05/28/2013 archive

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s Terrorism Speech: Seeing What You Want To See

Some eager-to-believe progressives heralded the speech as a momentous change, but Obama’s actions are often quite different than his rhetoric

The hallmark of a skilled politician is the ability to speak to a group of people holding widely disparate views, and have all of them walk away believing they heard what they wanted to hear. Other than Bill Clinton, I’ve personally never seen a politician even in the same league as Barack Obama when it comes to that ability. His most consequential speeches are shaped by their simultaneous affirmation of conflicting values and even antithetical beliefs, allowing listeners with irreconcilable positions to conclude that Obama agrees with them.

The highly touted speech Obama delivered last week on US terrorism policy was a master class in that technique. If one longed to hear that the end of the “war on terror” is imminent, there are several good passages that will be quite satisfactory. If one wanted to hear that the war will continue indefinitely, perhaps even in expanded form, one could easily have found that. And if one wanted to know that the president who has spent almost five years killing people in multiple countries around the world feels personal “anguish” and moral conflict as he does it, because these issues are so very complicated, this speech will be like a gourmet meal.

Dean Baker: Excel Spreadsheet Error, Ha Ha! Lessons From the Reinhart-Rogoff Controversy

At this point everyone who follows economic policy debates knows about the famous Reinhart-Rogoff spreadsheet error uncovered by a University of Massachusetts graduate student. When the error is corrected, there is nothing resembling the growth falloff cliff associated with a 90 percent debt-to-GDP ratio that had been the main takeaway from the initial paper. [..]

The silly spreadsheet error was important in the debt debate controversy because it allowed for a real debate. Ordinarily Harvard economists don’t engage their less credentialed colleagues at places like the University of Massachusetts. (Hey, they never even responded to my emails requesting their data.)

Unfortunately, even the best reporters at the most prestigious news outlets rarely feel sufficiently knowledgeable to challenge pronouncements from prominent economists. This means that the profession must rely on internal policing to weed out bad arguments. The Reinhart-Rogoff 90 percent cliff was widely accepted policy wisdom for more than three years, which suggests the internal policing in the economics profession is pretty damn weak.

Mark Weisbrot: The US and the Euro-Crisis: Lessons From a Comparison

There is a striking contrast between how the eurozone and the United States are handling their financial crises

The eurozone recession is now the longest on record for the single currency area, according to official statistics released last week, as the economy shrank again in the first quarter of this year. A comparison with the US economy may shed some light on how such a profound economic failure can occur in high-income, highly-educated countries in the 21st century. [..]

The contrast between the US and Europe is all the more striking because Europe has much stronger labour unions, social democratic parties, and a more developed welfare state. Yet the eurozone has implemented policies far to the right of the US government, causing needless suffering for millions more people. How does this happen? The answers have little to do with a “debt crisis” but everything to do with macroeconomic policy, ideology, and – perhaps most importantly – democracy. As such these questions are relevant not only to the populations of both of these economic superpowers, but to most of the world.

Jon Nichols: Yuck! The Senate Won’t Clear the Way for States to Label Genetically Modified Food

Simple concept: people who consume food should have information about what’s in their food.

And if foods contain genetically modified organisms, consumers surely have a right to know.

Who could disagree? Most senators, that’s who.

While sixty-four countries around the world require labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients, while the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association have passed resolutions supporting this sort of labeling in the United States, the Senate voted 71-27 to keep Americans in the dark.

Norman Solomon: Our Twisted Politics of Grief

In the “endless war,” some kinds of grief are more useful than others

Darwin observed that conscience is what most distinguishes humans from other animals. If so, grief isn’t far behind. Realms of anguish are deeply personal-yet prone to expropriation for public use, especially in this era of media hyper-spin. Narratives often thresh personal sorrow into political hay. More than ever, with grief marketed as a civic commodity, the personal is the politicized.

The politicizing of grief exploded in the wake of 9/11. When so much pain, rage and fear set the U.S. cauldron to boil, national leaders promised their alchemy would bring unalloyed security. The fool’s gold standard included degrading civil liberties and pursuing a global war effort that promised to be ceaseless. From the political outset, some of the dead and bereaved were vastly important, others insignificant. Such routine assumptions have remained implicit and intact.

Justin Doolittle: Pakistanis: We Want the US Out; New York Times: No, You Don’t.

