Here is the first of the Chat series -- Art, Space and Politics: Shepard Fairey asks Robbie Conal
Best known for his unapologetic in-your-face style of political street art, Robbie Conal is ready to take us on a new journey with his new book Not Your Typical Political Animal. But that doesn’t mean his ideas of creating art anywhere and everywhere have changed. In this chat with fellow artist and long time fan Shepard Fairey, he discusses the use of public space for art and challenges us all to take action.
Neil Young's 1983 album Everybody's Rocking, recorded with a band of longtime cohorts dubbed the Shocking Pinks, was beyond shocking to many fans who were baffled by Young's foray into a world of pompadours and Doo-Wop. Fans weren't the only ones baffled by the musical shift, as Geffen records reportedly shut down the sessions and subsequently sued Young the next year for making "uncharacteristic, uncommercial records". Clocking in just shy of 25 minutes, the record is a mix of Young originals and covers by artists such as Jimmy Reed and Slim Harpo (two of my personal musical heroes).
My favorite song on this record is called "Wonderin'", a After The Gold Rush era tune in which Young pines for his lost love to come home and save him from his loneliness. I find myself humming this song all the time, maybe you will too.
It's the weekend! Ya'll be safe and have a nice one...
1) Social Security, at current rates, is not expected to run short of money before 2037.
2)The simplest way to "fix" Social Security, if you're worried about a "problem" 27 years in the future, is simply to remove the contribution limit. End of problem. Period. Social Security is not in crisis.
3) The reason politicians want to "fix" Social Security is to increase the SS surplus, so they can use it for other things.
4) Medicare has more serious issues. However the simplest way to fix healthcare in the US is to move single payer, which would reduce healthcare per person by one-third. It has worked for every other country in the history of the world that has done it. It will work for the US. Since we've admitted now that everyone deserves health care, and since it's cheaper, and better, why not use the next round of healthcare to fix Medicare by fixing health care?
The unspoken entitlement is the US military. The US spends about half the entire world's military budget. There is, actually, no one in the world who can invade or seriously threaten the US in any fashion. (Is Canada going to invade? Mexico?) You can easily slash the military budget in half and still be so far ahead of any possible combination of enemies that it isn't even close.
This May 1st, immigrant communities and citizens alike will hit the streets to say no to Arizona's new "show me your papers law" and yes to real, federal action on immigration reform this year. Eighty cities across the country are gearing up for major rallies, marches, and protests tomorrow. Students who had come in from New York, Florida, and California to participate in the Washington protests led their own action in front of Governor Jan Brewer's DC office today. They chanted, "Arizona, Shame On You! Immigrants Are People, Too!"
Tomorrow's marches are a follow-up to the major March for America: Change Takes Courage, which drew over 200,000 people to the National Mall on March 21st. At that event, President Obama delivered a firm message promising he'd work on comprehensive immigration reform "this year." Now, with Arizona's new law driving already-desperate communities into action, we're likely to see events in Chicago, New York, and L.A. turn out tens of thousands of people.
At the DC event, 40 protesters will go so far as to risk arrest, practicing peaceful civil disobedience in the face of cynical Washington politics.
Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, writes today at Huffington Post:
Tomorrow, there will be over 80 demonstrations in favor of immigration reform across America. One of them will be in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. There, some 40 dignitaries including a member of Congress, clergy, heads of organizations and community leaders will likely be arrested in acts of civil disobedience against unjust immigration enforcement and the political cowardice in addressing our broken immigration system. I will be one of those getting arrested.
I am willing to get arrested tomorrow because the massive deportations being undertaken by the Obama Administration are tearing apart families, separating children from their parents, risking the lives of disabled immigrants and vulnerable refugees, and spreading terror into our communities. I will be arrested because America needs to understand immigration reform is not merely a political issue; our broken system is a moral disaster unfolding in our nation. Civil disobedience is important at this point because it signals to our leaders that the current situation is so unjust and unsustainable that people are no longer willing to comply or be complicit in the injustices committed by our government.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who just announced that he intends to join in the civil disobedience, released this statement:
We have to keep the pressure on and let the President and Congress know we need immigration reform this year," the Congressman said Friday. "I am joining the rally in Washington because the effort to get immigration reform passed is escalating, the attacks on immigrants and immigration reform are escalating, and the Arizona law is a wake-up call that inaction at the federal level has huge consequences for communities, families, and individuals.
WHAT: Rally for Immigration Reform
WHEN: Saturday May 1, at 2:00 p.m. ET (music program starts at 1:30 p.m.)
