22 November 2014

WHAT DO WE DO WITH WHAT WE KNOW…?

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 hit 2,394 and
PZ has opened a second comment thread: Later this morning in America

Meanwhile, in New York City…

Residents and community leaders of the Pink Houses public housing complex in Brooklyn, where an unarmed man was shot dead by a rookie police officer on Thursday night, have expressed their anger at police and called for justice during a vigil on Friday night held just metres from the scene of the shooting.

Akai Gurley, 28, was shot once in the chest by police as he descended a darkened stairwell on the eighth floor of 2724 Linden Boulevard with his girlfriend, Melissa Butler.

Butler appeared at the vigil, beside a former New York City councillor, Charles Barron, but did not speak. She often gazed into the distance with tears in her eyes.

Oliver Laughland writing in Brooklyn vigil for unarmed man shot dead by rookie police officer for The Guardian.

—***—

ferguson 141122

The nation is on edge, awaiting a grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown — an unarmed African American teen in Ferguson, Missouri — by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson more than three months ago. The decision is expected any day and there is widespread belief, based on weeks of leaks to the media and laws that historically favor police officers in lethal force cases, that Wilson will not be indicted. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has preemptively declared a state of emergency in anticipation of protests.

Brown’s killing, the culmination of an incident that the St. Louis Post Dispatch would later report lasted no more than 90 seconds, devastated a family with high hopes for their college-bound son and sparked some of the most significant civil rights demonstrations in a generation — casting a harsh light on the disproportionate number of black men killed by police, on St. Louis County’s exploitative and racially discriminatory municipal court system, and on the militarization of law enforcement.

In the months since Brown was killed, numerous eyewitnesses have come forward to describe what they saw during the teen’s final moments, while controversial disclosures to the press have served to describe Wilson’s version Continue Reading »

22 November 2014

WHERE I GO FROM HERE…

0500 by Jeff Hess


2004 me and 2014 me…

I’ve invested a great deal of time in recent weeks considering the questions about the next part of my journey as a novelist and journalist, and where I want to take my blogs Have Coffee Will Write and The Writing On The Wal.

Back in 2005, Cleveland alternate news weekly The Scene had this to say about me and Have Coffee Will Write:

CoolCleveland.com may get more press, but Jeff Hess’ Havecoffeewillwrite.com is terabytes above the local competition. His daily posts remind the public of Cleveland controversies long after the local media gets bored and moves on. His continuing series on grassroots efforts to keep Wal-Mart from swallowing every Ohio town is fascinating and more in-depth than anything in the dailies. While this East Side educator’s left-wing philosophy comes off as heavy-handed at times, he does his best not to take himself too seriously – he’ll often post haiku or bumper stickers for a quick laugh, or links to weird news from around the world. If you’re wondering what’s happening behind the scenes in Cleveland or how our town is connected to national news stories, this site is a must-surf.

Similarly, I have always been proud of Angela Gunn’s comment for USA Today about my Walmart blog:

The Writing On The Wal should be on your radar for at least an occasional visit. Think of it as slightly more relevant than keeping abreast of political campaigns. If you have as much political and economic power as most Americans, it likely is.”

Over the past 10 years I have written much on a dazzlingly wide range of topics. When I created Have Coffee Will write, the blog, I didn’t know where I wanted to take this new toy, but the answer came to me at my first Cleveland Bloggers Meetup when blogdaddy creator of Brewed Fresh Daily George Nemeth asked everyone in attendance to introduce themselves and briefly describe what their blog was about.

Put on the spot—deadlines are marvelously clarifying—I decided that HCWW would be about “Dinner Conversation With a Few Good Friends,” and my model became the family dinner table I grew up around where we turned off the television and talked. About anything and everything.

Occasionally I have become obsessed with particular topic such as Walmart and Myanmar.

Of the latter, Eric Vessels had this to say on Plunderbund:

Jeff Hess is publishing a series called “Good Morning Myanmar.” This Burma bit broke me out of a self imposed blog slumber, but Jeff is doing a consistently good job of following up. He is a valuable resource on this—and we all should care about it. And these are just what he couldn’t get to. Nice work Jeff!

As an educator, I learned from one Mona Senkfor, one of my mentors and a dear friend, that too often we pedagogically hop from iceberg to iceberg, pausing only a moment on the very tip and completely missing the huge mass insight and knowledge that lies beneath the water. This was, in part, the rational several years ago for my choosing to read a single book over and over. (This year I’ve read Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable.)

Clearly, what I do well, and what I can continue to do that is of use, is to drill deep on a few topics and hammer away at those topics so that they do not disappear into the news-cycle cesspit. My model here is Cleveland’s protoblogger Roldo Bartimole. Who, for nearly 50 years, has never stopped shining light into Cleveland’s darkest corners.

With the ironically named Black Friday fast approaching, I will first return and descend into the pit that is Walmart. Much has happened, and continues to happen, that I have left unexamined. As for Have Coffee Will Write, expect a few changes, the most noticeable being more focused attention to topics of Social Justice and Advocacy.

I don’t, however, have any wish to deliver monologues—although I can easily listen to myself yammer on. Both blogs will continue to be primarily about conversation, but I need you to make that happen.

Here’s to a second ten years.

17 November 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON: IT’S SO GOOD TO BE
ATTACKED, TO BE WHACKED BY FLACKS…

1600 by Jeff Hess

roldo 141117 tucker

I have been attacked! Whacked by a flack no less.

I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to be attacked by a paid flack who was a big Pooh-Bah publisher and editor.

My critic is Brian Tucker the former publisher for Crain’s Business Review, a pro-business weekly. His ad notes,

After 25 years as publisher and editor of Crain’s Cleveland Business, Brian Tucker became vice president and director of corporate affairs at Dollar Bank. The opinions in this commentary are solely his and do not reflect the position of either Dollar Bank FSB or its management.

Even they won’t back him up! But apparently they pay for his comments in Crain’s.

Crain’s
doesn’t want to take responsibility either.

Here’s what Elizabeth McIntyre of Crain’s wrote me after I sent a response to the publication about Tucker’s remarks about me in Crain’s:

Roldo,

Thanks for your submission. Brian Tucker’s column is paid advertising and not an editorial product, therefore I will not be publishing your piece as a letter to the editor. I have, however, forward it to publisher John Campanelli, who said he will share it with Brian Tucker.

Again, thank you,
Elizabeth

roldo 141117 crain's

Thanks for sharing Elizabeth.

Before I get into Tucker’s gripe let me say that really what we need here in Cleveland is a federal investigation of the collusion of lawyers, bond counsels, investment bankers, politicians, stadium builders & architects, institutions as the Greater Cleveland Partnership and others who helped put together the financial schemes that keep tapping public resources for private use. You’d think for example accused corrupter Jimmy Haslam’s picture would be all over page one in the probing media. But, oh no, not this Jimmy.

The need for justice and the appearance of vast corruption in the leases and operation of these heavily publicly subsidized facilities to the neglect Continue Reading »

14 November 2014

ON THE HCWW FRIDGE: COFFEE HOUSE COOL…

0630 by Jeff Hess

zits 141110 110610

11 November 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON: WHY EXPECT NEWSPAPERS
TO BE BETTER THAN THE REST OF OUR SOCIETY?

1200 by Jeff Hess

[Note: due to time constraints, the copy below has not been fully formated or copy edited. JH]

roldo pd 141111

The latest episode in the Plain Dealer history of shortchanging its readers by the removal of the taping of the single meeting of the Ohio gubernatorial candidates is hardly the first instance of corruption of a free press. It won’t be the last either.

Do we expect that newspapers or other media outlets would be any better or more open than the steady stream of misdeeds by cigarette, automobile, food companies or Jimmy Haslam’s Pilot Flying J, or the countless other corporate or politically corrupt individuals that often grace the pages of newspapers? Or be more open than the NFL hierarchy on the dangers of concussions or the behavior of its people on sexual or other assaults?

Why would the news business be expected to be so much higher-minded than the rest of the society? Because often it isn’t.

Do you trust members of the media have some special divining ability to see corruption and expose it? Do they even see our culture’s defects? Or want to?

Do you think that the top editors of the Plain Dealer rub shoulders, go to lunch, parties and other social events with the citizens of name your low income neighborhood, or do they dine, rub shoulders with some business leader, foundation official, or other “respected” citizen? You know who they talk to most Continue Reading »

9 November 2014

HAVE COFFEE WILL WRITE: THE BLOG
9 NOVEMBER 2004—9 NOVEMBER 2014…

0000 by Jeff Hess

On 17 July 2002, there was Have Coffee Will Write, the website

Some 27 months later came Have Coffee Will Write, the blog.

Gone thinking if I want to do this for another 10 years or no…

8 November 2014

VACLAV HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART VI H…

0600 by Jeff Hess

The fact that human beings have created, and daily create, this self-directed system through which they divest themselves of their innermost identity is not therefore the result of some incomprehensible misunderstanding of history, nor is it history somehow gone off its rails. Neither is it the product of some diabolical higher will which has decided, for reasons unknown, to torment a portion of humanity in this way. It can happen and did happen only because there is obviously in modern humanity a certain tendency toward the creation, or at least the toleration, of such a system. There is obviously something in human beings which responds to this system, something they reflect and accommodate, something within them which paralyzes every effort of their better selves to revolt. Human beings are compelled to live within a lie, but they can be compelled to do so only because they are in fact capable of living in this way. Therefore not only does the system alienate humanity, but at the same time alienated humanity supports this system as its own involuntary master plan, as a degenerate image of its own degeneration, as a record of people’s own failure as individuals.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

