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Archive for the ‘Breathing’ Category

Closing up shop

I’ve been writing and collecting stories, and they will be archived here indefinitely. I was too busy packing and moving, and then spending the past month on the west coast. I plan to update the site with all the content that is missing here, but there won’t be anything new here.

New projects are coming soon. My next job and next radio show will both begin before the end of summer. Right this second, you can CLICK HERE to see the last ten articles I wrote for Raw Story in May.

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Jeff Abrams of Boise Community Radio and Lupito Flores of KYRS Spokane have teamed up to make the case for financial support of independent, noncommercial radio projects like theirs for the latest newsletter from Social Justice Fund.

Here is an excerpt:

After lifting a decade-long application freeze, the FCC has recently awarded a wave of noncommercial broadcast licenses for grassroots organizations to establish new locally programmed, community-based radio stations across the country. These groups now have a powerful opportunity to use the ubiquitous nature of radio to re-connect communities – giving citizens their voice back and establishing new resources as indispensable as any city park, library or firehouse. Among other benefits, these new facilities will empower listeners and nonprofit groups by expanding awareness and mobilization capacity on local issues such as freedom of speech, women’s issues, cultural identity, arts and humanities, public health, environment, disability awareness, social welfare, and public governance.

Many new licensees have also recently received federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce to build these facilities. However, these awards are generally tied to a 25% local matching funds requirement.

Read the complete piece at the Social Justice Fund website.

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I’m sad to report that today is my last day in Austin. They have been a fattening two weeks, and unfortunately some of the best food I ate was not photographed. I neglected to take pictures of the Spicy Bleu Burger and Goat Cheese Salad from Alamo Drafthouse, the Tinga Nachos at La Condesa, the Green Chili Queso from Torchy’s Tacos and the tasty late night eats from 24, Magnolia and even Taco Cabana. I did get some good food photos, and they’re all here. Enjoy. I did!

Brisket at Ruby's BBQ

Ruby's BBQ talks smack

The pits at Ruby's BBQ

The beef at Ruby's BBQ

Brisket taco at Serrano's

Fish tacos at Serrano's

Beef tacos from Serranos

Blood Orange meringue pie from The Highball

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These people are having an amazing weekend.

I wasn’t at the Digg party at Stubb’s. Was planning to document the setup of Alamo’s Rolling Roadshow event at Hotel San Jose, but when I arrived, the screen was already blown up. So there went that plan.

I was fortunate enough to get a few minutes with Josh Jacobs who seemed to be captaining the ship for the Rolling Roadshow team. They are planning a few regional events and possibly a big excursion for the summer, which I hope to plug into at some point. They run real 35mm film projectors inside these trucks.

So my next option was to get in line early for SATURDAY NIGHT, a new documentary about life behind-the-scenes at NBC’s long-running sketch comedy show, directed by James Franco. I walked, bussed and walked over to the Alamo South Lamar location to get in line, a full hour early.

Everybody you see in the picture with the marquee got into the movie. Everyone in the picture below didn’t. Until I went to take the picture, I was standing behind the dude in the baby blue shirt.

Rough day. To bed early, there’s plenty to do over the next seven days…

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If I don’t get a chance to publish here every day these next two weeks, I will point to the work I’m doing for Boise Weekly and Common Frequency. You can bookmark my dedicated blog page on Boise Weekly, but the new Common Frequency site is still in beta mode for now. Austin is warm and humid and I’ve already seen a few of my best friends here. The eating has begun.

Remodeled Wheatsville Co-Op Deli photo by Eric Pils

Late night flight into town was followed up by a trip to Taco Cabana for cheap chain food. On my first full day in town I visited Wheatsville Co-Op for the first time since the remodel. Wow. And for lunch I had all the popcorn tofu I could eat, washed down with Austin’s own Sweet Leaf Tea. Later on I ate tacos al pastor at Polvo’s with no camera. Dangerously good. Best Texas beer so far is Real Ale Phoenixx Double ESB. Also digging the lighter St. Arnold Spring Bock.

One important note, my mixtapes for SXSW are not available to download from the Boise Weekly site. You have to go here to do that.

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Today’s leaders are armed with powerful high-tech weaponry and the pervasive influence of government-friendly Hollywood executives and a highly partisan echo chamber. TV News needs to start doing better reporting on the effects of what has actually been done by politicians and other officials and stop spending so much time covering stories that perpetuate the info Americans keep getting wrong.

Ask around. While TV News continues to act, for example, as a Dick Cheney bullhorn, a mass of Americans are in the palm of his hand. Too many citizens are ravenous for an unnecessary war with Iran, defensive about waterboarding in secret prisons, callous toward the widespread killing of innocent civilians, and oblivious to endless global military occupations. As so many millions of impressions are made with selective storytelling and repeated with carefully constructed talking points, these subjects can hardly be brought up in public without preparation for tough conversations!

