Mega-rally: Large protests expected in Michigan tomorrow

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Tomorrow a large rally to protest the policies of unpopular Michigan Governor Rick Synder will take place in Lansing. There was a protest held there earlier today attended by more than 1,000 pissed-off senior citizens whose pensions Gov. Snyder wants to tax. That was just the orchestra tuning up. Snyder’s outlandish budget proposal would give even a goon like Scott Walker pause. Synder’s plan would raise taxes on the working class by 31% while cutting taxes for corporations by 86%. WTF is right! Get on the bus!

Below, Michael Moore’s open letter to his fellow Michiganders:

Friends and neighbors,

The call has gone out and I’m asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats.

What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries—and then ran in the general election as “just a nerd from Ann Arbor” who was a moderate, not an ideologue—has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I’ve ever seen in electoral politics.

Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.

In just 8 short weeks he has:

* Gotten the House and Senate to pass bills giving him “Emergency Management” powers such as the ability to appoint a corporation or a CEO who could literally dissolve town governments or school boards, fire the elected officials, nullify any local law and run your local governmental entity. That company then would have the power to immediately declare all collective bargaining contracts null and void.

* Proposed giving business a whopping 86% tax cut while raising everyone’s personal taxes by 31%! And much of that tax hike he believes should be shouldered by—I kid you not—senior citizens and the poor! He says these two groups have not been “sharing the sacrifice” the rest of us have been burdened with. So his budget proposes a $1.8 billion tax CUT for business and a $1.75 billion tax INCREASE for the rest of us, much of it from the poor, seniors and working people—even though the top 1% in Michigan ALREADY pay a lower state tax rate than everyone else does!

* Together with the legislature, introduced over 40 anti-labor bills in just the first two months of this session! They have wasted no time and have caught most people off guard. Much of this is being rushed through right now before you have a chance to raise your voice in objection.

These actions are breathtaking when you realize they will drive our already battered state straight into the ground. What we needed right now was an inspiring leader to help us reinvent Michigan and to find creative ways to create new jobs and lift us out of our economic depression. The rest of the country may call what they’re experiencing the “Great Recession,” but few argue that Michigan is suffering a “one-state Depression.”

I know many of you are filled with a great sense of despair and a justifiable loss of hope these days in Michigan. But you must not let things get even worse. You must stand up against these Draconian measures and this outrageous attempt to rip our democratic rights from us by turning our state over to well-paid hacks from Wall Street and corporate America. They see our state as one big fire sale—and they are licking their chops to get their hands on what is still a state rich in natural resources and industrial infrastructure.

Please show up at noon on Wednesday for our first mega-rally against this insanity. Hundreds of groups are already organizing car pools and buses. You can right now just declare yourself an organizer and get your friends and neighbors committed to being in Lansing. If ever there were a day to call in sick, Wednesday is it (because this IS sick). Students, if ever there were a day to cut class and become a participant in your democracy, Wednesday is it. This event needs to be HUGE—and I believe it will be if you will simply be there and take a stand.

Much attention has been paid to Wisconsin in recent weeks. Well, they got nothing on what’s going on here in Michigan. Rick Snyder is Scott Walker on steroids. There’s never been what even the AARP calls “an all-out attack” like this on us. Trust me, you will rue the day you sat home and did nothing while thieves posing as politicians stole your Great Lakes State from you.

Don’t let it happen. Be at the capitol by noon on Wednesday for the largest demonstration the state has ever seen.

Go Spartans! Go Wolverines! Go Everyone Else In Between!

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Recall Walker’: Gov. Scott Walker has a welcoming committee

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Increasingly hapless Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, still trying to prove how utterly and spectacularly clueless he is, took his show on the road this weekend to the small town of Washburn in Bayfield County, WI. Walker spoke at an invitation-only event where he was met by a large, angry and very vocal group of people who hate his guts. The video below is what we can now safely refer to as “Classic Walker”—boy, this motherfucker is DENSE! He honestly seems to think this is going to blow over! He suffers from this weird, pathological delusion that he’s right! Reality is going to be smacking Scott Walker in the face—HARD—in the very near future. From the Duluth News Tribune:

Walker arrived in a convoy of six unmarked police cars that pulled up at 5:45 p.m. to the Steak Pit for a Republican Lincoln Day fundraiser. The large, boisterous crowd, which had been lining the streets leading to the restaurant since 4:30, quickly recognized him and erupted in boos and shouts of “Recall Walker.”

The convoy moved through quickly and without incident, and most of the protesters began to follow a circuitous route on public pathways to a spot behind the restaurant where they continued the protest within earshot of the Republican Party faithful inside.

Bayfield County Sheriff Paul Susienka said Saturday evening that he didn’t have a crowd estimate, but various people had estimated the size at between 2,000 and 5,000. So the protest

probably at least doubled the size of Washburn, which has a population of 2,271.

—snip—

People were definitely saying their piece, greeting each vehicle that arrived for the dinner with shouts of “Shame!” while waving protest signs and shaking their fists. One person videotaped the license plates of at least some of the vehicles that entered.

Protesters banged pots, shook tambourines at car windows and sounded horns. Most of the drivers and their passengers stared straight ahead. They had to navigate through a narrow tunnel formed by protesters on both sides, held back by Bayfield County sheriff’s deputies and rally organizers.

Signs included “Gov. Walker, you probably can’t remember me, but ... I can recall you” and “At least my Grandma’s Walker helps her.”

—snip—

“The thing that really got me here is the disparity of wealth that has grown way too out of hand,” Griffiths said. “This is not a Wisconsin thing. This is a global pandemic of wealth buying power.”

Richard Bergsrud, 26, of Duluth agreed that it wasn’t just a Wisconsin thing. The way Walker’s proposal to strip public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights was passed into law was wrong, Bergsrud said.

“It should be a dialogue, not a monologue,” he said.

Bergsrud acknowledged he felt a little bit sorry for people arriving to the event. But he said they were wrong for supporting actions that deprived public employees of long-fought-for rights.

Not everyone who disagreed with the protesters was in the Steak Pit.

Mark Goodrich, a building contractor in Ashland, stood at the corner where protesters passed between Stage North and the entrance to the Steak Pit with a large sign bearing the words, “God Bless Gov. Walker.”

Goodrich said he had heard a few taunts from protesters.

“I know some of the people,” he said. “I have friends on both sides.”

But he added: “Collective bargaining is not a right. It’s never been a right.”

Not sure if I am reading this correctly, but was there just one idiot in the whole town who “stood up” for Dead Man Walker against all the other protesters who loathe him?

That’s a visual! One I don’t expect was very comforting for the embattled Republican governor, do you?

It would be amusing to know whether or not class traitor Mark Goodrich was invited in out of the cold by the Republicans for his misguided efforts on their behalf, wouldn’t it?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century, the soundtrack

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If I had to sit down and compile a list of my top favorite books—which would be difficult for me to do—there would most assuredly be a spot in the top fifty for Greil Marcus’s sprawling, idiosyncratic and essential, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century.

This book is about a single serpentine fact: late in 1976 a record called Anarchy in the U.K. was issued in London, and this event launched a transformation of pop music all over the world. Made by a four-man rock ‘n’ roll band called the Sex Pistols, and written by singer Johnny Rotten, the song distilled, in crudely poetic form, a critique of modern society once set out by a small group of Paris-based intellectuals.

Lipstick Traces, well, traces the critique of capitalism from the Dada art movement through the Situationist International and the May 1968 uprisings in Paris, through to the Sex Pistols and the punk rock explosion. In other words, it is the hidden history of the artistic opposition to capitalist society. It was heavily influenced by the revolutionary avant-garde punk zine “Vague” (a parody of Vogue, if that’s not obvious). I was reading “Vague” from my late teens—I still have most issues—and it had a great deal to do with shaping how I see the world. Marcus cribbed a lot from Tom Vague for Lipstick Traces, which is not to take anything away from Greil Marcus at all, but to simply give credit where its due.

Although I can recall a lot of criticism that was leveled at Lipstick Traces by reviewers when it first came out, the book’s thesis was, in my opinion, on pretty firm ground. It has certainly stood the test of time and has remained in print to this day. I’m told that it’s often used in college courses, which is unsurprising. A twentieth anniversary edition of Lipstick Traces was published by Harvard Press in 2009

But what many ardent admirers of the book don’t know, it that Rough Trade released a companion “soundtrack” CD to Lipstick Traces that came out in 1993. Like the book, it’s always had pride of place in my vast collection of “stuff.” The CD was rarely encountered in a world prior to Amazon.com (there’s not even a listing for it on Amazon today, either) but now, thanks to the fine folks at Ubuweb, these rare audio documents, lovingly assembled by Marcus, can be heard again. The selection runs the gamut of weird old hillbilly folk, doo-wop, to punk rock from the Slits, Buzzcocks. Gang of Four, The Adverts, Kleenex/Liliput, The Raincoats, The Mekons, a recording of the audience at a Clash gig, and best of all, the blistering mutant be-bop of Essential Logic’s “Wake Up.” Interspersed between the music is spoken word material from French philosopher Guy Debord, Triatan Tzara, Richard Huelsenbeck and even Marie Osmond reciting a brain-damaged version of Hugo Ball’s nonsense poem “Karawane” that must be heard to be believed.

Below, Benny Spellman: “Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)”
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
A Norman Rockwell Joint
03.15.2011
05:01 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Drugs

Tags:
marijuana
joints
Norman Rockwell

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(via KFMW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Wendy James wants to blow your mind

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In the late 1980s, Wendy James was the goddess of choice for many a teenager’s bedroom. She was sexy, beautiful and her band Transvision Vamp dominated the UK charts with their post-punk pop. Wendy was everywhere, a teenage wet dream, which kinda overlooked the singer’s real talent and incredible energy.  

It was her unacknowledged talent (and a fan letter from Wendy) that led Elvis Costello to write the pop princess her first solo album, Now Ain’t the Time for Your Tears in 1993. It was a bloody impressive recording, which kicked even her harshest critics into touch. But let’s not forget, the pop world is fickle, and riddled with jealousies, which means, sadly, there are always those who will not think about Wendy beyond the pull-out posters that once decorated their bedroom walls.

Now, this should be about to change, as Wendy James has released the best album of her career so far, I Came Here To Blow Minds, which she has written and produced herself. I spoke to Wendy over the ‘phone last week and asked her about the process of writing the album. 

Wendy James: ‘I wrote it in summertime in New York. I went up onto the roof of my apartment, with my guitar and worked on my songs up there. I write all the time, and have notebooks full of writing and songs all around. Then one day it just starts, and I have an outpouring of these songs and ideas, for about two months. And when I write I have to lock myself away. I just can’t enjoy other things. It’s kind of like a pressure cooker, and you put a lid on to stop it boiling over, but then you can’t stop it boiling over.

‘For me, it’s a very solo outpouring. It takes everything you’ve got for that moment in time. But it’s the ultimate thing for being an artist.’

It’s a cathartic process, and writing the last song, is like ‘waiting to exhale.’ On I Came Here To Blow Minds, Wendy’s songs range form the punky “New Wave Flowered Up Main Street Acid Baby”, through “Municipal Blues” and the jangly indie pop of “One Evening in a Small Cafe” and “You Tell Me” to the sixties’ Marianne Faithfull-like “Where Have You Been, So Long?”. The musical references are all there, and have developed over Wendy’s twenty-plus year career, from teenage pop star to older, wiser solo artist.

It started in her teens, when Wendy saw Joe Strummer of The Clash in concert and thought “I want his job.” Her wish soon came true, when she formed Transvision Vamp with Nick Christian Sayer in 1986. Sayer wrote the songs and James supplied the image. Three albums and a slew of hit singles were released, including “I Want Your Love” and “Baby, I Don’t Care”.

Wendy James: ‘Without really knowing, I was in Transvision Vamp. I didn’t really know what I was doing. But you learn really quickly, it was a fast track, you learn how to rehearse, how to deliver. It all came together so quickly. On the first album, I was just singing. By the second I wanted more.’

Their second album, Velveteen was a massive hit, but Wendy was growing up.

Wendy James: ‘Something in my soul was telling me I had to live in my own world. I had to do my own thing. Something was going on inside, and by the third album, it wasn’t enough.’

Then Elvis Costello wrote an album for her. 

Wendy James: ‘But still there was this inner voice, you know, these were Elvis Costello’s songs, and not mine.’

It took time. In 2004, James returned as Racine - ‘...the name I called myself for two albums…’ - and then began writing the songs for I Came Here To Blow Minds, which she recorded in Paris. Now, Wendy has plans to tour the UK, Europe and the US later this year. She is also working on songs for her next album.

An initial pink vinyl pressing of ‘I Came Here To Blow Minds’ is now available
 

Wendy James: “New Wave Flowered Up Main Street Acid Baby”
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Big Lebowski’ bowls a strike with Quincy Jones’ ‘The Dude’
03.15.2011
02:15 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Movies

Tags:
The Big Lebowski
The Dude
Quincy Jones

 
Edited by Jeff Yorkes.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Ken Russell is Aleister Crowley
03.15.2011
01:40 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Aleister Crowley
Ken Russell
Imperium Pictures

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This should be interesting. Ken Russell is Aleister Crowley in a new short (which is currently in the edit) from Imperium Pictures.
 
Previously on DM:

Ken Russell’s banned film ‘Dance of the Seven Veils
Before ‘The Devils’: Bad-boy Director Ken Russell calls down the Angels, in 1958


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Gerard Smith of TV On The Radio has lung cancer
03.15.2011
01:27 pm

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Dangerous Minds is sending good vibrations in Gerard Smith’s direction. TV On The Radio’s bass player has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The band released the following message:

Gerard has been undergoing treatment and will be unable to participate in the upcoming tour. Gerard is fortunate enough to have health insurance and is receiving excellent medical care. Already we have seen dramatic results. Combine that with Gerard’s legendarily willful disposition and it might just be cancer that has the problem. We appreciate your concern and support for Gerard and his family.”

TV On The Radio will be at SXSW on March 19 at the Mog party, sadly without Gerard, and we will be there to give our support to one of the greatest bands on the planet.

Here’s a terrific track, “Caffeinated Consciousness,” off their new album Nine Types Of Light which will be released on April 12.
 
CAFFEINATED CONSCIOUSNESS

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Take a virtual tour of the Large Hadron Collider

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360 Cities and photographer Laurent Egli have made it possible to take a virtual tour of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. Using a Roundshot D3 camera fitted with a special fisheye lens, Egli was able to capture these magnificent panoramas of the LCH and staff at work. It’s pretty incredible.

360 Cities (Jan): Can you share with our readers how a mortal man can manage to get an invitation to get inside?

Laurent: Taking of these image has been made possible through a meeting with Maximillien Brice. Max is the head photographer for CERN and has become a personal friend of mine. So when he called me to tell me that the LHC was being stopped for some maintenance and that we had a small window of opportunity to go down on monday the 7 th of ferbruary I couldn’t not jump on the occasion.

 
(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dems have nearly half of signatures needed for recall of Wisconsin GOP state senators

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Democrats in Wisconsin got out of the gate with a very strong start for the race to gain the necessary signatures needed for a recall election in the “Forward” state. This can’t come as good news to the Republicans and Gov. Walker (nicknamed “Dead Man Walker” by no less of a representative of mainstream American opinion than TIME magazine).

Greg Sargent writes in the Washington Post:

Dems have now collected over 56,000 signatures supporting the recall drives, according to party spokesman Graeme Zielinski, after another surge in organizing activity over the weekend. That’s up from rougly 14,000 after last weekend. This means Dems are well ahead of schedule: In each targeted district, Dems need to amass the required signatures — 25 percent of the number who voted in the last gubernatorial election — by a deadline of 60 days after first filing for recalls, which happened nearly two weeks ago.

In other words, Dems are reporting they are nearly halfway to the finish line, with roughly three-fourths of the alloted time remaining.

Though the national media has largely treated the Wisconsin story as resolved, now that Republicans used a procedural maneuver to pass Scott Walker’s measure, the new signature numbers suggest the GOP’s maneuver may only be giving more momentum to the recall drives. The recall fight has drawn the attention of national Dems, who are keeping attention on the battle in hopes that it will have ramifications in the 2012 Congressional and presidential elections, by galvanizing the Dem base, persuading independents that the GOP has overreached, and reawakening the affection of blue collar whites for unions.

Some will insist that these numbers are unreliable, because they are coming from Dems. But if they did cook the numbers, such exaggerations would quickly become apparent if they fell well short of their goals by the deadline. (Republicans are refusing to reveal the amount of signatures they’ve collected to recall Dems.) What’s more, these signatures numbers claimed by Dems mirror other indicators of enthusiasm: Dems and labor continue to raise money for the recall drives at a dizzying clip, and a huge rally amassed in Madison over the weekend.

According to Wisconsin Dem spokesman Zielinski, Dems are ahead of pace in signature gathering in every single one of the eight districts being targteted, and in three of the districts, Dems have well over 50 percent of the number required.

And in a related note, popular Wisconsin resident, Jeff Skiles, who was co-pilot of the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane, told WISC-TV that he will be closing his accounts (totaling over $400,000) at M&I Bank today. M&I’s executives were amongst the largest donors to embattled Gov. Scott Walker’s election campaign. Below, Skiles speaks to pro-labor protesters in Madison on Feb. 26, 2011.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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