". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Had High Hopes For Spartacus

From favorite Brit snarker, A.A. Gill:

I had high hopes for Spartacus. I like history made by Americans; they don’t really believe it, they’re not reverential, they don’t handle it like an exhibit in a museum and they don’t let the veracity get in the way of the emotion. This Spartacus bestrides the twin columns of classical civilisation, sex and violence. It jumps from slaughter to orgy, from stabbing to stabbing, with the elan of a priapic psychopath — and what more could you ask from a bit of escapist telly?

The Niger Delta's Half A Century Of Oil Catastrophes

Finally, some major media outlet makes the connection between the oil corps' destruction of the Niger and the Gulf of Mexico, which has been going on in Nigeria for many decades, which is larger, and which no one has minded.

From the UK Guardian, naturally -- not any media in the U.S:

It is impossible to know how much oil is spilled in the Niger delta each year because the companies and the government keep that secret. However, two major independent investigations over the past four years suggest that as much is spilled at sea, in the swamps and on land every year as has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico so far.

One report, compiled by WWF UK, the World Conservation Union and representatives from the Nigerian federal government and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, calculated in 2006 that up to 1.5m tons of oil – 50 times the pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska – has been spilled in the delta over the past half century. Last year Amnesty calculated that the equivalent of at least 9m barrels of oil was spilled and accused the oil companies of a human rights outrage.

According to Nigerian federal government figures, there were more than 7,000 spills between 1970 and 2000, and there are 2,000 official major spillages sites, many going back decades, with thousands of smaller ones still waiting to be cleared up. More than 1,000 spill cases have been filed against Shell alone.

Last month Shell admitted to spilling 14,000 tonnes of oil in 2009. The majority, said the company, was lost through two incidents – one in which the company claims that thieves damaged a wellhead at its Odidi field and another where militants bombed the Trans Escravos pipeline.
So why are we surprised at what BP Oil Criminals are being allowed to do in the Gulf of Mexico? We've already been trained that the destruction and disappearance of entire eco systems and regions -- and even cities -- by Big Corps, particularly by Big Oil and Big Banking -- is perfectly acceptable. It's been going on since at least Nixon, here in the U.S., and certainly, long before that, all over other parts of the world.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Remember This? Standard Oil v. United States

Plaintiff: Standard Oil of New Jersey

Defendant: United States

Plaintiff's Claim: That Standard Oil was not in violation of the Sherman Anti-trust Act by conspiring to restrain trade.

Chief Lawyer for Plaintiff: John G. Milburn

Chief Lawyer for Defendant: Frank B. Kellogg

Justices for the Court: Rufus R. Day, John Marshall Harlan I, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles E. Hughes, Joseph R. Lamar, Horace H. Lurton, Joseph McKenna, Willis Van Devanter, Chief Justice Edward D. White

Justices Dissenting: None

Date of Decision: May 15, 1911

Decision: Ruled in favor of the United States by affirming a lower court order that Standard Oil be broken apart.

Progressives and the Era of Trust-Busting

Oil Corps and Banking Corps too -- they desperately need to be busted up before they destroy the planet all together.

Louey Maistros Is Righteously Pissed Off

Fire-breathing Cthulu dolphins emerge from hole

a round of tony haywards on the house

So are we ... raising the cocktail shaker in the direction of the BP Oil Blowout Criminals.

BP Oil Criminals Lie Some More, To Obama

BP Buses In 400 Workers During Obama's Visit

Jefferson Parish Councilman Calls Company's Actions 'Shameful'
This info via Infrogmation.
BP Oil, like Halliburton, are representative of the selfish bastards that have long been teaching the world that it is is acceptable to lose species, eco-systems, cities, and now oceans

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Speaking (Writing) Sensibly About the BP Criminal Catastrophe

What is and is not being done, and who is or is not doing it: Go here, to the Humid City Blog, where the consortia get their hands in the petroleum and clean the feathers.

Some of the comments to today's entry are by other members who are disagreeing -- they too worth reading.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

HBO "Treme," Ep. 7 -- "Smoke My Peace Pipe"

This, the darkest episode so far, was co-written by Davis Rogan, upon whom the Treme character, Davis McAlary is based.  It's the saddest, the scariest and the sweetest.

We're up to early February, which is when we came back to New Orleans for the first time after the Flood, at the end of January. What's been missing is the eeriness of the city at night, which was still in place at this first return (we came back almost immediately after that, for two weeks prior and after Mardi Gras). Until Mardi Gras, New Orleans was mostly dark at night. The sheer spookiness of night New Orleans, which has always been present at times, that instructs you, among other essential information, that trees can be something other, something more, than trees, for instance, no matter emergency or not, is also missing.  Gigs in Mid City were played by candlelight. The cops were not there. The violence was perpetrated by mysterious others -- Blackwater, etc. Who you saw patrolling on the street were the National Guard, the Reserves.

The Goodman character is not like any of the members of the Tulane English Dept. we know – they're much hipper, for one thing,. His style of teaching? That's been gone from English depts. everywhere, one might think. It's the kind of English professor David Simon maybe had when he was an undergrad, but man, English academics don't hold forth like that these days (well, maybe, some older members, somewhere, but not at Tulane).

Everything that's not going right, everything's that going wrong, all that isn't being done, is converging. The police dept. covered up the deaths of many prisoners – some of whom shouldn't even have been arrested; LaDonna discovera that Daymo is dead and has been dead a long time. She can't tell her ailing mother, at least not until after Mardi Gras.

It's the depiction of the relentless wearing down, the constant doing it wrong, getting it wrong (particularly by the politicians and media) the checks that don't come or arrive too late, the choice between restoring your home or restoring your business, the lost and the missing, the lack of health services, the trek to get to a place that sells groceries, the lack of mail, the lack of electricty and water, struggle to find, buy and bring in the materials to clean up and rebuild, the work sabotaged by thieves, the lack of work because the construction jobs go to subcontractors who use undocumented labor, not you, who live here, whose family has always lived here, here, where you and your family always did your work as builders, restorers, plumbers, electricians (while playing as much music as you can, very likely), the endless, relentless lying -- that's the terror of Treme, built up out of the previous six episodes. In this episode it is reaching the tipping point.

But this terror is leavened by the sweetness and tenderness that is also living in New Orleans, even at this time. In this episode the sweet and tender are provided by Antoine Batiste, particularly with the dying Danny Nelson. That teeny, silent scene of Antoine putting one of his earbuds into Danny's ear, sharing a final listen of Jelly Roll's "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say" was all sweetness and tenderness, without sentimentality. This is the face of love, the face of respect. This is understanding another person, down to the bottom of his soul. This is the heart of New Orleans. If you don't understand this you don't understand New Orleans, past and present -- and the terrifying implications for the future. This scene wasn't about the hotshots, the lucky ones, the world class traveling artists of New Orleans. It was about what they are rooted in. And when / if this goes, so does their next generation, and so does the New Orleans we all love and value. So does a fundamental treasure of the history of this nation.  Later, another few-seconds-only scene -- Antoine returns. Danny's bed is empty.

Additionally, every scene in which Antoine interacts with a woman in this episode, his eyes, his face -- we understand why there are so many baby mamas. That scene at the airport, with the woman who is returning to New Orleans, her home, who asked who they are playing in honor of? He gives her those eyes, that face, that touch to the cap, and says, "We're playing in honor of you, Ma'am." She melts. So do we.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Food For the Gods

Potato Salad.

The old Romans appreciated their lettuces and salads and crunchy vegetables even in poetry.

They knew their vinegars.  They had eggs.  Surely they had something that was mayonnaise or very like.

They had onions, celery and parsley -- you name it, they had it.

Except, they had no potatoes.

I do, and we have achieved a potato salad worthy of the gods, even if I am she who so deems the worthiness.

We have melon.  We have ham.  We have a green salad.  We're ready for 90 degrees.

