Friday, December 31, 2010

Remember what y'all voted for and against

I want everyone who voted AGAINST "the gubbiment", who voted for "lower taxes, less government, lower wages for those 'lazy city and state workers'." to tell me how it's all working out? As you destroy all those "wasteful" city, state, and federal agencies -- who's going to pick up the garbage, clean the streets, plow all the snow, save the stranded, etc., etc., etc.?

Will we all have our houses burn down if we haven't paid that special "fee" (not a "tax" -- heavens, never a "tax", it's a "fee"). Will we have to form special block associations to contract for snow removal? What will happen when all these "tea party patriots" cut services -- but don't lower taxes an equal amount? What will happen when the private firms raise their prices -- because they can -- to the point it's more expensive than municipal taxes were?

In other words, what will all these folks say when their fantasy doesn't work in the real world?

They are already seeing it in N.Y., New Jersey, and Maine. Oh yeah -- you could NEVER get me to live in Colorado -- the place where they turn off the street lights -- or some of those states where they are now UNPAVING the roads because they are too expensive to maintain. (If you want paved roads -- do it yourself!).

How is all this crazy stuff working out? After enough people die from lack of necessary services -- maybe then, we will come to our senses. It's easy to say, "cut back on social security and medicare" until YOU are on the hook for your Mothers medical costs, or your Aunt Bessie starves to death -- you know, the one who gave you a puppy when you were a kid. Of course, none of these folks think they will ever get old, ever need help, or ever run out of money.

Unfortunately, they will find out, someday.

New Years Eve -- a time to reminisce. Look back into the "mists of time"

Here are some songs that bring back memories -- some good, some not so good. Some that still make me cringe, with a, "WHY did I EVER do THAT?" feeling.

Ritchie Valens-Donna

The Real Ritchie Valens - La Bamba

Come Go With Me- The Del-Vikings- 1957

Elvis Presley All Shook Up

Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps - Be-Bop-A-Lula

Jo Stafford - You Belong To Me

That's all for now -- I'm sure there will be more later.

Sarah Vaughan - Stardust

Hold on! This may be why she was called "The Divine One", and "Sassy".

Django Reinhardt - Nagasaki

for all the folks who think we haven't made any progress, who think all this "political correctness" is always "wrong" -- just look and listen to the next "musical interlude" -- It's the "Jazz" song, Nagasaki, done by Django Reinhardt, a Gypsy guitar genius, with a French/Italian violin player, Stephane Grappelli, and a Black American multi-talent (singer, tap dancer, trumpet player) named Freddy Taylor doing the vocal. Notice, "back in Nagasaki where the fellas chew tobaccy and the women wicky-wacky-woo", as lyrics.

So, we have a group of marginalized folks, folks not quite accepted in their homelands playing and singing a song that is beyond a doubt RACIST. But, then again, Asian folks seem to have been "open game" until recently. Heck, when I was young, if people went out to a Chinese restaurant they often said, "we went out for 'Chinks'." -- now, if that isn't beyond racist, what is?

without further ado:

Don't forget, pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14, 2011 -- Who's on first?

Happy New Year -- It's time for a little classic humor -- and, to remind you all that Baseball is just around the corner.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Suicides in India Revealing How Men Made a Mess of Microcredit

Remember all the glowing reports about "microfinance"? Remember how it was supposed to allow poor people drag themselves up out of poverty? Now, remember how we learned, over the years, to NEVER believe ANYTHING the "free-marketeers" say?

Learn it again: Suicides in India Revealing How Men Made a Mess of Microcredit.

Follow the link to the original.

Once again, there is no magic way for an entire population mired in poverty to all drag themselves out if they all borrow small (though unrepayable) sums, and try to make a living making stuff no one really needs, or can make themselves. Especially when they have to sell it to each other.

This from "Skeptical Science" (please follow link to original

Better to pursue wars of aggression than to wait for civil war.

Once again, it's time to go to "Some Assembly Required" for your daily moment of "happy, happy, joy, joy" (or something like that). Here's a sampling -- don't forget, use link to get to original, then use his links to get to THE original (ain't computers grand?):

Book Club: Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) makes his staffers read Atlas Shrugged and write a 10-page essay on which character Ryan most resembles.

Housing Development: Home price plunge is widespread as a double dip that Is Now Accelerating , Will Drop House Prices Another 20% and The Economy Is Screwed as things are Starting To Look Exactly Like 2006-2009 as Home foreclosures jump in 3rd quarter. Not all agree, some claim Houses Are Now A Screaming Buy.

Fill in the Blank: The White House announced it plans to push ________ legislation. The GOP immediately vowed to oppose it. (1) Job creation. (2) Climate Change. (3) Health Care (4) Whatever.

Not Applicable: Why is it that every time commodity prices rise it is the result of either speculative manipulation or the Fed inflating the money supply. Why can't it just once in a while be simply a matter of all those damned Chinese and Indians wanting to live like civilized people? Maybe somebody, outside the US, is doing better than the Wall Street dominated economy and is demanding more resources than are currently in the supply chain?

You Have to Ask? “Is This As Bad as the Great Depression?” Probably. Most assuredly the government has done more and spent more than during the Depression – and to less effect.

There, doesn't that make you feel better?

So, this very poor Russian serf has a friend who is a little better off than he is. Over time the friend manages to save enough to get a cow -- something our serf will never be able to do. So, he prays to God for relief. God responds and asks, "What would you like me to do" -- the serf responds -- "Kill the cow!" -- this is in a chapter titled "The Politics of Rage", in the book "After Shock" by Robert Reich.

It pretty much describes both the "Tea Party" and the republican party today. That's one reason we seem to be continuing down the tubes, with an economy that is beginning to circle the drain (except for the rich).

The politics of rage!

Why not a progressive "tea party" style movement? ------- oh! That's right, we don't have any progressive billionaires that want to destroy their wealth when the NECESSARY redistribution occurs. Any movement we have will HAVE TO BE a TRUE grassroots movement.

With a fat, distracted, populace -- good luck with that.


For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas
Published: December 29, 2010

PARSONS, Kan. — An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.

Kodak stopped making Kodachrome film in 2009.

Kodachrome rewarded generations of skilled users with a richness of color and a unique treatment of light.

Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons, Kan., will be processing the final rolls of it Thursday.

That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.

In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides.

In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline.

The artist, Aliceson Carter, 42, was incredulous as she watched the railroad worker, Jim DeNike, 53, loading a dozen boxes that contained nearly 50,000 slides into his old maroon Pontiac. He explained that every picture inside was of railroad trains and that he had borrowed money from his father’s retirement account to pay for developing them.

“That’s crazy to me,” Ms. Carter said. Then she snapped a picture of Mr. DeNike on one of her last rolls.

Demanding both to shoot and process, Kodachrome rewarded generations of skilled users with a richness of color and a unique treatment of light that many photographers described as incomparable even as they shifted to digital cameras. “Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day,” Paul Simon sang in his 1973 hit “Kodachrome,” which carried the plea “Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away.”

