Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One Of "Those" Days
awaiting the results of the Florida primary...

The Original Adam and Eve altar piece in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy
painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder in 1528. The photo re creation by Man Ray
with Marcel Duchamp as Adam and Bronia Perlmutter as Eve.
Gelatin Silver Print 1924

To My Old Master......

In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdan Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdan — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according tonewspapers at the time, he dictated).
Rather than quote the numerous highlights in this letter, I'll simply leave you to enjoy it. Do make sure you read to the end.
Source: The Freedmen's Book; Image: A group of escaped slaves in Virginia in 1862, courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

Dayton, Ohio,

August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, "Them colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams's Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson.


statue of liberty 3D
Here are two images created with the web site I have become fascinated with, The New York Public Library Lab Stereogranimator! There is a collection of of over 45,000 vintage stereogram sets of images catalogued on line for your perusal and amusement. This is doubly fascinating to me as a history buff and visual artist.The Stereogranimator allows you to browse the collection then use a tool to combine he images as a simple old school 3D image which you can view using old fashioned 3D glasses or to combine the images to create an animated 3D GIF image. You actually have a lot of control over the finished image and the project allows you to use the image as you would like. You can either embed it directly or have a shareable HTML Java script code. I am having fun!

Dixon crossing the Great Cantilever Bridge

Monday, January 30, 2012

We love Willie Nelson! I am really pleased to see Willie getting out and supporting Dennis Kucinich in his primary battle against Marcy Kaptur! Here he is performing for Kucinich last night in Lorain, Ohio in what Kaptur dismissed as a stunt. Nelson has been a long time Kucinich supporter and said, "He ran for president a few times and I backed him every time. What ever Dennis wants to do, I'm here to help."
I wanted to include a video interview with Nelson and Kucinich, but I can't embed it, so here's the link to the article in RAW STORY.

My wife and I recently celebrated out 2 year wedding anniversary after a 30 year "courtship". Things are going pretty good in spite of the recent computer meltdowns....but our friend Melinda and her demonic offspring, Harry Styx just destroyed our wedding cake.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

World Headquarters

in case you ever wondered where this shit was comin from
click on the photo to see a bigger view...
i'm up in the second story of the house near the window by the barn.
i took this photo a few hours ago, La Sechere in the winter.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Battle Of Ideas, Not Sound Bytes

l'image de la semaine
This image appeared in last weeks Le Nouvelle Observateur, one of France's most prominent popular cultural and political magazines. The image of course referred to the loss of an "A" in the nations Standard & Poor's credit rating. The allusion is very clear to the sunken Italian luxury cruise ship, Costa Concordia and the floundering presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.
What was most interesting about this image and what made it all the more powerful was the sub text. The day after the disaster, The UMP Party Minister of Defense, Gerard Lonquet made the unfortunate attack on Francois Hollande, the Socialist Presidential Candidate by comparing him to the Captain of the Costa Concordia. It was a totally inappropriate and embarrassing attack by an undisciplined "sniper" trying to smear Hollande. 
Basically, the Socialists have been out of power since Mitterande. There was a cohabitation with Lionel Jospin during the Chirac years, but the bluster at the helm of the french economy for almost a decade now has been solely the Conservative ever drifting more right UMP Government.
Wisely, the Socialists never even acknowledged the comment. The UMP pretended like it never happened. The normally verbosely belicose Lonquet has been strangely silent. In fact the only reference I have seen in the French press to the remark was this very powerful image which I feel was directly inspired by Lonquet. But, the methods that Sarkozy used against Segolene Royal five years ago which were inspired by the American Republican Party attack tactics have gotten old fast here. There still are many political parties that cover the full range of the political spectrum. The UMP has wasted a lot of time and energy in trying to woo the extreme right and in the process has only empowered them. Meanwhile, the Left has really regrouped and has learned a lot from the cyber organization of the American Left. The biggest difference is that though lobbying has a role in the political process, the actual funding of campaigns is strictly regulated. The media time is strictly monitored. Ads are banned. Only the far right clandestinely puts up their hate filled  illegal posters in discreet locations, usually under the same railroad underpasses out in the country or shopping cart shelters in budget food market parking lots.
There is a lot of debate, but nothing to do with the sideshow circus of the media debates now playing as the most painful reality television series ever on American TV. There is no audience.
Last night was the kick off. Francois Hollande was on France2 for 2 and a half hours from about 8:30 to 11 pm. That's Prime Time folks and it was the highest viewed program. Hollande was grilled by political reporters, foreign affair and economic experts on the platform he had unveiled for the Socialist Presidential campaign. Then he debated Alain Juppe, the present Minister of Foreign Affairs and ex Prime mInister under Chirac who is still presently Mayor of Bordeaux. Juppe is considered the intellectual of the party, but he tried to make the debate into a personal assault on Hollande accusing him of arrogance and trying to exploit Hollandes perceived weaknesses rather than the actual issues.
Holland, for much of his public life has had the image of a slightly chubby joker. He always has been a highly intelligent deadly debater and you would think that his recent past might be a handicap. He was the companion of Segolene Royal, the candidate in the last election. I have to admire Hollande, in the last 2 years, he physically transformed himself and is looking very hard and fit these days. He has a new girlfriend who is a very glamorous, intelligent journalist with her own popular program on the M6 Network.  He was totally focused and used his wit and sarcasm to its fullest advantage last night. Today, even his critics are looking at him with new eyes and talking about his armor plating. He went into the debate with some very positive polling numbers, If the Second Tour of the election was held today, he would have won it with 60% to Sarkozy's 40%. The new numbers haven't been released yet. The election will be in May. This is not a painfully drawn out process like in America. There is an air of despair on the Right.
My thoughts last night as I watched the program was how could this ever go down in America? A battle of ideas and complicated concepts having to be argued and explained in detail, rather than tasty amphetamine flavored testosterone coated jingo filled sound bytes for an attention deficit afflicted audience who would rather see Chaz Bono Dancin With The Stars........?

