Friday, October 31, 2008
Actually, the French Holiday is tomorrow, November 1, La Toussaint, All Saints Day.
It really is one of the biggest Holidays of the year for the French. Traditionally, everyone goes back to the place their family lives and honors the dead. Graves are cleaned and the cemetaries are spruced up and everyone buys chrysanthemums, lots of them and the graves are all decorated. It is a time of family reunion.
La Toussaint is a major holiday in most traditionally Catholic countries. It changes with the culture, but basically it is a day of family and honoring one's ancestors.
In Mexico, families go to the graveyards and have picnics and there is a few eleborate dishes that are associated with the custom. Traditionally, a apart of the meal is prepared for the ancestors. The children have special treats including the famous decorated skulls made out of sugar. The skulls seem to be very much related to Aztec imagery.
Today, I took my dog, JJ for a walk in the forest that surrounds me and brought a plastic bag in anticipation of discovering the mushrooms that seem to appear around La Toussaint, Les Trompette des Morts (Craterellus Cornucopioides). Yes, the translation is the Horns of Death.
A very alarming name for a very delicious member of the chantrelle family. The little trumpets grow in leaf litter on the forest floor and once you discover one, if you start to rally look, you will discover hundreds.
They are dark brown/black with an ashy grey outer surface and stem. They are impossible to mistake for any other mushroom, except for another member of the chantrelle family, not as common, the Chantrelle cendree, which is equally as delicious.
They have a faint odor and and a full mushroom flavor with some of the fruitiness of the yellow chantrelles. They dry extremely well and I have found that drying seems to enhance their flavor. When you want to use them, just rehydrate them in warm water.
The water can be used to enhance the flavor of what you are cooking, like a mushroom boullion.
I found almost a kilo today before it started to rain and perhaps I will return tomorrow and find more. There are a lot of different ways to use them in cuisine. In French country cooking, they are often referred to as "The Poor Man's Truffle." You can use them in pates and terrines, but they are not the same at all as a black truffle. You can use them to stuff a veal or pork roast. Take a pork or veal roast, and slice into it horizontally and make it into one flat piece...unroll it as it were, then cover the surface with the Trompettes and roll it back up and tie it up.
One recipe I intend to make tomorrow is a Risotto.
It's fairly simple. You will need for 4 people:
30 grams of Trompette Des Morts dried...
15 grams of Butter
400 grams of Arborio Rice
A glass of dry white wine
1 liter of hot boullion...beef or chicken
30 grams of parmesan cheese
This takes around 50 minutes. First rehydrate the mushrooms in some warm water for 10 minutes and dry them. Chop the onion finely. Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion and let it saute until the onion is clear, do not brown it. Add the rice and let it cook with the onion in the butter until it is all coated with the butter. At this point, add the glass of wine.
Then add a some of the boullion, let it cook until it is absorbed, then add some more.
The addition of the boulion is the only really touchy part...some times you have to add more, sometimes less. You want the rice to be a little toothsome or "al dente", not cooked to a mush.
When the rice is almost done, add the mushrooms and the parmesan cheese.
The cheese melts into the rice and sets it a bit as it cooks a bit longer.
Serve this hot with some parmesan on the side.
Bon apetit, bien sur!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
What a day here in La Sechere! I woke up to howling winds and a driving snow storm!
I took out the dog and brought in fire wood. I remembered the siningia plants hanging from the well...they seemed to be all right and I brought them in.
The snow turned to rain and here at the end of the telephone lines at the end of the road in the middle of nowhere special, lately, whenever it rains, our phones and internet go out. When the rain stops, the internet comes back on.
So, today was a day with out internet or phone service.
I watched Cat On A Hot Tin Roof dubbed into French this evening and then, a few minutes ago, voila! the lines started to work again.
So, tonight, I want to post a piece of music from 1965, the great punky classic, "Liar, Liar" by the Castaways. This is a particularly classic performance from the movie, It's A Bikini World....
I'd like to dedicate this to RONL, the Presisdent of the Young Republican Club of New York City who took time from his busy life as a trust fund elite cocktail drinking conservative snob, to visit me on my filthy little blog here and tell me that Barack Obama was a terrorist, even though the Woods Foundation which had Obama as a board member, gave about $700,000 less than the Foundation that was chaired by John McCain, the International Republican Institute, to the phony official McCain terrorist of the week, Rashid Khalili's Foundation, the Center for Palestinian Research and Studies.
RONL, you are officially a LIAR, LIAR! Now, let's all dance!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sure, if you want to throw phony labels around, Socialism, Terrorism, Communism based on innuendo and fear mongering...because that is a tool of fascism. The fascism of fear that McCarthy used in America in the 1950's for political gain...create fear and exploit it. It works, for a while.
Create fear based on projecting your desires on your opponent. The Republicans attempted to run our goverment using bullying tactics. They had a majority in Congress and wanted total control. With the spector of just the opposite occuring in the Tuesday Election, they are trying to raise the fear of One Party Police State over and over again.
But let's talk about fear and fear mongering. When you have no ideas except for the desire for total control, the best way to achieve the end is to scare the shit out of people by playing on their basest instincts.
The McCain campaign tried hard to establish a link between Bill Ayers and Barack Obama in the publics mind based on the loosest of associations. Yes Obama and Ayers both sat the board of the Woods Institute. When that didn't seem to be working, Sarah Palin began using the plural...instead of a terrorist, they became terrorists.
They needed another terrorist so they picked an associate of Barack Obama , a professor at Columbia University, Rashid Khalidi. He is a Pro Palestinian activist who founded the Center for Palestinian Research and Studies. he was a Chicago Resident and lived near Barack Obama.
Yes, Khalidi is criticized by Israel for his views on Palestinian Rights and the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. That hardly makes him a terrorist.
