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September 16th, 2004

To Scourge or Not to Scourge

" ...Ahhh, life is hard but someone has to do it."
Jillian Jake

 

Hi folks,

Pardon the brevity of this newsletter but I've got a series of shows this long weekend and time is a little tight. But there were too many important articles so I thought rather than skip a week I would send on what I have. This weekend I have been asked to do a special 'Joe's Newsletter' concert at the Illawarra Folk Festival so I've culled together some of the best bits from the past couple of months to do 'live'. I may throw in a gnocci making demonstration if I can find some mashed potatoes.


FAVOURITE READER COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

Joe,
You've gone too far. Please remove me from your list.
Sincerely,
T. G.

(Note: Like A Bridge Too Far? Thanks for letting me know in what area, TG. (Was it too much chilli in the BBQ Pig's Feet? What I do wrong this time? A perfect example of constructive criticism at it's wuse.)

Dear Joe,
 This is the first time I have actually sat and read your email letter the entire way though. It is facinating for a lot of reasons, one being your brain! I am interested in hearing from you what you actually believe...
M.K. PS Never go on United. Bad bad bad

(Note: I see your point, MK. One of these days I must get around to actually giving you my opinion on something. )

Hi Joe
 I have never previously written to you, though I now feel compelled to do so. Let me begin by announcing that I am a supporter of your newsletter and I look forward to reading it regularly. I write to express my concern about the anti-Americanism espoused in your newsletter every week. Although it is possible to argue a case against Mr Bush's approach in dealing with the spread of militant international Islam, due to his single mindedness about pursuing Mr Hussein and co. However it is also possible to establish a pre-emptive strike case for Mr Bush as well. International Militant islamists are not a sporadic disorganised minority Joe,  instead they are very well organised and funded by extremely wealthy Saudi's and Pakistanis. They are not victims, neither are they poor or those without a home. Instead, they are initiating a war on an international scale. The West is the heathen, it holds all of the power because it is Christian, Judaic or whatever. It is ultimately a war against modernity and those who control important resources now and in the future. It is also a struggle for survival Joe. We do not want to be left on the back foot. We closed our eyes to East Timor for too long, now we continue to close our eyes to Aceh, Bali and the rest.. oh and the Irianjia.. civilisations continue to be massacred and destroyed by Islam in our backyard Joe.
  Chechnya is also no accident, nowhere in your newsletter is there a mention of the children shot in the back, or of the Russian planes blown up by terrorist bombers. I know that you will draw equivalents with what the US is doing in Iraq to justify these actions. This is precisely the problem, US actions are used to justify Islamic terrorism all over the world. This type of justification is downright sickening and illogical. Islamic terrorism affects every corner of the globe and it is all about setting up Islamic states Joe. It is not about achieving justice - there is no just cause. Just ask the Sudanese whether or not they wish to be islamicised by those up North. This is the crux of the problem.
  We need to learn from history Joe - Europeans fought against the scourge of Islam for centuries; the Ottoman empire was unrelenting in its attempts to kill and destroy those Christian heathens in Greece, Spain, Italy, and oh check out this one Joe - Armenia. Ever heard of this one - The Turks killed about 2 million Armenians just after WW1. Never heard of them? Well just read Mien Kamp - Hitler agreed that extermination of the Jews through his final solution was the best way to go towards achieving the perfect form of ethnic cleansing. In his now (in)famous text he claims..'and who remembers the Armenians'. This meaning that extermination is possible as long as the major powers sanction it. Even today, with the full support of the US, the Turkish governnment refuses to accept responsibility. Modern day Turkey today has hundreds of dilapidated ancient churches that once belonged to the Armenians and even the Greeks - but today lay in ruin.
  Saint Francis also fought the scourge of Islam  - read your history Joe, Shakespeare's Othello might be a good start - and you will realise that we are fighting for our civilisation.
  The West has not been so perfect with its activities but equally it has provided (USA,Australia, Europe) refuge for millions, millions of Muslims - it has improved their lives in ways that could never be imagined because of the good will of the West. Name one successful Islamic state that provides equality and fairness before the law for all.
  Don't bag Mr Bush Joe without recognising the good that the US has done for most of the world as well. Regards
V.V.

(Note: I love that word 'scourge'. It's all the fashion now anyway since 'The Last Passion of George W Bush' . . .(oops, I meant Christ. Freudian Slip - "I didn't know he wore one?" boom boom!) Well, what can I say in reply here except, that, unless being a pro-Kerry supporter falls into the unamerican category, V.V. you may have missed that I barrack for the Democrats and the last time I looked they were still Americans. I am opposed to the Muslim fanatics vs Christian fanatics vs Nazi fanatics vs the Jewish fantatics vs Palestinian fantatics vs Chechnyan fantatics vs Turkish fanatics vs Serbian fanatics vs Soviet fanatics vs Chinese communist fanatics vs the Religious Right Republican fanatics vs the you-name-it fanatics. There's a lot of scourges out there, last count. I think we've all just been scourging each other to pieces towards a more peaceful and tolerant world. I know it doesn't seem that way often but I believe that vast majorities of people in all these diverse scourgimaniac cultures just want to raise their families and work in peace. It wont happen tomorrow but it will happen TOMORROW!)
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ROWBOAT VETERANS FOR THE TRUTH

He's resting his entire campaign on his so-called heroics in the Revolutionary War, and his famous Delaware River crossing.

His campaign wagons about a handful of Revolutionary veterans throughout the 13 States, and trots them out at public appearances to sing his praises. George Washington wants us to believe that these men represent all those he calls his "rowboat band of brothers."

But if bother you ask his boat mates, they'll tell you. The truth is, the man is unfit for command, and as president he would quite literally leave our young nation up the creek, without a paddle. (more) (article)

-----------------
Humour

The one-wish Genie
 
A woman was walking along the beach when she stumbled upon a bottle.
She picked it up and rubbed it, and 'low-and-behold' a genie appeared!
The amazed woman asked if she got three wishes.
 
The genie said, "Nope, sorry, three-wish genies are a storybook myth.
I'm a one-wish genie. So...what'll it be?"
 
The woman did not hesitate. She said, "I want peace in the Middle East.
See this map? I want these countries to stop fighting with each other and
I want all the Arabs to love the Jews and Americans and vice-versa.
It will bring about world peace and harmony."
 
The genie looked at the map and exclaimed, "Lady, be reasonable.
These countries have been at war for thousands of years. I'm out of shape.
After being in a bottle for five hundred years. I'm good, but not THAT good!
It can't be done. Make another wish and please be reasonable."
 
The woman thought for a minute and said, "Well, I've never been able to find the right man. You know, one that's considerate and fun, likes to cook and help with the house cleaning, is great in bed, and gets along with my family, doesn't watch sports all the time, and is faithful. That's what I wish for ...  a good man."
 
The genie let out a sigh and said, "Let me see the fucking map again!"
(thanks to Jim Testa)
--------------

Cittaslow

Waking up to the joys of life in the slow lane

A small market town plans to secure its future by embracing the Italian concept of Cittaslow
Patrick Barkham
The Guardian

Business is brisk in GF White's family butchers, but the talk is slow. Aylsham, a market town in Norfolk, will this week become the second small community in the country to join Cittaslow, the international network of "slow cities".

It will not be the last. Since Ludlow became the first town in the English-speaking world to embrace the Italian philosophy and practice of Cittaslow earlier this year, hundreds of other communities across the UK have been waking up to the concept, and pleasures, of a slow town.

Queueing for smoked chicken and homemade chutney, Val Wilson, who is about to move into the area, is all for Cittaslow. "When I first came here years ago, somebody was wearing a badge saying 'don't rush me, I'm from Norfolk'. That's a very positive thing in today's can't stop, can't talk life."

Cittaslow is not about creating museum towns where time stands still. First introduced in Italy by a local mayor in 1999, it aims to halt the spread of clone communities with identikit supermarkets, and dead dormitory towns where lonely commuters lead separate lives. More than 100 towns in 10 countries have now joined the network.
(article)
-----------------------------
Humour
                             
A gorilla escapes from the zoo and after 3 weeks, the zoo keepers give up looking for him. Some time later, a man calls the zoo complaining of a gorilla in a tree in his back yard. The zoo keeper rushes right over. When he arrives, he has a net, a baseball bat, a shotgun, and a Dachshund. The man asks what the items are for. He's told, "I'm gonna climb the tree and hit the gorilla in the head with the baseball bat. When he falls out of the tree, you throw the net over him, and the Dachshund will go straight for his balls." The man asks, "But what's the shotgun for?" The zoo keeper answers, "If I miss the gorilla and fall out of the tree, you shoot the Dachshund."
(thanks to Frank Dolce)
---------------------

Radical But Fascinating

Transcript: Alex Jones Interviews Stanley Hilton

AJ: He is back with us. He is former Bob Dole's chief of staff, very successful counselor, lawyer. He represents hundreds of the victims families of 9/11. He is suing Bush for involvement in 9/11. Now a major Zogby poll out ­ half of New Yorkers think the government was involved in 9/11. And joining us for the next 35 minutes, into the next hour, is Stanley Hilton. Stanley, it's great to have you on with us.

SH: Glad to be on.

AJ: We'll have to recap this when we start the next hour, but just in a nutshell, you have a lawsuit going, you've deposed a lot of military officers. You know the truth of 9/11. Just in a nutshell, what is your case alleging?

SH: Our case is alleging that Bush and his puppets Rice and Cheney and Mueller and Rumsfeld and so forth, Tenet, were all involved not only in aiding and abetting and allowing 9/11 to happen but in actually ordering it to happen. Bush personally ordered it to happen.
(article)
------------------------
Humour

Overheard by Kids

"When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower. She said, "Mommy, you are getting fat!"
I replied, "Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy."
"I know," she replied, but what's growing in your butt?"
--------------

When the Rabbits Get a Gun
By William Rivers Pitt

This is the comforting fiction: Osama bin Laden is a monster who sprang whole from the fetid mire. He had no childhood, no influences, no education, no experiences to form his view of the world. He did not exist, and then he did, a vessel into which the universe poured the essence of evil. It is a simple, straightforward story of a man who hates freedom and kills for the pure joy of feeling innocent blood drip from his fingers.
 This is the fairy tale by which children are put to bed at night. As frightening and terrifying as bin Laden may be, it is a comfort to imagine him as having been chiseled from the dust. The fiction of his existence, absent of detail, makes him unique, a singular entity not to be replicated. Osama bin Laden becomes truly scary only when the actual context of his life is made clear, where he is from, what he has seen, and why those things motivated him to do what he does.
Osama bin Laden becomes truly scary when the realization comes that he is not unique, not singular, not an invention of the universe. He becomes truly scary when the realization comes that there are millions of people who have seen what he has seen, who feel what he feels, and why. He becomes truly scary when the realization comes that he is a creation of the last fifty years of American foreign and economic policy, and that he has an army behind him created by the same influences. Simply, Osama bin Laden becomes truly scary when the realization comes that he can be, and has been, and continues to be, replicated.
(article)
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LIFE IN 1904

The average life expectancy in America was 47.

Only 14% of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.

18% of American households had at least one full-time
servant or domestic.

Only 8% of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.

Sugar cost $0.04/pound. Eggs were $0.14/dozen. Coffee cost
$0.15/pound.

There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. and only 144 miles of
paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more
heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million
residents, California was only the 21st most populated state
in the Union.

The average wage in the U.S. was $0.22/hour.

The average American worker made between $200-$400/year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000/year, a
dentist $2,500/year, a veterinarian between
$1,500-$4,000/year, and a mechanical engineer about
$5,000/year.

More than 95% of all births in the U.S. took place at home.

90% of all U.S. physicians had no college education.
Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were
condemned in the press and by the government as
"substandard."

The five leading causes of death in the US were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New
Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union
yet.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.

One in ten American adults couldn't read or write.

Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high school.

There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire
U.S.

(source)

The statistics on consumer prices indicate how successfully
the Federal Reserve System, our nation's quasi-public central
bank, has defended the purchasing power of the dollar. But
apart from that, things are doing great. Mostly.

 

THINGS ARE GETTING BETTER, EXCEPT FOR. . . .

"By 1940, the literacy figure for all states stood at
96 percent for whites, 80 percent for blacks. Notice
that for all the disadvantages blacks labored under,
four of five were nevertheless literate. Six decades
later, at the end of the twentieth century, the
National Adult Literacy Survey and the National
Assessment of Educational Progress say 40 percent of
blacks and 17 percent of whites can't read at all. Put
another way, black illiteracy doubled, white illiteracy
quadrupled. Before you think of anything else in regard
to these numbers, think of this: we spend three to four
times as much real money on schooling as we did sixty
years ago, but sixty years ago virtually everyone,
black or white, could read."

(source)

Is it really this bad today? It really is. The good old
days, educationally, really were good.

This was equally true in 1910. The good old days were
better. Consider this:

"According to the Connecticut census of 1840, only one
citizen out of every 579 was illiterate and you
probably don't want to know, not really, what people in
those days considered literate; it's too embarrassing.
Popular novels of the period give a clue: 'Last of the
Mohicans', published in 1826, sold so well that a
contemporary equivalent would have to move 10 million
copies to match it. If you pick up an uncut version you
find yourself in a dense thicket of philosophy,
history, culture, manners, politics, geography,
analysis of human motives and actions, all conveyed in
data-rich periodic sentences so formidable only a
determined and well-educated reader can handle it
nowadays. Yet in 1818 we were a small-farm nation
without colleges or universities to speak of. Could
those simple folk have had more complex minds than our
own?"

Or this:

"In 1882, fifth graders read these authors in their
Appleton School Reader: William Shakespeare, Henry
Thoreau, George Washington, Sir Walter Scott, Mark
Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John
Bunyan, Daniel Webster, Samuel Johnson, Lewis Carroll,
Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others like
them. In 1995, a student teacher of fifth graders in
Minneapolis wrote to the local newspaper, 'I was told
children are not to be expected to spell the following
words correctly: back, big, call, came, can, day, did,
dog, down, get, good, have, he, home, if, in, is, it,
like, little, man, morning, mother, my, night, off,
out, over, people, play, ran, said, saw, she, some,
soon, their, them, there, time, two, too, up, us, very,
water, we, went, where, when, will, would, etc. Is this
nuts?' "

(source)

"In 1910, only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high
school." Today, millions have graduated, but is their education
equal to sixth grade in 1910? In the best high schools, of
course it is. I'm talking about the typical high school. I'm
talking about the typical graduate.
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan)

-------------------

Recipes

Beet Greens and Tofu
Beet greens are too often discarded -- a shame, because they are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and are a delicious vegetable in their own right. Tofu is made from raw soybeans that are soaked and pulverized into pulp, then boiled to make the soybeans more digestible. After filtering, calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride is added to the soy milk to coagulate it into curds and whey. The curds are pressed into molds to form the "soy cheese," which is then cut into squares. Soybeans help to ward off cancer and are a good source of natural estrogen. Pressing the tofu creates a firmer texture and gets rid of any excess water that would otherwise make the greens and tofu soggy. This dish has an Asian flavor due to the garlic and soy, and makes a well-balanced meal when served with a complementing carbohydrate, such as brown rice.

1 cup tofu cubes (see procedure below)
1 pound beet greens
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, mashed
Reduced-sodium soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to taste

1. If you use fresh tofu, drain it, slice it 1/2-inch thick, place the slices on a dish towel or layers of paper towel, cover with another cloth or paper towel, then place a board on top and weight the board with a few heavy cans or a pot of water. Press the tofu slices for 1 hour, then remove and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. You can also use baked, pressed tofu, in which case you just need to cut it into cubes. Either way, you will want to end up with 1 cup of tofu cubes.

2. Wash the beet greens, drain, remove stems and shred.

3. Heat the canola oil in a skillet and add the onion. Sauté over medium-high heat until onion is translucent, then add the tofu and continue cooking until tofu begins to color.

4. Add the beet greens and garlic. Stir-fry until greens are cooked, about 5 minutes.

5. Season with the soy sauce or teriyaki sauce and cook for another minute to blend flavors. Serve over brown rice.
---------------

SOUL FOOD BEET GREENS
All these years I've been loving beets but throwing the beet greens away! No more. A delicious way to serve greens, whether collard, kale, or beet.

1 pound beet greens
1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup of water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/6 cup of cider vinegar

Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and remove any heavy stems. Tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a 3 qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned. Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Continue cooking until mixture boils. Add greens, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.

Serves 4.


~~

"Go, balloons. I don't see anything happening. Go, balloons. Go, balloons. Go, balloons. Stand by, confetti. Keep coming, balloons. More balloons. Bring them. Balloons, balloons, balloons! More balloons. Tons of them. Bring them down. Let them all come. No confetti. No confetti yet. No confetti. All right. Go, balloons. Go, balloons. We're getting more balloons. All balloons. All balloons should be going. Come on, guys! Let's move it. Jesus! We need more balloons. I want all balloons to go. Go, confetti. Go, confetti. Go, confetti. I want more balloons. What's happening to the balloons? We need more balloons. We need all of them coming down. Go, balloons. Balloons. What's happening balloons? There's not enough coming down. All balloons! Why the hell is not hing falling? What the f--- are you guys doing up there? We want more balloons coming down. More balloons. More balloons."
Democratic Convention producer, Don Mischer, overheard on CNN having an apoplectic seizure when the balloons failed to drop from the ceiling of the Fleet Center in Boston


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