Sunday, July 6, 2008

BREVITAS

It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from his government. ~ Thomas Paine

Variety Album sales are down 11% from the midpoint of 2007, while digital sales continue to grow at a steady pace. Physical and digital album sales reached 204.6 million units in the 26 sales weeks between Dec. 31 and June 29, according to Nielsen SoundScan. CD sales have been a prime culprit in the sales dip, as they are off more than 16% from 2007 levels, which were significantly down from the year prior. Sales of CDs have been hit hard by the closure of music stores such as Virgin and the reduction of shelf space at big-box stores such as Best Buy and Target. Digital sales, however, continue to grow dramatically. Digital album sales are up 34% to 31.6 million units, which represent 15.5% of all album sales. Digital tracks spiked 30% as 524.7 million have been sold to date, a 125.4 million unit increase from 2007.

Slashdot - A Dutch doctor and a violin maker from Arkansas have compared five classical and eight modern violins in a CT scanner. Apparently the 300 year old violins are made of wood with a more consistent density than the modern violins. They aren't saying for sure that this is what gives the Stradivarius's their unique sound

BBC - Denmark is the happiest country in the world, according to the latest World Values Survey published by the United States National Science Foundation. The annual study surveyed people in 97 countries to discover who is happiest. The survey asked people two simple questions about their happiness and their level of satisfaction with life. Puerto Rico and Colombia completed the top three happiest nations [sic]. Zimbabwe was found to be the least happy, with Russia and Iraq also in the bottom ten. . . The world's wealthiest nation, the United States, was found to be the world's 16th happiest country, behind Switzerland, Canada and Sweden.

The percentage of single mothers neither working nor drawing cash assistance surged to more than 30 percent in 2005 from under 20 percent before the welfare overhaul in 1996. Womens E News

Ecogeek The state of Hawaii has become the first in North America to require solar water heaters in new homes. The bill prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters. . . Conventional water heaters are typically the largest electricity consumer in the average household, gobbling up nearly 40% of consumption. . . Not surprisingly, builders and developers were against the bill, saying it would add too much to the cost of new home constructions. But surprisingly, another opponent was the Hawaii Solar Energy Association. Last April, in a story in the Star Bulletin, Ron Richmond, with the association, said the new legislation would cost homebuyers about $2,100 more to have the solar water heaters installed. The average solar water heater, according to the article, currently costs about $5,250, before rebates.

The orangutan could go extinct according to a study of their two remaining homelands, two islands in Indonesia and Malaysia. The populations have declined 10-14 percent since 2004. There are about 56,000 left.

You'd think that if an ex-presidential candidate was worth rescuing from the Columbian FARC movement, that candidate's political party would be of some interest to the media. In the case of Ingrid Betancourt, this has not been the case. Surveying recent news stories, we could only find three cases - Agence France Press, the AP and the Wall Street Journal - where Betancourt's party - Green Oxygen - was mentioned. The NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times and Time Magazine didn't seem interested. Here's how the US Green Party describes her: "Ingrid founded the Green Oxygen Party in 1994, establishing a new political force committed to peace, women's empowerment and a fairer society. She was elected as Colombia's first Green Senator in 1998, and in 2002, she ran for the presidency."

MS Magazine Walsh Construction Company in Portland OR dropped a project to build a Planned Parenthood [headquarters], citing pressure from anti-choice activists. Owner Bob Walsh left the project out of concern his family would be threatened, not based on moral judgment, reports The Oregonian. Others involved in the project have already been subjected to office protests from anti-choice protesters. Bill Diss, a protest organizer, referrers to Planned Parenthood as a "killing center" that teaches young girls about sex and masturbation, which he referred to as "the gateway drug to lust," according to The Register-Guard. Despite increasing pressure, Beech Street Partners, the original developer will act as its own contractor and hire builders to complete the project by July 2009. The space will be used for medical clinics and will host Planned Parenthood's regional headquarters. It will bring an estimated 140 jobs to the neighborhood.

MS Magazine Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have refused millions of federal dollars allotted for abstinence-only education programs for the upcoming fiscal year. . . Until 2005, California was the only state to refuse funding. The nearly 40 percent drop in acceptance is attributed to rampant distrust of the program's effectiveness and constant uncertainty regarding the program's renewal.

Kansas City Star Gov. Matt Blunt signed a bill prohibiting companies in Missouri from forcing workers to have microchips implanted in their bodies. . . Only a few hundred people nationwide have been voluntarily implanted with the devices, and mandated microchips are virtually unheard of in Missouri or anywhere else. But three other states already prohibit mandatory implants. . . Privacy advocates and others worry that widespread use of such chips could allow individuals to be tracked or monitored without their knowledge and create identity theft issues. . . Requiring an employee to be implanted with a microchip will be a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.

WAYS YOUR CIVIL LIBERTIES HAVE ERODED SINCE 9/11

Wash Post Employers cut 62,000 jobs in June, marking the sixth consecutive month that the nation has shed jobs, according to a government report released yesterday, deepening concern that the struggling U.S. economy could turn worse before it gets better

Treehugger - After eight months of reviewing potential contracts "aimed at finding a company to provide the service and maintain a fleet of rental bicycles," Portland, Oregon has put its bike-share plans on hold due to nagging logistical and funding issues. In essence, the city wants to spend more time studying other bike-share models in Europe and the U.S. before it starts its own program. . . The idea was to have a 500 bicycle fleet that would enable riders to rent bicycles from special kiosks throughout the city, with "a combination of rental fees, public subsidies and advertising on the bicycles or the kiosks" providing the funding for the initial purchase and maintenance of the system. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that Portland thought through carefully all the costs and logistical issues surrounding the creation of a network of bike kiosks.

