Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MAD Magazine turns 60!

I grew up with MAD magazine until i was about 12. I can't tell you how much this magazine meant to me before I was a teenager... Here's a great story from 60 Minutes.
Morley Safer goes inside the MAD world of Alfred E. Neuman for his 1987 profile of the magazine every kid's mother loved to hate.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spiders In A Box Projected Onto Windows

I've got no idea where this comes from or any info other than i found it at the Presurfer blog - folks just gettin' ready for Halloween i guess...

Monday, October 29, 2012

10 Lessons from Einstein

Albert Einstein has long been considered a genius by the masses. He was a theoretical physicist, philosopher, author, and is perhaps the most influential scientists to ever live.

Einstein has made great contributions to the scientific world, including the theory of relativity, the founding of relativistic cosmology, the prediction of the deflection of light by gravity, the quantum theory of atomic motion in solids, the zero-point energy concept, and the quantum theory of a monatomic gas which predicted Bose–Einstein condensation, to name a few of his scientific contributions.

Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.”

He’s published more than 300 scientific works and over 150 non-scientific works. Einstein is considered the father of modern physics and is probably the most successful scientist there ever was.

1. Follow Your Curiosity “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

2. Perseverance is Priceless “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

3. Focus on the Present “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

4. The Imagination is Powerful “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

5. Make Mistakes “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

6. Live in the Moment “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”

7. Create Value “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

8. Don’t be repetitive “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

9. Knowledge Comes From Experience “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

10. Learn the Rules and Then Play Better “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
via Dumb Little Man

Sunday, October 28, 2012

George Carlin Brain Droppings
Sunday Sermon

I don't think anyone ever agrees with everything George Carlin has ever said but he was awesome... RIP

Friday, October 26, 2012

Donald Trump's October Surprise
Via The Daily Show & Colbert Report

As usual, awesome commentary from Jon Stewart...

Excellent Colbert Report bonus:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Earthship Biotecture": Renegade New Mexico Architect’s Radical Approach to Sustainable Living

from DemocracyNow

New Mexico residents are trying to a break free from Los Alamos’ nuclear legacy by creating more environmentally sound ways of living. At the forefront of this struggle is renegade architect Michael Reynolds, creator of radically sustainable living options through a process called "Earthship Biotecture." Reynolds’ solar homes are created from natural and recycled materials, including aluminum cans, plastic bottles and used tires. These off-the-grid homes minimize their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels by harnessing their energy from the sun and wind turbines. In Taos, New Mexico, Reynolds gives us a tour of one of the sustainable-living homes he created.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

American Indian Movement Activist and Occupier of Wounded Knee, Russell Means dies at 72

from DangerousMinds

Russell Means (left) and Dennis Banks, at Pine Ridge Reservation at Wounded Knee in 1973, instructing occupants how to hold their ground against the US government
Russell Means will not be counted among the great civil rights leaders of the 60s and 70s “New Left” movements, and I doubt that he would want to be. Means was at the forefront of a new generation of native rights advocates, and their struggle was largely isolated from popular progressive discourse. He is best known for the armed occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, when the American Indian Movement (AIM) took up arms and reclaimed Wounded Knee, the historical battle site and small town, for the Lakota Nation.

Political strife had plagued local tribal politics for years, and Means was perceived as a firebrand by many established leaders, some seen as overly-cozy with the U.S. government. AIM was very much a youth movement in inception, and the desperation felt by many of its members was rooted in what they felt to be ineffectual or corrupt leadership. Demanding justice for police brutality, extreme poverty, broken treaties, and the destruction of native land, AIM took up arms after efforts to impeach the standing Oglala Lakota Tribal President had failed. Means and others had participated in occupations before (Alcatraz, the seizing of the Mayflower II replica, and Mount Rushmore, to name a few), but the “Incident at Wounded Knee” wasn’t just a protest, it was a battle.

With Means as spokesman, nearly 200 men and women held Wounded Knee for 71 days; there was regular gunfire between the activists and the 50 U.S. Marshals. The shootout that ended the standoff resulted in the deaths of a U.S. Marshal and two activists. What followed was was a scattering of AIM members, some who were later convicted and jailed despite questionable evidence (Leonard Peltier), others, like Anna Mae Aquash, were killed under mysterious circumstances. Means was among the lucky, and went on to continue his activism, become more involved in tribal politics, and eventually write his autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread.

In an 1980 interview with Mother Jones, Russel Means reasserted his commitment to the cause, saying,
“I work primarily with my own people, with my own community. Other people who hold non-European perspectives should do the same. I believe in the slogan, “Trust your brother’s vision,” although I’d like to add sisters into the bargain. I trust the community and the culturally based vision of all the races that naturally resist industrialization and human extinction.”
Russell Means was resisting the colonists, not trying to break bread with them. It’s nearly unfathomable to consider 200 people taking up arms against the US government, holding a town hostage to demand basic rights, but this is what makes the legacy of AIM and Means so much more powerful in a sea of peaceful sit-ins and impotent political theater. When the youth of the tribal nation felt ignored by their leaders, they turned to a man who literally pissed on Mount Rushmore. When “peace and love” was the dominant narrative of the left-leaning, Russell Means and the American Indian Movement were attempting armed revolution.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ape Rescue Mission Joins Forces with Law Enforcement Task Force in West Africa to Fight the Extinction of Great Apes

from my friends at SparrowMedia
[DRC, GABON, AFRICA] Ape Rescue Mission is a fundraising initiative developed in response to the failure of conventional conservation methods to curb the escalation of animal trafficking in Equatorial Africa. ARM will send an experienced animal cruelty investigator to join a task force that has achieved great success in using existing laws in countries such as Cameroon, Gabon, and the Congo to prosecute animal traffickers and embolden a new wave of judiciary integrity.

The cruelty and barbarity shown in “Ape Rescue Mission: The Road to West Africa” is only a fraction of what happens to great apes on a daily basis in Cameroon. Your help is urgently needed and appreciated; the easiest way is by visiting our Fundly page ( Read on to learn more about what ARM is, and how you can help stop the unnecessary slaughter of great apes.The task force conducts undercover investigations, coordinates arrests and provides legal support for the prosecution of armed gangs which are utilizing the great apes of the Congo as currency to fund a rebel insurgency. ARM will be raising funds throughout the fall in preparation for the investigator’s departure in early 2013.

ARM’s mission is to raise approximately $50,000 by the beginning of 2013 in order to travel to Africa and fight cruelty to great apes. The funds will go directly toward undercover and documentary video equipment and living expenses for one person for one year, filling an open position of an African great ape nonprofit organization.

ARM (Ape Rescue Mission) for Africa is a fundraising initiative with a goal of sending an experienced animal cruelty investigator to join a task force in West Africa fighting the illegal slaughter of great apes.ARM would fill a well-established great ape protection group’s open position of working in Africa and exposing horrendous cruelty inflicted on great apes. This position urgently needs to be filled and is completely unfunded; your generous support would contribute to filling the position and sending one investigator to Africa by the beginning of 2013.

For decades, chimpanzees and gorillas of Africa’s Congo Basin have been brought to the brink of extinction due to illegal poaching, trafficking and slaughter. Babies are torn from their mothers, and grisly markets of ape heads, hands and other body parts flourish in the black market. If enough funds are raised via ARM for Africa, an experienced animal cruelty investigator will travel to Africa to spend at least one year undercover in the continent’s worst countries for apes, documenting and filming evidence of cruelty and illegal trafficking, and using this evidence for criminal prosecution of all offenders caught on film. The investigator would be filling an open position for a dedicated nonprofit group based in Cameroon that works tirelessly to expose cruelty to great apes and uses evidence of illegal wildlife activity to help enforce anti-trafficking, slaughter and poaching laws. The nonprofit has had numerous successes in the African countries they’ve targeted so far, and is looking to expand to add more people to investigate other countries, replicating already established methods, goals and outcomes.

The skilled undercover investigator will be sent, having over a decade of experience working on some of the largest animal cruelty cases in the United States, to Africa. The investigator carries a complex balance of talent, creativity and resiliency necessary for this complex endeavor.

To get more involved with Ape Rescue Mission and for ARM’s latest news and updates, you can follow them on tumblr (, facebook ( and twitter ( If you’d like to support the Mission and its efforts, you may donate through ARM’s fundly ( and indiegogo pages (

Monday, October 22, 2012

George McGovern | 1922-2012
A Prairie Liberal, Trounced but Never Silenced

He was the first candidate I ever supported for anything, I was around 10 years old and remember making a huge leather badge that said McGovern '72 on it.

Here's a good piece from the New York Times By DAVID E. ROSENBAUM
George McGovern, the United States senator who won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1972 as an opponent of the war in Vietnam and a champion of liberal causes, and who was then trounced by President Richard M. Nixon in the general election, died early Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90.

His death was announced in a statement by his family. He had been moved to hospice care in recent days after being treated for several health problems in the last year. He had a home in Mitchell, S.D., where he had spent his formative years.

In a statement, President Obama called Mr. McGovern “a champion for peace” who was a “statesman of great conscience and conviction.”

To the liberal Democratic faithful, Mr. McGovern remained a standard-bearer well into his old age, writing and lecturing even as his name was routinely invoked by conservatives as synonymous with what they considered the failures of liberal politics.

He never retreated from those ideals, however, insisting on a strong, “progressive” federal government to protect the vulnerable and expand economic opportunity, while asserting that history would prove him correct in his opposing not only what he called “the tragically mistaken American war in Vietnam” but also the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

A slender, soft-spoken minister’s son newly elected to Congress — his father was a Republican — Mr. McGovern went to Washington as a 34-year-old former college history teacher and decorated bomber pilot in World War II. He thought of himself as a son of the prairie as well, with a fittingly flat, somewhat nasal voice and a brand of politics traceable to the Midwestern progressivism of the late 19th century.

Elected to the Senate in 1962, Mr. McGovern left no special mark in his three terms, but he voted consistently in favor of civil rights and antipoverty bills, was instrumental in developing and expanding food stamp and nutrition programs, and helped lead opposition to the Vietnam War in the Senate.

The war was the cause he took into the 1972 election, one of the most lopsided in American history. Mr. McGovern carried only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia and won just 17 electoral votes to Nixon’s 520.

The campaign was the backdrop to the burglary at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington and to the Nixon organization’s shady fund-raising practices and sabotage operations, later known as “dirty tricks,” which were not disclosed until after the election.

The Republicans portrayed Mr. McGovern as a cowardly left-winger, a threat to the military and the free-market economy and someone outside the mainstream of American thought. Whether those charges were fair or not, Mr. McGovern never lived down the image of a liberal loser, and many Democrats long accused him of leading the party astray.

Mr. McGovern resented that characterization mightily. “I always thought of myself as a good old South Dakota boy who grew up here on the prairie,” he said in an interview for this obituary in 2005 in his home in Mitchell. “My dad was a Methodist minister. I went off to war. I have been married to the same woman forever. I’m what a normal, healthy, ideal American should be like.

“But we probably didn’t work enough on cultivating that image,” he added, referring to his presidential campaign organization. “We were more interested in ending the war in Vietnam and getting people out of poverty and being fair to women and minorities and saving the environment.

“It was an issue-oriented campaign, and we should have paid more attention to image.”

The 1972 Nomination

Mr. McGovern was 49 years old and in his second Senate term when he won the 1972 Democratic nomination, outdistancing a dozen or so other aspirants, including Senator Edmund S. Muskie of Maine, the early front-runner; former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the nominee in 1968; and Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama, a populist with a segregationist past who was gravely wounded in an assassination attempt in Maryland during the primaries.

Mr. McGovern benefited from new party rules that he had been largely responsible for writing, and from a corps of devoted young volunteers, including Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham, who took time off from Yale Law School to work on the campaign in Texas.

The nominating convention in Miami was a disastrous start to the general election campaign. There were divisive platform battles over Vietnam, abortion, welfare and court-ordered busing to end racial discrimination. The eventual platform was probably the most liberal one ever adopted by a major party in the United States. It advocated an immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, amnesty for war resisters, the abolition of the draft, a guaranteed job for all Americans and a guaranteed family income well above the poverty line.

Several prominent Democrats declined Mr. McGovern’s offer to be his running mate before he chose Senator Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri.

Mr. McGovern’s organization was so disorganized that by the time he went to the convention rostrum for his acceptance speech, it was nearly 3 a.m. He delivered perhaps the best speech of his life. “We reject the view of those who say, ‘America, love it or leave it,’ ” he declared. “We reply, ‘Let us change it so we can love it more.’ ”

The delegates loved it, but most television viewers had long since gone to bed.

The convention was barely over when word got out that Mr. Eagleton had been hospitalized three times in the 1960s for what was called nervous exhaustion, and that he had undergone electroshock therapy.

Mr. McGovern said he was behind his running mate “a thousand percent.” But less than two weeks after the nomination, Mr. Eagleton was dropped from the ticket and replaced by R. Sargent Shriver, a Kennedy in-law and former director of the Peace Corps.

The campaign never recovered from the Eagleton debacle. Republicans taunted Mr. McGovern for backing everything a thousand percent. Commentators said his treatment of Mr. Eagleton had shown a lack of spine.

In the 2005 Times interview, Mr. McGovern said he had handled the matter badly. “I didn’t know a damn thing about mental illness,” he said, “and neither did anyone around me.”

With a well-oiled campaign operation and a big financial advantage, Nixon began far ahead and kept increasing his lead. When Mr. McGovern proposed deep cuts in military programs and a $1,000 grant to every American, Nixon jeered, calling the ideas liberalism run amok. Nixon, meanwhile, cited accomplishments like the Paris peace talks on Vietnam, an arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union, a prosperous economy and a diplomatic opening to China.

On election night, Mr. McGovern did not bother to call Nixon. He simply sent a telegram offering congratulations. Then, he said, he sat on his bed at the Holiday Inn in Sioux Falls and wrote his concession speech on hotel stationery.

In his book on the campaign, “The Making of the President 1972,” Theodore H. White wrote that the changes Mr. McGovern had sought abroad and at home had “frightened too many Americans.”

“Richard M. Nixon,” Mr. White wrote, “convinced the Americans, by more than 3 to 2, that he could use power better than George McGovern.”

Mr. McGovern offered his own assessment of the campaign. “I don’t think the American people had a clear picture of either Nixon or me,” he said in the 2005 interview. “I think they thought that Nixon was a strong, decisive, tough-minded guy, and that I was an idealist and antiwar guy who might not attach enough significance to the security of the country.

“The truth is, I was the guy with the war record, and my opposition to Vietnam was because I was interested in the nation’s well-being.”

His staff, he said, urged him to talk more about his war experience, but like many World War II veterans at the time, he was reluctant to do so.

How long, he was asked, did it take to get over the disappointment of losing? “You never fully get over it,” he replied. “But I’ve had a good life. I’ve enjoyed myself 90 percent of the time.”

Humble Beginnings

George Stanley McGovern was born on July 19, 1922, in a parsonage in Avon, S.D., a town of about 600 people where his father, Joseph, was the pastor of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. A disciplinarian, his father, who was born in 1868, tried to keep his four children from going to the movies and playing sports. His mother, the former Frances McLean, was a homemaker about 20 years her husband’s junior.

The family moved to Mitchell, in southeastern South Dakota, when George was 6. He went to high school and college there, enrolling at Dakota Wesleyan University in 1940. After Pearl Harbor, Mr. McGovern joined the Army Air Corps. In 1943 he married Eleanor Stageberg, who had grown up with an identical twin on a South Dakota farm. They had met at Dakota Wesleyan.

Mr. McGovern was trained to fly the B-24 Liberator, a four-engine heavy bomber, and he flew dozens of missions over Austria, Germany and Italy.

On his 30th mission, his plane was struck by enemy fire and his navigator was killed. Lieutenant McGovern crash-landed the plane on an island in the Adriatic. He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for the exploit.

After his discharge, Mr. McGovern returned to Mitchell — his father had recently died — and resumed his studies at Dakota Wesleyan. He graduated in 1946 and went to Northwestern University for graduate studies in history.

With a master’s degree, he returned to Dakota Wesleyan, a small university, to teach history and political science. “I was the best historian in a one-historian department,” he said in an interview in 2003. During summers and in his free time, he continued his graduate work and received a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern in 1953.

Mr. McGovern left teaching to become executive secretary of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and almost single-handedly revived a moribund operation in a heavily Republican state.

Month after month, he drove across South Dakota in a beat-up sedan, making friends and setting up county organizations. In 1956, gaining the support of farmers who had become New Deal Democrats during the Depression, he was elected to Congress himself, defeating an overconfident incumbent Republican. He became the first Democratic congressman from his state in more than 20 years.

Mr. McGovern left the House after two terms to run for the Senate and was soundly beaten by the sitting Republican, Karl E. Mundt. He then became a special assistant to the newly elected president, John F. Kennedy, and the director of Kennedy’s Food for Peace program, an effort to provide food for the hungry in poor countries.

In 1962, Mr. McGovern ran for the Senate again, and this time he won, by 597 votes. He defeated Joseph H. Bottum, a Republican serving out the term of Senator Francis H. Case, who had died in office.

In the Senate, Mr. McGovern became a reliable vote for Democratic initiatives and a leader on food and hunger issues as a member of the Agriculture Committee. But he was more interested in national politics than in legislation.

After Robert F. Kennedy, fresh from his victory in the California presidential primary, was assassinated in Los Angeles in June 1968, the Kennedy camp encouraged Mr. McGovern to enter the race as an alternative to Humphrey and Senator Eugene J. McCarthy of Minnesota. Mr. McGovern did so but was unable to catch up to Humphrey.

Almost from the moment the 1968 campaign ended, Mr. McGovern began running for the 1972 nomination. He traveled the country, recording on index cards the names of potential supporters he met. He also became the chairman of a Democratic Party commission on delegate selection, created after the fractious 1968 national convention to give the rank and file more say in picking a presidential nominee.

What became known as the McGovern commission rewrote party rules to ensure that more women, young people and members of minorities were included in delegations. The influence of party leaders was curtailed. More states began choosing delegates on the basis of primary elections. And the party’s center of gravity shifted decidedly leftward.

Though the rules were not written specifically to help Mr. McGovern win the nomination, they had that effect.

After he was crushed by Nixon in the 1972 election, Mr. McGovern returned to the Senate and began campaigning for re-election in 1974. At the Gridiron Club’s annual dinner in 1973, he told the assembled Washington elite, “Ever since I was a young man, I wanted to run for the presidency in the worst possible way — and I did.”

Mr. McGovern was re-elected to the Senate in 1974, a landslide year for Democrats after Watergate. He defeated Leo K. Thorsness, a novice politician.

It proved to be Mr. McGovern’s last success in elective politics. As the conservative movement gained force, Mr. McGovern’s popularity dropped.

In 1980, he was defeated by James Abdnor, a plain-spoken Republican congressman who had clung to Ronald Reagan’s coattails and was helped by anti-McGovern advertisements broadcast by the National Conservative Political Action Committee.

Mr. McGovern ran for the Democratic presidential nomination again in 1984, but withdrew after winning only 23 convention delegates, most of them in Massachusetts.

Unlike some of his peers, Mr. McGovern did not become wealthy in office, and he said he had no interest in lobbying afterward. Instead, he earned a living teaching, lecturing and writing. He briefly owned a motor inn in Stratford, Conn., and a bookstore in Montana, where he owned a summer home. But neither investment proved profitable.

What he called “the big tragedy of my life” occurred in 1994. His daughter Teresa J. McGovern, who had suffered from alcoholism and mental illness, froze to death, acutely intoxicated, in a parking lot snowbank in Madison, Wis., at the age of 45.

His eyes welled up as he talked about it 11 years later. “That just about killed me,” he said. “I had always had a very demanding schedule. I didn’t do everything I could as a father.”

As therapy, Mr. McGovern researched and wrote a book, “Terry: My Daughter’s Life-and-Death Struggle With Alcoholism,” published in 1997. (An addiction-treatment center named after her was established in Madison.)

That year, President Bill Clinton appointed Mr. McGovern ambassador to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. He moved to Rome, and he worked on plans for delivering food to malnourished people around the world. In 2000, Mr. Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Returning Home

After four years in Rome, Mr. McGovern and his wife moved back to Mitchell, where they lived in a ranch-style house owned by Dakota Wesleyan and helped raise money for a university library that was named after them. The university is also home to the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service, a research and educational institution founded in 2006. The McGoverns also had a home in St. Augustine, Fla.

Eleanor McGovern died in 2007 at 85. A son, Steven, who had also struggled with alcoholism, died in July at 60.

Mr. McGovern’s survivors include three daughters, Ann, Susan and Mary; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Mr. McGovern remained robust in old age. To celebrate his 88th birthday, he sky-dived in Florida. Last fall, he was hospitalized twice, once after falling and hitting his head outside the Dakota Wesleyan library before a scheduled C-Span interview, and another time for fatigue after completing a lecture tour. But he rebounded and resumed making public appearances this year.

Mr. McGovern remained a voice in public affairs, notably in 2008, when, in an op-ed article in The Washington Post, he called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for their prosecution of the war in Iraq.

He published books regularly, on history, the environment and other subjects. In “Out of Iraq” (2006), written with William R. Polk, he argued for a phased withdrawal from Iraq, to end in 2007. In his final book, “What It Means to Be a Democrat,” released last November, he despairs of an “insidious” political atmosphere in Washington while trying to rally Democrats against “extremism” in the Republican ranks.

“We are the party that believes we can’t let the strong kick aside the weak,” Mr. McGovern wrote. “Our party believes that poor children should be as well educated as those from wealthy families. We believe that everyone should pay their fair share of taxes and that everyone should have access to health care.”

With the country burdened economically, he added, there has “never been a more critical time in our nation’s history” to rely on those principles.

“We are at a crossroads,” he wrote, “over how the federal government in Washington and state legislatures and city councils across the land allocate their financial resources. Which fork we take will say a lot about Americans and our values.”

