Justified

Timothy Olyphant and Joelle Carter

My new fave rave

Fans of Deadwood will remember Timothy Olyphant as the intense lawman turned store keeper. He returns as a Federal Marshall in this terrific series, produced by Elmore Leonard and based on a character from one of his stories. Exciting, colorful, sexy, powered by great writing — it’s a heaping helping of good fun.

IMDB: Justified

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Bank on America

Bank on this.

Bank on this.

 

Community-based movements to halt the flood of foreclosures have been building across the country. They turned out in Cleveland once again in October, when a coalition of grassroots housing groups rallied outside the Cuyahoga County courthouse, calling for a foreclosure freeze and constructing a mock graveyard of Styrofoam headstones bearing the names of local communities decimated by the housing crisis. (They did not, unfortunately, stop the more than 1,000 foreclosure filings in the county the following month.) In Boston the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America began protesting in front of Countrywide Financial offices in October 2007. Within weeks, Countrywide had agreed to work with the group to renegotiate loans. In Philadelphia ACORN and other community organizations helped to pressure the city council to order the county sheriff to halt foreclosure auctions this past March. Philadelphia has since implemented a program mandating “conciliation conferences” between defaulting homeowners and lenders. ACORN organizers say the program has a 78 percent success rate at keeping people in their homes. One activist group in Miami has taken a more direct approach to the crisis, housing homeless families in abandoned bank-owned homes without waiting for government permission.

It’s unlikely, though, that any of these activists will be able to relax soon. 

The Nation

 

When I was a lad, I ran off to San Francisco, like hippies from all over, to be free and unconventional and rid of the whole corporate America trip.

I ended up working at the Bank of America, thanks to a pink collar stoner chick who fudged my typing test.

While working at their headquarters, I learned about the proud heritage of the bank, which had rebuilt San Francisco in the early 20th century, in the wake of its great earthquake. 

Today, of course, bankers are universally regarded as monuments to heroic greed, spectacular corruption and epic incompetence–one short step above child molesters on the social scale. Adrift in their bubbles, intoxicated by their own emissions, only they remain unaware of this downward turn in public perception.

When a reporter for the AP politely asked them what they were doing with billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ bailout ransom, they sniffily replied to this effect: “Listen, you tawdry little man–we don’t give a fig about you and your shabby readers. We have parties to attend. Kindly pay up and shut up. Then find your way out.”

Men have short memories. It wasn’t so long ago in the long view of history that, faced with a similar situation, the rabble roused themselves in the streets of Paris and handed the nobility their heads. Good times.

Today, gun shops can’t keep up with demand.

Being a peaceful sort and averse to noise, I got to thinking that maybe it doesn’t have to come to bloodshed and armed insurrection.

Is it conceivable that bankers today are capable, if only in theory, of once again doing the right thing? Could they ever, even in an imagined world, earn their fat paychecks and lead us out of the mess that is largely their own creation? 

Trying to wrap my head around that wild notion, I am once again transported back to a more innocent era.

All across the nation

Such a strange vibration …

 

 

 


Tyrants of the world, unite!

“Let the winds of doctrine blow me.” (Milton)

Russian treason bill could hit Kremlin critics

By DAVID NOWAK, Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW – A new law drafted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s Cabinet would allow authorities to label any government critic a traitor — a move that leading rights activists condemned Wednesday as a chilling reminder of the times under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The draft extends the definition of treason from breaching Russia‘s external security to damaging the nation’s constitutional order, sovereignty or territorial integrity. That would essentially let authorities interpret any act against the interests of the state as treason — a crime prosecutable by up to 20 years in prison.

Prominent rights activists said passage of the bill would catapult Russia’s justice system back to the times of Stalin’s purges.

“It returns the Russian justice to the times of 1920-1950s,” the activists said in a statement, urging lawmakers to oppose what they described as the “legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler.”

Stop, you’re killing me

Letter to a friend:

As you have rightly intuited, the inflammatory politics is merely symptomatic of a larger crisis — the end of the time we know and the beginning of another — as presaged by war, famine, fire, flood and reality TV.

This just in:

NATIONAL (NBC ) – Does the financial crisis have you feeling stressed out? Well, you’re not alone.

