Sunday, February 27, 2011

Labor vs Capital

Pigeon Park

Here are some scenes from Saturday's Support Workers Rally at Bayfront Park downtown Miami. Thanks to the organizers at Move On for staging this nationwide show of solidarity with the people of Wisconsin who are on the front line of the republican lead assault on workers unions. The GOP wants to bust all unions but their focus is on public employees. We are talking about the collective bargaining rights of police officers, school teachers and yes even the score of petty bureaucrats who make up the government of "we the people".

Torch Song

The event took place at the Torch of Friendship Memorial site honoring the continued cooperation among US and certain other countries of this hemisphere. Friendship is an illusive thing when it comes to national cooperation. Some would say "keep your friend close and keep your enemies in the closet.

Listen Up People

Defending the hard earned right of workers, public and private, should be a no brainer. Everyone should know by now corporate welfare make the bosses and shareholders wealthy beyond their need and greed. The corporate special interest's buying of politicians is not only easy, it is done in the sunshine with the blessing of the supreme court while workers struggle to keep the crumbs we scrape off the banquet table.

2 houses, one hotel

Mr. Monopoly explains why it is so important to get off the couch, put on your war-paint and take to the streets with an active participation in our government. Simply put, if you don't pass GO, don't expect $200.

Age of Aquarius

There were few people there under 30. This mature couple expressed concern for the lack of activism in young america. I told them young people are taking a wait-n-see attitude. While the old are waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop, the young are busy deciding what shoes to wear to the revolution.

You don't need a BFA to understand and/or create political art.

This is my favorite photo, Granny Get Your Helmet.

Fine ladies with floppy hats have a message for you.

This are the faces of what republicans would have us believe are the greyest threat to america.

Never too old to participate in the great american tradition of civil disobedience.

Your Honor, Labor Precedes Capital

The guy on the right is our brown knight, but many honestly have little faith in the establishment to do the left's thing. The guy on the right looks allot like a neighbor who used to parade around sporting purple velour jogging suits while munching on a cannoli back in the '80s when i lived in Brooklyn.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sustenance Soirre

Gastronomic! Babay

At the INVENTORY Show "Objects of Desire" in Miami's Design District, one can nourish the mind with a sampling of delectable artworks by a cornucopia of locals including Victor Muñiz and Michelle Weinberg. There are some intriguing pieces to enjoy and digest or dissect at the scheduled panel discussions.

Animal Farm

Of particular note is the perfectly swampy work of Paloma Teppa. Perfect because they are our segway to the tenth annual SOBE Wine and Food Festival. With mouthwatering anticipation that compliment thoughts of culinary indulgence, this year's gorge-fest featured the art of sustenance. If you could stomach the $350. per person crowd, the multiple events were the gluttons' dreams come true.

2011 a Smoker Odyssey

With all the burners on full blast, one big event was behind the Delano. BubbleQ (champaign and barbeque of all things) featured over 30 chefs and restaurants from across this satisfied and overweight nation.

When it comes to nutritious food preparation, I say, "eat local, refrigerate and devour everything".

Food Face

Who can transform modern sculptures into an omnivore's dream BBQ?
Who is the cook extraordinairre that welds his own stoves?
Well, Jason Hedges of course.
This iron chef has been pleasing the optics and palettes of Miami's artist community for seasons. Hedges can take the heat and come up cooling, with some of the most interesting interactive and spontaneous gastronomic events known to the art of munching.

Hedges may be the saucier of the swamp, but there is another kitchen magician that taste connoisseurs recognize from the mass culture food channel.

A word from our sponsor

It is Under the Tuscan Gun, seen here on Lincoln Road endorsing Mrs. Swampthing's legendary Min Treats Oatmeal Cookies. Only the bestest "Guilt Free" snack in the world !


Saturday, February 19, 2011


Road Raunch

The days of romance with the american road are long gone thanks in no small part to greed at the hands of officials quick to embrace Red Light Cameras and any scheme that goes ching-ching in their grubby little minds. The motoring public should take note of alarm and caution with developing issues. Wake up and smell the racket.

While the number of tickets is issued is plunging, the costs are soaring.

City commissioners are closely monitoring the situation because their budget depended on bringing in $3 milllion from red-light camera tickets. Now they think they may collect as little as just $500,000 in light of the higher costs and fewer-than-expected tickets.

Pembroke Pines has similar cost concerns. That city has received $76,294 from citations, but the red-light camera program has cost $83,337. Legal fees encompassed $33,189 of that, with the rest going to ATS to manage the cameras.

I will wager $158. the light runner in this vid was on the phone.

Technology is inherently neither good nor bad. Automation today is a sacred cow (cash cow that is) for municipalities and MDX strapped for cash. Taking the human out of the equation not only eliminates jobs but more so de-humanizes reasonable enforcement and civility. When technology is used by special interest to undermine our quality of life, things get ugly. In an authoritarian grab for money, officials hide behind the pretext of safety and suppress the simple truth that the motoring public is a silent tax base ripe for extortion.

Buk 50

..."Drivers headed to the Keys over the Presidents Day weekend on Florida's Turnpike will encounter the newest change in toll collecting: No cash, please.

At 12:01 a.m. Feb. 19, crews will begin to close all the old-fashioned toll booths on the 47-mile Homestead Extension, which runs from Miramar to Florida City. The transition is expected to take about 48 hours.

You'll pay either with SunPass, or you'll be billed later, based on photographs of your license plate as you drive under overhead gantries. Monthly bills will include a $2.50 service charge.

It's part of a multi-year plan to convert the entire turnpike system to a cashless toll road."...

Some Pass, Others Don't

My problem with the sunpass is not its popularity, that's understandable. My concern is the highjacking of motorists dollars for the benefit of a few. The carrot that gets you on board is personal convenience, the joy of uninterrupted driving. But the greedy underbelly is a system that holds millions of our dollars in a collective minimum balance that is invested for profit that is not shared with those who put up the capital. Between public debt and private profit is the secret mantra of the self serving.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Enter Under-Reported

Brave Voices are all too often drowned out by the cacophony of infotainment that clutter media. It is always refreshing to happen upon things that matter. Indeed it is instrumental to our collective orchestration that each one actively pursue the sound truth.

How does Susan Lindauer maintain such grace in the face of such extreme prejudice?
Very nicely, thanks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Moral Sense

Rounding Out

Warning: Reading the history of man can be a nauseating activity of habitual proportion. Boning up on recordings of pivotal events can be a circular exercise of mobius implications. A bewildered novice observing the current global freak-show is better equipped to stomach the insane human activity on display but a seasoned reader will be hard pressed to refrain from outrage. Both can benefit from mental colonics. It is difficult not to throw up a little bit in your chair when eating buttered sour scream and jive popcorn while watching cable news on teevee.

When taking a hard look at the past 100 years, unravelling the global mess we are in leaves me with a sense of rancid futility for hope of better epochs ahead. But one need only look back 7 days to understand that the children of repression and despair are discontent on the information highway and revolution in the streets. The concrete and steel that buttress the emperors imperial threads are no match for the storms in space and the tides of time.

The Damned Human Race

by Mark Twain

I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the lower animals (so-called), and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me. For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that the theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals.

In proceeding toward this unpleasant conclusion I have not guessed or speculated or conjectured, but have used what is com monly called the scientific method. That is to say, I have sub jected every postulate that presented itself to the crucial test of actual experiment, and have adopted it or rejected it according to the result. Thus I verified and established each step of my course in its turn before advancing to the next. These experiments were made in the London Zoological Gardens, and covered many months of painstaking and fatiguing work.

Before particularizing any of the experiments, I wish to state one or two things which seem to more properly belong in this place than further along. This, in the interest of clearness. The massed experiments established to my satisfaction certain gener alizations, to wit:

1. That the human race is of one distinct species. It exhibits slight variations (in color, stature, mental caliber, and so on) due to climate, environment, and so forth; but it is a species by itself, and not to be confounded with any other.

2. That the quadrupeds are a distinct family, also. This family exhibits variations (in color, size, food preferences, and so on; but it is a family by itself).

3. That the other families (the birds, the fishes, the insects, the reptiles, etc.) are more or less distinct, also. They are in the procession. They are links in the chain which stretches down from the higher animals to man at the bottom.

Some of my experiments were quite curious. In the course of my reading I had come across a case where, many years ago, some hunters on our Great Plains organized a buffalo hunt for the entertainment of an English earl. They had charming sport. They killed seventy-two of those great animals; and ate part of one of them and left the seventy-one to rot. In order to determine the differ ence between an anaconda and an earl (if any) I caused seven young calves to be turned into the anacondas cage. The grateful reptile immediately crushed one of them and swallowed it, then lay back satisfied. It showed no further interest in the calves, and no disposition to harm them. I tried this experiment with other anacondas; always with the same result. The fact stood proven that the difference between an earl and an anaconda is that the earl is cruel and the anaconda isnt; and that the earl wantonly destroys what he has no use for, but the anaconda doesnt. This seemed to suggest that the anaconda was not descended from the earl. It also seemed to suggest that the earl was descended from the anaconda, and had lost a good deal in the transition.

I was aware that many men who have accumulated more millions of money than they can ever use have shown a rabid hunger for more, and have not scrupled to cheat the ignorant and the helpless out of their poor servings in order to partially appease that appetite. I furnished a hundred different kinds of wild and tame animals the opportunity to accumulate vast stores of food, but none of them would do it. The squirrels and bees and certain birds made accumulations, but stopped when they had gathered a winter s supply, and could not be persuaded to add to it either honestly or by chicane. In order to bolster up a tottering reputa tion the ant pretended to store up supplies, but I was not de ceived. I know the ant. These experiments convinced me that there is this difference between man and the higher animals: he is avaricious and miserly; they are not.

In the course of my experiments I convinced myself that among the animals man is the only one that harbors insults and injuries, broods over them, waits till a chance offers, then takes revenge. The passion of revenge is unknown to the higher animals.

Roosters keep harems, but it is by consent of their concu bines; therefore no wrong is done. Men keep harems but it is by brute force, privileged by atrocious laws which the other sex were allowed no hand in making. In this matter man occupies a far lower place than the rooster.

Cats are loose in their morals, but not consciously so. Man, in his descent from the cat, has brought the cats looseness with him but has left the unconsciousness behind (the saving grace which excuses the cat). The cat is innocent, man is not.

Indecency, vulgarity, obscenity (these are strictly confined to man); he invented them. Among the higher animals there is no trace of them. They hide nothing; they are not ashamed. Man, with his soiled mind, covers himself. He will not even enter a drawing room with his breast and back naked, so alive are he and his mates to indecent suggestion. Man is The Animal that Laughs. But so does the monkey, as Mr. Darwin pointed out; and so does the Australian bird that is called the laughing jackass. No! Man is the Animal that Blushes. He is the only one that does itor has occasion to.

At the head of this article we see how three monks were burnt to death a few days ago, and a prior put to death with atrocious cruelty. Do we inquire into the details? No; or we should find out that the prior was subjected to unprintable muti lations. Man (when he is a North American Indian) gouges out his prisoners eyes; when he is King John, with a nephew to render untroublesome, he uses a red-hot iron; when he is a reli gious zealot dealing with heretics in the Middle Ages, he skins his captive alive and scatters salt on his back; in the first Richards time he shuts up a multitude of Jew families in a tower and sets fire to it; in Columbuss time he captures a family of Spanish Jews and (but that is not printable; in our day in England a man is fined ten shillings for beating his mother nearly to death with a chair, and another man is fined forty shillings for having four pheasant eggs in his possession without being able to satisfacto rily explain how he got them). Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it. It is a trait that is not known to the higher animals. The cat plays with the frightened mouse; but she has this excuse, that she does not know that the mouse is suffering. The cat is moderate (unhumanly moderate: she only scares the mouse, she does not hurt it; she doesnt dig out its eyes, or tear off its skin, or drive splinters under its nails) man-fashion; when she is done playing with it she makes a sudden meal of it and puts it out of its trouble. Man is the Cruel Animal. He is alone in that distinction.

The higher animals engage in individual fights, but never in organized masses. Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and with calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out, as the Hessians did in our Revolu tion, and as the boyish Prince Napoleon did in the Zulu war, and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.

Man is the only animal that robs his helpless fellow of his countrytakes possession of it and drives him out of it or destroys him. Man has done this in all the ages. There is not an acre of ground on the globe that is in possession of its rightful owner, or that has not been taken away from owner after owner, cycle after cycle, by force and bloodshed.

Man is the only Slave. And he is the only animal who en slaves. He has always been a slave in one form or another, and has always held other slaves in bondage under him in one way or another. In our day he is always some mans slave for wages, and does that mans work; and this slave has other slaves under him for minor wages, and they do his work. The higher animals are the only ones who exclusively do their own work and provide their own living.

Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy ex pense to grab slices of other peoples countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between cam paigns, he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man, with his mouth.

Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Ani mal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion, several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isnt straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brothers path to happiness and heaven. He was at it in the time of the Caesars, he was at it in Mahomets time, he was at it in the time of the Inquisition, he was at it in France a couple of cen turies, he was at it in England in Marys day, he has been at it ever since he first saw the light, he is at it today in Crete (as per the telegrams quoted above) he will be at it somewhere else tomor row. The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out, in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.

Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal. Note his history, as sketched above. It seems plain to me that whatever he is he is not a reasoning animal. His record is the fantastic record of a maniac. I consider that the strongest count against his intelligence is the fact that with that record back of him he blandly sets himself up as the head animal of the lot: whereas by his own standards he is the bottom one.

In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which the other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.

Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and fleshnot a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.

One is obliged to concede that in true loftiness of character, Man cannot claim to approach even the meanest of the Higher Animals. It is plain that he is constitutionally incapable of ap proaching that altitude; that he is constitutionally afflicted with a Defect which must make such approach forever impossible, for it is manifest that this defect is permanent in him, indestructible, ineradicable.

I find this Defect to be the Moral Sense. He is the only animal that has it. It is the secret of his degradation. It is the quality which enables him to do wrong. It has no other office. It is in capable of performing any other function. It could never hate been intended to perform any other. Without it, man could do no wrong. He would rise at once to the level of the Higher Animals.

Since the Moral Sense has but the one office, the one capacity (to enable man to do wrong) it is plainly without value to him. It is as valueless to him as is disease. In fact, it manifestly is a disease. Rabies is bad, but it is not so bad as this disease. Rabies enables a man to do a thing, which he could not do when in a healthy state: kill his neighbor with a poisonous bite. NC) one is the better man for having rabies: The Moral Sense enables a man to do wrong. It enables him to do wrong in a thousand ways. Rabies is an innocent disease, compared to the Moral Sense. No one, then, can be the better man for having theMoral Sense. What now, do we find the Primal Curse to have been? Plainly what it was in the beginning: the infliction upon man of the Moral Sense; the ability to distinguish good from evil; and with it, necessarily, the ability to do evil; for there can be no evil act without the presence of consciousness of it in the doer of it.

And so I find that we have descended and degenerated, from some far ancestor (some microscopic atom wandering at its pleasure between the mighty horizons of a drop of water perchance) insect by insect, animal by animal, reptile by reptile, down the long highway of smirch less innocence, till we have reached the bottom stage of development (namable as the Human Being). Below us, nothing.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Exit Mubarak

To look at this photo of president Carter pointing direction to Mubarak, one could say that it has taken 50 years and 18 days of civil protest for the last pharaoh to exit the stagecraft.

from the NYtimes

Here is Mubarak's resignation speech and commemorative mug.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Minority Report

Hold on to your emotions and pass the botox, the mind police is here today.
Technology, Sedition and Armageddon are accelerating at an alarming rate.

...the TSA's Screening Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOT) program had 3,000 "behavior detection officers" in more than 150 airports. Their job is to strike up conversations with passengers at security checkpoints, checking for what one TSA official describes as "behaviors that show you're trying to get away with something you shouldn't be doing." People who don't display "normal airport behavior" may be stopped for questioning.