The Drum Major Instinct
Posted on September 15th, 2011 at 9:55 pm by Steve

God didn’t call America to do what she’s doing in the world now. (Preach it, preach it) God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war as the war in _________________. And we are criminals in that war. We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I’m going to continue to say it. And we won’t stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation.

— The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

February 4, 1968

Free the Willies
Posted on February 25th, 2010 at 3:23 pm by necco

In light of the most recent Killer Whale attack at Sea World I think that cetaceans should not be held in captivity and forced to perform. The animals are clearly intelligent. They should be given the option to perform… maybe an “open” aquarium where they can voluntarily open a door, swim into and out of the ocean as they please and interact with humans on their own terms when desired. I wonder how many would be interested in this type of interaction…

Don’t get me started on octopuses and cuttlefish.

Author James Herod’s Book “Getting Free”
Posted on February 16th, 2010 at 4:16 pm by Steve

“The knowledge that we are slaves being bought by the hour rather than the lifetime has also been lost. We have been wage slaves for so long that we have forgotten there is any other way to live. We have forgotten that once we had land and tools and could live independently, providing for ourselves, without being forced to sell our labor power for wages.”

I’ve linked to him before… and now I’ll do it again. Highly worth reading.

“I’m Not Fearing Any Man!”
Posted on February 5th, 2010 at 11:59 am by Steve

Via dj/rupture comes Auto-Tune the News’ songification of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech in Memphis, the night before he was killed:

Power, Love, Justice
Posted on February 3rd, 2010 at 3:35 pm by Steve

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Where Do We Go From Here?”

‘It’s Incredibility I’m After’
Posted on January 8th, 2010 at 11:09 am by Steve

Widen the Circle of Compassion
Posted on November 2nd, 2009 at 5:27 pm by Steve

A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

— Albert Einstein

Dakar on the Charles
Posted on October 30th, 2009 at 4:55 pm by Steve

An amazing night last night at the Lizard Lounge! Malick Ngom and Aziz Faye joined Lamine Touré & Group Saloum for a rollicking night of Senegalese mbalax. In the picture above you see Malick (seated, left) and Aziz (standing, center) playing sabar drums in the foreground; between and behind them, Paa Seck is also playing sabar, while Lamine (right) is singing. You can catch a glimpse of Hiro Sakaba playing bass, behind Malick and Paa, and Masa Sasaki (far right) playing guitar.

Not pictured above is world-renowned djembe player Billy Konate, who’s in town teaching workshops with The Drum Connection. Billy sat in with the band for a few minutes and shared some amazing licks.

It was incredible to have such a confluence of West African percussion talent gathered in the basement of the Lizard Lounge! I’m grateful to be connected with such an amazingly talented group of people from around the world.

Malick and Aziz are members of the Sing Sing (Faye) family, who are the hereditary géwël of the Cap Vert peninsula, where Dakar is located. Friend of the blog Professor Robert Sipho Bellinger has a web site that explores the significance of the Géwël Tradition in Senegalese music and culture. Professor Bellinger is the Director of Suffolk University’s Black Studies Program; in that role, he has brought members of the Faye family to Boston as Distinguished Visiting Scholars (see more information about the program, which is open to the public). Sipho is also the producer of several CD’s that feature members of the Sing Sing family, including the eponymous Sing Sing Juniors release from 2007.

As an added bonus, check out the video below; it shows Paa Seck and his brother Babacar Moha Seck tearing up the sabar in Providence this fall. Enjoy!

Alfred Nobel Did Invent Dynamite, After All
Posted on October 9th, 2009 at 3:56 pm by Steve

John Caruso says it better than I possibly could. I urge you to read it as his blog, but for posterity (and convenience), I reproduce it here in its entirety:

What it takes to win a Nobel

President Obama 'orders Pakistan drone attacks'

January 23, 2009 – Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed.

Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven "foreigners" – a term that usually means al-Qaeda – but locals also said that three children lost their lives.


US air-raid kills over 100 civilians in Farah

May 5, 2009 – Residents of the Bala Boluk district in western Farah province on Tuesday claimed more than one hundred 'innocent people' have been killed in the Monday's air offensive by the US forces. […]

Following the militant attack, locals say, the American forces bombarded Grani village, inflecting huge casualties to non-combatants.

Dr Atiqullah, a resident of the village, told Pajhwok Afghan News the bombardment destroyed the whole village and some of the mutilated bodies were beyond recognition.

He said they had so far retrieved 123 dead bodies from beneath the debris of the destroyed homes by using tractors.


Obama warns Iran: 'come clean' on nukes

September 25, 2009 – Backed by other world powers, U.S. President Barack Obama declared Friday that Iran is speeding down a path to confrontation and demanded that Tehran quickly "come clean" on all nuclear efforts and open a newly revealed secret site for close international inspection. He said he would not rule out military action if the Iranians refuse. […]

"Iran is on notice that when we meet with them on Oct 1 they are going to have to come clean and they are going to have to make a choice" between international isolation and giving up any aspirations to becoming a nuclear power, he said. If they refuse to give ground, they will stay on "a path that is going to lead to confrontation."


Nobel prize win 'humbles' Obama

October 9, 2009 – US President Barack Obama has said he was "surprised and deeply humbled" to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, less than 10 months into his presidency. […]

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the Norwegian committee said in a statement. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."


Obama's acceptance speech:

I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

Now, these challenges can't be met by any one leader or any one nation. And that's why my administration's worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek. We cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people.

No, really: Barack Obama just used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to reiterate his threats against Iran.

UPDATE: Best headline so far: "Some Analysts Warn Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Complicates War Efforts".

An Astounding Font of Knowledge
Posted on September 21st, 2009 at 4:16 pm by Steve

Since 1993, The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension has been bringing you esoteric and visionary knowledge (and a lot of other crap, too). That tradition continues with their recent posting of a six-part interview with Peter Lamborn Wilson, better known in some circles as Hakim Bey.

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