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Ashes to Ashes

September 24, 2009

It’s all over but the shouting. That’s about the only thing we produce anymore, as stupefyingly misguided as it is. Maybe Goldman Sachs will figure out how to collateralize it and sell derivatives on it. Wonder how much a short position on “keep the government out of my Medicare” options would go for?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    September 24, 2009 7:05 am

    Well, the shouting and maybe a little misguided killing too. This story is fucked up.

    When Bill Sparkman told retired trooper Gilbert Acciardo that he was going door-to-door collecting census data in rural Kentucky, the former cop drew on years of experience for a warning: “Be careful.”

    The 51-year-old Sparkman was found this month hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

  2. cometman permalink*
    September 24, 2009 8:08 am

    Ok ok, the misguided shouting, killing and some dirty dancing thrown in for good measure. This was funny – Jack Cafferty on Tom Delay’s “Dancing with the Stars” performance.

    “It’s very disturbing,” Cafferty told Wolf Blitzer in reference to the DeLay video.

    “Takes guts to do that,” Blitzer suggested, in an apparent attempt to take the edge off Cafferty’s remarks.

    “It takes something,” Cafferty replied. “I’m not sure if ‘guts’ is it.”

    “When he goes to prison,” Cafferty concluded, “they can show that … to the general inmate population.”

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 24, 2009 9:01 am

      Haha! I saw a clip of him dancing to “Wild Thing” last night and threw a shoe at him. It was revolting. I thought of posting it in along with the raw cephalopod eating, but I didn’t want to ruin your dinner too. ;)

      I think Cafferty is right on with the prison concept.

  3. Stemella permalink*
    September 24, 2009 9:10 am

    Great and sad song. Randy knows how to capture the essence of our times. What a contrast to some of his earlier work.

    I watched Paul Volcker’s testimony to Barney Frank’s committee this morning. He strongly recommends reinstating Glass Steagall or something like it to force the Goldies and AIGgers to assume the risk they take and force them out of the safety nets (now full of holes and shredded) created for the commercial banks.

    I have a sad and sinking feeling that Barney, Larry, Barry, Timmy and Bennie won’t be paying much mind to that old wise man and his experience. Timmy wants to keep all the exotics unhindered so the Goldies can keep raking it in. Barry and Barney want to be popular and well funded by the Goldies. The others work on their behalf.

    Yeah, ashes to ashes…. gold dust to gold dust. The vampire pirates will the day just as they always have.

    Here’s a couple of good articles on the subject, even though they won’t amount to much or influence anything in DC or Wall St:

    William K. Black’s Proposal for “Systemically Dangerous Institutions”

    Volcker on Financial Reform

    • cometman permalink*
      September 24, 2009 11:59 am

      Those were good articles and it’s absolutely ridiculous that none of the reforms that Black or Volcker mention are even being considered. The only solace I can take in it all is that the “Let them eat cake”attitude the oligarchs are taking will come back to bite them, and sooner than later if they keep it up. As terrible as the death of that census worker is that I posted about above, I’d think hanging a guy and scrawling ‘fed’ across his chest would send shivers up the spine of some of these rat fuckers in DC and on Wall Street. It isn’t just rural Kentucky that has crazy, pissed off people willing to take things to extremes.

      Anyhow, for good measure here’s a cover of one of Newman’s earlier songs – Political Science.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    September 24, 2009 9:30 am

    Wow, it sounds like the Colonel’s secret recipe for KFC rat on a stick is carcinogenic! Mmm mmm tumorously good!

    National health advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has filed suit against KFC for its failure under California law to warn consumers that the chain’s new grilled chicken product contains a dangerous carcinogen.

    In the lawsuit filed Sept. 23 in San Francisco Superior Court, PCRM sites independent laboratory tests that show KFC’s grilled chicken contains PhIP, a carcinogenic chemical that is created when some foods are grilled. As a result, the group claims KFC is in violation of California’s public health law Proposition 65, which requires restaurants to post warnings with describing any carcinogenic dangers of its menu items.

