Monthly Archives: December 2011

Since I’ll most likely fall asleep before midnight…

…let me wish everyone a Happy New Year now. I’m looking forward to doing so many things in the coming year to burst out of depression and get back to the kind of creativity I’ve missed in 2011. Hope you get to do everything you want as well.

A Warning For New Year’s Eve…

Watch what you drink on New Year’s Eve

By JUDY ADRIAN AND CAROL LOBES

Don’t go out and get bombed on New Year’s Eve.

The glorification of excess alcohol consumption must come to an end. Alcohol is the worst drug.

It is more dangerous than many illegal drugs – worse than heroin, cocaine (including crack), ecstasy and marijuana.This was the conclusion of a study in the prestigious British medical journal Lancet a little more than a year ago.

The study shows that alcohol scored highest because it is so widely used and has such devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.When abused, alcohol can destroy nearly all organ systems.Alcohol leads to higher death rates than illegal drugs.Alcohol is a factor in a greater percentage of crimes.

And the economic costs are greater when you count the tab for health care, human services and law enforcement.Alcohol wins, hands down.Yet it would be unrealistic and mistaken to try to prohibit alcohol sales. That was unsuccessfully tried during Prohibition. Instead, we can do the following:

  • Stop pretending that alcohol is an acceptable drug.
  • Provide better information to the public on the relative harms of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Target problem drinkers by increasing penalties for repeat offenders.
  • Raise the price of alcohol so it is less readily available.

Many people see New Year’s Eve as an excuse to drink an excessive amount. But that’s a poor – and potentially fatal – excuse. We need to watch what we drink on New Year’s Eve – and every day.

ABOUT THE WRITERS

Judy Adrian and Carol Lobes are former co-directors of the Dane County (Wis.) Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse. They wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. Readers may write to the authors at: Progressive Media Project, 409 East Main Street, Madison, Wis. 53703; e-mail: pmproj@progressive.org; Web site: http://www.progressive.org. For information on PMP’s funding, please visit http://www.progressive.org/pmpabout.html#anchorsupport.

This article was prepared for The Progressive Media Project.

OK, Got it? Have a Happy New Year… but wake up alive on Monday.

Fun and games at the bottom of the New Hampshire list…

“Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.”

Frank Zappa

John Huntsman, toiling at the bottom of the list in Iowa, is putting his effort into New Hampshire… and to do that he has released a video called “Unelectable” attacking Ron Paul (gee, you think he’d go after Romney instead of wasting his time on the Loser In Chief.)

Here it is:

🙂 🙂 🙂

Tomorrow night is New Year’s Eve…

… so here’s Zooey Deschanel and Joe Gordon-Levitt singing What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (enjoy):

Helen Frankenthaler dies at 83…

When I became the Director of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA in the 70s, one of the framed images in my office was of Helen Frankenthaler and her then husband Robert Motherwell standing in front of “The Barn,” an old painting studio at Day’s Lumberyard, which later became the Center’s property. It reflected summer, when a large number of NYC abstract expressionists headed to the end of Cape Cod to vacation and paint and drink cocktails together. Franz Klein, Myron Stout, Jack Tworkov, Hans Hoffman and others made the tip of the Cape an exciting place.

When the FAWC started, “The Barn” became studio space for our own artists, but it was clear that the space was haunted by memories of Frankenthaler who, after breaking up with Motherwell, moved her summer studio to Long Island. We always felt like she was part of our lives.

Frankenthaler was a leading abstract expressionist at a time when women were not taken seriously by critics and peers (Hans Hoffman once commented ‘who would believe this work was done by a woman?’), yet she became famous, highly thought of, commected sand a presence in major museums.

Aside from her paintings, Ms. Frankenthaler was known for her lithographs, woodcuts, etchings and screen prints which she started makinfgin the 60s… indeed, some critics have suggested that her woodcuts have made her most original contribution to printmaking.

Frankenthaler died at age 83 on Tuesday at her home in Darien, CT.

 

Virginia + GOP = Party Distrust

Things are Upside Down in Virginia

Since the announcement that Gingrich and Perry did not make the filing deadline of signatures to be on the VA primary ballot, and the upcoming legal controversy that VA does not allow write-ins, the relationship between state and registered voters takes away their choices for the future. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE PRIMARY!

You see,

Anyone who wants to vote must sign a form at the polling place pledging to support the eventual Republican nominee for president. Anyone who refuses to sign will be barred from voting in the primary.

– Richmond Times-Dispatch

So if you vote in the Virginia Republican Primary, you can write off any chance of changing your
mind after the fact… in other words, you give up your freedom to select the candidate of your final choice.

Let’s hear it for Virginia.

(Hey, thanks for pointing me toward this one, Josh.)

Farewell to Motorhead…

From  Noise 11:

Mothers Of Invention’s Jim Sherwood Dies Aged 69

by Paul Cashmere on December 27, 2011

Jim ‘Motorhead’ Sherwood from Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention died on Christmas Day at the age of 69.

Sherwood was the sax player and vocals and vocal sounds effects for the Mothers and played on the Zappa albums ‘200 Motels’, ‘Burnt Weeny Sandwich’, ‘Weasals Ripped My Flesh’ and ‘We’re Only In It For The Money’.

He also appeared in Zappa’s films ‘200 Motels’, ‘Video From Hell’ and ‘Uncle Meat’.

After the demise of The Mothers Sherwood occasionally got together with other ex-Mothers and performed as The Grandmothers.

Sherwood and Frank Zappa were childhood friends. They met in 1956. Jim was in the same class at school with Frank’s brother Bobby Zappa. Jim and Frank first played together in 1964 in Zappa’s very first band The Blackouts.

He joined the Mothers of Invention initially as a roadie and contributed sound effects to the first album ‘Freak Out’ in 1966. In 1967 he became a full-time member of the band.

Jim’s nickname was Motorhead, named because he was always repairing old cars, trucks and motorbikes.

Note: Motorhead also played tambourine on several pieces.

“King Kong-Legend of Golden Arches-Sleeping in jar” at The Beat Culb(Breamen,Germany,6 October 1968) Don Preston–keyboards Ian Underwood–keyboards and woodwinds Bunk Gardner–woodwinds Motorhead Sherwood–baritone sax Roy Estrada–bass and vocals Jimmy Carl Black–drums and vocals Art Tripp–drums and percussion Frank Zappa

What to do if you support Ron Paul and intend to go to Caucus:

The Ron Paul campaign has put out requirements for Caucus attendees

1. Shave

2. Hide tattoos

3. Dress well

No word about what political thoughts you should have.

May be this is the time for the other candidates to come out for Tattooed folk. Or bearded guys in jeans.

Oh Please Get This Iowa Crap Over With…

One day it’s Newt, the next it’s Ron Paul… then there’s a “surge” for Santorum, plus insufferable jabs at all of them from Bachmann. And, of course, Romney still polls in the 25% range and can’t seem to get major Conservatives behind him. Huntsman might as well be invisible and you wish Perry would be.

And without Herman Cain we no longer have the kind of comic entertainment which lets us ignore the rest of these clowns.

Add to all of this the need of all the news stations (and Fox) to keep all of this brouhaha on the air all the time without even making the least amount of difference. Not one candidate shows any sign of being able to serve all of America.

They all seem to have a view of the Constitution as a document defined by one or two articles… it’s easy to ignore the ones you don’t believe in. No matter how they comment on Obama (or in many cases each other), none of these folks would know a real Socialist if they tripped over one at a Karl Marx picnic on May Day.

And, hey, we still have New Hampshire, South Carolina and all the rest to look forward to.

This may be Santorum’s last week in the skirmish:

A quote:

“If I finish dead last behind the pack I’m going to pack up and go home.”
— Rick Santorum, quoted by CNN

Looks like it might be a shorter list for New Hampshire.

If Newt doesn’t win New Hampshire with this TV ad…

…then Republicans are smarter than I give them credit for.

