Saturday, October 02, 2010
Jack Kennedy found out the hard way. Has much changed since 1963? Michael Moore calls it as he sees it…
“So...it turns out President Eisenhower wasn't making up all that stuff about the military-industrial complex. That's what you'll conclude if you read Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's War. You thought you voted for change when you cast a ballot for Barack Obama? Um, not when it comes to America occupying countries that don't begin with a "U" and an "S." In fact, after you read Woodward's book, you'll split a gut every time you hear a politician or a government teacher talk about "civilian control over the military." The only people really making the decisions about America's wars are across the river from Washington in the Pentagon. They wear uniforms. They have lots of weapons they bought from the corporations they will work for when they retire. For everyone who supported Obama in 2008, it's reassuring to find out he understands we have to get out of Afghanistan. But for everyone who's worried about Obama in 2010, it's scary to find out that what he thinks should be done may not actually matter. And that's because he's not willing to stand up to the people who actually run this country. And here's the part I don't even want to write -- and none of you really want to consider: It matters not whom we elect. The Pentagon and the military contractors call the shots. The title "Commander in Chief" is ceremonial, like "Employee of the Month" at your local Burger King.” (Click here for more Moore and video of the Eisenhower speech.)
The secret word is Profits
Posted by Mick at 10/02/2010 01:19:00 AM
Both our pals Munz and HCB sent us the following good news. Seems like Arnold is doing the right thing now he’s leaving office.
”Sacramento, Sept 30th: A bill to downgrade the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill, SB 1449 by Sen. Mark Leno, will spare petty pot offenders the necessity for a court appearance and criminal arrest record while saving the state millions of dollars in court and prosecution expenses. The bill treats petty possession like a traffic ticket punishable by a simple $100 fine and no arrest record. "Gov. Schwarzenegger deserves credit for sparing the state's taxpayers the cost of prosecuting minor pot offenders," said California NORML director Dale Gieringer, "Californians increasingly recognize that the war on marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources." The new law, which takes effect on Jan 1, 2011, will have an effect even if Californians vote to legalize marijuana by passing Prop 19. Prop 19 leaves misdemeanor possession penalties in place for public use and smoking in the presence of kids; under SB 1449, these offenses would be simple infractions. In his signing statement, the Governor said he opposes decriminalization of recreational use of marijuana and opposes Prop 19, but "in this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources" prosecuting petty pot offenses.”
Posted by Mick at 10/02/2010 01:11:00 AM
Although not as cute as a baby panda cam of yesteryear, this is well worth a stoned stare.
"Photographs of the aurora borealis can't really convey what it's like to be sitting in the woods, staring at a black, perfectly normal sky and suddenly begin to see quivering green tracers slither across it. The photos are proof that we're not just all tripping balls up here in the northerly latitudes, but if what you really want is the experience—or something resembling it—the Canadian Space Agency can help. Their AuroraMax Live project turns a camera on the skies above Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and sends the resulting images direct to your portal on the Intertubes.” Click here to see all.
Posted by Mick at 10/02/2010 01:06:00 AM
Friday, October 01, 2010
Whether or not the UN have a secret ambassador primed and ready to meet and greet any aliens who might show up is basically for you, dear reader, to decide. I’m also aware that some of you there firmly believe the aliens took over years ago – on Feb. 20, 1954, to be precise, when “President Dwight Eisenhower interrupted his vacation in Palm Springs to make a secret nocturnal trip to a nearby Edwards Air Force base to meet extraterrestrials” – and the ETs have been our shadowy overlords ever since. I would, on the other hand, point out that, if these aliens are our all-controlling shadowy overlords, they kinda suck at it.
“When the little green men show up on their space shuttle, they might have trouble finding a leader to talk to.Despite some of the most promising science fiction reports out there, the United Nations will not be appointing an ambassador to extraterrestrials. The Martian madness began with a report in the London Telegraph that "Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist, is set to be tasked with co-ordinating humanity's response if and when extraterrestrials make contact." Othman was appointed the director of the United Nations' Office for Outer Space Affairs in 1999. According to the Telegraph story, the scientist would announce her new role at a Royal Society conference in Buckinghamshire next week. The real life Men In Black story burned through the Internet, but the Guardian has stopped all the alien fun by actually asking Othman about her supposed appointment. Othman sent the paper an e-mail saying, "It sounds really cool but I have to deny it." She will be attending a conference next week, but she'll be talking about how the world deals with "near-Earth objects." Though, perhaps just like the alien ambassadors in the movie Men in Black, Othman could be keeping the job a secret.”