As news media around the world have heralded Thursday’s end of an era, rolls of the discontinued film that had been hoarded in freezers and tucked away in closets, sometimes for decades, have flooded Dwayne’s Photo, arriving from six continents.

“It’s more than a film, it’s a pop culture icon,” said Todd Gustavson, a curator from the George Eastman House, a photography museum in Rochester in the former residence of the Kodak founder. “If you were in the postwar baby boom, it was the color film, no doubt about it.”

Among the recent visitors was Steve McCurry, a photographer whose work has appeared for decades in National Geographic including his well-known cover portrait, shot in Kodachrome, of a Afghan girl that highlights what he describes as the “sublime quality” of the film. When Kodak stopped producing the film last year, the company gave him the last roll, which he hand-delivered to Parsons. “I wasn’t going to take any chances,” he explained.

At the peak, there were about 25 labs worldwide that processed Kodachrome, but the last Kodak-run facility in the United States closed several years ago, then the one in Japan and then the one in Switzerland. Since then, all that was left has been Dwayne’s Photo. Last year, Kodak stopped producing the chemicals needed to develop the film, providing the business with enough to continue processing through the end of 2010. And last week, right on schedule, the lab opened up the last canister of blue dye.

Kodak declined to comment for this article.

The status of lone survivor is a point of pride for Dwayne Steinle, who remembers being warned more than once by a Kodak representative after he opened the business more than a half-century ago that the area was too sparsely populated for the studio to succeed. It has survived in part because Mr. Steinle and his son Grant focused on lower-volume specialties — like black-and-white and print-to-print developing, and, in the early ’90s, the processing of Kodachrome.

Still, the toll of the widespread switch to digital photography has been painful for Dwayne’s, much as it has for Kodak. In the last decade, the number of employees has been cut to about 60 from 200 and digital sales now account for nearly half of revenue. Most of the staff and even the owners acknowledge that they primarily use digital cameras. “That’s what we see as the future of the business,” said Grant Steinle, who runs the business now.

The passing of Kodachrome has been much noted, from the CBS News program ”Sunday Morning” to The Irish Times, but it is noteworthy in no small part for how long it survived. Created in 1935, Kodachrome was an instant hit as the first film to effectively render color.

Even when it stopped being the default film for chronicling everyday life — thanks in part to the move to prints from slides — it continued to be the film of choice for many hobbyists and medical professionals. Dr. Bharat Nathwani, 65, a Los Angeles pathologist, lamented that he still had 400 unused rolls. “I might hold it, God willing that Kodak sees its lack of wisdom.”

This week, the employees at Dwayne’s worked at a frenetic pace, keeping a processing machine that has typically operated just a few hours a day working around the clock (one of the many notes on the lab wall reads: “I took this to a drugstore and they didn’t even know what it was”).

“We really didn’t expect it to be this crazy,” said Lanie George, who manages the Kodachrome processing department.

One of the toughest decisions was how to deal with the dozens of requests from amateurs and professionals alike to provide the last roll to be processed.

In the end, it was determined that a roll belonging to Dwayne Steinle, the owner, would be last. It took three tries to find a camera that worked. And over the course of the week he fired off shots of his house, his family and downtown Parsons. The last frame is already planned for Thursday, a picture of all the employees standing in front of Dwayne’s wearing shirts with the epitaph: “The best slide and movie film in history is now officially retired. Kodachrome: 1935-2010.” This "obituary" from The New York Times -- please follow link to original

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bank Of America’s Christmas present: Foreclose Even Though Not A Payment Missed

More holiday cheer from the "merry banksters" at Bank of America: (please follow link to original)

Bank Of America’s Christmas present: Foreclose Even Though Not A Payment Missed
By George Gombossy | Last updated Dec 24, 2010, 12:03 pm

In one of the more bizarre foreclosure cases, Bank of America is threatening to throw a West Hartford family out of their home even though the couple never missed a mortgage payment.

The largest bank in the United States earlier this month notified Shock Baitch and his wife Lisa (Friedman) Baitch that foreclosure action will start today – Christmas eve – unless the couple agrees to put their home up for a forced sale.


Because another unit of Bank of America erroneously reported to credit agencies that the family was seeking a loan modification, ruining their credit rating and as the result putting their mortgage into default.

All this is happening even though the bank – after admitting it erred and sent a letter of apology in September – handed this case to a special unit at Bank of America that is charged with dealing with severe customer issues. It promised to notify the credit reporting agencies that the couple were not deadbeats, but were good credit risks.

“I have never seen a case like this,” said Manchester attorney Wendell Davis, whose office handles many foreclosures.

Before taking the case, Davis said he thoroughly checked Baitch’s records and found that all his and his wife’s allegations were accurate.

“They have never even been late on a mortgage payment,” said Davis this morning in an interview.

Davis, a member of the Ct Bar Association’s foreclosure committee, said he is preparing a lawsuit to protect his clients because it’s the only way to hold Bank Of America accountable for its actions.

Bank of America representatives have yet to respond to the last issue. As soon as they do I will update my column in (In full disclosure I own several hundred shares of BofA stock).

I have forwarded the documents in this case to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s office.

I guess what they are doing to his couple is not as bad as what Bank of America did in Florida where it seized a house which a Massachusetts couple had paid cash for. The bank removed belongings and changed the locks on the doors, according to a lawsuit the couple have filed in federal court.

Baitch’s story began about a year ago when he and his wife wanted to refinance their home in order to pay for improvements and to consolidate their debts. Baitch is a firefighter.

They spoke to a BofA loan specialist and asked for the cheapest refinance option. The loan specialist tentatively put them into the “Making Home Affordable program,” which unbeknownst to the couple would signal to the credit world that they were in financial straits.

When the couple received a package of papers to sign, they decided to go with a conventional mortgage because they did not want to have to add escrow costs and home insurance to their mortgage payments, not because they were aware of the ramifications on the loan program.

But it was too late. Shortly after that, in April, Baitch’s wife (whose name is on the mortgage) received a letter from BofA telling her that the credit limit on one of her credit cards was reduced to $18,800 from $30,000. The two weren’t worried because they had plenty of credit available on other credit cards. Baitch said he just figured that the bank was tightening everyone’s credit.

It was only after his wife started receiving notifications from other creditors that several of her other accounts were being closed that the couple discovered what had happened.

Their bank, Bank of America, had reported to credit bureaus that they were in a loan modification program. That was a red flag to many creditors, which either cut their lines of credit or placed their debts in the highest interest rate category – the Universal Default rate.

Baitch met several times with Bank of America managers who promised to correct the erroneous credit report, but were told it was too late to refinance her mortgage because their credit scores had been damaged.

“I begged them that they can’t do that in this case since they destroyed our credit scores,” Baitch told me. “Although they admitted to making the mistake, I was told they cannot change the underwriting rules. So, in a nutshell, the other creditors will not reinstate the old credit limits because they use the current credit reports, BofA will not help because they use the current credit reports, and my monthly minimum payments have more than doubled because of the Universal Default rate.”

“Bank of America lied and submitted fraudulent information to the credit bureaus and now I am literally and financially paying for it,” Baitch said. “I looked into help with a consumer counseling service, but we can’t participate because our income is too low to meet the payment requirement. I looked into bankruptcy, but we have too much equity in the house. I cannot meet the minimum payments now on the credit cards and may have to default. I am in a situation that I should have never been in since [the bank] destroyed our credit and ability to refinance. All our debt should have been consolidated and I should have positive cash flow monthly not negative.”

Bank of American spokesman T.J. Crawford confirmed Baitch’s story last fall when I wrote about it.

Once the call was made about the Home Affordable modification, “her account was coded as being in current status on payments but in a trial modification making partial payments,” he wrote.

“Bank of America apologizes for any inconvenience this has caused,” Crawford said, adding that the bank is working on restoring the credit limits on her Bank of America accounts and that the couple can later ask to have their credit limits reviewed by other credit card companies.

That is not enough for Baitch, who calculates that the false report has cost them $150,000 in lost credit. Earlier this week he tried to find out how he could avoid foreclosure so he started calling Bank of America offices.

“I contacted the number provided and someone named Brenda from collections answered the phone,” Baitch told me.

“She asked if I wanted to make a payment to make my account current. As she looked into it she saw, and admitted, that we were NEVER late and our account is not delinquent. I asked her why I got this letter and she said she would have to transfer me to home retention.”

“I then spoke to Rebecca from home retention who then verified that our account was still showing as ‘under review’. When asked for further details she advised me that she did not have any more and could forward me to escalation.

“I then spoke to Debbie Lambert from the Office of the CEO and President. Debbie advised me that, in fact, my account is still “under review” and has a “work out negotiator” assigned to the case. She could not explain why the letter of foreclosure was issued, but, did confirm that our status is that we are still in the loan modification process. A process we NEVER agreed to or ever entered and were PROMISED that it would be corrected!”

“So, in summary, BOA is threatening to proceed with foreclosure on a house that was NEVER late or in risk of default. No one at BOA can find where this letter came from, but admits, that somewhere in there system, some department at BOA thinks we are to be foreclosed on. This is just proof that BOA is far too large to be of any benefit to themselves or the consumer.”

Billy Taylor, Jazz Pianist, Dies at 89

Dr. Billy Taylor, a wonderful Jazz pianist died Tuesday. There is cause for mourning. Here is his obit. from The New York Times (please follow link to original).

Billy Taylor, a pianist and composer who was also an eloquent spokesman and advocate for jazz as well as a familiar presence for many years on television and radio, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 89 and lived in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

The cause was heart failure, said his daughter, Kim Taylor-Thompson.

Dr. Taylor, as he preferred to be called (he earned a doctorate in music education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1975), was a living refutation of the stereotype of jazz musicians as unschooled, unsophisticated and inarticulate, an image that was prevalent when he began his career in the 1940s, and that he did as much as any other musician to erase.

Dr. Taylor probably had a higher profile on television than any other jazz musician of his generation. He had a long run as a cultural correspondent on the CBS News program “Sunday Morning” and was the musical director of David Frost’s syndicated nighttime talk show from 1969 to 1972.

Well educated and well spoken, he came across, Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times in a review of a 1996 nightclub performance, as “a genial professor,” which he was: he taught jazz courses at Long Island University, the Manhattan School of Music and elsewhere. But he was also a compelling performer and a master of the difficult art of making jazz accessible without watering it down.

His “greatest asset,” Mr. Ratliff wrote, “is a sense of jazz as entertainment, and he’s not going to be obscure about it.”

A pianist with impeccable technique and an elegant, almost self-effacing style, Dr. Taylor worked with some of the biggest names in jazz early in his career and later led a trio that worked regularly in New York nightclubs and recorded many albums. But he left his mark on jazz less as a musician than as a proselytizer, spreading the gospel of jazz as a serious art form in high school and college lectures, on radio and television, on government panels and foundation boards.

He also helped bring jazz to predominantly black neighborhoods with Jazzmobile, an organization he founded in 1965 to present free outdoor concerts by nationally known musicians at street corners and housing projects throughout New York City.

“I knew that jazz was not as familiar to young blacks as James Brown and the soul thing,” he told Barbara Campbell of The Times in 1971. “If you say to a young guy in Harlem, Duke Ellington is great, he’s going to be skeptical until he has seen him on 127th Street.”

William Edward Taylor Jr. was born in Greenville, N.C., on July 24, 1921, and grew up in Washington. His father, William, was a dentist; his mother, Antoinette, was a schoolteacher. He had his first piano lesson at 7 and later studied music at what is now Virginia State University. Shortly after moving to New York in 1943 — within two days of his arrival, he later recalled — he began working with the tenor saxophonist Ben Webster at the Three Deuces on 52nd Street, and he remained a fixture on that celebrated nightclub row for many years.

Dr. Taylor had the technique, the knowledge and the temperament to straddle the old and the new; his adaptability made him a popular sideman with both swing and bebop musicians and led to his being hired in 1949 as the house pianist at Birdland.

In 1951 he formed his own trio, which was soon working at clubs like the Copacabana in New York and the London House in Chicago. Within a few years he was lecturing about jazz at music schools and writing articles about it for DownBeat, Saturday Review and other publications. He later had a long-running concert-lecture series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He also became one of the few jazz musicians to establish a successful separate career in radio and television. In 1958 he was the musical director of an NBC television show, “The Subject Is Jazz.” A year later the Harlem radio station WLIB hired him as a disc jockey; in 1962 he moved to WNEW, but he returned to WLIB in 1964 as both disc jockey and program director, and remained in those positions until 1969. He was later a founding partner of Inner City Broadcasting, which bought WLIB in 1971.

Commercial radio became increasingly inhospitable to jazz in the 1960s, but Dr. Taylor found a home at National Public Radio, where he was a familiar voice for more than two decades, first as host of “Jazz Alive” in the late ’70s and most recently on “Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center.” That series, on which he introduced live performances and interviewed the performers, made its debut in the fall of 1994 and remained in production until the fall of 2002.

In 1968 Dr. Taylor was appointed to New York City’s new Cultural Council, along with Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers and other prominent figures in the arts. He later held similar positions on both the state and federal level and until recently was an adviser to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

In 1980 he was a member of an advisory panel that called for greater support for jazz from the National Endowment for the Arts. Many of the panel’s proposals were eventually enacted, and Dr. Taylor became a beneficiary of the endowment in 1988, when he received a $20,000 Jazz Masters award. He was also given a National Medal of Arts in 1992.

Dr. Taylor wrote more than 300 compositions. They ranged in scope and style from “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” a simple 16-bar gospel tune written with Dick Dallas that became one of the unofficial anthems of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, to the ambitious “Suite for Jazz Piano and Orchestra” (1973).

