nearly 50 years. He has been called “arguably Cleveland’s greatest investigative reporter of the past half century” by Ralph Nader in 2014.

Others also have been generously complimentary:

“There are—in my experience—only a handful of journalists in America like him. He’s a citizen journalist, the finest kind of idealist you’ll ever find… Roldo actually believes in American democracy and the American people. It’s easy enough to say someone is a muckraker, but Roldo is much more than that. He’s a reporter with rare insight.” –Jim Ridgeway, then of Village Voice, 1993.

“As an elected public official, I have received my share of ‘hits’ from Roldo. But unlike my experience with other news media, I have never challenged Roldo’s criticisms as being unfair, unsupported by the facts or discriminatory in any way… Cleveland owes Roldo Bartimole a debt of gratitude. –Judge Carl Stokes and former Cleveland Mayor, 1993.

“It’s always high noon for Roldo Bartimole, last of the gunslinger journalists.” –Bill Osinski, article in Akron Beacon Journal, 1983.

The Cleveland Memory Project: Roldo Bartimole’s Point Of View.

Roldo Bartimole at Have Coffee Will Write.ROLDO RIGHTS ON…Roldo Bartimole, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Plain Dealer, Journalism, Sin Tax, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians, Jimmy Haslam, Dan Gilbert, Larry Dolan

22 October 2014

PARKED IN THE PORTE COCHERE

1030 by Jeff Hess

porte cochere
James Lee Burke has a vocabulary all his own and the common words arch across novels, decades and characters. The phrase Porte Cochere (see page 326) literally means coach door, and is one that I’ve always thought meant what I would call a carport. I wasn’t far wrong, but there is history and a regionalilty that my vision just doesn’t capture. Burke is one of those writers whom I first read for the shear beauty of his prose and stay for the characters and story. He has been high on my target list for theft for a couple of decades now.

22 October 2014

KNOWING TO DO THE NEXT RIGHT ACTION…

0800 by Jeff Hess

[T]he potential uses of checklists in everyday life—a list for holiday packing, say, or for getting the kids out of the house every morning (there are hundreds of examples at checklists.com) – aren’t usually matters of life and death. But they are similar in this respect: the idea of making a checklist is so stupidly obvious that it seems impossible it could have so vast an effect. As with the doctors, the suggestion that we use more checklists in our lives, advanced by numerous time management gurus, seems a veiled insult: are they suggesting that we’re too stupid to rely on our instincts and expertise in the moment? But the truth is that all life, not just medicine, is increasingly complex; if highly trained intensive-care specialists can forget a crucial step, it’s surely conceivable that anyone might.

Besides, the stepwise structure of checklists has the salutary effect of narrowing your focus to the next action. When it comes to large undertakings, dwelling on the big picture can be paralysing, and a distraction from the next step, which is the only one you can ever actually take. As they say, I’m told, at Alcoholics Anonymous, where they preach it as a survival strategy, all you have to remember is to “do the next right thing”. Then the next, and the next, and the next.

Oliver Burkeman writing in This column will change your life: Check out checklists for The Guardian.

22 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART IV C…

0600 by Jeff Hess

The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

22 October 2014

COWPOKE READING…

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141022
Singing Wind Bookstore, Benson, Arizona: Winifred Bundy has been selling books here for 40 years. It’s a little tricky to find, situated on a working cattle farm four miles from the nearest town. It doesn’t have a website, Twitter, Facebook or email address. “It doesn’t even have opening hours: you just have to turn up and hope for the best.”

22 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Banishing bullies
Belpre man gets 4 years
Accomplice gets prison
Former Steeler to speak locally
Around Town

Top Headlines Poll: Do you plan to support the Children Services levy in the coming election?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

21 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART IV B…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Ideology, in creating a bridge of excuses between the system and the individual, spans the abyss between the aims of the system and the aims of life. It pretends that the requirements of the system derive from the requirements of life. It is a world of appearances trying to pass for reality.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

21 October 2014

SAVING BOOKS, ONE STITCH AT A TIME…

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141021
George Bayntun, Bath, England: George Bayntun’s bindery has been open since the 1800s, and even now there are eleven binders working there, with clients across the globe. Between them they’ve been in the field for 337 years. The bindery also claims to have the largest collection of hand tools and blocks in the world—more than 15,000.

21 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

(Note: Newseum doesn’t usually update the front pages until 0630 or so)

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Providing safe haven for animals a labor of love
What the Children Services Levy means
Guilty plea for drug trafficking
Gator’s open for business
Warren schools looks at 5-year forecast

Top Headlines Poll: Do you plan to support the Children Services levy in the coming election?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

20 October 2014

WORK HARD TO BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE…

1100 by Jeff Hess

[d]emystifying passion “is liberating. It frees you from obsession over whether you are doing the ‘right’ thing with your life,” says Cal Newport. Almost any interest “can be transformed into a passion with hard work, so there’s no reason to sweat choices such as [a university degree] or your first post-college career.” If you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity, just pick something that interests you, he counsels. Then work hard at it. “Passion” may not be worth getting too excited about.

Oliver Burkeman writing in This column will change your life: The passion for passions for The Guardian.

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