Sonic Happiness

Moved a while back, and had to seriously downsize. Amazing what you collect through the years!

One of the “victims” of that was my mega-stereo… There is just nowhere rational that a single guy is going to live that will fit refrigerator sized speakers…

Damn.

So out with the Klipshs went the Conrad Johnson amps, the backup Nakamichi Dragon…The rock-a-small-stadium subs…

It was PAINFUL!

Fortunately I figured out I could keep a few things…On my way to find a tall building to leap from.

With a collection of about 1500 albums…I kept one of the turntables. My venerable Denon 62L (Forget lugging the concrete base of the other table…Don’t ask…)

I sold the tube amp (bad move), but kept a couple of Luxmans (The ones before they got bought and trashed by crappy Alpine) and  capable of powering my Infinity Kappa 8s (Don’t try this with most of your modern amps, these puppies will eat them and spit them out as they need about 200 Watts each in reserve power to be happy).The good news is Luxman (and McIntosh and NY Moscode) is back after a reverse IPO into capable hands. Unfortunately, they appear to be trying to pay for the entire IPO off the the sale price of the first two amps…I’ll keep my old babies running, Thank You.

Somehow the needle on the turntable got broken in the move. Now a needle on these things can set you back the cost of an iPod…And if you get crazy – the cost of an iPad…128G (Don’t believe me?). I thought prices had gone down, until I went on one of the Audio forums and learned about $400,000 Stereo systems! Checked on ebay…And the prices were stunning. Found a reasonable deal on a modest unit, and finally got it installed as one of my projects for the weekend.

Proud that my mechanical ability hasn’t failed me yet in a autotune world, In honor of the shutdown, I thought I’d listen to a little “Old Skool” from the Poet/Prophet…

This was the breakout album for Gil Scott Heron. And the lyrics eerily reflect today, even though the events they speak of are of yesteryear…

From “Winter in America”

…The Constitution
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it’s hoping
Hoping for some rain

And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it’s winter
It’s winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It’s winter, Lord knows
It’s winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America

And now it’s winter
Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed or sent away
Yeah, and the people know, people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save…

From “H20Gate Blues”

…How long will the citizens sit and wait?
It’s looking like Europe in ’38
Did they move to stop Hitler before it was too late? (no…)
How long. America before the consequences of
Keeping the school systems segregated
Allowing the press to be intimidated
Watching the price of everything soar
And hearing complaints ’cause the rich want more? (Alright!)
It seems that MacBeth, and not his lady, went mad
We’ve let him eliminate the whole middle class
The dollar’s the only thing we can’t inflate
While the poor go on without a new minimum wage…

The Last Colony (Washington, DC) Vows to Ignore Shutdown

Washington DC is unique among all principalities in the United States in that Congress – specifically the House – must approve all spending for the city. This means, if there is a Government shutdown the non-emergency city services would be shut down as well. This is particularly galling to DC Residents as it is their tax money paid to the city which operates the government, not Federal monies as is not uncommon in the rest of the country. So Congress has the authority to tell the DC Government how to spend it’s own tax money…

This has led to any umber of disasters as the Republican Congress has forced the city to adopt their confederate policies, such as school vouchers and limits on health care.

The Libraries are toast, too!

So…What happens if there is a shutdown in DC?

1. Parks, museums, and the Zoo closed: All Smithsonian museums, federal monuments, the National Zoo, and public facilities in National Parks like Rock Creek Park would be closed. Because tourists probably won’t realize it in advance, they’ll probably flood downtown Starbuckses and Potbellies with bored out-of-towners.

2. Libraries and recreation centers dark: All D.C. libraries and recreation centers will be closed, giving kids fewer places to hang out after school, which means who knows what kinds of trouble.

3. Department of Public Works off duty: Trash collection would be suspended for a week, as well as street sweeping, which this time of year means some very clogged drains.

4. Circulator offline: While the Metro would stay open and WMATA buses would keep running, D.C.’s super-convenient Circulator buses would have to stay in the garage.

5. Permit offices and the DMV shut: The Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs are closed, meaning even longer lines for licenses, permits, and car registrations when the shutdown eventually ends.

6. No parking enforcement: Okay, you probably don’t mind that so much, but it does cost the city money and could lead to shortfalls down the road.

7. University of the District of Columbia shuttered: You might not be the one with your academic year interrupted, but at least sympathize with the poor students who’ll likely have to make up the class time later.

8. Potential loss of city equipment and buildings: The city has a master lease on pieces of equipment like traffic lights, computers, and public safety vehicles, as well as a contractual agreement to use facilities like the Unified Communications Center, which controls all the city’s emergency systems — as long as payments are made on time. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton warns that they could be repossessed if the city lacks the budget authority to do so. And in any case, ongoing worries about the city’s ability to use its own money could make it more expensive to borrow, which the city has to do every year for capital expenditures.

Yeah…This stops, too!


Mayor Gray designates all of District government ‘essential’ to avoid shutdown

Mayor Vincent C. Gray moved Wednesday to designate the entirety of the District government as “essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property,” in a bid to allow city services to continue during a federal shutdown.

Gray announced his position in a letter to the federal Office of Management and Budget, which is handling preparations for a shutdown that could take place if congressional leaders fail to reach an accord by Oct. 1.

“I am writing to inform you that I have determined that all operations of the government of the District of Columbia are ‘excepted’ activities essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property and therefore will continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations,” the mayor wrote to budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

Gray’s posture is unprecedented for the District government, whose budget comes largely from locally raised taxes and is set by locally elected officials but is ultimately appropriated by Congress. During past shutdowns, in keeping with federal guidance, the city has designated public safety and some other crucial functions as exempt from shutdown but curtailed many city services, including libraries, recreation centers and trash pickup.

The letter comes a day after Gray and D.C. Council members openly debated ways to defy the federal shutdown and keep the city government operating.

On the good side – these guys are out of work!

It is unclear how President Obama’s budget office will respond to Gray’s broad definition of “essential.” Requests for comment made to the agency Tuesday and Wednesday have gone unreturned.

In a statement issued with the letter, Gray said it is “ridiculous” that the District “cannot spend its residents’ own local tax dollars to provide them the services they’ve paid for without Congressional approval.”

“Congress can’t even get its own fiscal house in order; they should be taking lessons from us rather than imposing needless suffering on us,” he said. “I will not allow the safety and well-being of District residents to be compromised by Congress’s dysfunction.”

Threat of Beer Shortage Forces Republicans to Capitulate in Minnesota

President Obama – I have a solution for you!

Since the debt crisis will force a government shutdown – perhaps what needs to happen is to shut down beer production and delivery…

As the Olympic Beer riot showed, white folks in this country will go crazy with no beer! It would be National Tar and Feather a Rethugly Day…

In about 2 weeks.

One by one, bars get tapped out

Hundreds of bars, restaurants and stores across Minnesota are running out of beer and alcohol and others may soon run out of cigarettes — a subtle and largely unforeseen consequence of a state government shutdown.

In the days leading up to the shutdown, thousands of outlets scrambled to renew their state-issued liquor purchasing cards. Many of them did not make it.

Now, with no end in sight to the shutdown, they face a summer of fast-dwindling alcohol supplies and a bottom line that looks increasingly bleak…

Dayton, GOP reach a budget deal to end the two-week government shutdown

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders announced Thursday evening they have reached a budget deal to end a two week government shutdown.

After a three-hour meeting with GOP leaders, Dayton said the shutdown will be done “very soon, within days.”

Dayton agreed to drop his insistence on a tax hike and accept the Republican offer to borrow money to balance the budget.

But the governor said the deal must include a $500 million bonding package for new building projects around the state, withdrawal of the divisive social issue proposals now threaded through Republican spending bills, and elimination of the GOP proposal to reduce the state workforce by 15 percent.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said he will have the votes in the House to pass the agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, agreed. “We believe the caucus will ultimately support this.”

President Obama… Is That a Spine?

Increasingly frustrated with Republican obstructionism, President Obama is finally doing something he should have been doing all along…

Getting out that rhetorical 2 x 4.

President Obama lashes out at Republicans: Raise taxes for the rich, don’t cut services for middle class

President Obama ratcheted up rhetoric in the heated deficit talks Saturday, challenging Republicans to support students and seniors rather than the rich.

Obama acknowledged that tough choices would be required as the budget deadline approached – and drew a stark contrast between the alleged priorities of the two parties.

“Now, it would be nice if we could keep every tax break, but we can’t afford them,” said Obama in his weekly radio address. “Because if we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or for hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners, or for oil and gas companies pulling in huge profits without our help – then we’ll have to make even deeper cuts somewhere else.”

Obama echoed his frustrated remarks from his press conference last week, saying that sacrifices would be forced onto the backs of the less-fortunate if the Republicans would not consider taxes on the wealthy.

“We’ve got to say to a student, ‘You don’t get a college scholarship,'” he said. “We have to say to a medical researcher, ‘You can’t do that cancer research.’ We might have to tell seniors, ‘You have to pay more for Medicare.'”

“That isn’t right and it isn’t smart,” Obama said.

The President praised the first round of bipartisan deficit talks – led by Vice President Biden – that identified $1 trillion in possible cuts.

But negotiations stalled last week after Republicans refused to consider any tax increases. The Senate cancelled a planned recess next week to keep budget talks alive.

Federal officials said that he nation will reach its debt ceiling in early August and would no longer be able to borrow money to keep the government working. White House officials have said a preliminary deal must be reached by July 22 to guarantee there would not be a shutdown.

I don’t believe you wanna get up and dance…

Small Business Owners Leave Republican Plantation Over Tax Cuts For the Rich

It is becoming ever more painfully obvious that the Republican Tax Giveaway to the Rich is a major element in the country’s finances being in freefall. The Chamber of Commerce has increasingly become noting but a propaganda arm of the Republican Party, much like Faux News.

