Thursday, July 29, 2010

Amur Tiger Time

If you read Russian, this will be fun. If you don't read Russian, go translate. The first 500 words of the translation are free, but do what I do, if I have more than 500 words, I go to the website more than once. Or, if you're rich (& who isn't in the land of the free market ruling everything) you pay.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Daniel Schorr, R.I.P.

Dead at 93. Daniel Schorr was the only decent person on the public radio for a long time. I'll miss him.
Veteran reporter and commentator Daniel Schorr, whose hard-hitting reporting for CBS got him on President Richard Nixon's notorious "enemies list" in the 1970s, has died. He was 93.

Schorr died Friday at a Washington hospital after a brief illness, said Anna Christopher, a spokeswoman for National Public Radio, where Schorr continued to work as a senior news analyst and commentator.

Schorr's career of more than six decades spanned the spectrum of journalism — beginning in print, then moving to television where he spent 23 years with CBS News and ending with NPR. He also wrote several books, including his memoir, "Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism."

Schorr reported from Moscow; Havana; Bonn, Germany; and many other cities as a foreign correspondent. While at CBS, he brought Americans the first-ever exclusive television interview with a Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, in 1957.

During the Nixon years, Schorr not only covered the news as CBS' chief Watergate correspondent, but he also became part of the story. Hoping to beat the competition, he rushed to the air with Nixon's famous "enemies list" and began reading the list of 20 to viewers before previewing it. As he got to No. 17, he discovered his name.

"I remember that my first thought was that I must go on reading without any pause, or gasp or look of wild surmise," he wrote in his book "Clearing the Air."

"I do not know how well I carried off my effort to appear oblivious to the discovery of my name on an ominous-looking list, but I count this one of the most trying experiences in my television career."

Schorr's stories pointing out weaknesses of the administration's programs so angered Nixon that he ordered an FBI investigation of the reporter — saying he was being considered for a top federal job. That investigation was later mentioned in one of the three articles of impeachment — "abuse of a federal agency" — adopted by the House Judiciary Committee against Nixon.

He said he figured he became such a thorn in Nixon's side because his newspaper background gave him a bluntness rare on television and an antagonism to the "stage-craft, image-making and slogan-selling" that Nixon favored.

Schorr became part of the story once again in 1976, when he arranged for the publication of an advance copy of a suppressed House Intelligence Committee report on illegal CIA and FBI findings.

At the time, Schorr called it "an inescapable decision of journalistic conscience" to see that the report ended up in print. To his surprise, reaction from his own colleagues in the media was negative, because Schorr had handed the report over in exchange for a donation to a group that aids journalists in First Amendment issues.
My emphases.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dave Obey

Too bad he's retiring.
We were told we have to offset every damn dime of [new teacher spending]. Well, it ain’t easy to find offsets, and with all due respect to the administration their first suggestion for offsets was to cut food stamps. Now they were careful not to make an official budget request, because they didn’t want to take the political heat for it, but that was the first trial balloon they sent down here. … Their line of argument was, well, the cost of food relative to what we thought it would be has come down, so people on food stamps are getting a pretty good deal in comparison to what we thought they were going to get. Well isn’t that nice. Some poor bastard is going to get a break for a change.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ain't No Pedestal High Enough, Ain't No Quirk Low Enough

As I acknowledged earlier, their is dissension in the ranks of my loyal four readers concerning Sen. Feingold's lonely Democratic NO vote on the watered down financial reform bill which recently passed the Senate. Here's a piece about that vote. Go read it. & since they turned the ladies from Maine, Russ' vote wound up not hurting the chances of it passing. I certainly understand the frustration some of us have about Russ. I don't trust him either, after his vote with the ReThugs during President Clinton's impeachment. That vote took on a personal note for me, since The Kid was working the phones for the Democrats that night, working the phones in raising money. Boy, she got several earfuls, but stayed the course that night (she needed the money for rent). But as John Nichols said to me in a bar in Ashland, Wisco, "You'll finish your beer, comrade, then vote for Russ." He was, as usual, correct. So, I'm actually not putting Russ on a chair, or something. There were great reasons to oppose this bill. Anyway, go read the piece. Here are a couple of snippets.
...Feingold definitely gets it. He has long understood the dangers of bank deregulation, and, he points out, he was one of only eight Senators to vote against repealing Glass Steagall--the Depression-era law that forced banks to keep their investment houses and regular, commercial operations separate. He even voted against the TARP.


