Name: William Rivers Pitt
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,802
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,802
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I raise a glass to those who ran to the sound and the smoke and the screams and the blood on Boylston Street in Boston, to do what they could. I raise a glass to those who survived, and to those who did not. I raise a glass to those with a hole in their life now; I have wept for you and yours more times this year than I can say, and I hold you and yours close to my heart tonight.
I raise a glass to you who have gone to war, and have come home to feel the back of America's hand as you limp on your prosthetic or tremble in disorder. It has been wisely said that a nation which does not care for its veterans, for he and she who has borne the battle, and their widow, and their orphan, has no business making new veterans in new wars anywhere, ever. To you, I raise a glass.
I raise a glass to every man and woman who wants to work but cannot find employment or get assistance because a few people you will never meet have decided it is politically expedient to see you suffer. They will tell you this nation has no money, which is a filthy lie; we have money, lots and lots of money, which is sent to strange and greedy corners because what we lack is not money, but a proper set of priorities. I raise a glass to you, and wish you a better year than the one you have endured.
I raise a glass to the healers, the helpers, the activists arrested trying to defend the right to vote, the right not to be poisoned by a pipeline or a fracking field, the right not to be harassed by police, the right to smoke a joint and make cancer just a bit less of a burden. I raise a glass to you who Occupies, who dares, who risks, who stands for us all.
I raise a glass to each and every man and woman who has fought for, and achieved, the right to marry whoever the damn hell they please. I raise a glass to love in all of its forms, to the states that have abandoned apartheid and embraced civil rights in the matter of marriage and love. I raise a glass to all those who wait behind the invisible bars of the ongoing apartheid in too many other states, and I raise a glass to the not-too-distant-future, when those bars will come crashing down, when love can be love for everyone, at last.
I raise a glass to every woman everywhere who pushed back against trans-vaginal ultrasounds, against getting raped after getting raped, against the idea that women's bodies are not their own, but are some form of public entity into which the Bronze-Age morality of modern white men can be shoved by way of dark-of-night legislation written by cowards and fools.
I raise a glass to those who have died before the barrel of a gun, to those who have been maimed by a gun, to those who have lost someone to a gun, and to those who fight every day to try and stop the bloody avalanche of death by gun in America.
I raise a glass to Truthout, and to every other alternative media source that dares to barge the genuine news into the body politic. The organization I work for does more good in a day than the New York Times does in a month, and my gratitude at being able to participate in that is fathomless and bottomless.
I raise a glass to you, DU, individually and collectively, to my online home for twelve years and counting.
I raise a glass to you, America, to the good you still have within you and the greatness you can achieve, if you choose to.
I raise a glass to my wife, and to my daughter, and to my mother, and to my friends, without whom I would quite simply be lost.
I raise a glass, and hold you close, and wish for you the best of all possible New Years.
With all of my love,
William Rivers Pitt
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Dec 31, 2013, 04:20 PM (74 replies)
So, yeah, more than a million unemployed people lose their benefits today because Supply-Side Jesus says helping the needy is no longer the Christian thing to do.
Deut. 15 : 7. If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.
Lev. 19 : 19 Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger.
1 John 3 : 17 But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won't help him--how can God's love be within him?
Prov. 14 : 31 Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.
Prov. 21 : 13 He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.
Luke 3 : 11 "If you have two coats," he replied, "give one to the poor. If you have extra food, give it away to those who are hungry."
2 Cor. 9 : 9 It is as the Scriptures say: "The godly man gives generously to the poor. His good deeds will be an honor to him forever."
Isa. 58 : 7 I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own homes those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don't hide from relatives who need your help
Luke 6 : 20-21. Blessed are you who are poor, for yours in the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Prov. 22 : 9 He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.
Ezek. 22 : 29,31. "The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice... Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads," declares the Lord GOD.
James 5 : 1-6. Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. ...Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and with you have withheld, cries out against you; and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
I could go on, but you get the point.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:03 AM (131 replies)
There is a kind of justice rising, I believe, and not just because of the season, although I freely confess to being a sucker thereto. There is a pope impatient with the shotgun marriage of cupidity and virtue, and who is not shy about explaining why. There is a sense in our politics that we are now paying for having abandoned the creative act of self-government through which we build a political commonwealth, a sense that we allowed that great work to be hijacked by religious grifters, and political bunco artists, and the various assortment of thieves and brigands to whom we handed the world's finances. There is a feeling in the land that the mist has begin to burn away, and that we see more clearly than ever the consequences of decades of choices, made and not made, and that we see more clearly than ever the work that has to be done to repair what we have chosen to do to our country and to ourselves. We can still refuse to do the work, but we no longer have the excuse available to us that we don't know what has to be done.
We can remain two nations because we choose to be. Or we can shake off the lethargy of an atrophied citizenship. We can rediscover the common good, the deep and abiding current within true democracy toward equality and justice. This is, after all, a season of hope and rebirth and of the fall, silent as the dead of night, of an old order and an ancient way of doing things. We are two nations, but we do not have to be.
I wish you all joy. Be well. Be at peace.
- Charles P. Pierce
The whole thing: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/christmas-serial-part-3-122413
Just incredible writing.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Wed Dec 25, 2013, 10:11 PM (22 replies)
Note: I finished writing this yesterday afternoon. I had to edit it this morning to reflect the fact that Laney Brown passed away in the night with her family by her side. I never met her, but her story, and the story of those who rallied to her comfort, is something I will never forget. - Will
(Photo: Michael Lawton / Flickr)
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Wednesday 25 December 2013
My daughter celebrated her first Christmas today. She doesn't know from presents or Santa or Christmas trees just yet. She likes the lights, and the wrapping paper, and a good nap after a bottle, just like her father. She likes, in other words, the simple stuff of the season because she doesn't know any better. The wild-eyed child-greed of "I WANT" spawned by toy commercials is still a ways off, because she doesn't know from television, thank God.
She doesn't know about Congress yet, either, and I envy her that. A few short hours from now, unemployment benefits for more than a million people will expire because Congress could not be bothered to renew them, because helping the neediest among us is no longer the Christian thing to do in the brave new world of 21st century America.
Charlie Pierce, as usual, said it best: "This decision was consciously taken by a Congress so soaked in electorally convenient religiosity that its members believe that people -- other people, naturally, and their children -- will be strengthened in their moral character by completely avoidable deprivation. That the mothers and fathers out there, avoiding the gazes of their children because of the simple expectations there that they cannot meet, will be better, stronger, and moral people for the pain that causes them to look away as the lights on the tree begin to blur with their tears."
I could speak of a government divorced from the people it supposedly exists to serve, of skyrocketing poverty and joblessness and homelessness, of food banks overwhelmed by need, of veterans and old people used as bargaining chips, of children born in the last five years who have never known Christmas at all because Christmas ceased to exist in all but name after their families were financially obliterated. I could speak of other families awash in money, the titans of Wall Street and the banking industry, for whom those "Buy a luxury car for Christmas" commercials are made. They will eat well, thanks to the money they stole, but because they are too big to fail, and because they own Congress, they remain untouched by the law for the serial crimes they have committed, and continue to commit.
Because there must be hope, because I will always try to find hope, because there is always reason for hope, I choose instead to write about Laney Brown of West Reading, Pennsylvania. Seven months ago, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. All options for her recovery were exhausted. The term of her life was measured in days.
Recently, she told her family that her last Christmas wish was to hear carolers at her door. By way of social media and the local news, her family put the word out about Laney's last wish. On Friday night, a few people arrived outside her door, and then a few more, and then a few hundred, and then a few thousand, until finally some ten thousand people stood shoulder to shoulder on Chestnut Street in West Reading and sang to Laney.
Laney Brown passed away early this morning with her family at her side. But on Friday night, she heard the carolers. She heard them all.
Laney Brown could be my daughter, or yours. We are all our brother's and sister's keeper, and so Laney Brown belongs to each and every one of us. That so many people came out to give her comfort, to grant her wish, and to comfort her family in this darkest of hours, is proof positive to me that far more people believe that than don't.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20832-laneys-christmas
Posted by WilliamPitt | Wed Dec 25, 2013, 11:01 AM (12 replies)
Not to interrupt the latest bout of mayhem to overtake GD, but I was hoping to take a moment to say thank you.
Thank you for teaching me, for schooling me (and you know the difference there), for comforting me, inspiring me, making me laugh, and pissing me off.
Thank you for motivating me.
My gratitude at being a part of this place knows no bounds. That gratitude exists in a permanent state even on days when I want to chuck the lot of you into the river.
Families are like that.
Merry Christmas, DU. All my love to you and yours.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Dec 24, 2013, 02:45 PM (56 replies)
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Dec 19, 2013, 11:29 AM (51 replies)
Creating a user name and account: easy.
Plowing through all the questions: easy.
Alas, I logged out to track down some personal info, and when I tried to log back in, it said the system was currently down.
...but then, Ermahgerd! A phone number: 800-318-2596
And it's toll-free, too!
So I'll be calling in the morning to finish the process.
No. Big. Deal.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Sun Dec 15, 2013, 01:01 PM (10 replies)
The 2013 Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog
By Drew Magary
I have a house and, like most houses, it's an unfinished work. There are cracks in the paint. There are piles of old clothes and shoes exploding out of the laundry room, which doubles as a storage room because we don't have a storage room. The walls in our bedroom are bare because we haven't had time to hang pictures on them since we moved in 10 years ago. We need a pantry, but don't have one. We just cram cans of food and boxes of pasta into the front hall closet with the coats and shoes because there's nowhere else to put them. We do not have a larder. I don't know what a larder is but it sounds fucking great. It sounds like you keep LARD in it, and that suits me nicely. But for now, this loving house will do, in all its imperfections. I suspect most houses are like this. There's always some goddamn project that needs to get done and never does.
But that is not the kind of home that exists in the Williams-Sonoma universe. The Williams-Sonoma universe is a magical pristine alternate dimension where every room has crown molding and your wife can fart out a perfect red velvet bundt cake in nine seconds flat from her Wolf oven and you are fucking RICH. Just so rich you don't even know what to do with yourself, which is how you end up spending $48 on a tin of peppermint bark. You host fabulous parties with educated neighbors and you eat organic soup out of a tureen hand-crafted by a cedar farmer in Alaska who only makes four of these tureens a year. It's a fabulous world, chock full of copper cookware dangling from stainless steel hooks and a framed picture of Ina Garten in every room, even the parlor!
Item #54-1623164 Monogrammed Steak Brand
Williams-Sonoma says: "Put your initials on your grilled masterpieces."
Notes: It's bad enough that the poor cow takes a frat house iron to the ass before being led to slaughter, but now you gotta sign your steak, too? This is what I want to do, and tell me if I'm going overboard here: I want to brand a cow, kill that cow, cook a steak from its carcass, BRAND the steak, serve the steak at a party so that people know it's mine even though they already saw me grilling it, and then I want to eat the steak, shit it out, BRAND my shit with some kind of forged iron shit brand, and mail that turd to the cow's children. You will fear the initials DM, children. They will live in your night terrors.
Item #54-1718857 Miele Rotary Iron
Williams-Sonoma says: "Sit comfortably at this machine to press and fold large linens in as little as four minutes."
Notes: Every year, the Williams-Sonoma catalog features gifts that are clearly meant for your help. "Thomas Barrow, my dear footman! Look at what I've got you! Now you can iron my bedsheets in nearly half the time! SURELY YOU MUST BE PLEASED." This thing is the size of a Buick. A regular iron costs thirty bucks. If you have the means to buy a giant robot ironing device, you should save your money and give the difference to ME, because I'll spend that money on more important things. I will fill a pool with snowflake marshmallows and jump into it while stark naked. Two thousand bucks. For an iron. Jesus Christ. Add it to my kid's Christmas list.
The rest: http://deadspin.com/the-2013-haters-guide-to-the-williams-sonoma-catalog-1481230580
Drew Magary is a living God.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Dec 12, 2013, 01:21 PM (15 replies)
Jimmy Greene holds a photo of his daughter, Ana Marquez-Greene, 6, one of the victims of the
shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as he comforts his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene.
(Photo: Ozier Muhammad / The New York Times)
Here Lies America: Shot to Death
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 12 December 2013
There was snow that morning, so the hiss of flakes against the windows was a constant companion as I got her ready for the day. I watched her eat a bowl of cereal and drink a glass of orange juice, helped her shrug into her winter coat, made sure her laces were tied, and held her hand as we managed the icy walk to the car. She kissed my cheek before stepping out into the controlled mayhem of the sidewalk in front of the school. I watched her as she was swallowed by the mob of children flowing in the schoolhouse door. I think I saw her look back and smile.
I was barely home before the phone rang. Something happened, something happened, I don't know what, but something happened. Turn on the news, and it's a view from a helicopter above her school, armored cops with rifles raised ("Like the ants that fight," you randomly remember from a Thomas Harris novel) swarming through the front door, children streaming out of the side of the building, is that her? Is that her? Where is my daughter?
No, that's not her, none of the screaming, hysterical, traumatized children on CNN are my baby, my baby is still in the building, face down in an ocean of blood and tangled in a pile of other dead children. Someone shot my baby so many times she doesn't have a face. Her jawbone is gore on the classroom wall, and I have to bury her with a closed casket so no one at the funeral throws up at the sight of her.
Welcome to the nightmare. As a parent, that scenario is one of many I am forced to deal with in my mind now, thanks to the Sandy Hook massacre.
I consider myself enormously fortunate, however, to have to deal only with the fear of someone randomly massacring my daughter. The reality of that horror is a national phenomenon. By a conservative estimate, at least 194 children have been killed by guns in the year since Sandy Hook. There have been more toddlers killed by toddlers with guns than there have been American adults killed by terrorists in this fading calendar year. The average age of the children who were killed by guns since Sandy Hook is six years old.
The folks who build small coffins for a living are enjoying a boom time.
It isn't NRA money, or right-wing pressure groups that bears all the responsibility for this. Neither would stand a chance against the kind of unified front represented by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Remember MADD? They changed the country, changed the culture, because too many kids were getting scraped off windshields and sent home to their parents in zippered sacks.
We don't have the kind of grassroots public advocacy against the epidemic of gun deaths that we had against drunk-driving deaths, even though it is children who do the dying all over again. There is nothing close to that kind of campaign happening anywhere.
We just don't care enough to make it stop, because it happens to other people, right?
That, right there, is why and where this country lost its way. The fact that we can't keep thousands of our citizens from dying by guns, and that even attempting to do so amounts to political suicide, is a shameful epitaph.
Here Lies America: shot to death. Please omit flowers.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20582-here-lies-america-shot-to-death
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Dec 12, 2013, 10:35 AM (99 replies)
(Photo: Tony Fischer / Flickr)
Top Gun Santa
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 05 December 2013
Two years ago, nearly to the day, I penned an article about the degree to which the Christmas season generally makes me want to tear my skull out from under my face and lob it through the window of the nearest storefront that has the gall to play "Jingle Bells" on an endless loop from a sidewalk speaker. I have my reasons, valid ones all, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
I am not, however, a curmudgeon. Sure, my "Christmas spirit" takes an annual beating when the commercials start in June, and the same songs are played all the time everywhere (I think the last new piece of Christmas music was written in the year 2), and the overwhelming commercialism of the whole thing makes me wonder why we don't all just live in the mall and get it over with...but then the day itself arrives, and I see family and friends, and get to watch them enjoy my gifts, and get to enjoy my own, and in the end, it's nice.
While I am not a to-the-knife defender of all things Christmas, I do believe it is important, especially for the children. All of my best Christmas memories are from before I was ten years old. There was a simple magic to it - the tree, the anticipation, the cookies and milk for the guy who would be coming down the chimney - that I still haven't forgotten, and this year, I get to share it with my daughter for the very first time.
So when I saw this article on Tuesday morning, I very nearly went around the bend:
As Santa streaks through the sky this Christmas Eve, Rudolph merrily guiding the way, he will be flanked by some new and unusual companions: a jet-fighter escort, bristling with missiles. That is the twist that - to the dismay of at least some child advocates - the US military has chosen to put on this year's version of its traditional animated tracking of the yuletide journey. This year's updated segment, now previewing on the military's website, depicts Santa soaring over snow-capped peaks with military aircraft keeping pace on either side.
Threats? To Santa Claus? Whose bright idea was this? Now, for the first time in history, children who see this nonsense will go to bed on Christmas Eve worried that someone might try to kill Santa Claus, an idea that no kid anywhere has ever been required to encompass.
You really have to see this turd to believe it. The martial drumming, the terrible graphics, the cameras and radar stations surveilling everything, and of course, the war weapons on Santa's six. You'd think the "defense" industry would treat Santa with more dignity. He knows if you are sleeping, he knows if you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so for goodness sake, the guy should be on retainer with the NSA.
The NORAD tracking thing has been around for almost 60 years, and when I was old enough to know better, I loved watching how it made the younger kids lose their minds when Santa's "position" was reported by the local TV news stations...but this deal with the fighter jets is not just some cute new wrinkle they've added.
It is product placement and the creation of brand loyalty to the military in the minds of young children, which in the end makes it recruiting. Period, end of file.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20441-top-gun-santa
NORAD promo video:
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Dec 5, 2013, 10:45 AM (15 replies)