The A1 story in Sunday’s New York Times, written by Declan Walsh, is titled “U.S. Shift Poses Risk to Pakistan.” The story argues that, with the United States gradually dwindling down its political and military engagement with Pakistan, the latter faces a highly uncertain future. Walsh tells us that the disengagement will “diminish” the “prestige” and “political importance” Pakistan held as a (Photo: Al Jazeera)”crucial player in global counterterrorism efforts” and could very well “upset its internal stability.”

It’s a piece that is revealing because one voice is noticeably left out of the analysis: that of the Pakistani people. Arguably the most salient fact about the U.S.-Pakistan dynamic is that Pakistanis – you know, the actual human beings who live in that country – despise the U.S. government and think the interaction between the two countries does more harm than good. Gallup conducted polling on these matters in Pakistan last year. An amazing 92% of Pakistanis expressed disapproval of U.S. leadership (i.e. Obama), while 4% approved. In a separate poll, 55% of Pakistanis reported that interaction with the West constitutes “more of a threat”; just 39% thought it was “more of a benefit.”

On This Day In History May 28

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on image to enlarge

May 28 is the 148th day of the year (149th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 217 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1961, the British newspaper The London Observer publishes British lawyer Peter Benenson’s article “The Forgotten Prisoners” on its front page, launching the Appeal for Amnesty 1961–a campaign calling for the release of all people imprisoned in various parts of the world because of the peaceful expression of their beliefs.

Benenson was inspired to write the appeal after reading an article about two Portuguese students who were jailed after raising their glasses in a toast to freedom in a public restaurant. At the time, Portugal was a dictatorship ruled by Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. Outraged, Benenson penned the Observer article making the case for the students’ release and urging readers to write letters of protest to the Portuguese government. The article also drew attention to the variety of human rights violations taking place around the world, and coined the term “prisoners of conscience” to describe “any person who is physically restrained (by imprisonment or otherwise) from expressing…any opinion which he honestly holds and does not advocate or condone personal violence.”

“The Forgotten Prisoners” was soon reprinted in newspapers across the globe, and Berenson’s amnesty campaign received hundreds of offers of support. In July, delegates from Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland met to begin “a permanent international movement in defense of freedom of opinion and religion.” The following year, this movement would officially become the human rights organization Amnesty International.

Born in London as Peter James Henry Solomon to a Jewish family, the only son of Harold Solomon and Flora Benenson, Peter Benenson adopted his mother’s maiden name later in life. His army officer father died when Benenson was aged nine from a long-term injury, and he was tutored privately by W. H. Auden before going to Eton. At the age of sixteen he helped to establish a relief fund with other schoolboys for children orphaned by the Spanish Civil War. He took his mother’s maiden name of Benenson as a tribute to his grandfather, the Russian gold tycoon Grigori Benenson, following his grandfather’s death.

He enrolled for study at Balliol College, Oxford but World War II interrupted his education. From 1941 to 1945, Benenson worked at Bletchley Park, the British codebreaking centre, in the “Testery”, a section tasked with breaking German teleprinter ciphers. It was at this time when he met his first wife, Margaret Anderson. After demobilisation in 1946, Benenson began practising as a barrister before joining the Labour Party and standing unsuccessfully for election. He was one of a group of British lawyers who founded JUSTICE in 1957, the UK-based human rights and law reform organisation. In 1958 he fell ill and moved to Italy in order to convalesce. In the same year he converted to the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1961 Benenson was shocked and angered by a newspaper report of two Portuguese students from Coimbra sentenced to seven years in prison for raising their glasses in a toast to freedom during the autocratic regime of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar – the Estado Novo. In 1961, Portugal was the last remaining European colonial power in Africa, ruled by the authoritarian Estado Novo regime. Anti-regime conspiracies were vigorously repressed by the Portuguese state police and deemed anti-Portuguese. He wrote to David Astor, editor of The Observer. On 28 May, Benenson’s article, entitled “The Forgotten Prisoners,” was published. The letter asked readers to write letters showing support for the students. To co-ordinate such letter-writing campaigns, Amnesty International was founded in Luxembourg in July at a meeting of Benenson and six other men. The response was so overwhelming that within a year groups of letter-writers had formed in more than a dozen countries.

Initially appointed general secretary of AI, Benenson stood down in 1964 owing to ill health. By 1966, the Amnesty International faced an internal crisis and Benenson alleged that the organization he founded was being infiltrated by British intelligence. The advisory position of president of the International Executive was then created for him. In 1966, he began to make allegations of improper conduct against other members of the executive. An inquiry was set up which reported at Elsinore in Denmark in 1967. The allegations were rejected and Benenson resigned from AI.

While never again active in the organization, Benenson was later personally reconciled with other executives, including Sean MacBride. He died of pneumonia on 25 February 2005 at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, aged 83.

The first time my brother saved my life.

One of the reasons I enjoy The Stars Hollow Gazette & Docudharma is because I like their take on current events.  I’m always finding something new that I hadn’t seen or heard before.  I’m always finding something to forward to friends and talk with people about. But there are days I just can’t deal with.  The news, the state of the country, the hypocrisy of our elected leaders, it’s all just too much.  Those days when the only new news is the same old bad news.

I suspect it’s the same for folks like ek & TheMomCat. On some of those days I’ll find an article like this here, a funny story about life in Connecticut, and I’ll laugh and escape for a bit.  For me anyway, a story like that IS a community service.

So that inspired me. And as long as ek is going all James Thurber Garrison Keillor, well… I thought I’d add some.

This is the story of the first time my brother saved my life. The first time I can remember anyway. There were probably other saves but I’m not very good with that time period between the venetian blinds that I remember clearly from the hospital room where I was born, and when I was about age three.  If I had to guess, in this story I was somewhere between three-and-a-half and five.

I was mad. Really really mad. I remember just being incredibly angry. I don’t actually remember what had upset me but whatever it was, I was full on furious. I was mad a lot when I was little. Probably because it sucks being little.

I had made up my mind. I was running away from home. I told my family that I was going to live with the wolves in the woods down the street. The wooded area near my home was a river valley about five miles long and a mile wide complete with an abandoned railroad bed and six lane expressway being constructed on the opposite side of the river. Even with my small size, I could pull down small trees off the steep hill sides.  I would make a place to live out of small timber. I didn’t need anybody!  

I wasn’t allowed to play in the valley which was what made it such an exciting place.  It was dangerous. Back in the 70s folks around town regularly used it as a dumping ground for yard & construction debris, old refrigerators, doors still on, burnt out cars and such. Plus there were dangerous looking motorcyclists constantly racing their Harley’s back and forth on the railroad bed and out on the half finished highway.  I would jump off the cinder trail and hide behind trees whenever a motorcycle approached. I never felt threatened by them. I was fascinated by how they managed to keep their long hair from getting tangled in their back wheels. I reasoned their long hair was why they had to ride so fast. If they where to slow down and go off road to chase me, it would get snagged in the gears and they’d surely get their heads ripped off. Besides, I could run fast. Really fast when I was going down hill.

That’s what I was doing. Running as fast as my small legs would go. Down hill, away from home to live in the woods with the wolves.

I felt like I was flying. My feet were going so fast I was barely touching the ground.

And that’s when I heard him. Behind me. Cah Clomp. Cah Clomp. Cah Clomp.

I must have made twenty strides for every one of his but he was still gaining on me. He wore those 70s style brown half boots with the zippers on the side and I was wearing lace up sneakers. I should have been faster than him. Like I said my feet were flying on air I was going so fast.

Halfway down the block, only half way to the woods, my brother grabbed me by the back of my shirt and caught me. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe I had been stopped. I don’t remember if I took a swing at him. It wouldn’t have mattered. He could stick out his long arms and keep me from making contact anyway. I’d just be swinging and missing.

I don’t remember what happened next. I was probably kicking and screaming the whole way home. I just remember being amazed that I wasn’t able to out run him in those odd looking half boots. And I remember being mad about it.

Twenty years later I’d joke that I still hadn’t forgiven him for catching me.

Had I been successful, I surely would have died. Honestly, I had no plan beyond pulling down some trees and making a fort. He saved my life.  

Later in life he would teach me to float on my back when I got tired swimming. He gave me tips on how to kiss a girl and how to smoke without coughing like an amateur. He taught me that when hurt, responding with indifference was way more powerful than responding with anger. He helped me write dozens of papers so I could graduate from high school. He helped me write multiple dozens of papers so I could graduate from college. He was my best man when I married. He was my best friend after my divorce. He has saved my ass and helped me out of more tight spots more times than I could possibly list. There have been times where he has saved me from myself.

Keeping me from living with the wolves was just the first time.

Around the Blogosphere

 photo Winter_solstice.gifThe main purpose our blogging is to communicate our ideas, opinions, and stories both fact and fiction. The best part about the the blogs is information that we might not find in our local news, even if we read it online. Sharing that information is important, especially if it educates, sparks conversation and new ideas. We have all found places that are our favorites that we read everyday, not everyone’s are the same. The Internet is a vast place. Unlike Punting the Pundits which focuses on opinion pieces mostly from the mainstream media and the larger news web sites, “Around the Blogosphere” will focus more on the medium to smaller blogs and articles written by some of the anonymous and not so anonymous writers and links to some of the smaller pieces that don’t make it to “Pundits” by Krugman, Baker, etc.

We encourage you to share your finds with us. It is important that we all stay as well informed as we can.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

This is an Open Thread.  

It seems most everyone had better things to do on this Memorial Day than hang out on the Internet. It was a bright, warm sunshiny day here in Stars Hollow and now has cooled a bit and you’ll need a sweater for your evening stroll.

There were a few amusements, however, over at Yves Smith‘s place, naked capitalism she had this picture in her Links of a large bovine warming himself on the hood of a BMW.

Cow on a BMW photo Mail-Attachment_zps0fa606ca.jpg

Maybe he’s in upper New York State where Whiteface Mountain ski resort had three feet of snow for the kick off the first weekend of Summer.

The tengrain at Dependable Renegaded had this video that most likely expresses the mood of many of our readers:

and watertiger gives a us book review from the Ohmiholymotherofchrist category:

Fires of Siberia (pdf), a [Michele] Bachmann-inspired romance novel, tells the tale of a red state presidential candidate who crashes in Siberia during a trip to improve (or invent) her foreign policy credentials, and must make her way back to civilization with the help of a dashing stranger named-wait for it-Steadman Bass.

And last but not least, our pal at Esquire’s Political Blog, Charles P. Pierce has the latest news in the saga of Rob Ford, the “crazy mayor of Toronto, Canada:

A senior member of Rob Ford’s office was interviewed by police last week about a tip linking a video allegedly showing the mayor smoking illicit drugs to a recent Toronto homicide, two separate sources have confirmed. [..]

he informant in the mayor’s office purported to know the address and unit number where the video was being held. They went on to say that the video originally belonged to an individual who may have been killed for its potentially valuable contents, according to a source. The video clip was allegedly offered for sale to the Star and Gawker by men involved in the drug trade, according to reports in both outlets. Gawker is trying to raise $200,000 for the video through an online campaign. Both media reports were accompanied by a photo, provided by the men selling the video, that allegedly shows Mr. Ford standing with a man believed to be Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old man gunned down in downtown Toronto in March.

and some words of wisdom for now and future politicians:

Pro Tips for rising young pols:a)  bad form to smoke crack; b) very bad form to be videotaped smoking crack; c) extraordinarily bad form to be videotaped smoking crack next to a guy who subsequently gets iced on a downtown street. I am going to post this now before Rob Ford hijacks an airliner and demands to be flown to a Singapore brothel.

No, folks, we do not make this stuff up. We just bring you the news.

Reborn? More Like Invasion of the Country Snatchers: by James Hepburn

Originally posted by James Hepburn here, and reposted with express permission.

And now re-posted from Voices on the Square– ek hornbeck

Am I the only one who saw the America "being reborn" diary and it immediately conjured up images from some scifi dystopian movie you probably only saw the trailer for? Like, "It Lives II – The Rebirth"

Well, if it didn't, it should have. Let me summarize that diary's main points:

1. America was never all that – there was no heyday.

2. Shit has sucked before and so it will again.

3. Not falling apart – being reborn, into what nobody knows.

4. But it's not that bad because 3D Printers can print solar panels.

5. We're in a great revolution, shift, change – reborn into what even the powerful don't know.

6. Now is the time to steer the direction of history, these are not end times, but interesting times – "Homosexual couples can get married in America. A Black man is President. We are world leaders in a reduction of CO2 emissions."

7 The world is changing, but the powerful will "push back."

8. They will appear insurmountable, until they aren't.

This evoked cries of Yay! from many commenters extolling the virtues of optimism. 'Things aren't as bad as that. And thank you for being positive for a change.'

One commenter even asked what hole all these pessimists crawled out of. "Progressives are supposed to be about progress. Leave the "we-can't" stuff to the other guys," he said.

I have long suspected that some on this site exist in some kind of shell, and when news or information that threatens or challenges their views gets posted, or even makes it to the Rec'd List, they simply ignore it.

And I will say now, I don't blame them. Reality is depressing. Who wants to sit around thinking about how earth is in its 6th mass extinction event, or how, at the current rate, the Amazon Rainforest will be wiped out before the end of the century greatly amplifying and feedbacking the effects of climate change, or how climate change is, according to a report (PDF) sponsored by the World Bank, moving us toward conditions that could be accurately likened to an apocalypse, or how the world is running out of fresh water and our aquifers are drying up,or how, as we speak, the Fukushima reactor in Japan is leaking untold amounts of radioactive water into the Pacific ocean, or how Obama and BP's solution to the Gulf oil spill actually made it much worse, or how the real unemployment rate is actually worse and continues to get worser still, or how the same economic "policies" that have devastated Detroit and other formerly industrial cities will be devastating your city soon enough, or how our schools have become pipelines to prisons, or how our corporate produced foods have become poisonous, etc etc etc.

I get it. This shit, like, totally harshes your buzz. So it's easy to turn away – especially when a lot of it is happening somewhere else or doesn't quite effect you personally yet (except for the tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, floods, snowpocalypses, epidemics of strange illnesses and other more normal ones like childhood asthma, health care bankruptcy, getting fired from your job, etc etc etc). So as long as we ignore all the things that are wrong, things look pretty fucking good.  As one commenter in said diary said, compared to 2nd world countries, "We're in pretty good shape."

A lot of it depends on one's perspective. My inlaws paid about 1.5 mil. for their house. It's in a gated neighborhood with water sprinklers that keep the vast acres of grass green, even in some winter months. Things look super from there. No crime. Best public schools in the state. Roads perfectly paved.

It helps to put things in perspective. I guess.

Anyway, as for the "Reborn" diary, I just want to make a couple of corrections.

It is true, there was never a heyday when all was well in America. But utopian perfection has never defined what made up the US's heyday. Trajectory does.

1930s-1970s: That was America's heyday. Not because there weren't serious wrongs during that period. But because things were getting better. We were on a progressive trajectory, established by progressives. That trajectory began to change in the early 70s. Not because of some unknowable, great global shift revolution that is "all around us."

It began to change because a few assholes figured out how to rig the system and then went about doing it. It's not a mystery. And it's not a secret. They got together with all their right wing, billionaire buddies and coordinated a campaign to change the trajectory of this country.

Their plan was pretty simple. Work together and form big lobbying groups. Buy the government. Buy up all the mass media and get it away from all those bleeding hearted liberals. And impose their pro business agenda on every major university.

It ain't rocket science.

Muskegon Critic says that America isn't falling apart. He's right. It is being disassembled, piece by piece. The shifts that are occurring aren't a result of an inevitable force. We are not being swept up in some mystical wind of change.

We are simply under attack. And it's an attack that has been ongoing for decades.

The agenda of our attackers is also quite simple, once you get past the distractions. Their agenda is to transform America from the great society vision encapsulated in the New Deal, with a high paid labor class, widespread advanced education, the expectation of a strong social safety net, and tight government controls on big businesses to prevent the exploitation of workers, the pollution of the environment, and ensurance that those who benefit most from our society pay the most to maintain it.

In place of this, they want basically the opposite. They want apeasant labor class to exploit, to weaken government by corrupting andsabotaging our democratic institutions, unfettered access to our naturalresources which, in any sane society would be consider our commonwealth, and no social safety net.

What big business figured out is that they need lots of poor people.The poorer a country is, the more corruptible it is, the moreexploitable it is, the easier it is to pillage.

The kind of society that the New Deal began to create, was unacceptable to the  corrupt parasites of the ruling class. Suddenly you had this emerging labor class, middle class, and academic class that was uber-educated, pretty well informed, and getting smart enough to demand a more just, more equal, and better managed society. Some people call it the 60s. But it wasn't just a trend or an era. And it wasn't limited to hippies or university intellectuals. They were just the cutting edge of something entirely new: the ascendency of a new class in world history. An educated, empowered, financially secure, and politically activated lower class.

The world had really never seen that before, nowhere near on this scale. And all those smart people who used to be too insecure to complain, too ignorant to know what to complain about, and to alienated by the political process to act anyway, were now becoming a big problem. They had expectations of fairness, and the political power, through unions etc, to, to leverage those expectations. They were getting too uppity to be sent off to die in Parasite wars. And they were demanding that the environment be protected. Something had to change.

When all the big business, right wing assholes came together around the Powell Memo, they weren't just acting to advance their business interests. They knew they needed to transform the American public. We needed to become a lot more like a 3rd world country.

That's what's changed. No great tides, or winds or the inevitable replacing of the old with the new. Just some assholes, who own TV networks, radio stations, newspapers, universities, think tanks and countless other little organizations, all designed to make people think what they want us to.

Nothing mysterious about the changes that have transformed our economy either. Over the last 40 years, and in response to New Deal labor laws, and then new environmental regulations passed by LBJ and Nixon, big American businesses basically said fuck America, we'll go to Indonesia, and pollute the fuck out of wherever we want. And labor will be 3 cents on the dollar.

And they and their lobbyists over at the CFR bought up our two parties and, while we were enjoying the sex revolution and Meathead on TV, then quietly began the process of dismantling the entire manufacturing sector of the country. Incredibly, most liberals still don't comprehend what happened there. But that's a huge part of what has changed. The US is now suffering varying degrees of Detroit. And it's going to keep getting worse.

Now is the time to shape history. But unless you have at least some grasp of what that change is, and who's causing it, and how they're causing it, you don't have a chance in hell of changing it.

Yes, America's being reborn alright. But you won't want to see what it's being reborn into. For those of us who have been paying attention, the end result of this re-birthing is no mystery at all. It's exactly what we've seen in other countries, where neoliberalism has been allowed to run unchecked.

And it's not pretty. Liberals generally decry notions of American exceptionalism. But we have our own brand. The "it can't happen here" brand. Are we really so different than the people in Columbia or Chile, where leftists and labor leaders are hunted and murdered?

Is the mass surveillance apparatus, much of which is controlled not by the big brother state, but by private corporations, really immune from abuse by those who wish to defeat American labor and progressive politicians?

Is it really so hard to comprehend why allowing phone calls to recorded and stored by a nameless, faceless, security apparatus is a threat to not just your privacy, but to democracy itself?

Is the trajectory of our country towards increased concentration of wealth and power in the hands of fewer and fewer people, towards greater and greater poverty, towards poorer and poorer education, towards even more manipulation of public perception by corporate mass media, and the threat that poises for all of us, not obvious? Even to those who enjoy good paying jobs?

America has never been perfect. Not even close. But there was a time when its trajectory through history was in alignment with its promise.

Its trajectory now is toward the unthinkable. Unthinkable power, through of technology of weapons and surveillance, combined with an unthinkable absence of democratic governance or accountability.

Experiments in a new media economy

The economy that we know is always the economy we used to have. To find out what economy we have and where our economy is heading, we have to look at the tension between technological change in the setting of past-bound rules of the road.

I have been looking at the niche industry of Anime as a kind of petri-dish for changes in the media economy. In the present essay, I am looking at two particular crowd-funding ventures for overcoming hurdles faced by two different types of productions. However, to explain why I find these ventures interesting, first I take a bit of a look at the evolution of the current status quo, and why they are ventures of more general interest in the evolution of our next economy.

Fun with Bands

Well the big Stars Hollow parade is over.  We used to have two, one for the Fireman’s Carnival until they took the muddy ditch they used to stick it in across from the 3 Barbers I use to get my hair cut when Lydia, Emily’s stylist, is off watching her son compete in the Little League World Series and turned it into Condos that totally block the view of our only ‘Clear Channel’ billboard that masks the sight, headed South, of the Citgo Station and what used to be the the office of the best lawyer I know (best because he is the biggest asshole, my two other lawyers are RayRay who’s only flaw is he thinks he’s perfect and Jerry who never does any work himself but knows people).

Where was I?

Oh, the parade.

So anyway I marched since I was a wee Ojibway Indian Guide with hardly any feathers until I was a Euphonium toting second liner (first, they like to put the low brass up front for sonic punch and second, the 76 Trombones lead the big parade so the slides don’t knock you in the back- keep step and walk around the Horse shit).

I could talk about the gal who made the Connecticut Hurricane’s audition and had to race back to the start so she could play with them too (she convinced me my future was not Trumpet but a less stressful and competitive instrument, Leonard Falcone Himself pronouced me hopeless), but instead I’d like to focus your attention on a little prank I like to play.

I am in possesion of a number of Acme Thunderers, artifacts of a youth misspent lifeguarding (which is basically telling people they’re having too much fun and they should stop that).

However they are also used to order Chinese bayonet charges and call rolloff, which is the signal for the drummers to inform the band to get ready to play.  1, 2, 3, 4.

If you want to try this at home I suggest some simple scouting to decode the code.  It’s easy now that you know what to listen for.  Then you race to the block or two before your street and start the show (they have to do the roll off).

To me, in addition to being basically harmless, this has the added benefit of bringing the action home.  Since I live a mere 2 blocks from the reviewing stand the band was always huffing and puffing past my position.  Not anymore.

I wonder if my neighbors even realize.  The Drum Major is constantly surprised, but it’s a new one every year.

Public service in action.