Friday, August 31, 2012
I don't even bother reading the stories any more, but I still see the headlines that tell us "Romney says Obama is blah blah blah," and "Obama says the Republicans will lead us to wahwah sasa fafa."
With so little difference between them, I don't understand how the two factions that make up our one-party system find so much to wrangle about. Consider:
--Since 1960, both parties have led us into wars which, since the beginning of the new century, have become ever more continuous -- the state of perpetual war prophesied by George Orwell.
--Both parties contributed to the de-regulation mania which fueled the housing bubble and derivatives Ponzi scheme that ended in the economic meltdown of 2007 to the present, and both parties have bailed out the insolvent banks with taxpayer money, and done little or nothing to help the armies of unemployed, foreclosed-upon, and newly impoverished.
--Since 2001, a Republican president and a Democratic one have obtained illegal, anti-constitutional legislation from a spineless Congress which violate many of our most fundamental civlil liberties, such as the right to privacy and the right of habeus corpus.
--Both parties are now determined to undermine Social Security and Medicare, putting forth competing plans for doing so which differ only in their details.
I've heard very serious people suggest that these competing cliques of errand boys for the plutocracy represent extreme points on some sort of ideological spectrum, and that our only hope is to achieve some sort of compromise or middle ground, as it were between these "extreme views." But wherever the middle ground between Tweedledee and Tweedledum might be, it is certainly too tight a space to visualize, considering the narrowness of the channel into which voters' strongest emotions are forced to rush furiously this political season, and the obstinacy with which they resist thinking outside the strait jacket, and continue to mistake differences in style with differences in substance.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Bix leads the gang through "Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down," with vigor.
The gang: Bix - cornet, Don Murray - clarinet, Bill Rank - trombone, Frank Signorelli - piano, Adrian Rollini - bass saxophone, Chauncey Morehouse - real good drums.
As an added bonus, see stills of Felix dancing with the pretty lady.
That's Felix the Cat, not Hernandez.
The gang: Bix - cornet, Don Murray - clarinet, Bill Rank - trombone, Frank Signorelli - piano, Adrian Rollini - bass saxophone, Chauncey Morehouse - real good drums.
As an added bonus, see stills of Felix dancing with the pretty lady.
That's Felix the Cat, not Hernandez.
I know a young guy who has learned how to build earthen houses -- cob houses they're called. These are beautiful, sculptured little cottages, outlets for artistic expression as much as places to live in, and they're super energy efficient. When combined with an energy source such as solar panels, they can provide a self-sustaining and endlessly renewable way of living.
Think about it. A little solar panel and a little windmill. A couple of acres of ground with access to potable creek water. A Chicken coop and some raised beds. What else would your average American need?
On second thought, maybe we'd better not answer that.
Click on the image to get the big picture.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
If you missed the news last week that arctic ice is quickly melting into history, you can catch up with this article at Truthout/Buzzflash.
In July of this year, scientific observers discovered that 97 percent of Greenland's ice sheet melted this summer. However, US newspapers and TV news barely took notice.
Neither has most of Congress. Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee says it’s time for the Republican leadership in Congress to stop opposing all efforts to limit pollution and combat climate change.
“Republicans blocked legislation that would put a cap on the pollution that is warming the planet, and now we are losing more of our Arctic ice cap just a few years later. Drought is devastating the United States, a hurricane is bearing down on the Gulf and we have just experienced the hottest 12 months in the United States in recorded history. The time for climate action is now,” said Rep. Markey.
Those are worthy sentiments, but as long as all Republicans and (though Ed Markey might not admit it) a majority of Democrats continue to drag their feet on this issue, the chances that we and the rest of the creatures on earth will see the emergency action necessary to head off disaster is ø.
This is just one of the reasons I'm certain a genuine, serious revolution aimed at overthrowing the status quo is headed down the tracks toward us. I won't participate; I'm too old. I hope to calmly watch it from my little corner of the world, at a distance as it were, but one never know, do one?
They tell me there's a political convention going on in Florida right now. Big, big deal.
Nominating conventions used to mean something, back in the days when I was a lad and the milkman had a horse. They were where the candidates were actually chosen, but since we've now gone to an endlessly tiresome primary system instead, the conventions have degenerated into occasions for posturing and bloviating, and opportunities for hordes of reporters to "cover" a huge non-story and shmooze.
I'd advise everyone to pay it as little attention as possible.
Also, there's a hurricane happening nearby, in Louisiana. I'm told the two stories are unrelated, but there are biblical undertones in the timing of this one, coming seven years after Katrina's destruction of New Orleans.
The universe is grumbling, and I'm afraid.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
--Joni Mitchell, "Woodstock"
It doesn't matter who wins the election this fall, because neither candidate and neither party is willing to seriously address the fundamental problems this society faces: economic collapse, poverty, war, and environmental degradation.
A government committed to reversing the outsourcing of production could alleviate the first two of these, but that's not possible in the near future. We're going to have to bootstrap our own solutions.
Keeping in mind that any economically and culturally viable society is founded on combining labor and resources to produce value, that is, producing things that have value, it's easy to see how American society has been sabotaged. Sending production overseas means higher profits for a few, but the overall effect is the same as pulling the foundation out from under a house, and expecting it to stand up.
Those who own the big capital in this country are not about to help us. The only valuable product I can think of available to small-timers like you and me is food, and it's time for gardening to take the next indicated step and become farming.
Taking that pleasurable hobby to the next level will require land. But keep in mind, land does not necessarily have to be owned to be farmed. Anyone can grow food and raise chickens on rented land, and many will in the near future.
In the last couple of years, organic backyard gardening and farmers' markets have gone from being a summer weekend lark to a billion-dollar business. We've reached that point all productive and profitable enterprises come to, where we need to identify the competition (or enemy) with a view to taking it out. So with our sights trained on Monsanto, Cargill, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Tyson, et. al., let's plant more potatoes next year, and maybe try some genetically unmodified sweet corn.
All things in time, but the trouble with that is, there isn't much.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Good old Yeshu ben Yusuf, that travelin maverick rabbi, such a radical he was.
Some young rich young guy asked Yeshu what he had to do to have eternal life. Yeshu said he should keep the commandments, which the veck said he'd done. Then Yeshu says, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." The young man was sad because he wasn't willing to.
At that point, Yeshu says, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
I love watching the contortions wingnuts pretzel themselves into when anyone slow-pitches this passage at them. They'll do almost anything to avoid admitting the obvious meaning of this unambiguous and pithy exchange, which in addition highlights the radical collectivist philosophy of Yeshu ben Yusuf, a balls-to-the-wall leftist if there ever was one.
But don't take my word for gospel truth. It's all right there, in Matthew 19: 23-24.
So when I posted this at my fave discussion grew-up, sure enough one of the resident Repubs wants to know what it means! Why is it hard for a rich man to get into heaven? he wants to know. I thought about drawing him a picture, but stayed polite, and wrote...
I don't know if anyone ever concisely answered ___'s question, i.e., Why is it so hard for a rich man to get into heaven? So I'll give it a stab.
That maverick traveling rabbi, Yeshu ben Yusuf, taught that a person has to have a pretty thick skin to own two pair of shoes as long as there was somebody--anybody--in the world with no shoes. He quite obviously believed that it's wrong to be very rich in a society where there are lots and lots of people who have very little.
In fact, it looks to me like he believed it was what he called "a sin." I don't know how he said that in Aramaic, or how well it translates, but it's obvious that's how he thought.
Therefore, in his opinion, it's easier for a big-ass bolshy old camel to squeeze through the tiny eye of a little old needle than it would be for a billionaire to get into heaven.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Water shortages in coming years, combined with a growing world population, could easily force changes in humanity's dietary habits within the next few decades.
In an article in the Sunday Guardian, Environmental Editor John Vidal tells us Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortage.
One of the biggest factors contributing to world hunger today is the amount of grain fed to cattle and other meat animals, an inefficient way to use a resource under stress. The article goes on to say: Adopting a vegetarian diet is one option to increase the amount of water available to grow more food in an increasingly climate-erratic world, the scientists said. Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world's arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals. Other options to feed people include eliminating waste and increasing trade between countries in food surplus and those in deficit.
This is one of those cases when we can see that the unavoidable pressures brought to bear by reality will inevitably crush fantasy, delusion, and their spawn, the various manifestations of political backwardness such as global warming denial.
Hey, that's reality.
An item at Talking Points Memo tells us the first day of the Republican convention, scheduled to open tomorrow in Tampa, has been cancelled due to fears of Hurricane Isaac.
For verily I say unto you, the LORD hath sent a great wind unto the Republicans, scattering their flocks and herds (of bartenders, cab drivers, and prostitutes), and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among them.
And they said unto one another, "This is Obama's fault."
Saturday, August 25, 2012
I just moved the plutocracy, and there it was!
There'll be no more election news or propaganda from here, unless it concerns candidates and parties other than the "legacy" parties, one of which is currently comitting suicide, while the other is totally useless.
Monterey Bay is full of whales right now, and quite a few of them are endangered blues (the largest mammal ever to live, on land or in the sea) and humpies.
It's been a bonanza for whale watchers, and is occurring because of the unusual abundance of the whales favorite food.
Strong northwest winds have been pushing up cold, nutrient-rich waters from the ocean bottom — a phenomenon known as upwelling. That has fueled blooms of phytoplankton that have led to an explosion of krill, the main food source of blue and humpback whales.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Looks like the birthers are set to have a convention of their own next month in Phoenix. Having been dubbed "Birtherpalooza" by Talking Points Memo, this sad exercise is, of course, the brainchild of the lunatic Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.
Some of the best known birthers in the nation are scheduled to take the stage at a star-studded event in Phoenix, where they plan to call for Congress to investigate whether President Obama’s birth certificate is real.
As Atrios reminds us today, "this birther stuff is rooted in racism. The end."
Thursday, August 23, 2012
This comes from Bruce A. Dixon at Black Agenda Report.
The fact is that 120% evil Republicans offer the only justification for our support of 100% evil Democrats. And with the dissolution of what used to be the black consensus for equality, civil liberties, full funding for public education, and opposing war spending and corporate privilege, Obama-era Democrats continue to flee rightward toward war, privatization and austerity.
This deformed puzzle is not the political logic of free and responsible people. It’s the cramped and twisted reasoning of someone trapped in a box urgently trying to convince himself that it’s not really a box, that pragmatic acceptance of the box as the whole of the great and free universe is really all that can be hoped, struggled and strived for. It’s not. Only a beaten, cowed and enslaved people can imagine their forbears sacrificed and struggled for them to choose among greater and lesser, but both still monstrous evils.
We at Black Agenda Report spend more time denouncing Democrats because they act like and enable Republicans. We don’t spend as much time denouncing the party of white supremacy because Republicans rarely bother to pretend to be anything else. African Americans haven’t voted Republican in 50 years. But we’re more unemployed than we’ve been in seventy years, and more imprisoned than we’ve ever been.
That’s what choosing “lesser evils” has earned us. It’s time to chuck the fake choice between evil Republicans and slightly less evil Democrats. It’s time not just to think, but to climb outside the two-party, lesser-evil box, to breathe the free air and get ready for something new.
(Found this pithy item at Susie's Place.)