8 November 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

After the military
Early gift shoppers stroll city
Marietta man accused of rape for contact with girl, 7
Devola man accused of kidnap, assault
Museum fundraisers

Top Headlines Poll: How would you assess job opportunities for today’s graduates?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

7 November 2014

HINT: NOT BECAUSE THEY HATE OUR FREEDOM…

1000 by Jeff Hess

To get a full scope of American violence in the world, it is worth asking a broader question: how many countries in the Islamic world has the U.S. bombed or occupied since 1980? That answer was provided in a recent Washington Post op-ed by the military historian and former U.S. Army Col. Andrew Bacevich:

As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extent into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.

Let’s tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew.

Bacevich’s count excludes the bombing and occupation of still other predominantly Muslim countries by key U.S. allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, carried out with crucial American support. It excludes coups against democratically elected governments, torture, and imprisonment of people with no charges. It also, of course, excludes all the other bombing and invading and occupying that the U.S. has carried out during this time period in other parts of the world, including in Central America and the Caribbean, as well as various proxy wars in Africa.

Glenn Greenwald writing in How Many Muslim Countries Has the U.S. Bombed Or Occupied Since 1980? for The//Intercept.

7 November 2014

MARCUS AURELIUS KNEW NOS. 2-10…

0900 by Jeff Hess

1. Step away from the email
2. Just say no
4. Leave work at work
5. Forget about perfection
6. Don’t be a martyr
7. Ease off the adrenaline
8. Think about retirement
9. Make ’em wait
10. Set your own rules

Stuart Jeffries writing in Ten tips for a better work-life balance for The Guardian.

7 November 2014

WHY BUCKEYES ARE CALLED WORTHLESS NUTS

0800 by Jeff Hess

The march toward gay marriage across the U.S. hit a roadblock Thursday when a federal appeals court upheld laws against the practice in four states, creating a split in the legal system that increases the chances the Supreme Court will step in to decide the issue once and for all.

The cases decided were from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Breaking ranks with other federal courts around the country, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that states have the right to set rules for marriage and that changing a definition that dates to “the earliest days of human history” is better done through the political process, not the courts.

“Surely the people should receive some deference in deciding when the time is ripe to move from one picture of marriage to another,” said Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for himself and a fellow George W. Bush appointee, while a Bill Clinton appointee dissented.

The ruling ran counter to a remarkably rapid string of victories for the gay rights movement over the past few months that have now made same-sex marriage legal in at least 30 states.

From The Associated Press: Gay marriage ruling means high court review likely.

7 November 2014

ON THE SUBJECT OF GENIUS…

0700 by Jeff Hess

For sometime I have had my personal aphorism on the subject of genius—Genius is doing the work… Now!—taped to the top of my laptop screen. I’ve even gone so far as to have the copyrighted phrase printed on pencils that I both use and distribute to my students.

This morning I was reminded of another man’s position on genius, that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speaking in the voice of the character who was both his greatest creation and nemesis: Sherlock Holmes. In one of the modern versions permutations of Doyle’s own genius, the actor Jonny Lee Miller, in the character of Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes (at time mark 38:20) says: Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.

Those words come from the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study In Scarlet published in 1867, where Doyle wrote:

As he spoke, he whipped a tape measure and a large round magnifying glass from his pocket. With these two implements he trotted noiselessly about the room, sometimes stopping, occasionally kneeling, and once lying flat upon his face. So engrossed was he with his occupation that he appeared to have forgotten our presence, for he chattered away to himself under his breath the whole time, keeping up a running fire of exclamations, groans, whistles, and little cries suggestive of encouragement and of hope. As I watched him I was irresistibly reminded of a pure-blooded well-trained foxhound as it dashes backwards and forwards through the covert, whining in its eagerness, until it comes across the lost scent. For twenty minutes or more he continued his researches, measuring with the most exact care the distance between marks which were entirely invisible to me, and occasionally applying his tape to the walls in an equally incomprehensible manner. In one place he gathered up very carefully a little pile of grey dust from the floor, and packed it away in an envelope. Finally, he examined with his glass the word upon the wall, going over every letter of it with the most minute exactness. This done, he appeared to be satisfied, for he replaced his tape and his glass in his pocket.

“They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains,” he remarked with a smile. “It’s a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work.”

Gregson and Lestrade had watched the manoeuvres of their amateur companion with considerable curiosity and some contempt. They evidently failed to appreciate the fact, which I had begun to realize, that Sherlock Holmes’ smallest actions were all directed towards some definite and practical end.

What will you take pains to do today?

