Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ben l'Oncle Soul - L'ombre d'un Homme

I've posted pieces by Ben before. I'm a real fan. He handles American Rhythm and Soul Music so well, that it's hard for most people to accept he's just a Parisian kid who somehow channels Otis and Marvin and makes it his own thing. Here he is doing his Paris/Memphis thang singing in French. He doesn't miss a beat when he loses the mike....
 L'ombre d'un Homme/The Shadow of a Man

The Video That The Wisconsin GOP Doesn't Want You To See

This was reposted from crooks and liars, March 31, 2011
This complete video, once on YouTube and then on the Talking Points Memo website, has been yanked from both, simply because of the heat a rookie republican congressman (and former reality tv star) got for daring to mention he's having trouble getting by on "only" $174,000, partly due to higher health care costs because of worse federal coverage than he was used to from Wisconsin as a District Attorney.
First the Republican Party in Polk County, Wisconsin, pulled the tape of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) fretting about making ends meet on his $174,000 a year salary from its own website. Now they want it gone from the whole Internet.

For a couple hours, the local county GOP was successful. But we've put an excerpt of the video back up.

A day after TPM posted the video we obtained of Duffy talking about his salary at a Polk County town hall meeting earlier this year, the Polk County GOP contacted the video provider we used to host the video,, and demanded the video be taken down.

The tape caused a stir for Duffy, a first-term conservative best known for his past as a reality TV show star on MTV's The Real World. Democrats flagged the comments about his taxpayer-funded salary (which is nearly three times the median income in Wisconsin) and criticisms began to flow Duffy's way.

In the clip, Duffy is asked whether he'd support cutting his own salary. Duffy says he would, but only as part of a plan where all public employees' salaries would be cut. He then said that the $174,000 in salary (not including benefits) he receives is a squeeze for his family of seven to live on:

I can guarantee you, or most of you, I guarantee that I have more debt than all of you. With 6 kids, I still pay off my student loans. I still pay my mortgage. I drive a used minivan. If you think I'm living high on the hog, I've got one paycheck. So I struggle to meet my bills right now. Would it be easier for me if I get more paychecks? Maybe, but at this point I'm not living high on the hog.

Crooks and Liars think they will begetting a similarly worded cease and desist letter, but I think if enough of us share it, it will be impossible for the Wisconsin GOP to make it go away.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ralph Mooney " Crazy Arms"

Ralph Mooney, from Marty Stuarts 2010 recording, "Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions"
Ralph was one of Americas originals, he died on March 20 at age 82. He was the backbone of Waylon Jenmnings back up band, The Waylons, but before that he was the player who defined the sound of Nashville pedal steel on hundreds of recordings with Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Wynn Stuart.
Pedal Electric Steel Guitar is a uniquely American instrument. The sound can be expressively brash  or sentimentally subtle. It can be one of the most expressive solo instruments and also capable of providing the illusion of a full orchestra. In a masters hands, within the frame work of one solo, the player can be both a stand up comic and master storyteller. Ralph was all of these things and more. He wrote the ballad Crazy Arms in 1955 and this was his last recorded performance.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Fuhrer Was A Terrific Dancer


We keep saying that the real danger is fundamentalism. Whether it's Christian or Islamic, it's the True Believers, the hard liners who refuse to consider reality as part of what they consider logic.
That's a big part of what makes the Koch Brothers one of the gravest threats to the very democracy we treasure in this country. I view them as the most dangerous type of ideologue: the True Believer. True Believers are dangerous because they don't have any goal other than to make all of us True Believers. They proselytize free markets the way evangelicals preach Jesus. And when those same free markets fail? They facepalm and admit shock that perhaps there is a flaw in their flawless philosophy, then go right back to preaching and selling the free market gospel like it's God's word in the flesh
Forget the facts, folks. Charles and David Koch are just bewildered and overwhelmed rich men who cannot for the life of them understand how the left can be so oblivious to the good free markets can do for the world and every individual in the United States who has a set of bootstraps and a pair of arms to use to yank on them.
The left’s inability to understand where the Kochs were coming from puzzled Charles and David. Wasn’t it obvious that small government and free markets resulted in a better world? “Why don’t we teach in schools things that make society more prosperous, and more peaceful, and people will respect each other more? It’s a strange thing, isn’t it?” said Charles. “It’s unbelievable how they distort what your message is!” said David. The Kochs thought their aim was to increase the standard of living for everyone. The way to do this, they believed, was by applying to society the same methods that had grown their company. Glenn Greenwald wrote a great piece which is published in Salon that really portrays the Koch's self perceived stance as victims, but I choose to see that as part of the total psychic construct of a FUNDAMENTALIST FREE MARKET TRUE BELIEVER!
Small governments and free markets resulted in a better world? Really? Was it big government that allowed Wall Street to run amok and gamble away people's retirement savings in markets they knew were doomed to fail? What society does David Koch mean when he says "teach in schools things that make society more prosperous"? Surely he doesn't mean this one, because the facts speak otherwise

