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That said, if you must use Firefox (and I don't blame you, it's become my browser of choice, too)
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Saturday, May 20, 2006

d r i f t g l a s s: Gail Wynand - White Courtesy Phone.

Another brilliant post by driftglass on the frgamentation of the right. The G.O.P. is disintegrating and drifty tells "BoBo" Brooks why. Why his wonderful coalition is falling apart and spinning off into the deep space of hate and loathing. --pseudolus
I think it's always cracking good sport when you can wallop a Conservative Republican upside his pointy, white head with citations and 'lessons' from Ayn Rand.
It's a lot like lobbing their very own, Clinton-Impeachment era rhetoric about the absolute Constitutional imperative of holding any Presdient accountable for the perfect verity of every word they utter "especially when our soldiers are in harm's way in distant lands" back into their camp...
...and then watching them run screaming from their own thunderhead rhetoric faster than if that critter from Alien had farted acid into their eyes.
Because the basic problem with Conservatives is, of course, they dare not be honest -- really, really honest -- about what drives them. Despite the groundbreaking work being done in Advanced Public Hatespeech at the Coulter/Malkin Institute for Applied Fascism, it still isn’t cool to embrace one’s Inner Klansman in the town square.

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An American Idea Shatters - by Sidney Blumenthal

Update: May 20, 2006
And here is a delightful graphic that is making the rounds on the rightwing blogs. Now that the tighty-righties aren't getting things EXACTLY as they wanted, well, wouldn't you know it, they have found the neocon cabal they "elected" to office not quite to their liking. NOW they think these folks are the enemy we told them they were for 7 long years. NOW they want to see them thrown out on their cans. NOW they are playing all innocent and betrayed. NOW they won't acknowledge thay had a hand in bringing this nation to its knees. Oh, no. It's not their fault. It's the fault of these guys alone. Oh, yeah and while "Neo-Jacobins" would have sufficed to describe these folks, the reactionary regressives have to throw in the term "Liberals", even though they would be the first to say that the term has changed meanings in the past century or two (and have, I've read their arguments "liberal vs libertarian" etc etc.) BLOODY WANKERS!! --pseudolus


After a 60 year campaign to demonize and defeat the democratic legacy of FDR, after 30 years of struggle to downplay the disasterous Nixon legacy, and after 6 years of actually commandeering all 3 federal branches to an unprecedented degree, republicans were united in achieving their goals. Today they are in disarray as the various factions fight to get the particular points of their agendas put into play. The theocrats of the religious right want their due. The kleptocrats of the coporate world want their due. The plutocrats and the de facto oligarchs of inherited wealth want their due. The jacobins of the neocon cabal want their due. Some of these goals are mutually exclusive and neither side is willing to compromise in the slightest degree. Nowhere is this split more obvious today than on the immigration issue. The lower and middle class republican voters are alarmed to see the labor market diluted by an influx of workers. This drives wages and benefits down for everyone. On the other hand the corporate masters want this very thing. They want a cheap, docile labor force they can exploit and grow their fortunes from. This also plays to their racist fears as well if those workers are brown skinned and alien tongued. What was once ably exploited by the g.o.p.'s 'southern strategy' of the 60s now comes back to bite them on the ass.  Time for the Democrats to step up and reclaim these lost souls.  --pseudolus

An American Idea Shatters: The Reawakening of a Virulent Nationalism is Tearing Apart Bush's Conservative Coalition

President Bush's nationally televised address on immigration on Monday night was intended as a grand gesture to revive his collapsing presidency, but instead he has plunged the Republicans into a political centrifuge, breaking the party down into its raw elements, whose collisions are triggering explosions of unexpected and ever greater magnitude.
The nativist Republican base is at the throat of the business community. The Republican House of Representatives, in the grip of the far right, is at war with the Republican Senate. The evangelical religious right is paralysed while the Catholic church is a mobilising force behind demonstrations by Hispanic immigrants. Every effort Bush makes to hold a nonexistent Republican centre generates an opposing effect within his party.
Bush's victory in 2004 depended on the management of highly volatile constituencies: the religious right was shepherded by referendums against gay marriage; the abortion issue was used to elevate Catholic conservatives and isolate progressive-minded bishops; nativists were captivated by hosts of enemies in the whirlwind of September 11.
Bush's political handlers were determined to suppress immigration as an issue. Hispanics made up 14% of the population in 2004, and Bush's ability to capture Catholic and Hispanic voters was one of the decisive factors in winning a second term. However, as Bush's neoconservative foreign policy has been discredited, a virulent form of isolationist nationalism has filled the vacuum. Bush conflated the fears arising from September 11 with Iraq, but the fear of the other is now being directed at immigrants - a nativist tradition that goes back to the Know-Nothing party of the 1850s and the Ku Klux Klan.

Yet another split in the rightwing...
Scalia Tells Congress to Mind Its Own Business
Justice Antonin Scalia rebuked fellow conservatives on Capitol Hill yesterday, saying they have gone too far in trying to prevent the Supreme Court from using foreign law in its constitutional rulings.

Scalia dissented vigorously from the court's recent decisions that invoked foreign law to help strike down the death penalty for juveniles and laws against consensual homosexual conduct. In Congress, conservative Republicans responded angrily to the rulings and introduced bills that would either condemn or ban the court's use of foreign legal authorities.
read the rest...CLICK HERE

>>> Print Article(always)...Read More(sometimes)» OK You Right Wing Lemmings.Define "Liberal"

When I was at the Republican National Convention protest in NYC (I am a registered Independent, for those of you who are interested), I ran into a group of counter protesters. I approached their heavily guarded pen and as I stood next to one of the largest NY Police officers I have ever seen, and I asked the people behind the line one question. I asked them if they knew how many convicted felons had been appointed to high positions within our government by the man (George W. Bush) they support so strongly.
The group of Sean Hannity lemmings looked at me like I was crazy, so I said it again with a very powerful authoritative voice. The expression on the face of the huge cop next to me changed from concern to curiosity. He, like the crowd that formed behind me, wanted to hear the answer to my question. So I asked the crowd one more time “how many convicted felons and confessed criminals who already violated the public trust at the highest level of government have been appointed to high positions in our government, circumventing the process of Congressional approval by YOUR president?” (I was referring to the Iran Contra gang who were welcomed back into our government by George W. Bush).
I went on to explain to the bewildered crowd in my rather powerful voice, that “you people” don’t even know what or who you are supporting!

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My Beer Epiphany by Bob Skilnik

There is no direct link. You will need to scroll down the page when you get there to finish reading. --pseudolus
My parents once told me that I enjoyed my first beer when I was about three or four years old. I would help myself (so the story goes) to my Dad's fish-bowl-sized schooner, filled with beer from one of the local breweries that still operated in Chicago during the 1950s. I don't remember any of this, unfortunately, but the tale's become a family standard.
I do remember my second taste of beer, this one from the "Land of Sky Blue Water." I was a mere lad of thirteen. This beer drinker's rite of passage took place at the grammar school graduation party of a friend of mine, a hot day in June as I recall. All the parents were upstairs in the kitchen enjoying the cooling effects of a window-unit air conditioner and iced beer. Downstairs in the basement, a reserve cooler of beer was calling to my friend and me. I don't recall if it was the cartoon enticements of the Hamm's bear or untapped teenage curiosity but we went down to the basement where the cooler sat and each grabbed a blue, flat-topped steel can and opened them with a "church key." I got past my second chug of cold beer but stopped when I thought I was going to puke. My buddy's reaction wasn't much different, turning green after having knocked off the entire can.
I was seventeen when the beer bug bit me again. This time I balanced the bitterness of a sixteen-ounce can of Bud with occasional nips from a half-pint of Cutty Sark and big gulps from a clear-glassed bottle of Richard's Wild Irish Rose.
I was on my way to becoming a beer drinker.

