Friday, June 28, 2013

Dr. Calculus, "Full of Love"

This song is from the soundtrack of She's Having a Baby (1988). The movie was screened in my senior-year religion/social issues class, along with Kramer vs. Kramer, Father of the Bride (the 1991 remake with Steve Martin), and Mrs. Doubtfire, as examples of family life and problems faced by families. Anyway, when "Full of Love" played during the movie, one of my classmates cracked, "This is cherry music." (It is.) The lyric, Your mind goes yo, has stayed with me all this time, though I remembered it as Your mind says yo.

("Full of Love" is the kind of musical confection that could only be made at this time.)


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Editorial Cartoons That Insult One's Intelligence

Ted Rall: "Not Safe for Cartoon Fans With Taste or Brains" Alternative cartoonist Ted Rall's overview of mainstream editorial cartoons that either attack Edward Snowden or conflate the late actor James Gandolfini with his character of Tony Soprano.

When J.D. Salinger died, Koterba (one of the featured cartoonists) drew a cartoon of a boy surrounded by the usual kid gadgets but engrossed in The Catcher in the Rye. It's possible but more likely the youngster was reading The Hunger Games.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Begins

Summer began Friday and I'm still in spring-cleaning mode. Optimistically, we could clean everything up in a few weeks, but realistically, it'll take longer.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blogger Field Negro Might Join Planned Online Magazine

From The Field Negro blog:

Still, I am sick of just blogging about this kind of carnage in our streets that everyone else is ignoring. This includes black leaders and politricksters who seem to just shrug their collective shoulders like the rest of America.

We all better start coming up with some solutions very soon. You can only build but so many prisons and close so many schools. The chickens will come home one day.

There is plenty of blame to go around: Trifling sperm donors, crooked politicians, the NRA, a lack of jobs, lack of a proper family structure.... I could go on, but the list is too long for this particular post.

But enough about all the problems, we all know what they are.

Someone I respect reached out to me recently and they will be launching a solutions based online magazine soon. I don't want to say too much because it is still in its infant stage. But soon I hope to be involved with that project and writing about solutions and engaging in critical thinking with folks who are trying to come up with solutions as well.

I still love my blog (although the partisan trolls and racists who comment can get a little tiresome at times), so I will continue with TFN for now.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

As Kelso would say, Burn!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Kunstler: "Paths of Folly"

Kunstler, "Paths of Folly"

Articles linked therein:

Saturday, June 15, 2013


As I've said, some of the most trenchant criticism of Obamaism comes from the Black Left.

The Snowden affair is revealing all kinds of strange things. Most of the commenters at Nancy Nall, who would've gnashed their teeth if Bush had done this, are taking the matter in stride. David Ehrenstein has taken to casting aspersions on both Snowden and "his poolboy" Glenn Greenwald.

More later.

16 June update: This is a brief listing of various figures and their positions on the NSA revelations. Right now it's blank. It's not a straightforward left-right matter, as one can tell.

Pro-Obama/anti-Snowden:, a.k.a.




Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Tanner Flake, learn that whatever you post online is not private.

That also goes for all the Twitterheads who verbally attacked a Mexican-American boy (who was a big hit on America's Got Talent, incidentally) for singing the national anthem.

Moreover, Tanner (and son of Nevada congressman Joe Heck, and others) are giving Max Blumenthal another chance to gloat (see above).

Reading Joey Heck's tweets (which as of last night are still up and open to the public), I find most of them the typical gripes of a white middle class teenage boy: boring teachers, tough sports practices, etc. The racist and homophobic comments are probably no worse than those one hears in passing. Mainly, I hope Joey and Tanner, et al. shed their ignorance as they mature.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Friday, June 07, 2013

To which I'd add, And vice versa? Better late than never?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Honolulu Weekly Ends Publication, Possibly For Good

Honolulu Weekly is folding.

So much to say. I'll point out that the Weekly bought the Hawai`i Island Journal a few years before it closed. And I remember when the Stephens company put out Big Island Weekly to compete with HIJ. Big Island Weekly had some substance when it began, but now....

The Weekly seems to have hit its peak in the early-to late-nineties, with talented writers and cartoonists like Bob Rees, Curt Sanburn, and Bob Pritchett. Borders in Hilo carried the paper for a time, too.

As Hattie says in the comments, Tiffany Edwards-Hunt publishes the Big Island Chronicle, a spinoff of her blog of the same name. But it's hard. If you like a magazine, newspaper, or blog, especially a small, struggling one, consider a donation.

And again, I'll have more to say later.

Former Weekly writer Chad Blair remembers the paper. He provides details of Honolulu Weekly's acquisition of Hawaii Island Journal in 2005. It was part of a plan to extend the Weekly's reach statewide. Blair doesn't mention it but in December 2006, Stephens issued Big Island Weekly (you know it from its hot pink vending boxes). HIJ was a relaunch of Kau Landing (1992-99), premiering in late 1999 and ending in 2008.

Monday, June 03, 2013


I've never heard of cliography before today.

Kunstler: Out on a Limb

Kunstler elaborates on his statement that Japan will return to a medieval way of life. (Hattie, I read your comment about Kunstler and inner immigration, and I'll have something soon about Kunstler's general worldview.)

Out On a Limb
By James Howard Kunstler
on June 3, 2013 9:24 AM

There is one supreme and universal law of human relations in all its manifestations, social, political, economic, cultural: people create no end of mischief in the hours when they are not sleeping. Any vision of history-yet-to-come must be predicated on this principle.

A correspondent of mine objected to the idea I floated a couple of times that Japan would be the first advanced industrial nation to "go medieval." This prompts me to clarify that emphasis should be on the word "first." The re-set to a much lower scale and intensity of human activity is certain for all nations; the only questions are the time-frame and the quality of the journey and those are sure to vary from one group of people to another.

I picked on Japan because their journey seems to have compressed and accelerated in recent years and also because there's a lot to admire in their possible destination if history is any guide: a graceful culture of lower energy and high artistry. The transition between that older culture and the point of industrial take-off was also much sharper for Japan than so-called Western societies. They did not look back on the startling episode of Rome and they didn't experience a thrilling "Renaissance" of rediscovery in its technical achievements -- which eventuated in the Western discovery of a "new world" and all its exploitable resources. The Japanese were pestered by Catholic missionaries for a brief time beginning in the 1540s, but tossed them out in 1620s, along with the merchants who accompanied them -- and then very consciously barred the door. They even gave up on the guns that the Euro-people had introduced, regarding them as unsportsmanlike. Finally, Commodore Perry from the USA landed in the 1850s, with all the weight of Western technological momentum behind him, and demanded access to trade there and Japan, in effect, surrendered to modernity.

They also thrived on it for a while. For one thing, they had a lot of beautifully-made exotic cultural objects to trade with the west, and their artisan skill level in things like ceramics and metallurgy made the transition to industrial technology of their own easy. In half a century, Japan went from an isolated archipelago of tea ceremonies and silks to building steel battleships and airplanes, and we all know the mischief that led to during the first half of the horrid 20th century: the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, the bombing of Tokyo, and Hiroshima. Then came Act 2: postwar economic revival, the SONY stereo, Mitsubishi, major league baseball, and really excellent automobiles. That went on for while, too. About 40 years.

There was one insurmountable problem lurking in the background: Japan did not possess any fossil fuels, oil or methane gas, to run all the equipment of modernity that they had ramped up. That didn't matter so much when imported oil was $11-a-barrel, but it became crucial when the cost quickly rose to $100-a-barrel, as it did in recent years. It also began to matter that Japan's bigger neighbor and age-old rival (and sometimes victim), China, ramped up its own industrial economy which, of course, consumed a healthy portion of what the world oil market put up for sale. By the early 21st century, China was eating Japan's lunch (its bento box, shall we say) by manufacturing the same stuff that the Japanese had excelled at making, and all of a sudden the whole project of modernity in Japan hit the skids.

Then came the Tōhoku earthquake of 2011, and the giant wall of water that slammed, among other things, the multiple nuclear reactors at Fukushima. The Japanese industrial confederation had taken a certain amount of comfort in its ability to keep the electricity going by other means than fossil fuels. Now, all of a sudden, a nuclear dragon was loose upon the land, a veritable Godzilla, Japan's worst nightmare. A year later, all but two of Japan's nuclear power plants were shut down. By no coincidence, Japan also found itself wallowing in a trade deficit after decades of enjoying trade surpluses, due to the amount of oil and gas the nation had to import to keep the electricity running.

Japan's energy predicament is expressing itself in a financial crisis, naturally enough, since finance is a set of abstract markers for what is happening in an economy -- and the country's finances are pretty much running amok as its political leaders try desperately to adjust to the new realities of powerdown. They are employing accounting fraud to offset the inescapable failures of capital formation under the circumstances, the same as all the other advanced industrial nations. As a purely financial matter it simply amounts to no longer being able to generate enough new wealth to pay the interest on old credit, or to justify the creation of new credit. Since credit is the lifeblood of industrialism, the sun is setting on that phase of history. Japan finds itself in a dishonorable quandary and in tune with some of its older cultural infrastructure appears to be committing suicide with a sword thrust into the guts of its banking system.

America, in contrast, is driving over the edge of the Grand Canyon, Thelma-and-Louise-style. Europe is drinking a poison cup in sumptuous seclusion. China and India will just look like lemming marches into the increasingly vacant sea.

Financial hara-kiri might be the best outcome for Japan -- better, say, than a war with China over some desolate islands -- if Japan were to retreat as rapidly back into a traditional artisan economy as it bailed out of in the 1860s. I realize this is a long-shot and includes many knotty elements not under discussion here, such as population reduction and the fate of Fukushima. Also, history is almost never symmetrical. Things don't retrace the arc they came up. The journey will surely be bumpier. But Japan might get there first and set some interesting precedents for the rest of us.

At the heart of the matter is this. Industrialism is an entropic project. It accelerates and intensifies entropy, which is to say the drive toward disorder and death. Tradition in human societies is the great moderator of entropy. Of course nothing stays the same forever, but some of us would like to see the human project continue, and to get to place where it can feel comfortable with itself for a while, perhaps even something resembling a new (and completely unfamiliar) golden age, when the people not asleep can be trusted.
Update [P.Z.]: Much to consider here. I'll have more on Kunstler's general worldview soon, in particular, his view on gender and why he doesn't put much stock in renewable energy sources ever replacing fossil fuels.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Sauce for the Gander, Sauce for the Goose

Some of the most trenchant criticism of the Administration comes from the Black Left (e.g., Adolph Reed, Margaret Kimberley, Glen Ford).

Saturday, June 01, 2013