20 October 2014

WAITING TO EXHALE IN 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…

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 considering whether to indict a police officer, Darren Wilson, for killing Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed African American, will let him go. But no one is quite sure how that will be received on the streets.

“I think there’ll be a bunch of trouble if something right don’t happen,” said René Jones, who lives in an apartment opposite the makeshift memorial to Brown, of tributes, candles, signs and stuffed toys, that has grown up on the spot in the street where he died. “There’s nothing that’s going to convince people around here that it’s not the system protecting its own if Wilson walks free.”

Across the road, Norma Webb was leaning over a balcony.

“The justice system isn’t doing its part,” she said. “They need to indict Darren Wilson. That’s what’s got everyone enraged. They are ducking and diving. We want justice. Even though he’s a cop he should be treated the same as everybody else.”

The man next to her, who give his name as Big Woody, interjected.

“It’s going to get real ugly if they don’t indict him,” he said.

Webb agreed.

“I pray to god this is settled in a human manner,” she said.

Among the city’s white residents, the mood is no less concerned.

“I know there are citizens worried about it,” said Brian Fletcher, a former mayor. “At least we will know when the verdict is coming. We’ll be prepared.”

The problem is not only that many people in Ferguson, whether they have been out on the streets demonstrating or not, believe Wilson shot Brown because he was black. They say that if the officer it is not indicted it will be because the authorities have covered for him.

Chris McGreal writing in Divided Ferguson awaits grand jury decision on Michael Brown killing for The Guardian.

—***—

Thousands of people from around the nation have traveled here under the banner #FergusonOctober to protest the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. And while local citizens and politicians, visiting demonstrators and even media personnel have been subject to police confrontation since the earliest days of action, the latest round of demonstrations around the city have resulted in dozens of Continue Reading »

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.

20 October 2014

TEAR DOWN THAT WALL…

0830 by Jeff Hess

tom peters 141020

Previously…

20 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IVA…

0600 by Jeff Hess

BETWEEN the aims of the post-totalitarian system and the aims of life there is a yawning abyss: while life, in its essence, moves toward plurality, diversity, independent self-constitution, and self organization, in short, toward the fulfillment of its own freedom, the post-totalitarian system demands conformity, uniformity, and discipline. While life ever strives to create new and improbable structures, the post-totalitarian system contrives to force life into its most probable states. The aims of the system reveal its most essential characteristic to be introversion, a movement toward being ever more completely and unreservedly itself, which means that the radius of its influence is continually widening as well. This system serves people only to the extent necessary to ensure that people will serve it. Anything beyond this, that is to say, anything which leads people to overstep their predetermined roles is regarded by the system as an attack upon itself. And in this respect it is correct: every instance of such transgression is a genuine denial of the system. It can be said, therefore, that the inner aim of the post-totalitarian system is not mere preservation of power in the hands of a ruling clique, as appears to be the case at first sight. Rather, the social phenomenon of self-preservation is subordinated to something higher, to a kind of blind automatism which drives the system. No matter what position individuals hold in the hierarchy of power, they are not considered by the system to be worth anything in themselves, but only as things intended to fuel and serve this automatism. For this reason, an individual’s desire for power is admissible only in so far as its direction coincides with the direction of the automatism of the system.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless

20 October 2014

THE VAULTS SHOULD BE READING ROOMS…

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141020
Munro’s, Victoria, Canada: In 1963 Jim Munro and his first wife, the Nobel-winning short story-writer Alice Munro, opened a bookshop in a narrow space near Victoria’s movie theatres. Now Munro’s is in a neo-classical building designed for the Royal Bank of Canada in 1909. “They keep their overstock in the old bank’s vaults,” says Campbell.

20 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Fire crews practice techniques on donated structure
Career Center project finally sold
Fall fun for all on the farm
Paying it forward: School volunteer finds job rewarding
WSCC offers honors program to new students

Top Headlines Poll: What do you do with your leftover Halloween candy?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

19 October 2014

I APPROVE OF ANTHONY FOSSACECA…

1930 by Jeff Hess

19 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIIC…

0600 by Jeff Hess

The smaller a dictatorship and the less stratified by modernization the society under it, the more directly the will of the dictator can be exercised. In other words, the dictator can employ more or less naked discipline, avoiding the complex processes of relating to the world and of self-justification which ideology involves. But the more complex the mechanisms of power become, the larger and more stratified the society they embrace, and the longer they have operated historically, the more individuals must be connected to them from outside, and the greater the importance attached to the ideological excuse. It acts as a kind of bridge between the regime and the people, across which the regime approaches the people and the people approach the regime. This explains why ideology plays such an important role in the post-totalitarian system: that complex machinery of units, hierarchies, transmission belts, and indirect instruments of manipulation which ensure in countless ways the integrity of the regime, leaving nothing to chance, would be quite simply unthinkable without ideology acting as its all-embracing excuse and as the excuse for each of its parts.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

19 October 2014

NOW THIS IS THE LIFE…

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141019
The Book Barge, Lichfield (and environs), England: This 60-feet narrow boat, which is also a bookshop, has toured the canals of Britain since 2011, along with bookshop rabbit Napoleon Bunnyparte. “Owner Sarah Henshaw has just bought a plot of land in France and is determined to take Le Book Barge across the sea,” says Campbell.

19 October 2014

NOT THE (SUNDAY) MARIETTA TIMES…

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S PARKERSBURG NEWS AND SENTINEL FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

MasqueRave
Heritage Day draws visitors
Wood early voting starts Wednesday
W.Va. political figure, doctor Gillespie dies
North Hills has field of nine candidates

Top Headlines Poll: Was it appropriate for outgoing Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly to sit with Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and wear Redskins team gear during a recent NFL game?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously..

18 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIIB…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo. It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing his job behind an alleged interest in the unification of the workers of the world, to the highest functionary, whose interest in staying in power can be cloaked in phrases about service to the working class. The primary excusatory function of ideology, therefore, is to provide people, both as victims and pillars of the post-totalitarian system, with the illusion that the system is in harmony with the human order and the order of the universe.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless

Politics, Are you revolted enough yet…?, President Barack Hussein Obama, Election 2014, Social Justice & Advocacy, Organized Labor, Chapbook

18 October 2014

AND THE ESPRESSO MACHINE IS WHERE…?

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141018
Libreria Palazzo Roberti, Bassano del Grappa, Italy: This bookshop is in an 18th-century palazzo which sprawls over three floors, with grand frescos by Giovanni Scajaro, a student of Giambattista Tiepolo. It also regularly hosts photography exhibitions and classical concerts.

18 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Food safety
Local Democrats rally at dinner
Woman awaits sentencing for drug trafficking
Call of duty in Marietta
130 years in city; roots in Harmar

Top Headlines Poll: What’s your level of confidence in the government’s response to Ebola?

My confidence is high that we are running around like little school children terrified by the boogie man. How many people died in the last 12 months from the flu? How many died from Malaria? (hint: a fecking lot more than those who have died from Ebola). I have a personal and disturbing theory regarding our current silliness: people associate Ebola with the other Ebo word they know: Ebonics. Now why would that be distributing? JH

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

17 October 2014

OHIO COAL THRIVES UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA…

0700 by Jeff Hess

ohio coal jobs callahan

As angry bipartisan crowds of Ohio politicians gather to defend “our coal jobs” from the US EPA’s proposed new rules for coal power plants, it’s worth noting just how many jobs we’re talking about.

Yes, those are the actual numbers—no zeros have been omitted.

(It’s off topic, but note the increase in Ohio coal employment during the “Obama war on coal” years.)

Another 4,000-5,000 Ohioans work at fossil-fueled power plants, mostly operated by the utilities. Can’t tell from the LMI figures how many of those jobs are at coal-fired plants, but the state has almost as many utility generating sites fueled by natural gas as by coal these days.

So estimating generously, Ohio might have as many as 7,000 actual “coal jobs”.

(For perspective: Total jobs in the state—about 5.4 million. Total unemployed in the state as of April—328,000. At least 46 individual companies—retailers, banks, health systems, manufacturers, universities—had more than 7,000 Ohioans on their payrolls in 2013.)

Bill Callahan writing in Ohio coal: How many jobs? for Callahan’s Cleveland Diary

See also, Cleveland Diary: The Lost Years

17 October 2014

JONNY JOO’S HAUNTING HOMES…

0630 by Jeff Hess

haunting houses 141017

17 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIIB…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?” Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

17 October 2014

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON READING…

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141017
Barter Books, Alnwick, England: “With lines of poetry written along its shelves, and model trains running along the top of the bookcases, this is a bit of a booklover’s dream”, says Campbell. This giant shop is also where the second world war poster campaign that nobody ever saw, Keep Calm and Carry On, was uncovered.

17 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

Breast cancer
Marietta firm helps famed QB
Custodian foils school break-in
No Ebola screening at local airport
Council opts for hearing on oil, gas lease

Top Headlines Poll: How would you react if you found out later you were on a plane with an Ebola patient?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

16 October 2014

EBOLA COULD TAKE US ALL BEFORE 2016…!

1130 by Jeff Hess

Twin Peaks returns: will it answer all our questions?

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