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The 9/11 Story That Got Away - By Rory O'Connor and William Scott Malone

On Oct. 12, 2000, the guided missile destroyer USS Cole pulled into harbor for refueling in Aden, Yemen. Less than two hours later, suicide bombers Ibrahim al-Thawr and Abdullah al-Misawa approached the ship's port side in a small inflatable craft laden with explosives and blew a 40-by-40-foot gash in it, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39 others. The attack on the Cole, organized and carried out by Osama bin Laden's Al Qaida terrorist group, was a seminal but still murky and largely misunderstood event in America's ongoing "Long War."
Two weeks prior, military analysts associated with an experimental intelligence program known as ABLE DANGER had warned top officials of the existence of an active Al Qaida cell in Aden, Yemen. And two days before the attack, they had conveyed "actionable intelligence" of possible terrorist activity in and around the port of Aden to Gen. Pete Schoomaker, then commander in chief of the U.S. Special Operation Command (SOCOM).

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Dick Cheney, Dove - Ken Silverstein

A few months ago, in an interview with Jim Lehrer, Vice President Dick Cheney who has been leading the call for tough action on Iran said that the country has been a problem for a long time.
Not that long, apparently. Go back to March 1996. Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, which was eagerly seeking to win energy business in Iran. The Clinton Administration had imposed sanctions on Iran a year earlier. "I think," said Cheney, "we Americans sometimes make mistakes. There seems to be an assumption that somehow we know what's best for everybody else and that we are going to . . . get everybody else to live the way we would like."
Cheney argued that a unilateral approach would backfire and urged the United States to follow the lead of European countries that were seeking to expand business and trade with Iran. According to a Reuters account, Cheney said history proved that international influence was derived from economic activity and clout not from threats and provocations. We seem now to have exactly the opposite idea, he was quoted as saying. We basically are going to shut you out and close the door and turn off the relationship and that will force you to do what we want you to do.

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Defense Tech: Death Ray -- or Accounting Shift?

The headline is pretty spooky: "Administration Conducting Research Into Laser Weapon." And the meat of the story, on the Starfire Optical Range's plan to start lighting up satellites, can probably best be described as:
Check it out:
The Bush administration is seeking to develop a powerful ground-based laser weapon that would use beams of concentrated light to destroy enemy satellites in orbit.
The largely secret project, parts of which have been made public through Air Force budget documents submitted to Congress in February, is part of a wide-ranging effort to develop space weapons, both defensive and offensive…
The laser research… would take advantage of an optical technique that uses sensors, computers and flexible mirrors to counteract the atmospheric turbulence that seems to make stars twinkle.
The weapon would essentially reverse that process, shooting focused beams of light upward with great clarity and force.
Which is all true – to a point. Gimme a sec to explain...

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Subpoena Power - by Joshua Micah Marshall

For the scandal-ridden White House, preventing the Dems from taking control of the House and the Senate is a simple matter of survival.
Forget cutting government spending. Forget ending the New Deal. Forget even about Iraq and Iran. Those agenda items, in varying orders, bulked large at one time or another in the history of the second Bush administration. But none ranks first or second or really anywhere significant on the White House's current to-do list. Today there's just one item on the agenda: preventing the Democrats from taking control of either house of Congress. And the key issue is subpoena power.
So much of what the Bush administration has managed to accomplish in the past five years has been possible because there has been no other political institution in Washington--outside the direct control of the White House--with subpoena power.
When it comes to having anyone seriously pry into how it does business, the Bush White House has had five-plus years of a free ride. And that freedom from accountability has created a vast backlog of wrongdoing. The White House--and the entire D.C. GOP, for that matter--is just sitting on too many secrets and bad acts. Keeping control of the House and the Senate is less a matter of conventional ideological and even partisan politics than it is a simple matter of survival.
If the Democrats win back the House, a vocal minority may push for articles of impeachment. (The White House would actually welcome that, as it would polarize post-2006 politics along lines that might allow the president to claim the political center.) Some frivolous investigations will be pushed. But there's just no shortage of genuine scandals that have yet to get any serious public scrutiny. Here are three that the White House is probably most concerned about:

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How the Bush Administration Deconstructed Iraq -Michael Schwartz

Media coverage of the Iraq War has generally portrayed the current quagmire as the result of an American failure to achieve a set of otherwise admirable goals: suppressing the insurgency that is intimidating the Iraqi people and sabotaging the economy; stopping the destructive ethno-religious violence that has become a major source of civilian casualties; building an Iraqi army that can establish and sustain law and order; rebuilding electrical and sewage systems and the rest of the country's damaged infrastructure; ramping up oil production to place Iraq on a positive economic trajectory; eliminating the element that has made crime in the streets a prevalent and profitable occupation; and nurturing an elected parliament that can effectively rule. U.S. failure, then, resides in its inability to halt and reverse the destructive forces within Iraqi society.
This rather comfortable portrait of the U.S. as a bumbling, even thoroughly incompetent giant overwhelmed by unexpected forces tearing Iraqi society apart is strikingly inaccurate: Most of the death, destruction, and disorganization in the country has, at least in its origins, been a direct consequence of U.S. efforts to forcibly institute an economic and social revolution, while using overwhelming force to suppress resistance to this project. Certainly, the insurgency, the ethno-religious jihadists, and the criminal gangs have all contributed to the descent of Iraqi cities and towns into chaos, but their roles have been secondary and in many cases reactive. The engine of deconstruction was -- and remains -- the U.S.-led occupation.

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Bush: 'Alpha Male on the Cruise Ship'

When future historians scratch their heads and wonder how George W. Bush came to lead the world's most powerful nation at the start of the Twenty-First Century, it might help them to know that many Americans found his type familiar and thus reassuring. Bush was the alpha male on the cruise ship.
He was like the wise-cracking guy leading a pack of vacationers out of the elevator toward the all-you-can-eat buffet bar, while poking fun at Charlie for getting too much sun on his bald head or at Mildred for putting on a few extra pounds. The others in the group titter with nervous amusement, fearing their ribbing will come next.
Like that dominant male on the cruise ship, Bush exhibits a freedom to mock the appearance of almost anyone, holding up both American citizens and foreign leaders to public ridicule for how they look.

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Friday, May 19, 2006 - Oversight? What oversight? Congress briefed, then gagged

When anti-terror programs of questionable legality are revealed — such as the National Security Agency's snooping on phone calls and records — President Bush hastens to point out that members of Congress from both parties have been "briefed."
That's as it should be. Congress is supposed to oversee the executive branch's intelligence operations. From all indications, however, that oversight is badly broken.
Information is dribbled out to a handful of lawmakers. Briefing turns into political cover. Consultation becomes more like inform-and-gag. Republicans act like cheerleaders for the White House. Democrats feign surprise and outrage when dubious programs become public.
Wednesday's briefing of the Senate and House intelligence committees by the head of the NSA typifies the problems. It was overdue. It was spurred by partisan bickering. And, because members are sworn to secrecy, it has the effect of limiting how much they can say at today's Senate confirmation hearing for former NSA chief Michael Hayden to head the CIA.
It's not supposed to be this way. The intelligence committees were created 30 years ago to represent the public interest. They are one of the few checks on a system that must, by its nature, remain secret, and judging by history, has often gotten out of control. But the system has become so weak, Congress might as well be deaf and blind. There's plenty of blame to go around:
•The White House arbitrarily restricted its briefings, and a weak-kneed Congress didn't fight back. On the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping program, the White House often briefed as few as four or eight members of Congress from both parties, instead of the entire intelligence committees.
•Democrats played helpless victims. Once The New York Times revealed the wiretapping program, for instance, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said he'd had "concerns" as early as July 2003. His response? He wrote a letter to Vice President Cheney and put a copy in his safe.
Clearly, Rockefeller couldn't shout his objections from the Senate floor, but senators do have leverage to lobby colleagues and push for meetings with the president.
•Republicans have acted more like partisans than skeptical overseers. Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has been quicker to criticize news media and Democrats than to publicly question the NSA's eavesdropping or the collection of millions of phone records, as revealed by USA TODAY last week.
What to do?
Two former Senate intelligence committee leaders, Democrat Bob Graham and Republican William Cohen, say partisanship is sapping the panels of meaningful oversight.
Structural changes — such as dividing the committees equally between Democrats and Republicans, regardless of which party is in power — might help. So could a recommendation from the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, one that Congress has ignored, to give the intelligence committees more power over the intelligence agencies' budgets.
Ultimately, however, change involves trust and leadership. Committee members would have to jettison partisan rivalries and see their duty as representing the public interest and protecting against intelligence excesses.
Until they do, at a time when America is faced with tough choices between security and civil liberties, Bush administration officials are making the choices without any meaningful input from Congress. That seems to be the way they like it.