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Keeping in mind that the kind of failures we see here are not the schools' fault (although I could have found many that are), it's unfortunate indeed that careless, hurried, or naive headline writers, and wags who are always looking to re-arrange the letters on a readerboard into a message the author never intended, can undermine education so easily.
Calling someone a "head" is journalistically lazy, plus it frequently results in misfortune, as it did here. At best it sounds ridiculous, as when, in 1966, Stokely Carmichael was scheduled to speak at San Francisco State, and the Golden Gater student newspaper ran a front-page headline: "Black Power Head to Speak at SF State."
This is borne out by inscriptions I have actually read in middle-school yearbooks, such as "Nice ass. Too bad about the tits."
Found this stuff in a nice collection of "Back-to-School Fails" at Huffpo.
This is a tough time to be an investor, because so many of the traditional, formerly easy ways of using money to make money have turned sour.
Real estate? Forget it. Securities (i.e. stocks and bonds)? Too risky. And in this depressed economy, you don't hear of anybody sinking big capital into an ambitious new startup enterprise.
However, the need to invest, in order to protect our savings, has never been more obvious. This is not your grandfather's depression, when money actually gained value as stunned governments unsuccessfully tried to hammer together policies which would induce recovery. In our current depressed circumstances, the US Treasury and European Central Bank are attempting to "create" (print) enough cash to neutralize the crushing debt that has handcuffed both the public and private sectors, with the inevitable inflationary result. And the brunt of present-day inflation is ballooning the prices of the things everybody needs: food, fuel, rent, and medical care.
Now there's a new book whose authors have devised an investment strategy designed to deal effectively with our changed circumstances. "SWAG: Alternative Investments for the Coming Decade," by long-time investors Joe Roseman and Louis Bacon, advises investors large and small to buy silver, wine, art, and gold as hedges against inflation.
Silver is the easiest and best investment for the long run right now, because its price has been kept artificially low for several years now due to of market manipulation by one of the usual suspects, JP Morgan. But government regulators are on to the game now, and Morgan's corner on the market is showing signs of deteriorating under pressure.
Investing in wine and art requires knowledge in both cases, and a discriminating eye for "good" art, as opposed to the mediocre. In our decadent era, more than ever, it pays to know as much as possible about what you're buying, and quality trumps quantity by a wide margin. These types of investment also assume that there will always be enough very rich people able and eager to buy such luxuries -- a safe bet if there ever was one.
Finally, gold remains the best long-run store of value. Just follow the most basic rule of investing (and it never changes): buy low and sell high, or don't sell and hang on to it, if you're in for the very long term.
That same rule applies to all these commodities, and yes, art is a commodity too, in a cash-exchange sense. And welcome to the new century.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The viewer's eye and the listener's ear are drawn irresistibly to the man in the middle, holding the silver cornet on his right knee and looking defiantly straight at the camera.
At 21, Bix Beiderbecke was ready to take on the embryonic world of jazz and make it his own, and did so for a few years, before drinking himself to death at age 28. He was the "other" great cornet player and innovator of the twenties, like Louis an "ear" musician who never learned the formal aspects of his art. And though he remains in Louis Armstrong's shadow, and never entered the historical mainstream, he has a large and devoted cult following today, testifying to his greatness and his music's longevity.
He made his earliest recordings in 1924, with this group, the Wolverines. To Bix's right are the handsome drummer Vic Moore, the two reed men, George Johnson and the vampirish Jimmy Hartwell, and standing, pianist Dick Voynow. To his left are Al Grande, then Min Leibrook, the only member of this group to play extensively with Bix in his post-Wolverine days, usually on bass saxophone rather than sousaphone. Rounding out the group was banjoist, Bob Gillette. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)
Beiderbecke went on to become famous as a soloist with Jean Goldkette's Orchestra out of Detroit, then "King of Jazz" Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, but his forté was small-group improvisation, which he found time to record extensively despite the heavy demands of his touring schedule and heavy drinking.
Here he is with his New Orleans Lucky Seven, a.k.a. Bix and His Gang. This was a very hot band consisting of Bill Rank, an average and just-adequate trombonist who left the music business in the thirties, the outstanding reeds player Don Murray, who died at 25 after falling off the running board of a moving car and fracturing his skull on the pavement, the bass saxophonist par excellence Adrian Rollini, who contributed significantly to the "New York sound" of the twenties with his mastery of a unique bass instrument, pianist Frank Signorelli, a composer of note, like the banjoist with the wonderful name, Howdy Quicksell, whose real name was Howard, and the drummer Chauncey Morehouse, who lived to a ripe old age and was doing studio work as late as the 1970's.
Even though he's been dead 80 years, I feel like Bix's time is still coming. Like Django Reinhardt, whose fame and reputation have grown in recent years to a level greater than when he was alive, as he's been "discovered" by a new generation of guitarists, dead Bix lies sleeping in his home town of Davenport, Iowa, still waiting for his most convinced and enthusiastic audience to arrive.
Fat Al Gore's global warming hoax has now caused an imaginary closure of the country's most vital internal waterway, which has now sunk so low in the minds of delusional environmental wackos that they're hallucinating stranded boats and barges.
According to the notorious left-wing propaganda organ the Columbia Missourian, nearly 100 boats and barges are lined up, waiting to cross an 11-mile stretch of the old muddy Mississippi, now closed by the Coast Guard because of low water levels.
The Army Corps of Engineers is using dredges to dig out sand and ensure the navigation channel is deep enough for barges loaded with coal, steel, agricultural products and other goods. The corps is required to provide a minimum navigation channel that is 9 feet deep and 300 feet wide on the lower Mississippi River.
Shippers who move material up and down the river on a daily basis have complained that the shallow river is forcing them to lighten the loads on their barges to avoid hitting bottom. Lighter loads mean less revenue for the shippers, who still have to deal with costs such as labor and fuel.