The secret initials are EBE
Posted by Mick at 10/01/2010 12:32:00 AM
…the UN may need to get its act in gear.
“US astronomers said Wednesday they have discovered an Earth-sized planet that they think might be habitable, orbiting a nearby star, and believe there could be many more planets like it in space. The planet, found by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, is orbiting in the middle of the "habitable zone" of the red dwarf star Gliese 581, which means it could have water on its surface. The scientists determined that the planet, which they have called Gliese 581g, has a mass three to four times that of Earth and an orbital period of just under 37 days.”
Posted by Mick at 10/01/2010 12:27:00 AM
Click here for rare Rolling Stones
Posted by Mick at 10/01/2010 12:16:00 AM
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Because sure as shit capitalism is about to fuck you. (And it definitely won’t buy you dinner.) Sally Kalson puts it in a nutshell…
“It wasn't that long ago that Republicans talked about shrinking government down to where it could be drowned in the bathtub. That's exactly what's happening now to the middle class. It's being shrunk by the low-wage global labor pool. If we keep going this way, the influence of the middle class as a voting bloc will, eventually, be drowned in the gold-plated bathtub of the country's monied interests. Increasingly, American companies are shipping jobs to destitute people overseas willing to work long hours for a fraction of what American workers need to get by. The good jobs that used to pay the mortgage, grocery and doctor bills, with enough left to save for a vacation and the kids' college fund, are outsourced to places like China (where a garment worker makes 86 cents an hour) and Cambodia (where the wage is 22 cents an hour). Meanwhile, some 40 percent of employed Americans are working in service jobs, often very low paying.
This phenomenon, combined with automation and the ongoing effects of the economic meltdown, are the job killers today, much more so than government taxing and spending. In fact, it's government programs that prevent people forced into lower wage jobs from cracking their heads wide open on the pavement. Unemployment compensation, food stamps, child care subsidies, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and health care reform measures that keep children up to age 26 on their parents' insurance policies and prevent insurance companies from excluding children with pre-existing conditions or cancelling a policy when you get sick -- all of these things mitigate the effects of global forces beyond workers' control. But even as the middle class dwindles, it is being exhorted to vote against its own well-being by monied interests bent on maintaining or increasing their already overwhelming advantages. Extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is a prime example.Using scare tactics and demagoguery (Socialism! Communism!) -- and, thanks to the Supreme Court, unlimited financing of campaign messages -- these wealthy interests are working overtime to turn middle class voters against themselves.” (Click here for more)
Click here for The Kingsmen
The secret word is Screwed
Tony Curtis -- RIP
Arthur Penn -- RIP
Posted by Mick at 9/30/2010 01:10:00 AM
Seems that I’m still using the majesty of the universe as an escape from terrestrial unpleasantness.
“This photo mosaic combines photos from Voyager 1's 1979 Jupiter flyby to provide our best view ever of the Great Red Spot, the gigantic storm that has raged on that planet for centuries and is twice as big as Earth. This amazing image is the work of Icelandic amateur image processor Björn Jónsson, who combed through all the many photos taken during the Voyager flyby in order to make this mosaic view of the Great Red Spot. These photos have been publicly available for three decades, but only now has someone bothered to find them and put them together like this. Jónsson also took the liberty of greatly increasing the contrast of the image, providing a much clearer view of the spot. The Great Red Spot is a massive storm system that has been in existence for anywhere from 180 to 345 years, and it's currently about 24,000 to 40,000 kilometers long from east to west, and 12,000 to 14,000 kilometers north to south. The spot slowly rotates counterclockwise at a rate of about once very six Earth days. It's not currently known how long the spot will last, but it is getting smaller. Scientists estimate it's only about half the size now that it was a century ago.” (Click here for more)
Posted by Mick at 9/30/2010 12:54:00 AM
This rare little artifact showed up on Facebook. A quid to get in? Larry Wallis’ name spelled wrong? Those were the days. The good guys were the band that went out with me to promote the album Vampires Stole My Lunch Money, being Andy Colquhoun, Alan Powell, Gary Tibbs, and the aforementioned Wallis. Tracks from that record have started to show up on YouTube. Click here for “I Want A Drink” that features Wilko Johnson on guest guitar/
Posted by Mick at 9/30/2010 12:41:00 AM
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
(And, yes, I know this is Tina Fey and not a real librarian, but I can dream can’t I?)
