Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blog # 103: Health Care, Nessi, Gates' Hurricane Busting

Senator Edward Moore Kennedy:

(February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009) – image from

Is real healthcare reform going to follow Senator Ted Kennedy to the grave? That was the question of the day on the Wednesday following the Senator’s passing. It certainly is a piece of legislation we can identify with Senator Kennedy. Of course, the screeching voices which echo the desires of the Health Insurance Industry, all of which are making “killer profits” on the backs of their payees as they scream, “NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO!” to any kind of change.

The industry has indicated in no uncertain terms that it will fight any government option tooth and nail. Likewise any attempt on the part of the government to regulate the free wheeling Health Care industry. It is true that their prices are rising at many times the rate of inflation, and their tendency to avoid payments for their members health care by claiming “pre-existing condition” or some other excuse to avoid having to dish out what their payees have paid in, is a pretty bald face statement as to their particular definition of the word care. But by god they make a profit, and a DAMNED GOOD PROFIT it is, and they’ll fight hand over throat to keep their money tree in full bloom.

To a man or woman, Republicans seem intent on saying “nay” despite having offered amendments to several versions of the legislation. They see a parallel to 1993, when they opposed President Clinton, and were able to not only defeat Clinton’s attempt at Health Care Reform but were actually able to regain their majority in the Congress the following year. Our beloved and only slightly demented Senator DeMint gave away that strategy early on, and they and the Insurance Industry have sent meeting busters to Town Hall Meetings throughout the country ever since to make sure that Democratic members of Congress have no chance to explain their legislation to curb the industries excesses and invoke real competition into the mix.

Note the Industry’s (and the Republican’s) claim that a public option will “kill” the private sector. For heaven’s sake, see that statement for what it is really saying: that the private sector (as is presently operated) cannot compete with a government run, not-for-profit model. Translate that to mean a public option will force the private sector to both cover everybody and deliver what they promise, or go belly up and let the public option take care of their customers. Dim out the paid screamers for a minute and ask yourself one question, in the care of you and your family what is more important? The profits of the company that offers your policy, or the funding of care for you and your family? Who in their right mind would not support real care with a government option over the current status of pay in, and get booted out when you get sick health care?

However the private sector has a lot of green with which to grease the palms of their Republican and Blue Dog supporters. And their strategy is going to work, and Health Care will become impotent if not completely DOA, unless President Obama returns forthwith to lead his party through the perilous swamp of Health Care Reform. Of course, the Dems have lost Senator Kennedy’s vote, an important vote in the Senate, one which evidently is not likely to be replaced in time for HCR to be up for a Senate vote. And Barrack Obama is no Willy Loman, he’s an intellectual rather than a salesman. However, if real reform is going to pass, and the Democrats are to hang on to their majority in 2010 and the Presidency in 2012, then a salesman he must become.

You can do it, Mister President. You should wrap yourself in the cloak of the Health Care initiative of the late Senator Kennedy. Name the bill the Ted Kennedy Initiative for Constructive Health Care Reform, or some such high sounding nomenclature, and go back on the road to continue selling it. But most importantly, get that cadre of internet supporters that got you elected in the first place back on the job. After all, those youngsters are going to be the big winners under any kind of real Health Care Reform, so let them Facebook their support to the world and Twitter and Tweet the way to Health Care for all, and if they can do that and get active in supporting Democratic Town Hall Meetings where the legislation is being explained, then HCR will return to where it belongs, back in the ranks of the doable, back into the realm of the possible.

The opposition to Real Reform was keynoted by our very special favorite Democratic turncoat, Senator Joseph Lieberman. Dear Joe in purring tones, and with that condescending smile plastered all over his face, tells us, “there’s no hurry about Health Care Reform. Do it in tiny bits at a time.” That’s what he suggested on one of last Sunday’s TV programs, echoing the Insurance Companies lobby’s agenda line for line.

Absolutely there’s no hurry if you are America’s Health Care Industry, or you are being funded by them. A nice long delay will guarantee putting those lovely, do-nothing-for-anybody-except-the-very-rich Republicans right back in power, for, just as the Republicans have been ranting, it will become obvious to both Democrat and Independent voter alike that even with their impressive majority, the Dems cannot pull together long enough to do anything difficult like Health Care Reform. It need not end in defeat, however. There is time, although whether or not there’s the will is still open to question. I guess, as usual, only time will tell.

Postscript: Watching the memorial service for Senator Kennedy last night was a moving experience. But seeing John Kerry was troubling. It was a reminder of how Republicans were able to win re-election for George W. Bush by casting a real Vietnam war hero as a fraud, meanwhile electing a slacker who managed to dodge the Vietnam War, and was even AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard for a time. And considering that Bush was elected not by the people but by Supreme Court fiat in the first place, and this so-called conservative managed to outspend the total of every president that preceded him just makes the irony of the fraud that more compelling. And it is those forces which elected Bush and kept him in power which are behind the efforts to kill Health Care for all. The weapon which propels Republicans is fear. It is so easy for us to forget Franklin Roosevelt’s prophetic warning, “the only thing we have to fear is fear, itself.”

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Put This in Your Pipe and Smoke It!

If Google Earth’s Cameras in Space Captured Nessi – Does that Finally Mean that it’s Real?

From our “I’ll be goddamned department,” Sun reader Jason Cooke spotted "Nessie" while browsing Google Earth’s satellite photos. A security guard by occupation, Jason, 25, of Nottingham, said: "I couldn't believe it. It's just like the descriptions of Nessie." The complete Sun story may be found here!

Researcher Adrian Shine, of the Loch Ness Project, said: "This is really intriguing. It needs further study." Of course sightings of Nessi, pet name for the Loch Ness Monster, have been claimed for centuries. However Google Earth’s camera seems to have recorded the first satellite sighting of the monster.

You can see the object for yourself. Just open Google Earth and enter co-ordinates Latitude 57°12'52.13"N, Longitude 4°34'14.16"W. Below is the ancient sea dinosaur that the Google photo seems to resemble

The long extinct Plesiosaur is the prehistoric monster that most resembles the image captured from space. – images from The Sun

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Steve Jobs Quote of the Week

You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.
Steve Jobs

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Bill Gates Chases the Big One!

Bill Gates, Scientists, Patent Plan to Tame Hurricanes

(CNN) -- Hurricane experts are throwing cold water on an idea backed by billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates aimed at controlling the weather. Hurricanes are fueled by warm water, and cooling the waters surrounding a storm would slow a storm's momentum.

According to the patents, many tub-like barges would be placed directly in the path of an oncoming storm. Each barge would have two conduits, each 500 feet long.

One conduit would push the warm water from the ocean's surface down. The other would bring up cold water where it lies deep undersea.

World renowned hurricane expert William Gray, who's been studying and predicting the storms for a half-century, doubts whether the proposal would work. Even if the technology does work, Gray said it won't completely halt a hurricane. "There is no way to stop it. The storm might weaken in the center, but the outer areas wouldn't be affected much." And flooding and storm surges are determined by these outer winds, Gray said.

Cold water that churns up during a storm slows down a hurricane naturally. But the coldest water is usually at the rear of the storm, so sometimes it's too late to weaken [the storm], Emanuel said.

The patents, which were only made public last month by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, were filed in January by Searete LLC. The company is a subsidiary of Intellectual Ventures, an invention firm run by Microsoft's former chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold.

Jimmy Kimmel Reveals the Real Secret of the Gates, Hurricane Buster Patent

So there you have it. The secret is out. Most of us weren’t aware of the fact that Bill Gates had left Microsoft to bring his notable expertise to, among other things, the control of one of mother nature’s fiercest players, the tropical hurricane. But it’s true, and it took Jimmie Kimmel’s inquiring mind to smoke out the real technique behind the patent. I should think you should be very impressed with the ingenuity the formerly richest American brings to his new task. I mean, all of us Mac heads always knew that the Windows OS must be good for something. We just never knew for what.

