Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The People's Almanac Cont.

The United States of America

Nitty Gritty:

Location - The central 1/3 of North American, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Canada, the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Baja California, and Mexico. The State of Alaska is on the northwest tip of the continent, with Canada to its east. The State of Hawaii lies in the mid-Pacific.

How Created - The land claimed by the original 13 States was added to as follows:

1803 - The Louisiana Territory purchased from France for $15 million plus over $8 million in interest payments. This acquisition almost doubled the size of the U.S.

1819 - Florida and adjacent lands bought from Spain for $5 million.

1845 - The Republic of Texas was annexed.

1846 - The Oregon Territory was acquired by treaty with Great Britain.

1848 - Much of the Southwest was acquired as a result of the Mexican War.

1853 - More land in the Southwest claimed from Mexico (the Gadsden Purchase).

1867 - Alaska bought from Russia for $7,200,000.

1898 - Republic of Hawaii annexed.

1968 - Mexico exchanged the northern half of Cordova Island for Chamizol Island in the Rio Grande River near El Paso, Tex.

Size - 3,615,122 sq. mi. (9,363,123 sq. km.)

Population - 212 Million: white (a mixture of over 40 ethnic groups), 87.5%; black, 11.1%; Indian, 0.4%; Japanese, 0.3%; Chinese, 0.2%; Filipino, 0.2%; other 0.3%. 35% Protestant, 24% Roman Catholic, 3% Jewish, 38% other or no religion.

Who Rules - A President (usually elected), a 2-house legislature (Senate and House of Representatives), and a 9-man Supreme Court, appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate. There are also State, county, and city governments, but most of their laws can voided by the Federal Government.

Who REALLY Rules - There are many forces at work in U.S. Society, but the most powerful by far are the interlocking directorates of the major banks, corporations, and insurance companies, with the backing of the military; in the words of former President Dwight Eisenhower, "the military-industrial complex."


The People's Almanac
by David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace
page 464
Published 1975
Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fwd: Word Play & Games


The prototype of modern day comic strips "The Yellow Kid" by R.F. Outcault, made its appearance in The New York World. There was one major innovation - the dialogue was printed on the yellow shirt of the kid inside the frame instead of being a caption on the outside.


The San Francisco Chronicle printed the 1st daily comic strip, H.C. (Bud) Fisher's "Mr. Mutt," later called "Mutt and Jeff."


Marcel Duchamp
1917 (Original Lost)
Readymade: Porcelain Urinal
Height: 60 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Note: Comic Strip Info via
The People's Almanac
by David Wallechinsky & Iriving Wallace
pgs. 206 - 207 & 213
Published 1975
Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Well Known Tale

Two Monks & The Beautiful Woman

An old monk and a young monk were walking from one village to another. On the way they came to a river bank, which they had to cross. At the bank of the river they saw a young woman standing, afraid to cross it.

“Come,” said one of the monks, “I will carry you to the other side”. He took her on his back, and carried her to the other side of the river.

After crossing, the two monks continued walking silently for hours, until they reached their destination.

The younger monk could not keep silent any longer and exclaimed: ”Tell me, old man, what did it feel like to break your vow of many years? What did it feel like to allow sensuality to tempt you from your spiritual path? What did it feel like to have her smooth warm thighs wrapped around your waist, her breasts brushing against your back, her arms around your neck and her soft cheek almost one with our own? Tell me, old man, what is it like to carry such a beautiful young woman?”

The monk who carried the young women over the river smiled and said: “It is you who should tell me what it is like to carry such a beautiful women. You see I put her down 3 hours ago at the river, but you are still carrying her!”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meal: Tacos

Bacon, Butter, & Flour Tortillas (rolls)

Cheese, Salsa, & Flour Tortillas (half-moons)

Monday, December 12, 2011

breedlove: The Last Drunk

Will the last drunk to leave this honkytonk bring the bottle when you come?
The suits are here, and they’ve made it clear; we won’t be havin’ no more fun…
So pick your fights, shoot out the lights, waltz the barmaid ‘cross the floor
Then it’s bottoms up, drain your cup and head on out the door
Daddy was a drinking man, just like his dad before
They sat upon these barstools, they strode across this floor
They built this joint drink by drink, set 'em up and knocked 'em down
Beer by beer, shot by shot, they built themselves a town

And if there’s beers in heaven, they’re full of daddy’s angel tears
To see this hallowed watering hole dry up after all these years
I looked up from my beer one day, didn’t recognize a face
It seemed that all my drinking buds had slowly been replaced
It used to be just blue jeans, and scuffed up cowboy boots
Now they’ve got a ladies night, with chardonnay and suits
You can keep the curtains, the candles and the wine
I kinda liked the sawdust, and the longnecks were just fine.
The good times have just rolled away, and all the fun is gone
The 2 step’s turned to 12-step and everyone’s in al-anon
Drinking ain’t illegal, what’s a man to do?
There ain’t a bar that’s near nor far, where a man can get a brew
A drinking man’s a noble soul, to the bottle born and bred
The day the taps stop running cold is the day you’ll find him dead
I’ll take my stand with drink in hand, and if I have to choose
I’ll defend my right to drink all night to my final drop of booze
We may have lost the battle, but we ain’t lost the war
So rally the troops, and we’ll regroup at another corner bar

-Kingston Bunkley

via: The Silver Jews Bulletin Board

Friday, December 9, 2011

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gotham by By Michael Powell

Bank Excuses on Foreclosure Growing Stale

The Bank of America lawyer laid down a patented rhetorical move heard in courts across America. Your Honor, this Orange County, N.Y., homeowner — a New York City police officer — didn’t make enough money to qualify for a mortgage modification. He didn’t send us the right documents.

He didn’t, he didn’t, he didn’t, and so we should be allowed to foreclose.

Justice Catherine M. Bartlett of New York State Supreme Court cut off the lawyer. You, she said, are telling me lies.

“Bank of America got a bailout, and this is an outrage, how this man has been treated,” she said. “Hard-working, middle-class Americans are trying to make it, trying to refinance with your bank.”

Either bank officials show up in person, the justice said, or I’m going to order them “here in handcuffs.”

Rage has acquired a cleansing power. Patience as a virtue is a hard sell at the burnt end of a four-year economic collapse. Zuccotti Park shakes, rattles and rolls; television yakkers chat about inequality; and the federal judge Jed Rakoff all but heckled the Securities and Exchange Commission last week for going easy on Citigroup misbehavior.

Then there is Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, caught in Month 5 of a face-off with the White House. President Obama dearly wants to seal a deal in which the nation’s largest banks toss over a few bales of cash — $20 billion to help with foreclosure relief — and the state attorneys general agree not to pursue sprawling and explosive legal cases against the banks.

Mr. Schneiderman and Attorney General Beau Biden of Delaware, joined by a few others, say no. Banks, they say, should disgorge more documents, testify more precisely and prove more completely that they own millions of mortgage notes. These rebel attorneys general want the banks to hand over more than $200 billion, which would enable the government to write down tens of millions of mortgages.

But in the end, their argument is elemental: Wouldn’t the nation benefit from knowing the truth about the behavior of banks and bankers?

“If you don’t air out the policies that led to the implosion of the economy, it will happen again,” says Mr. Schneiderman. “There’s not one sentence in the proposed agreement, not one period or comma about the stuff that blew up the economy. We can’t let the banks rewrite history.”

The desire to know precisely what happened during that give-a-mortgage-to-anyone-who-breathes, securitize-this frenzy has historical antecedents. In the Great Depression, the United States Senate hired another New York lawyer, Ferdinand Pecora, to write the report on its investigation of that collapse.

Mr. Pecora found more questions than answers, and insisted on more subpoenas, more forensic investigators and more brokers testifying under oath. Like a man reaching into a barrel of dead fish, he found a great stink. Not least, he discovered that National City (the lineal ancestor of the same misbehaving Citigroup) had sold flawed investments and that its president engaged in something close to tax evasion.

Seventy-eight years later, the Obama administration has Shaun Donovan, secretary of housing and urban development; the economic adviser Gene Sperling; and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. dialing liberals, activists and bloggers, urging them to pressure the rebellious attorneys general to forgo emotionally satisfying inquiries and take the deal.

Banks make money and find loopholes, the president noted last month. These actions aren’t “necessarily against the law.”

That raises the question: How does he know?

Click Here For Remainder of NY Times Column by Michael Powell


Maurice R. Greenberg Sues U.S. Over A.I.G. Takeover

Two Lawsuits Seek A Total of $25 Billion Claiming Federal Actions Were Punitive


Starve The Beast, Feed The Rich

How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich: The inside story of how the Republicans abandoned the poor and the middle class to pursue their relentless agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent

Party of No Continued:

GOP To Rework Budget Cuts

Republicans will try to spare defense programs by reconfiguring the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts that are to be triggered in 2013 by the collapse of congressional deficit-cutting committe, a GOP senator said.

GOP Blocks Judgeship Nominee

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans Tuesday blocked President Barack Obama's nominee for a judgeship on a key U.S. appeals court that John Roberts vacated six years ago when he became U.S. chief justice.

On a 54-45 vote, Obama's Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to end a procedural roadblock against Caitlin Halligan, a former chief appellate lawyer for New York state.

Republicans opposing her cited her record on detainee policy and gun rights, including lawsuits she worked on against gun manufacturers.

Via Reuters

Monday, December 5, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011


Waiting For The Worms by Dan Pohlig

My first, and unfortunate, attempt at composting was using a static pile. The stinking, hot pile of primordial ooze I created was not only unfit for fertilizing my vegetables, but caused a severe rift in my relationship with my neighbors. So, I decided to switch to another method I’d discovered in my composting research: vermicomposting, or the use of worms to break down organic material.

This seemed perfect. Drill some holes in a box. Put some shredded newspapers in the bottom and food scraps on top. Add red worms. VoilĂ ! Fertilizer. No work, no bad smells and it could be kept inside. Just about any box or bucket will work, but I wanted the most organic, least chemical-laden container for my army of garbage disposers. Since I lack carpentry skills (I chose to take ancient Greek in high school instead of wood shop,) I knew I wouldn’t be building the new home for my worms.

After I searched for “wood worm bin” and made a few mouse clicks, my four-tiered, untreated-wood, worm high-rise was on its way—along with a quarter-pound of worms. A week later, my wife was taking pictures of me with the worms like we had just returned from the hospital with our firstborn.

And just as I fear might be the fate of our eventual offspring, the worms went to live in our basement. Worms don’t like onions, garlic, too much citrus, meat, dairy or bread, so we’re basically raising vegan, gluten-free worms who are sensitive about their breath. Fortunately, my vegetarian wife handles all our non-Reese’s-related food shopping. and our diet consists mostly of worm-friendly foods.

I won’t say vermicomposting has been effortless, but the extra work I’ve put in has come from not trusting the worms to get the job done. I worried the food pieces were too big, so I began blending them into a slurry and straining out the liquid content. I was spending more time preparing their food than I was our cats’. (In fairness, though, castings—or worm poop—help things grow while cat poop gives me an idea of what an apocalypse would be like.)

Despite some early mistakes, the worms have multiplied from the original quarter-pound to about a pound and a half. Once I found the right balance of keeping the bin moist and the food supply steady, the worms stopped trying to make a run for it and spared themselves the indignity of becoming dried, twig-like carcasses on the tile floor. A fruit fly invasion earlier this summer sent the worm bin to summer camp in the backyard, but with winter approaching they’ll soon be back in the basement. We’ve since learned that microwaving or freezing the food scraps and covering them with more bedding helps prevent future fruit fly populations.

Most importantly, I learned patience is key. Given enough time, the worms will eat the food, no matter how big the pieces. Red worms like to travel up to find food, so I now have two tiers of bins separated by a wire mesh. Searching for the food and bedding in the top tier, the worms have been migrating for the past three weeks, leaving behind...

Click Here For Complete Article by Dan Pohlig

Dan Pohlig is a political consultant in Center City and is an active member of the Passyunk Square Civic Association and the South Philly Food Co-op. He lives in South Philadelphia.

illustration by Kirsten Harper