Friday Reads: Purple Daze

13015585_10153685323208512_8030450358987371783_nGood Morning!

I love that my favorite color–purple–is bedecking everything from this beautiful cartoon from Bloom County to the Empire State Building to the Super Dome and beyond. I really hate the reason.

Prince is another one of those artists who wrote and sang the soundtrack to the life of a younger me. I can remember dancing to his music alone in the front room of my apartment celebrating the death of disco and the return of some one who could shred like no other! Eric Clapton was once asked what it was like to be the world’s greatest guitarist. He correctly answered  “I don’t know. Ask Prince.”

I loved David Bowie but he was like wise older brother or cousin.  Prince was my bratty twin.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

I remember seeing him ever so often in a club he owned in the mid 90s in Minneapolis which featured international music and artists.  He was the type that was either on or off; over-the-top or subdued.  It’s the same with his music.  My favorite thing with Prince was that he used women in his rock bands when using women rockers was a joke to most male musicians and their producers. He hypersexualized everything and every one but at the heart of it all, he was probably the best journeyman musician on the planet.  He could play any instrument.  He could write songs that were poppy pulp hits or boundary-pushing bits of genius.  He was always controversial yet oddly universally accepted.  You have to admire that  in an artist. He could reach millions, stay true to himself, fight for the rights of the creative, and mentor musicians that would have a difficult time finding the main stage without a force like Prince.

At the height of his stardom in the 1980s and ’90s, Prince was ubiquitous, a marquee star who sold out stadiums, stole the silver screen and slayed fans with his bare-chested sass and sexuality.

Then a dispute with his record company changed his worldview and he retreated from the public eye.  Save for the occasional awards show, benefit or tour, Prince kept his private life private — no small feat in the age of social media.

As he fought to protect his brand in an industry known for its formulaic approach, he maintained a tight grip on his music, restricting it from YouTube and streaming services, and prohibiting any photos or videos from being taken at his shows.

All of which made his death Thursday that much more shocking. A look at the last few days of his life provides some clues in hindsight that all was not well, but it’s safe to assume that if Prince knew death was close, he did not want us to know.


New Orleans Super Dome

Prince’s autopsy is scheduled for today. It will likely take awhile to release the results.  The official line is that he was having problems with the flu.  Rumors indicate that it may have been due to overdose or issues with opiate use.

Entertainment Tonight” co-host Kevin Frazier said on “CBS This Morning” Friday that Prince had hip replacement surgery in 2010 and also had health issues with his ankles.

“People close to Prince tell me he struggled with painkillers due to his hip and ankle issues,” Frazier said, noting that for Prince to cancel a performance “something was drastically wrong.”

“The hip and ankle issues were a problem for him for so long,” Frazier said, “and for a man who loved to move and dance so much, it really bothered him.”

download (8)

Empire State Building NYC

I really wanted to put this headline up but then thought better of it given social media, but here it is.  Every one to BernieBros:  Kumbaya Motherfuckers!!!  (I’m channeling Samuel Jackson.)  Here we go with one of the Original Obama Dudes on a tear for supporting the real Hillary and not just the cardboard cutout.  Oh, I still am not warming up to the damned monniker of progressive.  But, stay with me here for the words of Fauvre.

Eight years later, we’re approaching the endgame of another Democratic primary. For Bernie Sanders to overtake Hillary Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates—which, at 239, is more than double Obama’s 112 delegate lead in 2008—he would have to win each of the remaining contests by about 18 points, a margin he has only reached in Vermont and New Hampshire. If he doesn’t, his only other option is to convince a few hundred superdelegates to back the candidate who has won fewer votes and fewer delegates.

Bernie faces long odds, but no good reason to drop out. And why should he? Why not keep running through the final primaries in June, just like Hillary did in 2008? Along the way, Sanders will probably win a few more states—especially in May—and continue to build a following that should hearten everyone who wants to see a bigger, bolder progressive movement.

But it’s also in the interest of the progressive moment for both candidates and their campaigns to begin healing the rifts that have deepened over the course of the primary. Neither Sanders nor Clinton seemed very compelling when they were screaming at each other for two hours at the debate in Brooklyn. And no one benefits from another three months of ridiculous lawsuits, overwrought fundraising emails, and surrogates sniping at each other on cable. Already, this friendly fire has taken a toll—in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, Bernie is viewed unfavorably by 20 percent of Clinton supporters, and Hillary is viewed unfavorably by 40 percent of Sanders supporters.

I don’t want to exaggerate the challenge. I still think this primary is less nasty and divisive than 2008, and exponentially less so than the cannibalism we may see in Cleveland. It’s also true that the percentage of Sanders and Clinton voters who say they won’t vote for the other candidate is fairly low. But a year in which Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could become president of the United States is not a year we can afford to have any pissed-off primary voters stay home in November.

I’ve been really nice to my Bernie Supporting friends and continue to be. Most of them aren’t the issue right now anyway.   A lot of

Boston South Station

Boston South Station

them see the need to break on through to the other side already.  But, really, some one needs to tell Jane, Master Taddler and the other one to go back to Rome for a silent retreat. The whining, lies, and irritating right wing memes are over the top now and causing Sanders’ crazier supporters to go full metal misogyny.

The Nation‘s Joshua Holland writes that all good Democrats will realize the danger of a Trump or Cruz come November.   He suggests we all relax.

But if history is any guide, a mass defection of Democrats and Dem-leaning independents is the last thing anyone should worry about. We’ve seen this before and we know how it will play out.

Ironically, in 2008 it was Clinton supporters vowing to stay home—or vote for John McCain—if Obama became the nominee. At the time, that same HuffPo columnist warned that “balkanized Democrats could give the White House to John McCain.” That May, primary exit polls found less than half of Hillary Clinton’s supporters in Indiana and North Carolina saying they’d consider voting for Obama in the general election. Even in early July, after Obama had secured the nomination, only 54 percent of Clinton backers said they planned to vote for him.

Those self-described “PUMAs”—“party unity my ass”—may have stayed home by the dozens that November, but at the end of the day nine out of 10 Democrats supported Obama in an election that featured the highest turnout in 40 years. A similar dynamic played out withHoward Dean supporters in 2004.

In the summer of 2008, George Washington University political scientist John Sides took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times to tell everyone to calm down. “Despite ugly battles and policy differences that sometimes seem intractable, the reality is that presidential campaigns tend to unify each party behind its nominee,” …


San Francisco City Hall, The Forum, Delta Airlines Flight

I have some other things you may want to read today. This one is sad.   Suicide rate in this country have it a 30 year high.  I wanted to link to this NYT story but also to tell you that there’s been a rash of teen suicides on the northshore the past few weeks.   I won’t link to them but the recency effect really hit home for me as I read this article.

Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s.

The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study on Friday.

The increases were so widespread that they lifted the nation’s suicide rate to 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The rate rose by 2 percent a year starting in 2006, double the annual rise in the earlier period of the study. In all, 42,773 people died from suicide in 2014, compared with 29,199 in 1999.

We also have a terrible problem with opiate addiction and gun violence.   This is all symptomatic of the party that refuses to spend


Hard Rock Cafe Times Square

public funds on public health issues, public safety issues, and public infrastructure.  This is the true heart of US class warfare.  Our public Treasury is not going to the public any more.

Maybe the news that Prince had issues with opiate addiction will turn our focus back to mental health in this country.

President Obama has written a Telegraph op Ed to our UK cousins telling them to nix the BREXIT. This is a big story that’s been lost on many US news stations.  If the UK leaves the EU, the economic reverberations around the world–including here in the US–will be large and damaging.  The President is visiting England today and will help with birthday wishes to HRH who is celebrating her 90th.

As citizens of the United Kingdom take stock of their relationship with the EU, you should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices – democracy, the rule of law, open markets – across the continent and to its periphery. The European Union doesn’t moderate British influence – it magnifies it. A strong Europe is not a threat to Britain’s global leadership; it enhances Britain’s global leadership. The United States sees how your powerful voice in Europe ensures that Europe takes a strong stance in the world, and keeps the EU open, outward looking, and closely linked to its allies on the other side of the Atlantic. So the US and the world need your outsized influence to continue – including within Europe.

In this complicated, connected world, the challenges facing the EU – migration, economic inequality, the threats of terrorism and climate change – are the same challenges facing the United States and other nations. And in today’s world, even as we all cherish our sovereignty, the nations who wield their influence most effectively are the nations that do it through the collective action that today’s challenges demand.

So, you can see that many buildings all over the world went Purple to celebrate the life and art of Prince.   It’s taken our attention away from national challenges and back to personal tragedies that characterize the human condition.  It’s always these moments when we look back to where we’ve been and what we’ve come to.  The most important thing is to remember that the time line most surely includes a soundtrack the encompasses love and the people in your life.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

See Prince shred.  Shred Prince Shred.



Sunday Reads: Long Weekend Links

a3a3e6f30133aeca10870f6e8c25cad0Good Morning

Plenty of links for you this morning, so let us just get down to it…

In the New York Times this weekend, more information was reported about the DOJ investigation into Fox News reporter James Rosen, as well as other DOJ press investigations during the Obama administration: Leaks Inquiries Show How Wide a Net Is Cast

Even before the F.B.I. conducted 550 interviews of officials and seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters in a leak investigation connected to a 2012 article about a Yemen bomb plot, agents had sought the same reporters’ sources for two other articles about terrorism.


The emerging details of these and other cases show just how wide a net the Obama administration has cast in its investigations into disclosures of government secrets, querying hundreds of officials across the federal government and even some of their foreign counterparts.

The result has been an unprecedented six prosecutions and many more inquiries using aggressive legal and technical tactics. A vast majority of those questioned were cleared of any leaking.

You can read the rest of the article at that link, it is rather a long read.

There is one thing about all this Rosen stuff I do find interesting, this little tidbit reported by Tommy Christopher at Mediaite: DOJ Document Reveals Fox News Reporter James Rosen Wanted To Impact U.S. Foreign Policy

The emails revealed in the government’s affidavit appear to show, however, that James Rosen’s solicitation of government secrets wasn’t nearly so narrow. The affadavit describes how Rosen assigned himself the codename “Alex,” and Mr. Kim the moniker “Leo,” and in their early contacts, explained the noble aims of their prospective relationship:

Thanks Leo. What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking new ahead of my competitors.

Sure, that sounds bad, as if James Rosen would jeopardize America’s contacts in a hostile foreign government just to get some eyeballs away from his competition, but surely, every reporter has this competitive urge. Although it was the first thing Rosen mentioned, there was another consideration. After outlining the kinds of secret information he hoped to get from “Leo,” Rosen summed up his intention to… report the news objectively? To serve the public?

Let’s break some new, and expose muddle-headed policy when we see it – or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible.

Wait, what? Is that what a News reporter is supposed to do, force the administration’s hand to guide American foreign policy to the reporter’s whim? Separate and apart from the DOJ investigation, this email seems to indicate that James Rosen is not just a News reporter, but an activist intent on pushing his own agenda, with the stated goal of manipulating U.S. foreign policy.

Enough on that, check out the latest legislation getting passed in Dakinikat’s state: The Volokh Conspiracy » Louisiana Set to Criminalize Publishing That Someone Has a Concealed Carry Permit

The bill is HB8, though there’s a Senate amendment; apparently, the Legislature plans to enact the bill as amended. The bill bars the government from releasing information about who has applied for or gotten a concealed carry permit, and the Legislature certainly can impose such restrictions on the government itself. But then it also criminalizes speech by everyone else (I merge the House Bill and the adopted Senate amendment):

Absent a valid court order requiring the release of information or unless a recipient of a concealed handgun permit is charged with a felony offense involving the use of a handgun, it shall be [a misdemeanor] … to release, disseminate, or make public in any manner any information contained in an application for a concealed handgun permit or any information regarding the identity of any person who applied for or received a concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to this Section.

