Monday, May 31, 2004

Memorial Day 2004

Being a holiday, I am relaxing (LOL) with my family.

Please remember those who have gone before us: family, friends, strangers.

Those who've died in battle, those who've died of natural causes, those whose lives were cut short by accident or crime, those who've died by their own hand, they all deserve our remembrances.


Friday, May 28, 2004

Vonnegut Speaks Out

From my young teen years through my mid-twenties, I was an avid follower of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. When his book "Slapstick" was released in the early-1980s, I felt less of a connection to him and pretty much stopped following his career. I never stopped being an admirer.

When Vonnegut's New York townhouse caught ablaze a few years ago because of his smoking (his addiction), a pang of nostalgia hit me and I have been curiouser and curiouser about him since.

I am a fan of drunks and junkies and addicts of every stripe.

Earlier this month, Vonnegut published an article at that reminded me why I adored him so much, and why he is such an important voice of American freedom and patriotism.

The article "Cold Turkey" discusses America's addictions. Not our more obvious addictions to alcohol, high-fructose corn syrup, anti-depressants, and dieting, but our addiction to fossil fuels.

All addiction comes at a cost. We must feed the monkey if we want the pain to go away. Alcoholism is a simple one: buy some booze, get-together with others and make is a little social event. Cocaine used to be that way, as did marijuana; but the former is taboo again and the latter is too expensive to share communally. America's addiction to high-fructose corn syrup is the worst, because most don't even know they are craving it and partaking of it because it is scattered through our food like MSG in the 1950s!

Fossil fuel addiction is the most insidious because, moreso than addiction to illicit drugs, it requires the domination of people in faraway lands, their subsequent subservience, and their eventual murder to sate the hunger of the ever growing monkey on the backs of the American people.

Purchase another SUV and slaughter another Iraqi child. Still, the price of a gallon of gas will continue to rise and we will need more, and we will pay the price, and we will do whatever we have to do to get our next fix. It's the nature of addiction.

Vonnegut says it so much better, of course, and I would like to reprint the entire article here without permission; but, I will provide a link instead.

So it goes.

Vonnegut's article "Cold Turkey."


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Joke - Lightbulb

How many members of the Bush Administration does it take to replace a lightbulb?


1. One to deny that a lightbulb needs to be replaced

2. One to attack and question the patriotism of anyone who has questions about the lightbulb,

3. One to blame the previous administration for the need of a new lightbulb,

4. One to arrange the invasion of a country rumored to have a secret stockpile of lightbulbs,

5. One to get together with Vice President Cheney and figure out how to pay Halliburton Industries one million dollars for a lightbulb,

6. One to arrange a photo-op session showing Bush changing the lightbulb while dressed in a flight suit and wrapped in an American flag, and

7. One to explain to Bush the difference between screwing a lightbulb and screwing a nation.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Who Had The Better Idea?

I received a mailing from Americans United for Separation of Church and State ("AU"). It was a standard fundraising letter, the type I respond to and for which I often write a check.

AU is the organization that sued Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore to prevent him from displaying Moses' Ten Commandements in a public building. Moore is a fundamentalist christian who had secured himself a lifetime position dispensing justice and securing jurisprudence. Moore failed to understand that he may not impose his Judeo-Christian beliefs on American taxpayers. So . . . he no longer sits on the Alabama Supreme Court and the ten commandments have been removed from the courthouse!

There have been a number of statesmen and religious leaders over the centuries who have discussed the myriad issues surrounding church and state. On the one hand you have Thomas Jefferson and the businessmen and politicians who formed the United States by crafting the United States Constitution. On the other end of the spectrum you have Jerry Falwell and the televangelists who have made it their mission to eradicate the Constitutional protections that have kept the religious and non-religious safe for centuries.

While the fundamentalists work to eliminate civil liberty and personal freedom I ask you:

Whose vision of America would you prefer: Thomas Jefferson's or George Bush's?

Who had the better idea? What will you do to make certain it prevails?


Monday, May 24, 2004

"Morgue Records Show 5,500 Iraqis Killed"

The lies the Bush Administration told us about needing to invade Iraq seemed to change with the weather. First it was that Saddam Hussein was hoarding weapons of mass destruction, then it was because he was a bad leader tormenting, torturing, and killing his own people, then it was because he was directly connected to the al qaeda group responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York.

Of course, none of these things were ever the reason the House of Bush attacked Iraq. It's all about the oil. Those Reaganite apologists who want to be shocked and appalled that anyone would accuse the president of this should get a friggin' clue, because there is no other reason. You zionists who want to convince yourselves that it makes Israel a safer place should wake up and smell the friggin' coffee. You've been duped.

We are sacrificing the children of economically disadvantaged Americans, and the general Iraqi population for one reason: so that House of Bush can control the Iraqi oil and make billions from American consumers and taxpayers who will foot the bill for the House of Bush to steal this oil, then pay exorbitant de-regulated prices for the gasoline refined from it.

Over five thousand Iraqis have been killed in the war. This number includes only Baghdad and the three surrounding provinces. Is this how you help a people get out from under the thumb of an evil dictator? Do you prove the presence of WMDs by using WMDs against the citizenry? Are these 5,500 dead Iraqis now sufficient payback for those killed on September 11, 2001?

There are no WMD! Sadaam was no worse to his people than the brutal dictators of China with whom we do more business than we should! Iraq was not connected to the 9/11 tragedy (that was done by our close allies in the House of Saud.)

What is enough?

When will it stop?

Is your personal blood-thirst sufficiently quenched?

Can we stop now?

Here's an AP article about the dead.

Friday, May 21, 2004


I received five emails yesterday from people who thought my blog made no sense. I was so moved that I asked my colleague to please read it. He never mentioned it, so I don't know if he ran out of time, or thought it was such nonsense he was too embarrassed to talk about it.

The emails all said basically the same thing: I was covering too many issues in too little space. I should have written about the American prison system, or George Bush's record for executing his fellow citizens, or the prison scandal in Iraq; but, that by trying to connect all three made it impossible to discern any point to the article at all.

Hmmmmmmmm! Maybe I shouldn't write political commentary at 7:30 A.M.!

Irrespective of all that . . . today is Friday and for that I am grateful.

Friday is the sixth day of the week, and is named for Frigu, the goddess of marriage and the wife of Odin.

For many people Friday is pay day! For me, alternating Fridays are pay days and this Friday is the wrong Friday for that!

Monday and Friday are my favorite days of the week.

Do you have any weekend plans?


Thursday, May 20, 2004

Jailing The Jailers and Letting the Criminals Run Free

The headline explains: "US guard jailed for one year after admitting abuse of prisoners in Iraq."

I am not a fan of prisons. I think that post-Ronald Reagan prisons in the United States, where rehabilitation has been replaced with brutalization so severe that everyone involved in the industry (from administrators to prisoners) are made into monsters, are a total mess and in dire need of reform.

The House of Bush used the State of Texas as their testing ground to bring the brutalization of American citizens to new lows when the current American president became the Western leader to exterminate more of his own citizens than anyone else in my lifetime.

The post WWII movement to make prisons places of rehabilitation, not just brutalization, was a hugely successful movement. Educating and rehabilitating criminals, especially non-violent criminals, is a good plan; and it worked quite successfully, even if it was expensive.

The House of Bush, with their fundamentalist philosophy and their insatiable need to suck every penny they can get out of the American taxpayer, insists that rehabilitation is too expensive and it is not what interests the American people. House of Bush insists that you want prisoners punished and brutalized, which they insist is cheaper than rehabilitation.

It would be cheaper if House of Bush did not privatize the prisons! Any money that could have been saved by switching from rehabilitation to brutalization is now lost and cannot be accounted for, because private corporations are not accountable to the taxpayers; and they are the ones running these old-fashioned, but new-fangled, prisons.

So, the expense of a rehabilitation-based prison system is still on the budget, but we are getting a brutalization-based prison system and a bunch of friends of the House of Bush are profiteering mightily.

This is the trend in the United States: privatize the prisons and eliminate rehabilitative programs. It is failing us. We are being cheated. It is morally wrong and it is not working.

Prior to the post-WWII movement towards a rehabilitative philosophy, five thousand years of imprisonment philosophy was strictly brutalization-based. You got hold of a prisoner and you beat him or raped her into submission. You broke their spirit so that one of two things happened: (1) they were spiritually unable to do much more than live in a gutter and drink themselves into oblivion; or (2) they became as brutal as their captors and continued to perpetrate crimes against other human beings either within the confines of their prison or on the general citizenry upon release.

The move towards rehabilitation that fundamentalists in the House of Bush find so expensive and inconvenient is a reflection of a sophisticated civilization, a civilization that is growing and expanding. There is no room for that in a fundamentalist society, however, and our giant steps backwards in prison reform these past two decades is now playing-out as an absurdist play in Iraq.

The headline "US guard jailed for one year after admitting abuse of prisoners in Iraq" says so little.

Here we have a soldier not trained as a prison guard, put in a situation where the philosophy of imprisonment is total brutalization, he does as he is ordered, and he is now a prisoner for it, while the men leading the House of Bush (who continue to promote this philosophy) are walking free and issuing statements to the press about how appalled they are that anyone in prison is being treated poorly!

The philosophy of the House of Bush is to kill as many prisoners as possible and brutalize those you cannot get away with killing. Just look at the current American president's record as governor of Texas. Our commander-in-chief, the man who leads our armed forces, believes that it is acceptable to kill human beings we have imprisoned.

Either we are a civilized culture with a rehabilitative-based prison philosophy, or we are not. Clearly we are not. Why then is a 24-year-old soldier being imprisoned for his role in furthering American policy and American fundamentalist philosophy?

I think this soldier should be punished. I think everyone involved with perpetrating brutality against other human beings should be punished, not least of all the leaders in the House of Bush. What is the appropriate punishment for someone you have hired to kill people when he who offends you? Imprisonment? That seems a bit uncivilized!

Let's be realistic here: We hired this man to kill people. If we don't like his methods, let's punish him by firing him, giving him a dishonorable discharge, taking away his GI Bill and all his veterans' benefits (what little the House of Bush has left intact), and let's give him a bad reference if a potential employer calls for our opinion. To further the cycle of brutalization by sending him and his cohorts to prison is a huge mistake.

The entire Iraq situation is a mess. The leadership of the House of Bush is singularly responsible for this mess and the current American president should be impeached for his malfeasance.

If we do not speak-up about this mess in Iraq, the House of Bush will take our silence as tacit agreement.

If you do agree with what is taking place in Iraq, I question your love of America and your moral fiber.


A little Yahoo! about it

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Dear David Bowie,

While typing yesterday's blog about my fave anti-war song ("Bring The Boys Home," by Freda Payne) I remembered seeing you sing "Fantastic Voyage" in Poughkeepsie last year.

What a grand time I had at that show. LizSK2, from London, stayed with me that week, I think.

"Fantastic Voyage" is a great anti-war song. I will include it and "Bombers" on my list of fave anti-war songs.

I often wonder if I will ever see you in concert again. Are you enjoying the tour? Everyone asks if I will be seeing any more of the Reality shows, but I hate sheds and the rest of the tour is outside. Yech!

Anyhow . . . thanks for "Fantastic Voyage" and "Bombers"! They remind me that somewhere in your moral code there is something that contradicts your decision to take money from a corporation as despicable as Nestle.

Dick Mac

P.S.: Do you know there is a 25 year boycott of Nestle?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Today, my favorite song is

Bring The Boys Home by Freda Payne. BTBH was released on the Invictus label in 1971 and is my favorite anti-war song of all time.

There are many anti-war songs, and someday I will make a list of all my faves.

Invictus records was formed in Detroit by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland after they left Motown Records. Having left Motown at the peak of their careers as the world's most successful songwriting/production team in 1968, Holland-Dozier-Holland had to fight many legal battles with their former employer before they could start their own record labels in 1969.

Invictus and Hot Wax released a string of hit singles in the early 1970s, and Holland-Dozier-Holland remain one of the most important songwriting teams in pop music history.


Monday, May 17, 2004

Blue Cat Moon

My friend, Her Grace, makes jewelry under the monicker Blue Cat Moon. She has given many wonderful gifts of her pieces to the women I know, and she sells her work, too. You can find Gracie's creations on eBay, or at her website.

