Ben & Jerry?
Ben & Jerry?
In what reads like something out of High Castle-era Philip K. Dick, David Swanson describes what the American landscape might have looked like under a third Bush administration. More warrantless spying, escalating military budgets, formalizing policies of preventive detention, Swanson’s list is long—and grim. That’s just the set-up, though, to a far scarier punchline:
This dark fantasy of a third Bush term is also an accurate portrait of Obama’s first term to date. In following Bush, Obama was given the opportunity either to restore the rule of law and the balance of powers or to firmly establish in place what were otherwise aberrant abuses of power. Thus far, President Obama has, in all the areas mentioned above, chosen the latter course. Everything described, from the continuation of crimes to the efforts to hide them away, from the corruption of corporate power to the assertion of the executive power to legislate, is Obama’s presidency in its first seven months.
David Swanson is the author, most recently, of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.
Following on from yesterday’s essay about the seismic changes in Japanese politics, today Dangerous Mind pal, Charles Hugh Smith wonders if a Third Party voter’s revolution would be possible in America. His conclusions are thought provoking and may surprise you:
Here are the key ingredients of a viable new party:
1. The usual suspects which fund the Old Guard must not find a new home: that would be the unions and all the other Power Elites: the investment banks, the pharmaceuticals, the “Defense” industry, the trial lawyers, etc. Their money and their participation must be politely rejected lest they co-opt and thus destroy the new party.
2. A few break-away Old School politicians who could provide credible leadership while the party grew.
3. Consumer advocates—middle-class citizens of all ages who are tired of being lied to and manipulated, tired of being ripped off, etc.
4. Young activists who are willing to devote their energies to investigating and exposing all that the political and corporate/banking Elites strive to keep obscured and secret. When the corruption, cronyism and collusion have been exposed, year after year after year, then eventually the general public—poorer, more insecure and frustrated than ever—will finally let go of the comforting illusion that they share any real interests with either of the two corrupt parties of collusion.
5. Insiders willing to expose the machinery of collusion and cronyism. The Status Quo will move rapidly and violently to suppress whistleblowers, but without these courageous citizens then the full extent of the rot cannot be exposed.
If these parts slowly self-assemble, a viable national party could become possible. We should note that it took 15 years for the process to reach critical mass in Japan; there were many half-starts and disappointments along the way.
News from today’s Guardian about everyone’s favorite Buddhist ass-kicker. In a life-imitating-art-imitating-life twist of M?ɬ?bius dimensions, brace yourself for Steven Seagal: Lawman. Apparently, the ponytailed one’s been flying under the radar in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, these past 20 years as a genuine deputy sheriff. And now, with Lawman, we can all ride shotgun as he responds to “crimes-in-progress.”
As Seagal himself asserts in the accompanying clip, “This is not a joke. This is real police officers down here, in life-and-death situations.” I’ll wait and see, though, if he’ll be resolving those situations with just his “gaze and his gestures.”
In the Guardian UK: Steven Seagal: Lawman. Does it get any better?
By the time that TIME magazine gets around to reporting on a “new trend” you can be sure it’s probably last year’s news, which is why this article—about the insanely popular 4-day work week in Utah—caught my eye:
In an era when most of us seem to be working more hours than ever (provided we’re still lucky enough to have jobs), 17,000 people in Utah have embarked on an unusual experiment. A year ago, the Beehive State became the first in the U.S. to mandate a four-day workweek for most state employees, closing offices on Fridays in an effort to reduce energy costs. The move is different from a furlough in that salaries were not cut; nor was the total amount of time employees work. They pack in 40 hours by starting earlier and staying later four days a week. But on that fifth (glorious) day, they don’t have to commute, and their offices don’t need to be heated, cooled or lit.
After 12 months, Utah’s experiment has been deemed so successful that a new acronym could catch on: TGIT (thank God it’s Thursday). The state found that its compressed workweek resulted in a 13% reduction in energy use and estimated that employees saved as much as $6 million in gasoline costs. Altogether, the initiative will cut the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 12,000 metric tons a year. And perhaps not surprisingly, 82% of state workers say they want to keep the new schedule. “It’s beneficial for the environment and beneficial for workers,” says Lori Wadsworth, a professor at Brigham Young University who helped survey state employees. “People loved it.”
These must be the assholes we hired!
As loyal Dangerous Minds readers have probably already figured out, I am both a “rock snob” and a bit of an audiophile. So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that the 09/09/09 street date of the remastered Beatles albums—in both stereo and mono—has me counting the hours until I can get my hands on them.
What you might not know if you are of a certain age (or have forgotten if you are of another!) is that the Beatles albums sounded WAY better in mono than in stereo. Both the group and George Martin preferred mono and the stereo mixes back then were often afterthoughts with severely panned stereo mixes that had most of the instruments on one side and the vocals on the other! The stereo mixes always seemed very peculiar to me.
The 1987 CDs were the pits. Just awful, flat aural experiences. And nothing’s been done to rectify that situation until now. It always been ridiculous that the Beatles and the Stones had the worst sounding CDs. A lot of people don’t rate the Stones ABKCO reissues highly, but I thought they were (mostly) done pretty well and it was nice to be able to hear that material with fresh ears. Most of us who grew up with the Beatles, Stones and Led Zeppelin probably probably don’t listen to them all that much now, because it’s so easy to conjure their music up in our “mind’s ear,” but the Love mash-up album from the Circe du Soleil show helped me get back into the Beatles again and I’m really looking forward to hearing the remasters. If I can manage to score some promo copies of these sets, I’ll offer up reviews of stereo vs. mono daily on the site.
Meanwhile, here’s a song that sadly didn’t make it to any Beatles CD ever, their uniquely comic turn—it’s very Goon Show, isn’t it?—on Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture taken from the credits of Help!:
Take a look at the fascinating work of Germany’s “trashy” answer to Christo, H.A. Schult:
Garbage is once again the leitmotif in Schult’s latest work. “We are living in the time of garbage,” says Schult. “We produce garbage and we will be garbage. I created a thousand sculptures of garbage. They are a mirror of ourselves.” Here, Schult is referring to his 1,000 trash people, humanoids he has created from trash. He first exhibited them in 1996 at the Roman amphitheater inside Xantene, a recreated Roman village in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The figures triggered such an overwhelmingly positive response that he decided to take them on tour. “It is a social sculpture,” he explains. “It is not only a sculpture for the eyes. It’s a sculpture to spread the idea that we live in a time of garbage.”
Lotus Esprit Turbo says, “The Lancia Stratos HF prototype was a styling exercise by Bertone, first show at the Turin Motor show in October 1970. It was a futuristic design with a wedge shaped profile and stood just 33 inches (84 cm) from the ground. It was so low, that conventional doors where not used. Instead, drivers had to flip up the windscreen and walk into the car, to gained entry. Visibility was restricted as the front windscreen was narrow, when inside. The car had a 1.6 litre V4 engine, taken from the Fulvia HF. To access the mid-mounted engine, a triangular shaped panel hinged upwards.”
Thank you Jesse Merlin!