Small Business Owners Demand Repeal Of Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich

Michael Teahan, like his father, mother, and uncles before him, is a small business owner. The 52-year-old has spent most of his adult life running his own businesses: a restaurant, a coffee bar and various companies involved in the espresso machine business.

“I was the only person in my family to go to college, because that’s not what we did — we all opened up businesses,” Teahan says. “For some people, that’s a big hurdle … for us, it was like having lunch.”

Teahan currently operates Espresso Resource, a company that imports espresso machine parts from Europe to sell to U.S. restaurants and coffee shops. And he’s doing very well for himself: The two-man operation clears about $1 million a year in total sales, Teahan says — enough to secure himself annual income in excess of $250,000.

That makes Teahan one of the few small business owners to actually benefit from the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy. He says the cuts save him about $12,000 a year, compared to what he paid before they were enacted. But as debates over the federal budget deficit have intensified, Teahan has found the political discussion increasingly divorced from the reality of his experience as a small business owner.

Tax cuts for the wealthy, according to Teahan, will do nothing to bolster his firm. They won’t affect his hiring decisions, they won’t encourage him to buy new equipment or help him move into a bigger warehouse. He says all of those decisions — the nuts and bolts of actually running a small company — depend on the his customers’ economic conditions, not his personal tax rate.

“What we do in business, how we spend our money, how we allocate our resources — that has very little to do with tax policy,” Teahan says. “I map my business based on my customers, and what my customers want to buy, and what they can afford to buy.” Continue reading

Texas Miracle… Anther Fraud

What do the Texas “Education Miracle” and the Texas “Budget Miracle” have in common?

Really Big, Really Deep Holes...Good Places to Put Dead Rogue Elephants.

They are both frauds perpetrated by Republicans.

The Texas Education Miracle? This from one of the first people who broke the story about the fraud, George Scott -

The leadership of the Texas Republican Party in the Legislature and at the TEA made a calculated decision (individually and collectively) to permit the State of Texas to lie to parents about the academic skills of Texas students.

In validating, promoting and enshrining the lie, Texas Republicans have followed the path of many of their national counterparts.  They abandoned their principles and recruited allies to validate the academic corruption.  In sum, politicians, bureaucrats, many academicians and scores of public policy researchers reaped great financial, professional or political benefits from the schemes.

The same Texas Republican Party and Legislature is now doing it with the Texas Budget. After supposedly defying the national trend by fueling growth by tax cuts and budget cuts… The Piper has come home with a vengeance. The State is now projected to be $25 BILLION in the red. But like the Enron disaster of cooked books…The $25 billion number may well be the tip of the iceberg, in that the books may have been cooked to show the state with a surplus all along when it was in the red.

Conservative philosophy fails… Again.

The Texas Omen

These are tough times for state governments. Huge deficits loom almost everywhere, from California to New York, from New Jersey to Texas.

Wait — Texas? Wasn’t Texas supposed to be thriving even as the rest of America suffered? Didn’t its governor declare, during his re-election campaign, that “we have billions in surplus”? Yes, it was, and yes, he did. But reality has now intruded, in the form of a deficit expected to run as high as $25 billion over the next two years. Continue reading

How Stupid is the New Right?

In the new Republican tradition of never letting the facts get in the way of a good rant – the new Congressional Republican Clown Show proposes to balance the budget…

By cutting a program…

The Real Target

that doesn’t exist anymore.

Blinded by the word “Welfare”, and in a wild rush for a chance to take a shot at the people they percieve as beneficiaries (Black mothers and children)…

They didn’t bother to check their facts (again).

Republican Study Committee Recommends Cutting Welfare Program That Already Expired

The Republican Study Committee on Mondayrecommended reducing the deficit by cutting a welfare program that lards the federal budget with $2.5 billion in wasteful spending every year.

The Committee, led by Rep. Tom Price (Ga.), called for cutting the $2.5 billion Emergency Fund created by the stimulus bill to help states subsidize jobs via the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, formerly known as welfare. Price has targeted the program as part of House Republicans’ “YouCut” initiative to reduce federal spending.

“The goal of welfare programs should be to help people get back on their feet as quickly as possible rather than simply expanding dependence on government,” Price said in a statement. “In addition to saving taxpayers $25 billion over the next 10 years, cutting the emergency fund from the President’s failed stimulus package will refocus temporary assistance on its rightful role.”

Problem is, the TANF Emergency Fund has already expired, along with the 240,000 jobs progressive economists say it created.

“Republicans claim to be serious about reducing the deficit but yet they roll out a proposal to eliminate a program that no longer exists,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) in a statement. “What’s next — claiming savings for cutting New Deal work programs that were terminated over 70 years ago?

“The real question is when are Republicans going to abandon this sort of hollow rhetoric and get serious about the problems facing this country?”

A spokesman for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment from HuffPost.

 

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