Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Visit to "Some Assembly Required"

We have a friend coming in from out of town  --  as a result, I might just have to live my life, instead of mulling over what to post on this blog thingy.  So  --  for the weekend, here's some stuff from "Some Assembly Required"  --  please follow link to original

Semper Fi: Turns out PFC Bradley Manning Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins, who has served 6 years for his role in the murder of an Iraqi civilian, had his civil rights violated when he was held in solitary confinement for seven days... The Iraqi's death was upheld by the court.

Explicate: How can a "secret body of law" be the law in a democracy? When did “Because I said so" become a legal justification for immorality?

Urgency: One of the reasons the Let's-Kill-Social-Security-and-Medicare movement continues to press their agenda even though the vast majority of voters don't want these programs cut and even though the deficit projections have dropped dramatically is that today one in six voters directly benefits from these programs, in 2030 – when Doom is usually predicted – one in four will. And trying to kill the program then, even if the unlikely disaster they are predicting shows up, will not be possible.

Profits/People: India's low-cost generic pharmaceuticals have significantly lowered drug costs in developing countries around the globe. Its generics also cut into Pfizer's profits. So you can understand why the US is working to pressure India into letting the poor of the world die.

Secrecy is but another word for fear. Jeremy Bentham

Rant: When the truth is vilified, hunted, gagged and jailed, then the State has chosen to go to war with the nation. We are at war.

Dumb & Dumber: North Carolina, pulling ahead of Texas in the stupidity games, has disqualified the state from receiving federal funding for the long-term unemployed, lowered the maximum weekly benefit from $535 to $350 and cut legibility from 6 months to as little as three. About 170,000 North Carolinians will lose a total of $700 million in federal funds, while protecting the ideological purity of their politicians. 

To Market, To Market: Republicans want to cut food stamps from the Farm Bill so that does what it should, funnel money to big farms and corporate agriculture. Food stamps then can be trashed separately. Don't worry about agribusiness – it makes its money from growing ethanol and feeding animals, not from delivering veggies to the poor.

There's a lot more  --  please go there.

Friday, June 28, 2013

DOMA, etc.

Prop 8 is dead.  DOMA is dead.  The right wing is bleating that "THIS means the end of the Republic", "God will punish, and destroy America", "This is a reason for REVOLUTION!!", etc., etc., etc.

Meanwhile, we still are not "out of the woods" economically.  If the next CRASH occurs, will the right wing point to "gay marriage" as the cause?  Will attacks against gay, lesbian, and presumed gay or lesbian folks increase?  Will our "Christians" suggest we open up camps to "humanely quarantine" the "sodomites"?  Will what is left of The USA spiral into truly TOTAL insanity?

As you can tell, I have very little faith in the ability of US Citizens to see, accept, or begin to understand reality.  I think we have become uneducated sheep who actually believe the crap about "hyper-individualism"  --  these idiots think John Wayne was a real person.

 God help us all - if there is a God.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Confirmation - Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie

Disorder At The Border - Dexter Gordon & Wardell Gray

Dexter GORDON & Wardell GRAY - The Hunt 1947

Bass- Harry Babison (tracks: A, D) , Red Callender (tracks: B, C)
Drums- Connie Kay (tracks: B to D) , Ken Kennedy (tracks: A)
Guitar- Barney Kessel
Piano- Hampton Hawes
Saxophone [Alto]- Sonny Criss
Saxophone [Tenor]- Dexter Gordon , Wardell Gray
Trombone- Trummy Young

Here's a comment about this on YouTube:  "on the road-keruac...They ate voraciously as Dean, sandwich in hand, screamed and jumped to
a large turntable listening to a wild bop record I had just bought and
was entitled "The Hunt" with Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray playing to an audience that
screaming and throwing the disc was a fantastic volume frantic."

Billie's Bounce / Charlie Parker The Savoy Recordings

Miles Davis (tp)
Charlie Parker (as)
Dizzy Gillespie (p)
Curly Russell (b)
Max Roach (ds)

Thriving On A Riff / Charlie Parker The Savoy Recordings

Miles Davis (tp)
Charlie Parker (as)
Dizzy Gillespie (p)
Curly Russell (b)
Max Roach (ds)

Blues for Charlie Parker by Joe Carroll

bebop vocalist Joe Carroll at Jack Kleinsinger's "Highlights in Jazz" Tribute to Charlie Parker, April 8, 1973, featuring Howard McGhee, trumpet; Cecil Payne, flute; Richard Davis, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; and Ted Dunbar, guitar.

I Dont Want To Set The World On Fire - The Ink Spots

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supreme Court -- day 2

Well, at least our Supreme Court has a little bit of sense left  --  even though they actually "punted" on the Prop 8 decision.

In any case, we really have to realize that Scalia is NOT a "brilliant legal mind"  --  he's a small minded "KKKonservative activist", who indulges in "gotcha's", and is no more than a bully   --   no matter what frightened lawyers say.

Why the GOP Can’t Learn

A recent post from Robert Reich on his blog.  Please follow link to original

It’s as if they didn’t learn a thing from the 2012 elections. Republicans are on the same suicide mission as before - - trying to block immigration reform (if they can’t scuttle it in the Senate, they’re ready to in the House), roll back the clock on abortion rights (they’re pushing federal and state legislation to ban abortions after the first 22 weeks), and stop gay marriage wherever possible.
As almost everyone knows by now, this puts them the wrong side of history. America is becoming more ethnically diverse, women are gaining economic and political power, and young people are more socially libertarian than ever before.
Why can’t Republicans learn?
It’s no answer to say their “base" — ever older, whiter, more rural and male — won’t budge. The Democratic Party of the 1990s simply ignored its old base and became New Democrats, spearheading a North American Free Trade Act (to the chagrin of organized labor), performance standards in classrooms (resisted by teachers’ unions) and welfare reform and crime control (upsetting traditional liberals).
The real answer is the Republican base is far more entrenched, institutionally, than was the old Democratic base. And its power is concentrated in certain states — most of the old Confederacy plus Arizona, Alaska, Indiana, and Wisconsin — which together exert more of a choke-hold on the Republican national party machinery than the old Democrats, spread widely but thinly over many states, exerted on the Democratic Party.
These Republican states are more homogenous and conspicuously less like the rest of America than the urbanized regions of the country that are growing more rapidly. Senators and representatives from these states naturally reflect the dominant views of their constituents — on immigration, abortion, and gay marriage, as well as guns, marijuana, race, and dozens of other salient issues. But these views are increasingly out of step with where most of the nation is heading.
This state-centered, relatively homogenous GOP structure effectively prevents the Party from changing its stripes. Despite all the post-election rhetoric about the necessity for change emanating from GOP leaders who aspire to the national stage, the national stage isn’t really what the GOP is most interested in or attuned to. It’s directed inward rather than outward, to its state constituents rather than to the nation.
This structure also blocks any would-be “New Republicans" such as Chris Christie from gaining the kind of power inside the party that a New Democrat like Bill Clinton received in 1992. The only way they’d be able to attract a following inside the Party would be to commit themselves to policies they’d have to abandon immediately upon getting nominated, as Mitt Romney did with disastrous results.
It’s true that by 1992 Democrats were far more desperate to win the presidency — having been in the wilderness for twelve years — than today’s GOP appears to be. Nonetheless it’s doubtful the GOP will be willing to eschew its old base even if it loses the presidency again in 2016, because without its collection of relatively homogenous states, there just isn’t much of a GOP.
The greater likelihood is a steady eclipse of the Republican Party at the national level, even as it becomes more entrenched in particular states. Those states can be expected to become regressive islands of backwardness within a nation growing steadily more progressive.
The GOP’s national role will be primarily negative  — seeking to block, delay, and filibuster measures that will eventually become the law of the land in any event, while simultaneously preaching “states’ rights" and praying for conservative majorities on the Supreme Court.
In other words, more of the same.