Al Gore may be fat, but he's also right about a few things.
Monday, August 20, 2012
I generally give a wide berth to men of the cloth, whether it's Rev Wright, Rev Pat, Father O'Leary, Pastor Fuzz, Rabbi Plotznik, the Pope of Egypt, the Mullah of Lower Pakhtoonistan, the Worcestor of Kercestore, or whatefer.
The reason for that is that I've found you can't trust any of those guys around your wife, GF, or whomever it might happen to be, especially if your wife, GF, or spousal equivalent is good looking, and mine always are.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
This was dinner for us tonight, minus the zucchini and plus a blob of butter in the skillet.
The cucumber got peeled and sliced very thin, then sauced with oil & vinegar, a little mustard, some milk and sour cream, s&p. Chopped onion goes first into the frying pan with the sizzling butter, joined in a while by sliced potatoes.
The cucumber stuff, which you can further dress with chives or green onions, goes on top of the fried potatoes. Sounds weird but it tastes great. It's actually a traditional German side dish, fried potatoes topped with cucumber salad alongside Wienerschnitzel, usually.
Catboxette loved it, after months of saying she wasn't going to eat anything that weird.
We grew everything you see here ourselves.
Yesterday I sat in the afternoon trying-to-sunshine on Catboxette's lovely deck, listening to the garden grow and next door's chickens serenading the neighborhood.
Chicken songs are not everyone's idea of beautiful music, but when I hear the several tribes of them who live in several adjoining back yards just east of here talking back and forth to each other, I'm more certain than ever that I've found paradise.
There's a feeling of deep tranquility in the uncompromising simplicity of this place. It's as if all the modern world's destructive complexity has been banished from an insignificant, out-of-the-way patch of ground, so that nothing is left here except life itself, and lots of it. This is how a person comes to understand the meaning of being alive; it's necessary to remove everything that's intruded into our lives -- cars, supermarkets, stock markets, insurance -- that distract from the essential meaning.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Bear with me, dear readers, for finding a topic to blog about has become difficult as getting blood out of a turnip. The presidential race in its final stages is becoming about as interesting as watching paint dry.
Neither do I feel like putting on my tinfoil hat and trying to pick up signals from planet Iris Blue 31, as we all do from time to time.
In fact, the computer holds little fascination for me these days. It's high summer over here in the Olympic Peninsula, and the world is drunk on warm sunshine and flower nectar.
Plus, I seem to have re-discovered the printed word, and I've been devouring books like two or three a week. Most recently a couple of re-reads, "Slaughterhouse Five" by Vonnegut, of course, and as I mentioned before, "A Clockwork Orange."
I find I'm able to concentrate my mind much more fully than I could even just a few years ago, and I'm finding meanings and nuances in the re-readings I never suspected before.
I'll look at the headlines some time today, but I don't expect to see much of interest there. Time to hunt up another book.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The government of Ecuador, the small South American country in whose London embassy Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up for the past couple of months, has decided to offer him political sanctuary.
That's great news, with one catch. Getting him from where he is now to Quito could prove difficult, since the UK government, following the lead of Big Dog USA, is really boiling over this. They say they'll arrest him if he sets foot outside the Ecuadorian embassy, and some are gavoreeting about actually storming said embassy, in order to lay hands on Mr. Assange.
Then, they say, they would extradite him to Sweden for questioning in some kind of sexual assault beef, but the questioning would most likely never occur, as the Swedes are widely thought eager to hand him over to this country, where he would be railroaded on some sort of phony espionage complaint, then tossed in the slammer for most of the rest of his life.
Man, things are really tough for reporters out there these days, except for the ones who delicately kiss the green weenie of the almighty dollar.
With all that in mind, it looks to me like it's time for the old "helicopter off the roof of the embassy" end run, á la Saigon, 1975, except this time it would be the "bad" guys escaping the "good" guys. This time, the helicopter would be bound for Dublin, as the Irish bear the English little affection, and a flight to Ecuador might be arranged there.
And speaking of good guys and bad guys, I thought only those guys, you know, them, were into storming embassies.
Photo: cathedral in Quito
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Felix Hernandez got his perfect game last night, against Tampa. It was the first perfect game ever by a Mariners' pitcher, and only the 23rd recorded occurrence of such an event in organized baseball's 150-year history.
There have been three perfect games this season alone. As performance-enhancing drugs have evaporated from baseball in the last few years, all the advantage has gone to pitchers and defense. Ferocious pitching rules the day, and Seattle's Felix Hernandez is the most ferocious of the lot.
The margin of victory was 1-0, of course, with the Mariners' single tally coming in the third, after Brendan Ryan got on base with a single, then with his manic base-running, made it to third, where he was easily singled in by Jesus.
Felix's triumph is for the ages, but Jesus saves.
American soft-drink companies have had product names and slogan problems in China. Early on, Coca-Cola became aware that the name of their product transliterated into Mandarin characters translated as "Bite the wax tadpole." Executives at Pepsi-Cola discovered with chagrin that the translation of their slogan, "Come Alive with Pepsi" in Chinese became "Bring your ancestors back from the dead with Pepsi."
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Nadsat is English with a large helping of Russian nouns, verbs, and adjectives thrown in. Verbs are no problem, because the construction of them is anglicized, so a loud laugh is "gromky smecking" in Nadsat, with the -ing (gerund) construction a bit of English tacked onto a Russian phrase.
'Clockwork,' like most of my other favorite novels (Catcher in the Rye, Moll Flanders, Huckleberry Finn), unwinds in that perfect, first-person voice which lends a story immediacy and credibility. The very finest authors become experts in producing such a voice.
It doesn't take long for a reader to pick up the rhythm and logic of Nadsat, what with context clues providing the meanings to unfamiliar Russian words. For example, "He was very boastful and started to make with a very sneery litso at us all and a loud proud goloss" presents no problem to understanding.
i wonder if the old malchick himself, Putin, knows how to make Nadsat. He may be a grazhny bratchny of a dictator, but he's got a higher-functioning gulliver on his pletchoes than any of the dumb prestoopniks we've got in politics over here. He also viddies the day coming when a regular jeezny in a world with the bolshy gromky malchick Uncle Sam, or bezoomny Israel is not possible. To prepare for this, he is putting out the slovo that Russia is going to get a lot more airplanes.
Trouble reading any of this? Consult the Nadsat dictionary.
I expect Iran to get whacked very soon.
There's all kinds of interesting talk about it, for example, here.
And also here.
I wanted to cite a few sources to pre-emptively deal with accusations of making stuff up, or being paranoid, nuts, etc.
The imperialist powers will do this evil deed, as I said, very soon. I'm looking for some time in September, or October at the latest. That it's an evil and unjustified thing to do is proven, for Iran possesses no nuclear weapons, and if they got one, they'd have one (1). We have over 5,200 warheads ready to go, and Israel, who is expected to initiate the attack, has at least a couple hundred, and possibly as many as 800.
Does the timing of this plot have anything to do with the US election? Does a bear live in the woods?
Found this at twig's blog over at Corrente.
So the big question is, will Obama push back against this insane Zionist scheme? He could, but I doubt it. He'll most likely get suckered in due to a desire not to appear un-warlike. Stay tuned.
Monday, August 13, 2012
"On its website and in an email Monday, House Speaker John Boehner’s office said President Obama needs to take personal responsibility for the drought ravaging the Midwest."
Yes, he really did.
He didn't convey this surprising revelation to us personally because he was out in the hallway having a cigarette. After that, he sat down on a bench and wept copiously.
Actually, I do think Ryan was a pretty good pick for the old Mittster. The only danger to the Romnehbot is that Ryan's got those movie star looks, and also, unlike his running mate, appears to be human. In fact, I think I've seen him in a couple B-movies -- "My Breath to Breathe," a romance, or was it "Shootout at the Supply Side Livery Stable"?
Even though I think this guy is all conventional ambition, ready and eager to promote any foul policy or do any evil deed the establishment asks of him, and has never had an original thought pass through his hairy skull, he's popular (and I know I'm going to get myself into very deep kim-chee for saying this, even though it's sooooo true), and he's especially popular with the ladies.
Good old warmongering Uncle Sam has had his big, scary navy messing around in the Persian Gulf for years, trying to sucker the Iranians into throwing a punch or, when that fails as it has so far, just bullying and intimidating them.
So I had to giggle today when I read that one of Uncle's destroyers cruising around carrying a shitload of live missiles just outside the Strait of Hormuz ran into a Panamanian-flag oil tanker and now has a ten-by-ten foot hole in her right side.
AP coverage of this clusterschnazzle tells us that The Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Gulf, is a crowded and tense waterway where one-fifth of the world's oil is routed. Tensions have risen there over repeated Iranian threats to block tanker traffic in retaliation for tighter sanctions by the West, and goes on to say The United States stoked the flames recently with an announcement that it will send U.S. Navy minesweepers and warships into the Gulf for exercises. The U.S. military maneuvers scheduled for September, to be joined by ships from about 20 American allies.
Great idea! Sounds like just the thing for "a crowded and tense waterway," sending umpteen million ships there for "exercises." With about a fifth of the world's oil traffic threading its way through the traffic, we'll have lots more opportunities to mess things up in that part of the world, including ourselves. And there's no guarantee that future mishaps like this one will be as fortunate, in terms of spilled oil (there was none) and casualties (likewise, ø).
Good old Uncle Sam. You have to wonder if he's enough of a mensch to ever become regular people.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I was out walking earlier, down to the produce store at 105th, then home. I've been having breathing problems, but they seem to be better now. Paused for breath a couple times on the uphill grade home with a heavy bag of fruit, but I'm not gasping for air like I was.
Time for a little recovery from last night's blow-out and festivities as my nephew got married to his long-time girlfriend, who's a dead ringer for Ruby Keeler.
Ken is on a Charlie Parker jag this afternoon, and as he often does he brought in a bunch of his 78 rpm discs, so he can play '40's stuff from Parker not available elsewhere. He bought quite a few of these sides in record stores when they first came out.
Now he's switched gears after 50 minutes of Parker and plays a tune from one of the Eddie Condon Chicago bands. Then he plays the same record a second time, so listeners can focus on one musical exchange he especially wants us to note.
Just another Sunday afternoon at Professor Wiley's school of jazz.
Big, big deal. There's really nothing to see or comment on here. What we're looking at is a major political party determined to commit suicide, but having a hard time doing so because the ineptitude and incompetence of their opposition just won't let them die.
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Here are a couple of quotes which which show better than any comment I could make the state of career journalism in the US today. These are drawn from an article by Glenn Greenwald.
The first is from Mark Halperin, an editor-at-large for Time, on the vice-presidential selection process he habitually refers to as "the veepstakes."
Unless you have been directly involved in one of these, you can’t believe the number of calls and emails that will go from journalists to Romney campaign officials from now until the pick is made public, with pleas such as “My career will be hurt if I don’t break this,” “My career will be made if I break this,” and “I don’t need to break it, but please be available to confirm the story right away for me if someone else breaks it,”and, “You owe me.”
The second is from John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail in 1777. He would later become our second president.
Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.
If you go into the old Unitarian Church in Quincy, Mass, and visit the remains of Mr. Adams, along with those of Abigail, and his son John Quincy and his wife, you might hear him repenting.
I'm glad to see this cool idea, which the blogger Atrios has been pushing for some time, getting some traction, and I trust this will be taken up by the very liberal Democratic Congress next spring.
If we're going to print enormous quantities of money, why give it all to the banks? It would make just as much sense to give it to us instead.
Free money for everybody!
If we're going to print enormous quantities of money, why give it all to the banks? It would make just as much sense to give it to us instead.
Free money for everybody!
I liked the Pledge of Allegiance better before it was amended and "under God" was added to it, which screws up the rhythm.
When I was just a little tyke at the grimy old brick schoolhouse full of mean old-lady teachers in Youngstown, we said it without the "under God." It was just "one nation in a dirigible" up until Flag Day, 1954, when Eisenhower and the U.S. Congress got together and changed it. By then I was between fourth and fifth grades, and long gone from the old brick prison which smelled funny. By 1954 we had gone suburban, and I was in a "ranch-style" one-storey school across the railroad tracks and up on Market Street in Boardman.
The reason they inserted that short phrase in the pledge was so we could distinguish ourselves from those dirty Godless atheistic commies over there in red Russia.
Well, they're gone now. All gone. No more. None left. So can we go back to saying it the way we used to? (I wonder why it is that the original way you learn to say or do something you always think that's the way it spoze to be.)
Also, I liked the 48 states better than the 50 states. And back when the pledge was just one nation in a dirigible, we were pledging to a 48-star flag, just like the famous one shown here which Jasper Johns painted in 1954, but not as textured. And it was still the 48 States for a long time after they changed the pledge, all the way until 1959 when Alaska and Hawaii both came in. So that was under Ike also.
I've never believed Alaska and Hawaii were real states. For one thing, they're not even attached.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
As Machiavelli pointed out 500 years ago, every state that ever existed or ever will is either a republic, or it's not.
A republic is ruled by laws. Under the other kind of government, a powerful individual or group is the law.
Judge Katherine Forrest ruled three months ago that Obama's National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, or at least the part of it authorizing the power to detain by presidential fiat persons suspected of terrorism, indefinitely and without charge, violates the laws of the republic.
The founders of the republic sought as their most fundamental purpose to prevent the acquisition of precisely this kind of power in anyone's hands.
If Obama and Panetta prevail in their court appeal today seeking to overturn Judge Forrest's ruling, they will remove all restraints from our opposition to them, and anything we do from then forward to overthrow them will be not only justified, but virtuous.
Also, because this development is critically important for the survival of everything genuine American patriots hold dear, the TV networks, in ignoring and deliberately blacking out (redacting) this issue are showing how pathetic and totally useless they are.
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
These three ladies, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Maria Alyokhina, play and sing in the Russian girls' punk band Pussy Riot, and they're on trial now in Moscow, charged with hooliganism. That was a serious charge back in the CCCP (you don't know how lucky you be, boy), and I wonder if they're looking at a tenner in Siberia.
Probably not, since the prez himself on Thursday expressed a desire to take it easy on the little tykes, and even though he's not judging the case (officially), says he hopes that the Russian just is system doesn't deal with them too harshly. Every dictator likes to play the merciful role once in a while, because it causes sycophants to kiss his butt with wildly wet and sloppy gratitude, and helps him feel good about himself.
The three busted into a Moscow cathedral during a worship service back in February and launched into a song in which they petitioned the Virgin to rid them of the Russian President. They said afterward they were protesting the Russian Church's close ties with Vladimir Puto, but the reverend fathers deny they are unduly influenced by the man they call "The Czar of all the Russias."
Puto is the worst Russian disaster since Chernobyl. Since his election to a third term in May, he's cracked down strongly on dissent at the same time as protests against his dictatorship have increased in numbers and intensity.
Daniel Day Lewis has been cast in the title role in Steven Speilberg's "Lincoln," which begins shooting this fall and is expected in movie houses by mid-November.
Abraham Lincoln was a human being in life, but in death has become a God. This is natural, since he led us through the most devastating moral and legal crisis in our history, out of slavery, and into a new identity as a country.
It took the worst war the US has ever been in to banish slavery, the original and worst nightmare in America's young life (although nuclear terror is getting up there in years, and may challenge for longevity). We still experience the aftermath of slavery every day.
Preceded in office by a string of three stunning mediocrities, Lincoln was willing to do whatever needed doing to get the necessary result. He was a skilled political infighter as well, pairing up enemies from the radical and conservative wings of his party, and playing the "Let's you and him fight" game with them. By the time of his Gettysburg speech, which historian Garry Wills calls "The second American revolution," Lincoln's radicalism had flowered by necessity, and he didn't hesitate in that very short and amazingly concentrated speech to unilaterally establish the country on a new foundation.
No wonder that today he has the dimensions of a god, and I have to wonder which way Speilberg will create the character and Day Lewis will play him -- as a human, or a superhuman.
I don't want to outlaw anybody, but I think our government fails us if it fails to re-purpose meth-fueled, heavily-armed peckerwood morons.
It could do this by disarming them, drafting them into the Peace Corps and sending them to places like Niger, Bihar State, India, the slums of Tegucigalpa, and so forth.
But I realize that a course of action such as what I'm suggesting could never happen, and that there's absolutely nothing anybody can do about anything. We must cower under the threat of yahoos with automatic weapons (or gun up and shoot back), endure famine-inducing drought and destructive storms, accept that banksters will break into the national treasury and eat up our national wealth for the next 10 generations, and pay taxes at a higher rate than Donald Trump does.
Because, as Mr. Tomorrow points out, if we were to do anything about any of this, it would unacceptably compromise our freedom! And we can't have that.
