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

– ☯ –

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 The Blackwater connection was rescinded several years before Pinetta became the director, after senior C.I.A. officials themselves questioned the wisdom of using outsiders in a targeted killing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.

– ☯ –

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?§

– ☯ –

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."§

– ☯ –

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.§


– ☯ –

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

– ☯ –

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

– ☯ –

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

– ☯ –

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.§


– ☯ –

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

– ☯ –

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.§

– ☯ –

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

1 comment: said...

Michael Phelps is an American hero; he personifies hard work and a desire to succeed. Michael earned what he has unlike the wall street barons and crooked politicians of the world. The man is an American hero and most of us are proud and awed by his accomplishments in the pool. the fact that Phelps likes a glass smoking pipe, a hand rolled cigarette or big fat bong should in no way diminish the way we feel of the man’s accomplishments. Michael Phelps is doing his job and doing it to the degree of historical human greatness. Our admiration of this man does not give us the right to control his individual destiny or to judge his private choices through a lens of misguided morality. If one can achieve our world’s highest honors then they should be "free" in this country to their own pursuit of happiness.