TV News rarely ever connects the dots. The outcome of their cursed desire for more and more exclusive access is harm inflicted on so many thousands of American youths by the US military, as well as Congress. The ex-CEO of Halliburton influenced the very same government contracts now creating minor, yet palpable public outrage whenever abuses and fraud are revealed. The apparent shortage of public disapproval for war profiteering is enabled by the willingness of TV News to omit the very real, very human stories of young Americans (and innocent civilians) destroyed by US occupations.

So get to work, TV News, reveal the rest of the story. Fabulous ratings await. Tell the stories of veterans fighting to overcome lost limbs. Explore the research on birth defects from chemical weapons. Shed light on the psychological damage of PTSD and the flow of veterans toward homelessness. Check out the differences between repressive regimes and their civilian populations. Americans deserve to know all that tax and national debt is being spent on.

Or else ever-evolving news organizations and public interest activists will eventually reach a large enough audience through other technologies besides TV to inform America about the ugly side of the war machine. The word is already out about complicit media institutions who have perpetrated a massive cover-up of their own involvement in domestic propaganda, disinformation on world affairs, even illegal wiretaps.

Too many patriotic, liberty-minded Americans have already begun to investigate. Once more reporters and activists empower an American public equipped with enough knowledge to use leadership and diplomacy instead of the bodies of so many thousand American youths, and foreign policy changes, a decreasing audience will still look to the knuckle-dragging TV News to hear the latest utterance of the mouthpiece.

The time to invest everything in investigation is now. The grip of TV News on the American psyche is already getting threatened by developments in social technology and the corporations who own and/or control TV News could be dramatically weakened by an administration determined to push through public interest technology policy in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission.

An informed populace will decide for itself what is best for democracy. The age of endless foreign wars and skyrocketing national debt will end. Hopefully as the empire crumbles, Americans will finally force the US government to become more democratic. We’ve sung of liberty but in order for freedom to ring truth must be amplified.

Otherwise, the cycle of powerful actors scheming up black ops, convinced their activities will not receive the illumination of public disclosure, will only continue. And the American public will keep making grave fundamental mistakes in assessing the rapid developments in global politics – a dangerous precedent for human life and liberty.
Gavin Dahl is a contributor to Raw Story, Boise Weekly, Common Frequency, Reclaim the Media, KRFC Radio & other independent media outlets & nonprofits.

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Photo by Howard Rosenfeld

When you realize Budd Inlet is at the bottom of South Puget Sound, the photos taken this week in Olympia, WA by my friend Howard Rosenfeld really make you go WOW! I mean, that water basically is the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, Project Censored has a story out today saying we just experienced the hottest decade on record.

“The decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record, new surface temperature figures released Thursday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration show…. 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, when modern temperature measurement began. The warmest year was 2005. The other hottest recorded years have all occurred since 1998, NASA said.”

Global temperatures varied because of changes in ocean heating and cooling cycles. `When we average temperature over 5 or 10 years to minimize that variability,’ said Dr. James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, one of the world’s leading climatologists, `we find global warming is continuing unabated.’”

–– John M. Broder NY Times Jan. 21

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“Individuals transform communities,” Barnes said. But “the greatest danger to democratic society is the poison of cynicism. The paralysis of people who seek the truth, persons of light, change agents.” CLICK HERE

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“Decisions made in board rooms without a democratic process ensure we are not part of them,” author Craig Barnes told a large crowd upstairs at Tattered Cover Books in downtown Denver Tuesday night. A man known for his integrity and compassion, Barnes sounded like Edward R. Murrow, as portrayed by David Strathairn in the movie Good Night & Good Luck, at the podium.

Reading selections from his new book Democracy at the Crossroads, sharing anecdotes from his days doing conflict resolution in Eastern Europe during the fall of the Soviet Union (!!!), and offering solemn reflections on last week’s Supreme Court decision that will allow unprecedented influence on US elections by corporations.

“The Citizens United decision,” Barnes began, “leaves many of us disagreeing with The Denver Post.” Denver’s only remaining metro daily published an unsigned editorial trumpeting unlimited corporate money as “a major victory for free speech” the day after the decision. “Corporate plutocracy is not a victory for free speech,” said Barnes. “We are all at a high state of alert.”

Next he went way back in time, reading from the opening of his book. In the 1300’s, he told us, the writing itself was an act of rebellion and reading texts posted on churches and in other public places was an act of rebellion, too. Protestors were demanding the aristocracy be abolished, their debts be forgiven, and they even began burning the legal records that had them shackled to the feudal system.

