Sunday, November 30, 2008

Torture and Abuse Cost American Lives

In an Op-Ed in today's Washington Post, a former Special Operations interrogator who worked in Iraq in 2006 sharply criticizes American torture techniques as ineffective and dangerous. "Torture and abuse costs American lives" he writes:

"I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq.
… It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans."

The writer, who used a pseudonym for the article, adds that when he switched his team’s techniques to a rapport-building method, they found enormous success. One detainee told the author, “I thought you would torture me, and when you didn’t, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That’s why I decided to cooperate.”

The writer also goes on to tell in his piece about his experiences writing about his feelings and his opinions. He wrote a book about his opinions and experiences and had to have it vetted by the Defense Department. He was surprised by how extreme the criticism he recieved was and alarmed by the censorship of entire sections of the book.
Evidently, the Pentagon doesn't want us to know how ineffectual it's torture techniques that it claims it doesn't use really are!

But we all knew this all along, now....didn't we?


Beneath the murky waters of the Detroit River, the future of hydro electric energy generation is taking a giant step into the future. The first experimental tests of a new system called VIVACE (Vortex induced vibrations for aquatic clean energy) are being conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan.

Michael Bernitsas, a professor of naval architecture at the University explained in The UK Telegraph that principle was based on the changes in water speed that are caused when a current flows past an obstruction. Eddies or vortices, formed in the water flow, can move objects up and down or left and right.

"This is a totally different method of extracting energy from water flow," said Mr. Bernitsas. "Fish curve their bodies to glide between the vortices shed by the bodies of the fish in front of them. Their muscle power alone could not propel them at the speed they go, so they ride in each other's wake".

The new device which has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of a system of cylinders positioned horizontal to the water flow and attached to springs.
As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is converted into electrical energy.

Basically, as the device exists now. A field, the hight of a two story house over a 1 km square, could power 100,000 homes. Just a few cyliners stacked in a short ladder, could produce the power for a lighthouse or a freighter.
The device can operate in currents as low as one kilometer/hr, which means that it could be employed in any moving body of water in the world.

This is just one of many new hydro, solar, geo and aeolian energy technologies bursting out of the gates, ready to be put into use. The sad question is, why has it taken so long for this new age to dawn?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Zappadan Draws Nigh

Just a friendly reminder that the Feast of Zappadan
is approaching. The High Holy Days are from the
4th to the 21st of December.
This is a nice picture of Frank and his parents.

Wanna buy some pencils?

Grace Jones

Last night on the News/Entertainment program on Canal+, Le Grand Journal, we were delighted to see a live performance by Grace Jones. Madame Jones is releasing her first album in quite a few years, Hurricane. She performed this piece called Williams Blood.
I first saw Grace Jones in the late 70's. A performer who goes way beyond any one dimension, she is a work of art. Every aspect is stylized and personalized in a way others could only try to imitate. It was interesting to see her son performing with the musicians, he cowrote and produced his mothers record. Somehow, Madame Jones has managed to become such an iconic, surreal persona that it was a great leap of imagination to accept that she had a 25 year old son.
This is a recent performance from German television.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

War Of The Roses

It's been a while since I've tried to post regarding French Politics. So much happens, yet nothing really happens. Last year, there was a presidential election and of Nicolas Sarkozy won. The Socialist Party immediately responded by falling into total disarray for many reasons.
Part of Sarkozy's strategy was to reach out to disaffected members of the Socialist Party and bring them into his goverment. Bernard Kuchner became Minister of Foreign Affairs.
It was a strange defeat for the Socialists. In reality, Segolene Royale was a very popular candidate and if elected would have governed from a centrist position, continuing the legacy of Francois Mitterand, her mentor. In the end, she lost by 3 percent.
Many people felt she could have won if the Socialists could only have united behind her. Instead, there was a power struggle going on between the old and the new guard.
She was constantly sabotaged from with in.
Her relationship with Francois Hollande, the Party Secretary was deteriorating. They had lived together and had a few children together, but Francois felt cheated by his companions rising star and the charisma that he lacked...The Party Secretary normally would have been the presidential candidate, but Royale's popularity assured her the candidacy.
Hollande's term of Secretary of the Party is coming to an end, so ther was an election in the Socialist party for the new leader. There were 4 main candidates, Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille, Bertrand Delanoe, the Mayor of Paris, Benoit Hamon, the youngest and most far left and Segolene Royale.
Of the four, Segolene had the majority of supporters, but the old guard of the party, inspired by the machinations of Hollande were united against her. Delanoe dropped out of the race and told his supporters to support Aubry. There was the first round of voting and Segolene came out ahead of Hamon and Aubry...Hamon was the real loser and he told his supporters to vote for Aubry.
It seemed that Aubry really had a personal dislike for Segolene. It was historic, two women were competing for a position that had never been occupied by a woman before, but one represented a real chance to break with the image that the Socialists couldn't lead and the other was a last ditch attempt by the entrenched "elephants" of the Party to hold onto their power.
In the vote last week end, Aubry won by a disputed 40 some votes! France was experiencing it's own Miami sur le Seine! A real vote counting scandal with charges of tampering flying back and forth. Segolene still commanded almost half of the votes against a united front of her opponents.
Yesterday seemed to mark a truce as the two women met. The party will survive inspite of all the strife, but instead of relegating Royale to obscurity, the events have only set the stage for her star to shine even brighter. In her fight to change the Socialist party she has proven herself to be a canny politician and brawler and still remain a class act..

