Miss Sarajevo – gripping story about ethnic war in Yugoslavia

Lee Heidhues 1.28.2023

Tonight I pulled out one my first CDs. Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1 (1995)

The most haunting piece is “Miss Sarajevo.” The song is composed by U2 leader Bono. Luciano Pavorotti is the tenor voice in this memorable composition from the movie of the same name.

The liner notes in the CD read:

“Bill Carter’s award winning documentary “Miss Sarajevo” chronicles one of the more bizarre events of the war in former Yugoslavia – when several artists mounted an elaborate beauty contest under mortar fire. The camera follows the organizers through the tunnels and cellars of the the city, giving a unique insight into life during a modern war, where civilians are the targets. The film captures the dark humor of the besieged Sarajevans, their stubborn refusal to be demoralized, and suggests that surrealism and dadaism are the appropriate responses to fanaticism.”


Miss Sarajevo wins the contest under fire
Welcome to (war torn) Sarajevo
Under fire in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

Finished!! Dede Wilsey legal effort to destroy car free San Francisco

Lee Heidhues 1.27.2023

The legal effort to destroy JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park and the The Great Walkway along the San Francisco shoreline may be over soon.

The California Court of Appeal in San Francisco appears to be bringing down the curtain on the last ditch legal effort which began in December 2021 in San Francisco Superior Court.

Failing to obtain an injunction in early 2022 ordering JFK Promenade and The Great Walkway be open to cars the plaintiffs, Open the Great Highway Alliance, took their case to a higher Court.

Turns out funding for this legal effort came from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

SF Ethics Commission disclosure form showing Name of Filer – Open the Great Highway Alliance – 11.2.2022

This fact came to light during last year’s FAMSF campaign for Proposition I and its opposition to Proposition J. Both efforts were funded by the FAMSF and its politically connected former Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Dede Wilsey wrote the 200K check paying the mercenary signature gatherers to qualify the ill fated Proposition I for the November 8, 2022 ballot.

It was a wasted effort. Proposition I was defeated by 65 percent of the voters. Proposition J, placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors, won an overwhelming 63 percent majority. Assuring car free JFK Promenade and The Great Walkway.

The soon to die lawsuit was the last gasp effort of the long entitled motorists.

Cycling by the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco

After spending 800K to oppose car free areas on the ballot it appears Dede Wilsey and the FAMSF have finally seen the writing on the wall. No longer willing to bankroll this quixotic legal fight. A financial drain and more importantly bad for their image as stewards of culture in San Francisco.

San Francisco Ethics Commission filings for the FAMSF listed Open the Great Highway Alliance as a Filer. The same group which sued to bring cars back to these now car free spaces.

The following is from the Court of Appeal website. The Court is saying it is going to grant the City’s latest Request for Judicial Notice and, barring something extraordinary, will “DISMISS THE APPEAL AS MOOT.”

Link to the Court of Appeal docket – Appeal number A164797

Progressive passionate publisher The Nation. Victor Navasky – RIP

Lee Heidhues 1.26.2023

I have been subscribing to and reading The Nation since my time as a journalism student at San Francisco State University.

It is must reading and the name Victory Navasky and The Nation have always been inseparable.

Victor Navasky’s death at age 90 is a loss for journalism, political discourse, the United States and the world.

NPR – 1.24.2023

A left wing political luminary has died. Journalist Victor S. Navasky died at the age of 90.


Navasky ran The Nation, one of the oldest magazines in America, with a sharp progressive bent. He started as editor in 1978, a year when teachers’s strikes and the Camp David Accords ruled the headlines. He also worked as the magazine’s publisher, and then publisher emeritus until his death Monday at a hospital in New York. The cause was pneumonia, his son Bruno Navasky told NPR.

“For many years, we had a bad joke: If it’s bad for the country, it’s good for The Nation,” Navasky told NPR in 2009. He was alluding to the magazine’s pointed criticism of the George W. Bush administration and the soaring number of subscriptions his publication saw after the advent of the second Gulf War. “It’s a rallying point for people who feel that they’re not represented at the highest levels of power.”

Navasky, the second child of a clothing manufacturer, was also a scion of the Upper West Side in Manhattan. He attended progressive educational institutions, including Rudolph Steiner School and Swarthmore College. After a stint in the U.S. Army, he enrolled in Yale Law School and quickly became part of the journalism establishment, working for The New York Times as an editor, writer and columnist.

Elizabeth Warren on The Nation cover – March 2019

But it was at The Nation that Navasky’s singular voice became a clarion call for the left. He mentored other writers whose playful prose and sense of satire breathed wit into what had been an occasionally pedantic publication, among them Christopher Hitchens, Calvin Trillin, Katha Politt and Alexander Cockburn.

Navasky appreciated the work of making news stories passionate and beguiling. He told NPR he watched Fox News for years, because Bill O’Reilly and other Fox stars were so entertaining. He even claimed to welcome the channel’s conservative check on Democratic administrations. But Navasky added he missed progressive voices in mainstream media.

“It is a credibility problem if you don’t — if you distort, omit or otherwise demagogue against the opposition,” he said.

Navasky, for whom entertainment and ethics were always intertwined, wrote the National Book Award-winning book Naming Names which told the story of Hollywood blacklisting, as well as other titles, including Kennedy Justice and A Matter of Opinion, which won the George Polk book award in 2005.

The Nation – Little Red Wolf and the Big Bad Humans – August 2021

A statement provided to NPR from his family said Navasky “usually had nothing but kind words for everyone he encountered — even adversaries — and took a particular joy in his close relationships with family and a few select friends who were with him through to the very end.”


“Nothing we can do long term to hold back the Pacific Ocean.”

Lee Heidhues 1.25.2023

The following article may be about nearby Santa Cruz, the coastal town just 73 miles south of The Great Walkway in San Francisco.

San Francisco City Hall needs to get its proverbial head out of the sand and pay attention.

What is going on in Santa Cruz is equally true for the Great Walkway. It took an overwhelming majority of the electorate last November to maintain a partially free space along the Pacific Ocean.

San Francisco officials must continue to push for a permanently car free oasis along the ocean front. If the bureaucrats don’t do it, Mother Nature will take care of it for them.

In short. It is long past the time when politicians listen to the spoiled entitled motorists.

Excerpted from The San Francisco Standard 1.25.2023

“The storm has reminded us that we can’t just keep putting Band-Aids on things,” said Gary Griggs, a UC Santa Cruz researcher who specializes in climate and coastal science.

“We need to think longer term, and realistically, there’s nothing we can do over the long term to hold back the Pacific Ocean. It’s coming, and it’s coming for us.”

Rallying to Stop the Threat to Ocean Beach – Last November Voters overwhelmingly rejected the ballot measure to bring back cars full time to The Great Walkway

While the January storms may have hastened the damage, climate experts say to expect more of these once-rare weather events. And figuring out how to plan for them, and the rising seas in general, is not a problem unique to Santa Cruz or even California. Coastal cities up and down the state have been grappling with similar challenges, debating the idea of “managed retreat,” which focuses on relocating property and infrastructure and planning for sea level rise instead of fighting it.

“Pretty much all the places we identified [as hazards], there are problems now,” said David Revell, a coastal geomorphologist who consulted on the city’s plan. 

While consulting on the plan, Revell said his group found that prioritizing recreation—particularly access to the city’s world-class surfing—would have the most economic benefit to the city and community, especially compared to the expensive status quo of constant emergency repairs. 

“If we keep armoring, we’re going to lose those surf spots much faster than if we allow erosion to continue or look at ways to add more sand to the beaches,” Revell said. “I think dodging cars is probably not the long-term answer.”

But ultimately, Griggs said, there’s no stopping the inevitable. 

“All protection ends somewhere,” Griggs said. “You can’t build a wall to hold back 10 feet of sea level rise.”


Scene of continuing coastal erosion in Santa Cruz, California – January 2023

Top photo – Coastal erosion in Santa Cruz – just 73 miles south of The Great Walkway in San Francisco

Drivers who kill rarely suffer punishment more than a ticket

Lee Heidhues 1.24.2023

I am not speaking of San Francisco today where 37 pedestrians were cut down on City streets in 2022.


I am today writing about New York City where 255 pedestrians, motorists and cyclists were killed last year.

The carnage on America’s roadways is a nationwide disgraceful epidemic with government officials, for the most part, making vacuous pronouncements and doing nothing to stop the carnage.

As long as the car rules supreme in America nothing will change. People will continue to be killed.

Excerpted from New York Magazine 1.24.2023

Maybe in the scheme of things, the death toll from driving through New York City isn’t worth fussing over.

When drivers who kill rarely suffer any punishment more severe than a ticket and then get right back on the road.

Drivers to ignore the rights of pedestrians

More than three times as many New Yorkers were murdered last year as died under the wheels. Several thousand overdosed. Many froze to death on the streets. If we’re going to accept those ratios, let’s at least be honest about it and admit that, yes, some people are going to get hit by cars and die, and we don’t care, or don’t care enough.

The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has just issued its annual report listing the names of all 255 pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists killed on the city’s streets in 2022. Nearly half were on foot.

The Department of Transportation boasts of having “driven” — its word — “traffic deaths to historic lows,” which is true if by “history” you mean since last year. If you compare it to the actual historic low of 2018, when the carnage was limited to “only” 202 people, the stats look less rosy. Nine years into the Vision Zero era, we should really be calling it Vision 125: the average number of pedestrians killed each year in New York since 2014. One every three days.

Apparently, all this is fine, the unfortunate, acceptable by-product of a city where people in cars and people without them mix.

The dangerous streets of San Francisco where 37 pedestrians died in 2022

That, at any rate, is the signal we all send when we shake our heads, shrug, and move on.

When city officials mumble pieties and let lifesaving street designs get bogged down in endless studies. When the Department of Transportation has only a sparse staff and limited budget to cope with 6,000 miles of streets and an endless supply of fractious New Yorkers eager to tweak, delay, and even block the lifesaving street redesigns.


Top photo – The scene at 97th Street and West End Avenue in New York City after Cooper Stock was killed by a taxi driver in 2014. Photo: Pearl Gabel/NY Daily News via Getty Images

The Trial – “Why do you keep fighting?” We were asked over and over

Lee Heidhues 1.19.2023

We are over. We lost. We are devastated. We are demoralized.

The victors can gloat and rejoice in their triumph. Aided by 30BN insurance carriers. Ruthless attorneys. Terrible Judges in the judicial system. All allowed this to happen.

It is so horrific.

A Court ordered Mediator finally beat us into submission. “Why do you keep fighting?” we were asked over and over.

All this because eight years ago I said “You can build a fence where the previous one stood.” Those few words were the conduit for our destruction.

Now we must live with this legally sanctioned theft of our land for the rest of our lives. The State has successfully stolen a portion of our property we have owned and lived on for 39 years.

My wife sits downstairs and has the scariest look on her face. I, too, am completely upended. I really don’t know how we will continue living peacefully and feel any kind of tranquility.

We only have each other.

The entire apparatus of the State is destroying us for our free, independent, outspoken, honest behavior.

The Trial

I have no idea what will happen next. But for sure neither of us are in a good place this evening.

This is such a devastating blow.

January 20, 2023

This afternoon a morbidly obese Notary came to our home. We would not bring him into the house.

It is a painful moment when we must sign the Agreement and effectively surrender a portion of our land.

We are drained financially and mentally. It pains me to think how much worse, after spending over 400K, if we had to continue funneling money into the legal system.

I feel like early 1972 when we returned to San Francisco after years abroad with only $125.00. Broke and wondering, “What comes next?”

NY Judge target of “character assassination?” Progs say “No”

Lee Heidhues 1.18.2023

“Character assassination.”

That’s how some observers in New York are describing the rejection of Latino jurist Hector LaSalle to be the Empire State’s top Judge.

New York Progressives view it from a different perspective. They feel Governor Kathy Hochul (shown in photo above) should have named a known Progressive to the Bench.

Progressives are still smarting from a lack of support from moderate Democrats resulting in the loss of several Congressional seats in the New York City area last November. These defeats at the ballot box may well have cost Democrats control of the House of Representatives in Washington.

Now the Progressives are exacting a measure of revenge and sending a message to the moderate Governor Hochul. We demand more respect.

Excerpted from The New York Times 1.18.2023

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul’s embattled nominee to become New York State’s top judge was rejected on Wednesday, an unprecedented repudiation that underscored a deep division among Democrats on the direction of the state’s judicial system.

Senator Luis Sepúlveda, a Democrat from the Bronx who is Puerto Rican and voted in favor of Justice LaSalle, said the judge had been the target of a “character assassination” because he was Latino.

After a combative hourslong hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 against the nomination of Justice Hector D. LaSalle, whose nomination was strongly opposed by progressives who saw him as too conservative.

Progressive New York union members rally against judicial nominee Hector LaSalle

The committee’s rejection — the first time that New York lawmakers have voted against a governor’s choice for chief judge — laid bare how vulnerable Ms. Hochul, a Buffalo-area Democrat, may be to a challenge from her own party.

All 10 senators who voted against the judge were Democrats; two Democrats voted in favor of Justice LaSalle, while one Democrat and all six Republicans on the committee voted in favor “without recommendation.”

The rejection does not necessarily mean that the LaSalle saga is over. The governor has not ruled out taking legal action to force a vote on Justice LaSalle’s nomination on the full Senate floor, raising the specter of a constitutional showdown.

Despite pressure on her to withdraw her nomination, the governor has forcefully defended Justice LaSalle. Over the weekend she rallied support alongside other top Democrats, including Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the U.S. House minority leader, stressing the symbolic importance of elevating a jurist of Puerto Rican descent to the upper echelons of state government.

Indeed, Justice LaSalle’s nomination has split Latino elected officials, with some suggesting that he was subjected to a double standard because of his ethnicity.

Rosa Luxemburg – revolutionary socialist, Marxist anti-war activist

Lee Heidhues 1.15.2023

On January 15, 1919 Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were assassinated in Berlin.

In America, the assassinations and life histories of these socialists and anti-war activists is totally unknown and unrecognized.

The lives and political activities of Luxemburg and Liebknecht are widely known and remembered in Germany. There are yearly memorial demonstrations.

Books and movies have been made about Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Perhaps the most famous is the 1986 film Rosa Luxemburg is a 1986 West German drama film directed by Margarethe von Trotta. The film received the 1986 German Film Award for Best Feature Film (Bester Spielfilm), and Barbara Sukowa won the Cannes Film Festival‘s Best Actress Award and the German Film Award for Best Actress for her performance as Rosa Luxemburg.


Excerpted from Wikipedia Last updated 1.3.2023

Rosa Luxemburg  5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Polish and naturalized-German revolutionary socialistMarxist philosopher and anti-war activist.

Rosa Luxemburg addresses the crowd

Successively, Luxemburg was a member of the Proletariat party, the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD), the Spartacus League (Spartakusbund), and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).

Born and raised in an assimilated Jewish family in Poland, she became a German citizen in 1897.

Young Rosa Luxemburg

After the SPD supported German involvement in World War I in 1915, Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht co-founded the anti-war Spartacus League (Spartakusbund) which eventually became the KPD. During the November Revolution, Luxemburg co-founded the newspaper Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag), the central organ of the Spartacist movement. Luxemburg considered the Spartacist uprising of January 1919 a blunder, but supported the attempted overthrow of the government and rejected any attempt at a negotiated solution.

Friedrich Ebert‘s majority SPD government crushed the revolt and the Spartakusbund by sending in the Freikorps, government-sponsored paramilitary groups consisting mostly of World War I veterans. Freikorps troops captured and assassinated Luxemburg and Liebknecht during the rebellion.

Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were abducted in Berlin on 15 January 1919 by the Rifle Division of the Cavalry Guards of the Freikorps (Garde-Kavallerie-Schützendivision). 

Rosa known as Red Rosa Luxemburg

Its commander Captain Waldemar Pabst, with Lieutenant Horst von Pflugk-Harttung, questioned them under torture and then gave the order to summarily execute them.

Luxemburg was assassinated by being knocked down with a rifle butt by the soldier Otto Runge, then shot in the head, either by Lieutenant Kurt Vogel or by Lieutenant Hermann Souchon. Her body was flung into Berlin’s Landwehr Canal. In the Tiergarten, Liebknecht was shot and his body, without a name, brought to a morgue.

The assassinations of Luxemburg and Liebknecht inspired a new wave of violence in Berlin and across Germany. Thousands of members of the KPD as well as other revolutionaries and civilians were killed. Finally, the People’s Navy Division (Volksmarinedivision) and workers’ and soldiers’ councils which had moved to the political left disbanded. Luxemburg was held in high regard by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, who recognized her revolutionary credentials at the Third International.

Annual march honoring Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht

In Berlin a Liebknecht-Luxemburg Demonstration, shortened to LL-Demo, is organized annually in the month of January around the date of their death. This demonstration takes place on the second weekend of the month in Berlin-Friedrichshain, starting near the Frankfurter Tor to the central cemetery Friedrichsfelde, also known as the Gedenkstätte der Sozialisten (Socialist Memorial). In East Germany, the event was widely considered to be a mere show for Socialist Unity Party of Germany politicians and celebrities, which was broadcast live on state television.

In 1919, Bertolt Brecht wrote the poetic memorial Epitaph honouring Luxemburg and Kurt Weill set it to music in The Berlin Requiem in 1928:

Red Rosa now has vanished too,
And where she lies is hid from view.
She told the poor what life’s about,
And so the rich have rubbed her out.
May she rest in peace.


‘The Big Picture’ – It is difficult for a person to disappear.

Lee Heidhues 1.14.2023

Checking out the foreign films available at my neighborhood Library I came upon this French film.

It is riveting and intriguing. It fascinates me to see how film makers and performers in other countries capture the human spirit and the way in which these people deal with life’s unexpected events and resultant crises.

Excerpted from The New York Times – 10.11.2012

Identity theft may be rampant nowadays, but “The Big Picture” explores the other side of the coin — the claustrophobic notion that it is increasingly difficult for a person to disappear.

On the deepest level, Paul Exben’s adopting the identity of a man who pursued the very dream Paul abandoned has paradoxical ramifications. Even after he becomes what he might have been, he can’t follow through.

The adage “It’s never too late to be who you might have been,” ascribed to George Eliot, is given a cruel twist in the terrific French thriller “The Big Picture.”

This loose adaptation of Douglas Kennedy’s 1997 novel might be described as “The Talented Mr. Ripley” for the age of Google. Its story of Paul Exben, a successful Parisian lawyer who assumes the identity of a man he accidentally kills, belongs to a select circle of twisty top-notch Gallic suspense movies that include Lucas Belvaux’s “Rapt” and Guillaume Canet’s “Tell No One.”

If some of the plot details defy credibility, Romain Duris’s electrifying performance makes you overlook any inconsistencies, as his likable character becomes a man on the run barely able to stifle his panic.

Mr. Duris, 38, has been a major French star since “The Beat That My Heart Skipped,” Jacques Audiard’s 2005 French adaptation of James Toback’s “Fingers.” In “The Big Picture” he is as compelling, if not more so.

Mr. Duris’s Paul has the springy agility of the young Mick Jagger and the same crinkly mischievous grin that conveys a Mephistophelean charm; the resemblance is so striking that in many shots he suggests a hairy-chested fraternal twin of that Rolling Stone.

Unlike “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and Antonioni’s “Passenger,” “The Big Picture,” directed by Eric Lartigau, doesn’t bear down heavily on its themes of exchanged identities and second chances. Paul is not a sociopath like Tom Ripley, and the movie does not convey the same diabolical Hitchcockian sense of being manipulated by a slightly sadistic master puppeteer. As the story sprawls across the screen, it darts from one incident to the next as though it were inventing itself as it goes along.

Passing of a music icon. Jeff Beck’s ‘Truth’ an unsung rock classic

Lee Heidhues 1.11.2023

I was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of English musician Jeff Beck at the age of 78.

Beck’s 1968 LP ‘Truth’ is one of my favorites. There are several memorable songs. My favorite is the final piece on the 10 song album, ‘I ain’t Superstitious’.

Excerpted from The Guardian and Variety 1.11.2023

Jeff Beck, the celebrated guitarist who played with the Yardbirds and led the Jeff Beck Group, has died aged 78, his representative has confirmed.

Beck died on Tuesday after “suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis”, the representative confirmed. “His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss,” they added.

Jeff Beck Group – Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Micky Waller and Jeff Beck

Often described as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Beck – whose fingers and thumbs were famously insured for £7m – was known as a keen innovator. He pioneered jazz-rock, experimented with fuzz and distortion effects and paved the way for heavier subgenres such as psych rock and heavy metal over the course of his career.

A fleet, imaginative soloist, Beck brought formidable instrumental firepower to British band the Yardbirds, which he joined in 1965 as a replacement for Eric Clapton. Entirely at home with the group’s blues roots, he burnished their pop hits with an adventurous and virtually unprecedented use of feedback, sustain and fuzz.

Jeff Beck Group – Aside from Beck (wearing black hat), you’ve got a young Rod Stewart (right) on vocals, future Stone Ronnie Wood (left) on bass and session legend Micky Waller on drums (second from right).

After a precipitous exit from the Yardbirds — where he had been joined by another future guitar star, Jimmy Page — he established his own band, the Jeff Beck Group, which was fronted by vocalist Rod Stewart, soon to become a solo star. The unit proved as unstable as it was powerful, and lasted for just two albums.

During the ’70s, Beck assembled a second, more R&B-oriented edition of his group, and briefly formed a short-lived power trio with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge and Cactus.

He reached the probable apex of both his critical and commercial success with a pair of mid-’70s all-instrumental albums, “Blow by Blow” and “Wired,” that found him moving into jazz-fusion terrain. The latter LP was recorded with keyboardist Jan Hammer, formerly of the top fusion act the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

He was an eight-time Grammy winner, recipient of the Ivor Novello for outstanding contribution to British music and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as a solo artist and as a member of the Yardbirds.

Musicians and longtime friends began paying tribute minutes after the news broke. On Twitter, Jimmy Page wrote, “The six stringed Warrior is no longer here for us to admire the spell he could weave around our mortal emotions. Jeff could channel music from the ethereal. His technique unique. His imaginations apparently limitless. Jeff I will miss you along with your millions of fans.”

Jeff Beck in concert – 1972

“With the death of Jeff Beck we have lost a wonderful man and one of the greatest guitar players in the world,” Mick Jagger wrote. “We will all miss him so much.”

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour wrote, “I am devastated to hear the news of the death of my friend and hero Jeff Beck, whose music has thrilled and inspired me and countless others for so many years … He will be forever in our hearts.”


Thaliacapos – 12.16.2020

When I chat with friends about all-time great hard rock albums, I’m always surprised by how few of them bring up Jeff Beck’s “Truth.” Beck’s 1968 solo debut is a seminal album in the development of blues-based hard rock, laying down a template that bands like Led Zeppelin would push into the stratosphere in the following years.