First they privatized the prisons. Now it’s the libraries. A private corporation in Maryland is taken over public libraries in ailing cities and has grown into the country’s fifth-largest library system. But they’re not having it all their way. Library Systems & Services has touched off an acrimonious debate about the role of outsourcing in a ravaged economy. Can a municipal service like a library hold so central a place that it should be entrusted to a profit-driven contractor? Especially when that contractor boasts to The New York Times in a manner most porcine.
“There’s this American flag, apple pie thing about libraries,” said Frank A. Pezzanite, the outsourcing company’s chief executive. He has pledged to save $1 million a year in Santa Clarita, mainly by cutting overhead and replacing unionized employees. “Somehow they have been put in the category of a sacred organization.” The company, known as L.S.S.I., runs 14 library systems operating 63 locations. Its basic pitch to cities is that it fixes broken libraries — more often than not by cleaning house. “A lot of libraries are atrocious,” Mr. Pezzanite said. “Their policies are all about job security. That’s why the profession is nervous about us. You can go to a library for 35 years and never have to do anything and then have your retirement. We’re not running our company that way. You come to us, you’re going to have to work.”
I also do recall how it was the nation's librarians who stood alone and told Homeland Security to fuck off when the Feds wanted to know what books we read.
The secret word is Ssssh!
Posted by Mick at 9/29/2010 01:22:00 AM
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
In Vietnam it was killing civilians, collecting ears, and smoking smack. In Afghanistan it would seem to be killing civilians, collecting fingers, and smoking hash. This is not politics. It’s not even pacifism. It’s just the seemingly inescapable observation that counter-insurgency drives those expected to implement it stone fucking crazy.
“WASHINGTON - The US Army holds its first hearing Monday in a grisly war crimes case that charges five soldiers with killing Afghan civilians for sport and plotting a cover-up. Authorities say the troops opened fire on the Afghan civilians in unprovoked assaults over several months in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province, with some of the soldiers accused of mutilating corpses and removing bones. The case carries potentially explosive ramifications for the war effort as US-led forces try to win the trust of local Afghans and push back Taliban insurgents in the pivotal Kandahar battlefield. Monday's hearing focuses on Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 22, of Wasila, Alaska, who faces charges of premeditated murder in the deaths of three Afghans killed between January and May this year.” (Click here for more.)
Click here for a reminder of the process
The secret words are My and Lai
Posted by Mick at 9/28/2010 12:33:00 AM
I couldn’t resist posting this image of Saturn just to remind myself of the terrible splendor of the universe, and to forget our own petty, toxin-tainted atmosphere.
“Majestic, ringed Saturn little resembles the relatively tiny blue marble that is Earth, but the massive gas giant planet is home to at least one phenomenon that would be familiar to high-latitude dwellers here on Earth. Although the underlying mechanisms may differ somewhat, Saturn has northern and southern lights at its poles, just as Earth does. Auroras arise when charged particles are funneled along converging magnetic field lines and into the upper atmosphere at the poles. At Earth, the effect is dominated by the solar wind; at Saturn a complex mixture of other geomagnetic phenomena appear to contribute as well. Charged particles striking Saturn's upper atmosphere ionize hydrogen atoms and produce infrared radiation, whereas related processes also give off Saturnian auroras at ultraviolet and radio wavelengths.” (Click here for more)
Don Partridge – RIP
Posted by Mick at 9/28/2010 12:28:00 AM
Monday, September 27, 2010
“The New York restaurant Diablo Royale Este serves a dessert called The Hopsicle Experience. It’s a frozen can of beer on a stick! Now, the thing about the hopsicle is that it looks like your standard can of Tecate: Red. Cylindrical. Icy cold. Except the barman-witchdoctors at Diablo have taken the “icy” bit quite literally, injecting the beer with simple syrup and lime juice, jamming a wooden stick into the hole of the can and then putting it in the freezer. For four days. The result is a genuine beer popsicle, which the bartender must saw in half with a serrated steak knife (or samurai sword) to open. Then it’s up to you to push the wooden stick upward to dispense the hopsicle in true Push Pop style, and decide if you want your savory sweet frozen joyride bathed in tequila as well that can be arranged.”
