Friday, August 05, 2011

Camera Obscura: New Booker T. Jones Album: Russia Attacked By Aliens; Sam Raimi Does Wizard of Oz

Once you allow for Memphis native Booker T. Jones to sit at a Hammond B3 organ, magic happens. After far too long an absence, the funky soul sounds he creates are back on his new solo effort, "The Road From Memphis". Here's a tune based on Lauryn Hill's "Everything is Everything"

Buy the CD for more - including a cut with Booker T. and Lou Reed.


Attacking aliens somehow target towns like Washington, Tokyo or L.A. But what about Russia? The director of "Wanted", "Nighwatch" and "Daywatch" offers up "The Darkest Hour" to answer that question --


"Evil Dead" and "Spiderman" director Sam Raimi is hard at work on a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, called "Oz: The Great And Powerful", starring Mila Kunis, James Franco and, of course Bruce Campbell. Few details are available, but some are here.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Best Thing About Twitter

I have no idea what the best thing about Twitter is, so you will have to tell me as I nervously,. and novicely, dive into the Twitterverse. Or you can follow my folly via Twitter by adding me to your Twitterisms (Twitterifications? Just don't say "Oh, how 'tweet.") - Cup Of Joe Powell.

Do you use Twitter?

Do you hate Twitter?

Does Twitter use you?

Slow Clap For Congress

Sarcasm for Congress hits the Internet with homemade videos at Slow Clap for Congress -- the opening message says it all:

Dear Congress:

For your leadership, your maturity,
and your inspiring ability to perform the basic duties of your job,

We Applaud You

And here's a sample video from the pages and pages of submitted videos which anyone can make and download to the site - maybe you will offer your applause too:

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Metropolis II - 1,100 Tiny Cars Cruising the City

1,100 tiny cars roam endlessly over a cityscape in Metropolis II by artist Chris Burden.

"The exhibit, when running, requires two full-time attendants: one standing inside it monitoring flow like a panopticon, and another pacing around the 20-by-30-foot installation watching for traffic snarls. "I've seen spectacular pile-ups involving cars that spill off the road and derail trains," Burden says. "Every hour 100,000 cars circulate through the system, so you're going to get some glitches. It's not digitized."

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Police: Sir, Do Not Wear Your Bunny Suit Outside

Police in Idaho Falls report:

According to a report, officers responded to the 400 block of Third Street after a resident reported that her son had been frightened by Falkingham wearing a black bunny suit and hiding behind a tree and pointing his finger like a gun at him.

The officer also spoke to other neighbors who expressed that they were greatly disturbed by Falkingham and his bunny suit. Neighbors also reported that Falkingham also occasionally wears a tutu with the bunny suit."

Okay then.

I See Debt People

The whooped-up yahoos who claim to represent Conservative American political factions have earned their momentary fame at a pretty large cost to the national economy, and sadly they are enabled by too many in the press who think the press should always flee from facts. The press and the whooped-up yahoos are wrong.

The cult of balance has played an important role in bringing us to the edge of disaster. For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault. ...

"The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse."

Some plain-speaking folks are finally getting the point - Congress and government is not a broken system - but many of the players have gone cuckoo loco:

... the system breaks down when one of the parties goes berserk. We’re not in a broken-down car; we’re in a perfectly good car with a crazy person in the passenger seat recklessly grabbing the steering wheel at inopportune times.

To be sure, the parties are supposed to disagree, and there’s nothing wrong with Democrats and Republicans fighting for very different principles and agendas. In some respects, it’s helpful to voters to have sharp distinctions between the parties, better clarifying the directions available to the country, and ideally making the electorate’s choices easier.

When one of two major parties, however, succumbs to madness — say, threatening to crash the global economy on purpose without a multi-trillion-dollar ransom — the basic political norms that oil the political machine becomes impossible."

And while independence was the goal of the Founders of America - money, debt and taxation were also priorities for the nation.

... while balancing budgets, restraining borrowing, and keeping taxes low and government small might be good goals, depending on what you mean by them, it is impossible to locate in the founding national law any requirement to accomplish them. Indeed, the reality of founding history leads to the reverse conclusion.

The Constitution came about precisely to enable a newly large government -- a national one — to tax all Americans for the specific purpose of funding a large public debt. Neither Alexander Hamilton nor his mentor the financier Robert Morris made any bones about that purpose; James Madison was among their closest allies; and Edmund Randolph of Virginia opened the Constitutional Convention by charging the delegates to redress the country’s failure to fund -- not pay off, fund -- the public debt, by creating a national government.

Nobody has to like it. But the original intent of the Constitution involved sustaining and managing public debt via taxation.

Both the articles and the amendments do, of course, limit government and restrict its power. But no ratified amendment has ever qualified Congress’s power of the purse, which in the minds of the framers explicitly involved the power to take on debt and fund it. In their tweets and blogs, "constitutional conservatives" have been promoting a balanced-budget amendment with reference to the tired notion that since households and small businesses must balance their budgets (as if!), government must too. They link that economically useless prescription to the widespread fantasy that our Constitution was written, amended and ratified for just such a purpose. The framers saw it just the other way."

Monday, August 01, 2011

Financial Nonsense and Republican Hostage Policies

"Welcome to the normalization of extortion politics."

A deal on debts and defaults means what??

It's not a solution. It's a promise to come up with a solution, somehow, someday." (via)

The Republican job plan means cutting job plans and spending:

This mean-spirited political twist amounts to blaming the victims. There should be no mystery about what caused the $14 trillion debt: large deficits began in 1981, with Ronald Reagan’s fanciful “supply side” tax-cutting. Federal debt was then around $1 trillion. By 2007 it had reached $9 trillion, thanks to George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and his two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the massive subsidy for Big Pharma in Medicare drug benefits. The 2008 financial collapse and deep recession generated most of the remainder, as tax revenues fell drastically. Obama’s pump-priming stimulus added to the debt too, but a relatively small portion.

Whatever supposed solutions Congress eventually enacts, the misleading quality of the debt crisis should become widely understood once the action is completed. The debt and deficits will probably keep expanding, because the economy will remain stagnant or worse, with near 10 percent unemployment and falling incomes, and that is fundamentally what drives deficits higher. It should become obvious that deficit reduction did nothing to revive economic growth or to create jobs. In fact, cutting federal spending may make things worse, because it withdraws demand from the economy at the very moment when demand for goods and services is woefully inadequate."

Proposals to grow the economy with spending and demand, that is gaining a foothold in most places except in Washington.

It’s a forgotten detail, but going into 2000, the government was expected to run a deficit. What happened? The economy was growing so fast, and unemployment was so low, receipts far exceeded expectations. It was a striking reminder: good economy = good fiscal picture.

Of course, Republicans soon dominated after Clinton’s departure, the deficits came back, and those who claim credibility on fiscal issues stopped paying for their agenda and added several trillion dollars to the debt.

In our current decade, growth alone won’t be enough to balance the budget anytime soon. The shortfall is too large. That said, growth was responsible for reducing the deficit in 2009, and more growth would mean more jobs, more jobs would mean more revenue, and more revenue would mean a smaller deficit."


"Basically the Republicans said we'll blow up the world economy unless you give us exactly what we want, and the President said OK. That's what happened. . . . We're having a debate in Washington which is all about, "we're going to make this economy worse, but are we going to make it worse on 90 percent of the Republican’s terms or 10o percent of the Republican’s terms?" And the answer is 100 percent."