Sunday, July 29, 2007

Elmer Gantry 2.0

Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour from huffpost and Vimeo.

Actually, my title isn't fair, because Elmer didn't want to kill anybody, just take their money and booze and women.

I came across this incredible short film above by Max Blumenthal via Helena Cobban. For the record, I don't believe most Christians are bloodthirsty, psychotic nutballs. Nevertheless, the political power the nutball faction seems to yield is alarming.

more soon.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

in transition

why I haven't posted in a while-- various pc problems, which should be fixed within 4-5 days. In the meantime, in contrast to all the bad news, I want to note in passing two cheery things: the safe release of the BBC's Alan Johnston last week, and Arvin Hill's new url, along with a passel of new Arvin items:

Arvin Hill dot Com.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th

"One night I dreamed I painted a large American flag, and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it. And I did. I worked on that painting a long time. It's a very rotten painting—physically rotten—because I began it in house enamel paint, which you paint furniture with, and it wouldn't dry quickly enough. Then I had in my head this idea of something I had read or heard about: wax encaustic."

-Jasper Johns

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Now and then

(photo: AP/Vahid Salemi) caption: Rabe'e Naghizadeh, a victim of chemical attack on July 22 in 1988 by Iraq during its (1980-88) war against Iran, complains about her problems in Zardeh village, 420 miles (700 kilometers) west of the capital Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, June 26, 2007. The attack took place as the villagers and hundreds of pilgrims from other parts of Iran had gathered outside a shrine in Zardeh to attend a religious celebration.

AP story: ZARDEH, Iran -- Nineteen years after their mountain village was targeted by Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons, survivors still recall the attack that killed 275: Villagers wheezing, staggering blindly and vomiting blood, as birds dropped lifeless from trees.

via Helena Cobban , who adds:

Interviews with survivors of the mid-1980s Iraqi CW attacks against Iran that killed 5,000 Iranians then, and thousands more since. Those attacks were carried out with knowledge & tacit support from Rumsfeld, etc. But no 'justice' for the survivors...

Sarah Robinson, in Orcinus:

Truth & Reconciliation, Part I: Reconciling the Wounds of Lynching

Truth & Reconciliation, Part II: James Loewen on Sundown Towns
from part II:

"When I started researching this subject, I expected to find three types of sundown towns," Loewen recalled. "I expected to find small towns that were all-white because they'd expelled their black populations; suburbs that were all-white because they excluded blacks (and usually Asians and Jews, as well) from the very beginning; and then a third class of places that were all-white simply because African-Americans never got around to coming there.

"And what I discovered was that this third class is virtually non-existent. If you're an American who grew up in an all-white neighborhood, you need to realize that it was, almost certainly, all-white by intentional design."

There was a time when there were very few cities in America that didn't have a significant black population. "Between 1863 and 1890, they did live everywhere," Loewen asserts. Freed slaves spread far and wide throughout America, seeking to put down roots in places Jim Crow couldn't reach them. But reach them it did: within just a couple of generations, these towns began systematically harassing their black populations in a wide variety of ways designed to get them to move elsewhere.

"Between 1890 and 1940, there came what I call "the great retreat," said Loewen. Throughout the west and north, small towns and large cities -- some as large as St. Louis and Omaha -- expelled their African-American populations. ...
The term "sundown town" refers to the signs that some of these towns put at their city limits, which typically said things like "Whites Only After Dark." (Some of them were far less polite.) ...
Loewen, who encourages anyone with details about specific sundown towns to register their stories at his website, ticks off names and places in a rapid-fire staccato. Pierce City, MO drove out its black population in 1901. ... Anna, IL drove out its African-American population in 1909, and is still all white to this day.

Emphases mine. I usually try to avoid such lengthy excerpts, but I want very much to persuade you to go and read all of these pieces.(Part 3 in the works, apparently.)

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

happy 140th, Canada

map courtesy

and may you remain less nutty than your neighbors to the south for at least another 140 years.

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