04.13.11

The new country hit infecting the land! Extra!

Posted in Bioterrorism, Rock 'n' Roll at 11:29 am by George Smith


He’s all shook up!

As promised, here’s the newly found recording career of Bruce Ivins, the USAMRIID scientist declared the anthrax mailer by the US government.

But Ivins, in addition to being the best bioterrorist US money could buy, was by all accounts a man of many talents. His fondness for entertaining with music and keyboard playing is documented in newspaper stories worldwide.

And so the founder of Bona Fide Records, Rick Noll of Pennsy, has discovered, recovered and brought to the attention of a fascinated country, the bioterror scientist’s 7-inch vinyl, recorded as Bruce Ivins and the Country Boys.

Courtesy of Noll, DD has the music now posted here for your listening.

Noll informs the single was found in Abbottstown, PA, about forty miles northeast of Frederick (and USAMRIID’s Fort Detrick), Maryland, up Rte. 15.

Last week, the blog discussed the single here:

[The scan shows] a white label vinyl 7-inch single produced by Nashville Recordings, a record-making facility that ďdid a lot of small pressings in the 70s and 80s, with a NR # for their records they pressed,??? Noll tells me. ďMost likely a couple hundred or so were done …???

ďThe 45 is a hoot,??? he says. ďIt has to be the same guy.???

Maybe so. We donít know for sure. Perhaps itís all phlogiston, Bruce Ivins and the Country Boys another Bruce Ivins ó not the Bruce Ivins at the center of the anthrax case. Itís all just a coincidence, what Klaatu was to the Beatles, sort of. Itís just one more mysterious embellishment contributing to the fascination over lore connected to the nationís most famous bioterrorist. Like the FBI/DoJ case against Ivins, the evidence is circumstantial yet still compelling.

“Pass Me By” with a B-side of “All Shook Up” sounds just fine. And it could easily be Ivins as a one-man band. Whether or not the drummer is a real person on both tunes is difficult to tell. The A-side sounds like the former. In any case, by description Ivins was adept with his multi-faceted keyboard. The guitar line, for instance, is a keyboard simming it.

But now — the music!

Pass Me By.

All Shook Up.


Would you look at what came down the road today … You sure look like the traveling kind to me …

Only servants do his shopping

Posted in Made in China, Rock 'n' Roll at 8:00 am by George Smith


Good news, lads! Good news! If we go to war with China, there’ll be no more of these for awhile.

Laugh out loud feature piece by Bill Gertz in today’s Washington Times here.

Yet another in the popular theme of China’s growing military, listing its allegedly puissant cruise missiles, its patrolling of nearby seas, and one decrepit half-finished aircraft carrier, said to be almost ready to go, bought from the ex-Commies, the Varyag.

Breakout graph from admiral of the Pacific theatre, describing the nature of the threat:

ďIf I were asked what biggest challenge I face as the Pacific Command commander, I would tell you itís the relationship between the United States and China, in order to advance that relationship to ultimately become a constructive partnership, if thatís possible,??? he said.

The admiral obviously doesn’t get out much, perhaps having only servants doing the shopping.

When all the goods in American stores are from China “constructive partnership” doesn’t really describe any present or potentially future relationship.

Here’s how it is — “Joined at the hip like Siamese twins.”

So let’s have a brief thought exercise, imagining the implausible, a shooting war breaking out between the US and China.

What happens, other than the military actions?

All goods from China cease. The middle class sees all US stores run out of stock of sundries. Wal-Mart, Target, everything like them, BestBiuy, all hardware stores, all consumer electronic stores, Bed/Bath & Beyond, sporting goods stores — all crash and go bankrupt. Unemployment becomes truly massive, a new recession to make the Great Recession look small ensues. People watch video of the bombers methodically destroying China’s military for a month. The military is the only place where employment is stable. After two months, television watching stops too as cable is disconnected for non-payment.

Fender Musical Instruments and Gibson are put out of business. The value of old, even mostly crap, instruments skyrockets. Old classic rockers enjoy revival as they are one of the only groups of musicians who can still go out and entertain locally.

In the next election, every incumbent is voted out of office.

With the flow of exports to the US and everywhere else cut off, massive unemployment in China ensues. Caught between the US military and rioting in the streets, the Chinese government destabilizes. All it’s new military hardware is destroyed in detail. This takes four to six weeks.

The war ends. The world is dragged into a great depression, having lost what’s left of the buying power of the US and almost all its sundries and electronics manufacturing in the short term.

Happily, Apple goes out of business as manufacturing for all its iKit ceases and demand subsequently plummets for what’s left because of bankruptcy in the US working class.

Used vinyl becomes very valuable. Fights break out in pawn shops as people scramble for old semi-functional turntables. What stock is left goes for thousands of dollars per item. Garages are ransacked nationwide.

The new “retro” novelty products can no longer be bought, either, because they were all made in China.

04.12.11

The Empire’s Dogshit (even more)

Posted in Crazy Weapons at 10:18 am by George Smith

Wall Street Journal:

Pakistan has privately demanded the Central Intelligence Agency suspend drone strikes against militants on its territory, one of the U.S.’s most effective weapons against al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, officials said.

Ahh, grasshopper, they will find that unless they’re willing to send up their air force to shoot ’em down, de Uncle Sam drones will decline to move along.

The political disadvantage of having an inept military that can’t and won’t fight, to be demonstrated.

Wal-Mart’s new big strategy — even more stuff from China

Posted in Made in China at 9:40 am by George Smith

Wal-Mart, apparently bummed that it’s slightly losing its race to the bottom to Target after the Great Recession blasted demand in the US, is vowing to bring even more goods to its stores.

If you read the fine print, that means more Chinese goods. Not a differentiation in quality, just M-O-R-E. Along with a plan to, like Target, go for an even bigger portion of the national food stamps outlay by increasing groceries.

The thinking, like at Target is — well, people still have to eat. And the government will help pay for a lot of that.

From here:

After alienating customers by culling too many products from shelves, Wal-Mart is bringing the variety back by adding 8,500 items to stores.

Flags will appear next to the revived brands later this month that say, “It’s back.”

“We’re bringing back products and brands [our customers] want,” said Mac Naughton. The retailer has already boosted variety in pasta, snacks and beverages and plans to roll out more products in household goods such as paper towels, toilet paper and laundry detergent.

Later this year, Wal-Mart plans to expand the mix in electronics, clothing, sporting goods and outdoor product categories.

Mac Naughton said the company is exploring other categories including auto and office supplies and home appliances.

“Dollar stores [which sell even cheaper stuff made in China] weren’t considered a threat by Wal-Mart, but recently they’ve successfully taken on their giant competitor, particularly during the recession,” it continues.

“Among the products returning to Wal-Mart shelves … mayonnaise and Febreze and Glade trigger handle products.”

You can cover up the stink in your cramped apartment even more cheaply. Bound to coax a few extra bob out of the perishers, here and there. That there’s a real innovative change to bring ’em in droves, lemme tell ya.

We should all wish Wal-Mart continued heartburn now that it’s tasting the fruit of its wildly successful campaign to destroy US domestic manufacturing and reduce labor to penury in favor of the bottom line.

The Empire’s Dogshit (continued)

Posted in Permanent Fail at 8:27 am by George Smith

Today’s gold-plated dog excrement from the weapon shops of the plutocracy:

Another robot fighter bomber, the X-47b, for diddling future potential Moes, takes flight. Young US white males get erections on military tech sites nationwide.

Meanwhile, news from around the country:

6th biggest “ghost town” country created by the Great Recession — Dare County, N.C.

Number of homes: 33,492
Vacancy rate: 57%
Population: 95,828

Dare County includes the northern-most parts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The situation in the vacation area is so severe that the “Outer Banks Voice” recently wrote, “If Dare County Manager Bobby Outten was intending to sound an alarm by suggesting that the EMS helicopter and school nurses were expendable in the next budget, he probably succeeded.” His comments are unlikely to be terribly different from those of other executives of counties on the list. Vacant homes and homes which lose double-digit amounts of their value each year irreparably undermine the tax base. And, as services fall, fewer potential homeowners will consider investing in the area.


“The initial swooning has died down to some extent ó but Iím struck by the extent to which news stories are still covering for Paul Ryan. Iíve already noted how ďnews analyses??? write as if the objections of the critics were simply that his plan is too radical, as opposed to what people like me are actually saying, which is that itís a fraud.

“So today I read in the Washington Post that:

“The Republican plan would cut spending on domestic programs while protecting the military and preserving George W. Bush-era tax cuts that disproportionately benefit high earners.

“Um, no. It proposes huge additional tax cuts for high earners, over and above the Bush tax cuts; $2.9 trillion dollarsí worth just over the next decade.

“My best guess here is that the press corps shies away, consciously or unconsciously, from giving the stark truth about this joke of a plan; after all the praise from VSPs, itís hard either to report that knowledgeable people consider the plan a total fraud, or even to be frank about the planís extreme features. But saving pundits from embarrassment is not part of a reporterís job.” — Krugman


“In 2010, Peerís department allocated $2.43 million in food stamps. That number is up from $1.81 million in 2009 and $862,706 in 2008.

