October 2011 Archives

OWS Forums

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Here's a link to the forum and to get a picture of what the current Occupy Wall St movement is about :

If you want to communicate constructively, or if you simply want to see what the movement is really about, please head to http://www.TheMultitude.org : a forum built by users here who were tired of its many vandals and technical limitations. If you like what you see, please register and tell a friend. Come get things done, and help build a better image for OWS at the same time.

Occupy Wall St Forum

Weaponized Keynesianism


Highways, bridges and schools absolutely not...F-22's, bombs and tanks, good stuff.
What makes me want to slap Republicans to the ground is the level of transparency regarding their unmitigated hypocrisy.

Bombs, Bridges and Jobs

By Paul Krugman

A few years back Representative Barney Frank coined an apt phrase for many of his colleagues: weaponized Keynesians, defined as those who believe "that the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation."

Right now the weaponized Keynesians are out in full force -- which makes this a good time to see what's really going on in debates over economic policy.

What's bringing out the military big spenders is the approaching deadline for the so-called supercommittee to agree on a plan for deficit reduction. If no agreement is reached, this failure is supposed to trigger cuts in the defense budget.

Faced with this prospect, Republicans -- who normally insist that the government can't create jobs, and who have argued that lower, not higher, federal spending is the key to recovery -- have rushed to oppose any cuts in military spending. Why? Because, they say, such cuts would destroy jobs.

Thus Representative Buck McKeon, Republican of California, once attacked the Obama stimulus plan because "more spending is not what California or this country needs." But two weeks ago, writing in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. McKeon -- now the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee -- warned that the defense cuts that are scheduled to take place if the supercommittee fails to agree would eliminate jobs and raise the unemployment rate.

Oh, the hypocrisy! But what makes this particular form of hypocrisy so enduring?

First things first: Military spending does create jobs when the economy is depressed. Indeed, much of the evidence that Keynesian economics works comes from tracking the effects of past military buildups. Some liberals dislike this conclusion, but economics isn't a morality play: spending on things you don't like is still spending, and more spending would create more jobs.

But why would anyone prefer spending on destruction to spending on construction, prefer building weapons to building bridges?

How Perfect is This?



Pendulum Waves

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Ok, this is freaky...check it out...a summary explanation from each student will be expected by Monday.

Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and (seemingly) random motion.

For more details see http://sciencedemonstrations.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k16940&pa

The period of one complete cycle of the dance is 60 seconds. The length of the longest pendulum has been adjusted so that it executes 51 oscillations in this 60 second period. The length of each successive shorter pendulum is carefully adjusted so that it executes one additional oscillation in this period. Thus, the 15th pendulum (shortest) undergoes 65 oscillations.

A Wireless World

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wireless tech.jpg

The Great Divide


Best School Answering Machine Message Ever


hat tip to sis Mo

Austerity Simply Will Not Work


But that won't stop the Puritan bred American culture from demanding an appropriate lengthy appointment with the penury hair shirt and other self-inflictions.

The Path Not Taken

By Paul Krugman

Self-Flagellation.jpgFinancial markets are cheering the deal that emerged from Brussels early Thursday morning. Indeed, relative to what could have happened -- an acrimonious failure to agree on anything -- the fact that European leaders agreed on something, however vague the details and however inadequate it may prove, is a positive development.

But it's worth stepping back to look at the larger picture, namely the abject failure of an economic doctrine -- a doctrine that has inflicted huge damage both in Europe and in the United States.

The doctrine in question amounts to the assertion that, in the aftermath of a financial crisis, banks must be bailed out but the general public must pay the price. So a crisis brought on by deregulation becomes a reason to move even further to the right; a time of mass unemployment, instead of spurring public efforts to create jobs, becomes an era of austerity, in which government spending and social programs are slashed.

This doctrine was sold both with claims that there was no alternative -- that both bailouts and spending cuts were necessary to satisfy financial markets -- and with claims that fiscal austerity would actually create jobs. The idea was that spending cuts would make consumers and businesses more confident. And this confidence would supposedly stimulate private spending, more than offsetting the depressing effects of government cutbacks.

Some economists weren't convinced. One caustic critic referred to claims about the expansionary effects of austerity as amounting to belief in the "confidence fairy." O.K., that was me.

But the doctrine has, nonetheless, been extremely influential. Expansionary austerity, in particular, has been championed both by Republicans in Congress and by the European Central Bank, which last year urged all European governments -- not just those in fiscal distress -- to engage in "fiscal consolidation."

And when David Cameron became Britain's prime minster last year, he immediately embarked on a program of spending cuts in the belief that this would actually boost the economy -- a decision that was greeted with fawning praise by many American pundits.

Now, however, the results are in, and the picture isn't pretty.

How the Rich Subverted the Legal System


Think about this:

Income distribution in the United States is more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador. Income inequality is actually declining in Latin America even as it continues to increase in the United States.

Immunity and impunity in elite America

The top one per cent of US society is enjoying a two-tiered system of justice and politics.

by Glenn Greenwald

As intense protests spawned by Occupy Wall Street continue to grow, it is worth asking: Why now? The answer is not obvious. After all, severe income and wealth inequality have long plagued the United States. In fact, it could reasonably be claimed that this form of inequality is part of the design of the American foundation - indeed, an integral part of it.

Income inequality has worsened over the past several years and is at its highest level since the Great Depression. This is not, however, a new trend. Income inequality has been growing at rapid rates for three decades. As journalist Tim Noah described the process: "During the late 1980s and the late 1990s, the United States experienced two unprecedentedly long periods of sustained economic growth - the 'seven fat years' and the 'long boom'. Yet from 1980 to 2005, more than 80 per cent of total increase in Americans' income went to the top one per cent. Economic growth was more sluggish in the aughts [the first decade of the new century], but the decade saw productivity increase by about 20 per cent. Yet virtually none of the increase translated into wage growth at middle and lower incomes, an outcome that left many economists scratching their heads."

The 2008 financial crisis exacerbated the trend, but not radically: the top one per cent of earners in the US have been feeding ever more greedily at the trough for decades.

Inferiors and superiors

In addition, substantial wealth inequality is so embedded in US political culture that, standing alone, it would not be sufficient to trigger citizen rage of the type we are finally witnessing. The American founders were clear that they viewed inequality in wealth, power, and prestige as not merely inevitable, but desirable and, for some, even divinely ordained. Jefferson praised "the natural aristocracy" as "the most precious gift of nature" for the "government of society". John Adams concurred: "It already appears, that there must be in every society of men superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the... course of nature the foundation of the distinction."

Not only have the overwhelming majority of those in the US long acquiesced to vast income and wealth disparities, but some of those most oppressed by these outcomes have cheered it loudly. Americans have been inculcated not only to accept, but to revere those who are the greatest beneficiaries of this inequality.

In the 1980s, this paradox - whereby even those most trampled upon come to cheer those responsible for their state - became more firmly entrenched. That's because it found a folksy, friendly face. Ronald Reagan, adept at feeding the populace a slew of Orwellian clichés that induced them to defend the interests of the wealthiest. "A rising tide," as President Reagan put it, "lifts all boats". The sum of his wisdom being: It is in your interest when the rich get richer.

Implicit in this framework was the claim that inequality was justified and legitimate. The core propagandistic premise was that the rich were rich because they deserved to be. They innovated in industry, invented technologies, discovered cures, created jobs, took risks, and boldly found ways to improve our lives. In other words, they deserved to be enriched. Indeed, it was in our common interest to allow them to fly as high as possible, because that would increase their motivation to produce more, bestowing on us ever greater life-improving gifts.

Gratefulness for the leadership

We should not, so the thinking went, begrudge the multimillionaire living behind his 15-foot walls for his success; we should admire him. Corporate bosses deserved not our resentment but our gratitude. It was in our own interest not to demand more in taxes from the wealthiest but less, as their enhanced wealth - their pocket change - would trickle down in various ways to all of us. 

This is the mentality that enabled massive growth in income and wealth inequality over the past several decades without much at all in the way of citizen protest. And yet something has indeed changed. It's not that Americans suddenly woke up one day and decided that substantial income and wealth inequality are themselves unfair or intolerable. What changed was the perception of how that wealth was gotten and so of the ensuing inequality as legitimate.

Many Americans who once accepted or even cheered such inequality now see the gains of the richest as ill-gotten, as undeserved, as cheating. Most of all, the legal system that once served as the legitimising anchor for outcome inequality, the rule of law - that most basic of American ideals, that a common set of rules are equally applied to all - has now become irrevocably corrupted and is seen as such.

While the founders accepted outcome inequality, they emphasised - over and over - that its legitimacy hinged on subjecting everyone to the law's mandates on an equal basis. Jefferson wrote that the essence of America would be that "the poorest labourer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire, and generally on a more favoured one whenever their rights seem to jar". Benjamin Franklin warned that creating a privileged legal class would produce "total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections" between the rulers and those they ruled. Tom Paine repeatedly railed against "counterfeit nobles", those whose superior status was grounded not in merit but in unearned legal privilege.

Pakistan: 100 Million Under Age 24


That's out of an estimated 175 million total population, or around 58%. From that youth group there is a growing backlash against the Taliban and other extremist groups. You can click the pic or title below to watch an Al Jazeera short film on the topic.


Activist: Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, Pakistan Youth Alliance

Ali Abbas travels around Pakistan tackling fanaticism, but can he make a difference?

Pakistan is under attack from within. An estimated 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed in extremist violence since 2001. Bombings are a constant threat and journalists, politicians and activists, along with anyone who speaks out against intolerance, risks their lives.

Twenty-five-year-old activist Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi has dedicated his life to challenging the complex religious, economic and social divisions which threaten to strangulate Pakistan.

This documentary follows Ali and the Pakistan Youth Alliance on their anti-extremist mission across Pakistan, from café culture in Islamabad to Taliban rehabilitation in Swat. Will his passion be enough to change entrenched attitudes and beliefs?

John McCarthy, 84, Dies; Computer Design Pioneer

By John Markoff

McCarthy.jpgJohn McCarthy, a computer scientist who helped design the foundation of today's Internet-based computing and who is widely credited with coining the term for a frontier of research he helped pioneer, Artificial Intelligence, or A.I., died on Monday at his home in Stanford, Calif. He was 84.

The cause was complications of heart disease, his daughter Sarah McCarthy said.

Dr. McCarthy's career followed the arc of modern computing. Trained as a mathematician, he was responsible for seminal advances in the field and was often called the father of computer time-sharing, a major development of the 1960s that enabled many people and organizations to draw simultaneously from a single computer source, like a mainframe, without having to own one.

By lowering costs, it allowed more people to use computers and laid the groundwork for the interactive computing of today.

Though he did not foresee the rise of the personal computer, Dr. McCarthy was prophetic in describing the implications of other technological advances decades before they gained currency.

"In the early 1970s, he presented a paper in France on buying and selling by computer, what is now called electronic commerce," said Whitfield Diffie, an Internet security expert who worked as a researcher for Dr. McCarthy at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

And in the study of artificial intelligence, "no one is more influential than John," Mr. Diffie said.

While teaching mathematics at Dartmouth in 1956, Dr. McCarthy was the principal organizer of the first Dartmouth Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

The idea of simulating human intelligence had been discussed for decades, but the term "artificial intelligence" -- originally used to help raise funds to support the conference -- stuck.

Fox Gets Served


ala the John Turley law blog:

An OWS participant is interviewed by a Fox News reporter and this is what happened.

Hooverville Re-Visited


The Class War Has Begun

And the very classlessness of our society makes the conflict more volatile, not less.

by Frank Rich

Bonus Army encampment 1932

During the death throes of Herbert Hoover's presidency in June 1932, desperate bands of men traveled to Washington and set up camp within view of the Capitol. The first contingent journeyed all the way from Portland, Oregon, but others soon converged from all over--alone, in groups, with families--until their main Hooverville on the Anacostia River's fetid mudflats swelled to a population as high as 20,000. The men, World War I veterans who could not find jobs, became known as the Bonus Army--for the modest government bonus they were owed for their service. Under a law passed in 1924, they had been awarded roughly $1,000 each, to be collected in 1945 or at death, whichever came first. But they didn't want to wait any longer for their pre-New Deal entitlement--especially given that Congress had bailed out big business with the creation of a Reconstruction Finance Corporation earlier in its session. Father Charles Coughlin, the populist "Radio Priest" who became a phenomenon for railing against "greedy bankers and financiers," framed Washington's double standard this way: "If the government can pay $2 billion to the bankers and the railroads, why cannot it pay the $2 billion to the soldiers?"

The echoes of our own Great Recession do not end there. Both parties were alarmed by this motley assemblage and its political rallies; the Secret Service infiltrated its ranks to root out radicals. But a good Communist was hard to find. The men were mostly middle-class, patriotic Americans. They kept their improvised hovels clean and maintained small gardens. Even so, good behavior by the Bonus Army did not prevent the U.S. Army's hotheaded chief of staff, General Douglas MacArthur, from summoning an overwhelming force to evict it from Pennsylvania Avenue late that July. After assaulting the veterans and thousands of onlookers with tear gas, ­MacArthur's troops crossed the bridge and burned down the encampment. The general had acted against Hoover's wishes, but the president expressed satisfaction afterward that the government had dispatched "a mob"--albeit at the cost of killing two of the demonstrators. The public had another take. When graphic newsreels of the riotous mêlée fanned out to the nation's movie theaters, audiences booed MacArthur and his troops, not the men down on their luck. Even the mining heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean, the owner of the Hope diamond and wife of the proprietor of the Washington Post, professed solidarity with the "mob" that had occupied the nation's capital.

The Great Depression was then nearly three years old, with FDR still in the wings and some of the worst deprivation and unrest yet to come. Three years after our own crash, we do not have the benefit of historical omniscience to know where 2011 is on the time line of America's deepest bout of economic distress since that era. (The White House, you may recall, rolled out "recovery summer" sixteen months ago.) We don't know if our current president will end up being viewed more like Hoover or FDR. We don't know whether Occupy Wall Street and its proliferating satellites will spiral into larger and more violent confrontations, disperse in cold weather, prove a footnote to our narrative, or be the seeds of something big.

What's as intriguing as Occupy Wall Street itself is that once again our Establishment, left, right, and center, did not see the wave coming or understand what it meant as it broke. Maybe it's just human nature and the power of denial, or maybe it's a stubborn strain of all-­American optimism, but at each aftershock since the fall of Lehman Brothers, those at the top have preferred not to see what they didn't want to see. And so for the first three weeks, the protests were alternately ignored, patronized, dismissed, and insulted by politicians and the mainstream news media as a neo-Woodstock for wannabe collegiate rebels without a cause--and not just in Fox-land. CNN's new prime-time hopeful, Erin Burnett, ridiculed the protesters as bongo-playing know-nothings; a dispatch in The New Republic called them "an unfocused rabble of ragtag discontents." Those who did express sympathy for Occupy Wall Street tended to pat it on the head before going on to fault it for being leaderless, disorganized, and inchoate in its agenda.

Despite such dismissals, the movement, abetted by made-for-YouTube confrontations with police, started to connect with the mass public much as the Bonus Army did with a newsreel audience. The week after a Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that "no one seems to care very much" about the "collection of ne'er-do-wells" congregating in Zuccotti Park, the paper released its own poll, in collaboration with NBC News, finding that 37 percent of Americans supported the protesters, 25 percent had no opinion, and just 18 percent opposed them. The approval numbers for Occupy Wall Street published in Time and Reuters were even higher--hitting 54 percent in Time. Apparently some of those dopey kids, staggering under student loans and bereft of job prospects, have lots of parents and friends of all ages who understand exactly what they're talking about.

3 TED Tales of Wonder, Beauty & Genius


If these stories fail to inspire you, check your pulse.

In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men -- many of them illiterate -- to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It's called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works.

Freeing energy from the grid


An amazing breakthrough.

What would happen if we could generate power from our windowpanes?

In this moving talk, entrepreneur Justin Hall-Tipping shows the materials that could make that possible, and how questioning our notion of 'normal' can lead to extraordinary breakthroughs.

A prosthetic arm that "feels"


If we could only find a way to redirect the incredible amount of money we waste on blowing things and people up to fields that benefit people like t5he one show2n her4e.

Physiatrist and engineer Todd Kuiken is building a prosthetic arm that connects with the human nervous system -- improving motion, control and even feeling. Onstage, patient Amanda Kitts helps demonstrate this next-gen robotic arm.

Hear This


A really simple but great idea.

A Hearing Aid That Cuts Out All the Clatter

by John Tierney

loop-ear.jpgAfter he lost much of his hearing last year at age 57, the composer Richard Einhorn despaired of ever really enjoying a concert or musical again. Even using special headsets supplied by the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway theaters, he found himself frustrated by the sound quality, static and interference.

Then, in June, he went to the Kennedy Center in Washington, where his "Voice of Light" oratorio had once been performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, for a performance of the musical "Wicked."

There were no special headphones. This time, the words and music were transmitted to a wireless receiver in Mr. Einhorn's hearing aid using a technology that is just starting to make its way into public places in America: a hearing loop.

"There I was at 'Wicked' weeping uncontrollably -- and I don't even like musicals," he said. "For the first time since I lost most of my hearing, live music was perfectly clear, perfectly clean and incredibly rich."

His reaction is a common one. The technology, which has been widely adopted in Northern Europe, has the potential to transform the lives of tens of millions of Americans, according to national advocacy groups. As loops are installed in stores, banks, museums, subway stations and other public spaces, people who have felt excluded are suddenly back in the conversation.

Set a Weasel Trap for Geithner


To Be With the 99%, President Obama Must Fire Tim Geithner

by Dylan Ratigan

In my last piece, I talked about how Tim Geithner​'s job over the past five years has been to (a) print money, (b) give it to rich friends, and (c) deny everyone else legal and financial rights. This shows up everywhere, from the 0% you get on your savings account versus the insider information the rich get, to your lack of access to the Fed discount window. It's a symptom of bought government, which I try to expose on our show every day. (You can help by signing our petition at GetMoneyOut.com. )

I find it laughable to hear President Obama's spokesperson talking about how his campaign represents the 99%. For starters he'd have to fire Geithner, to prove he's not the leader of a bought government. After all, it is Geithner who took a system indirectly rigged to profit the 1% at the expense of everyone else, and institutionalized and formalized it during a crisis.

The reaction to my piece was explosive -- I've rarely gotten so many comments, thoughts, and questions on a single topic. So I think it's worth addressing some of them.

How Far Down the Rabbit Hole Are We?


TSA Arrests Me for Using the Fourth Amendment as a Weapon (Tales from the Edge of a Revolution #2)

by T. P. Alexanders

Oct. 17, 2011
Albuquerque International Sunport Security Checkpoint:

I pass a camera crew filming the ticket counter. I stop and consider telling them what I am about to do, but decide against it. They probably won't care. Instead, I wheel my baggage to the security area.

I can feel my heart beat in my chest. I've never done anything like this. I've always said "Yes sir," even when I didn't agree. Even this simple act fills me with conflicting emotions.

New Mexico is far warmer than my native Pacific Northwest. I'm sweating by the time I reach the first inspection of my ID. I'm sure I already look like a terrorist. The TSA agent, perched on his stool, takes no notice. I look enough like my driver's license and I have a valid airline ticket. He black lights my ID and lets me pass with hardly a glance.

I've come here to moonlight from my real job. My daughter had an operation, and I had to come up with thousands in deductible. She's in college and, so far, I've managed to keep her from becoming a debt slave, like her mother. I took eight extra weekends of work in the Land of Enchantment to cover the cost. I'm lucky, I guess, I can do that. Others, with fewer job opportunities, have no choice but to go bankrupt.

My heart kicks it up another notch when I get to the conveyor belt. Shouldn't have had that coffee this morning but thank God I didn't eat anything, or I'd be hugging the trash can right now.

Come on, I tell myself, what are they going to do? Confiscate your toothpaste? Say something mean to you? So what. Relax. You can do this. You should do this. You have to do this.

I take off my shoes and strip my backpack of computer and the baggie of incidentals. I stand in line while my armpits grow embarrassingly moist and I feel my heart race. I think, Get a hold of yourself. You're being a drama queen.

When it is my turn, I decline to go through the monitor that scans under your clothes, as I always do. The TSA agent starts his spiel about how safe it is. I've done my research. His statements are questionable, but that is not why I am doing this. I start my own spiel.

"The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution reads: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, an particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

I'm speaking loud and clear so those around me can hear. Before I get to "unreasonable search" a man in an ill-fitting suit and a tie marches up to me. He tells me I was disrupting his operation. I have no idea what his position is. He stands in front of the metal detector--the first place they usually screen me. He tells me I am holding up the line. I drop my voice and tell him to go ahead and screen me. I'll take the pat down. But that's not what he wants. He wants me to shut up. I continue reading the Fourth Amendment.

He asks me to go with him to some undisclosed location to "talk". He indicates with his hand somewhere back toward ticketing, away from being screened. I decline. He tries to gently guide me with a hand on my elbow, like we're on a date, pushing me back up the line. I stand firm. I want to go forward, let them pat me down while I read the Fourth Amendment to my fellow citizens.

He asks me what airline I'm on. I have seen no badge or ID. I ask him if he has a warrant for the information. He looks at me dumbfounded. He sees the United boarding pass in my hand. He tells me he won't allow me to fly. I have no idea if he has that sort of authority.

I say as loudly and clearly as I can, "I am being told I can not fly for reading you the Fourth Amendment."

He says, "If you keep this up I'll call the police."

I say as loud as I can, "You are going to arrest me for reading the Constitution?"

"You are disrupting the screening process, and yes we will arrest you."

Again, I say I will be screened but not by the machine. They make no effort to walk me through the metal detector or find a female officer to frisk me. He tries again to walk me out of the area. I stand my ground and read the First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances."

The police do come, two of them. A young man and a grizzled officer with a road map of wrinkles lining his face. The young man stands in front of me and now I am terrified. They aren't just going to take my toothpaste. Why didn't I ask the camera crew to come--take the chance of getting the brush off? They might not do this, if there was a camera. Do I have the will to continue? I hear his voice asking for my name over the thudding of my heart in my ears. Do I have to give it to him? I'm not sure.

I look behind him to the startled mass of silent passengers. "If you have a cell phone camera, this would make good You Tube footage." It is an act of desperation, and I don't see anyone reach for their phone.

They jack hammer questions at me, name, where am I from, phone number, etc. I lose track, I can't tell which questions I am obligated to answer and which I'm not. I concentrate on the officer in front of me. I think I know what the police can and can't do. He asks me my name, again, and I ask "Do you have a warrant or am I under arrest?"

He sees the license and plane ticket still in my hand and tries to take them. I pull them back. "Do you have a warrant to remove those?" He lets them go.

Guy with a Tie tells the cops I won't be flying. The police try to push me out of the area. I stand my ground.

"You are giving up your Constitutional rights for something that only has a 1 in 25 million chance of happening. Fifty times less than death by lightening or being struck by an asteroid." I call to the herd of passengers. They stare at me dazed.

The cops push me with more aggression and tell me that if I don't quit, I will be arrested.

I yell, "Thomas Jefferson said, 'those who would give up their liberty for their security deserve neither.'"

They physically push me out of the security area. I try to dig in my heels and resist, but my stocking feet slide over the tile floor.

I shout, "When you allow the Bill of Rights to be violated, you deprive your children of the government your parents gave you. That is neither reasonable or responsible."

They stop pushing me at the end of the security check point and I regain my footing.

The old goat of a cop shoves me. "Get the hell out of here!" he yells, "Go on, stop causin' trouble."

I am in my stocking feet, with no cell phone, wallet or back pack. I stare at his snaring face and I can't. I just can't walk away. In for a penny, in for a pound. I sit down.

Instantly, my right hand is yanked behind my back and the cuffs are snapped on so tight they cut my skin. I grit my teeth, bite my tongue and let them have the left hand as well. He yanks the ID and boarding pass out of my hand. He pulls me up before he tells me to stand, but I scramble to my feet so I won't be resisting arrest. I walk where I am directed. At the first people I pass, I shout, "I am being arrested for reading the Constitution of the United States."

Old Goat lifts my hands up so high it hurts.

How cyberattacks threaten real-world peace


More and more, nations are waging attacks with cyber weapons -- silent strikes on another country's computer systems that leave behind no trace. (Think of the Stuxnet worm.) At TEDxParis, Guy-Philippe Goldstein shows how cyberattacks can leap between the digital and physical worlds to prompt armed conflict -- and how we might avert this global security hazard.

High Price Trades


While watching this story unfold, I wondered if the US would ever strike such a deal with what they considered to be a terrorist group in order to get a soldier back from captivity?.

Palestinians celebrate release of prisoners

Thousands take to the streets of Gaza and the West Bank to welcome prisoners released in exchange for Gilad Shalit​.


Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have celebrated the homecoming of over 400 prisoners released in the first phase of an agreement brokered with Israel for the exchange of Gilad Shalit, the captured Israeli soldier.

Hamas, which negotiated the exchange, organized a celebration in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday that turned into a show of strength for the Palestinian resistance group that governs the territory and rivals President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

The joyous crowd crammed into a sandy lot, where a huge stage was set up, decorated with a mural depicting the capture of Shalit at an army base near the Gaza border.

Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas official, addressed the crowd that Hamas said numbered over 200,000, praising the kidnap of Shalit as a positive operation that had won the freedom of hundreds of Palestinians.

"Some described Shalit's captivity as a worthless adventure, but today they are proven wrong," he said

Gaza prisoner returns to heroine's welcome

"The people want a new Gilad!" the crowd chanted, suggesting the abductions of Israeli soldiers would mean freedom for thousands more Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

More than 5,000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons - some for taking up arms against Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, others on what rights groups call questionable charges.

In the West Bank, Abbas addressed a crowd of several thousand - praising the released prisoners as "freedom fighters".

Abbas shared a stage with three Hamas leaders in a display of national unity.

At one point, the four men raised clasped hands in triumph.

Friends and family members wept tears of joy for the released prisoners whom Israel considers "terrorists", but they regard as "freedom fighters".

Shalit's hope

shalit.jpgGilad Shalit was handed over to Egyptian officials early on Tuesday at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, and was then taken by Israeli officials to the Tel Nof air base.

In an interview with Egyptian television at Rafah, Shalit said that he hoped that the deal that allowed for his release would help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace.

"I will be very happy if all Palestinian prisoners are freed so they can go back to their families [...] I hope this deal could help reach peace between Israelis and the Palestinians and strengthen cooperation," he said.

Saree Makdisi, an author and professor at the University of California, told Al Jazeera that the value of the prisoner swap should not be overestimated.

"We have to remember that the Israelis raid the West Bank literally on a nightly basis, usually ten times a day, an average of 300-400 raids a month," he said.

"On all these raids, they collect prisoner after prisoner, so in an average month, they capture 300-400 prisoners, held against international law, held in appalling circumstances."

Palestinians have long argued that no peace agreement could be reached without the release of all Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Hamas reached a deal with Israel last week for the release 1,027 prisoners in exchange for Shalit, who was captured in 2006 and has since been held in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian prisoners will be released in two phases.

Meanwhile, 11 Palestinian prisoners, including one woman, have arrived in Ankara from Cairo. Turkey had said it was ready to host some of the released Palestinian detainees along with Qatar and Egypt.

Pas de Deux of Art and Technology


A great read.

Prophecy of Machines

By Fredrick Rzewski


Is music technology?

Max Weber, in his last book, "The Rational and Social Foundations of Music, " published in 1921, a year after his death, says, basically, yes. Like every other aspect of civilization, music is subject to a relentless and irreversible process of rationalization, culminating (for him) in the organization of the symphony orchestra. This was at a time when the recording industry was in its infancy, and radio had only just launched the new technique of broadcasting. Weber could not have foreseen the effect of these two things on the art of music, but he might well have imagined it.

It was a revolutionary time, full of explosions: you can hear them in the recordings of Marinetti reciting his poetry; you can see them in Tatlin's designs for enormous skyscrapers. It reeked of the future. Artists (like Schoenberg) thought of themselves as prophets. They imagined things that one could do with technology, liberating people from older forms. Some of these visions became reality decades later.

Whatever prophetic aspirations artists may have had 100 years ago, however, today they belong to the past. This world has been abandoned by its gods-- among them the notion of the artist as a kind of shaman or wise man. Today artists are proletarians with privileges: workers in the culture industry, like the writers in Fitzgerald's "The Last Tycoon," well paid sometimes, but servants nonetheless.

Recording, like electricity, has been around for little more than a century. Radio as a public medium for less than that. Computers have only become widely available since the 1980's. Edison did not grasp (at first) the consequences of his gramophone for music; he thought of it as an office machine. Why wasn't it invented 100 years earlier? It was a fairly simple mechanical device. Mozart might have liked it. There is no technical reason why we couldn't hear recordings of Beethoven's improvisations. But the time was not ripe. It didn't take long for Edison to realize the commercial potential of his machine, nor for the machine to have an effect on the art of music itself.

One of the most obvious effects of recording was to replace musicians with machines.

For Mahler's audiences, for dance halls where the big bands played in the 1930's, and for people who went to the Community Concerts in the '40's (when the United States was the center of classical music), music was an activity, a social event. Today for most people "music" is a piece of plastic that you buy in a store, or a magic pod around your neck.

In the 1950s, ....

A Religious Attitude I Can Almost Abide


The Evangelical Rejection of Reason

By Karl W. Giberson and Randall J. Stephens

evangelicals.jpgThe Republican presidential field has become a showcase of evangelical anti-intellectualism. Herman Cain, Rick Perry​ and Michele Bachmann​ deny that climate change is real and caused by humans. Mr. Perry and Mrs. Bachmann dismiss evolution as an unproven theory. The two candidates who espouse the greatest support for science, Mitt Romney​ and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., happen to be Mormons, a faith regarded with mistrust by many Christians.

The rejection of science seems to be part of a politically monolithic red-state fundamentalism, textbook evidence of an unyielding ignorance on the part of the religious. As one fundamentalist slogan puts it, "The Bible​ says it, I believe it, that settles it." But evangelical Christianity need not be defined by the simplistic theology, cultural isolationism and stubborn anti-intellectualism that most of the Republican candidates have embraced.

Like other evangelicals, we accept the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ​ and look to the Bible as our sacred book, though we find it hard to recognize our religious tradition in the mainstream evangelical conversation. Evangelicalism at its best seeks a biblically grounded expression of Christianity that is intellectually engaged, humble and forward-looking. In contrast, fundamentalism is literalistic, overconfident and reactionary.

Fundamentalism appeals to evangelicals who have become convinced that their country has been overrun by a vast secular conspiracy; denial is the simplest and most attractive response to change. They have been scarred by the elimination of prayer in schools; the removal of nativity scenes from public places; the increasing legitimacy of abortion and homosexuality; the persistence of pornography and drug abuse; and acceptance of other religions and of atheism.

In response, many evangelicals created what amounts to a "parallel culture," nurtured by church, Sunday school, summer camps and colleges, as well as publishing houses, broadcasting networks, music festivals and counseling groups. Among evangelical leaders, Ken Ham​, David Barton and James C. Dobson have been particularly effective orchestrators -- and beneficiaries -- of this subculture.

What is a Hero?


Try this:

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Capital Punishment : The Worst Message Ever


The Death Penalty's De Facto Abolition

NYTime Op-Ed

A new Gallup poll reports that support for the death penalty is at its lowest level since 1972. In fact, though, the decline, from a high of 80 percent in 1994 to 61 percent now, masks both Americans' ambivalence about capital punishment and the country's de facto abolition of the penalty in most places.

When Gallup gave people a choice a year ago between sentencing a murderer to death or life without parole, an option in each of the 34 states that have the death penalty, only 49 percent chose capital punishment.

That striking difference suggests that more Americans are recognizing that killing a prisoner is not the only way to make sure he is never released, that the death penalty cannot be made to comply with the Constitution and that it is in every way indefensible. But there are other numbers that tell a more compelling story about the national discomfort with executions.

From their annual high points since the penalty was reinstated 35 years ago, the number executed has dropped by half, and the number sentenced to death has dropped by almost two-thirds. Sixteen states don't allow the penalty, and eight of the states that do have not carried out an execution in 12 years or more. There is more.

Only one-seventh of the nation's 3,147 counties have carried out an execution since 1976. Counties with one-eighth of the American population produce two-thirds of the sentences. As a result, the death penalty is the embodiment of arbitrariness. Texas, for example, in the past generation, has executed five times as many people as Virginia, the next closest state. But the penalty is used heavily in just four of Texas's 254 counties.

Opposition to capital punishment has built from the ground up. It is evident in the greater part of America's counties where people realize that, in addition to being barbaric, capricious and prohibitively expensive, the death penalty does not reflect their values.

It's coming faster than you might think.

Constitutional Moments: The People's Voice

by Dylan Ratigan

Today we face a crushing burden of foreclosures, dropping incomes, and a financial elite that has bought our government. The elite consensus is powerful enough to prevent change, no matter who is elected. The situation seems, at least in electoral terms, hopeless. Yet, America has been here before, and has shown remarkable resilience in the darkest of times.

So just how do we get the debate we deserve? How do we root out the corruption, greed, and fraud in our system? Clearly, the root of much evil in our system of government comes from the financing of political campaigns by powerful interests. And the Supreme Court has said that money is speech, and thus, protected by the Constitution. So we must pass a Constitutional amendment to speak back to the Supreme Court, and assert the primacy of government by the people.

But how do we do this? How does one pass a Constitutional amendment in the American system to ban money from politics? It's not a question with an obvious answer, but history has some clues. There have been only twenty seven amendments to the Constitution in over two hundred years of history, ten of which were ratified with the Constitution itself and several of which were procedural in nature. Yet, the basic path to serious Constitutional change is almost always the same -- it requires organizational focus by a dedicated small group, a willingness to build alliances across factional and regional lines, a belief in playing hardball, and a strong and sustained outcry by a large group of citizens. Often, it is accompanied by local, state, and Federal laws that move the legal system in the direction of the amendment for many years before the Constitutional question emerges. Sometimes it is accompanied by sympathetic court cases.

The response to a situation like today's is often Constitutional in nature. In one historical era long past, crowds of Americans similar to the Occupy Wall Street groups gathered to protest foreclosures, to show anger at economic depressions brought on by corruption, and to check banker control of the monetary system. They used well-orchestrated disruptions to block judges from making unjust decisions, to stop sheriffs from foreclosing on properties, and to enforce no-buy covenants when properties went up for auction. They called themselves "regulators", and created a broad-based movement against the corrupt collusion of government officials and a financial elite.

This was the period from the 1760s to the 1780s, and it produced the most magnificent series of Constitutional amendments we have -- the Bill of Rights, which includes the right to free speech and the right to bear arms. The conflict over the Constitution was in fact bitter and based on conflicts between debtors and creditor-bankers. The first draft of the Constitution was written by a small group of wealthy men, and it was a document with strong economic implications. The Constitution granted the right to coin money to Congress, and took that right away from states who had varying democratic mechanisms to create money. This dramatically reduced inflation, privileging the banking class.

Beyond that, one of the first bills passed after ratification of the Constitution was the Assumption Act, which Federalized state debt and made millionaires out of many of Alexander Hamilton​'s friends at the expense of farmers who did not know the bonds they held had suddenly became US Treasury​ bonds valued at par. Because of the ground swell of anger at elites, many states refused to ratify this document. They required a bill of rights guaranteeing free speech, assembly, religious freedom, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, from torture, from property seizures and quartering of soldiers, and the right to bear arms. The anger during this period, anger from soldiers of the Revolutionary War​ who had not been paid, was codified in amendments that still protect our freedoms today.

Constitutional change has always happened this way, with the public demanding its rights from an elite that at first resists, then splits, and then relents. There have been four significant periods of Constitutional change in American history. The first was, of course, the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The second set of Amendments were the post-Civil War "Reconstruction Amendments" banning slavery, granting citizenship to all male citizens and barring discrimination against the right to vote based on race. The passion of the abolitionists, organizing for decades, forced the expansion of rights to more Americans. The banning of slavery happened gradually; first the slave trade was banned, then abolition coursed through the Northern states and territories, and finally there was a Civil war. But even with their moral case as secure as it was, it was railroad barons that were critical allies of the abolitionists, as well as those who sought a high tariff to industrialize the North. And it required the creation of an entirely new political party, the Republicans, to end slavery and create the most significant Constitutional change since the Revolutionary War. Abraham Lincoln​, remember, was a corporate lawyer representing railroad interests, and he was the more moderate of the Presidential candidates running at the time. Horace Greeley​ had run for President, as had John Fremont in 1856. It was not through purity, but through struggle and alliances, that these amendments freeing the slaves were forged.

Occupy Wall St NY Evicted Tommorow at 7am?


The owners of the park being occupied want to clean the park saying that it has deteriorated from the weeks long occupation in terms of both hygiene and garbage. The OWS members spent the day cleaning up the park and are going to refuse to leave tomorrow. Another showdown looms which could easily make the movement even stronger should there be massive arrests.

Finnish Foto


The Milkyway, A Meteor and The Northern Lights

metero.mikyway.northernlights.jpgclick to enlarge

Photo: Tommy Eliassen

The Paris Commune and Citizens United


It was criminal from the very start and it is criminal now.

Here is its sordid history of graft from the Gilded Age:

Corporate Citizenship:
How Public Dissent In Paris Sparked Creation Of The Corporate Person

by Mike Sachs

Of all the Occupy Wall Street refrains, one of the most memorable is, "I refuse to believe that corporations are people until Texas executes one." But, clever as it is, the quip looks to the wrong end of the life cycle: The only thing more corrupt than the legal concept of corporate personhood is the way a Gilded Age judge birthed it.

The discontented have been occupying the streets for a long time. But the convulsions with which the ruling class in America reacted to the Paris Commune of 1871 make Fox News' coverage of Occupy Wall Street sound fawning.

The Paris Commune was the first international incident followed daily in the United States. While President Barack Obama complains about the 24-hour news cycle today, its roots stretch back to Cyrus Field's transcontinental telegraph cable, which allowed the elites of America to focus intently on the two-month uprising and ultimate slaughter of thousands of Parisians. Cyrus Field's brother and his family were in Paris at the time, and a third brother, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field, obsessively tracked the news back in the states. It was the Paris uprising that transformed Stephen Field from a mundanely corrupt judge in the paid service of the railroads to a zealous crusader for all corporations, with the aim of suppressing what he and other leaders saw as the threat of democracy from below.

For much of the first U.S. century, it was an accepted fact that the people, through their legislators, had the power to pass laws that businesses were required to obey. After the Civil War, Reconstruction-era statutes and constitutional amendments -- particularly the 14th Amendment -- strictly limited the ability of legislators to restrict the rights of the recently freed African Americans.

In a historic irony, it was the protections contained in those Reconstruction laws that corporations sought to grab for their own. Justice Field was the hand they used.

The common understanding of how the corporation became a legal person says that a Supreme Court reporter of decisions erroneously said as much in a case summary and that error became an unremovable stain, coloring every decision after. But that reading of history whitewashes what was, in fact, a coordinated effort to win citizenship for corporations.

The idea of corporate personhood was once viewed as nonsense. A corporation was formed to limit the financial liability of its owners in pursuing their business: If the corporation went broke, debtors couldn't come after its owners. That such a company might also have all the rights of citizens was a concept on the fringes. Yet by force of judicial will, Field pulled it right into the mainstream.

Your Tax Dollars At Work



Buddy Roemer: My Kind of Republican


The Hysteria in High Places


Panic of the Plutocrats

By Paul Krugman

It remains to be seen whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will change America's direction. Yet the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent.

And this reaction tells you something important -- namely, that the extremists threatening American values are what F.D.R. called "economic royalists," not the people camping in Zuccotti Park.

Consider first how Republican politicians have portrayed the modest-sized if growing demonstrations, which have involved some confrontations with the police -- confrontations that seem to have involved a lot of police overreaction -- but nothing one could call a riot. And there has in fact been nothing so far to match the behavior of Tea Party crowds in the summer of 2009.

Nonetheless, Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, has denounced "mobs" and "the pitting of Americans against Americans." The G.O.P. presidential candidates have weighed in, with Mitt Romney​ accusing the protesters of waging "class warfare," while Herman Cain calls them "anti-American." My favorite, however, is Senator Rand Paul, who for some reason worries that the protesters will start seizing iPads, because they believe rich people don't deserve to have them.

Michael Bloomberg​, New York's mayor and a financial-industry titan in his own right, was a bit more moderate, but still accused the protesters of trying to "take the jobs away from people working in this city," a statement that bears no resemblance to the movement's actual goals.

And if you were listening to talking heads on CNBC, you learned that the protesters "let their freak flags fly," and are "aligned with Lenin."

The way to understand all of this is to realize that it's part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.

Chris Hedges on Occupy Wall Street


Exactly right.

Maximizing American Stupidity and Arrogance


It's bad enough that America has a major anti-intellectual streak that is culturally idolized but add that to American pushy arrogance and you get a whole new chemistry of imperialist ignorance like the following:

U.S. Drug Policy Would Be Imposed Globally By New House Bill

by Radley Balko

The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) -- even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they're carried out. The new law, sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) allows prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges against anyone who discusses, plans or advises someone else to engage in any activity that violates the CSA, the massive federal law that prohibits drugs like marijuana and strictly regulates prescription medication.

"Under this bill, if a young couple plans a wedding in Amsterdam, and as part of the wedding, they plan to buy the bridal party some marijuana, they would be subject to prosecution," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for reforming the country's drug laws. "The strange thing is that the purchase of and smoking the marijuana while you're there wouldn't be illegal. But this law would make planning the wedding from the U.S. a federal crime."

The law could also potentially affect academics and medical professionals. For example, a U.S. doctor who works with overseas doctors or government officials on needle exchange programs could be subject to criminal prosecution. A U.S. resident who advises someone in another country on how to grow marijuana or how to run a medical marijuana dispensary would also be in violation of the new law, even if medical marijuana is legal in the country where the recipient of the advice resides. If interpreted broadly enough, a prosecutor could possibly even charge doctors, academics and policymakers from contributing their expertise to additional experiments like the drug decriminalization project Portugal, which has successfully reduced drug crime, addiction and overdose deaths.

The Controlled Substances Act also regulates the distribution of prescription drugs, so something as simple as emailing a friend vacationing in Tijuana some suggestions on where to buy prescription medication over the counter could subject a U.S. resident to criminal prosecution. "It could even be something like advising them where to buy cold medicine overseas that they'd have to show I.D. to get here in the U.S.," Piper says.

Civil libertarian attorney and author Harvey Silverglate​ says the bill raises several concerns. "Just when you think you can't get any more cynical, a bill like this comes along. I mean, it just sounds like an abomination. First, there's no intuitive reason for an American to think that planning an activity that's perfectly legal in another country would have any effect on America," Silverglate says. "So we're getting further away from the common law tradition that laws should be intuitive, and should include a mens rea component. Second, this is just an act of shameless cultural and legal imperialism. It's just outrageous."

A Good Use for 2 x 4's


That would be knocking some sense into conservative politicians and their minion civil servants denying major groups of people their voting franchise.

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The Clash Between Conscience and Duty


If you work for the public or serve the general public you don't have the right to pick and choose who you will serve or which services you will provide.

Refused and Confused

By Linda Greenhouse

The refusal by an upstate New York town clerk to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples, as reported on the front page of The Times last week, can be seen simply as a discordant footnote to the march of marriage equality in New York State. But seen in a broader context, it is also more than that.

When the clerk, Rose Marie Belforti, explained that "God doesn't want me to do this, so I can't do what God doesn't want me to do," she placed herself among a growing number of individuals and institutions with public responsibilities who claim a right to opt out. Often, but not always, their reason is anchored in religious belief. Whatever the reason, such claims pose troublesome issues of law (of course, the Ledyard, N.Y., town clerk's refusal is now the subject of a lawsuit) and public policy.

A few years ago, a county official in Pennsylvania refused to issue a marriage license because the would-be groom, while providing proof of identity in the form of a Mexican passport, could not prove that he was in the United States legally. The couple sued (the would-be bride was an American citizen, as was their young child) and won a judgment from a federal district judge, A. Richard Caputo, who found that the "fundamental character of the right to marry" was not dependent on citizenship.

The Pennsylvania official was simply an immigration-policy freelancer (although I wonder what would happen today under Alabama's anti-immigrant law that was upheld in substantial part by a federal district judge last week; one of its provisions invalidates contracts to which one party is an undocumented immigrant, and marriage is, after all, a contract.) More common are pharmacists who assert religious reasons for refusing to dispense emergency contraception, the "morning after" pill that prevents pregnancy after unprotected intercourse.

What are we to make of public health workers who use the power of their state-issued licenses to impose their own version of morality on those they are licensed to serve? While nearly all states permit medical providers to refuse to perform abortions, no such consensus has emerged with respect to birth control. The issue comes up repeatedly, and the states are all over the lot. Five states require pharmacists or pharmacies to fill all valid prescriptions for contraception (California, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington and Wisconsin.) Six others allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception (Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi and South Dakota.) Several other states exclude emergency contraception from their Medicaid plans or from required coverage for contraception in state-regulated insurance plans.

While contraception has been a back-burner issue compared with the much more visible debate over insurance coverage for abortion, that may soon end. A fierce debate, although largely still under the radar, surrounds the Obama administration's proposal to require private insurance plans to cover "women's preventive services" without requiring a co-payment.

According to the proposed rule, which was issued Aug. 1 and which adopts a recommendation by the Institution of Medicine, these services include "access to all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling." As the Department of Health and Human Services describes the purpose of the requirement: "Family planning services are an essential preventive service for women and critical to appropriately spacing and ensuring intended pregnancies, which results in improved maternal health and better birth outcomes."

Neither the fact that the rule does not apply to abortion or "abortifacient drugs," nor that 28 states already require employer-provided insurance plans to cover contraception, has kept opponents from describing the proposal as "attacking the consciences of our nation's healthcare providers," as a recent publication by the "Task Force on Conscience Protection" of the Witherspoon Institute put it.

We Come and We Go



Chris Tucker's a Genius


From the Fifth Element comes one of the most insane characters ever:

It said what?

Ruby's Rap

Korben Dallas! Here he is, the one and only winner of the Gemini croquet contest! (GEMINI!)

This boy is fueled like fire, so start melting ladies cuz the boy is hotter than hot he's hot, hot, HOT!

The right size, right build, right hair, right on (RIGHT ON, RIGHT ON) Right on, right on!

And he's got something to say to those fifty billion pairs of ear out there.

Pop it D-man!: Umm, hi.


Quiver ladies, quiver he's gonna set the world on fire. Right here from 5 to 7 you'll learn everything there is to know about the Deeeee-man.

His dreams, his desires, his most intimate of intimates.

And from what I'm lookin' at, intimate is this stud-muffin's middle name. So tell me my man, (drums) you nervous in the service? (drums)

Mmmhmm, not really.

Freeze those knees my chickadees, cuz Ruby's in the place and he's on the case.

Yesterday's frog will be tomorrow's prince, of Fhloston Paradise!

The hotel of a thousand and one follies, lollies, and lick 'em lollies. A magic fountain flow of non stop wine, women and hotchie cootchie coo!

All night long. All night long, all night!! ...

And start licking your stamps little girls, this guy's gonna have you writing home to Momma!

Right here from 5 to 7, I'll be your voice, your tongue and I'll be hot on the tail of the sexiest man of the year... D-man... Your man... My man.

Bart Lubow: Structural racism plays a major role in which youth are arrested and go to jail

More at The Real News

Watch full multipart Race, Youth and Criminal Justice System in Baltimore

United States Conference of Mayors Unanimously Passes Resolution Calling the War on Drugs a Failed Policy That is Driving Over-incarceration and Racial Disparities

On 40th Anniversary of Drug War, Nation's Mayors Endorse Senator Jim Webb's Federal Legislation to Review and Reform Entire U.S. Criminal Justice System

"The war on drugs - declared 40 years ago this weekend - has been the principal driver of mass incarceration in America," said U.S. mayors in a resolution adopted on Monday at the United States Conference of Mayor's annual meeting in Baltimore. The mayors pointed out that the U.S. has by far the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2.4 million of its residents in prison or jail, including roughly 500,000 Americans behind bars for drug law violations - an increase of 1200 percent since 1980.

In their resolution, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) officially endorsed pending bi-partisan federal legislation, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011, sponsored by Virginia Senator Jim Webb and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.  The Act would "take the long-overdue step of creating a national, bi-partisan, blue-ribbon commission charged with undertaking a comprehensive, 18-month, top-to-bottom review of the criminal justice system and proposing concrete, wide-ranging reforms," according to the resolution.

Adopted resolutions become the official policy of the USCM, which speaks as one voice to promote best practices and the most pressing priorities of our nation's cities.

"A national criminal justice commission will help identify cost-effective solutions for improving public safety, breaking the cycle of addiction, and keeping families together," said Santa Fe Mayor David Coss who offered the resolution that the United States Conference of Mayors Adopted. "We simply cannot afford to continue wasting taxpayer money on failed criminal justice policies when there are less expensive, more humane, and more effective ways to deal with drugs and crime."

"The U.S. is supposed to be the land of the free but we have more people behind bars than any other country in the world, mostly because of the failed war on drugs," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "The 40th Anniversary of the failed drug war is a good opportunity to move in a new direction. A national commission would help policymakers develop evidence-based policies that reduce incarceration, save taxpayer money, and improve public safety."

According to the mayors' resolution, the Criminal Justice commission will produce recommendations to "reduce crime and violence, improve cost-effectiveness, ensure the interests of justice at every step of the criminal justice system...reduce incarceration, reform U.S. drug policy, eliminate racial and gender disparities, improve re-entry efforts, and expand access to substance abuse treatment, mental health services and healthcare--goals that this Conference strongly supports."

The resolution comes on the heels of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which released a report on June 2 calling for a major paradigm shift in how our society deals with drugs, including decriminalization and legal regulation. The report sent a jolt around the world, generating thousands of international media stories.  The commission is comprised of international dignitaries including Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group; and the former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland. Representing the U.S. on the commission are George P. Shultz, Paul Volcker, and John Whitehead.

The US Conference of Mayors' resolution is available at: http://usmayors.org/79thAnnualMeeting/documents/AdoptedResolutions.pdf (page 54)

Full text of the resolution passed by the United States Conference of Mayors:


WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has long advocated for reforms to achieve fairness and effectiveness in the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, the United States has by far the world's highest incarceration rate, with just five percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners; and

WHEREAS, the United States currently incarcerates nearly 2.4 million people in its prisons and jails - or one in every 100 U.S. residents; and

WHEREAS, the war on drugs - declared 40 years ago this weekend - has been the principal driver of mass incarceration in America; and

WHEREAS, roughly 500,000 Americans are behind bars for a drug law violation - an increase of 1200 percent since 1980; and

WHEREAS, although drug use is similar across racial and ethnic groups, minorities are incarcerated at higher rates and for longer periods of time; African Americans, for example, are 3.4 times more likely than Whites to be arrested for a drug crime; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution at its 75th Annual Meeting declaring the war on drugs a failure and calling for fundamental changes to the U.S. criminal justice system, including a dramatic reduction in the number of nonviolent people behind bars and in the racial disparities created or exacerbated by the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution at its 74th Annual Meeting opposing mandatory minimum sentencing on both the state and federal levels and urging the creation of fair and effective sentencing policies; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has a long established policy of promoting the successful re-entry of people leaving prison or jail; and

WHEREAS, post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for formerly incarcerated people to become full, contributing members of society; and

WHEREAS, the costs to our federal, state, and local governments of unjust and ineffective criminal justice policies continue to grow, yet a comprehensive evaluation of the U.S. criminal justice system has not been undertaken since 1967; and

WHEREAS, Virginia Senator Jim Webb and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham have introduced federal legislation--the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011 - that would take the long-overdue step of creating a national, bi-partisan, blue-ribbon commission charged with undertaking a comprehensive, 18-month, top-to-bottom review of the criminal justice system and proposing concrete, wide-ranging reforms; and 55

WHEREAS, the commission will produce recommendations for changes in oversight, policies, practices, and laws designed to prevent, deter, and reduce crime and violence, improve cost effectiveness, and ensure the interests of justice at every step of the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, the commission's purview would include making recommendations to reduce incarceration, reform U.S. drug policy, eliminate racial and gender disparities, improve re-entry efforts, and expand access to substance abuse treatment, mental health services and healthcare--goals that this Conference strongly supports;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors affirms its support for the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011 and calls upon the United States Congress to enact the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011 in the112th Congress.

Dylan Ratigan's Call to Action



Three years ago, I left my 15-year career as a financial professional because I was disgusted and disturbed by the rampant evidence of corruption in the relationship between our banking system and our government.

high-surf-yellow.jpgAt the time, the Tea Party was emerging and I was confident that between their exploding wave of anger and our newly minted President's soaring aspirations for all of us - we would align to confront and resolve the blatantly corrupt relationship between banking and our government and more broadly BUSINESS and STATE.

I was sure that the obviously aligned interests of Obama's constituents combined with the Tea Party's libertarian principles about money and government, rigorous bank reforms in a simple, fair and transparent way would follow. And more importantly, I believed Obama's energy and the Tea Party's would align to separate BUSINESS and STATE in order to bar banks, or any other special interest, from corrupting policy in a way that breaches fundamental fairness in our nation and prevents adaptation in a time of rapid change.

Their combined wave of energy was magnificent: Obama, scintillating and inspiring, harnessing a digital wave AND the Tea Party, raw and rebellious, screaming in unison: We're not going to take this any more!

Little to none of this happened and I was wrong. And I feel I must do something about it.

As it turns out, I'm not alone. In just five days, 80,000 of us have signed a petition to get money out of politics. To make this happen, we will need to grow this movement, and that starts with your voice.

When we hit 100,000 signers, we are going to do a special show on getting money out of politics from Washington DC, deliver our 100k signatures to Congress, and issue what we call a High Surf Alert." Attached to the high surf alert will be a link to a 3-paragraph letter from all of us explaining that we have signed this petition with the intent to send it to others.

This way we can harness the wave to grow our effort, lest we waste it on a bought and paralyzed government. When we are bigger we can then direct our attention at them.

I want to explain to my viewers why I feel so strongly about this and I want to hear your thoughts too!

You can tell me your story in one of two ways. One, click here and leave a comment on why you want to get money out or two, film yourself talking about GetMoneyOut.com, put it on YouTube and send it to dylan@dylanratigan.com. I will use these video clips and stories on my show. I want people to see that it's not just me, that there are hundreds of thousands of us, millions of us, with one message: Get. Money. Out.

After 3 years of doing my best to marshal resources with dozens of impassioned collaborators to highlight obvious corruptions and solve problems together on TV, in person and on the Internet -- I found it doesn't matter what I or anyone else thinks or does about a given policy idea -- because the entire media, and the two-party political apparatus that sets the debate is being funded by a relatively narrow group of major interests and any solution that threatens those funders is simply never discussed.

While our healthcare, educational, banking, military, energy, trade and tax policies all have great room for improvement, I believe that the events of the past few years make it clear that until we get money out of our political system, we cannot begin on any of it.

I recently learned that 94% of the time the candidate that raises the most money wins. Policy, race, gender, tie color, voice, age... all can be ignored in a candidate because 94% of the time the candidate that raises the most money wins.

So this past weekend when I saw the Occupy Wall Street/Occupy America protests spontaneously erupting in 60 cities, as the New York protesters heading into their 3rd week - I decided to walk over Friday evening to Zuccoti Park to see what they were doing.

I live 5 blocks away and worked 2 blocks from the square they are in for years, this Friday was one of my first trips back to that street corner in years and I was both fearful and excited to see what was going on. I have also never been to a protest like this.

On the internet it said their message is this:

Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are the 99% will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.

They said they are non-violent, had a policy of no drugs or alcohol in the Park, and didn't allow bullhorns or amplifiers of any kind, they communicate by repeating out loud a given speakers words in short sentences. The short sentence requirement for speakers (not easy for me!!) has the duel benefit of keeping speeches short -- and avoids that being "talked at" feeling that can result from electrical speech amplification.

When I arrived Friday there was a boisterous crowd in good spirits from all walks of life -- the hippies, young people and Tea Partiers I expected -- the old ladies and local lawyers I was encouraged to see as evidence for this group's broader appeal.

I was able to talk to different groups over a few hours and it was clear that we were in agreement. Our government is bought, and we need to do something about it. In fact, you don't have to go to Zuccoti Park or any other protest to know that!

Unrelated to any of these protests, we have started this petition to get money out. We have done so because we all agree, that until we do so, we will be prevented from engaging in the debate we all desperately need on virtually every issue to end this corruption.

I wanted them to know that I agree with them and that I support their principle, to learn from them and share with them my own efforts.

I asked on Friday if I could return the next day, Saturday, to address their General Assembly in their unusual speak and repeat fashion in Zuccoti Park. They told me if I came back the next day and signed up at 6:30 I could secure 5 minutes, I did so and a few hours later was granted time to speak.

Here is what I told them:

My name is Dylan. I live five blocks from here. I think you people are crazy. I love the way you communicate. The world has noticed your voice. You have been here for three weeks, and you should be very proud of what you have accomplished. For fifteen years I worked as a financial services professional. Have you guys said that yet? I can't believe I'm here talking to you. I'm here because I agree with you. I made the decision three years ago to leave the financial services industry. I did that because it was clear that the financial services industry was purchasing both political parties. I believe that the fundamental problem with our collective desire to demand the debate America deserves is that both of our political parties are funded by well-heeled individuals, because they are bought. So I have been asking myself what the hell I'm going to do about this. I have decided that I am going to devote all of my resources, whatever those resources may be, with the knowledge that the decision to devote resources is much more important than what your resources are. I believe that you and every other group of people who know for a fact that the government is bought and are making the decisions to make 2012 the year our voice will be heard. I ask myself -- what do I do with my voice? I look at myself like an angry villager. I am irate. I know that if I cannot harness my personal rage for positive change I will harm myself and not help anybody else. My question to myself has been how do I harness fire in myself? You can either burn yourself in the town square or you can deliver a single a message to your government. My message is that the government is bought. If we do not separate business and state, and harness this energy to make that the central mission of this years' election we cannot begin to do the work we have to do. Thank you for giving me some of your time and congratulations on your success.

I agree with their principle, I don't know what will become of their movement, but I know I want to help them because I agree with them. I also agree with Ron Paul, Lawrence Lessig's #rootstrikers and millions of other disgusted and disenfranchised American's who know that their government is bought and are mad as hell about it.

In fact I think the singular message of ending our corrupt government function and the money that changes hands to facilitate it is the one goal almost everyone shares. Not surprisingly our efforts at aligning in a world of divisive issues makes us an underdog. Last week Politico described our effort like this:

"MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan is bent on banning money from political campaigns through a constitutional amendment, which is about as likely as the Cubs winning the World Series the night lightning twice strikes a massive earthbound asteroid."

But I believe if we approach the disparate communities with humility and shared principle, and a narrow focus, from Occupy Wall Street to factions of the Tea Party and beyond -- to offer support, debate and learning, we have in 2012 our best chance yet to end the blatantly corrupt relationship between BUSINESS and STATE.

The battle for me now is how best to harness all the fire that I feel for actionable positive change.

Since I devoted myself to this issue of about how blatantly corrupt our government has become -- I feel I have tried three methods to resolve it:

1. Scream! -- It felt good to express myself, but I found it to be an intense energy that alienated people with no positive harness to direct it.

2. Fight! -- This also felt good, but rarely led to any resolution or positive action.

3. Help! -- Convert that rage into action everyday FOR something that is based on broad principles with a narrow goal. (You can start by adding your voice!)

I believe our decision to form this petition and use our voice to demand a real debate about an Amendment to get Money Out of politics in 2012 gives all of us something to be FOR -- and a tool that can do it. We may agree on nothing else, but can we all agree to do this.

Truth to Power,

Dylan Ratigan


Beyond just cool.

Sermonette #47


Man will never be free
until the last king is strangled
with the entrails of the last priest.
- Denis Diderot

Charlie Jade


Hulu is airing the full 20 episode single season of one of the best written, produced and acted scifi sagas ever put on TV.

(Click pic for link)


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