Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's Behind the Media, Political and Power Elite Disdain for "Occupy Wall Street" ? While Some NYPD Support and Refuse to Suppress the Activists?

from Kevin Gosztola's trenchant analysis on the opposition to "Occupy Wall Street":
 "[Journalist John] Avlon is an example of why many Americans do not support Occupy Wall Street. They understand that Occupy Wall Street wants to have an impact on the system and force the system to respond to the occupation’s demands, but they see protesters do not want to work within the system and lobby members of Congress and sign petitions and find out what piecemeal reforms representatives and senators think they can manage to deliver without jeopardizing their re-election campaigns. They are afraid of people power or “too much democracy.”

Compounding the contempt for grassroots struggle in America is the unwavering confidence in the myth known as the American Dream. The American Dream rests upon the idea that all Americans can prosper if they try hard enough. In its most perverted form, it cons Americans into believing they could not only prosper but be rich one day. This was discussed on “Real Time w/ Bill Maher” Friday night too

MAHER: Do [Americans] really think everyone can be rich? How can that really work? Who would do the things for rich people that allow them to be rich people if we are all rich?

MOORE: 400 Americans have more wealth than 150 million combined

HARMAN: I don’t think we can all be rich. I agree with that. But look at who is rich and how young people who are colossally inventive can become the billionaires?

MAHER: So anecdotal.

HARMAN: Have polices that promote innovation and enterprise in this country.

AVLON: This is part of the American character. Right, this is the idea. It’s not just anecdotal. It’s Google. It’s the guys behind Google. There’s dozens and dozens and hundreds — This is the story of America. There are two things going on here. One, eighty percent of Americans always think they are middle class and that’s a good thing. The problem is we have seen the middle class get squeezed for around four decades now. And the average CEO’s salary is around $9.6 million while the average family of four still makes 50 [thousand?] …

Avlon concludes, “You can’t dismiss the idea of the American Dream because people live it every day and that’s what animates our country.” But, as Moore responded, “That dream is a nightmare for most people” these days

 from Glenn Greenwald in Salon:

"It's unsurprising that establishment media outlets have been condescending, dismissive and scornful of the ongoing protests on Wall Street. Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishment-serving institutions and their loyalists. That's just the nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, an inevitable by-product of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives (which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) are going to be hostile to those challenges. As the virtually universal disdain in these same circles for WikiLeaks (and, before that, for the Iraq War protests) demonstrated: the more effectively adversarial it is, the more establishment hostility it's going to provoke.

Nor is it surprising that much of the most vocal criticisms of the Wall Street protests has come from some self-identified progressives, who one might think would be instinctively sympathetic to the substantive message of the protesters."

Finally, unconfirmed reports that 100 New York City Police Department officers refused to participate in suppressing the activists:
"Today we received unconfirmed reports that over one hundred blue collar police refused to come into work in solidarity with our movement. These numbers will grow. We are the 99 percent. You will not silence us."

"The news was released shortly after the identity of Deputy Inspector ..was revealed after he allegedly pepper sprayed a deaf woman."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Google@13: Dead Sea Scrolls Online

13 years and counting, Google posts the Dead Sea Scrolls online:

Overview here

The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls, beautifully rendered, are here

Monday, September 26, 2011

Coda: Summer of Eleven Earthquake Shuts Washington Monument

The Washington monument is shuttered indefinitely for repairs following last summer's earthquake. Tourists ran from the building as it shook violently.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Faster than the Speed of Light?

Has the team at CERN identified particles that are shot between two labs that are arriving slightly before they left the lab. Does this indicate that the speed of light can be exceeded? Details here

Preventing the Great Depression 2: Nouriel Roubini

Nouriel Roubini outlines recommended steps to prevent the double dip recession from collapsing into a full-fledged global depression (aka Great Depression II) here

Dr. Roubini: "The risks ahead are not just of a mild double-dip recession, but of a severe contraction that could turn into Great Depression II, especially if the eurozone crisis becomes disorderly and leads to a global financial meltdown. Wrong-headed policies during the first Great Depression led to trade and currency wars, disorderly debt defaults, deflation, rising income and wealth inequality, poverty, desperation, and social and political instability that eventually led to the rise of authoritarian regimes and World War II. The best way to avoid the risk of repeating such a sequence is bold and aggressive global policy action now."