“Through February, Peer said $419,964.44 has been allocated in food stamps in Moffat County.

“Peer contends those numbers provide a peek into the areaís economic situation.

ďI think that it indicates that our recovery isnít quite here yet and it certainly is disturbing just to know that this number of people need to have food stamps,??? she said. ďOn the other hand, I am really grateful to know that food stamps exist and that they are helpful to people who have reduced income.???

“The food stamp caseload has also steadily increased over the last two years, she said.” —- Moffat Country, Craig, Colorado


“The dust-up has garnered little attention in the U.S [until now]. But it’s front-page news in Sweden, where much of the labor force is unionized and Ikea is a cherished institution. Per-Olaf Sjoo, the head of the Swedish union in Swedwood factories, said he was baffled by the friction in Danville, Virginia. Ikea’s code of conduct, known as IWAY, guarantees workers the right to organize and stipulates that all overtime be voluntary…

“Laborers in Swedwood plants in Sweden produce bookcases and tables similar to those manufactured in Danville. The big difference is that the Europeans enjoy a minimum wage of about $19 an hour and a government-mandated five weeks of paid vacation. Full-time employees in Danville start at $8 an hour with 12 vacation days — eight of them on dates determined by the company.

“What’s more, as many as one-third of the workers at the Danville plant have been drawn from local temporary-staffing agencies. These workers receive even lower wages and no benefits, employees said.

“Swedwood’s Steen said the company is reducing the number of temps, but she acknowledged the pay gap between factories in Europe and the U.S. “That is related to the standard of living and general conditions in the different countries,” Steen said. — LA Times


“[Red state] Texas tied with Mississippi for states having the highest percentage of hourly paid workers earning the minimum wage or less.

“Some 550,000 Texans, or 9.5 percent of hourly paid workers, made the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or less last year. That’s up 76,000 workers, or 16 percent, from 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

“Leslie Helmcamp, a policy analyst with the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, which focuses on low- and moderate-income Texans, called the numbers “alarming.”

“The higher proportion of hourly paid workers who are earning at or below the minimum wage is reflective of our low high school and college completion rates,” Helmcamp said. “We can only attract higher-paying jobs if we are able to move more Texans into higher education.”

“The federal poverty level for a family of three was $18,310 last year, Helmcamp noted. That means a single parent with two children and working for minimum wage would earn about $3,200 less than the poverty level, she said.” — Houston Chronicle


“INDIANAPOLIS | Local governments would be barred from setting a minimum wage higher than the federal rate under legislation approved Wednesday by the Indiana House.

“The Republican-controlled House voted 57-42 to strip localities of the power to set a higher minimum wage in their jurisdiction. The measure now advances to the Senate.” — Munster, Indiana

04.11.11

The Empire’s Dogshit

Posted in Crazy Weapons at 5:42 pm by George Smith

DoD weapons programs are some of the best demonstrations of crap lots of money can buy. At a time when everyone gets told that they’ll have to tighten their belts, the only people who don’t are the wealthy and arms manufacturers.

So I point to Wired on-line’s story about the Maritime Laser Demonstrator by Spencer Ackerman, who — it is advertised — writes stories on weapons of doom, aka the plutocracy’s tech dog excrement/corporate welfare jobs programs.

Fatuous quote of the day, from the piece, which as an unimpressive video of a 15-kilowatt laser taking a long minute to set the engine of a motorized harbor scooter on fire:

ďThis is an important data point,??? the admiral says, ďbut I still want the Megawatt death ray.???

Only 985 kilowatts and a quarter the size of the Rock of Gibraltar to go.

Immediately followed by the teasingly entitled piece, Libya 2030: Lasers vs. Tyrants, presumably a fun read based on the idea that the way things are going here it’s another place where we’ll be stretching out a war 19 years from now.

You’d be hard-pressed to make a comic book better than this stuff.

I CAN HAZ SOYLENT?

Posted in Permanent Fail, Phlogiston at 12:19 pm by George Smith

Over the lunch hour Cornel West was briefly on MSNBC, calling the GOP mean-spirited and the Democratic Party “spineless.” He politely brushed off the host’s wish to discuss TIME magazine’s cover story on a ‘new civil war’ calling what we have now ‘a class war’ between the oligarchs, the government taken over by their henchmen and everyone else.

The Democratic Party is, indeed, spineless. Last week, the Internet gave it a gift-wrapped insult by linking the GOP and Paul Ryan with Soylent Green.

In the hands of merciless people with rapier wits, it would be devastating. In the hands of the Dems, forget it.

Now, all I need is someone to come up with a picture of Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor with the word balloon, “I CAN HAZ SOYLENT?” Maybe with a little green wafer in there somewhere, too.

Alternative word balloon:

“I NOT HAZ SOYLENT, YOU NOT HAZ CUNTREE!”

Go! A free No-Prize and my undying gratitude if I see one.


MSNBC masquerades as the anti-Fox but it’s often just the pits. Two minutes ago the news host introduced a teaser for the next segment on — bacon-scented men’s cologne.

Wait, it gets worse. The intro music was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell,” which was on “Street Survivors,” the album they were touring when the plane crash occurred. “That Smell” was a song about death and drug addiction.

Lyric:

Angel of darkness is upon you
Stuck a needle in your arm
So take another toke, have a blow for your nose
One more drink fool, will drown you
Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you

If you could push a button to have the host and his producer thrown off the top of a three-story building, you’d push that button.

The country turned upside down in less than eighty years — not bad!

Posted in Permanent Fail, Predator State at 8:56 am by George Smith

My mother died last week at the age of 82.

This is not her obituary. But it might be one for describing the nature of the wreckage that is the US.

My mother was born in Philadelphia to two Hungarian immigrants. They came from Budapest and neither had high school educations. However, her father was able to grab a middle class job in Pennsylvania, one in which his wife did not have to work and which would enable him to send my mother on to a college education.

They were solidly middle class almost their entire lives and owned their home. They enjoyed lifetime good medical care as well as a long and easy retirement. And their daughter rose into the upper middle class in Pennsylvania.

My mother and father did not have their lives blighted by a constant scramble for paying jobs, long stretches of unemployment and ever diminished hopes.

So in somewhat less than the span of my mother’s lifetime the country went from what my grandparents saw as inspiration and opportunity to a stupid and mean-spirited nightmare whose gifts to the world are smart weapons, war, predatory financial services and history-making bad and/or cowardly leadership. And it has not been a random accident.

Those like my grandparents who enter the country under similar circumstances now look forward to living ten to a rented room. When not attacked outright by one entire political party, they pass on a life of zero opportunity to their children while living as serfs. And they find the locale of the working and unemployed poor getting more crowded every day, sharing the territory with an always increasing number arriving from the downwardly mobile middle class.

Now it’s better to ignore the fraudulent advertising and stay in Budapest. And it took less than one full lifetime.


The President Needs A Challenger (a continuing series)

Krugman:

More broadly, Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion ó a philosophy that says the poor must accept big cuts in Medicaid and food stamps; the middle class must accept big cuts in Medicare (actually a dismantling of the whole program); and corporations and the rich must accept big cuts in the taxes they have to pay. Shared sacrifice!

But if you ask me, Iíd say that the nation wants ó and more important, the nation needs ó a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And thatís not what weíre seeing.

04.10.11

Best metal video, ever!

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll at 11:38 pm by George Smith

Don’t you wish you were there? Sony paid a fortune for the Cycle Sluts from Hell and fumbled the job. While they might not have been ready to take over the heartland they certainly were ready to take over something large in 1990.

As Little Jimmy Dickens might say: “I look at them. It’s hard.”

I shared a stage with ’em in Allentown. The guitarists are utterly feeble.
Note how they’re left conspicuously mostly out of the video, just around to making squealing noises. But that was so not the point.

This video and the front girls ruled. If you’ve spent any time in rock dives with drunks the lyrics are wunderbar. There can be no argument.

How did a major label blow the opportunity the Cylce Sluts presented?

And this is a country where someone half-assed named Snookie is now a star?

Lame Trouser Brown more a man than the Prez

Posted in Permanent Fail at 10:42 pm by George Smith

Trouser Brown, in the UK, where everyone – by definition — has more spine than 2011 Americans:

Brown said he believed the will to tighten regulation was weakening in the face of lobbying by the financial sector.

“I do believe we’re going back to a race to the bottom,” he warned.

“There should be an international agreement, otherwise you’ll just have banks threatening to move from one country to another,” continued Brown.

“Britain was under relentless pressure from the City (Britain’s financial centre) that we were over-regulating. All through the 10 to 15 years, the battle was not that we regulated too little, but that we regulated too much,” he added.

Despite the backing of Nobel laureate economists, Barack Obama has never had any stomach for justice or equilibrium.

It would be great to read an honest third person account of him in college and grad school. Was he always a good-looking milchtoast masquerading as an intellectual?

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