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"The Worst President in History?" Why do we Need the Question Mark? - by Andrew Bard Schmookler

  “The Worst President in History?” is the title of a recent article about the presidency of George W. Bush by Princeton historian Sean Wilentz published in Rolling Stone. It’s a fine piece, which has deservedly made the rounds of the blogosphere. Therefore it is not to denigrate that article that I now suggest that the question mark in that title can be dropped.
Wilentz cites a poll conducted among more than 400 historians in early 2004. Already at that point, more than 80% of these historians regarded the Bush presidency as a failure. Now factor in all that has become known about this administration in the almost two-and-a-half years since that poll was taken: how more fully disclosed are the lies leading to the war in Iraq and the blunders that assured its disastrous consequences; how incompetent the administration has proved to be in the face of hurricane Katrina; how clear has become the picture of this administration’s disdain for the Constitution and the law, with its bypassing of the required judicial oversight in the issuing of warrants; how shamelessly they have sought to suppress scientific and economic facts, and so forth— a list that could be vastly expanded.
The worst presidency in history? Where’s the competition?

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Study: Exxon Valdez Oil Lingers in Alaska - by Dan Joling

Oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez 17 years ago extends farther into Alaska's tidal waters than previously thought and could be causing long-term harm to wildlife, a study concludes.
Research chemist Jeffrey Short and colleagues at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Juneau concluded that oil was found between the high- and low-tide lines where predators such as sea otters and sea ducks may encounter it while disturbing sediment in search of prey.
"This study shows that it is very plausible that exposure to Exxon Valdez oil is having a material impact on many shore-dwelling animals and is contributing to their slow recovery in some parts of Prince William Sound," Short said in a statement.
The study is to be published in the June 15 edition of Environmental Science & Technology, the journal of the American Chemical Society.

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Molly Ivins: Bordering on lunacy

AUSTIN, Texas (Creators Syndicate) -- I hate to raise such an ugly possibility, but have you considered lunacy as an explanation? Craziness would make a certain amount of sense. I mean, you announce you are going to militarize the Mexican border, but you assure the president of Mexico you are not militarizing the border. You announce you are sending the National Guard, but then you assure everyone it's not very many soldiers and just for a little while.
Militarizing the border is a totally terrible idea. Do we have a State Department? Are they sentient? How much do you want to infuriate Mexico when it's sitting on quite a bit of oil? Bush knows what the most likely outcome of this move will be. He was governor during the political firestorm that ensued when a Marine taking part in anti-drug patrols on the border shot and killed Esequiel Hernandez, an innocent goat-herder from Redford, Texas. That's the definition of crazy -- repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
I suppose politics could explain it, too. It's quite possible that lunacy and politics are closely related. It's still damned hard cheese for the Guard, though. The Guard is heavily deployed in Iraq, currently 20 percent of those serving, down from 40 percent last year. Some soldiers are sent back for multiple tours. Lt. Gen. James Helmly, head of the Army Reserve, said the Reserve is rapidly degenerating into "a broken force" and is "in grave danger of being unable to meet other operational requirements." Happy hurricane season to you, too. The Guard is also short on equipment and falling short on recruiting goals.
But right-wingers are very unhappy with Bush right now, and this is a strong, red-meat gesture that will make them happy, even if it does nothing to shut down the border. You want to shut down illegal immigration? You want to use the military as police? Make it illegal hire undocumented workers and put the National Guard into enforcing that. Then rewrite NAFTA and invest in Mexico.

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"Bleat" Watch

Today James informs us, with tongue-in-cheek, that California is hysterically proclaiming that gasoline vapors are harmful to our health.

Some of my earliest memories, after all, consist of the pungent poke of gasoline in my nostrils, because that’s what dad smelled like when he came home from work. To this day I always breathe deep when I fill ‘er up. Ahhhh. That’s the stuff.

Yes, yes, I know, the State of California has determined that the vapors can cause cancer in marsupial blastocysts, or whatever. My dad’s 80, and he can lift his wife over his head. So there.

Of course by his reasoning, America is hysterically telling us that Islamofascists are bad for our health because a band of madmen killed 3000 of our fellow citizens once, or whatever, even though almost 300 million of us survived and can lift Jihadists over our heads. So there.

source..."Daily Bleat" for 5-19-2006

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Attytood: What we've become

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
-- Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wealthy Frenchman: America The Fearful - By BOB HERBERT

It was incredible to hear Pretzlenit Magoo say loud and clear in his little "Let's-pretend-we're-against-illegal-aliens-to-appease-our-batshit-crazy-xenophobic-base" speech last night,
 "We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone's fears...".
[Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha.....ha ha ha ha ha hahahahahahahaahHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Phew! Sorry. Oh, my sides ache.]
That's all this admin has done since 9-11. TERRORISTS! Smoking Gun! Nu-ku-lar Weapons! Anthrax! "You're either with us or for terrorism." "Liberals/Democrats want us to fail in Iraq." "blah blah blah" You know the drill.
Fucking bullshitter can't lie enough in one day to satisfy his craving to abuse Americans.  --pseudolus
In the dark days of the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt counseled Americans to avoid fear. George W. Bush is his polar opposite. The public's fear is this president's most potent political asset. Perhaps his only asset. Mr. Bush wants ordinary Americans to remain in a perpetual state of fear -- so terrified, in fact, that they will not object to the steady erosion of their rights and liberties, and will not notice the many ways in which their fear is being manipulated to feed an unconscionable expansion of presidential power.
If voters can be kept frightened enough of terrorism, they might even overlook the monumental incompetence of one of the worst administrations the nation has ever known.

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Parsing Bush's Words on the NSA Scandal | The Progressive

Bush’s statement on Thursday about the burgeoning NSA spying scandal was a classic dodge.
He barely had gotten to the microphone when he whipped out the tattered old 9/11 card.
Forget about good morning, hello, or even my fellow Americans. No time for that: Make way for fear. Three of Bush’s first four words were “September the 11th.”
He said he had vowed to do “everything within the law” to protect us, and “as part of this effort,” he authorized NSA spying on Al Qaeda calls in and out of the United States.
Of course, tapping phones of citizens here in the United States without a warrant is not “within the law,” but Bush asserted that it was, as if saying so made it so.
Then, referring to the latest revelation of massive data gathering by the phone companies and the NSA, Bush said, “the government does not listen to domestic calls.”
The key fudge word here is “listen.” Administration officials say that the NSA isn’t listening in on the content; it’s just gathering data.
Bush didn’t cop to that, though. He said, ”we’re not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans.”
But they are gathering data on millions of Americans. Isn’t that mining and trolling?
Maybe Bush knows there is another stage of snooping that his Administration is involved in after the collecting of the phone data. And maybe, as Robert Parry suggests, the Bush Administration is trolling through the personal lives not of millions but hundreds of thousands of American lives.
And note that Bush used the term “innocent” Americans.
He wants us to believe that there are two groups of Americans: innocent Americans and suspect Americans.
At the end of his brief statement, Bush had the chutzpah to say, “The privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities.”
This is a fiercely bad joke, but again I draw your attention to the word “ordinary.”
Once again, Bush is dividing citizens into two camps: ordinary Americans, and everybody else.
In a desperate ploy to save his Presidency, he’s setting the stage for generalized suspicion and mass hysteria.

