Wednesday, April 29, 2009

OMG! The Psychedelic Furs ... in Londonderry!!

At the Tupelo Hall!: ["Tupelo Hall"].
But, yikes, front row seats are $65 ... that's a bit much. I think I might pay $50. Although, if I didn't go to see any other summer concert this year ... Oh, but I have to work that night. Arrgh. There is probably no way I would be able to get there by 7 p.m.
The Church and Edgar Winter in July. Missing Persons in August. Wow, great stuff at the Tupelo!

Update: And BTW, with the burndowndays.com site down, there is no other way to find out if there are other shows in the area. It's really time for the Furs to spring for a real Web site at this point. Sorry Anne.

Hope du jour ... is back ...

Every once and a while, I check out Phil Hyde's Web site, Timesizing.com: ["Timesizing.com"].
There hasn't been a lot of activity there lately. However, I noticed this week, that Phil has started posting again, both "doom du jour" - bad economic news - and "hope du jour" - economic news, links, and examples of companies utilizing similar ideas to his timesizing concept - cutting worker hours in order to free up more personal time.
It's good to see that the Web site is being updated again. Certainly, these are difficult times - in need of some innovative ideas.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm amused ...

I'm amused at the handful of friends [mostly liberal] who have been suggesting to me that they don't think the tea party groups protesting President Obama and the Congress is "the right way to do things" ... this, after many of them spent YEARS [and rightfully so] protesting the Bush Administration for all of its nonsense. Go figure!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Here's a good idea: Make the workers owners!

The WSJ is reporting that the UAW will eventually own 55 percent of Chrysler stock in a new deal reached between the company and the union. According to the news alert, Fiat will own 35 percent and the government and private lenders will own 10 percent.
This seems like a great idea. Sure, if the company fails the workers get little. But, at the same time, if it succeeds, the workers win. So, it's in the interest of the workers to win.
This goes to the heart of what companies should be doing: Allowing workers to share in the creation of the wealth of the company. Why haven't other companies done this? Why hasn't the government promoted this with TARP funds and other things? There are no protections at all for workers. There are also no incentives too.
Hopefully Chrysler and other companies will start making cars that the public wants to buy. I'm particularly interested in the Dodge ZEO concept car: ["ZEO"]. Bring it on Chrysler. There are buyers waiting!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Obama: Rhetoric vs. action

Guest Perspective/Ralph Nader
“No more fine print; no more confusing terms and conditions.” This is what Barack Obama told a White House gathering of leading credit card issuers this week.

Right afterward, President Obama told the press that “there has to be strong and reliable protections for consumers, protections that ban unfair rate increases and forbid abusive fees and penalties.”

This soaring rhetoric places a heavy burden on Mr. Obama to stand up to the giant power of the credit card bosses and their monetized allies on Capitol Hill. Yet he has shown little interest in re-instating a Presidential consumer advisor as did Lyndon Johnson with the formidable Betty Furness and as did Jimmy Carter with the legendary Esther Peterson.

Deep recession times are tough for the nation’s over 200 million consumers. Still, no consumer voice in the White House, though consumer groups asked Mr. Obama to move promptly on this tiny advocacy office months ago.

The corporate chieftains have easy access to the White House and the new President, whether these bosses come on missions demanding power or missions of beggary for bailouts. When will he meet with the leading heads of consumer protection groups with millions of dues-paying members who could give him the base to hold accountable and regulate the democracy-denying, economy-wrecking corporate supremacists?

“Where’s the Backbone?” asked Ruth Marcus, the usually-restrained lawyer-columnist for The Washington Post. On April 15, 2009 she wrote: “When will President Obama fight, and when will he fold? That’s not entirely clear—and I’m beginning to worry that there may be a little too much presidential inclination to crumple.” Ms. Marcus asserts that “for all the chest-thumping about making hard choices and taking on entrenched interests, there has been disturbingly little evidence of the new president’s willingness to do that.” This is the case even with his allies in Congress, never mind his adversaries.

Just four days later, The New York Times weighed in with a page one news article that said President Obama “is well known for bold proposals that have raised expectations, but his administration has shown a tendency for compromise and caution, and even a willingness to capitulate on some early initiatives. …His early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators, and some loyal Democrats, wondering: ‘Where’s the fight?’” Like the Post, the Times gave examples.

It is not as if Mr. Obama is lacking in public opinion support. Overall he has a 65% approval rating. People know he inherited a terrible situation here and abroad from the Bush regime and they want action. Large majorities believe America is declining, that there is too much corporate control over their lives, and that the two parties have been failing the American people.

But the President’s personality is not one to challenge concentrated power. A Zogby poll reports that only six percent of the public supports the financial bailouts for Wall Street. The vast majority of people do not think the bailouts are fair.

The upcoming 100 day mark for the Obama administration is a customary time for evaluations by the politicos, the pundits, and the civic community. While his supporters can point to the pay-equity law for women, more health insurance for poor children, and a $787 billion economic stimulus enactment, the general appraisal by the liberal-progressive intelligentsia is decidedly mixed and gentle with undiluted hope.

Mr. Obama nourishes these mixed feelings. He showed some courage when he agreed, as part of an ongoing court case, to release the four torture memos written by Bush’s Justice Department. Graphic photos of prisoner treatment in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be released next week. Yet Obama came out against a Truth Commission regarding the alleged crimes of the Bush regime and said he would “look forward and not look back.” For Obama that means immunity for anyone from the Bush Administration who may have violated the criminal laws of the land.

It is remarkable to read those oft-repeated words by lawyer Obama. Law enforcement is about looking back into the past. Investigation and prosecution obviously deals with crimes that have already occurred. That’s the constitutional duty of the President.

After 100 days it is far too early to render many judgments about Obama. One can, however, evaluate his major appointments—heavily Clintonite and corporate. One can also look at what he hasn’t gotten underway at all—such as labor law reform, a living wage, and citizen empowerment.

Next Monday, the Institute for Policy Studies (www.ips-dc.org) releases a detailed report card on Obama’s first 100 days titled “Thirsting for a Change.” While The Nation held a panel discussion on April 22 in Washington, D.C., the panelists largely gave Obama the benefit of the doubt so far, and declared that only grassroots mobilizing will move him forward on such matters as “single-payer” health care, corporate abuse, and the demilitarization of our foreign policy and our federal budget.

Panelist William Grieder coined the phrase “independent formulations” to describe the citizen action needed.

It is important to note that a transforming President has to ask for and encourage this pressure from the citizenry, much as Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in the 1930s.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Note to Garofalo: I'm not a racist ...

