Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NYTimes: Iraq War Ends!

A progressive group published a spoof edition of the New York Times and distributed it today throughout NYC. The paper, dated July 4, 2009, "reports" news of a world in which much of the world's ills have been solved, headlines proclaim "Iraq War Ends", "Ex-Secretary Apologizes for W.M.D. Scare", "Maximum Wage Law Succeeds", "Nationalized Oil To Fund Climate Change Efforts" among many others. It's a remarkable facsimile, right down to the advertisements -- the back cover is a full-page "ad" for military contractor, KBR, proclaiming its devotion to peaceful "solutions", hospitals, schools, sanitation and training. Well done.

The legitimate New York Times covers the spoof edition on their own site here: Liberal Pranksters Hand Out Times Spoof

Friday, November 07, 2008

New World Order

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Just like with the Bush years, sometimes our greatest fears are realized, and then some.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Joe the Plumber

(Lyrics mostly by David Bowie)

Joe the plumber
Went to the bar
A couple of drinks on the house an' he said
"Tell you who you are
if you nail me to my car"

Boy, thanks for hesitating...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Sky IS Falling!

This isn't the story mommy read to me. But it seems more in tune with the times:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Note to a Friend in Boise, ID

Thanks for asking about the political climate here in New York, vis-a-vis Boise, where you say the Obama supporters are mostly "wannabe intelligencia and those who don't pay taxes." I spend a fair amount of time writing and demonstrating, so it's nice to just interact one-on-one about political issues. I often wonder what it is that has divided America so much.

From my perspective, our three biggest challenges are currently:

1 - The environment.
Our thin little biosphere is important to me, go figure. But we're treating it badly. It's MORE important than the economy, but business and personal interests seem to always give it second place. The vast consensus of scientist agree that human consumption of fossil fuels is the primary cause of a potentially catastrophic climate change. Furthermore, it's clear that fossil fuels will eventually run out. Let's change to renewable energy sources as fast as possible and stop talking about drilling and burning.

Also, besides energy policy, our government, on both sides of the aisle, seems to do everything to promote consumption of consumer goods on behalf of their precious economy, and on development in precious habitat when we need to scale back, for the planet's sake. Our consumption isn't making us happier.

2 - Economic opportunity for the bulk of Americans.
We seem to have left the bottom sector of the American economy in the dust. For the past few decades, the rich have gotten richer and the poor poorer in real dollars. I fear there is a growing class system in the US that is becoming more and more entrenched. We need money for education and grassroots programs.

(Incidentally: Why do the Republicans seem to say nothing other than "Tax Cuts Tax Cuts Tax Cuts" especially for the rich and for corporations and for capital gains? It clearly doesn't help the economy, and certainly not the poor.)

3 - The social fabric.
This is a less tangible issue, but we see it all over. The breakdown in civility and the ability to communicate. Television and the automobile have isolated us in our suburbs, malls and homes. Suburban America feels like a wasteland to me. I think we need to address the structural basis of our nation's alienation.

There are other issues that concern me very much, campaign finance, foreign policy and our nation's military/police buildup, including our huge prison population, mostly male. But these three above concern me the most.

I think what you were really asking me about is Obama, so I'll get to that - I like him especially because he seems to see the big picture. Long term environmental and energy policy, not just "Drill baby drill." Whole globe foreign policy for the 21st century, not just Iraq and "We must win." He seems to see the world optimistically, like I do. There is great potential out there, and it flows from courage and innovation and love, frankly. Not the fear, retrenchment and hateful words that I see so much of from the conservative side.

I don't see anyone really addressing issue number 3 above, but I feel the Republican party has completely abandoned numbers 1 and 2. Forget it with the environment, they are atrocious. And they seem to have no idea how difficult it is for the working poor to "make it" in America these days.

Again, I really appreciate your reaching out to me on this. Honestly, sometimes it makes me want to cry when I hear what middle America thinks about some of these issues. I hope I sort of went off in the direction you were asking about. If you can give me a feel for what the climate is out there in return, I'd much appreciate it. Just say what you feel, not what you think I want to hear.