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The Blog of the American Constitution Society: Falkenrath is Wrong

Writing in the Washington Post today, former Bush administration official Richard Falkenrath argues for the legality of the NSA phone records database.
Orin Kerr says he's wrong on at least one key point:

Falkenrath is just wrong about ECPA. He states that “the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 explicitly permits telecommunications companies to provide customer records to the government if the government asks for them.” No, it doesn’t. There is no “government request” exception to the ban on disclosure.
Kevin Drum takes, ahem, exception with Falkenrath's claim that records in the database are anonymous:
Even a child knows that phone numbers can be linked to names and addresses using ordinary commercial databases. There is absolutely nothing anonymous about this data, and only a shameless con man would try to convince us otherwise. Why does the Post give space to this obvious

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The Truth About Cars - Zen and the Art of Car Ownership

The longest journey starts with a single car.
I never met a pistonhead without a fully-stocked fantasy garage. Unfortunately, the ones who try to bring the dream to life learn a Buddhist lesson: that which you own, owns you. The Langoliers of depreciation decimate the dream from day one. Registration fees, taxes and insurance take their toll. The hassle and expense of service and repair suck. Four years and 12K miles later, the per-mile expenses are astounding. And then, inevitably, the enthusiast's eye begins to wander; their piston passion runs as hot and cold as a cheap motel shower. Another round of this automotive folly would be insane. Unless…
The car share club concept took root in London in 1996, with Formula One World Champion Damon Hill’s P1 Prestige and Performance Car Club. The basic idea is simple enough: P1 buys and services a portfolio of high-priced heavy metal; England’s well-heeled petrolheads pay a fee to drive them. No finance payments, depreciation, maintenance, storage or tax. Just drive, dump and go. Of course, P1 membership is only cheap relative to ownership, and there are plenty of rules dictating which car you can drive for how much and when. P1 has an elaborate points system that involves a joining fee, an annual fee, a sliding points scale for best to worst times and cars, and mileage restrictions. But it’s all about the hassle-- or lack thereof.

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They Did it Their Way - So They Have No One To Blame But Themselves

If democracy is supposed to represent the will of the people, then there is either something wrong with the democracies or something wrong with the people on both sides of the Atlantic. Less than two years ago George Bush was re-elected president of the United States. His pitch: "Stick with me, I have not done a thing wrong." His promise: "I will do more of the same." Six months later Tony Blair went to the polls with a similar message.
Both were elected. Both have since been as good their word. With the exception of Dick Cheney's poor marksmanship and John Prescott's priapism there have been no real surprises since then.
Yet both now find themselves wallowing at dismal levels of public support. Blair has the lowest approval rating of any Labour premier on record - dipping below Harold Wilson in 1968 during the post-devaluation crisis. Bush similarly keeps plumbing new depths - currently standing at just over half the level Clinton enjoyed in the midst of the Lewinsky scandal. If there were an election tomorrow, both would struggle.
read the rest...<a href="">They did it their way</a>

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From Hobbes To Your Cell: Hail the Surveillance State - by Danny Schechter

 Attention, chickens: You may soon be coming home to roost.
The word has gone out in the windowless buildings that house the switching equipment, and state of the art technology—in what used to be called phone companies before they morphed into communication giants—that a day of reckoning may be on the horizon for Verizon and its mates.
These chickens have been clucking at each other and gobbling each other up for years, silently reestablishing the old monopoly Bell System under the guise of new competitive guidelines. Private industries are once again putting together what the federal courts tore asunder. Oligopoly seems to be the highest expression of "free" market logic and its logical consequence.
At issue now are historically unprecedented and massive violations of privacy that we learned about from a rare occurrence: a newspaper actually doing its job. USA Today of all papers, blew the whistle on a massive government surveillance program run by the National Insecurity Agency tapping millions of phones, cell phones and every manner of communications devices.
It's called "data mining" and it's now the scandal du jour as National Security journalist William Arkin explains, "This NSA dominated program of ingestion, digestion, and distribution of intelligence raises profound questions about the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans."

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Sacrifice Liberty For Security? Not Without a Fight - by Jay Bookman

 This is supposed to be America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
But I'm beginning to have my doubts, about the free part and the brave part, too.
This America, this increasingly strange America, is looking more and more like the land of the cowed and the home of the silent.
In this America, we have a military agency, the National Security Agency, secretly tracking and analyzing every phone call or e-mail that is sent or received by hundreds of millions of American citizens, with records of all of those calls retained forever.
And in this America, millions and millions of people profess to be quite comfortable living under a government that wants to know who every one of us is talking to, and has the technology to realize that ambition.
It will keep us safe, some Americans have responded. Only those with something to hide should be worried, others have said.
But then again, we all have something to hide, don't we? My something may be different than your something, but we all have something we would rather keep to ourselves — the things we read or watch, the things we do or think or buy, the people we talk with or the Web sites we visit. . . .

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Food Flack Nation Attacks Journalist Eric Schlosser

"Fast Food Nation" mega-selling author Eric Schlosser must be doing something right. He's under vicious attack from food industry lobbyists and front groups mimicking his book title in their website smearing him. Fleishman-Hillard's Becky Johnson and her fellow flustered food flacks risk publicizing Schlosser's writings in their over-the-top efforts to condemn him.
The industrial food lobby is freaking-out over "Chew On This", his new book aimed at youngsters, and the fact that his "Fast Food Nation" is being made into a major Hollywood movie with the same title. Best Food Nation is the food industry's sound-alike website funded by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Council of Chain Restaurants, and 14 other food lobbies. The website highlights anti-Schlosser rants by industry-funded front groups including Heartland Institute and the American Council on Science and Health.
The attack on Schlosser by industry-funded front groups was evident in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reported that "the food and restaurant industry has launched a counterattack that includes .. protests at some book signings" and that at a Lincoln Park bookstore, a Virginia-based group called the Center for Individual Freedom" passed out flyers. The Center receives corporate funding for its work, but does not reveal which corporations.

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The $70 Billion Tax Cut: Irresponsible and Obscene

Here we are six months before a mid-term election, with polls showing only about 20 percent of the American public approving the job Congress is doing. Small wonder. The federal budget deficit is still out of control. We’ve got a war going on that’s not going well, and the military is spending over a half a trillion dollars a year. Meanwhile, public services are being slashed. So what’s Congress about to give us? A $70 billion tax cut.
The tax cut would be politically irresponsible, but not obscene, if it were going to middle-income workers now facing sky-high fuel prices and soaring health-insurance costs, and variable-rate mortgage payments heading through the roof.
But this tax cut is not going to the middle class. Like the Bush Administration’s previous tax cuts, most of this one is going to people who are already very comfortable. Hence, it’s both irresponsible and obscene.
The non-partisan Urban Institute - Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center examined its provisions, including a two-year extension of capital gains and dividend tax cuts, and a one-year extension of relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax. It turns out a whopping 87 percent of the benefits of this tax cut will go to the 14 percent of American households earning above $100,000 a year. Twenty-two percent of the benefits will go to the richest two-tenths of one percent of American households earning more than a million dollars a year.

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Flutie: Lucky Man

(In addition to the Doug Flutie press conference, the Patriots announced the signing of two rookie free agents -- receiver Jakari Wallace and running back Patrick Cobbs. For more on the signings, visit this part of
After owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick spoke at the podium, Doug Flutie -- wearing blue jeans and a black short-sleeved button-down shirt -- stepped to center stage.
His opening statement:
“I want to say thanks for giving me the opportunity to do this here. More importantly than all that was bringing me back here for one more year, to New England, to have the opportunity to have my daughter, in her senior year of high school, to be with her friends year-round. To be able to watch my nephews play ball. All that was very important to me. Those of you who know me know how attached I am to this area.
“Along those lines, yes, I am officially retiring. For me, I’d like to look at it as moving along in my life and looking forward as to what is coming. I wanted to approach it all along that I was planning on taking a job with the networks [ABC/ESPN], and we’d announce that. That’s kind of the way I wanted to direct it initially, but everybody wanted to hear that ‘are you retiring?’ thing, so we did this approach in going to announce it.
“Looking back for me, it’s been 21 years. I’ve had more fun, and enjoyment, at this game than anything else. I just love playing football. I love competing -- all of you who know me, the basketball and whatnot -- I enjoy playing. It’s still a game to me. The game has changed over the years. The last 3-4 years it really hasn’t been a lot of fun. Bill [Belichick], putting that dropkick in for me to do, kind of put the fun back in the game; to me what the game is all about. It’s about competing out on the field, finding a way to win, and having fun doing it. That’s been my approach throughout my life and the way I’ve approached this game. I’m just a big kid. I think that’s pretty evident in the fact that … I joined a men’s baseball league with my brothers this spring. That kind of indicated [what I was doing football-wise]. I had told them all along ‘when I retire, as long as I can still walk, we’re going to do this.’ That’s what I’m all about.
see also...:
<a href="">Belichick on Flutie</a>

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Book claims White House using mis-speak rhetoric

US President George W. Bush frequently has been criticized for being verbally challenged, but a new rhetorical analysis of the Bush White House, based on the public record, argues that the president and his colleagues have demonstrated an impressive facility with the language.
In plain English, the authors of a new book, based on public statements, claim that the Bush Administration has on purpose used a Machiavellian pattern of Orwellian mis-speak.
According to the authors of "Globalization and Empire: The US Invasion of Iraq, Free Markets, and the Twilight of Democracy" (University of Alabama Press), the Bush presidency has built a verbal "operation of deception" characterized by fabrications and lies, disinformation and propaganda, posturing and threats and an arsenal of rhetorical tricks, chief among them what rhetoricians call logical fallacies.
The authors claim that the public statements and policies of the Bush White House generally have clashed with each other. In turn, and specifically, the authors say irregular but common practices of the administration -- what the researchers call "crony capitalism," "patriotic provincialism," "privatizing globalism" and "institutionalized privateering" -- are not only ruining Iraq, but cheating U.S. taxpayers out of billions of dollars and potential social services, threatening to send the United States into a "numbing economic morass," and undercutting democracy.

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The Daily Show affects young voters

Oh, this is too rich. Hey, chowderheads! Have you read any campaign covergae the last, oh, 10-15 years. Negative is byword of professional journalists (at least when covering Democrats). TDS just happens to leaven the truth with a little snark and humor, pointing out how newsfolk miscover politics and the economy daily. --pseudolus
Research reported in SAGE's American Politics Research
According to a recent study published in the May issue of SAGE Publications' journal, American Politics Research, researchers conclude that young Americans' political views are negatively impacted by watching the popular The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which airs late night on Comedy Central as a 'fake-news program.'
Researchers Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris, both assistant professors of political science at East Carolina University, selected The Daily Show due to its popularity among college-aged viewers. Previous research showed that over 47 percent of this age group watched the 'soft news' television program, while only 23 percent followed 'hard news' programs closely.
The study was conducted utilizing video clips from The Daily Show and CBS Evening News, a more mainstream television program that aired coverage of the 2004 presidential candidates, followed by a questionnaire. The results showed that the participants tended to rate both candidates more negatively when exposed to The Daily Show. In addition, their views of the political system as a whole were more cynical.
"If young Americans learn about candidates via Jon Stewart," the researchers conclude in the article, "it is possible that unfavorable perceptions of both parties' nominees could form, ultimately keeping more youth from the polls." These implications for political participation should be explored further.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

China Sole Manufacturer of Material for U.S. Missiles

It was in his 2003 State of the Union Address that President George W. Bush expressed his administration’s objective to “strengthen global treaties banning the production and shipment of missile technologies.” It was thereafter, between 2003 and 2004, in which the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) allowed the last manufacturer in the U.S. that provided a key element instrumental in cruise missile guidance, to be relocated to the Peoples’ Republic of China.
During this week’s U.S. visit of China President, Hu Jintao, and his meetings with President Bush and his advisors, it would be apropos to revisit a strategic corporate deal which occurred over a period of several years. With its finality in 2004, the U.S. now remains totally dependent upon China for key rare earth metals and their production necessary in the manufacture of the most crucial of U.S. military warfare.

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War privatisation talks in Warsaw

Juding by their performance in Iraq: They don't follow the Geneva conventions. They will cut-and-run if things get to heavy for them. They have been implicated in stirring up Iraqui resistance by indiscriminately firing on civilians, and possibly intentionally so. (After all, if things settle down too soon, their paychecks stop coming in.) This is just a bad idea all around. --pseudolus
The increasing privatisation of war is being discussed at a Warsaw conference.
Specialists from around the world will discuss the growth of private military firms in conflict zones including Iraq.
The firms are increasingly taking over roles traditionally carried out by the military during war, in a booming industry worth $100bn (£56bn) a year.
The conference has been organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which fears some firms do not respect international humanitarian law.
Mercenaries are still the image in many people's minds of private warfare, but private companies now provide services ranging from personal security and weapons maintenance to the interrogation of prisoners.
They have operated in more than 50 countries and been hired by everyone from the Pentagon to dictators.
In Iraq they are essential to the war effort, making up for troop shortages and doing the jobs the US military doesn't want to do.
Still largely unregulated, they have also been involved in some of the more controversial aspects of the war.
In the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, US army investigators discovered that contractors were involved in more than a third of the proven incidents.
None of them has been prosecuted. Not quite civilians nor soldiers, they fall under a legal grey area.
Leading specialists, academics and private company representatives will attend the Warsaw conference to discuss the growth of the industry and its worrying consequences

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Roberto's NasdaqTrader: The U.S. Dollar Oil and Conspiracies?

"I highly suggest watching this 3 part documentary (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) on conspiracies, the U.S. dollar, and oil. The real question is do you believe that this is nothing more then a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy, or do you believe that events that are happening right now are supporting this documentary in a factual way? I would love to hear comments on this (AFTER YOU WATCH IT). It is very interesting to me how the method of dealing with Iran right now is unfolding exactly how we delt with Iraq. Does the real issue with Iran have nothing to do with nukes and everything to do with the U.S. dollar for oil trade? Let me tell you this we will all find out soon enough and this video makes for a great start for some talking points on this issue."

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The Conservative Nanny State

- A free e-book by Dean Baker, published May 2006

In his new book, economist Dean Baker debunks the myth that conservatives favor the market over government intervention. In fact, conservatives rely on a range of “nanny state” policies that ensure the rich get richer while leaving most Americans worse off. It’s time for the rules to change. Sound economic policy should harness the market in ways that produce desirable social outcomes – decent wages, good jobs and affordable health care.

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Save $200 in 2 minutes and have the worlds best writing pen

Transform a $3 pen into a $200 pen in just seconds.  Mont Blanc pens are the worlds finest writing pens but they make specialized refills so you must buy their $200+ pens to use their amazing ink...until now.  This is the easiest hack/adaptation to give anyone the king's writing ink.
--Step 1 Go out and find a Mont Blanc pen...
Go out and find a Mont Blanc pen you like.  Ask the salesperson to let you write with it...nice, huh?  Now ask the price.  When you've gotten over the sticker-shock, leave and go back to your good old G2.  Remember what life was like before G2?  The pens were cheap and the ink was like cheese.  G2s were the best thing since clickable mechanical pencils.  Even after we all had G2s, I still admired the uber-extravagant Mont Blanc people.  Their pens were so smooth, they nearly wrote by themselves.  Alas, at $200-$2000 a pen, that miraculous ink was out of the reach of the common man.....until now.

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The Truth About Cars - General Motors Death Watch 72: Circumspice

Growing up near Flint, everyone’s dad worked for GM. Not all of our fathers brought home a GM paycheck, but we all lived on GM money. If your dad was a plumber, a shopkeeper or a mortgage broker, GM’s wages paid the bills. If your dad was a dentist, GM’s health plan paid his patients’ bills. That’s just how it was. GM was one of your parents, the UAW was the other. We had no idea we were destined to become orphans.
My dad taught shop at Flint Central High School. Since everyone’s dad worked for GM, everyone took shop. It was the ideal time and place for teaching drafting, auto repair, woodworking, metallurgy, welding and other productive skills. People believed in those fields. People respected those talents. In the beginning, his classroom was a shrine to hard work and craftsmanship. His students knew they were opening the door to a comfortable life. By the time Dad retired in 1991 the promise had become an empty shell. The excitement and the discipline had simply drained away.
The GM era officially ended for my family in 1980. That was the year Dad brought home a new Volkswagen diesel, even though all his previous cars had been Detroit steel. Buying a Rabbit was the kind of radical move that could get you branded a traitor in Flint. Even so, it was a car town. People were intrigued by the German import. Their interest was a sign of things to come. You still find more American autos on the road in Michigan than you do in most other states, but their supremacy has faded even here.

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Our Presidential Prophet of God and Great Decider

Many disastrous conflicts in human history were led by men who spoke as if they were directed by God to lead the slaughter. President Bush asserts that “I trust God speaks through me and without that, I couldn’t do my job.” His sincere belief that the human carnage and destruction resulting from his war of choice against Iraq is somehow the will of God should not be a surprise to Americans of the Christian and Jewish traditions.
As a seven year old child in a Christian church in Alabama, I was appalled by the Old Testament’s story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho in our Sunday School class. Joshua, a great prophet of God and successor to Moses as the leader of the Israelites was commanded by God to commit genocide in the 6th chapter of Joshua. When invading Jericho, as instructed by God, the Jews "annihilated with the sword everything that breathed in the city, including men and women, young and old, as well cattle, sheep, and donkeys." Then God commanded the Jews take the “silver and gold, bronze and iron” for “God’s treasury”. When I asked the teacher why God would want his people to kill little children when Jesus loved the little children and was the Prince of Peace, our Sunday School teacher said the lesson was to obey God..
The Christian tradition of God as the warrior began in A.D. 312 with the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine said he had prayed for divine help before the engagement and then had a vision of a cross in the sky above his soldiers as they marched into the fray. This mystical event led to his Christian conversion after a major victory in battle against legions of his brother-in-law...

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Chávez is a Threat Because He Offers the Alternative of a Decent Society

I have spent the past three weeks filming in the hillside barrios of Caracas, in streets and breeze-block houses that defy gravity and torrential rain and emerge at night like fireflies in the fog. Caracas is said to be one of the world's toughest cities, yet I have known no fear; the poorest have welcomed my colleagues and me with a warmth characteristic of ordinary Venezuelans but also with the unmistakable confidence of a people who know that change is possible and who, in their everyday lives, are reclaiming noble concepts long emptied of their meaning in the west: "reform", "popular democracy", "equity", "social justice" and, yes, "freedom".
The other night, in a room bare except for a single fluorescent tube, I heard these words spoken by the likes of Ana Lucia Fernandez, aged 86, Celedonia Oviedo, aged 74, and Mavis Mendez, aged 95. A mere 33-year-old, Sonia Alvarez, had come with her two young children. Until about a year ago, none of them could read and write; now they are studying mathematics. For the first time in its modern era, Venezuela has almost 100% literacy.

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A Coming Tsunami -- The Republicans' Bankruptcy of Ideas

Karl Rove and his minions have plumb run out of issues to campaign on. They can't run on the war. They can't run on the economy, in which the positive numbers on growth are offset by the largely stagnant numbers on median incomes and the public's growing dread of outsourcing. Immigration may play in various congressional districts, but it's too dicey an issue to nationalize. Even social conservatives may be growing weary of outlawing gay marriage every other November. Nobody's buying the ownership society. Competence? Ethics? You kidding?
The Republicans' problem is not simply their inability to run their government and wage their war of choice. It is also their bankruptcy of ideas.
On taxes, the Republican legislative leaders' priorities are to make permanent the tax cut on investment income and to repeal the estate tax -- economics, as ever, for our wealthiest 1 percent. (This at a time when the entire theory of trickle-down has been negated by the propensity of U.S. corporations to use their shareholders' investments to expand abroad, rather than at home.) On energy, the notions of tougher fuel-economy standards and mandating a shift to renewable energy sources are so alien to the Republicans' DNA that they come forth with such proposals as Bill Frist's $100 rebate -- the most short-lived legislative initiative in recent memory.

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God's Own Party - by Kevin Phillips

 Now that the GOP has been transformed by the rise of the South, the trauma of terrorism and George W. Bush's conviction that God wanted him to be president, a deeper conclusion can be drawn: The Republican Party has become the first religious party in U.S. history.
We have had small-scale theocracies in North America before — in Puritan New England and later in Mormon Utah. Today, a leading power such as the United States approaches theocracy when it meets the conditions currently on display: an elected leader who believes himself to speak for the Almighty, a ruling political party that represents religious true believers, the certainty of many Republican voters that government should be guided by religion and, on top of it all, a White House that adopts agendas seemingly animated by biblical worldviews.
Indeed, there is a potent change taking place in this country's domestic and foreign policy, driven by religion's new political prowess and its role in projecting military power in the Mideast.
The United States has organized much of its military posture since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks around the protection of oil fields, pipelines and sea lanes. But U.S. preoccupation with the Middle East has another dimension. In addition to its concerns with oil and terrorism, the White House is courting end-times theologians and electorates for whom the Holy Lands are a battleground of Christian destiny. Both pursuits — oil and biblical expectations — require a dissimulation in Washington that undercuts the U.S. tradition of commitment to the role of an informed electorate.

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Hey, Neil Young: We Young Singers are Hog-Tied, Too

Dear Neil,
You recently said that you felt compelled to write your new album "Living With War" because you got tired of waiting for young protest singers to pick up the torch. I'm compelled to tell you that young protest singers are here, and we're holding the flame. I'm one of them.
The trouble is, you can't hear us on major radio stations for the same reasons you noted last year when you poignantly stated, "I can't do anything in the record industry, or especially radio, because it's so controlled by corporations."
While established artists like yourself may have felt your hands tied, the truth is far worse for upcoming artists: Even booking agents and managers won't touch us for fear that we will offend their audiences in a country where consumerism and patriotism stand united, as your song "Restless Consumer" makes clear.
Bono was right when, at U2's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, he said, "There is very little chance for there to be another U2 the way the business is constructed right now." Describing corporate dependency on the toothless hit single, he said, "You have to have the hit single immediately. Bruce Springsteen didn't have a single for 10 years. Neil Young, I'm not sure, he ever had a single."

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A Tale of Two Theories: Supply Side and Demand Side Economics

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the era of low taxes. It was the age of high deficits. Prices were up. Wages were down. Oil and gold soared. Housing and big cars cratered. Foreign powers threatened. Foreign currencies beckoned. Some saw a new Jerusalem in the nation’s future. Others saw only the glaucoma of gluttonous greed. It was the summer of economic hope. It was the winter of economic despair.

In short, the early eighties were an economic time not unlike our own—a time that scared the Dickens out of most sober observers.

The common thread that unites the two times is Supply Side Economics. In the eighties it was new and promising. In the aughts it is recycled and damaging. In both eras, it stood against Demand Side Economics in its prescription for how to manage the economy. But it is in their outcomes that the two theories present such stark and measurable differences.

In the late seventies, the U.S. economy was falling to pieces. Johnson’s Great Society programs and the Vietnam War had produced enormous inflationary pressures. But these were only the beginning. In 1973, Arab oil sheikdoms tripled the price of oil and in 1978, they tripled it again. Inflation soared, interest rates skyrocketed, and the economy tanked.

Higher prices cut into corporate profits, forcing employers to cut back production. The higher prices also reduced the purchasing power of workers, causing a slowdown in the economy. It was the worst of both worlds: a stagnant economy with rampant inflation. Economists called it “stagflation.” They were at a loss for a cure.
read the rest...A Tale of Two Theories: Supply Side and Demand Side Economics

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The wrongness singularity

The blogosphere has been having its fun with this little bit of instant punditry from Glenn Reynolds:

"Of course, if we seized the Saudi and Iranian oil fields and ran the pumps full speed, oil prices would plummet, dictators would be broke, and poor nations would benefit from cheap energy. But we’d be called imperialist oppressors, then."

Far be it from me to add anything to the trenchant political analysis already available. But as a Physics Blog, we feel it’s our duty here to point out the exciting scientific consequences that our more humanistical friends have thus far missed: the possibility that Prof. Reynolds has discovered a new state of wrongness.

You see, wrongness is a fermionic property. That is to say, a statement is either wrong or it is not wrong; you can’t pile on the wrongness to make a condensate of wrong. By the conventional rules, n declarative statements can be wrong at most n times. By the Pauli exclusion principle, you just can’t be more wrong than that!

I count four declarative statements in Instapundit’s two sentences. (”… prices would plummet,” “dictators would be broke,” “poor nations would benefit,” “we’d be called imperialist oppressors.”) Now let’s count how many time he is wrong.
READ THE REST...The wrongness singularity

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

You & Me ---- Updated with video: 5-14-06

click picture above to enlarge......................
This album is scarey good. The same kind of impact that Satriani's "Flying in a Blue Dream
' had on me in 1989. Just some scarey good blues and some of the tastiest and rock licks blended together as only Joey can. His last effort had me by the 'nads', and this one just smokes that one.

Granted I was tasting some herb for the first time in a few months, and I was working out with my Zen Master L/S Machine. Cranking a groovy 14 hertz I just rode this album into oblivion...Crying blues ballads and some spacey jazz/rock tunes that just put me away.

Oh, and for all those poor folks who don't like David Gilmour's new album and whine that it is too mellow...turn that mother up!! Put it on a nice powerful Hi-Fi and TURN IT UP! That album doesn't distort even when really driving a system hard and the album benefits from it. The non-obvious energy just thrums off of that cd and will have you spacing out in quick time. Granted, listening to it at low volume it will just put you to sleep, there is nothing that will reach out and grab you, but "turned up to 11" makes it work.
Amazon Editorial Reviews:
You And Me (featuring Jason Bonham on drums) marks the debut collaboration of Bonamassa and producer Kevin Shirley and is a powerful fusion of big rock and swampy blues, You And Me gets much of its inspiration from such masters as Peter Green, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker. Bonamassa delivers all the excitement and power of his electrifying live performances while mixing it up with dynamic music choices; from hard to soft, electric to acoustic, a music roller coaster seldom achieved by recording artists today. Provogue.

01 High Water Everywhere
02 Bridge To Better Days
03 Asking Around For You
04 So Many Roads
05 I Don't Believe
06 Tamp Em Up Solid
07 Django
08 Tea For One
09 Palm Trees Helicopters And Gasoline
10 Your Funeral And My Trial
11 Torn Down
updated: video- Bridge to Better Days

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click on picture to "embiggen" view........

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click on picture to "embiggen" view........

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click on picture to 'em-biggen' view........

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Orcinus: Coulter and the onset of fascism

Did you notice how everyone on the right tut-tutted when Ann Coulter called for retaliation against "ragheads" -- but still, she continues to appear on college campuses and cable-TV programs apace. So much for that phony right-wing "outrage" over "extremists in their own ranks."

In reality, Coulter has long been leading the race of right-wing nutcases to move the demarcation line for "beyond the pale," and this week she demonstrated again that there are really no such limits for the right. Every week, they move the line farther to the right, until before you know it, you're staring outright fascism in the face.

Media Matters directs us to the latest Coulter emission, wherein she shrieks like a harpy about conservatives' lack of "manliness":

read the rest......
Coulter and the onset of fascism
and for Driftglass's take on this hateful lie-monger...

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Is Massive Phone Record Database the Cause of Phone Records Bill's Disappearance?

Washington, DC-  A USA Today article reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been secretly collecting phone records of tens of millions of Americans using information provided by America’s largest telephone companies including AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth.  In response to the disturbing new information about domestic spying Representative Edward J. Markey, the ranking Democrat on the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee and a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee sent a letter to Dennis Hastert speaker of the House of Representatives raising questions about the connection between the reports of NSA phone record data bases and the sudden disappearance of the “Prevention of Fraudulent Access to Phone Records Act,” a bi-partisan bill that was scheduled for consideration on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 2, 2006.

The letter sent today states: “With no notice or explanation, H.R. 4943 summarily disappeared from the House floor schedule that day and it has not been seen or heard from since.  I am concerned about reports that some intelligence agency or interest had a hand in the bill’s disappearance. . . Is it currently in some legislative  ‘Guantanamo Bay?’”

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Maine filing seeks answers from Verizon

A complaint asking the Maine Public Utilities Commission to investigate whether Verizon handed over telephone records to the National Security Agency could be the first of many similar actions taken in other states.
The Maine complaint was filed just days before USA Today reported that the NSA was collecting and analyzing the phone call records of hundreds of millions of Americans.
Now groups in other states, including state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union, are considering asking their state regulators to determine the extent to which telephone companies assisted the NSA. They are reviewing the Maine filing as a resource.
"ACLU offices around the country are receiving a torrent of phone calls from angry Americans. This has really struck a nerve," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Project. "I think there's going to be a real groundswell of activity at the local and state level."

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Just, day-yum! This (still) makes me sad... updated

Buddy Blue 1957 - 2006

"Buddy was a San Diego legend and a founding member of The Beat Farmers, the best band to ever come out of San Diego"
-- thanks to Tbogg - comments...
A memorial for Buddy will be held this Friday, April 7, at 12:00 noon.
Those whose lives were touched by Buddy are urged to attend. Please be
at the amphitheatre at Harry Griffin Park, 9550 Milden St. La Mesa, CA

update: 5-14-06
Joe Bonamassa's blog entry (with links to YouTube videos of The Beat Farmers):

update: 4-11-06
Bernard ``Buddy'' Seigal

LA MESA, Calif. (AP) - Bernard ``Buddy'' Seigal, a member of the country-rock band the Beat Farmers and a fiery music journalist, died Sunday. He was 48.

Seigal died of a heart attack at his home, said Will Swaim, a colleague at the OC Weekly, for which Seigal had written features and music reviews since the mid-1990s.

The singer and guitarist, who performed under the stage name Buddy Blue, was a founding member of the Beat Farmers, who formed in 1983. He left the band in 1986 and later enjoyed a successful solo career, playing under the marquees of acts including the Buddy Blue Band, the Rockin' Roulettes, the Jacks and Raney Blue.

Starting in the 1990s, he worked as a music writer, contributing to the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, The Orange County Register and The San Diego Union Tribune.

some great the definitive "Powderfinger"

and his latest masterpiece with The Farmers...

a taste from the upcoming Beat Farmers documentary

Another taste of what we have lost...this time as a writer.
Buddy's latest newsletter, (2006-03-22) "Blue Journalism" offering:

How cool is it when your favorite pop stars turn out to be exactly who you thought they were, who you want them to be'Pretenders' braintrust Chrissy Hynde is so exquisitely Chrissy Hynde, you get the sense she'd be the selfsame Chrissie Hynde if she'd been born in another solar system a millennium ago.
Rocker chick; biker mama; sneering punkette; potty-mouthed malcontent ' Hynde is all these things wrapped in a complex package of razor-wire wit, humor and intelligence; cultivated androgyny offset by a uniquely Hynde-ian femininity.
A rock & roll fanatic and wayward youth, Hynde moved to London at age 22, all alone on a whim, possessed of a dream to be in a band, not to have a band, not to become a rock star, just to be in a band.
Of course, that came to pass in ways Hynde never anticipated, the Pretenders were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year, and were just honored with a five-disc boxed set, 'Pirate Radio.'
When discussing the expansive anthology, Hynde seemed vastly more excited about the enclosed poster by infamous underground cartoonist/gleeful filth-monger S. Clay Wilson than the tribute accorded her band. Wilson, part of the Zap Comix crew, specializes in tales of pirates, bikers and demons engaging in the sort of perverse atrocities that tend to inspire serial killers.
'I wanted to do something with S. Clay for years, and when I found it was called 'Pirate Radio,' I was like, 'Perfect! Fuck! I found it!'' cackled Hynde. 'That's a big part of the whole fuckin' thing for me, it's the coolest thing ever! S. Clay really influenced me. I did all kinds of shit a normal kid wouldn't have done because of him. I got into some trouble with some bikers and I blame S. Clay for a lot of it. I thought it was normal to 'hit people in the back of the head so it don't leave no mark.' He seduced me with his pornographic violence. I was even nicknamed after one of his characters when I was at Kent State people called me Bernice, because she had a penis tattoo with the slogan "Wish I Had One."
Pressed if she felt any sense of artistic esteem due to 'Pirate Radio,' Hynde sneered, 'I don't give a fuck about any of that kind of stuff,' a response she conferred upon several similar queries. Hynde did, however, fess up to one upshot, she's happy if it bestows some attention upon late Pretenders guitarist, James Honeyman-Scott.
'Jimmy was one of my personal agendas on the boxed set, because I think he was one of the great, great guitar heroes,' said Hynde. 'He died so young, a lot of people don't recognize that. For myself, I don't care if I'm remembered or not ' when I'm gone I'm outta here -- but I know Jimmy would have wanted to be remembered as a great guitarist, and I'd like to make sure that happens.'
Let us now, then, acknowledge Scott's greatness, along with original Pretenders bassist Pete Farndon, drummer Martin Chambers, and, greatest of all, Hynde herself. The initial line-up produced one of the most magnificent, electrifying rock & roll albums of any era with it's self-titled, 1980 debut.
'The Pretenders' featured throbbing, psychotic punk tracks like 'Precious' and 'Tattooed Love Boys' side-by-side with the radio-ready hits 'Brass In Pocket' and 'Stop Your Sobbing,' establishing a career-long, schizoid methodology.
It was an oddball outfit for sure, three accomplished musicians from the countryside of England with decidedly different tastes, led by a tuff, barmy chick from Akron, Ohio with no training and a major 'tude.
'I was a Yank and they were guys who were a couple years younger than me from out in the sticks,' Hynde recalls. 'I'd been hanging out with all the punk bands in groovy London -- the Damned, the Clash, the Sex Pistols -- and the guys were outsiders. Jimmy Scott had no time for the punk thing at all, he hated it, he thought it was unmusical.'
Somehow, it all coalesced to perfection. Hynde's alternately enraged, tender, obscene and uniformly brilliant lyrics counterbalanced her uncanny knack for constructing infectious pop melodies. Her purring vocal vibrato, half-spoken asides and shouted tirades were complimented by Scott's Jeff Beck-ly guitar heroics, Farndon's R&B muscle and Chambers' uncanny ability to realize Hynde's often difficult vision; sometimes playing in thorny time signatures to befuddle the most outre jazz musician.
Sadly, the original line-up was fleeting. Scott and Farndon OD-ed within months of one another in 1982, with a scant two albums under their belts. Although Hynde led endlessly re-vamped versions of the Pretenders on to greater commercial triumphs, 'Message Of Love' and 'Back On The Chain Gang,' among others, remain classic rock radio staples to this day -- the sound and dynamic were never the same.
'(Scott and Farndon's deaths) took the wind out of my sails and it was hard to find the edge again,' says Hynde. 'It took me seven years to find those guys in the first place. It's a marriage. You see a lot of guys you fancy but you don't want to fuck all of 'em and you certainly don't want to marry all of 'em, and when you do, you regret it anyway. Getting the right chemistry is a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
'You know, we went through 25 years of tapes for the boxed set. Not all of it is great, but it seemed to be a good cross-section of stuff. It shows that sometimes I lost the plot but sometimes managed to retrieve it along the way, and let's face it ' that's life.'
Life has taken strange turns indeed for Akron's preeminent rock & roll rebel. Hynde lived her dream, but often finds the resultant price to be a curse. For starters, she resents it when feminists expect her to be a role model or spokesperson.
'I never wanted any gender issues, but women, mainly, have tried to get me to say that I had to work extra hard to prove myself, blah, blah, blah. C'mon, it's show business. It was a novelty that I was a chick to some degree, that's all.'
Worse yet to Hynde is the perception of respectability that walks hand-in-hand with commercial success.
'That was out of my control, that was everything I never wanted,' harrumphed Hynde. 'I never wanted to court the mainstream in any way. It was like being inducted into the Hall Of Fame ' 'Thanks guy, but no thanks.' I don't want to be famous, I don't want every fucker out there to recognize me when I go for a walk, I don't want to know them and I don't them to know me. I want to stay in the dark, I want to live outside the law, I don't want to be part of the establishment. This is an industry and everyone's trying to sell their fish. All I'm doing is trying to keep my thing alive.'

The Pretenders, March 27-28 at House Of Blues, 1055 Fifth Avenue, 8PM, $45, 619.299.BLUE.


Jimi Hendrix transcended everything. Nobody ever said, 'Jimi Hendrix ' Black Artist.' He brought cosmic consciousness into it, he brought musical virtuosity, he did stuff with a guitar no one had ever done, he was always searching for the lost chord in the tradition of the great jazz musicians, looking up all the time. Plus, he rocked and he looked fucking great!

I think he's probably the best rock poet. He's a great mover, he's real honest about what he does, he writes genius songs all based around great riffs -- and he's fun.

I went to see Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels at an amusement park when I was 13, and they had a fistfight onstage. I was mesmerized! I begged some friends to stay and watch the second show with me, and they had the same fistfight again. That's when I began to understand what show biz is all about.

A great singer, a great showman, a great songwriter, he had a great band with great riffs and was a total original. To my mind, he's the only one that ever brought theater into rock & roll successfully.

I'm not too sure that American audiences get him, but he's got incredible charisma coming from a very English place. I don't think America appreciates Oasis, but Liam Gallagher is a great frontman.

He had the most sensual, glorious, full-bodied, evocative voice of all-time, I think. He had this yearning quest for the hobo, that Dharma Bum, that early hippie optimism, that freight train freedom ride agenda, to everything he wrote. He transcended all genres, he did things his way and there was never anyone like him, ever.


Blue Notes
By Buddy Blue

About fifteen years ago, I noted a curious trend of clearly desperate '70s rock guitarists suddenly determining that their true calling was actually as 'bluesmen' rather than former arena-rockers faded from popularity. Robin Trower, Les Dudek, Alvin Lee, Rick Derringer'there were others but I can't recall them all now, which is probably best for my mental health in any event, as the recorded results were predictably undignified to downright appalling (these guys were all great axe-slingers who were about as equipped to be blues singers as they were, say, gangsta rappers or CPAs).
Saddest of all to fall was Derringer, because I loved the guy for years; from the time he was frontman of '60s Indiana garage-rockers the McCoys ('Hang On Sloopy,' 'Fever'); to his brief tenure with Johnny Winter And ('twas actually Derringer that wrote such kick-ass Johnny-associated tunes as 'Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo,' 'Cheap Tequila' and 'Still Alive And Well'); to his subsequent work as a foil for brother Edgar, both with White Trash and the Edgar Winter Group; to his belated but briefly sensational career as a solo artist (Derringer's 1974 debut album, 'All American Boy' remains one of the most thrilling guilty pleasures from a decade rife with such entities).
The boy could shred with rare, relentless, and inspirationally tasteless speed; he boasted both a pouting face and skreeking voice like a hormonal 13 year old girl; he was known to don rouge, mascara, silver leather, spandex and outlandish ugg boots (betcha he was a fave pin-up boy among San Quentin inmates), and was known for twirling about onstage like a sugar-overdosed toddler, as he inevitably exhorted the throng to relate its desire to wanna 'ROCK & ROLL,' followed by the inevitable, 'I CAN'T HEAAAAR YOU!'
If the 'bluesman' transformation weren't degrading enough, Derringer deigned an album of elevator-worthy smooth jazz called 'Free Ride' a few years back that included several re-workings of his old faves that came off like Richard Cheese gone instrumental (one must actually hear 'Frankenstein' as Kenny G fodder to believe it). Most troubling was that you got the impression it wasn't merely a bad joke a la Cheese; Derringer actually seemed serious about it.
The good news this week is that Derringer's current tour is promoted as 'Rockin' In The U.S.A 2006,' which bodes well for a return to tasteless shredding and adenoidal vocalizing, if not rouge and spandex. For Derringer, you see, is no longer capable of serving as pin-up fodder for hardened cons or anyone else for that matter ' at 58, he's now short-haired, dumpy and jowly, more resembling San Diego's Freedom Guitar owner Ves Bowen than a teen-aged Joan Jett.
That's okay, that's life, it's like Grace Slick recently opined to MSNBC, 'I've never seen any old people, including myself, I like to look at. It's like rotting fruit. Old people should be heard and not seen. Young people should be seen and not heard.'
See him, feel him, touch him, heal him when Derringer plays 'Canes tonight. Yell requests for 'Teen-Aged Love Affair'!

Tomorrow night, super-sexy blues/soul (with a touch o' jazz) diva Janiva Magness hosts a CD release party for her excellent new disc, 'Do I Move You' (the answer is obvious, toots!), at Humphrey's Backstage Lounge on Shelter Island, while rip-roarin' East L.A. vato-rockers the Blazers tear it up at Tio Leo's Lounge in Bay Park.

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