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Taylor is survived by his wife, Theodora. A son, Duane, died in 1988.

As much energy as his other activities required, Dr. Taylor never lost his enthusiasm for performing — or his frustration with audiences that, as he saw it, missed the point. “Most people say, ‘Hey, let’s go to the nightclub and have a few drinks, and maybe we’ll even listen to the music,’ ” he once said. “It’s a lack of understanding of the musicians and of the discipline involved.

“This is not to say that playing jazz is all frowning and no fun at all. But because you make it look easy doesn’t mean you didn’t spend eight hours a day practicing the piano.”

Ben Webster and Billy Taylor presents "The Subject is Jazz," a 1958 series. This episode, "Swing" features an all-star band:

Ben Webster, Tenor Saxophone
Buck Clayton, Trumpet
Benny Morton, Trombone
Billy Taylor, Piano
Eddie Safranski, Bass
Ed Thigpen, Drums
Mundell Lowe, Guitar

Billy Taylor Trio - CAG

One for Kim - Dr. Billy Taylor

City dumping on us - sanit workers

Mayor Bloomberg, of New York City, has finally exposed himself as a plutocrat. His disdain for city workers, his willingness to downplay both the amount and quality of work they do has been exposed as "penny wise and pound foolish".

That always happens to those who think ALL "workers" are "unskilled", and replaceable. Oh well -- another "potential President" has shown himself to be "unskilled".

I'm really tired of those who want to run a government like a business -- I would like to find someone who can run it like a government!
This from the New York Daily News -- please follow link to original

Take a New York City blizzard laced with heavy snow and whipping winds. Add in a dose of frustrated union leaders, disgruntled supervisors and angry elected officials. Top it off with millions of snowed-in residents.

That's the toxic mix that is swirling around City Hall this week as the Bloomberg administration faces questions about its handling of the massive snowstorm that socked the five boroughs the day after Christmas.

Mayor Bloomberg, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and others blamed the lengthy cleanup on a number of factors such as cars stuck on roadways and winds that pushed snow back on cleared streets.

But sanitation workers - usually hailed as the heroes of snow removal - found themselves the subject of some ugly rumors about work slowdowns and job actions.

That infuriated Harry Nespoli, head of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association, which represents rank and file workers.

"Our people are out there on 14-hour shifts," said Nespoli, who went to City Hall yesterday to clear the air with Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. "You don't do a job action and put your workforce to work. We're going to get through this thing."

Workers and supervisors, who are represented by the Sanitation Officers Association, have seen their relationships with City Hall turn a bit prickly in recent months.

Over the past two years, the city has hired just 200 sanitation workers while hundreds more have retired. That left about 5,800 sanitation workers - the lowest number in years.

Nespoli had warned city officials that size may not be enough to battle a big storm.

The city and Goldsmith responded with a plan that angered many - hire 100 new sanitation workers and demote 100 supervisors to help fill the depleted ranks.

Another 100 supervisor positions will be eliminated through attrition.

Goldsmith, the former mayor of Indianapolis, has plans to change the way some agencies and city workers do their jobs. He is overseeing the "Workforce Reform Task Force" which is slated to deliver its report shortly.

On its website, the Sanitation Officers Association has this to say about Goldsmith:

"Although it may be hard to comprehend, this one individual in a futile attempt to save money will be spending more this winter and risking lives unnecessarily."

One sanitation supervisor said any blame for the cleanup rests on the shoulders of the city and not workers.

"They were so unprepared for this storm," said the supervisor. "They were scrambling like crazy on Christmas Day calling people and trying to get them to come in."

But Nespoli said that was not the problem."The manpower was in place," he said. "At 7 a.m. Sunday morning, we had half the force in."

But Nespoli admitted morale was low among workers and supervisors alike.

"When you start doing things like demoting people, it's not the right thing to do," he said.

At a press conference yesterday, Doherty - who has risen through the ranks of the department - said he hasn't seen a drop in morale.

"I spend a lot of hours out on the street," said Doherty. "I don't get that coming back to me."

The demotions are slated to take place after the new year

guess what?

If we do not wake up, the America you grew up in will be TOTALLY gone within 5 to 10 years. EVERYTHING will be privatized, our torn safety net will be totally discarded, and there will be the VERY rich, the sort of rich, and all the rest of us -- the POOR.

They will tell you, "you're 'middle class'." -- but it will be in the "middle" of nowhere.

Wake up.

Every so often, I think we need a left wing/progressive "tea party" type thing -- only not astroturf, the way the "Tea Party" is. Then I wake up -- can you see 50 left wingers agreeing on ANYTHING? Especially when our agendas might be nearly identical.

Flood chaos forces mass evacuations in Australia

The yearly denial of global warming, climate change, is now in full force -- because it's winter, cold, and very stormy, snowy, nasty. The denial continues, even though THIS is exactly what we were told to expect -- extremes in weather, larger storms, etc., etc., etc.

Now -- direct from Australia:

28 December 2010 Last updated at 21:39 ET

Flood chaos forces mass evacuations in Australia

North-eastern Australia's worst flooding in decades is continuing to cause chaos across the region.

Around 1,000 people in Queensland have been evacuated, including the entire population of the town of Theodore.

The government has declared Theodore and two other towns in the region to be disaster zones, and forecasters say the floods have not yet peaked.

The cost of the damage is expected to top AU$1bn (£650m), including massive losses of sunflower and cotton crops.

Army Black Hawk helicopters are being despatched to help evacuate the 300 residents of Theodore, where every building in the town apart from the police station has been flooded, local media report.

The town's river has risen more than 50cm (20 in) above its previous recorded high, Emergency Management Queensland spokesman Bruce O'Grady told Australia's ABC News.

"We're in unchartered territory in that area," he said. "The [weather] bureau is indicating it could go higher."
'No easing'

Inland towns such as Chinchilla and Dalby are all under water; the nearby town of Warra, and the towns of Alpha and Jericho, west of Emerald, have also been declared disaster zones, with hundreds of homes flooded or at risk.

Media reports said Dalby was running low on drinking water supplies after its water treatment plant was damaged by the floods.

A further 200 homes were swamped in Bundaberg on the south-east coast and hundreds of roads in the region have been made impassable.

The state capital, Brisbane, has recorded its wettest December in more than 150 years. Cyclone Tasha, which hit Queensland on Saturday, also brought torrential rain to the state.

Long traffic queues have formed outside isolated towns and police are arresting people who need rescuing after driving into badly hit areas, says the BBC's Steve Marshall in Sydney.

Further south, in New South Wales, about 175 people who had spent the night in evacuation centres have returned home.

But 800 people in the towns of Urbenville and Bonalbo are expected to be cut off for another 24 hours.

While the rain is now easing, water is continuing to flow from sodden land across central and southern Queensland into already swollen rivers, adds our correspondent.

Australia's Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts told ABC the worst was yet to come.

"Over the next 48 hours rain will be easing but the real impact in some communities won't be felt for a couple of days when floodwaters begin to recede," he said.

