Saturday, April 29, 2006

Cue Antibalas:


Over on Truthout, I hear we're getting a bonus Fitzmas:

Luskin was informed via a target letter that Fitzgerald is prepared to charge Rove for perjury and lying to investigators during Rove’s appearances before the grand jury in 2004 and in interviews with investigators in 2003 when he was asked how and when he discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA, and whether he shared that information with the media.

If the grand jury returns an indictment Rove would become the second White House official - and one of the most powerful political operatives in the country - charged in the case since the leak investigation began in the fall of 2003.

Wow. This is just one of a slew of crazy things going on with the Repugnantans. I mean, I can't keep up. Bush's approval rating is at freezing, Duke Cunningham and other Repugs were getting bribed with hookers by a defense contractor, there's just so much.

And if you're the kind of person that likes to match the misfortune of the bad guys with positive action to make a difference, this is the weekend for you!

Tomorrow, join thousands in the march against the Iraq War here in NYC.
Sunday, join thousands in a rally to stop the genocide in Darfur.

According to, the roots of this conflict happened in the beginning of 2003, and the brokered peace broke down and the atrocities have been going on,for nearly three years. Hmm, nearly three years. So that means, that roughly around the time Chucklenutz was having his top gun moment, genocide was exploding in Sudan. And to think, those hundreds of billions of dollars, what could we have done with them... now, not only to we have the actual damage that has been done in Iraq, but we have the damage done by our failure and inability to act in Sudan.

And after being worried for several weeks about this rally not being as effective as it could be, the speaker list now shows a lot more diversity than it did as recent as a week ago, with the important additions of Senator Barack Obama, Former Delegate and SCLC Washington bureau director Rev. Walter Fauntroy, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Kwesi Mfume (former CEO of the NAACP). I hope this is a sign that real outreach is happening to communities outside of the Jewish world. I'm still surprised as hell that Fearless Leader didn't know about the DC rally as of 3/31. Anyway, get to both of those.

Friday, April 28, 2006

New Love, thy name is WiFi

Knucklehead, fear not. nor any of the other loves of my life. But I'm in Brooklyn at cocoabar, sipping the most delicious iced mocha ever and working. WiFi in a cocoa/coffee shop? As Sifl would say, GEEEEEENIUUUUUS!

Really annoyed about work right now. After fighting to the point of nearly not getting my previous gig to get shabbas off, I'm working at the Anti-War tomorrow. AND I HATE IT. !#$@#%$@ Part of its my fault for not being clear enough when i found out the event was on saturday, by the time i realized I was being asked to work, it was too late to back out. I figured, i'm working for Jews, they should get it, right? Anyway, as Knucklehead pointed out, I would go to the march anyway, but still. Managed to keep shabbas work free from june-september, one in september, then back to work free till, well, tomorrow. I really hope tomorrow's my last working shabbas ever.

I've made my first forays into jspot. Great great new jewish social justice blog, put together by the peeps at the Jewish Funds for Justice. Actually, they linked me a few weeks ago, when I talked about the Triangle fire anniversary. The first one is a slightly updated version of the MTA post of a few days ago, and the new one is about the American Arbitration Association certifying that a majority of the graduate students at NYU are still committed to bargaining collectively in the form of GSOC. check it out, and tell em Ruby sentcha!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Please make your selection

Hey all. So after nearly a week of nothing, I'm firing out posts like breathing. And i want you to see them all, so this post can guide you.

To see my long winded invite to tomorrow's rally for Roger Toussaint and reasoning as to why the MTA should be fined and jailed, click on this photo:

To see the Riot Act's first ever Featured Musical Artist post, featuring the awesome Watson twins, please click on their picture:

To read my post on how fitting it is that the fight on immigration reform is happening during passover, please click on this picture:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reading my own name...

I represented Kol Zimrah, along with RW, at an UWS reading of names for Yom Hashoah. I think remembering the Holocaust is important, but I also feel that the emphasis mainline Jewish organizations place on it to almost complete eclipse of thousands of years of history is frustrating. Being a late night person, and figuring its always good to give our community opportunities to practice how they see fit, I volunteered to be the point person.

We walked over, passing by several people who needed money on the way. I gave what i could, also knowing we needed to be on time for our slot. We got there, a few people, and a speaker was telling a story about the man who captured eichmann. He asked if we were ready, I stepped up to the lechtern and started reading names. It was very difficult, reading those names; trying to stay composed while imagining the life they had, or were having before this happened. It was particularly unnerving because at the beginning of my reading, there were about a dozen women named Rosa Hecht. I thought, it being 3:30 in the morning, that this was some surreal dream, but it was real. Then, not sure what i was motivated by, but I wanted to see if my family names were in there. Both sides of my family were pretty small, and my great grandparents were already here by the time the holocaust had taken root, but I wanted to see. Under my dad's family, nothing. But under the Ks, I found a precious few names. And I was stunned. I read them, my voice starting to crack. I began thinking about the cousins I could've been visiting all over Europe, the lives of my blood cut down beforehand.

Can we take that sadness, that familial anguish, and remember that there are people,right now, who are fighting their way through existance? We may not be able to save our loved ones who were cut down, or even the whole families who were destroyed and have no one to remember them, but we can do something about the crises affecting the world. We can honor them, not just by fighting the immediacy of genocide, but also the slow broil of sweatshops, the disasters of human rights violations, the racism that plagues arguments behind who's illegal.

That's how I will remember.

Monday, April 24, 2006

So what's the MTA's fine?

Local 100 of the Transit Workers Union will be fined 2.5 million dollars, lose dues check-off for at least 90 days (they can appeal at 90 days), and Roger Toussaint will serve his ten days of contempt of court starting tomorrow. You can show your support for Toussaint's brave actions on behalf of union members, their families, and the people of New York by coming to this rally tomorrow at 4pm:


Court Street (between Montague and Remsen)
Near Borough Hall
Trains: 2,3,4,5,N,R to Borough Hall;
A,C,F to Jay Street/Borough Hall

Meanwhile, to once again demonstrate the real intentions of the MTA, the union has ratified the original deal by more than 70 percent. Steven Greenhouse noted:

The authority brushed aside the union's demand yesterday, insisting that it had taken the contract terms off the table after the workers stunned the city by voting them down in January. Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the authority, dismissed the union revote as "an empty gesture."

An empty gesture. I feel like coming around and agreeing to a reasonable agreement is not nearly as empty as rescinding the offer that was already on the table. Unless, as i said before, the motivations of the MTA's actions was not to promote labor peace and effectively serve the people of New York, but in fact to try to break the TWU. So as they continue to stall, to fail to negotiate, to engage in good faith bargaining, what is the punishment for the MTA? Labor law governing public sector employees in New York State, the Taylor Law, makes it illegal for public employees and their unions to “cause, instigate, encourage or condone a strike.” but what about employers trying to instigate it?

It's no accident that public sector workers, along with farm workers, transportation workers, and domestic workers, were not protected by the National Labor Relations Act in 1935. Sure, it may be that the labor policy of the United States should be carried out "by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection," but why should the government deal with the messy consequences of empowering its own employees? Then it would need to sanction itself when it carried out unfair labor practices, set aside more resources on the off chance that collective bargaining would mean that workers would actually receive fair compensation and benefits for their work, etc.

In 1947, New York passed the Condon-Wadlin Act to regulate public sector workers and set penalties for public sector workers who struck, including immediate firing, probation without tenure for 5 years, and a bar from pay raises for three years if reinstated. Considering the union density of the country and the post WWII growing pains of the economy, these provisions were really not enforcable. According to a brief Cornell University piece summing up the history of the Taylor Law, there were 21 public sector strikes from 1947 to 1964, and it was invoked in a third of those instances, with only 18 employees being fired. The provisions were modified in 1963, with the pay freeze lowered to 6 months, the probation period lowered to one year, and a new provision, two days pay deducted for each day on strike. The New York transit strike of 1966 proved that these provisions were also not useful, as the transit workers went out for 12 days.

After the strike had been resolved, Governor Nelson "drop the" Rockefeller "drug laws" founded a panel to "make legislative proposals for protecting the public against the disruption of vital public services by illegal strikes, while at the same time protecting the rights of public employees." The 1967 law created by the committee was named The Taylor Law after Professor George Taylor, chair of the Committee. By creating a path for negotiation between unions and public sector employers, the Taylor did make life somewhat easier for organizing public sector unions. But much like its national counterpart, the National Labor Relations Board, the Public Employees Relations Board (or PERB, appropriately) seems to have much stiffer penalties for workers and unions than it does for employers. Failing to bargain in good faith is often met with an incredible strong, well, order to bargain.

And here we are now. A group of thousands of workers that make our city run, facing a group of board members who, by their actions of the last 3 years right up to this very moment, seem intent on causing, instigating, and encouraging a strike. So nu, Justice Jones, tell us; what's the MTA's penalty?

Take action: show up to the TWU rally today. See you there.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


"I have given it my all, sir, and I have given you my all, sir, and I will continue to do so as we transition to a new press secretary," he told Mr. Bush.

"It's going to be hard to replace Scott," Mr. Bush said, "but nevertheless he made the decision and I accepted it."

full story here

Yeah, real hard. Lie through his teeth, avoid questions. Oh wait, you have a whole bunch of folks like that.

Additionally, Rove is going to work on the midterms. That freaking evil genius coupled with Dems inability to mobilize for the special elections has got me worried.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The strangers within our midst: we ourselves went forth from Egypt...

So last night and tonight, I am at the homestead with Dad, Momma K, Stimpy, and various and sundry guests. And I've been thinking a lot about the responsibilities charged to us in the text of the Haggadah (the narration of the Passover story which is read during the seders of Passover). In Ha Lachma Anya (the bread of affliction), we say let all who are hungry come in and eat, all who are in distress come celebrate Passover. My folks, who alternate between CCAR's "A Passover Haggadah" and the rebbes of Maxwell House (who to this day still have not fixed the transliteration of Adir Huso people who would like to join in but don't know the hebrew cannot.) The Maxwell House and the CCAR agree on this one passage (translation taken from CCAR):

"In every generatio, each of us should feel as though we ourselves had gone forth Egypt, as it is written: And you shall explain to your child on that day, it is because of what the Eternal did for me, when I, myself, went forth from Egypt."

and then, the CCAR follows up some extra citations before continuing the paragraph:

Still we remember: it was we who were slaves... we who were strangers" and therefore, we recall these words as well:
You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt (Exodus 23:9)
When Strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them.. you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt (Leviticus 19:33-34)
You shall rejoice before G-d with your son and daughter.. and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow in your midst. Always Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt (Deuteronomy 16:11-12)
You shall not subvert the rights of the stranger or the orphan, remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 24:17-18)
Now, I've been known to be wrong on things, but it seems to me that these passages are particularly relevant these days, given the current events going on in this country. If you've been out of it, really busy, or living under a rock, there were rallies for immigrant rights in over 35 states (including half a million strong in Knucklehead's own Dallas TX). This mobilization was in response to the measures by Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Representative James Sensenbrenner, who would rather make it felonies to help someone who needs medical attention and build thousand mile walls (with our copious budget surplus... er, uh, never mind).

It's amazing to see the Republican party fracture under the weight of this issue. While racism is often used to keep working class folks fighting amongst themselves so the rich can get richer, it seems that this time, racism and greed are now locked in a bitter struggle. Do we try to hunt down every "illegal immigrant" (i find that term is ironic at at best when used by citizens of a country stolen from those that lived here first, people that were lied to on every treaty this government could print) and ship em out, build a berlin wall 2,000 miles long? Or do we keep profiting off the hard sweatshop labor immigrants put in daily? They toil in silence, afraid to speak up for themselves, making below minimum wage with no labor rights to speak of... well, they toiled in silence until this week. After being threatened by the tough talk of the Republican Party, they decided to be silent no more.

This country was built by immigrants, either brought here against their will from Africa, or fleeing for their lives in the Pogroms of Russia. Cotton fields, shirtwaist factories, railroads, mines, automobile plants, guess what? Immigrants. Know what's changed? Not much. And the business leaders want to keep it that way. What, no punishment for the people EMPLOYING illegal immigrants under the harshest of conditions? That's a good question for the xenophones too... so if somebody's broke and looking for work, and somebody else takes advantage of that desparation by employing them under whatever conditions they choose, who's the bad guy? The person trying to feed her/his family? or the person skimping 2-5 dollars per hour off the top (minimum wage, payroll taxes, benefits) to finish paying for his/her second house/sportscar/boat?

As Rabbi Arthur Waskow already noted: "Passover" is happening in the streets of America this week. It is coming not from a written book, but from the hearts and minds and legs and prayers of a people. It is happening in Spanish and "Spanglish" more than in Hebrew. Two million people in the streets against a Pharaoh who is saying "Let us make it a criminal act, a felony to be punished with prison at 'hard labor,' to live in the United States without a document. Let us make it a felony to feed or heal or educate or comfort these criminals. Let us build a wall, with guns to kill anyone who dares to cross - just as the ancient Pharaoh ordered the murder of the boy-children of this folk whose name, "Hebrews," meant "the ones who cross over"; the wetbacks." continued
The occurance of this struggle happening at the same time of Pesach is not a coincidence to me. We have a choice, to remember how we've been changed to treat the stranger, widow, and orphan, or we can leave them on the nasty dilemma of deportation or undocumented slavery. We can think about G-d pouring out wrath "on the same guy I've wanted him to pour wrath out on for five years" (quoth knucklehead) and we can know that, like everything else, chucklenutz is using words he simply doesn't mean (props to Mik at Jspot).

We too have a responsibility in this, to make this fight about how we treat human beings who make this country exist. We must see the slaves in our midst, and remember that before G-d took us, ourselves, from bondage, we were slaves too. Telling them that our grandparents didn't know english and they still succeeded is not the solution. We must act. And now.

Riot Act Featured Musical Artists: Watson Twins will help you forget what you can.

(Note: Greetings to the people checking out the blog for the first time! Take off your coat and stay awhile. Thanks to whomever biguped us on the Rilo Kiley Boards; and spread the word on our feature artists, that's why I did this in the first place)

After some hinting about featured musical and poetry acts here on the Riot Act, I’m excited to do our first Featured Musical Act. These ladies not only have their own awesome EP out, entitled “Southern Manners”, but they are also currently touring Europe (look out, Rotterdam, Paris, Brighton, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin, Manchester, and London) with Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis on the strength of their collaboration, Rabbit Fur Coat. It’s entirely possible you’ve seen them on Letterman, or seen the video for Rise Up With Fists! I really dug their voices and music, and noticed that when you search for them on the web, you find a lot about their harmonies with Jenny Lewis, and not so much about them. And so…

I’m excited to announce that the first ever Featured Musical Act on the Riot Act issssssss:

The Watson Twins

I stumbled onto them, seeing the ad for Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins performing at Irving Plaza in the Village Voice. I didn’t think too much of it, but then I logged into myspace, and they had a link to “The Watson Twins”. I clicked on their page (where there are 4 tracks available for your listening pleasure) and was grabbed by their vocals immediately. Words like beautiful, haunting, and alluring all come to mind, but they seem cliché and woefully inadequate. Let me put it this way: there are singers that try too hard to be all of those things in their vocals, and still cannot manage it with every recording studio trick in the book. Then, there are the voices that kick you in the gut with how amazing and honest they are. Voices that reach inside you, down into the pit of your stomach, the place you feel everything meaningful in your life, grab on tight and don’t let go. Guess which kind of voices Chandra and Leigh Watson have?

The Watson Twins, Chandra and Leigh, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky (in case an EP entitled “Southern Manners” didn’t give that away), singing and playing music together in some form or another for most of their lives. After college, they got a taste of touring by driving around the country together for six months, occasionally stopping at an open mic to play and sing. They’ve been making music in Los Angeles for several years now, first for five years with now-defunct rock band Slydell, as well as some of the other artists in the Silverlake music scene. While contributing their stunning vocals to the backgrounds of groups like Rilo Kiley, Orphan Train, Joe Firstman, and Fairchild, the Watson twins were also putting together their own music. After contributing some powerhouse backgrounds to various projects, they got their chance to step out front and shine on Southern Manners. And, boy, do they shine.

I must confess that Southern Manners is not in my usual taste of music; I tend to like my women with guitars with a lot more fury (Melissa Ferrick) or with quirkier lyrics (Jenn Lindsay) (both of whom I hope to be future features here). Southern Manners has got a mellow soul to it, and the whole disc really spoke to me about the intricacies, complications and contradictions of love. The Watson Twins seem to know these subject matters painfully well, and instead of getting caught up in the clichéd storybook romantic or the traditionally sad love songs, they explore those exquisite and difficult murky gray areas with precision and accuracy. My favorite overall tracks on it are the title track (track 4) and Darlin’ Song (track 7), although Friend and Foe (track 1) and Shoot the Lights Out (track 5) seem to have taken notes on previous chapters of my life and compressed them into a few minutes. The band, Russ Pollard, J. Soda, Brian Lebarton and Aram Arslanian (and a guest spot from Ms. Lewis herself), does a great job of completing the sound without distracting from our protagonists, they really fit together well. My disappointment with the cd? There's a great track on the Watson Twins' myspace page called "Waves". You can't download it from the myspace page, and it's not on the ep. Sup with that, ladies?

I let the Watson twins know I was thinking of featuring them on the Riot Act, and they graciously took a moment to answer a few questions from some dude they never heard of in between a crazy cross country tour and a trip across the pond for European touring. This section is called:

9 & 1 with Ruby K- The Watson Twins

1) You've got a great mashup of gospel, r&b, and country mixed in with the folk and rock, who really moves you in those specific genres?

Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Shirley Brown, Candy Staton, The Band

2) How and when did you decide to make music your life?

It was a natural evolution that took place as we got older... we were always going to punk/hardcore shows growing up, singing in church, etc. so music was a big part of our lives... then we learned how to play guitar, started writing songs and decided to give it a shot.

3) You went cross country before you settled in LA. How did making that trip affect you?

That trip was amazing, we've always loved traveling and getting to see the country from the window of a pick-up truck was inspiring to say the least.

4) If we got to see your cd book/Ipod/mix tapes for the road, who would be surprised to see in there?

Anthony Hamilton (R&B/Soul Singer)

5) "Southern Manners" as an EP is very focused on love and its many, well, insane qualities (and that's one of the things that really hit me about it). How did you end up picking the songs for it, was the goal to focus on love?

Love/Emotion/Relationships have always been a part of our songs... it's such a universal theme. The songs on the album weren't specifically picked because of that, but there is a common thread, so in the end we felt they complimented each other as a whole.

6) One of my favorite tracks on “Southern Manners” is the title track. Is there a specific story behind it?

Southern Manners... there's not one specific story, but a sum of a lot of different experiences that I rolled all together... I will say however, that manners are very important.

7) It was digging Southern Manners so much that persuaded me to pick up "Rabbit Fur Coat" as well. How did you end up hooking up with Jenny Lewis for the Rabbit Fur Coat project?

We met Jenny years ago and we sang on a Rilo Kiley B-side, which was really fun. When she decided to do this solo record, she called us up and ask us to do some back-up vocals... we were honored needless to say and have had a great time singing with her.

8) You guys are based in LA. Someone from the East Coast has Southern Manners, has your joint project with Jenny Lewis... where else can they find you?

That's about it for now... but fingers crossed there will be more in the next couple years... we're just getting started :)

9) You busted your butts to get out your own EP, it's presently independent. Here's something I always wonder, and I feel like it depends on the artists and what their goals are. Someone digs the music, wants to help long term: should they order from you, find an indy record store, or try to find you in a major record store?

Well, right now we aren't available in any major record stores, except for but to answer your question... at this point it's all good... no matter where you buy the EP it supports us, which we greatly appreciate.

And here’s the last 1:

10) Anything else you'd like to say to the readers of the Riot Act?

Thanks for being interested and taking the time to read this interview :)

Their EP is available on their website for 8 bucks plus shipping. Or (and this is why I asked them) if you live in the NYC metropolitan area, you can go to Norman’s Sound on Third Avenue, just south of St. Mark’s place, and pick it up from Norman. I can always count on Norman to have just about everything I want to listen to. Thanks a lot for the interview, Chandra and Leigh. Congrats on not one, but two awesome projects out at once. Have a great time on your last shows in Europe, and come back to NYC to play for us soon.

Go get Southern Manners, and let The Watson Twins help you forget what you can.

So, what do you think of the new feature? Are you an artist who wants to be featured? Do you know of one you’d like me to feature? Post a comment and let me know...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


my bad, dear readers. it's been a crazy week. lots coming. come back tomorrow.

and thank you for your prayers for DS. He came home. He's still not out of the woods, but he seems to be doing much better.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


... say a prayer for my brother DS. He's in a really bad spot.

We love you, man.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chinese factory worker wages getting too high, Goldman Sachs bullish on other countries's sweatshops...

Two years ago, when i was with the National Labor Committee, I saw things that were unbelievable to me. Factory conditions in sweatshops; living conditions for workers that would horrify you; the difference in the maquila between a union factory and a non union factory was so stark.

One of the scariest things, though, was just how quickly free trade eats through economies. Mexican workers were being paid too much, so in the same way factories were ripped wholesale out of the US, the same started happening to Mexico. And the boss, ever mindful of his array of tools to keep workers in line, would spread the racism that has been used to keep working people and slaves at each others throats since day one. Factory supervisors would tell their Mexican or Honduran workers, "if you make trouble, if you form a union, we can get hundreds of Chinese people to do this work for cheaper." The idea that these people, busting their asses for pennies a day, were disposable. The notion that these CEOs were so hung up on profits, that not only would they throw their neighbors under the bus, but they would leave investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of newly constructed factories empty once wages and benefits got "too high". They'll create a permanent underclass of people, and when they get too expensive, they'll feed on another area.

