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Yesterday’s election results made me puke my guts out

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When you’re watching the TV news in horror (say, like, when a bunch of rightwing lunatics and Facebook friends of Sarah Palin are being freely elected to statewide and national offices by other people you gotta share the same land mass with) it can become almost apocalyptic when you’re suffering from food poisoning (as I was last night).

Or was it food poisoning? Maybe it was just seeing the leathery face of (presumed) new House GOP leader, John Boehner crying his crocodile tears, that turned my stomach so. Maybe it was seeing an asshat like Rand Paul getting the nod or the fact that hooker-hiring diaper-wearing shitfun meister, David Vitter got reelected (or the tragic loss of progressive hero Russ Feingold). Whatever the reasons, I puked my fucking guts out last night. I felt damned sorry for myself and even sorrier for my country.

On the bright side: No Sharron Angle, no Christine O’Donnell, no Carl Paladino (as if!) and no fucking Meg Whitman in my home state. (Full disclosure, I worked for Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign in 1991 in New York. I didn’t work for his gubernatorial campaign, but I did enthusiastically a vote for him yesterday).

This morning, I read that 47% of senior citizens voted for Tea party Republicans. Anyone looking at that figure can easily surmise that there was a very big enthusiasm gap at play this year. Old people and evangelicals ALWAYS vote for the GOP (they don’t seem to really know why, but they do). Had the Democrats been able to fire up younger voters—which they obviously were not—this wouldn’t have happened (certainly not in the same measure). But what reasons did young people have to go to the polls yesterday aside from voting against the GOP/Teabaggers? Certainly not to vote for Democrats. What have the Democrats done for us lately, besides behave timidly like moderates Republicans? Don’t get me wrong, I voted a straight Democratic ticket, but aside from Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, it was hardly if I was voting FOR anyone.

Memo to Obama and the Democrats: It wasn’t because you were too progressive that you lost. It was that you aren’t progressive enough (although I expect that message fell on deaf ears).

Later this month, when the House refuses to extend UI benefits for the folks that have already used up their 99 weeks, and the freshman class of Republicans ARE going to refuse to extend them, that much seems obvious, the class war implications of what happened yesterday are going to be startlingly obvious. The next two (or ten) years are going to be pretty interesting, as in the Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times.”

But if you didn’t vote yesterday, you have no right to complain.

Photo via Gawker. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words, eh?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Unemployment Offices To Add Armed Guards

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Caught this lil’ masterpiece of understatement on the Drudge Report this morning:

Armed security guards will be on hand at 36 unemployment offices around Indiana in what state officials said is a step to improve safety and make branch security more consistent.

No specific incidents prompted the action, Department of Workforce Development spokesman Marc Lotter told 6News’ Norman Cox. Lotter said the agency is merely being cautious with the approach of an early-December deadline when thousands of Indiana residents could see their unemployment benefits end after exhausting the maximum 99 weeks provided through multiple federal extension periods.

“Given the upcoming expiration of the federal extensions and the increased stress on some of the unemployed, we thought added security would provide an extra level of protection for our employees and clients,” he said. [Emphasis added]

Increased stress? Is this asshole kidding?

I guess they’re expecting there will be some people who won’t react too kindly to being told they and their children are being left to starve come December.

This is how we live now. If you think it’ll get better by voting for Republicans—or not voting at all—tomorrow, you are sorely fucking mistaken.

Unemployment Offices To Add Armed Guards: 36 Offices Beefing Up Security Before Benefits Set To End (WRTV: The Indy Channel)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Report claims Alcohol more harmful than Heroin or Crack Cocaine
11.01.2010
08:18 am

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The Guardian today reports that alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the U.K., beating heroin and crack cocaine into 2nd and 3rd place. This according to a study published by former government drugs adviser, David Nutt, and his colleagues from the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. The Guardian goes on to say:

Today’s paper, published by the respected Lancet medical journal, will be seen as a challenge to the government to take on the fraught issue of the relative harms of legal and illegal drugs, which proved politically damaging to Labour.

Nutt was sacked last year by the home secretary at the time, Alan Johnson, for challenging ministers’ refusal to take the advice of the official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which he chaired. The committee wanted cannabis to remain a class C drug and for ecstasy to be downgraded from class A, arguing that these were less harmful than other drugs. Nutt claimed scientific evidence was overruled for political reasons.

The new paper updates a study carried out by Nutt and others in 2007, which was also published by the Lancet and triggered debate for suggesting that legally available alcohol and tobacco were more dangerous than cannabis and LSD.

Today’s study offers a more complex analysis that seeks to address the 2007 criticisms. It examines nine categories of harm that drugs can do to the individual “from death to damage to mental functioning and loss of relationships” and seven types of harm to others. The maximum possible harm score was 100 and the minimum zero.

Overall, alcohol scored 72 – against 55 for heroin and 54 for crack. The most dangerous drugs to their individual users were ranked as heroin, crack and then crystal meth. The most harmful to others were alcohol, heroin and crack in that order.

Nutt told the Guardian the drug classification system needed radical change. “The Misuse of Drugs Act is past its sell-by date and needs to be redone,” he said. “We need to rethink how we deal with drugs in the light of these new findings.”

For overall harm, the other drugs examined ranked as follows: crystal meth (33), cocaine (27), tobacco (26), amphetamine/speed (23), cannabis (20), GHB (18), benzodiazepines (15), ketamine (15), methadone (13), butane (10), qat (9), ecstasy (9), anabolic steroids (9), LSD (7), buprenorphine (6) and magic mushrooms (5).

The authors write: “Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm. They also accord with the conclusions of previous expert reports that aggressively targeting alcohol harm is a valid and necessary public health strategy.”

Nutt told the Lancet a new classification system “would depend on what set of harms ‘to self or others’ you are trying to reduce”. He added: “But if you take overall harm, then alcohol, heroin and crack are clearly more harmful than all others, so perhaps drugs with a score of 40 or more could be class A; 39 to 20 class B; 19-10 class C and 10 or under class D.” This would result in tobacco being labelled a class B drug alongside cocaine. Cannabis would also just make class B, rather than class C. Ecstasy and LSD would end up in the lowest drug category, D.

The text of the full report can be read here.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Christian Hero: Megachurch pastor Jim Swilley comes out
10.30.2010
09:54 pm

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Georgia megapastor Jim Swilley has come out as a gay man to help turn the tide against the recent spate of tragic gay teen “bullycides.” What a wonderful and incredible thing for this man to do. Via Queerty:

Swilley, who created the Church In The Now some 25 years ago, is a divorced father of four. But he’s known he’s gay since he was a boy, says the Rockdale County man of the cloth, and even his wife Debye — whom he divorced earlier this year — knew when they got married (!). The couple kept it a secret for more than two decades, but Jim says Debye recently pushed him to share his story.

The pastor made the announcement to his congregation two weeks ago (yes, it takes time for some stories to trickle), with his family in the audience and decided to come out now after witnessing the rash of gay youths killing themselves. One Internet forum poster says that unlike Atlanta’s Long (whom Swilley won’t speak about), Swilley has not used the pulpit to denigrate gays: “For those of you familiar with Church In the Now, while never discussing his own sexuality, you know that Swilley has always preached a message of inclusion, love and abundance for all God’s children. Bishop Swilley has been asked to step down as Bishop, but will remain as Pastor.” (That last part we haven’t confirmed.)

If there’s a mass exodus from his church, Swilley says he wouldn’t be able to survive it, but would certainly pick up and start again. “God has always spoken through me,” he tells his followers, saying the calling has been with him since birth. His parents tell him stories of him preaching as a toddler in diapers; he doesn’t remember that time.

“Those of you who are people of color. How do you like it when a white person says, ‘What is the deal? What are you so unhappy about? You’ve got a black president already, isn’t racism over?’ Doesn’t that make you want to say, ‘Thank you but you really have no idea what you’re talking about.’ … It’s very easy for people who have never experienced something … to have opinions about it.”

Below, video of the recent sermon where Pastor Twilley tells his congregation that he is a gay.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Trash can baby turns out to be…
10.29.2010
05:40 am

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Thank god it turned out to be a beany baby.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Iraq’s Secret War Files: Documentary based on Wikileaks info reveals brutal truth
10.29.2010
12:45 am

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Television

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The truth is uglier than you imagined.

Dispatches, Channel 4’s flagship current affairs strand, exposes the full and unreported horror of the Iraqi conflict and its aftermath, revealing the true scale of civilian casualties and allegations that even after the scandal of Abu Ghraib, American soldiers continued to abuse prisoners; and that US forces did not systematically intervene in the torture and murder of detainees by the Iraqi security services. The programme also features previously unreported material of insurgents being killed while trying to surrender.

 

 
Parts 3, 4 and 5 after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Posters printed with oil from the Gulf of Mexico
10.26.2010
02:54 pm

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A clever, simple and powerful idea, well executed. Grab ‘em fast.

A project by Happiness Brussels
Designed by Anthony Burrill

Limited edition of 200 posters,
screen printed with oil from the
Gulf of Mexico disaster

All benefits go to CRCL,
(Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana)
A non-profit organisation dedicated
to restoring the Gulf of Mexico’s
coastal wetlands

 

  Thanks Sara Padgett Heathcott !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Save the 100 Club
10.24.2010
04:57 pm

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Last month in London, it was announced that the legendary 100 Club was to close after sixty-eight years of promoting live music in the same location at 100 Oxford Street. The venue was originally a restaurant called Mack’s, and live music first played there, when British jazz drummer, Victor Feldman’s father hired the venue for a regular Sunday night showcase, to promote the talents of his sons and their bands. Gradually word spread of a new jazz haunt, and it soon became the hot spot for British servicemen and visiting American G.I.‘s. Amongst the early performers to play at the venue were Glen Miller, Ray McKinley, Mel Powell and Peanuts Hucko.

By 1948 the venue was called the London Jazz Club and it was the centre for Jitterbug, Swing and then Be-Bop as well as promoting new forms of music. The Feldmans then gave up ownership and the Wilcox brothers took over the now thriving club. In the 1950s, the lease changed hands again and it was taken over by Lyn Dutton, agent for popular jazz trumpeter, Humphrey Lyttleton, who renamed the venue to the Humphrey Lyttelton Club, giving Lyttelton residency. The club scored a major coup when Louis Armstrong played there in 1956, and it later became the venue for Trad Jazz throughout the 1950s.

With the arrival of The Beatles in 1963, British music changed, and the club was given over to the next generation, and renamed the 100 Club.  The policy was still the same - a venue to promote new music. Soon the 100 Club was spearheading the R’N'B scene with Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and B. B. King all taking to the stage, along with new acts such as Rod Stewart, Alexis Korner, Julie Driscoll, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and The Animals. The rise of Beat music brought in The Who, the Kinks, The Pretty Things and The Spencer Davis Group.

The success of the Sixties was but a memory by the 1970s began, as the club struggled through a variety of work-to-rule measures and energy black-outs enforced by the government of the day. This all changed when the 100 Club launched the first festival of Punk:

On Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st September 1976 the 100 Club was host to the first ever Punk Rock Festival. Seen for the first time, certainly in London, on the 100 Club stage were the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, Siouxsie & The Banshees the Buzzcocks the Vibrators and Subway Sect. No one outside of a select few had heard of any of the them and all of them were unsigned. The Melody Maker’s opening line of its review stated ‘The 600 strong line that stretched across two blocks was indisputable evidence that a new decade in rock is about to begin.’ It was to be one of the most famous events in the club’s history. The Punk festival of ‘76 also had an enormous effect on music in general. It changed the club’s fortunes and its image indefinitely. As no other venue wanted to put on Punk at all, it stayed at the club on and off for the next eight or nine years incorporating its second wave with bands like U.K.Subs, G.B.H., ADX, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, The Exploited and Discharge. The 100 Club is still the spiritual home of the Punk movement.

At the same time the 100 Club was also promoting Reggae, with Steel Pulse and The Might Diamonds, and Northern Soul, with Terry Callier, Doris Troy, The Flirtations and Tommy Hunt.

In 1980s, African Jazz / Township Music became the focus for the club:

Julian Bahula, the distinguished African drummer, decided to run a regular Friday night featuring authentic African bands. Many of the musicians he employed were political refugees isolated from their South African homeland because of the apartied laws and were members of the outlawed A.N.C. The weekly Friday nights became a whole movement for change and with the pulsating music on offer a whole new genre in the 100 Club‘s history was born. Great African musicians like Fela Kuti, Marion Makeba and Hugh Masekela appeared on the Friday night bill as did Youssou N’Dour, Thomas Mapfumo, Dudu Pukwana and Spirits Rejoice. It ran for almost ten very successful years until the release of Nelson Mandela, then the change in the political climate in South Africa meant the cause was over.

1992 was to see the start of the biggest era in popular music at the club since 1976. The club was once again going through a lean spell when a chance phone call from concert promoter, Chris York, inquired whether the club would be interested in showcasing one of his new bands. The band were called Suede and in September 1992 they kicked off the club’s successful period in Indie music.

Over the next four years Oasis, Kula Shaker, Echobelly, Catatonia, Travis, Embrace, Cornershop, The Aloof, Heavy Stereo and Baby Bird would be just a few of the names to play the club and right up to the present day, the club has seen gigs from Semisonic, Toploader, Muse, Shack, Doves, JJ72, Jo Strummer, Squarepusher, Ocean Colour Scene and The Webb Brothers.

Now, the venue that has been at the heart of new music in the U.K. since 1942 is about to close, and a campaign has been set up to Save the 100 Club.  As the club has been in difficulty for a wee while (for various reasons), £500,000 has to be raised by November.  If you are interested in saving the 100 Club or have a spare half-million to spend or just ten quid, then get in touch and be part of history.

If the money is raised, the club will stay open as a non-profit organisation, with its new owners being the donors. A Board of Trustees would be democratically elected by the donors to run the venue, and “your donation would entitle you to an equal say in these decisions, whether you are able to pay £10.00 or £10,000.” the ultimate aim is:

..restore the venue as a place where new bands can develop and existing bands can continue to thrive.

Look at it this way, if the 100 Club shuts down, your venue could be next.

Without a place for musicians to play live, the future of music will be in the hands of the karaoke-singing, bastard children of Simon Cowell’s X-Factor and American Pop Idol. Hyperbole aside - seriously. The choice is ours which way it goes.
 

 
Bonus Clips of The Sex Pistols and The Clash after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Joe Miller thinks Social Security is ‘unconstitutional’ (but only for other people, not Joe himself)
10.22.2010
06:15 pm

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Slimy, Sarah Palin-endorsed, goon-squad hiring Republican Senatorial candidate from Alaska, Joe Miller’s got some s’plaining to do. It seems that Miller, who thinks Social Security, Medicare and jobless benefits are “unconstitutional” forgot to add that he meant only when other people receive them, not Joe himself! What will the Teabag weenie people think of this hypocritical fuckwit now?

Apparently, when a correspondent for Wonkette asked Miller a question about exactly what percent “disabled” he was from his military service—for which he would presumably recieve benefits—Miller promptly freaked out:

Looking away from your correspondent, Miller yelped to no one in particular, “We’ve gotta go!” He then pointed to his wife and said, “Let’s move!” The Millers hustled to the back of the vacant strip mall office next to the pizza place and surrounded themselves with campaign staffers.

This time, Miller’s phalanx of creepy skinheads dressed as Secret Service agents — last seen assaulting and restraining a local journalist — were nowhere around. Your correspondent was able to escape unscathed.

A West Point graduate who served in the first Gulf War, Miller boasts of his military record in his radio and teevee ads, yet refuses to discuss the nature or the degree of his service-connected disabilities; he receives monthly tax-free payments for life as compensation. If Miller is classified as 30% or more disabled, he receives additional payments for each of his nine dependents. This Veterans Administration benefits chart shows that Miller could conceivably be bringing in over $4,000 a month, tax free, depending on his disability rating.

He needn’t report or declare this income. What are the disabilities for which Joe Miller receives tax-free payments? A Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis should concern voters more than say, hearing loss.

Yet when asked, Joe Miller froze for a moment and then fled like a guilty child.

Nicely! It’s fascinating watching this tool’s candidacy implode.

Who would be dumb enough vote for this clown, now? The more we know about Joe Miller, the more craven he appears. Yuck.

Joe Miller Runs Screeching From Simple Question (Wonkette)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Cannabis sodas: No smoking (necessary)
10.22.2010
05:12 pm

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Colorado residents with a doctor’s prescription for medical cannabis will soon be able to purchase a mass-produced THC-infused soft drink that comes in several flavors. A Colorado-based company called Dixie Elixirs is preparing a line of marijuana-laced sodas for the medical-cannabis market that now numbers 14 states. Not sure exactly how something like this would work across state lines, but I suppose that they’re about to find out. Maybe they’ll have to have plants in each state, which will—HELLO—provide new jobs. Decriminalizing pot is a no brainer.

It’s amusing to note that “discretion” is one of the key advantages to the product (i.e. not smoking something) but maybe they’d want to leave the pot-leaf off the bottle, then! Strikes me as like when people have Grateful Dead bumperstickers. Might as well have one reading “I’ve got pot (and/or LSD) in the car!”

It’s also worth mentioning that a hundred years ago Coca-Cola famously used to have a coca leaf extract which provided its “kick.” This seems tame in comparison.

I’ve tried a similar type of cannabis soda (not a Dixie Elixer, to be clear) but it didn’t do much for me. Okay, I drank three and still felt nothing. Maybe these guys will get it right. The market for something like this could be massive, especially if California’s voters pass Prop 19.

Via Discovery

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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