But in 2003, Barack Obama attended a going away party for Khalidi and there was a video tape made of the party and now, the McCain Campaign is demanding that it be turned over to them for use as proof that Barack Obama has indeed another terrorist connection, thereby justifying Sarah Palins use of the plural. There is a link between Obama, Ayers and Khalidi in so far as The Woods Institute gave Khalidis Organization a grant of $70,000.
The LA Times, which reported the existence of said tape, now says that the tape does not exist. The McCain Campaign is whining that this is just another case of media bias towards Obama. (Editorial note, for the record, anytime the media doesn't kiss his withered buttocks, John McCain whines "Media Bias".)
Now inspite of the tenuous and patently ridiculous connection, Senator McCain is trumping up the labeling of Khalidi as a terrorist and touting his friendship with Obama at rallies to prove to crowds of his "base" that "That One" has terrorist sympathies and connections. Rudy Guiliani is using the grant to Khalidi to "prove" that Obama funded terrorism....
So the base leaves his rallies full of even more lies and full of righteous patriotic rage.
The result? Today in Wilmington, North Carolina, Obama supporters were attacked by crowds leaving a rally by enraged patriots screaming "Terrorists, Communists, Socialists!" The Obama supporters were rescued by the police and claimed they would have been severely beaten.
Reality rears it ugly head....In 1993, John McCain became the chairman of the International Republican Institute, the same year that Khalidi founded the Center for Palestinian research and Studies. During the late 1990's, McCain's IRI donated almost a million dollars to Khalidi for the work he was doing. The tax returns for the IRI donations of $448,873 in 1998 and $389,621 are available at Huffington Post and this was reported today by ABC's Jake Tapper.
Deny reality, lie to seize power, manipulate the masses with fear, have I missed anything?
We had a nice frost here last night and the plants in the vegetable garden which survived the early frost we had at the end of September looked pretty bad after the temperature rose this morning...so I pulled up the peppers, the eggplants and most of the zuchinnis. We still have lettuce in the little greenhouse.
It was a bad year for fruit, except for strawberries and raspberries, but tree fruit all got zapped by a late frost in April. No plums and the figs never got ripe this year.
I dug up the beets. They were very nice looking. I sliced one in half and put it on the scanner to make this image.
Then, I grated the other half, which was fairly huge and made a vinagrette of wine vinegar, oil and a table spoon of Dijon mustard.
I peeled an orange and cut the slices up and mixed them and the juice with the grated beet with a handfull of chopped parsely. To top it off and really spice it up, I picked a few handfulls of nasturtium blossoms. If you have never eaten nasturtium blossoms, now is the time to try them. They are peppery and sweet, nasturtium leaves as well have a peppery flavor and a real surprise in a salad.
The grated beet orange mixture was in a bowl with the nasturtium blossoms on top. A truly esthetic fall salad that was as good to eat as beautiful to look at!
Bon apetit, bien sur!
McCain Rally, Pottsville, Pa, October 27, 2008.
At the Keystone Progress blog where this video was posted, in the comments section there was a comment by a person sho attended who said that it was a really beautiful display of patriotism and America.
I guess you should have been there.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
(this is reprinted from The Harpers Weekly Website)
Does Sarah mean a state:
* That snatches its victims off the street, denies them all form of legal process and whisks them away to secret “blacksites” where they can be tortured using all the techniques described in Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon?
* That arrests and prosecutes its political adversaries for imaginary crimes so as to eliminate them from the running in election cycles in which they could do some damage?
* That destroys the careers of professional military men because they got promotions under a prior regime and therefore considers them disloyal?
* That believes it can detain and hold its enemies forever without any charges or any evidence against them, denying them access to courts to prove their innocence?
* That constantly manipulates the population’s fear whenever its public popularity slips and elections begin to approach?
* That believes that it can make no errors, and that those who point to its errors are traitors?
* That systematically spies on millions of its citizens in direct violation of a criminal statute which forbids such surveillance?
* That signs new laws with its fingers crossed in the form of signing statements, so that no one knows whether the laws—or any part of them—will actually be enforced?
* That lies to its people about threats from abroad in an effort to build popular support for a series of wars and then cites the existence of those wars as a reason to suppress dissent?
* That nationalizes the debt of predatory capitalists so they suffer no punishment for their misconduct and then nationalizes major financial institutions, converting the nation’s free market system into a socialism in which crony capitalists are a privileged elite?
Sarah, you have no need to fear the future.
(*anthropological note: about midway into Palins rant, you can hear one of her supporters scream "He's a nigger!", referring to Obama. Palin obviously reacts as if she hears it, but just keeps on trickin' with her rant of hate! Here's the exchange:
Palin: Obama...Barack Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes. The lessons I believe we have taught our kids would start to erode. Those lessons about work ethic, hard work being rewarded and productivity being rewarded...
Female yelling off-camera, in audience:
And he's a ni***r!
Palin: And...and......lessons about, um, the virtues of freedom and independence while being generous and compassionate with others.
...the reason why I feel this is important is because the lying meme of taxes and socialism that the Palin/McCain has chosen to push is so obviously racist. It panders to the mushy racist stereotypical fantasies of the image of Obama taking hard earned white dollars and giving them to lazy welfare cheats....that's the underlying reason why they have chosen this particular lie to base their dishonest false campaign on!)
Monday, October 27, 2008
As America lurches into the final lap of this presidential race, the real test, the real battle begins. As we have seen in early voting incidents throughout the country, the voting process is severly flawed and compromised. There have been a rash of voting machine incidents reported already in early voting in West Virginia and a few other states regarding the ivote machines all flipping democrat votes to republican repeatedly. The election and company officials all describe these as "callibration problems" that occur when the machines are moved, by I think it is a very valid question that if it is a simple problem of callibration, why do the reported errors always favor the the republicans?