Plain Speaking: Elizabeth Warren on the Debt Crisis and Fair Taxation -- Direct and to the Point

Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren on the Debt Crisis and Fair Taxation here

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning Melody": David Bowie on Soul Train Sings Golden Years

David Bowie interviewed by the legendary Don Cornelius on "Soul Train" and then performs "Golden Years." Looks like a rebroadcast from Japanese TV.

What's Going On In the White House During this Economic Crisis: One (Almost) Doesn't Want to Know

NY Magazine's Adam Moss and Frank Rich weigh in on Ron Suskind's book about the Obama Adminstration's Economic Quagmire, Confidence Men:   For example: 
"Peter Orszag relays this eviscerating quote that Summers said to him about Obama during the worst of the economic distress. According to Orszag, Summers says, "You know, Peter we're really home alone. There's no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes." Later, Orszag says to Suskind, "Larry just didn't think the president knew what he was deciding. Was this [obstruction of the president's wishes] outright and willful?" In other words, asks Orszag, was Summers saying, "I know more than the president flat-out? That strikes me as ... likely." In an amazing memo, Pete Rouse, who would replace Emanuel temporarily as chief of staff, recommends firing Summers for "Larry's imperious and heavy-handed direction of the economic policy process."

": I kept flipping back and forth between fury at Obama and — I know I'm easy — sympathy. So much of the damage comes from the initial decision to hire these guys, a decision he had to make almost immediately after being elected. He was inexperienced, he needed help, they burned him, he let them — that's the story in brief."

"Suskind also nails, I think, Obama's intellectual blind spot. Indeed, Obama himself nails it, telling Suskind that he was too inclined to search for "the perfect technical answer" to the myriad of complex issues coming at him. What he'd end up with instead is, as Suskind astutely summarizes it, "clever" answers that were "respectfully acknowledging opponents' positions, even those with thin evidence behind them, that then get stitched together into some pragmatic conclusion — but hollow." That said, could someone else have done better? Not the out-of-it McCain, not Hillary (an equivocator in her own right and one who would have embraced the same Clinton administration alumni and Wall Street crowd that Obama did). I still believe Obama was our best hope, and I still hope, however quixotically and self-deludedly, that he might learn from his mistakes."

Link here

Friday, September 16, 2011

Art and Anti-Art: Maurizio Cattelan Flips the Bird

This fall, Maurizio Cattelan will take New York, and probably America, by storm when his retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum opens in early November.

If you aren't yet familiar with the artist, whose work includes "The Ninth Hour", a life-like sculpture of Pope John Paul II struck down by a meteorite, among other satiric, comic and bizarre manifestations of Cattelan's provocative,  renegade sensibility, you will soon.

Below, a teaser: "The Ballad of Trotsky" a sculpture by the artist. He also created a monumental sculpture of a hand "flipping the bird" positioned at the Italian Stock Market. Madonn'....

The Ballad of Trotsky by Maurizio Cattelan

"Il Dito Medio"(Middle Finger) -- (or is it a vandalized black shirt salute?)
at the Milan Stock Exchange by Maurizio Cattelan

NY Times T Magazine interview here

The Guardian Interview here

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Save the St Marks Bookshop - Please Sign the Petition

The St. Mark's Bookshop is a NYC literary treasure. The St. Mark's Bookshop has a long tradition in the Lower East Side and serves an admirable and increasingly rare function. St. Mark's is struggling to pay the market rent that Cooper Union is charging them at 31 3rd Ave.   A significant rent concession by Cooper Union could save this irreplaceable neighborhood institution.

So I signed a petition to Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science, which says:

"The St. Mark's Bookshop, a vital Lower East Side cultural institution, needs a rent low enough to survive. Join the Cooper Square Committee petitioning Cooper Union, the bookstore's landlord, to give St. Mark's Bookshop a lower rent."

Will you sign this petition? Click here:

Thank you

Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Political endgames: Could terror be "institutionalized" in a Democracy?