David E. Rosenbaum, a Washington correspondent for The New York Times, died in 2006. William McDonald contributed reporting.
(with Fidel for a Jeep ride in 1975)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Sermon

Back in August, during a Springfield City Council public hearing on amending the city's nondiscrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections, Rev. Phil Snider of the Brentwood Christian Church lashed out at the council for "inviting the judgement of God upon our land" by making "special rights for gays and lesbians."

He goes on to invoke the bible and morality and the end of days a few more times before suddenly appearing to lose his train of thought.

And then something pretty amazing happens.
via Sparrow Media from Gawker

Saturday, October 20, 2012

James Bond 50 Years Mini Mix Compilation

I can't front. I've done some stupid things in my life, in the name of James Bond. He's the motherfucking man! Seriously looking forward to the new flick. My personal favorites include mostly Roger Moore versions, including the incredible Blaxsploitation Bond: "Live and Let Die", also "The Man with The Golden Gun", and "Diamonds Are Forever". I think i've seen everyone, "Thunderball", "Goldfinger", etc. I think the only one I didn't like was "Moonraker".

Friday, October 19, 2012

Archive Discoveries (continued...)

Here are a few pictures I took of the Minutemen from circa 1981, that I've recently had scanned, and most, probably have never been seen before.

(click on the images to ENLARGE)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vegan director James Cameron: You're not an environmentalist if you eat meat


Oscar-winning director James Cameron, who recently switched to a vegan diet for ethical reasons, is slamming environmentalists who continue to eat meat.

In a 28-second video clip posted on the Facebook page for the documentary “Earthlings,” Cameron admonished meat-eating environmentalists to switch to a plant-based diet if they're serious about saving the planet.

“You can’t be an environmentalist, you can’t be an ocean steward, without truly walking the walk," said Cameron, 58. "And you can’t walk the walk in the world of the future, the world ahead of us, the world of our children, not eating a plant-based diet.”

In explaining why he converted to a vegan lifestyle, Cameron pointed to the environmental damage that raising livestock for food causes.

"It’s not a requirement to eat animals, we just choose to do it," Cameron told the Calgary Herald. "So it becomes a moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using up resources and destroying the biosphere.”

In 2006, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released a report indicating that 18% of the world's man-made greenhouse-gas emissions come from livestock production. In reality, that figure it closer to 51%, according to a 2009 report by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang of the IFC Environment and Social Development Department.

Several noted environmentalists have since vocally advocated a vegetarian lifestyle, citing the environmental damage caused by livestock farming.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently suggested that everyone could help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions simply by reducing their meat consumption.

Nathan Pelletier, an ecological economist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, agreed, but said that eating cows isn't the maim problem; it's eating meat produced on factory farms.

Pelletier said grass-fed cows are better for the environment that cows raised on livestock farms, where they're pumped full of hormones, antibiotics and live in horrific, unsanitary conditions before they're slaughtered.

"If your primary concern is to curb emissions, you shouldn't be eating beef," said Pelletier, who noted that cows produce 13 to 30 pounds of carbon dioxide per pound of meat.

"Conventional cattle raising is like mining," he added. "It's unsustainable, because you're just taking without putting anything back. But when you rotate cattle on grass, you change the equation. You put back more than you take."

However, some experts take issue with the notion that grass-fed beef is more environmentally friendly that factory-farmed livestock. Dr. Jude Capper, an assistant professor of dairy sciences at Washington State University, says grass-fed cows do as much harm to the Earth as factory-farmed ones.

"There's a perception that grass-fed animals are frolicking in the sunshine, kicking their heels up full of joy and pleasure," said Capper. "What we actually found was from the land-use basis, from the energy, from water, and particularly, based on the carbon footprints, grass-fed is far worse than corn-fed."

One thing all experts agree on is that livestock production damages the planet, and a plant-based diet is far more eco-friendly than a meat-centric one. Marc Reisner, former staff writer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, summed it up best when wrote:

“In California, the single biggest consumer of water is not Los Angeles. It is not the oil and chemicals or defense industries. Nor is it the fields of grapes and tomatoes. It is irrigated pasture: grass grown in a near-desert climate for cows.

"The West’s water crisis — and many of its environmental problems as well — can be summed up in a single word: livestock.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama's "99 Problems" (Explicit Political Remix)

99 Problems (Explicit Political Remix)
by Diran Lyons:
Beta testing and lyrical input, Vrüden Jakov

The lyrics for this Political Remix Video are available at, The remix features Barack Obama rapping a modified version of Jay Z's "99 Problems." Mitt Romney has a few lines in the role of "the police officer." This parable I give unto you: Not a few who meant to cast out their devil went thereby into the swine themselves.

**WARNING** Please be advised before watching the video that it contains every profanity Jay Z wrote into the original lyrics.

The below Chris Hedges article inspired content for the outro section:
"Time to Get Crazy." July 2, 2012. (

"99 Problems (Explicit Political Remix)" constitutes a fair use of its repurposed sources
Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

tonight in NYC

Here's a couple of shots I took last time I saw them play in New York, and the newest video and an old one...

I'm looking forward to seeing these guys again today... Playing Irving Plaza this evening. Hope to get them a desperately needed new publicity photo too, before the day is done.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blind Faith as Profit Engine: How Free Market Worshipers Use Christian Utopianism to Bilk the Middle Class

By Michael Meurer, Truthout | News Analysis
The neoliberal utopianism that caused the financial crisis has been repackaged for the 2012 election, where it masks a giant swindle that transfers wealth from low- and middle-income citizens to bankers, defense contractors, real estate speculators and the wealthiest 1%.

In the endless swirl of headlines about the current global financial crisis, the dominant narrative, which is also driving the 2012 US presidential election, is that crippling amounts of public debt run up by profligate government spending have brought us to the brink of financial ruin and must be offset by deep cuts in social services and "entitlements."

It is a false narrative that masks the largest ongoing financial swindle in human history, a swindle being carried out at public expense by a small class of elite financial speculators. This speculative class has been unleashed over the past three decades by a Utopian neoliberal political project now embodied in its most virulent form in the Republican presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Let's start with the depth and size of the underlying financial crisis, which is almost in the realm of hyper-reality. In 1997, for example, the total value of annual financial transactions worldwide was an already-staggering 15 times greater than global GDP. Today, it is 70 times greater. (1) In 1995, the six largest US banks controlled assets worth 17 percent of annual GDP. Today, the figure is 64 percent. (2) Again in 1995, the global total of outstanding derivative debt obligations was $17.7 trillion. By 2010, at nearly $470 trillion, outstanding derivatives were 741 percent of global GDP. (3)

This wholesale financialization of the US-led global economy has burdened the public sector with the task of propping up unregulated speculative debt in the private sector that is 7.4 times our annual productive capacity. Add US deficit spending for three wars since 9/11, and major cuts in the top tax rates, and the burden becomes unsustainable. The difference is being made up in the guise of austerity, as everything we own is liquidated, from personal and retirement savings, to homes and public-sector assets that have been built up over generations.

In the US, the inexorable logic of this process is embedded in the numbers that comprise the national debt. By most estimates, the national debt is at least $15 trillion.(4) Here is one way to understand where the money went.

The US government spent $7.4 trillion on bank bailouts. (5)

It then spent $5 trillion for three elective wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. (6)

It simultaneously incurred $2.8 trillion in lost revenue due to the Bush tax cuts for the top income brackets. (7)

The $15.2 trillion total of reckless government giveaways and war spending equals the national debt. Where did this money come from? It came from we the people. During the current economic downturn:

US citizens suffered $14 trillion in lost stock market value, declining home values and lost pension fund values. (8) (9)

Workers lost $1 trillion in wages due to long-term unemployment. (10)

The total losses to citizen wealth are also $15 trillion.

From this perspective, the ongoing financial crisis of the past few years is a giant swindle that transfers wealth from low- and middle-income citizens to bankers, defense contractors, real estate speculators and the wealthiest 1% via the US Treasury, which is acting as an agent for upward redistribution.

To give a comparative sense for the historic scale of the swindle, it is worth noting that the entire inflation-adjusted cost of World War II was $3.6 trillion.(11)
How did this happen?

In the 1980s, US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher set out to reconfigure and liberate Western capitalism by shrinking government's role in the economy based on the neoliberal concept that markets are "self-regulating" and would produce unprecedented societal wealth if deregulated. Using the ideas of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek of the famed Austrian School as macro-economic underpinning, Reagan and Thatcher sought to limit or eliminate government regulation that might inhibit the actions and movement of capital.

From the start of this Reagan-Thatcher revolution, the "trickle down" theory of wealth was accompanied by promises of a smaller, less intrusive state, except for a strong military. Fast forward through 30-plus years of nearly uninterrupted neoliberal policymaking - Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were deregulating neoliberal champions - and not only do we have the most expensive, heavily militarized, war-prone, increasingly inequitable and intrusive state in US (and British) history, it is also the most indebted.

Neoliberalism is failing on its own terms, yet it continues to define US politics due to its appeal among a sizable and particularly fervent segment of the electorate. (12)

The Rise of the Utopians

In order to understand the fervor of this continued popular support for failed policies, it is important to grasp the utopian, quasi-theological nature of neoliberal ideology. In the neoliberal worldview, the self-regulating market is not a merely human construct, but a form of naturally-occurring "spontaneous order" that produces optimum outcomes and maximum individual freedom if left completely unfettered. (13) It is, as Karl Polanyi pointed out in "The Great Transformation," a radically utopian vision that rests on a blind faith that markets are essentially part of the natural order. (14)

On the political right, this faith has reached its fullest expression, ultimately moving markets into the realm of the sacred, where their legitimacy cannot be questioned. In this utopian setting, regulation is not merely ill advised; it is a violation of natural law that is nearly sacrilegious. Witness, for example, the reactionary explosion on the right to the apostasy of Barack Obama's health care plan to regulate the insurance cartels.

Although this pernicious sacralization of the self-regulating market is absurd on its face - modern markets being embedded in particular cultures and dependent on enormous government intervention and expenditures, full of frictions and totally absent the perfect information required by economic models - it has nonetheless turned out to have powerful allure even among those who are being swindled out of their hard-earned assets as a result.

Not least among the reasons for this allure is the fact that in the US, neoliberalism's utopian market fundamentalism meshes so readily with utopian strains of fundamentalist Christianity, thereby lending the neoliberal project a zealous sense of populist mission. A neoliberal class project is dressed up and sold as a patriotic religious project.

While those at the top with access to policymakers reap enormous financial benefits from their embrace of neoliberal theology, many of those at the bottom who stand to lose the most economically join forces with them because of political appeals to their utopian religious and patriotic beliefs. Neoliberal presidential candidates from Ronald Reagan to Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have come before voters as kindred utopian spirits, true believers couching their self-regulating market utopianism in the familiar and compelling language of patriotism, individual freedom, mom and pop entrepreneurism and religion. ('Believe in America.') Utopian faith thereby trumps the pain of ugly reality.

And the ugly reality is that neoliberal markets - unlike the elegant models of classical economics - are rigged. And rigged in favor of the wealthiest members of society. Income disparity between the bottom and top 20 percent in the US has more than doubled since 1979. (15) Income for the top 1 percent grew by 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, while income for the bottom 20 percent grew just 18 percent. (16)
The US now has 49.1 million people living in poverty, the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930's. (17) Yet among true believers at both ends of the economic spectrum, the powerful emotional pull of a shared utopian vision transcends the homely realities of the fact-based world.

Utopians at the Gate

In the 2012 US presidential election, the Republican Romney-Ryan ticket represents the triumph of neoliberal utopian faith over the messy realities of experience and history. There has been much discussion about the political calculations of Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, but it seems entirely plausible that he was picked because he is a kindred utopian spirit.

Born to wealth and privilege, Romney's utopian worldview was formed among the high priests in the secretive and cloistered worlds of the Mormon Church and equity capital markets. At every turn in his insular pilgrim's path, Romney's utopian economic and religious beliefs have been reinforced in untroubled environments far removed from the struggles of daily life. He can change positions at will because his overriding utopian faith remains untouched irrespective of the particulars of individual policy prescriptions.

Also born to wealth, Ryan was a youthful devotee of neoliberal founding fathers von Mises and Hayek, supplementing his market faith with the culturally corrosive, ego-centered atheism of Ayn Rand, until the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, representing his professed Catholic faith, publicly objected to the cruelty and inhumanity of his 2011 US budget proposals.

The bishops described Ryan's budget as being antithetical to their call to create "a circle of protection" around the poor and vulnerable. With his tea-vangelical base of support threatened, Ryan quickly discovered St. Thomas Aquinas as a more appropriate religious vehicle for channeling his market utopianism. (18)

The presentation of the Romney-Ryan ticket by the Republican Party tells us that the path to utopia is stony and difficult, as it should be. Reaching the neoliberal Promised Land requires sacrifice. In order to scale the utopian summit, we must cast out the unbelievers (Obama, Democrats, liberals, environmentalists, feminists, et al.) and balance the divine books with the purifying fire of "austerity," the neoliberal equivalent of self-flagellation.

Austerity-mandated cuts in vital public services must be accompanied by ever-increasing tax reductions for the top income brackets - aka, the priestly class of "job creators" - thus intentionally accelerating the insolvency of the iniquitous public sector. Someone has to pay for the extravagant incomes, lifestyles and war profiteering of the oracular speculative class in order to keep the swindle going, and it turns out to be us.

Where does this lead?

Were Romney and Ryan to be elected in November, it is probable that some of their more radical policy pronouncements would be constrained by the realities of Washington. (19) Yet there is something disquieting about the seriousness with which they embrace discredited utopian ideals. Fascism has been described as "a utopian movement in search of a utopia." (20) Today's Republican Party, headed by true believers Romney and Ryan, comes dangerously close to this description.

Polanyi postulated three essential elements of Western consciousness: knowledge of death; knowledge of freedom; and knowledge of society, which is gained experientially and liberates us from our utopian illusions. (21) The Republicans of 2012 are in denial about this third element of consciousness.

The certainty that comes from faith in an immanent utopia leaves them unable to acknowledge and deal with the enormous complexities and uncertainties of a modern multi-cultural, information-age society, except through demonization and the story of an idol defiled. As a result, the commonweal is eclipsed by a divisive utopian vision that defines extreme religious economic individualism as true patriotic freedom. Romney's recent comments dismissing the lives of half the electorate offer a clear illustration of the utopian incapacity to deal with society as it exists. (22)

Given the billions in Super PAC money now available to Republicans, (23) this utopian strain in US politics is not likely to fade away irrespective of November's election results, and that is a troubling realization in a nation more heavily armed with weapons of mass destruction than any other in history. (24)

1) Tobin isn't enough now, Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2012
2) The Bill Daley Problem, from
3) International Swaps and Derivatives Association.NOTE: The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) actually reported a much higher total of $708 trillion for "notional amounts outstanding of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives..." in a detailed 28 page analysis released November 2011 for the first half of 2011. To stay conservative, I have used the ISDA figure of $470 trillion. The BIS report can be found here: . GDP from Wikipedia Public Data.
4)External government debt is actually $11.2 trillion. Getting to $15 or $16 trillion depends upon how one accounts for intra-governmental obligations. For the purposes of this article, the point is to show the orders of magnitude, not up to the minute totals, which are difficult to get in any event and tend to vary widely depending upon who is doing the calculations. Concord Coalition.
5)Bloomberg Media."Follow the $7.4 Trillion: Breakdown of US Government's Rescue Efforts.". NOTE: The real total of federal bailouts may be much higher. For example, a July 2011 GAO report documents over $16 trillion in secret loans to both US and foreign financial institutions.
6)Joseph Stiglitz estimated the total cost of Iraq and Afghanistan as high as $5 trillion in 2008, and in Sep. 2011 opined that this figure was too low. Project Syndicate, Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of 9/11. . A June 2011 Brown University study reported by Voice of America, estimates the total for Iraq and Afghanistan at nearly $4 trillion with a projected interest cost of an additional $1 trillion. Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Cost US Nearly $4 trillion. A detailed Sept. 2011, report by the Fiscal Times (more than a year ago) estimated the total US cost of war since 9/11 at over $5 trillion, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still in progress when the analysis was published. Fiscal Times, 9/11 and the $5 Trillion Aftermath.
7)Washington Post, Revisiting the cost of the Bush tax cuts.
8)For simplicity, I am using the CEPR figures below. While a more complicated case could be made for a higher total of lost citizen wealth, the main point is to show the logic of the process and the general orders of magnitude in the losses, which the CEPR figures conveniently encapsulate. Center for Economic and Policy Research, Paper Wealth and the Economic Crisis. 9)Other sources documenting US losses to citizen wealth. Reverse Mortgage Daily, Home Equity Declines more than 60% During Great Recession Says Fed Report. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Household Debt and Saving During the 2007 Recession. American Progress, The Consequences of Conservatism (Estimates total losses at $12.8 trillion)
Urban Institute, How is the Financial Crisis Affecting Retirement Savings? ($3.4 trillion loss from 2007 to 2009). Reverse Mortgage Daily, Home Equity Declines more than 60% During Great Recession Says Fed Report. Dr. John Rutledge, Rutledge Capital, Total Assets of US Economy $188 trillion, 13.4 x GDP (Calculated $13 trillion loss to"household net worth" in 2008.) Don Shelton, The Great Recession of 2008-10. 10)Center for Economic and Policy Research, The $1 trillion wage deficit.
11)Don Ritholtz, The Big, Big Bailouts, Bigger Bucks.
12)See Raymond Plant, The Neoliberal State, Oxford University Press, 2009.
See also, David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford University Press, 2005.13)Library of Economics and Liberty, Friedrich Hayek.
14)Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, Beacon Press.
15)Mother Jones, March/April 2011, It's the Inequality Stupid.
16)Congresssional Research Service, March 7, 2012, The US Income Distribution and Mobility: Trends and International Comparisons
Congressional Budget Office report to Congress, Trends in Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007
CBO Director's Blog, October 25, 2011, Trends in the Distribution of Income
Top 1% income crew 275 Percent Grew 275 Percent from 1979 to 2007
17)Fox News, Nov. 7, 2011, Census Data Show Americans Hit by Poverty at All-Time High
CBS News, Nov. 8, 2011, New data shows poverty at an all-time high
18)Letter to Congressional leaders from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, April 16, 2012 New Yorker, August 11, 2012, Ayn Rand joins the Ticket
19)Harper's Magazine, Sep. 2012, Spend, Baby, Spend
20)Fascism – The Tensile Permanence, Dr. Sam Vaknin
21)Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, Beacon Press, 2001, p. 267-268
22)Mother Jones, Full Transcript of the Mitt Romney Secret Video
23)Rolling Stone, Right-Wing Billionaires Behind Mitt Romney, May 24, 2012
24) Wikipedia, Weapons of Mass Destruction

Copyright, Truthout.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

John Lennon's Famous Victorian Era 'Mr. Kite' poster perfectly re-created

from DangerousMinds
(click to enlarge)

Pablo Fanque, today best known for being mentioned in The Beatles song “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” on the Sgt. Pepper’s album was the first black circus proprietor in Britain. For over three decades, his circus, in which he himself was a featured performer, was the most popular n Victorian-era Britain. Circus historian George Speight wrote that Fanque’s big stunt was leaping on horseback over a coach “placed lengthways with a pair of horses in the shafts, and through a military drum at the same time.”

From the Smithsonian website:
While true Beatlemaniacs will know that Mr. Kite and his companions were real performers in a real troupe, however, few will realize that they were associates of what was probably the most successful, and almost certainly the most beloved, “fair” to tour Britain in the mid-Victorian period. And almost none will know that Pablo Fanque–the man who owned the circus—was more than simply an exceptional showman and perhaps the finest horsemen of his day. He was also a black man making his way in an almost uniformly white society, and doing it so successfully that he played to mostly capacity houses for the best part of 30 years.

The song that lent Fanque his posthumous fame had its origins in a promotional film shot for “Strawberry Fields Forever”—another Lennon track—at Sevenoaks in Kent in January 1967. During a break in the filming, the Beatle wandered into a nearby antique shop, where his attention was caught by a gaudy Victorian playbill advertising a performance of Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal in the northern factory town of Rochdale in February 1843. One by one, in the gorgeously prolix style of the time, the poster ran through the wonders that would be on display, among them “Mr. Henderson, the celebrated somerset thrower, wire dancer, vaulter, rider &c.” and Zanthus, “well known to be one of the best Broke Horses in the world!!!”—not to mention Mr. Kite himself, pictured balancing on his head atop a pole while playing the trumpet.

Something about the poster caught Lennon’s fancy; knowing his dry sense of humor, it was probably the bill’s breathless assertion that this show of shows would be “positively the last night but three!” of the circus’s engagement in the town. Anyway, he bought it, took it home and (the musicologist Ian MacDonald notes) hung it in his music room, where “playing his piano, [he] sang phrases from it until he had a song.” The upshot was a track unlike any other in the Beatles’ canon—though it’s fair to say that the finished article owes just as much to the group’s producer, George Martin, who responded heroically to Lennon’s demand for “a ‘fairground’ production wherein one could smell the sawdust.” (Adds MacDonald, wryly: “While not in the narrowest sense a musical specification, [this] was, by Lennon’s standards, a clear and reasonable request. He once asked Martin to make one of his songs sound like an orange.”) The Abbey Road production team used a harmonium and wobbly tapes of vintage Victorian calliopes to create the song’s famously kaleidoscopic wash of sound.
Guaranteed to raise a smile, the 1843 letterpress-printed circus poster from 1843 that John Lennon owned has been recreated using antique wooden and metal type and wood engravings.

Each print is hand-pulled on a Victorian press and individually numbered in a limited edition of 1,967 via the artist behind the project, Peter Dean, who writes:
As a lifelong Beatles fan I found myself simply wanting to hang a copy of this poster on my wall. As a designer, however, I couldn’t accept the many poor imitations I found – all of which use jarringly incorrect fonts (like Futura and Helvetica) and low-quality copies-of-copies of the illustrations.

So I set about doing it properly. What I thought might be a few weeks of work became several months, where sometimes the prospect of one day owning this poster seemed far away. But we got there in the end and I’m truly delighted with the end result.
I can see why he’s so happy, this looks amazing.

It’s worth pointing out that “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” was one of three songs on the Sgt. Pepper’s album to be banned by BBC radio. The lyrics referring to “Henry the horse” were thought to be slang for heroin. Clearly this was not the case. Imagine writing and creating such an amazing piece of childlike music only to find some small minds ready to ban it.

Filmmakers Nick Esdaile and Joe Fellows made a great short film about how it all came together. You can win a copy of the limited edition “Mr. Kite” print yourself by signing up for the Kite newsletter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Elizabeth Warren: Warrior Princess (or Grandmother, Same Difference) Shows How To Win A Debate

from Richard Metzger at DangerousMinds

This November, Massachusetts voters have an historic opportunity to elect Prof. Elizabeth Warren to the Senate seat once held for a generation by Ted Kennedy. If elected, she’ll be the strongest, loudest, most liberal voice for reform of Wall Street and the banks in the Senate and easily one of the very smartest, highest IQ people in the entire US Congress.

In the final moments of her debate with “Senator Centerfold,” Republican Scott Brown, she blew him the fuck off the stage:
I have no doubt Sen Brown is a good husband and a good father to his daughters, but this is an issue that affects ALL of our daughters and our granddaughters. And what matters here is how Sen. Brown votes.

So he’s gone to Washington and he’s had some good votes. But he’s had exactly one chance to vote for equal pay for equal work, and he voted no. He had exactly one chance to vote for insurance coverage for birth control and other preventive services for women. He voted no. And he had exactly one chance to vote for a pro-choice woman—from Massachusetts—to the United States Supreme Court, and he voted no.

Those are BAD votes for women.

The women of Massachusetts need a Senator they can count on not SOME of the time, but ALL of the time. I want to go to Washington to BE THERE for ALL of our daughters and ALL of our granddaughters.

This one really matters. There is a LOT at stake here…

... And I want to be blunt. We should not be fighting about equal pay for equal work and access to birth control in 2012. These issues were resolved years ago until the Republicans brought them back.
Let’s assume that both Obama and Mitt Romney will see the following clip in due course, if they both haven’t seen it already! This is how it’s done.

Donate to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why is the sky dark at night?

from BoingBoing:

So, the sky looks blue because of the particular gases in our atmosphere reflect and scatter the blue wavelengths of light from the Sun. Fair enough. But that leads directly to a second question that, I'm ashamed to say, I never really thought to ask — why doesn't the light from all the stars in the Universe reflect and scatter off our atmosphere, producing a blue sky, all the time? This Minute Physics video provides a great explanation, which is grounded in both the timey-wimeyness of astrophysics and the limitations of our own human biology. Via BrainPickings

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Science of L.A.'s 'Carmageddon' proves (shock!) that cars cause much of LA's air pollution

from boingboing:
Suzanne Paulson, UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, saw "Carmageddon" as an opportunity to make use of a "natural experiment." She and a colleague "measured pollutants in the air during the LA freeway shutdown last year, and have now released their findings.
Air quality near the normally busy highway improved by 83 percent that day last July, relative to comparable weekends. Elsewhere in West Los Angeles, the improvement was equally dramatic. Air quality improved by 75 percent on that side of the city and in Santa Monica, and by 25 percent throughout the entire region, as a measure of the drop in ultrafine particulate matter associated with tailpipe emissions. "We saw what we expected: you take motor vehicles away, the air gets really, really clean," Paulson says, "which tells us that most of the pollution is from motor vehicles from one type or another in this area."
More: L.A.'s 'Carmageddon' Produced Dramatic, Instantaneous Air Quality Improvements (The Atlantic).

Another "Carmaggedon" just took place in LA. Wonder if there will be more science to come from this edition.

Got Milk? - You Don't Need It.

GOT MILK? Got Milk?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium: Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly's debate

Since the initial post, as you can see above it's been taken down, but here are some highlights:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Buckminster Fuller Institute

The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) is an organization after Inhabitat’s own heart. It was formed by the visionary eco architect/designer’s family in 1983 to champion Buckminster Fuller’s amazing legacy and provide the design world — and the rest of humanity, for that matter — with the tools we need to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Buckminster Fuller was a “full systems thinker” — he was a renaissance man who foresaw the problems we are facing now decades before anyone else, and came up with innovative, thoughtful ways to solve humanity’s most pressing problems around energy, shelter and natural resources. Sadly, this amazing man is no longer with us, but The Buckminster Fuller Institute marches forward in his name with a handful of thought-provoking programs for designers. Their flagship initiative is the Buckminster Fuller Challenge design competition to provide solutions to complicated social/environmental problems. Inhabitat covered the BFI Challenge finalists back in April, and we are thrilled to announce the winner of the competition here in our latest video! Watch our video profile (above) to learn about BFI, Bucky’s legacy, and the inspiring winner of last year’s $100,000 prize.

Along with the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, BFI has a number of programs that champion Bucky’s comprehensive anticipatory design science model. They hold lectures, seminars, workshops and hands on training programs as a part of their Design Science Education initiative. The largest program is the Design Science lab, a 7-10 day immersion in the study of design science. They hold Prototype labs where artists, designers, engineers and thinkers come together to physically build structures that re-contextualize Bucky’s ideas.

They also have an immense library of artifacts and information from Bucky’s life and beyond. This is split into two parts – the Study Center is located in Brooklyn and is a wide reaching library of information from Buckminster Fuller’s own research. The Idea Index is a comprehensive list and researchable database of all of the entries to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge over the last few years — the Idea Index is available online. The Buckminster Fuller Institute is championing the legacy of one of Inhabitat’s favorite thinkers while pushing contemporary designers and engineers to follow in his footsteps by looking at the big picture.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

MOTOR CITY IS BURNING: 30 Minutes of Seldom Seen Footage of the MC5

If you think you’ve seen all the footage there is to see of the mighty MC5, check out Leni Sinclair and Cary Loren’s short film “Kick Out the Jams.”

Sinclair was married to MC5 manager and revolutionary poet John Sinclair (author of Guitar Army) and organized the infamous John Sinclair Freedom Rally (headlined by John Lennon and Yoko Ono) when he was imprisoned ten years for two joints. She was active in the Artists Workshop, which evolved into the Trans-Love Energies commune, which then in turn became the White Panther Party. Cary Loren was a founding member of “anti-rock” art rockers Destroy All Monsters along with Jim Shaw, Niagara and the late Mike Kelley.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Sinclair conducted by Ken Shimamoto:

One hears and reads all sorts of things about the Trans-Love house and the different roles of men and women there…from a contemporary standpoint, it sounds very traditional. Can you comment on that?

Leni; It might look like that in retrospect, because that was before the advent of feminism, but as far as living in that situation, the women did not feel oppressed or second-rate. I mean, women didn’t pick up instruments and try to play and try to be in the band, but as far as the atmosphere at the time, we all considered ourselves equal in the endeavor. We were revolutionaries; there was no hierarchy like the males up here and the women down there. At the time, we all felt that we were contributing equally to this effort we were involved in, whatever it took. I’ve heard some things…that “the women were on the floor, scrubbing the floor.” That was a lot of hokum. Everybody pitched in, everybody did their chores and their work. We had it tightly organized. Childcare was shared, kitchen duties were shared, everything, except for playing in the band.

In fact, I wrote an article one time in the newspaper, in the Ann Arbor Sun, I think, about “cock rock” and the criticism that was starting to appear about “cock rock” guys with guitars. And my thesis was, there’s nothing wrong with that; the only thing wrong is that women have to start learning to play, too, and getting up there.

And that happened in the ‘90s.

Leni: I didn’t say it, but “Let’s have cock-rock and pussy rock” (Laughs)

When John was imprisoned in 1969, did the Five renege on a promise to help you out financially while he was in prison?

Leni: I don’t really know if there had ever been a promise. Nobody knew that John was going to go to jail, and I don’t think that he ever had any discussions prior to going to jail to see what would happen. Everybody just figured he would get an appeal bond and be out on the street in a matter of days, or maybe weeks. Well, that didn’t happen, and the MC5…first, they severed their relationship with J.C. Crawford, which we all felt was a big mistake, because J.C. was almost a sixth member of the band, he was almost an integral part. So when they fired him, we had kinda bad feelings about that, and then when they brought in Jon Landau as a manager, of course we had bad feelings about that. The financial part was…I don’t really know. ‘Cause no promises were made, John never had a written contract with the band or anything like that. It was on the honor system.

But I do know that after John went to jail, there were about 17 of us who had spent the last two years doing nothing but working for the MC5 and making them a success, never taking any money for ourselves, just room and board. All of a sudden, John is gone, and we have no money coming in. Our phones got cut off just at the crucial point when we needed to make some publicity and let people know John was in jail. We had no way; we had no phones and we were just begging for food. My mother-in-law and father-in-law helped us out like they usually did, but it was devastating for awhile. And there was probably hard feelings thinking that the MC5 should have kept John on as a manager, even if he was in jail. People told them otherwise, other people told them John would be a hindrance, because now he was too hot to handle. John was now too much of a political figure. So they said no, better get rid of John Sinclair and the revolutionary image. Which was a mistake, I think we all agree. Because they lost whatever they had going for them, they kinda got lost after that.

What did you do immediately after that?

Leni: Well, I was pregnant with Celia and we had a child, and we had to organize to make a living and we had to organize the John Sinclair freedom movement.. We kept it together by hook or by crook, and the person who’s most responsible for all that is Dave Sinclair, John’s brother, who took over the financial management of this whole shebang. The Up became the house band for the revolutionary White Panther Party wing (Laughs). They were no MC5, but they could kick it out, and so we kept it going like that. So for the next two and a half years, we were just continuing without the Five, focusing our energies on getting John out and continuing to organise.

Do you know about the Bentley archive? When John and I broke up, I had a whole roomful of all the things that I’d collected since I came to this country—all the fliers, all the magazines, all the books we published. We published, at one time, four magazines, and put out about twenty books of poetry, most of them mimeographed by hand. I’m a pack rat, so I saved every last scrap of paper, every memo, everything. So when we broke up, we donated our collection of stuff to the Michigan Historical Library, which houses the papers of the governors and the supreme court justices of Michigan and all that. And so they have the John and Leni Sinclair Papers…a huge amount of materials, and people come from far and wide to study the ‘60s now. It’s at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Sinclair is also an accomplished photographer who has snapped iconic shots of many a Motor City madman and documented important events in rock and roll and counterculture history. She has taken photographs of Iggy and The Stooges, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Allen Ginsberg among many other revolutionary counter-cultural luminaries of the 60s and 70s.

Leni Sinclair’s new book, with famed poster artist Gary Grimshaw, is titled Detroit Rocks! A Pictorial History of Motor City Rock and Roll 1965-1975.
I bought a classic print from Leni about 10 years ago of the MC5 that she took in her kitchen, actually an out take from one of her infamous sessions where the original famous frame was lost. (I know how that goes...) - GEF

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Very Frank Interview w/ Noam Chomsky
Including, How Progressives Should Approach Election 2012

Via AlterNet:
Watch The video below...
“I think they should spend five or ten minutes on it -- seeing if there’s a point in taking part in the carefully orchestrated electoral extravaganza."
Recently, on the Matthew Filipowicz Show, I had the privilege of speaking to Professor Noam Chomsky at his MIT office. We discussed many aspects of activism including how he felt activists and progressives should approach two party politics and specifically the 2012 election.

Chomsky stated “I think they should spend five or ten minutes on it. Seeing if there’s a point in taking part in the carefully orchestrated electoral extravaganza. And my own judgment, for what it’s worth, is, yes, there’s a point to taking a part.”

Professor Chomsky said he will probably vote for Jill Stein for president in effort to push a genuine electoral alternative, but that if he lived in a swing state he would vote “against Romney-Ryan, which means voting for Obama.”

We also discussed the relationship between tactics and action. Speaking about Occupy Wall Street's public encampments, Professor Chomsky, who supported OWS and authored a book on the subject, said such tactics have a half-life and that when one tactic stops working, activists have a responsibility to try something else.

You can listed to the audio of the complete interview below.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Homeless Polar Bear in London

Stop fucking around, read further, and join SAVE THE ARCTIC

Thanks, GreenPeace

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TV news programs ignore false claims in the thousands of political ads that pay their bills

from BoingBoing

Josh Levy from Free Press sez, "My colleague Tim Karr just released a report exposing the billions spent on political ads around the country -- and how that money is pocketed by local TV stations. Are these stations offering any local news coverage to debunk the lies in these ads? Are they exposing the deep-pocketed interests behind the groups buying ad time? The short answer is: No. The local stations we looked at in the report provided no local stories exposing the special interests behind these ads, and only one station among the 20 surveyed devoted even a few minutes to investigating whether these ads told viewers the truth."
Here are some details from our new report, Left in the Dark: Local Coverage in the Age of Big-Money Politics:

* The Super PACs vs. Justin Bieber: The hundreds of hours of local news that aired in the two weeks prior to Wisconsin's June 5 recall election included no stories on the 17 groups most actively buying time on Milwaukee's ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates. While these stations were ignoring the impact of political ads, they found time to air 53 local news segments on Justin Bieber.

* Fact-Check Fail: The ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates in Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Milwaukee did not once fact-check the claims made in political ads placed locally by the nation's top-spending Super PACs and independent groups, even though these groups had spent tens of millions of dollars on frequently deceptive ads in those markets.

* Hush Money: Cleveland's four affiliate stations provided no coverage of the Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity, despite airing the group's anti-Obama attack ads more than 500 times. Americans for Prosperity has reportedly spent more than $1.5 million to place ads on Cleveland television stations.

* News Out of Balance: Affiliate stations in Tampa aired on average more than 200 political ads a day throughout August. Yet only one station, WTSP, devoted news time to fact-checking any of the most prominent groups buying these ads. In a single segment running less than three minutes, WTSP rated an Americans for Prosperity ad as false, a finding that didn't stop the station from running the group's anti-Obama ads more than 150 times that month.
TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash -- and Leave Viewers in the Dark

Monday, October 1, 2012

Guerrilla Grafters covertly add fruit-tree branches to ornamental trees

from boingboing

The Guerrilla Grafters are a group of rogue artists who roam San Francisco, covertly grafting fruit-tree branches onto ornamental trees to create a municipal free lunch. John Robb calls it "resilient disobedience."
How can you improve the productivity of your community even if the officials are against it?

One way is through resilient disobedience. For example, there’s a group of gardeners in San Francisco that are spreading organic graffiti across the city. How? By grafting branches from fruit trees onto ornamental trees that have been planted along sidewalks and in parks.

They are using a very simple tongue in groove splice that’s held together with annotated electrical tape. Good luck to them.