The Republicans Normalization Of Racism

This is really disgusting, but vital and educational compilation by ThinkProgress that is a very succinct expose of the "normalizing" of racist and racially-coded language during this desperately pandering Republican primary season. It was not so long ago that the chairman of the Republican National Committee apologized for his party's history of "trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," and told the NAACP, "I am here today as the Republican Chairman to tell you we were wrong." Such leadership cannot be found now. 
Newt Gingrich may be the new master of race politics with his efforts to label Barack Obama the "food-stamp president" and his generous offer to lecture African-Americans at the NAACP on why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps. We know that Mr. Gingrich's claims of being a "historian" for Freddie and Fannie are a strain, but would it be that hard for him to check the history of NAACP's leadership on developing and demanding groundbreaking job creation policies? (Or to note that more food stamp recipients are white than any other race or ethnicity?) But why would a historian let facts get in the way of historical racial prejudice?
This compilation was made by ThinkProgress' Jeff Spross and I felt compelled to share it with you.

The True Funk Fatha...

The Jimmy Castor Bunch takes us back, way back, all the way back to 1972
with the protofunk power of 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Light Field (In Consonance)

An Orchestral piece by the American composer Glenn Branca from the early 1980's.
Glenn writes large, loud guitar based symphonic music that is best heard live, because so much of what he does realies on acoustic phenomena that is almost impossible to actually record, let alone reproduce, but this piece echoes the actual brilliance.
This is for my friend Mudrake. Check out his blog and his ongoing discussion
 about religion and society.
 Street Poster From the May, 1968 Student/Worker Demonstrations in Paris

Your Daily Duchamp

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Glitter Bomb In Sewage Treatment Plant?

If the title wasn't on the video, what would you think you were looking at? 

This is a fissioning corium releasing mega gamma rays...it is also FISSIONING hundreds of radioisotopes of the alpha and beta kind...strong and weak ones...toxic to mammals...they recombine with water to form oxides and hydrogen bonds...those white streaks could be gas bubbles rising to the surface...whisked by the air, traveling through the cracked containment and gases like cesium can morph to solids, plutonium travels in an oxide molecule like a hot air balloon!!!
 This is not a metaphorical view inside a nuclear reactor. This is for real-real.
This month, the good folks at TEPCO sent a remote-controlled endoscope and thermometer into the containment vessel of Fukishima's crippled reactor #2, hoping to learn something about the level of cooling water, the state of the fuel rods, and the temperature in the reactor. The view is obscured by steam, the effects of radiation, and (are you sitting down) actual goddam gamma rays just whizzing by. According to the PBS Frontline blog, those are the little streaks and flashes that you see in this video.
The probe revealed corroded piping and dripping humidity, but did not reveal the water’s surface level, which TEPCO had expected to be as high as four meters. The containment vessel was flooded with seawater during the reactor meltdown when other attempts to cool it failed. Current water levels inside the reactor remain unknown.
The probe’s thermometer function proved more revealing; it recorded the interior temperature at 44.7 degrees centigrade (112 degrees Farenheit), demonstrating that the unit’s own thermometer, thought to be off by as many as 20 degrees, is still functioning accurately.
It ain't over...by a long shot.