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Rachel Maddow on Meet the Press

Thanks to Lou Dobbs I finally liberated myself from CNN after Wolf by switching channels to msnbc. I find Chris Matthews a bit grating but not near as grating as Lou Dobbs, Same goes for Keith Olbermann, who follows at 7 (CDT). But at 8 o’clock comes a really refreshing hour with Rachel Maddow, she also of Air America radio as well as msnbc. On hulu we found an interview with Rachel by David Gregory on Meet the Press, which, if you have not yet run across her, will serve as an excellent introduction to Ms Maddow.

And Now For Something Completely Different

My computer’s Dictionary defines the word erotic as follows:

erotic |iˈrätik| adjective of, relating to, or tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement.

DERIVATIVES erotically |-ik(ə)lē| adverb

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from French érotique, from Greek erōtikos, from erōs, erōt- ‘sexual love.’

And from the Thesaurus come the synonyms:

erotic adjective

erotic literature sexy, sexually arousing, sexually stimulating, titillating, suggestive; pornographic, sexually explicit, lewd, smutty, hard-core, soft-core, dirty, racy, risqué, ribald, naughty; sexual, sensual, amatory; seductive, alluring, tantalizing; informal blue, X-rated, steamy, raunchy, bootylicious; euphemistic adult.

How about you? What do you find erotic? How about two robotic heads kissing? It’s a pretty strange sight, seeing these two pieces of artificial intelligence whose heads rise up from behind piles of the stuff from which they are made, each groping for the other’s tonsils. But, damn it, to me this is erotic. And it makes you wonder, do they kiss using their tongues? Do they even have tongues? Click on the triangle below and decide for yourself.

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And there you have this week’s Little Eddy Blog. We tempered our sadness at the loss of that liberal Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, by celebrating the return to her family of kidnap victim, Jaycee Dugard, even though it seems like criminal negligence on the part of law enforcement that they were not able to discover her ordeal for 18 years, even though her captor was a registered sex offender and was arrested and served time during her ordeal. My friends, it is one weird world we live in, even if some things do work out eventually. It just doesn’t seem worth it to get up some mornings.

However, our Cusinart brewer-grinder helps us start each day right, and so we dive back in the swim every morning. Check back next week to see what we have ferreted out. Bye, now.

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blog #102: "Outsourced" assassinations; Beatles Breakup

The Simpsons make an historic crossing of Abbey Road, London England. Note Bart walking barefoot a la Paul McCartney. And Homer is definitely sporting a John Lennon swagger as he leads the pack. There was no word as yet on if or when a Simpson’s Abbey Road album might be forthcoming. – Graphic from

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In Case You Missed It

C.I.A. Outsourced Assassination Program – to Blackwater

From our “would you believe?” department: it turns out that the C.I.A. had outsourced the famed assassination program to trigger happy Blackwater in 2004. This was the program that had Leon Pinetta running to Congress to disclose because Dick Cheney had told the C.I.A. to keep it a secret from Congress for all of those years. According to a story in the N.Y. Times which you can access here, the program, which never assassinated anyone, cost several million dollars to plan and train.

It was the outsourcing that was the major reason that director Pinetta felt the need to run to Congress after being informed of the program. The Blackwater connection was rescinded several years before Pinetta became the director, after senior C.I.A. officials themselves questioned the wisdom of using outsiders in a targeted killing program.

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Would You Believe II?

Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Chief during Bush’s first term, has written a book. Among the bones he has to pick with his former bosses are the following: He was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster being ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert level on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over. What? Bush/Cheney manipulated the threat level for political purposes? Who’d have thunk it? Does sound a bit Karl Roveish, don’t it?§

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The Beatles on iTunes at Last?

September 9, 2009 is a big day for Apple. They have a musical event scheduled for that day. It is also the day that the Beatles Apple Corps is releasing a box set, complete with videos of some of the songs recorded. The big question: As part of the Sept 9th. event will Apple announce the addition of The Beatles catalogue to the iTunes store. 9to5mac notes: “To the strains of “Revolution Number 9”, some observed the date - 9/9/09 - could be perfectly starred for music from the band to make it online, particularly given the coincidence between Apple Corps. and Apple Inc.’s September 9 event date.”

More on the boxed set, which also drove speculation the music would be made available within Apple’s rumored Cocktail format (which offers liner notes, art work, and occasionally even video), Apple Corps put a damper on such speculation by announcing: "discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalog will continue. There is no further information available at this time." Could that truly be the case, or simply cover to honor Apple’s penchant for secrecy. Only time, and Sept. 9, will tell.

News from the Dark Side of the Beatles breakup: Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone has a tape recorder. John Lennon talked into it shortly after the Beatles breakup, giving his side of the split. Wenner released the tapes for celebrated rock journalist Mikal Gilmore's study on what tore the band apart, which will appear in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. A few quotes from Lennon follow:

Lennon can be heard telling Wenner, "We sold out... and I felt sick." He also takes aim at longtime songwriting partner Paul McCartney stating, "We got fed up with being sidemen for Paul."

Lennon suggests The Beatles break-up was a long time coming and the "music died" when they first hit the big time in the early 1960s, adding, "That's why we never improved."

And he was less than happy when his bandmates disrespected and "insulted" his wife Yoko Ono, adding, "They despised her... It seemed I had to be happily married to them or Yoko - and I chose Yoko."

Lennon goes so far as to suggest that The Beatles' most peaceful member, George Harrison, was the one who really drove wedge between he and the band over his treatment of Ono. He states, "George insulted her right to her face and I didn't hit him, I don't know why. Ringo was alright but the other two really gave it to us. I'll never forgive 'em."§

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YouTube, Now with more Robot Chicken

A deal recently inked by Time Warner will finally bring more Robot Chicken clips to YouTube, along with other Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN and Warner Bros. (And yes, that includes Gossip Girl).

To give you a taste here is a hilarious clip entitled You Can’t Be Serious, which features Batman’s frustrations in dealing with his various modes of transportation.§


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A Health Care Litmus Test for Republicans

President Obama’s dream of lining up Republican votes for any kind of meaningful Health Care reform is pure pipe dreaming on hashish. You can give yourself a true test of the Republican take on reforming the Health Care Industry by having them answer two basic questions. Would they have supported and voted for Social Security which Franklin Roosevelt introduced it in the 1930’s? And question number two, state your opinion of Medicare, and indicate whether or not you would vote for it, if it was coming up in a vote now.

The vast majority of Republicans if answering the question honestly, would admit they are dead set against both programs, and would never have voted for them in the first place. However, these are the two government programs which are throwing a lifeline to seniors across the country. And no matter how many seniors of the misguided variety scream and holler to bust up Health Care Town Hall Meetings, if you want to hear a real uproar try trashing either or both of those programs.

So what if one, or both of these “government giveaways” are going to go belly up one of these fine days, and maybe sooner than we think. The truth is that the people of this country will not stand for the slightest interruption of either or both programs. The lawmakers are just going to have to bite the bullet, and work out some way to continue funding them in perpetuity.

It is sad, but true. The “finest health care in the world” just happens to not take people with pre-existing conditions, and even if you are a healthy payee beware of the time you lose your job or get sick, since the company will do its damnedest to avoid having to fund doctor recommended procedures which cost money, leaving the payee holding an empty bag.

The federal government has too often been the servant of the rich and the powerful during lo these too many years of Republican rule. But finally, we the people have wrested back our government. Listen not to Republicans and Libertarians. They seek to curb government spending so as to enrich the coffers of the already wealthy. Support a government which works for us all. Support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Support affordable health care for all. It’s a goal that we can reach, and we must reach, or else health care will continue its spiral into the stratosphere.

And by the way, fear not a public option. Republicans and conservatives see it as the death of the free enterprise system of health care insurance. That is because it is the safety net which will offer relief to those not eligible to buy into our present system. But private insurers are recording record profits while excluding those with pre-existing conditions, and dropping or refusing to fund doctor prescribed procedures on paying customers whose money they continue to take. Having a public option is the only way the insurance lobby will either get over its bad habits or go under all together, sending their patients to a government option which will take care of them.

Making money is a strong motivator, and insurance companies are not about to change their present profit generating procedures voluntarily. The states regulate the companies which sell house and auto insurance in their state. Why should not the Congress and the government regulate the health insurance industry, and thereby guarantee that they live up to the promises they made when they began taking our money? In our opinion it’s about damn time! So not for one minute think of watering down health care reform in order to get a handful of Republican votes. You will not get any. Go with your Democratic majority and bring us what we the people are crying for – health care reform that’s real.

Syndicated columnist Froma Harrop echoes our assessment in a recent column which announces that Democrats will have to go health care alone. It may be found in Saturday’s Houston Chronicle, which you can access here

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Steve Jobs Quote of the Week

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

Steve Jobs

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In our mind not nearly enough has been said about the motivational qualities of America’s favorite banned substance. Cannabis, aka marijuana, adds much to the taste of your favorite foods, makes the listening of music an unforgettable experience, and exposes the bs in your favorite politician’s gab as does no other known substance. And boy does it make you swim fast. Just ask Michael Phelps.§ – Graphic from

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A further tribute to the Memory of Les Paul

Last week we sadly announced the passing of a giant among recording innovators, Les Paul. Paul was not only an accomplished musician, who had a string of hit records with his ex-wife Mary Ford, but he completely changed the way music was recorded.

Although in live performances music had the addition of natural room reverberations and echo (as the sound bounced off the walls), all recordings before Paul were made in dead studios with no natural reverb and echo. That is until Les Paul came along, and changed the record industry’s sound. He created reverb by having a large strip of metal vibrate to the sound of the music, and he created echo with a second recording device running just slightly behind the original sound.

Next he invented multi-track recording by allowing the tracks to be recorded separately on the tape, with the final result mixed together to simulate a live performance.

But to many guitarists in and out of rock and roll, his greatest contribution to the world of music was being the first to create a solid-body guitar, a guitar which was actually just a solid block of wood with strings and frets to mark the notes, and a microphone to pick up the sound. Variations on the guitars’ sounds were done in the electronic processing of the sound.

The Les Paul guitar was one of Gibson Guitars best sellers, and among the guitarists who swore by the Paul model was led zeppelin’s Jimmie Page. Below we honor Paul’s memory with the zep’s arrangement of Whole Lotta Love.§


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Earlier this month we at the Little Eddy Blog missed a very important anniversary, a true milestone in the annals of good governance. It was on Friday, August 9, 1974 that Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, the first president to do so in the history of the Republic. Not wishing to let that anniversary pass us by, we hereby pay homage to the historic event by publishing the above photograph. And yes, sometimes justice is finally served.§ – Photo from

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Wynter and Brinkly Finished – Ready for Downloading

What’s on your summer reading list. My reading these days is almost exclusively on the web, and one of my areas of interest is focused on writers who tackle the problems of coming of age with honesty and humor. One of my very favorite authors in this genre is Russell Hoisington, whose writings are published on the website. His stories are free, however because the material is classified as adult, registration is required for access.

Wynter and Brinkly is the fifth book in the Wynter series. It was put online in three parts, the first part put up Mar. 11, 2008, part two came fourteen months later on May 13, 2009, and the final part went up Aug. 8, 2009. Readers had to wait quite a long time between parts one and two, but part three took only three months. However, the good news is that the story is now complete, and is an exciting read that was well worth the wait.

If the series captures your interest, but you haven't yet read the first four stories, we would direct you to start with the first, Wynter, then onto Wynter and Jimmy, next Wynter and Cinnamon, followed by Wynter and Hailey, and finally Wynter and Brinkly. The stories are not listed in that order on Hoisington’s author page. The stories are set in Colorado, and concern a really special group of teen agers. Hosington has esthetically joined with Wizard, another coming of age writer, to form The Wynter, Trailer Park Universe. They make a great pair, both create warm, flesh and blood characters that run you through a gamut of emotions, characters that you will find you really care about. Both writers' works earn five stars in our book.§

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And so the sun sinks on yet another edition of the Little Eddy Blog. Like the graffiti in the mens’ rooms states: “We Aim to Please. You Aim Too, Please.” Next week will hopefully bring on an entirely new blog, and we hope you surf your way back to these parts to check it out. Meantime, bye bye. And long live real health care reform!

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blog #101: A Week of Major Losses

Graphic from


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Dark Forces Out to Kill Health Care Reform

Although polls show that over 75% of the American public believes that health care reform is a necessity, a rabble rousing shouting minority is actually endangering the possibility of a bill which would result in real reform. These rude meeting busters are being encouraged by Rush Limbaugh’s painkiller radio, and other right leaning radio and tv screamers planting absurd notions like Obama’s “death clinics” and “keep the government’s hands off my Medicare.”

Will somebody please explain to panicked seniors that of course Medicare is a government run program and health care reform wants to make it possible for everyone to have health coverage the equivalent of Medicare. These so-called “average American” meeting busters are following a playbook handed them by the Health Insurance companies which are fighting tooth and nail against any change whatsoever in the current system, a system which has them raking in sky high profits.

It is a playbook which calls for agitators to shout down a Town Hall meeting before the Congress person leading the meeting has a chance to delve into the realities of the bill, thereby insuring that no real policy education will take place. The purpose, kill any and all movement towards any kind of real health care reform. After all, the Health Insurance companies are raking in money hand over throat, and it will be over their dead bodies that any change to their money tree be fashioned into law. However, who in their right mind cannot say that a health care system which drops its payers when they begin to require treatment, is a healthcare system that is really serving our needs? It is madness, but unfortunately very lucrative madness, which of course makes it well worth fighting to the death for.

It’s a free country. True. And it’s also a country where the dollar tends to speak louder than reason and logic. In a notably unscientific telephone poll taken by CNN the other day as to whether the public feels that health care should be a right of all citizens the public voted over 82% in favor of that treatise. With all of that outrage against change being orchestrated by the health insurance companies at the Town Meetings, what do you think the odds are of coming out of this orchestrated mayhem with a really meaningful system of change? The present consensus seems to be that our citizens should be entitled to it, but no one wants to pay for it. Talk about challenge, if Barrack Obama is not questioning why the hell he ever wanted to sign up for the job of President, a job entailing no end of stress, the chances are he never will.

This basic conflict dramatically illustrates the marked differences in the beliefs of our American citizenry. There are basically two camps in America. One camp whose feet are firmly planted in the capitalist way of life, believe in little or no government. It hearkens back to Ronald Reagan who stated categorically that the federal government is not the solution, it is the problem. Reagan increased the federal deficit during his tenure, and helped to stimulate two political conflagrations, one in Nicaragua, the other in El Salvador.

But to this day many continue to propagate the myth that R.R. was a conservative, and therefore prudent in his spending. And of course, the Bush 43 administration came along incurred more debt in his eight year tenure than all of the presidents which had preceded him combined. He managed to accomplish this feat by first giving the wealthiest Americans a tax cut, in the delusional belief that it’s benefits would somehow trickle down to the middle class, and then it went on and started two wars. Hah! It is little wonder that in the 2008 election voters showed the party of Bush and Reagan the ticket to irrelevance.

The other camp consists of those of us who believe that the federal government should be run for the benefit of us all, not just for the interests of the business community and the wealthy. In 2008 we the people of the middle and left-of-middle finally stopped being afraid of the Republican bogeymen and actually voted in one of us. And in his first 200 plus days Mr. Obama has taken us further down the road towards sanity in government than anyone since Bill Clinton.

However, the conservatives have their jockeys in a twist, and are screeching their opposition. On the surface you might think that these gentlemen “care” about our tax rates, and on the rising national debt in spite of the fact that their party has been responsible for the most serious breeches in our history. They are trying to save money, even to the point of denying services. They don’t tell you who they are trying to save money for but we will. They want to save it for the rich. They want to make the rich richer. That’s why they gave the rich that tax cut just before sending our nation into war. And a corporate war it turned out to be, as our erstwhile president of vice enlisted his corporate buddies at Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg-Brown&Root to do the bulk of civilian jobs in the war in Iraq, adding incredibly to its cost.

And speaking of Cheney, the word is out that he is out shopping a book, which in spite of his longtime aversion to “tell-all” books written by retiring high level administration members, will be one that tells his side of the increasing policy differences he had with George W. Bush during his second term. Sources close to the “shopping” say that although the book will not go into personal detail about Bush or others, it will present Cheyennes side of things, including that of “Scooter” Libby who according to Cheney served notably, and who Cheney says should have been pardoned by Bush, rather than just having his sentence commuted. We may well be wrong, but we suspect that the real point of the great divide came about because during his second term W. was becoming conscious of the legacy he was leaving, and he suddenly realized that Cheyennes attitude of take no prisoners and the public be damned was not going to go very far in shoring up the Bush legacy.§

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Steve Jobs quote of the week

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.

Steve Jobs


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Mike Seeker (August 15, 1933 – August 7, 2009), brother of Peggy Seeker, and half brother of Pete Seeger, died August 7, 2009 of leukemia. If he had lived another 8 days he would have been 76 years old. The portrait above which has him holding mouth harps is from

A Shocking Email from My Son

I got an email from my older son Daniel the other day that Mike Seeger had died. I was totally shocked, and immediately Googled for the story. Mike evidently had leukemia (which I had been misdiagnosed as having several years ago, until the VA took another bone marrow test and discovered the error of the first diagnosis) and Mike had evidently given up on his treatment and checked himself into a hospice, where he subsequently died. Mike was always so careful of his health. He never smoked cigarettes, he was careful to eat only the right foods, and never to excess. Life is such a crap shoot. Why does Mike’s time run out at age 75, while my life goes on at age 83, in spite of the fact that I smoked like a chimney for thirty of those 83 years? And it has only been in recent years that I have been eating all that carefully.

I first met Mike when he was around seventeen, and his sister Peggy was fifteen. I was staying with Pete and Toshi Seeger, and their children, Danny, Mika and Tinya on their mountainside near Beacon, N.Y., and trying my damnedest to figure out where Pete had gotten his extraordinary talent and what made him tick. The family was going down to Washington for a Thanksgiving visit with Pete’s father Charles Seeger, and his stepmother Ruth Crawford Seeger and their family and they very kindly took me along. Pete was the youngest of the three born to Charles’ union with violinist Constance Edson. John Seeger, an educator was the middle child, and Charles III, an astronomer, the oldest.

Mike was the oldest of Charles’ family with Ruth Crawford, Peggy being next, then Barbara and finally Penny. I remember being shocked to discover that smoking was not allowed indoors at Charles’s household, both Toshi and I had to take our furtive puffs out of doors. Many years later I fully understood the logic of that, and I currently enforce the ban to keep my own environment smoke free.

Pete’s father was a well known musicologist, and just a few months before the Thanksgiving visit by the Beacon, N.Y. Seegers and me, Mike and Peggy had made a remarkable discovery. The Washington Seeger household had a maid who specialized in baking bread. Her name was Elizabeth Cotten, although in the family she was affectionately known as “Libba,” a name youngest sister Penny had tagged her with.

When Peggy was five years old she had wandered away from her mother in a crowded department store, and was found by this woman who clerked in the store’s toy department, and who insisted that they find Peggy’s mother and reunite the two. Ruth was so grateful that Libba was immediately hired as part of their staff. It was nine years later and Mike and Peggy were devouring learning guitar, banjo and folk music in general (which their father and mother annotated for the Library of Congress, and which their older half brother Pete was bringing to the country. L.L. Demerle has an excellent reminiscent piece here! According to Demerle account, it was Peggy who first discovered Libba’s talent.

"Peggy was learning to play guitar," recalls Mike Seeger, "and it was Peggy who discovered Elizabeth playing." Cotten was in the right place at the right time, with a house full of musicians on fire for folk music, and the Seegers swept "Libba" (Penny Seeger's nickname for her) into their musical circle. "She was the folklorist's dream: a true, authentic musician." Mike Seeger began recording Cotten in 1952 and produced her first album in 1957, now re-titled “Freight Train and other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes." “Mike said that I was good enough to perform," Cotten said in an interview, and in 1960, at the age of 68, her public career was launched. Cotten and Seeger performed their first concerts at Swarthmore College and went on to play clubs and festivals.

Here is the story of Libba’s discovery as they told it to me. Peggy had been practicing guitar in the kitchen one day, with Libba preparing loaves of bread, when Libba hesitantly said to Peggy, “I used to play a little guitar.” Peggy immediately handed over her guitar and called Mike in, and together both were amazed to see Libba turn the guitar upside down and backwards, and roll out her own distinctive style of two finger picking. And she sang a haunting song whose refrain went, “Freight Train, freight train, run so fast, freight train, freight train run so fast. Please don’t tell what train I’m on, so they won’t know where I’ve gone.”

Peggy later sang Freight Train in England when she was living over there, only to have someone in the skiffle movement copyright it. It became a moderately popular hit in England by a singer who called herself Nancy Whisky, but the songwriting credit was given to the two gentlemen who had asked Peggy to let them record her version of the song onto their tape recorder. It later became a moderate hit in the U.S. as sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Many years later Peggy and others attempted to establish Libba as the creator of the song (she had made up the song when she was 12), and although the legal challenge to the two Englishmen who had claimed authorship failed, eventually Peter Yarrow of P. P. and M. insisted that Libba be credited along with the two Englishmen on the song’s published credits.

My highlight of that Thanksgiving trip to the Washington based Seegers was a concert that Charles had arranged in his living room one evening. Libba was the sole entertainment for a house full of musicologists, folklorists, and budding folk singers. Charles introduced her, and Libba did close to forty five minutes of guitar and folk songs which held this very sophisticated musical crowd spellbound. She was the first real folk performer I had ever heard, and I have never forgotten that evening. Libba dressed in her Sunday best, sitting stiffly with her guitar rolling a bass pattern mimicking the rhythm of the freight train she was singing about.

I apologize that my memories of Mike got overwhelmed with memories of Elizabeth Cotten. But Mike was instrumental in bringing Libba’s unique talent to the world. Mike himself was a multi-talented perfectionist and master of many instruments. For instance although comfortably right handed, when playing Libba’s guitar style thanks to an almost super human degree of self discipline Mike was able to learn to play the guitar backwards just as Libba did, and he was absolutely right. There was no way playing a guitar the traditional way could you duplicate Libba’s unique sound, which had her playing the treble strings with her thumb, while her finger nails rolled with her bass pattern. In the course of his long career Mike mastered a number of string instruments, including autoharp, 5-string banjo, fiddle, dulcimer, guitar, mouth harp, mandolin, and dobro.

In addition to bringing Elizabeth Cotten to a folk waiting world, Mike formed a very influential string band called The New Lost City Ramblers. Mike’s portrait can be found here where his portrait sits alongside that of another of my favorite guitarists, Merle Travis. The link to Mike’s Wikipedia page lies here!

Another memory from that first visit to the Washington Seegers, Mike and I were driving somewhere with the radio on when we first heard of the death of Hank Williams, who was perhaps the greatest country music singer, songwriter of his time. We were both very moved by that announcement.

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The Performing Seegers:

Mike, Peggy, and Pete

Photo from Peggy Seeger’s website


Mike’s sister Peggy lived in England for a number of years as the life partner of songwriter-performer, Ewan MacColl. The song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was written by MacColl in Peggy’s honor. MacColl is also noted for a comment he made at the Newport Folk Festival, when he referred to folk music with a twist on the old saying of Boston Politics. “Folk music,” said MacColl, “is that area where Seeger’s speak only to Lomax’s, and Lomax’s speak only to God.”

A remarkable pictorial panorama of Peggy’s life from small child to the present may be found at here and includes photos of brothers Mike and Pete, and Ewan MacColl. It runs the gamut from childhood pictures to recent ones, including one which appears to be Peggy skydiving. The one thing in common with every one of those photos, from all aspects of her life, is the warmth of Peggy Seeger’s smile.§

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In 1970 I finally got it through my thick skull that I had limited skills on guitar, and no talent at all as a singer, and decided to return to Houston to be around my family as they continued their trek towards the end of this life. Because of my nature of diving completely into whatever I am doing at any given moment, I lost touch with the folk music crowd. I miss them, they are a remarkable bunch.

My father succumbed in 1980, and my mother six years later. My sister Mary, eight years my junior, lost her battle with breast cancer two years ago. And now Mike Seeger has left us at age 75. And here I sit wondering what the hell is going on? Why am I still pounding away on my weekly blog instead of pushing up daisies in some nice, peaceful field somewhere. Every once in awhile it gets terribly lonely down here.§

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A Black Week Here on Earth . . .

A Bright One Upstairs

Les Paul, a giant among men, musician, inventor, tinkerer, died last week. According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in N.Y. Without a doubt Les Paul changed modern recording like no other, having conceived and built the first solid body amplified guitar, pioneered adding reverb and echo to recording which before him was produced in a dead sounding environment, and finally inventing multi-track recording.

He had been hospitalized in February 2006 when he learned he won two Grammys for an album he released after his 90th birthday, “Les Paul & Friends: American Made, World Played. “I feel like a condemned building with a new flagpole on it,” he joked.

Les Paul made many hit records with his then wife Mary Ford. “I could take my Mary and make her three, six, nine, 12, as many voices as I wished,” he recalled. “This is quite an asset.” Les Paul was 93 years old.


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And so another installment of the Little Eddy Blog bites the dust. Let’s just hope the dust doesn’t bite back. We return with a brand new blog each Saturday morning at an ungodly early hour Pacific time, though it is a more reasonable hour here where Central Daylight Time rules.

Like that famous Inn, we’ll leave the lights on for you next week, and of course you have all week in which to read our musings. In the meantime, in the words of that old Union song, “Take it Easy, but Take It.” Bye now.

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blog #100: Clinton's Coup; Republican Meeting Busters

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An unidentified woman unknowingly sits in the clutches of
The Monster Tree –– Photo from


Bill Clinton’s Whirlwind Mission to North Vietnam

This all happened on Tuesday. Bill Clinton popped up in North Korea to arrange for the release of the two female journalists who had wandered over the border and who are presently imprisoned in the North. Clinton looked serious while North Korean leader Kim Jong Il looked happy as hell, like he had just hooked the big one, which he had. All this time the tiny, nearly bankrupt country has been craving attention, setting off atomic bomb tests and missile tests in order to attract notice to get negotiations going again. But it was the imprisonment of the two journalists who had wandered into their country which had reeled in the big fish.

And would you believe, “Bubba” as he is affectionately referred to by many, scored their release. Of course, I’m sure it was set up well before he ever set foot in an airplane. He would never have risked such a gigantic failure on the world stage. But the important thing is that Kim Jong Il was all smiles nearly every time the camera was on him. He was obviously happy to see the American ex-president who had actually previously negotiated with his regime. And because the Clinton mission seemed to go swimmingly there is much hope that the Korea of the North will again be open to negotiations. Republicans, believing their own shoddy slander machine, hold something just short of contempt for the ex Democratic president, but this view is certainly not shared the rest of the world. The rest of the world admires the hell out of the U. S. President who, in spite of 8 years of intense Republican opposition, managed to achieve eight years of peace and budget surpluses. Clinton was a president who actually seemed to understand the importance of foreign policy, and during his tenure actually kept much of the world friendly with America.

The Photo Op That Freed the Journalists

Former President Bill Clinton sits alongside North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as his staff stands behind them for a photo opportunity.

During its eight year reign, the Bush administration would have nothing to do with the likes of North Korea, calling them part of the Axis of Evil. But Obama entered the White House professing opening dialogues with friend and foe alike. Then the two female reporters (who worked for Al Gore’s television channel) drifted across the border and gave Jong Il just what his heart desired. Two juicy hostages to hold in captivity to capture America’s and the world’s attention. They were tried and sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp, but they have seen no labor camps, instead were dangled to get high level U. S. attention.

And why not? The Bush administration’s “closed door” foreign policy was the most dismal failure of any foreign policy in our recent memory, one moment invoking the Crusades as it needlessly invaded the Middle East, and the next refusing to talk with any regime with which they had even modest disagreements. Our relations became so strained with those in the world who did not fully embrace the Bush foreign policy that even long time allies like France and Germany were vilified.

France so irritated the Bush administration that they began a concerted movement to rename French fries Freedom fries, which was about as close as the Bushies ever came to exhibiting a sense of humor. And you can tell the success of a maneuver like the one just made by Clinton by the comments from the other side of the political divide. Ex Bush U.N. rep. John R. Bolton, who sports a large and frequently miss-firing oral cavity, lamented Clinton’s trip to North Korea that freed the two journalist hostages, decrying the fact that such dealings bestowed an aura of legitimacy on ruler Kim Jong Il. Of course, the very fact of Jong Il continues in power speaks to his legitimacy, whether the hard-of-head Mr. Bolton likes it or not. And Hillary Clinton greeted news of Mr. Bolton’s comments with one of her famous cackles. President Obama’s talk of opening conversations to friend and foe alike is a gentle breeze denoting a return of freedom and reason in American foreign policy. And Obama’s persuading Hillary Clinton to become Secretary of State was sheer inspiration.

Of course, Obama’s greater challenge is going to be Iran, over whose border not one but three American hikers recently strayed. With Ahmadinejad’s tenure somewhat shaky with the recent round of demonstrations and protests, and the Iranian establishment hellbent to blame the disturbances on American and British influences so as to deflect any blame from their own governance, setting up talks with Iran may not be so easy.

North Korea was eager for America’s attention, Ahmadinejad can’t appear to be interested due to the fact that America is being used to deflect blame for the unrest from where it really belongs, which is on Ahmadinejad’s government and the election it recently ran. However, the chances are the American hostages will receive good treatment, as it will enhance their worth when negotiations do finally loom large. Oddly enough, in both cases the real question will be if U. S. negotiators can rein in the nuclear programs of both nations. We would wait a decent interval after President Clinton’s return before taking up the Iran hostage situation, but if it was up to us we would dispatch President Clinton to Iran after the shortest of intervals.§

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United Breaks Guitars

United Airlines will probably be turning over in their hangars as we speak, but they should beware of doing a country singer wrong. And especially don’t break his guitar. We ran into this heartwarming video through the San Francisco Chronicle’s Tech Blog column, which they got by way of Kara Swisher’s Boom Town Blog. Like all guitarists’ past and present, we identified strongly with the singer’s sad tale. And we embedded it here so that you could enjoy it too. Catch it quick before United Air Lines hears about it and has its legal department make YouTube take it down. And the video’s last words are guaranteed to warm your heart: they read, “No Taylor guitars were harmed in the making of this video.§


Captain Kirk holds Mister Spock back from using his Vulcan mind meld technique on Republican Health Care Busting Goons. –– Photo from

Republican Goons bussed to break up Dem’s town meetings

Well, August is here. Democratic Congressmen from across the United States are headed home this month to arrange for town meetings to discuss the upcoming health care legislation. A fine idea, right? But hold on, not so fast. A script for shouting down town meetings has been prepared by a think tank in service to the insurance companies who are out to kill any health care change whatsoever, and busloads of Republican sponsored goons are being sent to these meetings with the sole purpose of preventing any kind of rational discourse from taking place, in much the same way as Republican business suited thugs broke up the Florida recount in 2000 when the Gore vote was threatening to overtake that of George W. Bush, the present group of paid disorganizers are showing up to shout down and prevent any rational discussion of the health care takes place.

Why, you might ask, don’t they let matters be discussed? Don’t they believe in rational discourse? Don’t they have faith in their side prevailing in the end? Of course the answer is no, in all cases. Just like in their minds the Florida vote counting had to be stopped until the Supreme Court could rule on the case and put Bush in power, so these modern day thugs must stem the tide of rational discourse concerning health care reform, else Democrat legislation designed to trim the wings of the for-profit Insurance Companies by requiring them to live up to their promises, pass the Democratically controlled Congress in August.

In truth the nation’s health care situation has deteriorated notably since Bill and Hillary Clinton’s failure to invoke reform back in 1993, so much so that even Harry and Louise (who speak for the pharmaceutical industry, and were a key in bringing down the Clinton initiative) these days are making commercials acknowledging the need for change. One health insurance company recently announced a profit margin growth of a hundred and sixty per cent, undoubtedly fueling the attempts to silence the voices of progress and reason.

There are two ways a health insurance company can show a profit. One is by rejecting all applicants with any kind of pre-existing condition which would require the company to pay out money. This assures a healthy fee-paying clientele. The other way a company improves its bottom line is by rejecting expensive surgeries and procedures when the healthy they do cover get sick and a doctor recommends expensive treatment. The insurance companies have on their payroll people whose primary expertise is in finding ways to turn down a patient’s request for service in a way that won’t call too much attention to the company or the system. And of course, it won’t do any good for the patient to change insurance providers, for needing the service would disqualify him from any other provider. In other words, the for profit insurance company patient is, in the words of GI’s of World War II, S.O.L.

Doctor Leonard McCoy reacts to Republican Health Care Busting Goons disrupting a Democratic Town Meeting on reforming health care. –– photo from

This is the situation as it exists today. And since there is no rational argument the companies can make as to why this system needs to continue for their financial health, the industry can only cry “do you want some government bureaucrat to stand in the way of your and your doctor, and dispatch hoodlums to meetings to break them up before anything meaningful can be discussed? All the while pretending that this is a “grassroots” movement springing up from a frightened populace. We as a nation need to make a big decision. Are we going to be ruled by corporate interests who employ criminal tactics of confusion and disruption, or are we going to be what we profess to be, a nation ruled by laws? Send in the clowns . . . don’t bother they’re here!

It’s a shame that elements of the Republican Party and the for-profit health insurance industry are resorting to the strong arm tactics of disruption to attempt to nip health care reform in the bud, rather than letting rational discussions proceed. This is nothing new, or course. In addition to the disruptions of the Florida vote recount in 2000, during the Nixon, McGovern election in 1972 I was living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and night after night while walking my dog I saw gangs of teen age storm trooper types roll through my Park Slope neighborhood removing all McGovern and other Democrat signs.

We might note that this was exactly the way the Nazis took over Germany in the 1930’s. By sending their brown shirted thugs to break up rational discussions, finally setting themselves up for a power grab. It is far too soon in our process to determine whether this strategy of preventing health care from being discussed has legs. However, it is no surprise that Democratic law makers are rejecting the Town Hall meeting for telephone conference calls, which cannot at this point be broken up with hoodlum tactics. But we the public should really think on what’s happening. We can either sit back and watch it happen and let these hoodlums defeat any chance of meaningful health care reform, or we can rise up at meetings and out shout down the shouters. At the very least let us all remember just who it is that is forcibly trying to influence health care legislation and vote against them and for supporters of real health care reform.

If we are sincere in our wish to continue our freedoms it behooves us to refuse to let these well-orchestrated crazies prevent true discourse. After all, rational discourse is the very foundation upon which our democracy is built. In a normal situation we would note that this branch of the Republican Party ought to be ashamed of itself. However, seemingly these corporate hoodlums seem to know no shame.§

The Latest Obama Trashing Attempt

The Washington Post presented a slide show of Obama inspired posters and magazine covers which began with this one depicting the president as the Heath Ledger era “Joker.”

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A Jobs Quote of the Week

(on the development of the Macintosh)

The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.

Steve Jobs

Adventures in Breaking a CNN Addiction

Recently I have been breaking my evening CNN addiction courtesy Lou Dobbs, whose arrogant anti-Obama line finally drove me over to the competition. At the suggestion of my youngest son I moved to MSNBC, whose evening anchors, Ed Schultz (The Ed Show), Chris Matthews (Hardball), Keith Olbermann (Countdown) and Rachel Maddow are a lot more friendly to my point of view than is Dobbs. And this was before Dobbs began espousing the “birthers” point of view, which only served to reinforce my sense of the correctness of my move.

Of course, MSNBC has basically three prime time programs, which it plays over and over again. Thursday, as ten o’clock rolled around and Chris Matthews rolled around for the third time, I decided to tune back to CNN, which was devoting Thursday evening to giving President Obama a 200 day grade. The 10 p.m. slot marked the repeat of this program.

I don’t know who dreamed this travesty up, probably the same executive who signed onto the Lou Dobbs hiring. The idea was 200 days of the Obama administration had passed, and it was time for America to grade him. For god’s sake, take me back to Elementary School, won’t you please.

CNN certainly took itself and its project seriously. It assembled the Emmy winning team of its election coverage, heavyweight political commentators David Gergen and Gloria Borgia, Democratic leaning pundits Paul Begala and Donna Brazille, Republican pundits William Bennett and Alex Castellanos, plus legal eagle Jeffrey Toobin and CNN political reporters Candi Crowley and Dana Bash among others.

The cast may have been stellar, but the concept was stupid. Who can seriously judge a president after only 200 days. Certainly not the experts CNN gathered for the occasion, who all predictably graded within their political philosophy. Castellanos and Bennett awarded Obama D’s and one C-minus during the six or so minutes I watched this travesty. Begallo and Brazille balanced the scales with A’s and B pluses. For my money David Gergen’s vote was the only one of interest to me, and he rated Obama’s foreign policy an A-.

Jeffrey Toobin gave Obama’s foreign policy an incomplete, which of course is the score each category should have been graded. You can’t judge a President in 200 days, and any grading you report by way of the viewing audience or your talking heads is nonsense, as was the concept of this complete waste of time.

Needless to say, six minutes was my limit before I switched back to MSNBC, and Chris Mathews’ third go around for the night. In my opinion CNN’s exercise in absurdity did a disservice to both anchors Wolf Blitzer and Campbell Brown, and especially to the Obama administration by highlighting the public’s momentary discontent at this stage of the administration’s tenure. It was a completely stupid idea, which was wrapped in the trappings of CNN’s Emmy winning election coverage as a vain attempt to give it gravitas. And of course it reinforced the message Obama’s major detractors are screaming by day and by night, Republican Party Chairman Michael S. Steele, Mitch McConnell and John Boehmer, the “just say no” Republican Senate and House leaders, Rush Limbaugh of painkiller radio, and the Fox News Dancing Clowns, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and Karl Rove. Way to Go, CNN! You sure got yourself in some mighty exclusive company last night. I suppose CNN’s next move will be 24-7 Twitter-grading the President. Gee wouldn’t that be a creative tracking device. Lou Dobbs would sign onto it as long as it showed negative enough numbers for the President, and the resulting explosion just might blow Wolf Blitzer right out of the Situation Room!§

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And with that rant we pull the plug on this week’s edition of the Little Eddy Blog. Not to worry, we are always very careful not to let the baby go down with the bath water. Our weekly musings magically mutate Saturday mornings. We hope, probably in vain, that you found something in this week’s blog to make you want to come back for more next week.

Meantime, enough is really enough. Take care, keep your head above water at all times, and do face the coming week with a stiff upper backbone. Bye now.
The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blog #99: Greenpeace, Jobs' Wisdom, Joel's Cover

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A Jobs Quote of the Week

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Steve Jobs


Greenpeace pranksters graffiti up Hewlett-Packard building


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Greenpeace’s Graffiti War with Hewlett-Packard

C-Net’s news service reports that Greenpeace sent a band of merry pranksters to HP's global headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., where they climbed on top of the building and painted a gigantic message announcing "Hazardous Products," using nontoxic children's finger paint. The message covered more than 11,500 square feet, which is about the size of two and half basketball courts.

According to Greenpeace, the organization took this action because HP broke its promise to eliminate hazardous chemicals in its products. Earlier this year, HP postponed its 2007 commitment to phase out dangerous substances, such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics, from its computing products. The delay shifts compliance up two years, from 2009 to 2011.

Apart from the graffiti, HP employees were also greeted today by automated phone calls from actor William Shatner, calling upon the company to phase out the toxic chemicals.

HP’s reply: For decades HP has been a leader in environmental responsibility and has adopted practices in product development, operations, and supply chain that are transparent and help to reduce its environmental impact. HP has a comprehensive approach to environmental sustainability, with three main components: minimizing our impact; helping our customers to improve their environmental performance; and driving towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

This commitment includes reducing the use of BFR/PVC in our products until these materials are eliminated entirely. HP has introduced several new computing products this year that use less BFR/PVC than previous generations. This September, HP will release a BFR/PVC free notebook. By fall 2010 all new commercial PC products released will be BFR/PVC free. By the end of 2011, all new PC products released will be free of BFR/PVCs.

Earlier this year, Greenpeace released a report that rated PC makers and other electronic vendors in regard to their compliance with e-waste elimination. Apple was ranked highest among PC makers and HP was one of the lowest, together with Dell and Lenovo.

It would be interesting to know what this little prank cost Greenpeace in the way of money. The thirteen merry pranksters, even if they were volunteers, needed to be fed and transported, it must have taken one helluva lot of children’s finger paint to cover that huge area, and of course there was the cost of the helicopter used to transport Kim White who took the photo. We also wonder just how long HP allowed the message to stay up before their cleaning crews scrubbed it away. The complete CNet story may be found here! And finally, in the immortal words of the famed police victim, Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”§

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Welcome to the World of Surrealism

Reading the news in newspapers, and listening to it reported on radio and television is becoming quite a surrealistic experience these days. Gee, hearing Rep. Eric Cantor say he knows that health care reform is something that Americans are screaming for, but (and here he gets a bit creepy) he wants a bill that’s only a little bit of an improvement, and one which does not contain a public option.

Some basic economics here. Our capitalist system is based on the idea of making the most money out of one’s investment, which means that health care insurance companies must make a profit or their executives will get one of those notorious slips tinted pink. And the only way they can do that is to reject patients with pre-existing conditions so their subscription base is relatively healthy, and when a payee does get ill and his doctor prescribes an expensive operation or procedure, they must reject the requests, or they will otherwise hurt their bottom line. Just a few days ago one company reported profits of over a hundred and sixty percent over last year.

The fear mongering Insurance Companies scream, “do you want some faceless bureaucrat to have the ultimate say over whatever procedure your doctor orders.” To which we counter, “no we don’t, anymore than we want an insurance company to make huge profits by refusing me the various surgeries and procedures my doctor recommends.” A public option is guaranteed to cut insurance companies profits down to size, and it is probably the only thing that will, which is why Republicans and parts of the Health Care Industry are screaming so loudly against it.

Of course you don’t want government bureaucrats telling you whether or not you can have a surgery or an expensive procedure, but if you have health insurance today and your doctor recommends an expensive treatment your insurance provider will likely try his damnedest to either drop you altogether or if that fails deny paying for your treatment. And so what it really all boils down to is this: which would you prefer, having your private provider who has to make money for his stock holders deciding which of your treatments he will pay for, or having a government bureaucrat with the unlimited resources of the American government behind him supporting both you and your doctor? I mean the answer is such a no brainer that you would think even a person with the mentality of Rep. Cantor would be able to see it. But of course, all of that Insurance company green that they rain down on their Congressional supporters has been known to cloud otherwise clear vision.

Every American should see Michael Moore’s film “Sicko,” which documented case after case of real people experiencing an insurance company’s denial of service. A public option will end that nonsense, either the private plans will begin adequately caring for their patients, or they will lose patients to the public option and eventually go out of business. But that can only happen if a public option is included in the bill that finally passes the Congress and gets signed by the president, so each and each and every one of us should take it upon ourselves to call or email our Congressmen and Senators. And don’t listen to that nonsense that we shouldn’t touch our health care system because America’s Healthcare is the finest in the world. American health care is only the finest for those few and far between who can afford to pay for it. The rest of us, as GI’s used to say in World War II, are S.O.L. Truth is we rate something like 37th in the world, behind most industrialized countries. Even poor struggling Cuba ranks ahead of us.

In sum up, the health establishment’s favorite tool is fear. Making us afraid of change will assure their continued riches. But we should make our clarion call the famous words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”§

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A well-trained Blue Dog Democrat taking care of business.

– photo from –


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“Blue Dogs” Attempt to Bite Dems Health Care in Butt

It is beginning to look like the Democrats, and specifically those who are affectionately known as Blue Dog Democrats, are an even bigger threat to a meaningful health care overhaul than are those pitiful, nay saying Republicans. As Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist who writes for the New York Time,s pointed out, they claim they are afraid of spending the taxpayer’s money, but look how quickly they ratified Bush’s Tax Cuts for the rich back in 2001, and of course they were in lock step with Bush every step of the way during his misguided run up to the invasion of Iraq two years later. So much for the myth of Blue Dog frugality.

Mr. Krugman also explains why health care can’t be marketed like bread or TVs in his piece entitled, “Why markets can’t cure healthcare.” It makes fascinating reading from one who knows from whence he speaks. His words may be found here

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Pathetic “Birthers”

And how about that string of pathetic Republicans who when asked if they support the birthers who question the president’s American birth, say they really aren’t sure, or the president needs to release the documents, or some such claptrack? I mean how much documentation do they think they need? The birth certificate shows a Hawaiian birth, and the local newspaper even printed an announcement at the time of the birth. Nutcase closed! Exclamation Point!

The Daily Beast published four mostly Republican writers, with their take on the nonsensical fad, including John Batchelor on Republican Incoherence, Mark McKinnon on Obama’s all-American story, Samuel P. Jacobs on five birther myths debunked, and Benjamin Sarlin on presidential conspiracy theories through the years. A page linking to these articles may be found here!

The “birthers” only supporter on CNN is Lou Dobbs. Even before he began touting “birthers” I broke my CNN evening addiction, defecting to MSNBC. Not that Chris Matthews is particularly soothing, but I find I agree with him a helluva lot more than I agree with Dobbs, and my evening meal goes down easier with Matthews on the tube. The politically activist website is urging CNN to do likewise with Mr. Dobbs. Speculation is that Dobbs is supporting something so outlandish to buoy up his ratings, which have been going steadily south. But according to Felix Gillette in the New York Observer this is not the case. Mr. Dobbs' audience has decreased 15 percent in total viewers and 27 percent in the 25-54 demographic group since the start of the controversy. The full Observer story may be found by clicking here! §

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A Public Enemy Cover

Like father, like son they say. My youngest son, Joel Alan Badeaux, loves music, and like me, taught himself guitar and proceeded to perform many of his favorite songs for his tape recorder. Many years later he has upgraded the songs on his tapes using the latest music processing applications and his iMac computer. Then he made himself a video of one of the songs (which also stars Bruce Lee as the Green Hornet) and rifled it up to both YouTube and to his newly created MySpace page, because if you are a musician in this day and age you make a video to go along with one of your songs.

YouTube makes it easy for bloggers to embed their videos so that we can include it in our blog. And so we embed Joel’s song for your listening pleasure. The Song is his cover of “You’re Gonna Get Yours” by Public Enemy, and when he is not fine tuning his tapes Joel is a doctor in residency in Phoenix, Arizona.

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You can find nine more of Joel’s covers at his MySpace page here! And if you click here you can play the video on Joel’s YouTube page where it lives, and playing it from there will add to his visitor count.§

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Confrontation on the Front Porch


Summing Up GatesGate

Journalist Leonard Pitts Jr. writing in the Miami Herald, pretty well summed up the real issues in GatesGate. We quote him below:

Please take a good look at Dr. Henry Louis Gates.

He is 5-foot-7, weighs 150 pounds, wears glasses and uses a cane. His legs are of unequal length, his mustache and goatee are gray. He is 58 years old and looks it.

It's important to see Gates — scholar, author, documentarian, Harvard University professor and African-American man — because that's what Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge, Mass. police department apparently did not do in the July 16 confrontation that has ignited debate about racial bias in the U.S. “justice” system. For the three of you who do not know: the incident began when Gates, returning home from a trip to China, found his front door jammed. When he and his driver tried to force it, a neighbor, thinking it a burglary in progress, did the right thing and called police. Crowley responded, finding the driver gone and Gates inside.

Here the stories diverge quite substantially, the police claiming that Gates refused Officer Crowley’s order to step outside, that he initially refused to identify himself, and became belligerent, calling the white officer Crowley a racist, and saying he didn’t know who he was messing with. On the other hand Gates says he promptly produced his driver's license and Harvard ID, that the officer refused to provide his name and badge number, and that he could not have yelled anything because he has a severe bronchial infection.

And so an overwhelming number of whites accept Officer Crowley’s version of the story, while a virtual totality of blacks (most probably joined by hispanics) most of whom have experienced being stopped by police themselves, sympathize with Prof. Gates.

I have to admit I join them in sympathizing with Prof. Gates. He had a right to be grumpy when Officer Crowley demanded that he step outside. Columnist Pitts summed things up as follows:

If Gates was loud and agitated, common sense says Crowley should've simply removed the source of the agitation — himself. Problem solved.

Instead, he called for backup (!) and took Gates into custody. And if Gates looked like a lawbreaker to James Crowley, well, to me he looks like former Los Angeles Lakers star Jamaal Wilkes, pulled over because the tags on his car were “about to” expire, like clean-shaven, 6-foot-4 businessman Earl Graves Jr. detained by police searching for a mustachioed 5-foot-10 suspect, like Amadou Diallo, executed while reaching for his wallet.

And like me, with hands up and a rifle trained on my chest by an officer who later claimed he stopped me in that predominantly white neighborhood for a traffic violation.

Because I look like Henry Louis Gates, he looks like Jamaal Wilkes, and we all look like some dangerous, predatory black man intent on mayhem. So there is no shock here — only a sobering reminder that the old canard is, at some level, true.

We all look alike.

Officer Crowley, who once unsuccessfully tried to revive black Celtics basketball star Reggie Lewis, and who teaches a course to other officers about racial profiling, is undoubtedly not consciously prejudiced, and resented Prof. Gate’s characterizing him so. But Officer Crowley obviously suffers from that malady shared by most, if not all police officers everywhere. His handcuffs hang white hot from his belt, and be you black, white, yellow or brown, the good sergeant’s “uppity” level is set to trip at zero.§

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Pirate Bay Sale Dead in the Water

Torrent Freak, the web authority on the state of bit torrent, reports that the proposed sale of the Pirate Bay to the Global Gaming Factory is pretty well fantasy. GGF was supposed to be raising millions to afford the sale, but according to Wayne Rosso, formerly CEO of Grokster who was involved with GGF recently, this is unlikely to happen.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any money raised with GGF’s current (lack of) plans,” Rosso told TorrentFreak. Besides Rosso and his partners, the people who were supposed to finance the acquisition were also misinformed.

When confronted with the news, a Pirate Bay insider said they would give GGF a week to get insurance from the investors, otherwise the deal is off. Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde told us that he doesn’t know what will happen to the Pirate Bay in the future, when the deal is off the table. Time will tell. Full details are available from the Torrent Freak which lives here

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Gaming the Rorschach

Is it possible to game the Rorschach tests? Psychologists don’t want to know. An almost violent dispute is being raged between practitioners and the online resource Wikipedia. Noam Cohen in the N.Y. Times reports on the problem here!

Rorschach Card #1


Briefly what has happened is this. The ten famous inkblot plates created by the Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach for his book “Psychodiagnostik,” published in 1921, are clearly out of copyright protection.

In the last few months, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been engulfed in a furious debate involving psychologists who are angry that the 10 original Rorschach plates are reproduced online, along with common responses for each. For them, the Wikipedia page is the equivalent of posting an answer sheet to next year’s SAT.

They are pitted against the overwhelming majority of Wikipedia’s users, who share the site’s “free culture” ethos, which opposes the suppression of information that it is legal to publish.

In June James Heilman, an emergency-room doctor from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, posted images of all 10 plates to the bottom of the article about the test, along with what research had found to be the most popular responses for each.

“I just wanted to raise the bar — whether one should keep a single image on Wikipedia seemed absurd to me, so I put all 10 up,” Dr. Heilman said in an interview. “The debate has exploded from there.”

Psychologists have registered with Wikipedia to argue that the site is jeopardizing one of the oldest continuously used psychological assessment tests.

While the plates have appeared on other Web sites, it was not until they showed up on the popular Wikipedia site that psychologists became concerned.

“The more test materials are promulgated widely, the more possibility there is to game it,” said Bruce L. Smith, a psychologist and president of the International Society of the Rorschach and Projective Methods, who has posted under the user name SPAdoc. He quickly added that he did not mean that a coached subject could fool the person giving the test into making the wrong diagnosis, but rather it would “render the results meaningless.”§

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Weed to Schwarzenegger, Tax Me!

According to syndicated columnist Froma Harrop, (whose full column you can view here!) legalizing marijuana would save billions of dollars, and bring in billions more in tax revenue. She reports that the State of California has legalized medical marijuana, its cannabis crop is valued at $17 billion a year, and people there smoke pot openly. But the state can't collect a penny of revenues from the enormous enterprise.

As California faced budget Armageddon, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for “a debate” on the potential of tapping marijuana as a source of tax revenues. That's all he can do, because federal law still criminalizes marijuana use.

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron has already calculated the sort of revenues California and other states could see were marijuana taxed like cigarettes and alcohol. California's taxes would easily top $100 million a year.

But that's the least of it. Miron puts California's costs of enforcing the marijuana ban — policing, the courts, jail time — at $981 million a year. Nationally, legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion a year on drug-war spending, according to Miron. And it could raise $6.2 billion annually in tax revenues.

Miron is a libertarian who sees all drug prohibition as interfering with people's private lives. But he well understands the politics that stop politicians from taking the no-brainer position on marijuana.

“Democrats know that the potheads are going to vote for them anyway,” he told me, “and the people on the other side who care about this stuff know that this is really a big deal.” If marijuana were legalized, and the sky didn't fall in, many drug laws would crack.

Here’s Little Eddy’s take on the great Marijuana Smoke Out. Cannabis is a common weed which grows all over the world. Unlike the lies that have be perpetuated against it, smoking marijuana is not in the least addictive. On the other hand, what is addictive as hell is tobacco, which is a major cause of lung cancer and does all sorts of collateral damage to your lungs and blood pressure, and the smoking of which of course is perfectly legal although these days it is taxed to the high heavens.

Marijuana does mess with your mind, but so does alcohol in its various forms, and though alcohol actually slows reaction times and clouds the brain, marijuana is known to improve reaction times for the experienced user. The 1960’s Presidential study of Cannabis actually found that, unlike alcohol, experienced users driving while high actually improved their driving ability. Although the study was conducted by established scientists using well established scientific parameters, the results so differed from the established myths that the politicians who ordered the study including President Johnson fervently believed, they were so upset with the results that they had their Science Director denounce the study.

In its use marijuana actually has more than a few positive outcomes. For one thing it improves the taste of food. For another it allows your mind to separate music linearly, and makes listening to music a more vivid experience. And best of all (and this is the primary reason nothing is going to happen to decriminalize it any time soon) pot makes you see through a politician’s bullshit. Like nothing I’ve ever experience, pot lets you weigh politicians words with a mountain sized grain of salt.

Not that pot is likely to be decriminalized, much less legalized, any time soon. Law enforcement treasures each and every illegality on the books. And of course a Congress filled with hypocrites of both stripes would probably die before they would consider decriminalizing marijuana, much less make pot legal.

Perhaps Governor Schwarzenegger should consider what Texas Governor Good Hair (Rick Perry) threatened to do recently, that is secede from the Union. I hear from a noted Alaskan Palintologist that there’s an entire organization in our northern most state dedicated to the proposition of secession.

Ms. Harrop’s latest column debunks the latest corporate crazies ad debunking health care reform. The one denoting an evil plot to save money by knocking off the elderly. Though nuts, the charges have gotten so much attention that someone has to actually say, “No, they're not killing Grandma. For the full story direct your cursor and click here

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And to misquote the sorely missed Walter Cronkite, that’s the way the world looks to us this week. Not exactly inspiring we’ll be the first to admit. But lets face it, the country if nothing else is diversified. Cluttered with birther crazies, plus the Becks, OReilly’s, and Hannity’s, at least we still have a choice of whether to watch or listen to them or not. Who would have it any other way?

As for us you can find us atop the same soapbox ranting a different set of critiques next week at this very same URL. Join us if you are so inclined. Meantime bye now, and don’t fail to let your congress person know how you feel about health care reform.

The Real Little Eddy