Kellia’s World – Recommended Reading

Challenging the assumptions we live by — Because I want to.

Archive for December, 2008

From Cynthia McKinney: Oh, What a Day!

Posted by kelliasworld on December 31, 2008

Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 1:29:18 PM
Subject: [hq2600] From Cynthia McKinney: Oh What a Day!
December 30, 2008: Oh What a Day!

I’m so glad that my father told me to buy a special notebook and to write everything down because that’s exactly what I did.

When we left from Cyprus, one reporter asked me “are you afraid?” And I had to respond that Malcolm X wasn’t afraid; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn’t afraid. But little did I know that just a few hours later, I would be recollecting my life and mentally preparing myself for death.

When we left Cyprus, the Mediterranean was beautiful. I remember the time when it might have been beautiful to look at, but it was also filthy. The Europeans have taken great strides to clean it up and yesterday, it was beautiful. And the way the sunlight hit the sea, I remember thinking to myself that’s why they call it azure. It was the most beautiful blue.

But sometimes it was rough, and we got behind on our schedule. We stayed on course, however, despite the roughness of the water and due to our exquisite captain.

There were no other ships or boats around us and night descended upon us all rather quickly. It was the darkest black and suddenly, out of nowhere, came searchlights disturbing our peace. The searchlights stayed with us for about half an hour or so. We knew they were Israeli ships. Who else would they be?

They were fast, and they would come close and then drop back. And then, they’d come close again. And then, all of a sudden there was complete blackness once again and all seemed right. The cat and mouse game went on for at least one half hour. What were they doing? And why?

Calm again. Black sky, black sea. Peace. And then, at that very moment, when all seemed right, out of nowhere we were rammed and rammed again and rammed again the last one throwing me off the couch, sending all our food up in the air; and all the plastic bags and tubs–evidence of sea sicknesses among the crew and passengers–flew all over the cabin and all over us. We’d been rammed by the Israelis. How did we know? Because they called us on the phone afterwards to tell us that we were engaging in subversive, terroristic activity. And if that if we didn’t turn around right then and return to Larnaca, Cyprus, we would be fired upon. We quickly grabbed our lifevests and put them on. Then the captain announced that the boat was taking on water. We might have to evacuate. One of my mates told me to prepare to die. And I reflected that I have lived a good and full life. I have tasted freedom and know what it is. I was right with myself and my decision to join the Free Gaza movement.

***I remembered my father’s parting words, “You all will be sitting ducks.” Just like the U.S.S. Liberty. We were engaged in peaceful activity, a harmless pleasure boat, carrying a load of hospital supplies for the people of Gaza, who, too are sitting ducks, currently being bombarded in aerial assault by the Israeli military.***

It’s been a long day for us. The captain was outstanding. Throughout it all, he remained stoic and calm, effective in every way. I didn’t know how to put my life jacket on. One of the passengers kindly assisted me. Another of the passengers pointed out that the Israeli motors for those huge, fast boats was U.S. made–a gift to them from the U.S. And now they were using those motors to damage a pleasure boat outfitted with three tons of hospital supplies, one pediatrician, and two surgeons.

*****I have called for President-elect Obama to say something. The Palestinian people in the Gaza strip are seeing the worst violence in 60 years, it is being reported. To date, President-elect Obama has remained silent. The Israelis are using weapons supplied to them by the U.S. government. Strict enforcement of U.S. law would require the cessation of all weapons transfers to Israel. Adherence to international law would require the same. As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, let us remember that he said:*****

*****1. The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and*****
*****2. Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.*****

I implore the President-elect to not send Congress a budget that contains more weapons for Israel. We have so much more to offer. And I implore the Congress to vote “no” on any budget and appropriation bills that provide more weapons transfers, period.

Israel is able to carry out these intense military maneuvers because taxpayers in the U.S. give their hard-earned money to our Representatives in Congress and our Congress chooses to spend that money in this way. Let’s stop it and stop it now. There’s been too much blood shed. And while we still walk among the living, let us not remain silent about the things that matter.

We really can promote peace and have it if we demand it of our leaders.


Posted in Israel, Palestine | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Kucinich: “Is this the US Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs?”

Posted by kelliasworld on December 20, 2008

By Jeremy Frombach

[Originally published on, Dec. 19, 2008. Jeremy has hit the nail on the head–KR].

