Saturday, November 7, 2009


Today, I shall face the North in awe...

Profoundly grateful that on this day in 1943, a child was born...

Gifted beyond words...

Crafting her lyrical pictures in sound...

A true poet, painting on the canvas of imagination.

Rainy Night House
Ladies of the Canyon (1970)

Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire
For the Roses (1972)

Both Sides Now [orchestral]
Both Sides Now (2000)

Free Man in Paris
Court and Spark (1974)


Eastern Bloc-heads

It's a big deal in Germany, but for some living in what was once the Eastern Bloc, the anniversary of bringing down the Berlin Wall brings little cause for celebration. The last twenty years have brought freedom but also hardship and uncertainty – especially for the youngest generation who have grown up without Communism. Laura Lynch reports from Budapest, Hungary where some have swung toward the radical right.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World.

Prop. 8: The Musical

Those Mainiacs don't have the cast to pull it off...
Besides it's already been done.

What is Capitalism?

After getting bitch slapped by the "invisible hand of the market" which then told us "hands up" while it picked our collective pockets, it's time to rethink the abusive relationship and appreciate the role of the other, "visible hand."

So says Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus Bruce Scott, who asserts it's not so much the "unfettered markets" theory fashionable since Reaganomics, as the effective presence of regulators and regulation that make for workable capitalism.

A key chapter called “The Concept of Capitalism,” has been published independently in advance of Scott's upcoming book.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Existential Crisis

So what would you do if "Don't Download This Song" was offered as a free download at

Yeah... Me too.

Weird Al Yankovic
Don't Download This Song
Straight Outta Lynwood (2006)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Major Madness

The what, where and when are shocking... A heart of darkness causing mass casualties in the heart of Fort Hood, the free world's largest Army base.

The why may come later. Discerning motives are the trickiest part. But we always want to know... Forensic psychology is offered as the number two option on Google's auto complete after 5 letters.

But how does a mental health professional, a specialist in disaster psychiatry, become so crippled inside without ever having been deployed to a war zone himself? How could he turn to fratricide as a solution to his inner conflict? How could he turn into a mass murderer and someone who risked "suicide by cop" rather seeking help for himself?

Questions abound... Answers may come.

Slate Article: Is There a Lot of Crime on Military Bases?

CBS response: It's a long bloody history...

Watch CBS News Videos Online

0 and 31

That's the score in states where ballot propositions have asked voters to accept same sex marriage. In Maine, the only state to implement it by legislation rather than a court decree, the voters' NO came Tuesday.

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Dad's Playlist

Roseanne & Johnny by Annie LiebowitzThe latest CD from Rosanne Cash features 12 songs from a list her father, the legendary Johnny Cash, gave her when she was 18 years old. The list included 100 songs Johnny Cash considered essential and thought his daughter should know. Rosanne Cash came to share her dad's legacy and her new record, “The List.”

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Weighty Matters

One in five women think it, though they would never mention it. One in five women are convinced their best friend is fat.

A poll of over 3,000 women found most have at least two friends they consider to be overweight, but they regularly lie and tell them they look great.
Almost one in two women say ALL of their friends could do with dropping a few pounds. One in 20 has even ditched a friend after she offered advice about their weight.

Only a quarter of girls have ever plucked up the courage to tell a friend she should lose a bit of weight. And they probably wished they hadn't - because 12 per cent said their friend was 'devastated' and ten per cent 'burst into tears'

The news opens a can of worms as many women try to work out which of their friends thinks 'they' are overweight… and then plan to make them cry by telling them the same.

A spokeswoman for scale-maker Tanita, which commissioned the research, said: "This shows girlfriends talk to each other about their bodies, weight issues and dress size on a daily basis.

"However, whilst girls are comfortable talking about their own weight and criticising themselves, in truth, most girls would not be able to cope with a friend telling them they needed to slim down.

"Although friendships should be based on trust, honesty and being truthful, we are also supposed to be kind to our friends, and this means being careful about crossing the line."

Via: NewsLite

Government Media Grants

A recent report from the Columbia School of Journalism included a half dozen ideas for how to salvage the Fourth Estate. One in particular – that local news outlets be allowed to apply for government-funded grants – prompted many skeptical responses.

Leonard Downie, former executive editor of The Washington Post and co-author of the report, responds.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media Host: Bob Garfield.

First Frost

It takes some balls to cover Joni Mitchell.

But at age 27, Tom Rush's mournful take on "winter closin' in" was a masterful and haunting interpretation... So much so that in the early years of Boston FM rock radio it was easily the most requested song around the time of the first frost or hard freeze as "Indian Summer" slipped away.