Thursday, October 02, 2008

Who's Street? Our street! Wall St. belongs to the Billionaires for Bush

Some of my plutocrat friends, Filmore Barrols, Aila Lorditoverya, and Robin Eublind and I, thanking the hard working masses for the big blank check.

Time/CNN video of the Billionaires for Bush and others on Wall Street.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Foreclosure Notice

Mr. Robin Eublind and I have whipped up a Foreclosure Notice that some of you might want to print out and use in your neighborhood. It might be appropriate to post and/or paste onto the windows and/or doors of banks and financial institutions, the homes of their officers, or at your elected officials' offices. They could even be handouts to employees and toadies. Use them as you will. (Note that they might go well printed out onto full-page sticker stock, which one can purchase at Staples.)

Here's the link to the pdf.

Here's the text of it:







Authority: Real Property of the People, §7-105.1(d)(2)(vii)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

From the Belly

A kind woman with a fuzzy face outside the arena yesterday told me from her heart that to her the atmosphere was electric. I wasn't feeling it. Perhaps my polarity is a bit off. I thought the atmosphere, especially inside the place, was akin to a plumbers convention. Well, I take that back, judging from the plumbers I've known, the plumbers convention would probably have more ebullient atmosphere.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


These characters were absolutely delightful. They had a light and playful energy about them and they interacted with us on a gentle and personal level at the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign rally in St. Paul yesterday. (If anyone knows who they are, please let me now.)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Day Two - Tactics

Day one was as successful as any group like ours could expect. We were a tonic for the troops, we were some sand in the gears of the other side, and we got some pretty good media coverage, including a live interview with all six of us on AM 950 Minneapolis, and a mention in the Star-Ledger. Now what? There's another protest march planned by the Poor Peoples' Economic Human Rights Campaign, which would have a different emphasis, but we're thinking it might be better to shift our focus to what we do best, which is making the other side look silly. Stay tuned.

How the Real Boys Do It

While were were sharing half-price hors d'oeuvres and sake in the neighborhood, here's what the real lobyists were up to last night:

Monday, September 01, 2008

Four More Years!

I feel like a kid who's just come back from the carnival. My mind is still spinning and images of insanity are dancing in my head.

In fact, I AM a kid who's just come back from the carnival. After thoroughly taunting the lefty demonstrators marching on St. Paul for approximately four hours, we regrouped and headed for the Minnesota State Fair, where we mixed it up among funnel cakes and corn dogs against whatever party loyalists we encountered in their secure booths. The Obama booth, the Franken Booth, the McCain booth (hopping mad, this guy was). We created little internet spots at the CNN booth and went live on the local Air America station.

What's especially entertaining is when folk react savagely. A guy in a Bob Marley T-shirt asked me for one of our cards. He then made a show of going over to the trash bin, ripping up the card, spitting on it and tossing it out. Some adamant supports of Obama stick around long enough to understand where we're coming from. Sometimes they fool us, too. Like Ryan, who played football on the high school team that Jesse Ventura coached. We had him tagged as a drunken McCain supporter. Chomping on a piece of some sort of meat on a stick, he playfully goaded us, playing the role we expected him to play until we finally got his game.

It's been nearly four years since I've done a full day of politicking and demonstrating. The adrenalin rush is a gas. But the ups and downs and all the discord just wear on you. I'm exhausted. Exhilarated, but exhausted.

Day One, Morning One

Minneapolis is dead quiet at 7:30 AM. There's a breeze blowing through the streets and the birds are doing their early meet and greet. Andrew and I take a walk in the neighborhood of our gracious hosts. (We're being put up on the first floor of a kind family's home in town.) We've never been in Minneapolis for a convention, and these things are different every election year. I can sympathize with military commanders. What's the schedule? Where will they be? What will we be able to get away with? Should we do event-type things with themes, such as "Cheap Labor Day"? Or is it better to just set up in prominent places with our banners and our briefcase full of money and talk to the folks who come by? There's no way of knowing what's gonna work until we've given the new schtick a test drive on the streets in middle America. But first, it's time for a little yoga on the front lawn.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Into the Eye of the Storm

Not New Orleans, but Minneapolis. Our flight leaves JFK at 8:20, and my nerves are jangling at 1:20. Already there have been preemptive raids, seizures and arrests by Minneapolis cops.