A newly released survey by the American Psychological Association shows the declining economy is causing stress levels to skyrocket.

The annual report takes a look at the stress level of Americans, and this year, stress is on the rise.

As things get worse on Wall Street, it seems Americans are hitting the wall. They’re stressed out and letting it show.

Dr. Katherine Nordal, the Executive Director for Professional Practice, says they have “irritability, depression, sleeplessness, problems concentrating…”

A new survey by the American Psychological Association finds eight out of ten Americans say the economy is now a significant source of stress.

Almost half say their stress has increased in the past year and they are now increasingly worried about their ability to provide even their families basic needs.

Dr. Nordal says, “What we’re seeing is more and more people coming in because they are more stressed about financial situations, having homes foreclosed on.”

According to the survey, women are being hit the hardest, feeling more stress than men about money, the economy, job stability, housing costs and health problems.

Since I’m the canary in the coal mine when it comes to stress, I can tell you with an uncertain amount of authority that exercise, rest, vitamins, meditation, prayer, soothing music and talking things over with trusted friends are all terrific for smoothing you out. Humor, where appropriate, can also work wonders.

That said, the sheer numbers of wobbling blobs of bobbling blubber among us — I speak, of course, of our fellow Americans — tell us that not everyone “gets” this. We therefore have a lot on our plate. Not as much as them, but you see my point.

The foregoing does not cover all those who resort to drugs and alcohol, of course, who can be counted upon to spiral out into all sorts of lunacy, not all of them comical.

You can, again, mightily empower yourself, being such a good ear and wise counsel, by helping others at this time of crisis, always bearing in mind the final temptation.

Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain:
Temptation shall not come in this kind again.
The last temptation is the greatest treason
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

My love to you and the gang!

Our transcendent splendor,

Brian J. Flanagan

It has happened here

 

List of Journalists Arrested at the RNC

Posted on September 10.2008 by Josh Stearns

During and before the Republican National Convention police in St. Paul arrested numerous journalists, including Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and her staff, members of a number of independent video groups, an AP photographer and staff from local broadcast stations and newspapers around St. Paul.

Arresting and detaining journalists for doing their jobs is a gross violation of free speech and freedom of the press. Journalists must be free to do their jobs without intimidation. On September 5th, local citizens delivered more than 60,000 letters to St. Paul City Hall calling on Mayor Chris Coleman and local law enforcement officials to drop all charges against journalists arrested while covering protests outside the Republican National Convention.

Below we have begun collecting names of journalists who were charged and links to news reports about their arrests. This is a growing list. If you have information about a journalist who is not listed here please email Josh Stearns at jstearns@freepress.net.

Name Outlet Arrested Charge
Sharif Abdel Kouddous Democracy Now! Sept 1 and Sept 4 Suspicion of felony riot and unlawful assembly
Nicole Salazar Democracy Now! Sept 1 Suspicion of felony riot
Amy Goodman Democracy Now! Sept 1 Obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer.
Matt Rourke Associated Press Sept 1 Gross misdemeanor riot charge
Edward Matthews Univ. of Kentucky (journalism student) Sept 1 Riot charge
Britney McIntosh Univ. of Kentuky (journalism student) Sept 1 Riot charge
Jim Winn Univ. of Kentuky (journalism advisor) Sept 1 Riot charge
Lambert Rochfort PepperSpray Productions Sept 3 Held without charge
Joe LaSac PepperSpray Productions Sept 3 Held without charge
Stephen Maturen Minnesota Daily Sept 4 Peppersprayed and ziptied – only held momentarily.
Jonathan Malat KARE 11 Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Tom Aviles WCCO Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Amy Forliti Associated Press Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jon Krawczynski Associated Press Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Dean Treftz U-Wire (national college wire service) Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jeff Schorfheide Badger-Herald Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Matt Snyders University of Iowa / former reporter for Daily Iowan Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Christopher Patton Daily Iowan Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Rick Rowley Big Noise Films Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jon Wise MyFox Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Alice Kathloff MyFox Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Art Hughes Public News Service Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jerry Snook Westwood One Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Ben Garvin St. Paul Pioneer Press Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jason Nicholas New York Post Sept 1 Unlawful assembly and obstructing the legal process
Wendy Binion Portland IndyMedia Sept 2 Felony conspiracy to riot
Geraldine Cahill The Real News Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Ania Smolenskaia The Real News Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Suzanne Hughes The Uptake Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Ted Johnson Variety Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Alice Kalthoff MyFoxdfw.com Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
John P Wise MyFox Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Eileen Clancy I-Witness Video August 26 Unknown
Anita Braithwaite Glass Bead Video Collective August 26 Unknown
Olivia Katz Glass Bead Video Collective August 26 Unknown
Nick Brooks Downtown Express Sept 4 Unlawful assembly and interfering with legal process
Sam Stoker Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Paul Demko Minnesota Independent ? Unknown
Emily Forman I-Witness video group ? Unknown
Malisa Jahn I-Witness video group ? Unknown
Elizabeth Press Democracy Now! ? Unknown
Sheila Regan Twin Cities Daily Planet ? Unknown
Seth Rowe Sun Newspapers ? Unknown
Mark Skinner University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebel Yell reporter ? Unknown
Vlad Teichberg Glass Bead Video Collective ? Unknown
Nathan Weber Chicago Freelance Photographer ? Unknown
Tony Webster Twin Cities Independent Media ? Unknown
Alex Lilly Portland Indymedia ? Unknown
Charlie B MTV Think blogger ? Unknown
Andy Birkey Minnesota Independent ? Unknown
Matt Nelson University of Iowa Photojournalism student ? Unknown
Mark Ovaska Rochester freelance photographer ? Unknown
Chad Davis Freelance Photographer ? Unknown
Dawn Zuppelli Rochester IndyMedia ? Unknown

… the heavens fall.

You got a problem with that.

You got a problem with that.

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. (Napoleon)

The global financial crisis is set to get worse, with a large US bank likely to collapse in the next few months, a former IMF chief economist has warned.

Kenneth Rogoff’s comments came as shares in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sank on a report that the home lenders would, in effect, be nationalised.

Despite hopes that the US economy had turned the corner, Mr Rogoff claimed it was “not out of the woods”.

“I would even go further to say ‘the worst is to come’,” he said.

“We’re not just going to see mid-sized banks go under in the next few months,” said Mr Rogoff, who held the IMF role between 2001 and 2004.

“We’re going to see a whopper, we’re going to see a big one, one of the big investment banks or big banks.”

BBC

———–

Meet the rich
The gap between rich and poor is wider than ever. But that doesn’t seem to bother Britain’s wealthiest earners. In an extract from their new book, Polly Toynbee and David Walker describe the jaw-dropping arrogance they encountered when they asked some of the fat cats to justify their lives of luxury.

From the marbled 20th floor of a glass tower in Canary Wharf the view of the river is breathtaking. It snakes down to the Thames barrier, glinting in the sunset. Close to the new city lie the serried ranks of East End estate blocks. The view is typical of London: glossy new wealth nestling close to old and persisting penury. Precious little money has trickled down from this gilded new town in the sky to its neighbours below.

Unjust Rewards

The view is a reminder of the widening gap. History, many like to believe, is a Whiggish tale of wealth, social progress and fairer distribution, an onward march: we all wear the same clothes, meet on equal terms on Facebook. Yet background predicts who will run the banks and who will clean their floors. It’s not happenstance; it is largely pre-programmed. General mobility is a myth. The top 10% of income earners get 27.3% of the cake, while the bottom 10% get just 2.6%. Twenty years ago the average chief executive of a FTSE 100 company earned 17 times the average employee’s pay; now it is more than 75 times.

———-

Not Keeping Up With Our Parents: The Decline of the Professional Middle Class

by Nan Mooney

From Publishers Weekly
Young people who were raised to believe that a college education guarantees them a spot in the middle class are instead grappling with rising levels of debt, stagnant wages and ballooning basic expenses, argues Mooney, [who] suggests that college graduates who choose creative or service professions, such as journalism, teaching and social work, generally find themselves in low-paying jobs that, paradoxically, require high-priced educations and even graduate degrees. The struggle to pay off student loans sets off a spiral of financial insecurity, as these educated professionals face escalating costs for housing, health insurance and child care.