Think Progress ABC News' David Wright reports that when he asked John McCain to "explain how his Vietnam experience prepared him for the presidency," McCain "became visibly angry": "Please," he said, recoiling back in his seat in distaste at the very question. . . It's a legitimate question. In 2003, McCain said, "I absolutely don't believe that it's necessary" to have military service in order to be president. He also said military service alone is not a sufficient qualification to be president.

One of the questions that arose in our mind during the last weeks of the Clinton-Obama struggle was if the race was meant to be all over and Clinton meant to leave quietly, why do we need a convention at all? Haven't conventions become just another Las Vegas industry gathering to show the latest clothes or cars? Turns out we're apparently not alone in such musings. The Political Wire reports that "Sen. Barack Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee "are toying with a convention scheduling change that has been broached before in theory but never seriously considered: cutting the party's conclave in Denver short by one day to give Obama an extra day of post-nomination bounce in the crowded August calendar."

Junaid M. Afeef, Wall Street Journal Mr. Obama is another victim of Islamophobia. He is now facing what Muslims have been and still are struggling with: an irrational fear and hatred of Muslims. Polls show that as many as 25% of Americans admit to prejudicial feelings against Muslims. Mr. Obama knows that Islamophobia has taken root in the U.S. Islamophobia hits very close to home for him because his father, from whom he also derives his black heritage, was a Muslim. While his heritage may include Muslims, Mr. Obama is a Christian, and when his religion is incorrectly identified he rightly corrects the record. . . The problem, however, is the manner in which he corrects the record. He vociferously denies being a Muslim as if it were a slur. . . If Mr. Obama simply said, "Yes, there are Muslims in my family, and while I am and always have been a Christian, I embrace my family's religious diversity," then surely the vast majority of Americans would move on to the real issues in his campaign.

While the word apparently hasn't gotten to the Obama campaign, a new poll finds 64% of American wanting the president to remove most US troops in Iraq within a few months of taking office.

NY Times editorial We are not shocked when a candidate moves to the center for the general election. But Mr. Obama’s shifts are striking because he was the candidate who proposed to change the face of politics, the man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games.

A Research 2000 poll in Connecticut finds that if the last Senate race was taking place now, Ned Lanmont would beat Joseph Lieberman 51-37.

Wonkette Charles "Chip" Pickering is the only Mississippi Republican left in the House. He is the ultra-conservative son of famous racist/civil rights champion and retired federal judge Charles Pickering. Chip announced in August that he was quitting Congress so he could, of course, spend more time with his family, and get a lucrative lobbying job. The lobbying job will surely come, but on Friday it was announced that Chip is divorcing his wife so he can spend more time with all the various women he's been connected with over the years. What, a Republican in Congress who commits adultery with the opposite sex?

Yeas & Nays, DC Examiner Workers at the National Geographic building were left with smelly hands Wednesday, after they spent six hours tying shoes together to set the Guinness World Record for the longest chain of shoes. The 10,512-shoe chain obliterated the old record of a mere 840 shoes. The chain stretched 1.65 miles as it snaked around the courtyard of the National Geographic building several times.

Rules of Thumb If a rich person you want to impress is treating you to a fancy restaurant meal and you don't understand the fancy menu: order the second most expensive dish. It will be good and your host will be impressed with your decisiveness. - Dave Spathaky

Gary Brecher, Alternet Fact number one about guerrilla wars: They're not over until the guerrillas win. Mao set out the guerrilla's viewpoint 80 years ago: "The enemy wants to fight a short war, but we simply will not let him." The longer the guerrillas stay in the game, the sicker the occupying army gets. Sooner or later, they'll go home -- because they can. It's that simple, and it works. So anyone who tells you it's over is just plain ignorant. That's one thing you can rule out instantly.

3 Comments:

At July 6, 2008 1:34 PM, Anonymous polls as pr bullshit said...

Re: Denmark is the happiest country in the world. Given the peril to the planet, humankind, and individual freedom represented by the the corporate dominated neocon gov't.s of US, UK,WB, IMF, NATO, et. al, I'm not sure don't worry be happy is a good survival mechanism.

 
At July 7, 2008 9:50 PM, Anonymous just wondering said...

The thing that pisses me off about John McCain and his supporters is that he admits he broke under torture and gave the position of his ship and his bombing route from it. Which means he wanted to live enough to sacrifice his fellow pilots. So my question is why is it a pampered cowardass admiral's son can have a breaking point but poor people who've struggled every fuckin' day of their lives just to survive cannot have a breaking point?

 
At July 8, 2008 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt Blunt is sooooo worried about justice that before he was at all concerned about microchips being implanted involountarily, he vetoed the state funding of a parking allowance for public defenders. The little lowlife motherfucker is exactly what the good citizens of the state of Misery (or Mizzourah , as they would have it ) deserve.

 

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