We have seen the White House involved in an unprecedented manner in attempts to force the Republican parties attempts of voter disenfranchisement in a number of states most evidently in Ohio, where they asked the Secretary of State to ignore the courts ruling regarding the culling of voters from the lists.
The pressure on the Secretary of State doesn't end with the White House. There have been death threats made to the Secretary by the deranged empowered threatened racist base of the republican party.
We have seen this racial intimidation on the streets already as voters line up to cast their early ballots in Southern states. Crowds of jeering rabble hurl racial threats and insults at black voters in South Carolina and Florida.
I believe this time, these actions only make the voters feel that their vote is more important. The feeling that this is the culmination of decades of the civil rights struggle is empowering voters to stand in the face of resistance and take the time to stand in line and fight for their right to vote!
I am almost waiting for the Bush Administration to invoke its special emergency powers and call the National Guard to halt the elections because of rain, but they still have a one play left in their tired tattered playbook.....
Last night on Al Jazeera English, I saw a report that American forces had violated Syrian territory and raided a village 8 kilometers inside Syria. Eight Syrians were killed including 2 children. Today, I read a full account of this incident with statements by the American Military and accounts of people injured in the raid. The Americans do not deny that this occurred and even justify the reasons they did it.
In the American press, I have yet to see any reportage of this incident other than reports that an alleged "explosion" occurred in Syria. The NY Times reported that the American and Iraqi officials deny any involvement.
This is pretty strange in my book and a text book example of how incidents have been manufactured in the past to be exploited for political gain by the Bush Administration.
Syria will respond, I don't think they will do it in an aggressive fashion, but they will make their case in an international forum against America.
I fully expect that as these events spin out, the administration will create a situation for John McCain to act "presidential" with information fed to him that will make him appear to be more "in the loop".
Is America ready to swallow one more "Hail Mary Pass" from this sham of a campaign which will allow McCain to jumpo a few pathetic polling points in the last days of this election, or have we finally had enough?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Last night I was watching the great French/German Music program on the ARTE Network called One Shot Not. It's hosted by the French Drummer, Manu Katche who seemsa to have played with almost everyone. There is always an ecletic line up of artists and a lot of chances for the musicians to play togather in new and unexplored configurations.
Lat Year, I first saw the British Band, Friendly Fires and I was very impressed. Last night, they performed a few songs and I was transfixed. They had progressed so far so fast. The singer had a a raw power, a hugely expressive voice and an unself concious stage presence like a hyper active 12 year old. Really some of the most original dancing I've seen in a while.
I haven't had such a visceral reaction to a band since I first saw Gang of Four back in the late 70's.
This was one of the songs they performed...Paris.
I like how the sequenced mechanical guitar part in the verse seems to fracture the intense rythmn into sonic prisms. Then the release of the chorus.....
I think these guys will be around for a while!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here's a Rock The Vote spot by two of my favorite artists of all time, the guitarist/performance artist known as Buckethead, who I have featured here on thebrainpoliceas well as my all time bass playing and style idol, Mr. Bootsy Collins.
Of course, Bootsy and Buckethead have been playing together for years now. They came to work together in Bill Lazwell's Praxis Project. Bootsy and Buckethead have worked with Lazwell for over 15 years now.
Buckethead as a player defies classification, at home in jazz and heavy metal and other genres, he has pretty much kept his face hidden for years including the time he spent playing with Guns and Roses.
Bootsy, well, if you don't know....The player of the epoch, Bootzilla, the smooth space ghost, they call him Caspar...He has taken the bass guitar where no man has funked before...He started playing when he was 16 and found himself working with James Brown when he was 18, playing on James seminal funk hits of the 70's.
When he quit the JB's, every one quit...He formed a band with his brother Catfish and they ended up becoming part of George Clinton's Parliament Funkadelic thang...
I just found out that he played drums on the Parliament Hit of the early 70's, Flashlight!
So this morning, the post woman drove up and stuffed a package in my mailbos and I opened it and found my very own pair of BOOTSY Mirrored Star Shaped Sunglasses!
A special gift from the nastiest master of the dozens, the evil genius of the backwood, Mr. Politeness. I put them on, I scared my dog, but my wife said that they were made for me! Thank you Mr. P!
Here's a piece called Jordan by Buckethead and Bootsy. I believe Bernie Worrell plays synthesizer and keyboards with the drummer known as The Machine.
It's pretty cool because it has a very dry live sound...very simple super bizarro mutant funk rock!
I am appalled.
This idiot woman, this blind, shortsighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the international research community. You damn well better believe that there is research going on in animal models — what does she expect, that scientists should mutagenize human mothers and chop up baby brains for this work? — and countries like France and Germany and England and Canada and China and India and others are all respected participants in these efforts.
Yes, scientists work on fruit flies. Some of the most powerful tools in genetics and molecular biology are available in fruit flies, and these are animals that are particularly amenable to experimentation. Molecular genetics has revealed that humans share key molecules, the basic developmental toolkit, with all other animals, thanks to our shared evolutionary heritage (something else the wackaloon from Wasilla denies), and that we can use these other organisms to probe the fundamental mechanisms that underlie core processes in the formation of the nervous system — precisely the phenomena Palin claims are so important.
This is where the Republican party has ended up: supporting an ignorant buffoon who believes in the End Times and speaking in tongues while deriding some of the best and most successful strategies for scientific research. In this next election, we've got to choose between the 21st century rationalism and Dark Age inanity. It ought to be an easy choice.
In the last post, I presented Director Ron Howards sincere and entertaining endorsement of Barack Obama. When I went to the Laugh or Die website where the piece was posted, I was amazed at the vitriol in the McCain supporters comments on the video. A litany of every lie and distortion and variations fueled by pure racial fear.
This is what the McCain Campaign has degenerated into. We saw it really come to fruition in Pennsyvania with the story of the McCain campaign worker who filed a false police report stating that she had been robbed and then mutilated by a black Barack Obama supporter who tried to carve the initial B into her cheek.
When the story was first reported, it was picked up by the Drudge report which fed it to the McCain canpaign and they released their embellished version of the story.
The conservative blogger, Michelle Malkin had the sense to warn her readers that the story didn't ring true and cautioned abouttrying to make too big a deal out of it before the facts were in.
Of Course, Fox News...oops FOX OPINION, just ran full steam ahead with the editor of Fox News making the statement that if the story were true, it would be the death of Obama's campaign and if it were false, it would be the end of John McCain.
Now we know that the story is false. A hoax perpretrated by a disturbed young woman who had a history of bizarre behavioral incidents. Unfortunately, we have yet to hear from FOX OPINION. They are content to let their phony race baiting reportage go uncorrected and even though it has been reported as a hoax in all of the mainstream media, like every rumor or distortion fed to the public by the McCain/Palin hate machine, it has taken on a life of its own.
The video above is a McCain rally, yesterday in Colorado. The crowd is whipped up, full of the emotional racial fear that this degenerated failed candidate is using to fuel his dismal hopes of collecting votes on November 4th.
I am reallyy beginning to feel that the ultimate goal of McCain, now is a bitter revenge powered attempt to deny the legitimacy of an Obama presidency. He can't steal the election so he will steal the victory by insuring that the America will have the raw open wound of unleashed violent racial fear and hate to deal with on top of all of the other problems our next president, Barack Obama must deal with.
Maybe McCain thinks he is building his "base'. I think he has condemned himself to the blackest pages of our modern political history.
Friday, October 24, 2008
has posted a great piece on Patriotism, Real Americans and the Reactionary Right!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
socks and underwear and went grocery shopping...it took all day.
My brain has been affected by all of this Republican Hate Stuff so while I was driving,
I started to play the Dozens...you know, the Yo' Mama So Ugly, Yo Mama So Fat
Put Down game? It's a creative art form and maybe you can help me out here....
Here's a few to get us started:
Yo mama so fat, she thinks the G8 is a Value Meal.
Yo mama so fat, her biography is called "The Audacity of Hardee's.
Yo mama so fat, she thinks sub-prime is a steak cut.
Yo mama so fat, McCain refers to her as "Those Ones."
Your mama so fat, when they asked which menus she reads, she said "You know, all of 'em."
Yo mama's so ugly, Obama said "You can put lipstick on a pig and it would look a lot like yo mama on dollar margarita night."
You moms so fat ACORN registered her to vote *three* times.
Yo moms so fat Russia can see her from *their* house.
Yo mama such a ho, the tab for the federal bailout plan is "700 billion dollars, plus fifty cents to have sex with yo mama."
Yo mama so stupid she tried to arrange the genres on her iPod to put Country First.Yes, I know you can do better...sure you can....
This is a piece from 1968/69? from British Television by the performer, P.J. Proby.
Proby was legendary in the United States, he rarely played in America, though he was Elvis Presleys brother in law and actually begain his career doing the the tracking vocals for Presley with Sun Records...he would record the demo tracks that Presley would use as a guide for the final version.
Proby was an over the top performer who created hysteria when he appeared and was banned for his suggestive antics and reputaion for serial trouser ripping on stage.
He went to England where he enjoyed an immense success in the mid 60's and had a big hit with a Lennon/McCartney song, It Means A Lot.
This piece, You Can't Go Home Again was recorded as he began his real descent into obscurity, he was an alcoholic and drug user and took a toll on his voice.
He never really lost the voice, an incredible over the top instrument, in fact he recorded a record in 1968 with the fledgling Led Zepplin as his back up band, with Robert Plant on Harmonica and backing vocals.
Proby had a very bad reputation in the States and only really had one big hit, but it was a great record, Niki Hoeky in 1967. It was a pretty funky cajun horn fueled dance hit.
Proby disappeared for years, he still played but remained a figure known more by his reputaion. Then in thte mid 90's he cleaned himself up and began to perform again, voice pretty much intact and he is still going strong today.
Below is an audio only with a montage of pictures of Niki Hoeky.
Representative Robin Hayes, who prefaced his comments by saying it was important to “make sure we don’t say something stupid, make sure we don’t say something we don’t mean.” Republicans, he reminded the crowd, were kind people. Plus, he added, the liberal media had shown itself eager to distort such remarks. With the crowd duly chastened and put on best behavior, he accused Obama of “inciting class warfare” and said that “liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God.”
After Minnesota Republican Representative Michell Bachmann's appearance over the weekend demanding that the UnAmerican Congressmen and Senators be investigate, in a beyond McCarthyism display of ignorant intolerance (anyone who doesn't think like her is not American?) her opponent recieved almost $750,000 in campaign contribution is 18 hours. Her quote was used by Colin Powell as one of his reasons to make his endorsement of Barack Obama.
Madame Bachmann did the only thing an honorable Republican could do under the circumstances: She denied ever having said the words that were broadcast to millions of people. If you are intersted, I have the video here on thebrainpolice, scroll down and look at the post, Planetary Head Lice.
Now, North Carolina Representative Robin Hayes is attempting to do the same thing after his hateful comments at a McCain Rally yesterday in North Carolina as the Hate Talk Express rolled through the state.
Maybe his opponent will get a boost in his attempt to unseat this bigot. Follow the directions on the screen!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
"In honor of George W. Bush, the Federals Reserve will be producing a new dollar bill with his portrait on it.
