Saturday, June 30, 2012

hootchie heroines

director renee rutgrink's first film, hootchie heroines.


occupy detroit challenges the city to arrest them for sharing a meal with the homeless - which is now illegal.  there's a nice looking vegetarian pizza, too.  and on its way to philly with the occupy caravan.

nous nous éveillons

Demonstrators march in a protest against Quebec government’s plan to increase tuition fees in Montreal on June 2, 2012.
 courtesy of presstv
demonstrators march in montreal on june 2, 2012
"Ceci n'est pas une grève étudiante: 
C'est une société qui s'éveille" 
("This is not a student strike: 
This is a society awakening")

charest has another stick thrown into his wheels as quebec teachers join forces with striking students.  the student movement is expected to gain even more steam by the end of the summer.

also, the montreal international jazz festival kicks off with rufus wainwright announcing support for the student strikers.

he later responded to a reporter:  "I'm always going to go with the students and with the dispossessed and the, you know, angry mob.  It's just my nature." - and - "I will be wearing red. I don't know if I'll have the square but I'll be wearing red."  

the vancouver sun reports that wainwright joins a very long list of celebrities and artists who support the student protesters.

here is rufus wainwright at the festival, and in red, singing Je reviendrai à Montréal in a duet with his sister, martha wainwright.

the montreal jazz festival is the largest in the world.

points of view

poet and musician yussef ahmed and band, with singer Shaz Akira, in points of view.


student loans

meanwhile, behind all that hoopla over the u.s.s.c. decision, congress was quietly busy with the student loan mess, screwing students again.  

below, RT speaks with robert applebaum, founder of on how and why.

under the bus?

or over the edge, as the expression goes?  from truthout, more analysis on the u.s.s.c. rulingwith respect to the so-called medicaid expansion.

While upholding the most hotly debated part of the health care overhaul law — a requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty — the Supreme Court said in its ruling on Thursday that states did not have to expand Medicaid as Congress had intended — leaving a huge question mark over the law’s mechanism for providing coverage to 17 million of the poorest people.
In writing the law, Congress assumed that the poorest uninsured people would gain coverage through Medicaid, while many people with higher incomes would receive federal subsidies to buy private insurance. Now, poor people who live in a state that refuses to expand its Medicaid program will find themselves in a predicament, unable to obtain either Medicaid or subsidies.
the article reports that medicaid has repeatedly expanded over the last 25 years, but this time may be different, and it's not just about red and blue.  illinois, for example, a blue state in deep financial trouble, is delaying Medicaid payments to health care providers - and Dennis G. Smith, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, states, “Virtually all states are struggling to sustain their current Medicaid programs.”

meanwhile, other citizens joyously celebrated the court's decision - below, an enthusiastic Missouri rally attended by seniors, women, students, and health care activists.

single payer supporters appear divided on whether the court's decision represents a step forward or backwards on behalf of Medicare for All.  (continue backwards in blog time from that link to more information on the topic.)

Friday, June 29, 2012

day after

economist paul krugman weights in on the u.s.s.c. ruling.

democracy now! (youtube below) speaks with guests robin lunge (activist in the drive for vermont's single payer system), health industry whistle blower wendall potter, dr. oliver fein (past president of physicians for a national health program), and jodi jacobson (rh reality check). 

democracy now! also spoke yesterday with film maker michael moore as the decision came down.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


henry wadsworth longfellow born again via poetry reincarnations, and reciting (or what must have been rapping in those days) his masterpiece, paul revere's ride.


real news interviews single payer advocate dr. jennifer flowers about the recent u.s.s.c. decision on the affordable care act.


president obama's statement on the u.s.s.c.'s ruling, mostly upholding the affordable care act. 


in a five-four decision [l.a. times], chief justice John Roberts joined the more liberal justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan) in upholding the constitutionality of the mandate, though not on the basis of the commerce clause, but because (in John Roberts' words), “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain in­dividuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax," and, “Be­cause the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."  

the court's 4 liberals wrote that they disagreed with roberts on the commerce clause.

the court also ruled that low income medicaid expansion could go through, but decided via 7 justices [n.y. times] that congress had overreached by bringing states into compliance with the medicaid expansion through "loss of existing federal payments."

Both the l.a. and n.y. times present the ruling on medicaid as a blow to the legislation which is supposed to extend medicaid coverage to 16-20 million more Americans -- and, with court opinion now setting the stage for even greater health care disparities by location (i.e. red and blue).

according to the l.a. times, however, the court did not touch President Obama's stated intent to guarantee health care for all Americans through the legislation. 

truthdig reports divided views coming in from the single payer camp.
 [...] In a live report on the court’s announcement broadcast by “Democracy Now!” Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore praised the decision as a move in the right direction, saying it was a serious defeat for the right-wing that had attacked the law. But Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician and member of Physicians for a National Health Program, said the existing law harms low-income Americans by forcing them to become customers of private health insurance companies, which will likely result in their having to go without other necessities or find alternative means of obtaining them.
more on that at truthout.

read the 193 page opinion here [msnbc link].

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


 courtesy of acj
photographer:  john spink
thousands of americans wait on lines overnight 
for free dental care at woodstock baptist church in georgia

usa today has this article on the expected u.s.s.c. health care ruling, and how investors stand to gain or lose (money, that is, first and foremost).  matt kranz asserts that managed care companies and insurers stand to benefit from the legislation with more than 30 million new customers, hospitals gain by getting paid for visits by uninsured patients, and so do drug companies because rules get taken off the table.

ah, we wait with bated breath.

compare here to rob stone's september 2011 tikkun article on how good it is to be an insurance company as well as financial and moral bankruptcy.

meanwhile, wendall potter has these tips for court watchers and brendan fischer asks, who is bankrolling the fight against "obamacare?"

of course we're not even beginning to discuss dentistry.

(what's a little infection to the brain, eh?)

Healthcare-NOW! suggests people ready themselves for swift actions when the court decision is announced.  (tell them you want single payer, which sounds best to me, and which includes dental in h.r. 676.)

i wonder if, or when, the united nations can intervene on the grounds of catastrophic human rights violations in the united states.


homer erotic in criminal.


today's opinion piece is a letter released by prominent americans urging equador to accept julian assange's asylum request.

published by common dreams and just foreign policy, the letter is signed by over 83 individuals ranging from film directors michael moore, oliver stone, and danny glover;  well known t.v. and media hosts, constitutional attorneys, political activists, writers, university faculty, heads of prominent human rights and social justice organizations, artists, and foreign policy and economics experts.  truthout reports the letter accompanied by a petition signed by 4,000 americans also urging president rafael correa to approve julian assange's asylum request.
Adding that the US government "has made clear its hostility to WikiLeaks", it says he could face the death penalty in the US if he was charged and found guilty under the Espionage Act.
"We also call on you to grant Mr Assange political asylum because the 'crime' that he has committed is that of practicing journalism," says the letter, which is addressed to Correa.
It concludes: "Because this is a clear case of an attack on press freedom and on the public's right to know important truths about US foreign policy, and because the threat to his health and well-being is serious, we urge you to grant Mr Assange political asylum."
below, a youtube released by michael moore's channel showing robert naiman hand delivering the letter to a representative for ecuador's embassy in london, yesterday, june 25, 2012.


Monday, June 25, 2012


luke rudowski and abby martin confront alberto gonzales about torture. as a we are change subscriber, i've been watching luke rudowski pound the pavement, chasing down and confronting evasive politicians, world leaders, and representatives of the 1% -- for a number of weeks now.  suddenly - a *pause* in the pattern - because alberto gonzales (whether he means to or not) does, indeed, respond.

partial transcript, as follows:

luke:  “As the White House attorney, you advised Mr. Bush that he was above international law and the Geneva Conventions –“
alberto:  “I didn’t advise him of that.”
luke:  “Yes you did – there’s a memo you released advising him of that, Sir –“
[alberto disappears in room, hopefully ushered in against his will, due to the busy schedule of an important person, and not of his own free accord ... important person alberto reappears;  reporter luke follows him]

luke:  “So, are you denying the official memos you wrote that were released saying that George W. Bush was above the Geneva Conventions and international law?”
alberto:  “Yeah, we always tried as hard as we could to ensure that the actions we’d taken were consistent  with BINDING [Gonzales’ emphasis] domestic and international law.”
luke:  “But you wrote a memo saying it wasn’t – and do you have any regret and remorse for the people who were tortured .. some of them were killed .. ?”
alberto:  “I am proud of my service as Attorney General –“
luke: “Ninety-two percent of them weren’t Al-Qaeda fighters, according to government documents –“
abby:  “You don’t feel bad that you codified torturers, Sir?”
[alberto smiling and waving as he walks away -]
abby:  “You don’t feel bad at all that you codified torture?”
luke: “Nothing?”
[alberto, still smiling, walks away.]

more at the youtube link.


the occupy movement in israel.


dare i speak it aloud.  revisiting vagina monologues (not to mention how many michigan ob-gyn clinics have closed).

how can legislators legislate on parts of the body they can't (even) intelligibly name?  

on youtube, my angry vagina is an all-time favorite performance from the show.  below, aleia ramsey at the birch north park theater in san diego.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


u.s.s.c. may rule on the health care legislation as early as monday.  kevin drum at mother jones considers various scenarios and presents this argument:

[..] What if they strike down the individual mandate but uphold the rest of the law?
We can game this out, but first you have to understand just who would be most upset by a ruling like this. The answer is: insurance companies. You see, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance companies to accept anyone who applies for coverage and to charge everyone (with some specific exceptions) roughly the same rate. This works fine if insurance companies get a random selection of customers. They can easily figure out the average cost of care for this random group and then charge everyone that average, plus a little extra so they make some money. Nice and neat.
 But without a mandate, they're unlikely to get a random selection of customers. Instead, healthy folks will probably stay out of the market and buy coverage only when they come down with some kind of serious illness. This is a disaster for insurers.

of course, most americans feel that single payer is the best way to go, regardless.  where a number of states are making gains.  (and in spite of what happened with the democrats in california.)  steve early, writing for labor notes, asks if vermont can win single payer:

The new system will take five or six years to fund and implement, however, between phasing out existing insurance arrangements, overcoming legal obstacles, dealing with provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and finding the money to pay for it all.
Meanwhile, the local business community, private insurance companies, and right-wing PACs have regrouped and counterattacked, with non-stop advertising. They’re doing their well-funded best to make sure that single payer never happens in this state or any other. They know that a lot can change, politically and in the state budget, between now and final implementation of Vermont’s health care law, particularly in a state with two-year gubernatorial terms.

single payer advocate donna smith urges people to come to philadelphia (blogged earlier here) for the Independence Day related health care rally - and whatever the supreme court justices say - right?  I mean, supreme court justices have guaranteed health care - why shouldn't everyone else? 

i think, thinking about health care in america - is similar to thinking about the education of our children. 

it's important to keep our expectations high:  everyone in, nobody out.

no matter what the scions of wall street say, we must keep demanding health care as a human right.  we owe that to ourselves, our children, our children's children, our descendants.

power to the people.

Meet The 99 Percent Of America Photo Gallery
friends health care rent Meet The 99 Percent Of America

My name is Olivia. I can’t hold a sign because I’m so little.
I was born with club feet. One was so bad, it was nearly upside-down. My feet have been stretched into place and casted into position every week since I was 3 weeks old. It really hurts. I’m 3 and a half months old now, so I’ve done that a lot. It costs about $500 each time. (You can see one of my casts peeking out under my dress.)
On March 21, 2012 I had my first surgery, because the stretching wasn’t working. That cost nearly $9,000, but if my feet don’t get fixed, I’ll never be able to walk.
Medicaid is paying to fix my feet. My Daddy is a disabled veteran, but his insurance won’t cover my feet. My Mom is trying to raise my 3 brothers and I while she wracks up student loans getting her college degree, because minimum wage isn’t enough to keep a roof over our heads.
WIC is paying for my formula, because Mom’s milk never came in. She feels kinda bad about that, but sometimes these things just happen.
I hear that some people want to get rid of Medicaid, the Pell Grant, and WIC, so that the 1% can have even more tax breaks. Well, I want to be able to walk. I need to eat. And my Mom would like to be able to provide for me better someday. I don’t understand why people want to take that away from me. What did I do wrong?

*photo credits:  courtesy of the 99%.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

sun children

from nickodemus, sun children, featuring the real live showlyrics here.

indefinite detention

paul jay continues conversation with larry wilkerson.

let me count the ways

a laughtonotcry opinion piece on the war on women's reproductive rights.

bring shovels

a spadecaller opinion piece, saving a nation in ruins.


julian assange seeks asylum in ecuador.  he is presently in equador's london mission where he will remain while the equadorian government considers his application.  per huffpost, equador's foreign minister reports that assange argues that

"the authorities in his country will not defend his minimum guarantees before any government or ignore the obligation to protect a politically persecuted citizen."

Assange said it was impossible for him to return to his homeland because it would not protect him from being extradited to "a foreign country that applies the death penalty for the crime of espionage and sedition," Patino said in a reference to the United States.
Assange, 40, claims the U.S. has secretly indicted him for divulging American secrets and will act on the indictment if Sweden succeeds in extraditing him from Britain.


the united nations high commissioner of human rights - navanethem pillay - slams charest's bill 78 as anti-democratic.
“Moves to restrict freedom of assembly in many parts of the world are alarming,” she said.
“In the context of student protests, I am disappointed by the new legislation passed in Quebec that restricts their rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly.”
student protesters hailed the human rights commissioner's statement as just.  as the canadian press walked with demonstrators in yet another nightly march, julia dube, a student from mcgill university, responded to the journalist's questions, seemingly echoing the body of student sentiments:

"I hope the government will take this into consideration," she said.  "It's not surprising this has come up with the United Nations.  If this is the case, it just adds to the other scandals of this government.  If they want to win the next election, they should start listening to what people are saying."

more news, too, coming out on the electrifying rap concert attended by student leadership.  rebel youth magazine reports the described moment of silence as marking (instead) the death of democracy (though either way, via translation, this moment of silence works,) and has 2 more videos - one directly at their link, really capturing the described comparison to the wonderful stage production (i saw many, many years ago) along with the integration of demonstration chants, and another video, en route via the blog post, for front row experience with the earlier described rythmic pan clamor. 

superb!  though now we are talking about the real thing, n'est pas?  and why literature and theater moves us, to begin with.  in the here and now. 

this is what we call bringing the story home.

the student newspaper reports that the number also featured algonquin activist and rap performer, Samian.  loco locass said that the inclusion of samian
was not just to again join forces with this outstanding young artist but also showed that Aboriginal struggles and rights must be part of the Quebec perspective for sovereignty. Samian, who helped host last November's Aboriginal People's Music Awards, has preformed across Canada and internationally and recently become an outspoken voice against the Quebec government's Plan Nord and its impact on First Nations communities.
below, a youtube of samian's plan nord.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

nous allons gagner

winnipeg free press reports quebec student leaders invited on stage for rap group loco locass' closing song at Montreal's Francofolies Festival.  Student leaders danced, rapped, and sang on stage with loco locass to their piece Libérez-nous des Libéraux, or "Free Us From The Liberals." 

Shortly before the song, the group, all dressed in the red colours of the student protest movement, asked the crowd of 80,000 to observe a moment of silence with them to mark "the end of the Liberal regime."

below, one of the many youtubes springing up in the last few days showing audience videos capturing different angles and perspectives.  loco locass incorporated well known demonstration chants into the piece, and with (very willing) audience participation - people cheering, chanting, singing, banging pots and pans, and waving peace signs. 

the following video shows the student leaders rapping and dancing, and the audience in the moment of silence reported by the press.  (other videos focus on other elements - for example, the pots and pans - in some sections of the crowd, quite numerous, or  demonstration chants, more audible in other sections, or footage of the student leaders in the silent moment.  most of the videos range from 10-12 minutes.)

bloquons la hausse!  (or, "stop the hike!"):  i also found this video composition from late march.  the persons in one segment of the video saying, "bloquons la hausse!" represent artists supporting the student strikers.  in another video segment, student leader gabriel nadeau dubois tells protesters in an inspiring speech, "nous sommes le peuple!" and "nous allons gagner!" - or - "we are the people!" and "we are going to win!"

here is a link to liberate us from the liberals with the full french lyrics posted beneath.  the song opens by telling people that, unfortunately, for too many years, two great traditions have marked the history of quebec - utter comtempt for the intelligence of citizens and the selling of elections.  the song also satirizes charest.

the people are gonna win

bill shotton in the people are gonna win.

mass protest

lawrence wilkerson, adjunct professor of government policy at the college of william and mary, takes viewer questions via paul jay in baltimore (interview starts about :56).  larry wilkerson is a retired colonel and former chief of staff for u.s. secretary of state colin powell.  he discusses the military, mass protest, and the ndaa indefinite detention.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


150 poems about the wisconsin protests from verse wisconsin's main street issue.   long road written and performed by joe oulahan.

take heart

the documentary we are wisconsin debuts at the hot docs film festival in toronto.  real news catches up with director amie williams and cast members brian and melissa austin, a police officer and wife turned activist in the state's political tumult.

another worthwhile film to be hitting the road this summer;  below, a trailer:

summer chili

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  FiveRings
a pot of traditional chili con carne (with meat)

summer vegetarian chili - a fast food recipe


a tablespoon or two of olive oil (alternatively, canola oil)

1 large sweet onion, chopped
3-5 cloves garlic, sliced and chopped

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of pinto beans, preferably low sodium and organic
1 15 oz can of black beans, prefereably low sodium and organic
1 12 oz package of soy chorizo

chopped mixed greens to taste - e.g. kale, collard greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, and spinach


1/2 to 1 tablespoon dried basil (fresh, of course, is preferable)

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  russell lee
preparing plates of tortillas and beans
to sell to pecan shellers,
san antonio, texas, 1939


sauté your onion, garlic, and basil in the olive oil in a large pot, and over a low to medium heat for a few minutes or until softened, but not browned.  add the rest of your ingredients, stirring in between, and while adding water to taste, enough to cover everything, about two 28 oz canfuls. 

heat to boiling, covered, on a medium to high flame, stirring frequently throughout, then lower to a simmer for a few minutes to 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how deeply you desire a greens flavor infused in your stew. 

enjoy! serve over brown rice with a grated sharp cheese melted instantly on top or sprinkle with a tasty nutritional brewer's yeast.  then garnish with a few kalamata olives per bowl.  you can also add a dolup of yogurt (in lieu of sour cream or the aforementioned cheese and yeast toppings).

nice with a glass of red wine for the grown-ups, and accompanied with nachos or a crusty bread or sandwich to dip.


this is a great fast food recipe not only for initial prep time, but refrigeration during the week, and reheating with a microwave in a ready-to-serve dish. 

NOTE:  the vegie chorizo is already sodium heavy, so watch out with the canned beans you select (i.e. sodium content) - and do not add any salt to this recipe.

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  Michael Castielli

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

sing on!

in a victory for the occupy movement, a federal judge has ruled that (the roughly 700) protesters arrested on the brooklyn bridge in late september, 2011 were, indeed, wrongfully arrested.

was this the judge who said your tweets belong to twitter?  

the decision is based on video showing police leading demonstrators into the traffic lane.

making me wax poetic - sing on! sing on! sing on!

Friday, June 8, 2012


you can now pay-to-view the film, Default: The Student Loan Documentary, at the Occupy Student Debt website.  funds help pay the film's cross-country journey for various showings.  here's the trailer:

occupy wall street reports on occupy graduation, blogged earlier here, along with student loan blog links.  at colleges and universities across the country, students are attending their graduation ceremonies with their student debt amounts displayed on their graduation gowns or caps, or wearing balls and chains to symbolize the weight of the debt.

occupy graduation protesters
at the university of southern maine

more sign-up information here at occupy graduation. from Diana Delgado, with occupy graduation: 
Occupy Graduation urges students to participate. Signing up is as easy as organizing a group of 10 or more students and then visiting the Occupy Graduation website at Please note, this demonstration is a way to express student frustration without destroying graduation or disrespecting the meaning of this event for classmates and parents.
Organizing students interested in more ideas on how to effectively and respectfully be “heard” on graduation are encouraged to visit the website. In addition, students interested in purchasing the staple ball-and-chain props, but unable to do so for financial reasons, can contact Occupy Graduation for a reduced rate.
Press Contacts
Occupy Colleges – Natalia Abrams (323) 642-8102  
Occupy Student Debt – Kyle McCarthy (415) 483-9191 –
Occupy Student Debt - Stef Gray - (212) 417-0428
Everado Gonzalez protests his student debt
at San Francisco State University

student loan debt in the u.s. recently topped one trillion dollars.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the weight

from the last waltz.


via occupy wall street, an occupy national gathering in philadelphia is announced for june 30th through july 4th.
The Occupy movement will convene the Occupy National Gathering in the vicinity of Philadelphia’s Independence Mall for a week of direct actions, movement building and the creation of a vision for a democratic future. The National Gathering will kick off with a massive march with Healthcare-Now! and will conclude on July 5th when attendees will join the Guitarmy for a 99 mile march from Philadelphia to Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.
Perhaps the highlight of the gathering will be the crafting of a Vision of a Democratic Future. On July 4th the National Gathering (#natgat) will facilitate a visioning process designed to allow all voices to be heard while allowing repeat visions to organically rise to the top. Together, by all those who choose to participate, a Vision of a Democratic Future will be conceived. Learn more about this and more here.
more information at the ows website here and here.
find them on twitter here.  i guess this is the facebook page.
philadelphia weekly carries this piece reporting 60 occupy groups joining in thus far.
occupy philly held a press conference and news appears to be spreading rapidly through the city.  from

As home to some of the most historic sites in the nation, Philadelphia is a natural gathering place for groups such as Occupy, said Melanie Johnson, city representative. "This is where America was born. This is the place and the only place to come to celebrate the Fourth of July. I can totally understand why a group that has built their whole movement around democracy would want to be here," Johnson said, adding, "I think we can all exist together."
Meryl Levitz, director of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corp., said she saw the Occupy gathering as yet another sign that the city is gaining in prominence.
"A lot of big events are converging here," she said. "It looks like Philadelphia is on the map."

Sunday, June 3, 2012


an extended real news video analysis (below) of the quebec protests to date;  Paul Jay talks to Jérémie Bédard-Wien, Student Organizer, CLASSE.  from what I gather, the government walked out of negotiations (with much fanfare deliverd to press) - but unbelievably after offering an offensive one dollar reduction in the tuition increase.  one student group has since indicated inclinations to reopen negotiations;  however, this group has not had students on strike, to begin with.  the strikers want a tuition freeze with the greater objective, free tuition.  host and guest also discuss repercussions of the widely decried anti-democratic "loi 78." 1,000 peaceful protesters have thus far been arrested and charged under this recently enacted measure described as oppressive and draconian.

as discussed in the news piece and blogged earlier, the montreal protests have spread globally;  below, a waging non-violence video from new york city showing occupy wall street marching, expressing solidarity with the montreal protesters via the cacerolazo, beating on pots and pans.  two cuny students recently returned from montreal share their experiences. 

and below, a weavingspider video uploaded three days ago overviewing recent developments with "loi 78" and including footage of the attorneys' protest.

the videos also include footage of montreal police brutality.  they beat one non-violent marcher up in the middle of the street;  they spray screaming restaurant patrons in their faces while they are sitting in a sidewalk cafe;  a female officer sprays a protester at point blank range in the face, and for speaking, and then, sprays the journalist who's taping it;  and the first interview covers rubber bullet attacks that have left several students blind and otherwise seriously injured.