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Astor Piazzolla

This is a performance from 1980 of Astor Piazzolla and his New Tango Quintet with his composition, Adios Nonino.
Piazzolla is called the father of Modern Tango. He revolutionized Argentinian music in the 60's by introducing new tempos and taking it to a higher level compositionally.
His preferred instument was the traditional bandoneon, the button accordion like instrument and he was the master.
I was lucky enough to see Piazzolla play in New York quite a few times in the early 1980's. It was always an emotional experience.
Piazzolla was born in New York City. His family immigrated from Italy to Lower Manhattan and then to Argentina, which has a huge Italian community. I know a few Argentinians and I am always amazed at their accent, to me, their Spanish sounds more like Italian.
Piazzolla's New York Lower Manhattan roots gave him the rythmic back ground to bring something completely different to the classic Tango. There is a rhythmic fluidity and the emphasis of the beat is different than the 1,2,3..4, 1,2,3..4 of the classic fact, it's totally different and I feel the difference might very well be the influence of living in Lower Manhattan and growing up listening to the Eastern European Klezmer music of the Lower East Side Jewish culture.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Schiff Was Right

This video sequence offers a compendium of appearances (covering the 2006-2007 period) by Euro Pacific Capital president Peter Schiff, who is a frequent -- and frequently disrespected -- talking head on cable news shows. What astonishes is not just the accuracy of his dour predictions about the economy but the sheer arrogance of every other person appearing on these programs.

I don't know who comes off as worse -- the supremely snotty Ben Stein, or the well-named Arthur Laffer. I just wonder how Ben Stein feels about the financial markets as an investment now.

This is an astonishing compilation of clips. It just keeps getting more outrageous as it goes along.
Every time Schiff says something sensible, the pundits surrounding him snort and howl. They treat him with undisguised contempt and hatred, as though he had just called for ending the laws against homicide or reducing the age of consent to three.

What did these "experts" hope to gain by attempting to conspire against reality?

(By the way, I am aware that Schiff was the economic adviser to Ron Paul. I still don't like Libertarians, and I'm sure that Schiff has an ideological angle. But when a guy proves that he can call the shot, then one must give him credit.)

Over the last few days, I have been pondering the real cost of the "bail outs" to date and after googling a bit, I think I have the actual cost and I would like to put it into proper historical perspective.

If we add in the Citi bailout, the total cost now exceeds $4.6165 trillion dollars.

People have a hard time conceptualizing very large numbers, so let’s give this some context. The current Credit Crisis bailout is now the largest outlay In American history.

Crunching the inflation adjusted numbers, we find the bailout has cost more than all of these big budget government expenditures – combined:

• Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

Les Grues Cendree

Another nature post, this time I was out working in the cold this morning before I had to go to the dentist for a teeth cleaning session and I heard the noise of birds coming across the horizon. I had been wondering when I would see the migrating grey cranes, les grues cendree high in the sky on their winter migration.
Here in the Dordogne, we are under their main flight path. In years ealier, I had always heard the Grues in October and they seem to be quite late this year.
They fly pretty high in big groups in a rough V formation, wheeling across the sky, never logically straight, sometimes other groups join and make a huge V.....
I tried to take a number of pictures with my wifes camera and none of them worked, except for this one.
They spend the summer in Scandinavia and winter in Africa and will fly back over us in a few months.

Pied de Mouton

The rain stopped for a few hours today after a huge wind and rain storm last night. All of the leaves are off of the Marron d'Inde trees. I believe they are the basically what Ohioans call Buckeye trees. A few branches were blown down, but aside from that, no damage. There hasn't been any frost for a few weeks, but a lot of rain and fog.
I took advantage of the rare glimpse of sun to take the dog, JJ for a walk in the woods.
As I was walking in the woods, through the slick carpet of leaves, I gradually became aware, as the last lingering background noise of a jet in the stratosphere faded, that it was absolutely silent. It's never really noisy around here, except when there is farm machinery working away...but, today, the silence was absolute.
Amazingly enough, I suddenly was aware that the background hiss of tintinitus, the nerve damage in my ears that I have incurred from stranding in front of a bass guitar amplifier was actually gone.

The dog became interested in something and took off running across the valley. I could hear barking across the creek in the forest on the other side of the hill. I'm not sure what he was doing, I know better than to ask.

I started to look around and I was aware of all the new late fall mushrooms poking up through the leaf litter. This year was a lousy year for mushrooms. There were no cepes.
Well, I found one, but people who make money collecting cepes for restaurants all said it was a catastrophe. I found a few girolles throught the year and some small pied de moutons.
As I was poking around, a light creamy off white shape caught my eye...then another. I looked closer and realized that there were pied de mouton everywhere. They were the biggest I had ever seen! For some reason, the conditions were just right to make these mushrooms bloom in mass quantities and bigger than I had ever seen them before.
I had a plastic bag and by the time JJ returned with the stupid grin on his face when he has become a wild crazy dog, I had collected a kilo. I collected all I could carry!

Luckily, I had a camera and took the shot for this post. I tried to show the main characteristics. The color, the irregular shape and most important, the spore bearing spines under the cap. They do not have gills like most mushrooms or pores like a bolete or polypore. The Pied de Mouton, or Hydnum repandum grows in forest litter. I believe they grow in the Midwest of The United States and the North East and are commonly called Hedgehog Mushrooms.
They grow under leafy forest and in pine forests, but in my experience, the ones growing in pine forests have a slightly bitter taste.

They have a very good nutty, slightly sweet mushroom flavor and a very good texture.
They are one of the best edible mushrooms and cannot be mistaken for any other.
They will keep for a few days after picking, but if you have a lot, like I do today, you can freeze them for a few weeks. They go very good with eggs and can be used in almost every mushroom dish. I sauted some with chicken breast, then deglazed the pan with a little cream tonight.

I am going to go back and look again tomorrow, but I think it will frost tonight. If that happens, chances are, my good luck today was just that.....
My tintinitus seems to be back...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

A few days ago, I published a post called Right Into The Damn Ditch, which quoted from an article in the Wall Street Journal. It was a pretty good indictment of how Detroit Auto Makers bissfully kept making bad decisions and resisted innovation in the face of reality and the glaring evidence that while they were losing their market, Asiatic Auto Makers were ascending.