Well, apparently, this is starting to happen in China, of all places. Or at least, that's what an article in the Judy Miller/Wiretap Hiding/Sudan advertising/Red Sox owning times is reporting:

The shortage of workers is pushing up wages and swelling the ranks of the country's middle class, and it could make Chinese-made products less of a bargain worldwide. International manufacturers are already talking about moving factories to lower-cost countries like Vietnam.


Li & Fung, one of the world's biggest trading companies, said recently that labor shortages and rising manufacturing costs in China were already forcing it to step up its diversification efforts and look for supplies from factories in other parts of Asia.

"I look at China a lot differently than I did three years ago," said Bruce Rockowitz, president of Li & Fung in Hong Kong, citing the rising costs of doing business in China. "China is no longer the lowest-cost producer. There's an evolution going on. People are now going to Vietnam, and India and Bangladesh."


"Many companies are already moving to Wuhan, Chongqing and Hunan," Ms. Hong said, ticking off the names of inland Chinese cities. "But Vietnam and Bangladesh are also benefiting. We're bullish on Vietnam."

The full article here. Sigh. Capitalism going bonkers. Marx and Engels sure are giving Nostradamus a collosal beatdown in the accuracy department, no?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ding dong, the hammer's dead...

It's all over the media, but Representative Tom "snake in the grass" Delay is expected to announce he will not run for Congress this year, and may be leaving the House as early as May. The folks over at Kos seem to think the Republicans will be able to replace him on the ballot (as he already won his primary), but we'll see how it goes.

And you guys just thought I was happy because the Yanks are up 12-1 in the top of the fifth.

All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper."

On April 3, 1968, an incredible speech was given at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. gave a speech supporting the sanitation workers of Memphis Tennessee in ther strike. It would be the last time Dr. Martin Luther King Jr would ever address a crowd. It included passages like this:

"Secondly, let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we've got to keep attention on that. That's always the problem with a little violence. You know what happened the other day, and the press dealt only with the window-breaking. I read the articles. They very seldom got around to mentioning the fact that one thousand, three hundred sanitation workers were on strike, and that Memphis is not being fair to them, and that Mayor Loeb is in dire need of a doctor. They didn't get around to that."

and also this:

Now about injunctions: We have an injunction and we're going into court tomorrow morning to fight this illegal, unconstitutional injunction. All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper." If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around."
This is not the safe language of the Dr. King "I have a dream" commercials you will seen sponsored by McDonalds in February. This is Dr. King, supporting public sanitation workers on a strike. These are the lines the MTA, Billionaire Bloomy and Backdoor George didn't want you to see. This is DEFINITELY the Dr. King the Republicans DID NOT want you to see while they claimed Rev. Joseph Lowery politicized Coretta Scott King's funeral.

38 years ago today, Dr. King was taken from us. And if he saw what they've done to him, what we've dne to him, my guess is he would be mad, but he'd probably attack it first by laughing at it. Dr. King was murdered because had crazy notions, like all people deserve a fair and decent life (no matter what continent they are from) and that people banding together for non-violent resistance could make a change. It was because of small minded dolts that we lost him, that his kids lost their father.

Less than a day before he's going to die, King gave this electrifying end to his speech, which of course had the crowd up on its feet.

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. "

Thanks Dr. King. We're doing our best to keep it moving. Find out something about him today. Something you can't find out about him on TV.

the boys will be boys...

So we're sitting around, in our undisclosed location, and things are going as planned. Barbeque (with His Highness making a nice homemade barbeque sauce), whiskey and beer, movies, and general foolishness. Mouseman's had a couple beers, I've had some whiskey, and The Boy just... well, let's just say we've all regressed about 10 years (except The Boy, who seems to be about the same age). Kinda the total opposite of last night, where His Highness and I were up talking about deep shit.

Knucklehead was excited I could be up here with the fellas, and I'm glad to be here. But the trip has its mellow, almost meditative side as well... Walked around Lake Placid, and just looked out on Mirror Lake for a while. Hit up the Candy Man, our local sweets supplier for the last (at least) dozen years, and also swung by "With Pipe and Book" a fantastic used bookstore and tobacco shop, to find souveneirs and perhaps a postcard that won't get mailed. The lawnchairs on Mirror Lake are one of my favorite places to be on the whole planet. I could just crack open a root beer and sit there. Those seats are among the few places I can find some serenity.

Tomorrow, we leave this little peace of peace and head back. Work will be going full swing, my cough will hopefully be gone, and it's time to get settled in places that aren't the 914. It's been a gift to have this time with my brothers, even as we smack each other around and call each other every name in the book. Maybe a decent night's sleep is ahead of me. I still have so much to write, to think.

Knucklehead, Schedule1 and Crackerjack are all at the Melissa Ferrick show. Look out soon for a review.

Recommendation: When you're in Lake Placid, make sure to stop by the Candy Man and pick up their Maple chocolates. You've never had anything like 'em, they're great for even the most discerning sweet tooth. And check out With Pipe and Book for hidden literary treasures. Oh, and be ready to throw projectiles at my brothers. that's what I gotta go do...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Insomnia on the Northway...

It's official. It's 4am (really 5am after springing ahead) and all the beds I can call my own bring me no rest. Westchester, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and now in the topsecretbunkerupstate, I sit awake, talking to His Highness about the state of the world, and figuring out what the hell we're gonna do. Came up, in part, to put all that aside, because as the woman says, "I got a lot on my mind I do not need anymore." But even "my bed" downstairs in the compound brings no respite. Can't sleep, so I came upstairs to blog.

I miss Knucklehead, especially at moments like this (although granted, I'd have to wake her up if this moment of insomnia happened at 5:45am in NYC).

This is not to say the reunion with my brothers is anything short of awesome. It's so great up here, just relax, watch a shitload of sports, insult the hell out of each other... it's really a guy's weekend, and it's a lot of fun. His Highness has come a long way in his cooking prowess... i remember a few summers ago I showed him how to spice up a steak for the grill. Now, the fancy bastage is makin his own damn steak rubs. Almost brings a tear to my bloodshot eye. The Boy is doing great at college, sounds like he's really getting serious about school and a career. And of course, catching up with the Mouseman always a blast. Tomorrow, maybe mini-golf, poker, watch some hockey, go into Placid and chill.

Maybe I'll be able to get a much needed Ms. Pac Man fix, I've been jonesing for some Ms. Pac Man all week.

Mouseman is right, though... as wonderful as this place is for a respite, I'd go absolutely insane if I lived up here permanently. Maybe for when I write my masterpiece, i could hole up in here for a month or two. But beyond that would be absolutely crazy.

Anyway, gotta rest up for a big day of making home fries and omlettes, lots of leisure, root beer, His Highness's ribs, whiskey, and maybe a good night's sleep. Got a lot of thoughts to unveil, if I can only get up the strength...

Stay tuned for Schedule1's guest post on one of two Melissa Ferrick shows this weekend. I hear she's got the band with her this time, so GO SEE HER on Sunday.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring has sprung the Queen of Freshchester would say. While it's clouding over a bit this fine Shabbas morning, it's positively lovely out. I walked out to Brain (my car) in shorts, and was comfortable. The type of day that make syou want to dance in the rain (when it comes).

New things grow with spring. And while I think of all the things I want the Riot Act to become, I think of new ideas for it. And so, since I'm missing the Melissa Ferrick/Erin McKeown show Sunday, we're going to have our first ever guest blogger, Schedule1, review one of the shows he's seeing. Now, Schedule1 and Crackerjack are having a fantastic weekend, one that I would do most weekends of the year quite easily: Poker, Melissa Ferrick/Erin McKeown in Philly, repeat in Manhattan. But this weekend, it's in third place, behind Kol Zimrah, Blackalicious, Melissa Ferrick/Erin McKeown, and my actual weekend, which I'll get into in a moment.

How do I know its spring? Well, amongst other things, the Rangers are 3 points away from clinching a playoff spot, and the Yanks are playing their last spring training game of the year. Now Tampanians (?) will have to watch the Devils Rays instead, while my beloved boys come back to the Bronx.

Also, because brother Mouseman is back visiting us from the wild wild west. Mouseman, His Highness and The Boy are heading upstate to relax in Jay, and visit our favorite watering holes in Lake Placid. It should be fantastic. Leaving in an hour. Will try to post from upstate.

Go to those shows!