WINTER SOLSTICE: “Solstice Tribute” / Freedom From Religion Foundation ☮

Image may contain: text that says 'Solstice Tribute O, Ancient drums stop beating And superstitions fall! It's time for Reason's Greetings, For peace, goodwill to all.'

h/t: Freedom From Religion Foundation

Enjoy the real reason for the season — the Winter Solstice — the shortest, darkest day of the year. This natural event signals the ‘rebirth’ of the sun and the natural New Year. It has been celebrated for millennia in the Northern Hemisphere with evergreen decorations, feasts, festivals of light and gift exchanges.

Download your free MP3 of FFRF Co-President Dan Barker’s “Solstice Tribute.”

PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT POETRY: “Alternative Facts on Seven Countries’ Terrorists” / Black Agenda Report / Raymond Nat Turner ☮

by BAR poet in residence Raymond Nat Turner

This and every year since the dawn of this country, most terrorist acts in the US have been perpetrated by white Christian males. So how, our poet asks, do we make sense of Trump’s attempted travel ban and its effect on terrorism inside the US? Do they really fear that white boys will be trained in Somaila, Yemen, Iraq or Iran?

Orange Alert
Extreme Vetting—
Iraq, Iran, Libya,
Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen
Troublesome travel areas!!!!
Increased risk of terrorist activity—
Increased risk of recruiters breaching
our borders and recruiting freedom-lovin’, fun-lovin’,
red-blooded, brave white boys; unwitting and innocent
white boys and turnin’ them into Bad Hombres!

Increased risk of white boys coming out
Libyan Conversion Therapy Camps Bad Hombres and
Bombing Oklahoma City;
Coming out Somalian Conversion Therapy Camps Bad Hombres
Shooting up schools like Sandy Hook and Columbine;
Coming out Sudanese Conversion Therapy Camps Bad Hombres
Shooting up Colorado Movie Theaters;
Coming out Iraqi Conversion Therapy Camps Bad Hombres
Killing South Carolina Churchgoers…

Orange Alert
Iraq, Iran, Libya,
Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen
Must be Bad hombre hotbeds—Conversion Therapy Camps
Radicalizing Extremists elements practicing Scalia Law!

They gotta be
Havens for White Boy Terrorist Training—
Camps teaching critical klan theory—white supremacy studies:
Love of Hitler, hatred of Jews and how to say ‘nigger’ in 19 languages
While organizing Lynch Mobs posing as Sports Fans and practicing
Foam Finger Fundamentalism: “U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!” and singing the
“Star Spangled Banner” Bud-drunk, obedient to the 1%
Why, even FOX thinks they’re
Conversion Therapy Camps
Bad Hombres how to
Infiltrate police departments,
and the army, and become confederate
flag-waving wild Boers—GI jihadis;
‘em how to
How to set up sleeper cells in klu klux klan klaverns;
‘em how to
Rape in the Philippines, Okinawa and Oklahoma City and
Get away with it;
How To View ‘people of color’ as collateral damage—‘bug splat’
Instruction from the White Boy Field Manual On Murder—
Stand Your Ground Studies: how to say with conviction,
“I feared for my safety…” after shooting ‘sand niggers’ ‘rag-heads’
‘camel jockeys’ ‘gooks’ ‘spics’ ‘spades’ ‘chinks’ and cutting off fingers
for souvenirs

Hey, maybe the Drone Ranger’s bombing 7 countries
Makes sense?
Maybe he was taking out existential threats:
White Boy Terrorist Training Camps?

FINE ARTS – ROMANTIC POETRY: William Blake / “London” / 1794

William BlakeLONDON

I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every black’ning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

Reference: SparkNotes

POETRY – FREE VERSE: “Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass” / Freedom From Religion Foundation ☮

Walt WhitmanI think I could turn and live with animals, they’re so placid and self contain’d,. . . .
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth.

~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1891 edition

On this date in 1819, Walt Whitman [May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892] was born on Long Island. After working as clerk, teacher, journalist and laborer, Whitman wrote his masterpiece, Leaves of Grass, pioneering free verse poetry in a humanistic celebration of humanity, in 1855. Emerson, whom Whitman revered, said of Leaves of Grass that it held “incomparable things incomparably said.” During the Civil War, Whitman worked as an army nurse, later writing Drum Taps (1865) and Memoranda During the War (1867). His health compromised by the experience, he was given work at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. After a stroke in 1873, which left him partially paralyzed, Whitman lived his next 20 years with his brother, writing mainly prose, such as Democratic Vistas (1870). Leaves of Grass was published in nine editions, with Whitman elaborating on it in each successive edition. In the preface of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, Whitman wrote, “This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God.” In 1881, the book had the compliment of being banned by the commonwealth of Massachusetts on charges of immorality.

Whitman was at most a Deist who scorned religion (see several samples of his views below). D. 1892.

h/t: Freedom From Religion Foundation

FINE ARTS – LYRIC POETRY: Philip Larkin / “This Be The Verse” / 1971 ☮

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

FINE ARTS – POETRY: William Shakespeare / “Hamlet: Act III, scene I [To be, or not to be]” / The Guardian / Shakespeare solos / Adrian Lester” ☮

William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub
;For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.