Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don't Forget

Remember -- Joe Barton APOLOGIZED to BP for our "blackmailing" them.

Perhaps we should feed him a nonstop diet of Gulf Shrimp, Oysters, and Red Snappers. Hmmm -- bet he'd love them -- bet we'd love the results.

Does anyone think he will apologize to all the residents of the Gulf, to all the people who have lost their livelihood, their region, their futures, to a careless, unthinking FOREIGN oil company?

An oil company that is still doing business in the Gulf, is still getting favors from the Obama Administration -- what a hateful joke!





The USA I grew up in, and had so much hope for is DEAD!

Guest Post: Scientists Confirm that Dispersants Are Increasing Contamination in the Gulf

How in HELL did we elect this Republican in Democratic clothing? Why did everyone buy into the IMAGE of Obama -- and not appear to listen to a word he SAID?

The absolute inability to respond to the NEEDS and SAFETY of (formerly) middle class Americans is BREATHTAKING! Here's a little more to chew on -- by way of "Naked Capitalism, from "Washington's Blog" -- please follow link to originals.

Read this

Guest Post: Scientists Confirm that Dispersants Are Increasing Contamination in the Gulf

→ Washington’s Blog

I have repeatedly documented the detrimental impacts of dispersants on humans, wildlife and seafood safety. See this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

As I noted in September, scientists from Oregon State University found elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Gulf, and blamed dispersants.

Now, the website of the prestigious Journal Nature is also reporting on the increase of PAH contamination due to the use of dispersants in the Gulf:

Peter Hodson, an aquatic toxicologist from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, presented his case on 9 November at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in Portland, Oregon…

The problem, explains Hodson, is that the dispersed cloud of microscopic oil droplets allows the PAHs to contaminate a volume of water 100–1,000 times greater than if the oil were confined to a floating surface slick. This hugely increases the exposure of wildlife to the dispersed oil. …

Worse, the toxic constituents of oil hang around longer than other components, another speaker told the meeting. “This idea that there’s an oil biodegradation rate doesn’t hold,” says Ronald Atlas, a microbiologist at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, who has studied the aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Alkanes, the simple hydrocarbons that comprise the bulk of oil, are degraded more readily than the PAHs, he points out.

As the Press Register notes:

“These chemicals, these are PAHs that are carcinogenic. … These items are not in any way appropriate for anyone to eat,” said Ed Cake, an environmental consultant from Ocean Springs. “There’s no low-dose level that’s acceptable to eat.”…

[William Sawyer], the [veteran] Florida toxicologist, said the government tests do not look for total petroleum hydrocarbons in the seafood. He said his tests of Gulf shrimp have shown unsafe levels of the compounds, which can cause liver or kidney damage in a matter of weeks.

Raw Story reports:

Dr. William Sawyer… said… “We found not only petroleum in the digestive tracts [of shrimp], but also in the edible portions of fish.

“We’ve collected shrimp, oysters and finned fish on their way to marketplace — we tested a good number of seafood samples and in 100 percent we found petroleum.”

The FDA says up to 100-PPM of oil and dispersant residue is safe to consume in finned fish, and 500-PPM is allowed for shellfish.

Dr. Sawyer, who has long been a vocal critic of these rules, called the government’s tests “little more than a farce.”

Maine Public Radio points out:

“We’re more concerned about the dispersant and the dispersant mixed with oil–the dispersed oil, if you will–than we are about the crude oil itself.”

Tests conducted in recent months by [University of Southern Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health director John] Wise’s lab, using human cell lines, show that dispersants cause cell death and DNA damage, which has been linked to cancer and reproductive problems.

WFTV Orlando reports:

Brand new laboratory test results just in Monday morning are showing troubling problems with gulf seafood… the results are raising a lot of red flags.

WFTV put gulf shrimp to the test by ordering raw shrimp over the Internet and shipping it to a private lab. …

Scientists found elevated levels of Anthracene, a toxic hydrocarbon and a by-product of petroleum. The Anthracene levels were double what the FDA finds to be acceptable.

The scientist who tested the shrimp said she would not eat it based on the results…

I’ve also previously reported that dispersants were used long after BP and the government said they had stopped using them in July. Now, Cherri Foytlin and Denise Rednour claim to have pictures of 176 empty containers of ‘discontinued’ COREXIT 9527A found… With a ship date of August 10th. And the president of a county seafood workers’ association claims that dispersant is still being applied.

In related news:

* Louisiana allegedly has more oiled shoreline now than in July

* A Gulf resident’s November blood test shows ethylbenzene levels higher than cleanup workers tested in August

* An NSF-funded workgroup notes: “Storms are likely to resurrect the oil that is currently hidden from sight” — “Much oil persists” nearshore

* A Florida State University professor says the oil is still there: “most of that Deepwater Horizon oil — as much as 70 percent to 79 percent of it —sank to the ocean floor, where it remains, sucking up oxygen and inhibiting life.

* A University of Florida scientist says “clear evidence that much of the oil is still below the surface in subsurface plumes”

* At an international conference of experts, almost no one had great confidence in the safety of Gulf seafood

* Alabama shrimpers find catch “coated in oil” at area open for fishing — Boat to be decontaminated

* Instead of cracking down on BP, the Obama administration has granted “categorical exclusions” to federally funded stimulus projects by BP (and other companies), effectively exempting those projects from environmental oversight

We've Always Been at War with Eastasia - by Rep. Alan Grayson

I hope y'all enjoyed the musical interlude. There's just too much crap out there to give it all proper exposure. If you are alive and awake, you're aware of all the crap out there. If you're not -- nothing I, or any other "libtard", "lefty bastard", "demorat", "TREASONOUS, LEFT-WING, anti-American, eastern, blah, blah, blah; blah blah blah, moron" can write that might either wake you up, or change your mind.

The silly optimist in me can't seem to stop -- no matter how insane it is to continue.

Anyway, here's a little something from Rep. Alan Grayson. This from Huffington Post -- please follow link to original:

Rep. Alan Grayson

Congressman Alan Grayson represents Central Florida (FL-8).
Posted: May 29, 2010 09:48 AM

On May 30, 2010, at 10:06 a.m, the direct cost of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan will hit $1 trillion. And in a few weeks, the House of Representatives will be asked to vote for $33 billion of additional "emergency" supplemental spending to continue the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be the pretense of debate -- speeches on the floor of both chambers, stern requests for timetables or metrics or benchmarks -- but this war money will get tossed in the wood chipper without difficulty, requested by a president who ran on an anti-war platform. Passing this legislation will mark the breaking of another promise to America, the promise that all war spending would be done through the regular budget process. Not through an off-budget swipe of our Chinese credit card.

The war money could be used for schools, bridges, or paying everyone's mortgage payments for a whole year. It could be used to end federal income taxes on every American's first $35,000 of income, as my bill, the War Is Making You Poor Act, does. It could be used to close the yawning deficit, supply health care to the unemployed, or for any other human and humane purpose.

Instead, it will be used for war. Because, as Orwell predicted in 1984, we've reached the point where everyone thinks that we've always been at war with Eastasia. Why?

Not because Al Qaeda was sheltered in Iraq. It wasn't. And not because Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan. It isn't. Bush could never explain why we went to war in Iraq, and Obama can't explain why we are 'escalating' in Afghanistan.

So, why? Why spend $1 trillion on a long, bloody nine-year campaign with no justifiable purpose?

Remember 9/11, the day that changed everything? That was almost a decade ago. Bush's response was to mire us in two bloody wars, wars in which we are still stuck today. Why?

I can't answer that question. But I do have an alternative vision of how the last 10 years could have played out.

Imagine if we had decided after 9/11 to wean ourselves off oil and other carbon-based fuels. We'd be almost ten years into that project by now.