Paul Krugman draws criticism from the Left and Right on his observations about the politics of 9/11 here

The criticism on Krugman’s observations on the "Political rituals of 9/11" here

DITHOB: And, while the Krugman blog post sparked controversy, would it ever be time for the larger meaning of 9/11 and the endless war with terror that we face to enter the public consciousness ? Surely, the numbers killed in 9/11 stagger. But suppose, G-d forbid, just suppose despite (or because of) TSA, surveillance, Guantanamo, Bin Laden assassination, waterboarding, etc., 9/11 or worse recurs. Will the wrenching emotions of 9/11 and public ceremonies also recur, or a numbness. Will there be a call for another memorial? Or numbness. To that end, the late, brilliant author David Foster Wallace observes in his “Just Asking” short essay from the Atlantic whether, just as we accept thousands of automobile fatalities a year as the cost for America’s freedom to travel, could we accept a large number of deaths from terror as the price of living in a democracy beset by anarchic religious terrorists?  David Foster Wallace – Just Asking - here 

A dark but provocative question-- one that hopefully America will not have to engage.... 

Disconnects and Disturbances in the Field

Number of Americans living in poverty hits record numbers link here

Demand for Taget Missoni line crashes retailer's website link here

Food pantry coordinator loses job, slips below poverty line link here

Zizek on the political and social impotence of the smash and grab quality of the UK Riots "Shoplifters of the World Unite" link here

On (or rather against) Zizek's Comments and the UK Riots link here

Turner Congressional Win: A new political dynamic in Brooklyn and Queens politics link here

Over objections, new Brooklyn Historic Landmark district is established link here

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Morning Melody: "I'm a Fool, Heaven Knows..": Fool's Gold by Graham Parker and the Rumour

Graham Parker and the Rumour, BBC Live  Broadcast by the BBC on 17 March 1977, this captures Graham Parker and the Rumour just as they were breaking their 'Heat Treatment' album, Brinsley Schwartz and Martin Belmont on guitars and Bob Andrews on keyboards.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"It Changed Everything": And, True, We Will Never Get Over it

Peggy Noonan gets to the heart of the matter in her Wall Street Journal article yesterday:

"And it changed everything. It marked a psychic shift in our town between "safe" and "not safe." It marked the end of impregnable America and began an age of vulnerability. It marked the end of "we are protected" and the beginning of something else."

DITHOb: Ms. Noonan has penned a beautiful, heartbreaking remembrance about 9/11, about heroes, survival, and sacrifice in this beautiful City. Maybe "The" article of the 10th anniversary. G-d bless us all whether we confront, or turnaway, from this painful and staggering memory.
As Ms. Noonan writes, we will never get over it, nor should we. Like Pearl Harbor, for the New Yorkers especially those who lived in the City at the time,  it will always remain indelibly etched in the memory.

For subsequent generations it may become History (or Herstory) but for those of us alive, aware, and especially for those of us with significant others and children to worry about, 9/11 will always remain the recent past, maybe even the Here and Now.

Peggy Noonan's full WSJ article here

--Anthony Napoli, Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Are Those Military Jets Flying Shotgun Over New York City?

High flying aircraft all day that do not sound like commercial aircraft...

The Most Disturbing Reporting About 9/11

Iraq, Afghanistan, Ghost Wars, CIA, 43, WTC.....

Friday, September 9, 2011

CODA: The Submission by Amy Waldman: 9/11 Through a Looking Glass

I saw Amy Waldman interviewed on a news program and thought, The Submission just might be the "9/11 book" that I am ready for. Having backed into previous 9/11 novels, such as Netherlands, or taken it on headlong in the non-fiction Looming Towers, I had started thinking about what September 11, 2011, ten years after, might actually mean, amazed at how much time has seemed to pass so quickly in this decade: our children becoming teenagers and young adults, the loss of family members, life, NYC, history and the collision of change, hope, and dreams, American and otherwise. 

The Submission is, on the surface, a traditional literary work, but it is subtle and quietly subversive in its analysis of politics, journalism --  tabloid and otherwise, and daily life in contemporary New York at all economic and social strata. It addresses identity politics, more specifically, what it means/meant to be Muslim in America, post 9/11, in the context of the selection of a design for the memorial for victims of a WTC-type terror attack. In doing so, to this reader, it suggests that while there are never precisely any exact winners or losers in this conflict, it is this endless struggle and opportunity, both to identify who we are and to resist being culturally straight-jacketed by others, that seems to identify what it is to be "Americans."

After I finished reading the book, I discovered the accompanying official website which was especially resonant and provocative in offering some of the ideas and sources that inspired and informed the author's writing of this very thoughtful, troubling and satisfying work. 

-Anthony Napoli, Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn


As the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2011 approaches, I started reading The Submission, a novel by Amy Waldman, which deals with the politics and cultural dislocations swirling around the construction of a memorial for a terrorist attack in New York City.

Since Gilbert Gottfried told his joke at the celebrity roast in October 2001, the creative impulse in us has been struggling to escape and to figure out just what contribution can be made to our understanding of what happened and what it all means, if in fact there are any answers to be had.

What I find fascinating about Ms. Waldman's beautifully written, literate work, at once funny, serious and dark, is that, since this is not truly historical fiction -- clearly, we are, even after a decade, still painfully close to the Reality of the Actual Event --  the book takes place in a sort of Alternate Universe. It is a World Trade Center, in a NYC, on a 9/11 , attacked by terrorists, and a memorial is built by a Committee to remember the event. But at the same time it is something else, it is not a roman a clef of our actual experience, and I find that slight dissonance, or rather incongruity, powerful and adding to the insightfulness of the book. While I am still reading The Submission, the experience feels as though the author, Amy Waldman, has swung for the fences with this not overly long book, and beyond hitting a home run, is achieving something like escape velocity.

I am still reading it, struggling, frankly, to read it slowly, savoring it, so I don't finish it until just before Sunday, 9/11.  Highly recommended.

Friday Morning Melody: Graham Parker - "I Dreamed Headlong Collisions/In Jetlag Panavision"

Graham Parker and the Rumour, "Discovering Japan" from Squeezing Out Sparks, Arista 1979

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Andy Monument: Union Square

Rob Pruitt’s “The Andy Monument” / March – October2, 2011
Photo by Tony Napoli - Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn
Inspired by Warhol’s art and life, Rob Pruitt (b. 1964, Washington DC) created “The Andy Monument” as a tribute to the late artist. It stands on the street corner, just as Warhol did when he signed and gave away copies of ‘Interview’ magazine. Pruitt’s sculpture adapts and transforms the familiar tradition of classical statuary.

Other posts concerning Mr. Warhol that reflect DITHOB's ongoing interest and respect for his creativity and "merz"-sensibility here, here and here ..

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Down to the Wire: Passione: John Tuturro's Musical Adventure of Napoletano Song

John Tuturro's "Passione: A Musical Adventure" which explores contemporary and traditional music in Napoli, aka Naples, formerly know as Neopolis, and before that, Parthenope, plays through this evening at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema and Brooklyn Academy of Music.

While it has drawn comparisons to "Buena Vista Social Club" the film draws on the cultural complexity and ethnic diversity of this southern Italian city, one of the oldest, continually inhabited cities in the world. Billboard reports that a concert tour of performers appearing in the film is scheduled in Italy, and plans are underway for bringing the musicians and singers to the US.

As a thoroughly assimilated American/New Yorker whose ancestors hail from Napoli and Bari, it is fascinating to explore the contemporary iterations of the traditional roots of this music that was so familiar to me growing up in an Italian-American household in Brooklyn. Yet, when we visited  a couple of years ago, at the time my oldest daughter developed genuine fluency after spending a year at the University of Urbino, Napoli (which is my surname) seemed such a foreign country to me.  Rome seemed more familiar, more comfortable, reflecting dreams and aspirations. It occurred to me that Rome reflects the more polished, urbane and high culture aspects of New York, and Napoli, the more struggling, and striving, aspects of  New York, a collision of high and low cultures,  emananting from a complex, diverse mix of individuals of all walks of life, ethnicities, races and cultures. Rome is, of course, unique like no other city, but with aspects of Manhattan's Fifth Ave, Madison and Park Avenues. Napoli is, of course, likewise a uniquely historical city, but with aspects of Canal Street, the Lower East Side, Williamsburgh and Bed Stuy. Wonderful, too, that Mr. Tuturro, whose roots are in Sicily and Puglia (Bari), created this film that opens another door to the truth and the romance of Napoletan culture.

Catch it if you can.

Passione (directed by  John Turturro)-"Tammuriata nera" - Peppe Barra, Max Casella, M'BarkaBen Taleb.

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo