What Some Stars sound Like without Auto-Tune

One of the biggest frauds perpetrated on the listening public is Auto-tune and Voice-Over used in live concerts to make the artist sound a good as the studio. This video presents the actual sound track from the microphone during a Britney Spears performance. Judge the girls chops for yourself…

Now, no one has ever accused Britney of having a voice…Rapidly declining good looks and nice gams… But not pipes.

The ugly truth is virtually no one can maintain the breath control and pitch required to sing like Ella Fitzgerald while doing an aerobics routine. Meaning all of these high energy dance performances passing for concerts are conducted using voice over. Meaning if you are paying $200 to see some of these performers – that is exactly all you are getting. What you see on the stage is an attractive woman dancing in her underwear. What you hear was recorded in a studio -perhaps years ago – perhaps, but not necessarily by the artist who is dancing (Milli Vanilli ring a bell, anyone?).

Which leaves the question… Et Tu Beyonce?

Van Jones Destroys Tea Party Ted Cruz

Oh My!

This is a whuppin’.

Free “Blade”. Wesley Snipes Leaves Prison

Actor Wesley Snipes can now begin the process of putting his acting career back together… A “Blade” sequel?

Repeat after me, Wesley…”1040…1040…1040″.

Actor Wesley Snipes released from prison

 Actor Wesley Snipes has been released from a federal prison where he was serving a three-year sentence after being convicted on tax charges in February 2010.The release to a supervised residential location in New York occurred Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons told CNN.

Snipes, 50, who starred in the “Blade” action movies and “White Men Can’t Jump,” had been serving time at a federal prison in Pennsylvania. A jury convicted him of willfully failing to file tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001. Snipes was acquitted of felony tax fraud and conspiracy charges.

In June 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of his sentence, which he had argued was too harsh for a misdemeanor conviction.

Orange Jumpsuit… Minister

Hmmm… Seems like the Right Reverend also swings a mean left shoe…

This one eventually is headed for a train wreck.

Police arrest Georgia megachurch pastor after disturbance at home

Creflo Dollar’s Mug Shot

Police arrest Georgia megachurch pastor after disturbance at home

Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested in suburban Atlanta for an alleged assault on his 15-year-old daughter, police said Friday.

Deputies in Georgia’s Fayette County responded to a call about a domestic disturbance about 1 a.m. Friday. Dollar’s daughter said she argued with her father over attending a party, said Investigator Brent Rowan of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

The daughter says the argument got physical.

She told the deputies that her father charged her, put his hands around her throat and began to choke her, according to a police report. She said he then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe.

Dollar’s daughter was able to get away and dial 911, Rowan said. Continue reading

Bootleg Wine?

Couldn’t pass on this tune from Sticks McGhee reading this article -

Now – there was a Bootlegger in the BT family – made some of the finest White Lightning I ever tasted. He long ago retired. Used to like to keep a Mason Jar in the freezer

You can make wine out of almost any fruit – and even a number of flowers. I remember a neighbor who made Dandelion Wine for personal consumption, which was pretty good. Lavender is another exotic choice among the flower wines.

Guess this old guy just needed to make ends meet in these hard times…

James Edward Skinner, Elderly Virginia Bootlegger, Arrested With 600 Gallons Of Fruit Wine. Again

An elderly Virginia bootlegger has been arrested, again, for illegally making and selling fruit wine at his home.

Six-hundred gallons of the wine — made of bananas, strawberries and tomatoes, among other fruits — were stored in the 83-year-old’s garage and shed.

James Edward Skinner was arrested in Newport News last week after agents “received complaints pertaining to the illegal manufacture and sale of wine in the home,” according to a press statement released by Virginia’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Skinner’s grandson, Darrin Skinner, was also arrested. (The grandson’s age is given as 44 in the press statement; it’s given as 41 in WVEC-TV’s account of the arrest.)

The wine came “in various flavors,” per the statement, and was sold for $7 or $8 per half-gallon — that’s somewhere between $8,600 and $9,600 worth of wine seized by authorities.

“People seem to think its ‘better’ because it’s homemade,” according to Special Agent in Charge Bob Brooks, who communicated his observations to The Huffington Post by email via Virginia ABC spokesperson Maureen Haney:

There is also a certain novelty involved, as there is with moonshine. Illegal wine is not as common as the illegal corn whisky (moonshine) because it’s a more time consuming process. Wine has to be fermented after it is distilled, then strained and fermented again. There was tons of sediment in the wine they seized from the Skinner home on Friday and there is not a lot of quality control.Brooks noted that “Skinner told officers that he had learned how to make the wine from his father and was still using the same recipe. He makes the wine from all types of fruit including strawberries, bananas, apples, tomatoes, and pretty much anything that is available to him at the time.”