Monday, January 23, 2012

don't you dare interrupt, his serene royal majesty, queen mittens

when is you ungrateful peasants gonna buy ME a damn yacht? I be buyin this damn election wit my dime, it's my time, so fuck y'all!
You know, I was being rather polite here, I could have called him Adolph Mittler...
In fact, I could so easily go there....if he decides to pick Santorum as his vice presidential running mate...we would have the first real Republican Corporate AXIS ticket...
The Mittler/Santorini Axis of EVIL.....


Queen of 1920s Parisian bohemia, in Emak Bakia (akaLeave Me Alone, 1926, dir. Man Ray) (film online here)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Forever's A Long Time

Okay, this was Don Was's 1997 movie...a collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola.
Forever's A Long Time
A soundtrack with a conceptual band, The Orquestra Was, featuring Herbie Hancock, Merle Travis, Kris Kristopherson,Wayne Kramer and Sweet Pea Atkinson among others as well as Don playing bass among other things. Songs by Hank Williams that are somehow transmogrified inot R&B and Jazz...  Avery hard movie to explain, but for me it is so close to the surface of my unconscious feelings about Detroit...the imaginary no mans land that extended between Cass and Second Avenues where somehow Detroit Soul and Country and Western culture fucked, fought and interbred. Too bad the quality is so lousy...I have this on the original cd, but I can't play the video on my computer.

Knocked Down

As a humble apology to Don and Dave was and all the other was (not was)'s for my audacious insolent proposition of their piece, I Blew Up The United States as Mittens new campaign song, I am posting this version of Knocked Down from a performance at Montreaux around 1990. The piece was originally released on Born To Laugh At Tornadoes and this is almost an accoustic version of the original.
Ladies and Gentlemen, one of Americas greatest small orchestras ever, Was(notwas). I always loved this song.

Mitt Blew Up The United States

Today on CNN, Republican strategist, Alex Castellanos advised how Mittens could parley his tough guy CEO role into a winning strategy in next weeks Florida Primary:

CASTELLANOS: There's more to it than that you know. We don't know what a president will be faced with. You want somebody in that chair who can handle big things. Newt Gingrich got attacked. He demonstrated tremendous strength. Mitt Romney, next time somebody accuses him of closing down a steel mill should say “Yeah, I'm that guy and you know what? I'd do it again. I'd hate to do it... I'd hate to do it, it would hurt, but somebody needs to go to Washington and I think I can replace most of these buildings in here with like three good web sites.”

We've got to change this country dramatically . He's that kind of guy. He does transformational things.

I don't know about anyone else but the kind of “transformation” that Castellanos is talking about here is not exactly the kind most Americans think is good for our country. If shutting down steel mills, outsourcing jobs to China, raiding pension funds, slashing wages, busting unions and lining your pocket while doing it is something he thinks Romney ought to be bragging about, I just wonder what anyone is smoking that would ever hire this guy.

If he really believes it's good advice that Romney should be playing the tough guy when it comes to shutting down industries in America and putting people out of work during his time at Bain Capital, someone's overpaying him to manage their political campaign if he can actually find work other than being an overpaid right-wing hack at CNN (or sadly a guest on Meet the Gregory a.k.a. Karl Rove's dance partner as well) these days. Perhaps this is just the song Mittens needs for his campaign to get America moving and groovin...apologies to the Was Bros, but hey if Mittens takes my advice, the royalties? just sayin....I Blew Up The United States, was(notwas) live 2007...added bonus, Pusherman from Superfly by Curtis Mayfield....Sweetpea Atkinson!
actually, I had to change my original version...
but, I knew if you wanted to print it out and sport it on your
Chevy's bumper, you might have a problem.


