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Ancient Zen Advice On How Not To ‘Be A Jerk’

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By Adam Frank ~ NPR

A few months back, I wrote a post titled The Most Important Philosopher You’ve Never Heard Of. My point in that piece was to introduce readers to Eihei Dogen, a 13th-century Japanese Zen master who is considered, by many, to be one of the world’s most subtle thinkers on issues of mind and being.

The language in Dogen’s writings is, however, a barrier to many who first encounter his work. His “up is down,” “yes is no” oppositions are par for the course in Zen writings, since the whole point is to find an experiential path past the idea of dualities. Still, trying to read Dogen for the first time can be trying, to say the least.

Overcoming that difficulty was exactly the inspiration for Brad Warner’s new book Don’t Be A Jerk: And Other Practical Advice From Dogen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master.

If the title seems a bit surprising, so is Brad Warner. His career has been nothing, if not iconoclastic. A bass player for the punk rock bands 0DFx and Dementia 13, Warner also spend time in Japan working in the “monster” movie industry (think Godzilla, Ultraman, etc.).

All the while, he was pursing studies in Zen that eventually led to his ordination as a priest in the Soto lineage. Warner’s Zen writings (and blogging) have always retained something of an outsider’s eye. His books have titles like Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality, and Sit Down and Shut Up, and Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: 
A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma.

Not exactly what you’d expect from a Zen teacher.

The same kind of spirit inhabits his new book about Dogen. The purpose of Don’t Be A Jerk is to walk readers through Dogen’s most famous writings about Zen practice and its meaning (for lack of a better word). But rather than present the texts in word-for-word translation, Warner updates them in his own particular style. Consider this passage by Warner on Dogen’s explanation of how the seated contemplative practice of zazen leads to an experience of the dharma (the way or truth of the world):

“Zazen is not meditation or concentration. Zazen is the peaceful and joyful gate to the dharma. The whole universe opens up to you. If you do it this way you’ll be like a geek at a comic book convention or like Luke Skywalker when you hit the thermal exhaust port. Then the dharma will manifest before you and darkness and distraction will vanish like the Death Star blowing up.”

Or how about a bit where Dogen explains the urgency of using our time to practice zazen, which Warner gives to us as:

“It is very difficult to attain human body. You should use this rare opportunity to concentrate on what’s most important. We shouldn’t waste time with fleeting pleasures like watching reruns of The Flintstones. Life is short, snuffed out in an instant, over in a flash. Get to work now.”

After presenting his version of Dogen’s writings, Warner then steps back to explain himself:

“… of course Dogen didn’t say anything about watching reruns of The Flintstones. What he did say is usually translated as ‘Who would take wasteful delight in the spark of a flint stone?’ But I have never once been able to read or chant that without thinking of Fred and Barney. Now you won’t be able to either.”

I think these few pieces of Warner’s book will give you a sense of his approach. He is playful at times — and silly at others. Of course, there may be some folks who find his approach offensive or disrespectful.

I’m not one of them.

What’s clear in reading Warner’s book is his deep respect and lifelong engagement with Dogen. I have spent decades of my own life trying to unpack this 800-year-old voice from medieval Japan because, behind all the paradox and poetry, something powerful seems to shine through. So while Warner’s approach to Dogen may be unorthodox, its freshness might be exactly what the doctor ordered for anyone wanting a way in to the old monk’s still fresh perspective.

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Don’t Be a Jerk
And Other Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master: A Radical but Reverent Paraphrasing of Dogen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye
by Brad Warner

 

perro negro

Sandhill knee deep in river,

watching perro negro

float by with stick

Rōbert

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The Beats’ Countercultural Ferment Still Bubbles, in Paris

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Part of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” on display — all 120 feet of it — in the “Beat Generation” exhibition at the Pompidou Center in Paris.

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PARIS — Visitors to the Pompidou Center this summer are greeted with a vitrine that stretches uninterrupted before them for 120 linear feet. Unspooled inside it is the 1951 typescript of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” page after page of tracing paper taped together to form a single continuous sheet, the defining road novel of its time laid out before them like so much two-lane blacktop. “That river of words,” mused Jean-Jacques Lebel, an artist and onetime associate of the Beats who helped organize the museum show this manuscript introduces. “That Mississippi of words.”

“The last part of it got chewed off by a dog,” he added.

Mr. Lebel was a 21-year-old artist when he met William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso at a Left Bank poetry reading in 1957. For the next few years, he hung out with them at the squalid “Beat Hotel,” working with Allen Ginsberg to translate his poem “Howl” into French, helping to find a publisher in Paris for Burroughs’s “Naked Lunch” at a time when no American publisher would touch it — not even Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who had recently won an obscenity case that had been brought against him for publishing “Howl.”

Now, white-haired and goateed at 80, Mr. Lebel has become an archivist of the movement he once served as an acolyte. As an associate curator of “Beat Generation: New York, San Francisco, Paris,” at the Pompidou through Oct. 3, he was a key force behind the first major retrospective on the subject since the Whitney Museum of American Art staged its “Beat Culture and the New America, 1950-1965” show in New York more than two decades ago.

“They were my buddies,” Mr. Lebel said as we spoke in his art-filled studio, an expansive, ground-floor space set in a cobblestone courtyard at the foot of Montmartre. “I felt like I owed it to them. Just because they’re dead doesn’t mean they’re not here.”

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A Burroughs adding machine, invented by William S. Burroughs’s grandfather and invoked in the Beat Generation writer’s essay collection “The Adding Machine.” Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Unlike the Whitney show, which focused on the Beats’ activities in the United States during their peak years, the Pompidou exhibition traces their wanderings over more than a quarter-century, from their start at Columbia University in 1943 to their sojourns in San Francisco, Paris and Morocco, to the mainstreaming of the counterculture in 1969. It does not repeat the Whitney’s attempt to group them with the Abstract Expressionist painters who were making their mark in New York around the same time — “that’s another exhibition, even if they did go to the same bars,” said Philippe-Alain Michaud, the show’s chief curator and conservator of the cinema collection at the Pompidou. But it does seek to place them in an intellectual context that goes beyond poetry and drugs.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, much of that context is provided by Paris. “Not France,” Mr. Lebel said. “Paris. All these people who run away from their own countries” — James Joyce and Samuel Beckett from Ireland, Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris from Spain, Josephine Baker and Ernest Hemingway and James Baldwin from the United States — “they all end up in this mythical place called Paris. It’s not France — it’s universal.”

~~~  READ ON  HEP CAT DADDY-O  ~~~

NPR’s Scott Simon Remembers Daniel Schorr

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Dan Schorr in his office at NPR.
Paula Darte/NPR

~~~

No other journalist in memory saw as much history as Daniel Schorr.

He was born the year before the Russian Revolution and lived to see the Digital Revolution. He was there before the Berlin Wall went up and there a generation later when it came down. He was born before people had radio in their homes but pioneered the use of radio, television, satellites and then the Web to report the news.

How many people were personal acquaintances of Edward R. Murrow, Nikita Khrushchev, Frank Zappa and Richard Nixon?

For all the history that he reported, Dan Schorr will always be remembered for the moment he stood before live television cameras in 1974 with a breaking bulletin about a list of enemies compiled by the White House.

Schorr began to read the names. One of them was his own. “The note here is, ‘A real media enemy,'” he read, before continuing through the list.

“What went through my mind was, ‘Don’t lose your cool. Be professional,'” he said years later.

Dan became a professional at the age of 12. A woman jumped off the roof of his family’s apartment building in the Bronx. While police and fire crews rushed to the scene, Dan called the Bronx Home News — and got paid $5 for the story.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, went to Europe, and freelanced for several U.S. news services before becoming one of the last reporters hired by Edward R. Murrow. Dan opened the CBS bureau in Moscow and, as the premier of the Soviet Union discovered, soon became famous for a pointed interviewing style.

Dan Schorr Memorial Special  ~~~  LISTEN TO THE MEMORY

How Can America Recover From Donald Trump?

Editorial Board, NYT

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Donald Trump is heading to November like a certain zeppelin heading to New Jersey, in a darkening sky that crackles with electricity. He is fighting crosswinds and trying new tacks — hiring the head of Breitbart News to run his campaign, trying on a new emotion (regret) in a speech on Thursday night, promising to talk more this week about immigration, his prime subject. There’s still no telling what will happen when the gasbag reaches the mooring.

It could be that the polls are right, and Mr. Trump will go down in flames. But while that will solve an immediate problem, a larger one will remain. The message of hatred and paranoia that is inciting millions of voters will outlast the messenger. The toxic effects of Trumpism will have to be addressed.

The most obvious damage has already been done — to the debate over immigration, a subject that is America’s pride but that can also show the country at its worst. Mr. Trump’s solution is to build an unbuildable border wall and force 11 million people out of the country, while letting millions of “good ones” back in. Or maybe not — now he says he wants to bar immigrants from most of the world, except for a few who pass religious and ideological tests. “Extreme vetting,” he calls it, bringing the Alien and Sedition Acts and McCarthyism into the reality-TV age.

Yes, Mr. Trump speaks frontier gibberish. Outright nativism remains a fringe American phenomenon. But there is no shortage of mainstream politicians who have endorsed his message by endorsing the Republican nominee. Anyone hoping to build a serious solution to immigration after this election will have to confront the unworkable ideas and vicious emotions that Mr. Trump, with many enablers, has dragged into the open.

It seems like a century ago, but it was only 2001 when a Republican president, George W. Bush, began talking about a once-in-a-generation overhaul of the outdated American immigration laws. He sought a bipartisan consensus to boost the economy and make millions right with the law. Then came 9/11. Though sensible immigration reform gained the broad support of the American public, legislation in Congress repeatedly failed, ambushed by hard-core Republican partisans.

This year brought the fever dream of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where speaker after speaker presented a vision of foreigners stealing across the border to rob, rape and kill. Cued by Mr. Trump, they scapegoated immigrants and refugees in general and Latinos and Muslims in particular. The crowd cheered for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, brutalizer of Arizona Latinos, and Rudolph Giuliani, who hollered about terrorists and criminals as if running for mayor of Gotham City.

It’s no wonder that the nativists are feeling inspired, the bigots emboldened. The white supremacist David Duke is running for the Senate. Stephen Bannon, Breitbart’s chief purveyor of conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant venom, is the natural ally of a candidate who hints that President Obama is a secret Muslim and who insists that Muslims in New Jersey danced by the thousands as the towers fell on 9/11.

Optimists, eyes on the polls, hope that Mr. Trump, in losing, will discredit these views and that Republicans next year will sue for peace. Under this scenario Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan or whoever is running Congress will move fast to push forward a rational immigration reform bill.

Remember, though, the post-mortem that found Republicans chastened after the more genteel nativism of the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign. The last vestiges of that contrition vanished as Mr. Trump, warning about Mexican rapists, vaulted atop the polls.

Trump supporters have now been promised a nation where non-natives, and their children, are locked outside the borders forever. They have been promised, inside a new wall, new factories where everyone will build things, speak only English and be rich. What will happen when they learn that none of this is real?

The challenge to responsible leaders of any political party will be to separate the economic discontent from the bigotry and paranoia that are the key to the Trump phenomenon. The question to future Republican leaders is whether they will even try to do so.

Warren Hinckle, 77, Ramparts Editor Who Embraced Gonzo Journalism, Dies

 

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Mr. Hinckle, left, in 1967 at the Ramparts magazine office with Sol Stern, center, an assistant managing editor, and the writer Robert Scheer. Credit Associated Press

~~~

Warren Hinckle, the flamboyant editor who made Ramparts magazine a powerful national voice for the radical left in the 1960s and later by championing the work of Hunter S. Thompson and helping introduce the no-holds-barred reporting style known as gonzo journalism, died on Thursday. He was 77.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, his daughter Pia Hinckle said.

Ramparts was a small-circulation quarterly for liberal Roman Catholics when Mr. Hinckle began writing for and promoting it in the early 1960s. A born provocateur with a keen sense of public relations, he took over as the executive editor in 1964 and immediately set about transforming Ramparts from a sleepy intellectual journal to a slickly produced, crusading political magazine that galvanized the American left.

With cover art and eye-catching headlines reminiscent of mainstream magazines like Esquire, Ramparts aimed to deliver “a bomb in every issue,” as Time magazine once put it. It looked at Cardinal Francis Spellman’s involvement in promoting American involvement in Vietnam and the Central Intelligence Agency’s financing of a wide variety of cultural organizations.

It published Che Guevara’s diaries, with a long introduction by Fidel Castro; Eldridge Cleaver’s letters from prison; and some of the wilder conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination. The magazine’s photo essay in January 1967 showing the injuries inflicted on Vietnamese children by American bombs helped convince the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to take a public stand against the war.

The covers became countercultural classics: an illustration depicting Ho Chi Minh, the Communist leader of North Vietnam, as Washington crossing the Delaware; a photograph of four hands, belonging to the magazine’s top editors, holding up draft cards that had been set on fire.

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The December 1967 cover of Ramparts, showing the hands of four of the magazine’s editors with burning draft cards. Credit Ramparts

 

By 1967, the magazine, which began with about 2,500 readers, had a circulation of nearly 250,000 and an ability to wrest coverage, however grudging, from mass-circulation magazines and newspapers.

“What journalism is about is to attack everybody,” Mr. Hinckle told The Washington Post in 1981. “First you decide what’s wrong, then you go out to find the facts to support that view, and then you generate enough controversy to attract attention.”

Warren James Hinckle III was born on Oct. 12, 1938, in San Francisco, where his father, Warren Hinckle Jr., was a shipyard worker and his mother, the former Angela DeVere, worked in the accounts department of the Southern Pacific Railroad. At 10, he lost an eye in a car accident, and for the rest of his life he wore a large eye patch, which became a prominent feature of his buccaneering image.

He attended Roman Catholic schools and enrolled in the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit institution, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1961.

As editor of the college newspaper, The San Francisco Foghorn, he showed early signs of the flair that would insert Ramparts into the national conversation. On a slow day, he and a friend generated news by burning down a wooden guard house at the entrance to the campus, an incident he described in his 1974 memoir, “If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade.”

After graduating from college, he started a public relations company and ran, unsuccessfully, for the county board of supervisors before joining The San Francisco Chronicle as a city reporter.

His relationship with Ramparts began inauspiciously, when Edward M. Keating, who founded the magazine in 1962, hired him to develop a promotional plan. Mr. Hinckle proposed a splashy party at a Manhattan hotel for leading Catholic laymen and journalists, with models and film stars thrown in for glamour. Mr. Keating, appalled, fired him.

Undeterred, he contributed an article on J. D. Salinger to the magazine’s first issue and, after whipping up press attention for an article on the killing of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in June 1964, was named executive editor.

It was a turning point. Before the year was out, he had turned the publication from a quarterly to a monthly and hired Robert Scheer, a seasoned foreign correspondent, who wrote some of the magazine’s most hard-hitting antiwar articles and secured the rights to publish the Guevara diaries.

In short order, Ramparts scored some stunning coups. A cover story exposed Michigan State University’s Vietnam Project in the 1950s as a C.I.A. front to train Saigon police and stockpile ammunition. It persuaded Donald W. Duncan, a former special forces sergeant in Vietnam, to describe how he was trained to torture prisoners. (Mr. Duncan died in 2009, but his death became widely known only in May.)

Mr. Hinckle extracted maximum publicity at every turn. When the C.I.A. learned that Ramparts was about to reveal the agency’s secret funding of a long list of organizations, including the National Student Association, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and Encounter and Partisan Review magazines, it tried to minimize the impact by holding a news conference to admit the facts.

Mr. Hinckle counterpunched. “I was damned if I was going to let the C.I.A. scoop me,” he wrote in his memoir. “I bought full-page advertisements in The New York Times and The Washington Post to scoop myself, which seemed the preferable alternative.” The magazine received a George Polk Award that year for its coverage.

Ramparts was always in the news, always in chaos, always in debt. The hard-drinking Mr. Hinckle often worked from Cookie Picetti’s, a bar in San Francisco’s North Beach thtat was frequented by the police. When Mr. Cleaver told him that colleagues at Ramparts objected, he challenged him to name a decent left-wing bar. He spent lavishly, traveling first-class and staying in top hotels. He particularly enjoyed treating investors to sumptuous meals at their expense.

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Bobby Seale, a founder of the Black Panther Party, on the cover of the January 1970 issue of Ramparts. Credit Ramparts

~~~  READ THE STORY  ~~~

A MONUMENT TO OUTLAST HUMANITY In the Nevada desert, the pioneering artist Michael Heizer completes his colossal life’s work.

By Dana Goodyear

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Heizer, a pioneer of the earthworks movement, began “City” in 1972. A mile and a half long and inspired by ancient ritual cities, it is made from rocks, sand, and concrete mined and mixed on site.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMIE HAWKESWORTH FOR THE NEW YORKER

1. SLEEPING BEAUTY

“I’m trying to tell you the story of my strange life,” the artist Michael Heizer said to me. “I’m not sure how much I want everyone to know, but it’s all going to come out.” It was March in New York, a cold, long-shadowed afternoon, and Heizer, who has spent much of the past half century on a remote ranch in Nevada, working on “City,” a mile-and-a-half-long sculpture that almost no one has seen, had finished an omelette and a tarte tatin at Balthazar. With his dealer, Kara Vander Weg, of the Gagosian gallery, he shuffled down Spring Street toward Greene, where he’d been renting a loft since the fall. He is seventy-one, and walking pains him.

At a crosswalk, Heizer—ravaged, needy, fierce, suspicious, witty, loyal, sly, and pure—leaned against a lamppost to rest, thin on thin. He wore a felt rancher hat whose band was adorned with the tips of elk antlers, and a jackknife in a holster at his waist. In the eighties, Andy Warhol photographed him wearing plaid flannel, his hands raised like claws and a vague, suggestive smile on his lips: Am I scaring you, honey? Now, with his hat casting an elliptical shadow on the pavement, he looked ready for another portrait. He glanced down at the patent-leather flats on Vander Weg’s feet. He asked, “Those Dior?”

Heizer, who is given to playful lamentation, complains about what New York is turning him into: “A decaffeinated, used-up, once-was quick-draw cowboy, a sissy boy who eats at Balthazar for lunch.” At such moments, he is a cartoon roughneck, swatting at his own amusement like a housefly. “Chemical castration—doesn’t happen all at once,” he said. “It’s slow. You just wake up one day and you’re dickless.”

Throughout his career, in paintings and in sculptures, Heizer has explored the aesthetic possibilities of emptiness and displacement; his voids have informed public art from the Vietnam Memorial to the pits at Ground Zero. “Levitated Mass,” a three-hundred-and-forty-ton chunk of granite that since 2012 has been permanently installed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is one of the few sculptures in the world designed to be walked under, an experience that strikes most visitors as harrowing. Heizer once told Vander Weg he’d like his tombstone to read, “Totally Negative.”

“City” is a monumental architectonic work, with dimensions comparable to those of the National Mall, in Washington, D.C., and a layout informed by pre-Columbian ritual cities like Teotihuacan. Heizer started it in 1972, when he was in his late twenties and had already established himself as an instigator of the earthworks movement, a group of artists, including Robert Smithson and Walter De Maria, who made totemic outdoor sculptures, often in the majestic wastelands of the American West. “City” is made almost entirely from rocks, sand, and concrete that Heizer has mined and mixed on site. The use of valueless materials is strategic, a hedge against what he sees as inevitable future social unrest. “My good friend Richard Serra is building out of military-grade steel,” he says. “That stuff will all get melted down. Why do I think that? Incans, Olmecs, Aztecs—their finest works of art were all pillaged, razed, broken apart, and their gold was melted down. When they come out here to fuck my ‘City’ sculpture up, they’ll realize it takes more energy to wreck it than it’s worth.”

It is either perfect or perfectly bizarre that Heizer’s sculpture, a monument meant to outlast humanity, is flanked by an Air Force base and a bomb-test site; in recent years, the land surrounding “City” was under consideration for a railroad to convey nuclear waste to a proposed repository at Yucca Mountain. As it happened, Senator Harry Reid, a dedicated opponent of Yucca Mountain and an advocate for public lands, fell in love with Heizer’s crazily ambitious project and its quintessentially Nevadan setting. “I decided to go and look at it,” Reid told me. “Blew out two tires. I just became infatuated with the vision that he had.” Last summer, at Reid’s urging, President Obama declared seven hundred and four thousand acres of pristine wilderness surrounding “City” a national monument, meaning that it will be protected from development, including a nuclear rail line, for as long as the United States exists.

“This next song is about narrow-minded record executives and their reluctance to take a chance on anything a bit different.”
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“City” reflects the singular, scathing, sustained, self-critical vision of a man who has marshalled every possible resource and driven himself to the brink of death in the hope of accomplishing it. “It takes a very specific audience to like this stupid primordial shit I do,” Heizer told me. “I like runic, Celtic, Druidic, cave painting, ancient, preliterate, from a time back when you were speaking to the lightning god, the ice god, and the cold-rainwater god. That’s what we do when we ranch in Nevada. We take a lot of goddam straight-on weather.”

~~~  READ THE STORY, IT’S LONG  ~~~

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Heizer with his sculpture “North, East, South, West” and his dog Tomato Rose.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMIE HAWKESWORTH FOR THE NEW YORKER

How The Man Created The Brand In ‘Trump Revealed’

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Donald Trump holds a media conference announcing the establishment of Trump University in New York City.
Thos Robinson/Getty Images

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In the their new book, Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money and Power, Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher of The Washington Post tell the story of Donald Trump’s rise as a businessman, a political candidate, but above all, as a brand.

This sentence from the book captures the proliferation of the Trump brand:

“Trump summoned reporters to a press conference at Trump’s Bar, located on the ground floor of Trump Tower, close to Trump Grill, just steps away form Trump’s Ice Cream Parlor and the Trump Store, which was then pushing a new cologne for men called, Donald Trump, the Fragrance.”

Kranish and Fisher write the point of that press conference was to announce Trump University.

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Some people psychoanalyze Trump and attribute this self-magnification of the man into a brand as a form of narcissism. But Kranish and Fisher take a more strategic view of him than that.

The authors told NPR’s Robert Siegel that Trump has encouraged an outsize image of himself so that he can profit from just being Donald Trump.

“Obviously, the Trump brand is what makes him,” Kranish says. “He has from his very early days been told by his father not to be a nothing, that he has to be something and something big. And Donald Trump has spent so much of his life trying to outdo his father and be his own man. So being Trump, being Trump on the buildings, Trump in universities, this is all part of who Donald is.

“He’s written about the power of narcissism — there’s a book by that title that he cites, glowingly — and he says, ‘You have to look at the world that way as a businessperson. You have to put yourself front and center.’ And that’s the way he’s operated.”

~~~  LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW  ~~~

heard on the street ….

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Trump won the Republican primary because he grasped instinctively that the campaign trail was more TV show than democracy.

His celebrity guests at the convention were a bunch of D-listers ready to eat snails, walk on coals, swap wives or (in this case) publicly support Donald Trump to keep their fading celebrity alive.

How much snow to expect in the 2016-2017 season? Looking to ENSO and the PDO for clues … OPENSNOW

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 Questions about how the weather pattern will behave during the upcoming season.

In this article, I will discuss a few things that meteorologists look at to help forecast weather patterns 3-6 months in the future, and we’ll see if these factors can help us to figure out how much snow will fall this winter.

Before getting to the details, I want to state up front that 3-6 month forecasts are generally inaccurate. Meteorologists across the world are working to improve these forecasts, but at this point in 2016, I would not make large bets based on monthly forecasts.

How to make a long-range forecast
To forecast weather patterns months into the future, we look at the temperature of water in ocean regions across the world. We do this for two reasons. First, the water temperatures influence the initiation of storms and how they track. Second, water temperatures are somewhat easier to predict than temperatures on land because large bodies of water take a long time to heat up or cool down.

During the last few decades, scientists have found that the water temperature in many ocean regions oscillate between times of warmer-than-average water and cooler-than-average water. Often, scientists name these flip-flopping patterns oscillations, and give them a specific name in each area of the world. The map below shows the abbreviation and location for most of these oscillations.

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~

DOES HENRY KISSINGER HAVE A CONSCIENCE? The New Yorker

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Newly released documents have revealed more about Henry Kissinger’s role in Argentina’s Dirty War.
PHOTOGRAPH BY STECHE / ULLSTEIN BILD VIA GETTY

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Last March, when President Obama travelled to Argentina to meet with the country’s new President, Mauricio Macri, his public appearances were dogged by protesters who noisily demanded explanations, and apologies, for U.S. policies, past and present. There are few countries in the West where anti-Americanism is as vociferously expressed as in Argentina, where a highly politicized culture of grievance has evolved in which many of the country’s problems are blamed on the United States. On the left, especially, there is lingering resentment over the support extended by the U.S. government to Argentina’s right-wing military, which seized power in March of 1976 and launched a “Dirty War” against leftists that took thousands of lives over the following seven years.

Obama’s visit coincided with the fortieth anniversary of the coup. He pointedly paid homage to the Dirty War’s victims by visiting a shrine built in their honor on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. In an address he gave at the shrine, Obama acknowledged what he characterized as American sins of omission, but he stopped short of issuing an outright apology. “Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don’t live up to the ideals that we stand for,” he said. “And we’ve been slow to speak out for human rights, and that was the case here.”

In the run-up to Obama’s trip, Susan Rice, the President’s national-security adviser, had announced the Administration’s intention to declassify thousands of U.S. military and intelligence documents pertaining to that tumultuous period in Argentina. It was a good-will gesture aimed at signalling Obama’s ongoing effort to change the dynamic of U.S. relations with Latin America—“to bury the last remnant of the Cold War,” as he said in Havana, during that same trip.

Last week, the first tranche of those declassified documents was released. The documents revealed that White House and U.S. State Department officials were intimately aware of the Argentine military’s bloody nature, and that some were horrified by what they knew. Others, most notably Henry Kissinger, were not. In a 1978 cable, the U.S. Ambassador, Raúl Castro, wrote about a visit by Kissinger to Buenos Aires, where he was a guest of the dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, while the country hosted the World Cup. “My only concern is that Kissinger’s repeated high praise for Argentina’s action in wiping out terrorism may have gone to some considerable extent to his hosts’ heads,” Castro wrote. The Ambassador went on to write, fretfully, “There is some danger that Argentines may use Kissinger’s laudatory statements as justification for hardening their human rights stance.”

The latest revelations compound a portrait of Kissinger as the ruthless cheerleader, if not the active co-conspirator, of Latin American military regimes engaged in war crimes. In evidence that emerged from previous declassifications of documents during the Clinton Administration, Kissinger was shown not only to have been aware of what the military was doing but to have actively encouraged it. Two days after the Argentine coup, Kissinger was briefed by his Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, William Rogers, who warned him, “I think also we’ve got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long. I think they’re going to have to come down very hard not only on the terrorists but on the dissidents of trade unions and their parties.” Kissinger replied, “Whatever chance they have, they will need a little encouragement . . . because I do want to encourage them. I don’t want to give the sense that they’re harassed by the United States.”

Under Kissinger’s direction, they certainly were not harassed. Right after the coup, Kissinger sent his encouragement to the generals and reinforced that message by expediting a package of U.S. security assistance. In a meeting with the Argentine foreign minister two months later, Kissinger advised him winkingly, according to a memo written about the conversation, “We are aware you are in a difficult period. It is a curious time, when political, criminal, and terrorist activities tend to merge without any clear separation. We understand you must establish authority. . . . If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly.”

Argentina’s military forces had launched their coup in order to expand and institutionalize a war that was already under way against leftist guerrillas and their sympathizers. They called their campaign the Process of National Reorganization, or, simply, “el proceso.” During the Dirty War, as it became known, as many as thirty thousand people were secretly abducted, tortured, and executed by the security forces. Hundreds of suspects were buried in anonymous mass graves, while thousands more were stripped naked, drugged, loaded onto military aircraft, and hurled into the sea from the air while they were still alive. The term “los desaparecidos”—“the disappeared”—became one of Argentina’s contributions to the global lexicon.

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~

As July’s Record Heat Builds Through August, Arctic Ice Keeps Melting

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Sea ice melts off the beach of Barrow, Alaska, where Operation IceBridge is based for its summer 2016 campaign.
Kate Ramsayer/NASA

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When scientists tallied the temperature readings from around the world last month, this is what they discovered:

“July, 2016 was the warmest month we have observed in our period of record that dates back to 1880,” says Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

And July wasn’t a freak occurrence, he notes. The past 10 years have seen numerous high temperature records.

The temperature record for July is an average for the planet, Crouch explains. Some places were a bit cooler than normal — Siberia, for example. But other places were incredibly hot.

“A temperature in Kuwait on July 22 reached 126.5 degrees Fahrenheit according to an observation taken by the United States Air Force,” Crouch says.

July’s average temperature was only a tiny bit higher than the previous record, but a big jump from what was typical in the 20th century. And the U.S. has sizzled, by and large, along with the rest of the world.

“We can see that almost the entire contiguous U.S. was warmer than average for 2016 so far,” Crouch says, “with a lot of that warmth situated over the northern tier and the West.”

Scientists at NOAA and NASA agree that climate change is only part of the reason for the extra heat. Much of the world also experienced an El Niño this year — an occasional weather pattern that starts in the Pacific and spreads warm air over large parts of the world.

But El Niño’s contribution to this year’s heat was pretty much over in June, and the high heat is not waning.

Crouch says weather data predict continued record temperatures. This year, he says, “is very likely to be the warmest year on record for the globe.”

All that heat has worsened the drought in California and the Southwest. NOAA scientists also note that parts of the Northeast are now suffering from serious drought.

The dry conditions have caused a busy wildfire season in the West, with the peak time for Western fires — September — still to come. And even without fire, the high temperatures draw moisture out of the ground, and that’s damaging and killing trees in the West.

But no place is cooking like the Arctic, which has been warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Walt Meier, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, says conditions in the Arctic have changed drastically over the past 20 years — especially sea ice.

~~~  MORE/WATCH VIDEO  ~~~

Van Morrison: ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Going to Have This Body of Work’

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“This is the meat of what I do,” Van Morrison says of his new record, Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue. “I like working with challenges. And I like working with other singers.” Morrison, 69, resurrects deep tracks from albums like 1977’s A Period of Transition and 1991’s Hymns to the Silence with heroes and friends including Steve Winwood, Mavis Staples, Taj Mahal and the late Bobby Womack. Morrison also reunites with peers from Britain’s Sixties-R&B boom like Chris Farlowe and P.J. Proby, who turns up in a new take on the 2002 tribute “Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby.” Morrison subtitled his new album like a memo. “It’s the reality of working the catalog,” he says, “having fun but being practical, too. Because nobody else is working it.”

A Conversation With Van Morrison
The legendary artist vents his dissatisfaction with fame, the music business, and MTV

The opening track with Womack, “Some Peace of Mind,” is poignant, given his passing last summer. How was his health at the session?
We did the track in October 2013. I knew he wasn’t too well. But he didn’t show it on the day. He looked pretty good. When I suggested the song [from Hymns to the Silence], he said, “Yeah, I can relate to the lyrics.”

Bobby was always on my list for Duets. This idea has been around for a long time. I approached George Benson [who sings “Higher Than the World,” from 1983’s Inarticulate Speech of the Heart] in the early Nineties. We were doing a gig in Montreux, Switzerland; he was with the Count Basie Orchestra. He said, “Sure, count me in.”

One of your earliest duets was in 1966. Your band Them was at the Whisky in Los Angeles, and you sang with the opening act’s vocalist – the Doors’ Jim Morrison.
We did “In the Midnight Hour” and “Gloria.” He was really raw. He knew what he was doing and could do it very well. One thing that surprised me in their set was that Kurt Weill song [“Alabama Song”]. Nobody thought of doing that then.

In 1971, you cut the first of many duets with John Lee Hooker. What was it like singing with someone with such an unpredictable sense of rhythm?
Easy. John said about me, “This guy knows it. And he can do it.” There was no pondering or thinking. We just knew it and did it.

I first met John Lee when I was about 18, in London. I would always go to see him at the Marquee Club. When I went to the States, I reconnected with him. He used to come to my gigs, like when I played at the Keystone in Berkeley. He’d say, “Man, I love that song ‘T.B. Sheets’ ” [on Morrison’s 1967 LP, Blowin’ Your Mind]. Then he recorded a version of it. He didn’t give me songwriting credit [laughs]. But that’s OK.

Another great early duet is from 1971 — “4% Pantomime,” with the Band.
I sang it with Richard Manuel. I was living in Woodstock, and Robbie [Robertson] asked if I could write a song with him. That’s what came out of it. That song was about Richard — he’s in the lyrics.

On Duets, in “Real Real Gone,” you cite inspirations such as Solomon Burke and James Brown. Did you work with them?
I did a duet with Solomon that hasn’t been released. James wanted me to play harmonica on a jam. There was nothing rehearsed [laughs]. And I got to duet with Bobby “Blue” Bland.

What did I learn? Dynamics, which doesn’t happen a lot in rock. I’m not really rock. It’s not what I do. Soul, rhythm & blues, folk — there are all kinds of elements in my music. And there’s psychodrama — theater — as well. This is where dynamics comes in. You don’t get that in rock music.

In making this album, did you find other songs that you’re keen to revisit?
There’s loads of them. Part of the problem was there are so many to pick from. There’s 350 to 400 in the catalog.

That’s a lot for one singer-songwriter.
The work was created for survival reasons. I had to make two albums a year for Warner Bros. I was churning out songs, and not every song got on an album. Over the years, for every album that came out, there was another that didn’t make the cut.

I didn’t know I was going to have this body of work. It was probably the Nineties when it started to become unmanageable [laughs]. It’s even more unmanageable now. But the more you create, the more you have to manage later on. Because I’m the only one who knows what it is.

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Van Morrison delivers a spirited performance of “Too Late” in the new video for the latest single off his upcoming record, Keep Me Singing.

Van Morrison: ‘I Didn’t Know I’d Have This Body of Work’
On playing harmonica with James Brown, singing with Jim Morrison at the Whisky, and his new duets LP

Directed by Dick Carruthers, the clip finds Morrison onstage at Nell’s Jazz and Blues club in London, breezing through the snappy soul cut and unleashing a polished saxophone solo. Morrison’s vocals remain silky, though he uncovers a delightful gruffness buried in his throat as he saunters through the final chorus.

Keep Me Singing marks Morrison’s 36th studio album and is scheduled to arrive September 30th. Morrison produced the LP, which comprises 12 original tracks — one of which, “Every Time I See A River,” was a collaboration with famed lyricist Don Black — and a cover of the blues standard, “Share Your Love With Me.”

Morrison will also play a handful of live dates this fall in support of Keep Me Singing, starting October 9th at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York. He’ll return to the U.S. next January for gigs in Las Vegas and Florida as well.

~~~  WATCH  ~~~

~ Ellen Hunter for Ouray County Commissioner ~

The last time we connected about Ellen Hunter and her candidacy for County Commissioner, it was about the issues she wanted to emphasize: Attainable housing, High Alpine regs, Child care, County Roads, and Broadband.

These are all big issues, and as an example, I want to draw attention to one of them as a difference-maker.

It often matters who casts the vote as your County Commissioner. When the BOCC recently decided to establish a six-month moratorium on development in the High Country and on mining claims to propose regs, Don Batchelder was the lone ‘no’ vote. Ouray County was a sacrifice county being subjected to building applications in inappropriate areas for inappropriate sizes.

Commissioners Ben Tisdel and Lynn Padgett knew that we needed regs comparable to our neighboring counties, San Juan and San Miguel, and we needed them soon. Commissioner Batchelder voted no.

Fortunately, the Planning Commission has deliberated, had a Public Hearing, and passed on recommendations to the BOCC.
I can remember 10 years ago when the XPUD was proposed — it would have doubled the development density in the county and gutted the Land Use Code. Don Batchelder took no leadership on an obviously bad proposal, and it took 3- 400 people showing up at the public hearing to have the BOCC remove it from consideration.

We need a County Commissioner who will look out for Ouray County. We need to elect Ellen Hunter for County Commissioner. I encourage you to send donations to: Ellen Hunter for County Commissioner, P O Box 91, Ridgway, CO 81432.

email: ellenhuntercountycommissioner@gmail.com

Sincerely yours,

John Hollrah