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Bill Walsh.

Ingmar Bergman.

Tom Snyder.

A dog who was close to someone close to me also died today.

“I don’t like Mondays.”

-Boomtown Rats (quoting a teenage girl who killed a lot of people on a Monday)

This is the most trial-laden summer of my career. One tomorrow and one next week. At least the August 13 trial case settled a couple of days ago!

So I’ll be posting occasionally, but not often enough to keep tabs on cro-mag comments. I really don’t want to have to put moderation on again. All I ask is for basic respect in posting, avoiding rumors without foundation, and of course no copyright violations.

Have a good week.

By request, from a posting in a thread below:

I assume that Eric will be doing a story on the 8-12-2007 St. Helena private fundraiser being held for Mike Thompson by AIPAC? Mike Thompson has been very public about his lack of concern over the Bush Administration’s impending illegal attack against the people of Iran. It could be all of that AIPAC, Boeing, Lockheed Martin money Thompson is taking and using for who knows what, as the Republicans never put up any serious opposition to Mike Thompson at election time. The Republicans overall are pretty happy with Thompson, being that Mike Thompson is basically a Republican on most issues. There’s a very interesting story with the AIPAC fundraiser that I’m sure will make its way on to this blog, one way or another. Hopefully Eric Kirk will not be too afraid to open a discussion thread on this issue. Don’t worry, Eric, Mike Thompson’s bark is louder than his bite. Did you see the way Thompson personally attacked a critic Walt Frazer in the Times-Standard letter to the editor section about 3 weeks ago? It made Thompson look like a real jerk. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth about Mike Thompson’s corrupt backroom dealings with lobbyists. The facts are what they are. Mike Thompson is on the take for millions from various shady organizations, including AIPAC, who after all was involved in that Larry Franklin spying scandal not too long ago where AIPAC helped to faciliate espionage against the Pentagon by neo-con Larry Franklin on behalf of the Israeli government. What is Mike Thompson doing having a private fundraiser with AIPAC at this time? We deserve the answer. And the answer is obvious to anyone who has read that AIPAC fundraising letter for Thompson. Attacking Iran is not only on AIPAC’s agenda, it is on Mike Thompson’s agenda as well. AIPAC’s hush money to Thompson will no doubt help keep Thompson quiet as usual when the shit is ready to hit the foreign policy fan in Iran.

For those who don’t know AIPAC stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It is a formidable special interest lobby organization (rated second only to AARP, but ahead of the AFL-CIO and NRA in terms of effectiveness) which describes itself as follows:

For more than half a century, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has worked to help make Israel more secure by ensuring that American support remains strong. From a small public affairs boutique in the 1950s, AIPAC has grown into a 100,000-member national grassroots movement described by The New York Times as “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel.”

It was formerly named “American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs,” but that was obviously much less ecumenical. The organization is controversial nonetheless for allegations of spying on the US on behalf of Israel and the scandal described at Wikipedia.

In 1992, AIPAC president David Steiner had to resign when he was tape recorded boasting about his political influence in obtaining aid for Israel. Steiner claimed that he had “met with (then Bush U.S. Secretary of State) Jim Baker and I cut a deal with him. I got, besides the $3 billion, you know they’re looking for the Jewish votes, and I’ll tell him whatever he wants to hear … Besides the $10 billion in loan guarantees which was a fabulous thing, $3 billion in foreign, in military aid, and I got almost a billion dollars in other goodies that people don’t even know about.” Steiner also claimed to be “negotiating” with the incoming Clinton administration over who Clinton would appoint as Secretary of State and Secretary of the National Security Agency. Steiner stated that AIPAC had “a dozen people in [the Clinton] campaign, in the headquarters … in Little Rock, and they’re all going to get big jobs.”[6]

Haim Katz told the Washington Times that he taped the conversation because “as someone Jewish, I am concerned when a small group has a disproportionate power. I think that hurts everyone, including Jews. If David Steiner wants to talk about the incredible, disproportionate clout AIPAC has, the public should know about it.”[7]

A Zogby poll conducted in 2004 found that 61% of respondents “strongy or somewhat agree” that AIPAC should be asked to register as a foreign agent and lose its tax exempt status, while only 12% strongly or somewhat disagree that it should. [8]

Although it makes a production about support across party and ideological lines, it’s policy proposals are consistently hawkish. There is a question as to how much support AIPAC holds in the Jewish Community. Unfortunately, AIPAC has been demonized by anti-semites and provides them with the opportunity to use AIPAC in place of Jews, much like “quotas” are often a code word for “niggers.” From Wikipedia:

Philip Weiss wrote about what he calls the “Great Jewish Hope” in the April 23, 2007, edition of The Nation. Drawing on an interview with Mitchel Plitnick of Jewish Voice for Peace and two articles by George Soros and Nicholas Kristof, respectively, Weiss hypothesizes the founding of an alternative to AIPAC to represent the growing number of “left wing Jews [who] feel alienated from Jewish organizations that supported two disasters—The Iraq War and Israel’s war on Lebanon.”[32

Image of AIPAC logo is from Wikipedia. Okay, no, that one is protected. I got this one from a tin foil hat site which ties the organization to the Beast of Revelations and Nazism.

I will be monitoring this discussion closely.

Addendum: Here’s a direct link to the Weiss article about an AIPAC alternative.

From a Dissent article, by Norman Geras, a couple of years old.

The attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, lit up the global landscape. Not only in these two cities, but wherever the news and the pictures reached during the first hours after the planes struck-all over the planet, therefore-there were people quickly able to make out features of the contemporary world that they had not previously taken in, or taken the measure of fully, things that challenged their earlier expectations and existing frameworks of understanding. Not, however, in one quarter. With a section of the Western left, the response was as if everything remained just as it had always been. Leave aside the callousness in much of the left’s response toward the human dimension of the tragedy; but in explaining the crime of 9/11 the same thin categories that had been deployed in one conflict after another during a decade and more were instantly pressed into service. Imperialism and blowback-that was pretty much all one needed to understand what had befallen the citizens of Manhattan, the passengers on the planes, and the workers at the Pentagon, and there were accordingly people content to describe the attack as a comeuppance. The crime that so brutally illuminated the contours of the international political landscape thus revealed at the same time a frozen structure of concepts and assumptions. With the aid of it, many on the left shielded themselves from realities they didn’t want to see or to assign their proper weight. In what follows I comment on some aspects of this theoretical nexus.

I begin from a short essay by Paul Berman entitled “A Friendly Drink in Time of War,” which appeared in the Winter 2004 issue of Dissent. In that essay Berman offers six reasons why many on the left didn’t see things his way over the war in Iraq, which he supported. Abbreviating them, and also adding a seventh to the six that he enumerates (it appears toward the end of his argument, though he doesn’t include it as an “official” item with its own number), I set out those reasons: (1) George W. Bush; (2) the United States as being responsible for all the problems of the world; (3) support for anything construable as being anticolonial; (4) cultural relativism; (5) hostility to Israel; (6) a failure to take anti-Semitism seriously; and (7) lack of any genuine grasp of, or feeling for, the meaning of extreme forms of evil and oppression. As to this last point, Berman writes, “I always figured that a keen awareness of extreme oppression was the deepest trait of a left-wing heart. Mass graves, three hundred thousand missing Iraqis, a population crushed by thirty-five years of Baathist boots stomping on their faces-that is what fascism means!

Unlike Berman, Geras has opposed the war from the beginning. This post isn’t about the Iraq war. It’s about the left. It’s about a movement that’s losing its way.

I’m working on a piece to elaborate. This is a follow-up to a previous discussion. And this one.

Prop 65 warning: I won’t be censoring Stephen’s posts in this thread.

Bob has it.

There is also a press release from Carol Bruno.

Okay, you know I’m not a Bill O’Reilly fan. And though I’ve got it linked here, I’m really not the biggest Kos forum fan either. The blog seems to be dominated by more ozone cases lately, and it gives the O’Reilly types more ammunition. The major right blogs such as Little Green Footballs avoid this with moderation, and still some of the rightward nut-cases shine through anyway. Imagine if I was to be judged by all of the posts here!

But give Kos credit. They do their homework.

No, Bill, of course that’s not over the top!

In case you’re keeping score, here’s the Bill O’Reilly “Daily Kos is just like…” checklist.

Nice list. And it’s highly convenient that rather than having to rummage through the cesspool of BillO’s officially unmonitored web site, he provides the hate speech straight from his own snarling lips.

However, the fact that O’Reilly has had to dip into the Nazi well three times, shows that his repertoire of nastiness is sadly limited. Having used up the KKK, World War II opponents, and dead Italians, Bill risks being a monotonous blowhard who just repeats the same mindless crap evening after evening without the slightest bit of thought or originality. And gee, who would watch that?

I saw some of the exchange on cable news the other night. I wonder how many hits O’Reilly’s rant has generated for Kos.

DNA reveals that humans may have domesticated cats as early as 130,000 years ago. I have to wonder how it started. Did the homo sapiens initiate the relationship, or did the cat?

Previously those who thought they knew claimed the earliest cat domestication was 9,500 years ago in Cyprus. But cats come from the Middle East, along with algebra.

What’s weird to me is that if the cat was the earliest domestic animal (nothing in the article about dogs) then you would think they would be one of the most domesticated animals. But unlike dogs and livestock, they’re half-wild 130 thousand years later.

Other cat trivia:

Other than Daniel’s and Isaiah’s lions, there is no mention of a cat in the Bible.

A cat’s ear has 32 muscles.

The photo comes from the BBC article linked above.

Addendum: Here’s a BBC article about the Grim Reaper cat in Rhode Island which I found after reading the posts in the thread. Man, if I see that thing anywhere near me I’m running in the other direction!

At family camp each year this guy brings up reel films from his old horror film classics. We set up in the lodge with all the kids bringing their sleeping bags and pillows – the event being of hippie nature we pass around bowls of popcorn flavored with brewer’s yeast (known to hippies as “nutritional yeast”). We usually get a double feature. This year we started out with the very first Woody Woodpecker cartoon (which was rather bizarre actually) and an episode of Captain Marvel. The first feature was The Mummy’s Curse and the second was The Thing from Another World.

My 5-year-old son didn’t make it through the first. I didn’t remember the mummy scaring me when I was a kid. Lon Chaney basically limps around choking people with one working arm. Any of the victims should have been able to outrun it, and well, it’s obviously not hard to poke holes in those movies. But it didn’t dawn on me that the younger kids might actually be able to suspend disbelief long enough to get scared. They did.

I asked my son why he was scared of the mummy, but not Godzilla. “Godzilla’s just a lizard,” he responded through his tears. I suspect a few factors were involved. The film was black and white, which probably gives an other worldly feel to kids not familiar with with the B&W medium, although he has seen B&W movies. The mummy is more human, and perhaps more real. You actually see the death, unlike giant monster movies where you just speculate on the number of people inside a building squashed by a giant lobster.

In any case, the guy who brings the movies is going to try to limit the first features to the giant monster movies in future years.

The second movie was one in a long string of cold war metaphors, this one being an alien melted out of an iceberg in the arctic by a scientific team. The foolhardy scientist wants to communicate with it, while the rest of the team has the street smarts to want to kill it. The scientist learns the hard way that you shouldn’t trust what you don’t understand, and after trying to shoot it, burn it, suffocate it, the finally manage to kill it by electrocuting it. Good thing too, because it was about to take over the world armed with a four-by-four chunk of wood! At the end the heroes broadcast a message to the world to “keep watching the skies.” 1951 – three years after the Soviet nuclear bomb, but well before Sputnik.

The movie does have one odd moment. It’s more flirtatious than explicitly sexual, but it’s probably the first “femdom” bondage scene in a mainstream Hollywood movie unless you count Lauren Bacall with Bogart in the last scenes of The Big Sleep (but that wasn’t consensual and Bogart was essentially in control throughout the scene – though curiously enough it took him about 5 minutes to ask her to untie him).

So, anyway, for those of you old enough to have watched some version of Creature Features as a kid in the 70s, or anyone else, what was your favorite 1950s science fiction movie and why? Oh, and we’re excluding The Forbidden Planet (the first Shakespeare/sci fi combo) and The Day the Earth Stood Still which were legitimately good movies. Has to be cheesy.

Mine is Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, made by the same guy who did the original King Kong. It had all the requisite 50s camp with some surprising elements of sophistication – from the not-totally-evil motivations of the invading aliens to the sexual innuendos that somehow slipped by the censors of the time. Fascinating special effects. The plot is simple. Aliens need elbow room and migrate west, but the natives come up with a special gun that drops the saucers on top of the Washington landmarks in an apocalyptic battle for which the strategies of both sides eluded me.

And boy! Despite the gray areas in the alien intentions, the spiteful shooting up of the Lincoln memorial should have made any patriot’s blood boil! Root causes patooie!

The poster art comes from a site called “blackhorrormovies.com” focusing on the roles of black characters in these films.

Well, I guess blackhorrormovies doesn’t want us using their images. The above scene comes from theseventhvoyage.com.

Addendum: Well, I couldn’t find a single flying saucer photo that didn’t have the deselect gracefully function in the address. Conspiracies?

I’m back on the open format for a trial period. I’m monitoring things closely. Be responsible.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Matt Lang or Patty Clary
707-445-5100

3rd Annual Organic Planet Festival Brings Community Together to Celebrate Toxic-Free Living and a Healthier World

EUREKA, CA – The 2007 Organic Planet Festival will return to Humboldt County on August 26th, offering a fun-filled and informative extravaganza featuring top-flight music, food and beverages, inspiring talks, the World’s Largest Organic Salad, an eco-hip fashion show, a non-toxic kids’ village with petting zoo and dozens of exhibitors!

The daylong event is hosted by Eureka-based Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) and is northern California’s only organic and toxic-free festival. The event will provide a family- friendly way to share information about living healthier lives, chiefly by raising awareness about how to “get more organic” — in food, jobs, homes and leisure — as society advances in the 21st
century.

Eureka Natural Foods will again be on hand to share the World’s Largest Organic Salad and the Wildberries Marketplace kids’ area and petting zoo will be bigger and better than ever. Ray’s Food Place is bringing naturopathic doctor, Dr. Steven West, N.D., to consult with festival attendees. Other major contributors include North Coast Co-Op, the Sound Shop, and Humboldt Creamery. Sixty organic and natural-product exhibitors will prove information and showcase their products.

The Festival kicks off Organic Harvest Month in September, which highlights the growing popularity of organic foods. U.S. sales of organic foods have grown more than 20 percent annually for the last seven years, with overall sales around $17 billion, according to the
Organic Consumers Association.

When it comes to ‘going organic,’ food is not the only thing to consider, however.

“The Festival is about making non-toxic and natural normal for all people,” said Patty Clary, CATs’ Program Director. “Organic and non-toxic products run the gamut from babies’ diapers to construction materials.”

Along with checking out the wares of natural and organic exhibitors, visitors to the 2007 celebration on the Waterfront in historic Eureka can listen to musicians and speakers with positive, environmentally focused messages.

Blues maestro Tommy Castro will headline the diverse music line-up. Other acts include socially conscious hip-hop by Wisdom, Jamaican reggae by Prezident Brown, and African drumming, bluegrass and zydeco performers.

Featured speakers include Lois Gibbs, who began as an environmental activist when she learned her neighborhood had been built atop a toxic dump known as Love Canal – a site laden with deadly dioxin such has been found in Humboldt Bay. Her work has earned her a Goldman Environmental Award and the Heinz Award. Joining her will be Harvard “Green Campus” coordinator Allison Rogers, who – as a Miss America contestant – introduced environmental concerns to millions, and who will speak on the “Inconvenient Truth” campaign and global
sustainability.

The Third Annual Organic Planet Festival will take place in Halvorsen Park at the bayside end of L Street in Eureka from 11 am to 7 pm on Sunday, August 26.

Festival admission is $7 in advance, $10 at the gate, and kids 12 and under enter free. There will be a free raffle for door prizes. The Organic Planet Festival is a program of Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) and all funds raised go directly back into supporting the growth and viability of the educational event itself, as well as helping to subsidize the low ticket price. The Organic Planet Festival is now accepting exhibitor and volunteer applications.

For more information, call 707-445-5100, email info@organicplanetfestival.org or visit http://www.organicplanetfestival.org.

Click on image to enlarge.

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