Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Democratic Hungers

"No society has fulfilled its democratic promise if people go hungry... If some go without food they have surely been deprived of all power. The existence of hunger belies the existence of democracy."

- Frances Moore Lappé

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Forgetting Home

Misconceptional Multitasking

“I don’t know that this generation values focused attention. The notion that attention is at the core of a relationship is declining. Is saying to someone ‘I am going to give you my undivided attention’ still one of the greatest gifts I can give? Or has multitasking led us to a kind of attention infidelity?"

Clifford Nass while being interviewed by Ellen Goodman


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ode of an Inmate

I am a prisoner,
trapped in my cell.
My freedom comes in eight months,
but eight months is a long time.
My prisonmates not only dislike me,
but they love prison culture.
To me this lifestyle is suffocating,
but what difference does it make?
I am a prisoner.
Amidst the laughs and smiles, I stand here, empty and unfulfilled.
I try to gel with my prisonmates, but fail.
They would rather make license plates than talk to me.
Or maybe they are just too busy doing prisonly things.
Either way, mindlessness runs rampant.
I am a prisoner,
fed up with good behavior.
Taming one's desires leaves a void in the heart.
My emotions are strong and have kept me afloat.
I am a prisoner.
The ones who truly know my depth
now shield themselves from my presence.
They are scared--of me, and what I say.
Nobody wants to talk to the bearer of bad news.
I am a prisoner.
I refuse to be silent.
Is it really bad news, or simply reality?
Why do the masses refuse to have their ways questioned?
I am a prisoner.
I have been out of this cell before.
Life is vibrant and wonderful beyond these bars.
If only I could share this with all.
It would be most excellent.
But again, I am a prisoner
The darkness looms everywhere.
I try to fight it with smiles and a warm heart,
but to what end?
I fail.
I am alone and I fail.

I am a prisoner.

- Teddy Grahams -

Pathway Towards Cowardice

"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing."

- Elbert Hubbard

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nightmare on College Street

Last night, I had a horrifying a dream.

In it, I dreamt that I was in a distant land, inhabited by thousands of young adults. The size of this land was rather small, spanning about two miles from one edge to the other. Several buildings with completely different architecture styles were scattered about this two mile region, and every fifteen minutes one of these structures played loud music high up in the air.

As my dream went on, I observed the young adults meandering from building to building, every day, for many hours. In these buildings, the young adults sat in orderly fashion while staring at white, brown, or black boards. Occasionally older looking adults would write things on these boards, while the young ones watched, in a dazed state.

It seemed that these hourly sessions caused the young adults to fall into hypnosis, for after they left the buildings, the young adults repetitively studied nothing but what was preached by the older adults. Creativity was nonexistent, and the humans seemed more like parrots, repeating everything that was taught by the older adults.

As time went on I occasionally tried to communicate with some of the inhabitants. I asked them about their experiences and desires for the rest of their lives. Why were they going to these buildings? Would they ever do anything else with the rest of their lives?

Every answer was freakishly similar. The young adults told me that they were going into these buildings so they could gain a specific skill in a specific area of study, in which they would perform over and over again for the rest of their lives. Their work, they told me, would exist outside of this two mile region. But to leave, the individuals had to sit in the buildings for a specific amount of hours, numbering in the thousands. I believe the word they kept using during this discussion was “career.”

Observing for several more days, I noticed the young adults all partook in the same religion. In this religion, each individual was required to make significant sacrifices for their god. For example, to please the god, the individuals gave up their ability to cook. If they, themselves cooked, the individuals could not devote as much time as required for their god. Time was something their god loved to consume. Similarly, the individuals sacrificed their sleep, for the more sleep they gave up, the better off their god was.

Finally, in a most dramatic fashion, the individuals gave up their entire identities, and took on the image that their god desired, ranging from the way they dressed, to what they were allowed to talk or even think about.

It was also made incisively clear to me that if anyone ever questioned the authority of the god, he or she was immediately disbanded from this society, and labeled a “failure”.

Though I may have heard this incorrectly, I am pretty sure that the existence of their god was actually in the form of a trinity: the Résumé, the GPA, and the Holy Dollar—a most peculiar set of beliefs, indeed.

Fortunately, no matter how frightening this nightmare may be, it was only a dream. But sometimes I wonder, think, and fear—what if this was reality? How bleak would it be?

- Teddy Grahams

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wolves, Sheep, and Sheepdogs

"If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath--a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed."

- Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

Rock Food

Monday, September 21, 2009

Globalization and "Free" Trade

"But the game is up. The utopian dreams of globalization have been exposed as a sham. Force is all the elite have left. We are living through one of civilization’s great seismic reversals. The ideology of globalization, like all utopias that are sold as inevitable and irreversible, has become a farce. The power elite, perplexed and confused, cling to the disastrous principles of globalization and its outdated language to mask the political and economic vacuum before us. The absurd idea that the marketplace alone should determine economic and political constructs caused the crisis. It led the G-20 to sacrifice other areas of human importance—from working conditions, to taxation, to child labor, to hunger, to health and pollution—on the altar of free trade. It left the world’s poor worse off and the United States with the largest deficits in human history. Globalization has become an excuse to ignore the mess. It has left a mediocre elite desperately trying to save a system that cannot be saved and, more important, trying to save itself. 'Speculation,' then-President Jacques Chirac of France once warned, 'is the AIDS of our economies.' We have reached the terminal stage."

- Chris Hedges

Article in its entirety:

Shoe Thrower Speaks After Being Freed

"The opportunity came, and I took it.

I took it out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation or because of it, every scream of a bereaved mother, every moan of an orphan, the sorrow of a rape victim, the teardrop of an orphan.

I say to those who reproach me: Do you know how many broken homes that shoe that I threw had entered because of the occupation? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? And how many times it had entered homes in which free Iraqi women and their sanctity had been violated? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.

When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.

After six years of humiliation, of indignity, of killing and violations of sanctity, and desecration of houses of worship, the killer comes, boasting, bragging about victory and democracy. He came to say goodbye to his victims and wanted flowers in response.

Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier, and to all who are in league with him, whether by spreading lies or taking action, before the occupation or after."

- Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi who threw his shoes at George Bush

Article in its entirety:


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Questioning 9/11 and Big Government

The Atrocity of the Office

"The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dews of crime' that dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cuttingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern."

- C.S. Lewis

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Train

I stood on the tracks, at the edge of a cliff. From a distance, directly in view, existed a powerful locomotive, rushing towards me with fierce power and speed. What is one to do when a train is nearing a cliff and there is not enough time to stop the train? I could very easily step off the tracks and preserve my life while watching the train meet its demise in a fierce and fiery scene--a sure death for all who preside within it. I could also stand on the tracks and try to stop the train myself, though this would most likely fail and result in my own death. I am scared, my options are limited, and I don't know what to do.

Help me.

- Teddy Grahams

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Corporate Conglomerates Advertise as Local

"HSBC, one of the biggest banks on the planet, has taken to calling itself "the world's local bank." Starbucks is un-branding at least three of its Seattle outlets, the first of which just reopened as "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea." Winn-Dixie, a 500-outlet supermarket chain, recently launched a new ad campaign under the tagline, "Local flavor since 1956." The International Council of Shopping Centers, a global consortium of mall owners and developers, is pouring millions of dollars into television ads urging people to "Shop Local" - at their nearest mall. Even Wal-Mart is getting in on the act, hanging bright green banners over its produce aisles that simply say, "Local."

Hoping to capitalize on growing public enthusiasm for all things local, some of the world's biggest corporations are brashly laying claim to the word local."

Article continued at http://www.newrules.org/retail/article/corporate-coopt-local