Coverage of the raids by Star Tribune

I haven't ever been arrested in this country, and I had been naively thinking that the down home Minnesotan boys in blue might be more likely to behave themselves than the Daly fuzz of 1968. But then, forty years is older than the average cop, and why should I assume they'd much care? There have already been seizures of computers (and I don't mean OS freeze-ups) so I'll make sure everything on my little Mac is backed up before I head off. Wish me luck and a free pass. I've got nothing crucial planned for next week, though, so if I get tossed in the slammer, it's not the end of the world.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Interview with The Karmapa

Since he leapt from the roof of his monastery in Tibet at age fourteen and fled Chinese rule, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the young Karmapa Lama has kept a low international profile. He is notoriously inaccessible and circumspect, especially on political topics.

In the spring of 2006 I met with him at his residence near Dharamsala, India, and we spoke via translator for roughly twenty minutes on issues of spirituality in a fearful world, relations with the Chinese government, his childhood in Tibet, and the possibility of having to fill the sensible shoes of the Dalai Lama as public representative of the Tibetan people should the Dalai Lama no longer be able to continue his active role.

Officially, the Karmapa - now 22 years old - is not in line for the Dalai Lama’s monastic position. The Dalai Lama is head of the Gelugpa sect and the Karmapa is leader of the Kagyu sect; but upon the demise of the Dalai Lama, who is now 73 years old, the world will look to the Karmapa as the Tibetan people’s spiritual ambassador to the world.


Q: According to your faith, this is your 17th reincarnation as a Buddhist leader. How does it feel to have such a long history of service behind you? It must be a lot of pressure.

A: We have many things in this world that have existed for a thousand years, but these are entirely different. It’s not many people, it’s one individual.

Q: You are this individual?

A: Yes.

Q: Don’t you ever want to take a break from being a spiritual leader for a lifetime or two?

A: According to Buddhist religion, it has been predicted that there will be over twenty incarnations, some predict twenty five or more, it is not clear, but after that, my spirit will be incarnated somewhere else. Perhaps on another world.

Q: Tell us about your spiritual path at the moment.

A: At the present, I am mostly engaged in Dharma studies, but I also do some meditation, more of it when I have the time. At the moment I am trying to get teachings from many different sources, inside and outside the Buddhist traditions. Today I’m studying Wajayana.

Q:If the Buddha were on the earth today, what do you think he’d be doing, saying?

A: “We need freedom. We need peace.”

Q: In the world?

A: In the world.

Q: Is the Buddha on earth today?

A: The Buddha’s mind is still alive, although his body is not. Love and compassion are in the world, for example. In this way he is alive.

Q: There is a lot of fear in the world. Many people are despairing and losing their hope that the world is getting better. What can you say to them to help them with their fear?

A: It all depends upon the mind. In my environment here, I am free of the influences of the world that foster fear. One doesn’t necessarily need to take refuge or do meditation. You can choose to have peace of mind and be free of fear if you don’t allow the fear to influence you. If you live your life without harming others and keep your own mind free of negative emotions such as anger and aggression it will come more easily for you. It is these negative emotions that enable the fear within you.

Q: If you could meet with Chinese President Hu tomorrow, what would you say to him?

A: If I had the freedom to speak, and the courage to speak, I would say that the problem between our two countries - the struggle - should be settled. I have a great interest in settling this for the benefit of Tibet, but also for China. I want to help both countries. I have the same feelings toward both countries.

Q: His Holiness The Dalai Lama enjoys huge international prestige and diplomatic responsibilities. How do you feel about the prospect of helping him with his work and perhaps eventually taking the mantle of leadership from him?

A: I’ll have to see the necessity/importance of doing the same as the Dalai Lama in the future. If the times need me to have a high profile and travel and meet with important people, than I will. But if there is no need, then maybe not.

Q: I read that as a child you rode goats around in the countryside? What is it like to ride a goat?

A: We were just playing. I would play around with them, and sometimes I would ride them. It’s fun.


Additional points of information:

- The Karmapa’s website

- The Tibetan government in exile has administration offices in Dharmsala, India.

- Unless Chinese officials release the Panchen Lama from “house arrest” in an undisclosed location inside China, the Karmapa would be the only adult Tibetan Buddhist leader of this rank free to speak.

- There is another Tibetan monk who claims to be the Karmapa Lama but the Dalai Lama recognizes Ogyen Trinley Dorje, (the man interviewed here) to be the 17th incarnation of the Karmapa Lama, the leader of the Kagyu sect.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Avery’s Midterm Exam - Civics for Douchebags

As big bad school nightmares go, everyone has the one where you sleep through the alarm and miss the big exam. And everyone has the one where you’re the only kid naked at the class assembly. But how about the one where you call the superintendent a “douchebag” on your blog and it ends up being debated in federal court? That’s the personal nightmare of seventeen-year-old Avery Doninger, whose case came up this week before the justices of the US Second Circuit.

Avery, her mother and her grandmother came to the imposing new Moynihan building yesterday to watch her attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, argue her case before three august lady justices. On the surface, what’s at stake is Avery’s claim to the office of secretary of her class, the senior class at Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington, Connecticut. But the leviathan below the surface is the First Amendment, and a student’s right to say what she wants on her own blog with her own computer from her own home.

Last April, school administrators moved to cancel “Jamfest,” a battle of the bands Avery had been organizing. On her blog that evening, her post read “Jamfest is canceled due to douchebags in central office.” Very little came of it until a few days later when the son of Superintendent Paula Schwartz found the posting while trolling the internet on behalf of his mother. (If a tree falls in cyberspace, it doesn’t make a sound until someone Googles it.) Avery won the class election last spring with write-in ballots, but school officials withheld her right to serve.

Avery is a sharp kid, a good kid, not the “Bong hits for Jesus” kind of troublemaker or the kind of kid you’d expect to use the term “douchebag” (she spells it as one word) in polite company. This, of course, is part of the point. A blog is more like a diary than a bulletin board, but in the world of the internet, any particular blog is just as accessible as a bulletin board. And the test of whether any particular “speech” is likely to be seen or heard on school property is a distinction that no longer differentiates.

As Avery’s School Board sees it, (and Judge Kravitz of the New Haven District Court agreed), serving on student council is a privilege, not a right, and school officials have a duty to pick and choose candidates with exemplary modes of behavior and decorum. (Never mind the fact that another student who referred to the superintendent as a “dirty whore” was given an award and lauded for citizenship.)

Avery sat quietly in her sensible skirt and flats while Schoenhorn argued passionately on her behalf. There was lively cross examination as the judges considered whether “douchebag” might be vulgar, obscene, or just offensive; and whether Avery had been inciting her classmates to disruptive behavior. More than awed, Avery was justifiably amused by the proceedings; she felt more troubled by her mother’s visible distress, than by the opposing lawyer’s claims.

This was the last case to be heard this Tuesday, and discussion ranged far beyond the allotted time. “What if Avery had said, ‘Kill the principal,’” one justice asked. “What if there were no rules on what a student could say?” But over time the arguments boiled down to two salient issues. One, offensive language can clearly be controlled on school grounds, but can’t possibly be prohibited everywhere. In this case, the internet has to be a place where free speech is allowed. Two, speech that is disruptive to the educational environment can be limited, even off school grounds, but Avery’s blog entries seem to have been only mildly disruptive, and probably justifiably so.

Avery’s final year of primary education is nearly three-quarters finished, and her sights are set on her first year in the free world. She may go to college in Boston, she may spend a year or two in Americorps. Avery and her supporters were in court yesterday for the principle, not the principal.

If this injunction is denied and she doesn’t speak before her class at commencement this spring, it’s clearly not the end of the world, and that might be just as well. We’ve all had that dream where we’re standing at the podium and our entire high school class is before us... Still, for Avery, nightmares do come true; and they’re not necessarily all that bad.

For more detailed information, and plenty of attitude, see Andy Thibault's blog - Cool Justice Report