Imagine if George W. Bush had somehow been able to summon the moral strength of Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller, or Martin Luther King Jr, and committed the American people to the pursuit of a common goal of a transformed society, a society which meets our own human needs rather than declaring "war" on an emotion, or, as John Quincy Adams put it, going "abroad, in search of monsters to destroy".


Imagine that we chose not to enslave ourselves to a massive military state whose stated goal is "stability" in countries that never have been "stable", and never will be.


"Imagine all the people, living life in peace

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Otis Redding- (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay


Marvin Gaye - Mercy Mercy Me

The Irish "Problem"

I saw this headline -- "European Union approves €85 billion rescue of Ireland" -- and wondered WHY?

Why must the Irish CITIZENS pay for the sins of the BANKERS? Why must the Irish Citizens pay FOREVER to reimburse the European banks. Those German and other banks run by "the smartest guys in this or any other room" (or so they think).

Here was a nation with minimal public debt, ruined by the bursting of a bubble fed by speculators, builders, a corrupt Government, and greedy European bankers. Why must the typical citizen be held accountable for the mistakes of the "very serious people"?

It really is insane.

Why I've Been Less Active This Weekend

I've been staying away from the computer a bit this weekend. Of course, when I try to read anything (like Ted Ralls -- "An Anti-American Manifesto") I have to put the book down every 20 or so pages, just to keep from crying. Rall makes the case that we no longer give a damn about our government, that it has proven itself to be incompetent. In fact, he counters the 9/11 "truthers" by saying it wasn't a "put up job" -- it's that our military is run by MORONS!

Stuff like that actually rings true. It also makes me want to cry. I think back to all the rather dumb folks I knew back in college. The earnest "cold warriors", the folks who majored in courses so "specialized" that they never got an "edumacation" (thank you GWB - by way of Yale).

So, I have to rest up a bit. Writing is not the release it once was. Reading isn't either.

So, I read some blogs on economics -- say Ritholtz's "The Big Picture" (by no means a wild eyed liberal), Krugman's "Conscience Of A Liberal", or Brad DeLong's "Grasping Reality With Both Hands" -- and I feel even worse. Just looking at what the "VSP's" ("very serious people" - coined by Krugman to describe the "austerity buffs", and those who trumpet a fear of inflation in a time of deflation) say just makes me want to crawl back to bed -- and pull the covers over my head.

It's not that I've lost hope, it's that I'm afraid the "cure" will be some sort of real, possibly violent revolution -- with an unpredictable result (in this I tend to agree with Rall).

As Rall says, our current system is broken -- what ever replaces it will probably not be what any of us expect.

If that's so, bullets might just be more valuable than gold.

Reagan Budget Director Slams GOP for 'Theology' Of Tax Cuts

This from Alternet. The total insanity shown by our "leaders" is breathtaking. They are either wanton criminals or morons --- or BOTH. I vote for both.

(please follow link to original)

Reagan Budget Director Slams GOP for 'Theology' Of Tax Cuts

As Congress prepares to take up extension of the Bush tax cuts during its lame duck session, Republican lawmakers have been unanimous in demanding that the cuts for the richest two percent of Americans be extended, claiming they are necessary for economic growth and that tax cuts (miraculously) pay for themselves.

While independent economists have shown these arguments to be false, today on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, President Reagan’s former budget director took on his own party for pushing this faulty logic. David Stockman, who led the all-important Office of Management and Budget under Reagan and was a chief architect of his fiscal policy, criticized today’s GOP for misreading Reagan’s legacy by adopting a “theology” of tax cuts. Stockman has spoken out before, but took perhaps his strongest stance yet against his own party today, saying “I’ll never forgive the Bush administration” for “destroying the last vestige of fiscal responsibility that we had in the Republican Party.” He also broke with Republican orthodoxy on a number of key issues:

– We need “a higher tax burden on the upper income.”

– “After 1985, the Republican Party adopted the idea that tax cuts can solve the whole problem, and that therefore in the future, deficits didn’t matter and tax cuts would be the solution of first, second, and third resort.”

– The 2001 Bush tax cut “was totally not needed.”

– On claims that Reagan proved tax cuts lead to higher government revenues: “Reagan proved nothing of the kind and yet that became the mantra and it just led the Republican Party away from its traditional sound money, fiscal restraint.”

– Former Vice President Cheney “should have known better” than claim the Bush tax cuts would pay for themselves.

– “I’ll never forgive the Bush administration and Paulson for basically destroying the last vestige of fiscal responsibility that we had in the Republican Party. After that, I don’t know how we ever make the tough choices.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

post thanksgiving

Well, it's 8:20 PM CST -- so far the FDIC has not eaten a bank today. So, none of the banks are turkeys today. Will check later, or -- wait till next week!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Child sacrifice cases stun India

I can't ignore this, by way of "Raw Story" -- "Child sacrifice cases stun India". Isn't that just peachy? How's that for all the vaunted "wisdom of the east" -- more religions that feature totally barbaric customs and practices. (how about YOUR wife throwing herself on your funeral pyre? -- instead of rejoicing -- "ding-dong the old bastards dead")

Let's see what else it says: "New Delhi - Police in India's central state of Chhattisgarh have arrested seven people for allegedly sacrificing two children to gain 'supernatural powers,' officials said Thursday.

Witch-doctor Ishwari Yadav, his wife Kiranbai and five of their disciples were arrested after police found the bodies of a 2-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl at their home in Durg district Wednesday.

'The boy was killed on Tuesday and the girl was murdered some six months ago,' district police chief Amit Kumar said in a telephone interview. '(The suspects) were arrested for holding human sacrifices and have confessed their crimes.'

'During questioning the couple admitted that they had offered the sacrifices for appeasing the Hindu goddess Kali and attaining occult powers and wealth,' Kumar said.

According to Kumar, the murders which have caused outrage in the region, were uncovered after the boy's father alerted the police when his son went missing.

During the investigation, the police determined that the boy was last spotted at Yadav's house.

The police raided the house and found the body of the child buried under an idol in a worship room.

The police, who seized a knife used for the crime, later also found the skeletal remains of the girl.

Human sacrifice has long been banned in India, but cases have been reported from underdeveloped regions where superstitions hold sway.

In April, the beheaded body of a factory worker was found in a Kali temple in West Bengal state.

Kali is widely worshipped across India and has several forms, including that of a benevolent mother figure and a dark and violent destroyer of evil wearing a garland of skulls."


"Kali"? wasn't that the name of some evil God or Goddess in some of the old "exoticism of the East" movies, where the "civilized" European triumphs? Stuff like "King Of The Khyber Rifles" -- though I do not think that is it. Anyway, movies often shown at "kiddie matinees" in the old days (before TV).

I'm thinking maybe they had a point. I'm also thinking the devotees of the "occult East" might either have smoked too much herb, or have too damn much privilege.

After all, I don't think an "untouchable" is "charmed" by "the wisdom of the East"

(please follow link to original)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

In case you didn't think I was serious about everyone having a wonderful Thanksgiving - a classic from Addams Family Values:

Have A Happy Thanksgiving

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. In spite of all the problems we all have, in spite of all the issues around the world, most of us have things to be thankful for.

Have some gratitude for what you have -- work to change those things that are either wrong or not working.

As folks say -- PEACE OUT!

(I'm taking a couple of days off -- eating Turkey, and lots of other stuff.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sister Sledge - We Are Family

Right now, with everything happening in the world, in the nation -- it's time to think about this, about a family of choice. When folks get sober, they are often in very negative family situations. In those cases, it is often suggested they find a family of choice. A supportive group they can use to support their efforts to remain clean and sober. A family can be many different things. Those are true "family values".

Texomatic Classic: Cheap Truckers Speed

Townes Van Zandt - Cocaine Blues

The Rolling Stones : Sympathy For The Devil (live) HQ

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some Happy Monday Thoughts -- HIDE! HIDE!

