Category Archives: reblogs

THE STATION AGENT (Thomas McCarthy, 2003)

The late Dennis Grunes reviews the Station Agent. He thinks Tom McCarthy did Patricia Clarkson’s character dirty. In retrospect, I think he has a point. His view is tendentious but seems more insightful than mine.

Dennis Grunes

A sweet and sentimental tearjerker that bears the stamp of the Disney studio that produced it, The Station Agent is toughened a bit, at the core, by its relentless view of the selfishness of its three main characters—until the end, that is, when, predictably, one comes through big time for one of the other two. A more contrived script would be impossible to imagine, but the writer-director, Thomas McCarthy, attempts to give the direction of his actors an air of casualness and spontaneity. I will leave it to others to decide whether McCarthy is entitled to so ardently manipulate his audience, given that a genuine tragedy is sketched into the background of one of the characters, the accidental death of her child who crashed to the ground from park monkey bars on which he was playing when she turned her eyes away for one second. One thing is for certain:…

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Nine months in the long limbo of long covid

A description of what it’s like to suffer from “long Covid” by Ed Rooksby, a college lecturer and writer who died recently at the age of 45. I sincerely hope I do not get this horrible disease.

ed rooksby

Nearly 70,000 cases of covid infection were reported yesterday, 8th January. Of course that’s officially confirmed cases and the real number of infections will be much higher. A small but significant proportion of those people will go on to be hospitalised and a small but significant proportion of them will die in the next few days. As we are often reminded, as if to reassure us, most of these victims will be over 60 and/or have various ‘underlying medical conditions’, but there are at least a couple of important ways in which this narrative of reassurance is both troubling and misleading. First, this narrative, intentionally or not (and I think it often is intentional when seized upon by various covid deniers and ‘lockdown sceptics’) effectively relegates people over 60 and those with ‘underlying conditions’ (and the list of these conditions is much more extensive than people normally realise) to…

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It’s a Bourgeois Town

Hey. I called it. This is white privilege in action. By contrast, an elderly black woman in New York just got roughed up and put in handcuffs by the NYPD for chalking some anti-Trump slogans onto a wall. If this woman gets Covid-19 in jail (she’s 67) those police officers are essentially guilty of murder.

“Before I could step back and see my handiwork, two police SUVs roared up on either side of me, and blocked me in,” Nelson told the Rag. “Four officers jumped out: ‘What are you doing? Why are you doing that? Do you own this building? Do you have a weapon?’

Writers Without Money

fine Westfield, NJ April 2020

The local bourgeoisie has discovered water soluble chalk. A few years ago, during Occupy Wall Street, or Black Lives Matter, chalking the sidewalk often meant that dozens of militarized police would roll up  on you, throw you to the ground, and put you through central booking (before the judge offered the inevitable ACD). But now, during the pandemic, in Central Union County, NJ, where the average family takes in about $200,000 a year from jobs on Wall Street, or in for profit healthcare, it’s rare to see a street without some message written out in pretty colors. I just wish there were more creativity. 90% of the slogans are generic, apolitical messages like “thank you to our healthcare workers” or “stay safe.” Perhaps I should buy some chalk myself the next time I go to the grocery store and write something like “workers of the world…

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Parasite (2019)

It’s by far the best movie of 2019, so much better than 1917, Ford vs Ferrari, Little Women, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, or Joker it’s difficult to express.

Writers Without Money


Back in 1982, a young Jeremy Irons starred in Moonlighting, a film about four Polish construction workers building a townhouse in London for their employer back in Warsaw. While the film was effusively praised by American critics, not only for Irons’s performance, but also for what they perceived as an anti-communist message, its director Jerzy Skolimowski saw Communist Poland and Thatcherite Britain as part of the same rotten system. He  understood that workers are never more oppressed by capitalism than when they think they’re pulling off a good scam. When Novak, the immigrant electrician played by Irons, realizes that his boss didn’t give them enough money to buy food, he shoplifts, subsidizing the construction of his employer’s cheap London townhouse with ever more elaborate heists from a nearby supermarket.

