Saturday, February 28, 2009
A very beautiful taste of spring in the Dordogne today, and all too brief because we are in for a week of rain. I have exhausted myself between my wall work, cleaning the garden chores, getting ready to repaint the shutters, keeping up with my very silly dog and biking...that's the hardest part. Getting started after a winter of telling myself that it's too cold or wet or grey. So today, I biked to St. Robert and back.
In the garden, the raspberries are beginning to show some bud action. I see rhubarb coming up and tulips, daffodils and little early irises are blooming.
I have some subjects I'd like to explore later, but not now, perhaps you'e enjoy this great instrumental version of the Beatles classic, A Day In The Life by the master, Jeff Beck with his 21 year old Australian Bass player, Tal Wilkenfeld.
This live performance was from the Crossroads Festival in 2007.
Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code's religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds.
Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage.
To get a better handle on other associations between social attitudes and pornography consumption, Edelman melded his data with a previous study on public attitudes toward religion.
States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behaviour."
"One natural hypothesis is something like repression: if you're told you can't have this, then you want it more," Edelman says.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Here they are all in one big smash package, the golden oldies talking points that warm the hearts of Conservatives of all ages! Now sung for the first time all on one great smash hit collection by Republican heart throb, Bobby Jindal. Snap these hot numbers up because you will never hear them sung like this again! Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime chance to hear Bobby and his big hits... The Magic Magnetic Levi-train To Sin City! and who can forget his number one with a bullet, Katrina Was A Democrat!
They left her to bleed to death when they realized their mistake. They tried to cover their tails by planting drugs in the womans home and then threatening an informant to make him give false testimony to justify the warrant. The full story is available with the link. The article was titled:
Atlanta Police Look To Restore Trust After Drug Raid Killing
The trio of officers was involved in a Nov. 21, 2006, drug raid at the Neal Street home of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston.Do you think they rooted all the bad apples off the force?
She was killed by officers after they used a no-knock warrant — obtained with falsified evidence — to storm into her house in search of drugs an informant had inaccurately told them were inside. Apparently thinking the officers were robbers, Johnston fired a shot through the door. Officers responded with 39 shots, five or six of which struck her.
The officers initially sought to cover up their actions in obtaining the warrant, but their story eventually unraveled. All three pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate Johnston’s civil rights.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
So I was carefully dismantling a collapsing stone wall today that I intend to rebuild and this song starts playing in my head....You know how it is? You kind of remember a song and you want to sing it but you don't really remember it? The kind of thing that could drive someone listening to you nuts....
Pico And Sepulveda, a number by Johnny Figueroa and his Orchestra from the 40's, but it entered my conciousness by way of the 1980 movie, The Forbidden Zone. The Forbidden Zone is a movie that was made by Richard Elfman, the brother of composer, Danny Elfman and scored by Danny when he was leading the band, The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo, before he did the Pee Wee Funhouse music, before the Simpsons or Batman movies.
The Forbidden Zone was an amateur film with a shoestring budget, tacky animation sequences and a cast that included Herve Villechaize, Suzy Tyrell, Viva, The Kipper Kids and many others. The plot cannot be described, but it is brilliant 16mm surreal kitsch. Something about the 6th Dimension, Jewish wrestlers, Squeezit the Chicken Boy and a girl named Frenchie. Somewhere there is a video of Danny Elfman and the Mystic Knights performing Minnie the Moocher with Danny as the Devil singing before chopping off the head of Cheezit the Chicken boy....if I can find that.....
I understand that that The Forbidden Zone is available on DVD now. Just a suggestion.
Nigel Haskett spent a month in a bospital after being shot being a good samaritan. He stopped an assault in the McDonalds he worked in and the person he ejected from the establishment shot him in the stomach. He has no insurance and over $300,000 wortth of medical bills.
His emplyer, McDonalds contends that his injuries were not connected with his job and they are not liable to pay compensation for his injuries.
Nigel Haskett is undoubtebly a hero. Watch the video and the story.
What is the message that is being transmitted by the actionss of McDonalds?
If we see a crime committed and we feel we can intervene, or a crime on the premisies of the place we are employed, are we obliged to let it happen?
Is McDonalds making the intervention in a crime, or a heroic act that results in an injury to an employee on their premises a liability for the individual?
Is this the ultimate amoral brush off and corporate skinflint irresponsible cheap jackshit act?
I haven't eaten in a McDonalds since 1983 and I will never ever eat in a McDonalds as long as I live. Consider it.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Earlier this month, I posted a piece called Time To Tear The Roof Off Gitmo which spoke about the insane plight of British Janitor, Binyam Mohammed and the chain of events which led his rendition, torture and imprisonment in Guantanamo and the circumstances around the American Goverments reluctance to have the real lack of evidence against him revealed in British Courts.
The case against him was a nightmarish farce, a black comedy barely imaginable by a fantasy horror author. Under medieval torture, he admitted looking at a satirical website which published an article that occurred in Rolling Stone Magazine by their food editor that gave ridiculous instructions for making an atom bomb in your kitchen.
At the time of the article, Mr. Mohammed was on a hunger strike in Guantanamo, a last ditch attempt to draw the worlds attention to him or die in the process.
For the last 2 years, bloggers have been working to draw attention to cases like this.
The blog BoingBoing has been spearheading the attempt to bring Binyam Mohammeds story to the attention of the world.
The video is part of an ongoing series by BoingBoing on the rendition campaign by the United States, this episode focuses on the diaries of Binyam as read by his brother. The subject matter could be extremely disturbing as he details his torture.
Today, the world listened and as a direct result of the campaign to reach Barack Obama's ear, Binyam was returned to the United Kingdom as a free man.
Here is Binyams statement today that he made through his lawyer on his return to England:
I hope you will understand that after everything I have been through I am neither physically nor mentally capable of facing the media on the moment of my arrival back to Britain. Please forgive me if I make a simple statement through my lawyer. I hope to be able to do better in days to come, when I am on the road to recovery.Statement from ex-Guantanamo detainee Mohamed
I have been through an experience that I never thought to encounter in my darkest nightmares. Before this ordeal, "torture" was an abstract word to me. I could never have imagined that I would be its victim.
It is still difficult for me to believe that I was abducted, hauled from one country to the next, and tortured in medieval ways — all orchestrated by the United States government.
While I want to recover, and put it all as far in my past as I can, I also know I have an obligation to the people who still remain in those torture chambers.
My own despair was greatest when I thought that everyone had abandoned me. I have a duty to make sure that nobody else is forgotten.
A lot of people worked hard to accomplish this, but the fact that it was a deed that could be accomplished is evidence that the world can change and is changing. One tiny step for blogs and a giant step for mankind.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I saw this clip on France24 last night and then found it on YouTube today. Is this what could well become a harbinger of things to come in the United States? The Irish today marched en masse to protest severe cuts in the form of a pension levy on public sector workers. Teachers, nurses, police officers, civil servants and construction workers are bearing the brunt for an economic collapse, largely brought about by a property bubble which burst, while the largest banks received billions of euros in bailouts or were being forced to nationalize rather than collapse. Reports say "the plan could cost the 350,000 public sector workers between 1,500 euros and 2,800 euros [$3600 US] a year". As one protester put it:
“My family will be down 500 euros ($628.8) a month because my husband and I both work in the public sector,” said Sheila O’Shea, a primary school teacher who was also protesting at education cuts that have hit classes for special needs children.
“There is absolute burning vitriol that we feel at the savage way they have hit the most vulnerable in society.”
(Does any of this sound familiar?)
The so-called Celtic Tiger had the highest GDP growth of any european country throughout most of this decade. In 2009 their economy is projected to actually contract by -4.0%. In a nation of only 4 million, over 1500 lose their jobs each day. January had the highest monthly level of unemployment claims since records began in 1967.
I find the Republican opposition to the Stimulus bill a form of willful ignorance of the real feelings of the American people which are beginning to emerge from a long, long period of hibernation and denial. The attempts to racially divide Americans and to use boogeyman lables like socialism to stir up opposition to the bill by the Republicans is beginning to have more and more of a boomerang effect.
Only today, Burger King caved into the reality that they had to allow their employees to Unionize or pay the penalty...It's a house of cards with a delusional foundation.
Very early 60's, Salvador Dali is able to create as near as surreal reality TV as we will ever see. What is more surreal is the level of wit and sophistication that was displayed by the panelists on this show. Could this level of intelligent communication and playful humor ever exist again in popular media? Huh? Deal Or No Deal!!!!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
At least that's what the little signs in front of the cheeses in the displays read. Those Toulousans have a wild sense of humor. It wasn't until we looked at the label that we saw that the actual name of the cheese was Trou de Cru. I bought a few of the small slightly slimy amber colored objects, the size of a ratther large cork. The cheeses were in little paper "cups" like little cupcakes.
Upon reading the label, I found that the cheeses were made in the Bourgonge at the Berthaud Fromagier, which I already knew as the premier mark of Epoisses, which I consider one of the best cheeses on the planet. I read more about the Trou de Cru and found that it is considered a "mini" epoisses, but because of the small size, it ripens much faster. It is highly fragrant.
If you are not familiar with Epoisses, it is a raw cows milk cheese which is made the same way as a Munster, but it is "washed" during in affinage with marc instead of salt water. Marc is a clear grape alcohol.
The Epoisses develops a flavor that is influenced by the alcohol, but it has a taste of hay and a slight floral scent, but let's be frank, it stinks.
The Trou de Cru is made the same way and has the same flavor and odor, but perhaps more so. Perhaps this is why the inhabitants of Toulouse, where I bought the cheese have lovingly bestowed the name Trou de Cul........
I was in Toulouse to accompany my nephew who was flying from there back to England where he was to catch his flight back to Thailand. We decided it would be fun to go to Toulouse for a day and stay the night.
It was pretty easy and now we wonder why we hadn't done it before. We took the SNCF from Brive la Gaillarde and were at the Gare Matabiau in a little more than 2 hours. The station in Toulouse is a classic grand beaux arts building and it seems to be theatrically placed, set apart from the city across the Canal du Midi, which cuts through the town. The canal is a working waterway with locks.
