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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Bob Alexander: Lex Luthor INC.

Lex LuthorI had a strange version of the cold, flu, and plague recently that laid me low for a couple of weeks and turned me into a barely sentient pile of goo. All I was capable of was collapsing on the couch in the BigAssTV room until it was time to stumble off to bed just in time for the fever dreams to kick in.

I couldnt follow any plot more complicated than a 3 Stooges short so for my viewing pleasure I decided to watch some episodes from the fifties TV show, Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves. Inertia through illness allowed me to sit back day after day while all 104 episodes washed over me.

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Chris Hedges: Legalizing Oppression

Lynne StewartThe lynching and disbarring of civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart, who because she has terminal cancer was recently released from prison after serving four years of a 10-year sentence, is a window into the collapse of the American legal system.

Stewart—who has stood up to state power for more than three decades in order to give a voice to those whom authorities seek to crush, who has spent her life defending the poor and the marginalized, who wept in court when one of her clients was barred from presenting a credible defense—is everything a lawyer should be in an open society. But we no longer live in an open society. The persecution of Stewart is the persecution of us all.

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Alex Baer: Faith, Hope, and That Itchy Sensation

hopeIt's been a restless winter.  Our dogs move around from one of their beds to another, and rotate spots on the floor in an ambling, nomadic waltz.  The ants have been especially antsy here this year, leaking out of the ancient, pseudo-farmhouse woodwork in streams, eddies, vortices, miniature maelstroms -- a bumper crop of biblical proportions.

The two humans residing here travel back and forth unpredictably, errant with errands, steeped in to-do lists, turned to and fro by daily tidal forces, triggered by a general twitchiness, tuned to some facial-tic-producing frequency just outside the range of hearing.

When not under the spell of whatever it is that might be working on us, we sometimes ask ourselves about the nature of the possible and probable propellants involved in our fidgeting.  No answers so far.

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Alex Baer: Dinosaurs, Cello Loops, and the Avalanche of Awe

celloThere's a certain, spectacular wonderfulness that comes from being ambushed by Beauty.  The experience can be disorienting, dazzling, dazing, delightful.  It can be stealthy and breath-taking, shorting your oxygen before you realize you're no longer continuing that familiar ebb and flow of air in and air out.

Remembering to breathe is the thing, when bushwhacked by Beauty.

It could be I am just out of practice and easily ambushed these days.  That's a possibility.  My circle of travels has been slight for the last year or so.  I have worn pairs of ruts into the roads between home and hospital, and permanently scuffed and squeaked my rubber-soled footfalls on the waxed and buffed tiles of antiseptic hallways.

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Alex Baer: Pop Goes Another Resolution

new years resolutionA case might be made that January is named after the various American demigods of tax calculation computer programs, weight-loss schemes, resolution daydreams, and instant makeovers of home, family, friends, wardrobes, exercise equipment, cars, relationships -- you name it.

All it takes is a little champagne and the turn of a calendar page:  Presto, there goes another resolution.  One year gone, here comes another.  Up one minute, out the next.  Now you see it, now you don't.  It's the ultimate in on-demand convenience, good intentions, and the sort of regretful, pawing, nagging lapsed morality we've perfected hereabouts -- a real natural for Life in These Here Benighted, You-nited States.

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Ralph Nader: The Fukushima Secrecy Syndrome, From Japan To America

Ralph NaderLast month, the ruling Japanese coalition parties quickly rammed through Parliament a state secrets law. We Americans better take notice.

Under its provisions the government alone decides what are state secrets and any civil servants who divulge any “secrets” can be jailed for up to 10 years. Journalists caught in the web of this vaguely defined law can be jailed for up to 5 years.

Government officials have been upset at the constant disclosures of their laxity by regulatory officials before and after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster in 2011, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

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Alex Baer: Rutting Around for Reason... and Reasons

choicesWe are creatures of ruts.  Ruts keep us self-regulated, self-herded, and auto-piloted, functioning along a thin line of choices -- except, over time, they are no longer choices.  These ruts may have been choices once, but are now only pre-set governors of our possible responses to life, captured and restricted by our previously made decisions and choices.

It's hard to see a rut when you're in it.  Not looking, and not seeing, are part of the energy-saving bargain of a rut:  There's no need to waste time or energy on considering options, making decisions, testing the waters, or re-considering steps.

Not much of a bargain, though, when all one can do is plod on forward, shlep backwards, or freeze in place.  Creative types will occasionally look up from the confines of the rut, and even jump up now and then, prairie-dogging, office-cubicle-worker-style, to get the lay of the land.

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