Monday, August 06, 2012
There are three main focuses of yoga: physical exercise (asana), breathing (pranayama), and meditation. The first two have changed my life around, and meditation would too, if I was to let it.
The problem I had with meditation was that it tends to cause a person to lose the ability to be angry, and when that happens it's impossible to maintain a political focus. A yogi takes the long view: this will all pass away, and it won't be too long before it does. And what does it matter if human beings destroy the earth? The universe will abide.
Take the long view and you're in danger of losing sight of the fact that this is an extremely screwed-up world we're living in, thanks to our species. Human beings, by far the most intelligent animal, are smart enough to have figured out a couple ways of destroying all life on earth, but too stupid to refrain from doing so.
The worst place on earth is this country, which is run by evil, lunatic gangsters. I don't wish death or destruction on any of these people, but I can tell you we're going to take this country, or at least its government (which they stole) away from them. Doing so will require intense focus, and the concentrated ability to speak with Lucifer's Tongue.
Photo: Lucifer's Tongue, ©2012 by Dave B, a.k.a. Catboxer
Sunday, August 05, 2012
Knight Capital, a hyper-complicated modern financial entity, which operated on abstractions and farted numbers, lost $440 million this past Wednesday and may not come back. According to the Reuters story, the meltdown was produced by a "software glitch."
That means one of the company's automatic computerized trading programs malfunctioned, and over the space of about 45 minutes bought millions of shares of stock at inflated prices, which Knight then had to unload at a losses for itself and its trading partners, which include the giants Fidelity Investments and Vanguard.
Knight Capital was one of those modern-day firms which make nothing, except money of course. Reuters describes it as "one of the leading market makers in U.S. stocks," and explains, "Knight is among the firms that are critical to smooth, orderly trading. Market makers match orders from buyers and sellers and often provide liquidity by stepping into the market themselves."
I have only a vague and hazy notion of what any of that means, but so what? After the big meltdown of 2007-08, it quickly became obvious that a lot of the people who had been trading in collateralized debt obligations didn't have a precise idea of what they are or how they work. In its mania for huge profits, enormous risks, and abstract models, the finance sector has turned the corner and is rocketing down the home stretch, headed for the finish line and the payoff: self-destruction.
Like a piece of overripe fruit, the fully-automated plutocracy will eventually simply fall into our hands, and thence into the compost heap, and will help provide the soil for a new, old-style economy based on producing tangible things which possess measurable value.
Saturday, August 04, 2012
I. A bunch of people with sound minds, former government officials and academics, are calling on the House Leadership to remove the notorious lunatic and dolt Michele Bachmann from the House's intelligence committee.
A bunch of lunatics who live in Bachmann's congressional district keep returning her to Congress.
II. In an attempt to regulate teh big casino, the sane French government has passed a tax on financial transactions. It might work.
Meanwhile, local loser and well-known lunatic Willard "Mittens" Romney, the Delusional Americans Party presidential candidate, is calling for more tax cuts for rich Americans.
III. "Obamacare," a flawed but sane health care reform, makes 47 million US women eligible for covered prescriptive contraceptive services, to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
A House of Reps lunatic from Pennsylvania, Mike Kelly, responds to this by comparing birth control to Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
IV. In Davis, CA, a nutty campus cop who pepper sprayed protesting but passive students, has been forced out of his job by sane University officials.
The mentally deranged US government has neutralized Possse Comitatus laws by turning local police forces into special forces equipped with full combat gear.
V. Nearly two-thirds of California's citizens pass the sanity test by continuing to favor the state's greenhouse emissions control laws.
Crazy Alabama Sen Jeff Sessions, when told by Californina's normal Sen Barbara Boxer that 98% of climate scientists think his position of global climate change is looney, says he's offended, which illustrates the clinical definition of insanity -- delusional perception and behavior, an inability to comprehend reality.
VI. Kentucky Fried Chicken, one of several fast-food chains which sells deformed and diseased chicken parts deep-fried in dangerously-toxic overused oils, is at least showing some sanity in its position on gay marriage.
Meanwhile, members of a nutbar religious cult who worship a carpenter and maverick rabbi executed by the Romans in Jerusalem two thousand years ago are lining up in droves to eat the deformed and diseased chicken parts deep-fried in dangerously-toxic overused oils sold by Sam Cathy (aka S. Truett Cathy), a pompous, self-important, and terminally-flatulent lunatic who fancies himself a philosopher, and has taken a publicized stand against gay marriage.
It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.
Adapted from "Sanity and Insanity in American Politics" by Juan Cole, professor of mideast studies at U. Michigan.
Illustration: Detail of a woodcut derived from Pieter Brueghel the elder, "Two Groups of Epileptics Going to the Right," Flemish, 16th century.
Friday, August 03, 2012
Thursday, August 02, 2012
And some of them, like the "English was good enough for Jesus Christ" guy, really are dolts. Also, Mitt.
But tomorrow, will things be like they're gonna be then?
"Things are more like they are now than they ever have been before." President Gerald Ford.
This I gotta see!
--"While you are away, movie stars are taking your women, Robert Redford is dating your girlfriend, Tom Selleck is kissing your lady, Bart Simpson is making love to your wife." Baghdad Betty, Iraqi radio announcer to Gulf War troops.
I've been wondering where they all were.
"China is a big country inhabited by many Chinese." Charles De Gaulle, French President.
It's an even greater day for Algeria.
"This is a great day for France!" President Richard Nixon, while attending De Gualle's funeral.
Not only that, you'll never be able to eat at Chick-fil-A again!
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." Brooke Shields, demonstrating why she would makea good spokeswoman for an anti-smoking group.
May the mouth find happy.