MEDIA BLACKOUT: Activists set 40 Tons of GMO Sugar Beets ablaze in Oregon

Here's an interesting little tid-bit.  Please follow link to original.

Though the controlled corporate media apparatus is suppressing the story, 40 tons of GMO crops were torched, prompting an FBI investigation. There has been a COMPLETE MEDIA BLACKOUT, outside of local circles has dared to mention it, perhaps because government fears that if the public learns that other people are getting fighting mad (literally), they might join in, and become an actual revolution. It was only reported locally live on KXL Radio and echoed by the Oregonian, where the ONLY web mention exists, hard to find because the headline wording is carefully avoids the most likely keywords for a search.
Here’s what happened — 40 Tons of GMO Sugar Beets were set ablaze in Eastern Oregon, yesterday. FORTY TONS — the entire acreage of two full fields of crops IN THE GROUND were set ablaze over a THREE NIGHT PERIOD OF TIME. That means ARSON.
Evidence is that 6,500 plants were destroyed BY HAND, ONE PLANT AT A TIME. That, in turn, implies A LOT OF PEOPLE were involved: would you want to stick around once a fire was going and wait to be discovered? No, someone (many someones) probably wanted to move as quickly as possible. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A MOVEMENT, a kind of ORGANIZED REVOLT — and this is exactly the kind of retribution that many have warned was coming; when lawmakers and corporations refuse to honor the Constitution and instead engage in ‘legalized’ criminal acts such as enabled by the ‘Monsanto Protection Act.’
More than decade ago, environmental saboteurs vandalized experimental crops across the country in a revolt against high-tech agriculture. Foes of genetic engineering also struck in 2000, when members of the Earth Liberation Front, with roots in Oregon, set fire to agriculture offices at Michigan State University. ELF’s position was that genetic engineering was “one of the many threats to the natural world as we know it.”
But ELF cells normally come forward immediately to claim responsibility, because to them, its all about publicity to educate the public. Since there has been no statement about the recent arson this may have simply been Oregon Farmers who have said, ‘Enough!’ Another clue that may be the case is that this comes on the heels (two weeks) of Japan’s rejection of the entire Oregon Wheat crop for the year (a tremendous financial blow because over 80% of Oregon Wheat is exported) because ONE report said ONE field was contaminated with at least ONE GMO plant.
The rightful fear is, because of pollination processes, once you introduce a GMO crop of a given variety ANYWHERE, the wind and insects will spread its genetic contamination to non GMO fields, and thereby ruin the ENTIRE INDUSTRY for a region. In fact, Oregon farmers have tendered a multi-billion dollar class action law suite against Monsanto, joining a long list of states doing so. Monsanto has experimented with GMO crops before they were approved in 16 states. They were supposedly all destroyed, but state after state is finding out the hard way, that Pandora’s box has been deliberately left open.
But while other governments in Europe and elsewhere are passing laws to ban GMO crops, and burning entire crops themselves, in America, our government is passing laws protecting Monsanto from legal repercussions, and therefore, it seems, farmers are forced to burn the crops, themselves. This means that where in other countries, citizens are being protected from corporate crimes, in America, citizens are forced to become ‘terrorists’ to survive. That’s how blatantly corrupt our corporate police state has become, I’m afraid.
Can GMO spark an armed revolution? Recall our report on the Putin’s comments about how the protection of Monsanto (through things like the “Monsanto Protection Act”) could lead to armed revolt and war. This story was reported on by Political Blind Spot after verifying the claims we had seen circulating, and omitting those which we had heard but could not verify. Still, Monsanto public relations employees were literally paid to track down articles such as ours and try to argue that they should be taken down (we may publish these exchanges with them from official Monsanto email addresses).
In this case, both fields belonged to the same Corporate Agricultural giant known for embracing GMO, though trying to do so quietly, another reason perhaps big media has kept the story from reaching the Internet. We are talking about Syngenta. Nowhere on their US web site will you find mention of GMO, but that is exactly what the company is about. They have even lied publicly in writing on this issue with a public declaration. Yet their very corporate name shouts GMO.
But the FBI, and local media knows better (and now, you)… because apparently someone from the Syngenta operated farms mentioned the fact as a possible motive for the arson. This is a serious matter in many respects. It throws down the gauntlet and says, WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND ARE NOT GOING TO LET YOU GET AWAY WITH THIS BULLSHIT ANYMORE! But it also raises the stakes and put lives and property at risk, and if it goes wrong, could indeed end up sparking an armed revolution, just as Putin indicated to President Obama.

A Total Joke

The recent actions by The Supreme Court disgust me.  When you talk about "activist judges" those who happen to call themselves "conservative" truly are political activists.

It seems they are attacking equality at every turn.

Couple that with our "shadow government", the NSA spying on EVERYONE, and it no longer feels like the country I love.

As everyone says when they think they do not have to see your face again - at least for a day, "have a nice day".

Monday, June 24, 2013

"Circle Of Life"

Two of our cats are nearing the end.  One was our true Alpha Cat.  She protected others.  She faced down bullies.  She was always gentle with us  --  never a claw or a bite.  Her name is Sheba.  The other, Natasha, was almost feral when we adopted her.  After some time (years) she just hopped up into my lap and she accepted us.

Both have lost control  --  Sheba seems oblivious to anything called a "litter box"  --  right now, the WORLD is her litter box   ---   including my arm  --  TWICE.

'Tasha has failing kidneys  --  lots of water, lots of pee  --  she always tries to bury it  --  even on any one of the rugs - a varied lot of Persian Rugs, some tribal, some formal.

We give them a lot of latitude.  They have been wonderful companions, seeming to understand our moods.

One cat is visibly upset.  We joke that another (a tortie named "Gidget") is our "college girl"  --  off course she went to U.C. Santa Cruz ("peace", "love", "Good Vibes", "GO SLUGS!").  We think that right now she is thinking about "the circle of life".

"The Circle of Life", I now realize means much more when you're 74 than when you're 19, 20, or 24.

I'm going to miss our two old girls.  I'm also getting ready to lose some others.  They were all adopted between 2003 and 2006.  We also adopted some older cats that needed special care  --  both of them are gone.  Both were really neat old cats  --  Jules a nice old Seal Point Male and Lily, a VERY affectionate Lilac Point Female.

Losing Sheba and 'Tasha will be difficult.  Watching the others slowly fade away is also difficult  --  especially since I see myself fading away, a bit at a time.

Anyone who tells you "age is just a number" has never been old, or old and sick.

Right now, I don't think we will be adopting any more animals.  We are getting too old to care for them, can no longer afford all the vet visits a new animal needs, and are afraid of what will happen to them if WE die first. 