But after much wrangling and a floor speech denouncing the watered-down bill and demanding tougher reforms, Feingold explains to voters in a video posted on is official web site why he won't support the final reform legislation.

"Unfortunately, this bill doesn't do the job," Feingold says. The two major issues that it doesn't address, he says, are replacing the firewall between regular banking activities and gambling on Wall Street and breaking up institutions that are "too big to fail."


The bill does do plenty of good, however,....
(for nonheroicvet, ed.)

Not Enough, As Usual

While their is some dissension among my loyal four readers & me concerning Sen. Feingold's no vote on the bogus 2,300 page Wall Street bill. After listening to a segment on Brian Lehrer's radio program (on Sirius satellite radio) yesterday as I drove home from Minneapolis, I found my initial response reinforced.
Democratic Senator Russell Feingold opposed the measure, which he charged did not go far enough to curtail the dealings that led to the international economic collapse.

"I made clear that my test for this bill would be whether it prevents another economic crisis. Unfortunately, this bill falls short," he said in a statement after the vote.

Feingold's statement added,

The reckless practices of Wall Street sent our economy reeling, triggered the worst recession since the Great Depression, and left millions of Americans to foot the bill. Despite these cataclysmic events, Washington once again caved to Wall Street on key issues and produced a bill that fails to protect the American people from the pain of another economic disaster. I will not support a bill that fails to adequately protect the people of Wisconsin from the recklessness of Wall Street.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuli Kupferberg, R.I.P.

I bought a couple of albums by The Fugs at a Duluth, MN, music store in 1967. I was on a last trip with my Explorer Post. We were out to spend all of our treasury, since there was no one to follow us. We left the day after our high school graduation. Boy were we hungover, well, most of us were. When I played the records a couple of weeks later, I was enthralled with high minded lyrics like "Do you like boobs alot? Yeah, I like boobs a lot." & "Kill, kill, kill for peace." What an eye opener for a kid from northern Wisco. Oh, & the clerk I bought the records from claimed Bob Dylan as a high school classmate. Obit here. Here's what's on The Fugs page if you did the bad thing & didn't click through. Tsk, tsk.
Tuli Kupferberg, Poet, Great Songwriter, Spreader of Good Cheer, Celebrator of Personal Freedom, Great Story-Teller, Good Father and Husband, Lover of Beauty and Creativity— Marvelous Tuli, American Genius, has passed away in the hospital. The oi is oi-ing in the Great Oi!

SmithKline - How The Market Fixes Everything

Read this & get really pissed off. Of course, the problem of hiding fatal side effects will be eliminated by the free market. When will the American people finally realize that strict regulation, strictly enforced, is not an evil, but a necessary fix to prevent corporate crime. Let's see, BP, Toyota, etc., etc.
...the study also provided clear signs that it was riskier to the heart.


This was done for the U.S. business, way under the radar,” Dr. Martin I. Freed, a SmithKline executive, wrote in an e-mail message dated March 29, 2001, about the study results that was obtained by The Times. “Per Sr. Mgmt request, these data should not see the light of day to anyone outside of GSK,” the corporate successor to SmithKline.


According to the documents, Dr. John Jenkins, director of the agency’s office of new drugs, who has argued internally that Avandia should remain on the market, briefed the company extensively on the agency’s internal debate.

“It is clear the office of new drugs is trying to find minimal language that will satisfy the office of drug safety,” a top company official wrote in an e-mail message after he spoke with Dr. Jenkins, according to a sealed deposition obtained by The Times.


...Dr. Rosemary Johann-Liang, a former supervisor in the drug safety office who left the F.D.A. after she was disciplined for recommending that Avandia’s heart warnings be strengthened....

My emphases.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Collateral Damage

I know someone with the same last name. I wonder if they are related? Another funeral British Petroleum (BP) won't pay for.
Fifty-three days after I spoke with Kruse, he took his boat out for the last time and, with the gun he kept on board, took his own life.

Fighting Bob Fest IX

The ninth annual Fighting Bob Fest will begin on Sept. 11, 2010, at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, WI. To find out more & to subscribe to a hellava newsletter go here. Ed Garvey is the editor & publisher of this publication & it's a great online source for all things liberal. Go read & bookmark & contribute. If Bob La Follette were still alive he'd be proud of you. He's dead, but I'm not, so I'll be proud of you, my loyal four readers. It's a good antidote to morons like Bachmann of Minnesota, whose most recent contribution to the public conversation is about how President Obama is turning all the poor white folks into slaves.  How did this happen? I know, I know, I just asked that question in a previous post, but what the hell? Slaves? Hypocrisy, thy name is Michelle Bachmann.

Oh, Boy, Another This Is Not Good

Digby talks about whether or not finding out something you believe to be true isn't true & what a person does about it. Well, pretty much nothing. As the one commenter says, sort of, all the more reason not to try & reason with the ReThugs, they won't change their minds no matter how many times you show them the truth. In other words, fuck bipartisanship.  I guess President Obama was correct when he said people, bitter people cling to guns, religion, laziness when things don't seem to be working out so well. I guess a person could delete the "bitter" descriptor & it would probably be even more true. This is the kind of discussion that really, really gets me despondent, mainly because it is true that people tend to not only cling to their untrue ideas, they become even harder believers in that fantasy. I suppose it's all about control. When things are out of the control of a person, & most things are, they can only control what it is that they themselves think & to be proven wrong mitigates against their sense of self, of their feelings of well being. Looking out at this country, it's not a pretty picture. With the dickhead Tea Baggers really believing in their views of freedom, for example, freedom becomes completely elusive. If President Obama is the already considered the worst socialist in American history, what's next? In fact, most of these dorks have no idea what a socialist is, & if President Obama was truely a socialist, we all wouldn't be suffering through crappy health care, CEOs making millions at our expense, the boondoggles of two wars, among many other issues. What is so hard for me to fathom is that President Obama is a middle-of-the-road Democrat, more in turn with the Blue Dog ReThuglicanthan-lites than with me. How did the conversation get so fucked up? So, far from the truth? So, so, out there? There are days when I wish I drank too much, like today, then I'd only worry about where I hid that bottle of Sapphire, rather than trying to escape the quicksand of the ReThug's brain.

Pretty Awful Numbers

Notice this all began with the election of Alzheimer Ronnie. So much for a classless society. When will the goddamned Democratic Party wake the hell up? I'm not old enough yet to hold my breath.

Netherlands, Holland, Wood Shoes, Tulips

Whatever, they lost. They score? 1 - nil. Oh, yeah, Spain won. It was the first one for Spain. I think that Paul, the octopus predicted the win. He lives in Germany, therefore he really pissed off every German citizen.


File:Oktopus-Orakel Paul mit Schuh.JPG

Careless Contractor?

More like uneduated contractor. A few years ago Mrs. coldH2Owi, the Kid, & the Son-in-Law walked by this statue after taking part in a memorial service & Second Line for Ray Charles. It's too bad someone, anyone, wasn't there to watch over Louis Armstrong. BTW, we didn't make all the way to Sweet Lorraine's. It was hot & very humid, OK? We made it as far as St. Louis Cemetery #1, home, as it were to the famous - Marie Laveau, freeborn Voudou priestess - Homer Plessey - Baron de Marigny, named, I believe, after my granddaughter, Marigny, one of The Twins.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Bemidji, MN - Artists Not Welcome

I guess the Tea Party hates artists & beavers. What a bunch of maroons. Fear genitalia, particularly of the female persuasion.

Pictures From The 4th Of July 2010

I went for a ride in the rain yesterday. Here are some pics I took along the way. The two bucks in velvet were a real treat. They are the first I've seen this year.


