Photog Susan McRae Begins To Love Birds Perhaps Too Much

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Miscellany · Comment 

Susan the Bird_Internet_8626


Photog Susan McRae just got back from a photo workshop in Bosque del Apache, a nature and wildlife preserve in southern part of New Mexico, where she has moved after years of living in Los Angeles. Knowing that Lionel Rolfe, the editor of Boryanabooks, has an unreasonable love of dinosaurs and their descendants, she sent in these photos. This one  of McRae and her newfound friend was taken by Jerry Goffe, one of the instructors at the workshop. Her friend is a Harris hawk, raised by a raptor breeder. All the others are her photos. And these are all wild birds. Below, the Harris hawk in flight. Read more

PENELOPE SUDROW: a wandering waif with a hint of noblesse oblige

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 






I met Penelope Sudrow at a backyard party in the Silver Lake home of my actor friend Lee Boek, who runs Public Works Improvisational Theater. It wasn’t just because she was an attractive woman that made me curious about her.  I sensed that she was somebody more than just a pretty lady.

What was intriguing was that sense that she was a woman-child. Although she looked like a woman, she had something of the vulnerability of a child about her as well a sense of fun and wonder you rarely see in a normal grownup. I was not surprised when I found out she had been a well known child star. Read more

Once Again, Gaza Is A Big Cage & Our Gaza Correspondent Has Witnessed A Lot Of It

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

[This month we have another contribution by our Gaza correspondent, Mohammad Arafat. He expresses with deep feeling the suffering of the ordinary people of Gaza. We should say also that he has a certain innocence in his view of the world. He sees plainly the pain inflicted by the border restrictions by Israel and Egypt, but never mentions Hamas, which governs Gaza, or Islamic Jihad, or the recent terrorist attacks in the Sinai that precipitated Egypt’s closing of the Gaza tunnels. These things explain much of why conditions in Gaza are far worse than those in the occupied West Bank, which has its own burdens but not of such extremity.]

 *   *   *

By Mohammad Arafat

I wish I could sum it up quickly,what does it all mean. Maybe I should contemplate why it’s so hard to say what’s most on my mind. I’m not even sure who I’m talking to–perhaps to my critics, my supporters. But Gazans have been told for too long they had no right to write. Maybe this is why I don’t know why I’m writing and to whom.

But I know that I have a right to express what’s going through my mind.  At first, my pen refused to write and then I began to cry and moan. But then I wiped away my tears and realized nothing could stop me from writing. I had come to believe that people won’t read anything written about Gaza these days. I told myself that it’s true, a great many people in this world can support us, and read what we say, but victory won’t come from those people, even if they stand with us. Still, I must try simply because I I must serve truth.

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Leninism and Nazism: Opposites, Twins, or Siblings?

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


Leslie Evans

The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century. Vladimir Tismaneanu. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. 320 pp.

Vladimir Tismaneanu is a Romanian who grew up under the Stalinist dictatorship that ruled his country from 1947 to 1989. Born in 1951, he was almost forty when Ceausescu was overthrown. His father was an important propagandist for the Communist government. Vladimir headed the 2006 Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania, which condemned the Communist period as a criminal regime. The report was highly controversial, denounced by high ranking former communists who were condemned by name, by liberals who pointed to Tismaneanu’s past as a convinced Marxist-Leninist, and by the far right because Tismaneanu is a Jew. He teaches currently in the United States at the University of Maryland.

In The Devil in History Tismaneanu spends almost no time on the fascist devil. Where he does reference them it is in sociological generalities about Hitler Germany, where the crimes of the Nazis are so well known they require no elaboration. He deals with them mostly by occasional paragraphs in which he establishes specific similarities and differences from their leftist enemy.

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


Trombonist Antoine Batiste (Wendel Pierce) embodies the spirit of the New Orleans’ music scene

By Bob Vickrey

Almost nine years later, the CNN images are still fresh in our memories—the rising flood waters from Hurricane Katrina forcing stranded residents of New Orleans onto their rooftops, as a stunned nation watched in utter disbelief. Days turned into weeks in the recovery effort as futile governmental rescue attempts mounted and we asked ourselves how this could have possibly happened in America. Read more

Attorney Les Zador: When Have You Been (Legally) Poisoned By That Dinner Out

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Miscellany · Comment 

Today, I want to talk to you about the liability of food suppliers, particularly restaurants, for food poisoning.  Food poisoning?

It happens to most of us at least once or twice in our lifetimes.  We go to a restaurant or a fast food outlet.  We order the fish or whatever; and we may or may not notice that the taste is a little off as we unsuspectingly consume the adulterated food.   After finishing, we don’t give it a second thought until it hits us; and then we spend the better part of the next 24 hours hunched over the toilet praying to God for it to be over and, in many cases, heading over or getting someone to drive us to the emergency room.

Whoever has been through the process will know in his or her gut (pun intended) that it was the lousy food consumed at the local fast food eatery that did him or her in; but how do you prove this? In the typical case, someone will check in at the hospital, have a battery of tests run resulting in a formidable hospital bill, all the while missing several days of work.  It only stands to reason that the person who has suffered and been inconvenienced thus should want to be compensated.  But then the fun starts when the eatery claims that it wasn’t its product that made the victim ill, that nobody else got sick from eating the food on the day in question, and that the illness was obviously caused by something else.  I’ve been through this with restaurants, etc., a few times. Read more

Radicals in the Rose City: Portland’s Revolutionaries 1960-1975 by Matt Nelson and Bill Nygren (2013)

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 



 “Radicals In The Rose City: Portland’s Revolutionaries 1960-1970“, is available on EBay and (price $15).

The Rose City is the nickname the town of Portland, Oregon goes by and it has a long history of activism and radical politics, going back to Coxey’s Army in 1893, which began a cross country trek of protesters on Wash. DC against the bad economic conditions of the day. A similar march was again begun in Portland in 1932 by out of work WW1 veterans who became known as The Bonus Army and camped out, an estimated 43,000 strong, in and around DC until they were violently removed by Federal troops led by Gen. Douglas McArthur. Portland had a history of labor strife involving dock workers, known as Wobblies. Noted radical journalist, John Reed, grew up and graduated from high school in Portland and credited his inspiration as coming from his father, a top law enforcement official who refused to be controlled by the large timber barons of Oregon. Read more

Honey’s Writing From The Second Gold Mountain

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Notes from Above Ground · Comment 


By Honey van Blossom

(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste)

No one knows when people began to talk.  One theory is that a genetic mutation in a gene such as FOXP2 allowed people to speak.  It is almost impossible to imagine that one day a human baby born with the mutated gene was able to talk but his family could not.  Babies learn language so there had to have been more than one baby but Noam Chomsky proposed that a single chance mutation occurred in one individual about 100,000 years ago, so Chomsky could imagine what I almost cannot.

A friend of mine today told me that alien intervention explains everything.  Aliens mutated the gene.  “So why,” I asked, “did a four legged mammal who walked the earth mutate into the whale?  Why would aliens care?”

Other scholars place the beginning of speech as about 200,000 years ago.  Neanderthal man in Europe and central Asia had the larynx, cranial capacity and the FOXP2 gene for speech and archeological evidence indicates they could talk.   Neanderthal is our closest extinct relative and probably interbred with modern humans when we arrived in Europe and central Asia. Read more