Monday, February 22, 2010

Noise Top 30 Chart for March 2010

Noise Top 30 Chart for March 2010

1. Pants Yell! – Received Pronunciation
2. Hallelujah the Hills – Colonial Drones
3. Ad Frank & the Fast Easy Women – Your Secrets Are Mine Now
4. The Peppermint Patties – One Night Band
5. The Luxury – In The Wake Of What Won't Change
6. Mission of Burma – The Sound The Speed The Light
7. Choo Choo La Rouge – I’ll Be Out All Night
8. Dead Cats Dead Rats – Dead Cats Dead Rats
9. Freezepop – form activity motion EP
10. Clem Snide – Hungry Bird
11. Damon & Naomi – Damon and Naomi with Ghost
12. Dinosaur Jr. – Farm
13. White Hinterland – Kairos
14. The Beatings – Late Season Kids
15. Brendan Boogie & the Best Intentions – The Sweet & the Brutal
16. The Lights Out – Color Machine
17. The Big Big Bucks – Crucial Schmooze
18. Dear Leader – Stay Epic
19. Joy Kills Sorrow – Darkness Sure Becomes This City
20. Magic Magic – Magic Magic
21. Symbion Project – Misery In Soliloquy
22. Township – Selections from Volume 1
23. Bacchus King – Bacchus King
24. Bodega Girls – “She’s into Black Guys”
25. The Bynars – Back From Outer Space
26. Digney Fignus – Talk of the Town
27. The Konks – “Nerves”
28. Mascara – “B261”
29. Michael Tarbox – My Primitive Joy
30. Three Day Threshold – Straight Out of the Barrel

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ron Paul wins CPAC straw poll ...

by 9 percent: ["Rep. Ron Paul surprise winner of CPAC presidential straw poll"].
Two quick points from this story: First, the influx of Tea Party activists into the CPAC event and their influence - clearly, from a Paul win - in the process. Just goes to show you that all the crap they are saying about the Tea Party isn't true. They aren't in the tank with the regular GOP. And they aren't about just stopping Obama's agenda.
And then, this line from the article:
"Reflecting the college atmosphere of the annual event, young people dominated the voting: 54 percent of participants were between the ages of 18 and 25."
Umm, this ain't your parents GOP in other words. Young people want freedom and they know they will be handed massive debt that they will never be able to pay. How much you want to bet that a good chunk of them voted for Paul?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bullish time for obesity

Guest perspective by Ralph Nader
King Obesity sat grandly on a huge hassock atop a throne composed of solidified animal fat surveying his domain. The last thirty years have been bullish for Obesity, during which the number of seriously overweight children in America tripled. Eating fat, sugary and salty food while sitting for hours daily looking at video screens, being bused to and from school, and not having to bother with physical education, millions of lads and lassies were following orders.

An agitated messenger arrived in the throne room, breathing heavily from his travels. “Oh, my liege, Obesity, I have disturbing news. Michelle Obama, the First Lady, is launching a nationwide project she calls ‘Let’s Move’ to combat childhood obesity and shed billions of pounds of your stuff. She claims that success would reduce all types of diseases now and later, save on medical costs, as well as raise the energy level and self-esteem of millions of children. Here, Your Eminence, are the complete details of her plan.”

Obesity was a hard person to agitate. He had heard of these campaigns before. They went nowhere. He shook his heavy jowls and rubbed his many-layered belly, which was his way of saying “ho, hum, here we go again.”

His fleshy fingers clutched the plan by those people he always called the “lean and meaners,” and saw that improvement in the school lunch program’s menu, exercise at school, farmers’ markets and community gardens were at the top of the action list. Obesity chortled at his adversaries’ naivete and reticence.

For some reason, they avoided the real causes of his success in pouring massive amounts of empty calories into the mouths and down the throats of these children who cry out for more and more of them.

It is all about who owns the tongues of these youngsters, not who reaches their brains, mused Obesity. Ownership, Obesity knew, belonged to his most faithful allies—the vast fast food and food processing industry and their clever advertisers. For decades these companies have transformed millions of young tongues into fast food first responders.

The tongue has been turned against the brain for so long that the kids’ parents and even some grandparents accept this conditioned response. Look what they head for in the movies, what they choose in the supermarkets, what they order in the chain restaurants and takeouts. It’s all about the pipeline full of enlarged amounts of sugar, fat and salt, dude! Hour after hour, day after day, these pipelines are flowing to the delight of their video-addicted young customers.

Obesity has been defeating his principal opponents – Knowledge, Nutrition, and Health – for so long, he sleeps most of the day when he is not eating. So, Michelle Obama is going to concentrate on the schools. Hah, not a chance unless she wants a rebellion of the kids, whose habit is to cast aside much of the cooked and raw vegetables even when they’re hungry. The school vending machines are stocked with the perfect junk food and nearby stores can make up for any lack of ready supply.

So, though knowing better, school lunch managers, to quell any unrest, load up on sugar-glazed cookies called Crunchmania Cinnamon Buns and sugar-laden cereals for breakfast. At lunch there are dollops of modified cornstarch, lipolyzed butter oil, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar-flavored milk.

It wasn’t accidental that McDonald’s most successful words to get children to nag their parents were “It’s a Child’s World”. So, if sincere schools can’t get the children to eat their fruits and vegetables, what about the burdened, commuting parents? Can they overcome the daily barrage of junk food and drink that shapes their children into Pavlovian specimens—mere conditioned responders? Don’t be silly. They eat from the same menu.

Obesity continues to bet on the children’s tongues as wards of the irresistible junk food companies. After all, his ranks keep swelling and the Fat Pride movement is picking up steam.

The messenger, standing with military erectness, deferentially asked: “Oh master, what are you thinking?” Obesity looked down on him and rendered his conclusion: “So long as the lean and meaners do not focus on the battle for the tongues and their captors and instead concentrate on presenting nutritious foods to children while explaining why and how they are good for them, I say to you and all messengers of these tidings, do not worry, Obesity is and will continue to be king.”

“Why,” he continued, “just a few days before Michelle Obama’s multimedia White House event announcing ‘Let’s Move’ with former NFL runner, Tiki Barber, Barack Obama was with a group of schoolchildren. As if being at the White House was not enough excitement for the students, what did Mr. Obama do? He presented each of them with a box of red, white and blue M&Ms imprinted with the Presidential seal and his signature, no less.”

With that pontification, a smiling Obesity picked up a dozen triple deck cheeseburgers, a gallon of thick ice cream milk shakes, 100 Hostess Twinkies, topped off with a bucket of sweetened lard to start his third meal of the day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Civics Literacy Report

I was drawn to a headline on Political Wire today: "College Makes You Liberal" and then saw a video clip from none other than FoxNews. Tucker Carlson was being interviewed about this new study that showed that college students were being indoctrinated to become liberals because they didn't know basic civics.
Well, OK, it's a total stretch but that's basically what he said. Frankly, I haven't looked at the study but I will when I have more time (typically, I never read directions, I just start doing ...). Instead of reading the study, I went immediately to the test: ["Civic Literacy Report Quiz"].
Now, before you go to the test, understand that according to the quiz, "The average score for all 2,508 Americans taking the following test was 49%; college educators scored 55%."

OK, go take the test ...

While you're taking the test, I'll talk about how I did.
Well, I got 81.82 percent, which I'm pretty proud of considering I didn't finish college (I took a number of night classes at the Harvard Extension School hoping to eventually get a liberal arts degree but never finished).
The questions I missed were pretty tough ones: What was the main issue in the Lincoln-Douglas debate (I have still not read this after all these years). I missed a quote from the Gettysburg Address (I have still not gone there but it is on my list of things to do). I missed the question about Puritans and the question, "Free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government’s centralized planning because ..." (this theory simply isn't true in my mind). I also missed the fiscal policy in a recession question because I don't personally believe the answer (decreasing taxes and increasing spending? ... oh yeah, that's working out really well ...).
There was one other question which I answered correctly but don't agree to be accurate: "International trade and specialization most often lead to which of the following?" The correct answer on the test is: "an increase in a nation's productivity" ... I picked that one correctly. That's the theory at least. The correct answer in real life, which would have been wrong had I picked it, is "a decrease in a nation's standard of living." That's exactly what has been happening in the United States. Maybe the question should be re-written: "Most economists theorize that international trade and specialization more often lead to which of the following?" or something like that. Then, the answer would be accurate. We have to keep after this: Free trade is a theory or technically, a cult. It isn't truth or fact. And it doesn't work either.

So, how did you do? Again, not too shabby for me, at nearly 82 percent and better than most college educators. However, the test is clearly flawed because it isn't entirely accurate when it comes to the theoretical economic concepts. Oh well.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Great editorial on Washington ...

In the UL: ["Mighty Washington: The greatest President"].
I don't agree with all of Drew Cline's sentiments and opinions but this is a great editorial. Nice job.
It makes me wonder about the holiday President's Day. There used to be two holidays, Washington's birthday and Lincoln's birthday, both a few days apart, hence the combined President's Day. But, I wonder ...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

No nukes

Guest perspective by Ralph Nader
A generation of Americans has grown up without a single nuclear power plant being brought on line since before the near meltdown of the Three Mile Island structure in 1979. They have not been exposed to the enormous costs, risks and national security dangers associated with their operations and the large amount of radioactive wastes still without a safe, permanent storage place for tens of thousands of years.

All Americans better get informed soon, for a resurgent atomic power lobby wants the taxpayers to pick up the tab for relaunching this industry. Unless you get Congress to stop this insanely dirty and complex way to boil water to generate steam for electricity, you'll be paying for the industry's research, the industry's loan guarantees and the estimated trillion dollars (inflation-adjusted) cost of just one meltdown, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, plus vast immediate and long-range casualties.

The Russian roulette-playing nuclear industry claims a class nine meltdown will never happen. That none of the thousands of rail cars, trucks and barges with radioactive wastes will ever have a catastrophic accident. That terrorists will forgo striking a nuclear plant or hijacking deadly materials, and go for far less consequential disasters.

The worst nuclear reactor accident occurred in 1986 at Chernobyl in what is now Ukraine. Although of a different design than most U.S. reactors, the resultant breach of containment released a radioactive cloud that spread around the globe but concentrated most intensively in Belarus, Ukraine and European Russia and secondarily over 40% of Europe.

For different reasons, both governmental and commercial interests were intent on downplaying both the immediate radioactively-caused deaths and diseases and the longer term devastations from this silent, invisible form of violence. They also were not eager to fund follow up monitoring and research.

Now comes the English translation of the most comprehensive, scientific report to date titled Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment whose senior author is biologist Alexey V. Yablokov, a member of the prestigious Russian Academy of Sciences.

Purchasable from the New York Academy of Sciences (visit, this densely referenced analysis covers the acute radiation inflicted on both the first-responders (called "liquidators") and on residents nearby, who suffer chronic radioactive sicknesses. "Today," asserts the report, "more than 6 million people live on land with dangerous levels of contamination--land that will continue to be contaminated for decades to centuries."

Back to the U.S., where, deplorably, President Obama has called for more so-called "safe, clean nuclear power plants." He just sent a budget request for another $54 billion in taxpayer loan guarantees on top of a previous $18 billion passed under Bush. You see, Wall Street financiers will not loan electric companies money to build new nuclear plants which cost $12 billion and up, unless Uncle Sam guarantees one hundred percent of the loan.

Strange, if these nuclear power plants are so efficient, so safe, why can't they be built with unguaranteed private risk capital? The answer to this question came from testimony by Amory B. Lovins, chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, in March 2008 before the [House of Representatives of the U.S.] Select Committee on Energy Independence ( His thesis: "expanding nuclear power would reduce and retard climate protection and energy security...but can't survive free-market capitalism."

Making his case with brilliant concision, Lovins, a consultant to business and the Defense Department, demonstrated with numbers and other data that nuclear power "is being dramatically outcompeted in the global marketplace by no and low-carbon power resources that deliver far more climate solution per dollar, far faster."

Lovins doesn't even include the accident or sabotage risks. He testified that "because it's [nuclear power] uneconomic and unnecessary, we needn't inquire into its other attributes." Renewable energy (eg. wind power), cogeneration and energy efficiencies (megawatts) are now far superior to maintain.

I challenge anybody in the nuclear industry or academia to debate Lovins at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., with a neutral moderator, or before a Congressional Committee.

However, the swarm of nuclear power lobbyists is gaining headway in Congress, spreading their money everywhere and lunching falsely exploiting the concern with global warming fed by fossil fuels.

The powerful nuclear power critics in Congress want the House energy bill to focus on climate change. To diminish the opposition, they entered into a bargain that gave nuclear reactors status with loan guarantees and other subsidies in the same legislation which has passed the House and, as is usual, languishing in the Senate.

Long-time, staunch opponents of atomic power who are leaders in countering climate change, such as Cong. Ed Markey (D-MA), have quieted themselves for the time being, while the Republicans (loving the taxpayer subsidies) and some Democrats are hollering for the nukes. All this undermines the valiant efforts of the Union of Concerned Scientists, NIRS, Friends of the Earth, and other established citizen groups who favor a far safer, more efficient, faster and more secure energy future for our country and the world.

Just recently, a well-designed and documented pamphlet from Beyond Nuclear summarize the case against nuclear power as "Expensive, Dangerous and Dirty." The clear, precise detail and documentation makes for expeditious education of your friends, neighbors and co-workers.
You can download it free and reprint it for wider distribution from It is very well worth the 10 to 15 minutes it takes to absorb the truth about this troubled technology--replete with delays and large cost-overruns--that has been on government welfare since the 1950s.

R.I.P. Doug Fieger

Wow, cancer: ["Knack lead singer Doug Fieger dies of cancer"]. I always loved that band. Their songs were so catchy, even the throwaway stuff.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What the hell are we doing in Pakistan?

I woke up this morning to this: ["School bombing exposes Obama’s secret war inside Pakistan"]. Of course, it will take months, if ever, to find out about this on the American news. But, it begs the question, what the hell are we doing there? What the hell are we doing anywhere? And, is President Obama just totally delusional or insane or, am I losing my mind?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A tribute to Howard Zinn

Guest perspective by Ralph Nader
There are several memorial services and events being planned for Howard Zinn whom The New York Times called a "historian, shipyard worker, civil rights activist and World War II bombardier, when he passed away at age 87 late last month."

His legion of friends, students, admirers and colleagues will be out in force reminding the country about his impact as a civic leader, motivational teacher, author of the ever more popular book A People's History of the United States, and all around fine, compassionate, and level-headed human being.

Judging by similar gatherings for remembering other progressive activists and writers, the encomiums for Professor Zinn, who taught at Spelman College in the late fifties and early sixties (two of his students were Marian Wright Edelman and Alice Walker) and at Boston University until 1988, will be heartfelt, wide-ranging and inspiringly anecdotal.

Receptions will follow and those in attendance will return to their homes, hoping that what Howard Zinn spoke and wrote and how he acted will serve as an example for those who follow his public philosophy of being and doing.

Mr. Zinn's legacy, however, needs more than sweet memories that carry forward the spirit of people. His impact needs more than the adult and youth book version (now in a television miniseries via the History Channel) to continue inspiring what the Times described as "a generation of high school and college students to rethink American history."

How about drawing on the large, national constituency whose lives he has informed honestly and helped improve to support the establishment of the Howard Zinn Institute for Advancing Peace and Justice? Thought and action in a seamless flow toward returning the definition of "freedom" back to the words of Marcus Cicero as "participation in power."

When Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, died in a plane crash in 2002, his children started "Wellstone Action!" with contributions from all over the country, to train citizen organizers to help empower underrepresented communities to engage in civic life. As a result, Senator Wellstone's progressive work to deepen our democracy continues in action year after year.

The life of Howard Zinn did not follow the usual pathways. His experience as a manual laborer and organizer in New York City gave depth to his college and graduate years. He entered New York University at the age of twenty-seven and completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University in his thirties.

Consider the origins of his views on war summarized in his own words:
War is by definition the indiscriminate killing of huge numbers of people for ends that are uncertain. Think about means and ends, and apply it to war. The means are horrible, certainly. The ends, uncertain. That alone should make you hesitate....We are smart in so many ways. Surely we should be able to understand that between war and passivity, there are a thousand possibilities.

Back in World War II, Mr. Zinn was a bombardier in planes that dropped napalm including during a raid over a town in France called Royan. After the war, his sensitivities horrified, Zinn returned to Royan on the ground and interviewed survivors, which included French civilians.

For sixty years, this Army veteran spoke out against all wars, from Vietnam to Iraq, and others, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Indonesian, African and Chinese assaults.

Howard Zinn did not choose his injustices. No matter where they came from, he was in opposition. In a poignant tribute of "thank yous" to his regular columnist, Matthew Rothschild, editor of the Progressive Magazine, wrote "Thank you, Howard Zinn, for being a Jew who dared to criticize Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, early on."

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, a long-time friend of Zinn, commented on his "amazing contribution to American intellectual and moral culture," noting his "powerful role in helping...the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement."

His two friends from Hollywood, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, took Zinn's history of the downtrodden, the workers, farmers, women, slaves and other minorities, into popular culture, culminating in a television version of the book, The People Speak.

Perhaps, Boston Globe columnist James Carroll touched most personally on Zinn's magnetic persona to so many people. "He had a genius," Carroll wrote, "for the practical meaning of love. That is what drew legions of the young to him and what made the wide circle of his friends so constantly amazed and grateful."

Zinn explained himself in his autobiography You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train. His two greatest disappointments in the past two years were the loss of his wife Roslyn and the performance of Barack Obama. In his last article on the Obama White House, he wrote, "I've been searching hard for a highlight."

Roslyn and Howard Zinn left two children, Myla and Jeff, and five grandchildren. Together with his publisher, Dan Simon of 7 Stories Press, his editor, Matthew Rothschild, his interviewer, Amy Goodman, his associate, Anthony Arnove, and his innumerable writers and fighters for justice, for the principle that the truth is revolutionary, why not a well-funded and staffed Institute, organizing from the neighborhoods on up, as he urged so often, with horizons for all seasons, as befits his vision?

Although the desire to remember is now intense, it is the willpower that implements the thought.

Jean Monnet, the great postwar French civic leader, put the legacy course on track when he asserted that "without people, nothing is possible, but without institutions, nothing is enduring."

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