BP Lies With Every Breath They Take

BP insists its doing just everything they or anybody else could possible do, sob wink sob wink sob wink wink wink to remedy the criminal catastrophe in our Gulf that they created.  They wink even more than they sob.  It's all lies.

See here, where WDSU reports that BP wasn't even using the boats it hired -- they're just sitting there doing NOTHING.

Jefferson Parish Emergency Management has commandeered all of BP's hired boats on Grand Isle, parish Councilman Chris Roberts confirmed in an e-mail to WDSU on Saturday.
And, what is this bullshit coming out of D.C. that only BP can fix this mess, that none of the feds have the means or even a clue?

You know in a commie country like China a whole buncha people would be arrested and probably shot.  In Japan they'd have to commit suicide for destroying so many people's homes, livelihoods and public space.  But here in the land of decadent capitalism, corporate welfare and mefirst&only, how much ya wanna bet BP doesn't even clean up the mess that maybe somebody else will figure out how to at least stop?  How much ya wanna bet they won't pay for anything?  How much ya wanna bet they're gonna go right out and do it again, in the same damned Gulf of Mexico?

How much more of this can our global environment stand before its entire immune system breaks down from the constant assault and destruction of vital parts of it?  Ya wanna guess not very much longer?

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Bibliographer

This week ye Bibliographer begins compiling our research reading lists.

The first one is for the summer reading in the histories of Baltimore, Norfolk and Charleston up to the commencement of the Civil War. If anyone has suggestions they are welcome. For instance Madison Smartt Bell has written Charm City: A Walk through Baltimore (nonfiction) Crown, 2007. This goes on the list, of course, but as it deals with so much post the Civil War, it can't be as useful as more specificlly historic works will be.

The second list is of primary document depositories, archives and special collections in the region that contain various aspects of the research, such as insurance, licenses, fees and taxes, i.e., the business of the trade.

This is merely to start.  It is going to be a long journey, which includes boots on ground, which we're looking forward to muchly.

Friday, May 21, 2010

U.S. and Cuba Hold Talks on Gulf oil spill

By Paul Haven

HAVANA -- U.S and Cuban officials are holding "working level" talks on how to respond to the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill that is believed to be dumping some 5,000 barrels of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico, two State Department officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The talks add to signs of concern that strong currents could carry the slick far from the site of the spill, possibly threatening the Florida Keys and the pristine white beaches along Cuba's northern coast.

They are also a rare moment of cooperation between two countries locked in conflict for more than half a century.

"I can confirm that they are ongoing and going on at the working level," State Department Spokesman Gordon Duguid told reporters in Washington. "It is incumbent upon us to inform all of our neighbors, not just the islands, but those countries that could be affected by disasters that happen within our territorial waters."

Duguid said that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana also delivered a diplomatic note Wednesday informing the Cuban government about the spill and what is known about its projected movement. Washington maintains the Interest Section in Cuba instead of an embassy.

"We provided background related to the cause of the spill, stressed that stopping the oil leak is our top priority and explained the projected movement of the spill," Duguid said. "We also communicated the U.S. desire to maintain a clear line of communication with the Cuban government on developments."

It was not clear if the U.S. has offered assistance to Havana in the event the oil hits Cuban beaches, or if officials here would accept. In 2005, then-President Fidel Castro offered the U.S. medical assistance after Hurricane Katrina, including sending Cuban doctors to treat storm victims. The State Department declined the offer.

There was no immediate comment from Cuban authorities on the oil spill talks.

Also Wednesday, the Bahamian government said it would seek to recover costs from BP PLC - the oil giant that owns a majority interest in the blown well that caused the disaster - if the crude spill spreads to Bahamian waters and a clean-up operation is required.

"Any money that is spent in a possible clean-up the government would be looking to be reimbursed, and the entire exercise being paid for by BP," said Commander Patrick McNeil, head of the Bahama's National Oil Spill Contingency team.

Relations between the United States and Cuba are at a low, despite optimism that President Barack Obama would usher in a new spirit of cooperation. Still, the two countries have pushed to improve cooperation in dealing with natural disasters and fighting drug trafficking, and have resumed twice-yearly conversations on immigration.

Coast Guard officials from the two countries maintain regular contact on a variety of maritime issues.

Scientists have expressed increasing worry that the oil will get caught up in the so-called loop current, a ribbon of warm water that begins in the Gulf of Mexico and wraps around Florida. Some say the current could even draw the crude through the Keys and then up Florida's Atlantic Coast, where it could wash up around Palm Beach.

Yonggang Liu, a researcher at University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, told AP on Wednesday that if the oil is in the loop current, Cuba's north coast - some 480 miles (775 kilometers) southeast of the blown Deepwater Horizon platform - could also be endangered.

"The Florida Strait is very narrow," said Liu. "The local wind effect could bring the oil across the strait to Cuba."

Other USF marine researchers think there's also a possibility that the oil could flow directly to Cuba's northern shore before flowing back up to the Florida Keys.

The island's cash-strapped economy relies heavily on tourists, and most come for a chance to bask in the sun at white-sand beach resorts like Varadero along the northern coast. A loss of any of that income could be devastating, as Cuba is already reeling from the damage done by three 2008 hurricanes, as well as the effects of the global economic crisis.

Cuban state media has reported daily on the oil spill - and Fidel Castro decried the ecological disaster in an opinion piece as evidence the world's capitalist governments are in thrall to large corporations.

But authorities have been remarkably quiet about what effect the spill might have on the island.

Orlando Rey, an Environment Ministry scientist, said on May 5 that the spill did not appear to be a threat to Cuba, despite early reports the oil might get caught up in the loop.

But there has been no update since then, despite the growing alarm coming from U.S. scientific circles.

The government has not responded to a request from The Associated Press for more information, and officials at several Cuban maritime and meteorological institutes have said they have no further information.

BP Cake, Breaux Mart Grocery, Magazine St., 05/18/2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Women Wear -- Who Decides

It's impossible not to think of what women are supposed to wear, what they can't wear, what they're told to wear, blahblahblah, and who is telling them.

In some parts of the world women will be punished, even killed if they don't veil or wear a burqua. In other parts of the world women will be punished, maybe even killed, if they do veil or wear a burqua.

Is this not freakin' insane when you think about it?

One might even think that the Ms. Universe contest is now set up to specifically humiliate the winners.

As others as well as myself have noticed, her 'glam' shots, swimsuit shots, etc. revealed more skin than her pole dance routine shots.

So you're supposed to white gloved priss miss when you win, but beforehand, in order to compete, you're supposed to be a slut.

So they 'getcha!' because before and after are diametrically opposed, and you can't after if you didn't do before.

It's nobody's business what we wear or don't wear. We know how to dress appropriately, believe me. We learned to dress ourselves when we were very little. We learned to dress everybody else too. Shut up all of you, and leave us alone, I say!

Then, there is THIS: 

On Michelle Martin's "Tell Me More" program on NPR, there was a long segment yesterday - or was it the day before -- of  the regular male commentators and other masculine experts, all up in arms and upset that the male fashion runways these last couple of seasons are showing men in 'toothpick' wardrobe, and that the models are, like well sixteen.

Real men don't look like this! Sixteen years old is too young! What kind of expectations are you putting on men when they have so much to do, and real men can't live up to this ideal!

Nor was it satire.

Welcome to Women's World  all you guys.  Sooner or later it was gonna bite your asses too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

HBO Treme Episode 6 -- "Shallow Water, Oh Mama"

This episode was what I adore about the best arc television (or even the best of radio programs too -- like the Hip Deeps that Vaquero makes sometimes for AfroPop Worldwide): it feels like the narrative is going on forever, so filled with incident and character, and the ride is o so smooth that you are in a state of constant but o so enjoyable amazement at how much ground you've covered, how far you traveled -- and yay! there's still more to go before the episode is over. Among other bits I got such a kick out McAlary on Informed Sources's candidates forum -- or was it Steppin' Out,  another WYES public television program? --  how Peggy Scott Labord regards Davis, his platform and presentation, complete with strippers and flogging his CD, which last part is certainly allowed on Steppin' Out (V. was on the program last September and encouraged to flog TYBTF).

