are we really in more danger today?

Because it bears repeating every few months, here’s a clip from Al Gore’s historic Martin Luther Kind Day address:

…One of the other ways the Administration has tried to control the flow of information is by consistently resorting to the language and politics of fear in order to short-circuit the debate and drive its agenda forward without regard to the evidence or the public interest. As President Eisenhower said, “Any who act as if freedom’s defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America.”

Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: “Men feared witches and burnt women.”

The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment’s notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march–when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens’ right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President’s apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law…

Posted in Civil Liberties | 3 Comments

the corporate thaw

Kevin Dole just wrote in to tell us that Al Gore was on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross this afternoon. I’m listening now, while making my way through the news, much of which concerns global warming… On that note, here’s a comment delivered by a Fox News analyst through clenched teeth:

There’s no scientific proof that global warming even exists. To be honest, it’s a bogus consensus dreamed up by Greens because they hate industry. They hate advancement. They hate technology…Greens will lead us back to the stone ages.

Fortunately, Americans are finally, after a few decades, beginning to see through the misinformation campaigns being waged by the corporate right… And, what’s more, some companies are even taking it on themselves to cut down on emissions. Will others follow suit? It’s hard to say, but maybe there’s reason to be encouraged. It looks like even Bush’s nominee to take over the Treasury Department is in favor of Kyoto compliance. Could it be that the tide is changing and that the leaders of industry are finally beginning to see that the there’s no more hiding from what we’re headed toward?

Posted in Alternative Energy | Leave a comment

if nero had a ball shaver

For those of you who are keeping track of the Battle of the Ball Shavers, my nemesis, Jeff Kay, just wrote to tell me that he’s now up two-to-one. Apparently he sold another one through his site last night, to a guy that also, according to Jeff, ordered “Brokeback Mountain.” (I wonder if maybe Amazon is offering them together as some kind of package deal.)

Posted in Mark's Life | 4 Comments

growing hope

On Friday, May 26, there’s going to be a benefit at the Elbow Room for one of my favorite local nonprofits, Growing Hope. Growing Hope, if you’re not familiar with its work, runs an enormously ambitious slate of programs directed at “helping people improve their lives and communities through gardening.” They manage community gardens, teach nutrition classes, run garden-related after school programs, and tons more. (They’re also coordinating a new Tuesday afternoon farmer’s market in the parking lot of the Michigan Avenue Key Bank. (They’re changing just $5 for a table, so my hope is that brings out tons of vendors.) It’s scheduled to begin June 6. If you’re interested, this link will download a Word document with details.)

If you’re interested in finding out more about Growing Hope and their programs, they’re also going to be one of the participating organizations at July 15th’s Shadow Art Fair.

(note: Amanda, the founder of Growing Hope, is also a really good photographer.)

Posted in Ypsilanti | 3 Comments

if i dig deep enough the soil will be cool and maybe no one will find me

I’m sitting here, in the boiling heat, leaning over my George Foreman Grill of a laptop, paying bills and listening to British comedian Rob Newman’s take on the history of oil. The combination has me feeling like I should go in the backyard, dig a hole, jump in and never come back out. (The Newman link comes via Metafilter.)

Posted in Mark's Life | 8 Comments


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