Tab, The Cat, In A Box

(OK, OK, so the cat in the box is on the floor of my house & I didn't drive to get a pic of him. Sue me, you meanies.}

Corner Of Old Barn (Note The Modern xmas Lights)

Left Leaning Birches (They Know The Truth About Politics & Which Way The Wind Blows)

Lake Hexagenia Limbata**

**More on this incredible mayfly can be found here.

Buck In Velvet 1

A Different Buck In Velvet

Same Buck Again

Same Buck A Third Time

One More Time

Door From Montreal Mine Building

Door From Montreal Mine Building 2

Feingold 10

To answer a commenter: Russ Feingold is acting like an actual Democrat by refusing to go along, refusing to accept the status quo regarding the Wall Street looters. This is not that tired trope of the perfect being the enemy of the good. this is exactly what a true Democrat would be doing. This bill continues to reward the oligarchy as it exists in America. It does little for the "little guy/gal". President Obama promised a bottom-up recovery, but his actions don't match his words, they match Bu$hCo's words.  From a campaign speech given in North Carolina. Sorry, I lost the link in trying to edit this post, damn computers, but I love them.
I have a different vision for the future. Instead of spending twelve billion dollars a month to rebuild Iraq, I think it's time we invested in our roads and schools and bridges and started to rebuild America. Instead of handing out giveaways to corporations that don't need them and didn't ask for them, it's time we started giving a hand-up to families who are trying pay their medical bills and send their children to college. We can't afford four more years of skewed priorities that give us nothing but record debt – we need change that works for the American people. And that is the choice in this election.
The principle is simple – if the government can bail out investment banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to folks who are struggling on Main Street.
My emphases.

& here is a great point made by Naomi Klien about the campaign.
To understand the meaning of the U.S. election results, it is worth looking back to the moment when everything changed for the Obama campaign. It was, without question, the moment when the economic crisis hit Wall Street.

Up to that point, things weren’t looking all that good for Barack Obama. The Democratic National Convention barely delivered a bump, while the appointment of Sarah Palin seemed to have shifted the momentum decisively over to John McCain.

Then, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed, followed by insurance giant AIG, then Lehman Brothers. It was in this moment of economic vertigo that Obama found a new language. With tremendous clarity, he turned his campaign into a referendum into the deregulation and trickle down policies that have dominated mainstream economic discourse since Ronald Reagan. He said his opponent represented more of the same while he stood for a new direction, one that would rebuild the economy from the ground up, rather than the top down. Obama stayed on this message for the rest of the campaign and, as we just saw, it worked.
My emphases.

Feingold does not follow in the steps of McCarthy for christ's sake, that is a low, mean blow. & hopefully Russ will be remembered for principled stands that do not include a golden fleece. I certainly understand the frustration that true Democrats are feeling right now, but Russ Feingold should not be the cause for that frustration. A person needs to remember that Herb Kohl is the other senator from Wisco, he's also a Democrat. What does he stand for except his own money? There is a politician that someone, me maybe, needs to light a fire under his ass, although I did try it a few years ago when I wanted his help in getting Century Tel to provide DSL service to my rural home. He didn't even respond with a letter praising me & then himself. I now have the slowest possible DSL speed, so I guess the free market solved my problem.

Finally, we all need to take a deep breath, let it out slowly, stop halfway through & donate to Russ' reelection campaign or if not cash, volunteer part of your private property to put up a sign or two.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Giant Sperm Discovered

It's 10 feet across, oh, my bad, it's a 10 foot long fossilized head of a sperm WHALE. Something else must be on my pea-brain this hot, sultry morning.
The fossil includes the longest documented sperm whale teeth, measuring more than 14 fearsome inches.

On display

Do The Math

It just doesn't figure.  I wonder what his mother thinks?

Nationalize All Oil Production

Why not? We already give these dicks billions of dollars anyway.
When the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform set off the worst oil spill at sea in American history, it was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. Registering there allowed the rig’s owner to significantly reduce its American taxes. The owner, Transocean, moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands in 1999 and then to Switzerland in 2008, maneuvers that also helped it avoid taxes.

At the same time, BP was reaping sizable tax benefits from leasing the rig. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committee, the company used a tax break for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon — a deduction of more than $225,000 a day since the lease began.

With federal officials now considering a new tax on petroleum production to pay for the cleanup, the industry is fighting the measure, warning that it will lead to job losses and higher gasoline prices, as well as an increased dependence on foreign oil.

But an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process.

