Thursday, January 31, 2008

What The F*&@!

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A video showing California slaughterhouse workers abusing dairy cows -- a violation that raises questions about U.S. food safety -- was released by the Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday.

The video, which one lawmaker said raises questions about the safety of the nation's food supply, shows Hallmark Meat Packing Co. workers administering repeated electric shocks to the downed cows -- animals that are too sick, weak or otherwise unable to stand on their own. Workers are seen kicking cows, jabbing them near their eyes, ramming them with a forklift and shooting high-intensity water up their noses in an effort to force them to their feet for slaughter.

Hallmark Meat Packing Co., based in Chino, California, sells beef to its sister company, Westland Meat. The facility is a major supplier to a USDA program that distributes beef to needy families, the elderly and to various other federal food programs including the National School Lunch Program.

Read more here.... if you think you want to... needless to say, the video is extremely disturbing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On Being Alive

Reality can not be a matter of facts.
Fact derives from thought, indeed from thinking about thought.
What, then, of unthinking experience?
Where is the fact in that?
The fact of an experience is not the experience.
The everyday wonder of being alive is not in the thinking of being alive-
but in the being alive of being alive.
Alan Watts

Can we refuse to not be alive?

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Fountain

What if we could live forever?

In "The Fountain" director Darren Aronofsky explores love and mortality, death as creation, and the futility of trying to hold onto life too tightly. The story unfolds over the course of a thousand years within three stories: a Spanish Conquistador searching for the tree of life in the Mayan jungles to save his Queen from the Inquisitors reign, a present day physician frantically searching for a cure for his dying wife using compounds derived from tree bark from the rain forests of South America, and a futuristic meditating space traveler nurturing a withering ancient tree while encapsulated in a eco-spheric starship journeying towards a golden nebula.

Mythological themes abound with enlightenment, redemption, the Hindu concept of cycle of birth and death, the Biblical tree of life, the Buddha, and the world-tree Yggdrasil- even the possibilities of altered states of consciousness through psychotropics or grief-induced hallucinations are explored.

If you prefer, the film also has an atheist meaning explained by Aronofsky; "It's about this endless cycle of energy and matter, tracing back to the Big Bang. We're all just borrowing this matter and energy for a little bit, until it goes back into everything else, and that connects us all."

The cinematography is stunning; a surreal and beautiful visual language of ethereal transitioning scenes utilizing light and shapes. Aronofsky chose to do the special effects for the film by using micro-photography of chemical reactions on tiny petri dishes.

Reprising his duties as composer for The Fountain is Clint Mansell, the composer for Aronofsky's previous films, Pi and Requiem for a Dream. Mansell crafts a sound-scape both brazen and light, impressionistic and minimalist (reminiscent of Javier Navarrete's score to Pan's Labyrinth) involving cyclical rhythms and evolving variations of central themes. The San Francisco-based string quartet Kronos Quartet, who had previously performed for the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack, and Scottish post-rock band Mogwai also contributed to the film score.

Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz and Ellen Burstyn (who once again stays true to her old-soul self in choosing roles) star.

"Every shadow no matter how deep is threatened by morning light."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why I Support John Edwards

January 20, 2008

The Honorable John E. Edwards
410 Market Street
Suite 400
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Dear Senator Edwards:

It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father’s legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father’s legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are - a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.

You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don’t have lobbyists in Washington and they don’t get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.

I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.

From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.

I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father’s words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.


Martin L. King, III

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