Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wow a female owned Mexican business without BRIBES!

[This older segment was repeated on NPR yesterday and just made my day]

Look at my hands. Do you see pretty hands with painted nails? No. These are the hands of a working woman. —Vicki Ponce, Electronics Recycler


Ingrid Lobet

When I met Vicki Ponce, I was surprised at the level of siege she and her business partners had to endure as they fought to create a recycling shop in their town. Small towns can be insular and intolerant, sure. But the hostility in Fronteras, in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, bordered on vicious.

Vicki and her colleagues (they're known in Fronteras as Las Chicas Bravas, or "The Tough Girls") told me about a time when they when they left a meeting, and townspeople surrounded them, blocking any escape. The crowd began jeering. Someone yelled, "Tough girls! Not so tough now, are you, now that we've got you corralled?" Children held up placards. One said: Fuera Chicas Bravas de Fronteras! ("Out of Fronteras, Tough Girls!")

"How do you think it made us feel?" Vicki asked me. "These were our neighbors. All we were doing was trying to create employment for as many of them as possible."

For a while, as I poked around Fronteras, I thought there might be a religious angle hiding in this story. I've been in small towns in Latin America where Catholics and evangelical Christians spread mean rumors about each other. Maybe that would explain the rage the Chicas seemed to engender. But Vicki and the other core members of the recycling group have no church in common. Even Vicki and her husband attend different churches. Religious tolerance may be one kind that does exist in Fronteras.

So what was the Chicas' crime? Why are some locals, including the mayor, so incensed by their efforts? I think it's partly the fact that Vicki and the others have refused to pay bribes. And that they have the temerity to insist on working into middle age. In Mexico, job ads still openly require attractive, young candidates, and older workers find it almost impossible to compete.

But I suspect that their biggest transgression is simply refusing to accept their circumstances. They are striving. Their entrepreneurialism is subversive. They dare to have modest, rather than truly low, expectations. And for that they inspire envy, and resentment.
But Mexico is changing, and the Chicas, with their can-do spirit, no longer find themselves alone. There's the lay lawyer who defended them in court and who also refused to pay bribes. There's the judge who ruled against the mayor, telling him that the era of the omnipotent cacique (political boss) is over. No, he said, the mayor had no basis for evicting Vicki and her coworkers from their building.

Vicki told me she's changing, too. She was never a firebrand. Her favorite activity is cooking, and she used to enjoy volunteering at the local health clinic. Standing up for herself went against her girlhood training in subservience – to men, to the way things are, to the powers that be. Now she goes to the governor's office, and meets with executives from the multinational metals giant, Grupo Mexico.

Her change was a question of necessity, she told me, not choice. Three years ago she and her husband were selling tamales on the street, sometimes crossing the Arizona border to clean houses. She was desperate for a job, but there were none. So she made one.

Now the recycling business is growing, and Vicki is earning money. And, quiere o no quiere — whether she wants to or not — she's helping make Mexico a place where success isn't only about bribes, birthright, and connections. Sometimes, Vicki says, effort and steadfastness are enough to get you through.

LINKS: Retroworks

journal of art and issues from Mainstay Press
Liberation Lit publishes progressive and revolutionary fiction, and other liberatory art. Works are published online on a rolling basis, periodically collected in book form, in part.
What is art in face of torture, aggression, domination? Art may be liberatory. The artworks of Liberation Lit - personal in especially public as well as private focus - are gathered toward that end - to engage, to enlighten, to liberate.
Lib Lit prefers to publish fiction that may be deemed too partisan or didactic, or otherwise overtly factual and political, for publication by most corporate presses. Writers Guidelines.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama's 100 Days -- The Mad Men Did Well, by John Pilger

By Pilger, John

The BBC's American television soap Mad Men offers a rare glimpse of the power of corporate advertising. The promotion of smoking half a century ago by the "smart" people of Madison Avenue, who knew the truth, led to countless deaths. Advertising and its twin, public relations, became a way of deceiving dreamt up by those who had read Freud and applied mass psychology to anything from cigarettes to politics. Just as Marlboro Man was virility itself, so politicians could be branded, packaged and sold.

It is more than 100 days since Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. The "Obama brand" has been named "Advertising Age's marketer of the year for 2008", easily beating Apple computers. David Fenton of describes Obama's election campaign as "an institutionalised mass-level automated technological community organising that has never existed before and is a very, very powerful force". Deploying the internet and a slogan plagiarised from the Latino union organiser César Chávez - "Sí, se puede!" or "Yes, we can" - the mass-level automated technological community marketed its brand to victory in a country desperate to be rid of George W Bush.

No one knew what the new brand actually stood for. So accomplished was the advertising (a record $75m was spent on television commercials alone) that many Americans actually believed Obama shared their opposition to Bush's wars. In fact, he had repeatedly backed Bush's warmongering and its congressional funding. Many Americans also believed he was the heir to Martin Luther King's legacy of anti-colonialism. Yet if Obama had a theme at all, apart from the vacuous "Change you can believe in", it was the renewal of America as a dominant, avaricious bully. "We will be the most powerful," he often declared. Perhaps the Obama brand's most effective advertising was supplied free of charge by those journalists who, as courtiers of a rapacious system, promote shining knights. They depoliticised him, spinning his platitudinous speeches as "adroit literary creations, rich, like those Doric columns, with allusion . . ." (Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian). The San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford wrote: "Many spiritually advanced people I know . . . identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who . . . can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet."

In his first 100 days, Obama has excused torture, opposed habeas corpus and demanded more secret government. He has kept Bush's gulag intact and at least 17,000 prisoners beyond the reach of justice. On 24 April, his lawyers won an appeal that ruled Guantanamo Bay prisoners were not "persons", and therefore had no right not to be tortured. His national intelligence director, Admiral Dennis Blair, says he believes torture works. One of his senior US intelligence officials in Latin America is accused of covering up the torture of an American nun in Guatemala in 1989; another is a Pinochet apologist. As Daniel Ellsberg has pointed out, the US experienced a military coup under Bush, whose secretary of "defence", Robert Gates, along with the same warmaking officials, has been retained by Obama.