Recently, I received this message about her charity work for KTAO, a solar-powered radio station in New Mexico. She will give $5.00 to KTAO for each of these pieces she sells. Read on:

Dear Friend,

I'd like to think my work can make a difference in the world, however small:

KTAO Benefit Sales

If this catches on, I will be very happy. I'm waiting to hear from KTAO to see if they have a more specific target for the proceeds. I'm hoping they don't mind my just jumping in like this, but it's easier to get forgiveness than permission, and I don't see why they wouldn't be pleased.

It's possible they'll think I'm crazy, but then, that will just put them on the same page with everybody on this side of the Rockies. LOL I'd rather be a crazy idealist than a dull realist any day.

For those of you who have never listened to (or heard of!) KTAO, go to

You can listen to the station right over your computer. They have one of the best selections of musical programming of any radio station I have ever heard, and lots of cool community service and other programming too. Enjoy!

I think BCM's work is quite nice. It might look good on you!

Please consider supporting her KTAO fundraiser, or buying a piece for yourself.


See Blue Cat Moon's work at her website

See Blue Cat Moon's other eBay items

Friday, May 14, 2004

Joke - Celibacy

Celibacy can be a choice in life, or a condition imposed by environmental encounters.

While attending a Marriage Encounter Weekend, Walter and his wife Peg, listened to the instructor declare, "It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other." He addressed the men, "Can you name and describe your wife's favorite flower?"

Walter leaned over, touched Peg's arm gently and whispered, "Pillsbury All-purpose, isn't it?"

And thus began Walter's life of celibacy.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Lizzy Mercier Descloux

Sometime around 1979 or 1980, I found myself at the New York club TR3 watching Lizzy Mercier Descloux play with her band. I had just been introduced to the post-punk No Wave sound and I liked it. I had her album "Press Color" and was amused by her performance. She was my favorite girl bass player: she cut a boyish figure and took no shit!

Lizzy died at the end of April, but her passing away at age 47, after a battle with cancer, has just been reported.

A Brief Career In Punk And World

Paris, 29 April 2004 - French singer Lizzy Mercier Descloux died a week ago at the age of 47, but news of her demise did not filter through to the media until yesterday. For the mainstream music public, Lizzy’s name will forever be associated with her one and only chart hit, "Mais où sont passées les gazelles." But committed fans will recall other Lizzy classics such as "Wakwazulu Kwezizulu Rock." In trendier circles, Lizzy Mercier Descloux will be remembered as one of those protean figures who pioneer cultural revolution.

Lizzy Mercier Descloux was born in Lyons, but she soon moved up to the capital to follow the trends, launching her professional career in a boutique in Les Halles (a neighbourhood which was at the centre of swinging Paris in the mid-70s). Lizzy managed the boutique Harry Cover, an outlet for T-shirts and records, with her partner, the producer Michel Esteban. The couple established themselves as the Parisian equivalent of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and Lizzy soon earned a reputation as the muse of the city’s burgeoning punk movement. Lizzy had acquired essential avant-garde experience in New York, picking up on new ways of living and playing rock as correspondent for the magazine Rock News. Her articles found her at the cutting-edge of the music scene, reporting on two new ‘schools’ that emerged from the same origins: punk and new wave. Lizzy was on hand to witness the rise of Blondie, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Television, The New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and Patti Smith.

On her return to Paris, Lizzy became the driving force behind Harry Cover, the boutique which the city’s first punks adopted as their HQ. Lizzy, in her early 20s at the time, thrilled to the raw new sound pioneered by her new friends, future members of Les Stinky Toys and Asphalt Jungle. Caught up in the musical whirlwind of the time, Lizzy went into the studio on her own account to record a debut album, Press Color, in 1979. This was followed by Mambo Nassau in 1980. With the French punk movement burning out in the late 70s, Lizzy began looking to new musical horizons, however. In the early 80s there was a general buzz around what journalists at Actuel and Libération dubbed "la sono mondiale" (long before anyone coined the term "world music"). And Lizzy found herself a pioneering force on this burgeoning new Paris scene. Indeed, in 1984 she rocketed up the French charts with a single entitled "Mais où sont passées les gazelles," an adaptation of a South African song immortalised by Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens.

Lizzy’s album of the same name was, for the most part, recorded in South Africa with the crème de la crème of local musicians. This was an unprecedented move in those days (two years before Paul Simon embarked upon his Graceland venture!) Lizzy’s album, released on CBS (one of the major labels of the time) went on to win the prestigious French rock award, "Le Bus d’acier." And although the album never made it past no.30 in the Top 50, Mais où sont passées les gazelles made an indelible mark on the French music scene. How could it not, when for the first time in music history a French artist managed to chart with a non-European sound, which had not been bowdlerized or watered down to suit French tastes.

The album "Mais où sont passées les gazelles" featured a number of South African songs which were as remarkable for the vibrant energy of Lizzy’s performance as for their hard-hitting lyrics. On "Wakwazuku Kwezizulu Rock," the single which followed "Mais où sont passées les gazelles" (with far less chart success), Lizzy raised the issue of colour, singing "Je te le dis noir sur noir/Laisse tomber les mots et la couleur de peau" ("I’m telling you black on black/ Drop the labels and the issue of skin colour!") However, despite Lizzy’s pioneering musical and social spirit, the success of the album was short-lived and her subsequent albums - One for the Soul (1986) and Suspense (1988) - failed to rouse the same interest amongst the general public or industry professionals. Over the ensuing years, Lizzy Mercier Descloux increasingly distanced herself from the music world.

Lizzy eventually left France and made her home in Corsica where she devoted herself to a new career as a painter. (Incidentally, an exhibition of her work is due to be held in Japan, in a Tokyo gallery shortly). Lizzy continued to paint while bravely battling against cancer, but it was the disease that finally won in the end. According to her last wishes, her family scattered her ashes in the Saint-Florent
Bay in Corsica. And it was only after this last promise had been carried out that an official announcement was made about her death. RFI Musique takes this opportunity to pay its respects to a true music pioneer. Adieu, Lizzy!

No-Wave Icon Lizzie Descloux Dies

The influential no-wave musician, Lizzie Mercier Descloux, died on April 20th of cancer. She was cremated and her ashes put into the Mediterranean Sea. The French-born Descloux emigrated to New York in her youth, and there fell among the avant-garde crowd and released two albums on the Ze Records label, 1979's Press Color and 1981's Mambo Nassau. Press Color contained covers of "Mission Impossible" and Arthur Brown's "Fire" which were much loved by the scenesters of a generation past. Mambo Nassau is the album she is most remembered for, and contains elements of both no-wave and traditional world music, as well as a Kool & The Gang cover, and was a great influence upon the Talking Heads.

Described in her Ze Records biography as "a French boyish poetry cute girl singer living in New York," Descloux was a friend and fellow artist to Patti Smith and was admired by many. In 1981, an article was written about her and Mambo Nassau in Sounds magazine, entitled "Sex with Style." Let it be her eulogy now: "Lizzie Mercier Descloux is a cunning naif, an aware waif, an experienced virgin, a tipsy teetotaller and a star in the shoddy, shady niche of obscurism... These songs are the current number ones in Heaven... Mambo Nassau is an album to be cherished, to be over played, left alone and then returned to. It is the tastiest sweet in the shop. It embodies the heavy thudding of a heart in love."

Rest in peace, Lizzy.

Some links:

Richard Hell

Ze records site

Her Tiger Sushi entry

A Lizzy Discography

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Dear David Bowie,

I was just listening to you and Jeff Beck do a live "Love Me Do"/"Jean Genie" medley. You and Earl Slick should do that as a duet. It's fun.

Duets can be tricky. When duets are live and somewhat spontaneous, they are always exciting. When they are canned in the studio and the two artists have not actually sung together or even been in the same city for the project, duets can be tedious.

You've done some splendid duets: Cher, Marianne Faithful, Freddie Mercury, Annie Lennox, Gail. The list goes one. (Annie Lennox is touring with Sting, do you think they sing a duet of "Under Pressure"?)

I quite like the video of "Dancing In The Streets" you did with Mick Jagger. The song could have been done a bit better, but that doesn't seem to be the point of that duet: it was fun. It is clear that the two of you are having a good time performing together. I know that many of your superfans poo-poo it, but I will always adore it.