    The suit probably won’t go anywhere though …

    PCRM has previously sued McDonald’s, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and four other national restaurant chains that sell grilled chicken containing PhIP. The 2008 lawsuit against those restaurant companies was dismissed based on FDA requirements that chicken must be cooked to a proper temperature in order to ensure food safety. An earlier investigation by the California Attorney General in 2006 determined that grilled chicken is exempt from Proposition 65 so no warning for PhIP in chicken is required, according to a letter from California Attorney General.

    Here’s some chemical data from the National Library of Medicin ToxLine site:

    Name of Substance

    1H-Imidazo(4,5-b)pyridine, 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-
    BRN 5951264
    CCRIS 2954

    Systematic Name
    1H-Imidazo(4,5-b)pyridin-2-amine, 1-methyl-6-phenyl- (9CI)
    Imidazo(4,5-b)pyridine, 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-

    Superlist Name

    Classification Code
    Mutation data
    Tumor data

    Superlist Classification Code
    Overall Carcinogenic Evaluation: Group 2B

    • cometman permalink*
      September 24, 2009 12:00 pm

      Not that I really needed another reason to never eat at KFC :)

  5. cometman permalink*
    September 24, 2009 11:36 am

    The kabuki continues.

    Got my hopes up just a little bit when I saw this story saying that Obama was backing away from the Bush policies on state secrets.

    President Barack Obama’s administration on Wednesday made it more difficult for the government to suppress information on security grounds, amid allegations the power was used to cover up Bush-era excess.

    Attorney General Eric Holder announced that from today he would personally review claims to state secrecy privilege, and vowed tougher standards would be put in place.

    “Under the new policy, the department will now defend the assertion of the privilege only to the extent necessary to protect against the risk of significant harm to national security,” a Justice Department statement said.

    Of course it doesn’t mention any specific criteria for these “tougher standards” so it’s nothing to jump up and down about, especially since Obama has already tried to keep plenty of things secret himself. Then I realized it was probably all bullshit when I read this –Obama will bypass Congress to detain suspects indefinitely.

    President Barack Obama has quietly decided to bypass Congress and allow the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects without charges.

    The move, which was controversial when the idea was first floated in The Washington Post in May, has sparked serious concern among civil liberties advocates. Such a decision allows the president to unilaterally hold “combatants” without habeas corpus — a legal term literally meaning “you shall have the body” — which forces prosecutors to charge a suspect with a crime to justify the suspect’s detention.

    Obama’s decision was buried on page A 23 of The New York Times’ New York edition on Thursday. It didn’t appear on that page in the national edition.


    “The administration will continue to hold the detainees without bringing them to trial based on the power it says it has under the Congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, authorizing the president to use force against forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” the Times’ Peter Baker writes. “In concluding that it does not need specific permission from Congress to hold detainees without charges, the Obama administration is adopting one of the arguments advanced by the Bush administration in years of debates about detention policies.”

    • cometman permalink*
      September 24, 2009 12:54 pm

      Glenn Greewald has an interesting take on both of the above issues in his post today. He doesn’t get his hopes up at all about the state secrets revisions, saying it is purely cosmetic and won’t change anything. He does like the decision of Obama to bypass congress on renditions, but only because it doesn’t let Congress make any new laws and further entrench these disgusting policies.

      Regardless of what motivated this, and no matter how bad the current detention scheme is, this development is very positive, and should be considered a victory for those who spent the last four months loudly protesting Obama’s proposal. Here’s why:

      A new preventive detention law would have permanently institutionalized that power, almost certainly applying not only to the “war on Terror” but all future conflicts. It would have endowed preventive detention with the legitimizing force of explicit statutory authority, which it currently lacks. It would have caused preventive detention to ascend to the cherished status of official bipartisan consensus — and thus, for all practical purposes, been placed off limits from meaningful debate — as not only the Bush administration and the GOP Congress, but also Obama and the Democratic Congress, would have formally embraced it. It would have created new and far more permissive standards for when an individual could be detained without charges and without trials. And it would have forced Constitutional challenges to begin from scratch, ensuring that current detainees would suffer years and years more imprisonment with no due process.

      Beyond that, as a purely practical matter, nothing good — and plenty of bad — could come from having Congress write a new detention law. As bad as the Obama administration is on detention issues, the Congress is far worse.

