Sunday, August 22, 2010
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
When it comes down to it what is really the essential part of you? What is the foundation on which all concepts of self are based? Isn't it only the simple fact of Being, alone, unadorned, so common it is neglected by almost everyone? It is so simple but just seeing it once will not set you free. The habits of a lifetime of ignorance are reverberating inside you. They are neither good nor evil. Your value judgements about them are just another habit. But we are creatures of habit, aren't we? A person who knows they have tasted awakeness but has not embraced it is like an inmate in a prison where there are no guards and no warden. All the doors stand open and the prisoner continues to shuffle around in his cell, or perhaps the hallway, mostly dreaming that he is still a prisoner. Sometimes he sees the Truth and shuffles closer to the Final Exit. The fear is intense and at time seems all consuming. It seems the prison is all he has ever known and if he walks through that final door he will leave everything behind. Who will he be? How will he live? Where will he go?
So many questions they could be contemplated for a lifetime, or perhaps forever. Perhaps they have been already. Perhaps we have been standing at the door all this time and now all that is needed is one step.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Le Parkour (1), though crystallised into its current guise by Frenchmen David Belle and Yann Hnautra sometime in the 1980s, is a practice the roots of which precede records. It has drawn on a myriad of sources, been inspired by a number of notable individuals and evolved through several traditions to arrive at the modern discipline now referred to as parkour or free-running. Names and labels come and go, of course, and the outward visage of this discipline has shifted and modified itself countless times. However, behind whatever appearance has been fashionable at the time, at its core there has always existed an eternal constant – the means, the end, the method and the goal of parkour: Movement.
You can read the rest of the article here.
I have been thinking a lot recently that the combination of CST/Russian martial arts and Parkour would be the ultimate martial art. To bring it all together I would add the nature awareness training of Tom Brown Jr. (in particular the Scout training), and Jon Young.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
for the Huffington Post
Has Barack Obama forgotten, "Way-to-go, Brownie"? Michael Brown was that guy from the Arabian Horse Association appointed by George Bush to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brownie, not knowing the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain from the south end of a horse, let New Orleans drown. Bush's response was to give his buddy Brownie a "way to go!" thumbs up.
We thought Obama would go a very different way. You'd think the studious Senator from Illinois would avoid repeating the Bush regime's horror show of unqualified appointments, of picking politicos over professionals.
But here we go again. Trial balloons lofted in the Washington Post suggest President-elect Obama is about to select Joel Klein as Secretary of Education. If not Klein, then draft-choice number two is Arne Duncan, Obama's backyard basketball buddy in Chicago.
Say it ain't so, President O.
Let's begin with Joel Klein. Klein is a top notch anti-trust lawyer. What he isn't is an educator.
Klein is as qualified to run the Department of Education as Dick Cheney is to dance in Swan Lake. While I've never seen Cheney in a tutu, I have seen Klein fumble about the stage as Chancellor of the New York City school system.
Klein, who lacks even six minutes experience in the field, was handed management of New York's schools by that political Jack-in-the-Box, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire mayor is one of those businessmen-turned-politicians who think lawyers and speculators can make school districts operate like businesses.
Klein has indeed run city schools like a business - if the business is General Motors. Klein has flopped. Half the city's kids don't graduate.
Klein is out of control. Not knowing a damn thing about education, rather than rely on those who actually work in the field (only two of his two dozen deputies have degrees in education), Klein relies on high-priced consultants to tell him what to do. He's blown a third of a billion dollars on consultant "accountability" projects plus $80 million for an IBM computer data storage system that doesn't work.
What the heck was the $80 million junk computer software for? Testing. Klein is test crazy. He has swallowed hook, line and sinker George Bush's idea that testing students can replace teaching them. The madly expensive testing program and consultant-fee spree are paid for by yanking teachers from the classroom.
Ironically, though not surprisingly, test scores under Klein have flat-lined. They don't dip only because Klein has "moved the cut line" that is, lowered the level required to pass, notes author Jane Hirshmann. In other words, Klein is cheating on the tests.
But media poobahs have fallen in love with Klein, especially the Republican pundits. The New York Times' David Brooks is championing Klein, hoping that media hype for Klein will push Obama to keep Bush schools policies in place, trumping the electorate's choice for change.
Brooks and other Republicans (hey, didn't those guys lose?) are pushing Klein as a way for Obama to prove he can reach across the aisle to Republicans like Bloomberg. (Oh yes, Bloomberg's no longer in the GOP, having jumped from the party this year when the brand name went sour.)
Choosing Klein, says Brooks, would display Obama's independence from the teacher's union. But after years of Bush kicking teachers in the teeth, appointing a Bush acolyte like Klein would not indicate independence from teachers but their betrayal.
Hoops versus Hope
The anti-union establishment has a second stringer on the bench waiting in case Klein is nixed: Arne Duncan. Duncan, another lawyer playing at education, was appointed by Chicago's Boss Daley to head that city's train-wreck of a school system. Think of Duncan as "Klein Lite."
What's Duncan's connection to the President-elect? Duncan was once captain of Harvard's basketball team and still plays backyard round-ball with his Hyde Park neighbor Obama.
But Michelle has put a limit on their friendship: Obama was one of the only state senators from Chicago to refuse to send his children into Duncan's public schools. My information is that the Obamas sent their daughters to the elite Laboratory School where Klein-Duncan teach-to-the-test pedagogy is dismissed as damaging and nutty.
Mr. Obama, if you can't trust your kids to Arne Duncan, why hand him ours?
Lawyer Duncan is proud to have raised test scores by firing every teacher in low-scoring schools. Which schools? There's Collins High in the Lawndale ghetto with children from homeless shelters and drug-poisoned 'hoods. Surprisingly, they don't test so well. So Chicago fired all the teachers. They brought in new ones - then fired all of them too: the teachers' reward for volunteering to work in a poor neighborhood.
It's no coincidence that the nation's worst school systems are run by non-experts like Klein and Duncan.
Obama certainly knows this. I know he knows because he's chosen, as head of his Education Department transition team, one of the most highly respected educators in the United States: Professor Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University.
So here we have the ludicrous scene of the President-elect asking this recognized authority, Dr. Darling-Hammond, to vet the qualifications of amateurs Klein and Duncan. It's as if Obama were to ask Michael Jordan, "Say, you wouldn't happen to know anyone who can play basketball, would you?"
Classroom Class War
It's not just Klein's and Duncan's empty credentials which scare me: it's the ill philosophy behind the Bush-brand education theories they promote. "Teach-to-the-test" (which goes under such pre-packaged teaching brands as "Success for All") forces teachers to limit classroom time to pounding in rote low-end skills, easily measured on standardized tests. The transparent purpose is to create the future class of worker-drones. Add in some computer training and - voila! - millions trained on the cheap to function, not think. Analytical thinking skills, creative skills, questioning skills will be left to the privileged at the Laboratory School and Phillips Andover Academy.
We hope for better from the daddy of Sasha and Malia.
Educationally, the world is swamping us. The economic and social levees are bursting. We cannot afford another Way-to-go Brownie in charge of rescuing our children.
Greg Palast is the father of school-aged twins and the author of, "No Child's Behind Left," included in his New York Times bestseller, Armed Madhouse. Palast is a Nation Institute Puffin Foundation Fellow for investigative reporting.
Get a signed copy of Armed Madhouse for the holidays for a tax-deductible contribution to the Palast Investigative Fund at www.PalastInvestigativeFund.org
Subscribe to Palast's reports at www.GregPalast.com
Please re-post this.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Originally envisioned as an antidote to the shortage of clean drinking water in the world, the WaterMill has the look of a futuristic air conditioner and the ability to condense, filter and sterilize water for about 3 cents per quart.
At $1,299, the 45-pound device doesn’t come cheap, and it is neither the first nor the biggest machine to enter the fast-growing field of atmospheric water generators. But by targeting individual households with a self-cleaning, environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water, Kelowna, British Columbia-based Element Four is hoping its WaterMill will become the new must-have appliance of 2009. CONTINUE READING AT MSNBC.COM
In the twilight of the Bush days, in the twilight of the twilight season, a consensus has formed that we are headed into a long, dark passage leading we know not where. Even CNBC's Lawrence Kudlow has been reduced to searching for stray "mustard seeds" of hope on hands and knees in a bleak and tortured financial landscape. Half the enterprises in the land are lined up for some kind of relief bailout and a blizzard of pink slips has cut economic visibility to zero.