 This society is NOT more prosperous, though Mr. Koch certainly has prospered. What the Kochs do is corrupt government, then blame it for screwing the rest of us.
This world is not better because Koch pollutes it while denying there might be even an iota of truth in climate change science.
This world is not better because our children's educations are being raped and sold to the "free markets" so we can create yet another "market" which will put "prosperity" ahead of education.
This world is not better because Koch Industries put millions into propaganda campaigns to convince people to act against their own interests in order to further Charles and David's "prosperity".
This world is not better because the faith in "free markets" brought the entire world economy to the brink of ruin.
This world is not better because David and Charles Koch think it's better for people to die after losing everything because they were unfortunate enough to be uninsured and sick at the same time.
After David Koch recently donated millions of dollars for cancer research in his name, after his bout of prostate cancer prodded him into some "soul searching" he made this statement after the ceremony honoring his contribution:

"I read stuff about me and I say, 'God, I’m a terrible guy, and then I come here and everybody treats me like I'm a wonderful fellow, and I say, 'Well, maybe I’m not so bad after all.'"

 Which seems to follow logically in the line of these quotes by other incredibly fatuous deluded megalomaniacal True Believers

'My People Love Me. They love me. All my people with me, they love me," he said. "They will die to protect me, my people." - Muammar Gaddafi while paying mercenaries to bomb and gun down unarmed civilians.

"I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq', and I did."" - George W. Bush

"It was a nightmare for me. "Even the regulators felt sorry for me...They said, 'How did you live with this? Not being able to tell anybody? "Look, none of my clients, even if they lost every penny they put in there, can plead poverty," he said. Now if you listen to them (his victims), they're living out of dumpsters and they don't have any money and I'm sure it's a traumatic experience to some, but I made a lot of money for people." - Bernie Madoff

"Who says I am not under the special protection of God?" - Adolf Hitler

Here's a proposal for Charles and David. How about if they live for a year without their billions, just like the rest of us? How about they find out what it's like to be told over and over and over again that you're not hired even though you know you were as qualified as the guy who got the job? How about if they subject themselves to the whim of the markets, the uncertainty of not knowing whether they'll have a home tomorrow or food to eat? Perhaps they should try scratching out a living without any government in a world with no regulation where the food they dig out of the dumpster might be contaminated with chemical pollutants because the industrial customer who used that dumpster last didn't care to be careful about how they disposed of toxins. Perhaps they should try it before they condemn liberals as people who are miserable because someone else is enjoying themselves.
Perhaps Charles and David should put their grandchildren in public schools 
and see how teachers struggle with no budget, no supplies, larger class sizes, more children with problems, and a test looming at the end of each year that stresses children to their breaking point while proving nothing other than that there's a market for test writers and scantron forms.
Until they've done these things, until they've shed their silver spoons and ideological turtle shells,the teabaggers can write apologetics all day long and it won't change a thing. They are an evil force in today's politics, feeding evil men with evil ambitions, and they should be called evil every single chance we get until they figure out how ignorant and out of touch they are. Which will be about the time hell freezes over and the cows come home, I'm sure.

Make no mistake. The Kochs are not the only billionaires who perpetrate this evil. Back in Clinton's day, it was Scaife and the Tobacco Puppets. They're all part of the same group, but the Kochs have chosen to put themselves at the front as the evangelists of the New Free Market Ayn Rand/John Birch Society. By that choice, these True Believers should and must receive the bulk of our criticism, but no one is exempt. If you don't know how the other 99% lives, don't bother trying to tell us what's wrong with our thinking

Perhaps, though, they actually are terrific dancers.....

Silence, ca pousse!

New Paint Job! Just In Time!

Across The Road

125 Strawberry Plants
Well, if I haven't been blogging much lately, it's because spring is here. In the last week, I repainted the shutters, windows and door of the house and separated, fertilized and replanted 125 Strawberry Plants in a bed covered with a jute and hemp fabric cover. I also finished cultivating and fertilizing the raspberries.
Every hour, the forest gets greener. You can hear things growing......
and as I write, the strawberry plants I put in the ground yesterday have flowers on them already!
here's a good example of how fast the weather changes...
this is just seconds after the photo with the blue sky and clouds!

Monday, March 28, 2011

self portrait

James Ensor, Self Portrait
James Ensor (1860-1949) was an enigmatic link between expressionism and surrealism. He was born of English and Flemish parents and actually was a titled Baron. A gifted musician, whose composition on the Harmonium are stilled performed, Ensor became a painter and print maker. His work is subversive and insolent...witty and intense. Crowd scenes bordering upon anarchy were his penchant. If you are interested in exploring the work of this quiet subversive genius, you can begin with his great satirical painting, The Entry of Christ Into Brussels.....
The Seasons on Earth

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Conservative Concern Trolls are "worried" of Imminent Progressive Thug Invasion

The word Thug has been thrown around to smear any one a Conservative Concern Troll disagrees with. Anyone who acts or protests against a position the Teabaggers have been duped into supporting, is a THUG. Of course if it's the Teabaggers who are demonstrating, they are patriots, exercising their rights of free speech, but if a Progressive puts up a poster with tape in the State Palace of Madison, it automatically becomes a $7,000,000 act of vandalism!
When you hear Republicans and conservatives refer to unionized employees in Wisconsin as "thugs", consider the behavior of Republican officials in Wisconsin as a sort of benchmark for what being a "thug" truly means.
William Cronon,is a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin. A few days ago he wrote an oped in the  NY Times critical of Gov. Walker and his push to abolish collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin. About a week before that, he wrote a blog post -- the first in a new blog called Scholar as Citizen -- examining just who's behind this big anti-union push. He focused on a group called ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council).
Now, so far, nothing particularly controversial about any of this. But then it took a dark turn. Or perhaps better to say, then the story got into gear with everything else we've seen out of the Walker administration over the last three months.
Less than two days after Cronon published the blog post, the Wisconsin Republican Party filed a state open records request to gain access to Cronon's personal emails to get a look at what communications or discussions or sources or anything else went into writing it.
Now, 'personal' is up for some reasonable debate here. This is his university email. And he's a Professor at the University of Wisconsin, the state university. So he's a state employee. Still, he's not an elected official or someone doing public business in the sense you'd ordinarily understand the term. Nor are they looking at anything tied to the administration of the University, which is legitimately a public matter. In the ordinary sense we tend to understand the word it's his personal email. And the range of requested documents leave no doubt about what they're after.
What they want is an emails Prof. Cronon has written about the following subjects:
Copies of all emails into and out of Prof. William Cronon's state email account from January 1, 2011 to present which reference any of the following terms: Republican, Scott Walker, recall, collective bargaining, AFSCME, WEAC, rally, union, Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, Rob Cowles, Scott Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marty Beil, or Mary Bell.
They want this under FOIA laws, which is a nice touch.  And this is the state Republican party requesting this from the university.  This is pure intimidation, bullying, and hey, thuggery.  This is going after a guy for being a state employee that has a political opinion that differs from the Powers That Be.  This is a message to other Wisconsin state employees:  keep your mouth shut or we will ruin your life.
This is what Republicans in 2011 do to their political "enemies".
Here's a great post that explains this lot better than I have!
Thuggery at its finest.

Stranger In The House

There's a lot of stuff just up on YouTube from the February and early March Protests in Madison, WI featuring Tom Morello and Wayne Kramer, who were performing together and doing fund raising and free concerts. Tom was the brilliant guitarist in Rage Against The Machine and now has the band, The NightWatchmen, whcih oftens features Wayne Kramer. Wayne, of course, has always been Wayne. The guitarist from the MC5. Still politically active and committed 65 year old rocker! I just found this live performance from the late 90's of Wayne performing Stranger In The House. He manages to mix Hard, brutal raw rock energy and free jazz improv in a way no one has...Nice Pink Suit, Wayne!

End Of An Era...

A brief requiem for the BBC 648 kHz MW service to Europe. Another victim of the British Conservative Government Budget cuts. It abruptly ceased at 1 am, CET.
The BBC also severely cut back on their Short Wave services and their foreign language broadcasting service. 
Sure, they tell you can still get it if you buy a digital radio or via your computer, but radio has been a part of so many peoples lives. So much of my childhood world view was formed by my link to the CBC and the stations from foreign planets where the aliens played Chicago Blues or Nashville Country which I could get on my old radio.  The BBC World Service has in fact been deteriorating for years now. It was once a vibrant, vital and innovative service. It's bold and independent editorial policy made it a force to be reckoned with. I suppose that is a part of what did it in. As with the Conservative repression of NPR in America, the BBC represented a platform for dissenting intelligent opinion. That came to a head with the Iraqi Invasion in 2003, when the editorial board of the BBC pushed the opinion and evidence that the Blair Government has "Sexed Up" the claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction ready to wreak havoc. This was the basis of the Blair Government's push to bring Britain into the Coalition. The ensuing events resulted in the evisceration of the BBC by Blair and much of the staff was fired or quit in protest. Now, the cream of the once proud, vital and independent BBC can be found working for Al Jazeera English, including Sir David Frost. I loved listening to BBC World on the 648 kHz Frequency for years on my little Grundig Yacht Boy 210. I listened as the quality of the programming deteriorated, the repeat, recycled broadcasts becoming more and more frequent, the world music programs began to disappear and the hilarious intellectual game shows with celebs like Stephen Frye was still the BBC. It's like losing an old friend.
Here's a shot of my old Grundig Yacht Boy 210 which I have had for years......Tinny sound, non digital, it will probably be working long after I am gone, if there's any one listening.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dogs And Demons