I was made aware yesterday of another great article, from The Detroit Free Press by columnist, Mitch Albom. He says much of what I believe about the need to preserve the Detroit Auto Makers, but really criticizes the attitudes of the Southern Congressmen and Senators who use the proposed bailout as an opportunity to destroy unions and the hypocrisy they are guilty of. He mentions the Federal Aid and waivers granted to the Asiatic Manufacturers who set up shop in the South in the first place.
I feel the Southern Republican critics of a bail out of Detroit are exploiting the political gains they can make locally by making this a regional battle. Again, thinking on a small immediate politicallyy local level while letting the long term national welfare suffer.
It is an article well worth reading.
Meanwhile, to help us think about "bail outs" here's Tom Waits performing the song, Buddy Can You Spare A Dime . Written in 1931, by E.Y. "Yip" Harburg and Jay Gorney, it was the classic anthemn of the Depression. Tom Waits performs a gut wrenching interpretaion, much different than Bing Crosby's.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


If Barack Obama does this one thing while he is president, then I will feel vindicated!
The bane of my existance is the time change we endure twice a year. I hate...yes, literally hate! having to "fall back". It affects my mood...I know I am physically affected by light and I love the sun.
When we change to winter time, I feel like I have one less hour a day of sunlight. That's why I was so heartened by this item in the times stating that Barack Obama is considering the elimination of Daylight Savings Time in order to conserve energy, but I know he's doing it just to make me happy!

Twice a year, a bunch of countries, including most of the United States, practice daylight saving time or DST, shifting one hour ahead in the spring and one hour back in the fall. While I go through the whole twice-a-year ritual of looking for clocks, I only vaguely understood the reason behind it. I knew it had to do with more sunlight during waking hours and I assumed it was to save energy.

Turns out, according to two academics on the NYT Op-Ed page, there is little scientific proof that this reduces energy consumption. It also turns out that this practice could be wasteful, a bit annoying, and a lot of people, including Obama, want to get rid of it.
A study in Indiana, a state that recently started DST, showed an overall increase of 1 percent in residential electricity use with occasional increases of 2 to 4 percent in late spring and early fall. So much for conserving energy.

While DST is great for reducing in-door lighting, the shift in time increases the demand for air conditioning during hot summer evenings and increased heating in early spring and late fall mornings. The energy suckers of heat and A/C could eliminate any savings from reduced lighting and, as the Indiana study showed, actually increase electricity consumption.

The hot state of Arizona seems to already know this and opted out of the whole time-shifting practice.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Special Holiday Cheer Offer!

The American Family Association, of Tupelo, Mississippi, is offering a lighted yard cross to help keep the Christ in Xmas.
Looking for an effective way to express your Christian faith this Christmas season to honor our Lord Jesus? Now you can... with the "Original Christmas Cross" yard decoration.

Light up your front yard, porch, patio, driveway, business, organization or church this holiday season with a stunning Christmas cross.

This beautiful Christmas Cross is 5.5 feet tall, with 210 individual ultra bright lights.
If you act now, your $81.85 lawn cross comes with a copy of Mississippi Burning.

Please note that the Xmas lawn cross is drop shipped from another supplier, so
...if you wish to order other products at this time from the AFA Online Store, please make a seperate (sic) order.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Woody Allen 1962

This is a stand up routine by Woody Allen, his first appearance on the Jack Parr show on NBC in 1962. Painful...Painfully funny!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sarah Palin gives us all a great reason to give thanks as she gushes vapidly, proving she is great for filling one vacuum with another as turkeys are slaughtered in the background. No, this isn't a Saturday Night Live Sketch.
In fact, the governor should fire her writers! This lame joke has already been done, better! In fact much better!
Ladies and Gentlemen, the infamous WKRP TURKEY DROP!

Right Into The Damn Ditch!

Three private corporate jets touched down in Washington on Wednesday. Each jet carried the entourage and CEO of one of the big three automakers. The group was limousined in comfort to testify in front of Congress to justify why the auto industry shoul;d be bailed out by federal money.
The American Auto industry has been losing billions of dollars for years. The corporate heads want to use this opportunity to bust the unions and are scapegoating them instead of facing the blame. The rust started long ago at the top!
To talk of the impending catastrophe of the failure of detroit is redundant. The catastrophe has happened. It is happening and will only get worse if the "bail out" is allowed to proceed like the Wall Street Bail out...favoring the corporate infrastructure and with out over sight. Allowing the bail out of Detroit to be a matter between federal Agencies and the already proven profligate incompetency of the CEO's is just plain idiocy and only the powder to light the keg that will result in an even bigger disaster down the line.
One question, if the Corporate solution to their problems is to simply destroy the labor unions and create a labor force working for the peanut salaries they are drooling over,
then what will happen to the middle class who buys the vehicles that Detroit wants to keep pumping out? Just a thought.

Here's a great article from the Wall Street Journal's Paul Ingrassia that summarizes how and why the US auto industry fell to pieces. My favorite part was this telling excerpt:
In Detroit, amid worker alienation and the "blue-collar blues," Chevies, Fords and Plymouths rattled, rusted and rolled over -- and those were the good ones. The Ford Pinto's gas tank was prone to explode into flames when the car was hit from the rear, making the Pinto the poster product for corporate callousness. In 1978, after three Indiana girls burned to death when their Pinto got rear-ended, Ford became the first company to be indicted for reckless homicide. The company later was acquitted, but public opinion judged the Pinto guilty.

For all the Pinto's infamy, perhaps no car better captured America's decade-long haplessness than the pug-ugly AMC Gremlin, which debuted in 1970 and died -- mercifully -- in 1980. The Gremlin's shape, fittingly, was first sketched out by an American Motors designer on the back of a Northwest Airlines air-sickness bag. On Aug. 20, 1979, 18-year-old Brad Alty, fresh out of high school in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, was driving his Gremlin to work when the car broke down. He was two-and-a-half hours late to his first day on the job at a new motorcycle factory that Honda Motor was opening in central Ohio.

For the next few weeks, Mr. Alty and his 63 co-workers did little but sweep floors and paint them with yellow lines. Then they started building three to five motorcycles a day. And at the end of each day they would disassemble each bike, piece by piece, to evaluate the workmanship.

Click here to read the entire article.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

30 Years On...

On November 18th, 1978, 921 people committed mass suicide or were murdered in the Guyana settlement of Californian Religious leader, Jim Jones.
The mass death occurred when Congressman Leo Ryan of the Bay Area went to visit Jonestown to investigate reports of child abuse and people being held against their will.
When he arrived, the ensuing paranoiac reaction triggered an apocalyptic response. The Congressman was murdered by Jones followers and Jones, fearing retribution, oredered his followers to kill themselves and their children.
This is where the phrase "drink the kool-aid" in referring to mind control arose. The poison was mixed in big cats of kool-aid which all drank.
There is a good history of the rise and descent into madness and the tragic events in the Washington Post with a photo gallery.
There was a ceremony in San Francisco commenorating the event held by relatives and some of the survivors of the Jonestown settlement.
Many Jonestown survivors and their families believe that the lessons of Jonestown are to remember and guard against demagogues who use religion as a cover for fraud, deception and imposing their own sometimes dangerous social and political beliefs on their naive and unsuspecting followers.

It was that theme that dominated Tuesday's memorial service at the mass grave in Oakland. In an emotional and highly charged address, the Rev. Amos Brown, bishop at San Francisco's Third Baptist Church and president of the San Francisco NAACP, warned the mourners to beware of religious leaders who claim to have all the answers and insinuate themselves into politics, as Jones did so effectively in San Francisco.

"Good religion elevates folk, it teaches people to think for themselves. Good religion isn't authoritarian. Good religion isn't bigoted," he said. "Open up your eyes, America. America isn't a theocracy, it's a democracy. . . . And that is the lesson we must learn from Jonestown."

Todays Sponsor

That's right folks! Todays sponsor of the Brainpolice is
I'd like to say a few words, here, these people obviously represent everything
that's fucked up with America. The only reason the poor pig in the middle made the
picture was that he was getting turned over for his bed sores, God bless him.
The whole family looks like they'd be a lot more comfortable in
overalls, a bib and velcro shoes.

Mormons On Parade!

This cartoon was made under the auspices of the Mormon Church in the early 1970's to explain some of the more obscure aspects of Mormon Belief to children. Since then, it has become an object of cult entertainment. The ideas expressed in the film are still held by the Mormons, but they now have said that this is not what they meant. In other words, in the true tradition of Conservative religious freaks, when confronted with their own idiocy, they just deny they ever said it.

The Mormon Religion is a totally America phenomena. It was started in Upstate New York by a charismatic preacher, Joseph Smith, who started his own church in the 1830's. He claimed an angel came to him and gave him golden tablets with the scripture of Mormonism inscribed on them in a language only he could read. These sacred tablets contain The Book Of Mormon.

Smith's church became controversial when the husbands and fathers of his mainly female congregation became outraged because of the sexual nature of Smiths ministry.
He was literally run out of town. He did have a group of followers and they were polygamists. They settled on Great Fox Island off the coast of Michigans' Leewanaw Peninsula in Lake Michigan. They existed their for a few years in a rocky relationship with the predominately Irish Catholic Fishing settlement on the island. When the Mormon men began to recruit from the wives and daughters of the Fishermen, the Islanders retaliated in a bloody massacre of the Mormons. The Mormons again began to wander across the midwest and started off shoot religions before finally migrating to Utah and founding Salt Lake City under Brigham Young.

The Mormon community in Utah was a religious police state under Young. The Mormon doctrine continually evolved during this period, but it wasn't until the early part of the 20th century that Polygamy was actually challenged when Utah became a State.
Many Mormons went to Mexico, including the Romney family, to escape the anti polygamy laws. That fact was revealed when during the Republican Primaries, it was revealed that Mitt Romney's family were technically illegal aliens who had renounced Ameican Citizenship. Of course, Mitts father, George, became governor of Michigan during the 60's, but the Republicans hadn't made illegal immigtration a water shed issue at the time.

The metal plates that Smith discovered are never shown. The last experts who were allowed to examine them deduced that they were pieces of a pewter tea pot that had been taken apart and scratched with symbols.
The church was taken to task because of their doctrine that purported that blacks were not human. They since amended the Book of Mormon and now allegedly allow black members.

There is a lot of speculation about secret rights and the Mormon Sacred Underwear is a real thing. When they come of age, they are given a special garment which they can never take off. The underwear supposedly has protective powers.

Now we have seen the Mormons extend their polittical clout beyond the borders of the State of Utah in fighting for California's Proposition 8, making "Gay Marriage" unconstitutional. They spent upwards of 20 million dollars to influence the Californian voters, mostly in a last minute ad campaign designed to affect black and hispanics. When there is protest against the Mormons, specifically for this political activity, they try to claim religious persecution.

Mormons have now become a cultural joke as a result of their overbearing intervention into politics. They went from an obscure, "misunderstood" religion that most people had heard of but didn't know much about, to one of the most depised groups in America that is now the butt of everyone's jokes! How's that religious imperialism going for you guys? Here's a recent, October 17th, news itemFrom the Independent:

They've tried noisy protests, consumer boycotts, and the odd act of minor terrorism. Now supporters of gay marriage have unveiled a new weapon in their war against the Mormon Church: satire.

The creators of the cartoon South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are planning to stage a Broadway musical based on the lives and (many) loves of typical members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

It will be co-written by the composer Robert Lopez, who wrote Avenue Q, the award-winning musical which sends-up another all-American institution, Sesame Street.

Cheyenne Jackson, an openly-gay Broadway star who appeared in the film United 93, said this week that he has agreed to play the lead role, a Mormon missionary, in the show, which is currently being work-shopped and is slated to open in 2009.

Spirit Of St. Louis Blues

A few posts back, I featured the "talking" steel guitar playing of Pete Drake who had played on so many hit records from the 50's up to the 1980's.
But here is another guitar innovator, Alvino Rey and his big band from the hay day of Swing. Alvino's chosen instrument was a very special pedal steel guitar and he could make it talk and sing. He was playing up until the 60's, when he was featured on the King Family Variety Show with his talking guitar.
Here, he even used a pretty hilarious animated "guitar" puppet to be the voice of his talking guitar.
The vocalist, the guy with the funny hat is Skeets Herfert.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

White Trash Moment of The Week

Let's cut away to KOTC News in Savannah, Georgia for a special report on a woman who has had to endure the indignity of having a negro family move in next door.
She was arrested by the police for throwing boric acid on her black neighbors.
She says she didn't do it, she even has a t shirt that says she didn't do it....
She even eats some boric acid to prove, as god is her witness, may he strike her down dead, she didn't do it...