I'm in Europe and enjoy an internet connection much faster than most Americans and have profited from a very competitive Internet market. I get ADSL, Internet Telephone and a TV hookup for about 25 US Dollars a month. Believe it or not, there are a few providers out there who want to sell me cheaper service. More so, I live in an extremely rural location....we are in the hinterlands as far as Digital TV is concerned...my digital signal has to compete with the strange interference waves generated by the DC cow electrical wire security systems which I self administer electro shock therapy to myself with occasionally. So, internet is my link to the rest of the world. I go to the big city to see movies, but I have discovered the joy of streaming films. I don't do it often, but there are so many possibilities. I watched the new J Edgar film a few weeks ago and then realized that it hadn't even been released here in France yet. 
Yes, I have a few moral reservations about the strict morality of viewing films free on line. I have many friends involved in the film industry. I worked on the fringes of the legitimate film industry for many years...But, I believe in the future and the evolution of internet technology and the entertainment industry. One hand washes the other. 
I totally support internet freedom. I followed the MegaUpload case from its inception in the USA. After the defeat of the SOPA/PIPA legislation due to the massive education of the public and the active participation by most of the internet last week, it was very interesting to see the US Justice Department take down of MegaUpload.
 Putting aside whether Megaupload is truly dangerous and a pirate haven or not, it didn't cause the global economic collapse.  Yet it was shut down last week, while the barons of Wall Street remain unscathed.
Megaupload had nothing to do with the ugly unemployment numbers that are likely to stick around for years. It had nothing to do with families being thrown out of their homes. It had nothing to do with retirement accounts being slashed in half. It had nothing to do with the rapidly increasing divide between the middle class and the super-rich. It had nothing to do a lousy economy that is going to hang around for many more years. How is it possible that the feds can organize a global program to hunt down the owners of a Web site and shut it down (protecting the 1%) when they can't even be bothered to prosecute Wall Street for ruining the economy (again protecting the 1%)?
Outside of the movie and music industry, few give a damn about Megaupload - but everyone still cares a lot about the crisis that Wall Street brought down on our heads and pocketbooks. We also continue to be upset that Wall Street bonuses - even though they are being reduced - will still be considerably more than most Americans can expect to get for years to come. Even people working in industries with similar experience and backgrounds don't make the crazy money that is still being offered on Wall Street. As a rough analogy, since antipiracy crusaders are fond of equating filesharing with shoplifting: suppose the CEO of Wal-Mart came to Congress demanding a $50 million program to deploy FBI agents to frisk suspicious-looking teens in towns near Wal-Marts. A lawmaker might, without for one instant doubting that shoplifiting is a bad thing, question whether this is really the optimal use of federal law enforcement resources. The CEO indignantly points out that shoplifting kills one million adorable towheaded orphans each year. The proof is right here in this study by the Wal-Mart Institute for Anti-Shoplifting Studies. The study sources this dramatic claim to a newspaper article, which quotes the CEO of Wal-Mart asserting (on the basis of private data you can't see) that shoplifting kills hundreds of orphans annually. 
It was also very interesting to see the immediate action by Anonymous in taking our the US Department of Justice and the RIAA websites. As far as I am concerned, the action by Anonymous was the equivalent of a playful warning shot over the bow of a little schooner. The real message was, you fuck with us, you enact PIPA/SOPA, you take out the internet and rebuild it, and a few months later you'll have to it again and again. You cannot afford to fuck with us.
But MegaUploads had to go. They were a real time criminal enterprise and living too large. They weren't just selling movies illegally, they were laundering money on a massive scale. 
 There are plenty of players in the no-questions-asked online storage game: HulkShare, MediaFire, YouSendIt. They're all staples of web sharing—and they're all still up and running today. Partly because they're smaller than Megaupload, partly because they're smarter, but mostly because they're don't operate like sloppy drug kingpins.

Ha Haaaa

Gingrich wins in South Carolina. Perhaps, now we're gonna see the real Mitt!
I am presently writing a musical version of the Republican Primary Race to be directed by Lars Von Trier.

Saturday, January 21, 2012



You Made Me Love You

 Jimmy dropped out of the 8th grade sometime around 1915 to become a ragtime pianist in New York City. "You Made Me Love You" was written by James Monaco and Joseph McCarthy and first popularly recorded by Al Jolson in 1913. Judy Garland would famously record a version in 1937, and the song has since become a part of the Great American Songbook. Jimmy Durante recorded this instrumental version in the mid-1960's. I suppose I felt compelled to post this because, I remember my dad playing his version of this and he truly was a self taught rag style pianist among many other things.

Austerity Defined

On Friday, The IMF issued a warning about the economic and social risks of austerity programs. Why has it taken so long for economic "experts" like Christine Lagarde of the IMF, The World Bank's Robert Zoellick and other global economic institutions to recognize the need to alter the idea that forcing austerity on their citizens could somehow stimulate the economy?
The heads of these agencies have issued a statement warning of the consequences of of the present trend to find a simple solution to a complex problem that would put the onus of economic recovery on the 99% while protecting and promoting the fortunes of the very rich.

"The world faces significant and urgent challenges that weigh heavily on prospects for future growth and on the cohesion of our societies," said the statement by the global issues group of the World Economic Forum. It was published ahead of the forum's annual meeting in Davos next week, amid concerns that 2012 will see the global economy flirt with recession as a result of the eurozone crisis. "Our shared objective is the strengthening of growth, employment and the quality of life in every part of the world," said the statement. "But entering 2012, we worry about: decelerating global growth and rising uncertainty; high unemployment, especially youth unemployment, with all its negative economic and social consequences; potential resort to inward-looking protectionist policies."
Merriam-Webster named "austerity" the "Word of the Year" for 2010. But like the monster from a 1950's science-fiction movie, it just keeps on growing. This week alone the name was invoked in government houses from Athens to Lagos.
What is this creature called "austerity," and why does it still hold so much power? If you've got three minutes, let's get started. Let me try to define it in less than 800 words.

1. What is it?
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines "austerity" as "when a government has a deliberate policy of trying to reduce the amount of money it spends."
Wikipedia calls it "a policy of deficit-cutting, lower spending, and a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided," adding that it's "sometimes coupled with increases in taxes to pay back creditors to reduce debt."
Got that? Austerity backers want government to spend less on benefits and public services, and to pay back its creditors more quickly. Higher taxes aren't part of the plan and they're strictly optional.

2. What's austerity supposed to accomplish?
Austerity advocates don't just see lower deficits and reduced debt as tools to promote long-term economic health. They consider them ends in themselves - sometimes even as moral values.
Many austerity advocates see government spending as inherently evil. That goes for all government spending, including police, teachers, nurses, and firefighters.
Sure, some of them will admit there can be necessary evils or useful evils - usually weapons procurement or law enforcement. But spending is always evil.
Other people aren't philosophically opposed to government spending, but have been convinced that it has become unaffordable today.

3. What's the theory behind austerity economics?
To answer that, it's important to understand that the economics profession has been systematically taken over by well-funded conservative academics. They've created elaborate theoretical constructs to prove that government spending is economically destructive.
These include theories like 'Barro-Ricardo equivalence,' which says people won't spend money when they know their government's incurring debts they'll have to pay someday. Conservative economists like Robert Barro insist this is true even in times of widespread unemployement, like now, and argue against stimulus spending to create jobs.
Oddly, they find this theory more compelling than the idea that people aren't spending money because they don't have jobs.
Then there's supply-side economics, which argues that the best way to grow the economy is by cutting taxes. That means smaller government. Supply-siders also rely on the "Laffer curve," which says people will stop investing, producing, and creating jobs if taxes are too high.
Austerity advocates also argue that international markets will lose confidence in governments if they don't curb spending and will charge them higher interest. So they even push cuts in Social Security, which doesn't even add to the deficit, because macroeconomists consider it 'government spending.'

4. Do these theories make sense?
Economists argue about this kind of thing ferociously, but we can look at the record and reach some common-sense conclusions about whether these theories are right or wrong:
Barro-Ricardo Equivalence: Wrong. To affect demand, government spending would have to be much higher than it is today.
Supply-Side Economics: Ridiculously wrong. We've had lower taxes and less regulation for more than a decade. Where are the jobs?
Laffer Curve: Also wrong. This country had a 70% tax rate or higher for top earners and the economy was doing much better than it is today. At 98% or higher, as the top rates once were in Great Britain, this could be a legitimate concern.
But now? Nah.

5. Does austerity work?
A resounding no. That's the conclusion reached in this paper from the International Monetary Fund. (The IMF was once the world's leading enforcer of austerity measures.)
And here are some clips from last week's headlines:
Austerity Reigns Over Euro Zone as Crisis Deepens, New York Times: " Europe's leaders braced their nations for a turbulent year, with their beleaguered economies facing a threat on two fronts: widening deficits that force more borrowing but increasing austerity measures that put growth further out of reach."
Euro-Zone Manufacturing Activity Falls for Fifth Month, Wall Street Journal: " Manufacturing activity in the euro zone declined for the fifth straight month in December, although less sharply than earlier in the fourth quarter, according to a survey of purchasing managers released Monday. The survey is consistent with other indicators of recent activity, and together the numbers suggest the euro-zone economy contracted during the final three months of the year."
Merkel, Sarkozy stress growth a priority in eurozone crisis, call for quick Greek accord, Washinggton Post: "The German and French leaders stressed Monday that boosting economic growth in the 17-nation eurozone is a priority, a recognition that the focus on austerity cuts is unlikely to get Europe out of its debt crisis. Some analysts fear excessive austerity measures will take a heavy toll on weakening economic growth and push the eurozone into recession this year, in turn hindering the region's deficit-cutting efforts.
Austerity's been a disaster for Great Britain and Europe, yet leaders are demanding more of the same - there, and here. They're ignoring the approaches that have worked in the past, as in the Great Depression: Invest in short-term growth, put people back to work, and then address long-term deficit issues once the economy's back on its feet.

6. Why do people still push austerity?
Some do it because they're still under the influence of economists indoctrinated in that profession's conservative intellectual orthodoxy.
It's also in many politicians' interests to promote austerity, since wealthy and powerful people like the idea of lowering their own taxes.
One thing's for sure: They're not doing it because they're looking at the facts.

I wrote this in an attempt to educate myself. You and I probably realize now that we understood more than we realized. In fact, we were never the problem.
The real problem with austerity economics is that there's less there than meets the eye.
That hasn't stopped leaders all over the world from insisting that it's the solution to the very problems it has caused, and to other problems which it didn't cause but has made even worse. They're trying to impose even more of it on the global population

Friday, January 20, 2012

I only wish my brother, George was here....

Reactionary Tango

I apologize for not posting more lately. I have been involved in a big project helping a friend and we are working against the weather out doors putting plastic on a huge greenhouse complex'
The Music is Reactionary Tango by the Carla Bley Band live at the Jazz Jamboree
Warsaw Poland, Oct. 24, 1981. The piece was composed and arranged by Carla Bley.

Carla Bley - Piano & Organ 
Steve Swallow - Bass
Arturo O'Farrell - Piano & Organ
D.Sharpe - Drums
Earl Mackintyre - Tuba
Gary Valente - Trombone
Vicent Chancey - French Horn
Tony Degrady - Tenor Sax
Steve Slagle - Soprano Sax
Michael Mantler - Trumpet

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Edward Gorey

The written, but especially the graphic work of Edward Gorey was so influential on me as an artist when I was younger. I learned a lot from his gothic stark pen and ink work and have always been thankful for the profound warp he gave to my concept of what could be considered "humorous".
In 1974, some of my very favorite musicians in the world recorded a collaborative effort with Mr. Gorey.
The recording was called The Hapless Child. The compositions were by Michael Mantler and the musicians were the inscrutable Robert Wyatt on vocals, Mantlers wife at the time, Carla Bley, who as I have mentioned many times on this blog, I have an unrequited love for...I've met her a few times and have always been reduced to a stuttering adolescent in her presence. The bassist is Carla's present husband, Steve Swallow and the drummer is one of the greatest percussionists of the later 20th century, Jack deJohnette. The guitarist is one of my very favorite instrumentalists, who profoundly influenced me and my concepts of guitar technique as a musician, Terje Rypdal. This piece, The Insect God was from the recording. 
The following set of gif images is from a recent Simpsons episode which I saw here in France then tracked down. They tell a short story in the Gorey style and pay profound homage to the master.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

clueless in gaza

The English language version of Wikipedia (along with several other websites) went dark today in protest of SOPA and PIPA. This in turn has resulted in quite a few freakouts on Twitter that are being thoughtfully collected by Nick Quarantoon @herpderpedia.
The Scream from Sebastian Cosor on Vimeo.

“I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”
Edvard Munch, 1893

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

check out the welcome bar at the top of the page..
 Unite and Demonstrate Web Solidarity Today, January 18, 2012!