Somehow, the biggest nuclear misadventure to ever have occurred on our planet has slipped to page 2. or perhaps the entertainment section of our collective consciousness. The nuclear industry seems to be content to be able to walk away with their propaganda..."It wasn't so bad, was it? You"re still alive! So Fuggedabout it!"
We know it's not over and the long term results are just beginning to be thought of and perceived. Like traumatic shock victims, the initial euphoria of survival is just the beginning of the reality of the trauma.
As the information unfolds, the rest of the world seems to be just discovering the real symptoms of secrecy, disinformation and cover up which are endemic to the closed world of Japanese Business Culture. The same symptoms which were behind the Japanese economic bubble blast of the 90's, secrecy and ignoring the warning signs have historically been the tragic flaw of the Japanese Nuclear Power Industry.
But how could a culture, which was the first to have experienced the true horror of nuclear power unleashed, let their industry systematically ignore safety checks and whitewash the accidents which have occurred over the last 50 years?
I would recommend a book by Alex Kerr, Dogs And Demons, Tales From The Dark Side Of Japan.
Alex published the book in 2001. He is an American author, but he writes as a true insider, with a unique view of Japanese culture from a historical esthetic sense coupled with a hands on real time view of Japanese economic reality. Alex was, in fact, the only non Japanese writer to have ever won their version of the Pulitzer Prize for his 1993 best selling book, Lost Japan. Lost Japan is portrait of a culture destroying and creating a fantasy of itself at the same time.
Dogs and Demons on the other hand is a damning document which catalogues the economic, ecological and cultural disintegration of Japan which is occurring at a dizzying pace.
The book was so disturbing to the Japanese that he ended up leaving Japan and now lives in Bangkok. None the less, he exposes the culture of corruption and cover up which led to the disaster in Fukushima...If understanding Japan and how the conditions which allowed this nuclear disaster evolved is at all interesting to you, you must read this book!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Better Than Iraq?

A mourner rects next to the grave of a rebel killed in Ajdablyah, during his funeral
in Benghazi.
Sometimes, I have to be able to analyze my feelings to understand what I really feel. I've written a bit about Libya, the thread starting during the Egyptian Uprising, when I speculated in a post, It Ain't Over,  about which regimes were ripe for change.
I wrote:
 "Muammar al-Qaddafi, The Libyan superstar, who is one revolutionary leader who is no fan of wannabe rabble-rouser Julian Assange. WikiLeaks revelations of Qaddafi's excesses and his fondness for buxom East European nurses have raised questions about whether he will bring this storm that started in North Africa to another destination in the greater Maghreb. The U.N. and the rest of us might miss his flamboyantly deranged speeches, but it is clear many closer to home in the downtown Tripoli area would not. And that's why he is among those watching so closely to see which way the winds are blowing from Tahreer Square."
Later, I commented that the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt seemed to depend on an educated class, connected to the rest of the world.  Everyone acknowledges the role of "social media" in the success of those revolts.
I really thought, though the Libyans were truly oppressed, propagandized and victimized by the despotic Gadaffi regime, a revolution wasn't in the immediate future. I was really surprised at the rapidity of the events that led to the Libyan uprising. Gadaffi seemed to be totally caught off guard as well.
When he finally rallied, brutally slaughtering his people,  swift intervention by the world seemed to be a natural reaction. 
But, you have to ask, who is suppose to be in charge of this war, non-war, no-fly zone, whatever?" That's right, it's not NATO or the EU, that would really complicate getting authorities to actually bomb something. It's not USAFRICOM, there is no Coalition Air Force command here. Best I can tell is that this is a loose multi-lateral coaltion between France, UK, and United States, with potential involvement by other supporting nations. That is to say, the United States is in the lead (despite comments to the contrary by SecState Clinton), and may someday soon hand over responsibility to a joint Franco-British coalition. You know, after we run out of legitimate ground targets.
Most of the arguments for why the U.S. should be seen as “taking the lead” seem to hinge on little more than the fact that so doing would be emotionally satisfying to those who have been agitating for intervention in Libya since hostilities began. On the other hand, the U.S. multilateral approach facilitates a “caution that shades into tactical incompetence.” But since the U.S. is still extricating itself from President George W. Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, which didn’t exactly amount to “tactical competence,” this too is less than persuasive.