WHERE: Lafayette Square, (across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House)
In addition to civil disobedience, many May Day events will feature celebrities who are taking a stand against what happened in Arizona. Via Perez Hilton:
And if you're lucky enough to be in Los Angeles this weekend, go be a part of their march with guests like Gloria and Emilio Estefan also taking part!
It's not just a hispanic issue, it's one that affects everyone regardless of their background.
Last but not least, students who've walked 1,500 miles on what they are calling the "Trail of Dreams" will be a major part of the Washington, DC event. Watch their stories:
For those of you who follow baseball, Ozzie Guillen is not shy about expressing his feeling or calling out his players performance and using colorful language to do it. He'll even tell you what he feels about other team's players so I was hopeful that he'd have something to say on SB 1070.
I am advised by my dear friend @JoeLaPointe of NYT that Mgr Ozzie Guillen of Chi White Sox, just went OFF at Yankee game on new AZ law.
This is great news people. It's awesome how quickly we've been able to get our message across to the grassroots, the MLBPA and now to MLB directly on this xenophobic law that Arizona seems so proud to have sponsored.
"This law of 'frontier justice' – where law enforcement officials are required to stop anyone based on “reasonable suspicion” that they may be in the country illegally – is reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause," said Mack in a statement. "It shouldn’t be against the law to not have proof of citizenship on you."
"We're going to keep moving around," said Guillen, who possesses dual citizenship in the United States and his native Venezuela. "We're not leaving because we didn't do wrong here. We just work. We just come here to work. ... We got to support baseball, and that's what it is. I know there are people upset about it. I'm upset about it and wish I could do more about it than what I'm doing."
Guillen admitted "this is a very tough situation for myself because I'm an immigrant. I was an American citizen a couple years ago. One thing about it, people have to be careful what they're doing, the way they talk and say and what they agree." But Guillen pointed to the number of immigrants who help support the country with their work ethic.
"Nobody sees those guys getting up at 4 a.m. to go to work on the farm, picking all kinds of stuff and leaving at 6 o'clock in the afternoon," Guillen said. "Nobody complains about that. Leave those guys alone. Help them. Put a law like a working visa and try to do something different to maintain those guys here. As soon as you do that, there are less immigrants, less illegal people here because they help each other."
"They cannot live without us (immigrants). Put it that way. They're workaholics. And this country can't survive without them."
Guillen added later: "There's a lot of people from this country who are lazy. We're not. Prove me wrong. A lot of people in this country want to be on the computer and send e-mails to people. We do the hard work. We're the ones who go out and work in the sun to make this country better."
It also appears now in NJ.com: White Sox manager disappointed at anti-immigrant Arizona law
Speaking on the House floor last night, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), who has been a vocal voice in the bipartisan movement to increase border security, had a peculiar and offensive way of framing the issue.
Poe: "Now it seems to me that if we are so advanced with technology and manpower and competence that we can capture illegal grasshoppers from Brazil, in the holds of ships that are in a little small place in Port Arthur, Texas on the Sabine River. Sabin River, madam speaker, is the river that separates Texas from Louisiana. If we're able to do that as a country, how come we can't capture the thousands of people that cross the border everyday on the southern border of the United States? You know they're a little bigger than grasshoppers and they should be able to be captured easier.
Here's how Poe really feels about non-whites in America.
I was wondering if it came from a David Lynch movie. You know how he likes insects. Blue Velvet, maybe. The GOP, teabaggers and conservatives remind me of Frank Booth. (Not for children video clip.)
It sure looks like Republicans have been huffing the good stuff over this issue. As always, it brings out the eliminationist impulse, doesn't it?
I watched Erskine Bowles pontificating at the first meeting of the President's Bipartisan Fiscal Commission, and I just couldn't get past my visceral reaction: I don't trust any of these people.
And I don't. I mean, Alan Simpson? The man who likes to talk about "senior citizens driving up to their gated community in a Lexus"? The man's a weasel, he's always been a weasel. So already I'm suspicious. Why the hell is he co-chairing this commission, anyway?
And it's beside the point. Pay attention: The reason Franklin Roosevelt would not allow Social Security to be means-tested is that the political will to protect it would vanish as soon as it was perceived as a "welfare" program.
Alan Simpson knows that. They all know that. They just want to change it under the radar, because if it only goes to poor people, it's a lot easier to destroy.
And Alan, you wizened old coot? The senior citizens in my neighborhood are on foot, walking up Thompson Street to the local food bank. (Which, by the way, Alan, has seen its client base go from 40 families a month to 350+.)
Erskine Bowles? Oh yeah, that gives me comfort. Bowles is there to put lipstick on the value-added tax pig.