      Not sure I’d go so far as to consider such a measure a victory, but Greenwald does have a point. Now if we can just get Congress, the president, the Fed, the Treasury, etc to stop writing any other laws or issuing any new orders, we may finally be getting somewhere.

  6. cometman permalink*
    September 24, 2009 12:13 pm

    New way to plan for your retirement – buy a metal detector. This is pretty cool – Largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure found in UK.

    An amateur treasure hunter prowling English farmland with a metal detector stumbled upon the largest Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found, a massive seventh-century hoard of gold and silver sword decorations, crosses and other items, British archaeologists said Thursday.

    One expert said the treasure found by 55-year-old Terry Herbert would revolutionize understanding of the Anglo-Saxons, a Germanic people who ruled England from the fifth century until the Norman conquest in 1066. Another said the find would rank among Britain’s best-known historic treasures.


    Bland said the hoard was unearthed in what was once Mercia, one of five main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and is thought to date to 675-725 AD.

    The hoard consists of at least 650 items of gold and 530 silver objects weighing more than 2.2 pounds (1 kilo), along with some copper alloy, garnets and glass.

    A total of 1,345 items have been examined by experts and 56 lumps of earth were found to contain metal artifacts detected by an X-ray machine, meaning the total will likely rise to about 1,500.


    The hoard was officially declared treasure by a coroner, which means it will now be valued by a committee of experts and offered up for sale to a museum. Proceeds would be split 50-50 between Herbert and his farmer friend, who has not been identified. The find’s exact location is being kept secret to deter looters.

    Bland said he could not give a precise figure for the worth of the hoard, but he said the treasure hunter could be in line for a “seven-figure sum.”

    There’s a website up where you can read more about it and see photos of some of the loot here.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 24, 2009 2:06 pm

      That is some nice craftsmanship in that horde. Maybe the dark ages weren’t as dark as we’ve been led to believe. Maybe the Pagans were more enlightened than the Jeebus worshippers would have us believe.

  7. cometman permalink*
    September 24, 2009 12:37 pm

    Researchers have found a new species of ratfish, or chimaera, or ghost shark, or whatever you want to call it since nobody really knows much about them. Like exactly how they reproduce.

    Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the newly described species, Hydrolagus melanophasma, is a presumed sexual organ that extends from its forehead called a tentaculum.

    “They have this club on the top of their head with spikes. People think it’s used for mating,” Long said. “It’s like a little mace with little spikes and hooks and it fits into their forehead. It’s jointed and it comes out. We’re not sure if it is used to stimulate the female or hold the female closer.”

    More info and a better picture of a live one of these things from Science Daily.

  8. Stemella permalink*
    September 25, 2009 8:07 am

    Werner Herzog is opening a new film school Rogue Film School

    If I could start a whole nother career and I was 20 yrs younger, I’d do this.

    Here’s an article about it at the Guardian

    The director of Aguirre and Rescue Dawn is offering students a chance to experience ‘the exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully’ and learn skills such as ‘the neutralisation of bureaucracy’

    • cometman permalink*
      September 25, 2009 9:03 am

      That is really cool. I liked this part:

      Related, but more practical subjects, will be the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.

      The art of lockpicking! Made me think about the Richard Feynman book I read where he talks about learning to crack safes. I bet Herzog could make a great film about Feynman.

  9. Stemella permalink*
    September 25, 2009 8:20 am

    Shocking! Shocking I say.

    Goldman Sachs May Benefit From Regulation, Citi Analyst Says

  10. cometman permalink*
    September 25, 2009 9:38 am

    Via Vulgar Army, I ran across this great post from Old is the New New – Angels and Octopodes.

    He discusses the egregores from the apocryphal Hebrew Book of Enoch as a metaphor for the modern corporation.

    There were good reasons for Gilded Age Americans to fear big business in their day–but the ubiquity of the octopus / monster / egregore metaphor points to something deeper about how we think about groups and individuals, structure and agency. Tales of animate, sentient, tentacled corporations, like conspiracy theories, enact vernacular epistemologies. Lurid and paranoid as they can sometimes be, they express something many feel to be true about the way the world turns. There are times when the sum total of individual choices or actions seem alien and unwanted to the individuals involved. This is how stock markets crash and a Ouija board works. Thomas Haskell and Stephen Kern have both written about a “crisis of causation” in late nineteenth-century America. As railroad tracks and telegraph wires and big businesses shrank the nation, it became harder and harder to imagine ordinary individuals as the solitary masters of their fates. Local sources of meaning and order–the family, the sect, the small town–were “drained of causal potency,” in Haskell’s words, becoming “merely the final links in long chains of causation that stretched off into a murky distance.”

    Interesting stuff! Definitely worth reading the whole thing.

  11. cometman permalink*
    September 25, 2009 11:51 am

    The push to audit the Fed continues. I doubt if much will come of it all but it’s fun to watch the rat-fuckers squirm a little. If theatre is all we’ve got, I’m going to try to enjoy it :)

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 25, 2009 3:18 pm

      That was awesome! :)

  12. cometman permalink*
    September 25, 2009 12:16 pm

    Being of indo-european descent, I’ve always been interested in the similarities of different languages and where the early indo-europeans came from. Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit all have similar roots and archaelogists have unearthed evidence of an indo-european language called Tocharian in modern China. A new international study on Indian population using genetic data sheds some light on these questions.

    These genomic analyses revealed two ancestral populations. “Different Indian groups have inherited forty to eighty percent of their ancestry from a population that we call the Ancestral North Indians who are related to western Eurasians, and the rest from the Ancestral South Indians, who are not related to any group outside India,” said co-author David Reich, an associate professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

    My own theory is that long ago as human populations grew, people migrated further and further away from from each other looking for new territory to expand into and developed genetic and linguistic differences once they become isolated from each other. Once you made it across a huge mountain range or a large body of water looking for new territory, you would gradually lose contact with the main population you had left. In more modern times, new technology has made it easier for populations to come together again and I think we’ll see people become more genetically and linguistically similar again, at least for as long as the earth is our only home. Or until we fuck the place up beyond recognition.

    Now if somebody could just explain what Basque is all about. That language has no connection with any other language modern or ancient.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 25, 2009 3:16 pm

      There are signs that regional dialects and tribal languages are disappearing already. It was surprising to “hear” both Jack and Pinche, from Long Island and Texas respectively, sounding more like each other and more like the average neutral speak TV person than I’d expected. The people my age I have known from Long Island and Texas still have their regional accents.

      It isn’t only the accent, but the language itself that is homogenizing. Living languages are always morphing and evolving, but I do find the homogenization a bit tragic. Diversity is the spice. Same thing for the genetics. Biology shows us that monocultures are doomed to fail. We need diversity for adaptation.

      Basque is a trippy language, having survived mutation and extinction, isolated from the later Indo-European languages that swept through the rest of Western Europe. I have that blood in my veins from way way back and figure that’s what makes me such a rebellious creature. ;)

      Have you ever read anything by Colin Renfrew? Here’s one I recommend:
      Archaeology & Language: The Puzzle of Indo European Origins

      • cometman permalink*
        September 26, 2009 8:16 am

        The loss of languages is tragic but I think it is probably inevitable at this point. We may still have a handful of different languages in another century or two, but I doubt will have hundreds or thousands anymore.

        We may have already talked about it here, but this article was interesting regarding genetic diversity (couldn’t find the original so the MSNBC synopsis will have to do). A study of Icelanders showed that couples made of third and fourth cousins were the most fertile, and once genetic differences become too great, couples can become genetically incompatible. So diversity is good, but not too much of it I guess. When populations get too genetically different, new species start to develop. At least that seems to be the implication from the article.

        I have read Colin Renfrew before and it may have even been that book. It was about 20 years ago so I don’t remember exactly. Maria Gimbutas was another one who had lots of ideas on indo-european origins.

  13. Stemella permalink*
    September 26, 2009 9:19 am

    Valley girl style college kids watch police brutality from dorm room in Pittsburgh last night.

    “OMG!” Then you can hear the awareness creep in to their consciousness “I don’t feel safe at all, like with the police” …. and a new generation awakens

  14. cometman permalink*
    September 26, 2009 7:37 pm

    Ukrainian sand art with classical Metallica as background music for part of it. Very cool.

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