There are several reasons why the U.S. shouldn’t be seen as taking the lead. For one thing, the U.S. is already occupied with the aftermath of one war in Iraq and attempting to bring a more than decade-long operation in Afghanistan to its conclusion. The U.S. does not have unlimited military resources, and other countries that demanded intervention should take responsibility and offer contributions rather than free-riding off of the United States. The statements from the Arab League — which asked for intervention but then wavered when operations started — suggest that there really is a short shelf-life for the legitimacy for this operation in the Arab world, even though intervention initially had global support. If the operation goes badly, or takes far longer than advertised, it’s frankly in the U.S. interest not to be seen as having led the attack on a third Muslim country.

I would say that this intervention has reached a "now what?" point. Can civilians ever be safe with out the two worlds Obama never wants to utter- Regime Change?

Of course we are, in fact, leading the attack on a third Muslim country, and the interesting thing is that there were those on the National Security Staff who warned the President that there were no vital national security interests in Libya and that we really didn't understand what the rebels would do or expect after the fighting stopped. No, our government went into Libya because of remorse from a few key players that we didn't send military troops into Rwanda to stop the genocide there. Not that there's any remote connection between Rwanda and Libya, but hey, they reasoned, at least there's a better case for international intervention than the Bush administration had. Because "Better than Iraq" is the new low bar that all of our foreign policy adventures are now judged.

One caution in the structure of this rather fragile coalition is the assumed role of Nicolas Sarkozy and his desire to seem to be the flag waiver here. His decision has to be seen more as part of internal French politics. For him it was a true case of the tail wagging the dog. He is the lowest polling president in the history of the 5th Republic. His party is facing a certain disaster in the next presidential election. Even with Frances involvement in the Libyan intervention, the regional elections this weekend were a disaster for his UMP Party. Many UMP Candidates even left their party affiliation off of their posters and literature. He is still smarting from his legitimization of Gadaffi 3 years ago, when the Libyan dictator destroyed the lawn of the L'Elysee Palace with his tents. Sarkozy boasted of selling Libya Nuclear Power plants and a new autoroute system. All of those deals have fallen through.

More so, Gadaffi was a heavy contributor to Sarkozy's UMP Party and the propriety and very legality of the contributions may really cause huge problems for a government reeling from the embarrassing connections revealed with the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Michele Alliot-Marie, recently had to resign because of a collapsing house of cards based on her involvement with the Tunisian dictator. I want to see this over as fast as I can. I would like to see Gadaffi eliminated but, America might be wise to let this be Sarkozy's war, because lately, Sarko has been infected with the Shit Finger Syndrome. Every thing he touches...........
Gregor Samsa is a humble young man who supports his unemployed parents and teenage sister by working as a traveling fabric salesman. But his life goes strangely wrong in the very first sentence of The Meowmorphosis, when he wakes up late for work and discovers that he has inexplicably become an adorable kitten. His family must admit that, yes, their son is now OMG so cute — but what good is cute when there are bills to pay? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


As long as I'm posting stuff by Vivian Stanshall, here's a brilliant piece from 1991, shortly before he died, that seems to sum it all up....

The Hills Are Alive

Well, I have had my brain and body hijacked by this spring weather...I am in the midst of painting my house against the calendar! It's 70 degrees here and sunny, every day...all weeks long. I have to replant all the strawberry plants...I had to go bike dog needs to go into the forest and chase's not fair! I have trouble thinking deep thoughts about anything! So, today, I realized that it has been at least a year since I posted anything with Vivian Stanshall in it. I looked at YouTube and suddenly, this jumped out! A little compilation of Stanshall including a piece I have never ever seen before of his post Bonzo band, BIG GRUNT! They perform his composition, 11 Mustachioed Daughters. Roger Ruskin Spears created the costumes and props. Roger is still teaching art in England. He was an amazing utter musical dada anarchist who created costumes and kinetic art which he incorporated into the Bonzos as well as his own bands in the video, Roger plays electric spoons and the leg...So we have Big Grunt, a performance of The Monster Mash by the Bonzos proper and finally, their exquisite rendition of experience of The Sound Of Music. No one does anything like this anymore....alas....

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I wish I could stop worrying and learn to love the bomb--and the bombers. But I can't. The idea is absurd to me as Stanley Kubrick so brilliantly portrayed it in his movie, Dr. Strangelove. Last night, The U.S. fired 112 tomahawk missiles, each costing $569,000 as a "wake up call" to Colonel Moammar Gadaffi. That's more than 8 years of NPR federal funding in less than an hour. That's some serious fucked up priorities to me. 
All the more "poignant" when you realize that Friday was the 8th Anniversary of the Iraqi Invasion.
I guess I really have to post the last scene from the movie now...
Mein Fuhrer, I Can Walk! 

