22 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 »

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.

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.

20 October 2014

TEAR DOWN THAT WALL…

0830 by Jeff Hess

tom peters 141020

Previously…

20 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART IV A…

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: PART III C…

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.

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