Click here for The Murmaids
The secret word is Lick
Posted by Mick at 9/27/2010 12:32:00 AM
As America’s slavish worship of the uber-rich reaches the psychotic concept that multi-millionaires should have near-exemption from taxes, and not even pay for the roads on which they drive or the cops and firemen who protect their lives and property, Bill Maher singles out Ben Stein – former groveling thrall of Richard Nixon, and now a relentless conservative media hustler – as a perfect example of the mindset.
“And let's be clear: that's 3.6% only on income above 250 grand -- your first 250, that's still on the house. Now, this week we got some horrible news: that one in seven Americans are now living below the poverty line. But I want to point you to an American who is truly suffering: Ben Stein. You know Ben Stein, the guy who got rich because when he talks it sounds so boring it's actually funny. He had a game show on Comedy Central, does eye drop commercials, doesn't believe in evolution? Yeah, that asshole. I kid Ben -- so, the other day Ben wrote an article about his struggle. His struggle as a wealthy person facing the prospect of a slightly higher marginal tax rate. Specifically, Ben said that when he was finished paying taxes and his agents, he was left with only 35 cents for every dollar he earned. Which is shocking, Ben Stein has an agent? I didn't know Broadway Danny Rose was still working. Ben whines in his article about how he's worked for every dollar he has -- if by work you mean saying the word "Bueller" in a movie 25 years ago. Which doesn't bother me in the slightest, it's just that at a time when people in America are desperate and you're raking in the bucks promoting some sleazy Free Credit Score dot-com... maybe you shouldn't be asking us for sympathy. Instead, you should be down on your knees thanking God and/or Ronald Reagan that you were lucky enough to be born in a country where a useless schmuck who contributes absolutely nothing to society can somehow manage to find himself in the top marginal tax bracket.”
Click here for Tom Waits
Posted by Mick at 9/27/2010 12:27:00 AM
"Gimme is a robot/sculpture designed by Chris Eckert that follows people around, asking for money: Eckert comments: “My newest art machine, Gimme is an automated panhandler that follows a viewer (or multiple viewers) around the room while relentlessly requesting donations.”
Posted by Mick at 9/27/2010 12:20:00 AM
Sunday, September 26, 2010
While I was still toying with the trout, Finn the cat rapidly consumed two whole fish, two glasses of Chardonnay, all of the desert, and then hurried off because he was late for a nap. He did not tip the waiter, but, then again, he doesn’t carry cash because he has no pockets.
Needless to say, this is all nonsense. The heat – now pushing 100F – has fallen on the city with a vengeance, and I am three parts demented. Someone on Facebook also informed me that it was 85F in New England today. As they put it, “nice but unnatural.”
Click here for the Dolls
The secret word is Sautéed
Posted by Mick at 9/26/2010 01:45:00 AM
The following comes from Emanuel A. Schegloff, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, and while I definitely wouldn’t say no to a chair of countercultural studies at some cozy college, it’s exactly the kind of thing that really worries me about academia. (Sadly Blogger cut off the Hulk's exclamation of "Unnhhh!" Sorry about that.)
"The underlying theme is that accounts for what gets done and gets understood in talk-in-interaction must take into account not only its composition, but also its position-not only with respect to the grammar of sentences, but also with respect to the organization of turns at talk, of action sequences encompassing multiple turns at talk, and of occasions of talk, all of which are demonstrably oriented to by speakers in their production of the talk and by recipients in their analyzing of the talk. It has been noted that "Uh"s and/or "Uhm"s in linguistic, cultural and situational settings can perform varying functions not only according to their timing and their intonation, but also dependent on their position in a sentence. The professor clarifies again – "In adding to the ‘what'-ness of ‘uh' and ‘uhm' (the ‘composition' element) a ‘where'-ness or positional element, we need to go beyond syntactic structure and speech-production processes; it turns out that the conversationally sequential is inescapably consequential for understanding what ‘uh' and ‘uhm' are being used to do, both by co-participants and by investigators." (Click here for more if you really have to.)
Click here for The Trashmen
Posted by Mick at 9/26/2010 01:31:00 AM