Friday, September 28, 2007

Whaddaya Know?

Who knew? Today, September 28 is International Right to Know Day, and the beginning of International Right to know WEEK. Here's the skinny, from the Office of the Canadian Information Commissioner:

Around the world, September 28th is celebrated as International Right to Know Day. This began in Sofia, Bulgaria at an international meeting of access to information advocates who proposed that September 28th be dedicated to the promotion of freedom of information worldwide.

The goal is to raise citizens’ awareness level about their right of access to information under the control of government institutions. These celebrations are aimed towards the citizenry, a non specialized clientele.

“…to collaborate in promotion of the individual right of access to information and open, transparent governance. The group of FOI Advocates also proposed that 28 September be nominated as international “Right to Know Day” in order to symbolize the global movement for promotion of the right to information. The aim of having a Right to Know Day is to raise awareness of the right to information. It is a day on which freedom of information activists from around the world can use further to promote this fundamental human right and to campaign for open, democratic societies in which there is full citizen empowerment and participation in government.” (
The RTK week is celebrated in Canada to promote the right to information as a fundamental human right and to campaign for citizen participation in open, democratic societies.
Sounds like something bloggers should be getting behind, especially those of us on the left who have been complaining about;
  1. the Bush administration, the most secretive government in America's entire history,
  2. the Mainstream Media (MSM, aka the Corporate Owned Media (COM)) spewing administration talking points 24/7, distracting us with celebrity trivia, and downplaying the real stories when possible,
  3. the decline of the education system, due to everything from government idiocy like NLCB to local schoolboards being taken over by those who want your kids as well as theirs to be taught 'intelligent design' instead of how to think intelligently.
The scope of the issue as I see it goes well beyond just the Freedom of Information Act - it also encompasses such things as rules governing the ownership and use of media outlets and the right to know what multinational corporations - some of them more powerful than the majority of governments - are doing that affect you, your community, and your planet. "The Business and Human Rights Program is working with coalition partners such as Friends of the Earth to increase pressure on the US Government to disclose corporate behavior around human rights and environmental issues through the introduction of International Right to Know (IRTK) legislation in Congress." (Amnesty International)

Another way of looking at it is as the flip side of the first amendment right of free speech - the right to hear the truth is just as important. Too many people are caught in the trap of believing the gross propaganda spewed daily by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, etc., etc., etc... because that's what the multinational corporations that own the media want them to hear. The fine citizens of Greater Left Blogsylvania provide some balance, but reach too few people without the billions of dollars available to the major networks and cable channels. Even that voice is in jeopardy of being silenced with the fall of the principle of internet neutrality.

I think the truth-based community should grab hold of this idea and give it a big boost. Maybe a blogswarm or something, we have a whole WEEK to put together some good posts. Here are the ten principles on the right to know, from the justice initiative organization. Let's get started.

Whaddaya think?

Cross-posted from Les Enragé

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Learning To Fly

There's a ton of bad news out there. But there's some great news. It doesn't play well, because it's not neccessarily easy, sexy, or otherwise well taken. The news is this:

You Can Fly. Yup. And so can your congresscritter. There's only one ingredient required; bravery! Look at what my beloved Thomas Jefferson wrote to a professor in Edinburgh in 1824.

"[The] mind [of suffering man] has been opening and advancing, a sentiment of his wrongs has been spreading, and it will end in the ultimate establishment of his rights. To effect this nothing is wanting but a general concurrence of will, and some fortunate accident will produce that." --Thomas Jefferson to Dugald Stewart (Professor in Edinburgh Scotland), 1824
TJ wrote this 48 years AFTER the Declaration of Independance. The irony here is that a mere 2 years before his death, this genius patriot still understood the value of this; that he was still Learning To Fly. Still, after the establishment of the Republic, his genius just KNEW we had to keep on keeping on, as we must still do today, as is so nakedly witnessed to us, day after day.

I find Jefferson's letter to Dugald Stewart devoid of depression. I find it full of hope and exhortation. As I find these lyrics of Pink Floyd:

A soul in tension, that's learning to fly
Condition grounded, but determined to try
Here's the whole set of lyrics;
Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladen, empty and turned to stone

A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
Can't keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Regardless of today's shitty conditions, I am DETERMINED TO FLY. Because I believe we can. Fascists be damned. Pink Floyd still informs me of all I need to know about politics I do believe. And it is this:

You don't fly without risk. Take a stand, a fly. Or just sit down and shut up.

Cross posted at The Unruly Mob

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Pink Floy University, Part IV (stolen guest post, by Professor S.B. True)

Post-Graduate School
- Roger Water's Amused to Death -

Doctor Doctor what is wrong with me?
This supermarket life is getting long
What is the heart life of a colour TV?
What is the shelf life of a teenage queen?
We watched the tragedy unfold
We did as we were told
We bought and sold
It was the greatest show on earth
But then it was over
We ohhed and aahed
We drove our racing cars
We ate our last few jars of caviar
And somewhere out there in the stars
A keen-eyed look-out
Spied a flickering light
Our last hurrah

And when they found our shadows
Grouped around the TV sets
They ran down every lead
They repeated every test
They checked out all the data on their lists
And then the alien anthropologists
Admitted they were still perplexed
But on eliminating every other reason
For our sad demise
They logged the only explanation left
This species has amused itself to death
No tears to cry no feelings left
This species has amused itself to death
( Complete lyrics in comments )

Assignment: Which would you rather have - Peace, Freedom and Justice, or an XBox 360 and an iPhone? Essays to be handed in and on my desk no later than the end of the world.
- Prof. S.B. True, guest lecturer.

Bonus Video: Wishing Well, by Paul Rodgers (of FREE) with Queen.

" 'Cause I know what you're wishing for
- love and a peaceful world."

Update 09/25/2007: Cross Posted (meaning I stole it from SBT and put up over at the Unconventional Conventionist site. You can't pass up a great guest professor...)
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It Only Takes One Vote

Digby is just a fantastic blogger. To cut right through the crap and get to the results, there's hardly a keener eye and navigator of the DC political nastiness .
Thus, let her inform you as to the mechanics of this current mess. I simply cannot do better. What I care to focus on is the actual "math" of leadership.
One = A Leader.
Amazingly, the astute Digby does not tell us the magic formula to do away with this nasty, silent filibuster business. It's the magic of "one."

This stupidity of the "innocent bystander" theory, where "we don't have enough votes, whah" is not supported by the actual Constitution. No sir. When the President (of the Senate) asks for "Unanimous Consent" all it takes is ONE SENATOR to say 2 magic words:

"I object."
This works in the House of Representatives too. Observe Steny Hoyer, RAILING that the opposing Republican has objected to Unanimous Consent:

At that point, there is NO unanimous consent, and up or down (simple majority) votes ensue, either to continue debate, close debate and/or move to the measure. Digby does do well in pointing out that this is all protectionary measures to keep the Republicans and ChimpCo in the cool, to not have to veto or do an actual FILIBUSTER about WHY they want, oh, Torture, Illegal Surveillance, and un-Constitutional measures of any kind.


Let's draft just one brave soul out of any of the Senate. I appeal to Republicans, especially Chuck Hagel - R of Nebraska. Since you're not running again Chuck, howzabout you do a classic Reagan thing, and Just Say No - I Object.

The Country will bless you for it.

Otherwise, we need to do an emergency spinal transplant on ANY OTHER SENATE DEMOCRAT.

In case anybody needs a reminder, the Declaration of Independence begins the love of the Constitution of the United States. Here it is, read to us by a teenage kid.

Live long and prosper kid; you're a Patriot.

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It's a Nice thing nothing happened...

Exercise Vigilant Shield ’08 slated for October

Click to download the VS-08 Fact Sheet

August 30, 2007

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command along with U.S. Pacific Command, the Department of Homeland Security as well as local, state and other federal responders will exercise their response abilities against a variety of potential threats during Exercise Vigilant Shield ‘08, a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-designated, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM)-sponsored, and U.S. Joint Forces Command-supported Department of Defense exercise for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities missions.

VS-08 will be conducted concurrent with Top Officials 4 (TOPOFF 4), the nation’s premier exercise of terrorism preparedness sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, and several other linked exercises as part of the National Level Exercise 1-08. These linked exercises will take place October 15-20 and are being conducted throughout the United States and in conjunction with several partner nations including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as the Territory of Guam.

VS-08 and National Level Exercise 1-08 will provide local, state, tribal, interagency, Department of Defense, and non-governmental organizations and agencies involved in homeland security and homeland defense the opportunity to participate in a full range of exercise scenarios that will better prepare participants to prevent and respond to national crises. The participating organizations will conduct a multi-layered, civilian-led response to a national crisis.

USNORTHCOM’s primary exercise venues for VS-08 include locations in Oregon, Arizona and a cooperative venue with USPACOM in the Territory of Guam. NORAD’s aerospace detection and defense events will take place across all the exercise venues, to exercise the ability to mobilize resources for aerospace defense, aerospace control, maritime warning, and coordination of air operations in a disaster area.

What I find most troublesome [this means put on your tinfoil hat] is that this press release from NorthComm was the same day that 6 nukes went missing. And, you guessed it, from NorthComm's control .

What it USED to say, was that NorthComm had ordered the standown, so that procedures could be "reviewed." Hmm Mmmmm. Let's just fast forward to the present, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

I find THIS, and then, of course Al The Spook, a GREAT commenter at FDL, and blogger of his own right, has the story.

What's not going together for me, is that it's either 5 or 6 nukes, AND they're ALL accounted for. Just saying. It's. Not. Going. Alltogether. Nicely.

You got a problem with that? I do.

Every day, to me, it seems like we're goin going to wake up to this:

Cheers to Unruly Acts!

Two Absolutely FINE acts of unruliness I just can't pass up.
ARTICLE #1 - Who can pass up Kathy Griffin's Send up of Ann Coulter?

I was so glad to run across that. She said what I really wanted to say, but I could only come up with this; remember when this little incident happened?

Article #2 - And LO! The People of Oz were inspired. The worlds largest Moon attempt on GW at the APEC summit!

You just gotta love being unruly. Feels good, doesn't it?


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Remembering Pavarotti

I just loved that guy.

He had "presence." I don't care that other people would call him a "no show," "eccentric" or "temperamental." Duh. He was an ARTIST, hello?

He was great at what he did. He really was.

In the opera world, to "turn a phrase" with an orchestra is really what the Artist is supposed to do, and Pavarotti did that.

Quite a creature. Not a "Hero of Liberty" I would usually like to display on a post, but a theme I have been struggling for a niche to voice:

An Artist Is A Politician - Has A Voice - Must Travel.

The artist first thinks s/he must pander. This is not true. Craving bread, the artist caves.

Not what you thought, eh? Observe, from the Opera "Turandot":

Dilegua Notte!
Tramontate stelle,
Tramontate stelle,
All'alba vincero, Vincero !

Banish the Night!
Fade ye stars,
Fade ye stars,
When the Dawn breaks, I shall win! I Shall Win!

The very last phrases of "None Shall Sleep/Nessun Dorma"

If you substitute Pavoratti's love object, Turandot, for Liberty, I think you get my drift.

May you rest well, Luciano. You did a GREAT job.