Of course it will be worthless and you will automatically start committing a crime the first time you try to do anything with it."Thank you Mr. Engineer for this very timely announcement....
I have been trying to understand how trhe meltdown of our economy actually occurred and I realize we are only in the first phase of the disaster. The second phase starts when the massive credit card payment default factor kicks in.
We have heard the Republican analysists weigh in with their simplistic explanation that it was the lower middle class and poor of America who defaulted on mortgages they should never have been allowed. They would prefer that we look as far as Fannie Aae and Freddie Mac and no farther. This really is the classic "blame the poor, I',m all right, Jack" approach they have always used in an attempt to deflect the blame for most debacles, including Hurrican Katrina by blaming the defenseless victims.
Here is a portion of a recent exchange between Mike Taibbi and The National Reviews, Bryon York about this perception and how it is wrong, wrong, oh, so very wrong!
M.T.: So how are you feeling about McCain's chances today?
B.Y.: I've just finished an article for National Review — the actual magazine — about the headwinds McCain faces. I was going to look at three, and then I started to list them. I stopped at ten. New Gallup numbers out today show that George W. Bush's job approval rating remains at 25 percent, while his disapproval rating has ticked up to 71 percent. How hard is it to succeed a two-term president of your own party who is at 25-71? We don't know because it's never been done.
M.T.: Yeah, that's a damned shame, too. I feel really badly for the guy. I suppose you think the media coverage is also a headwind?
B.Y.: Actually, I did not list media coverage among the headwinds. I listed the succeed-a-two-term-president problem, the right-track/wrong-track problem, the Republican-Democrat-enthusiasm gap problem, the Republican-Democrat-I.D.-gap problem, the financial meltdown, Iraq, Republican gloom on Capitol Hill, Obama's fund-raising advantage, and McCain's historical problems with the GOP base.
M.T.: But all of those "headwinds," or almost all of them, are the direct result of McCain having supported policies that are now unpopular. There is absolute justice in his facing a "headwind" from the financial meltdown, from the unpopularity of the Iraq war, and so on. How is that a "headwind"? That's just self-created unpopularity.
I mean, his onetime campaign co-chair and top economic adviser, Phil Gramm, basically created the credit-default-swap market back in 2000. Why shouldn't he get hammered on the financial crisis?
B.Y.: Did I suggest that headwinds are unfair? But on the financial meltdown in particular, if you're suggesting that that is a Republican creation, or even more specifically a McCain creation, I think you're on pretty shaky ground.
M.T.: You don't think the unregulated CDS market was a major factor in the current crisis? Were you watching when AIG almost went under? Were you watching the Lehman collapse?
B.Y.: I think that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also major factors. And I believe that many of the problems in the mortgage area can be attributed to the confluence of Democratic and Republican priorities: the Democrats' desire to give mortgages to people, particularly minorities, who could not afford them, and the Republicans' desire to achieve an "ownership society," in part by giving mortgages to people who could not afford them. Again, I believe that if you are suggesting that the financial crisis is a Republican creation, or even more specifically a McCain creation, I think you're on pretty shaky ground.
M.T.: Oh, come on. Tell me you're not ashamed to put this gigantic international financial Krakatoa at the feet of a bunch of poor black people who missed their mortgage payments. The CDS market, this market for credit default swaps that was created in 2000 by Phil Gramm's Commodities Future Modernization Act, this is now a $62 trillion market, up from $900 billion in 2000. That's like five times the size of the holdings in the NYSE. And it's all speculation by Wall Street traders. It's a classic bubble/Ponzi scheme. The effort of people like you to pin this whole thing on minorities, when in fact this whole thing has been caused by greedy traders dealing in unregulated markets, is despicable.
B.Y.: I was struck by the recent Senate testimony of James Lockhart, who is head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, about the sheer recklessness of Fannie in recent years. Despite "repeated warnings about credit risk," Lockhart testified, Fannie became more reckless in 2006 and 2007 than they had been in the scandal-ridden tenure of Franklin Raines (who departed in 2004). In 2005, Lockhart said, 14 percent of Fannie's new business was in risky loans. In the first half of 2007, it was 33 percent. So something terribly wrong was going on there, and it became a significant part of the present problem.
M.T.: What a surprise that you mention Franklin Raines. Do you even know how a CDS works? Can you explain your conception of how these derivatives work? Because I get the feeling you don't understand. Or do you actually think that it was a few tiny homeowner defaults that sank gigantic companies like AIG and Lehman and Bear Stearns? Explain to me how these default swaps work, I'm interested to hear.
Because what we're talking about here is the difference between one homeowner defaulting and forty, four hundred, four thousand traders betting back and forth on the viability of his loan. Which do you think has a bigger effect on the economy?
B.Y.: Are you suggesting that critics of Fannie and Freddie are talking about the default of a single homeowner?
M.T.: No. That is what you call a figure of speech. I'm saying that you're talking about individual homeowners defaulting. But these massive companies aren't going under because of individual homeowner defaults. They're going under because of the myriad derivatives trades that go on in connection with each piece of debt, whether it be a homeowner loan or a corporate bond. I'm still waiting to hear what your idea is of how these trades work. I'm guessing you've never even heard of them.
I mean really. You honestly think a company like AIG tanks because a bunch of minorities couldn't pay off their mortgages?
B.Y.: When you refer to "Phil Gramm's Commodities Future Modernization Act," are you referring to S.3283, co-sponsored by Gramm, along with Senators Tom Harkin and Tim Johnson?
M.T.: In point of fact I'm talking about the 262-page amendment Gramm tacked on to that bill that deregulated the trade of credit default swaps.
Tick tick tick. Hilarious sitting here while you frantically search the Internet to learn about the cause of the financial crisis — in the middle of a live chat interview.
B.Y.: Look, you can keep trying to make this a specifically partisan and specifically Gramm-McCain thing, but it simply isn't. We've gone on for fifteen minutes longer than scheduled, and that's enough. Thanks.
M.T.: Thanks. Note, folks, that the esteemed representative of the New Republic has no idea what the hell a credit default swap is. But he sure knows what a minority homeowner looks like.
B.Y.: It's National Review.
For all of my Christian Fundamentalist readers who drop by once and and while, I would like to dedicate this performance of Putty by Wayne County and The Electric Chairs.
Wayne, or Jayne after his official sex change was one of the rauchiest real punk rockers of New York City. The Electric Chairs rocked.
It took real guts to get up on the stage in full drag and rock like Wayne did...
I was looking for some footage of Wayne with his electric tiara which lit up and said Dave Clark Five in little lights.
This performance was from 1978 at the hight of Waynes performing prowess.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Now, breath deeply, Mr. Buchanan just endorsed Barack Obama live on television in front of an international audience.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I am publishing this leaked sequence from the Simpsons which will be broadcast nation wide on Tuesday, November 4, Election Day.
I published it 2 weeks ago when it first became available, in the sequence, Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama, but the electronic voting machine keeps switching his vote to John McCain....When he starts to complain, screaming, "This can't happen in America! Maybe Ohio...", the machine sucks him into a tube and he wakens as the poll worker is putting an I have voted stamp on his forehead.
Well.....again, satire becomes reality, this time and article from the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette.
On the first day of early voting, people who voted for Obama watched in amazed horror as the machines repeatedly switched their votes to John McCain as well as other Republican candidates for State offices.
When the people who noticed what had occurred complained, the workers said "to hit the button a few times" a few hit the button more than a few times and the same thing happened.
The West Virginia Election officials explained this was just a glitch that could occur when the machines are moved out of storage and they need to be recalibrated.
What ever the explanation, it does not even begin to explain why we are trusting our elections to unsecure, hackable technology supplied by companies like Diebold with extremely close ties to the Republican party and the religious right.
This is why I believe the real battle of this election will occur on Election day at the polling stations all across America.
Please, when you vote, make sure your vote is the one you intended! Do not let this election be stolen....The dream of the Republican machine is for a squeaker, because they have it all in place to create the magic number 51.2%.
I have already voted on a paper ballot.
Here is a 1966 television performance by The Four Tops with their massive hit, Reach Out, I'll Be There. This song demonstrates the the arching ambition of the Dozier/Holland song writing team. The production and arrangement is riveting evidence as to why this period of Detroit's Motown Label was the forefront of the Black Renaissance of Soul Music. With the crack rythmn section and moonlighting menbers of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Motown created music that bridged genres and was able to become symphonic. This is American Classical Music!
The Four Tops were the premier group of the labelat a time when their label mates included Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha and The Vandellas, The Supremes and The Temptations among many others and here they are at the top of their game, smooth, powerful, articulate perfection.
The lead singer here, is Levi Stubbs. A powerful voice that fueled many hits. Levi did a lot of commercial work and was the voice of the man eating plant in the 80's stage musical and movie version of Little Shop of Horrors.
The Four Tops continued to have hits into the 80's and performed with Levi Stubbs as late as 2006. They have been recently voted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the #84 greatest group of all time.
Levi Stubbs died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 72.
Michelle Bachmann is a disgrace. This was one of the most disturbing hate-mongering things I've seen on t.v. Even Matthews seem stunned by her diatribe.
Her opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, just got named to the DCCC's Red to Blue. We need to help him defeat her. Bachmann is way under 50% -- only up by 4 points in a poll reported yesterday by Politico:
POLL OF THE DAY: Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann leads Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg by a slim 42-percent-to-38-percent margin, according to a Grove Insight poll conducted for the DCCC.
In other news, the dangerously deranged vice presidential hopeful and full time nitwit, Sarah Palin said that "She enjoyed visiting parts of the country that really loved and supported America."
When pressed to clarify exactly what parts of America Sarah was talking about and to explain what parts of Amnerica didn't support and love America, the Palin/McCain campaign tried to explain that she was clearly talking about small towns.
Ohh, okay....that's what she meant, it's all so clear now.
Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."
President-elect Bush vows that "together, we can put the triumphs of the recent past behind us."
"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."
Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.
During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.
"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"
On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.
Wall Street responded strongly to the Bush speech, with the Dow Jones industrial fluctuating wildly before closing at an 18-month low. The NASDAQ composite index, rattled by a gloomy outlook for tech stocks in 2001, also fell sharply, losing 4.4 percent of its total value between 3 p.m. and the closing bell.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I guess it's no wonder John McCain was so happy to use "Joe the Plumber" as a debate prop last night -- he's a partisan Republican who also happens to be a member of McCain's old friends, the Keating family.
From Martin Eisenstadt:
Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.
Now I guess we know why Joe is telling the press that Obama is a "socialist" and that the Obama tax plan "infuriated" him. After all, it would hit families like the Keatings and their minions the hardest.
Not to mention that Obama's economic-recovery plan would put the crimps on influence peddlers like McCain's old friends, the Keating Five.
This comedy series is brought to you by the McCain Campaign, the same fine folkd who brought you the Lady Lynn Forrester de Rothschild Redneck Comedy Hour, The Carly Fiorina Golden Parachute Follies and the Hit Mini-Series, Honey, I Shrunk The Economy starring Phil Gramm.
Uhhh, by the way Joe, actually Samuel Joeseph, maybe this might be a good time to take care of the back taxes you owe the State of Ohio, and before someone actually notices, you just might want to apply for a real plumbers license to work legally as a plumber in the State of Ohio....and, well, I didn't want to mention the messy little divorce thingy with the battered wife....but....
Here we are with the happy denizens of some where in Pennsylvania on October 11 at a sarah Palin Rally. Now, I lived in America for 50 years, I've watched up close as the population mutated into a generally shapeless form which considers ingesting giant kosher dill pickles injected with creamcheese and then battered and deep fried, "normal".
But at some point you have to wonder, does it cause massive brain damage?
Does the habitual abuse of Sarah Lee products induce dramatic loss of intelligence in a population? Has anyone done a study?
And while were are at it, how does America define the term racist? Here is a little piece from Al Jazeera which has been following the Palin/McCain campaign around America.
Here we are in my old State of Ohio asking people at a Palin rally what they think about Barack Obama. I love these folks, but left unchecked, they have the same relationship to the planet earth as head lice.
I am making my re entry into this very nasty reality. When I left on October 4th...the use of the fact that some contracted workers for ACORN had probably submitted false names for voter registration was just beginning to be used by the Republican Smear Machine to suggest that it was the tip of an imaginary conspiracy to steal the election.
ACORN recieved lists with some falsified voter registration affidavits. They were legally bound to submit all names that they recieved to be registered. The Republicans took this fact and ran with it and created scenarios of minority groups being bribed with cocaine to register and any number of twists of this theme and then tried to link it as a plot by the Obama Campaign. I seem to remember the California GOP being guilty of this exact thing in 2006 and the actual tactics of voter suppression of Ken Blackwell in Ohio, where he disqualified voter registrations based on things like the weight of the paper....well, can I ask the question, "Why is the suspicion of voter fraud so much worse than the actual proof of real fraud?"
ACORN has also been blamed for the economic meltdown on Wall Street using even more bizarre lines of illogic.
I spent the last 10 days gleaning info from BBC World Service. I heard a little about the campaign but I spoke to a very international group of people and every one had the deepest desire to see Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
The consensus was of very deep concern that Sarah Palin could even be given the slightest acknowlement of competency by Americans. "What is wrong with these people?"
was a question I was asked daily.
Today, I turned on my computer and was almost in shock from the avalanche of hate spewing forth from the fall out of the Palin/McCain Campaign. Not that I didn't expect it.
I have a deeper respect for Senator Obama for being able to keep his dignity and seemingly good humor. I see his stature rising as he remains calm in this tidal wave of craziness his opponents have unleashed in the more lunatic fringe of their party.
In response to being asked to explain the hate in his party, I read that David Frumm,
The Republican strategist and ex Bush speech writer actually said that he considered satiric humor treasonous. (I would like to recommend that Mr. Frumm visit this website and scroll around and click on the various objects, NOW!)
I can only quote Alice Cramden, the great American philospher who once said to her blowhard husband, Ralph, "Now that you've filled up your gasbag, BUZZ OFF!"
The video is from few years back when John McCain thought ACORN was a great American organization and tried to shake a little action from their tree.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Here's something else to watch while I'm haulin grapes! 1983 video by Rodhey Dangerfield...Rappin Rodney!
I was such a Dangerfield Fan...I was personally ridiculed by him at his old club on 1st Avenue and 61st Street in New York. After the show, he came over and apologized to me and said "No Hard Feelings" and I told him it had been a high point in my life!
Rodney has been dead for 3 years, but I believe his web page, Rodney.com, lives on and there is still a joke of the day!
Every once in a while I have to do this. This a video collage that was recently made in homage to the Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention song which inspired the name of this blog, Who Are The Brain Police?
It was released in 1965 on the double album Freak Out.
I thought it was a snappy little ditty at the time and I still do.
I am taking an approximately 2 week break to work on the Vendenge at the Chateau Vieux Chevrols, where I have worked for the last 7 years tending 20 hectares of grape vines and then harvesting them. During the Vendenge, the grape harvest, we get up around 6:30 am and are in the fields by 8. I enjoy being a porter. I carry tons of grapes every day on my back. I have written about the vendenge for the last 2 years and hope to do it again this year. We are an extended family...an international group...Dutch, English, French, Moroccan, Algerian...and an American.
While I am there I am out of touch with most media, including the internet.
Don't do anything funny while I'm gone.
Friday, October 03, 2008
SARAH PALIN’S 18 LIES IN LAST NIGHTS DEBATE:
1. FANNIE MAE/FREDDIE MAC: Palin said “it was John McCain who pushed so hard with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform measures,” but fact checkers say that’s “Quite A Stretch” And “Barely True,” and that McCain was a “latecomer” to the discussion.
2. FUNDAMENTALS ARE STRONG: Palin tried to say “John McCain saying our economy was strong” but McCain has used the phrase “The Fundamentals Of The Economy Are Strong” At Least 16 Times This Year.
3. PARTISAN POLITICS: Palin said McCain is “known for putting partisan politics aside to just get the job done,” but he has voted with Bush 90% of the time in the Senate and bragged about his support for Bush on important issues.
4. TAXES ATTACK: Palin repeated the attack that Obama voted for higher taxes 94 times, which the New York Times says is “false,” CNN says is “Misleading,” and FactCheck.org says is “inflated.”
5. TOBACCO REGULATION: Palin said to “look at the tobacco industry” as an example of McCain pushing for even harder and tougher regulations. But McCain opposed expanding the SCHIP children’s health insurance program for 5.8 million children because it would increase tobacco taxes.
6. SPENDING INCREASES: Palin said Obama is is proposing “nearly a trillion dollars in new spending,” but didn’t mention that he has also proposed cuts to balance it out, an attack CNN has already debunked as “misleading” and that ignores the far larger cost of McCain’s tax cuts and spending hikes.
7. HEALTH CARE: Palin claimed Obama’s health plan is “government run” which has been widely debunked as a “canard.”
8. HEALTH CARE. Palin says taxes wouldn’t go up under the McCain health care plan, a fact even his own campaign has acknowledged isn’t true.
9. TROOPS: Palin repeated what the AP called the “highly misleading” attack that Obama opposed funding for the troops, and Factcheck.org notes that the same methodology would lead to the same conclusion for McCain.
10. GLOBAL WARMING: Palin said “I don’t want to argue about the causes” for global warming, when she has clearly taken the position that she doesn’t not believe it is man-made.
11. MCCAIN IS CONSISTENT: Palin said McCain” doesn't tell one thing to one group and then turns around and tells something else to another group,” when that is exactly what he has done on immigration, telling Hispanic leaders he was for comprehensive reform instead of the enforcement focused approach he has taken with conservatives.
12. MCCLELLAN NOT MCKIERNAN: Palin referred to the US commander in Afghanistan, David McKiernan as “McClellan.”
13. MCKIERNAN ON “SURGE:” Palin said that [McKiernan] did not say a surge wouldn’t work in Afghanistan, when just yesterday he said “The word I don’t use for Afghanistan is ’surge,’ ” McKiernan stressed, saying that what is required is a “sustained commitment” to a counterinsurgency effort that could last many years and would ultimately require a political, not military, solution
14. KILLING CIVILIANS. Palin said “Obama had said that all we're doing in Afghanistan is air raiding villages and killing civilians and such a reckless, reckless comment and untrue comment again hurts our cause. That's not what we are doing there.” Unfortunately, the Associated Press says that Obama was right in discussing a critically important point about avoiding civilian casualties.
15. TEACHING: Palin said we need to make sure “that education in either one of our agendas, I think, absolute top of the line,” when McCain has repeatedly favored tax cuts for the wealthy over funds for more teachers and class size reduction.
16. PARTISAN APPOINTMENTS: Palin said “You do what I did as governor. And you appoint people regardless of party affiliation. Democrats, independents, Republicans, you walk the walk, don't just talk the talk” when she repeatedly appointed friends and supporters to positions for which they weren’t qualified.
17. FOCUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Palin falsely claimed that she was the first governor to form a climate change subcabinet, when at least 28 states had already taken action.
18. DARFUR DIVESTMENT: Palin claimed that “when I and others” found out that the state had money invested in Sudan that “we called for divestment,” when the reality is that Palin’s
appointees worked to kill a Dafur divestment plan.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
You might say that was the beginning of a crime spree. We were robbed and the robbery continued. We had our sense of a secure democracy stolen from us.
Maybe most important, we had our sense of our own morality stolen from us. Sure, in spite of what we would like to believe about ourselves, America was a false front of morality. We meddled in the affairs of other goverments and selfishly promoted ourt own economic interests by supporting dictators, but usually in secret.
When this adminsitration overthrew the Geneva Convention and endorsed torture as a national policy, we crossed a line on the moral compass. The need for conventional morality was derided by the president and those in power as a matter of policy.
We had our faith in the rule of law, the notion that the Constitution, our founding document, contained principles which must be adhered to. The very existence of Guantanamo, it's lawlessness and barbarism became a Kafkaesque nightmare where a suspect could disappear for years with out a trial or even being allowed to know what he was specifically charged with. With this, our judicial system was robbed of any right to say they were any different than the Star Chamber of the English Monarchs.
In tthe 1970's we learned about the goverment surveilance of artists, ciivil rights, feminist and anti war activists. There was an outcry and Congress responded by restricting domestic spying on American citizens. With the Bush Adminisration's warrantless surveillance program, our basic right to not be spied on was stolen by our goverment.
With the suppression of any real discussion of climate change, trying to treat it as if it was an imaginary hoax, the thwarting of stem cell research and the FDA's negligence in strictly testing products, we were robbed of 8 years of cutting edge research on environmental and medical challenges and the real emergencies that face us.
What Bush wanted most, it would seem was to steal the idea that goverment could help or support its citizens. The aftermath of Katrina brought this home with images of people stranded on roofs, people stuffed into the convention center and left to rot. This reinforced the notions of the priveleged that they did not have to contribute to the Common Good. Our sense of being connected, having a common interest to which we should all contribute was stolen.
Other presidents have lied to us...Nixon and the bombing of Cambodia, Reagan and Iran-Contra, Clinton and Lewinsky....none have ever conducted such a full head on cynical soviet style propaganda campaign against its own people as George "WMD" and "Mission Accomplished" Bush.
Much of this propaganda was aimed at women. While Laura Bush went to Afghanistan to show her concern for womens oppression, her husband was busily closing the White House's office for Womens Initiatives and Outreach, removing info about issues like pay equity and childcare from the Labor Department's website and posting bogus claims about the "link" between abortions and breast cancer on the National Cancer Center Website.
Now at the end of his term, we are stuck holding the bag as his policy of ignoring the reality of a corrupt financial market system comes home to roost. The very sense of who we are and what we could become as a nation has been stolen from us.
This time in our history shall always be remebered as Our Stolen Years.
Leaked Simpsons Sequence...
I thought you might be in the mood for a little comedy...actually soem pretty explosive comedy from my favorite American Hero, the great Buster Keaton.
This is Cops, a movie from 1921 which he wrote and directed and of course starred in performing physical gags beyond the imagination of mere mortals.
It's in three parts and the jazzy sound track doesn't always work, but this is a great movie!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.Palin treads carefully between fundamentalist beliefs and public policy (Los Angeles Times)
Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks," recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.
You can learn more about this startling revelation and the real truth about dinosaurs and bible babes in my earlier post, 8000BC!