Barnes flashed forward 200 years to Shakespeare’s bold decision to depict kings as human and frail. This led to the understanding that power comes from the people, not from the king and not from God through the king. He also recounted the trial of King Charles and one of Barnes’ heroes, John Cooke.

This led Barnes to point out how powerful people are today, particularly those of us who in addition to being able to read and write, also have our own printers. “We all have little royal printing presses and there are too many of us for corporations to repress,” he said.

He talked about samizdat in the Soviet Union, news not otherwise reported in the press that was copied clandestinely ten by ten and circulated to thousands. “While corporations operate under the false religion of free markets,” he opined, “we read and can print and can distribute what we print!”

He went on to describe more of his experience in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, pointing out that feudal society persists all over the world. The problem, as he sees it, is when personal relationships trump the rule of law. To articulate the merits of democracy in the face of undying feudalism, Barnes offered 5 essential values of a democratic society:

  • Common Good – benefit the community as a whole, from the Preamble to the Constitution
  • Nonviolence – democracy works better than violence for defending against the sword
  • Truth-telling – courts, taxes, finance and other systems don’t work when based on fraud
  • Even strangers can be told the truth! – it is not just about our own purposes, so spread it
  • Competence – the opposite of corruption, merit is a stronger foundation than bribery

An audience member asked Barnes about citizenship and community. He responded by pointing out Reagan gave rise to the “me first” society and the notion that greed is good. But it was not new in 1980. Hamilton wanted a place in government for aristocracy, like the US Senate, so Barnes pointed out we can’t just lay blame at the feet of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Barnes pointed to the sense of common responsibility at the root of public funding for schools, science, roads, etc.

Then he concluded with some heavy-hitting inspiration, geared toward the crowd of Colorado Common Cause supporters. “Individuals transform communities,” he said. But “the greatest danger to democratic society is the poison of cynicism. The paralysis of people who seek the truth, persons of light, change agents.” Barnes, after all, is the one who convinced the founder of Common Cause to allow him to start a Colorado chapter, leading the way for decades of work in the public interest.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

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December 27, 2009 was Ashura, traditionally a day of mourning for Shia Muslims, and in several Iranian cities nonviolent protests turned into clashes between anti-riot forces and opposition demonstrators. Among many others, the nephew of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi was killed.

There are plenty of other sources for further reading, but one of the most diligent English language live-bloggers during the recent violence was Andrew Sullivan, who writes for The Atlantic. Here are some scenes.

BE WARNED: SOME OF THESE VIDEOS ARE VERY DISTURBING.

The size of the crowds

Rocks vs. guns

Freedom vs. power

Running over protesters with cop cars

Simply staggering footage

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Do radios belong in museums?

I read two quotes today that really stood out.

So let’s start with the bad news, courtesy of Bob Lefsetz, who published his 2010 predictions this week:

Terrestrial Radio – A dying medium for music.
The stations are overleveraged, or already in bankruptcy, and they’re cutting back infrastructure and banking on twenty plus minutes of commercials per hour.  You’re supposed to double down, innovate in a crisis.  But terrestrial radio has done just the opposite.  It’s dying, and it will never come back.  In a world where no one experiences a commercial they don’t want to, do you really expect people to listen to what you tell them and be sold to every third minute?  You’re dreaming.
Terrestrial radio will be about news and talk, those elements that are immediate.  Music’s been recorded previously, there’s no urgency to sit through the b.s. to hear what you want to.

Okay, well this isn’t really good news, sorry, but a writer named Craig Jenkins cheered me up when he posted a really funny comment to a story on Prefix Mag about Iggy Pop’s bizarre new car insurance commercial:

I like to pretend that all of my punk heroes were secretly hunted down and killed somewhere in the 80s and replaced with money grubbing, attention seeking androids. Helps me reconcile the Iggy Pop and Lou Reed of 1969 with the Iggy Pop and Lou Reed of 2009.

So my opinion on over-the-air FM radio is that there’s no way its dead. It is still ubiquitous, everyone has a radio in their house, most everyone with a car has one too. It is true that commercial radio is a disaster, I can’t stand to listen to it. But public radio is a different story. So tune in to your local non-commercial radio stations (generally 92.1 and below).

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USA Today neglected to include Oscar Grant in their slideshow of notable passages during the last year. For people of color in Oakland, Grant’s murder by police on January 1, 2009 was proof that justice is not part of the system.

Visit Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner for literally dozens of related videos.

Indybay has coverage of initial proceedings and a change of venue hearing. The trial of officer Johannes Mehserle will take place in 2010.

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Free Press: Just Say No. Click the graphic for more information

Click here to go to the Free Press action page. Click here to read more first.

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Wow. Thanks to everyone who has taken an interest in press freedom, community radio, music outside the mainstream and everything else I’ve posted here in the past couple years. I’ve never been motivated by trying to drive traffic here, thus it took me years to get to 15,000 hits. Been more focused on keeping an archive of my writing, my radio work, aggregated news, and other fun stuff.

The day I got the most traffic (317 hits) was when I broke the news that the student government of Evergreen College was releasing footage (later removed from YouTube) of the infamous Valentine’s Day Riot after Dead Prez played a show on our campus in February of 2008. My friends at 206 Zulu put together a thought-provoking video about that night. So check this out, and please come back to my site again soon!

MYTH: Evergreen students have no respect for authority. FACT: Olympia Police escalated a volatile situation, beat up random people, then fled the scene. (Unfortunately many kids lost control after seeing such an outrageous invasion of our institution by violent cops and sacrificed credibility for cathartic release on a symbol of police oppression, the cruiser. We can discuss whether property destruction is violence at a later date. It’s bigger than hip hop.)

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Thanksgiving aka 'Things Taken'

Listen to John Trudell’s 1980 Thanksgiving address from the Pacifica Radio Archive

President Obama’s Native American Heritage Day statement

Listen to DC youth explore the crisis of healthy food from Radio Rootz

Pentagon tried to ‘intimidate’ journalist Scahill for covering Blackwater

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Phyllis Bennis on GritTV: Israel discourse has changed

Karzai rival ending Afghan campaign & Clinton says runoff is legit anyway!

Rep. Kucinich: Bill a bailout for insurers & Will we stand for the people?

Mountaintop removal protests going national

Rep. Markey warns about right-wing net neutrality misinformation

New kind of global marketplace by Kalle Lasn

College media & the future of journalism by Josh Stearns

The only journalism subsidy we need is in bandwidth

Hawaii cuts 17 days from public school schedule

Breckinridge, CO voters to decide marijuana, paraphernalia legality

Netflix CEO sees at least 5 years before digital divide is bridged

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US Foreign Service Officer Matthew P. Hoh,
Senior Civilian Representative, Afghanistan

“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end. To put simply: I fail to see the value or the worth in continued US casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war.”
(more…)

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Check it direct it let’s begin…@ San Francisco Bay

Touch the Sky radio archives are now posted.

CHECK IT OUT

Digital Crossroads radio archives updated as well.

CHECK IT OUT

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In an unusual live Wednesday morning broadcast, I finally produced the 2nd episode of Digital Crossroads of the year. I’ve been reading and highlighting and writing about Gaza. This show is about thinking critically before you trust what you read in the news.

Funeral at UN school struck by Israel

Funeral at UN school struck by Israel

Below you can click to listen to the 30-minute show as it aired on Boise Community Radio and Radio Free Moscow. If you make it all the way through the show, please check out the additional 10 minutes I did live this morning on RadioBoise.org covering Obama’s support from the “defense lobby” as well as reports inside Gaza. Hear from Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian human rights activist, and from Sameh Habeb, a Palestinian photographer. More links and photos after the jump.

To download or stream the show, click here- Gaza: Wake Up America (mp3)

Check out an additional 10 minutes here- DC 2009 B-Side (mp3)

In a story published Jan. 9th by Alternet from New America Media, Shane Bauer covers “What You’d Know About Israel if you Watched Al Jazeera TV.”

He writes, the 350 reporters who descended on Israel when the conflict began are stuck at the border between Israel and Gaza. Instead of giving their viewers up-close pictorial evidence of what is occurring in Gaza, television networks have been restricted to showing their viewers plumes of smoke as they rise in the distance.

“There is nowhere safe in Gaza,” an enraged John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza told Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros in front of the Al Shifa hospital Thursday. Those words came after the Israeli Defense Forces bombed a UN school that was being used as a refuge. Later in the day, a second UN school was struck by the Israelis, killing at least 40. Ging insisted, “Everyone here is terrorized and traumatized and they have the right to be because there is no safe haven… This violence needs to stop now. Neither side can wait for the other to stop first.”

Meanwhile the world’s only live coverage of the tragedy is kept away from American eyes. While Al Jazeera English competes with CNN and BBC as one of the largest networks in the world, no major American cable provider has been willing to carry the channel since it launched in 2006. But Al Jazeera is finding its way around the problem. Today, Americans can download Livestation, a free program that wil let viewers watch Al Jazeera English and other international networks.

Here’s a timeline looking back at news you likely haven’t seen if you have depended on US network TV and corporate newspapers over the past 2 weeks…

(more…)

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