Daily Archives: December 12, 2010

A neat piece I found on line… Makes you think about what you spend your money on.

From Pruning Shears:

Who funds the right wing noise machine?
You do, when you buy the following products from Koch Industries:

Quilted Northern®
Angel Soft®
Soft ‘n Gentle®
Mardi Gras®
Vanity Fair®
Dixie® brand
Georgia-Pacific Building Products

European brands:

…and more.

What… you gave the Koch’s your bucks at the grocery store this week?

Well, don’t make that mistake again!

Learn the facts about the Koch Brothers here in Jane Mayer’s New Yorker Article.

Learn more in David Dayen’s FireDogLake piece.

The Sundays of Our Disbelief…

I watched the Sunday Morning news programs… the talking heads more than the news… and listened to the Administration arguments as to why this deal with the Republicans is a good one for the country, and the economists argue it one way or the other (Krugman was especially effective arguing against the deal on ABC), and the politicians in general, like Bloomberg in NYC.

The fact that there is no complete agreement on this means that the votes in the Senate tomorrow could go anywhere (although the prediction that the deal will go through seems to have the majority of TV commentators signed on) is going to make any discussion worth watching.

My belief, however, is that parties far beyond the Administration, the Congress or We The People are making the decisions on this. Why else would Republicans, who complain about our debts in their anti-Obama accusations of Communism and Socialism, decide to add a trillion bucks to the deficit by giving it away to the rich who don’t need it? When it doesn’t work… doesn’t create more jobs or push us out of debt over the next two years… the failures will be easy to place at Republican feet. The Rich 1% and the Bankers will have suffered nothing and the Middle Class will shrink a little more.

I can’t take Bill Clinton seriously, either (someone on the talking heads this morning said that Clinton was a Survivor… whatever the problem, he will say the thing that has him survive. Obama, however, is a compromiser and will compromise before even being asked to.) If anything, he is helping to hold up a problem that destroyed the accomplishments of his Presidency.

So here I am… a “99er” as current definitions go… unemployed for way more than the 99 weeks and forced into retirement earlier than I wanted to be (lower Social Security)…  and one who campaigned, volunteered and voted for Obama, who is not getting anywhere with the deal as (non)negotiated, wondering what will befall us next. 2011 is going to be a dismal year.


“Son Of Mr. Green Genes” performed by the original Mothers… Paris 1968

I ran this one last year and it was one of the most clicked on posts.

A couple of notes:

Ian Underwood does the brilliant baritone sax solo… much better than the solo on Hot Rats.

Look at the cover picture at the beginning of this piece… That’s Jimi Hendrix second from the right… live and in person.

A little more on Zappa and Hendrix (from http://wiki.killuglyradio.com):

Zappa and Hendrix

Sat in with the Mothers Of Invention while they were in New York. It was FZ that first introduced Hendrix to the “Wah Wah” effect pedal.

FZ recalls seeing Hendrix at the Cafe Au Go Go:

“I thought Hendrix was great. But the very first time I saw him perform, I had the incredible misfortune of sitting close to him at the Au Go Go in New York City and he had a whole stack of Marshalls. I was right in front of it. I was physically ill. I couldn’t get out; it was so packed, I couldn’t escape. And although it was great, I didn’t see how anybody could inflict that kind of volume on himself, let alone other people. That particular show he ended by taking the guitar and impaling it in the low ceiling of the club. Just walked away and left it squealing.”

–”Zappa’s Inferno, Guitar World” (April 1987)

” Hendrix is one of the most revolutionary figures in today’s pop culture, musically and sociologically. Hendrix’s music is very interesting. The sound… is extremely symbolic: orgasmic grunts, tortured squeals, lascivous moans, electric disasters and innumerable other audial curiosities are delivered to the sense mechanisms of the audience at an extremely high decibel level. In a live performance environment, it is impossible to merely listen to what the Hendrix group does… it eats you alive.”

–”Zappa, quoted in a Life Magazine interview, The Oracle Has It All Psyched Out, 1968, from Kevin Courrier, “Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Zappa“, ECW Press, 2002, page 145

“Some of the really good things that Hendrix did was the earliest stuff, when he was just ripping and brutal. “Manic Depression” was my favorite Jimi Hendrix song. The more experimental it got, the less interesting and the thinner it got.”

At the 1968 Miami festival Hendrix presented Zappa with the remains of his guitar. Zappa would subsequently rebuild the guitar and perform with it throughout the 1970’s. In 2002 Dweezil put the guitar up for auction, hoping it would make one million dollars, but it failed to sell.

On the 9th day of Zappadan my true love gave to me NUTRITIOUSNESS, DELICIOUSNESS and WORTHLESSNESS.

And a Zappa quote for the day:

Interviewer: “So Frank, you have long hair. Does that make you a woman?”
FZ: “You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?”

New PeTA Ad… dogs in body bags to promote adoption.

There is some wondering at HuffPo as to whether this ad goes too far… you can go to their article and vote HERE. (BTW, our adopted dog, Byron, agrees with it.)

Why Bill Clinton’s Favorable View of Obama’s Tax Deal Should Be Disregarded

by Robert Reich (reproduced here in full from the Huffington Post)

Bill Clinton seems the perfect validator for Barack Obama — which is why the president is utilizing the former president for selling his tax deal. After all, the economy boomed when Clinton was president and 22 million net new jobs were created. From a more narrow political perspective — and this is important to Democrats in Washington — Bill Clinton was reelected, even though he lost both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterms.

But the analogy falls apart as soon as you realize Clinton’s economy was vastly different from Obama’s. The recession Clinton inherited was relatively small, and caused by the Fed raising interest rates too high to ward off inflation. So it could be reversed by the Fed lowering interest rates — as the Fed did in 1994. By 1995, the so-called “jobless recovery” had morphed into a full-blown jobs recovery. By 1996, at pollster Dick Morris’s urging, Clinton could proclaim to the American people “you’ve never had it so good, and you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The Great Recession has been far larger, caused not by the Fed raising interest rates but by the bursting of a giant housing bubble. In 2008, the biggest asset of most middle-class people, upon which they borrowed and that they assumed would be their nest eggs for retirement, collapsed. Housing prices continue to fall in most parts of the country. The Fed has lowered interest rates all it can, and unemployment remains sky high.

Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom engineered by Fed chair Alan Greenspan, who felt confident he could drop interest rates far lower than anyone expected without risking inflation. The result was 4 percent unemployment in many parts of America, as well as the best jobs recovery in history.

The price Greenspan exacted from Clinton — and a resurgent Republican congress demanded — was a balanced budget. As a result, Clinton had to give up much of his “investment agenda” in education, infrastructure, and other long-neglected means of building the productivity of average working Americans. The economy enjoyed a huge cyclical recovery.

But the economy’s underlying structure remained as it had been before, including stagnant wages for most Americans. Within a few years the middle and working class was treating their homes as ATMs, borrowing trillions of dollars in order to maintain their standard of living, and at the same time demand enough goods and services to keep almost everyone in jobs.

Those days are over. The Democratic Party can no longer ignore critical investments in the productivity of average workers. Nor can it ignore the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the very top, and the inability of America’s middle and working class to get the economy moving again.

The GOP hasn’t changed their story or their strategy since the 1990s. It’s the fault of big government. That was false then, and it’s false now. The structural problems are now much worse, and the cyclical recovery from the Great Recession pathetically anemic.

If the Democratic Party has stood for anything over the years it is to maintain and restore upward mobility for the majority of working Americans, ensure that the playing field isn’t tilted in the direction of the privileged, and limit the power of the richest among us to entrench themselves and their heirs into a semi-permanent plutocracy.

Continuing the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, including a sharp cut in the estate tax, violates these core principles. Doing so in the midst of an economic emergency that demands bold measures to rescue America’s vast middle and working class adds further insult. For President Obama and former President Clinton to tell America there’s “no other choice” or that “this is the best we can do” — when Democrats remain putatively in control of the House, Senate, and the presidency — is misleading.

I admire Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. I advised the former and worked for the latter. They are good men. But they have either been outwitted by the privileged and powerful of America, or seduced by those on Wall Street and the executive suites of America into believing that the Republican nostrums are necessary, or succumbed Democratic advisors who think in terms of small-bore tactics rather than large and principled strategies.

I urge congressional Democrats to remember the larger principles — not in order to be purist or make the perfect the enemy of the better, but to move toward an economy and a society that we believe in, that reflects the needs of the vast majority of Americans at this difficult time.

Robert Reich is the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, now in bookstores. This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.