Parasite is the Korean Moonlighting. While nominated for Best Picture and effusively praised by American critics, including Barack Obama, Parasite is…

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Western Media Losing Enthusiasm for Failing Coup in Venezuela

Supporters of Trump’s coup in Venezuela got me banned from Twitter but it looks like they won’t get their regime change. Now it’s time to lift US sanctions.

The New Dark Age

253 July 2019 — FAIR


When previously unknown Venezuelan opposition politician Juan Guaidó stood up in an East Caracas plaza and declared himself “interim president” of the South American country, Western corporate media were ebullient.

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Times They Are A-Changin’…in Roselle

Terrific Article about my Hometown of Roselle, New Jersey. Abraham Clark, who sighed the Declaration of Independence, isn’t exactly a household name, but is a fascinating character nonetheless. An “anti-Federalist” and a “people’s lawyer” you might do worse than thinking of him as the closet thing the Founding Fathers had to William Kunstler.


Growing up in a post-war cookie-cutter housing development so typical of 1970’s suburban New Jersey, I would often “garbage-pick” old bicycles, or parts thereof, and construct functioning machines that while not quite as aesthetic as my friends’ new Schwinn Stingrays or Orange Krates, nonetheless afforded me my single most important means of independence. My teenage friends and I would pedal our bikes to the extremes of our neighborhood, continuously expanding those limits with each passing summer until finally earning our drivers licenses on our seventeenth birthdays. For many years, North Wood Avenue, a heavily trafficked street just four-blocks west of my house, served as one of our unofficial boundaries, as that avenue formed the border between my hometown of Linden and the neighboring Borough of Roselle. Since crossing the traffic on a bicycle could be dangerous, and since the other side was a different town populated by different kids who…

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Chelsea Manning is Showing Us What Real Resistance Looks Like

Why is Chelsea Manning still in jail for resisting a grand jury subpoena anyway? They’ve already indicted Julian Assange.

The Most Revolutionary Act

Chelsea Manning (photo courtesy

Throughout history, human civilization has been cursed by tyranny. Time and again, power is concentrated in institutions that rule by coercion and force. Humans have suffered through totalitarianism, dictatorships, and fascism repeatedly. Untold suffering and death have occurred.

But such times have always been marked by resistance. Courageous individuals and movements have fought back with a variety of tactics from open revolt to furtive sabotage. The rate of success in overthrowing particular tyrannical institutions has been mixed (though none of them ever last forever anyway of course) but that is not the only way to weigh the value of freedom fighters. Is it not worthy, in and of itself, to strive on behalf of life?

Here in the USA, we are living through a time of increasing tyranny. Certainly, the entire experiment has been tyrannical from the start, given the genocide and slavery that…

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Mumia Abu-Jamal wins right to re-open appeals — Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement

I personally don’t think either Mumia or Peltier (or Julian Assange) is ever going to see the light of day again. But this is good news nonetheless.

The Most Revolutionary Act

Community activists and leaders from the Philadelphia region will hold a news conference 12 noon, Thursday, April 18 at the Octavius V. Catto Statue on the south side of Philadelphia City Hall to discuss today’s decision by District Attorney Larry Krasner to finally relent to Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker’s ground-breaking decision which gives political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal the right to reopen his appeals.

By rescinding his appeal, Krasner has removed a major hurdle for Abu-Jamal to eventually be released after 37 years in prison. This is a significant development in Abu-Jamal’s quest for freedom.

Public pressure on Krasner’s office to do the right thing and rescind the appeal gained momentum in early February when Yale Law School students publicly withdrew their invitation to Krasner to deliver a keynote address to their Rebellious Lawyering (Reb/Law) conference. In Philadelphia, activists often confronted Krasner whenever he spoke in public…

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A Long Forgotten 1969 Student Protest Against the Internet

The Internet has always been a weapon, going back to its emergence out of the Pentagon in the 1960s as the ARPANET. One story I like to bring up is from 1969, when kids from Student for a Democratic Society at Harvard and MIT protested the Internet (then known as the ARPANET) as a dangerous political weapon even before the Internet went live.