The Internet Is A Series Of Tubes

Today a golden oldie from DJ Ted Stevens, the Techno Remix of his greatest hit from 2006, The Internet Is A Series Of Tubes!
DJ Ted is being forced into retirement today as Democrat Mark Begnich, the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska was fromally declared the winner of the Alaskan Senatorial election, bringing the Democrat Senate Majority officially to 58!
Ted needs the time out of office now to appeal his corruption conviction and try to avoid his 7 year jail term. HEY YAHHHH!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Project Censored

Here's a list of reading material for you. Project Censored, a media research and analysis group based at California's Sonoma State University has released the 25 Most Important Stories that are completely ignored by the mainstream media. They are:

#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
# 2 Security and Prosperity Partnership: Militarized NAFTA

# 3 InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business
# 4 ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?
# 5 Seizing War Protesters’ Assets
# 6 The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
# 7 Guest Workers Inc.: Fraud and Human Trafficking
# 8 Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly
# 9 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify
# 10 APA Complicit in CIA Torture
# 11 El Salvador’s Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror
# 12 Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
# 13 Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq
# 14 Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste
# 15 Worldwide Slavery
# 16 Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights
# 17 UN’s Empty Declaration of Indigenous Rights
# 18 Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers
# 19 Indigenous Herders and Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction
# 20 Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
# 21 NATO Considers “First Strike” Nuclear Option
# 22 CARE Rejects US Food Aid
# 23 FDA Complicit in Pushing Pharmaceutical Drugs
# 24 Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror
# 25 Bush’s Real Problem with Eliot Spitzer


A drab rainy day here in La Sechere and we took the opportunity to go to a matinee showing in Terrason of the new film, Vilaine, directed by Jean-Patrick Benes. After seeing some of the promotion on television, we were quite curious as to why this film had gotten such a reaction from the SPCA over the treatment of a cat.
The star of the film, Marilou Berry, jokingly thanked the SPCA for the free publiciityand assured the audience that she hadn't really barfed on the kitten and that she had adopted it in real life.
I whole heartedly recommend this film and believe it will achieve a cult status in very short time. This is the Anti-Amelie film!
The comedy is brilliant, sharp and surreal. It was shot in the Dordogne Town of Riberac as well as our neighboring village of Terrason, and catches the small town feel that you could never get in Paris or another big city.
The main character is Melanie, who is nice, too nice. She is a big plain girl who has a hard lot in life with a demanding mother, a domineering boss at a gas station cafe where she works as a waitress, accountant and gas pump operator and has no real life. Her best friends, a trio of coniving small town girl friends amuse themselves by playing a joke regarding a mystery man who is interested in Melanie.
One day, they go too far, in fact everyone goes too far. Melanie goes from suicidial rage to revenge. She wakes up one morning and says "NO".
The revenge is sweet and though there are a few black eyes, a warehouse of broken porcelain, destroyed romances and some gags with build ups worthy of Tex Avery, there is a happy ending. In spite of the poignant statement about race, prejudice and deportation.......
One of the funniest movies I have seen in ages!


Roddis Franklin "Pete" Drake was born in Augusta, Georgia on Oct. 8, 1932. He died in Nashville, Tenn., on July 29, 1988.

He was a record producer, record company founder and musician whose steel guitar playing was heard on hundreds of hit recordings including such gigantic chart toppers as Lynn Anderson's Rose Garden, Charlie Rich's Behind Closed Doors, Bob Dylan's Lay Lady Lay and Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man.

He played his steel guitar on five of Elvis Presley's movie soundtracks. It was estimated that he played on 38 of 48 BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) award-winning recordings in 1966 alone.

Mr. Drakes father was a Pentecostal preacher in Augusta. His brothers, Jack and Bill, later performed as the Drake Brothers. Jack was a bass player for Grand Ole Opry star Ernest Tubbs band, The Texas Troubadours, for 24 years.

Mr. Drake organized a band in Atlanta in the '50s that included future country stars Jerry Reed, Doug Kershaw, Roger Miller and Joe South. He moved to Nashville in 1959. He had his own first hit in 1962 with his "talking steel guitar" playing Forever.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Through The GOP Looking Glass

Here's a nifty little video by Bluegal from The Aristocrats blog. This was up yesterday morning on crooksandliars. This is a take on the state of the Republican party, the debacle of the Republican governors conference, which if you didn't notice was not attended by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold was on television yesterday talking about how the Democrats seem to have the ideas America was looking for regarding their future. I also heard the Govenator on BBC World radio last night talking about the California Fires. He stated that in his opinion the cycle of fires which california is experiencing in a more rapid fashion is being triggered by climate change and the time to stop playing games about global warming is over.
He did his part, playing Ah-nold the Govenator at a rally for McCain in Ohio in the last days of the Presidential campaign, but that was his only appearance for McCain.
With his rather fervent statements about Proposition 8 in Califirnia being equal to the miscentigation laws regarding mixed race marriage, and his stance on enforcing California's clean air laws, he has come under very heavy criticism from the Conservatives.
The Conservative far right has seized the brain of the Republican Party. The talking heads seriously consider Sarah Palin as the future of the party. She might make head Jeerleader, but she only delivers sound bites. Besides, after the Alaskan senatorial election is decided for Democrat Mark Begnich, she is gong to have to work hard just for her own political futue in her home state. The only person approaching the level of actually stating party strategy and trying to speak to the public is RUSH LIMBAUGH!

I'm beginning to susp[ect that Schwarzenegger might just defect, if not for his own conscience, perhaps for the sake of his marriage.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What I Am Worth

Here's a taste of New York City Bluegrass from my friend Glenn Patscha and an informal project called G Floyd Turnpike...

Glenn presents G Floyd Turnpike and takes the lead singing this George Jones tune with Larry Campbell on fiddle, Byron Isaacs on bass, Tony Leone on mandolin, and Oren Bloedow on guitar - video by Anthony Pepitone.