So blogging that you happen to know that a gun control advocate actually has a concealed carry permit himself would be a crime. Or say that you know someone has a concealed carry permit, and that person is sued for supposedly making death threats, or is criminally prosecuted for a felony offense involving a shotgun, or otherwise seems dangerous and unstable — mentioning the permit in publicly discussing the situation would be a crime. Mentioning applicants’ names in giving examples of cases where you think a concealed handgun permit was wrongly issued, or wrongly denied, would be a crime, too. So would talking about a person’s concealed carry permit in a biography of the person, or in a newspaper or magazine story that is trying to give a sense of the kind of person he is.

There is more analysis at the link.

That bridge collapse in Washington could have been a lot worse, at least there were no fatalities. Click here on this link for a infographic on bridges in the US: Bridge Collapses And Structurally Deficient Bridges Across The Country (INFOGRAPHIC)

In his State of the Union address this year, President Obama urged repairs of “the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.” He proposed a plan called “Fix it First,” which would have invested $50 billion in repairing transportation infrastructure, starting with the most urgent repairs.

Instead, Congress failed to avoid the sequester and transportation repair spending faces a $1.9 billion cut.

The collapse of the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State on Thursday once again sounded alarms over our nation’s aging infrastructure. While this incident had no fatalities, there are hundreds of other bridges in Washington with worse sufficiency scores and more than 150,000 structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges across the nation.

And when this bridge collapsed, there was another article that caught my attention as reported by a local Seattle news station: 911 Dispatcher Tells Woman About To Be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops To Help Her Due To Budget Cuts « CBS Seattle

An Oregon woman was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn’t be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of budget cuts.

Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.

“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there,” the 911 dispatcher told the woman. “You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”

The woman told the dispatcher that Bellah previously attacked her and left her hospitalized a few weeks prior to the latest incident. The dispatcher stayed on the phone with the woman for more than 10 minutes before the sexual assault took place.

“Once again it’s unfortunate you guys don’t have any law enforcement out there,” the dispatcher said, according to Oregon Public Radio.

The woman responded: “Yeah, it doesn’t matter, if he gets in the house I’m done.”

Police say Bellah choked the woman and sexually assaulted her. He was arrested by Oregon State Police following the incident.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t have another victim,” Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilberson told Oregon Public Radio. “If you don’t pay the bill, you don’t get the service.”

The sheriff’s department had to cut 23 deputies and the entire major crimes unit after it lost a multi-million dollar federal subsidy, according to Oregon Public Radio. There are now only six deputies left.

The sheriff’s department even put out a press release warning domestic violence victims to “consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services.”

Sickening. Disgusting.

You can read more about this and hear the 911 calls at the OPB report quoted by the CBS article:  Josephine County Tax Levy Would Add Deputies, Fund The Jail » News » OPB

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma…look what got defunded on the quiet:  Oklahoma Senate Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood Two Days After Tornado

In the wake of one of the most destructive tornadoes in history, Oklahoma state senators passed a bill on Wednesday that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood.

Senate Bill 900, which re-allocates family planning funds to public providers and hospitals instead of private providers like Planned Parenthood, passed by a vote of 33 to 8. The state Senate was able to pass the bill somewhat under the radar because it was not posted on Wednesday’s legislative agenda.

Planned Parenthood operates five clinics in Oklahoma and serves about 8,400 men and women there a year. The family planning provider has faced scrutiny from Republicans in recent years because it provides abortions, even though it cannot use public family planning funding to pay for abortion services.

State Rep. Doug Cox (R), a family physician, said he will vote against the legislation when the House takes it up on Thursday. “To defund a program like Planned Parenthood would be a mistake,” he told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “They perform a valuable service as far as breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, parenting classes, many things that benefit our state that we’re sorely in need of.”

Cox said he believes that some of his Republican colleagues in the House also support Planned Parenthood, but they still feel pressured to vote for bills that would defund it. “I have people who tell me they feel the way I do, but are afraid to vote the way I do,” he said.

That is a real shame, too bad those GOP Reps don’t have the cahones to stand up to the PLUBs who got them into office.

On with the rest of the morning’s post after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »

Late Evening News Reads for 080811: Money Don’t Matter Tonight…

Good later evening…

  Read the rest of this entry »