‘Is this the U.S. Congress or the board of directors at Goldman Sachs??” asks Dennis Kucinich, the one Democrat probably in all of Congress even worth listening to.

Although Congress received hundreds of thousands of phone calls and e-mails telling them to oppose the bailout of Wall St., Democrats overwhelmingly voted yes, while reluctant Republicans at first defeated the measure, but subsequently caved on the second vote, passing one of the most god awful pieces of legislation in our country’s history, handing over nearly 1/4 of the entire U.S. budget to the financial industry. Here is some information you may find interesting.

http:../../..www. opens..ecret..s. org/..overv..iew/..topco..ntrib..s. php?..cycle..=2008

-Goldman Sachs was the second highest campaign contributor of the entire 2008 election. They gave away $6,006,266. How much of it was used to buy off Democrats you ask? 75%

– JPMorgan Chase & Co was right behind them in the number 3 slot, giving away $4,884,509; 59% of it to Democrats.

– Citigroup is number four with $4,776,231; guess which party received 65%

– Morgan Stanley is 7th, giving $3,871,414. Surprise- Democrats win again with 54%

– and then there’s Merrill Lynch, coming in at 9th overall giving $3,081,190; the only Wall Street firm on the list to give the majority to Republicans, 56%-44%

Still think Obama and the ‘crats are on our side? Really? Do you honestly believe Wall Street firms just love to give money away to politicians who are going to work against them? Can anyone possibly be that dumb?

$22.3 million in campaign contributions in exchange for a $700 billion bailout. That works out to an investment made back 313 times over. You still think the markets imploded because without regulations these gosh’durn Wall Streeters just didn’t know how to do their job? This one “purchase” alone made them a 31,300% return. There is no better investment than buying off a government that controls a $3.2 Trillion budget.

So where does that money come from? Well, you. Sitting for hours behind that desk or waiting tables, or whatever it is that you do, working tirelessly for what little money you can so your government can hand it over to irresponsible banks. And then they can throw extravagant parties with it, like AIG. It was stolen from working people like my mother, who is 56, a college graduate with no retirement savings (because she has no money left after paying for her modest 1 bedroom house) has not bought a new car in 10 years, and spends 50+ hours a week in a cubicle. The working class of this country is facing the highest foreclosure rate in our nation’s history and literally being thrown in the street while they are being asked to charitably donate their tiny earnings back to these banks. Wait, not asked- told. Pay the IRS or go to jail. Surely our new president will not allow such a thing to happen! Wrong again, not only does he not stop it, he is actually a driving force behind it. He goes to the Senate floor to “urge” his colleagues to approve a plan that sends the bill for all of those losses onto people like my mother. Which is fine, she only has to keep the thermostat down to 55 in the winter to make ends meet, Wisconsin is plenty warm in December. Up next she gets to bail out the auto manufacturers who spent billions building cars no one apparently wanted to buy. This is the change everyone has been clamoring for?

This is why even with your college degree you still drive an old car that is falling apart. Why you are still not only renting an apartment rather than buying, but  forced to share it with multiple roommates. Why you have no savings, no assets, no property, why you can’t afford to set any money aside and why you have to live off of your credit cards in case of emergency. It is why you can’t pay your bills on time, why you can’t afford to buy anything without borrowing for it and paying it back for years to come with interest (guess who that benefits) and why it feels like none of us can just get caught up. A huge portion of our money is being siphoned off by the absurd amount of taxation we are forced to live under and it is shipped off to ungrateful and undeserving cogs in the machine like Citigroup, and it is because of the enablers of this system in our government-Barack Obama and others like him.

All I am saying is be objective. Obama and the Democrats are not the saviors the media has made them out to be. If you look at who gave the Republicans their campaign money 8 years ago, it’s the exact same people. Congress with it’s Democratic majority is nothing more than a new cast with the same writers. It’s like that 50th infomercial you’ve seen that says “FINALLY- THE WAY TO SOLID ABS!” Please. The problem is not Republicans, folks. It’s the entire 2 party system being so insanely simple for Wall Street to buy off, and our inability to look past worthless nonsense like a politician’s charisma and his accompanying empty rhetoric that makes us feel “moved”. Don’t be surprised when nothing changes and this next president severely disappoints you.
Maybe we’ll all get it in 2012.
I will leave you with an amazing quote from someone who epitomizes the Democratic Party’s agenda, California Senator Diane Feinstein, speaking on the bailout vote-

‘Mr. President I have received 91,000 phone calls and emails from California; 85,000 of them opposed to this measure… I think if we really do care about the livelihood of our constituents, there is only one vote- and it is yes.’


Our country is burning and our leaders are fighting over the hose; the republicans want to wash the car and the democrats want to water the grass.

Posted in America, Congress, Obama | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Too Bad He Missed…with sound update

Posted by kelliasworld on December 16, 2008

Berkeleyans Support al-Zaidi


Muntazer al-Zaidi, a journalist who works for independent al-Baghdadiya television threw his shoes at George W. Bush, while Bush was holding a press conference Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Just before al- Zaidi hurled the shoes, he shouted, “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog.”

Throwing shoes and calling someone a dog are supreme insults in the Arab world, where dogs are considered unclean and shown no affection. (So think about what the use of snarling German Shepards at Abu-Gharaib probably represented to the prisoners besides the menace of snapping teeth!)

Al-Zaidi has become a celebrity in the Middle East, and I say “Great!”

But too bad he missed, and from such close range, too. And too bad no one else joined in. Al-Zaidi showed more courage than the cowardly American Congress, that refused to throw the book in the form of Dennis Kucinich’s impeachment resolutions at this war criminal.

Posted in George W. Bush, Kellia's News Reports | Leave a Comment »

On the Psychology of Fat: Weight isn’t only about hunger and satiety

Posted by kelliasworld on December 5, 2008

I read a lengthy article about the causes of obesity today. It was supposedly a review of a documentary called “Fat” but it read like as article from New Scientist magazine, summing up some of the latest scientific discoveries as to why more and more people are packing on the pounds. Clearly, the “eat less, exercise more, use a little self-control” rhetoric is simplistic. Science has amply demonstrated that there is not one single cause of obesity and that there many factors at work that undermine will power.

It was of interest to me because I’m borderline clinically obese, have a number of the stereotypical obesity-related health problems, and in the last few months have gained 10 pounds after losing about 25 and keeping the weight off for two years. And wouldn’t you know, I have been overeating today.

It has to do with the article. The mere thought of dieting is enough to set me on a binge, and just because the binge no longer includes pints of Ben & Jerry’s, 3 or 4 candy bars, or a bag of Chips Ahoy, Double Stuff Oreos, or Pepperidge Farm Orange Milanos, doesn’t mean I am not binging. You can overeat so-called healthy foods, too.

The only true diet that has ever worked for me is a combination of exercise (beyond walking) and enough pleasant mental preoccupation that eating doesn’t become a prime activity in and of itself. And here is where I see the short-comings of obesity studies. Much in the article I read today, as well as other articles,  focused on discovering which chemicals signal hunger and which signal fullness, and what might interfere with the chemical that tells the brain that the stomach is full. The underlying assumption of those experiments is that people will stop eating when they are full.

WRONG-O!! Some people eat when they are not physically hungry. I know; I’m one of them. All the studies in the world about hunger and satiety triggers will not do a thing for me. Where are the studies about the psychological need to eat? We seem to have studies on the psychological need to not eat, or to purge what you’ve eaten. But overeating seems to be a matter of ruthless genetics or lack of self-control to the doctors and scientists dealing with fat people.

Why is it that every time I start a diet or even think about it, or read an article about weight loss, I stuff myself? Scientists think there is an evolutionary root to overweight. Until very recently, i.e. less than 100 years ago, most people suffered from food insecurity. Therefore, the human body evolved to store fat against the lean times. Most people in developed countries–not all, there is hunger in the US and other generally well-fed places–no longer need this evolutionary safeguard against starvation. But evolution is slow. And bodies are still programmed by evolution to survive in hunter-gatherer societies, not in cities where food is plentiful year-round. So losing weight, even for an overweight person seeking to lose it deliberately, is a signal to the body of impending starvation, even when the person losing the weight has plenty of food in the house, knows that the weight loss program will not induce starvation, and is even happy about losing weight. (You’ve never seen people happy about starving, have you?) The metabolism is slowed to burn fewer calories, and excess calories are stored as fat.

Yet excess fat, especially around the stomach, where I have a lot of mine, creates all sorts of health problems that science has only recently begun to discern. So the body storing fat, especially around the middle, is creating one harmful situation in order to prevent another. Go figure.

Will somebody show me, because maybe I haven’t seen it, the studies exploring this disconnect between body and mind? Why won’t my body listen to me when I tell it that it will not starve to death if I weigh 130 instead of my current 162? Why doesn’t it get the message when I go almost every day to a big supermarket, and almost every weekend to a local farmers’ market, that there is plenty of food to be had? I have had issues with money where I have not been able to afford the types or amounts of food I wanted, but they have always been short-term episodes, days, or a week at most, and it wasn’t as if I didn’t have anything! Thanks the gods, I have never been that bad off. And as a child, there was always food on the table. So why is my body stuck with an operating system built on racial memories of hunter-gatherers of old, or even of my own past life memories of times when maybe I did starve to death. That was then. This is now.

Same with what my mother may or may not have eaten while she was pregnant with me, and the fact that I, like most children born in the U.S. in the 1950’s, was formula-fed rather than breast fed. Why, over half a century later, could these “epigenetic” factors still effect me, programming me to store unneeded and unwanted fat?

And while I am on the subject of poverty, there is indeed a link between poverty and obesity. Poor people don’t have the same access to fruits and vegetables that better off people do. That’s obvious in a poor neighborhood with liquor stores on every block, but no supermarket for miles. But I must say I don’t think scientists spend enough time studying the importance of eating as a subconscious political statement, especially for the poor. When you are poor, you already face various forms of deprivation. To then be told “don’t eat this, don’t eat that, eat smaller portions,” etc. feels like one more deprivation. And eating what you want, as much as you want, feels like freedom.

Eating is also a form of entertainment for poor people, over and above the general use of food as the center of social occasions. This is something I know of from a personal perspective also. Comfort foods, sweets in my case–I don’t have a sweet tooth; I have 32 of them–are cheaper than just about anything else you can do for fun these days, even with the price of food skyrocketing. And if you are working two or three jobs to make ends meet, there is little time or energy for physical activity as an entertainment, but there may be an hour or two to rest in front of the TV with a bag of chips. Even for the kids, who may be playing video games instead of being outdoors. When we cut the school budgets, the first things to go are the fun activities like music and art. Sports become “pay to play” affairs if they are offered at all. And cities are so built up there is hardly any play space. Sandlot baseball? What’s a sandlot?

What exactly do we know about the psychology of comfort food? Why, in our moments of grief, stress, exhaustion or elation, will we always turn to things like chocolate or pizza, not chopped veggies or apples?

How deeply has science studied the function of food as trustworthy friend: if you have it stored or have at least a little money, food can be more reliable than people. Food was always there when I wanted to celebrate something. A rare victory in a competitive tennis match or an excellent performance by some choral group I was in, that none of my friends came to watch. A banana split or an open face turkey sandwich with dressing, smothered in gravy was always there. But why did the food turn to fat? Tennis and singing, neither of which I do any more, expended a lot of calories.

Then there is fat as the B.S. detector. Having been told repeatedly by my mother that employers would not want me and men would not be interested in me because I was fat, I came to see fat as a shield against those only interested in my body. (This was a very big issue for an intellectually-oriented girl coming of age in the feminist 70’s). And I saw proof that fat worked to weed out the insincere in the late 80’s when I was both working full-time and going to school part-time. I went on the Jenny Craig program for a while and lost 34 pounds in 3 months. As the weight was coming off, more people, male and female, were stopping by my office and stopping me in the halls at school to talk. Many of those same people disappeared when the weight reappeared. Are there psychologists who teach people like me how to use tools other than fat to weed out the phonies?

Science has a long way to go to unravel the mysteries of obesity. There is much good science being done on its physiology, but I think science is way short on the psychological side. Especially for those of us who will ignore the biological signals of fullness and eat anyway. Another concern with the physiological approach is that medicalization of obesity leads to Big Pharma getting people hooked on expensive patent nostrums with side effects. The extremely obese need medical help. But I simply don’t trust our for-profit medical industry to do the right thing for most of us. It wants us taking all sorts of prescription medications for life, even as the law requires them to list possible side effects in their ads. Pay attention to the side effects of all the medicines advertised on television some evening. It’s downright scary that they will put stuff on the market that might even kill you. Sure, it’s rare. But that’s of little comfort if it happens to you or a loved one. And generally all these medicines do is suppress symptoms. They don’t get at root causes.

But, on the other hand, I also have to ask all the New Age philosophers who say our bodies are constructs of our beliefs, why is it that our bodies still react to the conditions of 10,000 years ago, rather than those of today? What of that lack of communication between the mind that is supposedly constructing this life experience and the body that seems to have a mind of its own. Can we talk? In what language? How do we, as creators of our lives and circumstances, tell our bodies who’s boss. And can we avoid being a mean boss who will only spark rebellion over time?

Both the philosophers and the scientists still have a lot of work to do.

Posted in Philosophy, Science | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Posted by kelliasworld on December 3, 2008

My radio station, KPFA, is known for its liberal editorial positions. That’s long been the case for the flagship of the liberal Pacifica Radio Network. The irony is that decades ago, KPFA opened its phones to the listeners, launching the talk show format now dominated by people who are to the right of Attila the Hun.

KPFA itself doesn’t do that much talk radio, anymore. Thank goodness! I think having John Q. Public bloviating on the airwaves is a waste of valuable airtime, whether the opinions are liberal or conservative. The same with sports talk radio. I love the interviews, which is why I listen. But I tire quickly of both the the fans complaining about whatever, and the hosts opining to each other. That is not to say that I am innocent of participating on both sides of the microphone. The first few times I ever talked to Eric Byrnes of the Arizona Diamondbacks was on sports talk shows in San Francisco. I’ve talked to him three time on radio. I also have called in a few times to shows on KPFA, though not in several years. And I have taken calls as a radio host on at least two occasions. One of them was with the consent of the interviewee, and the other was when there wasn’t time to finish the documentary I was working on, so I filled out the last twelve minutes of a 58-minute program with calls.

I suppose one of the reasons I don’t like talk radio is that I just don’t want to hear the average Joe or Jane on the air. Call me elitist; I don’t care; I’ve been called worse things than that. When I listen to the radio I want to hear interviews with experts whether it’s a pro athlete or coach discussing his team’s chances this season, or an author who has researched the impacts of peak oil on industrial; agriculture. And that’s what I present as a host, the knowledgeable people you don’t get to hear from everyday. I’m willing to hear EVERYMAN and EVERYWOMAN when they are within my circle of friends, or at a demonstration, or in letters to the editor of a newspaper, the reading of which is at my leisure. This is not to say that callers never make good points, some of them do. And some of them ask questions of an interviewee that I didn’t think to ask, and that’s good. Others don’t though. And I don’t have time, as a listener or a host, for that.

Then sometimes you have to cut listeners off or rush them in the interests of time. It’s not always their fault. Sometimes it’s near the end of the program and you want to get in as many as are waiting. This is an example of how the idea that open phones creates a conversation between listener and show is not exactly right. And talk show hosts, liberal and conservative, are not always very nice. Certainly none of us would want, in person, the type of “conversation” we have on the radio.

Another thing is the wait time. Callers sometimes spend hours waiting for 30 seconds on the air. There are people who wait to call in regularly to a show, be it sports or politics, and I wonder why they don’t have anything better to do with their lives than to hang on to that line, or let their cell phone battery run down.

I endured the long wait once. It was another chance to talking to Eric Byrnes, who is on KNBR in San Francisco occasionally as a fill-in host during the baseball off-season. As one of his biggest fans–something he’s acknowledged publicly–I wanted to let him know I was listening, though that wasn’t what we talked about. Maybe that’s different. Maybe it’s not. Having had opportunities to meet Byrnesie and see him on Live Video, I don’t really feel the need to call in anymore.

But perhaps what I dislike most about the talk show format is what the conservatives have done to it: Make it an opportunity for many small minds in America to get their 15 seconds of fame spewing their ignorance, hatred and narrowness all over the airwaves, marching to the drumbeat of a hateful, narrow-minded host, who is not ignorant, but who is deliberately fanning the flames of the worst sentiments in America. And probably being contemptuous of the callers off mic.

I don’t think the first hosts to open the phones at KPFA saw this coming.

Posted in America | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »