Thursday, October 28, 2010

You've taken my life, so take my soul, That's what you said and I believed it all

Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

There are a number things the public "knows" as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.

Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush's last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama's first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the "stimulus" was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the "stimulus" with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be "non-reviewable by any court or any agency.") The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.
It continues quite convincingly.

I just voted by absentee ballot, I've done it every year when and since I lived in CA.

I like having the time to look at the candidates and propositions, (they don't always mean what they say or say what they mean), do the research, and decide with the facts in front of me rather than trying to remember everything I'd read under the pressure of being in the booth knowing people are waiting in line for me to make up my mind.

But regardless of what your preferred method is, get out and vote!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Send Me

I'd like to offer a post from my other site because he says it better than I can. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Bill Arnett:
WARNING: I will be using racial epithets in writing this post, words that can be hurtful depending on context, but I am doing this to make a point I would find it difficult make otherwise. The reasons for use of these epithets is two-fold: first, to show the cowardice of the two above-mentioned political parties and, second, to show how the demonization of President Obama by any means possible borders on the insane, borrows the epithets of yesteryear, and makes only the most superficial changes in form or application to try to remain free of accusations that they are still naught but bigots, racists, and homophobes who find it easier to slander, insult, brand as evil, and use slightly modified epithets to make the same old Jim Crow thinly veiled threats, denigrate our fellow citizens, make their false projections as to where a candidate stands on issues, and to run yet another "Be afraid, be very afraid…" election, a GOP specialty.

The Con Game: It has been crystal clear that the only way the GOP/Teabaggers can win elections is not based upon legislation they wish to implement to benefit the least of us, restore fiscal sanity, rein in Big Banking, Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Corporations, and, in general, do something good for the party.

They are exactly the same scams as the GOP used for self-aggrandizement, the rape and plunder America, conducting illegal wars and bigger and better genocides. They're "clean", WASPs, and they aren't concerned with the fact that the GOP as led by bush/cheney made America the laughingstock of the world, got America rated as the top terrorist threat to the world, bankrupted the country with policies that called for stealing the resources of Iraq when they could have purchased them on the open market, tried to bring back the Nixon axiom that if a president does it, it's not illegal, and they sat and did nothing as our rights were so narrowed as to render many of those rights moot.

The 'code words' regarding racial issues continue to be used in demonizing an opponent that can outthink them any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Lie about any democrats intentions, deny the lie when caught and proven wrong, then go back to telling the same lies to be picked up and magnified by the media until the lie becomes 'common wisdom.'

Think of the things you hear virtually everyday and compare them to the epithets of old which these new code words have replaced.

Image: A dead monkey, shot several times by police, and a comment to the effect that someone else will have to be found to pitch health care because the dead monkey, in every bigot's mind signifies, "The Nigger is dead! The Nigger is dead! Oh, and this is so, so funny because we can display all the naked racial bigotry we want 'cause when them goddamn liberals accuses us of hating niggers we can tell 'em that it's only (snort, snort) a monkey, not our nigger president."

Open calls from GOP and teabaggers to do anything possible to make Obama fail and be a one-term nigger president thrown out onto the trash heap of history, up to and including actually shooting the nigger, and preparing for it by carrying guns to Obama rallies just in case they get a clear shot. Radical churches have openly prayed for Obama to be killed while the GOP and teabaggers openly state they wish to commit treason by assassinating Obama and operating to block every effort he makes to better the country, not because he's wrong necessarily, but because he's not a WASP and is therefore an uppity nigger. (Remember how the MSM went nuts when Obama appeared with the OHIO STATE FLAG behind him, a white flag with an 'O' with a rainbow running through the 'O' and openly breathlessly reported that obviously only a socialist despot would design his very own flag and flout it on national TV. Many faces were awfully red when it was revealed that Obama had nothing to do with the design or display of the Ohio State flag. I believe this marked a turning point for these two pernicious parties as they learned quickly that the nigger and related epithets were not going to be politically palatable with voters.

This is a real dilemma for these two parties. They can only conduct a whisper campaign about how this nigger is 1) not a citizen, 2) a practicing radical Muslim, and 3) a socialist on par with the worst despots in history. These became the new substitutes for 'those in the know' to use instead of the politically incompatible word nigger.

Images: Hitler in white-face or Obama in white face with a Hitler-type mustache. Intent: Tie the nigger to one of the most evil despots of last century and hope the use of the white-face will quell accusations of racism. Wink, wink.

Declare that Obama is not only not a citizen, but a radical Muslim educated in some of the most vile Muslim schools in existence. Oh, boy! This is almost as good as being able to openly call the president a nigger terrorist wanna-be, as the associations they sought to make were that Obama was not American at all, owed his allegiance to the Muslim world, and that every act of his was to undermine our democracy and take over as dictator.

Image: Lacking any genuine proof of any of the vile accusations they have made the rightwing then chooses to use the "Obama as The Joker" posters at rallies, getting the signs shown on TV as often as possible. It's so fucking ridiculous to people with a modicum of commonsense to portray Obama, again in white face, a la Al Jolson in blackface, as being as evil as an entirely fictional character, but it demonstrates again the desperation of the GOP/teabaggers to imply, "No nigger can run a country founded by white christian men and just to prove it we'll put the nigger in white-face to suffer derision and disgust at the thought of Obama being a cartoon bad guy."

Tactic: Smear Obama's wife and children as much as possible. "Oh, horrors! That bitch Michelle wore a sleeveless dress to a state function! Shows you niggers know nothing of maintaining even false pretensions when it comes to State affairs! Not only that, but they allowed, and Michelle physically helped, the kids plant a garden, a fucking garden, on some of the most hallowed ground in America! Only a nigger would so degrade the Whitehouse, but is it still the 'Whitehouse' when niggers move in?" (Actually asked by GOP/teabagger affiliated groups.)

My hunch, my beliefs, about the results to soon be forthcoming from the elections: Teabaggers have assumed an ever greater load of pure bigotry to do some heavy lifting for the GOP. Now the election time grows near and the teabaggers have, they believe, smeared, slimed, and set the stage for a massive turnover favoring them and the GOP.

I see it differently. Saner heads, and yes, there are some, within the GOP recognizes the threat presented by the teabaggers. The two parties will split the vote as sane conservatives realize that even THEY don't want the teabaggers in charge, as the vicious, insidious policies they would pursue (reversing health care, destroying social security, eliminating Medicare, etc.) would not only be detrimental for America but could be the straw that broke the proverbial camels back insofar as Americans finally and forever abandoning a party too mean, ugly, and self-serving to ever effectively lead a nation.

One, but not all, of the reasons I believe this is a recent poll that showed 11% of respondents to the poll thought the teabaggers could solve America's problems while 77% believe that there is no way teabaggers will ever be able to run and solve the problems of government. This means that over half of the existing teabagger party members themselves believe that their party is not going to help America solve any problems.

How the teabaggers and GOP can believe that, combined, they represent salvation for America in the face of statistics like that simply marks them for the fools and simpletons they are. If the teabaggers win two or three seats, drawing votes away from serious GOP candidates, they will never gain a majority in either house. I actually expect that the more people think about the consequences of returning America to the Dark Ages by electing any combination of GOP/teabaggers the more inclined they will be to vote democratic party candidates.

Serious GOP elders running the party already see the handwriting on the wall and have started backing away from the teabaggers, not appearing with teabaggers, not donating money to teabaggers or providing other support, and, now, recognizing that the split vote between the GOP and the teabaggers could likely result in democrats GAINING seats, not losing them.

Well, we'll find out next week, so if you will excuse me please it's time for me to send in my absentee ballot.
I know Bill made several assertions without links, and if you ask in comments we will provide the references. Try me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Now You're Trying To Trick Me . . .

If Rand Paul, questionably skilled ophthalmologist & narcissist, kidnapper & pervert, had been campaigning in Japan, he would have committed ritual suicide by now. Sadly, he's running for U.S. Senate, so that option is off the table.

If he had the decency of a rattlesnake, he would have at least suspended his campaign, or even quit in shame after this took place at tonight's Paul/Conway debate:

And to the prick that commented on YouTube that this was likely a staged event and the woman was likely faking, doesn't do staged drama, unlike Tea Party darling James O'Keefe. So you're either really stupid, or just cruel. Either way, fuck off and die, please.

Contrary to Dr. Paul's assertion, the Tea Party will make you free. Well, this is real Free:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where's this place called Lonely Street?

Sorry to readers and co-bloggers for the lack of posts lately. I blame work/ambivalence/'n shit.

Meanwhile, as an antidote to the awfulness that is politics today, here is some perfect music:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Burning down the house

Ya know how you keep hearing about the foreclosure crisis and how it's caused by the poor deadbeats getting loans and stuff, and if Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae hadn't been involved everything would be OK, because them poor deadbeats just made a deal with EYES WIDE OPEN.

Yeah, not so much. The research shows that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans weren't the problem.

The problem was, and is, the banksters. Read on:
Beyond Bogus – Docx Assignment of Mortgage – Bogus Assignee for Intervening Asmts

Amid mountain of paperwork, shortcuts and forgeries mar foreclosure process

Robo-signers: Mortgage experience not necessary

Witness: Foreclosure firm owner gave gifts for altering documents

Mortgage foreclosure uproar sweeps up Northeast Ohioans

Dart Halting Evictions for Second Time in Two Years
Sheriff says he wants proof from lenders that evictions are legitimate, legal
I don't know how one buys a house without title insurance. Abstract of Title is a big industry.

So who's on the hook for all this fraud and deception?

I think that if a person/institution can't prove they own YOUR house they can't foreclose on it. That's just logical. It hasn't stopped them, but somebody should.

Now for your brain bleach:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Imaginary Lovers Numbers Never Disagree

Benoit Mandelbrot died October 14th 2010. Maybe you've heard of him, maybe not, but he had an incredible force on my life and all our lives.

After reading about his research and chaos theory I was inspired 25 years ago to learn math again. Because math suddenly made sense in the real world. One simple equation, applied over and over to the results of the previous equation, are how simple things grow complicated. Back then I had to go the library, search thru bookstores, to find text books and just do the math. All the math I had learned in school was linear. His non-linear math was, to me, the secret of the universe. It was time well spent.

Mmm, fractals, they're sexy!

What's not to like, imaginary numbers that aren't imaginary but coordinate systems that can be depicted visually. And the sheer beauty of the images! And realizing that it describes everything from snowflakes, rivers and streams, leafs and trees, blood vessels and capillaries, and solar systems to galaxies.

Just like DNA with a small number of components (ACGT) that consists of all life on our planet, this, THIS is how the universe works!

E=mc² seems simple, DNA sequences ACGT seems simple, zn+1 = zn2 seems simple. We know our world is complicated, but it's also simple. It's unpredictable, it contains things that can kill us while observing the beauty, it's unpredictable, but only within ranges.

Please don't upset the ranges.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Solomon Burke

Legendary soul and R&B vocalist Solomon Burke passed away Sunday at age 70, while en route to a performance in Amsterdam.

Burke was born in Philadelphia in 1940, in a room over a church founded by his grandmother; allegedly, she had foreseen Burke's birth in a dream. The church would be a key influence throughout his career. The day he was born, he was ordained a bishop, and by age 7 he was preaching sermons. At age 12 he had a radio ministry on Philadelphia station WHAT, and in his teens Burke made his first gospel recordings. He toured the East Coast as a gospel performer, but the crooked dealings that were standard practice in the music industry in the 50's soured him from becoming a full-time professional, and he returned to Philadelphia to study embalming.

Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records noted Burke's gospel recordings, though, and in 1960 invited the singer to New York to cut some R&B sides. According to Burke, Wexler was frustrated by his insistence that he was not a R&B singer, and his penchant for sermonizing while singing. Wexler hit upon the idea of giving Burke country-and-western songs to sing - a novel idea for a black artist in 1960 - yet became irritated as Burke brought his preaching style to the C&W material as well. Eventually, Ahmet Ertegun basically told Wexler to leave the young vocalist alone to do his thing. From those sessions, "Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms)", which had been a hit for Patsy Cline, became Solomon Burke's first R&B hit.

Burke would continue to work with Wexler and Bert Berns through most of the 60's, and they would produce a substantial run of hits. He had a rich voice that could give a warm and tender flavor to ballads, and an impeccable sense of swing that propelled up-tempo numbers like "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" and "Got To Get You Off My Mind", two of his biggest hits. Burke's recordings continued to retain the flavor of the church, and the sermons that had frustrated Wexler turned into lengthy intros to his songs. A large, imposing man, Burke dominated the stage with his presence, and was dubbed "King Solomon" by his fans. He played his regal persona to the hilt, arriving on stage in velvet robes, a scepter, and a crown, preceded by midgets who scattered rose petals across the stage. Burke's charisma and talent made him one of the 60's most popular soul performers. He was not as well known with white audiences, although The Rolling Stones covered "Cry To Me" and "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" during their early days. Top 40 programmers likely thought that Burke's music carried too many traces of gospel for AM radio consumption; his biggest pop hit, "Got To Get You Off My Mind", only reached #22 in the Billboard charts.

Burke left Atlantic in 1968 to record for a series of smaller labels, and although continuing to be an active performer on the R&B circuit, his star slowly faded as the 70's progressed. He also kept busy in a number of other activities, maintaining his presence in the ministry and owning a Los Angeles funeral parlor. His music's legacy would spread to Hollywood in the 80's - "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" was featured in The Blues Brothers, and Patrick Swayze sang "Cry To Me" in a scene of Dirty Dancing.

During the last decade, Burke enjoyed a musical comeback. He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001, and the next year won his only Grammy for his album Don't Give Up On Me. He maintained an active touring schedule, and his performances were as grandiose as ever. With his weight having ballooned to 500 pounds, Burke now sang while seated in a throne. In 2006, he returned to country music with Nashville, featuring performances with Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch and Patty Loveless. Remaining active to the end, he was on his way to The Netherlands for a show with De Dijk when he passed away. Solomon Burke is survived by 21 children and 90 grandchildren.

And there ain't nothing I can do about it

Long ago, in a galaxy far far away, the kid with the mustache playing keyboard above was me.

Today, I spent the afternoon with the lead singer (green jacket, red guitar: Dave Kellstrand) and the drummer (Hal Davis). The last time the 3 of us were all together was probably in '69, so I'd say the visit was long overdue. We were all great friends, but we just drifted due to family moves and the vagaries of normal life. But we had a fine time today, comparing memories and thoughts about our misspent youth. And music. Because at the end of the day, it's all about the music.

Interestingly, we know where the tall bass player (Jon Rooff) is, and we think we've located the guy playing the purple teardrop-shaped guitar (Mathew 'Mike' Peters).

We were what was called a cover band, but we were fairly unconventional. We played not just the current radio hits, but some fairly ambitious not-so-popular rock too. For example, we played 5 songs off the 1st Buffalo Springfield album, not just the radio singles. But we also did a couple of Vanilla Fudge tunes, songs I never heard another band attempt to cover.

Were we any good? I think so, audiences seemed to like us, and we played a lot during '67-'68. We even did our own Fudge-esque versions of a couple of songs. Toward the end of our existence, we even did one original song that I wrote call "Don't Turn Out The Light", that Dave & Mike sang and did the vocal arrangement on. We felt we were future stars.

A recording of us at the gig pictured did exist, but we have no idea if it's around anywhere.

Obviously I have no real idea what song this photo shows, but since I'm playing keys pretty intently, and not guitar, I have a feeling it might be our version of this:

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Farm Aid at 25

Bob Dylan and Tom Petty at the first Farm Aid concert.

Farm Aid officially turns 25 this weekend, with this year's show held in Milwaukee. Founders Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young once again head up an all-star lineup helping to raise money for American farmers. I was there for that first show, held September 22, 1985 in Champaign, Illinois. With over 100 acts performing that day, it was easily the most diverse lineup I ever witnessed in concert.

The inspiration for Farm Aid came from remarks made by Bob Dylan at the successful Live Aid concert held earlier that summer. "I hope", Dylan said, that some of the money that's raised for the people in Africa, maybe they could just take a little bit of it, maybe … one or two million … to pay the mortgages on some of the farms." Willie Nelson felt that this was a fine idea. Soon, along with John Mellencamp, Nelson organized farmers to travel to Washington to testify before Congress about their struggles. In addition, with Neil Young, they began to put together a benefit concert intended to provide assistance to struggling American farmers. They named their benefit Farm Aid, and billed it as "A Concert For America".

They chose the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium as the site for their show, and enlisted Chicago promoter Ron Stern to oversee the logistics. Arriving in Champaign, Stern quickly learned that the home of the Fighting Illini was ill-equipped to be a music venue: “There was only 100-amp [mains] service at the stadium; not nearly enough to power a whole stage show and a dressing room/backstage complex,” he recalls. Also, a way had to be devised for getting the myriad of acts on and off stage efficiently without delaying the show. Stern brought in $50,000 worth of generators and negotiated with the power company for additional electrical capacity. To keep the show moving, a manually-operated rotating stage was built. Divided in half, while one act performed for the audience, the next act set up their gear on the half behind the curtains.

The diverse roster of performers for Farm Aid I was a spectacular array of country, rock, and blues artists rarely matched on any stage before or since. Twenty-five years on, a lot of memories of that day are a bit fuzzy, but for sheer variety and quality, I've never experienced another day of music quite like it. The show began in a steady drizzle, but by afternoon the skies had cleared, and over 75,000 of us enjoyed a fine Midwestern autumn evening. Country kingpins like Alabama, Vince Gill and Kenny Rogers appeared on the bill with legends such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and George Jones. Acoustic performers like Joni Mitchell and John Denver were featured during the day; after dark rockers like Foreigner and Huey Lewis took the stage. John Fogerty came out with a woman dressed as a pig who danced on stage, symbolizing Fogerty's legal troubles with his ex-manager. Bon Jovi, barely known at the time, played one of their first shows in a stadium atmosphere. Lone Justice, another emerging act, played one of the night's sharpest sets. Bob Dylan appeared, backed by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Their performance was so well-received that they soon agreed to launch a nationwide tour together. Sammy Hagar played live with Van Halen for the first time; Hagar launched into a raunchy monologue that got their set taken off The Nashville Network's live broadcast. Founders Young and Mellencamp turned in fine performances. Willie Nelson's set began the day's proceedings. He was a bundle of energy all day, bounding on and off the stage, introducing acts, generally keeping the party going. Nobody throws a party like Willie Nelson. Well past midnight, he launched into an hour-long set that I don't think was scheduled; I'm sure that he would have played till dawn if they had let him.

Farm Aid I raised over $9 million for struggling farmers, raised awareness of rural issues, and began a tradition that surprised Farm Aid's founders, who thought that they were putting together a one-time-only event. To this day, the Farm Aid organization has raised over $37 million and continues to advocate for family farmers throughout the USA. Celebrate 25 years of Farm Aid by checking out these classic performances from founders Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young from that first show in Champaign. For more details, there's this excellent article about the challenges involved in staging that now-historic show.