April 12th, 2007

Chris Keeley

A meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five

A meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five

Despite his commercial success, Vonnegut battled depression throughout his life, and in 1984, he attempted suicide with pills and alcohol, joking later about how he botched the job.

His mother had succeeded in killing herself just before he left for Germany during World War II, where he was quickly taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge. He was being held in Dresden when Allied bombs created a firestorm that killed an estimated 135,000 people in the city.

"The firebombing of Dresden explains absolutely nothing about why I write what I write and am what I am," Vonnegut wrote in "Fates Worse Than Death," his 1991 autobiography of sorts.

But he spent 23 years struggling to write about the ordeal, which he survived by huddling with other POWs inside an underground meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five.

The novel, in which Pvt. Pilgrim is transported from Dresden by time-traveling aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, was published at the height of the Vietnam War, and solidified his reputation as an iconoclast.

"He was sort of like nobody else," said Gore Vidal, who noted that he, Vonnegut and Norman Mailer were among the last writers around who served in World War II.

"He was imaginative; our generation of writers didn't go in for imagination very much. Literary realism was the general style. Those of us who came out of the war in the 1940s made sort of the official American prose, and it was often a bit on the dull side. Kurt was never dull."

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

South Africa's HIV/AIDS crisis, which infects about one in nine of the country's adults,

South Africa's HIV/AIDS crisis, which infects about one in nine of the country's adults,

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) -- AIDS-hit South Africa is running short of cemetery space and residents of its main city, Johannesburg, need to consider "nontraditional" burials, including cremation, Mayor Amos Masondo said on Wednesday.

Masondo said 24 of the city's 35 cemeteries were already at full capacity and, although enough spaces remain for the foreseeable future, other options must now be considered.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Tax day is this Tuesday. The Internal Revenue Service is expected to take in over $2 trillion dollar

Tax day is this Tuesday. The Internal Revenue Service is expected to take in over $2 trillion dollars this year. Nearly 40 percent of that total will go to military related expenses. Tax resisters across the country are planning to withhold part or all of their taxes to protest the war. We speak with Pamela Schwartz of the National Priorities Project and Runn Benn of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

With tax day less than a week away, millions of Americans are preparing to send checks to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is expected to take in over two trillion dollars this year. Nearly 40 percent of that total will go to military related expenses. This according to a new report by the National Priorities Project. The research group estimates 27 percent of your federal taxes will be pay for current military spending including the war in Iraq. An additional nine percent will help pay off debt from past wars and military expenses. And another three percent covers benefits for veterans.

While Pentagon spending is reaching the highest levels since World War II, some Americans are personally refusing to fund the military. Tax resisters across the country are planning to withhold part or all of their taxes to protest the war. Two guests join me now to talk more about war and taxes.

 

  • Pamela Schwartz. Communications director at the National Priorities Project. She joins us from Chicopee, Massachusetts. Website: Cost of War.com

 

  • Ruth Benn. Coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee and co-author of the book “War Tax Resistance: A Guide To Withholding Your Support From The Military
    Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Launching the Global Marshall Plan on Holocaust Memorial Day

     Tikkun to heal, repair, and transform the world

Dear Robert,

Would you please put this Sunday, April 15, which we have called
"Generosity Sunday" in order to launch our campaign for a Global
Marshall Plan, on your personal agenda? Invite friends to your house and
discuss with them the NSP version of the Global Marshall Plan (you can
copy it from www.tikun.org or from www.spiritualprogressives.org) and
how it could change American politics and the future of our world? To
get more information, look at our March/April issue of Tikkun, and/or
read through the just cited web sites to get more info (we may soon have
a video in which I discuss these issues up on the site--check in the
next two days). Urge friends and neighbors and members of your
professional organizations, civic organizations, religious communities,
etc. join the NSP and get involved with us in trying to get local city
councils, state legislatures, and any candidate for national office
(from Congress to those seeking your backing in the primaries for
President) to endorse the Global Marshall Plan. Check out our website
www.spiritualprogressives.org to see if there are already public events
in your area, and if not, create an event at your house for your friends
and community. To get assistance and material, first check the website,
and if you need something more, contact Nichola@tikkun.org or
Jonathan@tikkun.org 510 644 1200.

In this note, I want to explain to you why we picked the Holocaust
Memorial Day to launch this initiative. To the starvation and suffering
on the planet today (with 2.4 billion people living on less than $2 a
day) we say: Never Again.

Warm regards and blessings.

Rabbi Michael Lerner
Collapse )
Chris Keeley

MoveOn.org had a nationwide town hall meeting with over 1000 people hosting parties in their homes w

MoveOn.org had a nationwide town hall meeting with over 1000 people hosting parties in their homes while Dem candidates answered questions about the Iraq war.  MoveOn members were then asked to vote for who could best lead out out of the Iraq war.  Of those who actually watched the forum, John Edwards came in first and Bill Richardson came in second.  Overall, Obama took first place but that probably has to do with his popularity rather than his performance as the rest didn't actually see the forum.  Hillary was very distant in both polls. Even Kucinich beat her.
 
You can read the stats at the MoveOn website.