All over the world, America's violent assault on innocent people, directly or by agents, has been stepped up. During the recent massacre in Gaza, reports Seymour Hersh, "the Obama team let it be known that it would not object to the planned resupply of 'smart bombs' and other hi-tech ordnance that was already flowing to Israel" and being used to slaughter mostly women and children. In Pakistan, the number of civilians killed by US missiles called drones has more than doubled since Obama took office.

In Afghanistan, the US "strategy" of killing Pashtun tribespeople (the "Taliban") has been extended by Obama to give the Pentagon time to build a series of permanent bases right across the devastated country where, says Secretary Gates, the US military will remain indefinitely. Obama's policy, one unchanged since the Cold War, is to intimidate Russia and China, now an imperial rival. He is proceeding with Bush's provocation of placing missiles on Russia's western border, justifying it as a counter to Iran, which he accuses, absurdly, of posing "a real threat" to Europe and the US. On 5 April in Prague, he made a speech reported as "anti-nuclear". It was nothing of the kind. Under the Pentagon's Reliable Replacement Warhead programme, the US is building new "tactical" nuclear weapons designed to blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional war.

Perhaps the biggest lie - the equivalent of smoking is good for you - is Obama's announcement that the US is leaving Iraq, the country it has reduced to a river of blood. According to unabashed US army planners, as many as 70,000 troops will remain "for the next 15 to 20 years". On 25 April, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, alluded to this. It is not surprising that the polls are showing that a growing number of Americans believe they have been suckered - especially as the nation's economy has been entrusted to the same fraudsters who destroyed it. Lawrence Summers, Obama's principal economic adviser, is throwing $3trn at the same banks that paid him more than $8m last year, including $135,000 for one speech. Change you can believe in.

Much of the American establishment loathed Bush and Cheney for exposing, and threatening, the onward march of America's "grand design", as Henry Kissinger, war criminal and now Obama adviser, calls it. In advertising terms, Bush was a "brand collapse" whereas Obama, with his toothpaste advertisement smile and righteous clichés, is a godsend. At a stroke, he has seen off serious domestic dissent to war, and he brings tears to the eyes, from Washington to Whitehall. He is the BBC's man, and CNN's man, and Murdoch's man, and Wall Street's man, and the CIA's man. The Madmen did well.

Manly P. Hall - Love

Tim DeChristopher - NOT guilty

Student Pleads Not Guilty in Utah Land Case

In Utah, a college student who prevented a mass sell-off of public wilderness has pleaded not guilty to charges of interfering with a public auction. Tim DeChristopher made headlines in December when he disrupted the Bush administration’s last-minute move to auction off oil and gas exploitation rights on vast swaths of federal land in Utah. DeChristopher was arrested after he posed as a bidder and bought 22,000 acres of land in an attempt to save the property from drilling. He faces up to ten years in prison and a $750,000 fine. The trial is set to begin in July. On Tuesday, some 200 supporters rallied for DeChristopher outside his arraignment at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City.

Anti-Torture Activists to Commit Civil Disobedience at White House on Obama's 100th Day

[From http//]

Demand Prosecution of U.S. Torture and Release of Innocent Detainees

This just in from the 100 Days Campaign:

On April 30th, hundreds of human rights activists will gather near the White House to call on the Obama administration to support a criminal inquiry into torture under the Bush administration and to fully break with past detention policies.

At a rally at Lafayette Park at 11:15 am, members of Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Torture Abolition Survivors Support Coalition will speak out about the need for accountability and an end to Bush-era policies. At noon, sixty activists from Witness Against Torture — each representing one of the Guantanamo inmates cleared for release but still imprisoned – will risk arrest.

“Despite early, encouraging signs,” says Matthew Daloisio of Witness Against Torture, “the Obama administration has been a disappointment with respect to detainee issues and torture. President Obama has been reluctant to investigate possible, past crimes, and many of the immoral and illegal policies of the Bush administration — from the denial of habeas rights at Bagram Air Base, to the continued detention of innocent men in Guantanamo — remain in place. We need accountability, not immunity, and an end to the abuse of detainees. This president and many members of Congress are in office partly because of their promise to repudiate Bush’s detention regime. It’s time they live up to that promise.”


10:15am: Rally at the Capitol Reflecting Pool, followed by detainee procession to Lafayette Park

11:15 am: Rally at Lafayette Park and detainee procession to the White House

Noon: White House Protest

Witness Against Torture formed in 2005 when 25 activists went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to protest outside the detention camp. The April 30 demonstration concludes Witness Against Torture’s 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture. During the campaign, WAT activists have held a daily vigil at the White House, brought protest signs to confirmation and other congressional hearings, lobbied lawmakers to change detention policies, and hosted numerous public events in the Washington area.

Background on the campaign and WAT demands,

Details for April 30th,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Picture of Dorian Gray-Obama's Iraq, By JEREMY SCAHILL