Theoretically, a VAT wouldn't be so bad if it were joined with a reduction in income taxes on the lower economic brackets because without it, it's a highly regressive tax. But after you saw what happened to health insurance subsidies, ask yourself this question: Do you trust these Beltway pros to look out for the poor and working class? Come to think of it, have you ever even heard them mention the poor and the working class? Because all I ever hear them do is babble on about this mythical "middle class" that no longer actually exists.
Let me call this deficit commission what it is: an escalation of war on the paycheck class.
People who are tied into the Beltway intravenous feeding system (politicians, staffers, think tankers, media) behave in terms of mandatory inclusion: that is, they act as if everything said by the other members of the system is plausible and accurate - even when they know it isn't. (This is the quality that leads to the rise in blood pressure for those of us watching at home.)
Those of us who are paying attention - yes, even lifelong liberals like me - are absolutely furious. Because this is just another Hollywood remake, and we already know how the story ends. (Hint: Millionaires and billionaires live happily ever after. Us? Not so much.)
The pointless, expensive wars, the massive defense contracts? "Absolutely essential" to national security (i.e. oil. I wonder if it's ever even occurred to our leaders to simply buy oil at a fair price instead of trying to appropriate it?)
The Social Security exemption for those earning over $106,800 would be the best place to start. In case you've forgotten, let me remind you that Americans who earn less than $106,800 pay 6.2 percent of wages in Social Security taxes, while someone who earns a million dollars a year pays only 0.66 percent.
That wage exemption is a windfall for the wealthy, because it was put in place at a time when their income tax rate was around 95 percent. Their income tax was slashed to 35 percent, but their bracket's Social Security taxes were never raised to make up the difference.
No, when they say "everything's on the table", they mean "only the things the rich and powerful want on the table are actually on the table."
This rig is in inland waters, and will surely cause more difficulties for crews trying to stop the bleeding farther out in the Gulf.
It will hamper efforts to clear up oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico which is starting to ooze ashore in the southeastern US, threatening birds and other wildlife along fragile islands and barrier marshes and putting one of the world's richest seafood grounds in peril.
Crews in boats were patrolling coastal marshes early Friday looking for areas where the oil has flowed in, the Coast Guard said. Storms loomed that could push tide waters higher than normal through the weekend, the National Weather Service warned.
If there is good news to come from these disasters, it's the news that the Obama administration will not authorize new drilling, at least for the time being:
David Axelrod told ABC television that "no additional drilling has been authorised and none will until we find out what has happened here." Obama recently lifted a drilling moratorium for many offshore areas, including the Atlantic and Gulf areas. Read more...
More as it develops...
UPDATE: Video of Axelrod/Stephanopoulis interview re: stopping new offshore projects:
The spreading stench of oil, money and destruction off the Louisiana coast should be enough reason for anyone to protest opening more wells offshore. In case it's not, let's just put an end to the myths that offshore drilling is safe, government regulation is bad, and this particular disaster is "Obama's Katrina". It's not, no matter what the AP's Calvin Woodward alleges.
The political subtext of the crisis was clear and increasingly on people's minds, whether from a federal office deploying oil-containment booms or from a Louisiana parish awaiting yet another sucker punch from the sea.
Will this be Obama's Katrina? Should the federal and state governments have done more, and earlier? Did they learn the lessons of the devastating hurricane?
Well, yes. They did. If it weren't for the Obama administration, none of us would know that the flow of oil into the sea was 5 times the rate reported by BP. It was, after all, the federal government experts who exposed the true leakage rate.
On Wednesday night, she reported the findings of federal experts that up to 5,000 barrels a day were leaking from the well. BP had estimated only 1,000. As well, the company told the Coast Guard a new leak had been found. Obama was briefed on these developments on Air Force One while returning at night from the Midwest.
True to form, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan, and every other right wing hack has jumped right on the bandwagon.
Halliburton is directly linked to the failure causing the spill and explosion.
In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, workers had finished pumping cement to fill the space between the pipe and the sides of the hole and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement; it isn't known whether they had completed the plugging process before the blast.
Regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts, in which oil and natural gas surge out of a well with explosive force. When cement develops cracks or doesn't set properly, oil and gas can escape, ultimately flowing out of control. The gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite, as it appears to have done aboard the Deepwater Horizon, which was leased by BP PLC, the British oil giant.
Concerns about the cementing process—and about whether rigs have enough safeguards to prevent blowouts—raise questions about whether the industry can safely drill in deep water and whether regulators are up to the task of monitoring them.
The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week. The disaster, which killed 11, has left a gusher of oil streaming into the Gulf from a mile under the surface.
It's not the first time for Halliburton, either.
Halliburton also was the cementer on a well that suffered a big blowout last August in the Timor Sea, off Australia. The rig there caught fire and a well leaked tens of thousands of barrels of oil over 10 weeks before it was shut down. The investigation is continuing; Halliburton declined to comment on it.
Meanwhile, the devastation spreads.
Offshore, cleanup workers struggled to contain an oily sheen spreading from a well ruptured by the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon exploration platform. Coast Guard officials estimate that some 42,000 gallons of crude continue to leak into the Gulf of Mexico each day. Remote submersibles have so far failed in an effort to close the shattered well's blowout valve, which should have shut off automatically. Boom crews plan to begin burning collected oil on the Gulf's surface as early as Wednesday. - Mother Nature Network
The failed blowout valve? It was manufactured by Cameron International. One look at Cameron's board should tell you all you need to know. They're all Bush/Cheney contractor cronies, here and around the world.
Offshore drilling has been put forward by the Obama administration as one prong of a multi-prong approach to ending our foreign oil dependence. With thousands of barrels of oil spilling offshore, perhaps it's time for the administration to reconsider opening more wells to companies willing to overlook consistent records of failure like Halliburton's.
Natural disasters like Katrina are devastating and unpreventable. The best we can do is be prepared to deal with the fallout, including levees unable to handle the stress of a Category 5 hurricane. The government failed the people of New Orleans and allowed the aftermath of Katrina to devastate New Orleans. This disaster is a man-made mess, beginning to end, engineered by corporate interests. It isn't anyone's Katrina. It's just chapter two of the war waged on our coasts by Bush, Cheney, and their gang of corporate cronies.
Update: Media Matters has a timeline of the Obama administration's response.
New York, NY, Friday, April 30, 2010 … The following statement was issued today by Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner regarding the immigration law recently passed by the state of Arizona.
“The recent passage by Arizona of a new immigration law could have a negative impact on hundreds of Major League players who are citizens of countries other than the United States. These international players are very much a part of our national pastime and are important members of our Association. Their contributions to our sport have been invaluable, and their exploits have been witnessed, enjoyed and applauded by millions of Americans. All of them, as well as the Clubs for whom they play, have gone to great lengths to ensure full compliance with federal immigration law.
“The impact of the bill signed into law in Arizona last Friday is not limited to the players on one team. The international players on the Diamondbacks work and, with their families, reside in Arizona from April through September or October. In addition, during the season, hundreds of international players on opposing Major League teams travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. And, the spring training homes of half of the 30 Major League teams are now in Arizona. All of these players, as well as their families, could be adversely affected, even though their presence in the United States is legal. Each of them must be ready to prove, at any time, his identity and the legality of his being in Arizona to any state or local official with suspicion of his immigration status. This law also may affect players who are U.S. citizens but are suspected by law enforcement of being of foreign descent.
“The Major League Baseball Players Association opposes this law as written. We hope that the law is repealed or modified promptly. If the current law goes into effect, the MLBPA will consider additional steps necessary to protect the rights and interests of our members.
“My statement reflects the institutional position of the Union. It was arrived at after consultation with our members and after consideration of their various views on this controversial subject.”
Good for the players to speak out over this issue. Like so many athletes before them, they refuse to put themselves in the middle of a political debate, but this one really has consequences for them. I think the pressure we've all been putting on baseball so far is working. Keep it up.
“There’s no distinguishing characteristic between an undocumented alien and someone who’s here legally,” said Glen Wasserstein, a partner with the Immigration Law Group in Washington. “How do you possibly have reasonable suspicion? Everybody of Hispanic orientation will be scrutinized.
“Why would you bring your passport and visa with you?”
Currently, players don’t. One major league executive said his team’s director of minor league operations collects the passports of foreign players and keeps them in a safe at the team’s minor league facility. The policy is in place so the teenage players don’t lose the paperwork, which includes a P Visa that the government issues to “internationally recognized entertainers or athletes.”
Nice, they don't even carry their "stinking papers." Also there's a push to have MLB move the 2011 All Star game out of Arizona until they change the law.
Remember, the NFL forced Arizona to recognize MLK Day in order to host a Super Bowl.
The league gave Arizona a provisional bid to host the Super Bowl in 1993 with one stipulation: Make Martin Luther King Jr. Day an official state holiday. Voters, put off by the request, rejected the plan. The NFL yanked the Super Bowl and didn’t return until 1996 – by which time the King vote had passed.