Before I get started, is anyone interested in seeing Randy Newman at UCLA on Friday, or a show of others performing his work on Saturday? Here is a list of the musicians performing in the Saturday show:
David Hidalgo (of Los Lobos), Bill Frisell, Vic Chesnutt, Maurice Seezer, Gavin Friday, Robin Holcomb, Stan Ridgway, Chris Spedding, Steve Berlin (of Los Lobos), Oren Bloedow, Elysian Fields, Van Dyke Parks, Ed Harcourt, Pete Thomas, Perla Batalla, Julie Christensen, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen Greene, Victoria Williams, Steve Weisberg, Bob Neuwirth, Sebastian Steinberg
Taj Mahal, E (of the Eels), Howard Tate, Jon Brion, John Ventimiglia (from The Sopranos), Jennifer Charles and Rip Torn
WOW! Anyway, they are $45 each, not including the parking that is essential at a vast, poorly transit served campus like UCLA. Let me know!
Secondly, some of my friends in Northern California still might not know about the supermarket strike down here; Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs have locked out their employees for 100 days. This is union-busting at a very basic level; and yes, there is a nationwide boycott against all of these markets and their owners (Safeway and Krogers.) And yes, the pickets lifted against Ralphs will soon be back, as Ralphs was sharing their profit with the other two, just emphasizing their intention to break the unions. Any union member or someone who had to struggle for healthcare should support this strike...and PS, the cause of it all, Walmart, is also under a national boycott.
Okay, onto the interesting beginning this new year, 2004. For those interested in what Paul O'Neill (former Treasury Secretary) actually said about George Bush blanking out during Cabinet meetings, there are details here:
Former Treasury Sec. Paints Bush as 'Blind Man'
But didn't we all know that George was picking his teeth during meetings anyway? He never looks comfortable unless he's behind a lectern, reading off the diatribes of his aides.
His yearly date behind the lectern is tomorrow, folks, the State of the Union Address. Care to learn who's in the "Axis" now, or just want to get scared? Maybe our plan to invade the Moon and Mars will be fleshed out a little.
Ray Mcgovern Advice for the State of the Union Address
t r u t h o u t Memorandum
Memorandum For: The President
From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Subject: Your State-of-the-Union Address
The brickbats are already flying:
Gore Calls Bush a 'Moral Coward'
By The Associated Press
Yep, 2004 and the gloves are coming off. This is a big one, the year Americans pick their path for years to come, and I'm not talking about just four years:
It's Greed, Not Ideology, That Rules the White House
By Naomi Klein
The Guardian UK
Contrary to predictions, the doors of Old Europe weren't slammed in James Baker's face as he asked forgiveness for Iraq's foreign debt last week. Germany and France appear to have signed on, and Russia is softening.
Economists are hoping for more tax cuts and big windfalls (get the mouse below 10 and watch the guys quiver in this Flash animation (thanks, Geri and Carol):
(move your mouse over this one.)
Meanwhile, the Feds have been shoveling it on over Christmas. They're working busily for the auto industry and the oil industry:
Bush Administration Proposes Fuel Economy Changes
Sierra Club Press Release
New Weight-Based Proposal To Increase Pollution and Oil Dependence
And they've given themselves permission to check out your bank and credit accounts...without you knowing about it (thanks again, Geri). That's just the beginning...
With a Whisper, Not a Bang
By David Martin
The San Antonio Current
Bush signs parts of Patriot Act II into law stealthily.
Too Much Power
By The Washington Post Editorial
This year's intelligence authorization bill provided a little-noticed and dangerous expansion of a peculiar and unaccountable FBI investigative power. Last-minute efforts to modify the provision in conference committee failed, unfortunately, so the bureau now has more power to compel the production of certain business records in national security investigations, with no court oversight and in nearly total secrecy. The use of "national security letters" is not new, but in light of new authorities provided the FBI in the USA Patriot Act, Congress should be finding ways to curtail their use, not expand it.
The Martial Plan
By James Ridgeway
Police State Tactics Transform a Nation-Our Own
But at least the economy is doing great again...right?
Jobless Count Skips Millions
By David Streitfeld
The Los Angeles Times
The rate hits 9.7% when the underemployed and those who have given up the hunt are added.
They might not be unemployed for long...
Bob Keeler Beware Attempts to Revive Military Draft
By Bob Keeler
But things have always been better here than abroad...right? As wealthy bastards like to say, even if we have the widest income disparity of any industrialized country, you're still better off than, say, the whole continent of Africa. I wonder why that's so...
The Unkept Promise
New York Times Editorial
There is a deceiving sense of timelessness to the stillness of rural life. The jungles of Mindanao offer few clues as to whether it's the early 20th century, or the early 21st. Nor do the highlands of Guatemala, the Mekong Delta in Vietnam or the cotton-rich plains of the Sahel in West Africa. But these disparate regions are very much of the present, stitched into the quilt of global commerce. World trade links us to them, as surely as it links London, Tokyo and New York.
Still, I'm not all about bad news. A lot of interesting things are happening in the courts and the meeting rooms, out of our control, naturally:
Ashcroft Recuses Self From CIA Leak Probe
By Larry Margasak
Why Did Ashcroft Remove Himself From Leak Investigation?
By John W. Dean
Pentagon Freezes Iraq Funds Amid Corruption Probes
By Stephen J. Glain
The Boston Globe
Some people remember the dirty tricks that pervaded Florida in 2000:
Click the following to access the sent link:
USATODAY.com - Electronic voting firm acknowledges hacker break-in
And tonight, decisions are being made out in the Midwest that might have profound meaning for our future...and I mean EVERYONE'S future:
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Perspective
They say that confession is good for the soul, so here’s mine: Howard Dean was not my first choice of candidates to face George W. Bush in the 2004 election. He is not as liberal as I am – and yes, conservative media pundits, calling Dean a far-left liberal is far from an accurate portrayal of the man’s record – and as this is primary season, I was afforded the opportunity to choose among a broad field of contenders. Had I been given my druthers, I would have seen either Dennis Kucinich or John Kerry run away and hide with the nomination.
But if it's good enough for Nicole Panter, it's good enough for me:
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2004 03:40:11 EST
Subject: Please flow: http://punxfordean.org
This time, for your edification, I've enclosed a photo sent to me by Mr. Steiner, in Paris, in response to my previous photo of Mars. Seems my photo was edited by NASA...perhaps we've already conquered Mars. We are the Martians!
Finally, a long, rambling speech about how hellish Washington DC really is, by a conniving old drunk who should have been retired and living on a boat in Hyannisport twenty years ago. Just kidding, Helene.
Remarks of Edward Kennedy
Member, United States Senate (D-MA)
Center for American Progress
Vive le Screed!
20 January 2004