Citizens United...the musical


January 21 is the second anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, "Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission," and advocates on both sides of the corporate-personhood issue are organizing to make their voices heard. Pro-democracy organizations like Move to Amend are protesting the decision with rallies at 100 Federal Court Houses, including the Supreme Court, on Friday Jan. 20. Meanwhile, United 4 the People is organizing protests at symbolic corporate locations around the U.S. on Saturday Jan. 21 and participants in various Occupy movements are converging on the US Capitol on Tuesday Jan. 17, all to voice opposition to unlimited and anonymous money influencing our political process in favor of The 1 Percent.

But now there is a new organization fighting for the rights of The 1 Percent, and those who personally identify with them. They call themselves the Corporate-Person American Movement, and they are determined not to let the American people have the last word on whether money should equal speech, or whether corporate entities should have the power to purchase election results and lucrative legislation.

Corporate Person American Will Rice is gearing up for a big 2nd Anniversary of the Citizens United decision, which established corporate personhood and gave him a new identity. He recorded a new, intimate song to properly serenade his most beloved Supreme Court precedent.

"I've always wanted to be an oppressed minority of some kind," Rice said. "Being a white male born into inherited wealth, this dream of mine kept evading me. But that was before the Supreme Court stepped in to protect the rights of corporate persons to spend money on our elections. I realized then that my life's work would be, not only declare myself a Corporate-Person American, but also to fight for full citizenship rights for corporations, including the right to marry and the right to vote."

The fledgling organization has grown rapidly in the past 2 years as populist movements that advocate for the interests of the super-wealthy came into fashion. Brian Wang, who became a Corporate-Person American a year ago, shared that he's been getting "second looks from the ladies" since making the switch.
 “The corporation is a true Frankenstein’s monster, an artificial person run amok, responsible only to its own soulless self.

Velkom To der Frei Typical Demokraticsh Style Republicanian Debate!

Velcomin To Der Repubicanian Party...dis essen a simple summation, all uf vhat you is needing to know from last nachts free and open demokratisch style debate in Nordz Carolina or vhat haf you... Danke, don't efen try to antagonize or dizagree with the official ezpecially zeelected audience, or they vill hurt you...badly.
If you need more, here is de entire intellecktual style exchange zimplified for you into a very easy to chigest 100 sekonds, so vee dunt hurt your leetle brainz out.....

You know, der vas too much talkink in der debate...eviciency! Dis ess vhat ess vrong mit Amerika today!
Vhy ess der so many ideas? Vhy zo much wasted time? Vhy zo many idiots standink around chust talking? Vhy are zey standink talking? Vhy are zey lookink de vay dey look? Actink der vay dey act? Show us your papers! Vunce veee knew how to get stuffs done der right way! Don't Talk! Chust Listen! Right Newt?
de gut old vashioned, evvizient vay instead of the sissy democratizsche
debate... der newt talks, you vill lizten!
and now a word from our sponsor:
The corporation is a true Frankenstein’s monster, an artificial person run amok, responsible only to its own soulless self.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"That ain't no Kraut name is it?...He changed it when he became a citizen. Used to be

Doctor Strangelove or How Learned to Stop Worrying
and Love the Bomb (1964)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This Is A Newsaper, Alright?

Yes, I realize that the statement above might be a little over the edge, but mainstream news has always needed watchdogs. The role of media as a source for political opinion presented in the guise of news, purported factual reporting has never been so transparent. Propaganda has always existed. As we have seen in the rise of fascism in other countries, control of the media and messaging has always been part of the method. The rise of independent reporting, the fact that we are all capable of finding raw facts on the internet and interpreting them ourselves makes us all to some extent capable of being experts. It makes the role of a professional editorial expert all the more difficult. That's why,  earlier this week, when I saw this piece in the NY Times, I felt as if I was about to read a satire, but it wasn't:
The piece, by the Times Public Editor, Aurthur S. Brisbane was focusing in particular on statements by Mitt Romney and how he plays loosely with the concept of what is the truth in his statements and press releases about himself and the Obama Administration, but,obviously any paper, but most especially the New York Times, has little value to society if it knowingly prints lies — or if it fails to do the minimal investigative reporting and fact-checking needed to determine if a statement by a newsmaker or, say, a global warming denier, is false.
The most pathetic aspect of this question, "Should The Times Be A Truth Vigilante?" is that Brisbane felt compelled by some psychic, un namable force to even ask it in the first place.  Here we are in the second decade of the 21st century and a dweeb self appointed expert is asking us if the biggest "expert" self appointed news organization on the planet should be concernbed with the it's responsibility to report the "TRUTH". And here we are, dealing with FOX News and a multitude of editorially compromised 24 hour corporate News Outlets spewing their  corporate sponsored versions of what they want us to believe? I  would only direct your very limited attention span to the Clear Channel and the very direct link to their owners, Bain Capitol. You know the Romney/Bain Capitol thing...Clear Channel/Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck thing?
I would only like to point out that there is a 10% of the mainstream press which we can trust and count on, but they heroically put their asses on the line and get maimed, imprisoned and killed to give us the truth and I will say without any shame, that Arthur S. Brisbane has desecrated their legacy and their dedicated work just by asking his lame little question.....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Beware Of The Hound