Being a native New Englander, and staple of Boston's active 60's folk scene, might have been part of the appeal, but Rush's simple arrangement and deep baritone compliment Joni's lyrics in a most memorable way.

Tom Rush
Urge For Going
The Circle Game (1968)

Joni Mitchell's own version wasn't released until 1972, as the b-side of the "You Turn Me on I'm a Radio" single. It's first album appearance is on "Hits" (1996).

Joni (born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943 in Fort Macleod, Alberta) turns 66 tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yankees in 6

Photo: Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez celebrate at home after scoring in the sixth inning. (William Perlman/Newark Star-Ledger)
World Series champion NY Yankees beat Phillies, 7-3... Arrrrgh!

Not the most memorable of the Yankees 27 series wins, but a fitting goobye for "Godzilla."

Designated hitter and series MVP Hideki Matsui had 3 hits and drove in 6 of 7 Yankee runs in the clincher. His contract with NY has expired. After 7 years on the team, he probably won't be back.

A more likely returnee is Johnny Damon, who pulled of the steal of the century in Game 4. With the Phillies heavily shifted against a pull hitter, Damon first stole 2nd base, eluding a tag by the third baseman coverring... Then popped up from his slide to capture 3rd base as well. The shift left it uncovered, but Damon's quick thinking is what made the play immortal.

The Yankees are now 27 for 40... 27 championships in 40 World Series appearances since MLB was formed in 1903.

The best team money can buy doesn't always win... But it's batting .675.


Maybe a few words from a poli-sci PhD, and Pulitzer winner can cut through some of the spin about NY-23 & its implications for 2010.

Or a comedian...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
'09 Off-Year Semi-Presidential Electferendum 11/4/09
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Beyond The Wall

Former exchange student Gerry Hadden revisits life at a crtical point along Germany's former East/West border, in the now peaceful and prosperous Baltic Sea coastal town of Travemunde.

In the 80s, still immersed in the Cold War, it was frequently a place where escape attempts, and lives, ended in a hail of automatic weapons fire.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World, November 2. Host: Jeb Sharp.


OsamaBig Mama

Stop It

Is our fear of biotechnology impeding the scientific progress we once revered?

Michael Specter thinks so. In his new book Denialism, Specter says irrational thinking has led the opposition of vaccines and genetically modified food. The internet and the news media aren’t helping.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media Host: Brooke Gladstone.

John Lennon - Remember

Remember the Fifth of November!

John Lennon - Remember - John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Clash of the Cretins

Jason Jones and John Oliver were there Sunday as New York and Philly supporters battled for the title of "America's Douchiest Fans."

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The cities split Sunday with the Eagles & Yankees winning. The battle moves to the Bronx tonight as NY leads 3-2 going into Game 6 of the World Series.

Stand Up And Be Counted

Or maybe not... CNN's Carol Costello looks at controversy surrounding the 2010 U.S. Census. It's not a new problem, every ten years a lengthly and expesive p.r. battle against wingnuts is waged.

The News Machine

Find out what this machine does with a click.Online content provider Demand Media has found a formula, literally, for generating its many, often instructional, articles and videos. Think of it as a cut-rate Associated Press, except instead of human beings thinking up story ideas an algorithm does.

Wired magazine’s Daniel Roth explains.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media Host: Bob Garfield.

Southern Fried Everything

Bill Geist traveled to the Texas State Fair and sampled delectable, and artery clogging, treats from deep fried cookie dough to deep fried butter.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Match Game

What do humans, monkeys and ducks have in common?

Five month old human infants can match their sounds to the pictures of the correct species in primates... Except for the sound of laughter. Maybe your baby is confused about which animal makes that noise. Or maybe that babies just have no sense of humor at all.

Ducks are the thing that's not like the others.

Dr. Athena Vouloumanos, a professor of Psychology at New York University, tested the idea that infants have a built-in affinity for human speech.

Audio: CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks. Host: Bob McDonald.

Nick Danger - Part 4

The Further Adventures of Nick Danger

Firesign Theatre

How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All (1969)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


For centuries, the anvil was used to make tools. As Steve Hartman reports, one man's obsession with carving anvils eventually turned into a more exciting fixation.

May the Lord take a likin' to him and blow him up good... Real good!

Buried Alive In The Booze

Banking Backlash

5 Tips for Living Without Credit Cards"There's a myth that you have to have a credit card to have a credit history, and that's not the case. If you're paying off a car loan regularly, or a student loan regularly, or a mortgage loan regularly, that is also building your credit history."

-- contributor Beth Kobliner

That said, there are limitations to everyday life without credit cards. The Takeaway talked to two listeners without plastic, a move more are willing to consider in the wake of rising fees and interest rates.

Audio: The Takeaway,
Hosts John Hockenberry
& Celeste Headlee.

Turning 25

Anthony Mason attended a celebration in New York marking the first quarter century of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Who if anyone will mark 50 years?

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Steve Slaton, a 35 year rock radio institution in Seattle, admitted facing a family crisis back in 1994: "I don't know what to do. My daughter likes hip hop."

Home For The Everydays

A parody of Grant Wood's 1930 'American Gothic' as seen on Freaking News Americans are becoming less nomadic — less willing to relocate away from home than at any time since 1942, when the government first started tracking America’s comings and goings.

Joel Kotkin, calls it ‘the new localism’ and says that this new cultural attitude is profoundly re-shaping the country. Kotkin is presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, executive editor of the website New, and his upcoming book is ‘The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050.’

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Nick Danger - Part 3

The Further Adventures of Nick Danger

Firesign Theatre

How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All (1969)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pulling Out

State Department official Matthew Hoh/Afghanistan

Missing Persons in upcoming elections:


Scozzafava/NY 23rd

GOP ex-candidate endorses Democrat in NY race
(AP) – Sunday, November 1, 2009

ALBANY, N.Y. — A day after Republican state Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava abruptly suspended her campaign in the New York special election, she's endorsing the Democrat in the race — not the Conservative Party candidate favored by fellow Republicans.

Battle Over Bandwidth

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From Here to Neutrality 10/26/09
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Rising By Degrees

Go to sourceWhat does it mean that the fastest growing ethnic segment of the U.S. population is the least likely to obtain college degrees?

Previous waves of immigrants have used education to advance, but Latinos lag behind all other ethnic groups.

Are they the new permanent underclass?

Audio: APM's American Radio Works, Host: Stephen Smith.

Hooray For Poliwood

Director Barry Levinson examines the role that celebrities sometimes play in national politics and the often-negative way their involvement and interest is viewed by the public. Poliwood features conversations with Sting, Matthew Modine, Josh Lucas, Anne Hathaway, Rachael Leigh Cook, Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee, Ellen Burstyn, Richard Schiff and Tim Daly.

Debuts tonight 11/02/09 at 7:30 PM on Showtime and repeats throughout the week.

Inside Late Night

David Letterman leaves the Ed Sullivan Theater, in New York City, after a taping of Late Show, July 29, 2009. By Ray Tamarra/Getty Images.Nell Scovell was a writer on the earlier David Letterman show -- NBC's Late Night… A rare woman in a sea of men:
At this moment, there are more females serving on the United States Supreme Court than there are writing for Late Show with David Letterman, The Jay Leno Show, and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien combined. Out of the 50 or so comedy writers working on these programs, exactly zero are women. It would be funny if it weren’t true.
Scovell writes about the work environment on the staff, especially for women like her who were not sleeping with him, which while not a "get a court order right now" situation, creates sexual favoritism that, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, can create a hostile, demeaning work environment.

Scovell's article is in the October 2009 edition of Vanity Fair.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Nick Danger - Part 2

The Further Adventures of Nick Danger

Firesign Theatre

How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All (1969)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dia de los Muertos

Mexico's Day of the Dead, aka All Souls Day...

Click pictures for source sites.

Smashing Pumpkins

Now that the season's gone...

We'll crucify the insincere tonight!

Homeward Bound

Marine Corps 1 meets C-17, Dover AFB, October 29, 2009.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday: Talk radio bomb thrower Rush Limbaugh ripped President Obama Sunday for his ego, health care reform effort - and a "photo-op" with the casket of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan. -- NY Daily News

Where my thought's escaping

Where my music's playing

Where my love lies waiting
Silently for me

Poaching The Pews

As the Vatican attempted to lure Anglicans to the Catholic Church, like a cell phone provider, or an auto insurer offering new customers promising savings, did attendance shift since the offer?

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Episcopal Priest Randall Balmer refuses to join the Catholic Church.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Holy Water Under the Bridge - Randall Balmer 10/27/09
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The Tree That Time Built

A new anthology for kids uses poetry and science to illustrate Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. It’s called, “The Tree That Time Built: Celebration of Nature, Science & Imagination.”

The poems were either written, or selected by, the Children’s Poet Laureate, Mary Ann Hoberman, and cultural anthropologist, Linda Winston.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.