Glenn, Tony, Byron and Larry are members of the great American Music Band, Olabelle and have two great cds out...
I posted this to celebrate the birth of Glenn and his wife, Anna's first child Otto!
Congratulations! YAHOOO! HEEEYAHHHH!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mitch Mitchell

I found out earlier today that Mitch Mitchell, the drummer of the Jimi Hendrix Experience died yesterday in Portland, Oregon at the age of 61 of heart failure.
He was touring at the time with a Hendrix "Experience" band. Mitchell was the last surviving member of the original band. Hendrix died in 1970 and Noel redding, the bass player, died in 2003.
I posted this clip of Mitchell playing a solo at the close of a live 1969 performance in Stockholm, Sweden of Voodoo Child. The solo he plays gives a pretty good example of what Mitchell such a remarkable drummer. He was more of real jazz player than rock. He played around the beats and there was always a light agility and the ability to "converse" with the other instruments. There could not have been a more perfect player for Hendrix...His creativity was the perfect rythymic propulsion, he pushed the music and played with it in a fluid way that gave Hendrix the freedom to push himself further.
I will always remember the quote from the great Jazz/Rock/Fusion guitarist Larry Coryell, who said of the Experience, "It took a black cat to make two white guys play their asses off!"
What ever the actual chemistry was, the Jimi Hendix Experience was a band like no other. The other Super Trios of the time like Cream or Led Zepplin were creative alright. Cream played Rock like it was jazz, Led Zepplin made incredibly huge rock, that was slickly packaged...they all revolved around musical ability, imagination and ground breaking technique, but The Experience was just that and more...they were imagination beyond....
Tomorrow, I will try to get back to the present.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Theme For An Imaginary Western

I haven't quite recovered from the election of Barack Obama yet. I read the news and realize what an over whelming task this man has ahead of him. I also read the backwash of prejudice and hate that has to be over come in the United States. I wonder if the Republican Party has any idea of how to deal with it other than try to ride the monster they created....
So, today, while hauling tractor loads of horse manure for my garden, I had this song running in my head. Perhaps if you are old enough, you remember the huge hit that Leslie West's group, Mountain had with it in the early 70's.
Actually, it was originally a piece on Jack Bruce's third solo record, Harmony Row from 1971. The connection was the bass player and producer of Mountain, was Jack's friend, Felix Papalardi, who was the producer for Cream.
This version is from a set of concerts that Jack Bruce did in 1993. He plays piano and sings. A great soulful, Scottish singer, he sings from deep in his stomach, rather from the throat.
Of course, the world knows Jack as one of the most influential rock bass players of all time, most notably with Cream and unless you have followed his career, which veered away from commercially successful rock, you might never have heard his piano or cello work.
He began as a Jazz player and was actually a member of the Rock band, Manfred Mann and has returned from time to time to Jazz, but a lot of his greatest work has been with modern new music composers like Carla Bley, Michael Mantler, Kip Hanrahan and Tony Williams. I have a version of the Samuel Beckett Play, No Answer set to music by Michael Mantler which becomes a tour de force vocal performance by Bruce.
But, Jack is first and foremost known as a Rock bass player and he has written grand cinematic, technicolor music that deserves a greater audience....
There was a great video of Keep It Down on YouTube from his record Out Of The Storm, but it was disabled for embedding...a mistake, I think.
I will try to find more stuff and post it!

excuse me...

If you are commenting here, I am apologizing for enacting comment moderation.
A few months ago, I was subjected to a barrage of stupidity from a few members of a conservative, fundamentalist christian cabal who seem to have turned me into a mythological fantasy figure.
I made the mistake of interacting with them again...and now the stupidity is beginning all over again. The last time it culminated in stupid threats to place me on a "No Fly Terrorist" list because I lived in Europe and dared to criticize Bush Administration Policies.
It was a lame impotent threat made by as far as I can tell a brain damaged bigot who wastes his time monitoring the activities of the Toledo Mosque, but I don't have to put up with this crap and I won't. So Big Babe, give it up. Stop posting here everyday and whining that no one else will let you post ...I don't want to hear it either.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba

This is a live performance on Brazilian TV from 1966 by the great South African artist, Miriam Makeba. This was the song that was miraculosly an International hit in 1965. Radios all over the planet were blasting the Johanesburg Township Funk of Pata Pata!

Miriam was born in 1938 and was a succesful recording artist along with Hugh Masekela in South Africa. She came to the United States with the help of Harry Belafonte who helped her get a real record deal and recorded a Grammy winning album duet with her in 1966. She became a political figure and heroically opposed apartheid on South and sunsequently found that her passport was revoked and she could not re enter Souuth Africa for almost 35 years. She spoke against apartheid at the UN and in retaliation, South Africa revoked her citizenship. She was granted citizenship and passports by 10 other countries in protest!

Miriam became involved with radical black politics in the United States in the 1960's and married Stokely Carmichael in 1968. This was quite controversial and she found her concerts in the USA often cancelled. Miriam and Stokely moved to Guinea in Africa and they separated in 1973.

Makeba continued to perform in Africa, South America and Europe and recorded continuosly. She performed at the Ali/Foreman Rumble in the Jungle concert and then with Paul Simon in his Graceland Concert.

She remained active in African politics and became Guinea's ambassador to the UN in 1986 and won the Dag Hammarskjold Peace Prize.

In 1990, newly elected South African President, Nelson Mandela gaved her back her citizenship and asked her to come back to South Africa. She starred in the film Sarafina and recorded the 2000 Grammy Award winning Album, Homeland.

In 2005, she expressed the desire to retire, but kept performing farewell concerts and appearing at political concerts to support causes she believed in.
Last night, near Caserta, Italy, while performing at a concert for Roberto Saviano, the anti Mafia activist and author of the book and movie, Camora, she suffered an onstage heart attack and died shortly after.

A powerful, tireless voice for the cause of human rights world wide has been silenced.
Nelson Mandela said, "It is fitting that Makeba died doing what she loved best, singing."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Vendange 2008

The American Presidential Election has taken up a lot of my intellectual and emotional energy. It's over and the entire world is happy. Life goes on.

During the month of October, as for the last 7 years, I participated in the Grape harvest at the Chateau Vieux Chevrol in the Lalande Pomerol region. I would like to write a bit about that experience and I need some photos!

I worked with a great group of people this year and we all got along and cooperated on an unprecedented level...So, I am making this appeal in French and well as English...if you have photos you would like to see in the article, send them to me at my email:

Hallo aan al mijn Nederlandse vrienden die met mij hebben samengewerkt in het Chateau Vieux Chevrol in dit jaar 2008 vendange.
Ik zou graag opnieuw publiceren van een artikel over onze ervaringen samen te werken en ik moet wat foto's!
Als u een groep foto's of foto's die u zou willen hebben me bekend in het artikel, stuur ze dan naar mijn e-mailadres:
Ik ben benieuwd naar uw ervaringen!

Bonjour à tous mes amis français qui ont travaillé avec moi sur Vendanges 2008 à Château Vieux Chevrol. Je veux écrire un article sur la Vendange comme je l'ai fait au cours des dernières années et j'ai besoin de quelques photos ... si vous avez des photos des travaux, un groupe de photos ou de tout ce que vous aimeriez voir figurer, s'il vous plaît envoyez à mon e-mail:
J'aimerais avoir de vos nouvelles!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Barack Hussein Obama

As of 11am today, the count is Obama 349 electoral votes to John McCains 147...
Say it: President Barack Hussein Obama!
There, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Monday, November 03, 2008

How To Protect Your Vote

This is a video produced by the Obama Campaign which explains how votes are suppressed and how to be prepared to make sure your vote is counted tomorrow. The Republicans count on a low voter turnout to win and their sense of self righteousness empowers them to believe that winning is their right by any means neccessary. They can't steal the election from an informed electorate!

Despite all their accusations, even the McCain campaign admit they can't make the voter fraud claim stick:

For weeks, Republican leaders have warned that widely reported problems with fake voter registrations could result in a flood of phony votes in pivotal states.

But Ronald Michaelson, a veteran election administrator and member of the McCain-Palin Honest and Open Election Committee, said in an interview that he could not name a single instance in which this had occurred.

“Do we have a documented instance of voting fraud that resulted from a phony registration form? No, I can’t cite one, chapter and verse,” he said.

Which makes their accusations a form of fraud in its own right, doesn't it? One that's been falsely used to fuel "Republicans’ invocation of legal power to scrutinize voters, demands for U.S. Justice Department intervention and court orders, and criminal investigations."


As you know, I hold dual citizenship. I am an American, I live in France, but I have recently become a citizen of the country in a rather vague location somewhere near the general vicinity, anyway, Groland.
Our tiny country of utter ploucs would like to extend it's hand of friendship in congratulations for the anticipated victory of Barack Obama.
The President has even condescended to make a special presentation of his utter submissive adoration with his special message and dance!

(this was from Saturday evenings Groland Magzine...yes I know it's supposed to be Magazine, but the A fell over and they are too lazy to fix it.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Ridiculous Question....

I visited the CNN International Web page today and as I usually do, I checked their poll of the day. Todays question, which required a yes or no answer was "Are Negative Campaign Ads Really Effective?"
How would you answer this question?
To me, the obvious answer is yes. To me, it's too obvious that the main way rumors, inuendo and distorted facts get spread is through negative campaign ads.
Of course they work, when you see figures that show that 70% of the elctorate will say that they get their information from campaign ads.
Of course they work when you read and hear the inane parroting of distorted facts and empty slogans coming out of the mouths of the masses of voters.
When the ad saturation level in the campaign reaches it's ad or two at every commercial break in prime time, it becomes carpet bombing and the heads of the viewers become's like using one of those aluminum mallets to soften a tough piece of meat.
It's hard work to go and try to find out the real facts about anything.
That's why I though CNN's question was pretty lame.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Papa John Ain't Gonna Like This!

This just in, Sarah Palin gets pranked big time by Montreal Radio Comedy Duo, the Masked Avengers, who pretend to be President Nicolas Sarkozy....
The Sarkozy impersonator is so over the edge ridiculous...He wants to kill animals from a helicopter with Sarah...his wife Carla wrote a song about Joe the Plumber....
Sarah even admits to her presidential ambitions in 2016....
,,,uhhh, Marcel the Baker who rolls the bread in his armpits?
Fascinating...She's just as bizarre as you could have imagined, perhaps a bit more....

In other Palin news today, she suggests we are at war with Iran on FOX NEWS and contradicted the line of the McCain Campaign and stated that McCain will be able to balance the budget in 2009.

Corporate Welfare

...Worse Than You Could Have Imagined

Was anybody wondering how the DJIA miraculously rose by nearly 900 points yesterday on the news of the lowest consumer confidence results since that benchmark has been measured? It just doesn't make any sense unless there's some serious market manipulation going on. I asked myself what was happening and ran into something called the PPT, an entity whose very existence confirms some of my worst fears about how the world works.

Have you ever heard of the Plunge Protection Team? That's OK, until today neither had I. Officially it's called the Working Group on Financial Markets, and is a mechanism for manipulating the markets that is shockingly apposite to anything resembling free market principles - all the more so because it was set up under the Reagan administration. Wikipedia tells you what it is:
The Working Group on Financial Markets (also, President's Working Group on Financial Markets, the Working Group, and colloquially the Plunge Protection Team) was created by Executive Order 12631, signed on March 18, 1988 by United States President Ronald Reagan.

The Group was established explicitly in response to events in the financial markets surrounding October 19, 1987 ("Black Monday") to give recommendations for legislative and private sector solutions for "enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of [United States] financial markets and maintaining investor confidence".[1]

As established by Executive Order 12631, the Working Group consists of:
  • The Secretary of the Treasury, or his designee (as Chairman of the Working Group)
  • The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or his designee
  • The Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or his designee; and
  • The Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or his designee.
The current holders of the listed offices are respectively Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Chris Cox and Walter Lukken. I'm sure you've heard about the first three. I have a theory about why you haven't heard of Lukken, the CFTC's acting chairman, which I'll tell you later.