"Bite the wax tadpole." Coca-Cola, as the name originally translated into Chinese. It was changed to mean "may the mouth rejoice"
Does this mean if I drink one, my mother-in-law will come back?
"Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave." Ad slogan "Pepsi comes alive" as initially translated into Chinese.
It would affect the population as a hole, too.
"This kind of weapon can't help but have an effect on the population as a whole." President Ronald Reagan on nuclear weapons.
That's to go along with your petrified socks and yellow tennis shoes.
"Sure, I look like a white man. But my heart is as black as anyone's here." Alabama Governor George Wallace, during a presidential campaign speech to a largely black audience.
Shoulda took the brownies!
"I didn't inhale." President Bill Clinton answering rumors that he had smoked marijuana.
Stay tuned for 'The Blockade of the South,' brought to you by Ex-Lax.
"This portion of `Women on the Run' is brought to you by Phillips' Milk of Magnesia." Harry Von Zell, radio announcer in the 1950's. Von Zell also once pitched a live commercial for "Texagoo Gasoloon."
But be sure to save some abuse for Microsoft Vista™.
"Indignantly Condemn the Wang-Chan-Chiang-Yao Gang of Four." Hit song of 1976, according to People's Daily, Beijing, China.
Also every woman under 50 in the Czech Republic.
"I desire the Poles carnally." President Jimmy Carter's mis-translation in a 1977 speech in Poland.
Let's see what Fox News has to say about this.
"There are two kinds of truth. There are the real truths and there are the made up truths." Marion Barry, mayor of Washington D.C., on his arrest for drug use.
"...where I learned to love påté de fois gras."
"I love California. I grew up in Phoenix." Dan Quayle
Good thing he didn't plan on calling him a fig plucker.
"This country needs a spear chucker, and I think we've got him up on this podium." Eugene Dorff, mayor of Kenosha, Wisconsin, introducing presidential candidate Jesse Jackson. Dorff said later that he intended to say "straight shooter" but slipped.
And he grilled a pretty mean burger, too.
"If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me." An un-named congressman to Dr. Davis Edwards, head of the Joint National Committee on Language, about the necessity for a commercial nation to be multi-lingual.
Too tragic to laugh about.
"I was for the Iraq War before I was against it." Massachusetts Democratic senator and presidential candidate John Kerry.
Nearly all these items are from the book, "The 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said," by Ross and Kathryn Petras. Commentary preceding each quote ©2012 by Dave B, aka Catboxer.
I haven't kept up much with the Chick-fil-A gay marriage kerfluffle. However, what little I know shows the fast-food outlet to be a cultish piece of bigoted work, and its founder and CEO a one-man hate fest, in addition to his pepetrating mass murder most fowl.
Chick-fil-A...has been sued at least 12 times since 1988 on charges of employment discrimination, according to records in U.S. District Courts. Aziz Latif, a former Chick-fil-A restaurant manager in Houston, sued the company in 2002 after Latif, a Muslim, says he was fired a day after he didn't participate in a group prayer to Jesus Christ at a company training program in 2000. The suit was settled on undisclosed terms.
See "The Cult of Chick-fil-A" at Forbes (!!) magazine's on-line site, 3rd paragraph from the bottom.
As a side note, I just love using sources like Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. They really hate bozos like Q. Throcklepidgeon Caty, or whatever his name is, who give capitalismo a bad name.
From Bloomberg via Susie's place:
The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency warned its employees and contractors last week to stop using their government computers to surf the Internet for pornographic sites, according to the agency’s executive director.
In a one-page memo, Executive Director John James Jr. wrote that in recent months government employees and contractors were detected “engaging in inappropriate use of the MDA network.”
“Specifically, there have been instances of employees and contractors accessing websites, or transmitting messages, containing pornographic or sexually explicit images,” James wrote in the July 27 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.
“These actions are not only unprofessional, they reflect time taken away from designated duties, are in clear violation of federal and DoD and regulations, consume network resources and can compromise the security of the network though the introduction of malware or malicious code,” he wrote.
I sleep better at night, knowing that no nuclear-tipped ICBM launched by those godless commies over there in red Russia will hit my apartment house, thanks to the vigilance of our Missile Defense Agency, their enormous missiles and deep silos.
Of course, things have been a little slow at this agency since the collapse of the Soviet Union over 20 years ago, and I can understand if the guys who work there need something to occupy their minds as they collect their paychecks, 100-percent financed by our taxes.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Here he is in all his glory. Joe Lieberman comes drooping in on Fox News to be interviewed by one of the miniskirt Mussolinis whose name I don't know. First thing she does is feed him the word she wants ("treason") and Joe says "don't know why that hasn't happened."
Julian Assange, the object of this rabid attention, is not an American citizen, by the way, but why let legal details stand in the way when the trail is hot and the heretic will surely be delivered into our hands, just in time for the Joan of Arc memorial barbecue.
Wasn't this sad clown supposed to retire or something? I don't even have a TV, just so I can avoid having to listen to schmoes like D.J., but still he comes, infiltrating the YouTube.
Joe says Assange must be punished, lest others think they can do a Wikileaks-type operation, which would "hurt America," although I don't think he says what this hypothetical "hurt" is.
He goes on to settle for "espionage," for which he says Assange should be immediately indicted, so he can be extradited. Then after prompting by his foxist hostess, he suggests that the New York Times ought to be charged with something too, for printing the diplomatic cables and Iraq diaries.
Didn't we settle that question 40 years ago? Benito-ette maybe never heard of the Pentagon Papers?
It's really past time for Joe to leave. He has no understanding of democracy, which is all that Wikileaks is. I'm speaking of that global movement toward democracy which is sweeping everything else before it, and makes droopy old twits like Joe Leiberman babble and sputter in terror.