I was slicing a pear and sliced my finger. On a night when Blogger's going down. Now I've got less than 20 minutes to pull together a post and I've got seven working fingers. (Plus two thumbs. My eighth finger is attached and fine. I just can't press a key with it.) Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's commentaries which I'm sure will be more informed than mine.
"Land Dispute on Mohawk Land in Ontario Intensifies" (Democracy Now!):
In Ontario, a standoff between Mohawks from the Six Nations Territory has entered its 56th day. On Thursday, Canadian police arrested 16 people in a pre-dawn raid. Over the weekend the Mohawks decided to maintain a blockade of a local highway and to keep occupying land that is being developed into a new housing subdivision. The Six Nations Confederacy has been called the oldest living participatory democracy on earth.
There are reports that the police have used tasers on these protestors. At a time when everyone's quite aware that tasers aren't the same as mace. (People have died from being tasered.) The protest itself started in February. The Six Nations Confederacy is made up of the following tribes: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora. They were awarded land, which is now at the heart of the dispute, by England for their support for the British during the American Revolutionary War. The Six Nations Confederacy is disputing a land grab made in 1841, land which a corporation now wants to build a housing complex on.
"Army Suicides Reach Highest Total Since 1993" (Democracy Now!):
In military news, the Pentagon has revealed 83 soldiers in the Army and National Guard committed suicide last year -- it marks the highest total since 1993.
The climate for these deaths was created from the top. When you have a Bully Boy living in denial (or at least pushing it), you have this huge gulf between reality and fantasy. When this gulf exists, the pressure added is even greater. One of my patients who is a vet and knows I do this site asked that I put in: "If you are a returning vet and you are suffering, do not tell yourself you'll get over it, tomorrow will be fine. Get help before it gets worse." I fully support his statement.
"Rumsfeld OKs Expansion of SpecialOps Forces Across Globe" (Democracy Now!):
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has approved plans to greatly expand the use of elite Special Operations forces to secretly take part in missions outside of war zones as part of the so-called war on terrorism. According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon has already dispatched teams of Army Green Berets and other Special Operations troops to U.S. embassies in about 20 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The secret forces are instructed to carry out clandestine military activities including hunting down wanted individuals, gathering intelligence, attacking sites believed to be terrorist training camps and partnering with foreign militaries. The secret operations will be run off the books and largely free from Congressional oversight and legal restrictions imposed on the C.I.A.
This would be both extralegal and extrajudicial and one reason why Isaiah made a point to make Rumsfeld the focus of Sunday's The World Today Just Nuts comic.
"And I'm out of time. Let me add one thing and post" appeared around here in my first attempt. I went ahead and added to this when Rebecca called to say she got into her account (I wasn't able to get in for over an hour and gave up). I'll give this a different title and leave the original attempt up so no one thinks I'm attempting to act as though I got the post up on time.
"Democracy Now: Roger Toussaint, DN!, goes to a FEMA trailer park" (The Common Ills):
The Associated Press notes that on Sunday "at least three U.S. soldiers and 31 Iraqis were killed, including seven who died when mortars hit just outside the heavily guarded Green Zone." The Chicago Tribune reports that private contractors in Iraq have been confiscating passports from labor brought in (from outside Iraq) and that General George Casey has ordered that all passports must be returned by May 1st. Reuters notes that Iraqi firefighters are fighting "a large blaze" at an oil center between Kirkuk and Baiji. Australia's ABC notes that John Howard, that country's prime minister who is saying the illegal war is not "a disaster," stated today that the prospect of US troops was conditional (and didn't appear optimistic it would happen). Ian Bruce, with the UK Herald, reports that Carle Selman, James Cooke, Joseph McCleary and Martin McGing will stand trial (court martial) in Colchester, Essex for their actions in the death of Iraqi Ahmed Jabber Kareem. Seventeen-year-old Kareem was beaten along with three others and then ordered "into the Shatt al Basra waterway." Kareem, who could not swim, drowned. Bruce notes that an estimated 30 British soldiers "have either been convicted, are awaiting court-marital, or are being investigate" for their actions in Iraq. China's People's Daily Online reports that the costs of the (illegal) Iraq war are rising to one trillion in US dollars. Meanwhile, New York Daily News notes that costs for Iraq and Afghanistan will hit $117.9 billion and that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments is predicting the cost could reach 660 billion dollars by the year 2016.
In Tikrit, four Iraqi police officers were killed during a gun battle and two more were killed after the attack on the police station. In Mosul, Sandra Lupien noted, three corpses were found and
Al Jazeera notes that at least seven car bombs have gone off in Baghdad ("two of them at a Baghdad university"), CNN reports eight (a more recent report). The Los Angeles Times (going with the figure of seven) reports the death of at least 14 civilians and the wouding of at least 139 -- Sandra Lupien noted that the 139 included "a ten-year-old boy."
Seventeen corpses were found in Iraq today, the Associated Press reports. Sandra Lupien (a more recent report) noted at least 20 from secratarian violence with many, if not all, showing signs of torture.
Sandra Lupien does newsbreaks on KPFA in the early half of the day, including during one of Ruth's favorite programs: The Morning Show. Please note audio reports whenever one stands out -- not all members have the same abilities -- and Lupien has four news breaks in the now archived broadcast of The Morning Show, click on the links in the previous paragraphs and you'll be taken to today's two hour broadcast -- Lupien comes in on the hour and half hour. Lloyd has reminded me to add a radio show to the permalinks -- added last night. It's not showing up. But as I dictate this, nothing is showing up. Hopefully members are using the mirror site where this morning's entries (thanks to Jess) are up and VISIBLE.
And I missed the cut off. I'll keep this screen up and try in an hour or so (after I finish this note) to post it. I listened to Cat Radio on WBAI today because Ruth called when she read the roundtable ("About this edition") and said there are members who do write about that show and that Janet Coleman (the host) is very popular with members. She said she appreciates that everyone's trying to help but that I seemed to enjoy that show (I did) and should cover it whenever I was able to. It's one of the shows she listens to and always hopes to include but by the time she's writing, she always cuts it because there's something else to note. Cat Radio takes a look at the art world. I listened today and that's only the second time I've heard it but I do enjoy it. (The appointment at that hour has a cancellation issue so if that continues, I will be able to listen to it and note it, otherwise I will grab another show.) It's a hour long show that airs Monday's on WBAI -- at two o'clock in the afternoon (EST). The guest that stood out today, for me, was Wallace Shawn. He's putting on the current staging of The Threepenny Opera. Which Rebecca and Fly Boy saw Friday. I couldn't believe it. She calls me Saturday afternoon and is raving over the show. It's one of my favorites and she remembered that half-way into the conversation. She said she's sure Fly Boy is willing to see it again but if not, we can go together. It will be on a Friday due to my work schedule so heads up to the fact that one day this week or next, I won't be posting.
Depending on demand, Shawn said, there may or may not be a cast album. The production's just begun. So if you're able to see it, please do. Rebecca said that Cyndi Lauper plays Jenny but that they've given "Pirate Jenny" (a wonderful song) to the character Polly (Nellie McKay in this production). "Pirate Jenny" is one of the two most famous songs from the musical. It's been recorded by Judy Collins and Nina Simone among others and is a wonderful song. The other famous sound is "Mack the Knife." For most people that's the most famous song -- I'm speaking of people who haven't seen the play. I've only heard this song in the context of the play but I do know Bobby Darin had a huge hit with it. I may be the only person in the world who hasn't heard his hit song. (Kat told me on the phone that it was number one for nine weeks and that was in 1959.) But one of my favorite songs from The Threepenny Opera is "Solomon Song" -- which Rebecca says Cyndi Lauper does a fine job with in the play.
They spoke of Brecht, Coleman and Wallace, and what he's done differently (returned some of the original translation to the production). The new production sounds very interesting and Wallace has done the translation, he's not the director (that's Scott Elliott).
I should probably back up and explain that The Threepenny Opera was written in German (Die Dreigroschenoper) -- Janet Coleman spoke a phrase of German during the interview and did so quite well. It was first staged in 1928, I believe. Brecht wrote it with Kurt Weill (Weill is responsible for the music). Alan Cummings play the (lead) role of MacHeath in this version. Shawn was a wonderful guest and the interview made me hope that we're seeing it this weekend (it depends on whether Rebecca can swing tickets or not -- she thinks she can).