"Once the rain finishes there will still be significant flooding impacts over the next few days."

Farming groups says the floods could cause up to $403m (£261m) in damage to crops, badly hitting an industry which was already suffering the effects of a lengthy drought.

Note: flooding hitting an industry ... suffering from a lengthy drought.

The drought has been called "the big dry" -- now, more rain than recorded in over 150 years.

Exactly the kind of stuff predicted by global warming/climate change.

Of course, soon the deniers will admit to massive climate change. Their next step will be to deny any human involvement. The religious sorts will say it's "the wrath of god" for our "sinful ways" -- esp. homosexuality. The "rational", though still anti-science "conservatives" will say it's "natural" -- that it's a "natural" result of human actions will never even cross their minds.

Along with destroying the world economy, these fools will destroy the planet. Actually, they will not destroy the planet -- they will destroy MAN. When we're gone, the planet will take its sweet time and allow itself to heal. Eventually all our waste might just become the carbon based fuel that sustains another lifeform.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rule by the Ridiculous

There's all sorts of really cheery economic news out there today -- the kind of thing that makes you want to take a nap -- so I did.

Then there are the prospects for 2011 -- especially with the incoming House of Reprobates, errr, sorry -- Representatives. Paul Krugman sums it all up with this (as usual, please follow link to original):

December 28, 2010, 3:33 pm
Rule by the Ridiculous

There must be a way to construct a word for this out of Greek roots; something like kleptocracy, but meaning rule by ridiculous people instead. But it’s all Greek to me. Anyway, a couple of stories today.

1. Wall Street executives in a complete snit about Obama: he bailed them out with no strings, he’s leaving their bonuses intact, but he doesn’t always invite them to White House events.

Who thought that “Ma, he’s looking at me funny!” would become a crucial campaign slogan?

2. Paul Ryan requires that his staffers read Atlas Shrugged. I mean, I was inspired by Isaac Asimov, but I don’t think I’m Hari Seldon — whereas Ryan, it seems, really does think he’s John Galt.Time to bring out the classic quote:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Future historians will giggle at our expense.

I wish I could bring the economy in for service

Had to bring the car in for service. It's going to be a big one 70,000 miles + a bunch of little issues -- burnt out marker light, battery cable, etc., all normal wear and tear.

As a result, no early posts.

I started looking around on the old intertubes (if the intertubes crash, can you use a rubber patch?) and came across this little tid-bit on, "Some Assembly Required" (please follow link to original):

"12 Step Program: In the US 42 million are on food stamps, one out of three families – 45 million people, 22 million children - is “low income”, the number of the working poor continues to increase, over half of the US labor force have suffered unemployment, a cut in pay, reduced work hours, or have become involuntary part-timers since December 2007. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. We, the people, have a problem."

That was just about enough. Then:

"Second Look: The Dallas Fed's Texas Manufacturing Index was, despite some boosterish headlines, pretty much a downer. The index came in at 12.8 instead of the expected 17, which was a slight drop from November's 13.1. Worse, inventories surged, raw materials prices increased and wages and benefits grew, but new order volume dropped. In other words, they paid a bit more to make stuff out of more expensive materials, just to pile it up in inventory as orders dropped. Encouraging."

Well! That does it for at least an hour. After all, news like that is reported every day -- it's just that most folks ignore it.

They just plain ignore it. Then, they do not have to bother their lovely minds with thoughts about how to address any of these issues -- just listen to Rush and Beck (Glen), and (of course) PRAY.

OOPS! I almost forgot, worry about gay sex -- in and out of the Armed Forces.

Now that you all know that, don't you feel better?

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

This is by Chris Hedges, direct from Truthout (please follow link to original).

It is a very important read. Mr. Hedges describes the route we are on, and the fear any thinking American Citizen has. Please read this. Please go to the original. It's too important to skip.

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

Monday 27 December 2010

by: Chris Hedges |
2011: A Brave New Dystopia

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled.

Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse.

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake,” Orwell wrote in “1984.” “We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” in his book “Democracy Incorporated” to describe our political system. It is a term that would make sense to Huxley. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass.

The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”

The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.

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Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley’s pliant characters in “Brave New World.” The book’s protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:

'Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?' he asks.

'I don’t know that you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.'

He laughed, 'Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.'

'I don’t know what you mean,' she repeated.

The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified.

The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell.

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling,” Winston Smith’s torturer tells him in “1984.” “Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

Derrick Jensen on Pacifism

For your consideration:

This Week In Holy Crimes

From Joe.My.God. -- please follow link to original.

After posting this, and re-reading it, I wonder -- how do we stop this abuse? How do we stop these horrible people from making victims of damn near everyone they touch -- from the men, boys, girls, women they violate, to the folks they defraud?

Do you depend on the institution to "heal itself"? How can it do that when the institution tends to deny the facts before their eyes, or tries to bury them?

Can it be that the members of EVERY congregation, no matter what religion, must question the authority of these priests, pastors, rabbis, imans? Can it be the very structure of religion that leads to these abuses?

I'm not a believer, so perhaps I'm a bit prejudiced -- but, I do remember the phrase, "Every man a priest" -- the idea of directly speaking to your higher power. Wouldn't we do well to remember that these days when it seems many authority figures are not to be trusted?

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days...

Texas: Pastor Earl Post arrested for stalking a teenage girl.
New York: Rabbi Victor Koltun pleads not guilty to ordering the murders of two men. Koltun was previously sentenced to five years for mail fraud.
Connecticut: Pastor David Pomales and his children arrested in church brawl.
Bangladesh: Imam Afsar Ali arrested in connection with the death of a woman who was publicly caned for adultery.
Kansas: Pastor Mark Holick arrested for attempting to force gospel tracts upon Muslims exiting a mosque.
Italy: Court upholds the seizure of $30M in Vatican assets used to launder money for the mafia. The Vatican claims it's all a "misunderstanding."
Texas: Pastor Sandra McGriff arrested for burglary after cops apprehended her stealing two fur coats from the home of a church member. Police also found three purses and a laptop in McGriff's Jaguar.
California: Father Joseph McCabe denied bail pending extradition to Ireland on numerous counts of child molestation.
Texas: Pastor Ivory McDaniels charged with multiple counts of sexual assaults on female minors.
Ireland: Report shows Dublin Archdiocese transferred Father Tony Walsh to cover up numerous sexual assaults on boys and girls. The church never reported Walsh to the police.
Iowa: Pastor Timothy Parker sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexual assault on a child.
Bolivia: Father Jose Ochua sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing at least 19 children in an orphanage.

This Week's Winners
Ireland: A newly released report shows that five Catholic priests formed an informal molesters network in which they enabled one another's crimes by providing rooms in which to commit the attacks and by organizing group excursions with their victims. The report is the first to show that the five accused priests all knew each other and worked together.

GO READ "THE BIG PICTURE" -- please follow link

Post titled: "Media Focus: Irrational Fears, the Sensational" -- by the way, notice how death by firearms is falling per 100,000.

Giants of Jazz Holland 1971

# Thelonius Monk,
# Art Blakey,
# Dizzy Gillespie
# Kai Winding,
# Sonny Stitt,
# Al Mckibbon,

This was truly an all-star lineup. We are lucky to be able to listen to them today. Technology is great. Go buy some Kai & JJ albums - they are still good listening.

Kai Winding - Lover Man 1971

Once again, trombone GIANT Kai Winding.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dizzy Gillespie - Manteca (Finland, 1982)

Dizzy Gillespie as a guest with UMO in Finland in 1982 playing "Manteca". Solos by Dizzy and Arturo Sandoval (trumpet), Juhani Aaltonen (flute), Eero Koivistoinen (tenor sax) and percussionists Bernardo García Carreras, Reynaldo Valera del Monte and Esko Rosnell on drums

Dizzy Gillespie Quintet - Tin Tin Deo

Dizzy Gillespie(tp)
James Moody(as.flt)
Kenny Barron(d)
Christopher Wesley White(b)
Rudy Collins(ds)

Now for a little Django Reinhardt. Guitar Genius!

Django Reinhardt - Blue Drag

Django Reinhardt - The Sheik of Araby

Quintette of the Hot Club of France-Tea for two

Smoke Rings - Django Reinhardt 1935

Some Post-Christmas Carols For All

Santa Baby By Eartha Kitt

Peggy Lee - Winter wonderland

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Another Christmas Gift

We've got a long road ahead. It's time to ask the hard questions, and demand answers.

Barack Obama Wishes You a Gay Military Industrial Christma

There were not going to be any more posts until Monday  --  Of course I wish EVERYONE a HAPPY HOLIDAY (whichever one you do, or don't, celebrate)  --  BUT!!!  --  I just read this at Wonkette (you MUST follow link to original - bookmark, and read daily)  --  so, I figured I just had to share it with YOU, my readers (lookers?), etc.:

Lube up your candy canes!Happy happy Christmas week, you elf-fellating scum! Yes, it’s time for the Season of Lying to Children about the existence of any one of a number of Magical Miracle Men. To truly get in the Christmas spirit, I suggest you cut down a Druid’s tree, set a sacred pagan grove on fire, and start an apocalyptic desert cult that grows into the world’s oldest and largest child-fuckery concern. Make it an LLC, or pretend it is “nonprofit,” whichever suits your tastes! And now, on to the worship of the One True God, Barack Hussein Obama.
On Friday, the preznit went to an elementary school in Arlington, Virginia. The tiny rich imps squealed and shrieked, and then the prezzydent read from “Of Thee I Sing,” the Creative Memories (TM) scrapbook he put together between sponge-painting the front bathroom (the one with the seashell theme!) and having the girls over for Bunco. Then he moved on to “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and oh, it was so cute. When the children yelled, “Encore! Encore! Encore!” he pretended to walk out of the library, then smiled winningly, bounded back onto the carpet, and totally wailed on a killer 8-minute version of “My Pet Goat.” (Haha, it is really called “The Pet Goat,” did you know this?) After that, he paused while Michelle Obama appeared, leaned down, and whispered in his ear, “I am gonna blow those two big black symbols of American excess UP tonight.” This is what the Obamas talk about when they talk about Barack’s balls, and the oral sex that will temporarily empty them of some of their contents. Never forget.
After that, he met with some people who know a bunch about labor, not like the kind where your wife shot your screaming, wet, red, ugly, improbably-stupid varmint out her pussy (yeah right, she totally had an elective C-section with a tummy tuck), but the kind where people work. Did you know that Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor, is really pretty? She is. I hope I look that pretty when I am older and also a Secretary of Labor.
Christmas miracle alert! At about 1:19, you get to see the back of Deputy Director of Oval Office Operations Brian Mosteller, who is my own true love and who has been mentioned countless times in this very space. What are you doing New Year’s Eve, Brian? The answer could quite possibly be “me,” not as in you, but as in ME. Email for further information.
On Monday, the president signed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, taking all the fun out of having kids.
On Tuesday, Barry ran into Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. Everybody in D.C. knows Gary is good for one thing and one thing only, so Bammerz whispered, “Yo, you holding?” “You know it,” Gary said, and that’s how Barry scored a hot copy of the 2010 U.S. Census Report. It said that the browns will murder us all in our sleep sooner or later, and that Nat Turner will be elected King. But you knew that. This was therefore a good day for the prazzledent to meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. High-fives all around!
On Wednesday, something beautiful happened. Here is some shit that actually made me cry, for realz. Watch from about 3:09 on to 3:50 and if you like homos (I do) and/or sometimes are one (I am, 35% of the time) then I dare you not to feel a wee bit emotional. Watch Barney Frank cry at 3:40! Sure, our military industrial complex is Mostly Evil, but isn’t it nice that the faggers and dykelings can be a part of it if they want to? Yes, yes it is.
On Thursday, Barry flew away to the Sovereign Nation of Hawai’i, where he is Coconut King, to lick Tom Selleck’s mustache or something.
And that’s about it for this week. Merry Christmas to all you fuckers, and to all a good fucking night!
Sara Benincasa will be distributing special presents to all imps and faggers and dykelings and prazzledents tonight. Act like you are not awake, probably!

Keith Jarrett Trio - Georgia on My Mind -- Parts one and two

YouTube - My Funny Valentine Song Keith Jarrett Trio

Chet Baker ~ My Funny Valentine

Los Lonely Boys-Pride and Joy-Austin, TX (@SXSW 2010)

Los Lonely Boys & Willie Nelson - Cisco Kid

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Loreena McKennitt- God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Joe Morello Quartet featuring Art Pepper - Yardbird Suite

Joe Morello Quartet featuring Art Pepper - Yardbird Suite (1957)

Personnel: Art Pepper (alto sax), Gerald Wiggins (piano), Ben Tucker (bass), Joe Morello (drums)

Tin Tin Deo - Elvin Jones & Art Pepper

Art Pepper (as) Roland Hanna (pf) Richard Davis (b) Elvin Jones (ds)

Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 13, 14 & 20, 1979

Soultrane - Tadd Dameron with John Coltrane

John Coltrane (ts) Tadd Dameron (pf) John Simmons (b) Philly Joe Jones (ds)

Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, November 30, 1956

Fats Navarro - The Things We Did Last Summer

Fats Navarro (tp), Hank Jones (pf),
Ray Brown (b), Shelly Manne (ds)
recorded 11/2/49 NYC

Parents of gay Rutgers student who committed suicide may sue school

The two who taped Clementi's "encounter" have withdrawn from Rutgers. I hope they've transferred to Burger King.
This was from CNN -- please follow link to original

Parents of gay Rutgers student who committed suicide may sue school
By Jesse Solomon, CNN
December 23, 2010 6:14 a.m. EST

(CNN) -- The parents of a Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his roommate and another student allegedly broadcast online his sexual encounter with another man have notified the school they may sue.

