Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"I'll Take the Dreaded Opera Category for $500 Alex"

Turandot [The Village] must be satisfied by being begged for marriage and having her pre-requisite riddles answered and never challenged or rebuked. She’s a bit bitchy. Go figure.

This opera begins with a Mandarin (take your pick; might as well be Broder) delivering the law, the edict, and the result which demands that an unworthy Prince, who could not answer the Three Riddles of The Village, be beheaded. “Popolo di Pekino” People of Beijing:

Turandot , by an offhand gesture, quickly orders the dispatch of the unworthy head, and we move on!

There’s a New Prince in Town, dazzled by The Village’s beauty.

Prince’s dad [previously in exile, who’s name, btw, is Howard Dean] urges the Prince to resist Turandot’s charms, don’t answer her damn questions, hell don’t even DEAL with her at all.

Servant Girl Liù, [otherwise known as Normal People; not so normal if they’re totally in love with the dude, but as they worked on his campaign and knocked on doors for him and got other people to donate money to his campaign, they have a lot of skin in the game] is secretly in love with the Prince, and pleads with him; Listen to me!

Signore Ascolta!

Well, you know what the Prince does?

He sings “Don’t Cry For Me, Liù.” Which in Chinese, or Italian, is translated as “I got this.”

[He knows he’s dumping her ass; he flat out says to her “make the path of exile sweeter.” Meh. Anyhow, back to the Opera.]

So the Prince starts answering the Villager questions.

The Princess presents her first riddle: Straniero, ascolta! – "…..What is born each night and dies each dawn?" The Prince correctly replies, "Hope."

The Prince flips out the frikking Village Empress by actually answering all her 3 questions! Nobody could have predicted! W00T! But the Village totally FREAKS out! Just can’t frikking believe he passed the test, AT ALL. So Turandot throws a fucking hissy at that upstart Prince.

[In Questa Reggia] which in Italian/Villagespeak is ”I’ve been here a jillion years, and you’re an affront to me. So cut me some slack, even though you won fair and square.”

Guess what? The Prince is gobsmacked by this here nasty Princess! Who knew! He actually CUTS HER SOME SLACK! Dammit, my operanizzles, I totally did NOT see that coming!

So the Prince Tells Ms. Village, “If you can GUESS who I am by tomorrow, you can go ahead and cut my head off, like you’re used to doing with the other dudes.” PSYCH!

Ms. Turandot/Village so did NOT see this coming either. So she orders Congress to not sleep, you know, freeze up, freak out, teabag and stuff until she frikking knows his 11th dimension NAME! Like what he stands for and stuff.

He sings a “ha, ha, HAH!" Song to her.

Liù [remember her, you know the OFA people?] declares that she/they alone knows the Prince’s name and intent, but she/they will not reveal it. Ping [Bobo] demands the Prince’s name [the 11th dimensional one], and when she/they refuse, she/they is tortured.

Ms. Turandot/Village is clearly taken by Liù’s & the OFA people’s resolve and asks her/them who put so much strength in her/their heart. They answer "Princess, you know who, Hopey-Change!!!".

Turandot demands that Ping [Krauthammer] tear the Prince’s name from Liù/OFA’s lips, and he orders her/them to be tortured further.

Liù/OFA counters Turandot/Village (Tu che di gel sei cinta – "You who are begirdled by ice"), saying that the Village too shall learn love and hopey changiness!

Having spoken, Liù seizes a dagger from a soldier’s belt and stabs herself [or stays at home and doesn’t vote. You decide].

As she/they stagger towards the Prince and fall dead, the crowd screams for her/them to speak the Prince’s 11th dimensional name. Alas, it cannot be pronounced in a 4 dimensional world. Sighs ensue.

Since Timur1 [Tim Kaine] is blind, he must be told about Liù’/OFA’s death, and he cries out in anguish.

Timur2 [Howard Dean, Digby, others] warns that the gods will be offended by this outrage, and the crowd is totally freaked out, even though they read the warnings a jillion times.

The grieving Timur3 [Rham, now unemployed as his usefulness has been completed] and the crowd follow Liù’/OFA’s body as it is carried away. Everybody departs leaving the Prince and Turandot.

The Prince reproaches Turandot/Village/Olympia Snowe for her cruelty (The Prince, Turandot: Principessa di morte – "Princess of death")

This is the big point of it all. Just Watch It.

And then The Prince takes her/Village in his arms and kisses her/them in spite of her/their resistance. Peggy Noonan passes out, and it’s before noon. Weird.

The TOTALLY weird thing is, in the end? The Prince and The Evil Turandot Villager Empress end up married, and HAPPY!

Don’t mind about those dead people one second.

This is opera, people. It ain’t for sissies.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Clown Music

For baby Dasha! She's so cute, and I just love her parents.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Rachel Maddow Has Already Taken Down, but there's one more little nugget...

Rachel Maddow has already exposed's affiliation to Jack Abramoff. But there's a motive and some connections of, that I wanted to explore, so I did some more digging.

The Ad: In case you haven't seen it. Clearly senior scare mongering -

Rachel Maddow's Take Down and Tie to Abramoff:

The website: would like to be known as "the conservative alternative to AARP." It's president is Jim Martin which you wouldn't know from the website itself; you'd need to do an advanced google search to dig up this bio-page:

Now Mr. Martin serves as the President of the 60 Plus Association, which has been called an "increasingly influential lobbying group for the elderly--often viewed as the conservative alternative to the American Association of Retired Persons."

60 Plus is a hard hitting organization dedicated to protecting the tax rights of seniors, and to repealing the most confiscatory of all taxes--the inheritance or estate (death) tax. Jim Martin has been quoted as saying that while there are two certainties in life, taxes and death, now, thanks to the death tax, Jim adds a third certainty--taxes after death. 60 Plus presents a Benjamin Franklin Award to Members of Congress in both parties who sponsor legislation to abolish the third certainty, taxes after death. Original sponsors are Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

Pretty classy, hiding the leadership bio page, yes? So who would do that? Well, the firm that provides the technology and registered the domain names, and appears to host's email servers might do it. And who would that be? Generation X Strategies, And who is

Why it's none other than the recently former head of the VA Republican Party, Jeff Frederick!

Amongst the list of GXS clients which I'd like to highlight are Media Research Center (Bozell's outfit) as well as the RNC and the Texas Christian Coalition. And what else is supercool is that GXS has procured some Federal and State government contracts, as well as a Minority Owned Business status by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Jeff Frederick was ousted as the VA Republican Party Chair in April of this year, but prior to that, since July 8 1996, and up to today runs GXS services
for, and then therefore powers the contribution technology at's website, which is what this is all about. Money.

Abramoff (Shill-ius Maximus), Martin (Astroturfius Nastius), Frederick (Republicanus, Head of VA Party), PhRMA (Tauzin, probably hired because he has a drug sounding name) - probably all legal relationships, but they seem way too cozy to me. And the poor saps who are scared by this fearmongering ad have no idea that PhARMA doesn't need their help to keep their drug prices high, but Jim Martin and Jeff Frederick are really happy to facilitate the money exchange for them.

The icing on the cake?'s National Spokesman is Pat Boone. Yep, No More Mr. Nice Guy Pat Boone - and when you think about it, none of them in this tale are nice guys at all if you ask me.

TAGS: , , ,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beyond Race: On "Contempt of Cop" Regarding The Crowley/Gates Affair

In my opinion, there was undoubtedly some racial profiling going on in the Crowley/Gates affair. I'll leave the racial component to others, as what I wish to draw out are some underlying points as regards the relationship between all of us citizens, our rights and the police.

First, bmaz articulates the basis of the legal argument better than I can:

Instead, the officer seems to have become angered and bellegerent [sic] that Gates would be so forward as to demand his identification. At this point, little old Professor Gates, who walks with a cane, was in what is known in the criminal justice field as "contempt of cop".

The salient problem for the Cambridge Police Department is contempt of cop is simply not a crime, even if profanity is directed at the officer, a situation escalator not even present in Gates' case. In fact, there is a case I have argued with success many times, Duran v. City of Douglas, 904 F.2d 1372 (9th Cir. 1990) which, in an opinion written by now 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kosinski, provides:

Duran's conduct is not totally irrelevant, however, as it suggests a possible motive for his detention, one upon which law enforcement officers may not legitimately rely. The Durans contend, and the district court held, that Aguilar stopped their car at least partly in retaliation for the insult he received from Duran. If true, this would constitute a serious First Amendment violation. "[T]he First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers." Hill, 482 U.S. at 461, 107 S.Ct. at 2509. The freedom of individuals to oppose or challenge police action verbally without thereby risking arrest is one important characteristic by which we distinguish ourselves from a police state. Id. at 462-63, 107 S.Ct. at 2510. Thus, while police, no less than anyone else, may resent having obscene words and gestures directed at them, they may not exercise the awesome power at their disposal to punish individuals for conduct that is not merely lawful, but protected by the First Amendment.
No less well established is the principle that government officials in general, and police officers in particular, may not exercise their authority for personal motives, particularly in response to real or perceived slights to their dignity. Surely anyone who takes an oath of office knows--or should know--that much. See Hill, 482 U.S. at 462, 107 S.Ct. at 2510. Whether or not officer Aguilar was aware of the fine points of First Amendment law, to the extent he is found to have detained Duran as punishment for the latter's insults, we hold that he ought to have known that he was exercising his authority in violation of well-established constitutional rights.

Sounds pretty much on point doesn't it? It is. The City of Cambridge, Sergeant Crowley, and the other individual officers actively participating in the wrongful arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates are in a world of hurt legally. They may want to rethink the company line of no official apology.

Pretty much lays out the legal side, no? So let's move on to the society and relationship pieces, which are woven together by who else, the traditional media.

While most of the chattering class is interested in beer today, there were a few "poker tells" thrown in about the underlying issue; Do What Cops Say Or Else. From the years ago, formerly vaunted, but now pretty much noise machine NPR today there was anthe following article on All Things Considered.

Doing the usual, mush-mouthed, split-the-baby vis-a-vis Colbert "Bad Stenographers" type of reporting Tovia Smith offered this:

Adams is calling for a federal investigation into whether local police make unjustifiable or illegal arrests.

"We're going to have to compel them to examine what needs to be done. And to look at [whether they are] misusing the disorderly conduct statute to teach people a lesson who talk back to police officers," Adams says.

To others, Gates' arrest shows that the public needs educating as much as the police do.

"That learning curve should be on both sides," says Dr. Joe Thomas Jr., police chief in Southfield, Mich. He says citizens need to know not to cross the line with police. It's not so much about protecting police egos as it is about public safety.

"There's a certain amount of respect. There are certain things you don't say to ministers; there are certain things you shouldn't say to your mom, your dad, or the clergy," Thomas says. "It's how you talk to people that got responsibility and authority for controlling people, because if you disrespect them, you take away that authority and it hurts everybody." [emphasis added]

You can listen to the audio here, and you tell me if Joe Thomas' tone of voice is irrelevant.

This was not Joe Thomas' only appearance on a PBS network about this issue. He was also on Newshour, in a segment with Ray Suaresz and Professor Antwi Akom:

JOSEPH THOMAS, JR., Chief, Southfield Police Department: I think that there are some studies out there that this does happen in some areas, in some communities, but let`s not get too far away from this incident, because this is what we`re talking about. This is why we`re here. If not, we`re talking about a larger study.

This incident, as a law enforcement executive, when I saw this, first thing that went through my mind is a lack of training. That incident that occurred to that professor could and should have been handled differently.

Now, that does not mean that this officer did something that was against the law. I`m not going to go that far, because I don`t know the totality of the circumstances.

But I do know, from my personal standpoint, my law enforcement career standpoint, based upon my working with students and colleges and university settings, and I also own my own consulting company, G.I. Consulting (ph), that case or that incident should have been handled differently.

There`s no doubt about it; there`s a lack of training there.

RAY SUAREZ: So, Chief, just so I understand you, you`re saying by definition, if a mistaken call of a crime in progress occurs and it`s understood by both parties in an encounter that there is not a crime in progress, if somebody ends up getting arrested and led away in handcuffs, this wasn`t handled properly?

JOSEPH THOMAS, JR.: It could have been handled differently. I don`t use the word improperly. With the proper training, it could have been handled differently.

This is why I made the statement in the copy of today`s USA Today that, when you began to react and interact with a police officer in a negative manner, then the humanistic sides take place and you can -- sometimes I talk to my people of color about police demeanor and police training.

And you can talk your way into a ticket. I`ve seen people talk their way in jail by saying things to antagonize the police on the scene. And that could have been what happened here.

So we`ve got to be extremely careful and look at this case by itself, and then we voice our opinion. If not, we`re going to start talking about what happened in the `50s, the `40s, the `30s and `60s, and you won`t solve this problem.

I`ve seen a lot of cases, cases throughout this country, where we saw emotions and we saw personal frame of reference and we don`t solve the problem. If we don`t look at this from a training standpoint and take a look at what those officers are being taught in the academy and their enrichment training and what they`re taught to do, this incident will reoccur, if you don`t change the policy and training, rituals, beliefs and values of people that are in the law enforcement industry. That`s what I`m saying about this incident.

RAY SUAREZ: Let me turn to Professor Akom at this point. Professor Akom, does a black man have to handle an encounter with the police different from any other American?

ANTWI AKOM, San Francisco State University: No, I think that we should all be handling encounters with the police by following exactly what the police say. At the same time, I think that racial profiling is a rampant problem and that we need to very much be focused on making sure that racial profiling -- i.e., the criminal suspicion of people based on race -- there`s a psychological impact that I think that we need to be concerned about and that that this is actually broader than a law enforcement problem.

This is actually a problem that is also a public health problem. But in terms of reaction, I think that, yes, black Americans are no different than any other American, and we need to respond in the same way.
And voila! Yes, I said this post was beyond race, but behold; PBS put on two men of color who said basically "Do What The Police Say - Don't Get Uppity." Because the big message here was to anybody who would watch or listen to either of these PBS articles, much less any other trad med that might have pushed into this confrontation piece; Don't Any Citizens Talk Back To Authority. Have Respect Or Else You Get What You Deserve.

What is particularly bothering me, is that living in Denver, I have very recent memories of the Police State occupying town last year.

Nonetheless, I say:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Still Mean it: No Quarter

Yes, sorry I hardly blog anymore. But here you go - NO QUARTER! As in it's original meaning; "I yield no quarter" but musically.

An I mean it; I yield No Quarter.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hopenchange - FOR REAL!

Go here to join the Facebook alliance to deliver a million cans of food; it'll feel great and be more filling than some dumb teabag affair...

Really! It will!

I'll be in Lincoln, NE that day and talking to folks about it. Here's a vid I made 2 years ago about exactly what it is that hunger is, and what foodbanks do.

Part 1.
Part 2.

GIVE, dammit!

Last year, I was unemployed at tis time, and you know what? If I had not gotten my current job as I did in last Septemeber, I would have lost my house, and been looking here for food.

Just saying; it can happen to you. By being involved and caring, it's probably true that you can avoid such a position.