Friday, 31 July 2009

Sir Bobby Robson RIP

Sir Bobby Robson
A fine tribute by Longy over at 'Punk Friction'.
Obituary @ 'BBC'
The Guardian'

Kode9 - 9 Samurai (w/ Spaceape) + interview

Black Cab's new album 'Call Signs'out today

On the bus...

"Death to Khamenei"
Lots of videos of Tehran yesterday

The making of an Iran policy

Inside the Obama administration’s struggle with its biggest diplomatic challenge.
@ 'NY Times'

Spank!!! # 5


911 guy: this is the ambulance emergency line, do you have an emergency.

Man: I need an ambulance

911guy: who is this?

Man: Joe

911 guy: okay, where do you need this?

Joe: I'm in a motherf*cking phone booth

911 guy: okay, what's the address there?

Joe: ....hold on

911 guy: Okay, sir, did you call for 911?

Joe: uh, yeah... no.

911 guy: okay, Joe, I need a location. What street are you on?

Joe: I'm in a motherf*cking phonebooth at the Stop and Go. That's it, I'm at the motherf*cking Stop 'n Go. On Waymouth...Hosmith, Carville 'n something. At the motherf*cking Stop and Go.

911 guy: Housmith, Corville and what?

Joe: hold on. ... yo lemme see. Coffee, coffee,

911 guy: Cafe?

Joe: There you go, I'm in the motherf*cking phone booth. I tell you what ...I'm driving down the road, driving my car, minding my own god damn business, and a motherf*cking deer jumped out and hit my car.

911 guy: Okay sir, are you injured?

Joe: Now, lemme tell you: I get out and pick the motherf*cking deer up because I thought he was dead. I put the motherf*cking deer in my back seat and I'm driving down the motherf*cking road and minding my own business, the motherf*cker woke up and bit me on the back of my god damn neck....he bit me and kicked the shit out of my car.

I'm in a motherf*cking phone booth, a deer bit me in the neck, and then a bigmotherf*cking dog came up, bit me in the leg then I went and I hit him with a motherf*cking tire iron, I stabbed him with my knife so I got a hurt leg and the motherf*cking deer bit me in the neck and the dog won't let me out of the motherf*cking phone booth, 'cause he wants the deer.
Now who gets the deer, me or the dog?

911 guy: okay, sir, are you injured?

Joe: Yeah, a motherf*cking deer bit me in the neck! hold on. The motherf*cking dog is biting me. Hold on, God damnit, get out of here--hold on, the motherf*cking dog is biting my ass,
hold on...

After that, this!

Thanx Fifi!

Mattress Dominoes world record attempt

Yesterday in Iran

Neda's mother

Clashes as Iranians Gather to Mourn

Your hair still looks good for an old bastard!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

In Edinburgh next week? Say "hello" to my sis...

Associazione Etre
Music/arts - Performance
Start Time:
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 at 15:55
End Time:
Thursday, 06 August 2009 at 12:00
C venues
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Reverse Grafitti

As Fritz (ta) says:
"Scrubs up nice!"

Huun Huur Tu - Orphan's Lament

Colin Powell - GOP leaders afraid to speak against Limbaugh

Who gets to clean it?

Made in Brazil by Petsmiling, this is - we believe - the world’s first canine sex doll. It’s a dog shaped, erm, ‘partner’ for dogs who are unable to pick up hot dates using their natural charm.
Full story @ 'K9'
(Thanx to LS)

Hossein Akhtar-Zand, 32, was killed by Basijis in Isfahan on June 15th

It has been alleged that Hossein was thrown from a building.


I once met god and she told me that she didn't exist!

(Thanx to Walker for the pic)

The state of the 808

"Unfortunately our media and psychological operations inefficient enemy is strong."

Using Google Translate (Persian - English) to translate this.

Grievous Angel presents Blogariddims 21: Fusion Dub. A mix of Miles Davis-inspired jazz, funk and soul, in dub (April 2007)

"This time last year I was waaaaay deep into a series of pilgrimages deep into dubstep, a process that is still ongoing, though not as spiritually all-encompassing as it was. And part of my response to the influx of dubstep vibrations that have been flowing into me since 2005 has been a re-connection with deep dub sounds of… Miles Davis. My connection with Miles has always crossed over with dub, electronics and industrial. I got heavily into Miles, especially the electric period but also the Gil Evans orchestral period, at the same time as I got into Cabaret Voltaire – when I was 13, almost 14. It was only a year or so later that I realised how much of an influence he was on Richard Kirk and Stephen Malinder; all I knew was that the sonics and spaces of 2 X 45 were identical to On the Corner. In the same way as the threads connecting from the Cabs to acid to ardkore and thence to dubstep are obvious, for me, the thematic connection from Miles to dubstep is also clear, but it’s more a matter of influence than direct connection.

So it was that when I was asked to do a solo outing in the brilliant Blogariddims series, I almost immediately decided to go on a voyage into Miles – in dub. I was going to include a lot of other fusion artists, but not much that I have in that genre really made the grade, so instead I threw in some of the soul and funk that influenced Miles in this period. And naturally, I used as my raw material much of Bill Laswell’s fabulous Panthalassa CD, which adds a layer of dub and re-edits to Miles’ originals. I simply re-edited and re-dubbed what Laswell did. All in all it’s an appropriate way for Blogariddims series to greet Beltane. I hope you enjoy it.

You can subscribe to Blogariddims, and download individual mixes, here: This mix will be up for May 1st.


0:00 Miles Davis: Bitches Brew intro
0:59: Miles Davis: Agharta Prelude Dub
5:06: Miles Davis: Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (Edit)
12:19: Parliament: Dr Funkenstein (Live) (edit)
19:10: Miles Davis: What If
22:44: Curtis Mayfield: Stone Junkie (Live)
28:28: Miles Davis: Billy Preston
33:51: Headhunters: God Made Me Funky (Edit)
39:21: Miles Davis: Black Satin
43:14: Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Edit)
46:59: Miles Davis: In A Silent Way / Shhh Peaceful (Bill Laswell dub)
54:49: Curtis Mayfield: I Plan To Stay a Believer (Live)
57:30: Miles Davis: It’s About That Time

Liner notes:

0:00 Miles Davis: Bitches Brew intro
This snippet is so recognisable – those sharp parps are the perfect signal to wake up for the mix.

0:59: Miles Davis: Agharta Prelude Dub
Sheer, unadulterated, slow motion funk bliss. A dub of one of the tracks on Panthalassa, the original is from the Agharta album, which was recorded live at the Osaka Festival Hall in Japan on February 1, 1975. A lot of critics think is one of Davis‘ two greatest electric live records alongside Pangaea (which were both recorded the same day – Agharta in the afternoon and Pangaea in the evening). The band has its roots in the seminal group assembled for On the Corner. Saxophonist is Sonny Fortune, guitarists Pete Cosey (lead’n’headfuck feedback) and Reggie Lucas (rhythm), bassist Michael Henderson, drummer Al Foster, and percussionist James Mtume. Bill Laswell edited “Prelude,” down from over a half-hour and I took it down to five minutes so all you have here is pure funk jazz fire.

5:06: Miles Davis: Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (Edit)
Probably my favourite cut off Bitches Brew, this, at least it is now it’s had a bit of vigorous pruning. The album was recorded over three August days in 1869, right after the Woodstock Festival. Miles famously would assemble musicians at short notice, forcing them to think on their feet with minimal guidance – which must have been a total head-fuck. You can tell how the band are right on the edge of mapped territory on this tune, but they’re locked tight. It starts off all gorgeously loping, before slowly lifting off into heavy, fat jazz that almost has dubstep’s “wobble” in the low end. I took out a lot of the free jazz bleating in the middle and made sure there was plenty of Miles’ red hot but laid back groove, and even so we fit atonal jazz funk gold at around 10:39.

12:19: Parliament: Dr Funkenstein (Live) (edit)
God, I love Parliament. This is probably the best track off 1977’s Parliament Earth Tour album. It’s just a fat, minimal, drum and bass funk locked groove. The recording isn’t that hot but the playing is unbelievable so I slashed it
down from its original 15 minutes and dubbed the fuck out of it. The end of it is very Apocalypse Now, the scene at the bridge as shards of Miles’ horn float through the wreckage of Parliament.

19:10: Miles Davis: What If
From one deep funk track to another, but dear god is this heavy. Previously unreleased track from Panthalassa, I edited it out of Laswell’s mix of Black satin/What if/Agharta prelude dub. It was called What If by Laswell because we was wondering, “what if this is Pete Cosey (on lead guitar?)”, but actually it’s Maclauglin. The real star is Michael Hendeson’s bass line, an awesomely solid, endlessly repeating syncopated figure that’s just irresistible. This one just rocks.

22:44: Curtis Mayfield: Stone Junkie (Live)
The marvellous Curtis in cheeky mood from this seminal soul live album, recorded at the
Greenwich Village’s Bitter End club on a freezing January ‘71 night and released on the brilliant Curtis/Live! Album. Stone Junkie calms it down a bit from What If, but the chill factor is back with the FX. This is the sort of soul Miles was listening to pretty relentlessly throughout the seventies.

28:28: Miles Davis: Billy Preston
Another fantastic heavy funk work out, this is from the 1974 sessions that yielded the Get Up With It album. Most critics don’t seem to like this one but I love it, so much so I did a remix of it. This is just a dub of the original.

33:51: Headhunters: God Made Me Funky (Edit)
This is thee archetypal fusion track, here ripped to fuck. Herbie Hancock famously went looking for a bit of earth in 1973 and put together a funk band, The Headhunters. Yes it’s from the largest-selling jazz album of all time, but here’s it’s had the wanky sax solo ripped out, which makes the lush, faded out funk heaviosity that much more effective.

39:21: Miles Davis: Black Satin
From On The Corner – Kode 9’s favourite album of all time – and it’s a corker! Black Satin is built around a spanking hot cyclical break from Jack DeJohnette, with a set of discordant counter point tones bouncing around it and shimmering fuzz guitar drifting from the shadows.

43:14: Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Edit)
This track is just mental. Absolutely dead serious, utter funk badness and jazz freakiness. This is just total, wailing madness which stays utterly the right side of formlessness, the energy surges and crackles and frankly it’s terrifying. The original edit loses its focus (sacrilegious though it is to say it) so I sharpened it up quite a lot by keeping the spotlight firmly on Miles – which doesn’t fit into the commonplace revisionism of praising the sidemen, but this is really about going with Davis into the nightmare. Across the chasm.

46:59: Miles Davis: In A Silent Way / Shhh Peaceful (Bill Laswell dub)
You simply don’t get any higher – or darker – than Bitches Brew, so it was time to let some light in with some lovely, twisted, sardonic chillage from 1969’s fantastic In A Silent Way album. If you’re reading this before downloading the mix and wondering if it’s all going to be a bit too much like onanistic jazz freakery, then fast forward to this bit cos it’s just lovely. Literally everyone in the country should own a copy of this album and we’d all be happier for it. And – despite the virtuosity on display throughout the rest of this mix, this is the one tune that absolutely anyone can learn to play on the guitar in half an hour. It’s that simple. But what Miles and his band do with it here is just priceless.

54:49: Curtis Mayfield: I Plan To Stay a Believer (Live)
Another one from Curtis / Live, and what a fantastic song this is. I won’t drizzle it with clichés (for once) but this simple, direct soul is the ideal partner for In A Silent Way, a similar cleanser.

57:30: Miles Davis: It’s About That Time
But Miles, even after his astonishing displays of malevolence throughout this mix, can out-do Mayfield when it comes to conveying purity and innocence, as he does on the very brief It’ About That Time."

@'Grievous Angel' (April 2007)

A superb mix and believe me when I say that you NEED this.
Get it
(Blogariddims 21 - 'Fusion Dub')

Derrick May BBC6 Mix 25 July 2009

Derrick May
A pioneer of techno, he is a modern day bluesman producing what he calls Hi-Tek Soul or "George Clinton meeting Kraftwerk in an elevator."

'Detroit techno legend Derrick May was invited to do a show for BBC Radio’s 6 Mix last Saturday evening. The 2hr show is in 3 parts, the first part is a Hi Tek Soul Mix, then he plays some all time favourites (Marvin Gaye, D’Angelo, Boards of Canada) and then the 2nd hour is a club style mix.'
Get the mix here.
(Thanx to Don Chow for the heads up & to 'Deep Goa' for the link.)

"le sang des martyrs"

"le sang des martyrs"

Day 40

An important day as it is the 40th day since the shootings of June 20th, which of course included Neda Agha-Soltan.

"While the current Iranian uprising began as a green revolution, it is quickly turning red. With each death at the hands of the regime, a martyr is born, and with each martyr, the seed of revolution is planted. According to Shi'a legend, where the blood of a martyr spills, a red tulip will bloom. And in a culture so intensely steeped in symbolism, it could very well be these tulips that determine the next chapter in Iranian history.

Shi'a Muslims, who make up over 95% of the Iranian population, observe the 40th day after death as a highly significant day of mourning. As a result, the 1979 Islamic Revolution often progressed in 40-day intervals. These dates frequently sparked the greatest protests and demonstrations throughout Iran. From Qom to Tabriz to Tehran to Shiraz, people poured into the streets to honor their martyrs. And with each procession, new martyrs were created and this cycle repeated itself until the revolution finally succeeded.

Thus, another Iran was born, one with a crimson tulip at its core. A single word in red Arabic calligraphy graces the center of the current Iranian flag, deliberately shaped in the outline of a tulip: "Allah."

Thursday marks the 40th day following the death of Neda Agha-Soltan and at least a dozen others. Since the world witnessed Neda's brutal murder in the streets of Tehran, she has become the symbol and rallying cry for the opposition. At least a dozen others were killed that same day as the so-called Islamic Republic continued to ignore the lessons of history.

More recently, on July 19, 28-year-old student Taraneh Mousavi was arrested after attending a speech about the martyrs of the opposition movement. Soon after, Taraneh became its next martyr. Her grisly rape and murder planted yet another seed of revolution.

And the cycle continues.

I expect that we will see the 40-day commemorations of martyrs like Neda and Taraneh pave the path toward change in Iran.

Many are speculating that the opposition movement is beginning to fizzle. They forget, however, that it took over a year of sporadic protests for the Islamic revolution to succeed and that it required far more than marching in the streets. A revolution demands just as much thought, preparation, and strategy as it does public demonstration.

The opposition's most brilliant strategy to date has been its use of Islam to combat a regime falsely claiming it to gain and maintain political power. The allegedly Islamic Republic of Iran disgraced the very faith it claimed to promote the moment the regime began forcing its twisted version of Islam onto the Iranian people, repressing women and religious and ethnic minorities in the process.

Today, the Iranian people are reclaiming Islam for themselves, and in the process, they are creating a new Iran from the blood of their martyrs.

On Thursday, July 30th, Iranians all over the world will be mourning, but they will also be tending to their gardens. Tulips are delicate flowers by nature. A mild wind properly timed can prove fatal. But tulips do not die. They are perennial. Between blooms, they prepare."

Melody Moeza @ 'HuffPo'

Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson & Roseanne Cash - April 5th

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Dub Echoes trailer

Dub Echoes

Microsoft and Yahoo Reach Deal on Search

Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo announced today that they had agreed to collaborate on Internet search and advertising, in a challenge to Google's dominance.
@ 'NY Times'

Coming October 26th

From what he played off this new album in Melbourne and what I have heard so far...hmmm, not impressed...
Listen for yourself here.
Try this instead.
Or this...

Or in the early days with 'Carte De Séjour'
Go here to watch film of Rachid back in Algeria.

Ari Up from 'The Slits' interview

@ 'Pitchfork' here.

Girlz With Gunz # 72

Peter Gabriel - Steam

Man a drag that my copy of this is in storage. The two 'Bomb Squad' remixes are superb.

Bill O'Reilly's fuzzy maths

Liked the comment at the 'HuffPo':
"Bill O'Reilly has a greater life expectancy than a chimpanzee because a chimpanzee has 10 times as many rational thoughts as Bill."

Obama pushes public option, debunks myths about plan

Just in case you didn't follow that:

"And the other thing that we do want to do — now, this is controversial, and I understand some people are worried about this — we do think that it makes sense to have a public option alongside the private option. So you could still choose a private insurer, but we’d also have a public plan that you could choose from that would be non-for-profit, wouldn’t have, hopefully, some of the same high administrative costs, and would be potentially more responsive to your needs at a lower cost. I think that helps keep the insurance companies honest because now they have somebody to compete with.

And I have to say, the reason this has been controversial is a lot of people have heard this phrase "socialized medicine" and they say, we don’t want government-run health care; we don’t want a Canadian-style plan. Nobody is talking about that. We’re saying, let’s give you a choice. You can choose the private marketplace, or this other approach.

And I got a letter the other day from a woman; she said, I don’t want government-run health care, I don’t want socialized medicine, and don’t touch my Medicare. (Laughter.) And I wanted to say, well, I mean, that’s what Medicare is, is it’s a government-run health care plan that people are very happy with. But I think that we’ve been so accustomed to hearing those phrases that sometimes we can’t sort out the myth from the reality."

@ 'Daily Kos'


Thanx Fifi!

Emoticons illustrated

More here.
(Via 'Daily Dish')

The power of unauthorised use of songs

As we speak the song is climbing up the itunes charts!
(Thanx HerrB!)

Hippie roots & the perennial subculture (slightly expanded)

…clearly the actual word “hippie” was a form of Ebonics (black slang) from Harlem that passed it’s way through the beat era into the 1960’s, until Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle used it enough times by late 1965 to describe the young arrivals in their city…that the national media soon swallowed it whole and patented it. But apart from the slick zoot suit clad “white Negroes” of 1930’s Harlem there actually were long-haired bearded individuals during this same era who wore sandals or bare feet and usually tended to favor mild subtropical places like southern California and Florida where they could forage their meals from the fruit trees that were so plentiful then….

(photo: eden ahbez 1948. Part-time yogi and full-time mystic, this 1940s “hippie” always spelled his name with small letters because he believed that only God and Infinity should be capitalized.)

eden ahbez lived behind one of the giant letters of the Hollywood sign.
He wrote the song ‘Nature Boy’ popularised by Nat King Cole.
Legend has it that he was so determined Nat King Cole should sing it, he took to hounding the singer with his sheet music of the song wherever he saw he was playing until his wishes were granted.

More here.

William Shatner reading Sarah Palin's farewell speech

Unfortunately the You Tube vid has been taken down, but you can watch it @ NBC

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Charlie Chaplin - The Great Dictator Final Speech [Subtitled in Farsi]

Muslimgauze Mix

Muslimgauze by Ibrahim Khider (March 2005)

“He was a guy who was very smart, very sharp, and very funny, in an untypical way, so that if you worked with him and got on his wavelength, he was a joy. He was cool guy and sorely missed. He never came across as a person who was interested in Islam as a religious faith. It was more to do with the political movement of the Middle East more than anything else. He was obviously very knowledgeable because when you look at his song titles he was talking about obscure figures in that part of the world and making obscure jokes. He wasn’t a Muslim and to me he never came across as one who had a deep understanding of the Islamic faith.” In later years, Bryn seemed to be emerging from his isolationist tendencies as he was besought with more requests for collaborations, remix projects, shows, and interviews. It’s highly unlikely Muslimgauze would have ever “made it big,” but he was getting wider recognition and acclaim for his music. This may have had something to do with emerging cultural changes in the latter decade of his life, with accelerating migrations to the West and the advent of electronic dance music. A new generation of savvy listeners perceived music beyond traditional pop constraints, and Muslimgauze was no longer such a stretch; increasingly, his listeners are from places to which Bryn dedicated his music”

1. Opiate And Mullah 06:33
2. Kabul Is free under A Veil 01:44
3. Under Saffron 06:35
4. Turkish Sword Swallower 02:44
5. Mosule 11:45
6. Old Bombay vinyl junkie 08:05
7. Bilechik Skills 05:31
8. Algeciras 04:24
9. Rebiana Sand Sea 05:27
10. Youssif Gujarati 04:34
11. Abu Nidal 05:43

Free Downloads via Made at Electric Lion´s Den. Berlin. Germany. Mix down by Switch Docta January 2007

Listen now or download here.

"Am I Female?"

(@ 'the sweetest psychopath' via 'Mogadonia')
PS: M~I been digging yr comments the last couple of hours...LOL!

Ali Akbar Mehrabian: Iran Minister Found Guilty Of Fraud Is Latest Blow To Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN, Iran — An appeals court found Iran's industry minister guilty of fraud, newspapers reported Monday, in a new embarrassment for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even as he faces new disputes with his own hard-line camp over his government. Ahmadinejad has been feuding the past week with hard-liners, first over his appointment for vice president – whom he was forced to drop – then over his dismissal Sunday of his intelligence minister. Some hard-liners contend Ahmadinejad's government must be put to a parliamentary vote of confidence. The rift comes on top of the upheaval over Iran's disputed June 12 presidential election. The pro-reform opposition claims Ahmadinejad's victory in the vote was fraudulent and that its leader Mir Hossein Mousavi is the rightful winner. They say Ahmadinejad's government is illegitimate. The president's troubles within his own camp began earlier this month when he named a close associate, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, as his top vice president. Hard-liners were outraged because of past comments by Mashai seen as friendly to Israel. Iran's supreme leader last week ordered Ahmadinejad to remove Mashai, but the president stalled for days – infuriating hard-liners – until he finally conceded and accepted Mashai's resignation Friday. On Sunday, Ahmadinejad's office announced the dismissal of Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi. No reasons were given but the two had differed over Mashai. A prominent conservative lawmaker, Ahmad Tavakkoli, slammed Ahmadinejad on Sunday for the minister's dismissal, saying "there is no logical justification" for his move at the current crucial time. The disputes are in part symbolic since Ahmadinejad is due to form a new government in August. But the rift could indicate that powerful hard-line politicians are sensing weakness in the president amid the election dispute and are seeking to have greater control over him in his second term. Some conservatives clashed frequently with Ahmadinejad in his first term over what they saw as his tendency to reserve power to a small clique of associates rather than distributing it among the camp's factions. The court conviction of Industry Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian, a close ally of the president, could give rivals further ammunition against Ahmadinejad. Mohsen Koohkan, a prominent hard-line lawmaker, said Monday that parliament will consider Mehrabian's conviction if Ahmadinejad tried to keep him in his post in the next government, as he has been expected to do. Parliment must approve the president's cabinet. The case was sparked by claims by an Iranian researcher that Mehrabian had stolen his idea for an "earthquake saferoom" – a design for a fortified room in homes in case of disaster. A 2005 book, whose authors were listed as Mehrabian, an associate and President Ahmadinejad, detailed the design. The appeals court upheld that the design actually belonged to researcher Farzan Salimi, several Iranian newspapers reported Monday. It convicted Mehrabian and the associate, Mousa Mazloum, of fraud. The court ordered the registration of the design to be taken from them and given to Salimi, but did not otherwise assign punishment. Salimi confirmed the ruling to The Associated Press. Ahmadinejad was not among the defendants in the case, though his name was also on the book. The newspaper Etemad-e-Melli said Sunday that Salimi presented his design to the Tehran Municipality's department of crisis management in 2003, when Ahmadinejad was Tehran's mayor and Mehrabian and Mazloum were municipality officials. The case could fuel complaints among hard-liners that Ahmadinejad keeps his close associates in top positions despite questions over their integrity. Last year, the president suffered a scandal when it was discovered that his interior minister, Ali Kordan, held a forged doctorate degree from Oxford University. Ahmadinejad defended him at first, but parliament eventually removed Kordan. In the wake of the intelligence minister's dismissal, the status of another figure from Ahmadinejad's Cabinet remained unclear. Semiofficial media reported Sunday that Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi had stepped down, apparently over the vice presidency flap. Ahmadinejad's office, however, insisted Monday that his resignation had not been accepted.

@ 'HuffPo'

Madonna's arms - freaky!

Alice Walker: "What is torture like?"

In this open letter to Barack Obama, author Alice Walker reminds the US president that torture does not lead to peace. She says: “I think about people in prison, being tortured, being bombed, being frightened and starved and humiliated, every single day. Voting for you was one way I felt I could reach out to them.”

Dear President Obama,

If word reached me that you were being tortured, I would instantly feel tortured myself, because I would be. Torture is something an entire society feels, whether we are within earshot of the screaming or not. People don’t like to believe this, but there is no way human beings can remain unaffected by what is done to other human beings, or even to animals who are not human.

If I heard this about you, I would do everything in my power to come to your aid, not simply because I know you to be rare and necessary to our planetary survival, but because you are simply a person, with feelings, aspirations, sorrows and dreams. And you have children. If I were a child and knew my parent was being tortured, day after day, what would I myself become?

It has already been recognized that “confessions” obtained by torture are useless. It is easy to see why. If someone is water boarding you and you think you will never see your little ones again, you would say anything. So would I. It is only in movies, I think, where the “hero” tells the torturer nothing as various body parts are cut, burned, frozen, electro-shocked or pulled out.

If one keeps company with cruel people, one loses, bit by bit, one’s own compassion. This is one of the reasons living in Washington, in the White House, as leader of the United States, is so treacherous.

And why I said to you when we met briefly prior to my introducing you to my community in San Francisco, that failure to win the presidency had not insignificant value: you could have a fine life living as a writer, doing and saying what you want, and traveling the world incognito and free. Leadership has its down side, and one of them is who one has to associate with in order to “get things done.”

When we look at the destruction, around the globe, caused by prior leaders of our country, and the terrible choices of how to behave, and we look at the White House today and see some of those folks still coming and going; what can I say? It gives us pause.

Ringing in my ears is something I thought I heard you say: America does not torture. And if this is true, now, under your watch, this letter is unnecessary. I also thought I heard you say Indefinite Detention Without Charge was gone with the wind of George Bush’s administration.

Was I wrong? Writers, and especially poets, don’t always keep their ears to the political ground, and so we are likely to miss the daily dramas that keep others informed. I hope you are holding steady on these points, because if you are, you are right.

Ringing in my ears is something I thought I heard you say: America does not torture. And if this is true, now, under your watch, this letter is unnecessary. I also thought I heard you say Indefinite Detention Without Charge was gone with the wind of George Bush’s administration.

The cruelty and injustice of holding anyone indefinitely without charge will not lead to carefree days and guilt-free nights for you or for any citizen of the U.S., and we want those days and nights in order to convince the youth of the world that there are basic human laws protecting their right to grow up without fear of endless detention.

I think about people in prison, being tortured, being bombed, being frightened and starved and humiliated, every single day. Voting for you was one way I felt I could reach out to them, fiction and poetry writing, even protests and arrests, having their limitations. You are the world’s hope for a better, a fairer, day. You have what few leaders of this country ever had: genuine affection and love from the people who elected you.

We are good people, too, for the most part. And even if we weren’t, we can be improved by a leadership of compassion, a leadership whose basic human instincts of fairness and decency we can trust to look at the whole story, the entire state of affairs, and not close off any portion of it. A leadership unafraid to hold accountable those responsible for torture and abuse.

This is our only hope, actually, to begin to soothe a little of the sorrow in the world. It isn’t a desire for vengeance, because we know vengeance, a karma, is created by Itself; it is instead a need to make right, to make whole again, by demonstrating to an injured and insulted world that we, as Americans, care about the harm other Americans, in our name, have done. We must show above all that we wish to understand our own madness in order not to continue growing and exporting it.

We know your plate is full. And I am always happy to hear of you and Michelle going off somewhere out of town for dinner. (No pun!) Any complaint about the cost is ridiculous: what your time away from your desk does for the world is priceless. You are a Leo/Ox and only someone with your combination of strengths could handle the presidency, which you do with grace. (What can I say? I love astrology!)

Even so, it’s too much for one person, or two; I myself favor a council for leading the country, but that is far in the future. Maybe not too far! So, delegate. We need the world to know we don’t accept the behavior as usual of American presidents and others who do horrible things to people, and then retire, wealthy, into memoir writing and golf; as if the disasters inflicted on a vulnerable world never happened.

I applaud and deeply appreciate all the good work you are, in fact, doing. It is huge. And beautiful, which I personally resonate with in world leadership. It has a beat. It has a heart.

In closing, I send this poem about torture that I wrote a few weeks ago and posted on my blog,

For those who with our taxes die of torture

What is it like
Is it like
Into a bath
Of warm

Is it like
Lying naked
In the
Those first
Of Spring
A winter
Your teeth?

I think
Can be
Like that.
Above all,
Is yours.
It is
A safe

They may
The time
Pulling out
Your terrified
Heart to stop


They will
Can have.

Is yours.

Human being;
Whatever you
Have done.

Your secret.

©2009 by Alice Walker

With loving kindness,
& despite the gravity
Of the subject, Joy,

Alice Walker
From the Ten Against Torture Campaign

@ 'Counterpunch'

Merce Cunningham RIP

Merce Cunningham, the American choreographer who was among a handful of 20th-century figures to make dance a major art and a major form of theater, died Sunday night. He was 90 and
lived in Manhattan.
@ 'NY Times'