Jane and Joseph Clementi say the school should have done more to prevent the death of their son, Tyler. On Friday, they notified the university that they were filing a "notice of claim," meant to uphold their right to bring a lawsuit in the coming months, Rutgers spokesman E.J. Miranda said Wednesday.

"Subject to further investigation, it appears that Rutgers University failed to act, failed to put in place and/or failed to implement, and enforce policies and practices that would have prevented or deterred such acts, and that Rutgers failed to act timely and appropriately," the notice said. A copy of the notice was provided to CNN by the university.

Rutgers university responded to the notice with a statement saying that while it shares "the family's sense of loss of their son, who was a member of our community," it also recognizes "that a grieving family may question whether someone or some institution could somehow have responsibility for their son's death."

The university is not responsible for his suicide, it said.

The body of Tyler Clementi, 18, was recovered from the Hudson River in September, more than a week after he jumped from the George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River separating New York from New Jersey.

Clementi jumped from the bridge after two other Rutgers students allegedly used a web camera to capture a sexual encounter between him and another man and streamed it online.

Dharun Ravi, 18, who was Clementi's roommate, and Molly Wei, 18, have been charged with invasion of privacy.

Their lawyers have asserted their innocence.

Last month, Clementi's family consented to the use of his name on a piece of anti-harassment federal legislation known as the "Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act."

The proposed law would require schools that receive federal student aid "to create policies prohibiting the harassment of any student," said New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg.


The blog "Climate Progress" has some interesting posts -- please follow link to read anything more than the headline, "The year of living dangerously. Masters: “The stunning extremes we witnessed gives me concern that our climate is showing the early signs of instability”."

"Early signs of instability" -- isn't that a nice way of saying, "the shit's about to hit the fan"?

Even if you are a global warming denier, try going there -- it might give you some useful information.

WTF? - Pat Robertson - Marijuana Decriminalization

All I can say is WTF??? Could it be ol' Pat is STONER? Oh, wait, he's too religious (ha,ha,ha,ha,)

The Oil BP Tried To Hide Has Been Discovered !

Some more good news for Christmas!!!!! (This from "Washingtons Blog" -- please follow link to original)

The Oil BP Tried To Hide Has Been Discovered ... In Thick Layers On the Sea Floor Over An Area of Several Thousand Square Miles

BP and the government famously declared that most of the oil had disappeared.

But as I've noted, as much as 98% of the oil is still in the ocean.

I have repeatedly pointed out that BP and the government applied massive amounts of dispersant to the Gulf Oil Spill in an effort to sink and hide the oil. Many others said the same thing.

BP and the government denied this, of course.

But the oil is not remaining hidden.

Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal noted on December 9th:

A university scientist and the federal government say they have found persuasive evidence that oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill is settling on the ocean floor.

The new findings, from scientists at the University of South Florida and from a broad government effort, mark the latest indication that environmental damage from the blowout of a BP PLC well could be significant where it's hardest to find: deep under the Gulf's surface.


Scientists who have been on research cruises in the Gulf in recent days report finding layers of residue up to several centimeters thick from what they suspect is BP oil.

The material appears in spots across several thousand square miles of seafloor, they said. In many of those spots, they said, worms and other marine life that crawl along the sediment appear dead, though many organisms that can swim appear healthy.


Tests now have started to link some oil in the sediment to the BP well could add to the amount of money BP ends up paying to compensate for the spill's damage.


The test results also raise questions about the possible downsides of the government's use of chemical dispersants to fight the spill.


Under federal direction, about 1.8 million gallons of dispersants were sprayed on the spilled oil in an effort to break it up into tiny droplets that natural ocean microbes could eat up. At the time, officials said the dispersants shouldn't cause oil from the spill to sink to the seafloor. However, more recently, a federal report said dispersants may have helped some spilled oil sink to the sediment.

Scientific teams have reported in recent months finding a strange substance on the Gulf floor, in some cases as far as about 80 miles from BP's ill-fated Macondo well, which blew out in April and spilled an estimated 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf before it was capped.

"The chemical signatures are identical," said Mr. Hollander, who found the contaminated samples in an area of the Gulf floor off the Florida Panhandle. Although it's conceivable the tests could show a false match with the BP oil, "the statistical probability of something like that is unimaginable," Mr. Hollander said.

The federal government also has found oil matching Macondo oil in Gulf sediment, Steve Murawski, a top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist, said in an interview. He declined to disclose how much sediment contamination the government found, or exactly where in the Gulf it was, saying experts still are analyzing the test results.

Samantha Joye, a University of Georgia oceanographer, also has found what she believes to be evidence of BP oil in Gulf sediment. She is awaiting lab results tracing the chemical fingerprints of sediment samples she took.

On a research cruise in the Gulf that ended Friday, she saw worms that crawl along the Gulf floor "just decimated," she said. But eels and fish, which can swim away, often appeared fine, she said.

The Journal noted on December 18th:

Oil from BP PLC's blown-out well has lodged in the sediment of the Gulf of Mexico at levels that may threaten marine life, according to a federal report released Friday.


There is no practical way to clean up the spilled oil that has settled deep in the Gulf, officials said, adding that microbes in the water could eventually eat it up.

The massive application of dispersants to hide the amount of oil spilled has caused major problems to the Gulf:

* The use of dispersants prevented clean up of the oil by skimming, by far the easiest method of removing oil from the water

* Dispersants make the toxins in crude oil more bioavailable to sealife, and scientists have found that applying Corexit to Gulf crude oil releases many times more toxic chemicals into the water column than would be released with crude alone (and see this)

* Dispersant might have caused some of the chemicals in oil to become airborne (and see this and this)

* The crude oil which does not become aerosolized sinks under the surface of the ocean, and can delay the recovery of the ecosystem by years or even decades (see the Wall Street Journal article quoted above)

* The overwhelming majority of studies find that dispersants slow the growth of oil-eating microbes

* Dispersants cause Gulf fish to absorb more toxins and then make it harder for the fish to get rid of the pollutants once exposed

* Dispersants may bioaccumulate in seafood

* Blood tests show elevated levels of toxic hydrocarbons in Gulf residents

Extend-And-Pretend Will Fail

As I noted in May - shortly after the spill started - the responses of the government to the Gulf Oil spill and to the financial crisis are remarkably similar, as both have focused on covering up the problems, instead of actually fixing them. Because the financial system was never really reformed, the next financial shock will send the economy reeling. Because the oil was never properly cleaned up, the next hurricane will stir up immense quantities of oil now lying on the sea floor.

Extend-and-pretend is being attempted in both cases, and - in both cases - it will fail, because nothing has been fixed, and the fundamentals can only remain hidden for so long.

Moreover, in both cases, the government used "highly toxic" measures to try to hide the real problems. The government has used "emergency measures" and virtually all of its resources to prop up the giant banks instead of using the proven methods of restructuring insolvent banks and prosecuting the criminals who caused the crisis, which has caused major problems for the real economy.

Similarly, the government applied close to 2 million gallons of highly toxic dispersant to hide the amount of oil instead of using it's resources to deploy tried-and-true clean up methods, which has caused significant problems for the Gulf.

Finally, new and potentially bigger crises will take place, because regulation hasn't been put in place to prevent them. Regulation of the financial system - including international agreements like Basil III - have been gutted (and see this). And as Time magazine notes:

Congress never managed to pass legislation that would have overhauled drilling safety.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

US Catholic hospital's ties to church cut over abortion that saved mother

Here's a heartwarming little bit of Christmas cheer. Something truly heartwarming. Save a MERE woman's life, get excommunicated. WAY TO GO!!! RC, ALL THE WAY!! (you know, of course, they will NEVER allow female Priests -- after all, then women would actually have to be seen as valuable, worthy, and human)

US Catholic hospital's ties to church cut over abortion that saved mother

St Joseph's in Phoenix no longer affiliated to church as bishop also excommunicates doctor who allowed procedure

The head of the Catholic church in Phoenix has stripped Arizona's largest hospital of its Catholic affiliation after he ruled that a decision to save the life of a mother by terminating her 11-week pregnancy was morally wrong.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted announced yesterday that St Joseph's hospital can no longer be considered to be Catholic. The ruling breaks a relationship that stretches back to the hospital's founding by Catholic nuns 115 years ago.

He has also excommunicated the member of the hospital's ethics committee that permitted the abortion to go ahead.

The schism brings to a head a dispute that has been building for several months over the termination, performed in November 2009, at St Joseph's hospital and medical centre.

The case concerned an unidentified woman in her 20s, who had a history of abnormally high blood pressure that was under control before she became pregnant. But doctors were concerned on learning of the pregnancy about the extra burden that would be placed on her heart, and they monitored her closely.

Tests showed that in the early stages of pregnancy her condition deteriorated rapidly and that before long her pulmonary hypertension – which can impair the working of the heart and lungs – had begun to seriously threaten her life. Doctors informed her that the risk of death was close to 100% if she continued with the pregnancy.

Consultations were then held with the patient, her family, her doctors and the hospital's ethics team, and the decision to go ahead with an abortion was taken in order to save the mother's life.

The hospital's president, Linda Hunt, said following the bishop's severing of relations that the operation had been "consistent with our values of dignity and justice. If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman's life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case."

But Olmsted did not see it that way. He drew on the advice of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' doctrinal committee, which distinguishes between direct abortions that are never justifiable and indirect terminations that happen incidentally as a result of life-saving medical procedures that can be allowed on narrowly-defined grounds.

In this case, the operation was deemed to be a direct abortion because the pregnancy was ended to ease the mother's separate health problem.

"The baby was healthy and there was no problems with the pregnancy; rather, the mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St Joseph's decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed. This is contrary to the teaching of the church," Olmsted said.

St Joseph's has 697 beds and 5,000 staff, and this year admitted 40,000 in-patients. It is world-renowned for its work on Parkinson's disease and neurosurgery, and is regularly voted among the top 10 hospitals in the US.

Hunt said that the hospital was "deeply saddened" by the church's decision but that "we will be steadfast in fulfilling our mission". In a statement, St Joseph's said it would perform the same treatment again were the life of a mother in danger.

It is not known how the church hierarchy found out about the termination, as the hospital abides by a strict privacy policy for all patients.

The split will not affect the hospital's income as the church does not fund it. The only visible change that will be evident immediately is that the blessed sacrament will be removed from the hospital's chapel and mass will no longer be held there.

But the name of St Joseph's will remain, and the management has vowed that the institution's Catholic heritage will still be at its core.

health care for 9/11 responders

I've been thinking about Senator Tom Coburn's anti-health-care for the 9/11 first responders. It just seems so typical of our current day Republican's, and their "fellow travelers" - the neo-libs like President Obama.

Then ---- well:

I think EVERYONE should have government provided health care. Even if not used by the well-to-do it’s still much better than NOTHING.

Every so often, when I see the insane “austerity” programs being instituted around the globe, along with the attacks by our dear sweet republican’s on anything and everything that helps the poor and the middle class, I wonder — is this a not so subtle way of eliminating a whole bunch of people? Are these the first blows by our rulers to eliminate some of the non-productive old folks? Let them die early. Let them stop being a drain on resources.

I realize this is conspiracy theory — and yet …………… could this be an unconscious part of the “reasoning process” (if that’s what you call it) some of these rich conservatives use?

After all, aren’t we all here to produce FOR THEM, to SERVE THEM?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

some straight talk from an Irishman

A little bit of straight talk

feeling poorly

No posts today. Perhaps later. I just haven't been feeling very well, with some disruptive stomach issues.

everyone have a good day. Talk to you a bit later.

Monday, December 20, 2010

On “60 Minutes” Gov. Chris Christie Recites GOP’s Mantra: Austerity for Thee, But Not for Me

Here's a little thing direct from FireDogLake -- of course, use link to go to original. This shows very clearly who and what the "Republicans" are. they prove over and over they are the party of the rich, the party of privilege, the party of white folks -- just NOT the party of POOR white folks (unless they are willing to do the dirty work of "keeping down" brown and black folks - then they get some crumbs, some dregs. Nothing changes.

On “60 Minutes” Gov. Chris Christie Recites GOP’s Mantra: Austerity for Thee, But Not for Me
By: Blue Texan Monday December 20, 2010 10:30 am

On “60 Minutes” last night, wingnut favorite Chris Christie sat down with Steve Kroft and wagged his finger at people who work for a living.

…after looking at the books, he [Christie] decided to walk away from a long-planned and much-needed project with New York and the federal government to build a rail tunnel into Manhattan. It would have helped the economy and given employment to 6,000 construction workers.

Gov. Christie acknowledged that’s a lot of jobs. “I canceled it. I mean, listen, the bottom line is I don’t have the money. And you know what? I can’t pay people for those jobs if I don’t have the money to pay them. Where am I getting the money? I don’t have it. I literally don’t have it.”

Asked if this is going on all over the country, Christie told Kroft, “Yes. Of course it is. It’s not like you can avoid it forever, ’cause it’s here now. And we all know it’s here. And the federal government doesn’t have the money to paper over it anymore, either, for the states. The day of reckoning has arrived. That’s it. And it’s gonna arrive everywhere. Timing will vary a little bit, depending upon which state you’re in, but it’s comin’.“

But the federal government has plenty of money, apparently, to spend about $1 trillion annually in defense, and about $3 trillion (and counting) on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The federal government must have plenty of money, because it just granted a $900B tax cut, including hundreds of billions to millionaires and trust fund brats. And it had more than enough money to bail out Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 companies, to the tune of some $3T and change.

Funny that Christie isn’t as concerned about these roughly $8 trillion dollars in expenditures as he is about teacher’s pensions. Tighten your belts, you freeloaders!