Friday, November 18, 2011

Army tests hypersonic weapon over the Pacific - Are We Feeling Safer Now?

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Subject: Army tests hypersonic weapon over the Pacific - Yahoo! News
Date: Friday, November 18, 2011, 4:17 PM

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Army tests hypersonic weapon over the Pacific - Yahoo! News
The Army on Thursday conducted its first flight test of a new weapon capable of traveling five times the speed of sound.
Read the full story

Monday, November 14, 2011

Joe Frazier.....R.I.P.

"In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries a reminder
Of ev'ry glove that layed him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
'I am leaving, I am leaving'
But the fighter still remains"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Obama goes on another holiday....

As if playing golf every weekend isn't enough time off in addition to his other vacations, readers of my blog know that although I've visited Hawaii as often as finances and health allow (and tried for years to get teaching work there), and have spent even more time when younger in Polynesie francais, even for a time being granted a carte de sejour (Residency) there, I've never been to Guam, but I continue to be moved by the overlooked plight of the people there as evidenced in the blog titled "The Drowning Mermaid" and the blog titled "Peace and Justice for Guam and the Pacific". Guam is officially a part of the U.S. Empire and continues to be decimated by our increasing military presence there. Because of protests in Okinawa and Korea, mostly having to do with continued rape by American military scum of young native girls (and children) in both places, and the closure of some bases there, Guam, to where the military is beginning to further relocate, suffers. Our only South Pacific colony, American Samoa, with a large navy base, has been almost culturally genocided by the encroachment of our "culture" - if one can call cheeseburgers and vulgarity, culture. Perhaps it is too late to save Guam from the same fate. However, Obama did promise the people of Guam he would go there after the election to see what was going on with the military in relation to the people and the protest movement.  He has not done so. Thus I am appalled by Obama's going on yet another out of the U.S. holiday under the guise of meeting his fellow "leaders" - most no better than the dictators of China. First they all meet in Hawaii, obviously the preferred holiday spot for our President (a wonderful place to have grown up, but I do get a sense he was always an alienated outsider there - probably something like "repitition compulsion" working), for whom I have lost more and more respect as his time in office passes. Then he travels on to places like Bali and Australia (to firm up Australian support for the Afghan war) just as his wife travelled on taxpayer money (millions for the security detail alone) to Spain and India. & for what? To what end? Really, is he no better than the dimmest of all the right-wing dim bulbs, megalomaniac politicians and jejune hacks vying to replace him? Surely, he must be. Or is it all just the weapons trade and corporate Mammonism now.

(& this from the Honolulu Star-Advertizer (one of the daily newspapers): The managers of Iolani Palace objected to its closure during the gathering of Obama and the APEC oligarchs....22 protestors were arrested and removed from the grounds of the Palace and all workers summarily laid off during the time of the visit of Obama and the Asian dictators. These Hawaiians are supporters of the Sovereignty Movement in Hawaii - which continues to protest against the long continuing illegal seizure and annexation of the islands (before people there - though not a majority of native Hawaiian people, voted for statehood) and its militarization - the first incursion of the U.S. Empire outside of the mainland. It is the first serious secessionist movement since the Civil War. Obama never visits any island other than
Oahu, and always stays, when there, on the Kaneohe military complex (with its adjoining golf course) or at multi-million dollar vacation homes of his sponsors nearby.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Advice to a Prophet by Richard Wilbur

When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city,
Mad-eyed from stating the obvious,
Not proclaiming our fall but begging us
In God's name to have self-pity,

Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range,
The long numbers that rocket the mind;
Our slow, unreckoning hearts will be left behind,
Unable to fear what is too strange.

Nor shall you scare us with talk of the death of the race.
How should we dream of this place without us?--
The sun mere fire, the leaves untroubled about us,
A stone look on the stone's face?

Speak of the world's own change. Though we cannot conceive
Of an undreamt thing, we know to our cost
How the dreamt cloud crumbles, the vines are blackened by frost,
How the view alters. We could believe,

If you told us so, that the white-tailed deer will slip
Into perfect shade, grown perfectly shy,
The lark avoid the reaches of our eye,
The jack-pine lose its knuckled grip

On the cold ledge, and every torrent burn
As Xanthus once, its gliding trout
Stunned in a twinkling. What should we be without
The dolphin's arc, the dove's return,

These things in which we have seen ourselves and spoken?
Ask us, prophet, how we shall call
Our natures forth when that live tongue is all
Dispelled, that glass obscured or broken

In which we have said the rose of our love and the clean
Horse of our courage, in which beheld
The singing locust of the soul unshelled,
And all we mean or wish to mean.

Ask us, ask us whether with the worldless rose
Our hearts shall fail us; come demanding
Whether there shall be lofty or long standing
When the bronze annals of the oak-tree close.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Alley Cat Allies @

Spending half an hour or so trying to help clean and winterize (and trap and neuter) in support of the feral cat population under the boardwalk in atlantic city, one sees that it is not cats who are dirty, but we humans. sadly, more and more homeless people are choosing to sleep under the jersey shore boardwalks, even in winter, rather than go to a homeless shelter. people have always slept under atlantic city boardwalks, and since the advent of casinos, more and more atlantic city has become a place which "caters to losers." i've been living on this barrier island (absecon island) with atlantic city at the north end, and three small suburban beach towns, ventnor, margate, and longport, to the south, sharing the island, for over 15 years. it is the closest beach and ocean to philadelphia, where i was born and raised, and my parents used to bring me here as a child. i sold the old row house in the Feltonville section of Philadelphia my grandfather built, and where i grew up, and to where I retreated for almost a decade after my parents' deaths in the 1980's. it had by then become one of philadelphia's most "troubled" neighborhoods, though not a hard-core ghetto, just the usual working-class/lower middle-class place plagued for the past 25 years with steeet crime, graffiti even on trees, drive-by shootings, and all the trauma of inner city life. eventually, i moved to margate, buying a small one bedroom condo apartment. now i have to sell that as well and live frugally somewhere for the duration since my funds are disappearing, like so many others in America. the 1944 hurricane wiped out the boardwalk in margate and longport, and the decision was not to rebuild, so the many miles of boardwalk now extend from the inlet at the northern tip of the island down through atlantic city and ventnor. pressured by pork-barrel interests, the municipalities chose to allow the often incompetent "army core of engineers" to build artificial sand dunes between the boardwalk and the ocean in atlantic city and in ventnor in order to protect the casino interests (initially the casino executives wanted to tear down the entire boardwalk so as to more effectively keep people inside) and the multi-million-dollar beachfront homes. now the dunes block the views of ocean from the boardwalk while reducing ocean breezes, and providing, some have said, a home for rats (certainly for rubbish). most people downbeach from atlantic city are quite well-off: doctors, lawyers, dentists, entrepreneurs and ceo's, investment counselors and bankers, and who knows what. but you can still see the signs of hard times everywhere. the atlantic city violent crime endemic to the u.s., businesses closing down, property values diminishing, workers laid off, etc. most all previous mayors of atlantic city over the past 50 years or so have been indicted upon or even before leaving office, and some have served time in prison, so i would venture to say atlantic city is one of america's most corruption-ridden cities. (of course, in current tv programs extolling new jersey's crass subculture, we lap up the romanticization of crime and criminals and even the lack of signs of intelligent life in general.) the casinos only made it worse. corzine was the governor before christie. so far he has managed to avoid prison while accumulating his fortune over the years as former head of Goldman-Sachs and buying his way into the senate and governorship. the current governor, who has brought back deer culls and bear culls and the cull of wild birds in the local wetlands sanctuary (Forsythe wildlife refuge - a migration route safe stopover for thousands of birds (for thusands of years) flying south for the winter and returning in the spring) is, like most all politicians, a great friend to the very wealthy, and to hunters. on a personal level, he is the most obese politico since Taft, and i reckon he is bound to spontaneously combust someday, like the character named Krook in Dickens' Bleak House. once, when queried about his weight when so many on the planet are starving, he responded by saying people who work at IHOP or McDonalds, etc., have to have jobs and eat too. if one takes a hard look at new jersey's cities, like camden and others (even the state capitol, trenton), one sees the results of the total disgrace to governance brought about by christie and his predecessors. so obviously, animals and animal rights, are not exactly anyone's priority - except for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in the Brigantine area of south jersey. the first cause i ever donated any money to, in a beginning attempt 45 years ago, to help stop the slaughter of baby seals in canada, still continues as cruel and unjustified murder. on the high seas, Sea Shepherd is more than worthy of our support, if you have an interest in these things. Sea Shepherd and not Greenpeace, is now most effective in trying to stop whale-hunting and other illegal activities. the Japanese are probably the worst offenders, especially in their shark-hunting, cutting off the fins of the shark and tossing them back in the ocean to die horrific deaths so they can swill their shark-fin soup. we kill millions of sharks every year, usually in this manner. oceans are often called "shark-infested" as if the sea were not their natural home. not to mention the concentration camps/extermination camps for turkeys and other creatures we gobble up. PETA is in my opinion the best large activist organization in support of the non-human life with which we share the planet. but the slaughter of rare animals just goes on, from Ohio to Africa (where poaching is unabated, the rhino being hunted to extinction for the supposed medicinal value of its horn, exported primarily to china and southeast asia). natural habitat is destroyed so that developers and their sponsors (as human advocates of Mammon are called) can construct more and more houses and golf-courses and gated communties primarily for the mega-rich. well, Alley-Cat Allies is a small (though now national) animal protection group doing what they can for the cat population in atlantic city. the number of animals being put-down in overcrowded and underfunded animal shelters is sickening. i'm not an eco-warrior, not even, i must shamefacedly admit, a vegetarian (though i must say it would be nice to have at least one vegetarian restaurant on this barrier island; there's not even one in all of atlantic county). some of new jersey's boardwalks are constructed with amazon rainforest wood, although this practice was in-part stopped by the persistence and hard work of local activists here, pointing out not simply other alternatives to amazon wood but noting how so-called civic leaders were lining their pockets with these import deals while causing not just grief, but contributing to the many murders of amazonian tribespeople by the logging industry there and their hitmen. i suppose i have pretty much given up on people as the years pass.... however, "something further may follow of this masquerade".....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

a little light relief

THE PURIST by Ogden Nash

I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist.
Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day his missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile
"You mean," he said, "a crocodile."