SOMEBODY LOVES ME by Lester Young, Nat King Cole and Buddy Rich

Lester Young - Count Basie 1936 ~ Lady Be Good

Nat King Cole What'll I Do

Coleman Hawkins-Body and Soul

WHEN I TAKE MY SUGAR TO TEA (1947) by the Nat King Cole Trio

Mood Indigo The Mills Brothers

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Oh Dear!

I just couldn't resist this:  

"Bad weather hampering Indian flood rescue efforts"

So, they are saying that bad weather hampers the attempts to rescue folks from bad weather.  Doesn't anyone else see how sketchy this is?  Did they REALLY expect good weather?  Are the "rescue teams" not trained for bad weather?  Do they only rescue folks from bad weather in GOOD weather?

I just don't understand.

Eva Cassidy - Chain Of Fools

Eva Cassidy - You've Changed

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby by Anita O'Day

Rosemary Clooney sings Benny Goodman's songs 1985

Billie Holiday You've changed

Carmen McRae Love For Sale


Now, try to tell me she wasn't the BEST!  I love an awful lot of female singers including Lady Day, Nina, "The Divine" Sarah, Patricia Barber, Peggy Lee, Rosie Clooney,  Anita O'Day, Carmen McRae, etc., etc.   ---   but, when all is said and done, Ella is the best.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Skills gap myth (finally) falls, but will anyone hear it?

This from "Balloon Juice" -- please follow link to original.

There is a durable belief that much of today’s unemployment is rooted in a skills gap, in which good jobs go unfilled for lack of qualified applicants. This is mostly a corporate fiction, based in part on self-interest and a misreading of government data.
A Labor Department report last week showed 3.8 million job openings in the United States in April — proof, to some, that there would be fewer unemployed if more people had a better education and better skills. But both academic research and a closer look at the numbers in the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey show that unemployment has little to do with the quality of the applicant pool.
We’ve looked at the skills gap myth here before. I was wary right from the start, because the skills gap story is extremely beneficial to employers, at the expense of employees and the public. Too, the skills gap story has been used to justify everything from privatizing public schools to union-busting to unpaid internships to employers just blatantly shoving the cost of training their employees off on the public. No one ever says “there’s a skills gap! let’s extend unemployment benefits!” No, it’s all privatizing and union-busting and public subsidies to private employers.
I trace the skills gap myth to one Mr. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, but I’m sure he didn’t come up with it all by himself:
Sit in at any economic development conference in Wisconsin these days and you’re bound to hear talk about the “skills gap.”
The term is popular with employers who complain they can’t find enough qualified workers to fill open positions — despite a stubbornly high unemployment rate.
Earlier this month, a top executive with Marinette Marine Corp. warned that “manufacturing would cease to exist” in the state unless Wisconsin addressed its skilled worker shortage.
State officials — including Gov. Scott Walker — have jumped on the issue too, saying there are loads of great jobs out there if workers could improve their skills. The Legislature with near bipartisan support recently approved $15 million in grants to private-sector companies to train new workers and Walker wants to target some higher education funding to schools that will focus on teaching needed skills.
The New York Times helped spread the “durable belief” they’re so upset about, actually. The completely clueless Tom Friedman was one of the main salespeople. But why didn’t statements like this from the skills gap myth sales force cause people to question this story?
The blame-the-worker mentality lurking behind the “ skills gap” thesis was more explicitly laid out by PIMCO hedge fund owner Bill Gross, who declared, “Our labor force is too expensive and poorly educated for today’s marketplace.”
This is from an interview with one of the skills gap debunkers:
Peter Cappelli (PC): These stories have been kicking around for a long time – about problems associated with the labor force that are causing employers headaches … they have all been wrong frankly, so far. But, there are a lot of them. So at some point, people keep hearing all these stories and they start to think that there must be something to them. So I think where it started this time was of course during the Great Recession, and people started hearing these stories, and wondering what’s going on.
The mainstream view is the intersection of a couple of different arguments. One argument is that employers can’t find what they want and the other argument is that schools are failing – and the conclusion from those two arguments is that employers can’t find what they want because students don’t have adequate skills when they graduate because the schools are doing such a lousy job. So that’s the dominant view.
We know that’s not true – first, schools are not getting worse. In fact, student performance is going up and it’s been true for quite a while that the average American is more educated than the job they’re doing requires. There’s actually a whole line of research about the excess supply of people being over qualified, so I knew that part of the story wasn’t true. So you start asking yourself about the other parts. Like if you really have a shortage of some kind, you’d expect labor markets to get tight and you would expect wages to go up. But, that hasn’t been happening. So that suggests that something is wrong, because if wages are not going up, how can you have a tight labor market?
And then we know that employers are basically not paying very much, so if you are the least bit economically oriented, then you say ‘ok, they can’t find what they want, but they’re not willing to raise their prices (wages in this case) so gee, that’s not a surprise.’ The point is there is not a single part of that conventional wisdom is true. And it’s amazing how popular it is. But, it’s popular because first, the employer is off the hook.
Why do we have to go through this over and over? Wouldn’t it be easier to look at these claims critically right from the start before just blindly repeating them over and over until they become “durable beliefs”?

Will Climate Change Destroy New York City?

Here's an interesting little article from "Yahoo News".  Please follow link to original.