I've never been more depressed about the future. On one hand, I'm happy that I'm 71, that I lived through the best years of America. On the other, I worry about being 71 because I'm quite sure this nation will turn its back on me and all old people. Our youth doesn't seem to think they will ever get old.

Now, the spectre of failure hangs over The European Union. Germany appears to want total control (what else is new). Ireland and the Mediterranean States are under attack for their supposed "profligate ways" - even though their bubbles were stoked by Northern European Banks.

Now, just imagine how happy I was to read the following in "Some Assembly Required" -- it's just peachy-keen, don't you think? (please follow link to original)

Honesty: As the mini-series continues, with Iceland, Greece and now Ireland brought to their knees in the drive to keep European banks and financial giants solvent, all attention will turn to slaughtering the peasants in Portugal. In celebrating its Irish victory, IMF chief Strauss-Kahn demanded that European nations cede even more of their sovereignty to Brussels, for the time has come for centralized control and reform of European labor markets. Yet support in EU countries for continued EU membership is close to the lowest levels ever. It is becoming clear that the euro experiment will end in inevitable collapse. Facing this failure, expect European political and financial leaders to concentrate on promoting the interests of multinational corporations.

WOW, isn't that a great way to start my "hour of blog:?


Use the Library: Insurance companies are now going to data-gathering companies to find out what you've been Googling. Done a search on breast cancer? Uninsurable. Looked up info on that disease your neighbor died of? Uninsurable. Next time you want to look up some medical condition, visit your local library, use their computers. And an alias.

Golly-gosh-gee-willikers, isn't that just beyond peachy?

Then I read:

Take Two, They're Small: A rare pink diamond went for $46 million, because “the demand for rare gems as a portable form of wealth” has pushed up prices. In portable form.

Isn't that all WONDERFUL???

My only question (ONLY question?) is: Which will come first, WWIII or a complete breakdown of civilization? Can you imagine all the stories of "plucky millionaires" who managed to save themselves through luck, pluck, and "portable wealth"? Will they be like the deposed "Russian Nobility" was after WWI?

Cry for our nation -- and find some means of self defense.

Oh yeah, by the way -- today's Dallas Morning News has a little headline that says 22% (or more) of "Charter Schools" have "religious affiliations". They teach on "biblical principles", pray, etc., etc., etc. ---- AND, they get PUBLIC FUNDING!!

Can you say, "end run around separation of Church and State"? Can you say, "CHRISTIAN MADRASSA"? Can you say, "THE END OF THE USA AS A NATION WE CAN RECOGNIZE"?

This Week In Holy Crimes

The interesting "This Week In Holy Crimes" from Joe.My.God (follow link to original). It's always interesting to see this listing of the most holy of holy men -- grifters, rapists, thieves. Of course, The Most Holy Roman Catholic Church has protected the rapists of children for many years -- now that they might have to stop that delightful practice, his most holy highness, The Pope, Ratzi-Nazi, has said it's O.K. for male prostitutes to use condoms -- I guess he can't afford to lose any more priests. Anyway:

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days...

Virginia: Pastor J.P. Hale sentenced to six years in prison for indecent liberties with a child.
Pennsylvania: Father Robert Timchak sentenced to six years in prison for possession of child pornography.
North Carolina: Rev. Walter Donald Bradshaw arrested for the rape of an 11 year-old girl.
South Carolina: Pastor David K. Love arrested for the murder of a parishioner.
New York: Rabbi Milton Balkany convicted of extorting $3.5M from an investment fund.
Missouri: Pastor Terry McDowell arrested for the rape of a girl he was babysitting.
Washington: Pastor Steven Welty sentenced to 26 years to life in prison on six counts of child rape and incest. His youngest victim was four years old.
Massachusetts: Father Keith LeBlanc charged with stealing $83K from his parish to pay his online porn bill.
British Columbia: Hindu priest Karam Vir charged with sexual exploitation of a child.
Virginia: Pastor Dennis Erb charged with child molestation.
Florida: Pastor Rodney McGill charged with investment fraud. From prison. Where he's serving 20 years for the same crime.
Georgia: Pastor Brian Gray charged with child molestation and burglary.
Utah: Pastor Aaron Witcher charged with eight counts of rape of underage girls.
Pennsylvania: Father Francis J. Drabiska resigns after confessing to robbing parish of undisclosed amount.
New Brunswick: Court agrees to Catholic diocese's request to shield amounts paid to victims of priest molestation.

This Week's Winner
Kenya: Pastor Marcus Ondiegi has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for the rape and HIV infection of an 11 year-old orphan girl. Ondiegi had told the child's grandmother that unless he was allowed to pray over the child for one week, evil spirits would make her insane. Instead he raped the child nightly until she escaped.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Count Basie - Booty's Blues

Charles Earland - Cause I Love Her

Everyday I Have The Blues - Jimmy McGriff & Hank Crawford Quartet

Jimmy McGriff - The worm

Joey DeFrancesco does "Blues For Bobby C"

Our "misguided" President

Mr. Obama seems to know NOTHING about American history, very little about the USA as a nation, and appears to be a captive of massive right wing revisionist history. He certainly is not a Democrat. His ideas are not those of someone brought up in a working class or middle class American family -- he acts more like a Republican than a Democrat. His actions are those of someone born with massive privilege, who has learned how to smooth over that reality with mildly populist rhetoric.

I am of the opinion he is an example of a version of "The Peter Principle" -- except that in his case the usefulness of his "Joe Cool" persona has ended. We are now left with a person who seems in over his head, paralyzed with the fear that his actions just MIGHT be unpopular.

As a result, he has placed the Government in the hands of those who damn near destroyed it.

The honeymoon is over.

FDR, Reagan, and Obama

This is from "Conscience Of A Liberal", Paul Krugman's blog. He is saying exactly what I've been saying ever since I heard Obama praise Ronnie Raygun with words only a "true believer" would use. we are in even bigger trouble than I thought. This guy might mean well, but he doesn't know diddly-squat about what really happened in the good old USA back in the 30's. He is a captive of massive historical revisionism.

Primary challenge. Best he become a one term President. we really could use a real democrat in the White House. Time for some real change!!

November 21, 2010, 2:07 am
FDR, Reagan, and Obama

Some readers may recall that back during the Democratic primary Barack Obama shocked many progressives by praising Ronald Reagan as someone who brought America a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.” I was among those who found this deeply troubling — because the idea that Reagan brought a transfomation in American dynamism is a right-wing myth, not borne out by the facts. (There was a surge in productivity and innovation — but it happened in the 90s, under Clinton, not under Reagan).

All the usual suspects pooh-poohed these concerns; it was ridiculous, they said, to think of Obama as a captive of right-wing mythology.

But are you so sure about that now?

And here’s this, from Thomas Ferguson: Obama saying

We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.

As Ferguson explains, this is a right-wing smear. What actually happened was that during the interregnum between the 1932 election and the1933 inauguration — which was much longer then, because the inauguration didn’t take place until March — Herbert Hoover tried to rope FDR into maintaining his policies, including rigid adherence to the gold standard and fiscal austerity. FDR declined to be part of this.

But Obama buys the right-wing smear.

More and more, it’s becoming clear that progressives who had their hearts set on Obama were engaged in a huge act of self-delusion. Once you got past the soaring rhetoric you noticed, if you actually paid attention to what he said, that he largely accepted the conservative storyline, a view of the world, including a mythological history, that bears little resemblance to the facts.

And confronted with a situation utterly at odds with that storyline … he stayed with the myth

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day Of Remembrance, U.N., Pigs -- isn't it swell!!

Today is the "Transgender Day of Remembrance" -- a day to remember all the trans folks murdered in the past year (and before). It seems those numbers are raising.