Wiki's explanation of what the Working Group is is straightforward and uncontroversial. What it does is another thing entirely. Indeed the reasoning behind the PPT epithet brings out conspiracy theory accusations:
"Plunge Protection Team" was originally the headline for an article in The Washington Post on February 23, 1997, and has since become a colloquial term used by some mainstream publications to refer to the Working Group. Initially, the term was used to express the opinion that the Working Group was being used to prop up the markets during downturns. Financial writers for British newspapers The Observer and The Daily Telegraph, along with U.S. Congressman Ron Paul and writers Kevin Phillips (who claims “no personal firsthand knowledge” and is “not interested in becoming a conspiracy investigator”) and John Crudele, have charged the Working Group with going beyond their legal mandate. Claims about the Working Group generally include that it is an orchestrated mechanism that attempts to manipulate U.S. stock markets in the event of a market crash by using government funds to buy stocks, or other instruments such as stock index futures—acts which are forbidden by law. However, these articles usually refer to the Working Group using moral suasion to attempt to convince banks to buy stock index futures.
Let's first address this idea that the characterization of the PPT as market manipulators using tax dollars is a conspiracy theory. The pertinent question to ask is "if the group cannot buy or sell stocks, how can it intervene to prop up the market?" And unless you can come up with a believable answer to that, the whole conspiracy theory idea evaporates. Which, by the way, puts you by the fire in the conspiracy camp. And me, I'm not buying the moral suasion argument, so pass the coffee please.

Anyway, the recent $700 BILLION government intervention in the banks renders the question moot. Having a direct interest in the banks through the TARP program, the government can directly intervene in the markets through something rather less moral than mere suasion. And all apparently with nothing approaching meaningful oversight.

Unlike Wikipedia, this extremely persuasive article from makes no bones about what is really going on in the markets. Note that it was published last Saturday, before the inexplicable Dow Jones Miracle occurred. The author, Ellen Brown, was responding to the fact that Wall Street somehow managed to weather the storm relatively speaking on Friday after "Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell nearly 10% during the [previous] night, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 8%, and Germany’s and Britain’s fell 5%".

Traders prepared for the worst, but remarkably, disaster was averted. The U.S. market fell only 3.5%, just another “ordinary” bearish day.

Why the more modest drop in the U.S., where the financial debacle originated and should have hit hardest? Suspicious observers saw the covert hand of the Plunge Protection Team (PPT), the group set up under President Reagan to maintain market “stability” by manipulating markets behind the scenes. Bill Murphy commented in
“Today the Muppets on CNBC were remarking how well our market acted, not falling apart as expected. All day long they spoke of how our market was acting differently today than every other stock market in the world. Well hello, the other countries don’t have a PPT, which is WHY our market is so different.

“There are those who might think what the PPT is doing is right. What they don’t realize is their making ‘Everything is fine’ for so long, and not allowing the market to trade freely . . . like allowing the stock market to fall the way it should, has kept the individual in the market . . . when they might have been SCARED out some time ago.”
In response to Bill Saporito’s comment in Time it might be countered that Henry Paulson’s Plunge Protection Team is quite adept at rigging an economy. The difference between an acknowledged socialist state and the stealth socialism we have in the U.S. today is that in a socialist state, everyone expects the market to be rigged and operates accordingly. In a rigged pseudo-capitalist economy, investors are easily separated from their money because they expect the market to follow “free market principles” based on “supply and demand.” They are seduced into “pump and dump” schemes – artificial manipulations that allow insiders to unload stock at a high price or buy it at a low price – because they trust in Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” which is supposed to automatically set things right in a market left to its own devices. The market today is indeed controlled by an invisible hand, but it is not necessarily serving the interests of small investors.
To quote more of this article might go beyond fair use, and I would anyway be tempted to quote the entire thing, so instead I will urge everyone to read the whole thing, maybe twice or more, because it does get pretty technical. Most important is that you understand what a 'pump and dump' scheme is, and that it always favors the big player and milks everyone else. The idea that the government is using your tax dollars to help transfer wealth out of small player's (such as retirement investment accounts) hands into the pockets of the already obscenely rich should eventually sink in.

As Ms. Brown lays it out, it's a case of "Plunge Protection for Some, Plunge Creation for Others." Her home-page (promoting her book Web of Debt) contains some excerpts from the book, which must have been published about a year ago - there are reviews from November of 2007. There is little doubt that she saw then what is happening now. And it don't look good.
To keep up appearances, the "Plunge Protection Team" has been authorized by presidential order to use U.S. taxpayer money to manipulate markets to make them appear healthier than they are, and lately it has been working overtime. But official assurances of a "soft landing" are mere window dressing, aimed at preventing another worldwide depression as home buyers and stock market investors stampede for the exits.
It's particularly galling that this brand of corporate welfare is going on while the McCain campaign rails on about Barack Obama's socialism. Apparently it's not the idea of the government redistributing wealth that bothers them, just the fact that it's going to someone who actually needs it. Anyway, it's all business as usual under the crony capitalist operating principles of the Republican Corporate Feudal State. Socializing the losses while privatizing the profits.

This whole story should give you the right to call BULL-SHIT!! to any Republican who ever opens their mouth and lets the words 'free market' emit from it, in perpetuity. It's worth a read if for no other reason than that.
Oh, and I said I'd tell you why you've never heard of Walter Lukken, didn't I? It's simple. He's the head of the CFTC, whose mandate under the Commodity Exchange Act is to prohibit fraudulent conduct in the trading of futures contracts. A regulatory agency. If you had heard of Walter Lukken it would have meant that he was doing his job. Which might have meant that this economic meltdown would never have occurred. Like the OSM that purportedly regulates the mining industry, or the EPA that supposedly protects the environment, the CFTC has been reduced to an office with one guy doing crossword puzzles and playing paddle-ball all day - regulators are the Maytag repairmen of the Bush administration. Business. As. Frickin'. Usual.


I was in the BricoMarche the other day buying plumbing stuff...I'm installing a new outside water line and this song came on in the background....
I think about this piece of music a lot and when it came out in 2003, OutKast became my favorite band for a few months. The mix of humor and politics, the line between rock and hip hop...Andre 3000 was pretty out there, but he stayed on the tightrope and never misssed a beat!
I wanted to post the video, because OutKast had some of the best videos...making fun of racism, white and black culture, the present and the past from a hip intelligent outsiders point of view. I couldn't because all the official videos are protected from embedding...a mistake, I think, but here's a live performance from the David Letterman Show from 2003, right before the song broke big time!
What's cooler than cool? ICE COLD!
The Riff, the beat, the words all make you wanna shake it like a polaroid picture!