Monday, January 30, 2006

US, what's that behind your back?

"Oh, it's Haiti and a number of other countries..."

Wow, even the liberal New York Times has reported about the US shenanigans in Haiti now ("Mixed US Signals Helped Tilt Haiti to Chaos"). Democracy Now carried a similar story not too long ago on how Canada and the US had no intention of helping support democracy in Haiti, and certainly not an Arisitide-headed democracy, and therefore helped push that government off the cliff.

What's shocking (in the since of moral outrage, not in the sense of surprising) about all this is not so much that US talk of fostering democracy is bunk, and doesn't even extend too far beyond our own southern shores into the Carribean, but that the continued outrages and failures of Haiti are the epitome of the fault of the colonial empires. It was the second country in the Americas to declare independence from colonial powers, after the US. Yet did we help our poorer, blacker partner in the principles of liberty? Did we support their attempts at self-rule then? No, of course not -- they remained politically isolated for decades, in an attempt to kill and quell the independence of a predominately-black nation. The first and oldest free black nation in this hemisphere, and it is also the poorest, the most downtread and mal-used.

Haiti deserves so much more from each and every one of us -- and more attention by the Black American Cogniscenti, too. It followed us in independence, and we tried to starve, drown, dominate, subjugate, ignore, and now subvert them. It's shameful if unsurprising that the US wouldn't support a free black nation in the centuries past. It is shameful and horrible and a betrayal of our supposed principles beyond belief that we do not truly do so today. It is our closest sibling in independence; we treat it like our bastard Negro step-child on a plantation of old.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Also in keeping...

...With last year, we present a bouquet of non-resource intensive atypical non-clichéd flowers for L's birthday.

Aka: reposted web flowers.

Flowers are from (respectively):
Stellenbosch writer Jim Holmes and Monique Twine, © Jim Holmes

Ian Leslie Harr from Exotic and Ecologic Photography

Vivian and Erhard, from a German webpage of the same name

Dorothy Berg of the Florida Council of Bromeliad Species

Rhett Butler of his Brasil section of

And, this last beautiful shot which is not a flower at all, from Sue Wren at

Happy Belated B-Day. I wasn't on time, but I'm putting my heart into it.

A Post for An Audience of One, Part Two

Following in the steps last year's belated birthday wish for J-Friend L, this year we wish to offer a happy birthday to dear L a little less belatedly, though nonetheless inadeuqately punctually. That is to say: I am an ass.

Happy Birthday!!!!

This year's happy stuff (as opposed to last year's post-MLK day MLK information): Violence in the world is down. This being a trend of the past couple decades, as large regional conflicts are ceding way -- perhaps the UN really IS successful, contrary to all the naysayers????? Exciting thought -- I have absolutely no proof, but it can't hurt that it's more fully dedicated itself to peacekeeping and humanitarianism of a different type and region since post WWII reconstruction, and for the last two decades, exactly the type of large scale wars the UN is (in theory) meant to prevent are declining.

Also, of course, evolution & science won in Dover.

Jon Stewart will host the Oscars. (This may end up not being a good thing, but for the sake of attempting to find mitigating cheerfulness to counter recent J-assishness, we'll ignore that and assume he'll be scathing, topical, humble, and correct, and a dazed Hollywood will find itself caring about something besides itself on Oscars night.)

The whole Citgo/Venezuela thing where Hugo Chavez (prez of Venezuela) has been donating heating oil to our nation's poor.

Um, and, oh yeah, the Colbert Report (finally viewed on J-Parents' overpriced cable rather than the overpriced home cable J refuses to pay): funnier and much more well-directed than expected; completely as scathing as expected. Nice.

Oh, and last, school vouchers were deemed unconstitutional in Florida. Assuming L shares some of J's distaste for vouchers, then yay.

Soooo... these are no MLK kick-ass quotes for the 2006, but they're somethin'.

Happy Birthday, dear friend.


Friday, January 06, 2006

David Letterman Teabags Bill "60% Crap" O'Reilly

Calloo, callay, take a look at this today (requires RealPlayer; general Late Show clippage here). From David Letterman's Late Show, the apolitical sarcastic ass of a host (I mean that in the nicest possible way) gets fed up with the partisan, unintentionally ironic, literal-minded conservative ass (I mean this in the viciousest possible way), Bill O'Reilly. (And if you want a link to O'Reilly's stuff, go find it yo dayyam self.)

You have to give this to O'Reilly: in this case, he reacted much better to criticism than, say, against Al Franken (or to B-O'R, "Stuart Smalley") or Jeremy Glick.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Feliz Ano Novo, Feliz Ano Nuevo, Happy New Year!

Hey All,

Sorry to end last year on a bit of a down note -- though it's really good that violence in the world is down, really really good! Even if I was smart-assedy about it and used it to explore the Bush Administration's continued Iraqi * pogrom.

So some news in a similar vein -- some profound quotes from J-fave 2 Political Junkies. The first is from atrios via 2PJ, concerning our new democracy under dear leader GW:
2005 was the year that the president of the United States declared proudly that he had broken the law repeatedly and with full intention, that he had the power to do so whenever he wanted to, and that he would continue to do so whenever he determined it to be desirable. This declaration was met with basic approval from much of the beltway chattering classes, prominent libertarian bloggers, and just about every small government conservative... By conferring dictatorial authority on himself Bush has declared that this is, in fact, a dictatorship even if he hasn't (yet) bothered using such authorities to the fullest of his claimed ability... 2005 was the year the president declared he was the law, and few of our elite opinion makers and shapers bothered to notice, or care.

Second, a nice bit by Kurt Vonnegut on 2PJ:
... I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called In These Times.

Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic New York Times guaranteed that there were weapons of mass destruction there.

Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human reace at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.

Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you?

Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people, too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is not the first time I have surrendered to a pitiless war machine.

My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse."

Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas!

Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler.

Ok... not so cheery... but profound.

Go with Goodness, my friends. With God, with Good, or whatever you believe in, go with righteousness and humility, compassion and reason, humanity and activism, into the new year, dear fellow travelers.