7 November 2014

VACLAV HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART VI G…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Position in the power hierarchy determines the degree of responsibility and guilt, but it gives no one unlimited responsibility and guilt, nor does it completely absolve anyone. Thus the conflict between the aims of life and the aims of the system is not a conflict between two socially defined and separate communities; and only a very generalized view (and even that only approximative) permits us to divide society into the rulers and the ruled. Here, by the way, is one of the most important differences between the post-totalitarian system and classical dictatorships, in which this line of conflict can still be drawn according to social class. In the post-totalitarian system, this line runs de facto through each person, for everyone in his own way is both a victim and a supporter of the system. What we understand by the system is not, therefore, a social order imposed by one group upon another, but rather something which permeates the entire society and is a factor in shaping it, something which may seem impossible to grasp or define (for it is in the nature of a mere principle), but which is expressed by the entire society as an important feature of its life.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

7 November 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Two old gems
Vote on oil, gas leases a step closer
Citizens dive into saving Beverly’s pool
Race for holiday sales is on for retailers
Rotary’s day for veterans

Top Headlines Poll: Will we see less gridlock out of Washington in the next two years?

Hmmm… Am I the only person to note that the first and third answers are simply variations of the same statement?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

6 November 2014

AYN RAND’S ALPHA AND OMEGA IN PICTURES…

0630 by Jeff Hess

From Ayn Rand by Daryl Cunningham

6 November 2014

VACLAV HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART VI F…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Everyone, however, is in fact involved and enslaved, not only the greengrocers but also the prime ministers. Differing positions in the hierarchy merely establish differing degrees of involvement: the greengrocer is involved only to a minor extent, but he also has very little power. The prime minister, naturally, has greater power, but in return he is far more deeply involved. Both, however, are unfree, each merely in a somewhat different way. The real accomplice in this involvement, therefore, is not another person, but the system itself.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

6 November 2014

EVERY PROPHET IS THE LAST PROPHET…

0530 by Jeff Hess

Via Zen Pencils

Previously

6 November 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Business fire
Ormet plant’s scraps for sale
Tape has jail’s call; deputy’s report on fatality
Panel rejects 5th St. permit proposal
Changes touted at MMH

Top Headlines Poll: What should Ohio do with Common Core?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

5 November 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON: JOHN KASICH, CHRIS QUINN AND
CLEVELAND’S DYSFUNCTIONAL PLAIN DEALER…

1300 by Jeff Hess

roldo kasich 141105

The Plain Dealer—and I use that name despite the division with the Northeast Ohio Media Group (which sounds like some ad consulting firm)—appears to display a dual personality disorder. A web site and a printed paper. Would Macy’s tell Gimbles?

Why the division within a newspaper?

And does the newspaper understand the confusion it displays?

If I go to the web site—which presumable is NEOMG run – the first thing I see is The Plain Dealer. Isn’t it the Plain Dealer? That’s been the name of the newspaper since the mid 1850s.

The newspaper is trying to find its way in the new digital world.

But the new world is getting the PD in trouble.

In the past week or so the paper has been getting whopped by news media critics. Rightly so.

The reason: The PD had the candidates for governor meet with its editorial board. It taped the meeting. It put the results up on The Plain Dealer’s Cleveland.com. It’s news, folks! You’ll remember that Gov. John Kasich has haughtily refused to debate other candidates, especially Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, his Democratic opponent. Indeed, in the taped editorial meet, the governor Continue Reading »

5 November 2014

THE 19TH CENTURY IS THE NEW 21ST CENTURY…

0800 by Jeff Hess

In the wake of the violent upheavals of the French Revolution, European monarchies came together in 1791 at the Pillnitz Conference to declare their support for the embattled Louis XVI and warn the burgeoning revolutionaries of the dangers of toppling a fellow monarch. Far from stifling the ambitions of the insurgents however, this declaration was widely seen as a provocation which helped kick off the devastating French Revolutionary Wars, in which the new French Republic battled a number of neighboring monarchies.

In their aftermath, and after the defeat of Napoleon’s imperial ambitions on the continent, the empires of Austria, Prussia and Russia came together to form the “Holy Alliance” – an effort to maintain the political status quo and to stifle the spread of popular republican ideas among subjects.

Signatories to the alliance affirmed that, “the three contracting Monarchs will remain united by the bonds of a true and indissoluble fraternity, and consider each other as fellow countrymen,” and pledged to, “lend each other aid and assistance; and, regard themselves towards their subjects and armies as fathers of families.”

This happens to be very similar to the patriarchal and fraternal language that Arab autocrats use when discussing their relations with one another. And just like their contemporary Arab counterparts, European monarchs characterized themselves as champions of religious orthodoxy in an effort to shore up popular support.

Murtaza Hussain writing in The Middle East’s Unholy Alliance for The//Intercept.

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