i went to a nutty bar/nightclub called the high forty in the "dry" county of russelville, arkansas. the racial tension was palpable. one minute a live band would be playing "every rose has it's thorn" and 60 cowboys would be slow dancing on a huge, circular, fence in-cased dance floor straight out of coal miner's daughter. the next minute a dj would play some little john song and the cowboys would clear to the bar while black and white "thugs" alike would get jiggy with the young women. needless to say i did quite a bit of people watching...
so i got into l.a. late last night thus completing the cross-country drive. i stayed with some friendly friends and had a grand ol' time. i got sick of my cd's about 4 hours into the drive so i spent a lot of time scanning the fm and am dials. sometimes i'd get lucky and find a college station playing good music or hear a particularly irrational diatribe from someone like limbaugh but mostly a good find would be a clear n.p.r signal or something like ac/dc - thunderstruck...
still, through most of the mid-west, the music selection consisted of either country or baad top 40. i think if hear even a second of that terrible katy perry song i'll vomit uncontrollably..
but the worst song, without question, that kept finding its way through my speakers was this:
Recessions are common; depressions are rare. As far as I can tell, there were only two eras in economic history that were widely described as “depressions” at the time: the years of deflation and instability that followed the Panic of 1873 and the years of mass unemployment that followed the financial crisis of 1929-31. Neither the Long Depression of the 19th century nor the Great Depression of the 20th was an era of nonstop decline — on the contrary, both included periods when the economy grew. But these episodes of improvement were never enough to undo the damage from the initial slump, and were followed by relapses.
We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense. And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.
Why the wrong turn in policy? The hard-liners often invoke the troubles facing Greece and other nations around the edges of Europe to justify their actions. And it’s true that bond investors have turned on governments with intractable deficits. But there is no evidence that short-run fiscal austerity in the face of a depressed economy reassures investors. On the contrary: Greece has agreed to harsh austerity, only to find its risk spreads growing ever wider; Ireland has imposed savage cuts in public spending, only to be treated by the markets as a worse risk than Spain, which has been far more reluctant to take the hard-liners’ medicine. It’s almost as if the financial markets understand what policy makers seemingly don’t: that while long-term fiscal responsibility is important, slashing spending in the midst of a depression, which deepens that depression and paves the way for deflation, is actually self-defeating.
And who will pay the price for this triumph of orthodoxy? The answer is, tens of millions of unemployed workers, many of whom will go jobless for years, and some of whom will never work again.
Damn. Krugman hasn't exactly been the most positive commentator for the last, well, two yeas, so let's hope he's overreacting a bit. I don't want to have to live abroad for the next decade. (Everyone will still want to learn English even after the Western economies collapse, right?)
Since I've been living in Oakland I have been hearing about the murder of Oscar Grant by a group of demented BART police. I finally looked up the footage online... Its pretty staggering, especially considering how it was done in plain site and if you watch closely one little piggy puts his knees on the cuffed Oscar while the other draws his gun an shoots him in the back. What the fuck? Apparently after the shooting there was some rioting, but I have a feeling the cop is gonna get out of it and the Oakland pig pen is gonna burn...
The future of BP’s offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico has been thrown into doubt by the recent drilling disaster and court wrangling over a moratorium. But about three miles off the coast of Alaska, BP is moving ahead with a controversial and potentially record-setting project to drill two miles under the sea and then six to eight miles horizontally to reach what is believed to be a 100-million-barrel reservoir of oil under federal waters.
All other new projects in the Arctic have been halted by the Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore drilling, including more traditional projects like Shell Oil’s plans to drill three wells in the Chukchi Sea and two in the Beaufort. But BP’s project, called Liberty, has been exempted as regulators have granted it status as an “onshore” project even though it is about three miles off the coast in the Beaufort Sea. The reason: it sits on an artificial island — a 31-acre pile of gravel in about 22 feet of water — built by BP.
The project has already received its state and federal environmental permits, but BP has yet to file its final application to federal regulators to begin drilling, which it expects to start in the fall. Some scientists and environmentalists say that other factors have helped keep the project moving forward. Rather than conducting their own independent analysis, federal regulators, in a break from usual practice, allowed BP in 2007 to write its own environmental review for the project as well as its own consultation documents relating to the Endangered Species Act, according to two scientists from the Alaska office of the federal Mineral Management Service that oversees drilling.
The environmental assessment was taken away from the agency’s unit that typically handles such reviews, and put in the hands of a different division that was more pro-drilling, said the scientists, who discussed the process because they remained opposed to how it was handled.
“The whole process for approving Liberty was bizarre,” one of the federal scientists said. The scientists and other critics say they are worried about a replay of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico because the Liberty project involves a method of drilling called extended reach that experts say is more prone to the types of gas kicks that triggered the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.
“It makes no sense,” said Rebecca Noblin, the Alaska director for the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental watchdog group. “BP pushes the envelope in the gulf and ends up causing the moratorium. And now in the Arctic they are forging ahead again with untested technology, and as a result they’re the only ones left being allowed to drill there.”
My roommate has a few back issues of a fascinating quarterly that goes by the name "Cabinet." In the "Underground" themed issue, (as in physically under ground... not exclusively hip) I learned of this contemporary spiritual group called the Damanhur that constructed this incredible temple shown above, deep in the Italian Alps. The cause for the Temple is fairly archetypal... In 1978 a falling star fell from the sky apparently striking the point of the entry to the temple, but the subsequent construction effort is like something out of ancient Egypt. Over the next 14 years a small but expanding group of followers dug 45 meters into the side of mountain in complete secrecy, until a dissident member informed the Catholic church and the group was found out. Here is an excerpt from the article describing the first non-Damanhurian reactions to the temple:
"In 1992, the government prosecutor Bruno Tinto arrived at Damanhur. He had procured more complete documentation of the sect’s activities from an unidentified source and demanded to be taken to the underground temple. He threatened to drill the mountain out of existence if the Damanhurians did not cooperate. Realizing he had no other option, Falco acceded and led the prosecutor and four policemen into the mountain. An hour later, they reemerged. The prosecutor led the group, his head bowed down. The local chief of police was sobbing: he’d never seen anything so beautiful in all his life."
Here is a link to the whole article... read it and check out many of the other fascinating shit on the site.
"Get out Fifa mafia!" chanted the crowds in a Durban park, their ranks swelled by stewards who were involved in clashes with riot police on Monday after protests over their wages.
Monday's protests triggered walkouts by other stewards, which have led South Africa's police to take control at the World Cup stadiums in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Durban.
Ever since it was awarded the staging rights, South Africa's government has faced accusations it should not be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on stadiums when about 40% of the population lives on less than $2 a day."
the south african government is also asking citizens to curb their electrical use:
"We urge our communities and the public at large to continuously reduce their consumption of electricity, and thus ensure that Eskom and other role-players are able to keep the lights on,” Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said.
The minister expressed satisfaction that the stadia hosting the games have not experienced any electricity disruption so far."
conspiracy? or just some unemployed, uncharismatic, obsenity-charged-with go-getter who, not only never even put a sign up in terms of campaigning, but managed to muster the $10,000 candidate declaration fee and then beat a heavily campaigning, four time state senator incumbent...
this whole thing just stinks but i'm still waiting to see how it all shakes out...
According to the NY times they have discovered mineral deposits in Afghanistan that could be worth $1 trillion. These resources include the next demand of our modern unsustainable society, lithium. As we all know, no 'civilized' person can function without a blackberry or iphone. This is actually quite good news that could potentially do great things for an economy whose main source of income is opium. It can also potentially bring our brothers and sisters home. But, look forward to a US attempt to exploit these minerals in a manner that might just send troops back after mining begins.
Apparently, or unfortunately, in 1998 two members also worked on this world cup gem that once again proves how freakin connected everything is, since I was reminded of this band shortly after watching the english goalie choke like he doesn't chew his steak.
This recent NyTimes magazine article discusses a Freegan squat in Buffalo NY where some rad shit is going on. These dumpster rats are living in a giant abandoned mansion in plain sight of the neighbors and the local authorities, but due to thier persistent renovation of the property they have not only been allowed to stay, but have been granted ownership of the property. Heres the link to the article (The link insert is jamming me so cut and past it):
he finally divorced tipper. with a name like tipper and a crusade against freespeech in the form of the PMRC on her resume, she sucks. here's ice t, jello biafra, and the tip arguing on Oprah in the 80's: