Monday, May 31, 2010

* Mommy-less/ Daddy-less ?

Op-Ed Columnist
The Birds and the Bees (via the Fertility Clinic)

Published: May 30, 2010

The New York Times

 . . .what one grown-up donor baby quoted in the study describes . . . the feeling of existing entirely for “other people’s purposes, and not my own.”

Angst, Artistry, Apathy?

Get used to it kids.
That's what consumerism does to everyone in America: suck the
purpose out of your life and replace it with mindless shopping, from gizmos to universities; from goldfish to lifemates: shop your way even to the therapist's couch.

The larger concern I have is not simply with in-vitro-fertilization-children, but children of a single parent who consciously used another human being to get them pregnant or to carry a pregnancy and either never encountered that person because they were blocked by a confidential file or because  they simply walked away  : ALONE.

 Disclaimer: The heartwarming photos above come from a Google search ("single parent") and do not necessarily fit my desciprtion in the previous sentence.

This procreation ritual happens among the rich as well as among the poor. We are now raising a generation of kids who will never know their second parent as anything more than a name on a birthday card, or a number on a sperm sample receipt, if that. (This population is not the children of deadbeat dads; it is the children of singles who wanted a child to love-----or perhaps,  a child to love them.)

What will the result be: Angst , artistry, apathy?

No one knows.

We'll wait.

 And we'll soon see -----as the kids move through schools either effortlessly or with great behavioral baggage.

One thing is for sure.  They won't be closetted. 

The single parent child will have hundreds of thousands of  peers with whom to openly build support groups---if support is what they want.

Maybe,  just maybe,  what they'll want is this:

 A mate------with whom to be monogamous, regardless of gender.

Stranger things have happened.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

* "Greedy Merchant Armies": Marching Toward No Tweets at All

It takes a courageous African American journalist to see the illusion of white or black skin color in our politicians, and call the color what it really is: GREEN---plain old faded MONEY GREEN.

Bob Herbert's Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times entitled "An Unnatural Disaster" is directed toward "the unholy alliance" of government and "rapacious" oil corporations who he lumps under the apt heading "greedy merchant armies".

The trouble is that while Herbert's fire breathing-column may be cathartic for its frustrated readers, it will have zero effect on our government, especially now that the Supreme Court has sanctioned as legal unlimited contributions by corporations to political campaigns.

What is needed is a Facebook/Twitter revolution (or, to update Dickens, an army of digital "Jacques") to counter the greedy merchant armies. The very digital tools which China finds so threatening should be used in the United States to create NOT a Blacklist (don't hire these commies) BUT a Greenlist (don't vote for these candidates funded by planet killers), the digital equivalent of Madame Defarge's endlessly knit encyclopedic scarf (the first blog?) in A Tale of Two Cities.

Facebook and Twitter may be the saviors waiting in the wings to appear on stage as the planet plummets toward the implosion of self-pollution, or as Rachel Carson put it, plummets toward a Silent Spring :

No tweets at all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

* Of New Haven

Vigilant Yale

The Old Shubert Theatre

Gramma's corner, Elm and State, circa 1950

Edgerton, the 88-room Tudor manor house (now razed) at the edge of New Haven near Lake Whitney

Memorial water fountain on the New Haven Green

Presidential candidates on the New Haven Green

Quinnipiac University encroaching on The Sleeping Giant

Cemetery in the Green Mountains

Year's 12th murder ties city's 2009 total
Staff Reporter
The Yale Daily News

New Haven police arrested their first murder suspect of the year last week but saw much of that progress evaporate as a wave of eight shooting incidents has swept across the city since, leaving one dead.That murder, the city's 12th this year, brings the number of unsolved homicides back up to 11.Around 2 a.m. Saturday morning, police officers maintaining order at the closing of Humphreys Bar and Restaurant on the edge of the East Rock neighborhood were confronted by a bigger challenge when they heard gunshots nearby. Not more than 50 feet away, inside a Chevrolet Tahoe, the...

#1 By Ex-Townie 11:03a.m. on May 25, 2010

Glad I'm moving away in two weeks.

#2 By I agree with ex-townie 8:44p.m. on May 25, 2010

New Haven is a hellhole.

#3 By Wafia Naru 1:04a.m. on May 26, 2010

I knew the young Brother that was slain though I hadn't seen him in a long while since I'm rarely in town. It's a tragedy that in 2010, this American problem still isn't ousted. I wonder if Obama gets reelected will he devise a plan to eliminate ignorance abroad and eradicate Black on Black crime. Is it even on his agenda?don't quote me

#4 By student 2:22a.m. on May 26, 2010

Right. Like other cities have no murders.
As an standard urbanized area as defined by the Census bureau, the New Haven MSA actually has one of the lowest murder rates in the United States, similar to Boston.
Have fun in Chicago, LA, Detroit, Philly, DC, or whatever other murder capital you are supposedly headed to! These cities have more than twice as much poverty as the entire state of Connecticut.
The only thing notable about New Haven is that murders (and even petty crimes) here actually make the news, because there are so few of them.

#5 By @student 1:03p.m. on May 26, 2010

14 murders in a city the size of New Haven isn't newsworthy to you? Where are you from, Matamoros?

#6 By Arrogance sucks 6:15p.m. on May 26, 2010

The most frustrating thing about living in New Haven is the sense of defeatism and "I can't wait to leave" attitudes that people express, particularly when they here because of Yale. Too bad more people don't embrace the city, enjoy its food and culture, and appreciate that it's also minutes away from beautiful New England countryside and the lower Connecticut River valley. New Haven may have its share of crime, and it's tragic that anyone gets killed, but it's true what "By student" says: crime in New Haven is always under a much bigger microscope than almost anywhere else in America.
When you move away, you realize that people are a lot more blase about crime than they are in New Haven. It's made me realize that cities are exactly what we make of them. And when our expectations for wear we live become heavy baggage, we never set it aside to enjoy where we live. Too bad so few people realize this in the 3-4 years they spend at Yale.

#7 By townie 6:31p.m. on May 26, 2010

... and that's in less than half a year! Cambridge, home of Hahvud, is about the same size and averages less than 2 murders a year.

#8 By @#6 10:14p.m. on May 26, 2010

Uhhh... we do enjoy the food and culture, the surrounding countryside, etc. We don't like the idea of getting shot, though. I personally don't think New Haven is anywhere near as bad as its reputation, and I enjoy going to school here... but the pros of the good stuff listed (pretty scenery, having a nice time) are easily obscured by the con(s) of the bad stuff (death).

#9 By Ivory Tower Crime and Punishment 11:07p.m. on May 26, 2010

Humphrey Street? East Rock? That’s a bad sign. Weren’t there a spate of robberies there a year ago? Sounds drug related. That used to be a decent neighborhood, although even 30 years ago when I went to Yale, the corpse of a prostitute was found in the dumpster behind Wilbur Cross High School, so crime isn’t exactly unknown there.
The noose of crime and poverty may be tightening around Yale’s neck.
The Ivory Tower can’t keep urbanization and crime at bay.
Even the Quinnipiac-ization of Sleeping Giant has turned Mt. Carmel into a gypsy camp of hamburger stands, student services and apartments for academic transients.
The traffic is now so dense across from the Mt. Carmel Burying Ground at the Sleeping Giant Golf Course that I have abandoned the family plot in favor of a grave in the Green Mountains , where I now live.
It is hardly “defeatism” as one poster says, to see encroaching civilization for what it is: a breeding ground for drugs, gangs, cellphone hook-ups and soulless materialism.
Defeatism or not, I’m gone.

Paul Keane
M.Div. ‘80

#10 By Arrogance sucks 1:44a.m. on May 27, 2010


Given that I've never seen you post something positive about New Haven, I'm glad that you've moved elsewhere to a place that makes you happier. Congratulations.

As for the comparison to Cambridge, that's misleading. Cambridge isn't a city; it's a suburb of Boston. And yes, there are lots of suburbs that are about the same size (as measured by population) as New Haven, but they enjoy relative "safety" because inner city poverty and crime is relegated to the city next door. But New Haven is a city and Cambridge is a suburb of a larger urban area.

Oddly, you don't cite the statistics for murders and crime in Boston, which would be much more relevant to your comparison.

Even if you did cite Boston statistics, even those wouldn't provide an accurate comparison. New Haven is about 18 square miles. Boston is about 40 square miles, encompassing a much more diverse set of neighborhoods (wealthy, middle class and poor) within its larger political boundaries. If you superimposed the same 40 square mile boundary around New Haven--which would include towns like East Haven, Hamden, Branford, West Haven and other dense but geographically small suburban towns--New would not only be much wealthier, but the crime rate would place it among the safest cities in the country. Connecticut's cities have some of the smallest urban boundaries in the country, making it not intellectually honest to compare New Haven's per capita statistics to those of other urban areas.

Crime and poverty in most cities are just as concentrated as they are in the New Haven area, but because New Haven's political boundaries are dramatically tinier, its per capita statistics are dramatically misleading. If you took a similar 18 square mile subset of, say, inner city Boston or Chicago, the crime statistics would make New Haven look like Mayberry.

Again, there are many reasons that crime in New Haven is under a microscope, which is a shame given that reputation often becomes more important than reality when investors decide where to invest. But for those Yalies who actually worry that they're going to be shot, trust me as someone who went to the University of Chicago: your fear is statistically irrational. Maybe you don't feel safe, but there are much, much less safe places to go to school. After all, Harvard's crime statistics last year made it a much less safe place than Yale. You shouldn't judge a book by its Colonial brick cover.

#11 By Tolstoevsky 1:26p.m. on May 27, 2010

New Haven as a city is definitely more dangerous than Cambridge, but Yale's campus is no comparison to Harvard. Hahvahd is actually much more urbanized and in some categories (like robbery, burglary and aggravated assualt) several times more dangerous than Yale in 2006-2008 period. Check the stats from both at:


#12 By Grieved Ghosts  8:20 p.m. on May 27th, 2010

Some POSITIVE memories of New Haven:

The great architecture of Yale available to the eye of a townie from New Haven streets inspired my soul as a boy in ways no prose could adequately describe.

The New Haven Green charmed and frightened me as a lad; the pigeons fluttering near the memorial fountain at Church and Chapel (is it still there?); the winos sleeping off a drunk on the greenest grass near sidewalks on the Green itself which I crossed as a boy; the Shubert Theatre which offered me Tallulah Bankhead, Carol Burnett and other stars in the flesh and blood rather than on television; the Presidential candidates Nixon and Kennedy in New Haven motorcades in 1960 (Kennedy had mahogany colored hair unlike any I have ever seen before or since).

These are pleasant memories of New Haven. Even the ugliness of my grandmother's ghetto apartment two blocks from the palaces of Yale at State and Elm Streets (a third floor walk-up with no hot water) is a pleasant memory; for its juxtaposition with the extravagant architecture of Yale is what shaped my outrage at the inequity in our world.

And Edgerton, the 88-room baronial English Tudor mansion of Frederick Foster Brewster on 25 acres behind a ten foot, mile long wall on Whitney Avenue just before New Haven ends and Hamden begins: this was a true castle shrouded in mystery which New Haven offered to the eyes of an imaginative child who had to climb East Rock to view it.

Yes. New Haven had a charm when I was a little boy: "O lost! and by the wind, grieved ghost, come back again." [ frontispiece, Look Homeward, Angel ]

Paul Keane
M.Div. '80

#13 By one of your finest posts 3:35a.m. on May 29, 2010

PK writes what he knows, and comes radiantly through. Cheers, you have done well. Yours is the soul of New Haven

#14 By , 4:21p.m. on May 29, 2010

Ha Ha, i TOLD YOU Hahvahd was betta !

#15 By Q 7:13p.m. on June 1, 2010

I find it amusing how the people who are screaming and complaining are also the people least likely to be affected by this shooting spree. EVERY single one of the people shot this year has been black or hispanic, almost every one with a criminal record. How is this making Yale any more dangerous? Are Yalies walking around newhallvile? I thought not. While this is a terrible problem for the city, it sickens me to read privileged sheltered people acting as if this is personally affecting them.

#16 By Sickening privileged Sheltered Person 11:18a.m. on June 2, 2010

Dear Q:
I am sorry that my status as a sheltered privileged person sickens you. It DOES NOT however disqualify me from participating in mankind (or humankind, if you will). I take John Donne's view
of the world,not yours.

Paul Keane
M. Div. '80

"No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Monday, May 24, 2010

* Anger Anthemnist Gets a Little R*E*S*P*E*C*T at Yale

309th Commencement at Yale

Doctor of Music: Aretha Franklin

Among the many hits of the so-called Queen of Soul are "Respect" and "Chain of Fools." She has won the Living Legend Grammy and Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and Rolling Stone has named her the No. 1 greatest singer of all time. She sang “My Country ’Tis of Thee” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009.