So, are there any surprise duets coming-up on this tour? I heard you sang "Station To Station" in Kansas City! Touche! old man!

Anyway . . . I think you should record a "Love Me Do"/"Jean Genie" medley in the studio. I think it could be a hit single. Get Tony Visconti and George Martin to produce it together and it could become by a media feeding-frenzy. Release it on John Lennon's birthday this Autumn, and have a big shindig with Yoko Ono and Ringo Starr and Mick Jagger (please do not invite Paul McCartney -- he's so dull he makes Sting look exciting!). It could be a benefit performance for some children's charity.

Go for it!

Dick Mac

P.S.: Why are you endorsing Nestle? Don't you know there is a boycott?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Bush Sees New Abuse Photos With "Disgust"

I am confused.

George Bush is the man who as governor of Texas put more American to death in his prisons than any other governor in modern times. Is there anything more disgusting than that?

Now he says he finds the pictures of abused (but alive) Iraqi prisoners disgusting?

This is a man with a warped sense of decency.

This is getting scarier by the moment!

This man must be removed from office.

Here's a little Yahoo! about it.


Monday, May 10, 2004

God Hates Nobody

It's probably a mistake to give the Westboro Baptist Church any attention at all; but, I am moved by an email I received from a friend in Las Vegas.

Fred Phelps, the most unchristian person in these United States, gathers up his extended family and a bunch of others from the shallow end of the gene pool and travels around the country spreading a message of hate, murder and intolerance. They even have a website that explains why God hates fags!

Las Vegas Academy is a magnet high school in Clark County, Nevada, that specializes in theater and the arts. Mr. Phelps is angry that the theater department produced a play about the murder of Matthew Shepard and he is having a demonstration in front of the school this Wednesday morning, May 12, 2004, from 6:30 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.

The only reply that has come from anyone at the school is to point-out that Phelps' organization uses biblical tracts to condemn those with whom they disagree. Of course, a public school staff cannot publicly condemn anybody for their political or religious beliefs, so the children attending LVA will be subjected to the lowest form of attack (hate) on their way to school.

So, what will happen on Wednesday morning? The Las Vegas media will be there to get entertainment footage for the evening "news," and it will show Phelps' well-organized posse staging a very convincing attack against a public school and its students.

Who will be there to defend the school, to defend the arts, to defend the children who attend this school, to defend the school's freedom of speech?

Will the police defend these children or the public school they are sworn to defend? Unlikely!

Will the state or federal government step to the plate and tell Phelps he is a whacko and he is to leave our children alone? Unlikely?

Will there be a large group of citizens there to shout-down Phelps' group and send a message of hope to the children at LVA? Yes! Political and church leaders from Las Vegas have joined together to work with students and school officials to plan a counter-protest!

Will you be there to fight against Phelps in Las Vegas?

Will you be there to fight against Phelps when he comes to your town to spread his message of hate to children?

If you don't speak-out against Phelps and the other fundamentalists assuming control of our nation, who will?

We need to speak out against these people. It is important to talk about them all the time, to point out how unAmerican and unchristian they are.


Friday, May 07, 2004

Joke - First Year Lawyer

A first year lawyer was leaving the office late one evening when he found the managing partner standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.

"Listen," said the partner, "This is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?"

"Certainly," said the associate. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and they watched it disappear into the shredder.

"Excellent, excellent" said the partner. "I only need one copy."

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Prison Brutality

The current American President, his deputy, their henchman, and all of their senior staff are shocked and appalled at the treatment of prisoners in Iraq.

This is disgusting hypocrisy. While governor of Texas, George Bush oversaw the extermination of more American citizens than any other governor in our lifetime. More American citizens were put to death under George Bush's regime than any other elected regime. George Bush is an advocate of killing people: he supports the death penalty and he thinks throwing our children under the wheels of war is an acceptable way to acquire oil profits. There is nothing more brutal than that.

George Bush, his friends, his business partners, his cohorts, his partners-in-crime, whatever you want to call this slime that is currently in charge of the federal government, are the most brutal regime to which our media has access. There is no other 'free' nation that imprisons young men for minor drug offenses and incarcerates them with murderers and rapists who brutalize them from the moment they arrive on the premises.

State prisons in the United States are brutal places, and they house American taxpayers. How can the Bush Regime think the prisons in Iraq, which house enemies, would be any better? The incarceration of American taxpayers in our own prison systems, even for non-violent crimes, is so violent that it cannot be discussed by the media or in polite company.

I know people who have gone to prison in the United States. Most of the people I know who went to prison were convicted of breaking the drug laws. They knew the rules and they got caught, so they went to prison.

One man I know went to prison after being accused of having sex with a 17-year-old. Now the 17-year-old never said they had sex, because the sex never took place; but the local district attorney was up for re-election, knew he was friends with the 17-year-old, and simply pressed charges, because they can do that without the cooperation of the victim, and got great media coverage. If you think this doesn't happen, you should wake-up and smell the coffee (it's delicious)

For years the case went in circles until they convicted him and sentenced him with no witnesses and no victim testimony. And he had a good lawyer. Sadly, the law enforcement personnel are better connected and the case was repeatedly moved from judge to judge until one who would convict was found (you daren't take a jury trial for a case like this).

Now, the details of the trial are neither here nor there. What was so shocking to me and my friends was the brutal treatment he received at the hands of the guards and other prisoners upon his arrival at the prison.

He was separated from the other new prisoners "for his own protection," and placed in a 10x10x10 cage on the ground level of a holding block with cells that rose above him. His cage was open at the top as it was made of bars. Upon his arrival, the guards beat the daylights out of him. He lost two teeth, one eye was swollen shut, his ribs ached. It was so bad that they had to involve the prison doctor, which they don't like to do. Still, they waited until morning for that. All night long, the other prisoners were instructed to urinate and defecate into his cell from above. They dropped their trash and leftover food and their lit cigarette butts on him.

The guards cleaned him up and sent him to the doctor the next morning (less than 24 hours after he arrived). Fortunately, the doctor was so appalled by the situation that she took pictures and sent them to his lawyer, who gave them to us. We brought the pictures to the attention of the governor via his counsel and my friend was moved to a different facility. The governor and his counsel knew it had been an election year conviction for the district attorney who garnered miles of free ink on the case, and the governor did not want my friend getting killed on his watch.

Other friends have told me of being raped in prison, being forced to submit to gangs of men who forced them to serve them in many ways. Fighting back might delay the subjugation, but American prisons are bastions of hierarchical brutalization, just like prisons all over the world. People who are imprisoned for violent crimes generally fare better in prison, because they are familiar with violence. Those convicted of non-violent crimes are always brutalized beyond imagination.

And in the United States, unlike other civilized countries, we actually allow the guards and staff to execute prisoners. They strap them to a table and inject them with chemicals that kill them! There is nothing more barbaric or brutal than that. This is done in Texas more than it is done in any other state.

For George Bush and his henchmen to pretend they didn't know that brutal actions were taken against prisoners in a military prison is so insincere as to border on impeachable. Are we to believe that the man who stole our country doesn't know that prisons are brutal and that the prisons for which he has been directly responsible are the MOST brutal in Western Civilization?

This posturing about Iraqi prison conditions is offensive not because they are pretending it is all a surprise, but because this is the man whose prisons are already the most brutal on the planet!

What the guards at the Abu Ghraib military prison in Iraq have done is no different than what prison guards in the United States do, or allow to be done, to American citizens. If George Bush and his henchmen think otherwise, they should spend a few days touring the prisons of America and interviewing those who have gotten out alive.

Stop pretending and lying George, it's offensive.

There is only one solution to the problems in Iraq: get the US military out of there and allow some civilized nations to clean-up the mess the Texans have made.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Dear David Bowie,

My sister Tess came to visit from Boston last weekend. I hadn't seen her since my best friend's funeral back in February.

We listened to songs on my iTunes jukebox trying to which cuts to add to a new mixed CD for her to bring home. When Nico's version of "Waiting For The Man" played, I asked if she remembered you singing this at the first Bowie concert she attended, which was the Station To Station tour at Boston Garden, 17 March 1976. She was 12 years old, I was eighteen. We had a blast. She didn't remember the song.

I got my whole family listening to your music when I started buying your records, well actually I bought mostly 8-Track tapes in the early 70s. "Young Americans" was a big hit in our house, and "Station To Station" was equally liked. Boy it was exciting to await each of your releases in those days! I am lucky to have been your fan back then. Nobody did the seventies better than you (or me)!

During her visit, she asked about my litho of "Child In Berlin" and she was really surprised to hear you had painted it. This led to a show and tell of a bunch of my David Bowie memorabilia. I showed her the catalog from Rex's "Fascination" show and the "Doing Bowie" piece, and Myriam's "Live In New York" book. What a great job they did on those projects. Do you ever listen to the "After Low" CD? I do. Love Among Puppets' version of "Be My Wife" and the Helen Lundy Trio's "Tanz Mit" are quite good.

My sister didn't know that you had such a dedicated fan base that was so creative and exciting. She knew how devoted I had become over thirty years of being your fan; but people outside the Bowie fan community don't understand the level of devotion. She really should meet some of them.

Anyway, my sister's CD ended up with no Bowie cuts (if you can believe it); but it was still a great mix (I think you'd approve):

What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
Goin' Out of My Head - Queen Latifah
Baby I'm Yours - Barbara Lewis
Band Of Gold - Freda Payne
When Will I See You Again - The Three Degrees
Genius of Love - Tom Tom Club
Jump - Aztec Camera
You're so Vain - Carly Simon
I Think We're Alone Now - Tommy James
Lola - Kinks
Wild Thing - The Troggs
Dizzy - Tommy Roe
She's A Lady - Tom Jones
Funky Broadway - Wilson Pickett
Give Me Just A Little More Time - Chairmen Of The Board
Love Train - O'Jays
Funky Broadway - Wilson Pickett
Dance To The Music - Sly & The Family Stone
The Tears Of A Clown - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Love Child - Supremes
Family Affair - Sly & The Family Stone
I Got You Babe - Sonny and Cher
Son Of A Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
The Flesh Failures - Hair Soundtrack

I think your song "1984" would have fit perfectly in that mix. Maybe next time.

Anyway . . . I think it's time for a big hit song from David Bowie. All the corporate endorsements and advertisements are fine, but how about a good pop song now?

Dick Mac

P.S.: Why are you endorsing Nestle?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

No Sweat

At the No Sweat Apparel website it is explained: "Bienestar International manufactures union-made casual clothing under the brand name No Sweat. Our clothing is produced by independent trade union members in the US, Canada, and the developing world. We believe that the most viable response to globalization is a global labor movement."

This is great news, because the loss of American jobs due to companies moving to developing nations and employing slave labor practices is a frightening trend for American morality and economics.

Taxpayers are losing their jobs while corporate boards of directors line their pockets with remarkable profits.

The anti-labor sentiment nurtured by the Reagan administration and perpetuated by commercialism, globalization and deregulation is destroying our once-great nation. Workplace protection is being diminished and job security is all but non-existent.

It is important that American taxpayers not only remove the current American president from office, but that we begin protecting our jobs and markets by buying American and buying Union. American manufacturing and the American labor movement were responsible for remarkable progress in the last century. Why have we abandoned them?

No Sweat Apparel includes sneakers, jeans,sweats, and other casual attire. All of which is union made!

There will be a link to No Sweat Apparel at this site until further notice. If you buy Gap or Nestle or Nike or buy RIAA-endorsed CDs, you are doing plenty to destroy the world. Please consider spending a little of your money with a company that is giving back, that is trying to improve the marketplace, and is trying to keep some people employed at a livable wage.

Buy Union!

Shop now! Click the link:

No Sweat


Monday, May 03, 2004

Things you must believe to remain a Republican today:

  1. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

  2. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

  3. Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

  4. "Standing Tall for America" means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.

  5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

  6. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

  7. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

  8. Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you someday run for Governor of California as a Republican.

  9. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

  10. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

  11. HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart.

  12. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

  13. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

  14. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

  15. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

  16. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

  17. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

  18. You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have a right to adopt.

  19. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

  20. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

To garner a slightly better grasp on reality, one only need ignore the Republicans and look to some great Americans of the past:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."

President Theodore Roosevelt said: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, it is morally treasonable to the American Public."