The Kafka Font

 franz kafka's scribbles
If you are interested in calligraphy and graphic design, you might want to check out this free download of a font style based on Franz Kafkas handwriting. It's actually pretty well done!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Psycho Carnival Award For Originality

About a week ago, I received an, ahem, rather prestigious honor which was totally unexpected, but I want to thank all the little people who shoulders I had to stand on to attain this extremely coveted award.
In case you have been living under a rock at the bottom of a slime covered swamp, I know you and anyone who is anybody, anywhere has heard of the prize for the pinnacle of performance in power blogging.
Yes, I actually was named a s a recipient of the PSYCHO CARNIVAL AWARD FOR ORIGINALITY!
The trophy is now ensconced in my room of mementos, in a glass and brass Victorian display case of coveted objects, locked away for eternity along with my neighbors wife.
I will, of course, show it to interested parties for a small fee.
This rather ostentatious gilded, or perhaps melted american cheese product covered statuette was presented to me by my esteemed colleague, SQUATLO, who authors the rather intellectually lofty SQUATLO RANT blog.  Really, I cannot recommend Squatlo's blog enough...for me it is a trip to an alien culture...well, Tennessee, close. He gave the award to me on the condition that I publish a picture of myself and give the award to three other deserving bloggers. After much consideration, I have decided on the lucky recipients whom I will confer this rather lofty accolade upon.

First, I would like to award The Engineer Of Knowledge. One of my esteemed collaborators who has given me much inspiration over the last few years. The Engineer has proven that being a Republican doesn't mean embracing TEH STOOPID. In fact his very existence is a positive influence. A man of science and philosophy, but that hasn't stopped him from being peculiarly and particularly hilarious.
He also posts some fine music from time to time.

Next we take a trip to the United Kingdom and give the award to Laci the dog's Blog. Laci is a Powderpuff Chinese Crested Canine and is smarter than most honour students. Laci's owner is a lawyer and he is the one who should be on a leash. Intelligent analysis and observation, eclectic music and insights into Scottish Humor and I've learned much more than I need to know about Haggis!

The third and final award goes to a blogger in Italy Mikeb302000. Mike has a penchant for great movie dialogue and an eclectic selection of music, but the focus of his blog is guns, violence and the death penalty. Mike was a US Marine and a real fighter for gun control regulations. He relentlessly reports, catalogues, analyzes and argues with gun nuts about gun laws. He goes there, day after day  and takes them all on.....

Oh, yeah, the picture...It was one of my good days............ 


Friday, March 18, 2011

Full Worm Moon


The full moon we will see Saturday night is going to be a super full moon. A Super Perigee Moon. The last time a moon like this occurred was in March 1993. A Super Perigee Moon appears  14% bigger and 30% brighter than an apogee full moon.
Here's a great link to the NASA Page which gives a great explanation.

The North American Indians named the seasonal full moons and they marked the passage of time and seasons. The March Moon is "The Full Worm Moon".

Here's a list of the seasonal North American Indian Full Moons and the explanations of their names after the jump:

Stravinsky Conducts Firebird

I stumbled upon a series of videos of Stravinsky in his 80's
conducting his Firebird Suite. This was made in the early 60's.
When first performed, in 1910, these compostions caused riots.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In Bahrain

Meanwhile, yesterday, while the world was occupied with the ongoing Japanese tragedy,
Saudi Arabia provided the Emir of Bahrain with over 1,000 troops to brutally suppress the rebellion
and clear Pearl Square. The second video might be a little brutal for some, but it shows a Bahrain
Security Force Member shooting an unarmed protestor repeatedly in the head.

Beware Of The Scumbag Scammers!

Quick video showing earthquakes in Japan between 9 March and 14 March. 1 hour ~ 1 second. Big one is around 1:17.
Fraudster scumbags have beaten all records in setting up fake Japan relief pages, fielding more than 1.7 million malware pages, 419 scams trading on the Japanese disasters, 50+ fake domains with "Japan tsunami" or "Japan earthquake" in their URLs. MacWorld recommends donating via the Red Cross, or other established charities that you're familiar with.

Donate money for Japan here:
and of course, Doctors Without Borders!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Radicalization Of Despair

Here's a picture from todays New Statesman from an article by Laurie Penny. She was able to interview the Libyan exiles who have occupied Saif Gadaffi's London home. 
They all tell stories of how they and their familiers had to leave Libya just to survive. All tell horrific stories of inhuman repression at the hand of Moammar Gadaffi's murderous regime.
They tell a story of how last night at 4am,  a well-dressed Arab person, [wearing] nice clothes and gold. When I asked him what he was doing here so late, he said, 'I want to make you an offer.' He told us: 'I have £40,000 in cash. You can have it if you leave immediately.' No amount of money could make us leave this house. It's not a financial issue."

Protestors on the roof of Saifs London House
On the sofa opposite, a quiet man called Ambarak suddenly speaks up in Arabic. "What's a life worth?" he says, as Abdulla translates softly. "What are 100,000 lives worth?" Ambarak perches on the edge of the sofa, looking out of place in his keffiyeh and scuffed trainers. "I'm talking about people being shot by snipers in the street. I'm talking about family members selling dry bread to live.
Meanwhile in Libya, while the world is mesmerized by the Japanese disaster, the revolution in Libya is being brutally crushed by Gadaffis's forces. Today, the strategic town of Ajabiya fell. It is the last impediment to the Rebel held city of Benghazi. When Gadaffi's army reaches Benghazi, we can expect a bloodbath as the rebellion is crushed.
Today, the G-8 was meeting in Paris and fell short of supporting a No-Fly Zone which might have given the rebels a little breathing space. While the West hems and haws, and worries about the collapse of another Middle eastern Dictator, a very valuable opportunity has been wasted.
This is not an Islamic, religious movement. This was a peoples rebellion against a despotic regime. Libya is an oil rich country and the profits from the oil resources did not go to the people, they went to the unimaginably wealthy Gadaffi clan. Mubarak and Ben Ali were pikers compared to the wealth of Gadaffi. Today, the rebels begged the West to implement the no fly zone. They begged to have Gadaffi's compound bombed. Gadaffi took the opportunity given him by the Japanese disaster to suppress the rebellion brutally. We may never know how brutally, but we have re empowered Moammar Gadaffi by our inaction and in the process disappointed the people who asked for our help. We might very well have created the Islamic Revolution we feared by giving the Islamic Militants a chance to use our inaction as a recruiting tool to a repressed people will now be driven by the revenge of a crazed despot into despair! Even Ahmadinejad wants us to keep out of Libya and let the revolution fail!
damn, I feel French today!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Remain Indoors....

This Will Always Be My Favorite Planet!

On January 30th, I posted a piece about Japan's Shinmoedake Volcano, which is part of the greater Kirishima Volcano complex in South Western Japan. The Shinmoedake Volacano had not experienced a major event since the late 18th Century. In January, the volcano roared into action spectacularly.
The eruption had calmed down and seemed to have subsided, but today, Shinmoedake roared back into action. I empathize with Japan and support all actions for relief...I am installing a link to the Pray For Japan site for donations to all of the agencies on the ground providing aid.
TOKYO (AP) — As Japan struggles with the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in the north, a volcano in southern Japan has resumed eruptions. Japan's Meteorological Agency has issued a warning saying that mountain is shooting out gas, boulders and ash after a couple weeks of inactivity. The volcano is located nearly 1,000 miles from the epicenter of Friday's magnitude 8.9 earthquake.
But, in response to all of the idiots who are using this to promote an "END TIMES" far as I'm concerned this is evidence that we live on a relatively young geologically live planet. The Earth will keep on going for billions and billions of years...we are the intelligent little micro organisms who managed to evolve here, but it's our responsibility to Pay Attention and Watch Our Step! 
There have been 5 major specie extinctions recorded geologically on this planet, as far as we puny humans have been able to observe, if there is a 6th, well, we more than likely will do it to ourselves......

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This might be the song that made me decide to play bass guitar...1966, still my favorite year in pop music. 
The Castle, from the Da Capo recording by Arthur Lee and Love.

I'm Ready For My Close Up, Mr. DeMIlle

MIchelle Bachmann is getting ready to announce her 2012 presidential candidacy
"So I misplaced the battles Concord and Lexington by saying they were in New Hampshire," Bachmann posted on her Facebook page later. "It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!

French Lesson #27,646

Lemmy Caution and Natacha Von Braun discuss the meaning of love in Jean-Luc Godard's "Alphaville".

Saturday, March 12, 2011

La Belle et la Bete/Jean Cocteau/1946
Jean Marais

We Might Have Lost Japan....

When I was 14 years old, in the 8th Grade attending St. Monica Elementary in Detroit, MI, we were taken on a field trip to the brand spanking new Detroit Edison Enrico Fermi Nuclear Power Plant, between Detroit and Toledo in Luna Pier, MI. Luna Pier is a sandy spit, rising out of the marshes on Lake Erie. Visiting the plant, we were regaled with fun comic images that touted the safety of Nuclear generated Electricity. Everything was done to diffuse the horrific fears that the planet was traumatized with after the deployment of the atomic bombs at the end of WW2 in Japan. Nuclear power was safe and Nuclear power was the cheap future of energy for everyone. 
A year and a half later, the Fermi Plant was the site of what could have become the biggest nuclear energy disaster of all time. The phone rang in the Monroe county Sheriff's office on October 5, 1966 and a nervous official from the Fermi Plant asked "How soon can we evacuate the city of Monroe?"
The Fermi Plant was a sodium breeder reactor, it was new technology at the time, so new in fact that they were making it up as they went along.  The plant was cooled using highly volatile liquid sodium.
As the plant was being built, the cooling system was being designed and modified as the  problems arose. One of the unforseen problems involved the motion of the sodium and on the spot, the elder designer came up with the solution. He designed stainless steel "flutter valves". His solution never made it into the final schematic of the system.
In October, 1966, the sodium coolant stopped flowing and the reactor began to overheat. No one had a clue as to what was happening and a frantic crew of technicians shut down the reactor only minutes from a meltdown We will never know how much radiation was actually released or the true consequences of this event. The event was memorialized in the song by Gil Scott Heron, We Almost Lost Detroit, which was also the title of a real expose of the history of Nuclear Power research by John Fuller, written in 1975.
It took years of painstaking research inside the contaminated building to discover the little stainless steel piece that was blocking the coolant line. At first, the researchers blamed the construction crew, misidentifying the piece of metal as a pop top tab from a beer can. It was not until the mud 70's, after the engineer who had designed the stainless steel flutter valve died, that the plans were discovered in his records and the"beer can pop top" was correctly identified as a broken "flutter valve" plate.
Then, of course there was the little problem of storage of thousands of gallons of plutonium contaminated  liquid sodium. Any one who has a basic background in chemistry should feel chills....Sodium is a very violently reactive substance in contact with water. It had to be stored in drums, on site for over 20 years before the NRC could figure out how to safely move it.
a picture of the Fermi Plant in Luna Pier, MI on the swampy shore of Lake Erie
demonstrating the ecological fragility of the site....
Around the same time,  as the Fermi Plant was recommissioned and  put back on line with a new reactor, there were a number of unpublicized problems in the start up procedure. The plant is operating, but as of today, one of the rectors is out of service after a relatively unpublicized event that occurred on February 13, 2011.  The reactor was shut down after leaks were discovered in the cooling system when it was restarted after a routine servicing procedure.
I am focusing on the history of only one energy producing reactor facility because, it is a small snapshot of the overall view of the industry in it's  60 year corporate legacy of wasted money, untold centuries of poisonous pollution and how human populations are treated as collateral damage in the pursuit of immediate profit. If only a fraction of the wealth wasted on The Nuclear Power Industry had been invested in research on clean, safe, free energy, we would be living in a much different world today.
Today in Japan, after the 8.9 Earthquake, we are seeing a situation which as information is released, and the magnitude of what has occurred could very well dwarf the Chernobyl Disaster. Here's a video....

waltz of the skyscrapers

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bank Run!

Reports suggest M&I Bank received more TARP money than any other Wisconsin bank. In spite of their claims of difficulty in paying back the TARP money, they managed not only to give their chief CEO an 18 Million Dollar Golden Parachute, they gave the Walker Election Campaign,more money that the Koch Bros! You know, now, Banks are people too...
M&I is documented as heavily funding Scott Walker. When protesters heard this they decided to picket M&I Bank. Not only that, protesting bank customers reportedly closed their accounts and withdrew almost $1,000,000 today before the Main Branch of M&I Bank was forced to close it's doors because of the protests.Teachers, firefighters and police officers said they would begin a boycott of M&I Bank if the bank does not begin publicly opposing Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to curtail collective bargaining for public workers. You can learn more about the massive involvement of the M&I Bank in the Walker Election campaign here! They gave more than the Koch Bros!
Unions representing those groups said they would start other boycotts of businesses that backed Walker in his campaign.The letter to M&I President Tom Ellis said the boycott would begin March 17 if the bank hasn't opposed Walker's efforts by then.
"In the event that you cannot support this effort to save collective bargaining, please be advised that the undersigned will publicly and formally boycott the goods and services provided by your company," the letter says. "However, if you join us, we will do everything in our power to publicly celebrate your partnership in the fight to preserve the right of public employees to be heard at the bargaining table."
If the 60% of Wisconsin that's sick to death of Scott Walker's behavior simply go close their accounts the bank will crash and they'll have stripped him of the funds he needs to fight the recall next January.
Here's a video of todays protest in Madison: