Sunday, February 05, 2006
the day in a yellow haze of reading and processing paper and counting
posts ... tomorrow is for posting progress reports ... the coming
week is for street scenes ... so we get monday and tuesday in
class and then we rip the school apart for fun(ds) and all ...
the usual pictures will follow ... i think
who demand language ... what
Saturday, February 04, 2006
marks the first day of the last week of the third year of stuff
over at fyp
and you know what that means ... mumble mumble ... it means ...
um ... something
End of the Internet?
largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming
set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory
Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that
would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.
... via suzanne
Friday, February 03, 2006
this if you want ... it's the complete text of bono's national
prayer breakfast talk ... as delivered to my inbox by sojourners
... i don't often post massively ... but i want this in my face
for a while ...Remarks
at the National Prayer Breakfast
If you're wondering what I'm doing here, at a prayer
breakfast, well, so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the
cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It's certainly not because
I'm a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I'm here
because I've got a messianic complex.
Yes, it's true. And for anyone who knows me, it's
hardly a revelation.
I'm the first to admit that there's something unnatural...something
unseemly...about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching
at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the south
of France. Talk about a fish out of water. It was weird enough
when Jesse Helms showed up at a U2 concert...but this is really
weird, isn't it?
one of the things I love about this country is its separation
of church and state. Although I have to say: in inviting me here,
both church and state have been separated from something else
completely: their mind.
President, are you sure about this?
very humbling and I will try to keep my homily brief. But be warned
- I'm Irish.
I'd like to talk
about the laws of man, here in this city where those laws are
written. And I'd like to talk about higher laws. It would be great
to assume that the one serves the other; that the laws of man
serve these higher laws...but of course, they don't always. And
I presume that, in a sense, is why you're here.
I presume the reason for this gathering is that
all of us here - Muslims, Jews, Christians - all are searching
our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our
nation, our God.
I know I am.
Searching, I mean. And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.
Yes, it's odd, having a rock star
here - but maybe it's odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided
religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do
with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic
in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally,
a battle line. Where the line between church and state was...well,
a little blurry, and hard to see.
remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays...
and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked
up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often
gets in the way of God.
me, at least, it got in the way. Seeing what religious people,
in the name of God, did to my native land...and in this country,
seeing God's second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels,
offering indulgences for cash...in fact, all over the world, seeing
the self-righteousness roll down like a mighty stream from certain
corners of the religious establishment...
I must confess, I changed the channel. I wanted
Even though I was a
Perhaps because I
was a believer.
I was cynical...not
about God, but about God's politics. (There you are, Jim.)
Then, in 1997, a couple of eccentric,
septuagenarian British Christians went and ruined my shtick -
my reproachfulness. They did it by describing the millennium,
the year 2000, as a Jubilee year, as an opportunity to cancel
the chronic debts of the world's poorest people. They had the
audacity to renew the Lord's call - and were joined by Pope John
Paul II, who, from an Irish half-Catholic's point of view, may
have had a more direct line to the Almighty.
'Jubilee' - why 'Jubilee'?
What was this year of Jubilee, this year of our
I'd always read
the scriptures, even the obscure stuff. There it was in Leviticus
'If your brother
becomes poor,' the scriptures say, 'and cannot maintain himself...you
shall maintain him.... You shall not lend him your money at interest,
not give him your food for profit.'
is such an important idea, Jubilee, that Jesus begins his ministry
with this. Jesus is a young man, he's met with the rabbis, impressed
everyone, people are talking. The elders say, he's a clever guy,
this Jesus, but he hasn't done much...yet. He hasn't spoken in
When he does,
is first words are from Isaiah: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon
me,' he says, 'because He has anointed me to preach good news
to the poor.' And Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord's favour,
the year of Jubilee (Luke 4:18).
he was really talking about was an era of grace - and we're still
So fast-forward 2,000
years. That same thought, grace, was made incarnate - in a movement
of all kinds of people. It wasn't a bless-me club... it wasn't
a holy huddle. These religious guys were willing to get out in
the streets, get their boots dirty, wave the placards, follow
their convictions with actions...making it really hard for people
like me to keep their distance. It was amazing. I almost started
to like these church people.
then my cynicism got another helping hand.
It was what Colin Powell, a five-star general, called
the greatest W.M.D. of them all: a tiny little virus called AIDS.
And the religious community, in large part, missed it. The ones
that didn't miss it could only see it as divine retribution for
bad behaviour. Even on children...even [though the] fastest growing
group of HIV infections were married, faithful women.
Aha, there they go again! I thought to myself judgmentalism
But in truth, I was
wrong again. The church was slow but the church got busy on this
the leprosy of our age.
was on the move.
on the move.
God was on the
Moving people of all
kinds to work with others they had never met, never would have
cared to meet...conservative church groups hanging out with spokesmen
for the gay community, all singing off the same hymn sheet on
AIDS...soccer moms and quarterbacks...hip-hop stars and country
stars. This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff
Popes were seen wearing
Jesse Helms was
seen with a ghetto blaster!
stuff. Evidence of the spirit.
was breathtaking. Literally. It stopped the world in its tracks.
When churches started demonstrating
on debt, governments listened - and acted. When churches starting
organising, petitioning, and even - that most unholy of acts today,
God forbid, lobbying...on AIDS and global health, governments
listened - and acted.
here today in all humility to say: you changed minds; you changed
policy; you changed the world.
whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists,
most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place
for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives.
Check Judaism. Check Islam. Check pretty much anyone.
I mean, God may well be with us
in our mansions on the hill. I hope so. He may well be with us
as in all manner of controversial stuff. Maybe, maybe not. But
the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is
that God is with the vulnerable and poor.
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where
the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has
infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives.
God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the
debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if
we are with them. "If you remove the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you
give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom with become
like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy
your desire in scorched places."
It's not a coincidence that in the scriptures, poverty
is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It's not an accident. That's
a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions. (You know, the only time Christ
is judgmental is on the subject of the poor.) 'As you have done
it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto
me' (Matthew 25:40). As I say, good news to the poor.
Here's some good news for the president. After 9/11
we were told America would have no time for the world's poor.
America would be taken up with its own problems of safety. And
it's true these are dangerous times, but America has not drawn
the blinds and double-locked the doors.
In fact, you have doubled aid to Africa. You have
tripled funding for global health. Mr. President, your emergency
plan for AIDS relief and support for the Global Fund - you and
Congress - have put 700,000 people onto life-saving anti-retroviral
drugs and provided 8 million bed nets to protect children from
achievements. Counterintuitive. Historic. Be very, very proud.
But here's the bad news. From
charity to justice, the good news is yet to come. There is much
more to do. There's a gigantic chasm between the scale of the
emergency and the scale of the response.
And finally, it's not about charity after all, is
it? It's about justice.
me repeat that: It's not about charity, it's about justice.
And that's too bad.
Because you're good at charity. Americans, like
the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot,
even those who can't afford it.
justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea
of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks
our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.
Sixty-five hundred Africans
are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease,
for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about
charity, this is about justice and equality.
Because there's no way we can look at what's happening
in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really
accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world,
we wouldn't accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia
with the tsunami. 150,000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers,
"mother nature." In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every
month. A tsunami every month. And it's a completely avoidable
but justice and equality are mates. Aren't they? Justice always
wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain.
You know, think of those Jewish
sheep-herders going to meet the Pharaoh, mud on their shoes, and
the Pharaoh says, "Equal?" A preposterous idea: rich
and poor are equal? And they say, "Yeah, 'equal,' that's
what it says here in this book. We're all made in the image of
the Pharaoh says, "OK, I can accept that. I can accept the
Jews - but not the blacks."
the women. Not the gays. Not the Irish. No way, man."
So on we go with our journey of
On we go in the pursuit
We hear that call
in the ONE Campaign, a growing movement of more than 2 million
Americans...Left and Right together... united in the belief that
where you live should no longer determine whether you live.
We hear that call even more powerfully
today, as we mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King - mother of
a movement for equality, one that changed the world but is only
just getting started. These issues are as alive as they ever were;
they just change shape and cross the seas.
Preventing the poorest of the poor from selling
their products while we sing the virtues of the free market...that's
a justice issue. Holding children to ransom for the debts of their
grandparents...that's a justice issue. Withholding life-saving
medicines out of deference to the Office of Patents...that's a
And while the
law is what we say it is, God is not silent on the subject.
That's why I say there's the law
of the land¿. And then there is a higher standard. There's
the law of the land, and we can hire experts to write them so
they benefit us, so the laws say it's OK to protect our agriculture
but it's not OK for African farmers to do the same, to earn a
As the laws of man
are written, that's what they say.
will not accept that.
won't, at least. Will yours?
I close this morning
is a dangerous idea I've put on the table: my God vs. your God,
their God vs. our God...vs. no God. It is very easy, in these
times, to see religion as a force for division rather than unity.
And this is a town - Washington
- that knows something of division.
the reason I am here, and the reason I keep coming back to Washington,
is because this is a town that is proving it can come together
on behalf of what the scriptures call the least of these.
This is not a Republican idea.
It is not a Democratic idea. It is not even, with all due respect,
an American idea. Nor it is unique to any one faith.
'Do to others as you would have them do to you'
(Luke 6:30). Jesus says that.
is this: that one should...give away wealth out of love for him
to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer
and the beggars and for the emancipation of the captives.' The
Koran says that (2.177).
sayeth the Lord: 'Bring the homeless poor into the house, when
you see the naked, cover him, then your light will break out like
the dawn and your recovery will speedily spring fourth, then your
Lord will be your rear guard.' The Jewish scripture says that.
Isaiah 58 again.
That is a
powerful incentive: 'The Lord will watch your back.' Sounds like
a good deal to me, right now.
number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. In
countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord's
blessing. I was saying, you know, I have a new song, look after
it¿. I have a family, please look after them¿. I
have this crazy idea...
this wise man said: stop.
said, stop asking God to bless what you're doing.
Get involved in what God is doing - because it's
as I said, is with the poor. That, I believe, is what God is doing.
And that is what he's calling
us to do.
I was amazed when
I first got to this country and I learned how much some churchgoers
tithe. Up to 10% of the family budget. Well, how does that compare
with the federal budget, the budget for the entire American family?
How much of that goes to the poorest people in the world? Less
Mr. President, Congress,
people of faith, people of America:
want to suggest to you today that you see the flow of effective
foreign assistance as tithing.... Which, to be truly meaningful,
will mean an additional 1% of the federal budget tithed to the
What is 1%?
1% is not merely a number on a balance sheet.
1% is the girl in Africa who gets
to go to school, thanks to you. 1% is the AIDS patient who gets
her medicine, thanks to you. 1% is the African entrepreneur who
can start a small family business thanks to you. 1% is not redecorating
presidential palaces or money flowing down a rat hole. This 1%
is digging waterholes to provide clean water.
1% is a new partnership with Africa, not paternalism
toward Africa, where increased assistance flows toward improved
governance and initiatives with proven track records and away
from boondoggles and white elephants of every description.
America gives less than 1% now.
We're asking for an extra 1% to change the world. to transform
millions of lives - but not just that and I say this to the military
men now - to transform the way that they see us.
1% is national security, enlightened economic self-interest,
and a better, safer world rolled into one. Sounds to me that in
this town of deals and compromises, 1% is the best bargain around.
These goals - clean water for
all; school for every child; medicine for the afflicted, an end
to extreme and senseless poverty - these are not just any goals;
they are the Millennium Development goals, which this country
supports. And they are more than that. They are the Beatitudes
for a globalised world.
I'm very lucky. I don't have to sit on any budget committees.
And I certainly don't have to sit where you do, Mr. President.
I don't have to make the tough choices.
But I can tell you this:
To give 1% more is right. It's smart. And it's blessed.
There is a continent - Africa
- being consumed by flames.
truly believe that when the history books are written, our age
will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital
revolution, and what we did - or did not to - to put the fire
out in Africa.
God, is watching what we do.
you. Thank you, America, and God bless you all.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Search of Peace by F.A. Harper
...Charges of pacifism are likely to be hurled at
anyone who in these troubled times raises any question about the
race into war. If pacifism means embracing the objective of peace,
I am willing to accept the charge. If it means opposing all aggression
against others, I am willing to accept that charge also. It is
now urgent in the interest of liberty that many persons become
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
little time last night to watch this
documentary on cecil taylor
... made me wish i knew more about
the inner workings of music ... good stuff ... drove a couple
of the brothers out of the room ... i think ... wild piano/combo
improv ... made me wonder how i'd look in a pair of them knickers
mr. taylor sports
peace ... Mrs.
Monday, January 30, 2006
busy day ... but ... monday ... full of spaces where one just
stops being ... for a little while ... who are these people?
t j b l
u g archive
finish your phrase