In addition, the U.N. made an interesting decision: "On November 16, 2010, just days after the 72nd anniversary of the Nazi's opening salvo against the Jews, Kristallnacht, the United Nations voted to remove sexual orientation from the UN resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

"This is a shameful day in United Nations history. It gives a de facto green light to the on-going murder of LGBT people by homophobic regimes, death squads and vigilantes. They will take comfort from the fact that the UN does not endorse the protection of LGBT people against hate-motivated murder," said U.K. gay rights and human rights leader Peter Tatchell." (quoted directly from "Pam's House Blend").

Isn't that just fab!?

Isn't it wonderful?

Of course some folks say it's all about those folks "culture" -- as if murder is a valid part of any "culture".

Now, we have a day to remember trans folks who have been murdered -- with murderers often using the "trans panic defense", AND a day where it seems some have declared "open season" on other members of the LGBT/T groups.

Nothing will be done. We will "respect" those other cultures. We will decry the violence against any and all LGBT/T folks here in the USA -- while still painting those who advocate self defense as "Neanderthals".

What in hell is wrong with all of us? Why do we allow these levels of violence? Why don't we support women and others who protect themselves against violence? Why are members of ANY minority who protect themselves usually prosecuted in the newspapers long before all (or any) facts are known?

Are most men, and most white folks so damn frightened that we can't allow minorities to protect themselves the same way an old white dude can?

Have we lost any and all sense of where the possible greatness of America lay?

I'm sick of all the ignorance, all the fear, and the concerted attempts to grind our underclass even further down. I'm sick of the fact most folks seem to be O.K. with Capital Punishment -- even after they know innocent folks have been executed.

It's as if we think it's all fine as long as we execute SOMEONE.

We should all be ashamed of ourselves. Such big talking COWARDS. All the "John Wayne" loving "rugged individualists" who want any and every "safety net" shredded, except for theirs, because THEY "earned" theirs -- and you, obviously, did not.

Stupid PIGS!

Nina Simone - Pirate Jenny

The Dresden Dolls 'Coin-Operated Boy' music video

Some Assembly Required

As usual "Some Assembly Required" has some interesting tid-bits: Here are a few --
(please follow link to original)

Previews: An 'industrial action' planned for November 24th will be the largest coordinated strike in Portuguese history as the workers protest a 10.7% unemployment rate with 600,000 unemployed. Finance Minister, Teixeira dos Santos said that fiscal consolidation will be “harsh and demanding” with wage cuts of 10%, but it must be done or “the nation’s situation will be much worse than people imagine”. Meanwhile the Catholic run charity Cáritas Portuguesa reports that the number of people seeking assistance has grown from 5,000 to 62,000 in a year. The National Food Bank is currently sustaining some 280,000 Portuguese. Cáritas Portuguesa has warned that “the blackest phase of the crisis has not yet occurred” as unemployment will continue to rise and become a long-term issue

Politics, Explained: Congressmen are getting richer, you are not.

For Whom The Bell Tolls: To mark the 18th month since the end of the recession, NYC is laying off 6,201 city employees and leaving another 4,165 jobs unfilled. That's 10,000, do I hear 12?

Progress: The war in Afghanistan is going so well that the Army, for the first time, now feels it is safe to bring in heavily armored Abrams main battle tanks.

ne's opinion.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
SAR #10324

Economics trumps reality, but only for a while.

Playing Hangman: The most astounding part of this long, slow charade is that the rescues of the banks and bond holders keep being described as sovereign bailouts. Nonsense. No one cares if Ireland or Greece or Portugal fail as countries and their people suffer grinding poverty for decades. The object of the exercise is to keep the European financial system going, just a little bit longer. Certainly they don't expect us to believe that forcing Ireland ever deeper in debt is going to attract new investors – as Roubini says, ain't no-one coming from Mars to bail them out. It's just another set of bank bailouts on the sly.

So, didn't that whet your interest -- or, do you feel like hiding under the covers? I did that when I was a kid, I played Polar Bear. Kids born in the next 20 years won't know what a Polar Bear WAS.

Black Cats, Witches, And Folks Today

We have saved cats from various shelters. We have reached our limit - so all our little beasties are growing old together -- along with us.

Anyway, we have a black cat we named "Mia" (her "real" name), but, we call her "Lil Bit" -- because she was a sweet little kitten when we got her four years ago. She is now The Hulk - and knows it.

She's a black cat -- but, she has three white hairs on her right side and about two more on her underside.

Do you know why all (or almost all) black cats have some white hairs?

It's because they were almost wiped out during the middle ages, when ignorant people thought them the "consorts" of witches (IE - old women living alone, or "troublesome women" who didn't know their place, and - very possibly - lesbians). There were concerted efforts to eradicate cats -- black cats especially. As a result, just about all black cats have some White cat genes in their past.

Some folks say the lack of cats led to a proliferation of mice and rats, leading to The Black Death.

This level of ignorance seems to be in vogue today -- it might not entail cats, but it sure involves gay folks , lesbians, and other "different" people.

It does seem folks are uneducated, can't read, and want simplistic answers to their problems -- even if the "solutions" make no sense at all - thus all the TV pundits and preachers.

We are in deep trouble.


Went to a Dresden Dolls concert last night -- opening act, Girl In A Coma (EXCELLENT!!) -- they were GREAT!

Put on a wonderful show. It seemed as if they actually enjoyed what they were doing, as did the audience.

We were the oldest folks there. In fact, some younger folks asked if we enjoyed the concert -- and seemed surprised when we said we did.

Got home late, put up all the failed bank info. very late (early Sat. AM).

Last night was one of those nights when I almost wished I was young again, and went to the bars all those young fools went to after the concert -- which makes me an old fool.

Girl In A Coma is just another example of the amazing music scene that is Texas. So many local groups, so many genres.

Anyway, if you want to see an amazing duo, with great musicianship - see The Dresden Dolls.


First Michigan Bank, Troy, Michigan, Assumes All of the Deposits of First Banking Center, Burlington, Wisconsin

November 19, 2010
Media Contact:
David Barr (202) 898-6992
Cell: (703) 622-4790
Email: dbarr@fdic.gov

First Banking Center, Burlington, Wisconsin, was closed today by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First Michigan Bank, Troy, Michigan, to assume all of the deposits of First Banking Center.

The 17 branches of First Banking Center will reopen during normal business hours beginning Saturday as branches of First Michigan Bank. Depositors of First Banking Center will automatically become depositors of First Michigan Bank. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of First Banking Center should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from First Michigan Bank that it has completed systems changes to allow other First Michigan Bank branches to process their accounts as well.

This evening and over the weekend, depositors of First Banking Center can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

As of September 30, 2010, First Banking Center had approximately $750.7 million in total assets and $664.8 million in total deposits. First Michigan Bank will pay the FDIC a premium of 0.50 percent to assume all of the deposits of First Banking Center. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, First Michigan Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the failed bank's assets.

The FDIC and First Michigan Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on $515.6 million of First Banking Center's assets. First Michigan Bank will share in the losses on the asset pools covered under the loss-share agreement. The loss-share transaction is projected to maximize returns on the assets covered by keeping them in the private sector. The transaction also is expected to minimize disruptions for loan customers. For more information on loss share, please visit: http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/lossshare/index.html.

Customers who have questions about today's transaction can call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-830-3256. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. CST; and thereafter from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. CST. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/firstbanking.html.

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $142.6 million. Compared to other alternatives, First Michigan Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. First Banking Center is the 149th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the second in Wisconsin. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Maritime Savings Bank, West Allis, on September 17, 2010.


VIST Bank, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Assumes All of the Deposits of Allegiance Bank of North America, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

November 19, 2010
Media Contact:
David Barr (202) 898-6992
Cell: (703) 622-4790
Email: dbarr@fdic.gov

Allegiance Bank of North America, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, was closed today by the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Banking, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with VIST Bank, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, to assume all of the deposits of Allegiance Bank of North America.