I'm catching up on clippings, links, and stories, so consider this the latest edition of the link dump. Later this week, I hope to finish my extensive overview of the financial collapse. I have most of the raw notes done, I just have to double check some facts and figures.

Let's start with MSNBC, the better of the cable news network [seriously, although I don't get it on cable anymore, I watch the links online], and this exchange between actress Janeane Garofalo and Keith Olbermann: ["Garofalo: Tea Party Goers Are Racists Who Hate Black President"].
Boy, talk about not getting it at all. Hey Janeane, I'm not a racist and neither are any of the other folks who were at the rally I attended and participated in. Also, my attendance at the rally had nothing to do with my likes or dislikes of President Obama. Admittedly, I didn't vote for Obama but I had hope that he would actually get some things done and whip the government into shape.
Instead, he continued many of the worst Bush policies and let his appointed Clinton failures give away the rest of the store. So far, it's been a big disappointment and it has nothing to with Obama's race. It has more to do with his policies.
I mean, let's be honest, Obama has given us the worst conservative and liberal stuff and not the best conservative or liberal stuff. Along the way, we're getting stuck with all the bad corporate stuff - as noted by Ralph Nader last week - that seems to be totally ingrained in our political system no matter what political party or candidate is in power.
So, what does that leave us? A lot of nothing and big disappointments and that is unfortunate because there was so much potential and so many people had so much hope for real change. Well, you all thought wrong.

Here is an interesting alternative take on the recent pirate incidents: ["You Are Being Lied to About Pirates"].
If all of this is true, it would not surprise me since the media, generalizing, especially on the national level, has a tendency to not really look at anything with any depth at all. Or, they get the story totally, TOTALLY wrong, as we've seen with the big newspapers' coverage of the Iraqi invasion.
Interestingly, a Google News search yielded a few commentary pieces about the issues of nuclear waste and over-fishing off the coast of Somali but no real updated news [some of the sources cited a BBC report about the issue but who really watches the BBC here anyway, huh?].
If this is the case, before taking action, the United States and other countries should definitely reconsider military action and instead, offer humanitarian and cleanup assistance to the affected areas. It would be in the long-term interest of the world to do this first and then take out the pirates, if they still exist after finding a bit of justice.

After reading this story, I began to wonder what the VA was so worried about: ["VA seizes reporter's tape"].
In many ways, as the song goes, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Essentially, you can switch presidents, you can switch control of the Congress, you can even switch department heads, but the menace and bureaucracy of government often remains. That is just the nature of the beast in general, especially at the federal level. It doesn't really change much at all.

Quick sidebar: Why do we still have to go through all of the TSA checkpoints at this point? There hasn't been a hijacking or anything else in years and there never will be because most folks will stand up against the crazies to make sure it never happens again. Maybe it is time to consider loosening up the whole take-off-your-shoes crap in the TSA lines ...

Oh, I am so glad this finally happened: ["Genentech Pulls Raptiva Psoriasis Drug"].
Those commercials really gave me the creeps ... May cause this, that, or the other horrific thing ... Hmm, itchy, red, blotchy skin or potential death ... what a choice!
Seriously though, how the heck do these things get approved? And, before you start yelling about the Bush FDA, this was happening under Clinton too. So, it's bipartisan hapless oversight and regulation problems.

Most people probably missed this piece but it is worth posting: ["Newspapers Evaporating At Tremendous Speeds"].
I mean, there is so much bad newspaper news, whole entire sites are watching it all unfold. It's too much for me to keep up with.
But I'm beginning to wonder whether or not we should start talking about these issues as a society. And not just newspaper readers, employees, news junkies, and other assorted media interests. Maybe we should all begin to talk about it. I truly wonder what is going to happen to everything if the only news and supposed government oversight is a slew of people like me chirping away on blogs during our spare time. If this is what is going to happen to news reporting, we're doomed. We aren't going to believe what the nation and the world are going to look like after this seismic change.
I know there have been some of these conversations happening, mostly between media types, but maybe regular folks should start talking about what is going to happen if our news entities stop existing.
Of course, here is an opposing view, from a few weeks ago: ["Democracy's Cheat Sheet?"]. Maybe other options will reveal themselves in the future. Who knows? I don't, that's for sure.

And before we sign on to another bailout for General Motors, take a look at this: ["The List: Globalized Motors"].
In other words, it isn't just about too many dealerships, too many brands, too high wages for union folks, or even the legacy payments being made to former union employees who no longer work for GM. The simple fact is that we have gutted our manufacturing base in exchange for cheaper labor costs and access to other countries. All well and good, if that is what you decide to do. But now, a whole slew of Americans can't afford the cars, even at 0 down, 0 percent financing, over 72 months! We, as taxpayers, don't have to bail these companies out when their globalism runs out of gas and they can't sell cars domestically anymore. Too effin' bad. Good luck to you GM ... but not on my friggin' dime.

And lastly, a great piece here by William Greider, as usual:["Trust Your Guts"].
Granted, it's a couple of weeks old. But, it holds its own in the scheme of things. And this problem is still looming even though we have wasted trillions and are wasting hundreds of billions on the stimulus stuff. Trust your gut. You know they are wrong. 'Nuff said.

How about a test of your injustice barometer?

Guest Perspective by Ralph Nader

You might think that the reckless, avaricious, giant corporations, having shrunk the economy, cost millions of jobs and then demanded that taxpayers be dunned for years into the future for multi-trillion dollar bailouts, would show contrition, regret, or self-restraint of their power over Washington.

Forget it. They’re baaack! Their greed and power are revving up big time to bring Washington and you the taxpayer, you the parent, you the consumer, you the worker, to your knees.
Here is a sample of the appalling dynamics of corporate greed and continuing over-reach each day in your nation’s capital.

1. Just when people thought the taxpayer-subsidized corporate student loan racket was ended by the Democrats, Sallie Mae, its cohorts and lobbyists, like Jamie S. Gorelick of FannieMae notoriety, are descending on Congress. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that replacing these subsidized loans with direct Department of Education lending will save $94 billion over the next ten years.

It is long overdue to end this gouging, college payola giving, obscenely overcompensated industry, and give students an efficient and reasonable lending system. Still, Sallie Mae, Citigroup, Bank of America and others are swarming over Congress to retain a big piece of the action. “Why do we even need private lenders?” correctly asks Congressman Timothy H. Bishop, a former provost of Southampton College.