Whiny ass titty babies. My emphases.  They get billions of our, the taxpayer's dollars, & yet still cry about paying a fairer share.  They use the same, tired tropes about job losses, etc.  Who the hell cares?  The shareholders, of course, they have no interests but in increasing their bank accounts.  We, on the other hand, watch in horror as the Gulf of Mexico is destroyed.  The only job losses I'd like to see are BP executives & the criminal federal employees & politicians that allowed this to happen.

Happy 4th Of July, People - Put Away The Flags

First we have Howard Zinn. This was written during the criminal Bu$hCo administration, however, since President Obama has continued many of the worst of Bu$hCo's policies, it certainly fits 7/4/2010.

From The Progressive.

Put away the flags

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.

Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.

That self-deception started early.

When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians. The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession."

When the English set fire to a Pequot village and massacred men, women and children, the Puritan theologian Cotton Mather said: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day."

On the eve of the Mexican War, an American journalist declared it our "Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence." After the invasion of Mexico began, The New York Herald announced: "We believe it is a part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful country."

It was always supposedly for benign purposes that our country went to war.

We invaded Cuba in 1898 to liberate the Cubans, and went to war in the Philippines shortly after, as President McKinley put it, "to civilize and Christianize" the Filipino people.

As our armies were committing massacres in the Philippines (at least 600,000 Filipinos died in a few years of conflict), Elihu Root, our secretary of war, was saying: "The American soldier is different from all other soldiers of all other countries since the war began. He is the advance guard of liberty and justice, of law and order, and of peace and happiness."

We see in Iraq that our soldiers are not different. They have, perhaps against their better nature, killed thousands of Iraq civilians. And some soldiers have shown themselves capable of brutality, of torture.

Yet they are victims, too, of our government's lies.

How many times have we heard President Bush tell the troops that if they die, if they return without arms or legs, or blinded, it is for "liberty," for "democracy"?

One of the effects of nationalist thinking is a loss of a sense of proportion. The killing of 2,300 people at Pearl Harbor becomes the justification for killing 240,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The killing of 3,000 people on Sept. 11 becomes the justification for killing tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And nationalism is given a special virulence when it is said to be blessed by Providence. Today we have a president, invading two countries in four years, who announced on the campaign trail in 2004 that God speaks through him.

We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history.

We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.

& now X.

Here's another version, no movement, just the music.

BBQ like hell, swim like fishes, drink great beer, love the one you're with, touch people in all the right places, be kind you assholes. Have a great 4th.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

W.S. Merwin To Be New U.S. Poet Laureate

Article here.
Air by W. S. Merwin

Naturally it is night.
Under the overturned lute with its
One string I am going my way
Which has a strange sound.

This way the dust, that way the dust.
I listen to both sides
But I keep right on.
I remember the leaves sitting in judgment
And then winter.

I remember the rain with its bundle of roads.
The rain taking all its roads.

Young as I am, old as I am,

I forget tomorrow, the blind man.
I forget the life among the buried windows.
The eyes in the curtains.
The wall
Growing through the immortelles.
I forget silence
The owner of the smile.

This must be what I wanted to be doing,
Walking at night between the two deserts,

The River Of Bees by W. S. Merwin

In a dream I returned to the river of bees
Five orange trees by the bridge and
Beside two mills my house
Into whose courtyard a blind man followed
The goats and stood singing
Of what was older

Soon it will be fifteen years

He was old he will have fallen into his eyes

I took my eyes
A long way to the calenders
Room after room asking how shall I live

One of the ends is made of streets
One man processions carry through it
Empty bottles their
Images of hope
It was offered to me by name

Once once and once
In the same city I was born
Asking what shall I say

He will have fallen into his mouth
Men think they are better than grass

I return to his voice rising like a forkful of hay

He was old he is not real nothing is real
Nor the noise of death drawing water

We are the echo of the future

On the door it says what to do to survive
But we were not born to survive
Only to live

Just Shoot Me Now, Request # 889,404

What the fuck? Reminds me of this song.

Here is an example of the trailers that should have never been taken to the Gulf Coast in the first place. To bring them back for the BP fuck-up is beyond belief.

Amur Tiger Time

Cute babies.