Monday, September 01, 2014

It's about time for this tune

"September In The Rain" sung by Jo Stafford.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Polish jazz singer performing a Canadian classic

Aga Zaryan sings Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne"

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The very first recording of this classic

Was by Danish jazz trombonist Kai Winding in 1963. "TIME IS ON MY SIDE" written by Jerry Ragovoy (under the pseudonym of Norman Meade).

Friday, August 29, 2014

I wish I remembered more French from high school.

"La Petite Mort" chante par Coeur de Pirate, the stage name of Canadian singer Beatrice Martin.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What's Not To Like?

When The Like sing "Fair Game" from their 2010 album Release Me

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If Ani DeFranco likes her

That's recommendation enough for me. Anais Mitchell sings "Dyin Day" with some help from The Young Man band.

Quote of the Day

Under no circumstances should girls be told that their clothing is responsible for boys’ bad behaviors. This kind of message lands itself squarely on a continuum that blames girls and women for assault by men… If the sight of a girl’s leg is too much for boys at Haven to handle, then your school has a much bigger problem to deal with.
Parents of Haven Middle Schoolers in Evanston, IL to the school administration regarding the dress code.

Watch out for that natural stuff.

From the pen of Jim Morin

Meanwhile over in Shitholeistan

There is still no answer to the age old question, which side cheated more in the presidential elections?
Afghanistan’s deadlocked presidential election was plunged into further turmoil Wednesday, as both run-off candidates pulled their observers from a U.N.-backed audit of votes.

The recount formed part of a U.S.-brokered deal to head off growing tension over the results of the national ballot between rivals Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, who have both claimed victory in the contest intended to mark the country's first democratic transfer of power.

Abdullah’s side said Thursday that the process was “full of fraud,” with the former foreign minister’s chief auditor adding: “We boycotted the audit process today because it is worthless for us.”

A few hours later, the United Nations asked former finance minister Ghani’s team to withdraw its observers in the interests of fairness.

Abdullah had earlier signaled his intention to pull out of the audit. He accuses those involved in the process of refusing to throw out fraudulent ballot papers and has demanded an independent investigation.

Allegations of vote fraud have long dogged the presidential election.

Liam McDowall, a spokesman for the United Nations in Kabul, confirmed that there had been a "temporary pause'' in the audit process but said monitors did not anticipate it would be a significant disruption.
In the meantime the country just keeps on plugging along and the Taliban keeps on attacking and Karzai of the Afghans is shifting as much money as he can to overseas banks. And hopefully we will have to pull everybody out at the end of the year.

Deep in the heart of Texas

Lies the archetypical Texas city, Houston. And in the heart of Houston exists a situation that must strike terror into the heart of Gov. Rick "Nuts of Steel" Perry and his Teabagger accomplices, diversity.
In the past 20 years, Houston — that most Texan of Texan cities — has come to look more and more like the taxi drivers. Between 1990 and 2010, Greater Houston added more than 2.2 million people (PDF) and now boasts a population of more than 6 million (the city proper has 2.2 million residents). The metropolitan area has eclipsed New York and Los Angeles to become the most racially and ethnically diverse in the United States.

A joint report published last year by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas (PDF) found that Greater Houston scores highest on the Entropy Index, which measures diversity according to the presence and relative proportions of the four major racial groups (white, black, Hispanic and Asian). All five Houston counties have become more diverse over the past two decades, with increased numbers of Hispanics (from 21 to 35 percent) and Asians (from 3.4 to 6.5 percent), a stable population of blacks (about 17 percent) and a decrease in whites or “Anglos” (from over 50 to under 40 percent), though rates of residential segregation remain high.

On July 12, Houston Mayor Annise Parker hosted her third annual Iftar dinner, symbolically breaking the Ramadan fast with 2,000 guests. “We have the largest refugee, expat and immigrant population in the U.S.,” she told the crowd, praising the city’s diversity and calling for a compassionate response to young Central Americans crossing the border. It was an un-Texan speech at an un-Texan meal delivered by an un-Texan politician: Parker is a three-term liberal and married lesbian. Her nuptials, however, took place in California, for her home state doesn’t recognize her wife.

On maps, Houston resembles a spider web. Its two concentric freeways — Interstate 610 and the Sam Houston Parkway — and radiating highway spokes form neighborhoods as likely to be populated by new immigrants as longtime white, black and Hispanic residents.

The city has the highest concentration of refugees in the country, thanks to its strong network of placement agencies, job opportunities and reasonable cost of living. Since the late 1970s, the city has welcomed 70,000 refugees: Bosnians and Cambodians fleeing genocide, the Lost Boys of Sudan and Vietnamese, Iraqis and Afghans escaping destructive U.S. interventions in their homelands. According to a State Department spokesman, Houston's diversity begets more diversity. Refugees are placed in part on the basis of existing friend and family networks, which "can make a big difference in helping a refugee family successfully settle in the United States, assisting with everything from finding work to teaching American cultural and social norms." And it's not just Houston. Texas receives more refugees than any other state — nearly 7,000 in 2013 — and more than 10 percent of the nation's total.
Allahu Akbar y'all!

Not really bipartisan

Some issues in Congress
enjoy the support of Republicans and Democrats because they are geocentric. Just like in the good old pre-ideology days, members vote the needs of their constituents rather than their paymasters.
In April, underscoring the role of politics in earthquake matters, 25 House Democrats from California, Oregon and Washington endorsed a proposal to provide $16.1 million for an earthquake early warning system. No Republican signed the letter requesting the funds.

But it was the White House, in turn, that proposed earlier this year to reduce funding for geodetic monitoring and seismic profiling. The Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee restored funding; not coincidentally, the chairman of the relevant subcommittee, Rep. Ken Calvert, represents an earthquake-prone stretch of Southern California.

Fiscal 2015 Interior Department funding bills approved by both House and Senate appropriations committees currently include $5 million for earthquake early warning. The money would upgrade a West Coast demonstration project, the first time Congress has specifically allocated funds to such a warning system.

“I continue to be encouraged by the advancements in the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) earthquake early warning system,” Calvert said in a statement Tuesday, adding he will be collaborating with “colleagues, especially those from areas affected by the Napa earthquake, to ensure we implement the early warning system in an effective manner.”

The congressman who represents Napa, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., is currently “focused on recovery efforts” but has “always been supportive of research into early warning systems,” spokesman Austin Vevurka said Tuesday.

A separate Senate funding bill urges the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give grant priorities to projects for early warning systems.
Nobody likes to stand on shaky ground.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Will you vote to get rid of the stink?

According to research, the lower the approval of Congress, the more likely people are to vote in a mid term election. Like when the stink of the dead dog on the roadside finally moves someone to bury it.
Could voter disdain for Congress motivate more people to turn out this November? Could be.

A new Gallup study suggests that in recent elections, disapproval of Congress’ job performance meant higher turnout. Currently, Gallup’s congressional job approval is 13 percent, with 19 percent of registered voters saying members of Congress deserve re-election.

Voters may feel they can effect change, since in 1994, 2006 and 2010 control of the House of Representatives changed parties.

“There has been a clear pattern of turnout being on the higher end of the midterm year range when Americans were less approving of Congress,” said Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones in the Gallup study.

“Since 1994, voters may have a greater belief that they can change the federal government and its policies by their choices of members of Congress in midterm elections. That belief in turn may help drive up turnout when voters feel a change is needed.”
Higher turnouts traditionally favor the Democrats because all the crazies are already voting for their Teabagger darlings.

A curiously haunting video

Jill Barber sings "Oh My, My" from her 2008 album Chances.

Mission creep

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

Too much of a good thing is not good

And two of those things together are worse. With all that Bakken crude to move and no pipelines in place, the railroads have their hands full moving it in tank cars. Add to that record corn and soybean crops coming in that needs to move by rail and you have an overload of the system.
Railroads have long been the backbone of North Dakota’s transportation system and the most dependable way for farmers to move crops — to ports in Portland, Ore., Seattle and Vancouver, from which the bulk of the grain is shipped across the Pacific to Asia; and to East Coast ports like Albany, from which it is shipped to Europe.

But reports the railroads filed with the federal government show that for the week that ended Aug. 22, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway — North Dakota’s largest railroad, owned by the billionaire Warren E. Buffett — had a backlog of 1,336 rail cars waiting to ship grain and other products. Another railroad, Canadian Pacific, had a backlog of nearly 1,000 cars.

For farmers, the delays often mean canceled orders from food giants that cannot wait weeks or months for the grain they need to make cereal, bread and an array of other products. “They need to get this problem fixed,” Mr. Hejl said. “I’m losing money, and my customers are turning to other sources as a result. I don’t know how much longer we can survive like this.”

This month, federal Agriculture Department officials said they were particularly concerned that Canadian Pacific would not be able to fulfill nearly 30,000 requests from farmers and others for rail cars before October. As a result, North Dakota’s congressional delegation and lawmakers in Minnesota and South Dakota have called on the Surface Transportation Board, which oversees the nation’s railroads, to step up pressure on the companies.

“This rail backlog is a national problem,” Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota, said in an interview. “The inability of farmers to get these grains to market is not only a problem for agriculture, but for companies that produce cereals, breads and other goods.”

A recent study conducted by North Dakota State University at Ms. Heitkamp’s request found that rail congestion could cost farmers in the state more than $160 million because a local oversupply of grain has lowered prices.

The study also found that farmers would lose $67 million in revenue from wheat, corn and soybeans from January to mid-April. Around $95 million more in losses are expected if farmers are unable to move their remaining inventory of crops.

The study was done before the current harvest, which is forecast at a record 273 million bushels of wheat, up from 235 million bushels in 2013. This year’s soybean harvest is also expected to be a record, and corn will be a near-record.

Food companies say they are feeling the effects of the delayed shipments. General Mills, the Minnesota-based maker of Cheerios, told investors in March that it had lost 62 days of production — as much as 4 percent of its output — in the quarter that ended in February because of winter logistics problems, including rail-car congestion. In its earnings report this month, Cargill, another Minnesota-based food giant, reported a drop in net earnings that it attributed in part to “higher costs related to rail-car shortages.”

Farmers and agriculture groups say rail operators are clearly favoring the more lucrative transport of oil. Rail shipments of crude oil in North Dakota have surged since 2008, and the state now produces about a million barrels a day. About 60 percent of that oil travels by train from the Bakken oil fields in the western part of the state to faraway oil refiners. There are few pipelines to ship it.
The oil won't spoil but since it pays better, it is hard to imagine that grain will get any favors in this mess.

Everyone wants the best for their children

And the latest research by the Girl Scout shows that if you want the best for your daughter, don't plan on living in the South.
If you want the best for your daughter, consider moving north. Where girls live in America matters to their overall comfort, health and prosperity, according to a report ranking every U.S. state and the District of Columbia.

The latest in a series of reports on girls’ health and well-being by the Girl Scouts Research Institute shows that girls generally fare better in the Midwest, Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

“It has to do partly with strong education,” said Mark Mather, the report’s lead researcher and a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a research organization in Washington, D.C.

New Hampshire ranked at the top, based on 23 indicators of education, extracurricular activities, economic well-being, emotional health and physical health and safety. The Dakotas, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Jersey also ranked in the top 10.

The bottom states — including Mississippi (50th), Arkansas and Georgia — are mostly in the South. In all the low-ranking states, educational achievement and opportunities lagged.

States that offer preschool education and have lower high school dropout rates almost always ranked higher. “It tells the story of the importance of education for girls,” Mather said. “A lot of states are moving towards universal preschool. Getting a good start makes a difference for low-income families.”...

“Girls are thriving in some areas, but there are portions of our population really left behind,” said Kamla Modi, senior researcher with the Girl Scout Research Institute and a co-author of the report. “It’s the first we’ve really seen how different the data is geographically. There are real issues girls are facing in the South.”

In Alabama (30th), where 30 percent of girls are African-American, the state was ranked 42nd in educational well-being and 34th in economic well-being. When Liz Brent, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama, met recently with a state legislator to discuss the state’s poor ranking, “he thought it was a happy thing because we weren’t 48th,” she said. “This really did point [to] some issues we needed to focus on … It’s incumbent on us to be much more aggressive.”
On the other hand, if she lives in Texas she has the best chance of breaking into the porn business.

Key to threat identification

Rapid identification is important to safety.

No connection without a thank you note

Really, it would be the height of rudeness to not include a thank you note with their campaign contributions if there had been any connection with the tax break.
Less than a month after voting to give a Wisconsin furniture company a $6 million tax credit that allows it to lay off half its in-state workforce, Gov. Scott Walker (R) received $20,000 in campaign donations from the company’s leadership, a newspaper in the state reports.

Ashley Furniture won the credit from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) in January on a 9-2 vote. As WEDC Chairman, Walker was one of the 9 votes in favor. Then in February his campaign received four $5,000 donations from company founder Ronald Wanek, current CEO Todd Wanek, and their respective spouses, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

A Walker spokeswoman told the State Journal that there was no connection between the WEDC decision and the campaign contributions that followed. Neither the governor’s office nor his campaign nor Ashley Furniture responded to emails from ThinkProgress requesting comment on the story.

Walker is currently under scrutiny for allegedly soliciting far larger donations to the state arm of the Club for Growth. But while the dollar figures involved in that ongoing court case are attention-grabbing, the alleged misconduct there is less overtly tied to Walker’s ability to make decisions that help donors’ bottom line. The Club for Growth investigation suggests that Walker may have illegally coordinated with an outside electioneering group in violation of campaign finance law while soliciting contributions from vulture capitalist Paul Singer, Home Depot founder Ken Langone, and other billionaires who frequently open their checkbooks for right-wing causes.

The Ashley Furniture story features a more direct, localized use of Walker’s authority over state funds. The company says the deal, which is worth more than all its previous tax incentives from the state combined, will allow it to expand its headquarters in Arcadia, WI.

“But it wouldn’t require Ashley to create any new jobs, instead granting the company license to lay off half of its current 3,848 Wisconsin-based workers in exchange for an enterprise zone tax credit,” the State Journal reports, calling the credit “one of the most valuable and coveted state subsidies.” A WEDC spokesman told the State Journal that it “is committed to doing whatever it can to work with the company and preserve those jobs.” A former WEDC executive told the paper he didn’t think the group had ever handed out a tax subsidy that was conditioned on job cuts rather than job growth, but added that the the specific circumstances in this case could warrant such a move.
Just because the only people who benefit are the management and owners of Ashley Furniture, it is a stretch to imagine that Governor Homunculus was fishing for cash. It just looks that way so move along, nothing more to see here.

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