2. ABC News reports that banks are hiking already high credit card rates and other bank-related fees: “The Banks have been given billions of dollars of tax money and only lend it out if customers are willing to pay extortion rights,” said Tony Cesnik, a Concord, California, resident. Cesnik adds: “The banks need a legal spanking. They are acting like spoiled brats!” Elizabeth Warren, Harvard law professor and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel agrees: “We’re asking taxpayers to pay twice.”

3. The big oil and gas companies are saturating the airwaves with ads warning about the Obama Administration’s alleged desire to tax them $400 billion. This will cost jobs and reduce the discovery of more oil and gas, they say. Where is this $400 billion figure from? Obama’s ambition is not much beyond repealing the tax breaks George W. Bush gave his oily friends for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico when oil was selling at less than $40 per barrel. Some of the oil industry’s own spokespersons admitted last year that their argument doesn’t hold water any more with such high oil prices and profits since then.

So what are the big oil corporations like Exxon doing with their excess profits that totaled a record $45 billion just for Exxon last year? They’re not even drilling on two-thirds of the acreage they have rights to explore. Instead Exxon is spending $35 billion to buy back its stock and hold in cash. When the next oil shock comes, Exxon will demand more tax breaks and other dispensations to fund its drilling. We’ve seen that game played out before at the gas pump.

4. Now comes Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh to report a private meeting recently between six senators and Obama in the White House where the president heard complaints that his proposed regulatory reforms were too weak and were being devised by his appointed officials who were part of the problem in Wall Street. Well, are you surprised that a new powerful lobby created by the likes of Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs is gearing up to stop adequate regulation of “over the counter” derivatives, to keep these transactions secret, and to continue to permit what Hirsh called the “systemic risk that led to the crash.” This brazen move by the incorrigible banks is underway after they received huge bailout money from Washington. Beware they may yet demand and receive another big bundle.

5. With workers losing millions of jobs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and virtually the entire business juggernaut are amassing tens of millions of dollars to stop the union-facilitating “card-check” legislation and any effort to bring the federal minimum wage up to what is was back in 1968, no less, adjusted for inflation. It is now about three dollars short of that modest goal for hard-pressed laborers, many without health insurance.

6. And oh, how these company bosses are fighting to keep their big bonuses going as a reward for tanking many of their own companies. Call it hubris, arrogance, disdain for common decencies of the American people, it all reflects too much corporate power over our lives—a judgment over 75 percent of Americans share.

All this lobbying of Congress and the White House year after year pays off. A study by three Kansas University professors found that a single tax break in 2004 earned drug, manufacturing, and other companies $220 for every dollar they spent in their cash register politicking. Presently, Lockheed Martin is spending millions of our taxpayer dollars to oppose Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and many other defense experts who want to finally shut down the price-skyrocketing F-22 fighter extravaganza designed for combat in the Soviet Union-era.

So, are you more upset than when you started reading this column? Feel frustrated and powerless? With your friends, ask your Senators and Congressperson during their frequent recesses for a three-hour public accountability session. If you can assemble 300 or more residents, after you rev up your community, you’re likely to have your elected representatives come to an auditorium where you live and work. If they think 500 people will show up, it is even more likely. Especially if you are organized and tell them this is just the beginning. Just the beginning!

Without the rumble from the people back home, a majority of the 535 members of Congress will continue to kowtow to about 1500 corporations and you’ll pay the price again and again. So, rumble, rumble, rumble!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beachin' it ...

I'm taking a few days off for family stuff and some rest and relaxation. Play nice while I'm gone. Be back Monday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15, 2009, Tea Party Rally in Concord


The son of former Gov. Meldrim Thompson speaks to a crowd of hundreds outside the State House in Concord on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier today, hundreds of protesters turned out to protest high taxes, high debt, the Federal Reserve, and out of control government spending. Estimates were as high as 500, according to press reports. Many more turned out to the Manchester rally later in the day.

I was one of the people invited to speak, giving a more "liberal-tarian" view of the situation. Here is the framework of my remarks although I did alter them slightly during delivery:
My name is Anthony Schinella and I’m the co-chairman of the Concord Taxpayers Association. I’ve been joking all week with friends and online that I’m probably the token liberal here today. Despite the demonization of these rallies in much of the press, I’m proud to stand here with you today.

Conservatives and liberals have common ground to till:

We all support open, honest government;
We all want the end to waste, fraud, subsidies, abuse, and corporate welfare in the halls of Congress and in boardrooms;
We need to decimate the demons of debt, derivatives, and deception in our economic system and work towards localism not globalism;
We all want a sane tax policy;
And lastly, we need to close the oppressive and bankrupt Federal Reserve system and return our monetary system back to the Congress where it belongs.

At the Concord Taxpayers Association, which is co-chaired by former judge and Rep. Chuck Douglas, we are concerned about issues at the local level. Concord is facing a multimillion dollar budget deficit. One of the main reasons is that 25 percent of the city is tax exempt, including this hallowed hall behind us. So 75 percent of the physical city foots the bill for all.

Even though there is a deficit, our leaders say there isn’t much waste in the budget. But if you look deep inside, you can find some things:

There are employees scattered around a number of departments, like parking and finance, that could be job-sharing or performing multiple tasks;
There are two assistant city managers when there used to be one;
The cable media access center burns through a quarter of million dollars a year and buys themselves all kinds of goodies like trips and benefits, and has wasted tens of thousands of dollars in supposed “development expenses”;
And despite an economic meltdown and millions in deficits, in December, the city put out an RFP to buy two new SUVs and a cruiser for the police department – even while public safety employees could be put on the chopping block. I don’t know if the SUVs are hybrids or not, but I doubt it.

A few months back, the city passed a pay as you throw trash program. Or, as we like to call it, the bag tax. Shockingly, or not so, while approving the bag tax, the city decided not to charge for leaf pickup because a few people whined about it. So, the necessity – trash pickup – gets taxed, but an extravagance – picking up leaves – does not.

In Concord, city officials often bite off more than they can chew while wasting millions. There is the boondoggle $15 million parking garage that was badly designed so few people use it. There are the millions spent on the tannery project that collapsed in Penacook.

Over on the school side, there is more mismanagement.

A couple of years ago the administration secretly purchased a number of houses around Kimball School, paying more than the assessed values at the height of the market, wasting millions. Had they waited, they could probably get those houses for a song and maybe we wouldn’t have to lay off teachers.

Then, there is the issue of the bond for Concord High School which was paid off years ago. That tax money should have been returned to the people but instead, the school administration is hoarding it for future use.

That future use is a plan to spend more than $100 million to consolidate our elementary schools. Who cares if they are warehousing our children into massive schools so long as the new buildings are “green.” Hey, I recycle. There is nothing wrong with being green. But smart people know that small schools are better, and that renovating buildings is cheaper and greener than constructing new ones.

No matter what anyone says, being critical of such fiscal nonsense is what responsible citizens are supposed to do. Commonsense positions are the only hope through decadent, dark times ... if only we can shut off American Idol long enough to educate ourselves.

On a personal note, I’m incensed by the recklessness of what is going on at the national level. I have two young boys, under the age of 5, and in the last two years, the federal government has accrued so much debt in their names that they will never be able to pay it off. Think about it this way: Our government is borrowing billions from the Chinese to educate our children, the same children who will never be able to pay off the billions owed to the Chinese. At the same time, our fraudulent free trade system will put my boys in competition with Chinese workers who will earn pennies. What kind of madness is that?

We have spent trillions bailing out bandit bankers and crooks that brought our nation to the brink. And yet, they aren’t in jail – they get bonuses! Does everyone remember the three strikes and you're out law a few years back and the guy in California who stole a slice of pizza and, because it was his third strike, he went to jail for life? Well, that guy is still in jail but these people aren't. They are allowed to foreclose homes of people who bailed them out. There are families living in tents on the Merrimack River for no fault of their own but the crooks remain in their homes. I read somewhere recently that our government supposedly owns 38% of Citibank and yet, they can still charge taxpayers 19% interest – or more - on their credit cards. This is not change we can believe in – this is insanity!

In closing, let me say, as a progressive Democrat, that it is clearly time for us to cast aside our differences and come together to create real hope for the future. It is time for us to fight for economic justice, sane fiscal policies, and create true prosperity for all Americans. Thank you, God bless.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's like the Clintonistas all over again!

Right-wing extremism? On the rise? Oh my word. Come on. Where? What a bunch of bunk: ["Federal agency warns of radicals on the right"].
This is just like when Clinton was in power and anyone who talked about how free trade was a failed economic policy or Gulf War syndrome or transponders in your cars or radio frequency tags in your clothes - you know, everything that has basically come true 15 years later - was labeled a threat to the government. This is so insane I'm truly, truly shocked.

Blockbuster story ...

The USA Today has this 10-year update on the Columbine situation: ["10 years later, the real story behind Columbine"]. A few notables? They weren't goths. Well, many of us knew that years ago. And they weren't loners. And ... they were reportedly planning a massive terrorist attack. Wow.

R.I.P.: The Bird

Wow, what a way to go ... crushed by your truck!: ["Tigers legend Fidrych passes away"].

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tea Party Rally in Concord

There will be a tea party rally in Concord on Wednesday, April 15, from noon on at the State House.
I have been asked to speak at the rally, to talk about local issues going on in Concord including the bag tax and other shenanigans. It is clear from looking at the speakers below, that I'm the token liberal who has been invited to speak. But I'm proud to. I hope to see everyone there!

Concord Tea Party Rally Speakers

* Corey Lewandowski, Chairman of Americans for Prosperity NH Chapter.
* Tom Thomson, son of former Governor Meldrim Thomson.
* Rep. Neal Kurk, Member of the Finance Committee of the NH House.
* Rep. Jim Forsythe, conservative former Republican representative.
* Andy Sanborn, Small business Owner, The Draft in Concord.
* Kurt Kendall, Small Business Owner, Twins Smoke Shop in Londonderry.
* Jennifer Horn, conservative radio talk show host and Republican Nominee for Congress.
* Ed Naile, Chairman, Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers.
* Tony Schinella, award-winning newspaper editor and radio broadcaster, co-chairman of Concord Taxpayers Assoc.
* Christopher Wood, local community organizer who lead the Concord spending petition drive.
* Mike Biundo, NH Advantage Coalition

Co-sponsors:
Coalition of NH Taxpayers
Cornerstone Policy Research
The Reagan Network
NH Advantage Coalition
NH Republican Liberty Alliance
Granite State Taxpayers
Sagamore Consulting Group

Update: Here is the text of my speech: "Tea Party in Concord"

Morning reason to be ticky?

Nearly $11 of my monthly cellphone bill is government taxes and fees!
Another $2.97 is a Sprint administrative fee, a fee that should be part of the almost $85 a month we pay for cellphone service! Why are we paying admin fees on a service we are receiving?
We were also billed 60 cents for text messages we never sent but which we received ... as SPAM! So, now we pay for the spammers junk too! This is all really getting really ridiculous.

Update: This was just posted on Drudge: ["PHONE TAXES ARE CELL HELL"]. Mine is not quite 20 percent but it is more than 10 percent!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another interesting video ...



Isn't it amazing that all of these people end up losing their jobs but because they are a part of the protected class, they find other ones. They are put on new boards of directors and head up other corporations. While at the same time, ordinary folks who lose their jobs because of no fault of their own can't seem to find jobs?

Silly "tax and spend" video ...

This is funny yet silly:

Granite State Opera closes

This is a real downer for opera fans and music lovers in our region: ["Economic Malaise Claims Another Arts Company"].
I'm sad to see that they are closing up shop. I've interviewed Phil Lauriat a number of times on the radio and have enjoyed his company's productions. But, at the same time, you at least have to break even with your shows. And as the Hippo Press reported this week, GSO was losing quite a bit of money with each show [Jeff Rapsis wrote the story but I couldn't find it online to link].
I have never been a huge opera fan. In fact, I always found it silly and annoying. But the more I educated myself about the format, the more I came to respect it and enjoy it ... the talent in the productions, tapestry of the content, and difficulty putting it all together. I first came to know opera locally with "Aida" and later, "The Mikado," both traveling shows at the Capitol Center. "The Mikado" was a gut buster - during "I've Got a Little List," the actor modernized the lyrics and included a bit about Dick Cheney shooting his friend in the face. It fit right in since the incident just happened and the change caught the audience entirely off guard.
The GSO shows were absolutely superb. "Madama Butterfly" was amazing, "Rigoletto" and "l'Elisir d'Amore" - the elixir of love - were excellent and hilarious, with top notch talent, musicians, and sets. I'm sure our experience was like going to the opera in New York or London.. It was that good.
Lauriat was a master conductor - not arrogant like you can sense with some conductors - but so caught up in the perfection of the music and the need to be stellar. Whimsical, with sweat often running from his brow, you could tell he loved what he was doing and lived to work with all the talent people he gathered together for the two productions a year.
Unfortunately, since moving out of radio, I haven't had the chance to take in much opera. I missed the last few productions like a lot of folks and I'm sorry for that. But I will always cherish those GSO productions and hope to continue to enjoy the format in the future. Here's hoping all involved with the GSO find something as invigorating to work on in the future.

More bad local newspaper news ...

The Hooksett Banner and the Goffstown News, weekly newspapers which have been serving their communities for about 50 years each, will move to every other week editions starting this week.
In front page and opinion page comments, the staff announced that due to a drop in advertising revenue, the newspapers would be making the change. Historically, they have been weeklies. The Hooksett edition of the newspaper this week was still 20 pages and chock full of local information - but only had five bylined stories.
To compensate, the staff will publish updates online and they are encouraging readers to sign up to the company's Facebook pages to get updates and to update them with notices.
These changes come just four months after the newspaper announced that it was merging The Bow Times and the Goffstown News together: ["Two local media notes ..."].
The newspaper's parent company is the Union Leader. So, I can't imagine that they would be doing this unless they really, really had to.
One other media note: WMUR-TV is reporting that the Hippo Press' parent company has bought a bi-monthly newspaper in York, Maine: ["NH Company Buys Maine Newspaper"]. Gotta wonder what the strategy is there.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

'Kings' ratings ...

Mediaweek reported earlier this week that "Kings" is "averaging a mere 5.28 million viewers, with a 1.5 rating/4 share among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research data." So that's why they are moving it to the graveyard of Saturday night.

CPAs MIA

Guest Perspective by Ralph Nader
Where were the giant accounting firms, the CPAs, and the rest of the accounting profession while the Wall Street towers of fraud, deception and cover-ups were fracturing our economy, looting and draining trillions of dollars of other peoples’ money?
This is the licensed profession that is paid to exercise independent judgment with independent standards to give investors, pension funds, mutual funds, and the rest of the financial world accurate descriptions of corporate financial realities.
It is now obvious that the accountants collapsed their own skill, integrity and self-respect faster and earlier than the collapse of Wall Street and the corporate barons. The accountants—both external and internal—could have blown the whistle on what Teddy Roosevelt called the “malefactors of great wealth.”
The Big Four auditors knew what was going on with these complex, abstractly structured finance instruments, these collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other financial products too abstruse to label. They were on high alert after early warning scandals involving Long Term Capital Management, Enron, and others a decade or so ago.
These corporate casino capitalists used the latest tricks to cook the books with many of the on-balance sheet or off-balance sheet structured investment vehicles that metastasized big time in the first decade of this new century. These big firms can’t excuse themselves for relying on conflicted rating companies, like Moody’s or Standard & Poor, that gave triple-A ratings to CDO tranches in return for big fees. Imagine the conflict. After all, “prestigious” outside auditors were supposed to be on the inside incisively examining the books and their footnotes, on which the rating firms excessively relied.
Let’s be specific with names. Carl Olson, chairman of the Fund for Stockowners Rights wrote in the letters column of The New York Times Magazine (January 28, 2009) that “PricewaterhouseCoopers O.K.’d AIG and FreddieMac. Deloitte & Touche certified Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. Ernst & Young vouched for Lehman Brothers and IndyMac Bank. KPMG assured over Countrywide and Wachovia. These ‘Big Four’ C.P.A. firms apparently felt they could act with impunity.”
“Undoubtedly they knew that the state boards of accountancy,” continued Mr. Olson, “which granted them their licenses to audit, would not consider these transgressions seriously. And they were right…Not one of them has taken up any serious investigation of the misbehaving auditors of the recent debacle companies.”
“Misbehaving” is too kind a word. The “Big Four” destroyed their very reason for being by their involvement in these and other boondoggles that have made headlines and dragooned our federal government into bailing them out with disbursements, loans and guarantees totaling trillions of dollars. “Criminally negligent” is a better phrase for what these big accounting firms got rich doing—which is to look the other way.
Holding accounting firms like these accountable is very difficult. It got more difficult in 1995 when Congress passed a bill shielding them from investor lawsuits charging that they “aided and abetted” fraudulent or deceptive schemes by their corporate clients. Clinton vetoed the legislation, but Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) led the fight to over-ride the veto.
Moreover, the under-funded and understaffed state boards of accountancy are dominated by accountants and are beyond inaction. What can you expect?
As for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “asleep at the switch for years” would be a charitable description of that now embarrassed agency whose mission is to supposedly protect savers and shareholders. This agency even missed the massive Madoff Ponzi scheme.
The question of accounting probity will not go away. In the past couple of weeks, the non-profit Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)—assigned to be the professional conscience of accountancy—buckled under overt pressure from Congress and the banks. It loosened the mark-to-market requirement to value assets at fair market value or what buyers are willing to pay.
This decision by the FASB is enforceable by the SEC and immediately “cheered Wall Street” and pushed big bank stocks upward. Robert Willens, an accounting analyst, estimated this change could boost earnings at some banks by up to twenty percent. VoilĂ , just like that. Magic!
Overpricing depressed assets may make bank bosses happy, but not investors or a former SEC Chairman, Arthur Levitt, who was “very disappointed” and called the FASB decision “a step toward the kind of opaqueness that created the economic problems that we’re enduring today.”
To show the deterioration in standards, banks tried to get the FASB and the SEC in the 1980s to water down fair-value accounting during the savings and loan failures. Then-SEC Chairman Richard Breeden refused outright. Not today.
Former SEC chief accountant, Lynn Turner, presently a reformer of his own profession, supports mark-to-market or fair value accounting as part of bringing all assets and liabilities, including credit derivatives, back on the balance sheets of the financial firms. He wants regulation of the credit rating agencies, mortgage originators and the perverse incentives that lead to making bad loans. He even wants the SEC to review these new financial products before they come to market, eliminating “hidden financing.”
Now comes the life insurance industry, buying up some small banks to qualify for their own large federal bailouts for making bad, risky speculations.
The brilliant Joseph M. Belth, writing in his astute newsletter, the Insurance Forum (May 2009), noted that life insurers are lobbying state insurance departments to weaken statutory accounting rules so as to “increase assets and/or decrease liabilities.” Some states have already caved. Again, voilĂ , suddenly there is an increase in capital. Magic. Here we go again.
Who among the brainy, head up accountants, in practice or in academia, will join with Lynn Turner and rescue this demeaned, chronically rubber-stamping “profession,” especially the “Big Four,” from its pathetic pretension for which tens of millions of people are paying dearly?Justify Full

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another reason to hate television

There is gossip that one of the only shows I watch on television, "Kings," might get canceled: ["The 10 Shows That Deserve to Return Next Fall (But Might Not)"].
Now, as we all know, ambitious television is difficult. Any show with real plot development is difficult. That's why networks have a "reality" show in just about any form imaginable. It's easier to hire a few guys, turn on the cameras, and let "ordinary" people make idiots of themselves. And in the narcissistic and voyeuristic society we now seem to live in, it is very easy to tempt audiences with such audacity and irrelevance.
But, at the same time, television is supposed to be escapism. And that isn't such a bad thing to have sometimes. And that's what makes shows like "Lost," "Gossip Girl," and "Kings," so interesting to watch.
Admittedly, I rarely see "Gossip Girl" anymore since its move to early Monday nights. I'm never home on early Monday nights so I never see it. Having lived a rock 'n' roll lifestyle in NYC, though I relate to the aging father character living in a loft trying to raise his kids on little. In many ways, that could have been my life had I made different choices. Luckily, or not so, depending on how you look at it, his kids get to attend a super elite school with a whole bunch of scummy richies. And the raucous mayhem and partying ensues!
"Lost" is a show I have watched since the beginning and I have been riveted by it. There are so many plot twists and angles that you never know which way is up or what is going to happen next. It is a completely compelling edge-of-your-seat ride every week. Lately, I've missed a lot of the episodes - my wife likes to watch "Lie to Me" before "American Idol." But, I'll catch up with it on reruns.
And then there is "Kings," a cinematic victory for television. A spectacular and yet gritty look at what a modern monarchy might be like, complete with attempted coups, exiles in dungeons, spoiled spouses and children, mistresses, and an unknown boy from the hustings with enough stones to become a hero and get himself noticed. Sure, it's a fairy tale. But so are some of the classics. This show, if given the opportunity, is destined to be a classic.
However, if the network starts fiddling around with it - like moving it from Sunday to Saturday, as rumor has it - or ends it before audiences have had a chance to connect to it then it would have missed its chance.
That is another reason to hate television. For the most part, it never really gives anything a chance and manipulates audiences along the way. It's one of the reasons I don't really watch much of it. And it's why we have an entire generation of kids who act like life is completely throwaway instead of worth living.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

In 2012, remember this video ...

Posted via David Bernstein at the Boston Phoenix. Not only can Mitt Romney not answer a question, he basically walks away from a dying man. What a disgrace:

The power of television ...

Clearly, folks in New Hampshire watch WMUR-TV Channel 9. 10,000 people? Wow. No wonder things were so jammed up today: ["More Than 10,000 Show Up For Job Fair"].

WSJ: No jobs relief until 2010 ...

More bad news on the jobs front. From a news alert that just came over:
Economists in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey expect the recession to end in September, though most say it won't be until the second half of 2010 that the economy recovers enough to bring down unemployment.
You can read the story here: ["Economists See No Job Recovery Until Late 2010"].

Speaking of the UL ...

The newspaper has added on a tagline to its daily email alert:
"There's much more in today's print edition ... and it's just 50 cents daily, $2 on Sundays. Click here to see a listing of today's print-only headlines on UnionLeader.com's home page."
As everyone knows at this point, the only way to survive is to be able to hold your subscribers or even increase them, since most newspaper company revenue is derived from the print edition's advertising.

How bad are things out there?

The UL just sent out a news alert saying that the WMUR-TV job fair has caused traffic jams all around the Mall of New Hampshire and filled up all the parking spaces at the mall: ["WMUR job fair causes gridlock times two in city"].
That is just really tragic when you think about it. All those people out of work or looking for better jobs. Jeez.

Update: WMUR-TV is reporting that the parking lot at the mall is now closed and no one else is being let in: ["Parking Lot Closed After Massive Job Fair Turnout"].

Update 2: At 12:53 p.m., the job fair was shut down.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh, this is soooo NOT a good idea ...

Who is the brilliant mind behind the UAE getting access to materials to build nuclear power plants?: ["Oil-Rich Arab State Pushes Nuclear Bid With U.S. Help"].
This is a "thank you" out the door from W., since he signed it during his last week in office. But President Obama is reportedly calling the program "a model for the world" ... what? Is he insane? Where are the anti-nuclear activists? There should be protests all over the place because of this insanity. If we are worried about the Iranians having nukes, we should worry about these folks too. I mean, aren't these the same people we didn't want controlling our ports?
So what if they need more electricity? So what if they have scads of money? That place is a desert. with a burning hot sun. Tell them to build solar panels on all their buildings!
The simple fact is that there is no safe nuclear power. It is 10,000 years of death and cancer. It isn't safe here; it isn't safe there. It can't be expanded. It can't be done. Where are the activists? Where are they?!?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Honda Insight numbers disappoint

Back in November, I wrote about how excited I was with the new Honda Insight that was to be released this spring: ["Daddy's new car?"].
Well, the car is out, according to an email I received from Boch Honda last week, and available for purchase for $20,400 [the high end model, with navigation, is $23,700].
As you can see from the Honda site ["The Insight"], the new Insight's design looks just like the extremely successful Toyota Prius. It is slightly cheaper and does offers a whole lot of extra features to make it saleable.
But, like everything in life, there's just one problem: The fuel efficiency is a big letdown.
Last year, there were rumors that the Insight would deliver 60 to 70 mpg, similar to the older two seat model. This would put the Insight a huge step above the Prius, which is rated at 48/45 [This is down from the 60/48 rating Prius was originally rated at. In 2008, the government reset the mpg standards to make them, well, more accurate. Most Prius and Honda hybrid owners I know get between 40 and 45 combined city and highway mpg].
However, now that it is out, the mpg on the Insight is much, much lower than previously expected. According to the Honda Web site, the new model will get 40 in the city, 43 on the highway or less than the Prius' 48/45.
What a disappointment.
The Insight, however, is a slight increase in mileage over the Civic line: The Civic is listed at 26/34 vs. 40/43 for the Insight. But it is not much of an improvement when you consider the price difference [Civics start at $15K and change for the DX model which doesn't have AC. The LX starts at $17K and change, with an invoice price of $16K. If you haggle, you can get one for around $14K]. And under certain driving conditions, the Civic can get more than 40 mpg [I know, I got 41.6 mpg combined in the Civic last fall although, admittedly, my combined mileage tends to be between 36 and 39 most weeks, due to city driving]. If you are really struggling for cash, but need a new car with high mpg, the Toyota Yaris might be the way to go. It's rated at 29/36, with a $12K price point. I have heard that under ideal driving conditions, the Yaris can get up to 40 on the highway. This makes it a slightly better deal than the Civic although the Civic is a much nicer vehicle.
If gas prices go up to $4 and potential buyers are driving a ton of miles to get to their jobs, purchasing a hybrid will be worth it in the long-run. But right now, with gas prices at $2 a gallon, they just aren't worth the extra money.
What is unfortunate about this is that the American consumer really needs an inexpensive, highly fuel efficient commuter car. Forty mpg and $20,000 isn't good enough. This ideal car should be in the $15,000 price point range and get 100 mpg or more [the Volvo Recharge concept car is rumored to get 124 mpg but who knows how much that will cost]. Or, it should be taken off the gas grid completely and put on the electric charge grid. We are almost there as far as usage but not price point. Electric plug-in concepts are supposed to be delivered to showrooms within the next year or two, but at much higher price points than Civics or hybrids.
At this point in car production history, hybrids are still a novelty and not worth the extra money. They make the buyer feel good about spending thousands of dollars more for a car they perceive to be more fuel efficient when they could save that money, buy a stripped down Civic or Yaris, and get just as good mileage.

Lights in Jersey turns out to be a hoax ...

Aww, too bad: ["Mystery solved"]. If these guys get punished harshly, it should stop these things from happening in the future. Which means that anything else we see in the sky, could probably be real. :-)

Propaganda at my child's preschool?


Here is a picture of a book I saw at my child's preschool book sale.
The other day, my child's preschool had a fundraising event, including pizza, brownies, and a book sale. We go every year and are glad to help out the school, which I think is a pretty good school. The teachers are nice, there is a tone of spirituality - since the school is in a church, and everyone seems to care about the kids. This is a good thing because the kids are at such a very tender age and are just starting to get used to other kids, being outside of the home, etc.
In the book sale room, sponsored by Scholastic, there were a slew of different children's books. But one struck my eye: "Yes, We Can! A Salute to Children from President Obama's Victory Speech." I saw it and thought, Oh, what is this doing here? Why is there political propaganda in my child's school? I never saw such a book for that idiot W. I never saw one with W. holding "My Pet Goat" after 9-11. I never saw one for Clinton. I never saw one for Bush 41 or Reagan either. So why is there one for Obama?
I didn't pick up the book. I probably should have, just get a look at it. But I was so shocked to see this book at my very young child's school that all I could think about was writing a blog post about it [Yeah, that's pathetic].
Later, bothered by what I saw, I did a Google on the book and found it on B&N for $5. The synopsis read: "Beautiful photographs of children throughout the country accompany pictures of President Obama's monumental campaign and acceptance speech." Oh great. Pictures from the campaign, the glorious acceptance speech of our fearless leader, and the children. Sigh.
Can you imagine if Scholastic did this with W. or Reagan? I mean, you can almost see it, Reagan with the red, white, and blue, telling children how he will bankrupt the nation to end communism. W, with his schoolteacher wife, showing kids how to cut brush and spit chaw. Parents would be going ballistic. But, it's OK to do it because Obama supporters are like a cult now [Not unlike the Reagan supporters, actually!].
I mean, what will Obama really do for children? What has he done? I know it's early, but let's be realistic here. Anyone hoping for a miracle is going to be severely disappointed. Oh, there is some stimulus money for education - that the Congress borrowed against the futures of the same children it is supposed to be helping - but let's not talk about that. There will be more taxes - so your parents can't buy you anything because they are paying higher taxes. Oh, but they will buy you things sweetie, they will just charge it against the future.
Still, the larger point is that this kinda of propaganda has no business being in a school for 3 and 4-year-olds. As they get older and they want to learn about the political process, sure. But if only if it is covered fairly, openly, and honestly. Otherwise, it is just a manipulation tool against young mushy minds ... and that's a very dangerous thing.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

New FBI files say white supremacists paid for MLK's assassination

From the inbox:

(MMD Newswire) April 3, 2009 -- As the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., approaches on April 4, newly discovered FBI files say that a small group of white supremacists paid for James Earl Ray to kill Dr. King. This vindicates the 1979 conclusion of a Congressional investigation headed by Rep. Louis Stokes--the House Select Committee on Assassinations--which found that Ray acted for money. There is no evidence that the newly-released FBI files from 1968 were given to Rep. Stokes' committee. The 1968 King plot also has similarities to several recent white supremacist assassination plots against President Obama that have resulted in arrests.

The recently-uncovered 1968 FBI files support new evidence showing that the late Joseph Milteer was one of four Georgia white supremacists who funded the assassination of Dr. King. Rep. Stokes's committee had actually investigated Milteer for the murder of President John F. Kennedy, because of a Miami Police undercover recording of Milteer made two weeks before Kennedy's death. On that November 9, 1963 tape, Milteer discussed a plan to "assassinate the President with a high-powered rifle from a tall building." On the same tape, Milteer also discussed an unsuccessful attempt to kill Dr. King. The FBI did not provide any information to Stokes's committee indicating they had looked at Milteer for the assassination of Dr. King. As a result, the Congressional committee didn't investigate Milteer for King's murder.

FBI files, along with other new information, indicate that Milteer and his white supremacist associates in Atlanta turned to the Mafia to "broker" the contract to kill Dr. King. The mobster involved was Louisiana/Texas godfather Carlos Marcello, who died in 1993. Congressional investigators uncovered statements and evidence indicating that in the months prior to Dr. King's murder, James Earl Ray was a low-level heroin runner for Marcello's drug network.

James Earl Ray's backing by Milteer and several associates in Atlanta explains for the first time why Ray--after shooting Dr. King in Memphis and fleeing to Canada--first made a 450-mile detour south to Atlanta, where Ray abandoned his getaway car only blocks from Dr. King's office and church. Ray then called one of Milteer's associates, and Milteer himself admitted in a letter that he was in the area when Ray abandoned his car. Authorities have long known that after killing King in Memphis, Ray was somehow able to flee to Canada, then to England, to Portugal, and back to England, where Ray was finally apprehended.

The declassified FBI files about King are detailed for the first time in "Legacy of Secrecy," written by Lamar Waldron, with Thom Hartmann. Liz Smith in "Variety" called Waldron "the ultimate JFK historian" and "Talkers" magazine recently ranked Hartmann as the most important progressive talk show host in America. The authors used files from the National Archives and exclusive sources--from former government investigators to two dozen associates of John and Robert Kennedy--to explain why agencies like the FBI withheld key files from Congressional investigators.

Key FBI and Justice Department files quoted for the first time in Legacy of Secrecy were not cited in a June 2000 Justice Department report about Dr. King's assassination, prepared at the request of the King family. That June 2000 report failed to mention important 1968 Justice Department and FBI files linking Marcello and the white supremacists to Dr. King's murder.

The new information about King's assassination uncovered by Waldron and Hartmann bears striking similarities to several white supremacist plots against President Obama which have resulted in arrests in recent months. Arrests related to the Obama plots have taken place in Tennessee, Arkansas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, and Maine, and some of the charges are still pending. The Associated Press noted that "One of the most popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after [Obama's] election."

The new FBI files described for the first time in "Legacy of Secrecy" indicate that more records remain to be released about Dr. King's murder. Attempts in Congress to pass a Martin Luther King Assassination Records Act, to release all the relevant files, has so far been unsuccessful, even though it was co-sponsored in the past by Senator John Kerry and former Senator Hillary Clinton.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Lamar Waldron, contact: Abbye Simkowitz, Counterpoint Publicist(510) 704-0230 x202 abbye.simkowitz@counterpointpress.com www.legacyofsecrecy.com.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Times threatens to shut down the Boston Globe without union concessions

All I can say is, Wow: ["Times co. threatens to shut down Globe"]. ["Globe faces $20M in cuts or closure"].
Actually, if the Globe is going to be closed, all I can say is that it couldn't happen to a bunch of more deserving people. Beyond Yvonne Abraham and a couple of other people, the majority of the crew over there are a bunch of arrogant, obnoxious, suck ups who have done more to manipulate and ruin Boston than probably any other media outlet in the city. They've reported biased journalism that has brought harm to a lot of people over the years.
For all the talk about what a loss it would be for Massachusetts, I don't know. It is a shell of the newspaper that it once was. And there are a slew of other newspapers out there that cover many of the communities that the Globe covers.
GateHouse New England, the company I work for, covers 110 cities and towns in Massachusetts with weeklies and dailies. Our company also has West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Allston-Brighton weeklies, as well as vibrant Cambridge and Somerville weeklies.
There are a lot of inner city weeklies like the Boston Courant, the Beacon Hill Times, the Back Bay Sun, the Fenway News, JP Gazette, and newspapers tailored to the black community, in the Bay State Banner, the Boston VOICE, and two Dorchester newspapers.
The Boston Herald will also remain, despite its alleged teetering. There are also weeklies like the Boston Phoenix and the Dig, covering both news and arts.
Potential former readers of the Globe can also find national and international news online, since they aren't doing much of that anymore.
In other words, the Globe probably won't be missed. Or, another daily newspaper operation could potentially open without the expensive union.
It is difficult for me to say, coming from a union household, but newspaper companies just can't pay reporters $50K annually to write a couple of stories or a column a week. Those salaries are not sustainable in the current economic environment and they haven't been for a long time. In order to survive, the Globe has to scale back to become an online edition or, stay in print, and bust the union. The owners have to say, Look, this is what we can afford to pay you. If the workers don't want to take the concessions, they can stock groceries somewhere. The simple fact is that no one is going to pay them that kind of money anywhere. So, if they want to work in the craft they love, they have to go down to what the market is willing to pay.

Finance Committee hearings wrap up

From Cissy Taylor, Information Officer, N.H. House of Representatives

CONCORD – Members of the House Finance Committee will wrap up the last of their public budget hearings this evening, with the three divisions of the committee hearing from the state agencies for which they are responsible.
Tuesday’s hearings followed a week’s worth of public hearings held in three communities in different parts of the state.
The last public hearing outside of Concord was Monday night in Whitefield and drew some 375 residents from around the North Country and the Great North Woods areas. Eighty-four people stepped up to the microphones in the auditorium at White Mountains Regional High School and pleaded with members of the Finance and Ways and Means committees for their own causes.
Tops on the list of those asking to have funds restored were supporters of the arts in Northern New Hampshire. Those defending the alcohol fund, its rehabilitation and prevention programs, came next, while medical and home care issues were a top priority for many.
While only eight people spoke in defense of the Colebrook District Court remaining in Colebrook, Colebrook Police Chief Stephen Cass presented the committees with a 500-signature petition asking them not to move the operations south to Lancaster.
Three people said they opposed slot machines and casinos in the North Country, while three others asked that certain boards not be eliminated or consolidated.
The audience in Whitefield brought to nearly 1,000 people who listened to testimony before the committees. Other hearings were held in Salem and Claremont last week. More than 250 people testified at all three of the hearings.
The Finance Committee will continue to work on the budget, both House Bill 1 and House Bill 2. All bills are due out of committee no later than April 2. On April 6, the Finance Committee will brief the full House on the budget. Then, on April 8, the full House will vote on the budget before passing it on to the Senate.

The ones who got it right

Guest Perspective/Ralph Nader
Why is it that well regarded people working the fields of corporate power and performance who repeatedly predicted the Wall Street bubble and its bursting receive so little media and attention?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Noise Top 30 Chart for April

Here's the Top 30 chart for April:

1. Marissa Nadler – Little Hells
2. Adrien and the Fine Print – Honey For Bees
3. The Motion Sick – The Truth Will Catch You, Just You Wait
4. Animal Hospital –Memory
5. Bang Camaro – Bang Camaro II
6. St. Helena – Slow Jack
7. Taxpayer – Don’t Steal My Night Vision
8. Cober – The Western Cutter
9. Scarce – Tattoos and Parades EP
10. Apple Betty – Streakin’ Cross the Sky
11. Muy Cansado – Stars & Garters
12. Movers & Shakers – Larrabee
13. Passion Pit – Chunk of Change
14. The Blizzard of 78 – Book of Lies
15. The Fatal Flaw – We Are What We Pretend to Be
16. The Lights Out – Heist!
17. Three Day Threshold – Lost in Belgium
18. Township – Township/Coming Home
19. Big B – “Tough Love, Tough Luck”
20. Gravehaven – Calico EP
21. Infinity Window – Artificial Midnight
22. Fire on Fire – The Orchard
23. The Hammond Group – Mean Business
24. Slim Jim and the Mad Cows – Appetite for the Truckin’
25. Sun Lee Sunbeam – Look for the Light
26. Sweetmeat and The Silverfish – Sweetmeat and The Silverfish
27. Sarah Rabdau and Self Employed Assassins – Sarah Rabdau and Self Employed Assassins
28. Peter Moore – One Ride
29. Gene Dante & the Future Starlets – The Romantic Lead
30. Volcano Suns – All Night Lotus Party [reissue]