I had been to Toulouse in 1999, stranded there for 3 days after the Tempest shut down the trains and wreaked havoc as I landed there 2 days after Christmas. It was cold and grey and I was concerned about getting out of the cheap hotel I was staying in and the city was torn up with construction. I was surprised at the hordes of tacky prostitutes that seemed to be running amok all through the part of the city I was in.
This time, the sun was shining and Toulouse revealed itself as one of the most beutiful cities I have ever seen. It has the name La Ville Rose because the architecture is primarily red brick, as most of the cities in the region. Limestone was used with the bricks to give variety. The bricks are arranged in endless patterns. The use of bricks started before 1000 ad, so the full range of styles are well represented.
Toulouse was and is a very wealthy city. I found the Toulouse of 2009 to be a very hip, affluent place, but at the same time it seems to mix the classes through out the inner old city. There are old and poor, young and rich, business and culture all existing together.
I found a well recommended hotel with a double room for under 40 Euros a night. It was bare bones, but quiet, comfortable and clean.
The city has hundreds of restaurants. Toulousans seem to be very gourmand. The region is famous for Cassoulet and charcuterie. The saucisse de Toulouse is a standard throughout France and of course as much of the cuisine of the southwest, there are many dishes and ways to cook geese and ducks. I really enjoyed my visit to the L'Halle, the huge market at the Place Jean Jaures, which is where I bought the Trou de Cru. Across the street from tthe market place, we found a very lively scene at a Bistro named Le J'go...kind of a Franglais pun...Gigot...a leg of lamb...J'go...I go there...
We made reservations and went there and I had Gigot and beans, my wife had the Porc noir...which was probably the best grilled piece of pork I have ever tasted. Not a place for vegetarians, but I whole heartedly recommend this lively modern bistro.
The daylight hours were spent walking and enjoying the architecture. The incredible almost surreal Cathedral of St. Etienne, an asymetrical building like nothing I have ever seen, has incredible stained glass and a baroque interior.
Then there is the the Basilica Saint-Sernin which is a massive red brick structure, that evolved over 400 year period. The below the Basilica is a haven for used book stores on the Rue de Taur. The entire old city is a warren of medieval streets and lanes, with entries opening into interior courts of great dwellings, all in the individual style of Toulouse through the ages.
I hadn't intended to write a travelogue of Toulouse, but, I was so over whelmed by this great historical city, where the old language of Occitan still lives, that I had to share a little bit. I know that I will plan to spend much more time there the next opportunity I get.
Monday, February 16, 2009
We have a house guest and I'm very much occupied with being a good host to a long lost nephew visiting from Thailand! So, instead of writing, I am posting this cut from 1972 of a live performance by Roxy Music of the piece, Every Dream Home A Heart Ache.
An Aching, sinsiter, 4 chord surreal evocation of the emptiness of modern life addressed to an inflatable doll. Agaim, music out of time, with performace interation between Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno as Brian "plays" Phil's guitar solo by altering as it is played with the reel to reel recorder live on stage.
I am reminded that the singer and lyricist of the song, Bryan Ferry was an art student who studied under the British Sureal/Pop collagist Richard Hamilton who created a piece of pop art collage in the mid 60's by the same name.
I will try to post more tomorrow...
Saturday, February 14, 2009
A bit of history, before 1980, Afghanistan produced 0% of the worlds opium. In 1986, they were producing 40% of the world’s heroin supply and by 1999, they were churning out 3,200 tons of heroin a year. That is not opium, the 3,200 tons represents the amount of refined heroin, the finished product and in 1999, that was nearly 80% of the worlds total market supply.
But then something unexpected happened. The Taliban rose to power and by 2000, they had destroyed nearly all of the opium fields. Production in 2001 from Afghanistan was only a mere 185 tons, a 94% reduction.
The same dramatic shift in the worlds production had occurred in the 1970’s. Most of the worlds opium and heroin had come from the “Golden Triangle” of Southeast Asia. Today, though there is opium products trafficked from the region, it is negligible and the governments of the region either have eliminated it of in the case of Burma, strictly control it for thier own profit.
In the late 70’s the Afghani opium culture was very negligible and there was no heroin production. Within 2 years, Afghanistan was producing 60% of the heroin sold iin America.
The number of addicts in the Pakistan-Afghani border region went from near zero in the late 70’s to 1.2 million in 1985, a rise much steeper than any other nation.
At the same time, the flood of Afghani heroin was inundating Iran, which has one of the largest per capita rates of heroin addiction in the world now. The heroin also was being channeled into Russia with the assistance of the Russian Mafia. Russia now has a huge heroin addiction problem.
Much has been written on the involvement of the CIA as a force in the Afghani and the world heroin trade going back to the early 80’s with the funds provided by the illicit drug taffic as a source of revenue to what jas been called “our dark shadow government”.
The CIA allegedly pumped 2 billion dollars into Afghanistan through Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence during the Soviet Occupation as a way to create the heroin industry as a way to fund the Afghani resistance.
CIA assets controlled this heroin trade. As the Mujaheddin guerillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin labs.
In May, 1990, as the CIA operation was winding down, The Washington Posst published a front page expose revealing that Gulbudin Hekmatar, the CIA’s favorite Afghan leader was a major heroin manufacturer.
The Post argued, in a manner similar to the San Jose Mercury’ News later report about the Contrra Affair, also a drug linked espionage deal, U.S. officials had refused to investigate charges of heroin dealing by its Afghan Allies ‘because U.S. narcotics policy in Afghanistan has been subordinated to the war against Soviet influence there.”
So, I guess, we “inspired” Afghani heroin production.
I am trying to provide a little background to consider the events taking place in Afghanistan now. The apparent disavowal of the Karzai presidency and the corruption of his regime by the Obama administration and what comes after?
I would like to explore the involvement of the Karzai family in the heroin trade. The family controls Kandahar Province, the major area of production. I would like to touch on the involvement of KBR and the Cheney connection. I would like to investigate the ways that the massive amounts of heroin actually get from Afghanistan to the streets of American cities. In spite of the supposedly extreme security measures, monitoring Afghani opium production and the vigilance of the Department of Homeland Security, the Afghani heroin still comes into America like syrup through a sieve. I will try to look at the facts surrounding the privatization of the management of Americas ports by Dubai and the corporate corruption on a worldwide scale that is a major enabler.
Most of all, after the near obliteration of the Heroin Trade under the Taliban, what caused the Miracle of the Poppies resurgence in Afghanistan in the middle of this decade?
Friday, February 13, 2009
Bad Brains live at CBGB's in 1979. The piece is Attitude and I'm dedicating it to a certain poster who would rather remain anonymous, but I'm gonna start calling Dave. It's cozier that way.
Bad Brains was the best and only reggae/thrash punk band on the planet...
There was nothing like them.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
After 9 years of an abusive relationship, Amber Cummings of Belfast, Maine shot her husband, James G. Cummings in the culmination of an escalating incident of domestic violence in a home filled with guns, a variety of weapons and a collection of Nazi Memorabilia. When homicide police came after Amber reported what she had done, they searched the house. The neighbors say that the house was searched for a week and during the search, on December 9,2009, The FBI became involved as they made the horrifying discovery that James G. Cummings had been constructing a dirty nuclear device and apparently intended to use it.
The material found by the FBI, in the pleasant house on a quiet street in Belfast, along with literature with directions for the construction were as follows:
four 1 gallon containers of 35% hydrogen peroxide,
uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon.
The uranium was bought from online from a United States Company, but it was not identified in the report. The peroxide and the other ingredients are the explosive materials and the ingredients needed to amplifyy the effects of the bomb.
According to his wife, Cummings had become very upset with the election of Barack Obama and decided to do something about it.
He was independantly wealthy, the benefactor of a family trust fund and was linked to white supremicist groups. He claimed to have pieces from Adolph Hitlers personal dinner ware in his huge collection of Nazi memorabilia.
According to sources, he had recently officially become a member of The National Socialist Movement.
As of last night, none of this has been officially commented on and the Department of Homeland Security refused to take calls from Maine news media. This information was supplied by the Bangor Daily News and Wikileaks.
As the brilliant creator of the long gone comic strip Pogo, Walt Kelley said, "We Have Met The Enemy and They Is Us!"
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The Capital Markets Subcommittee Chair, Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, tells C-Span how the world economy almost collapsed in a matter of hours.
At 2 minutes, 20 seconds into this C-Span video clip, Kanjorski reports on a "tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the United States, to the tune of $550 billion dollars." According to Kanjorski, this electronic transfer occured over the period of an hour or two.
Kanjorski: "The Treasury opened its window to help. They pumped a hundred and five billion dollars into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic and there. And that's what actually happened. If they had not done that their estimation was that by two o'clock that afternoon, five-and-a-half trillion dollars would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed."
"It would have been the end of our political system and our economic systems as we know it."
Monday, February 09, 2009
The upshot of the arguments was that perhaps the new American Administration might not find with holding the details of the case so important and allow it to go forward.
As it unfolds you realize what a horrid farce this truly is...
Last week, two British High Court judges ruled against releasing documents describing the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. The judges said the Bush administration “had threatened to withhold intelligence cooperation with Britain if the information were made public.”
But The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that the documents actually “contained details of how British intelligence officers supplied information to [Mohamed’s] captors and contributed questions while he was brutally tortured.” In fact, it was British officials, not the Americans, who pressured Foreign Secretary David Miliband “to do nothing that would leave serving MI6 officers open to prosecution.” According to the Telegraph’s sources, the documents describe particularly gruesome interrogation tactics:
The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed’s genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, “is very far down the list of things they did,” the official said.
Another source familiar with the case said: “British intelligence officers knew about the torture and didn’t do anything about it.”
“It is very clear who stands to be embarrassed by this and who is being protected by this secrecy. It is not the Americans, it is Labour ministers,” former shadow home secretary David Davis said. But one unnamed U.S. House Judiciary Committee member told the Telegraph that if President Obama “doesn’t act we could hold a hearing or write to subpoena the documents. We need to know what’s in those documents.”
Now, in yesterdays Sunday's UK Mail the real details of the information that sent Binyam Mohamed into this nightmare are beginning to emerge. Under torture and interrogation, Mohamed told of an article he read on line in a satirical magazine called 7 Days. The article was originally published in Rolling Stone Magazine and was called,
How To Build An H Bomb
Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, the publication’s food editor, Rolling Stone journalist Peter Biskind and scientist Michio Kaku, it claims that a nuclear weapon can be made ‘using a bicycle pump’ and with liquid uranium ‘poured into a bucket and swung round’.
Despite its clear satirical bent, the story led the CIA to accuse 30-year-old Mohamed, a caretaker, of plotting a dirty bomb attack, before subjecting him to its ‘extraordinary rendition programme’.
During his eight-year imprisonment, Mohamed has allegedly been flown to secret torture centres in Pakistan, Morocco, an American-run jail known as the Dark Prison near Kabul in Afghanistan and, finally, to Guantanamo Bay.
Last week, the High Court ruled that the 42 intelligence papers must remain secret.
However, the judges insisted they had no choice because the Government had informed them of a ‘threat’ by the US to withdraw all intelligence co-operation with Britain if the papers were published by the court.
Mr Miliband was then forced to defend the claim in the House of Commons, insisting that the US needed ‘confidence that its secrets are safe with us’.
However, details of what Mohamed told his interrogators, unearthed by The Mail, are likely to cast further doubt on Mr Miliband’s stance.
The story which apparently led to Mohamed’s ordeal could not possibly have been used by a terrorist to build a nuclear weapon. The satirical article, published in Seven Days magazine, says its authors were given ‘three days to cook up a workable H-bomb. They did and we have decided to share their culinary secrets with you’.
It adds: ‘Not that Seven Days supports nuclear terrorism. We don’t. We would prefer to die from familiar poisons like low-level radiation, microwaves, DDT or food dyes, rather than unexpectedly, say as hostage to a Latvian nationalists brandishing a home-made bomb.’
The recipe is highly detailed and plainly ridiculous. The prospective bomb maker is instructed to transform uranium gas into liquid by ‘subjecting it to pressure’, adding: ‘You can use a bicycle pump for this.’
The instructions continue: ‘Then make a simple home centrifuge. Fill a standard-size bucket one-quarter full of liquid uranium hexafluoride.
‘Attach a 6ft rope to the bucket handle. Now swing the rope (and attached bucket) around your head as fast as possible. Keep this up for about 45 minutes.
‘Slow down gradually, and very gently put the bucket on the floor. The U-235 – a uranium isotope which can be used to cause an explosive chain reaction – will have risen to the top, where it can be skimmed off like cream. Repeat this step until you have the required 10lb of uranium.’
Last night, Mohamed’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, confirmed that the article was central to claims that his client was planning a dirty bomb attack.
‘Unclassified evidence corroborates Binyam’s claims that he was threatened – at the time the White House was obsessed by the idea terrorists had access to nuclear materials,’ he added. ‘Binyam said that he told them about a website he had once seen on the internet called How To Build An H-Bomb. He said that this was a joke but they thought it might be serious.
‘I am speculating but I think this news was sent up the line to the White House, which is when the paranoia kicked in. They authorised the “enhanced interrogation techniques” against Binyam, including the rendition. This is how they made their
huge mistake, thinking he was a major terrorist as opposed to a London janitor.
‘It explains why they took a nobody and subjected him to the worst torture of any US prisoner in the past seven years.’
It's time to tear the roof off of the American Terrorist Torture Program and expose it for what it is. A crazed system of panicked wimps participating in a series of systemized human rights outrages to placate the manipulated populace of a country traumatized to believe terrorists were going to blow up their shopping malls. This was a racist driven horror committed upon another human being for petty revenge. This is beyond an embarrassment, this is the utter cowardly collapse of human morality.
This graph represents the rate and depth of job loss in the last 2 recessions compared to the present economic "event" we are now experiencing. As you can see, the green line, which represents our current position is now sinking into hitherto unknown and uncharted territory. The source for this graph is the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and was released Friday.
The economy is currently experiencing what may be the longest recession since the Great Depression and is edging closer to another depression. In his weekly video address yesterday, President Obama argued that “if we don’t move swiftly to put” his economic recovery plan “in motion, our economic crisis could become a national catastrophe.” Despite the seriousness of the moment, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) doesn’t like the stark language that Obama is using to describe the potential consequences of inaction, telling the New York Times that Obama is using “some dangerous words“:
“In discussing with the American people his approach to the stimulus of our economy, he has first really used some dangerous words,” said Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican. Mr. Kyl added, “It seems to me that the president is rather casually throwing out some careless language.”
This isn’t the first time that Kyl has complained about Obama’s choice of words. After the Inauguration, Kyl told an Arizona radio station that Obama’s speech was “low-brow” for proclaiming “an end to the petty grievances and false promises” of the Bush years.
Remember, Republicans are the ones that got us into this mess and They have to keep reminding us that they are the only ones who can get us out!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Terje has always been one of my favorite musicians. He was a pop star in Norway in the late 60's and then evolved into a very unique jazz artist. His music evolved as he began to write orchestrally. He has written a number of symphonies but always spends time performing with a small trio as well.
This video was a surprise to me as I have never seen him play a traditional piece of music in spite of his background as a rock musician.
The next piece is good example of what Terje does now in a small trio, this is the group he has been performing with for the last few years, bassist, Miroslav Vitous, who was the original bass player for Weather report and the Mongolian percussionaist,Trilok Gurtu...the Piece is titled, The Return of Per Ulv
Unlike the 7.6% unemployment rate and $1.2 trillion deficit Barack Obama inherited, George W. Bush arrived at the White House with a federal budget surplus and joblessness at 4.2% - and no mandate. But as every sentient being outside of the mainstream media will recall, Bush promised to slash taxes for the wealthiest Americans, including an end to the estate tax (lovingly rebranded by GOP spinmeisters as the "death tax."). And despite his loss of the popular vote to Al Gore and facing a 50-50 Senate, President Bush and his team made clear there would be no search for common ground with Democrats in pursuit of the 10-year, $1.6 trillion package. As Vice President Dick Cheney put it on December 17, 2000:
"As President-elect Bush has made very clear, he ran on a particular platform that was very carefully developed. It's his program, it's his agenda, and we have no intention at all of backing off of it. It's why we got elected.
So we're going to aggressively pursue tax changes, tax reform, tax cuts, because it's important to do so. [...] The suggestion that somehow, because this was a close election, we should fundamentally change our beliefs, I just think is silly."
For his part, Bush presented the tax cuts as the cure for whatever might ail the economy, both a tasty dessert topping and a floor polish.
The Republicans went for this massive package like a pack of Shriners picking up cheap hookers at a convention in Chicago. This was fast money and easy votes for everyone! This cost America .2 trillion dollars more than the current deficit! But hell!
Who was counting? We had a surplus, baby! And when you got it, brother, flaunt it!
In other words, he was pleading his case to the delusional wimps, the cowards who believe that the only way to keep America safe is to continue his programs of institutionalized torture operating day and night for their safety, comfort and peace of mind.
His attempt to defend himself against the human rights abuses that he has been accused of and the trashing of of the document we call our constitution in his failed quest for total control is a battle he must and will lose.
I used a popular image available on the internet from AP files to create this image. I hereby donate it to the Republican party to use on door mats, toilet paper, kitty litter box bottoms and paper coffee cups for 7/11 stores.
All I ask is any profits generated from sales of this image be donated to any Prosecute Cheney for Human Right Abuses fund.
Friday, February 06, 2009
On buttons, posters and Web sites, the image was everywhere during last year's presidential campaign: A pensivelooking upward, as if to the future, splashed in a Warholesque red, white and blue and underlined with the caption HOPE.
Designed by street artist, the image has led to sales of hundreds of thousands of posters and stickers, has become so much in demand that copies signed by Fairey have been purchased for thousands of dollars on ., a Los-Angeles based
The image, Fairey has acknowledged, is based on an Associated Press photograph, taken in April 2006 by Manny Garcia on assignment for the AP at thein Washington.
The AP says it owns the copyright, and wants credit and compensation. Fairey disagrees.
"The Associated Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission," the AP's director of media relations, Paul Colford, said in a statement.
"AP safeguards its assets and looks at these events on a case-by-case basis. We have reached out to Mr. Fairey's attorney and are in discussions. We hope for an amicable solution."
"We believe fair use protects Shepard's right to do what he did here," says Fairey's attorney, Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University and a lecturer at the Stanford Law School. "It wouldn't be appropriate to comment beyond that at this time because we are in discussions about this with the AP."
Fair use is a legal concept that allows exceptions to copyright law, based on, among other factors, how much of the original is used, what the new work is used for and how the original is affected by the new work.
A longtime rebel with a history of breaking rules, Fairey has said he found the photograph using Google Images. He released the image on his Web site shortly after he created it, in early 2008, and made thousands of posters for the street.
As it caught on, supporters began downloading the image and distributing it at campaign events, while blogs and other Internet sites picked it up. Fairey has said that he did not receive any of the money raised.
A former Obama campaign official said they were well aware of the image based on the picture taken by Garcia, a temporary hire no longer with the AP, but never licensed it or used it officially. The Obama official asked not to be identified because no one was authorized anymore to speak on behalf of the campaign.
The image's fame did not end with the election.
It will be included this month at a Fairey exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and a mixed-media stenciled collage version has been added to the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.
"The continued use of the poster, regardless of whether it is for galleries or other distribution, is part of the discussion AP is having with Mr. Fairey's representative," Colford said.
A New York Times book on the election, just published by Penguin Group (USA), includes the image. A Vermont-based publisher, Chelsea Green, also used it — credited solely to Fairey_ as the cover for Robert Kuttner's "Obama's Challenge," an economic manifesto released in September. Chelsea Green president Margo Baldwin said that Fairey did not ask for money, only that the publisher make a donation to the National Endowment for the Arts.
"It's a wonderful piece of art, but I wish he had been more careful about the licensing of it," said Baldwin, who added that Chelsea Green gave $2,500 to the NEA.
Fairey also used the AP photograph for an image designed specially for the Obama inaugural committee, which charged anywhere from $100 for a poster to $500 for a poster signed by the artist.
Fairey has said that he first designed the image a year ago after he was encouraged by the Obama campaign to come up with some kind of artwork. Last spring, he showed a letter to The Washington Post that came from the candidate.
"Dear Shepard," the letter reads. "I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of my campaign. The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe they can help change the status quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign."
At first, Obama's team just encouraged him to make an image, Fairey has said. But soon after he created it, a worker involved in the campaign asked if Fairey could make an image from a photo to which the campaign had rights.
"I donated an image to them, which they used. It was the one that said "Change" underneath it. And then later on I did another one that said "Vote" underneath it, that had Obama smiling," he said in a December 2008 interview with an underground photography Web site.
Now, to me this is utter greed. I would like this to be seen in the context of the last 200 years of art, from the birth of photography, when the use of a photographic image was championed by artists like Camile Corot and Daumier or Georges Seurat...Artists who championed photography as a means to perfect their perception of reality in the mid 19th century.
Artists like Thomas Eakins who used the photograph as a method to more accuratately understand the mechanics of motion. Photography of course, in tis own right is an indisputable art form, but in so many other disciplines, like painting, sculpture and printmaking, the use of photographs that have been published to create new art is the backbone of artisitc tradition our modern world.
Andy Warhol would have been only a fashion illustrator is he hadn't been able to use images in the mass conciousness as fodder for his work.
The implications here are mind boggling to me and I think The Associated Press is crossing a line of greed which might be a Shibboleth...And to me, this means WAR!
Thursday, February 05, 2009
I didn't plan to post two music clips in a row, but propriety dictates that I pay tribute to the Legendary Punk Elvis/Werewolf hybrid, Lux Interior.
Yeah, the Cramps were psychobilly/punk primitives, but with custom styling and real cordoba leatherette padded seating for your personal comfort in the obnoxious day glo color of your choice.
This video of their performance of the piece, Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs, kind of sums it all up. Sex, violence, custom padded vinyl accessories added up to a unique style with a rockabilly beat with Lux's wife, the untouchable Poison Ivy on lead guitar.
Another great American original disappears, Lux died today of heart failure at age 60 leaving the music world a much more generic, safer place.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
I have been looking for a while at YouTube waiting for someone to post a good video of the great lost American Band, The Flamin' Groovies.
They came out of San Francisco at a time when the rest of the world on the west coast was into head trips and love beads, The Groovies were pure rock traditionalists and were proto punks as well. You only have to listen to their grunge anthem, Teen Age Head to see these guys were the basics. "I'm a monster, I'm a long-haired teen age head"
Chris Wilson, Cyril Jordan, George Alexander, David Wright and Mike Wilhelm and at times Roy Loney, were keepers of the flame, some how distilling basic rockabilly, Chuck Berry, and the sounds of the British Invasion into their own vision.
In 1976, they stylistically reinvented them selves and recorded one of the classics, Shake Some Action. The record was notable because they managed to write a body of work that captured the inventive freshness of the Beatles and the Punky Snarl of the Stones in the mid 60's and update it with great songs that some how sounded like your favorite record from 10 years earlier and truly kinetic playing.
I believe Chris Wilson and Cyril Jordan are still performing.
I would have liked to have found a real video, but this is a great live performance of Shake Some Action from the late 70's.
This from Politico:
Fresh off his stint as a war correspondent in Gaza, Joe the Plumber is now doing political strategy with Republicans.
When GOP congressional aides gather Tuesday morning for a meeting of the Conservative Working Group, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher – more commonly known as Joe the Plumber — will be their featured guest. This group is an organization of conservative Capitol Hill staffers who meet regularly to chart GOP strategy for the week.
Wurzelbacher, who became a household name during the presidential election, will be focusing his talk on the proposed stimulus package. He's apparently not a fan of the economic rescue package, according to members of the group.
I'm all for this! I've even included the black velvet painting now available on eBay! It can be yours for $250. Maybe with Joes savvy strategy, the entire Republican Party can be reduced to a black velvet painting which can be sold on eBay to fund Obama's bailout plan!
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
"OOOOOHH Rush, How can you say something so horrible in front of Little Lieberman? You're a beast! You know he's having a hard time at school!"
"Sarah, baby, I wasn't talking about Little Lieberman, I was talkin about that Obama guy"
Laugh track...muffled guffaws...
That's right folks, it's a laugh a minute with America's most loved Republicans, Rush and Sarah! You'll howl at Sarahs wacky exploits as she plots to get into the White House with and in spite of Rush's help.
Little Lieberman will warm your heart with his impish highjinks and wisecracks!
"Hey Ma! Look, I gotta waterboard! Let's get that Puerto Rican super up here and make him talk!"
Laugh track, Oh Ohhhh!
"Honey, I think Little Lieberman just wet his pants again......"
Warm Hearted laugh track
cue the theme music....
You won't be able to resist coming back each week to visit Sarah and Rush and Little Lieberman! 30% of America, uh...29%? will be waitin for you to join them watching,
I Love Lieberman!
So in an attempt to slather attention on some of the other blogs in wafting in their orbits beyond your normal habitual information grazing grounds....
Skippy The Bush Kangaroo has for the second year declared that Blog Amnesty Day (that's B.A.D. Day to you) is here again...actully, it ends as an event today, but hopefully the effects will keep on giving.
The rules are simple, pick 5 blogs you think are deserving of attention for various reasons, they should be blogs that you think have lower traffic than yours, but hey, I am not a blog elitist....and post the links. My Five Are:
The Man With The Muck Rake
Mr. Mudrake is a steadfast eloquent voice giving light to the corner of Northwest Ohio known as the Great Black Swamp
Another Expat, who lives somewhere in Italy and writes about the ethics of gun laws, crime and politics with a good dash of music thrown in as seasoning.
Trouble Every Day
A sort of brain cleaning experience from the middle of America. Surrealism that always seems to be about something. I like it and it's named after my favorite Zappa song.
The Village Green
A blog from the Akron, Ohio area by a teacher struggling to highlight ecological and education issues and politics all held together with an undying love of the Kinks.
I rarely ever agree with him, but when I do, I really do. Beyond that, what's not to like about an exbiker, single dad trying to make sense of the local Toledo political mess and still keep his Libertarian ethics intact?
(I seem to have gotten a few links from some other blogs and when I figure out who did what, I will thank them...meanwhile, the blog counter is creeping to the magic 22222 number...it's only a matter of hours!)
Monday, February 02, 2009
You can read about them at the Medicin Sans Frontieres web site.
MSF is the one organization I trust to be on the ground and get the job done efficiently with out a lot of wasteful bureaucracy and frills. They are committed doctors and technicians who have a proven record of being able to respond to an emergency and the ability to operate in the midst of the worst type of conditions.
MSF is on the ground in Gaza providing emergency medical relief and food and related services now and needs your donations. I have a number of friends who have worked as techs for MSF in Mali, Cambodia and Rwanda and can attest through personal experience as to the honesty and efficiency of the organization. When the tsunami hit South eastern Asian, they were there and when they realized that they had more money than they needed for their operations, they asked the public not to donate specifically for tsunami relief.
Here is a story from the MSF website:
The story of Bilal, January 27, Gaza City
Bilal, 14, is with his father. He is feeling better, about an hour after he was operated on by a surgical team in one of the inflatable MSF field hospital in Gaza City.
His story began on January 6. Bilal was staying home, north of Gaza City, when an Israeli bombardment hit the house. There was a big explosion and Bilal was severely injured. He had a large wound to his right foot and burns over his entire body.
Bilal was brought to Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital, where he was immediately operated upon. At the height of the Israeli military operations, hospital staff were overwhelmed with wounded patients so, in order to free space for other emergency cases, Bilal was sent to another hospital and then discharged.
As the days passed his foot continued to bleed and his wounds became infected. Bilal was referred to MSF's field hospital and underwent a wound debridement operation - the removal of dead or infected tissue from a wound. Although he required a blood transfusion after the operation, doctors say he will recover quickly.
However, almost one month on, Bilal is still suffering from shock, his father says.
"It is like Bilal is depressed," he said. "He has less motivation for life. His two brothers and his sister were also injured in the explosion. They are all scared by any sudden noise."
There are thousands of stories like Bilal. The number of injuries to children in Gaza is disproportionately high. Aid from most traditional sources and governments is just beginning to be talked about. MSF is on the ground now, they can do the job if they have the funds. If you care enough to want to donate to Gaza Relief, you could not do better Medicin Sans Frontieres.
--Sen. Joe Lieberman, outgoing president, of the Alfalfa Club concluded his introduction by saying: 'I have the high honor to ... issue an order that neither my mother, nor my father, nor my rabbi ever dreamed I would be able to issue: BRING ON THE LOBSTER.' (That would be the lobster Navarin in puff pastry with royal trumpet mushrooms and star anis.) (Snare Drum Rim Shot and groans from audience)
--More from Senator Lieberman: 'We had hoped Vice President Cheney would be here tonight. I hope it's not his back injury that's keeping him away. Apparently, he hurt it moving some things out of his office. Personally, I had no idea that waterboards were so heavy. ... (Snare drum rim shot, screams and groans from audience) I was so close [to being McCain's vice president]: As close as Alaska is to Russia. ... I hear that President Obama will soon be visiting the Washington offices of the New York Times as part of his search for a new house of Worship ... On the other hand, I appreciated your humility when you chose not to arrive at your Inaugural ceremony by walking across the reflecting pool..'
(Drum roll...snare drum rim shot and cymbal)
General applause and good natured laughter from the audience as Lieberman was dragged off to be waterboarded by a few of his Connecticut constituents who are trying still to figure out what party their Senator represents.