Friday, June 27, 2008

Thank You George......

George Carlin (1937–2008): Legendary Comedian Challenged Status Quo Throughout 50-Year Career

Two dear friends of mine passed over from this lifetime during the last two weeks and my attention has been with them, their loved ones and my loved ones. For that reason I am late in posting this in memory of a great comedian, and someone who spoke for truth for all of us.

I urge you to watch or listen to this interview on Democracy Now at

Legendary comedian George Carlin died of heart failure on Sunday evening at the age of seventy-one. Carlin was one of the most well-known comedians of the past fifty years and was widely considered one of the top stand-up comics of all time. We play some of Carlin’s memorable routines and look at his legacy with Richard Zoglin, author of Comedy on the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America.


Richard Zoglin, a senior writer and editor at Time magazine. He is author of Comedy on the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America.

Related Links
Pacifica Radio Archives
"How George Carlin Changed Comedy" by Richard Zoglin

AMY GOODMAN: Fellow comedians and fans across the country are mourning the death of George Carlin. He died of a heart attack, heart failure on Sunday at the age of seventy-one.

George Carlin was one of the most well-known comedians of the past half-century. He was widely considered one of the top stand-up comics of all time. In a career that spanned half a century, he released twenty-two comedy albums, earning him five Emmy nominations, four Grammys. He was the first guest host of Saturday Night Live in 1975, appeared on The Tonight Show 130 times, starred in fourteen HBO specials and authored three bestselling books.

The most significant moment in George Carlin’s career may have been his landmark routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” When Carlin did the bit during a 1972 show in Milwaukee, he was arrested. He was charged with disturbing the peace. A state judge later dismissed the case, saying while Carlin’s language may have been indecent, it still represented free speech. Then, in 1973, Pacifica Radio station WBAI aired an unedited version of George Carlin’s monologue. This is an edited version of what they heard.

GEORGE CARLIN: I want to tell you something about words that I think is important. As I say, they’re my work, they’re my play, they’re my passion. Words are all we have, really. We have thoughts, but thoughts are fluid, you know. And then we assign a word to a thought, and we’re stuck with that word for that thought. So be careful with words. I like to think, yeah, the same words, you know, that hurt, can heal. It’s a matter of how you pick them.

There are some people that aren’t into all the words. There are some people who would have you not use certain words. Yeah. There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven of them you can’t say on television. What a ratio that is! 399,993 to seven. They must really be bad. They’d have to be outrageous to be separated from a group that large. All of you over here, you seven. Bad words. That’s what they told us they were, remember? “That’s a bad word!” You know bad words. Bad thoughts. Bad intentions. And words. You know the seven don’t you, that you can’t say on television? [beep] [beep] [beep] [beep] [beep] [beep] [beep] Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that will infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war.

AMY GOODMAN: A radio listener lodged a complaint with the FCC after hearing George Carlin’s routine. The FCC v. Pacifica case would become one of the most important recent Supreme Court decisions on free speech. The legal controversy brought about the FCC rule permitting a ban on certain material when children are most likely to be in the audience.

In November, George Carlin will be remembered once more onstage, when he receives, posthumously, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

For more on George Carlin and his legacy, I’m joined by Richard Zoglin. He is a senior writer and editor at Time magazine, author of Comedy on the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America. Welcome to Democracy Now!


AMY GOODMAN: Well, that was a very significant case.

RICHARD ZOGLIN: Absolutely. You know, Carlin was using these words to shock people but also to raise this larger point of, you know, why are these words—you know, why do they cause such fear in us? And he was never on trial for it. He was arrested once, only because his routine was heard by children in an outdoor setting, but he never went to trial himself. It was the radio station that fought that battle all the way to the Supreme Court. And it resulted in the creation of the family hour on television that you couldn’t air, quote-unquote, “indecent” material before like 8:00 at night.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about Geroge Carlin, how his style evolved, who he was.

RICHARD ZOGLIN: Well, in the late ’60s, when this country really went through a cultural revolution, you know, he was the guy, I think, who brought stand-up comedy into that cultural revolution. I mean, he was short-haired comic, sort of skinny-tie guy, who did sort of straight-laced material on the Ed Sullivan Show. He looked around in the late ’60s, and, you know, he was hanging out with musicians, he was singing with the protest movement, and he was seeing what was happening. And he decided he was doing material for the enemy. He wanted to talk to a different audience, the college audience. He wanted to go back into the coffee houses. And this was a radical thing for a guy to do with a successful career. So he started all over again, and he started doing material that really reflected the attitudes of that counterculture generation.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s go back to a few more of those clips of George Carlin’s political humor. In this bit, Carlin talks about why he thinks America likes war.

GEORGE CARLIN: It’s the old American double standard, you know, say one thing, do something different. And, of course, the country is founded on the double standard. That’s our history. We were founded on a very basic double standard. This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free. Am I right? A group of a slave owners who wanted to be free, so they killed a lot of white English people in order to continue owning their black African people, so they could wipe out the rest of the red Indian people and move west and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people, giving them a place to take off and drop their nuclear weapons on the yellow Japanese people. You know what the motto of this country ought to be? You give up a color, we’ll wipe it out. You got it.

So, anyway, about eighty years after the Constitution is ratified, eighty years later, the slaves are freed. Not so you’d really notice it, of course. Just sort of on paper. And that was, of course, during the Civil War. Now, there’s another phrase I dearly love. That is a true oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one: civil war. Do you think any country could really have a civil war? “Say, pardon me” [gun shots]—“I’m awfully sorry. I’m awfully sorry.” Now, of course, the Civil War has been over for about 120 years, but not so you’d really notice it, because we still have these people called Civil War buffs, people who thought it was a really keen war, and they study the battles carefully, and they try to improve on the strategies and the tactics to increase the body count, in case we have to go through it again sometime. In fact, some of these people actually get dressed up in uniform once a year and go out and refight these battles. You know what I say? Use live ammunition, [bleep], would you please? You might just raise the intelligence level of the American gene pool.

But what do you expect? Hey, come on, this is a warlike country. We come from that northern European, basically the northern European genes, the blue eyes. Those blue eyes. Boy everybody in the world learned real quick, didn’t they? When those blue eyes sail out of the north, you better nail everything down [bleep]. Nail it down, strap it down, or they’ll grab it. If they can’t take it home, they’ll burn it. If they can’t burn it, they’ll [bleep]. That’s what happened to us. And it’s a warlike country. C’mon, I mean, forget foreign policy. Even the domestic rhetoric is warlike. Everything about our domestic policy invokes the thought of war. We don’t like something in this country, we declare war on it. The war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on crime, the war on AIDS, the war on cancer. We’ve got the only national anthem that mentions [bleep] rockets and bombs in the [bleep] thing. You know what I mean?

AMY GOODMAN: George Carlin. Well, this is a clip from his HBO special Back in Town, taped here in New York. In this bit, he deals with the anti-abortion movement.

GEORGE CARLIN: Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus, from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neo-natal care, no day care, no Head Start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If your pre-school, your [bleep].

Conservatives don’t give a [bleep] about you until you reach military age. Then they think you are just fine, just what they’ve been looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers. Pro-life. Pro-life. These people aren’t pro-life. They’re killing doctors. What kind of pro-life is that? What, they’ll do anything they can to save a fetus, but if it grows up to be a doctor, they just might have to kill it?

They’re not pro-life. You know what they are? They’re anti-women. Simple as it gets. Anti-women. They don’t like them. They don’t like women. They believe a woman’s primary role is to function as a brood mare for the state. Pro-life? You don’t see any of these white, anti-abortion women volunteering to have any black fetuses transplanted into their uteruses, do you? No. You don’t see them adopting a whole lot of crack babies, do you? No, that might be something Christ would do. And you won’t see a lot of these pro-life people dousing themselves in kerosene and lighting themselves on fire. You know, morally committed religious people in South Vietnam knew how to stage a [bleep] demonstration, didn’t they? They knew how to put on a [bleep] protest. Light yourself on fire! Come on, you moral crusaders, let’s see a little smoke.

AMY GOODMAN: George Carlin, here in New York, an HBO special. Richard Zoglin, your subtitle of Comedy at the Edge, How Stand-Up in the ’70s Changed America, how did he change America, and who are the comedians that influenced him most?

RICHARD ZOGLIN: Well, his idol was Lenny Bruce, who of course kind of introduced the idea of the comedian as a social commentator, not a guy just telling jokes and a punch line. But what Carlin did was bring that attitude to a much broader audience and a whole new generation. In the years when that new generation was questioning everything that was going on in this country, you know, authority, the war, the restrictions on language, etc., and Carlin was the guy who converted that into comedy, he made it incredibly accessible, and I think he helped change the country in the whole way that, you know, rock music and everything else and the political movements of the late ’60s were changing in America. I think stand-up comedy that George Carlin was doing was changing America in the same way.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, a lot of what George Carlin spoke about was the use of language in American society. This is one of his more controversial bits.

GEORGE CARLIN: When I was a little kid, if I got sick, they wanted me to go to the hospital and see the doctor. Now they want me to go to a health maintenance organization or a wellness center to consult a healthcare delivery processional. Poor people used to live in slums. Now the economically disadvantaged occupy substandard housing in the inner cities. And they’re broke! They’re broke. They don’t have a “negative cash flow position.” They’re [bleep] broke! ‘Cause a lot of them were fired. You know, fired? Management wanted to curtail redundancies in the human resources area, so many people are no longer viable members of the work force.

Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It’s as simple as that. The CIA doesn’t kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people. Or they de-populate the area. The government doesn’t lie, it engages in disinformation. The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call “sunshine units.” Israeli murderers are called commandos. Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part of it to us, do they? Never mention that part of it.

AMY GOODMAN: George Carlin. Richard Zoglin, George Carlin, for years, dealt with drug and alcohol problems.

RICHARD ZOGLIN: Yeah. Well, you know, he was part of the counterculture generation and lived the counterculture lifestyle. He admits his drug problems in the late ’70s. He actually will talk about cocaine as kind of being a liberating force in some ways in his performances. But in the end, he decided it was hampering his health, it was hurting his health, and it was hampering his career. So he did pretty much kick the habit in the late ’70s, early ’80s, and he restarted his career and went on to an amazing career. You know, no one has had that kind of length of a stand-up career as George Carlin.

AMY GOODMAN: First Saturday Night Live?

RICHARD ZOGLIN: The very first Saturday Night Live. People don’t remember that, because he’s kind of been a little bit scrubbed out of the histories of Saturday Night Live. Whenever you see the retrospectives, they don’t ever show Carlin, the first host, but he was an incredible, you know—


RICHARD ZOGLIN: Because they were moving in a different direction. They were going into sort of ensemble comedy, and the old stand-ups, the guys who got up there one-on-one and talked, were not quite, you know, in the line of what Saturday Night Live wanted to do, but he was so popular that they knew they needed that jolt of Carlin’s popularity to get that show off the ground. And, by the way, Carlin’s routine on God in that first Saturday Night Live—he did a bit on God and the omnipotence of God—was the one thing that got NBC censors upset, nothing that the Saturday Night Live players did, it was something that Carlin said.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go out with this George Carlin, talking about the similarities between us and a class-conscious, economically unequal American society.

GEORGE CARLIN: I’d like to talk about some things that bring us together, things that point out our similarities instead of our differences, because that’s all you ever hear about in this country, is our differences. That’s all the media and the politicians are ever talking about, the things that separate us, things that make us different from one another. That’s the way the ruling class operates in any society. They try to divide the rest of the people. They keep the lower and the middle classes fighting with each other, so that they, the rich, can run off with all the [bleep] money. Fairly simple thing, happens to work. You know, anything different, that’s what they’re going to talk about. Race, religion, ethnic and national background, jobs, income, education, social status, sexuality. Anything you can do, keep us fighting with each other, so that they can keep going to the bank.

You know how I describe the economic and social classes in this country? The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there just to scare the [bleep] out of the middle class. Keep them showing up at those jobs. So [bleep] I like to do from time to time.

But I also like to know that I can come back to these little things we have in common, little universal moments that we share separately, the things that make us the same. They’re so small we hardly ever talk about them. Do you ever look at your watch, and then you don’t know what time it is? Then you have to look again, and you still don’t know the time. So you look a third time, and somebody says, “What time is it?” You say, “I don’t know.” Do you ever notice how sometimes all day Wednesday, you keep thinking it’s Thursday? And it happens over and over all day long. And then the next day, you’re alright again.

AMY GOODMAN: George Carlin. Finally, his influence on this generation?

RICHARD ZOGLIN: I think every comedian who came after Carlin looked up to him as a guy who showed that a stand-up comedian wasn’t just telling jokes, he was making commentary. He was a thinker, not just a joke teller. And also, Carlin, because of his long career, I mean, he showed that being a stand-up comedian was an important thing, as something you can do for your entire life. He didn’t get any help from movies. He never had a movie career. He never had a sitcom career like a lot of other stand-up comics. But he could be a top draw on the stand-up comedy circuit for more than forty years, and that was a real inspiration, and I think it’s helped make stand-up comedy a vital art form today.

AMY GOODMAN: George Carlin died of heart failure this weekend. Richard Zoglin, I want to thank you for being with us. Comedy on the Edge is the name of his book, How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I've Been Working On This Campaign Nationwide with Pesticide Watch

You can check out Pesticide Watch at

The Pesticide of Last Resort

NEWS: In the summer showdown between lawn-care lobbyists and parents against toxic sprays, whose grass is greener? Connecticut's finding out.

By David Kushner
June 20, 2008 in Mother Jones

You see them everywhere this time of year—little yellow flags emblazoned with a circle and a line through a couple of stick-figure children. "Pesticide Application," they warn, "Please Keep Off." So parents keep the kids playing inside on a warm afternoon, rather than outside on the grass.

Connecticut kids are luckier than most. Last fall, the state became the first to ban the use of pesticides (which includes herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides) on the grounds of elementary and middle schools—a decision that has put it at the forefront of a nationwide movement, and also in the crosshairs of the multibillion dollar lawn-care industry. For the rest of the country, it sends a clear message. "It says that aesthetic uses of chemicals are unacceptable especially when children are exposed," says Jay Feldman, executive director of Washington-based Beyond Pesticides.

One common herbicide in popular "weed and feed" lawn-care products, 2,4-D, constituted about 50 percent of Agent Orange, and has been linked to birth defects, neurological problems, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and liver and kidney damage. In Canada, as many as 160 municipalities have banned the use of pesticides with 2,4-D.

More than 78 million households in the US use home and garden pesticides, feeding pesticide sales that top $9.3 billion a year. Part of the problem is the lawn-care industry's successful shaping of public perception, says Ted Steinberg, the author of American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn. "The PR machine coming out of Scotts is spending millions to convince the public that they need toxic chemicals to manage a home lawn," he says. The lawn-industry lobby has also succeeded in prohibiting a municipality from having pesticide regulations that are stronger than the state's.

To win the ban in Connecticut, a coalition of health care professionals and policy experts named Environment and Human Health, Inc. prepared several reports on lawn pesticides, one of which anti-pesticide groups nicknamed "the bible." Among other things, the group found pesticides in 6 out of 53 local wells. They also discovered there were few laws covering the use of pesticides in schools. But, because of the preemption laws, there was little the towns could do. "Anyone could spray with no training," says Nancy Alderman, founder and president of EHHI.

Lawn-care lobbyists have been fighting back. Richard Tice, executive director of both the Connecticut Grounds Keepers Association and the Environmental Industry Council of Connecticut (formerly named the Professional Pesticide Users of Connecticut), calls the bill "asinine." A better approach, he says, is integrated pest management, or IPM, a strategy that recommends pesticide use as a last resort. Tice, for now, is not too worried about his industry's future. "The normal person just doesn't care," he says, "Look at the amount of yellow signs you see out there. If the concern was there amongst the general public, then no one would apply pesticides."

David Kushner is a contributing editor of Wired, Rolling Stone, and IEEE Spectrum, and the author of several books, including Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This Is Long But Critical....READ IT!!!!!

Print by R Crumb

How Do We Go from Empire to Earth Community?
By David Korten, YES! Magazine
Posted on June 16, 2008

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of David Korten's presentation on The Great Turning to the Seattle Green Festival, April 13, 2008.

... We are all well aware of the crisis unfolding around us. The day of reckoning for our reckless human ways that many of us have for decades warned would be coming is here. The future is now. Peak oil, climate chaos, financial collapse, and spreading social disintegration are all consequences of deep cultural and institutional dysfunction. The imperative to address them presents us with an epic test of our human intelligence and creativity.

When I was a student in business school my professors always told us. Go for the Big Picture. If you find a problem, don't just treat the symptoms. Look up stream to find and deal with the cause. Although we face a daunting variety of problems, the big picture of the human confrontation with the reality of our Mother Earth becomes crystal clear once we step back and take a look upstream. This big picture has three critical elements.

The first element is environmental collapse driven by our relentless growth in consumption and population. From the perspective of our Earth Mother our human excesses have for millennia been little more than the normal nuisance one expects from children.

Somewhere around 1970 we passed a threshold. Our human consumption became more than a nuisance, it began to exceed what our Mother could bear and began to threaten her very life. We see the results in climate chaos, depletion of fresh water and fertile soils, the collapse of fisheries, the erosion of denuded forest lands and melting ice caps. We are building up toxics in the water, soil, and air. We are killing our mother and thereby ourselves. We must grow up fast and accept our adult responsibilities. The implications are pretty straight forward.

Remember those scenes in Star Trek.

Scotty to Captain Kirk: Life support is failing.

Kirk to Scotty: Shut down all nonessential systems and direct all available resources to life support.

There it is -- the order for our time. No resources for war or extravagance. Focus all attention on the health of the crew and the life support system.

No more throwaway stuff. No more economic growth for the rich. Our priority must be to grow our well-being rather than our consumption. Invest in peace, education, and health care rather than war. Invest in compact communities rather than suburban sprawl. Invest in local economies and environmental rejuvenation rather than in shipping toys around the world and speculating in the global financial casino. Invest in sidewalks, bicycles, bicycle paths, and public transportation rather than cars and highways. Invest in education for living rather than advertising to get us to consume more.

Here is the kicker. We must eliminate exactly those forms of non-essential production and consumption that our economic and political systems are designed to promote.

How many of you have watched Annie Leonard's video The Story of Stuff I must have watched it a dozen times. It's a brilliant exposition of the consequences of an economic system designed to make money for rich capitalists without regard for human or natural consequences. I'll return to this in a minute.

The second piece of the big picture is an unraveling of the social fabric of civilization that is a consequence of extreme and growing inequality. A world divided between the profligate and the desperate cannot long endure. It intensifies competition for Earth's resources and drives an unraveling of the social fabric of mutual trust and caring essential to healthy social function. In 2005 Forbes Magazine counted 691 billionaires in the world. This year, only three years later, it counted 1,250, nearly double, and estimated their combined wealth at $4.4 trillion. These are the people who get the big tax breaks. According to a United Nations study, the richest 1% of world's people now own 51% of all the world's assets. The poorest 50% own only 1% assets. That is why we call them poor, because they don't own any assets. When the rich own everything there is nothing left for the poor to own.

A poor family wants a small plot of land to grow some food. A billionaire wants that land for a 20,000 square foot vacation home he may reside in for no more than a few days a year. Can you guess who gets the land? They tell us economic growth is essential lift the poor to prosperity. All too often economic growth lifts the yachts and swamps the naked swimmers.

Most growth in consumption in recent years has not been at the bottom where it is needed. Its been at the very top among the already super wealthy. Our real resources are shrinking, but whatever resources are left, the rich can easily buy them. Speaking of billionaires and their yachts, I love the quote from one clueless billionaire commenting on the rising price of oil. "So it used to cost me $30,000 to fill the tank on my yacht. Now it costs me $60,000. Its no big deal."

For the super rich, if we run out of oil, there is always enthanol. Meanwhile desperate mothers watch helplessly as their babies die for lack of food.

We cannot grow our way out of poverty. The only way to end poverty and heal our social divisions on an already over stressed planet is through a redistribution of resources from rich to poor and from nonessential to essential uses. Ooops. Can't you just hear the right-wing wind-bags? Hey, that Korten guy, he's talking about equity. He must be a communist.

Actually I'm a proud American patriot. I grew up with the patriotic story that the United States is a middle-class democracy without the extremes of class division that characterize other societies. That story once made us the envy of the world. Of course it was never quite accurate, but it expressed a beautiful widely shared human ideal that we must now reclaim. Equity is an essential foundation of true democracy and of our national ideal and self-image. Equity can even be defended on the grounds of rightful inheritance and property rights. Think about it.

Natural wealth was created by our Earth mother and is therefore a common heritage of all her children, including all non-human species. None of us has a right to abuse that wealth or to monopolize it to the exclusion of our sisters and brothers.

This brings us to the third element of the big picture: the governing institutions to which we give the power to set our priorities and our collective course. We might wonder how such injustice could happen in a world governed by democratically elected governments. The answer is simple and alarming. Our world is not governed by democratically elected governments. It is ruled by global financial institutions in the service of financial speculators who exchange trillions of dollars daily in search of instance unearned profits to increase the fortunes -- and the power -- of the richest people on the planet. They bring down governments that displease them, and buy and sell the largest corporations like commodities. By design and law the defining priority and obligation of these governing institutions is to generate financial profits to make rich people richer, in short to increase inequality in a world in desperate need of greater equity. To this end, the corporations rise or fall at the pleasure of the speculator, assault of our eyes and ears with advertising messages intended to get those of who are already have more stuff that we need -- to buy more stuff.

So what does this big picture overview tell us about what we need to do? How much suffering will changing our ways impose? Well, we need to grow strong caring communities in which we get more of our human satisfaction from caring relationships and less from material goods. We will need to end war as a means of settling international disputes and dismantle our military establishment. We need to reclaim the American ideal of being a democratic middle-class nation without extremes of wealth and poverty. And we need to encourage and support the rest of the world in doing the same. To do all this we will need create democratically accountable governing institutions devoted to the well-being of people and nature.

There can be no trade offs between justice, sustainability, happiness, and democracy. They are all inseparably linked.

Does any of this agenda sound like unbearable hardship? And exactly how is a more just distribution of resources going to hurt the poor? I'm going to say a lot more about fabricated cultural stories that obscure our ability to see the possibilities before us. The story that protecting the planet will impose unbearable hardship is one of those fabricated stories.

Now. Think about this. Wouldn't it be nice if it turned out the choices we must make together to survive together are the same as the choices we need to make to create the very world everyone wants? If that were true, they we should be able to just get together and make it happen. Wouldn't that be cool? Maybe we should start a conversation to find out to find out what people truly want.

Actually that conversation started quite some time ago. One of the most profound experiences of my life was participating in the civil society portion of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. I was part of a gathering of some 15,000 people representing the vast variety of humanity's races, religions, nationalities, and languages. Our discussions centered on defining the world we wanted to create together.

These discussions were chaotic and sometimes contentious. But at one point it hit me like a bolt of lightening. For all our differences, we all wanted the same thing: healthy children, families, and communities with healthy natural environments living in peace and cooperation -- and not just for ourselves. We wanted it for everyone. Out of our conversations grew our shared dream of a world in which people and nature live in dynamic, creative and ultimately cooperative and balanced relationship. The Earth Charter, which is the product of a continuation of this discussion, calls it Earth Community. I've lived in a lot of exotic places: Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, the Philippines, even California, Florida, and most exotic of all: Washington, DC. I've experienced a lot of different kinds of people. As I reflect back on that experience I realize that for all our differences, with the exception of a relatively few people who suffer from some debilitating psychological dysfunction, we are a lot more alike than we generally realize. Most of us want to breathe clean air and drink clean water. We want tasty nutritious food uncontaminated with toxins. We want healthy, happy children, loving families, and a caring community with a beautiful healthy natural environment. We want meaningful work, a living wage, and security in our old age. We want a say in the decisions our government makes. We want world peace. This doesn't seem excessive.

But, you say, what about here in the United States? What about our division between red states and blue states?

It turns out that tor all the talk of red states and blue states, polling data indicate we have substantial agreement on many key issues even here. We are more purple than we realize. For example, eighty-three percent of us believe that as a society the United States is focused on the wrong priorities. Supermajorities of more than 80 percent want to give higher priority to the needs of children, family, community, and the natural environment. Seventy-two percent of us agree that big companies have too much power. Put it together and we find out that Americans want a world that puts people ahead of profits, spiritual values ahead of financial values, and international cooperation ahead of international domination. Note that none of these are distinctively conservative or liberal values. They are widely shared human values. What if all of us who live in this country were to wake up one morning and recognize that we are one nation yearning for healthy children, families, communities, and natural environments.

So where do those of us here stand? Let me see some hands. Do you believe that as a society we are focused on the wrong priorities? Do you yearn to see greater priority given to the needs of children, family community, and nature. Do you think big business has too much power? Look at that. A room full of psychologically healthy people who want a healthy world that works for all. And I bet that some of you came in here believing that you are part of a fringe minority. In fact, we are the leading edge of a national and global supermajority and it is appropriate for us to speak and act accordingly.

I want to note something else here that I find significant. The idea that beneath the surface of our wondrous cultural diversity most humans want the same thing is consistent with recent scientific findings that our human brains are wired for compassion, caring, altruism, and cooperation. It turns out that most people everywhere, irrespective of their skin color, religion, nationality, or language are happiest when they are being helpful, loving, peaceful, generous, and cooperative. Isn't that stunning? Think of the possibilities.

So what's our problem? Why are we in such a mess? Why didn't we long ago just get together to create the world we really want -- the world that stimulates our bliss hormone -- the hormone released when we are being cooperative and generous -- or having good sex?

What are the real barriers to creating the world in which we measure our progress against a national happiness index rather than by an index of how fast we are turning stuff into garbage? Corrupt politicians and greedy corporate executives come to mind.

These folks certainly demonstrate that there are some seriously morally and psychologically challenged people in the world. Part of our problem is that they are the ones who most often capture the headlines, because they are the one's most inclined to engage in the ruthless competitive struggle required to claim positions of great power.

And then there are also those dysfunctional institutions we mentioned devoted to the concentration of wealth and power. These institutions tend to recruit ethically challenged leaders who share the values the institutions are devoted to advancing.

Our biggest problem, however, is neither bad people nor bad institutions. The problem way up there at the source of the stream is a bad story that keeps running on an endless loop in our heads telling us to get real, because the world of our dreams is nothing more than a naïve fantasy forever beyond our reach. You know the story. Its probably been running in your head all the time I've been speaking.

It is our human nature to be fearful, violent, greedy, and individualistic. Our wellbeing in this life depends on strong leaders with the will to use their police and military power to protect us from criminals, terrorists, and rogue dictators who threaten our way of life. We depend on the competitive forces of a free unregulated market to channel our individual greed to constructive ends. There is no alternative. It's in our nature. Our only hope for salvation is the promise that if we obey those whom God has appointed to rule in this life, God will reward us with paradise in the afterlife in a place where people live in peace, harmony, and eternal bliss.

The discipline and competition necessary to achieve order in this life may bring pain and hardship to some, but it is all for the good, because the brutal competition of war and the unrelenting pursuit of individual profit builds character, drives innovation, and leads to greatness. This competition, violent and destructive as it may sometimes be, has been the key to human success since the beginning of time and ultimately works to the benefit of everyone.

Have you ever heard this story? How often do elements of this story run in your head telling you that the world you long for really isn't possible?

This debilitating story is self-affirming, because our media bombard us with stories of the violent, the greedy, and the individualistic -- including many politicians and corporate CEOs celebrated for their political and financial success. We easily conclude that such people are representative of the best of our human nature, rather than pathological exceptions to the healthier human norm.

I call this story the Empire story, because it is the foundation of 5,000 years of organizing ourselves into hierarchies of domination and abuse. It legitimates the oppression of Empire and denies the higher order potentials of our human nature -- the potential, which if cultivated, that makes it possible for us to do things differently. The elements of this narrative are embedded in the stories most commonly heard from a great many economists, scientists, preachers, politicians, and historians -- among others. We heard them in school. We hear them in church. We hear them on the media. Their constant repetition creates a kind of cultural trance from which we are now just beginning to awaken.

The trance isn't new. It has held us captive to the most reptilian aspects of our nature for the past 5,000 years. It drives the endless imperial cycle in which one Empire vanquishes another and obliterates its accomplishments. The success of those who achieve imperial dominion over their neighbors gives rise to monumental hubris and material self-indulgence until the reigning empire is so weakened by its own excesses that the more disciplined warriors of another tribe or nation easily vanquish it.

Does anything here sound familiar? Where exactly is the United States in this cycle.

Throughout human history, each imperial cycle of violence, triumph and decay has brought yet more death, ruined lives, and physical devastation.

The fall of the American empire country seems destined to come not from any military invasion across our borders but rather from our growing foreign debt and the purchase of our assets by the foreign sovereign wealth funds that hold thw debt. It will be a rude awakening indeed when we one day wake up to realize that we, the democratic Christian capitalist rulers of the world have been reduced by our own hand to an economic colony of the Chinese Communist Party and a group of Islamic dictatorships in the Middle East.

No one in power even seems to notice, perhaps because their attention is focused on promoting wars in the Middle East and bailing out the high rollers who lost their shirts gambling on sub-prime mortgages.

Change begins with a new story that celebrates the best rather than the worst of what we are and can be. Its pretty straight forward. If we convince ourselves that we are innately brutal, greedy beings and that this is all for the good, then we set ourselves a goal of perfecting our capacity for greed and violence, thus perpetuating the world of our nightmares.

It is time to start filling our heads instead with the story that it is our nature to be caring and giving and that this is all for the good, and therefore we properly set our sights on perfecting our capacity for love and caring and create the world of our dreams. It isn't a particularly new story. A young fellow named Jesus got famous for preaching it to large crowds of adoring fans some 2,000 years ago. Some of our most revered heroes, for example Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. preached the same message and built powerful social movements.

OK. I know the question you are about to ask. Hey, you look at me and say "Didn't this guy Korten just say its been this way for 5,000 years. They crucified Jesus and they assassinated Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Why should we expect things to change now? Its over. The ice caps are melting. We're cooked."

Here is the key to why now. For the first time since the first empires were formed in the lands we now call Iraq and Egypt we have both the means and the imperative to liberate our selves from the story in our heads, break the cycle of domination, and live Earth Community into being. It is the Great Work of our time. Some of us call it the Great Turning.

The communications capabilities of the Internet provide the means to hold the global conversation needed to awaken ourselves from our cultural trance and create global alliances for change that bring together people from all levels of society. It starts with local conversations that grow and merge through the Internet into global conversations.

The global scale collapse of social and environmental systems provides the shared imperative to have that conversation, a conversation now already well underway. For the first time since our earliest human like ancestors walked the earth millions of years ago, we humans have the means and the imperative to engage this conversation on a global scale.

So far so good, but if we are really going to get the Empire story out of our heads, we need to know how it got there so we don't find it sneaking back in -- like that troublesome file on my computer that keeps reinstalling minutes after I thought I had deleted it.

We weren't born with the Empire story in our heads. Its not in our genes. It got there because it is a constantly reoccurring theme of the cultural stories we turn to for answers to our most basic questions about ourselves and our possibilities. It got there from the economic, political, and religious institutions that perpetuate it and reward those who serve its values by showering them with financial success and promoting them to positions of unaccountable power.

Profound social change takes place when an important cultural story changes -- and the impetus to challenge imperial rule rarely comes from within the institutions of Empire. Democracy took hold when we replaced the story of the divine right of kings with the story that the powers of government derive from the will of the people.

People of color and women won recognition of their full human rights only as the civil rights and women's movements successfully exposed the fallacy of the story that people of color and women are less than fully human. Recognizing the full humanity of all peoples opens us to a deeper understanding of what it truly does mean to be human in all the rich potentials that our human nature embodies.

The environmental movement is replacing the story that nature is a dark and evil threat to be subdued, vanquished, and used for whatever purposes please us with the story of Earth as a living being, the mother of life, a living spaceship.

We are still working on many of these new stories, but those of my generation have experienced the enormous societal shifts that these changes in our cultural stories have wrought. In each instance a new story has contributed to the yet larger process of the Great Turning of the human course from the dominator path of Empire to the partnership path of Earth Community.

The propagandists of Empire who propagate Empire stories work at an inherent disadvantage, because their success depends on suppressing our natural desires for community, justice, and liberty. That is why Empire has to pay them handsomely for their service. The results they seek do not come naturally.

The power of authentic stories is the source of civil society's ultimate power advantage. The stories of Earth community acknowledge and express our genuine desire to love and be loved and to live in creative caring communities with peace and justice for all beings.

Corporations command economic power. Governments command the coercive power of the police and military. The power of authentic stories, however, ultimately trumps all the other forms of power, because these other forms of power depend on the stories that lend them legitimacy. Unlike the fabricated stories of Empire, the authentic stories of Earth Community resonate with what we know deep in our being to be true. Once we are clear that there is an alternative to the violent domination of Empire and it is the world of our dreams, we can together reclaim the power we have yielded to Empire and redirect it to the work of growing Earth Community.

Without our acquiescence, the dominator structures of Empire collapse, as the Marcos Regime in the Philippines collapsed, as the Soviet Union and the apartheid regime in South Africa collapsed without a shot fired. Progressive Talk show host Thom Hartmann calls this process walking away from the king.

How does it happen? It starts with a conversation. A while back Cecile Andrews, our local Seattle author of The Circle of Simplicity explained to me how the women's movement changed the story on gender, and unleashed the long suppressed power of the feminine. It started with discussion circles in which women came together to share personal stories. As each woman spoke her truth, a larger truth was revealed for all to see. The prevailing story that the key to a woman's happiness is to find the right man, marry him, and devote her life to his service -- was not true.

Absent the discussions that encouraged the sharing of their true stories, women whose experience failed to conform to the prevailing cultural story held themselves responsible for the failure. They assumed they were simply different, and thus in some way deficient. By breaking the silence to share their stories they ended their isolation and rose above self-doubt as they came to realize that they were in the very good company of a great many other wonderful women. Many then lent their voices to a growing chorus of women engaged in changing the cultural stories by which society had long defined women and their roles.

Cecile noted to me that the same process is involved in the voluntary simplicity movement. Through sharing stories about what makes us truly happy, we come to see the fallacy of the advertising story that material consumption is our source of happiness. Once this fallacy is seen for what it is, we can enthusiastically share our stories of how we are improving the quality of our lives by reducing the quantity of our consumption and gaining control of our time to do more of the things that make us feel fully alive.

The power of authentic stories told and retold by millions and ultimately billions of people can trump the power of Empire. It begins with a conversation.

The Green Fest, Coop America, Global Exchange and every organization exhibiting here are all involved in advancing the conversation that is challenging and changing the economic story that serves the predatory institutions of Empire.

The economic story we are working to change rests on false representations about our human nature, the public interest, economic growth and money that promote false priorities and distract our attention from the possibility of creating the world we truly want and that we must now create to save our Earth Mother -- and ourselves.

In everything you do, share the story of our human possibility and of our right and responsibility to create for ourselves and for future generations, the world of our shared dream. Our distinctive human capacity for reflection and intentional choice carries a corresponding moral responsibility to care for our Mother Earth and for one another. We must now test the limits of the individual and collective creative potential of our species as we strive to become the change we seek.

In these turbulent and frightening times, it is important to remind ourselves that we are privileged to live at the most exciting moment of creative opportunity in the whole of the human experience. The future is in our hands. Now is the hour. We have the power to turn this world around. We are the ones we have been waiting for. Thank you.

David Korten is author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule to World. He is chair of YES! Magazine, where he writes frequently on issues of corporations and creating a living economy.

© 2008 YES! Magazine All rights reserved.
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Hope We Make It Out Of This Administration Alive....

Attack Iran? Cheney's Already Tried
By Gareth Porter, IPS News
Posted on June 10, 2008

WASHINGTON - Pentagon officials firmly opposed a proposal by Vice President Dick Cheney last summer for airstrikes against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) bases by insisting that the administration would have to make clear decisions about how far the United States would go in escalating the conflict with Iran, according to a former George W Bush administration official.

J Scott Carpenter, who was then deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, recalled in an interview that senior Defense Department (DoD) officials and the Joint Chiefs used the escalation issue as the main argument against the Cheney proposal.

McClatchy newspapers reported last August that Cheney had proposal several weeks earlier "launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iran", citing two officials involved in Iran policy.

According to Carpenter, who is now at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, a strongly pro-Israel think-tank, Pentagon officials argued that no decision should be made about the limited airstrike on Iran without a thorough discussion of the sequence of events that would follow an Iranian retaliation for such an attack. Carpenter said the DoD officials insisted that the Bush administration had to make "a policy decision about how far the administration would go - what would happen after the Iranians would go after our folks".

The question of escalation posed by DoD officials involved not only the potential of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Iraq to attack, Carpenter said, but possible responses by Hezbollah and by Iran itself across the Middle East.

Carpenter suggested that DoD officials were shifting the debate on a limited strike from the Iraq-based rationale, which they were not contesting, to the much bigger issue of the threat of escalation to full-scale war with Iran, knowing that it would be politically easier to thwart the proposal on that basis.

The former State Department official said DoD "knew that it would be difficult to get interagency consensus on that question".

The Joint Chiefs were fully supportive of the position taken by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the Cheney proposal, according to Carpenter. "It's clear that the military leadership was being very conservative on this issue," he said.

At least some DoD and military officials suggested that Iran had more and better options for hitting back at the United States than the United States had for hitting Iran, according to one former Bush administration insider.

Former Bush speechwriter and senior policy adviser Michael Gerson, who had left the administration in 2006, wrote a column in the Washington Post on July 20, 2007, in which he gave no hint of Cheney's proposal, but referred to "options" for striking Iranian targets based on the Cheney line that Iran "smuggles in the advanced explosive devices that kill and maim American soldiers".

Gerson cited two possibilities: "Engaging in hot pursuit against weapon supply lines over the Iranian border or striking explosives factories and staging areas within Iran." But the Pentagon and the military leadership were opposing such options, he reported, because of the fear that Iran has "escalation dominance" in its conflict with the United States.

That meant, according to Gerson that, "in a broadened conflict, the Iranians could complicate our lives in Iraq and the region more than we complicate theirs".

Carpenter's account of the Pentagon's position on the Cheney proposal suggests, however, that civilian and military opponents were saying that Iran's ability to escalate posed the question of whether the United States was going to go to a full-scale air war against Iran.

Pentagon civilian and military opposition to such a strategic attack on Iran had become well-known during 2007. But this is the first evidence from an insider that Cheney's proposal was perceived as a ploy to provoke Iranian retaliation that could used to justify a strategic attack on Iran.

The option of attacking nuclear sites had been raised by Bush with the Joint Chiefs at a meeting in "the tank" at the Pentagon on December 13, 2006, and had been opposed by the Joint Chiefs, according to a report by Time magazine's Joe Klein last June.

After he become head of the Central Command (Centcom) in March 2007, Admiral William Fallon also made his opposition to such a massive attack on Iran known to the White House, according Middle East specialist Hillary Mann, who had developed close working relationships with Pentagon officials when she worked on the National Security Council staff.

It appeared in early 2007, therefore, that a strike at Iran's nuclear program and military power had been blocked by opposition from the Pentagon. Cheney's proposal for an attack on IRGC bases in June 2007, tied to the alleged Iranian role in providing both weapons - especially the highly lethal explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) - and training to Shi'ite militias appears to have been a strategy for getting around the firm resistance of military leaders to such an unprovoked attack.

Although the Pentagon bottled up the Cheney proposal in inter-agency discussions, Cheney had a strategic asset which could he could use to try to overcome that obstacle: his alliance with General David Petraeus.

As Inter Press Service reported earlier last week, Cheney had already used Petraeus' takeover as the top commander of US forces in Iraq in early February 2007 to do an end run about the Washington national security bureaucracy to establish the propaganda line that Iran was manufacturing EFPs and shipping them to the Mahdi Army militiamen.

Petraeus was also a supporter of Cheney's proposal for striking IRGC targets in Iran, going so far as to hint in an interview with Fox News last September that he had passed on to the White House his desire to do something about alleged Iranian assistance to Shi'ites that would require US forces beyond his control.

At that point, Fallon was in a position to deter any effort to go around DoD and military opposition to such a strike because he controlled all military access to the region as a whole. But Fallon's forced resignation in March and the subsequent promotion of Petraeus to become Centcom chief later this year gives Cheney a possible option to ignore the position of his opponents in Washington once more in the final months of the administration.

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.

© 2008 IPS News All rights reserved.
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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Time For Some Humor (or is it true?)....

Everything Falling Apart, Reports Institute For Somehow Managing To Hold It All Together
May 14, 2008 Issue 44•20 of The Onion

WASHINGTON—Officials from the Institute for Somehow Managing to Hold It All Together warned that, despite their best efforts, everything appears to be falling completely apart and "getting way out of hand," according to a strongly worded report characterized by panic, frustration, and numerous typographical errors that was released to the American public Monday.

"The country today faces a number of pressing issues, including potential economic collapse, the continued threat of global warming, and the decaying national infrastructure," ISMHIAT chairman Kenneth Branowicz said during a press conference to announce the study's findings. "And we just can't keep it together anymore."

"Furthermore, we just found out that my fucking hot water is being turned off," Branowicz added.

The report outlines a number of disturbing trends, such as a steadily weakening dollar, skyrocketing national debt, the car still being in the shop after three whole weeks, a polarized electorate that remains divided across ideological lines, and the fact that the wife is staying at her sister's and for all they know may not ever be coming back.

"In summary, we have no choice but to accept that managing these complex and varied crises may be untenable at this time," the report concludes. "We're in way over our heads here, people. Oh God. God. What are we going to do?"

The institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank formed in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his Depression-era For God's Sake, Somebody Do Something Initiative, has issued similarly dramatic warnings in the past. In 1953, ISMHIAT released the now-historic findings on how they had talked and talked until they were blue in the face but they'd had it with these damn teenagers today. And historians still cite its famous 1968 report, a rambling, semi-coherent study titled "The Hell If We Know," recommending the immediate nationwide throwing up of hands.

This latest warning, however, could be the most alarming and desperate to date.

"Among the new challenges America faces is a deteriorating public education system, a vast healthcare crisis, new and frightening bioethics quandaries related to the privatization of human genetics, and, of course, the whole fossil fuels thing," the 5,000-page study, which was due in November 2007, notes. "While much has been done to alleviate immediate effects, the situation has become OH FOR CHRIST'S SAKE—I just spilled coffee all over my pants—wait, don't type that—damn it, we're out of paper towels AGAIN—Gwen, don't put any of that last part in the report—why are you still typing?"

Some have criticized the report as being alarmist and exaggerated, urging that the nation should just cool out for a minute until the situation can resolve itself.

"While they have certainly generated plenty of attention, these findings represent an unnecessary overreaction, and should be met with restraint and calm," said James H. Walloch of the California Center for Not Worrying About Stuff So Much. "It is my opinion, as an expert in this field, that it's probably not that big a deal."

Walloch's agency is not the only one coming down hard on ISMHIAT. Others have accused the institute of shortsightedness and even gross negligence for failing to keep on top of such issues.

"The current state of world affairs is completely unacceptable," said Dr. Hyram Klemper, codirector of the Sitting Around and Expecting Others to Take Care of Everything Foundation, which has historically had a contentious relationship with ISMHIAT. "We rely on the institute to keep things together, yet, evidently, this bloated bureaucracy is incapable of fulfilling its mandate from the American people. Now I've had to cancel my Hawaiian golf vacation to return to Washington and address this issue."

Dr. Thomas Dyers, of the National Blame Allocation Council, echoed Klemper's statements, stating that if the ISMHIAT cannot handle its responsibilities, its duties should be turned over to another organization, such as the Federal Fall Guy Bureau, under the supervision of Ed Haversham, the national Scapegoat Czar.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

God Their Leaving Quickly It Seems......

Alton Kelley, psychedelic poster creator, dies
Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Alton Kelley, one of the founding members of the '60s San Francisco rock scene, died Sunday at his home in Petaluma after a long illness. He was 67.

Mr. Kelley will be remembered as the creator (with his artistic partner, Stanley Mouse) of hundreds of classic psychedelic rock posters, such as the famed "skull and roses" poster for a Grateful Dead show at the Avalon Ballroom. Mr. Kelley and Mouse created 26 posters for just the first year of the Avalon's operation.

But Mr. Kelley was also one of four people who called themselves the Family Dog and decided to throw the world's first psychedelic dance-concerts at Longshoreman's Hall in September 1965, essentially starting the San Francisco scene. The quartet had just returned to the Bay Area after spending an LSD-drenched summer restoring a silver rush dancehall in Virginia City, Nev., called the Red Dog Saloon.

Mr. Kelley, a motorcycle enthusiast since his New England youth who painted pinstripes on bike gas tanks, designed the flyers advertising the original Family Dog shows, but lacked drafting ability. When he met Stanley Mouse, who had recently relocated from Detroit where he made a name for himself doing hot rod art, Mr. Kelley found the draftsman he needed. The two formed Mouse Studios and cranked out art together, Mr. Kelley's drawing skills eventually improving to the point where left-handed Mr. Kelley would be working on one side of the easel, right-handed Mouse on the other.

"He had the most impeccable taste of anybody I knew," said Mouse, "He would do the layouts, and I would do the drawing."

They worked together steadily for 15 years and on and off thereafter. Their Mouse Studios was located in a converted Lower Haight firehouse where Janis Joplin first rehearsed with Big Brother and the Holding Company. They also opened a store called Pacific Ocean Trading Company (POT Co.), one of the first head shops in Haight-Ashbury. Recently, the two collaborated on the cover to the program for this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner.

Mouse said they could work for hours in silence. "We knew what to do," he said. "We didn't have to talk."

During the heyday of the Avalon Ballroom, the pair would frequent the public library looking for images they could employ in their poster-making; Edward Curtis photographs of American Indians, illustrations from 19th century novels (the skull and roses was adapted from "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"), often laughing so loud at what they found the librarians would ask them to leave.

"They thought it was the funniest stuff in town," said Paul Grushkin, author of "The Art Of Rock.

"The twinkle in Kelley's eye - he knew it was all a giggle."

"Stanley and I had no idea what we were doing," Mr. Kelley told The Chronicle last year. "But we went ahead and looked at American Indian stuff, Chinese stuff, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Bauhaus, whatever. We were stunned by what we found and what we were able to do. We had free rein to just go graphically crazy. Where before that, all advertising was pretty much just typeset with a photograph of something."

The work of Mr. Kelley and Mouse has come to be recognized as a 20th century American counterpart to the French poster art of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec during the Belle Epoque, although the two psychedelic artists never imagined at the time they were creating anything of enduring value, anything more than another crazy poster for this week's Avalon show.

"We were just having fun making posters," said Mouse. "There was no time to think about what we were doing. It was a furious time, but I think most great art is created in a furious moment."

Mr. Kelley continued to make posters all his life, although his artwork in the recent past concentrated on his air-brushed paintings of hot rods and custom cars that was both sold as fine art and reproduced on T-shirts.

He is survived by his wife, Marguerite Trousdale Kelley, and their children: Patty of San Diego, Yosarian of Seattle and China of Sacramento; two grandchildren; and his mother and sister.

Memorial plans are pending.

Contributions can be made to the Washington Mutual Western Street branch in Petaluma for a memorial bench in Sonoma County Park.

E-mail Joel Selvin at

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Old Men Still Got Th' Funk........

Hey Bo Diddley...Peace Be With You

Another pioneer's done gone. Bo got me movin' and shakin' it long before most were even Hearin' th' beat. Thank you Bo.


Bo Diddley, one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, died today in his home in Archer, Florida, where he had lived for 20 years. The cause was heart failure, according to a spokesperson. Diddley performed live until May 2007, when he suffered a stroke; three months later, in August, he also suffered a heart attack. The spokesperson said that he was surrounded by family and friends when he died. Public and private services are scheduled for this weekend.

In the summer of 2005, Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss caught up with Diddley for the magazine’s last major feature on him, the award-winning “Indestructible Beat of Bo Diddley.”

The Indestructible Beat of Bo Diddley by Neil Strauss (RS 981, August 25, 2005)

The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: Bo Diddley by Iggy Pop (RS 946, April 15, 2004)

Bo Diddley: The Rolling Stone Interview by Kurt Loder (RS 493, February 12, 1987)

Photo Gallery: Shots From Bo Diddley’s Five Decade Career