If this is not available, go HERE.
🙂 🙂 🙂

Let’s look back on 2011 with Jib-Jab:

It’s becoming an annual tradition.

Onward into the New year.

Getting Ready for the End of the Earth in 2012…

So the year 2012 starts on Sunday and we have a few possibilities (improbable as they may be) which can stagnate our minds in a thick depression if we let them.

The Mayan calendar, say. Sometime next December, the ancient Mayan calendar ends and with it, some disturbed thinkers claim, the world. So what will do it? What will make the world crumble and the pieces drift into the universe? Maybe some of the actions we might take along the way.

For instance, we might elect Newt Gingrich as President. This would make our military grow and perhaps bring us into a new and destructive war while wiping out all the aspects of government that deal with education, poverty and civilian participation. Then again, we might elect Ron Paul who wants to turn off recognition of Israel, turn on recognition of Palestine and acknowledge, but not indicate any changes, in remarks stated in racist newsletters in the 90s. These factors would certainly end MY world, and I’m not sure that they wouldn’t lead to ongoing destruction across the planet. What fun.

Or we might continue to ignore Global Warming (like the majority of Tea Partiers) or air pollution, or ongoing poisoning of our water, or the Monsanto chemicalization of our food. Then we might all be gone and who cares what happens to the planet.

So let’s celebrate the coming of 2012 and begin the campaign to educate and change the world (even though both Paul and Gingrich would end the Department of Education) and do what we can before it’s too late. As to the Mayans, they didn’t stick around long enough to update their predictions… but, hey, that’s how it goes.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – A Day Late (sorry)

 

Drew Sheneman of Tribune media Services:

Jobs, jobs, jobs…

– and –

Tom Toles in the Washington Post:

Republican Christmas

– and –

Steve Sack in the Star Tribune:

House sitting…

– and –

Steve Breen in the San Diego Union Tribune

Dark today because they are all on vacation…

Hope you’re all having a great Holiday. – Bill

Merry Christmas… I’m taking the day off….

See everyone tomorrow… Bill.

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Here’s a good one – Virginia Republican Primary will be a little lighter…

In a major stumble, both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich came short of Virginia’s ballot requirements and will miss the Super Tuesday state. As far as I know it’s too late for them to do anything about it (perhaps they can seek write-in votes, but that will take mucho effort.)

This is a reasonable sign of each man’s management/organization capabilities, no?

Rival candidates Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) qualified for the primary. On the Democratic side.

It was unclear if Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum or former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman submitted petitions to the state board in time.

Just finished getting ready for my 11-1 Radio Show…

… so tune in to WSHC 89.7 FM (or http://www.897WSHC.org) and enjoy Christmas songs, Call ins and maybe a couple of visiting guests.

I’ll be back to the blog later this afternoon.

– Bill

Listen to the noise!

Tea Partiers are complaining bitterly that Boehner and the Republicans gave in on the Payroll tax problem. Obama supporters are cheering because Barack finally stood up to the House. Boehner is apparently in tears while Eric Cantor fishes for his Speaker seat.

What a way to spend a Friday. I’m exhausted just watching Chris Matthews argue with guests.

As for me… it’s the weekend, Christmas Eve is tomorrow night… and politics will be gone for at least two days.

Boehner Caves!

We enter the evening with Speaker John Boehner caving in to a growing chorus of criticism from both within and outside his Republican party. He has agreed to The Senate’s short-term deal to extend a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.

In a major reversal that appeared to end a standoff with Democrats, Boehner told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid he would set a vote in the House on a Senate-passed two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

Boehner’s about-face contrasts with a year of Republican dominance in The House, in which a staunch opposition to higher taxes and spending yielded a string of political successes. Their backpedalling this time handed a rare victory to President Barack Obama and Democrats.

The vote to carry out the 60-day plan should take place tomorrow.

Happy Solstice… It’s the longest night of the year tonight…

They peg the Winter Solstice to this evening. As that great Alaskan blog, The Mudflats, pointed out:

This is one of those holidays that exists objectively, whether we want it or not. Every culture marked it, and every human has noticed it since the beginning of time. And nobody will change it to Monday so we get a long weekend, or combine it with another event and call it “Celestial Day.” It is what it is – simple, scientific, magical and beautiful.

So if you Celebrate the Solstice have a great night… and we can proceed onward to next Summer.

…and here’s a song from one of my favorite musicals, Rogers and Hart’s The Boys from Syracuse, “The Shortest Day of the Year:

Has the Republican House Sealed its Fate?

“Based on the historical record we can confidently predict that if a large number of incumbents lose their seats next November, it will be because 2012 is a wave election and that almost all of the defeated incumbents will come from the party on the losing side of the wave.”

– Alan I. Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University

Boehner Leads the Ranks of the Inverted

So Boehner turned out the lights and sent the House home, even though Democrats were calling for a continuing discussion to get the interim Payroll bill of the Senate passed, giving 60 days to come up with the final compromise without attacking the economic lives of middle Americans.

Even the Wall Street Journal, not a left leaning publication, tried to get the Republican leader and his Tea Party Poopers to see the three reasons that made the House Majority the bad guys:

Reason #1: House Republicans allowed the Senate to break for the Christmas holiday without explicit orders it would need to come back. In fact, Politico notes that the silence from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is deafening. Reason #2: The Senate passed its legislation by a bipartisan 89-10 vote, raising the question whether a conference committee could produce a deal that could get 60-plus Senate votes. Reason #3: The House GOP didn’t allow an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, suggesting that it could have passed if they did. Those three reasons will be hard for the House GOP to explain away if the tax cut expires after Dec. 31.”

We are left with no payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers and aid for several million long-term unemployed Americans expiring on Dec. 31. If the Republicans wanted to make Obama look good in this situation, they couldn’t have done it better.

The question now is what will the majority of Americans think when an extra cut comes out of their paychecks and they bring their anger into the public venue (think of the Occupy movement)? Too bad we can’t vote for House members tomorrow!

It’s the Last Night of Zappadan…Frank’s 71st Birthday.

I’ve had a good time this year with the Zappadan posts… and it has also been fun trolling the web for other blogs celebrating the holidays.

So we’ll end it all here with one of Frank’s last interviews and a music piece to end the season:

We opened the season with Dweezil playing “Black Napkins.” We’ll end it with Frank’s version:

Goodbye until next December.

Obama stands up to Boehner on Payroll Tax vote…

From the White House:

Today, the President made separate calls to Speaker Boehner and Leader Reid. In his call to Speaker Boehner, the President reiterated the need and his commitment to work with Congress to extend the payroll tax cut for the entire year, and the fact that the short-term bipartisan compromise passed by almost the entire Senate is the only option to ensure that middle class families aren’t hit with a tax hike in 10 days and gives both sides the time needed to work out a full year solution. The President urged the Speaker to take up the bipartisan compromise passed in the Senate with overwhelming Democratic and Republican support that would prevent 160 million working Americans from being hit with a holiday tax hike on January 1st.

The President also spoke with Leader Reid and again applauded him for the work he conducted with Minority Leader McConnell to achieve a successful bipartisan compromise that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate on Saturday, and Senator Reid reaffirmed his commitment to secure a bipartisan year long tax cut after the House passes the two month extension. The President urged the Speaker to allow a vote on the one compromise that Democrats and Republicans passed together to give the American people the assurance they need during this holiday season that they won’t see a significant tax hike in just 10 days.

Boehner and the Tea Party folks are now getting the worst of the press, and they are even being criticized by other Republicans, none of whom would like the Middle Class on their tails come election time. Meanwhile, the Senate is on vacation and it doesn’t look like they are coming back to renegotiate before the short-term bill is passed.


Looks like the rest of the week will be interesting. Ho Ho Ho.

Here’s today’s Frank Zappa video: Inca Roads

This was requested when I did an all-Zappa radio show last week… then I found this YouTube video:

Tomorrow is the last day of Zappadan… Frank’s Birthday!