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The consensus of all my radical friends in college was that The Return of the Secaucus Seven (John Sayles’ first movie) was “The Big Chill with politics.” I remember that a group of us went to watch TBC and were all frustrated that when the conversations started to get interesting, the characters pissed each other and went to bed to avoid the conversations – maybe because Kasdan, the script writer more famous for his Star Wars scripts – wanted to avoid the conversation. The conversations in TROTSS are very much like those I have with my former college friends as we all moved in different directions when we left. But basically, we thought that TBC was just a sterilized knockoff of the other, and to some degree that’s true, although I did have more of an appreciation of TBC when I saw it again many years later. Appreciation, but still annoyed with the banality of it – there was nothing to really indicate that these people had been activists together. They could have just been dormmates who partied a lot. But this was the Reagan era and every political movie about the 60s was deemed “dated” by people who just didn’t want to bother with politics anymore – because burnout or privilege.

This is a very good analysis of both movies and remarkable because the critic was born long after both.

What’s kind of interesting is that a decade or so later Kasdan appeared to have ripped off another Sayles movie – The Grand Canyon seeing to be a knockoff of Sayles’ City of Hope – again removing most of the politics.

Sorry, but I have little patience anymore. The anti-science throngs are out in full force.

But I’m told that I should be patient and not “stigmatize” such people. They’re stigmatizing themselves.

The meme below tells part of the story. Locally you can just ask them about chemtrails, or who blew up the World Trade Center.

And no, all the ferrets did not die.

Taken from the Working Class History page on Facebook.

On this day, 8 June 1961, a group of Freedom Riders were arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, including Kwame Ture, Gwendolyn Greene and Joan Mulholland (pictured, l-r). Freedom Riders fought government non-enforcement of the ban on segregation in public transport in the US South by riding in multiracial groups. They faced intense violence from local police and white supremacists, including the Ku Klux Klan, until eventually winning in December that year.

Ture (born Stokely Carmichael) became a central organiser in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and later the Black Panther Party. He was targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation, and “bad jacketed” – falsely painted as a CIA agent and expelled from the SNCC.

Greene (who later changed her name to Britt) had also been arrested in 1960 for refusing to leave the segregated Glen Echo Amusement Park in Maryland. With others, she confronted counter-protesters from the American Nazi Party and continued picketing until the end of summer. The park then agreed to abolish segregation before reopening the following year.

Mulholland, then aged 19, had participated in numerous civil rights sit ins, for which she was disowned by her family. In 1963, she was travelling with four other activists in Mississippi when their car was attacked by the KKK, who had orders to kill them, but they managed to escape.

Mulholland remains active to this day.

Image from the excellent @ZinnEducationProject

I love the conclusion of this really salient opinion piece. Note, it’s not about the denial of alien life, or even UFO’s. Just cautionary messaging about jumping to conclusions.

And below is a video update re the report which could be released any day now.

But really, the discussion is about science.

Powerful telescopes that will soon be operational may be capable of detecting city lights on the night side of planets that orbit distant stars or the telltale mark of reflected light from planet-wide solar-collecting arrays or the distinctive sign of industrial chemicals in a planet’s atmosphere. All of these “technosignatures,” should we find evidence of them, will be small effects. If we do detect such things, you better believe that my colleagues and I will go to extraordinary lengths to eliminate every possible source of error and every possible alternative explanation. This will take time and careful effort.

The work of science, though ultimately exciting, is mostly painstakingly methodical and boring. But that is the price we pay because we don’t just want to believe. We want to know.

For Memorial Day, a tribute to a group of fallen who receive no official recognition for their sacrifices. The list is far from exhaustive as thousands of American volunteers died in the Spanish Civil War. The second half of the video is tribute to those VALB veterans who survived Franco but were killed in World War II.

Salt of the Earth is mandatory college liberal arts curriculum watching.  It was directed by Herbert Biberman, one of the Hollywood 10 of blacklisted by HUAC for refusing to name names.  The scriptwriter and producer were, although not among the 10, also blacklisted, as well as others involved in the film.  The film was actually banned in some states and is the only film to have been officially blacklisted.  

There is radicalism in the subject matter of the story.  There is radicalism in the way it was created.  There is radicalism in the history.  It is a fictional story based upon a zinc miner strike in New Mexico where most of the miners were of Mexican origin.  Many of the parts were played by miners.  The lead male part, I’m forgetting his name, was not a professional actor, but was a leader of the local union – which itself had been booted from the CIO in 1950 as McCarthyism threatened the union movement.  

The story is pretty basic neorealism, and yeah I think it’s preachy and dogmatic.  But it’s still important artistically as well as historically and politically.  

The only professional in the cast was Rosaura Revueltas, a Mexican actress.  She had left Mexico after being blacklisted by the Catholic Church there for starring in one of the first movies to visually depict lesbianism.  Unfortunately, she was only in the US long enough to film portions of the film before she was arrested and deported.  They used a double for the remaining scenes, importing her lines which had to be recorded in Mexico.  Her film acting career pretty much ended, but was briefly revived in the 1970s.  She did some stage acting in East Berlin.  But for most of the time she taught yoga in Mexico to get by.  She deserves a movie about her.

The story pretty much introduced to film the concept of intersectionality decades before the term was even coined.  It was one of the first unapologetically feminist films.  It deals with race issues within the labor movement.  It deals with domestic abuse.  The tension between motherhood and involvement.  

The plot – the miners strike, but are hit with a Taft-Hartly injunction which prevents union members from picketing.  The law, at least at the time, had no jurisdiction over non-union strike supporters, so the women take over the strike, with much resistance from the men.  But after scuffles with law enforcement and arrests, the women win the day.

The iconoclastic line from the movie, “We want the formula!”  You’ll have to watch it to learn the context. 

Anyway, it’s pretty well acted for cast with little or no training.  There are some beautiful camera visuals.  If I was to put together a list of American films every American should see, SOTE would be included. 

I know for a fact that the film is public domain, so you may be able to find it with better resolution elsewhere. But this is pretty good.

He’s charging $5.00 to any customer who insists on wearing a mask at his establishment. Probably the wrong community in which to take a Trumper stand and be obnoxious about it.

The past 6 years in this country has presented an education on the psychology of fascism as a mass movement.

For once I have to defend Donald Trump. In the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta stacked two slices together – forever giving everyone license to eat NYC thin-crust pizza that way.

It looks like a bunch of money and time was wasted.

Humboldt County Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez previously criticized the county’s decision to outsource payroll services and advocated for the continued use of Finance Enterprise, which is already integrated with county departments.

Reached by email Monday morning, Paz Dominguez acknowledged previous concerns about transferring the payroll function out of the Auditor-Controller’s office but said she hopes to move forward.

“At this juncture, the Office of the Auditor-Controller is prepared to assist the Board of Supervisors in implementing its payroll function in whichever form it deems appropriate; whether it’s with ADP, within Human Resources, or wherever else, with the goal being to pay employees timely and accurately,” she said.

Thanks to Auditor-Controller Paz Domingez for being a grown-up about this and not saying “I told you so,” when she very adamantly told them so.

Now somebody should be asking why the positions the Board approved for her in an emergency meeting in January are still being held up in Human Resources four months later. The AC office and the County really need those positions filled!


June 2021