The city of New York — America's largest metropolis and home to over 8 million people — will be ravaged by the effects of climate change within a few years.
That's the bleak scenario presented by a recent 430-page report developed by a blue-ribbon panel of academics, environmental planners and government officials.
Released this month, the report, nicknamed "SIRR" for Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, presents an ambitious plan for managing the worst effects of global warming, which include flooding, rising temperatures and extreme storms. [8 Ways Global Warming Is Already Changing the World]
The potential disasters laid out by the plan, however, could easily overwhelm New York City: Searing heat waves, pounding rainstorms and vast acreages flooded by seawater are all expected for the city and the surrounding region.
And as dire as these situations are for New York City as a whole, the implications for the city's most vulnerable populations — the elderly, children, disabled people and those with special needs — are even more ominous.
Sandy: a harbinger of storms to come
On Oct. 29, 2012, New York City and the surrounding area woke up to a reminder of nature's fury when Hurricane Sandy struck the region.
In addition to causing nearly $20 billion in damage, the storm killed 43 people and injured many more. The city's transportation facilities, including airports, commuter trains, subways and highways, were effectively shut down. [On the Ground: Hurricane Sandy in Images]
Other critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and wastewater treatment plants, were incapacitated, and millions of city residents were thrown into darkness by the flooding of electrical facilities. Communication networks were similarly crippled as personal cellphones, computer screens and other devices went dead.
Experts are quick to point out that Hurricane Sandy cannot be directly blamed on climate change, but say that similar storms are more likely in the near future, based on existing trends.
"There has been an increase in the strength of hurricanes, and in the number of intense hurricanes, in the North Atlantic since the early 1980s," Cynthia Rosenzweig, a NASA researcher and co-chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), said at a recent news briefing.
And Sandy's devastation was made worse by existing climate realities. "Sea level rise already occurring in the New York City area, in part related to climate change, increased the extent and magnitude of coastal flooding during the storm," according to a 2013 NPCC document.
New York's future laid bare
After Sandy exposed New York's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was emboldened to create the plan outlined in the recent SIRR report.
Among the report's many projections, written in a detached academic tone, are a number of genuinely frightening scenarios. A handful stand out as extreme events, said Rosenzweig, who refers to them as "the Big Three":
Heat waves: In decades past, New York experienced an average of 18 days a year with temperatures at or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). But the city could experience 26 to 31 such days by 2020 — just seven years from now.
And by 2050, New Yorkers will swelter under as many as 57 days — almost two full months — of temperatures above 90 degrees F, the report projects. These heat waves "could cause … about 110 to 260 additional heat-related deaths per year on average in New York City," the SIRR report states.
Intense precipitation: Instead of experiencing an average of two days per year with rainfall exceeding 2 inches (5 centimeters), New York City will endure up to five such days by 2020 — almost triple the current number.
Coastal flooding: By 2020, the chances of a 100-year flood (a flood with a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year) at the Battery in downtown Manhattan will almost double, according to SIRR projections. By 2050, the chances will increase fivefold.
The heights of 100-year floods are also expected to increase, from 15 feet (4.6 meters) to as high as 17.6 feet (5.4 m) at the Battery. These effects will be experienced dramatically in swamped coastal neighborhoods and at important low-lying facilities such as John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.
Populations at greatest risks
During Hurricane Sandy, 26 nursing homes and adult-care facilities had to be closed, forcing the evacuation of about 4,500 people. And six hospitals, including four in Manhattan, were also closed and almost 2,000 patients evacuated.
These evacuees represent just a small fraction of New York City's most vulnerable populations, who are at greatest risk from the projected impacts of climate change-related disasters, said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness in New York City.
"I don't think people realize that vulnerable people — who may be vulnerable for a variety of reasons, whether they're very young or very old or sick or disabled — are roughly 40 to 50 percent of the population," Redlener told LiveScience.
"The success of disaster planning and response could be gauged by how well we handle those vulnerable populations," Redlener said. "This is a big problem, because most of our official planning organizations tend to do very generic planning."
Hurricane Sandy presented a number of case studies in disaster planning successes and failures. After Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn lost power, backup generators supplied electricity until the generator room flooded and all power was lost.
During the height of the storm, "the staff valiantly cared for patients using flashlights and battery-powered medical equipment," the SIRR report states.
By contrast, the nearby Shoreham Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care was built in 1994 to withstand a 500-year flood (a flood with a 0.2 percent chance of happening in any given year). Its suite of backup generators supplied power for four days during an area-wide blackout, and the facility was able to provide food and shelter to many of Brooklyn's stranded residents.
Unfortunately, the example of Coney Island Hospital — which was forced to send more than 200 patients to other facilities — may be more typical of the way vulnerable populations experience climate change-related disasters.
"I visited shelters for families in the aftermath of Sandy, and they didn't have baby food, they didn’t have diapers and they didn't have cribs," Redlener said. "This is typical of what happens when you do generic planning — you end up leaving lots and lots of people out."
Cities: ground-zero for climate change impacts
New York's SIRR plan calls for about $20 billion in infrastructure improvements, including strengthening utility and transportation networks, renovating buildings and constructing seawalls and shoreline buffers, including a massive residential and commercial development named "Seaport City."
Though it's ambitious, New York's planning isn't atypical for coastal cities, which have assumed a leadership position in addressing climate-change risks since they will likely bear the brunt of its expected impacts.
Through the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), cities are sharing scientific and economic research to support and inform decision makers in those areas, Rosenzweig said.
"We work with cities all over the world. New York is definitely one of — if not the — leader, but there are other U.S. cities that also have a longer-term history of addressing [climate change]," Rosenzweig said.
"Prime examples are Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, of course, because of their risks," Rosenzweig said.
"It's really striking that cities are emerging as the first-responders to climate change," Rosenzweig said. "It's a very exciting and very positive story — the cities are really stepping up."

An Early Loss

So, James Gandolfini died from a massive heart attack.  Only 51.  Really was a shame.  He was a perfect "Tony Soprano", appeared to be a good actor, and was rather good in all the other roles I've seen him in.  Really liked him in "Killing Them Softly" with Brad Pitt.

Too bad.

Over the years I've noticed that folks in their 60's and 70's who have heart attacks seem to survive  --  guys who have them in their 40's and early 50's are (as an old friend would say) "dead before they hit the ground".  That's a shame.  We lose too many good folks that way. 

Perhaps the fact those things do not seem to happen to our "Masters Of The Universe", our VSP's, our "Captains of Industry" means they really do not work that hard.  Perhaps those "job creators" (NOT!!) are not under anywhere near as much stress as they like to think they are.  Perhaps they don't give a damn.  I suspect most sociopaths don't.

On the other hand, many artists are stressed by their quest.

To "Tony Soprano"  --  RIP.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Townes Van Zandt Pancho and Lefty

The original by the best.  Go to youtube and look up Townes Van Zandt  --  listen, enjoy, and become aware of an American TREASURE.

Waylon Jennings Luckenbach Texas


Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" lyrics by Yip Harburg, music by Jay Gorney (1931)

They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Nothing ever changes  --  we just think it does until we realize it doesn't.  We really could change things.  We don't need anything other than engaged citizens, intelligent choices, a willingness to SEE reality.  Nominate and elect real legislators who actually are indebted to the PEOPLE  --  not astro-turf groups, large corporations, and the filthy rich 1%.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Here's some "fun news" from "Some Assembly Required".  Lately, I've been too depressed to even read most of this stuff  --  never mind post it.  Now that I've had a "cynicism transplant"   -----   I think from a much younger person   -----   I'm capable of both reading and posting.

Please follow link to original

Teaching Point: In 2009, the British set up fake internet cafes to intercept communications from attendees and reporters covering the G20 summit. No warrant needed.

Planning Ahead: Philadelphia has chosen to close 23 schools and lay of thousands of school employees in order to fund a $400 million prison that will house 4000. The City of Brotherly love, being prepared. The mayor wants to privatize the entire school system and merge it with the private prison network.

Observed: “U.S. policy for the past 30 years has been aggressively dedicated to shifting income share away from the poor and middle class and into the pockets of the already rich.”

The Difference Between Gold And Paper Money: Paper money has value only because most people expect most other people to accept it in exchange for goods and services. Ditto for gold. There is no thing – found in nature or created by man – that has value independent of the value humans attach to it. There is no pristine money. Money, be it paper or gold works as money as long as most people keep the faith. And not much longer. 

There's a lot more  --  please go there.

more on VSP's

I am ALWAYS amused by the DIRE predictions we now hear from certain "economists".  The ones that have said, ever since THE BLACK MAN was elected President  --  even though he's a Kenyan/Muslim/Indonesian/Gay/Communist/Socialist/Illegal Alien/BOOGEY MAN/"illegal President"  --  that RAMPANT INFLATION is "just around the corner".  The USA is, to these "economists", Greece/The Weimer Republic/Argentina/ etc., etc., etc.

Back when the soon to be "Sainted" George W. Bush was President, I once suggested that our unfunded war expenses would, eventually, be funded by inflation  --  the very same way everything else has ever been.  I was shouted, yes SHOUTED, down by "The Republican Faithful"/"the base"/some supposed "economists".

I guess that's simply because he was a WHITE, alcoholic, druggie, REPUBLICAN  --  and, as such, was anointed with the title "Fiscal Conservative".  The last WHITE DEMOCRATIC President, though a skirt chasing, saxophone playing, ex-hippie, was also economically suspect   --  even though he presided over a genuine "boom".

After the "tech boom" imploded, I once had the temerity to call THAT slowdown a "recession" (this during GWB's Presidency) and was told I was misguided/stupid/ignorant/uneducated/ a "wild eyed Commie hippie freak"/etc., etc., etc.

Once again  --  does any one still wonder why I think most of the VSP's are evil morons, totally in THEIR "bubble", both unaware and uncaring of the problems faced by the former "American Middle Class" ("the backbone of our society" - just ask ANY politico either running for office or giving a PUBLIC speech.  In private it's about "the 47%" and crap like that).

It's all a total crock of shit.  Remember children, in the future, if you want to live to a "ripe old age"  ---  it's good to be rich.   

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Two Centers of Unaccountable Power in America, and Their Consequences

Here's the latest from Robert Reich - in many ways it connects to the first post this Monday.  Please follow link to original.

There are two great centers of unaccountable power in the American political-economic system today — places where decisions that significantly affect large numbers of Americans are made in secret, and are unchecked either by effective democratic oversight or by market competition.
One goes by the name of the “intelligence community” and its epicenter is the National Security Agency within the Defense Department. If we trusted that it reasonably balanced its snooping on Americans with our nation’s security needs, and that our elected representatives effectively oversaw that balance, there would be little cause for concern. We would not worry that the information so gathered might be misused to harass individuals, thereby chilling free speech or democratic debate, or that some future government might use it to intimidate critics and opponents. We would feel confident, in other words, that despite the scale and secrecy of the operation, our privacy, civil liberties, and democracy were nonetheless adequately protected.
But the NSA has so much power, and oversight of it is so thin, that we have every reason to be concerned. The fact that its technological reach is vast, its resources almost limitless, and its operations are shrouded in secrecy, make it difficult for a handful of elected representatives to effectively monitor even a tiny fraction of what it does. And every new revelation of its clandestine “requests” for companies to hand over information about our personal lives and communications further undermines our trust. To the contrary, the NSA seems to be literally out of control.
The second center of unaccountable power goes by the name of Wall Street and is centered in the largest banks there. If we trusted that market forces kept them in check and that they did not exercise inordinate influence over Congress and the executive branch, we would have no basis for concern. We wouldn’t worry that the Street’s financial power would be misused to fix markets, profit from insider information, or make irresponsible bets that imperiled the rest of us. We could be confident that despite the size and scope of the giant banks, our economy and everyone who depends on it were nonetheless adequately protected.
But those banks are now so large (much larger than they were when they almost melted down five years ago), have such a monopolistic grip on our financial system, and exercise so much power over Washington, that we have cause for concern. The fact that not a single Wall Street executive has been held legally accountable for the excesses that almost brought the economy to its knees five years ago and continues to burden millions of Americans, that even the Attorney General confesses the biggest banks are “too big to jail,” that the big banks continue to make irresponsible bets (such as those resulting in JP Morgan Chase’s $6 billion “London Whale” loss), and that the Street has effectively eviscerated much of the Dodd-Frank legislation intended to rein in its excesses and avoid another meltdown and bailout, all offer evidence that the Street is still dangerously out of control.
It is rare in these harshly partisan times for the political left and right to agree on much of anything. But the reason, I think, both are worried about the encroachments of the NSA on the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, as well as the depredations of “too big to fail or jail” Wall Street banks on our economy, is fundamentally the same: It is this toxic combination of inordinate power and lack of accountability that renders both of them dangerous, threatening our basic values and institutions.
That neither Republicans nor Democrats have done much of anything to effectively rein in these two centers of unaccountable power suggests that, if there is ever to be a viable third party in America, it will may borne of the ill-fated consequences.

The Natives Are Restless -- Just hope The Drums DON'T Stop

After a weekend spent attempting to start a new business in order to keep body and soul together, as well as the old homestead from the hands of the villains bankers, I've finally been able to get back to the internet. 

It's truly amazing how age affects the body, and the spirit.  Muscles that will not do what is asked, and fatigue that goes beyond being "tired" is now the norm when real physical activity is needed.

No wonder we "old folks" are seen as superfluous by society  --  especially the Republicans, the Elites (we don't make good slaves employees), and those "Libertarians" that call for an end to the "safety net".  I guess they really don't mind if we starve and/or die  --  as long as we don't make a fuss (or do it in front of them).

From my (still limited) observations swap meets, flea markets, gun shows, etc. are the new "senior citizen retirement program".  This weekend I observed one of the greatest concentrations of folks with limited mobility, folks in various and sundry wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, etc., that you would see outside some dumping ground "retirement home" in a neighborhood that does not have enough power to resist what its younger residents see as a "blight" on the "community".

These "oldsters" are just about all folks who despise the government, no matter what their personal political beliefs.  Most really do remember a very different USA.  Many resent darn near EVERYTHING  --  some really don't know why.  They are just pissed off.

Now   ----   imagine my surprise when I came across the following on "Naked Capitalism" (follow link to original).  I guess there are a lot of pissed off folks  --  all over the damn world.