Remember when Barack Obama made that big announcement at Camp Lejeune about how all US combat troops were going to be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by June 30? Liberals jumped around with joy, praising Obama for ending the war so that they could focus on their “good war” in Afghanistan. Of course, the celebrations were and remain unwarranted. Obama’s Iraq plan is virtually identical to the one on Bush’s table on January 19, 2009. Obama has just rebranded the occupation, sold it to liberals and dropped the term “Global War on Terror” while, for all practical purposes, continuing the Bush era policy (that’s why leading Republicans praised Obama’s plan). In the real world, US military commanders have said they are preparing for an Iraq presence for another 15-20 years, the US embassy is the size of Vatican City, there is no official plan for the withdrawal of contractors and new corporate mercenary contracts are being awarded. The SoFA Agreement between the US and Iraq gives the US the right to extend the occupation indefinitely and to continue intervening militarily in Iraq ad infinitum. All it takes is for the puppets in Baghdad to ask nicely… In the latest episode of the “Occupation Rebranded” mini-series, President Obama is preparing to scrap the June 30 withdrawal timeline. As The New York Times reports: “The United States and Iraq will begin negotiating possible exceptions to the June 30 deadline for withdrawing American combat troops from Iraqi cities, focusing on the troubled northern city of Mosul, according to military officials. Some parts of Baghdad also will still have combat troops.” According to the Times, the US is playing with the definition of the word “city” when speaking of withdrawing combat troops from all cities: [T]here are no plans to close the Camp Victory base complex, consisting of five bases housing more than 20,000 soldiers, many of them combat troops. Although Victory is only a 15 minute drive from the center of Baghdad and sprawls over both sides of the city’s boundary, Iraqi officials say they have agreed to consider it outside the city. In addition, Forward Operating Base Falcon, which can hold 5,000 combat troops, will also remain after June 30. It is just within Baghdad’s southern city limits. Again, Iraqi officials have classified it as effectively outside Baghdad, so no exception to the agreement needs to be granted, in their view. Combat troops with the Seventh Field Artillery Regiment will remain in the heart of Baghdad at Camp Prosperity, located near the new American Embassy compound in the Green Zone. In addition to providing a quick reaction force, guarding the embassy and noncombat troops from attack, those soldiers will also continue to support Iraqi troops who are now in nominal charge of maintaining security in the Green Zone. Camp Victory is of tremendous strategic importance to the US occupation. In addition to the military’s share of Baghdad International Airport, it includes four bases—Victory, Liberty, Striker and Slayer—as well as the US-run prison “Camp Cropper.” That’s where the US keeps its “high value” prisoners. While the US officially handed control of Forward Operating Base Freedom to “Iraqi control,” the US military is keeping the swimming pool. Meanwhile, future plans are being laid for other US bases. Camp Prosperity is going to house US contractors and other personnel, while at Camp Union III housing is being built for several thousand soldiers, trainers and advisers. What is abundantly clear is that there are enough cosmetic changes going on in Baghdad intended to make it look like the occupation is ending, while continuing it. Again, from the Times: The Green Zone was handed over to Iraqi control Jan. 1, when the agreement went into effect. In addition to the United States-Iraqi patrols, most of the security for the Green Zone’s many checkpoints and heavily guarded entry points is still done by the same private contractors who did it prior to Jan. 1. “What you’re seeing is not a change in the numbers, it’s a doctrine change,” said First Sgt. David Moore, a New Jersey National Guardsman with the Joint Area Support Group, which runs the Green Zone. “You’re still going to have fighters. Every U.S. soldier is trained to fight.” The Iraq occupation is like The Picture of Dorian Gray. No matter what public face the Obama administration attempts to present, it only grows more heinous with each passing day. Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist who reports frequently for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now, has spent extensive time reporting from Iraq and Yugoslavia. He is currently a Puffin Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.His new website is

Monday, April 27, 2009

The REAL Face of War


Be advised that these images are extremely graphic and disturbing. These are not cosmeticized pictures of this terrible reality that now threatens to expand to yet more regions of the world.

"...and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

The poetic prophesy above is not likely to come true any time soon. War has been romanticized in innumerable books and movies, and made fortunes for those who exploited the subject well. (Clint Eastwood is still at it, among others, with his latest opus, Flags of Our Fathers, while movie and television tycoon Jerry Bruckheimer, of Top Gun fame, a perfect example of what a cynical cultural prostitute is all about, has willingly become a one-man propaganda ministry for the Pentagon). In most movies-at least until recently-soldiers died "beautifully"-no hideous wounds, no real gasping fear in their eyes, they even got to say a few noble words for posterity, proof of a charitable destiny that, despite assigning them death, did not deny them their fifteen seconds of fame.

"There, for the Grace of You Know What, Go I."

But war is ugly. And war is also ruthless, sordid, and ill-mannered. It doesn't give most people time to proffer pretty speeches. And like death-which is its normal and inevitable companion-war remains in some ways unfathomable and mysterious. Wars can be depicted as noble only by those who are too naive, too young, too deluded, too corrupt, too sociopathic, or too stupid to understand the obscenity that killing in such an organized fashion represents. Are there "good wars"? Maybe. Nothing is absolute, not even something as heinous as war. But we'll leave that question for another day, another article. Let us say however this much: most wars in the history of our species have been useless, stupid enterprises; for all the suffering and mayhem they have caused, they have been utterly unnecessary...the instruments of knaves and the glory of fools, a massive carnage unleashed by every single form of human defect and backwardness: greed, deceit, ignorance, fanaticism and mass stupidity.

So whether a war is "good" or "bad" -while certainly an important consideration-there is one thing that all wars share, and that is they are unvelievably, obscenely ugly-as the images that accompany this article attest.

This is the real face of war, which our engines of mass misinformation will never show you. We owe it to them, to those who died, those who were hideously maimed, to look at these uncompromisingly distressing images, and reflect upon this criminal madness, to ponder the reasons why such people were put, found themselves, in harm's way...and who put them the hope that eventually, more and more people will come to understand the actual mainsprings of war, to spot and reject the big lies the masses are constantly fed, and mobilize to make them-at last-a thing of the past.

FADE OUT: So, why do we fight?

Most progressives are fighting to ban this horror from human history, but not all are fully aware or willing to recognize that to do so we must revolutionize society and man. Nothing short of that will get the job done. That's why recipes that seek to neutralize a given individual or administration, while helpful, miss the point. Seeing regimes such as the Bush administration as "aberrations" outside the norm is a dangerous delusion. Bush simply carries the system's DNA in slightly more virulent form. The Establishment will go on without him. And when he's gone, it will probably replace him with a momentarily more congenial face. But the dynamic will soon reassert itself because the problem is systemic, endemic to human civilization at this point, intrinsic to its functioning, and it must be seen in that light before true remedies can be applied.

The unavoidable fact is that a system that embodies in a highly misleading wrapper of dazzling modern technology the most backward instincts that humans are capable of cannot operate for long without revealing its true nature. And that nature, at this juncture in the catastrophic evolution of our morally underachieving species, includes endless war.

Patrice Greanville edits Cyrano's Journal Online.