Thas rite, we gonna be doin it for you all nite....Ever boddy knows the Hound!

That Lovable Lil' Newt

You gotta love Newt Gingrich...a Republican so obnoxious on a historic scale that he is incapable of recognizing the hideous stench of his own asshole. It takes a special kind of serial loser to do that. Newt Gingrich unveiled yesterday what has to be one of the sillier ads of the campaign, accusing Mitt Romney of—quelle horreur!—speaking French!  Yes, Mitt Romney speaks French, albeit a rather stiff, strange and  badly pronounced version (and believe me I know badly pronounced French when I hear it...I have the bruises on my shins from my wife kicking me under the table at dinner parties to prove it) of a person reading a teleprompter, owing to his time as a Posh Mormon missionary, living in a particularly luxurious Hotel Particulier in Paris in the late 1960s. Now I don't know what languages Newt studied in school, but interestingly enough, his Ph.D. thesis is on "Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945-1960." You can read Gingrich's thesis here, but I'll just highlight some of the citations: 

Jean-Jacques Servan-Schrieber, Le Défi Americain, (Paris: Denoël, 1967), p. 115.

Jean Stengers, Belgique et Congo; L'élaboration de la Charte Coloniale, (Bruxelles: La Renaissance du Livre, 1963), p. 9.

Marcel Nihoul, L'Annexion au Congo et l'avenir belge, (Brussels, N.P., 1901), pp. 5, 13.

Those are just three citations plucked at random—there are many more where that came from. I would also note that Newt Gingrich got his Ph.D. at Tulane University in New Orleans, and that Gingrich's thesis supervisor was Pierre-Henri Laurent—a Belgian immigrant, distinguished academic, and native French speaker.

Given that it appears Newt Gingrich has more than a passing familiarity with the French language, it sure seems like this odd indictment of his opponent is just another link in the bizarrely perverse circular firing squad that the Republican Candidate's 2012 Campaign has degenerated into. You Go Guys......
In the context of the brutal, fear driven compassionless society we have allowed ourselves to become,
there is a final context for this act in which we are all responsible, all guilty. A 19-year-old Marine has a very hard time reconciling the fact that it’s okay to waterboard a live Taliban fighter but not okay to urinate on a dead one.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I couldn't resist posting this. Ernie Kovacs ad for Ford from 1955. Personally, I think that the high point of American automotive design occurred in 1954 with the Kaiser Manhattan and Packard Carribean....


Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Ernie Kovacs. I always say that if there was one person I would rather have been, it would have been Mr. Kovacs. He got to smoke cigars and drink cognac on television and he was married to Edie Adams....but, of course, this was the man who single handedly forced his vision of what comedy and technology could be down our gagging gullets. Avisionary genius, a true mad man, my hero, Ernie Kovacs.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Les restes

A short new piece by the Montreal surrealist artist/fim maker, Alex Fatta.
I have become a great admirer of his work. He really doesn't release much info about himself, on his YouTube page is only this quote from Giorgio di Chiroco:
 Given the focus of increasingly materialistic and pragmatic approach taken by our civilization, it is ironic to think now in a state of society where men live only for the pleasures of the mind will not be allowed to claim its place in the sun. The writer, the dreamer, the thinker, the poet, the metaphysician, the observer, the interrogator puzzle become anachronistic charactersdestined to disappear from the earth's surface.