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I’m Really Bad At Asking For Help. November 6, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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…And quite circuitous, too.

As a usual part of my “work day,” I try to catch some of “The Round Table,” the morning show on my favorite Public Radio Station. WAMC out of Albany, NY. It’s amazing, really, to hear this team of on-air and behind-the-scenes folks put on three hours a day, five days a week, of local interest stories, commentary on National news, daily interviews with local politicians with generally astute analysis by their Resident Expert, Dr. Alan Chartock (who by the way is another cunning runt, only without the capital letters, ’cause I’m runtier!)

Add to that a “Poll Question of the Day” with insightful call-ins from The World’s Best Informed Audience and a half-hour segment of live music performed in real time by local and visiting musicians, and you’ve got one helluva show!

But my favorite part of the morning, if my work schedule permits, is a fifteen minute or so conversation with an author of note, discussing their latest book. Usual Interviewer Joe Donahue has a way of getting an awful lot out of his guests, asking insightful questions and letting the author “run with the ball.” The result is nearly always stellar.

Today Joe spoke with American historian and author Jay Winik about his new book, “The Great Upheaval – America and the Birth of the Modern World. The book is ostensibly about the transformation of Governments and Societies which occurred from the 1780s to 1800 and beyond, a time in which the top-down control, the Absolute Power of Monarchies and Empires began to give way to government with a representative voice of the proletariat.

At this point I’m tempted to huck a “Hyuh, Right!” into the mix and go off on how that chapter of human history seems to have ended, hosed down the drain by the political reverse-peristalsis of our current King George The Lesser, but then I might never get to the point I wanted to make.

After missing a chunk of the interview, I got back into the van just in time to hear Mr. Winik describing how both Napoleon (a cunning proto-runt) and Russia’s Catherine the Great (a running, um, proto-cunt, by all accounts) had invaded the Ottoman Empire with the intent of subjugating the Muslim world, and despite initial claims of “Mission Accomplished” brought on by spectacular military victories, both were slowly bled dry by years of guerrilla warfare, their Empires unable to fully quell the slippery resistance movements, and how France in particular, financially weakened by it’s support for Our Own Little War, collapsed under the strain of it’s endless war effort, with discontent on the home front devolving into the offing of many, many heads.

And here, finally, is the afore-alluded-to point of this little rant:

How Fucking Wrong is it to see the United States make this same mistake a century later, when the consequences of our impending mis-steps are already documented by history?

How Fucking Sad is it to see our Drunken AWOL Frat-Brat President be so willfully ignorant of that little bit of history?

How the Fuck can We The People elect such a Homicidally Incurious Half-Wit to lead our Country, not once, but twice??

It boggles my mind, it really does. It blackens my heart with hatred, it withers my soul with despair. It makes me fear for the world my children will inherit.

It makes me wish ill on another human being. A rattler in the Texas brush, a stroke out in the hot sun, a head-busting tumble on the tarmac.

I hate feeling this way. I fight it, but some days I lose.

‘Scuse me, Neighbor, but if I could borrow a cup of hope just for tonight, I’ll pay you back tomorrow.


What Price Freedom October 6, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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If you’re reading this on Friday evening, my local public radio station, WAMC out of Albany, NY is wrapping up their Fall Fund Drive. This is incredible for at least two reasons:

Firstly, they began at 6am Monday morning needing to raise $800,000.

Yeah, that’s right, Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars.

And I have every faith in the world that they’ll close the books on this TONIGHT. **

Secondly, while most other Public Radio stations are owned and operated by colleges or Universities, WAMC is a free-standing entity, owning its own buildings and transmitters and producing the majority of its programming. This means WAMC can say and do whatever they need to to get the truth to the masses without looking over their collective shoulders and worrying about government funding, which seems to mysteriously dwindle when one rattles the “wrong” cages.

I’m mentioning this here because We The People, every last one of us, owes WAMC and it’s staff of managers, reporters, technicians and on-air talent our undying gratitude for carrying the Light of Liberty, the Fire of Free Speech, the Ray of Reasoned Hope to not only those of us here within it’s ever-expanding broadcast range, buy thanks to the modern miracle of the internet, to the entire wired world.

This Little Ship That Could is intrepidly captained by the indefatigable Dr. Alan Chartock, a mighty mite of a man with more guts than a slaughterhouse floor. He’s been Speaking Truth to Power via WAMC for nearly four decades, be it by airing hour-long interviews with Scott Ritter in the wake of his assassination by the Rovian Right, or standing up to Governors who tried to deep-six the station for its non-party-line stances (on more than one occasion, actually) or any number of other brave and forthright positions he (and they, and we) have presented and defended, even when the illumination of truth was difficult and perilous and costly.

Believe me when I say that beneath that Terrier Exterior lies the heart of a Pit Bull.

But there’s a price for this Moral Magnanimity. Just as Venezuela’s Chavez is demonized for taking care of his people rather than fellating multinational corporations, so too is WAMC in danger of vilification from The Right. It stands as a shining example of Free Speech, Independent Thought and Speaking Truth to Power.

Don’t imagine for one second that the people who want it all don’t want to silence such a voice.

Listen live via internet or enjoy their many and varied archived programs, and throw them a little support if you can. They’ll take your hundred, your fifty, or your five, and welcome you as family.

Because we are a family. Join us.

** see comments

A Bag of Poison Gas September 7, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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So a couple of days ago as I listened to WAMC public radio out of Albany, NY, on came a recording of a speech before the Commonwealth Club of California by Former UN Ambassador John Bolton. And let me tell you, in case you missed it, he was beating the drums of war against Iran. Bigtime. As though we were all going to die horrible deaths at the hands of our enemies unless we acted immediately, screw diplomacy, fuck sanctions, don’t waste your precious time in useless dialog, just nuke the Godless heathens before they eat our children!

It was more than a little disconcerting, being a verbatim Déja Do of the run-up to the clusterfuck war in Iraq.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about hearing this amoral turd addressing a group of Concerned Americans was the reminder that these people, Bolton, Gonzales, choose your poison gas bag, don’t go away. They get caught lying to Congress, cooking the books, manipulating intelligence, whatever, and they “tender their resignation to spend more time with their families.


This type of evil doesn’t go away. It just slips into the shadows, changes its hat and continues to do the only thing it CAN do, which is to spread its lies, its messages of division, its petty distractions even as it fellates its Corporate Masters, steals from the poor, stuffs the coffers of the Filthy Fucking Rich.

Does anyone reading this actually believe that Carl Rove is out flying kites with his grandchildren???

On the Iranian Front, we’d best all keep our ears to the ground and our “pens” at the ready. According to Scott Ritter’s “Target: Iran,” we’re already at war with Iran, carrying out myriad covert military operations in-country even as this misAdministration claims to be pursuing political means of attaining its vaguely hegemaniacal goals (albeit without the senseless encumbrance of dialog.) My greatest fear at this point is that the Iranians will retaliate militarily, we will of course have to “respond vigorously to this unprovoked attack on America,” and we’re off and running on another War of Aggression. Only this time, since we don’t have the troops to spare, we’ll send in our Might Mighty Air Force, carpet bomb them from a safe altitude, kill millions of innocent people and become, as if we haven’t already, a deadly pariah in the eyes of the Entire Fucking World.

This scenario is way more than possible; it’s all but inevitable. And it will be orchestrated by Poison Gas Bags like Bolton and Rove and Cheney, the shadow government which is really steering our Ship of State, the liars who own our media, manipulate the message, make things happen from the shadowed realm to which they retreat when they’re caught breaking the law, trashing the Constitution, lying to Congress, or killing countless innocent people.

It falls to us, to you and me and anyone else who Gets It, to follow these animals into the darkness, to bring our torches, to shine the lights of Truth and Reason on their lies and crimes.

Hoo Boy. This ain’t gonna be pretty.

Let The (Mind) Games Begin! June 4, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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One of the things I value most in the “Information Age” is, well, information. Not spin or hype or press kits or “leaks” from the Whitey-House. I’m thinking more of the unfettered exchange of facts and ideas which is the hallmark of the Blogosphere.

Yeah, I know, that’s a double-edged sword: there’s enough spin in here to demonstrate the right-hand rule. But still, there are plenty of independent voices and perspectives, and that abundance of unfiltered viewpoints gives me lots of jumping-off points for my own investigations of things which interest me.

Public Radio has for most of its existence been a similarly independent voice in a sea of Media Behemoths, but if you’ve been paying attention, you’re probably aware of the gradual shift which has been taking place. It started with NPR sweating bullets over their funding, an issue which got pretty out of hand during the ascendancy of the “Moral Majority” debacle and continues only slightly less precariously to this day.

An outrageous example of The Right’s efforts to suppress your First Amendment rights occurred in New York a couple of years ago, when then-governor George Pataki tried to zero out the budget for WAMC Public Radio out of Albany, and only WAMC, in retaliation for their reporting critically on his administration. The public outcry was immense and the effort went down in flames, but he tried.

The clammy, crawly feeling of being swallowed whole by a grinning serpent continues with the appearances of NPR mainstays such as Juan Williams on M$M outlets where the smell of money is less subtle. Does anybody else wonder if maybe, just maybe these gigs might influence the kinds of leads Mr. Williams might or might not be willing to pursue in his good-guy job?

Maybe we should.

Now we have news of a Brave New World of broadcasting independence and integrity: WFCR, public radio out of Amherst, MA is teaming up with Clear Channel to bring The Whole Truth to the people of the greater Springfield area.

Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not saying that the unwashed masses shouldn’t have the benefit of hearing NPR’s version of the news. I think more people should be listening to that (admittedly increasingly insipid) feed instead of watching Faux sNooze. It just creeps me out to see the Rupert Murdochs and the Clear Channels of the world devouring everything in their paths. And I wonder how many other “public radio stations” outside of my sphere of consciousness are Crossing Over.

New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey is working on The Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA), an important and long overdue piece of legislation which I believe is crucial to preserving freedom of speech, and ultimately democracy itself in My America. I would like to urge you to check out the above link, think about it, and encourage your own legislators to sign on and fully support this bill.

And tell your friends to get on it, too. While you still have a voice.

A Resource For Like-Minded Individuals May 23, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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I really can’t tell you how lucky I feel to be in the immediate listening area of WAMC Public Radio out of Albany, NY. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good radio stations out there, and I hope you have a fave within ear-shot of your daily routine. When in Boston, for instance, I try to tune in to WERS from Emerson College for reggae, hip-hop and the most INCREDIBLE a capella show on Saturdays at 1pm.

But WAMC is different in that it combines your typical NPR pablum with a serious number of well-produced local shows about politics, the environment, culture and society. It’s frequently hilarious, usually informative and always entertaining. Even their fund drives are great, and draw some of their largest audiences.

The driving force behind this phenomenon is their President and Grand Poobah, Alan Chartock, CEO of a veritable media empire consisting of a network of about a dozen radio stations and a superb program production company. While I don’t always agree with his point of view, I do always respect his position and admire his energy and enthusiasm. Plus he’s short, which is a plus in my book.

Today’s highlights for me included a segment on their morning program, The Round Table, in which a local “folk-hop” musician performed some interesting original tunes; an hour long conversation between Alan C. and Greg Palast, a personal hero of mine; an installment of 51%, the ever-informative program for and about women’s issues, and the upcoming Fresh Air, tonight featuring a discussion about Congressional corruption.

For those of you not able to tune into this feast at 90.3 FM and it’s herd of progeny, the whole thing streams live at WAMC.org. Browse the programs in the left side-bar, you’ll find some real gems.