defn. a mixture of various things
‘A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall’
At the Nobel Prize ceremony, Patti Smith delivered an astonishing rendition of Bob Dylan’s 1963 song, ‘A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall’. She forgot the lines midway through, but the incident seemed only to add to the intensity of her performance. After a brief pause, she finished. The video features her voice and Dylan’s words, juxtaposed with images of royalty and well-heeled attendees, and juxtaposed further with the fact that in this long year the U.S. seems to have become but an ashpit of a gutted-out democracy. A powerful presentation honoring a great song-writer worthy of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Bob Dylan did not attend, but his speech was read at the ceremonial banquet.
Alan Grayson’s Analysis of the Ongoing Democratic Primaries
An interesting and reasonable analysis by Alan Grayson, a progressive who is running to replace Marco Rubio as a Senator from Florida:
2/19/2016: “Irony in Online Ads”
This screen capture shows a Daily Kos article along with a toe fungus ad. The data in recent months is consistently showing we may have tipped the Arctic into a meltdown mode. Could there be a better time to worry about a wrinkle on your toe nail?
2/9/2016: “Bernie Sandwiches”
Well worth watching, to the end!
12/16/2015: “A Speaker in Atlanta, Introducing Bernie Sanders”
Rapper Killer Mike gave a stirring speech, introducing Bernie Sanders at a rally in Atlanta. Excerpt: “…in my heart of hearts, I truly believe that Bernie Sanders is the right man to lead this country.”
10/10/2015: “Nearly 100 are killed by bomb blasts at Peace Rally in Ankara, Turkey”
9/22/2015: “Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment”
Laudato Si’ is the second Encyclical by Pope Francis, released on May 24, 2015. It is 184-pages and focuses on our need to quickly take a unified global action to address the consequences of our centuries of pollution and excessive consumption. “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.”
See also this Washington Post Article.
9/15/2015: “Labor is the superior of capital”
A comment by Abraham Lincoln, in his first Annual Message, delivered on 12/3/1861. The larger quote reads:
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
Lincoln delivered this message at the end of a tumultuous year when southern states ceded from the union, forcing the nation toward civil war. In the larger context, 1861 marked the center of a period filled with cycles of economic boom-bust, squalid conditions for industrial laborers, and the continued use of slaves in the U.S. All of these factors were brewing a deepening conflict between ‘labor’ and ‘capital’. Click here to read the entire Annual Message blogged at The American Presidency Project.
8/3/2015: “Only Dead Fish go with the Flow”
This apt comment was submitted by a reader after hearing former President Jimmy Carter describe the current U.S. political system as nothing more than a self-serving, greed-driven oligarchy. Click here for the article and comments, blogged at EcoWatch.
6/21/2015: Paddling From the Big Apple to the Big Easy
Margo Pellegrino, a stay-at-home mother of two from New Jersey, is concerned about our ongoing failure to protect our water. So, she took to the water a month ago and is well along in a paddle, from New York City to Chicago, via the Hudson River, the Erie Canal, and the Great Lakes.
This is an impressive trip. With logistical support, she is also collecting water samples and doing a great job blogging, to show her progress and share the interesting and generous people she is meeting each day.
This year’s paddle will end in Chicago. The end destination is New Orleans, and she plans to resume in summer 2016, with a trip down the Mississippi.
July 19, when Margo paddled into Chicago. Read her daily trip reports at her blog, https://paddle4blue.wordpress.com/.— The 2015 portion of this 2-year journey ended on
- Her blog is at: https://paddle4blue.wordpress.com/
- Track her daily progress at: FindMeSpot.com
- Follow her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/slowpaddler
5/16/2015: Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Water CrisisAn interesting NYTimes article looking at two of the most significant governors in California’s history. Their differing styles and shared commitment to public service. And, the dynamics within the Brown family.
2/12/2015: Monarch Butterfly Populations are in Steep Decline
Not many years ago, more than a billion of these large butterflies would migrate each year between Canada and Mexico, stopping to rest and feed in natural areas across the U.S. Now, the numbers are down to an estimated 30 million … a 97% disappearance.
What’s causing the loss of this flash of color and life? The excessive use of herbicides, to control weeds that clutter the wildscapes we convert into monocultural lawns. Weather extremes (related to anthropogenic climate change) also appear to be a factor.
Learn more by watching the video (with lots of wonderful close-up imagery of insects on plants at Yosemite), and by reading an excellent National Geographic article.
And, please, don’t spray!
1/27/2015 ‘This is Water’
Joe Marrapodi is an entrepreneur in southern California who has posted a few videos on YouTube. One is his intro encouraging people to view the 2005 Commencement speech at Kenyon College, by David Foster Wallace.
Here are three videos. The first is Mr. Marrapodi’s video (1:24); the second is the David Foster Wallace speech (22:44); and the third is a 9-minute portion of the speech audio, worked up as a video about modern life … and the fact that we each can choose how we think about the world around us.
12/10/2014: Desperate workers on a Mexican mega-farm: ‘They treated us like slaves’
The tomatoes and peppers and other produce we buy at Walmart, Safeway and elsewhere … much of it is grown in mega-farms in Mexico. Harvested by workers making $8 per day of work – if and when they get paid. When they are ill and cannot work (due perhaps to overcrowded living space, or lack of hygienic facilities), they get no pay.
Each laborer is contracted for months, but gets no pay until the end of their contract. Seventy-five years later, the Joad family in Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ lives on, still suffering and still being abused by greed and indifference. Is this really that different from 1850’s cotton-farm slavery?
See this story and the others in the series at the four links in the yellow box.
11/26/2014: 10 Reasons Why You Feel So Good in Nature
Excerpt: Earth, rivers, mountains and trees! Silent canyons, babbling creeks and growing green gardens! If you spend time in nature, you’ve probably noticed that you feel happier out there than in here. But why?
11/21/2014: The Need for a Free Flow of Information
True wisdom passes the test of time. Here is a scrap from nearly 200 years ago…
11/11/2014: John Stewart’s interview in Rolling Stone magazine
The ‘Daily Show’ host was asked about ‘Rosewater‘, the movie he directed in the Middle East, soon to be released. The interviewer noted that much of the Middle East was erupting during the filming. Here is an excerpt of John Stewart’s response:
Link to the Interview.
8/14/2014: Pinocchio, Inc., by Ruben Bolling
Tom Lewis at DailyImpact.net presents some interesting articles under his banner, “Chronicling the Crash of the Industrial Age.” He does a lot of thinking and writing, and advocates for changes that allow for a stable and sustainable future. One recent article notes that we appear to be on a collision course for no more fisheries, caused by three factors: ocean acidification, algae blooms, and over-fishing. In another recent article, he analyzes an open letter to Politico, ‘The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats‘. The letter is by Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist and entrepreneur who bankrolled Amazon. Hanauer is on the rich side of the gap, and he is concerned about the growing wealth inequality. He notes:
5/28/2014: Solar Tax Quacks
5/17/2014: The Gift
A fable presented by Leo Babauta, at ZenHabits.net:
4/2/2014: Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Waxman Question Koch Brothers’ Financial Interest in Keystone XL Pipeline
A letter signed by both elected officials was sent to Koch Industries. The letter notes: “Groups backed by Charles and David Koch have lobbied and run political ads to support construction of the pipeline. But Koch Industries has consistently denied financial motives played any role in these activities, asserting that the Keystone XL pipeline has ‘nothing to do with any of our businesses.’ We want to know whether this is true.” The letter presents eleven questions, and the gist of the questions is: how deeply does Koch Industries stand to benefit from construction of the
Koch XL Keystone XL Pipeline? [article]
3-29-14: Chinese Private Sector debt: a bubble about to burst?
This graph was copied from a short article at BusinessInsider.com. The graph was allegedly compiled by Citi.
3-16-14: Police Corruption run Wild, in King City, California
This small community southeast of Salinas is surrounded by rich farmland and home to thousands of farm workers. Charges were recently filed by the Monterey County DA, and many members of the town’s police force arrested, due to a scheme where primarily Hispanic drivers were being pulled over and their cars ‘permanently impounded’. The Police Chief’s brother-in-law benefitted from the massive amount of impound work directed to his tow truck business. The Police Chief let his Sergeant in charge keep (and sell or give away, at his personal profit) a percentage of the cars. Fees for mandatory 30-day impounds made the cars irretrievable to the legal owners. Lots of hard-working people lost their cars, often for minor infractions such as lack of proof of insurance — or even for no infraction at all. Justice, American-style, brought to you courtesy of a rural town in California. [a blog Post]–[article]
3-15-14: New FOIA Lawsuit: Center for Food Safety v USDA/APHIS
The Center for Food Safety has filed a FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, charging the USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) with multiple FOIA compliance failures. The core of the complaint is that APHIS refuses to produce disclosable agency records and is failing to comply with FOIA timelines. CFS is seeking records related to USDA’s “…decision to approve the unrestricted cultivation and sale of genetically engineered alfalfa (Roundup Ready alfalfa), … (designed) to withstand the repeated applications of the herbicide glyphosate. APHIS’s process of approving Roundup Ready alfalfa has been an issue of national interest, and a subject of litigation involving Plaintiff CFS, alfalfa farmers, consumer groups, and other national public interest groups dedicated to sustainable agriculture and the protection of our environment….” [article] This FOIA lawsuit looks to be very well researched and written. While this lawsuit has to do with GMO’s, food safety and environmental health, the presentation within the lawsuit is applicable to FOIA failures in all federal agencies. This 14-page ‘reference’ document is good reading for any concerned citizen who is considering a FOIA lawsuit to compel accountable and transparent performance by agencies.
2-25-14: Hog Wild: Factory Farms are Poisoning Iowa’s Drinking Water
An article by Ted Genoways looks at the explosion of Iowa wean-to-finish hog farm operations, as seen in the last decade. These Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s)generate enormous amounts of fecal and urine waste, which ends up contaminating the air, the croplands, and especially the rivers. Nitrate and E. coli levels are climbing well above federal safe limits. See also the related material at wiki, where this quote comes from: “In 1966, it took one million farms to house 57 million pigs; by the year 2001, it only took 80,000 farms to house the same number of pigs.”