America's New Dr. Franklin: Anger's Anthemnist

I am a little troubled by the phrase "the so-called Queen of Soul" in Yale's award blurb (above). Wouldn't "the culturally anointed Queen of Soul" have been more dignified and less open to pejorative interpretation?

Be that as it may, it is significant that Yale has made Aretha a Doctor of Music. A one-woman recital she gave a Carnegie Hall last year received an unheard of glorious review in The New York Times which suggested that her voice is a national treasure whose richness has accrued with age.

After such a rare review, Yale's imprimatur seems almost a postscript.

Aretha's most famous and influential song is Otis Redding's 1965 "Respect". Aretha reversed the Redding male/female roles in her 1967 version, making it a rally cry for feminism.

I contend that it has become much more than just the liberated declaration of a woman in a frustrating relationship: it became the Anthem of Anger to an entire people who were throwing off the oppression of a century of second rate citizenship, (built on a previous century and a half of enslavement) at the moment of its release by Redding in 1965----the very year of President Johnson's Civil Rights Act was passed after a decade of turmoil in integrating our nation's schools.

Aretha sings these words in verse five of "Respect":

Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB

In the context of the entire song (below) this verse is the challenge of a woman to the man who oppresses her.

In the context of the Civil Rights Movement, it became a call to action: We are Takin' Care of Business (TCB) white nation, and it's up to you to find out what R-E-S-P-E-C-T means to us, your black brothers and sisters. We are suppliants no more.

Maybe Aretha didn't intend it this way, but this is how culture co-opted her song and used it to move a liberation movement along its path to success.

All this cultural baggage remained neatly packed in the suitcase of Yale's polite, almost dainty, blurb (cited above) with the unfortunate "so called" phrase delivered today at Yale's 309th Commencement upon the occassion of Ms. Franklin's being awarded the honorary doctorate of music.

It deserves unpacking and laying out for the public to see.

I do so here.

(With great respect for America's second most influential Dr. Franklin: Aretha, the Anthemnist of Anger)

Respect Lyrics

Aretha Franklin

(oo) What you want
(oo) Baby, I got
(oo) What you need
(oo) Do you know I got it?
(oo) All I'm askin'
(oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)

I ain't gonna do you wrong while you're gone
Ain't gonna do you wrong (oo) 'cause I don't wanna (oo)
All I'm askin' (oo)
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit) when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

I'm about to give you all of my money
And all I'm askin' in return, honey
Is to give me my profits
When you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah baby (just a, just a, just a, just a)
When you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

------ instrumental break ------

Ooo, your kisses (oo)
Sweeter than honey (oo)
And guess what? (oo)
So is my money (oo)
All I want you to do (oo) for me
Is give it to me when you get home (re, re, re ,re)
Yeah baby (re, re, re ,re)
Whip it to me (respect, just a little bit)
When you get home, now (just a little bit)

Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB

Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
A little respect (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
Whoa, babe (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)
I get tired (just a little bit)
Keep on tryin' (just a little bit)
You're runnin' out of foolin' (just a little bit)
And I ain't lyin' (just a little bit)
(re, re, re, re) 'spect
When you come home (re, re, re ,re)
Or you might walk in (respect, just a little bit)
And find out I'm gone (just a little bit)
I got to have (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

* Put a pebble in every Yalie's shoe: Go Hungry in Honor of Clinton's Challenge

Put a pebble in your shoe: Go hungry six hours a week, Yale students.

Debunking Cynicism

Bill Clinton rightly said today at Yale that he has always considered cyncism a "cop -out".

I agree.

And its best antidote is activism.

That is why I added comment # 24 to the column "Debunking 'Service'" by Ms. Kim, below.

Yale students could easily organize the weekly $10,000 scholarship to New Haven's poor which I propose.

Sacrificing one Yale Food Service meal a week---or even the price of a Big Mac -- by 5000 undergraduates would translate into a weekly $10,000 scholarship with little more than a few hunger pangs for a few hours weekly by Yale students.

For fifteen years I knew a man who was principal of a Vermont high school who, every day when he dressed, put a small pebble in his right shoe to remind him of the discomfort, suffering, hunger, and pain in the world.

Surely Yale students can suffer one six hour segment of their week when they consciously agree to go a tiny bit hungry to benefit the academic future of New Haven's poor.



PS: If this worked at Yale it could spread to campuses around the country.

Kim: Debunking 'Service'
By E. Tammy Kim
Guest Columnist
The Yale Daily News
Published Thursday, May 13, 2010

On Saturday, Yale students and alumni all over the world will participate in the Yale Day of Service. In New York City, the projects organized by the “Public Service/Social Justice Committee” of the local alumni group range from “sprucing up parks” to “reading books to children” and “teaching tennis.” This is the second annual Day of Service, and I dread and rebuke it as much as I did last year.

A planned day of charity is ultimately a misdirection of time and energy, lost both on participants and their intended beneficiaries. How regrettable that the vast resources and talents of...

#24 By Money Talks 3:24p.m. on May 23, 2010

Let's get practical and concrete.

There are 5000 Yale undergraduates.

If each one voluntarily forfeited a single meal at food service once a week ( in check- off option at registration) that would amount to at least $2.00 per student or $10,000 a WEEK!

That $10,000 could be awarded as a scholarship EVERY week in New Haven's schools to students with financial need seeking to attend post-secondary educational institutions (including vocational schools).

Think of the public relations excitement and the academic interest it would generate

It could happen in an instant. All it takes is organizational leadership and a decision.

Paul Keane
M.Div. '80

Friday, May 21, 2010

* In Your Face

Bill Kmon

The Beamer of the Upper Valley

For the past 20 years there’s been a man in Lebanon N. H who has had his fists in my face at least once a year. Most of the time he was wielding a sharp instrument, and he wasn’t smiling. In fact, he was staring at me with a laser beam intensity that would penetrate steel.

A month ago he told me he wasn’t going to do that to me any more. He was retiring and moving out to Montana where he could never get to me again.

You’d think after all those years of being under his thumbs, so to speak, I’d be jumping with joy to be rid of him.

Well the fact is, I’m not. I’m actually a bit sad at losing him.

Not because I’m a masochist who enjoys fists and sharp weapons, but because that man is my dentist, and (as he was commended to me 20 years ago by a colleague with a Ph.D. in psychology) “he is the best oral surgeon in the Upper Valley.”

That man is Bill Kmon, Doctor of Dental Medicine.

Those fists, are the hands of a surgeon, poised with whatever instrument he is using to make exactly the precise incision, adjustment or sculpting needed to save a smile or relieve an ache of suffering.

And that stare is the power of concentration, marshaled by keen intelligence and passionate interest (and joy) in the service of his art to abolish pain and preserve health in and on the ivory keyboards which his fingers play like Horowitz at Carnegie Hall.

Suffice it to say that Bill Kmon literally saved my mouth. (Some people wish he hadn’t.)

When I arrived on his doorstep 22 years ago, I had been smoking cigars for 15 years and had ruined my gums. Yes---I had a mouth full of teeth, but like a fence in mud season, they weren’t secured by much and needed a new foundation.

With the magic of his scalpel and the artistry of those virtuoso fists, Bill Kmon “borrowed” some skin off the roof of my mouth and re-set those fence-posts in solid ground.

If I smile with my own ivory today, two decades later, it is because of Bill Kmon.

Indeed, I’d say I have a “Kmon smile” hanging on my face, just like some people brag about having a Picasso hanging on their wall.

And the artist behind my smile is just as much a genius to me as Picasso is to an art buyer, except that my masterpiece doesn’t just sit on an easel or hang on a wall; it goes wherever I go---- it moves, it laughs, it eats, it smiles, it shapes sounds and it makes me feel like me.

So thank you, Maestro Kmon, not only from me but from the thousands of patients you have imprinted with Kmon smile over the 37 years of your tenure in the Upper Valley.

May the memories of every one of those beaming faces of ivory 'beam you up' in Montana and wherever else your well deserved retirement takes you.


Paul D. Keane
M.A., M.Div., M.Ed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

* Exposing Oz (Dorothy's Feminist Adventures)

Dorothy's Adventures


* Who is the only American journalist to have interviewed Mussolini and Hitler prior to W.W. II?

* Who was the first woman to anchor a television news broadcast and later to have her own television news program?

* Who was the journlaist who, at age 77. threw Yippie Jerry Rubin off her Ohio television show mid-interview, rising, like Lady Macbeth, and declaring "Out!"?

* Who was the only Ohio journalist to label the 1970 killing of four students at Kent State University by Ohio National Guardsmen "murder"?

* Who, at age 89, interviewed President Reagan on her Ohio televison news broadcast?

* Who has been called "The First Lady of American Television News?"


Dorothy Fuldheim

( 1893 -1989 )

Monday, May 17, 2010

* Dartmouth: Ivy-League Camouflage ?

Dr. Michael DeBakey,heart surgery pioneer, recovered from heart surgery himself at age 97 and died at 99 in 2008.

Letter to the Editor
The Valley News

Dear Editor:

A 35 million dollar anonymous gift to Dartmouth will allow the College to create a Center for Health Care Delivery Science " for health care education and research."

Although Dartmouth's announcement didn't say so, one of the great missions of the "health care education and research" which it will conduct will be to gently break it to us Baby Boomers (of which I am a rapidly graying, wrinkling member ) that U.S. medical resources are disproportionately allocated to the aged in the final stages of life.

This ethical problem of who gets what medical resources is not new. It is one which I studied in a course called "Religious Ethics and Modern Moral Issues" when I took the terminal theology degree at Yale in 1980.

The yet-to-be hired-Dartmouth researchers in 2010 already know that U.S. medical resources are disproportionately allocated to the aged in the final stages of life.

Everybody knows it.

So why spend 35 million dollars to enshrine in the Ivy League a research center which will once again arrive at this well known conclusion?

Because what they intend to do is to sugar coat this knowledge, dress it in respectable academic robes, or camouflage it like a panther, not with spots but with data, data so compelling and confusing, that the public will swallow it hook, line, and dollar sign.

And what will the result be?

A handsomely printed and digitally published report under the impressive Dartmouth seal concluding ( surprise! ) that we must reallocate the resources to the young, or go broke.

Am I suggesting that the future Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science is positioned to be used as a political tool of a utilitarian government?

Not on your life.

On mine.


Paul D. Keane

* Long Live Lurtsema's Heresy

Robert J. Lurtsema, 1931-2000

A Heart Attacked

After 25 years of listening daily to All Things Considered on National Public Radio, I stopped listening, cold turkey about two years ago. The daily drone of news got to be irritating, as if the world, like the tree falling in the forest, needed to be OBSERVED (REPORTED) in order to rotate, fornicate, populate, expostulate, and degenerate.

In fact, the world kept doing all those things without the help of my verifying eyes (or ears, in the case of radio).

The news didn't need me, and, I found, I didn't need it.

In fact, I came to realize that All Things Considered existed in exact proportion to the amount of time alotted to it. If there was more news that day, it got hacked off at exactly the 2 hour point, whereupon a taperecording of the first two hours was re-played to latecomers. If there was less news, than many dubious "features" suddenly reared their head to be admired by the listening public.

One of the refreshing moments in the history of electronic news happened on a classical music program 25 years ago called Morning Pro-Musica (1971-2000) hosted by the golden throated Robert J. Lurtsema, who knew a great deal about classical music, which he loved, and also knew how to shape words into relaxing sentences, graceful verbal preludes and exeunts, if you will.

Lurtsema, whose calm and elegant voice garnered a vast following in the tumultuous and cacophonous 70's and 80's, had refused to interrupt his program (and a classical piece of music) on "the hour" in order to accommodate National Public Radio's hourly news "spot".

Instead he read the A.P. Wire Service reports himself, when whatever piece of classical music he was offering to the public had finshed its natural performance time.

One morning Lurtsema committed Radio Heresy (it would have been Televsion Heresy too, if it had been viewed as well as heard): He read the A.P. Wire Service report this way:

"Everything coming across the wires today seems to be a rehash of yesterday's news, so we'll skip the news and go directly to music."

National Public Broadcasting was not amused, and thus began a campaign to strip Lurtsema of his programming prerogatives which ultimately ended the syndication of his program when Lurtsema refused categorically to interrupt a piece of music to broadcast the news.

Morning Pro-Musica thus reduced to its original audience, Boston Public Radio, and later, from weekdays to weekends only.

"Robert J." as he was known, soldiered on, without his army.

A few years later, at age 69, he suddenly died, a heart attacked, mourning pro-musica.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

* Again, "Bring Hell Back"

The Price of Secularism: Murder is Here to Stay

Op-Ed Columnist
Upending Twisted Norms

Published: May 10, 2010

Bob Herbert
Post a Comment »
One of the most frightening aspects of the murderous violence plaguing so many urban neighborhoods across the country is the widespread notion among young people that killing somebody who ticks you off is normal. It’s something that is only to be expected, like eating when you’re hungry.
If a stranger or someone from a rival clique steps on your clean, white sneakers, or makes a crack about your manhood, or laughs at you, putting a bullet in his heart or his head is seen by an awful lot of young people as an appropriate response. This is a form of crazed thinking that needs to be confronted and changed.
Dr. Gary Slutkin, an epidemiologist who began focusing more than a decade ago on urban violence as a public health matter, has developed a program that is making progress in altering such behavior, and thus reducing the violence. Antiviolence initiatives that actually work are desperately needed to cut down on the slaughter that continues with numbing regularity, year after tragic year.
Two to three dozen school-age children are killed in Chicago every year. More than 150 have been shot in the current school year. And Chicago is hardly America’s most dangerous city.

Uncooking the Egg: Bring Hell Back

I have written on this topic with the same title (Bring Hell Back) elsewhere in this blog, but it is needed again.

Bob Herbert's Op-Ed in the NY Times today begins with this quote: "One of the most frightening aspects of the murderous violence plaguing so many urban neighborhoods across the country is the widespread notion among young people that killing somebody who ticks you off is normal."

The only reason it is normal is that religion is a vestigial appendage in our country, a kind of feel-good society, instead of the Skinner Box it was intended to be, correcting inappropriate behavior with ZAPS from Hell and REWARDS from Heaven.

With the death of "Hell" ( Be honest: NOBODY believes in amn ACTUAL PLACE OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT called Hell any more, in America, except perhaps some octagenarian Roman Catholics and some cultish zealots) fear of Divine Retribution has vanished from the human psyche in modern America.

There is supreme social utility in keeping people from slaughtering each other over a pair of sneakers, or a "diss".

Hell---or the FEAR of hell -- did just that. And as corny and Unconstitutional as it may seem, "Thou shalt not kill" had a lot more power when kids were raised
having to memorize The Ten Commandments, for some kind of religious ceremony.

I say : Bring Hell back for fifty years, and see if the national murder rate doesn't decrease.

There's only one problem: You can't uncook an egg, unpickle a cucumber, or unenlighten a secular society.

I am sorry to say murder may be is here to stay.

And hell?

Just a mise-en-scene for New Yorker cartoons

Thursday, May 6, 2010

*Advanced Western Civilization

Hubristic Solipsism Masqueading as Civilization

The high school Announcements asked students who had signed up for "Advanced Western Civilization" to meet in such and such a room. What the Announcemnts should have said was that students who had signed up for the "ADVANCED SECTION of Western Civilization" should meet in such and such a room.

For a moment, I wondered to myself, "Is Western Civilization really an advanced version of civilization?"

Our food is full of toxins according to a report today issued by a panel of physicians, who say that the average American has 210 "synthetic chemicals" his/her body.

Our oceans are awash in trash and oil.

Our skies smell of gasoline as 98 thousand weekly flights in Europe are cancelled by
an angry volcano competing for the air.

Our drinking water needs to be filtered at the spigot after the government certifies that it is safe at the pipe.

Our priests molest our children.

Our politicians lust in public.

Our government fails to manage crises, from hurricanes to economic bubbles.

Our journalists fabricate and sensationalize.

Our technology turns us into exhilaration junkies.

Our education systems are debased into personnel-delivery-systems for a global economy and its mercantile guru, Bill Gates.

Our children, tethered to electronic gadgets, become inert and larded in thick robes of fat.

Our Decline?

Our Fall?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

* "Massacre" at last

Tonight's CBS Evening News had a segment on the 40th anniversary of what they called the "Kent State Massacre".

This took me by surprise, as one who was there that day (May 4, 1970) and saw the bloodshed 40 years ago.

Yes, it was a massacre. Actually, "slaughter" might be more accurate.

However,as I have written before on this blog, from the instant after that slaughter, both Kent State administrators and unwitting journalists became accomplices in what I call "the euphemization of murder". In the adminsitrators case, the euphemization was premeditated.

At first is was the "Kent State killings". Then it was the "Kent State tragedy". Then it became the "Kent State Incident" which resulted in "the deaths" of four students, as if the students simply expired without the intervention of an outside agent: killers, in law enforcement uniforms. Finally, it became "the Kent State affair" or just "Kent State".

The slaughter had shattered the national fantasy: All is well in white America, especially at its privileged ivy fiefdoms: the castles known as college campuses.

The iconic photo of Jeffrey Miller lying face down with a river of blood oozing down
the asphalt altar of Kent State's Taylor Hall parking lot, with the screaming madonna on her knees at his side, arms upraised in despair, ended forever white people's fantasy that police brutality happened to others, and not to them.

Immediately, the guilty put up a smoke-screen to cover the slaughter: there was a sniper; the kids had charged with such viciousness, and even continued charging after the shootings, that the gunfire was justified; the students killed were such filthy hippie radicals that they were covered with lice when their bodies were brought to the hospital. All lies.

The FBI scoured every dorm room at Kent State (approximately 18, 000 live-in students, if I recall correctly) without search warrants hoping to amass evidence of a revolutionary plot.

I was a graduate counselor in Manchester Hall and my R.A.'s
rock and hammer collection (he was geology student) was confiscated and put on display with other students' articles, by the local Portage County grand jury as evidence that students were engaged in a violent plot, amassing rocks to throw at Guardsmen.

Massacre. Slaughter. (Not self-defensse. Panic? Perhaps.)

Why does it take 40 years to hear those words?

One historian at Gettysburg College's Civil War Institute, which I attended for five summers 1998-2003, told me that "it takes forty years after an event before a historian can even begin to do his work."

Agendas die hard.

Students die easy.

* Gentleman Liberty Retires at 76 and Lady Liberty Spills Tears of Oil

Gentleman Liberty

For forty years there has been another colossus among us besides Lady Liberty, rising not out of New York's actual harbor but out of the the visual harbor (and now the digital harbor) first of New York television, and later, of national television, to illuminate the imaginations of all Americans defining themselves as liberals.

That Gentleman Liberty has been Bill Moyers.

His role as liberal archetype first defined a Liberty Continuum, from Bill to shining Bill : The Moyers (Left)------------Buckley (Right) spectrum, intellectual journalists who actually READ books.

Bill Moyers' Journal

Firing Line with Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.

After the demise of the USSR and the "threat" of Communism and the death of Bill Buckley himself, there was no intellectual on the Right to populate Buckley's place on the Liberty Continuum, only shrill talk-show harangers.

Bill Moyers tried to retire in 2004 , but the need for a liberal intellectual voice brought him back for a blessed six more years.

Today he retired again , his 'final' time he called it, as the Gulf Coast from which he was spawned as a Texan was being overwhelmed by what may be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history: the BP Oil rig collapse and the spillage of 200,000 gallons of oil PER DAY into the waters, a spill which may taint Florida and beyond, even sneaking up the East Coast, some predict as I write.

In 1972 I had the privilege of being interviewed, with my fellow Kent State student Greg Rambo, on one of the first of Bill Moyers' Journals.

Back then PBS was only a New York phenomenon, and Bill Moyers' Journal was in its infancy.

Kent State was taboo, and very few people cared that Attorney General John Mitchell had refused to convene a federal grand jury to investigate the slaughter of four Kent Students by Ohio National Guardsmen, May 4, 1970 (the 40th anniversary of which occurs in two days).

It took guts for Bill Moyers to come to Kent and focus on that injustice.

I was 27 and Mr. Moyers, the former Press Secretary to President Johnson, was in his mid-thirties. His producer, Harry Moses, (later a
60 Minutes' producer) prepped us for the interview. My recollection was that in the midst of our hokey Ohio student-costuming came a young man with hair as dark as mine and only a few years older than myself, in a camel's hair overcoat and Fifth Avenue suit of some sort.

He was wearing the accoutrements of power and respectability: the costume needed to be heard in those shrill days of military haircuts and hippie hair.

I had long hair at the time, but I had enough sense to wear a suit and tie for the interview, lest I be dismissed as "just another Kent State radical." Actually, sense is the wrong word: my wardrobe choice was a conscious strategy to defuse popular prejudices about students. Now that the entire world dresses in blue jeans even at funerals and weddings, such wardobe distinctions seem antiquated.

I didn't realize then, but came to realize over the decades, that here in the person of young Bill Moyers was a nascent colossus, striding out to meet the forces of narrowmindedness and injustice and to "speak truth to power".

Lady Liberty sheds a tear today, at the departure of Gentleman Liberty fom the scene.

A tear tainted, I am sorry to say, with petroleum.