Archive for November 2012

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Stewart speaking about the upcoming fiscal cliff “See, here’s what happened.  Two summers ago, Congress realized that if they couldn’t compromise on a deficit and revenue plan, our economy would crash.  It turns out they couldn’t compromise.  So, here’s what they did.  In order to force themselves to work together and compromise, they concocted a catastrophic penalty that would itself crash our economy.  Brilliant.  Put it another way, there’s an asteroid headed toward the Earth.  We made it, and fired it at ourselves, because otherwise, we wold never have done the hard work required to protect ourselves from asteroids.”—totally-solvable-budget-problem

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Stewart “We begin tonight with the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  It was a tragic situation where American lives were lost.  And in the three months since the attack, legitimate questions of adequate embassy security, America’s overall efficacy in fighting the war on terror, and the intricate dance twixt national security and the public’s right to know, have all been distilled down, thrown out, and replaced with this one urgent conclusion concerning current Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.”

Sen John McCain (R-AZ) 11-14-12 “I will do everything in my power to block her from being the United States Secretary of State.  She’s not qualified.”

Stewart “That’s Senator John McCain, continuing his seven year quest to negate every good thing he’d ever done prior to that.  This time leading the charge to preempt an, as of now, hypothetical Obama nomination for Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton.  Why?  Because five days after the Benghazi attacks, Susan Rice went on the Sunday talk shows and said this.”

Dr Susan Rice 9-16-12 “The best assessment we have today, is that, in fact, this was not a preplanned premeditated attack.  That what happened initially, was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo, as a consequence of the video. “

Stewart “We know that that’s wrong now.  And, we now know that many in the Obama administration knew immediately that that statement was wrong.  That the attacks were not angry film critics, but Al Qaeda, or one of Al Qaeda’s AA teams, the Ansar Al Sharia Mudhens.  So, Susan Rice met yesterday with Senators McCain, Graham and Ayotte to clear the air.  How’d that go?”

Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 11-27-12 “Ambassador Rice, I think, does not do justice to the reality at the time, and in hindsight clearly was completely wrong.”

McCain 11-27-12 “We are significantly troubled by many of the answers we got, and some that we didn’t get, concerning evidence that was overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate.”

Stewart “Here’s the deal.  They may be right.  Though, on the scale of public misstatements, Rice’s comments seem to fall towards the embarrassing evidence of institutional disorganization, end of the scale.”


            Washington Misstatement Meter

Feeding W-M-D info to the NY Times reporter

“I did not have sex with that woman, ________”

That tweet wasn’t my dong

Mistakenly referring to mistress as ‘biographer’

Polio?  No, I don’t have Polio!  I just enjoy sitting!

** Embarrassing evidence of institutional disorganization

Private admissions of hatred for half of country

Broken promise to quit smoking


Stewart continues “But, here’s the thing.  These two (Graham and McCain) don’t get to be the ones to self-righteously get angry about this.  They’re upset that she may have passed bad intel, wittingly or un, to the American people.  Remember these two from a decade ago?”

McCain 10-9-02 “Saddam Hussein continues to acquire, amass, and improve on his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.  He continues to acquire, attempt to acquire, a nuclear weapon.  These are all well known facts.”

Graham 12-19-01 “Let’s act now to get rid of a tyrant who’s abused and killed his own people, who’s procuring weapons of mass destruction, substantial evidence to that effect.”

Stewart “I remember all that from their hit blog, S#&t old guys who unnecessarily get us into wars say.  Of course, it’s probably not a one to one comparison.  Unfortunately, that’s not really, it’s not a one to one comparison, because while Susan Rice admitted to the error within weeks, these two still refuse to acknowledge that invading a country based on information from a source named Curveball, was actually considered to be a pretty (terrible) idea at the time.  If only we had a more direct comparison to make here.  Sort of a one to one.  Like another high ranking government official, passing what they knew at the time was misleading intelligence to the American public, on a Sunday news show, also in line to become Secretary of State, and was African American, and a woman, and let’s say, her name was also Rice.  That’d be something.”

Condoleeza Rice 9-8-02 “We do know that there have been shipments going into Iran, for instance, into Iraq, for instance of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to, high quality aluminum tubes that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.”

Stewart “She knew that was BS at the time.  What would a John McCain or a Lindsey Graham say about a woman like that’s qualifications for Secretary of State?”

Graham 1-27-05 “To attack her personally is way over the line, because she is our face and voice to the world, and you’re not doing any American any good by sending her off with such labels.”

McCain 1-27-05 “But, I think it’s very clear that Condoleeza Rice is a person of integrity, and yes, I see this some lingering bitterness over a very tough campaign.  I hope it will dissipate soon.”

A quick look at Mildred Moody’s Full Moon Masquerade November 28 at Club Metronome   Leave a comment

Just got home from the Mildred Moody Full Moon Masquerade at Metronome. Mildred Moody band were on when I walked in. They played a couple of sweet, moody Americana jam, or something like that, which sounds good when there’s a full moon, sort of songs. They brought up a violinist who added some sweet gentle electric leads. Up next was a heavily rearranged Nirvana song, that the guitar/singer, guitar, bass, drums, 3 backup singers, band, did a nice job with. After that, one of the backup singers, Samara Lark, took the lead vocal and channeled her inner Ozzy for a killer Electric Funeral. The crowd filled the place, and almost went crazy. Wow, what a start.

Up next, in the other room, Lee Anderson did a piece. I missed some of it, but it did have him holding a giant bone over his head, and laughing maniacally.

I spent a bit more time in the big room watching Swale get set up. They opened with a delicate version of Waiting, that got more and more intense as it went along. It was pretty rocking at the end, and they kept the mood upbeat with a smoking Everyone likes to fight. They slowed it down a bit with a Jeremy song (War is not the answer, we are all the same), with Amanda on guitar and Eric on bass. Jeremy, of course, sang and played drums. At this point it sounded like something was happening in the other room. Much of the audience went there, but some of us stayed for C’est La Vie. A few people came back for the dancy tune.. They followed with If you go back home then a shimmering version of Middlesex. They kept at it with Old School and lit the place with something like All I want to do is… They kept the energy up with Faineant, even with a broken string. They followed with a down cover that I should know, but can’t grasp. Next was a beautiful version of If You Get Lost, which most of the audience had. Amanda said there was one more, then looked out at the crowd, counted us, and said six more, one for each of you. At this point Eric was still playing Scott’s guitar (from Mildred Moody Band), which he had been, since the string break. It was just him on guitar and Jeremy on drums, when Amanda started to sing Purple Rain. Half way in, she sat at the keys, and let Eric Olsen rip out some killer leads. It was glorious! At the end Scott came to the stage and said his guitar had never sounded like that. You’ve gotta love rock and roll.

In the other room, a rapping puppet show gave way to a pair of dj’swho  played some obnoxious edm.  I hung out in the main room, waiting for Errands. I remembered liking them, but they did not grab me as much tonight. It’s like pop edm trance, played live with a keyboard/singer and drummer, but after a while, you just know where all the notes are going to be, and is just not as interesting. I hung out for most of their set and liked them, but was not enthralled, in the way that Swale and Mildred Moody had me. I settled up, stepped down the stairs, and cruised home. What a beautiful way to spend a full moon.

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Stewart speaking about the war between Israel and Gaza “This is such a depressing, cyclical status quo. where the untenable underlying conditions are never addressed.  There are no winners here.  Or, to put that a different way…”

Pundit 1.) “Who was the big winner, do you think, here?”

Pundit 2.) “There are two clear winners.”

Pundit 3.) “Who are the losers and who are the winners?”

Stewart “You really miss the election, don’t you?  Is everything about the winners and losers and the horse race?  Even intractable bloodshed is just another chance to see who’s incrementally up or incrementally down.  And, by the way, winners and losers, in what game?  Sandy Land?  Hungry Hungry Hebrews?  Or, maybe it’s the old family favorite, Monotony (A game of momentary respite from implacable historical hatred), where violence is the day to day norm.  It’s a game where angrily flipping over the board is how you start.  And don’t get them started about where you can put up houses.  You can’t put up a house on Baltic Avenue.  I own Baltic Avenue.  Stop calling it Baltic Avenue, it’s called the dark purple territories and it was given to my people before this game was even invented.  Now, get your thimble off my schnauzer.  So, no winners.”

Pundit 4.) “There’s a military side of this, which Israel clearly won.”

Stewart “Oh, yes, Israel clearly won.  Israel’s in great shape now.  There’s no winners!”

Pundit 5.) “Hamas emerges as a big winner from this conflict.”

Pundit 6.) “Hamas is a winner here.”

Stewart “So, Israel won and Hamas won.  Did I say no winners?  I meant two winners.”

Pundit 6.) “President Obama is a winner here.  Netanyahu is a winner here.  Hillary Clinton is a winner here.”

Pundit 7.) “Egypt has definitely emerged as the winner in all this.”

Stewart “Did anyone lose this bleeping thing?  Did anybody lose?  Did anybody actually lose in this bloody conflict that killed over 150 people?

Pundit 8.) “The loser in all this is Mahmoud Abbas.”

Pundit 9.) “Iran is the main loser in this conflict.”

Stewart “So, the only two losers in the war between Israel and Gaza, are people that don’t live in either of those places.  So, the lesson here is that the next time your region descends into a war, you’ve gotta be in it to win it.”

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Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take. It’s Thanksgiving week in America, time to reflect on our good fortune. It’s also a time that most Americans think about the unusual origins of the United States, a land of immigrants.

We see ourselves as special in this way and we are except that we’re not quite as exceptional as we think anymore. Something fascinating has happened over the last two decades.

Other countries have been transforming themselves into immigrant societies, adopting many of America’s best ideas, even improving on them.

If you watched our immigration special back in June or read my piece in Time Magazine, you would know that Canada and Australia both have a higher percentage of people who are foreign born, compared to the United States.

In fact, on this dimension, America, which once led the world, looks like most western countries. Germany and France, for example, have about the same percent of foreign-born people as America.

One important difference is that many of these countries have managed to take in immigrants mostly based on skills giving a big boost to their economies.

It’s not as if America doesn’t need these people. American companies are struggling to fill 3.6 million job openings, many of them in science-related fields. Meanwhile, foreign students receive half of all doctorates in such fields and almost all of them will head home after graduation.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls America’s current immigrations policy, “The single biggest problem facing the economy,” and argues that our current approach is “national suicide.”

The good news is we may finally be on the road to a solution. Immigration reform has been a taboo topic for the last few years as large and vocal voices within the Republican Party, with considerable public support, have blocked any mention of reform.

They words they’ve wanted to hear are “border fence” and “deportation.” That’s why Mitt Romney advocated a policy of self- deportation during the presidential campaign and that’s why he lost the Hispanic vote and the Asian vote to President Obama by a landslide.

President Obama seems emboldened and the Republicans chastened so we have an opening for a deal. What should it look like? Well, it should look like the bipartisan bill sponsored in 2005 by John McCain and Ted Kennedy and strongly supported by then President George W. Bush.

That one did not even get to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote. The right hated it because it provided a legal path for undocumented workers, the left because it reduced family unification and the unions opposed the temporary worker provisions.

In an earlier era, the fact that the two wings of the parties disliked the bill might actually have made passage easier because the energy was in the center. Today, power has shifted to the wings of the political parties who control their political agendas.

John McCain, the original sponsor of the bill, now denounces his own handiwork. Let’s hope in the post election atmosphere this dynamic has changed and McCain, for one, can proudly support his own very good bill.

Let me close by noting that I actually do think America remains exceptional. It is the global melting pot, the place where a universal nation is being created.

We may not do immigration better than anyone anymore, but we do assimilation better than anyone. People from all over the world come to this country and almost magically become real Americans.

But part of the being a real America is urging the country to look at its flaws and change them. Let’s get started.

Posted November 26, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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A court challenge has delayed plans to expel a Texan student for refusing to wear a radio tag that tracked her movements.

Religious reasons led Andrea Hernandez to stop wearing the tag that revealed where she was on her school campus.

The tags were introduced to track students and help tighten control of school funding.

A Texan court has granted a restraining order filed by a civil rights group pending a hearing on use of the tags.

ID badges containing radio tags started to be introduced at the start of the 2012 school year to schools run by San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District (NISD). The tracking tags gave NISD a better idea of the numbers of students attending classes each day – the daily average of which dictates how much cash it gets from state coffers.

“The court’s willingness to grant a temporary restraining order is a good first step, but there is still a long way to go – not just in this case, but dealing with the mindset, in general, that everyone needs to be monitored and controlled,” said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute in a statement.

Mr Whitehead said student tagging and locating projects were the first step in producing a “compliant citizenry”.

“These ‘student locator’ programmes are ultimately aimed at getting students used to living in a total surveillance state where there will be no privacy, and wherever you go and whatever you text or email will be watched by the government,” he said.

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American scientists have developed a hybrid printer that prints cartilage, which could one day be implanted into injured patients to help re-grow cartilage in areas such as the joints.

The 3D tissue printer, featured in a study published in the journal Biofabrication by the Institute of Physics, is a mix of a traditional ink jet printer and an electrospinning machine.

In this study, done by scientists at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, the hybrid system produced cartilage with better mechanical stability than those created by an ink jet printer.

“This is a proof of concept study and illustrates that a combination of materials and fabrication methods generates durable implantable constructs,” said Dr. James Yoo, a professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and an author on the study.

Other methods of making cartilage, such as robotic systems, are also being developed to improve implantable tissue.

Key to the success of the hybrid printer is the electrospinning machine, which can generate very fine fibres from a polymer solution. The polymers can be easily controlled and made porous, which is important in getting real cartilage cells to integrate into the surrounding tissue.

Researchers built cartilage by combining electrospun polymer with cartilage cells from a rabbit’s ear that were deposited using the traditional ink jet printer. The cartilage was tested on mice and after eight weeks it had developed the structures and properties of real cartilage, demonstrating its potential use in humans.

In future, researchers say clinicians could develop cartilage specific to the needs of patients. For instance, an MRI scan of the body part, such as the knee, would provide a sort of blueprint and then matching cartilage could be created.–scientists-develop-3d-tissue-printer-that-prints-cartilage

Posted November 24, 2012 by tmusicfan in Quote of the Day

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Back at the presidential palace in Heliopolis, Morsi supporters slam Tahrir protesters for, they say, “opposing the revolution.”

“We fully support our president’s decisions. Why do they want judicial powers to prevail while the judiciary needs to be completely purged?,” asks Mariam El-Shafei, a member of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party who bought her two children to the demonstration.

“People who are in Tahrir now, like former tourism minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, are the ones who wanted the military to remain in power and preside over the constitution. Those in Tahrir do not have principles, they’re opposing for the sake of opposition, but we are defending our country, our revolution. I can’t say I’m not worried that Egyptians are dividing but we assure them we, here, are not merely perusing our own interests.”


Protesters in Egypt have set fire to Muslim Brotherhood offices in several cities, according to state TV.

They were demonstrating against President Mohammed Mursi’s decision to grant himself sweeping new powers

His decree states, among other things, that the president’s decisions cannot be revoked by any authority – including the judiciary.

Rival rallies have been held across the country by supporters and opponents of Mr Mursi.

Offices of the president’s Muslim Brotherhood party were reportedly attacked in the cities of Port Said and Ismailia. Earlier reports of an attack on the office in Suez were denied.

Posted November 23, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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OCTOBER 27, 1961



“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”

More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter. Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.

This year, as the harvest draws near its close and the year approaches its end, awesome perils again remain to be faced. Yet we have, as in the past, ample reason to be thankful for the abundance of our blessings. We are grateful for the blessings of faith and health and strength and for the imperishable spiritual gifts of love and hope. We give thanks, too, for our freedom as a nation; for the strength of our arms and the faith of our friends; for the beliefs and confidence we share; for our determination to stand firmly for what we believe to be right and to resist mightily what we believe to be base; and for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children’s children.

It is right that we should be grateful for the plenty amidst which we live; the productivity of our farms, the output of our factories, the skill of our artisans, and the ingenuity of our investors. But in the midst of our thanksgiving, let us not be unmindful of the plight of those in many parts of the world to whom hunger is no stranger and the plight of those millions more who live without the blessings of liberty and freedom. With some we are able to share our material abundance through our Food-for-Peace Program and through our support of the United Nations Freedom-from-Hunger Campaign. To all we can offer the sustenance of hope that we shall not fail in our unceasing efforts to make this a peaceful and prosperous world for all mankind.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN F. KENNEDY, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, the twenty-third day of November of this year, as a day of national thanksgiving.

I urge all citizens to make this Thanksgiving not merely a holiday from their labors, but rather a day of contemplation. I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England thanksgiving, thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through man’s efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God.

Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth. Let us by our example, as well as by our material aid, assist all peoples of all nations who are striving to achieve a better life in freedom.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this twenty-seventh day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-sixth.



Posted November 22, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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On Wednesday afternoon, freshly returned from his trip to Asia, President Obama pardoned the annual Thanksgiving turkeys and marked the occasion with a joking reference to statistician and poll wizard Nate Silver, author of the blog, FiveThirtyEight.

This year, for the first time, the American public voted which of the two Virginia-raised turkeys, Gobbler or Cobbler, would become our national Thanksgiving turkey and therefore receive a presidential pardon. The poll was conducted via the White House’s Facebook page.

“For the first time in our history the winners of the White House turkey pardon were chosen through a highly competitive online vote,” said the president. “And once again, Nate Silver completely nailed it. The guy’s amazing. He predicted these guys would win.”

“These birds,” he said, “are moving forward.”

Posted November 22, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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