One last word of caution: We suggest that only adults visit this gallery.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Let such pure hate still underprop, by Henry David Thoreau

Let such pure hate still underprop Our love, that we may be Each other's conscience, And have our sympathy Mainly from thence. We'll one another treat like gods, And all the faith we have In virtue and in truth, bestow On either, and suspicion leave To gods below. Two solitary stars-- Unmeasured systems far Between us roll; But by our conscious light we are Determined to one pole. What need confound the sphere?-- Love can afford to wait; For it no hour's too late That witnesseth one duty's end, Or to another doth beginning lend. It will subserve no use, More than the tints of flowers; Only the independent guest Frequents its bowers, Inherits its bequest. No speech, though kind, has it; But kinder silence doles Unto its mates; By night consoles, By day congratulates. What saith the tongue to tongue? What hearest ear of ear? By the decrees of fate From year to year, Does it communicate. Pathless the gulf of feeling yawns; No trivial bridge of words, Or arch of boldest span, Can leap the moat that girds The sincere man. No show of bolts and bars Can keep the foeman out, Or 'scape his secret mine, Who entered with the doubt That drew the line. No warder at the gate Can let the friendly in; But, like the sun, o'er all He will the castle win, And shine along the wall. There's nothing in the world I know That can escape from love, For every depth it goes below, And every height above. It waits, as waits the sky, Until the clouds go by, Yet shines serenely on With an eternal day, Alike when they are gone, And when they stay. Implacable is Love-- Foes may be bought or teased From their hostile intent, But he goes unappeased Who is on kindness bent.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Your Brain on Twitter...

Listen Now [4 min 35 sec]

Student Adam Wilson (right) and lab member Leo Walton practice the technology.Adam Wilson (right) and Leo Walton practice the technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. University of Wisconsin-Madison

All Things Considered, April 24, 2009 · For millions of people, the social media site Twitter has become a way to let the world know what they're thinking in 140 characters or fewer.

But forget fingers flying over keyboards. Adam Wilson, a biomedical engineering graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has figured out how to "tweet" using just the power of his brain. His method uses brain-computer interface, or BCI, software.

Wilson tells NPR's Michele Norris he got the idea from Roger Ebert's blog in March.

"He was talking about twittering in this article and at one point he said, 'In the near future, people will just be using their brain activity to update their Twitter accounts,'" Wilson says. "I thought, 'I could probably have something like this working tonight.'"

Wilson said he "hacked" the brain-computer interface software and did a test message that night. The next morning, he says, he sent the first message with his brain activity.

"It was a pretty neat experience — just to have that kind of a quick turnaround on a new idea like this," Wilson says. "I ripped off the cap and was running down the halls telling the other members of the lab what I had just done."

That "cap" is a swimming cap that has a series of electrodes that look for the part of the brain related to attention, Wilson says. As letters and numbers flash on the computer screen randomly, the person pays attention to a specific letter.

"Every time their letter flashes, the brain goes, 'Oh wow, the thing I'm waiting for just happened,'" Wilson says. "If we do this enough times, we can go back and see which letter their brain is responding to."

But the letter-by-letter exercise takes a lot of concentration.

"If I space out for five or 10 seconds, it doesn't really work as well," Wilson says.

The target audience is people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, or a brain-stem stroke.

"On a practical scale, addressing the wants and needs of people who are in this condition, just the ability to kind of keep their family up to date — 'I'm feeling good today, or I'm not feeling so good today, can you come visit?' — I think would be very welcome by the type of people we're aiming this toward.'"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Adult Content. For Mature Thinkers Only

A new season of Entitled Opinions (iTunes Feed Web Site) recently got off the ground, and it doesn’t take long to understand what this program is all about. Robert Harrison, the Stanford literature professor who hosts the show, opens the new season with these very words:

Our studios are located below ground, and every time I go down the stairs to do a new show, I feel like I’m descending into the catacombs where those of us who still read great literature, probe ideas, and explore the recesses of cultural history, practice a persecuted religion. In this neurasthenic world of ours, we are like a dispersed society of secret initiates. We live covertly, as it were. And it’s in special shelters that our reading, thinking and exchange of ideas take place. Maybe someday we’ll once again be able to practice our persuasion publicly. But meanwhile Entitled Opinions comes to you from the catacombs.

You get the drift. This is a show that takes ideas, literature, and life seriously. It’s heady, and it doesn’t dumb things down. If you’re a faithful reader of Open Culture, you’ll find something here for you. If you take a spin through the archives, you’ll find Harrison in conversation with Orhan Pamuk (the Nobel Prize winning novelist) and Richard Rorty (one of America’s most important contemporary philosophers). You’ll also find him talking with scholars about Vladimir Nabokov and his Lolita, World War II and the German bombing of London, the History of Psychiatry, and The Historical Jesus. Each program starts with a 10 minute (or so) monologue, and then Harrison gets down to talking with his guest for another 50. Give a listen. Let us know your thoughts. And know that Entitled Opinions (iTunes Feed Web Site) is included in our Ideas & Culture Podcast Collection.

PS I shamelessly borrowed this titled from a comment made about Entitled Opinions on iTunes. To be honest, my creative well was running dry.

by DanColman

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Sheehan Protesters

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday upheld a ruling that two protesters should not have been arrested for pitching tents near then-President George W. Bush's Crawford ranch during Cindy Sheehan's anti-war campaign. The court ruled 5-4 that the 10th Appeals Court was correct last year in tossing out the convictions of Hiram Myers of Edmond, Okla., and Emily Hardy of Austin, saying they were not obstructing a highway during their 2006 arrests. "I'm really pleased we prevailed," said David Broiles, the Fort Worth attorney who represented the protesters. "The court ruled that you can't use that (statute) to stop a lawful protest." McLennan County District Attorney John Segrest in Waco, whose office prosecuted the case, did not return a call to The Associated Press seeking comment Wednesday. Myers and Hardy were among about two dozen war protesters arrested in late 2005 and early 2006 when they disobeyed deputies' orders to get out of tents in ditches beside the winding, two-lane road leading to Bush's ranch. They staged the protests to challenge a McLennan County ordinance banning roadside camping. The local law, which protesters thought was unconstitutional, had been enacted after residents complained about noise, trash and traffic from the makeshift campsite Sheehan set up in August 2005. But Myers and Hardy -- the only protesters from Sheehan's vigil to go to trial -- were never charged with violating the local ordinance. Instead, they were charged with and later convicted of obstructing a road, a state misdemeanor. Each was fined $150, although the maximum penalty is 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. "The state's witnesses all testified that the demonstrators did not actually obstruct the road and that the demonstrators, including (Myers and Hardy), remained at all times in the bar ditch, an area commonly used for standing and parked vehicles," Judge Cheryl Johnson wrote in the majority opinion. The ACLU of Texas called the ruling "a monumental victory for the First Amendment." "We are delighted to hear that the court has decided to uphold the rights of Texans to peacefully assemble and protest the actions of their government," Lisa Graybill, ACLU of Texas legal director, said in a statement Wednesday. In the dissenting opinion, presiding Judge Sharon Keller wrote that videotaped footage presented at the trial provides support for the convictions. "So there was in fact evidence that (Myers and Hardy), by sitting in a tent beside the road, rendered passage unreasonably inconvenient or hazardous, and there was in fact evidence that the tents themselves obstructed passage or made it hazardous," Keller wrote. Broiles said that while pleased with the ruling, the protesters wanted to challenge the local anti-camping ordinance -- and a similar one banning roadside parking within a few miles of the ranch. He said they wanted to be able to return periodically to place tents at Sheehan's original campsite. Even before the restrictions, protesters that summer moved to a vacant lot near the ranch as Sheehan's first vigil swelled to thousands, gained international attention and reinvigorated the anti-war movement. Sheehan, a California woman whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, later bought land in Crawford for the protests. "We contend the ordinance was not necessary, not constitutional and not justifiable because we were just exercising our free speech that was the symbol of Cindy's movement," Broiles said. "All we wanted was to put up a few tents. There was no need to replicate August 2005. We were interested in preserving the symbolism of it and having the close proximity to Bush's ranch." The anti-camping and parking ordinances remain in place. The camping ban aims to prevent temporary living situations and road obstacles for safety, and give "due regard to ... the interests of persons in making use of roads for activities intended to express ideas and messages," according to the ordinance. It still lacks penalty provisions but says a violator could be charged criminal trespassing, obstruction of a roadway or other offense, depending on the circumstances. "It basically says you can protest all you want -- just don't set up and live here," said Mike Dixon, a Waco attorney who represents McLennan County.

The Nature of Personal Reality Session 640, Page 188

"The most rejuvenating idea of all, and the greatest step to any true illumination, is the realization that your exterior life springs from the invisible world of your reality through your conscious thoughts and beliefs, for then you realize the power of your individuality and identity. You are immediately presented with choices. You can no longer see yourself as a victim of circumstances. Yet the conscious mind arose precisely to open up choices, to free you from a one-road experience, to let you use your creativity to form diversified, varied comprehensions. Let us make a clear distinction here: Your conscious beliefs direct the flow of unconscious processes which bring your ideas into physical reality, so while your thoughts cause your experience, you are not consciously aware of how this takes place."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thievery Under the TARP


By Robert Scheer

We are being robbed big-time, but you can’t say we haven’t been warned. Not after the release Tuesday of a scathing report by the Treasury Department’s special inspector general, who charged that the aptly named Troubled Asset Relief Program is rife with mismanagement and potential for fraud. The IG’s office already has opened 20 criminal fraud investigations into the $700 billion program, which is now well on its way to a $3 trillion obligation, and the IG predicts many more are coming.

Special Inspector General Neil M. Barofsky charged that the TARP program from its inception was designed to trust the Wall Street recipients of the bailout funds to act responsibly on their own, without accountability to the government that gave them the money.

He pointed to the example of AIG, which has acted as a conduit of funds to the banks it had insured without being required to tell the government what it is doing: “Failure to impose this requirement with respect to the injection of yet another $30 billion into AIG would not only be a failure of oversight, but could call into question the credibility of the government’s efforts.”

AIG is just one example in a bailout that has left the financial conglomerates unsupervised as they spend taxpayer money in what the report termed a government program of “unprecedented scope, scale and complexity,” putting the public and the Treasury Department in the dark as to how the money is being used by the very tycoons who got us into this mess. “The American people have a right to know how their tax dollars are being used,” Barofsky wrote in the report, which sharply criticized the government for failing to hold financial institutions accountable.

For all of its criticism of the original program, designed by the Bush administration, the report was equally severe in denouncing the Obama administration’s plan to partner with hedge funds and other private capital groups to buy up the “toxic” holdings of the banks. Charging that the plan carries “significant fraud risks,” the inspector general’s report pointed out that almost all of the risk in this new trillion-dollar plan is being borne by the taxpayers. The so-called private investors would be able to put up money they borrowed from the Fed through “nonrecourse” loans, meaning if the toxic assets purchased prove too toxic and the scheme failed, the private investors could just walk away without repaying the Fed for those loans.

The reason those loans may prove even more toxic than expected and the price paid by this government-underwritten partnership far too high is that the government is purchasing the most suspect of the banks’ mortgage packages. In addition, the plan is to accept at face value the evaluation of those packages by the very same credit-rating firms whose absurdly wrong estimates of the dollar worth of these securities helped create the problem that now haunts the world’s economy. “Arguably, the wholesale failure of the credit rating agencies to rate adequately such securities is at the heart of the securitization market collapse, if not the primary cause of the current credit crisis,” the report found.

As with the entire banking bailout, the new plan of Obama’s treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, is likely to enrich the very folks who impoverished the rest of us, as the report notes: “The significant government-financed leverage presents a great incentive for collusion between the buyer and seller of the asset, or the buyer and other buyers, whereby, once again, the taxpayer takes a significant loss while others profit.”