The five branches of Allegiance Bank of North America will reopen on Monday as branches of VIST Bank. Depositors of Allegiance Bank of North America will automatically become depositors of VIST Bank. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of Allegiance Bank of North America should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from VIST Bank that it has completed systems changes to allow other VIST Bank branches to process their accounts as well.

This evening and over the weekend, depositors of Allegiance Bank of North America can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

As of September 30, 2010, Allegiance Bank of North America had approximately $106.6 million in total assets and $92.0 million in total deposits. VIST Bank will pay the FDIC a premium of 0.50 percent to assume all of the deposits of Allegiance Bank of North America. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the Allegiance Bank of North America, VIST Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.

The FDIC and VIST Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on $86.2 million of Allegiance Bank of North America's assets. VIST Bank will share in the losses on the asset pools covered under the loss-share agreement. The loss-share transaction is projected to maximize returns on the assets covered by keeping them in the private sector. The transaction also is expected to minimize disruptions for loan customers. For more information on loss share, please visit: http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/lossshare/index.html.

Customers who have questions about today's transaction can call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-837-0215. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. EST; and thereafter from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/allegbank.html.

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $14.2 million. Compared to other alternatives, VIST Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Allegiance bank of North America is the 148th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Pennsylvania. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association, Pittsburgh, on August 14, 2009


Centennial Bank, Conway, Arkansas, Assumes All of the Deposits of Gulf State Community Bank, Carrabelle, Florida

November 19, 2010
Media Contact:
David Barr (202) 898-6992
Cell: (703) 622-4790
Email: dbarr@fdic.gov

Gulf State Community Bank, Carrabelle, Florida, was closed today by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Centennial Bank, Conway, Arkansas, to assume all of the deposits of Gulf State Community Bank.

The five branches of Gulf State Community Bank will reopen during normal business hours beginning Saturday as branches of Centennial Bank. Depositors of Gulf State Community Bank will automatically become depositors of Centennial Bank. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of Gulf State Community Bank should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from Centennial Bank that it has completed systems changes to allow other Centennial Bank branches to process their accounts as well.

This evening and over the weekend, depositors of Gulf State Community Bank can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

As of September 30, 2010, Gulf State Community Bank had approximately $112.1 million in total assets and $112.2 million in total deposits. Centennial Bank did not pay the FDIC a premium to assume all of the deposits of Gulf State Community Bank. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Centennial Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.

The FDIC and Centennial Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on $84.4 million of Gulf State Community Bank's assets. Centennial Bank will share in the losses on the asset pools covered under the loss-share agreement. The loss-share transaction is projected to maximize returns on the assets covered by keeping them in the private sector. The transaction also is expected to minimize disruptions for loan customers. For more information on loss share, please visit: http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/lossshare/index.html.

Customers who have questions about today's transaction can call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-774-8035. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. EST; and thereafter from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/gulfstate.html.

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $42.7 million. Compared to other alternatives, Centennial Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Gulf State Community Bank is the 147th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the 28th in Florida. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Progress Bank of Florida, Tampa, on October 22, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Philadelphia Eagles to take stadium off power grid

The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team are taking their stadium off the power grid with a combination of wind turbines, solar panels, and an alternative fuels power plant. The owners know that's the only way to go for the future. Their power needs are huge -- with escalating costs, power will become a major expense. The era of cheap power is ending. Rich folks and business people know that. So does the Department of Defense. It seems the only folks who are in denial is The United States Congress -- and various homeowners associations, who think solar panels are an "eyesore". It's almost as if being able to afford huge electric bills is a necessity to be a "good neighbor" -- even though some folks seem to only run their AC when it's well above 95F (it's always over 90 in a Dallas Summer -- often over 100 degrees -- sometimes for 15 or more days straight, it actually feels cooler when it drops to 96 degrees). Anyway, the rich tend to have geo-thermal units, wind turbines, solar panels, and/or a combination of the above -- while the middle class and poor either pay through the nose or suffer in the heat AND cold. So, here's to The Eagles.

(please follow link to original)

Philadelphia Eagles to take stadium off power grid

By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA | Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:00pm EST

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Philadelphia Eagles are taking their stadium off the power grid and converting Lincoln Financial Field to one that will allow the stadium to generate all its own electricity from renewable sources, team officials said on Thursday.

The NFL club plans to install solar panels, wind turbines and an alternative-fuels power plant the Eagles say will save them $60 million on electricity costs over 20 years.

The savings "prove that sustainable energy policies are consistent with sound business practices," club owner Jeffrey Lurie said at a ceremony in the 70,000-seat field.

The Eagles have contracted with Solar Blue, an Orlando-based renewable energy company, to install 80 20-foot (6.1-meter) wind turbines on the upper rim of the stadium and about 2,500 solar panels.

The turbines and panels will each contribute about 15 percent of the output while the rest will be generated by a plant that can run on biofuels or natural gas.

The new equipment will generate at least 8.6 megawatts of electricity, above the 7 mw peak used by the stadium on game days, said Solar Blue president Lee Maher. Excess power will be sold to a local utility.

Solar Blue will meet the capital cost of $30 million for the 20-year contract.

The energy generated by the new program would be enough to power 26,000 homes and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will be the equivalent of taking 41,000 cars off the road, said Lurie's wife Christina, who heads the club's Go Green environmental program.

The club, whose players wear green uniforms, has been operating a sustainability program for the last seven years, and has aggressive goals on recycling, composting and the purchase of materials such as beer cups from renewable sources.

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said other clubs may seek to follow Philadelphia's lead.

"I think they will look at this as an opportunity to follow suit because they want to do the right thing in their communities," Goodell said.

(Reporting by Jon Hurdle; Editing by Daniel Trotta)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just one sign of protest

We live in "interesting times".

Thousands of Communist Party supporters wave flags during the protest rally in central Athens on November 15, 2010 against the IMF-EU troika visit in Athens and the expected new austerity package. Greece acknowledged it would breach conditions for a new installment of a 110-billion-euro bailout as the IMF and European Union began an audit of the country's austerity measures.

J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding - It's alright with me

Israel--J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding

Woody Guthrie - Tom Joad

We've been through this sort of crap before. I wish some of the ex-Oakies in California would remember their past, what they went through, what they were called. It's time to be Americans again. Enough of this kissing rich folks ass -- time to be CITIZENS, not SUBJECTS

JOAN BAEZ "The Partisan"

Joan Baez - Silver Dagger

Joan Baez Boots Of Spanish Leather

Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone

Why the Lame Duck Congress Must Extend Jobless Benefits For Hard-hit Families But Not Tax Cuts For the Rich

This from Robert Reich -- please follow link to original

Why the Lame Duck Congress Must Extend Jobless Benefits For Hard-hit Families But Not Tax Cuts For the Rich

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

America’s long-term unemployed — an estimated 4 million or more — constitute the single newest and biggest social problem facing America.

Now their unemployment benefits are about to run out, and the lame-duck Congress may not have the votes to extend them. (You can forget about the next Congress.)

The long-term unemployed can’t get work because there are still five people needing work for every job opening. And the long-term jobless are often at the end of the job line: Either they don’t have the right skills or enough eduction, or have been out of work so long prospective employers are nervous about hiring them.

They’re also a big problem for the economy. Without enough money in their pockets, they and their families can’t pay their mortgages, which keeps fueling the mortgage crisis. Nor can they replace worn-out cars and clothing, or buy muchof anything else, which is a drag on the economy.

Republicans and many blue-dog Dems say we can’t afford another extension.

But these are many of the same people who say we should extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy for at least another two years.

Extending the Bush tax cuts for the top 1 percent would cost an estimated $120 billion over the next two years. That’s more than another unemployment benefit extension would cost.

The unemployed need the money. The rich don’t.

Moreover, the top 1 percent spends a small fraction of their income. That’s what it means to be rich — you already have most of what you want. So extending the Bush tax cut to them won’t stimulate the economy.

Yet people without jobs, and their families, are likely to spend every penny of unemployment benefits they receive. That will go back into the economy and save or create jobs.

A Labor Department report shows that for every $1 spent on unemployment insurance, $2 are spent in the economy. If you don’t believe the Labor Department, maybe you’ll believe Goldman Sachs analyst Alec Phillips, who estimates that if unemployment benefits are allowed to expire, the American economy would slow by a half a percent.

Republicans are still spouting nutty Social Darwinism. Cutting taxes on the rich is better than helping the unemployed, they say, because the rich will create jobs with their extra money while giving money to the unemployed reduces their desire to look for work.

Rubbish. The Bush tax cuts on the top never trickled down. Between 2002 and 2007 the median wage dropped, adjusted for inflation. And job growth was pathetic.

Jobless benefits don’t deter the unemployed from finding work. In most states, unemployment benefits are a fraction of former wages. And as long as unemployment remains sky-high, there are no jobs to be had anyway.

Besides, the economic downturn was hardly their fault. If anyone is to blame it’s the high-flyers on Wall Street who gambled away other people’s money, and the rich denizens of corporate executive suites who have sliced payrolls in order to show higher profits (and get more money from their stock options).

So why reward the people at the top with an extension of the Bush tax cut that will blow a hole in the budget deficit? And why fail to extend jobless benefits to hardworking Americans who got the boot?

Quick action is needed. Jobless benefits begin to lapse in just two weeks. Two million unemployed workers will be affected. If Congress fails to act, another 1.2 million will stop receiving benefits by the end of December. Most of the rest of those who now receive federal emergency extended benefits will gradually lose them.

Don’t extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy. Give unemployment benefits to people who need them.

Tony Perkins: So Many Will Quit Over DADT, The Draft Will Be Reinstated

This from Joe.My.God.:

"Family Research Council president Tony Perkins says that because the military is primarily made up of blacks, Latinos, and people from rural areas, President Obama will be forced to reinstate the draft if DADT gets repealed. Because everybody knows blacks, Latinos, and folks from rural areas are totally anti-gay and they'll all quit rather than serve alongside homos."

gee-whiz, if they do reinstate the draft, guys won't be rejected for being (or pretending to be) gay. Isn't that a good thing?

Also, if gays get to serve, they can be killed alongside their straight fellow soldiers -- thus making it more "even". I'm surprised the AFA and other BIGOTS haven't called for MANDATORY SERVICE FOR GAY GUYS -- it would "toughen them up" -- or, they would DIE.

Gosh, according to all those who think gayness can be reversed -- being in the Armed Forces would make all those "poofs" switch -- after all, what could possibly be worse for a gay young man than serving with a whole bunch of other tough young men -- thrown together in dangerous situations?

Never mind.

Grayson: What Republicans Can Do With Their Tax Cuts For The Rich

Some Assembly Required Everything here is someone's opinion

We start off the day with "Some Assembly Required". Go there! Follow link!


“The real issue is: Will the euro stand under the current circumstances in Ireland? That's what the Irish government really has to focus attention on." Christine Legare, Fench Finance Minister

Program Note: The best mini-series of the season – When Irish Eyes Are Crying – continues to enthrall viewers from around the world. Will the government drink the Kool Aid? Will the Irish bend once more to the yoke of foreign masters? Can the Irish peasantry support both the government (with a deficit equal to 32% of GDP) and the banks and the euro? Will banks in England, the EU and the USA share in the pain? Will the EU/IMF demand control of Ireland's economy as the price of rescue? Is this a 'survival crisis' for the euro and the eurozone? Is Frau Merkel right, is everything at stake? “If the euro fails, then Europe will fail. And with it fails the idea of European values and unity." Something will give, if not here and now, then Portugal in a few months and Spain after that. Dominoes.

Tag Sales: Various indexes reporting on house price trends month to month, quarter to quarter, year to year, all show declines from 1.8% to 2.8%. The take-away number is that house prices are now off 29.2% from the peak and still falling. Housing starts are down 11.7% month to month.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

George Carlin -"Who Really Controls America"

classic Carlin:


For your listening pleasure 8^) ------

Some Assembly Required

I thought the last post would be it for the day ----- BUT ----- "Some Assembly Required" has some juicy tid-bits today -- go there (please follow link to original).

Here are a couple of examples:

Fairgounds: President Obama awarded the medal of honor to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta at a White House ceremony on Tuesday. In Arizona he'll still have to show them his passport.

By the Numbers: The core Producer Price Index for Finished Goods for October was up 0.4%, about half the gain that was expected. Take away the food and energy sectors and the PPI was down 0.6%. Both industrial production and capacity utilization rates were flat m/m from September. At 74.8%, capacity utilization is far below normal.

Usual Suspects: By 2030 the demand for water in India will exceed possible supply by more than 40%. A public/private group recommends that the distribution of free water cease and that India's water supplies be privatized and allocated based on the ability to pay. Farmers who cannot afford water will quit growing crops. Customers that can't afford water or the more expensive crops grown with expensive water will die. Those who control the water will get richer. Win-win.

there's more .................

TSA Enhanced Screening Procedures Explained

Well, this explains EVERYTHING! As the Konservative Kulture Kommandos say, "If you haven't done anything wrong, there's nothing to worry about.". I suspect they will continue saying that AFTER they are loaded on the cattle cars to be "relocated" -- and they have the nerve to call us "libtards", and "sheeple", while they allow all our Constitutional rights to disappear.

Yep, It’s Regressive

Just proof of what we all know. It's time to tax corporations, tax the rich, and enact a second REAL stimulus.

This from Dr. Paul Krugman (please follow link to original)

November 17, 2010, 3:25 pm
Yep, It’s Regressive

Jon Chait takes another look at Bowles-Simpson, this time with numbers from the Tax Policy Center, and is disillusioned. As I surmised, it redistributes income upward: the bottom 80 percent of families would pay higher taxes than they did in the Clinton years, while the top 20 percent — and especially the top 5 percent — would pay less; not what you’d call shared sacrifice.

The only twist here is that the ultra-rich, the top 0.1 percent, who get a lot of their income from dividends and capital gains, would be hit by having these gains taxed as ordinary income. Even so, they would face a smaller tax increase than the bottom 60 percent.

This wasn’t the plan we’ve been looking for; on taxes, what on earth were they thinking?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ed Thigpen Brush Work

Back some years ago (long ago and far away) I went to an Ella Fitzgerald concert. The trio backing her included Ed. Thigpen on drums. As is usual, one number featured him -- he played an amazing solo - on brushes. It was spectacular - he didn't repeat figures, it built to a climax, it brought the crowd to its feet.

A drum solo with BRUSHES! No bombastic bombs. It was artful, tasteful, and exciting. From that point on, I've always admired him. Vastly under rated, in my book, he's up there with Max and Blakey.

Ed Thigpen - Ella Fitzgerald - Tommy Flanagan Trio

Titoro - Ed Thigpen

Mary Osborne - I Love Paris, These Foolish Things

Red Nichols Hot Jazz - Battle Hymn Of The Republic 1952 Radio Broadcast

Do any of you remember The Battle Hymn Of The Republic? There was a time when folks wanted it to be the national anthem. Now, everyone seems to want to talk about "The War Of Northern Aggression" -- what a crock. It borders on treason. - Anyway ................

Go To, "Some Assembly Required"

Go to some assembly required. I'm not going to repost anything he put up -- after all, I assume you are smart enough to read everything there, and click on links. By the way, please follow link to the original.

GOP frosh: Where's my health care?

More crazy stuff from exhalted folks who are TOTALLY out of touch with the real world. They play on fear of any change, they are so privileged that they can't even begin to comprehend what "real people" go through on a daily basis. It's a shame the voters are so frightened they can't even begin to understand where their self-interest lies. All they know is that they've been lied to so many times they are frightened by ANY change. Especially now that they see the "change" they voted for hasn't even begun to deliver. Obama has screwed up -- totally!

GOP frosh: Where's my health care? (please follow link to original on Politico)

By GLENN THRUSH | 11/15/10 9:54 PM EST Updated: 11/16/10 7:59 PM EST

A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.

Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.

“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.

“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.

Harris, a Maryland state senator who works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and several hospitals on the Eastern Shore, also told the audience, “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed,” his spokeswoman Anna Nix told POLITICO.

Under COBRA law, Harris can pay a premium to extend his current health insurance an additional month.

Nix said Harris, who is the father of five, wasn’t being hypocritical – he was just pointing out the inefficiency of government-run health care.

Harris hammered Kratovil on health care throughout a bitter fall campaign, despite the fact that the conservative Democrat voted twice against the reform package backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a close Kratovil ally.

“Although he voted against Obamacare, Mr. Kratovil refuses to commit to its repeal. Dr. Harris understands that the Obama-Pelosi-Hoyer agenda threatens to pull the plug on America's long-term health," Harris said in an Oct. 30 statement. “"In Washington, I will never vote to raise taxes, I will fight to repeal health-care reform, and I will work to balance the budget."

Church in Arizona protested because it looks like a mosque

Here we go -- more INSANITY. (please follow link to original on Raw Story)

Church in Arizona protested because it looks like a mosque

By David Edwards
Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 -- 9:22 am
Church in Arizona protested because it looks like a mosque

Islamophobia may have reached a point in this country where people condemn Christians that they suspect are Muslims without ever checking the facts.

In Phoenix, Arizona, a new Christian church has residents fearing that it is an Islamic mosque.

The Light of the World multidenominational church is being built just off of Interstate 10 and features a dome-like structure.

"Since the distinctive dome shape went up, church leaders said they have received phone calls from concerned neighbors who've mistaken the building for an Islamic mosque," KPHO reported.

"I heard many people, they came over and they say, 'Is this a Muslim temple?' No, it's not," church member Juan Calixto told KPNX.

"It is unfortunate that people are so intolerant to differences that they aren’t willing to see that the place of worship is not a mosque," said Tayyibah Amatullah of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Arizona chapter.

Church officials have hung a sign to let people know they aren't Muslim. "If you think we are different you are wrong," the sign reads. "We are building a Christian house of prayer."

"We're trying to let people know that we're Christian and our churches are modern," Uzieo Martinez, a church official told KPHO.

Officials are trying to avoid the type of backlash received by the Park51 Islamic center that is planned near Ground Zero.

The cultural center was largely ignored when The New York Times first reported about it in December 2009.

The project received wider notice in May 2010 when a community board considered the construction plans. Conservative bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer dubbed the proposed center the "Ground Zero Mosque" which started a national controversy.

"But with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace?" asked Tanya Somanader at the liberal blog Think Progres

Ireland's Big Mistake

I took the day off yesterday. Today, I'm just going to post some interesting stuff from other folks. Right now, I'm not going to post anything original -- because it won't be (original), it will just be more ranting about the state of the world, the totally spineless Democrats, and the insane Republicans who have the nerve to say, "Progressives and Socialists have shown a total inability to govern, and have been rejected by 'the people'.".

Anyone with half a brain, the ability to read, and the ability to think beyond a third grade lavel knows that is BULLSHIT!!! We have all contracted a strange form of amnesia -- even those who should know better. It's insane! INSANE!

This from Paul Krugman -- please follow link to original.

November 16, 2010, 10:19 am
Ireland’s Big Mistake

I’ve been thinking about the ongoing Irish mess, and I suddenly realized the true nature of Ireland’s big mistake.

It should have been Texas.

Think about it: the savings and loan crisis was about runaway banks, which had to be bailed out at (huge) taxpayer expense. And as best I can figure, about half the taxpayer cost came from just one state: Texas. Yet the burden was borne nationally. So it was as if the European Union as a whole were taking responsibility for Anglo Irish etc., which would of course make the whole Irish situation much less serious.

The Irish just picked the wrong continent on which to engage in crony capitalism.

Update: Hard data on the state distribution of losses in the S&L crisis are hard to come by –assertions that Texas was responsible for about a half are widespread, but I haven’t been able to track down the original source. (Anyone who knows where to find this, please weigh in in comments.) But it’s not controversial that Texas was the epicenter: see, for example, this report (pdf) from the FDIC, which tells us

Because Texas S&Ls had been among the most aggressive growers, the situation there was particularly acute. By year-end 1987, insolvent Texas S&Ls accounted for 44 percent of the assets in all RAP-insolvent S&Ls in the country, and the unprofitable Texas thrifts accounted for 62 percent of all losses nationwide.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ella Fitzgerald sings Body and Soul


Sarah Vaughan: Shadow of Your Smile 1964

Patricia Barber - I Fall In Love Too Easily

Patricia Barber - Bye Bye Blackbird

JONI MITCHELL - Chelsea Morning (1969)

Robert Shiller Advocates and Engages in NewSpeak and Dubious Analysis in NYT Piece

I'm putting up this entire post by Yves Smith from her blog, Naked Capitalism. Please follow link to original -- then BOOKMARK the site.

Read the entire piece please.

Robert Shiller Advocates and Engages in NewSpeak and Dubious Analysis in NYT Piece

As an article in today’s New York Times makes clear, Robert Shiller has joined a group of behavioral economists that are advocating the use of propaganda and the sublter forms of manipulation of the public that Walter Lippmann famously called “the manufacture of consent.” In one sense, this ugly development is coming full circle. Lippmann and the so-called father of the pubilc relations industry, Eddie Bernays, were both members of the Creel Commission, which in a remarkably short period of time, turned a pacifist US into a nation eager to attack bloodthirsty, baby-bayonting Germans in the Great War. When the public became aware of the scale of the Creel Commission effort and realized how they had been played, Lippmann and Bernays wound up writing books defending this sort of effort.

Lippmann’s book Public Opnion argued, in keeping with T. S. Eliot, that human beings cannnot bear very much reality, although Lippmann based his case on the complexity of the modern world versus the limits of human cognition. Lippman contended any portrayal of events was subjecive and growing mass communication media were vehicles for manipulation. He claimed that this “manufacture of consent” was necessary for social cohesion; that the world needed to be simplified by the “well informed” so ordinary people could make decisions.

Bernays’ book Propaganda came later in the 1920s, and presented a far more benign picture, that the role of experts in helping the public navigate the public was well-intentioned and necessary, and presented numerous instances of how he had gotten various decision-makers to take up his clients’ interests by presenting persuasive information and what we would now call product imaging. But despite Bernays’ “win-win” gloss, his most famous follower was Reich Minsiter of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels.

Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, made use of psychological techniques, and the advertising industry has followed the path he blazed (I strongly recommend the four part BBC series, The Century of the Self, which you can watch on Google Video). So it isn’t surpising that behavioral economics, which was spurred by the work of psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, should now be seen as a tool for elite groups and powerful interests to further their aims.

The problem, of course, is that the people who are in the role of manufacturing consent have their own interests and agendas. Lippmann pointed out how they could and did seek to present a self-flattering image.

But even if you assume, contrary to human nature, that the behind-the-scenes experts are paragons of virtue, the logic of the idea that experts can really do all that much better is circular. If the world is so complex that we are all reduced to working with mental models, or as Lippmann called it, “the pictues inside our head,” experts are also ultimaely plagued with the same problem of limited cognitive capablities as ordinary folks. The poster child of this problem is the economics profession. Thanks to the privileged policy role that economists play, the world of the new millenium, with its light regulation, more open markets, and high level of international trade, represents a large shift from the world of the 1950s and 1960s, and this redesign was overseen by the elite economists. They remained blind to the growing danger of financial system risk-taking and instability and rationalized clear warning signs, like plummeting consumer savings rates. And in the wake of the crisis, many employ rationalizations like “strucural unemployment” to divert attention from their failure to anticipate this mess and their inability to devise remedies.

It’s ironic and a bit sad that Shiller penned this appalling New York Times piece. He was one of the few economists to warn of the dangers of the housing bubble. Yet now he seems to be siding with some of the most questionable impulses of his discipline, namely, a clumsy effort at sleight of hand to defend a dubious orthodoxy. In other words, the article, which defends the manipulation of public opinion, also contains crude bits of propagandizing.

This is the second paragraph of Shiller’s article, “Bailouts, Reframed as ‘Orderly Resolutions’,“:

The criticism has emphasized the trillions of taxpayer dollars that the bailouts put at risk. But, in fact, the realized losses were minuscule when compared with the widespread suffering they averted. The net losses of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, for example, which ran from October 2008 to October 2010, amounted to only $30 billion by the latest estimate. Yet TARP may have prevented many trillions of dollars of losses in gross domestic product.

Let’s count the intellectually dishonest arguments here:

1. As we have discussed repeatedly, the idea that TARP = total bailout costs is Big Lie, pure and simple. There have been tons of other covert subsidies, from paying the AIG credit default swaps counterparties out at 100 cents on the dollar, to the alphabet soup of Fed faciliite during the crisis, to ZIRP, QE and QE2. Negative real interest rates represent a tax on savers and investors. But Shiller simply ignores all that.

2. “Latest loss estimate” clevely implies that it is the most accurate by virtue of being the most recent. But it isn’t. The estimate Shiller cites comes from the Treasury, which has every reason to paint as pretty a picture as possible. And it has. SIGTARP’ss latest report roundly criticized Treasury for reducing its estimate of the cost of the AIG rescue by over $40 billion through a reclassification process.

3. “TARP may have prevented many trillions of dollars of losses”. This is a two for one in the truthness camp. First, “may have prevented” gets Shiller off the hook for failing to make a definitive statement, yet plants a firm impression in the reader’s mind. In addition, it sets up a false dichotomy, TARP v. doing nothing, when the choice was TARP doing something more sensible, like shutting down sick banks, firing management, spinning off good assets and taking the bad ones and working them out.

Now the next, truly bizarre bit of positioning in the piece: Shiller takes the process outlined above, the one that was used in the US in the savings and loan crisis and in the Nordic countries during their early 1990s financial crises, and calls it “bailouts” as if that is where the risk of negative public reacion lies:

Our principal hope for dealing with the next big crisis is the Dodd-Frank Act, signed by President Obama in July. It calls for bailouts of a sort, but has reframed them so they may look better to taxpayers. Now they will be called “orderly resolutions.”

Huh? It’s widely acknowledged that Dodd Frank is too weak. In the Treasury meeting with bloggers last August, Geithner didn’t argue the point much, but instead contended that big enough capital levels, which were on the way with Basel III, were the real remedy.

It’s also widely recognized that the special resolution process in Dodd Frank is a non-starter as far as the institutions that pose the greatest systemic risk are concerned, the really big internation dealer banks. A wind-up of these firms is subject to the bankruptcy proceedings of all the foreign jurisdictions in which it operates; the US can’t wave a magic wand in Dodd Frank and make this elephant in the room vanish.

In addition, no one has found a way to resolve a major trading firm without creating major disruption. According to Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail, Harvey Miller the top bankruptcy lawyer in the US, warned when Lehman was told to file for bankruptcy that even the closure of a medium-sized broker-dealer was a significant market event. Whenever you shut down a troubled trading business, the counterparties (ex derivatives coutnerparties, who get perversely favorable treatment as a result of the 2005 bankruptcy law changes) have their positions frozen until the windown process sorts out who gets how much. No trader wants to be stuck like that, so they will flee at the first sign of trouble, with the odds high that counterparties will bolt before the authorities have deciced to proceed with resolution. The run on Bear took place over the course of a mere ten days.

Shiller’s insistence that the public is so dumb as to confuse a windown with a balout reveals his lack of connection with popular perceptions. The reason the public is so angry with the baiouts is no one, particularly among the top brass, lost his job, and worse, the firms were singularly ungrateful, thumbing their noses as taxpayers and paying themselves record bonuses in 2009.

Shiller is somehow worried that people will confuse the short-term (say 2-5 year) funding of working capital while “bad bank” assets were resolved with the hated 2008 bailouts. That’s simply bizarre, Large segments of the public would probably cheer, provided no dismissed senior executives had a severance package honored (meaning they would be fired for cause, which in most contracts will nullify severance provisions). Similarly, while Congress was very unhappy to make a roughly $50 billion allocation to the Resolution Trust Corporation, it was not a flash point with the public.

The reason a resolution is not that it looks like a bailout, but that some depict it as nationalization, meaning men in beards, wearing fatigues and carrying machine guns are expropriating assets. How can Shiller forget the debate over natonalization in early 2009, when Obama came into office?

This bit is also misleading on several levels:

On a Friday in July 2008, for example, the F.D.I.C. kept IndyMac Bank alive when its survival was in doubt. The agency moved in swiftly to transform IndyMac into a bridge bank, called the IndyMac Federal Bank, and the changeover went so smoothly that many depositors might not have even noticed. The cash machines remained in operation over the weekend, and, on Monday, customers saw what seemed to be the same bank.

First, no big dealer bank is going to be resolved neatly over a weekend as Shiller suggests. Second, the “many depositors never noticed” is hugely misleading. IndyMac was notorious because unsecured depositors took huge losses. The big reason Citigroup is permanently too big to fail is that it runs a major international cash management business on which many large businesses depend. As a result, Citigroup has uninsured foreign deposits in the hundreds of billions.

Shiller goes on to discuss the merits of better “framing” in the political arena, as if the right wing haven’t been onto that since the 1970s. But his article is peculiarly reassuring. If most economists are as out of touch with public perceptions and the state of the dark art of propaganda as Shiller is, we the great unwashed public have little to fear from the economics profession jumping on the manufacture of consent bandwagon.

The one good bit of news

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Poor Disillusioned Liberal Bloggers

I've been reading some "Liberal" blogs that have finally just about given up. These are folks who supported Obama as our one and only hope, as the Knight come to do battle with the forces of darkness. As someone who never thought Obama was that Liberal - never mind "Progressive", I could say, "I told you so.", or, I could say, "He's just doing what he said he would do." -- but I won't (much).

Most now realize they were WRONG. Most understand that Obama is just more of the same. An inexperienced "leader" who is led by his advisors. He has shown himself to be little more than a more articulate, more "Liberal" George W. Bush.

Where Bush was a captive of "the energy folks", Obama seems the captive of our wonderful "Financial Folks" -- AKA: "The Masters Of The Universe".

Neither one seems to have any connection with the huge majority of folks that we once called "The Middle Class" (we still do, but in many cases it's just a state of mind - as opposed to any reality, like income, property, etc. -- we like to THINK we are still "middle class", and act accordingly).

So, where do we go from here? Do we cede the field to the "Tea Party"? Do we move right? Do we become even more wishy-washy?

I think not.

I think it's time to organize. It's time to LEARN. It's time to examine our core beliefs. Time to identify with those who are in the same leaky boat with us.

In the past it's always been white against black, rural against urban, with those aspiring to middle class, or upper middle class status looking down on other struggling folks.

It's hard to overcome the prejudices we have ALL acquired. It's hard to overcome our hard, fast, "opinions" (not "prejudice" -- oh no!!, we developed our "opinions" through years of experience -- they are "proven" -- even if they are nothing but self fulfilling prophecy, cherished over these many years).

If we can't ALL do that -- or, at least look at it -- it's just going to be more of the same. With our oligarchs continuing to use the old "divide and conquer" routine.

Until we can do that. Or, until the state of our Union mandates that we forgo "Identity Politics", and forge some strong working alliances -- nothing will get done -- just a lot of talk.