Some Datapoints on Global Political Risk

By lambert strether of Corrente.
So, I was trawling the twitter earlier this evening, and I ran across mention of a large, ongoing “protest” (we’ll call it*) in Sao Paolo, Brazil. I’ve been following events in Turkey, of course, which seem to be on scale of Tahrir Square/Puerta del Sol/capitol occupations/Zucotti Park/carré rouge, but the Sao Paolo protest seemed of a similar scale, and yet I hadn’t heard anything about it in our famously free press. So I thought I would do a quick and totally unscientific survey of protests round the world to see what was up. What follows is a quote dump of protests by country; as it turns out, there are rather a lot of them! Note that most of this material comes from official media, and I’m not making any representations as to accuracy or justification; I’m just trying to get a rough idea of scale.
Brazil, Sao Paolo
Protests against bus and underground fare rises in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo have turned violent. Police fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, and detained more than 200 people. Police say they seized petrol bombs, knives and drugs. Violence has also been reported at protests in Rio de Janeiro. An estimated 5,000 protesters converged on the streets of Sao Paulo’s central area on Thursday – the fourth day of the protests.
Thousands of Brazilians have protested in several cities over the past ten days, and organizers are planning for another march in Sao Paulo on Monday night. Rising prices for public transportation was the original cause of the the protests, organized by Movimento Passe Livre. Since then, Brazilians have joined protests for various other reasons, including rising crime, income inequality, and corruption. The protests are quickly becoming a sign of a weakening public confidence for Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
More reporting from Vice; images from PolicyMic; a Tumblr for the movement.
Bulgaria, Sofia
Al Jazeera:
Police said on Sunday that about 15,000 people took part in a rally outside the government building in the capital Sofia to demand a new election. Protesters also gathered outside parliament and in other Bulgarian cities. Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski’s decision to appoint 32-year-old media mogul Delyan Peevski as chief of the powerful national security agency DANS [!!] and parliament’s rapidity in rubber stamping the nomination angered many people.
Canada, Montreal
Thousands of Montrealers snaked through the city’s downtown core on Saturday afternoon to protest against the Conservative government’s changes to employment insurance. The changes to EI, which came into effect in January, have spurred several protests this year across Eastern Canada — home to many seasonal workers affected by the new rules.
Radio Free Asia:
More than 3,000 villagers from Henan’s Xuchang county have maintained a 24-hour silent vigil for the past 12 days over the Quandian coal mine run by the Henan Shenhuo Group, which they say has devastated the ground near their homes, swallowed up a road, and left cracks in their houses.
China (Hong Kong)
USA Today:
In a show of protest against U.S. surveillance programs and in support of whistle-blower Edward Snowden, several hundred people marched Saturday to the U.S. Consulate General and the offices of the Hong Kong government despite drizzly weather. “Shame on NSA! Defend freedom of speech!” chanted marchers, who carried signs written in Chinese and English and wrapped in plastic to keep out the rain. “Protect Snowden!”
Egypt, Cairo
Has Cairo become the world’s protest capital? It would not have been tolerated before the revolution, but now numerous demonstrations are held in Cairo each week. Some estimates suggest that over 5,000 public protests were held across Egypt in the first five months of this year alone.
Greece was back in protest mode after Antonis Samaras, the centre-right prime minister, broke ranks with his coalition partners and high-handedly closed the state broadcaster on June 11th without first securing their agreement. As sacked employees of ERT (Hellenic Radio and Television) continued to occupy the Greek state broadcaster’s headquarters, streaming live coverage of their plight over the internet, scores of former colleagues peacefully set up camp in a park outside the ERT building in Agia Paraskevi, a suburb of Athens.
Hurriyet Daily News:
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras moved to defuse a political crisis over the government’s abrupt closure of state broadcaster ERT that prompted a nationwide strike on June 13 and brought thousands into the streets in protest.
DNA India:
Leaders across the political parties joined hands during a human chain on Sunday in Pune to protest against the revised development plan for the city. All the leaders and representatives of NGO’s have demanded scrapping of the DP. Pune Bachav Kruti Samiti had organised the human chain for an hour between 9 and 10 am at Lokmanya Tilak Chowk near Alka Talkies.
Indonesia, Jakarta
Jakarta Post:
The Jakarta Police said at least 4,000 people would take to the streets on Monday to protest the government’s plan to raise the subsidized fuel price.
Japan, Tokyo
Around 7,500 people participated in the anti-nuclear protests in the Japanese capital, according to organizers cited by AFP. The demonstrators gathered in a park in central Tokyo, marched through the city and rallied outside the offices of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant which suffered meltdowns of three reactor cores following an earthquake and tsunami two years ago.
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Al Jazeera:
Tens of thousands of people held a rally near Malaysia’s capital against alleged electoral fraud, further raising the political temperature after divisive recent polls. The latest in a series of protest rallies over the May 5 elections – which the opposition says were won fraudulently by the 56-year-old ruling coalition – saw a large crowd gather in an open field outside Kuala Lumpur Saturday night.
Channel News Asia:
Malaysian police on Saturday arrested 15 people over a flash-mob protest held ahead of a planned June 22 opposition rally against alleged fraud in elections last month, but they were later freed. Those detained, who included opposition-aligned activists but also a 10-year-old boy, were held for disrupting public order in a busy shopping area of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Gulf Times:
A strike called by 33 parties in Nepal to protest an election called for November shut down transport, schools and markets yesterday, the parties said in a statement.
Reuters (video):
Stones rain down on Peruvian riot police as they try to calm protests by angry university students. The city of Cusco, better known as the capital of the Inca empire, has seen several days of demonstrations against a proposed education law. Students say it could privatise universities.
The Nation:
Anti-government white-mask protesters gathered in many provinces yesterday despite opposition from red-shirt supporters of the government. In Bangkok, about 1,000 people – many wearing white Guy Fawkes masks – gathered at the CentralWorld shopping complex yesterday afternoon.
Yemeni security officials say thousands have protested in the capital against “excesses” by security forces, calling for the overthrow of the president and national security apparatus.
So, what can we conclude from this random collection of incidents? First, there’s a lot of protest out there. It’s occurred to me that one reason our global ruling elites — besides living in a “morally pathological” environment — are so paranoid is that they have real enemies; hence the global militarization of police forces, and global surveillance as well. Second, currently, although a lot of expertise in mobilization is clearly being developed, the “causes” are diverse. However, in a crisis, things correlate; it would be interesting to see if and how the local blobs of mercury come together globularly over issues like food, or water, or fuel (stuff at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy). No doubt climate change will accelerate such correlations. Third, there are some protests on this list that I probably wouldn’t support. What is interesting to me is the global scale and intensity. Finally, yes, I know globalism (for want of a better word) has so far been able to destroy or absorb anything thrown at it, but you lose until you win. So I don’t see political risk for the elites decreasing, and if they run true to form, they’ll double down on #FAIL. May you live in interesting times.
Readers, corrections? Additions? Your own experiences?
NOTE * I know “protest” isn’t prefigurative, and is in any case not the right category for Occupations which, I would argue, are more about parallel sovereignty (non-violent tactic of protest and persuasion #198) than “marches,” but “protest” is the word that Google seems to understand, and so for the purpose of this post that’s the word I’ll use.
NOTE In New York, the occupation of the Cooper Union continues.

Friday, June 14, 2013


First Tennessee Bank, National Association, Memphis, Tennessee, Assumes All of the Deposits of Mountain National Bank, Sevierville, Tennessee

June 7, 2013
Media Contact:
LaJuan Williams-Young
Office: 202-898-3876
Cell: 571-215-6027

Mountain National Bank, Sevierville, Tennessee, was closed today by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 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 Tennessee Bank, National Association, Memphis, Tennessee, to assume all of the deposits of Mountain National Bank.
The 12 former branches of Mountain National Bank will reopen as branches of First Tennessee Bank, National Association during their normal business hours. Depositors of Mountain National Bank will automatically become depositors of First Tennessee Bank, National Association. 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 Mountain National Bank should continue to use their current branch until they receive notice from First Tennessee Bank, National Association that systems conversions have been completed to allow full-service banking at all branches of First Tennessee Bank, National Association.
This evening and over the weekend, depositors of Mountain National 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 March 31, 2013, Mountain National Bank had approximately $437.3 million in total assets and $373.4 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, First Tennessee Bank, National Association agreed to purchase essentially all of the failed bank's assets.
Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-356-1848. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EDT; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., EDT; on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., EDT; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EDT. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at
The FDIC estimates that cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $33.5 million. Compared to other alternatives, First Tennessee Bank, National Association's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Mountain National Bank is the 16th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Tennessee. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was The Farmers Bank of Lynchburg, on June 15, 2012.


Plaza Bank, Irvine, California, Assumes All of the Deposits of 1st Commerce Bank, North Las Vegas, Nevada

June 6, 2013
Media Contact:
LaJuan Williams-Young
Office: 202-898-3876
Cell: 571-215-6027

1st Commerce Bank, North Las Vegas, Nevada, was closed today by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC Board of Directors issued an order authorizing the FDIC to close, and become receiver of, 1st Commerce Bank, by exercising its self-appointment powers granted by Congress through the FDIC Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA).
To protect depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Plaza Bank, Irvine, California, to assume all of the deposits of 1st Commerce 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.
The sole former office of 1st Commerce Bank will reopen on Friday as a branch of Plaza Bank during its normal business hours. Depositors of 1st Commerce Bank will automatically become depositors of Plaza Bank. Customers of 1st Commerce Bank should continue to use their current branch until they receive notice from Plaza Bank that systems conversions have been completed to allow full-service banking at all branches of Plaza Bank.
In addition, this evening, Friday and over the weekend, depositors of 1st Commerce 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 March 31, 2013, 1st Commerce Bank had approximately $20.2 million in total assets and $19.6 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Plaza Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the failed bank's assets.
The FDIC and Plaza Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on $12.2 million of 1st Commerce Bank's assets. Plaza 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:
Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-405-6318. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time (PDT); on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., PDT; on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., PDT; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., PDT; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., PDT. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at
The FDIC estimates that cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $9.4 million. Compared to other alternatives, Plaza Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. 1st Commerce Bank is the 15th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Nevada. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Nevada Commerce Bank, Las Vegas, on April 8, 2011.


North Shore Bank, FSB, Brookfield, Wisconsin, Assumes All of the Deposits of Banks of Wisconsin, Kenosha, Wisconsin

May 31, 2013
Media Contact:
Greg Hernandez (202) 898-6984
Cell: (202) 340-4922

Banks of Wisconsin, Kenosha, 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 North Shore Bank, FSB, Brookfield, Wisconsin, to assume all of the deposits of Banks of Wisconsin.
The two branches of Banks of Wisconsin, which did business as Bank of Kenosha, will reopen as branches of North Shore Bank, FSB, during their normal business hours. Depositors of Banks of Wisconsin will automatically become depositors of North Shore Bank, FSB. 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 Banks of Wisconsin should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from North Shore Bank, FSB that it has completed systems changes to allow other North Shore Bank, FSB branches to process their accounts as well.
This evening and over the weekend, depositors of Banks of Wisconsin 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 March 31, 2013, Banks of Wisconsin had approximately $134.0 million in total assets and $127.6 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, North Shore Bank, FSB agreed to purchase approximately $97.4 million of the failed bank's assets. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.
Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-355-0814. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Central Daylight Time (CDT); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., CDT; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., CDT; on Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., CDT; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., CDT. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at
The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $26.3 million. Compared to other alternatives, North Shore Bank, FSB's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Banks of Wisconsin is the 14th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Wisconsin. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Legacy Bank, Milwaukee, on March 11, 2011.


I was born in 1939.  As a result, I really did know a very different USA.  I knew "beatniks", veterans of The Lincoln Brigade (Spanish civil War  --  on the correct side), painters from The New york School, "commies", Socialists, hard working blue collar left wingers, tough Brooklyn stereotypes (the tough, wise-cracking, N.Y.Jew - or Italian - that was a stock character in WWII movies, often named Goldberg  --  sometimes "Izzie"), REAL "preppies", folks who spoke with what we called "Locust Valley Lockjaw", and a varied bunch of REAL "Mafia types", and some "wannabes".  I knew Jazz Musicians, some tough, dedicated "Black Power" advocates, and a very wide spectrum of different people.

Many were very admirable  --  dedicated to their causes, art, works, etc.  Most were very free to speak up, to open their mouths, to point out injustice, hypocrisy, and just plain unfairness.  Many had open minds and were capable of changing their minds about the great issues of the day.

Just about all decried our politics  --  but held out hope for progress, for the "promise of America".  They were NOT "terrorists", nor were they "anti-American".

Unlike so many who seem to hate him, I remember FDR, and the way he was loved by the working people of the USA.  The plutocrats never quite understood that he saved capitalism during the depression.  I remember widespread prosperity.  I remember the REALITY of "the American dream".

When I speak about what we've lost  --  it's not just empty rhetoric  --  I have lived it.

Though very far from perfect, that past was one that had immense promise.  Today folks dismiss it  --  and since folks like me are old  --  we too are dismissed.

We will NEVER learn.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

" Autumn Leaves " Chet Baker - Paul Desmond

A beautiful song performed by Chet Baker (trumpet), Paul Desmond (alto sax), Hubert Laws (flute), Bob James (keyboard), Ron Carter (contrabass) and Steve Gadd (drums)

Horace Silver "Song For My Father" (1964)

Horace Silver — piano
Carmell Jones — trumpet
Joe Henderson — tenor saxophone
Teddy Smith — bass
Roger Humphries — drums

Latché Swing - Rythme Gitans

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why no posts? Here's why.

I've spent the last few days reading various and sundry articles, sources, stories, headlines, etc., etc., in a search for something to put up. 

There's a lot out there.  But, it really seems no one is that upset about it. 

I guess folks just do not want to know the details of our total information gathering.  They also don't seem to give a damn about drone strikes, starvation, homeless children, people being "disappeared", unemployment, rape, the total war on women, and damn near everything else  ---  as long as it doesn't happen to THEM.

We don't seem to care about corruption, military misconduct, or any other issues facing our nation.

BUT  --  show a picture of a homeless kitten, and hordes of folks "CARE"!

Talk about "gay marriage", abortion  ---  and an entire series of groups are willing to go to war.

Never mind equal rights for EVERYONE   ----   these flks want equal rights for THEM!!

ME!!     -----     not you.  NEVER YOU!

How can I put anything up when I usually can't bring myself to read the entire article?  How can I post stuff that is made up BULLSHIT from both left and right.

The supposed "left" in this country has apoplexy over guns  --  no matter that they play fast and loose with the facts.  They make all sorts of apologies, justifications, for the Obama Administrations "habit" of taping EVERYTHING EVERYONE SAYS, writes, posts, comments on.  If they could read your thoughts  --  they'd do that too.  Insane paranoia.  Doing all kinds of "stuff" only because you can.  The actual morality matters not.

Lazy bureaucrats who want us to do their work.  "Operatives" who are too damn lazy to get the REAL "bad folks", so they have some ready made scapegoats available at all times.

We have folks playing "video games"  --  drone strikes that actually kill real people.  It seems we make quite a few "mistakes"   ------   OOPS!

When someone does an expose of our governmental misconduct  --  we seem to ALL get pissed off at the "whistleblower".  We don't even approach the story with any degree of "critical thinking"  --  he is WRONG!! (the whistleblower").

What can I write?  What can I post that's not a lie?  How much fact-checking do I have to do to find actual "facts", the "almost truth"?

That's another problem   ---   the right wing "knows" all THEIR pet conspiracy theories are "true"  --  even AFTER they have been totally disproved. 

Other folks want at least some truth  --  unless it's about an issue they are "passionate" about  --  then, "the truth be damned".

I'm currently very tired of all this crap.  I'm tired of folks who know no history, nothing about The Constitution, nothing about he actual "promise of America", nothing about immigration, the brutality of slavery, nothing about what actually happened during The Civil War, nothing about what our "founding fathers" actually thought, taking made up "facts", selected "quotes" out of context, and weaving these lies into some sort of bastardized "history".

Go read.  Go to original sources, go to real historians.  Find out about the "mixed economy" we had during the 1950's and 60's.  Discover how actual prosperity helped EVERYONE.  Look at the finer aspects of our character.  See how religion supported freedom, equality , and civil rights for all. 

Now, look at how religion supported slavery, "Social Darwinism", inequality, poverty, and virtual slavery of working folks.  Learn what people had to do to actually build "The American Way".

Do the research.  Then come back and try to talk the trash you've been fed in some of the "schools" out there now.