Ay-up -- Creighton's agent was gonna show up and ask for a book really fast on the Flood and the Catastrophe and New Orleans.  That's the publishing industry.  Though he seems to have rejected the idea out of hand, that seems a little odd because writers and pontificators, both of which Creighton is, want more than anything else forums, to be read, to be heard.  He also reminds me of so many people who got so depressed in the months after the Failure of the Levees, though on the surface they seemed to be more OK than many if not even most people, like Chris Rose, for instance.  Creighton too has his home and family intact, an income -- he's even getting his salary paid via the Tulane salary insurance it carried.  So who knows?  And is Goodman available for the second season?

Another favorite bit was Albert and neighbor (and now girlfriend?) snip snip snipping, sew sew sewing Albert's Big Chief's suit for Mardi Gras.

It gets a little dizzy sometimes though: Donald Harrison in the same scene with Delmond, who is playing a sort of Donald Harrison character, who sure as hell was back as Big Chief at Mardi Gras 2006.

Trying to recover from reading student papers, seemingly forever, we also watched Lolis Eric Elie's Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (2008) last night, which for some reason we've missed seeing all this time.  It is needless to say that Faubourg Treme is a  brilliant piece of work.
Bye-the-bye -- for the first time I heard someone on national public rhetoric NOT refer to the BP Oil Blowout Crime Catastrophe as 'the spill.'  "All Things Considered," covering the Salazar testimony on the BP Oil Blowout Crime Catastrophe as, why, yes, 'the BLOWOUT.'  Then the story turned to ATC's own experts, and it was back to being a 'spill.'

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kevin Costner's Oil Extraction Machine, Takes the Oil Out Of Water

If this can work on a large scale this is a greater miracle than Jesus turning water into wine.

Thanks to Louey Maistros and the Home Team of Humid City.

He demonstrated it Thursday:

Local parish leaders were excited.
We will be pushing for this to at least get a demonstration out in the open water to put this to a test," St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro said. "If it shows what it shows here on land, then we may have found ourselves another tool for the tool box."
"With these odds and percentages, it only makes sense," Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nunguesser said. "Let's give it a try."

The company offers five different machines that work from 5 gallons a minute to 200 gallons a minute.
Fifteen years ago, Costner funded a group of scientists headed by his brother to develop such a device. Local partners have been organized to deploy the machine for BP.
This is the closest thing to positive news about the BP Oil Blowout Catastrophic Crime -- and the first positive news too.  Yes, that pipe is supposedly working sort of, but that's only one of the drill holes, and nobody has any idea at all of how much, exactly is getting siphoned to the ship -- and -- why, yes!  BP's NOT TELLIN'.

So all you all who have always made fun and been mean to Kevin Costner, all you all may just have to apologize.

Off to the Jazz Gallery to hear "Voices of the Big Easy featuring Chuck Perkins & Henry Butler.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Transocean Ltd. Issues issues $1 Billion Dividend To Stockholders

In a terse statement sent after the Zurich stock market closed, Transocean said it would distribute some $1 billion in dividend to shareholders, or about $3.11 per share....
Transocean moved to Switzerland two years ago to protect its low corporate tax rate, and few in the city had heard of the company, even three weeks after the April 20 blast that resulted in more than 4 million gallons (15 million liters) of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico from the well drilled by the BP-leased rig. Eleven workers were killed in the explosion.

I don't usually respond like this, but in the face of such freakin' global evil and oppression = destruction of the planet, I think I'm gonna get drunk.

Keepin On Keepin On.

Carlos last night; papers today; tonight, uptown for some Dominican music.

I can't stand it, what's going on down there.  May all these people get a terrible disease and rot rot rot, like they're rotting the ocean, the sea life, the birds, the coasts, the people.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship for 2010-11

From the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.  Thus, we'll spend September through May in Chestertown, though we won't sublet our place, as we expect to come up often for business and other reasons.

This is exciting; most of all it's exciting because now the book that we've wanted to have since The World That Made New Orleans and The Year Before the Flood, can now come into existence: The American Slave Coast: The Interstate Slave Trade and the Making of the United States.  We'll spend a fair amount of time poking about in archives and libraries of Balitimore, Norfolk and Charleston -- and hopefully get in a visit to the Sea Islands.  A music course will be taught during one of the semesters.

A restored 18th century house comes with the fellowship, and that too may well turn out to be exciting ....

Ah, the mail has arrived, and it includes the new Big Sam's Funky Nation, sent via management, I guess.  As today's the last day of class we may get to listen -- AFTER grading the skyscraper of papers, of course.  Sigh.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Awful Day, Deeply Depressed

Mz has been informed by the NVC that he has to come up with another $500 for fees for more paper processing before K is given even an interview date (she's 6 years old!) for getting a visa to come to the U.S.

M has now been in Haiti for two full months. She and Mz have been a separated marriage because of these stupid rules for a little girl with parents who are in the U.S.

In the meantime the violence in the streets over President Preval arbitrarily extending his term as (like Bloomberg did and Giuliani wanted to do) is great -- people protesting are being shot. Everyone's sick, there's no medicine or medical care -- where ARE all those personnel who have made such big media noise about how they've gone to Haiti to provide medical care? They sure as hell ain't anywhere around in Port-au-Prince's soleils it seems. Mz is facing eviction because he just can't seem to make enough money to keep supporting everyone he's supporting.

This is a cold, dreary grey day. And I'm looking at never-ending stacks of papers written by indulged bigoted conservative guys who insist that what they FEEL is fact, and racism doesn't exist, it's just a bunch of whining by black people who are too lazy to work.  While they've never had a job in their lives and their parents are paying for their education.

Then there's the BP Oil Blowout Catastrophe and their shameless campaign to wiggle out of liability -- even to hiring shills that National Public Rhetoric is all too happy to give mucho tiempo to say: "Poor poor poor BP!  Do you know how much money they're losing every day that this leak goes on?  You can't expect them to pay compensation and liabilities and all that too.  They've already paid enough!"  I am NOT making this up.  I heard this on ATC last night.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Big Oil Bidness Execs Blame Shift To Each Other

"It was YOU!" yells British Petroleum at Transocean.

"It was YOU!" yells Transocean at Halliburton.

"It wasn't US!" yells Halliburton at Transocean.

This at the Senate hearing, as described in the WaPo.

Of course it ultimately is the Senate's and the bush regime's fault for allowing all the de-regulation, but the story doesn't include that bit of information, does it.

"Shame, Shame, Shame" and HBO "Treme" in the HuffPo

The Huffington Post New Orleans writer, Karen Dalton-Beninato, writes at length about "Same, Shame, Shame," episode 5 of Treme.  This episode, per Simon, was the best so far -- each episode is the best ep so far, which is how it needs to be in an arc show. We got to watch it last night, finally (much going on over here -- can't always be free to watch tv, particularly as we no haz telervizon, much less HBO).

There's a shout out for The World That Made New Orleans toward the close of the episode's description.  It's amazing how many New Orleans writers have read that book.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jazz Funeral for the Gulf

One of our best friends is going on a second line today.  He says, "I've been trying to ignore as much as possible the tragedy of the BP blowout for the sake of my sanity.  But you can't.  Goin' on a second line today.  I feel it's a jazz funeral for the Gulf."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

'Fess Longhair

Joel Selvin has some rare early NO recordings, including the first ones on LP by Professor Longhair from the end of the 1940's.  He copied them for V. when he was there last week and we've been listening.

It's been a while since hearing recorded music with all those other little sounds of needle playback.  God this stuff is wonderful!  Some of it bonkers too like the one in which Fess is going on and on about the qqqqboooooooono.  You just crack-up.  But if anyone ever still wonders about the truth to the close and constant loop between New Orleans and Havana in those decades, it's all over these recordings.


I cannot hate the naturalized Pakistani fellow like I hate them.  They have done more damage to our nation than he ever dreamed of getting away with.  In fact THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIM TOO.  As well as himself of course.  He sure has the profile of a lost loser with no center.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Danny Rivera, Michel Camilo, Marco Antonio Muñiz At Carnegie Hall

The concert was on the Perlman Stage in the Hall's big Stern Auditorium. It wasn't sold out; attendence was I'd estimate at 97% of capacity. The Orchestra seats were $150; the least expensive seat was $65.

I wish all those people who can only think of Spanish speaking heritage Americans as undocumented criminals were there. This was a concrete manifestation of latin people in the U.S.: Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico -- and also referenced often was Haiti. Danny mentioned that one of the many things that united us all was language -- we speak Spanish and we speak English. He didn't mention the other thing that they all had in common was that all of them have been exploited, invaded and ruled at different times directly and indirectly by the United States military, by U.S. political policy and U.S. capitalist corporations.

Thus, Haiti, even though Haiti's language is not Spanish but Kreyole and French. (It doesn't escape notice that France's former colonies don't have hordes begging to migrate to the U.S. -- they are French, French citizens, and thus they've been free of the U.S. and live far better than the citizens of those places who have now or in the past experienced living under U.S. hegemony. And the former British New World colonies' people emigrate to Britain, by and large, though we do have Jamaicans here, at least in NYC.)

Maria Inahosa introduced the event. She began, "We are latinos. We live in New York City, where we are seen, where we are heard, where we walk without fear. Unlike our brothers and sisters in Arizona." From a Mexican-American family, Maria is married to an artist from the Dominican Republic, who was in the audience. (He gave V. introductions to DR artists and intellectuals when V. went there often.)

Michel Camilo is from the DR; Muñiz, now 80 years old, is from Mexico, but has lived in PR for many years; Danny Rivera is from PR who spends much time in Cuba and the DR -- and was trying to bring aid to Haiti when stopped by the DR government.

Danny's spent time in an American prison for protesting Vieques. He's politically and charitably active, as well as being a television and music star.  It isn't usual for politics to play a role in Latin music events.  But Danny's a longtime activist, and what's happened in Arizona, and expected to be copied by several other states has done more to bring to together the varieties of Spanish speaking heritage U.S. citizens than anything else has, as well as to politicize them.

The special guest, the shekere player is Cuban, the father of Yosvani, who recently immigrated; the upright bass player, Charles Flores, is also Cuban. The timbalero, Cliff Almond, is from California, young, white and blonde -- the youngest fellow there.

This was a concert that featured power ballad solo vocalists, though when Danny and the 80-year-old Muñiz did their duet it was spectacular. Via Muñiz in particular we could see the indescribably rich and deep and broad music and theatrical traditions of the Iberian peninsula reaching back and back into history, back even to at least Rome. That gave me shivers. This isn't the anglo-saxon theatrical history of gesture and form, but that of the Mediterranean. Pure gold.

Latin cultural power. It is here. In the U.S. Whether or not Arizona can see it through its blinders of focus on the drug cartels.

I'm not saying that Arizona doesn't have serious troubles here. But neither they nor the rest of the U.S., much less the federal government is facing the causes. You can never successfully treat the symptoms and think the pressure to leave home for a more fertile land will cease. Nor can you ever deal with the pressure to make drug money when the demand is so great.

There was so much to think about while listening to this rich, gorgeous music. What a night of love -- because ballads are all about love -- and friendship. And V. wrote the Playbill text on the artists.

Afterwards V. and I went out together for a late dinner and a little wine, and blithered to each other about how much we enjoyed it, and why we enjoyed it, and how much we enjoyed experiencing it with each other.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

BP Forced Rig Survivors to Sign Waivers

And to sign that they weren't hurt, didn't see anyone hurt, and that they didn't see ANYTHING.  They were held without communication in a hotel, not even allowed to call their families, for 50 hours, until the legal team could get their strategy in place for BP.

The full story was on NPR's "All Things Considered."  You can hear it here.

 . . .  the two paragraphs at the end.
One says: "I was not a witness to the incident requiring the evacuation and have no first hand or personal knowledge regarding the incident."

The second says: "I was not injured as a result of the incident or evacuation."
BP is also putting pressure on the White House and the Hill to take 'BP' and 'British Petroleum' out of any reference to the BP Oil Catastrophe (and, please tell me how in hell this can be called an oil SPILL?????) -- because this bad fro their public image.  They are now mounting a campaign that BP was involved or has any responsibility at all -- it's Transocean built the rig  that um FUCKING BP ordered -- that is responsible for this BP insists.

The ultimate responsiblity lies with the deregulation of off shore oil and the safety regs -- and all the other deregulation of everything including finance and banking -- carried out by cheney and his minions during the bush regime.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Halliburton & BP - Partnership Of Evil

From "Black Gold -- the Lifeblood of War," by Randall Amster:

Halliburton IS the War Machine: Finally, we come to the most likely culprit in all of this, and a sure sign that indeed this is an act of war. Wherever Halliburton goes, so goes the war machine, and vice versa. From no-bid and no-account contracts in Iraq (and post-Katrina New Orleans, by the way) to a massive corporate presence in the Gulf region, these folks seem to have an acute capacity for making a buck on cataclysms of all sorts. Perhaps more to the point, they appear to be at the nexus of most disaster zones, including the erstwhile Bush Presidency and now the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. As a recent article in the Huffington Post notes:

"Giant oil-services provider Halliburton may be a primary suspect in the investigation into the oil rig explosion that has devastated the Gulf Coast, the Wall Street Journal reports. Though the investigation into the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon site is still in its early stages, drilling experts agree that blame probably lies with flaws in the 'cementing' process -- that is, plugging holes in the pipeline seal by pumping cement into it from the rig. Halliburton was in charge of cementing for Deepwater Horizon."
The Los Angeles Times subsequently reported that members of Congress have called on Halliburton "to provide all documents relating to 'the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring, and inspection of the cementing work' by May 7." A YouTube video (which is actually mostly audio) more bluntly asserts that "Halliburton Caused Oil Spill," and notes the fact -- confirmed by Halliburton's own press release -- that its employees had worked on the final cementing "approximately 20 hours prior to the incident." Interestingly, one commenter on the YouTube video notes how "that would conveniently explain the North Korean story; [Halliburton] may have leaked this story to the press to divert attention away from alleged negligence." Wouldn't that just be the ultimate? Halliburton spawns the calamity but pins it on North Korea, and then the nation goes to war whereby Halliburton "cleans up" through billions in war-servicing contracts. It's almost too perfect, and might be funny if it didn't seem so plausible. (The only thing funnier is picturing Dick Cheney in the role of Exxon Valdez fall guy Joseph Hazelwood.)

And then, "BP Voids Fishermen's Cleanup Contracts In Louisiana -- Cites Legal Mix-up," :

"... there is nothing these fishermen would hesitate to do to save the bayous, canals and rivers where they and their families have made a living for generations - except this: Sign a contract with BP saying they will "hold harmless and indemnify … release, waive and forever discharge the BP Exploration and Production, Inc., its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, regular employees, and independent contractors … from all claims and damages" arising from helping to clean up the mess that BP has made.

No one wanted to waive the right to sue BP, but some fishermen, desperate for cash, signed the waiver anyway."

Wall Street Journal article on the lack of the acoustic fail safe:

That regulation was changed, according to the lawyer representing a class action against BP, after a closed door meeting between Cheney and a bunch of oil company executives, and was one of the many deregulations that were good to Give US da Bidness. Naturally, as this is the WSJ, neither deregulation, Cheney nor Halliburton are mentioned.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Twenty Month Old Experiences Jazz & Heritage

The son of a dear friend, a well know writer about jazz:

Trombonist Glen David Andrews held me before taking the Congo Square stage. John Boutté sang me an a cappella version of Paul Simon's “American Tune,” and then I fell gently asleep. The rains came down hard, but there were plenty of toy trains in the kid's tent, so all good. I learned how to say, “Who Dat?”