At the heart of this potentially massive fraud was the original decision of Henry Paulson, President Bush’s treasury secretary and a former Goldman Sachs chairman, to not require the recipients of the bailout, such as his old firm, to account for how the money was spent. Unfortunately, President Obama’s administration continued that practice.

The only difference is that the amount of public money being put at risk is now far greater, and the hedge funds, which are totally unregulated, have been brought in as the central players. One of the largest of those hedge funds, D.E. Shaw, carried Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, on its payroll to the tune of $5.2 million last year. He may have reason to trust these secretive enterprises that operate beyond the law, but the public does not.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yet Do I Marvel, by Countée Cullen

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind And did He stoop to quibble could tell why The little buried mole continues blind, Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die, Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus To struggle up a never-ending stair. Inscrutable His ways are, and immune To catechism by a mind too strewn With petty cares to slightly understand What awful brain compels His awful hand. Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: To make a poet black, and bid him sing!
* Biography of Countée Cullen Born in 1903 in New York City, Countee Cullen was raised in a Methodist parsonage. He attended De Witt Clinton High School in New York and began writing poetry at the age of fourteen. In 1922, Cullen entered New York University. His poems were published in The Crisis, under the leadership of W. E. B. Du Bois, and Opportunity, a magazine of the National Urban League. He was soon after published in Harper's, the Century Magazine, and Poetry. He won several awards for his poem, "Ballad of the Brown Girl," and graduated from New York University in 1923. That same year, Harper published his first volume of verse, Color, and he was admitted to Harvard University where he completed a master's degree. His second volume of poetry, Copper Sun (1927), met with controversy in the black community because Cullen did not give the subject of race the same attention he had given it in Color. He was raised and educated in a primarily white community, and he differed from other poets of the Harlem Renaissance like 'Langston Hughes' in that he lacked the background to comment from personal experience on the lives of other blacks or use popular black themes in his writing. An imaginative lyric poet, he wrote in the tradition of Keats and Shelley and was resistant to the new poetic techniques of the Modernists. He died in 1946.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rare Dolphins by the Hundreds Found in Bangladesh

The discovery of 6,000 rare dolphins in Bangladesh and new guidelines for marine wildlife viewing in the Pacific Islands are among the announcements made this week at the First International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas underway on the island of Maui. ...
An Irrawaddy dolphin in Thailand (Photo courtesy Department of Fishery of Thailand)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rethink Afghanistan

[Thanks to dharma41 for this link] Watch Robert Greenwald's brilliant new documentary on why any military escalation in Afghanistan will likely lead to disaster:
Rethink Afghanistan is a ground-breaking, full-length documentary focusing on the key issues surrounding this war. By releasing this film in parts for free online, we are able to stay on top of news of the war as it continues to unfold. We hope to raise critical questions regarding Afghanistan that Congress must address in oversight hearings, which inform the public and challenge policymakers. We strive for more discussion among experts on Afghanistan, like the debates seen below released in conjunction with our documentary campaign.
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Part One focuses on what military escalation will achieve in Afghanistan. Watch part one in it's entirety online for free, or watch the trailer.
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Part Two looks at how the war could further destabilize a nuclear-armed Pakistan. Watch part two in its entirety online for free, or watch the trailer.
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Part Three focuses on the staggering costs of the war, which could easily exceed $1 trillion. Watch part three in its entirety online for free, or watch the trailer.

Latin America Changes By BENJAMIN DANGL

... Morales said that this was the 18th hunger strike he participated in; before becoming president, Morales was a long-time coca farmer, union organizer and congressman. He said the longest hunger strike he had been on lasted 18 days while he was in jail, according to Bloomberg. But Morales wasn’t alone: 3,000 other MAS supporters, activists, workers and union members also participated in the hunger strike, including Bolivians in Spain and Argentina. Early in the morning on April 14, once it was official that the Senate passed the bill, Morales ended his strike. "Happily, we have accomplished something important," he told reporters. "The people should not forget that you need to fight for change. We alone can't guarantee this revolutionary process, but with people power it's possible." ...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hola, Obama! Chavez Gifts Obama With Book

[Thanks to tonid for this pic & gloryoski for the story]

Chavez Gifts Obama With Book That Assails U.S. for Exploiting Latin America

April 18, 2009 9:21 AM

At President Obama's meeting with the heads of South American countries this morning, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stood, walked over to him, and presented him with a copy of "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano. [There's a link to the Amazon description of the book.]

Obama politely posed for a photograph with Chavez, shook his hand, and accepted the gift.

The book, first published in Spanish in 1971, offers a critique of the consequences of 500 years of European and U.S. colonization of Latin America.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Air America is Live and Kicking With ‘BreakRoom’

[Thanks to MMRules for this link & Thank you Jason Irwin for being so bright and seeing these two great guys and their talent] by Jason Irwin on April 8th, 2009

BreakRoom Live BreakRoom Live with Maron & Seder brings the sharp-witted and informed newsstand conversation of yesteryear to the web today, and five days a week at 3pm EST.

Remember Air America Radio? Remember radio? Well after video killed the radio stars Air America Media buried some bodies and sat Marc Maron and Sam Seder in their break room and started breaking new ground. The show mostly consists of Marc and Sam comically battling and boiling down hot topics and politics, bouncing subjects off guests like Janeane Garofalo, and batting out the occasional sketch or rant. All followed by the post show chat with the online audience.

Marc and Sam have a wealth of experience that helps make a live broadcast look easy. Marc Maron has appeared extensively on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, on the Late Show with David Letterman and was the host of Morning Sedition and The Marc Maron Show on the radio. Sam Seder had his own share of radio shows with The Sam Seder Show and The Majority Report in addition to writing network sitcoms. These guys are sharp and witty and it shows. Producers Carl Ginsburg and Brendan McDonald have given the show the appropriate polish that keeps it feeling real while delivering comedy on par with The Daily Show and Colbert Report.

BreakRoom Live logoWhile I’m a huge fan of the comitics of Comedy Central, I’ve given up cable, and until they decide to simulcast these shows with their web-releases it will continue to feel like a free pittance of day old bread. “May I have some more porridge, Mister Hulu?” After you watch the one-sided conversations your TV delivers you’re done. My favorite part of BRL (BreakRoom Live) is the post show chat. Marc and Sam set themselves apart from candy-coated political commentators by fielding questions and passing along audience insights.

Survival SamWhile this show is live, there is a wealth of comedy to be mined out of the archives. You can find Maron product testing electric cigarettes or ranting about his ex-wife in the reoccurring segment, The Angry Chef. Sam delivers his own laughs with his regular segment, Survival Sam.

You’re going to wish you had these guys in your break room. Tune in and log on, be part of the live web broadcast revolution or stand by the water cooler and wonder about the muffed laughs behind closed office doors at 3pm EST.

Sarah Silverman and Isla Fisher Have a Catfight – for Fun

Originally posted Friday April 17, 2009 12:20 PM EDT

Me-ow! Sarah Silverman and Isla Fisher get their claws out for laughs in's upcoming Web series Pilot Season – and PEOPLE has an extended sneak peek at their hilarious verbal attack scene. The series, which also stars David Cross, Andy Dick and Sam Seder, is a mockumentary that follows the lives of desperate actors, agents and executives during the TV industry's competitive pilot season. Silverman, 38, plays an actress while Fisher, 33, is a personal trainer in the webisodes, which were filmed five years ago and originally aired on the now-defunct Trio channel. The 30-episode Web version of the series debuts its first two episodes on Monday. Marisa Laudadio

Seth: Class, Slavery, and the American Ideal

"When your country (United States) began its own saga, each individual was to be considered equal, regardless of birth. Many of these same people had been denied advantages in Europe. They were upstarts. What they did was establish equal starting lines for an incredible race in which each began with an equal position and then tried to outdo the other, freed of the class distinctions that had previously hampered them. Because there were few ground rules, and because it takes time to develop a culture, this rambunctious group set out to tame the continent, to show Europe that Americans could do Europe one better, without a king and without pomp. "The founders of the country were still largely men of property, however, and of culture--the signers of your constitution, so they were also careful to provide leeway for the existence of slaves, who, not being considered fully human, need not be granted the rights of the constitution (with irony). They left suitable loopholes there. "Now: in a fashion, FOR THE SAKE OF THIS DISCUSSION (underlined), the blacks as slaves partially represented the great creative, exuberant, unattached, unconscious powers that were to be restrained, at least for a while. Their belief in dreams, love of music and song, even a certain mystical feeling of connection with the land--these elements were allowed the Negroes only because they were not considered fully human. White men and women were not supposed to act like that. "A person's sense of worth became connected with the acquisition of land, though to a lesser extent, even as it had in Europe. Later the acquisition of technology's objects became an added embellishment. A man proved his worth as he moved through the new society's levels--an exhilarating experience after centuries of a stratified society." Seth, Book Five of the Personal Sessions, pages 185-186

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rarest Cat in the World Photographed in the Wild

by Christine Lepisto, Berlin on 04.15.09

Rare Iberian Lynx hiding copyright Pete Oxford photo Image: Wild Wonders of Europe

Rare Iberian Lynx Photographed in Natural Habitat Wild Wonders of Europe has done it again. This month, photographer Pete Oxford undertook the mission to photograph the world's rarest cat -- the Iberian Lynx -- in its natural habitat. The Iberian Lynx is the only feline to be categorized by the IUCN as Critically Endangered and in danger of extinction. These cats are so rare, that a shepherd Pete questioned while attempting to hone in on his "prey" responded, in a thick rural accent: " “I cum ‘ere every day, Never seen a lynx in mi life.”

But Pete fulfilled his mission. The cat in the photo above, coyly peeking out from the brush, is just a teaser. To see the Iberian Lynx in its full glory, click to the extended.

Rare Iberian Lynx copyright Pete Oxford photo Image: Wild Wonders of Europe

More Gorgeous Photos of World's Rarest Cat Unbelievably, Pete lucked out. After days of sitting fruitlessly in a freezing, windy hide, Pete saw not one but three of the rare cats. My favorite photo is captured here in TreeHugger's traditional 468 pixel width. But to see this photo and more in their full glory, check out Pete Oxford's full report on his expedition and the details of his photographic coup at Wild Wonders of Europe

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Whip It! Roller Derby movie Directed by Drew Barrymore

A story of an ex-beauty pageant contestant (Ellen Page) that leaves her crowns behind after joining a roller derby team. Shauna Cross (screenplay) Shauna Cross (novel) Genre: Comedy | Drama
Plot: In Bodeen, Texas, an indie-rock loving misfit finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin.
NewsDesk: Long Quits Barrymore Film After Split (From WENN. 26 July 2008, 7:10 AM, PDT


Ellen Page ... Bliss Cavendar
Drew Barrymore ... Smashley Simpson
Kristen Wiig ... Malice in Wonderland
Juliette Lewis ... Dinah Might
Marcia Gay Harden
Alia Shawkat ... Pash
Ari Graynor ... Eva Destruction
Zoe Bell ... Bloody Holly
Jimmy Fallon ... MC

*POW!* Just Coffee Coop. Cup No. 1

Marc Maron is right when he exclaims, "POW!" after drinking coffee from ....Today I'm drinking my first cup and it smelled wonderful while it brewed and tastes very good...even tho I bought it ground for a french press and since I didn't have time to buy a new one yesterday I put a course grind into my coffee pot today...If you buy this coffee, you can also get the special BRL ( blend and receive a discount for using the promo code BRL....Yum..and POW. Yes. * Just Coffee Coop:

Our politics


Farmworker solidarity
One of the great things about being a politically motivated business is that...well...we get to be out front with our politics.

Where many businesses try to conceal their political leanings for fear of alienating customers, or cannot come to any agreement on the things they believe, we have some basic things that we try to put out there in all of our interactions.

We believe in working for peace and against war. We feel like violence and agression are wrong and only recreate conflict.

We believe in freedom, autonomy, and cooperation. People are at their best when they are able to work things out for themselves. We are purposely non-hierarchical in our organizational structure.

We believe that market interaction can only work when it is based on mutual respect and conducted between equals. Our customers and our suppliers are our partners and we do not seek to exploit you all for the gain of our business.

We believe that non-violent social change needs to happen if we are going to get back on the collective right path as a species.

We believe in using our business to support like-minded groups in their work to achieve non-violent social change in any way we can.

We also believe in roasting and drinking some fine flippin coffee.

♥☪...The Night Shift....Loverly Peeps...♥☪

[Thanks to ellwort, dr, Star Vox, nora]

"Fellatio! Fellatio! Wherefore art thou, Fellatio!"

Submitted by ellwort on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:04am.

O how to explain the term "teabagging" to estranged puritanical exwife?

I think "Fellatio for Overachievers" may do. What do you think?


Once again, the bone of contention is the nut of controversy.

Mi Caballero

I had a stunning revelation today.

The thing about always lookin' up at the stars is that you might miss who's in front of your nose.

Sorta like standin' onna whale fishin' fer minnows?

Mi Caballero

Submitted by Star Vox on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:30am.

I had a stunning revelation today.

The thing about always lookin' up at the stars is that you might miss who's in front of your nose.


This is sufficiently intriguing as to beg explication.

Wherefore art thou, dr?

Ya - Fellatio does sound like a dramatis persona in Hamlet: "Alas poor Yorick! I knew him, Fellatio."



Mia Caballera, Annie

Sorta like standin' onna whale fishin' fer minnows?

Submitted by dr on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:38am.



If I'm a/o in drag, you're Annie.

fault is not in our stars but in ourselves

Submitted by ellwort on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:44am. Ya - Fellatio does sound like a dramatis persona in Hamlet: "Alas poor Yorick! I knew him, Fellatio."


More like: "Alas, poor Yorick! He knew not Fellatio."


The cool thing about stars is that, on a clear night in Vermont, you can see a whole bunch of 'em. Maybe where you are it's dark everywhere around to get the same picture - I wish this for you wherever you are, now or sometime. If you look at some stars, they disappear. Those may be novas or blackhole-dominant galaxies: there's stuff going on there that defies our capacity to understand the physics, no matter how deeply piled our education may be. Humans aren't equipped to get what the fuck is going on there. So if you look at it, it's not there. But if you look right next to that strange "star," it hangs in the periphery. Cool, huh? Thank you, Lucy in the sky with that diamond show all those years ago.

OK G'night

I guess everybody ran outside to look at the stars?

Or ran to the fridge to look at the possibilities?

Me, I'm going to brush my teeth.

Can't wait

Sailin' To An Uncharted Land 'n Discoverin' The Stars

No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.

-Helen Keller

"Ladder To The Pleiades"

Stars Submitted by ellwort on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:54am.

OK G'night

Submitted by ellwort on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 2:05am. I guess everybody ran outside to look at the stars?


Stellar, ellwort!

I think you might enjoy this story.

"Ladder to the Pleiades"

p.s. Actually, I ran inside after looking at the stars.

Star V. (on Helen Keller on pessimists)

Don't think Ms Keller ever met my mother (although it lies within the realm of temporal possibilities); if Keller had, she might not have had the vision (hoho) to recognize the journeys Mom had in mind. She welcomed me to tag along too (thank heaven) even though she kept warning me about Worst Things that would certainly happen to me. And was kind of oblivious when some Worst Things actually did. Still - I miss her. If your mom's still around, check in with her. If not, check in with her still. Jeez! Stars and mothers! How come the sky god people always depicted the sun as a male god?

Checkin out "Ladder"

Unfotunately, jack Bruce's "Rope Ladder to the Moon" is not in's library.

To Heal the Waters of the Earth

Concert June 19-21

Using sounds and loving intent to restructure damaged waters...

Thanks, Nora

But still on "Ladder." 'K I'm - slow and acronymistic: ADHD. Better when the toes are at the rippling end of the beach. Let's go wading!

Stars and Mothers - Simply The Best

Star V. (on Helen Keller on pessimists)

Submitted by ellwort on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 2:34am.

If your mom's still around, check in with her. If not, check in with her still. Jeez! Stars and mothers!


When I talk to the stars at night, I check in with my mom.

p.s. My mom was cool. She was a real ping-pong champion and she liked playing w/the boyz. In my family, my mom was the big sports fan. She taught me a few lessons.

Star Mom

As I understand it, the moon is our grandmother - ultra-mom, huh? I had the honor of helping my mom cross over, speaking to her ("It's OK") and stroking her forehead throughout, with my sister massaging her feet. And the mother of my own children in the room.

Yes, you're right: Simply the best.

Every time we look up on a clear night, there they are. Outlasting us.

star that can laugh

Star Mom

Submitted by ellwort on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 3:23am.

As I understand it, the moon is our grandmother - ultra-mom, huh?

I had the honor of helping my mom cross over, speaking to her ("It's OK") and stroking her forehead throughout, with my sister massaging her feet. And the mother of my own children in the room.

Yes, you're right: Simply the best.

Every time we look up on a clear night, there they are. Outlasting us.


Beautiful story.


"All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You--you alone--will have the stars as no one else has them--"

"What are you trying to say?"

"In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . You--only you--will have stars that can laugh!"

-- from The Little Prince

Laughing Stars

Submitted by ellwort on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 3:23am. As I understand it, the moon is our grandmother - ultra-mom, huh?

Yes, you're right: Simply the best.

Every time we look up on a clear night, there they are. Outlasting us.


I learned that my mom was afraid of only one thing in life.

My mom's fear was that her kids would die before her.

I remember when I almost died when I was a kid. My mom and my doc saved my life. I called my mom at night from a hospital phone when I knew that I was seriously sick and dying in the hospital (before I lost my voice and couldn't talk).

I told mom that if she 'n my doc didn't make it on time -- that I would be a shining star in the sky with my best friend and we would be laughing together.

My mom and special doc came running to the hospital.

I remember watching the stars and moon outside my hospital window. I wasn't afraid of dying 'cause I knew that I would never be alone.

However, my tenacious mom and doc had other plans for me.

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