Register.  Vote.  Support people who will support you.  Don't go out and vote against your own self interest because some liar tells you it just might help "them" (whoever that is) also.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Crumbling Coliseum That is America

I've taken a week off.  Was going to take more time off  --  but, I read this and had to post it.  Please follow link to original

The horrifying collapse of the I-5 bridge in Seattle in May, one in an ongoing series I’m afraid, is a grim reminder of the true state of our condition…we are dying. There is a difference between pessimism and realism. Badly deteriorating infrastructure is a reality and predicting the future is easy.
I’m not a pessimist because I see in this very real situation an opportunity of not a lifetime, but a nation-time. These disasters-in-waiting should be addressed immediately, and if we did what we must demand of our leaders, we would solve our economic crisis and leave the next generation on a solid footing for their futures and the generations to come.
My fear is that we will not seize upon this magnificent opportunity.
Here lie the jobs that have gone away. Here lies the economic boost that this country needs to fire up production. Think of all the component parts that would have to be manufactured. Everything from bridge supports to electronics would be required.
In order to manufacture and construct stuff, you need raw materials. Loggers and miners go back to work. Jobs would be created in transportation because you have to get both the raw material and the completed parts to their respective sites.
Wholesale trade would boom and consumers would go back to spending. Every sector would grow jobs overnight.
And when we were done, we would have something to show for our investment. We would have built an infrastructure that would be the foundation that would position us to compete in the future.
Rome was once the center of the world. What is left of the ruins of the Coliseum is proof that all great nations eventually destroy so much of themselves that they can never rebuild.
How is the recovery going after the levees burst and destroyed much of New Orleans Ninth Ward?
What about Detroit’s Brightmoor where once the highest standard of living in the world has given way to an urban wasteland with rows of falling down, abandoned housing?
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 26% of US bridges are “in urgent need of repairs.” Don’t forget the massive bridge collapse on I-35W over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis in 2007. That killed 13 people and injured 145 others. Remember that the next time you plan your route.
The number of dams rated as deficient—or those with structure or hydraulic deficiencies leaving them susceptible to failure—tripled between 1999 and 2008. Over a third of the Nation’s dams are fifty years old, a number that will increase to nearly 70 percent in ten years. In addition, bridges are generally designed to last 50 years, and the average bridge in the United States is 45 years old.
We know that the gas pipelines have not been properly maintained and that another San Bruno fireball is about to occur somewhere. In that incident, eight people died, 38 homes were destroyed, and hundreds damaged by the 60 foot high wall of flames that consumed an entire neighborhood. What you may not know is that incidents of death or injury from gas pipeline explosion average about 50 per year. The Pipelines run right through neighborhoods. You can find their locations on-line.
We’ve got levees breaching, dams bursting, bridges collapsing, pipelines blowing up, power plants shutting down, sewage systems clogging, and water mains breaking all over town.
The Coliseum was once the proud symbol of Imperial Rome and its permanence. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. But, for much of its existence, nobody gave a damn about it and look at it now.
It is often seen as the metaphor for the collapse of Rome. They didn’t really kill Christians there, but at one time, under Pope Sixtus V, they were going to turn it into a half-way house for recovering hookers.
Contrary to popular opinion, Rome did not fall because of wild sex parties. By then, most of the Romans had adopted Christianity. By the fifth century after Christ, Rome was a pretty staid place.
Rome was destroyed by idiot emperors, massive political corruption, cronyism, nepotism, over taxation and a financial crisis which led to inflation and the debasement of Roman coinage. Who does that remind you of? If you said us, you’ve been paying attention.
Perhaps we were a tad too arrogant about “our” country being different, special, better; even went as far as to think we were somehow favored by God. America, God’s all-time favorite country.
Some would want to remind me that we are, after all a, Christian nation. Don’t bother, we aren’t. Wanting to be a Christian nation and saying we are a Christian nation; do not make us a Christian nation.
Christian nations don’t have a million homeless children, starvation, poverty, the death penalty, racism, ageism, sexism, or so much hypocrisy.
We have a nation with some Christians in it and some people who use Christianity to their own benefit. Christianity isn’t something to be proud of or smug about. It is a difficult journey that requires always putting others first, in particular, the least fortunate among us. The way of Christianity is seeking salvation through selfless service to others not through praying and tithing.
We are, in fact, a savage and brutal nation resoundingly despised around the world for our incessant war mongering. At home we have the highest prison population per capita in the world, rampant and rising poverty, and a government of the rich and for the rich who are all getting richer while everyone else is getting poorer.
Instead of bridges and schools we get urban assault vehicles, noise cannons, hundreds of millions of rounds of hollow-point ammunition which because of the Geneva Convention cannot be used outside the US. Those are exclusively intended for us because they rip out so much flesh. What’s so Christian about that?
God is not going to make our problems go away. We have a persistent radiation leak at nearby San Onofre nuclear power station. Photos from inside the plant show that clear plastic sheeting and duct tape are being used to deflect the flow of dripping water. WTF?
Now, of course, they assure us that this water isn’t radioactive; they may be right or they may be lying, as usual. But, the plant has been shut down for months because the piping system which was recently replaced quickly wore out.
It doesn’t matter what they say, the funky fix with the plastic and duct tape is a metaphor for the reality of life everywhere. Things are patched up with duct tape.
Where will the next pipeline blow and torch a neighborhood? Where will the next nuclear wasteland be born? Where will the next bridge collapse, levee breach, sink- hole open up, or school fall down?
What our grandfathers and our great grandfathers built for the good of the future is being destroyed by neglect, and the people who could be fixing it are receiving entitlements instead.
Crumbling. No plan to fix anything. No discussion of infrastructure.
Just Benghazi. Who cares? We assassinated the leader of the country and then armed the rebels. What the fuck did we think was going to happen? It’s Al Qaeda. Remember? They hate us. If I had given them guns I would have gotten the hell out of Dodge immediately thereafter. No conspiracy just stupid foreign policy. We are getting the same result here that we got when we armed the Mexican drug cartels. They shoot us with them.
Hopefully we learned this time but I’m pretty sure we will go right on arming our enemies or the war would stop.
The IRS fought to limit tax avoidance by organizations that don’t really qualify for exemption. That’s the real story. That is what they are supposed to do. The truth is they were partying just as hard as the dudes and dudesses over at the General Services Administration who spent $822,000 at their Las Vegas convention. Your tax dollars at work.
The most chilling reveal is the case involving the Department of non-Justice investigating journalists. What’s chilling isn’t that the government would spy on us; it’s that the media has treaded so lightly on this issue. They should be banging a drum night and day on the first amendment implications. Their talking heads should be sputtering with outrage and demanding citizen support to beat back this blatant attempt to suppress the truth.
The lack of uproar tells you everything you need to know about who the media serves.
Everywhere you look, it’s crumbling around us. The tax dollars we provided have been completely wasted. The danger is real and omnipresent. The real terror isn’t a religious fundamentalist; it is a government that cares nothing about its people.
All of that combined sounds like fiddle music, and I’m getting faint whiffs of the smoke of a distant fire. Something’s burning.

Now you might understand why I haven't posted anything.  I've got nothing new to say and my cynicism is increasing by leaps and bounds.  Obama is a Republican who worships Ronnie Raygun  --  perhaps we should have him tested for early onset Alzheimers.

By the way, given their policies I am, from now on, going to call them THE RAPEUBLICAN PARTY.