The broad American public voted for "change" but they thought that meant a "changing of the guard." Out with the feckless Bush; in with the charismatic Obama... and may this American life now continue just as it ever was. The change actually coming will be much more than they bargained for, namely our transition from a wealthy society to a hardship society. The sharp break is a product of our years-long failure to reckon with the energy realities of our time. We're still confused about that, but it's hard, otherwise, to ignore the massive disappearance of capital, asset values, livelihoods, domiciles, comforts, and necessities.
He also has a weekly podcast interview which can be found here, and he appeared on the always zeitgeisty Colbert Report:
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Indeed, the entire arc of America's bipartisan policies in the region over the past 40 years can be seen as the elaborate construction of a gargantuan, self-propelled blowback machine, producing an endless effluent of violence, threat, chaos and crime that is now sluicing through the entire world. But blowback, as we all know, is not a design flaw of imperial policy, at least not for the most part; it is a design feature. No War Machine without perpetual war and rumors of war; no war profits – and no war powers – without the War Machine.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Enjoy, I know I will!
* * * *
UPDATE: Just when I thought I was finished I found the Best Online Documentaries site (h/t The Teleomorph)
Friday, October 31, 2008
Greens want to replace the worldwide system of poverty and injustice with a world free of all oppression based on class, gender, race, citizenship, age, or sexual orientation.
Greens promote nonviolent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and guide our actions toward lasting community and global peace.
Greens support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system.
Greens seek an economics based upon the natural limits of the Earth which meets the basic needs of everyone on the planet. We value people over profits, when the two conflict.
Greens acknowledge the importance of both men and women and their unique capacities. Both sexes are critical to creating a healthy, sustainable society. We actively promote cooperation and participation to further our goals.
Greens believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines.
Greens demonstrate a commitment to global sustainability and international justice through political solidarity and in personal lifestyles of self-sufficiency. We believe in the slogan "Think globally, act locally."
We must counter-balance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that development, technology, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I have also spent quite a bit of time trying to wake up, in a "spiritual sense". This has been a rather involved process in which I have the kind guidance of a friend and mentor. Perhaps more on this later, although again I feel restrained as this blog does occassionally get a peek from family members. Although they are all quite aware that my spiritual beliefs (or opinions) are quite unorthodox from their point of view I consider it a point of courtesy not to flaunt it before them. But, then, perhaps that needs a rethink. Indeed perhaps the whole world, including and especially myself, needs a rethink. Of course the word "rethink" implies that any of these complexities have been subjected to thinking in the first place, and that is a bit of a stretch.
I have also resumed study of the martial arts, although I have had to put the specifically Russian studies in a holding pattern due to limited time and monetary resources. In the meantime I have taken up the study of the Indonesian martial art of pencak silat.
Anyhow, more on all this going forward. I simply had to assuage my guilt over not having updated the bloggy in so long.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Note: Although the points are stated briefly, I give in each case the pages in my most recent book---"The New Pearl Harbor Revisited"---where the issue is documented and discussed more extensively.
(1) Although the official account of 9/11 claims that Osama bin Laden ordered the attacks, the FBI does not list 9/11 as one of the terrorist acts for which he is wanted and has admitted that it "has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11" (NPHR 206-11).
(2) Although the official story holds that the four airliners were hijacked by devout Muslims ready to die as martyrs to earn a heavenly reward, Mohamed Atta and the other alleged hijackers regularly drank heavily, went to strip clubs, and paid for sex (NPHR 153-55).
(3) Many people reported having received cell phone calls from loved ones or flight attendants on the airliners, during which they were told that Middle Eastern hijackers had taken over the planes. One recipient, Deena Burnett, was certain that her husband had called her several times on his cell phone because she had recognized his number on her Caller ID. But the calls to Burnett and most of the other reported calls were made when the planes were above 30,000 feet, and evidence presented by the 9/11 truth movement showed that, given the technology of the time, cell phone calls from high-altitude airliners had been impossible. By the time the FBI presented a report on phone calls from the planes at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006, it had changed its story, saying that there were only two cell phone calls from the flights, both from United 93 after it had descended to 5,000 feet (NPHR 111-17).
(4) US Solicitor General Ted Olson's claim that his wife, Barbara Olson, phoned him twice from AA 77, reporting that hijackers had taken it over, was also contradicted by this FBI report, which says that the only call attempted by her was "unconnected" and hence lasted "0 seconds" (NPRH 60-62).
(5) Although decisive evidence that al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks was reportedly found in Mohamed Atta's luggage---which allegedly failed to get loaded onto Flight 11 from a commuter flight that Atta took to Boston from Portland, Maine, that morning---this story was made up after the FBI's previous story had collapsed. According to that story, the evidence had been found in a Mitsubishi that Atta had left in the Logan Airport parking lot and the trip to Portland was taken by Adnan and Ameer Bukhari. After the FBI learned that neither of the Bukharis had died on September 11, it simply declared that the trip to Portland was made by Atta and another al-Qaeda operative (NPHR 155-62).
(6) The other types of reputed evidence for Muslim hijackers---such as videos of al-Qaeda operatives at airports, passports discovered at the crash sites, and a headband discovered at the crash site of United 93---also show clear signs of having been fabricated (NPHR 170-73).
(7) In addition to the absence of evidence for hijackers on the planes, there is also evidence of their absence: If hijackers had broken into the cockpits, the pilots would have "squawked" the universal hijack code, an act that takes only a couple of seconds. But not one of the eight pilots on the four airliners did this (NPHR 175-79).
(8) Given standard operating procedures between the FAA and the military, according to which planes showing signs of an in-flight emergency are normally intercepted within about 10 minutes, the military's failure to intercept any of the flights implies that something, such as a stand-down order, prevented standard procedures from being carried out (NPHR 1-10, 81-84).
(9) Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta reported an episode in which Vice President Cheney, while in the bunker under the White House, apparently confirmed a stand-down order at about 9:25 AM, which was prior to the strike on the Pentagon. Another man has reported hearing members of LAX Security learn that a stand-down order had come from the "highest level of the White House" (NPHR 94-96).
(10) The 9/11 Commission did not mention Mineta's report, removed it from the Commission's video record of its hearings, and claimed that Cheney did not enter the shelter conference room until almost 10:00, which was at least 40 minutes later than he was really there, according to Mineta and several other witnesses, including Cheney's photographer (NPHR 91-94).
(11) The 9/11 Commission's timeline for Cheney that morning even contradicted what Cheney himself had told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" September 16, just five days after 9/11 (NPHR 93).
(12) Hani Hanjour, known as a terrible pilot who could not safely fly even a single-engine airplane, could not possibly have executed the amazing trajectory reportedly taken by American Flight 77 in order to hit Wedge 1 of the Pentagon (NPHR 78-80).
(13) Wedge 1 would have been the least likely part of the Pentagon to be targeted by foreign terrorists, for several reasons: It was as far as possible from the offices of Rumsfeld and the top brass, whom Muslim terrorists presumably would have wanted to kill; it was the only part of the Pentagon that had been reinforced; the reconstruction was not finished, so there were relatively few people there; and it was the only part of the Pentagon that would have presented obstacles to a plane's flight path (NPHR 76-78).
(14) Contrary to the claim of Pentagon officials that they did not have the Pentagon evacuated because they had no way of knowing that an aircraft was approaching, a military E-4B---the Air Force's most advanced communications, command, and control airplane---was flying over the White House at the time. Also, although there can be no doubt about the identity of the plane, which was captured on video by CNN and others, the military has denied that it belonged to them (NPHR 96-98).
(15) The Secret Service, after learning that a second World Trade Center building had been attacked---which would have meant that terrorists were going after high-value targets---and that still other planes had apparently been hijacked, allowed President Bush to remain at the school in Sarasota, Florida, for another 30 minutes. It thereby revealed its foreknowledge that Bush would not be a target: If these had really been surprise attacks, the agents, fearing that a hijacked airliner was bearing down on the school, would have hustled Bush away. On the first anniversary of 9/11, the White House started telling a new story, according to which Bush, rather than remaining in the classroom several minutes after Andrew Card whispered in his ear that a second WTC building had been hit, immediately got up and left the room. This lie was told in major newspapers and on MSNBC and ABC television (NPHR 129-31).
(16) Given the fact that the Twin Towers and WTC 7 had steel columns running from their basements to their roofs, they simply could not have come down as they did---straight down at virtually free-fall speed---unless these columns had been sliced by means of explosives. Therefore, the official theory, according to which the buildings came down because of fire plus (in the case of the Twin Towers) the impact of the planes, is scientifically impossible (NPHR 12-25).
(17) The destruction of the Twin Towers had many other features---such as the horizontal ejections of steel beams, the melting of steel, and the sulfidation and thinning of steel---that can be explained only in terms of powerful explosives. For example, the fires could not have come within 1000 degrees Fahrenheit of the temperature needed to melt steel (30-36).
(18) Members of the FDNY (Fire Department of New York) provided oral histories shortly after 9/11 in which one fourth of them testified to having witnessed explosions in the Twin Towers. Explosions in the WTC 7 as well as the towers were also reported by city officials, WTC employees, and journalists (NPHR 27-30, 45-48, 51).
(19) Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Peter Jennings of ABC News that day: "we set up headquarters at 75 Barclay Street . . . , and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse. And it [the South Tower] did collapse before we could actually get out of the building." However, there was no objective basis for expecting the towers to collapse; even the 9/11 Commission admitted that none of the fire chiefs expected them to come down. The FDNY oral histories show that the information that they were going to collapse came from the Office of Emergency Management---Giuliani's own office. How could Giuliani's people have known that the towers were going to come down, unless they knew that the buildings had been laced with explosives? (NPH 40)
(20) NIST, which produced the official reports on the Twin Towers and (recently) WTC 7, has been "fully hijacked from the scientific to the political realm," so that its scientists are little more than "hired guns," a former employee has reported, and the 9/11 Commission was no more independent, being run by Philip Zelikow, who was essentially a member of the Bush White House (NPHR 11, 238-51).
(21) The official story about 9/11 is now rejected by constantly growing numbers of physicists, chemists, architects, engineers, pilots, former military officers, and former intelligence officials (NPHR xi).
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Oops! Barack Obama says 'my Muslim faith' in interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos
Here is video of it:
This one slip will be enough to fuel all those "secret muslim" rumors until election day. Of course, if he were a Muslim I would still trust him to run this country over McCain, or, GOD FORBID, Palin!
If you want to know the feeling I get from Palin it is summed up in this picture:
Thursday, August 21, 2008
But how can I or any progressive vote for a presidential candidate who goes
from opposing a war to saying he not only supports the idea of keeping troops in
Iraq for another five years—the length of the entire WWII!—but who further says
he won’t rule out attacking Iran, even if that country poses no imminent threat
to the US, simply because it develops nuclear weapons—the same weapons that our
putative friends, Pakistan and India, have? How can I vote for a candidate who
wants to expand the military (by 65,000 troops) instead of shrinking this huge,
bloodsucking parasite of an organization which is costing as much as the rest of
the world spends on its armies?
How can I or any progressive vote for a presidential candidate who
cannot state categorically that he will defend the Constitution by reversing all
of President Bush’s abuses of power and who will not promise to prosecute the
president and members of his administration for any crimes committed while in
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Here are the top nine comments made by NBC sports commentators so far
during the Summer Olympics that they would like to take back:
1. Weightlifting commentator: 'This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her
snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing.'
2. Dressage commentator: 'This is really a lovely horse and I speak from
personal experience since I once mounted her mother.'
3. Paul Hamm, Gymnast: 'I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother
4. Boxing Analyst: 'Sure there have been injuries, and even some deaths in
boxing, but none of them really that serious.'
5. Softball announcer: 'If history repeats itself, I should think we can
expect the same thing again.'
6. Basketball analyst: 'He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like
it. In fact you can see it all over their faces.'
7. At the rowing medal ceremony: 'Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the IOC
president is hugging the cox of the British crew.'
8. Soccer commentator: 'Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven
Dicks on the field.'
9. Tennis commentator: 'One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them... Oh my God, what have I just said?