Mostly “older retired people” are engaged in this sort of bootlegging, Brooks said through Haney. “Because they are retired, they have the time, and it’s extra income they don’t have to claim on their taxes.” Continue reading

River Monsters Failure to Catch

As an avid fisherman – I started watching the River Monsters series becoming rapidly bored with the false sense of drama  over the large fish supposedly attacking humans swimming, and the lack of focus on the fish themselves and their ecosystems.

Never to disappoint, it seems the show has discovered Bull Sharks. A species of shark which inhabits most of the world’s oceans, and is capable of living in fresh or salt water. Bull sharks are the most dangerous to humans of the shark species, accounting for the vast majority of bites – simply because the region they inhabit tends to be around the shallows in inlets where food is washed out by the receding tide. Areas where people tend to swim and surf. I have caught 4 footers, and even an 8 footer going after game species such as Grouper and Rockfish as by-catch. But I have yet to hear of a Bull Shark attacking anyone in fresh water. Hooking one is no big deal – you know you have one on the line when it hits like a freight train, and then instantly starts to roll to spit out the hook.

A full grown Bull shark

Was reading  book about the history of the development of the Washington, DC area – and was somewhat surprised to see that in the 1800′s a 12 foot Bull shark was caught off the pier in Georgetown. Of course the Potomac River was about 3 times the size it is now then. But it is not unusual to see salt water species, such as crabs just a few miles below the city even today.

If the show ever gets around to actually providing information about the fish species, showing the fish, and talking about the habitat that enables the fish to reach huge size – then I might tune in again. But I, for one am really tired of the rather lame attempts to make things dramatic. In the series premier, they catch a truly glorious fish – a 350 lb Grouper, and virtually ignore it. Geez…

‘River Monsters’ Premiere: The Search For A Bull Shark; Exciting Or Too Slow? (VIDEO)

Jeremy Wade and “River Monsters” (Sun., 9 p.m. ET on Animal Planet) returned for a fourth season, with Wade on the hunt for a bigger and better monster. He came up slightly short with a juvenile freshwater bull shark, though it was still six feet in length. Ironically, while looking for the bull shark, Wade found a seven foot long, 350 pound grouper.

A grouper might not traditionally be thought of as dangerous or a monster, per se, but when dealing with that size, it certainly seems pretty monstrous. The TCPalmsays the show is a “fun reminder that we have some special creatures sharing our environment with us.”

The New York Daily News, on the other hand, was a little disappointed with this premiere. They feel that the series needs to talk less about the monsters sharing the world with us, and spend more time showing them.

A little Jackie Wilson. Got nothing to do with fishing, Monsters, the River, current TV shows, or Jeremy Wade’s failure to catch fish…

But is infinitely more entertaining.

Best Educated Janitors…

Fresh on news that there are 21 million Americans out of work – there is the question of the undremployed–

Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?

Two sets of information were presented to me in the last 24 hours that have dramatically reinforced my feeling that diminishing returns have set in to investments in higher education, with increasing evidence suggesting that we are in one respect “overinvesting” in the field. First, following up on information provided by former student Douglas Himes at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), my sidekick Chris Matgouranis showed me the table reproduced below (And for more see this).

Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.

Now I’ve said for a while that one the the great myths of the new depression is the existence of high tech jobs needing high education. At this point there are millions of college educated out of work or substantially underemployed. You cannot fix the roots of the current economic malaise by by generating more job seekers - no matter how well educated or qualified. The brutal fact is, very little of our current economy is actually dependent on new technology. Think of it this way – the leading cell phone platform is dependent on thinking and aa technology concept first developed in Xerox Labs in the 70′s. Very little of the development today of “new technology” is actually “development’ = it is actually execution against old technology. So if you trin them – what would this new legion of scientists and engineers do?

And there is the crux of the problem.

Scalia and Thomas Dine With Plaintiffs Before Hearing Their Case…

The most reliable in-the-pocket judges took some time out to have dinner with one of the parties appearing before their court later this month…

At the far right wing Federalist Society.

Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case

The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.

The occasion was last Thursday, when all nine justices met for a conference to pore over the petitions for review. One of the cases at issue was a suit brought by 26 states challenging the sweeping healthcare overhaul passed by Congress last year, a law that has been a rallying cry for conservative activists nationwide.

The justices agreed to hear the suit; indeed, a landmark 5 1/2-hour argument is expected in March, and the outcome is likely to further roil the 2012 presidential race, which will be in full swing by the time the court’s decision is released.

The lawyer who will stand before the court and argue that the law should be thrown out is likely to be Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bushadministration.

Clement’s law firm, Bancroft PLLC, was one of almost two dozen firms that helped sponsor the annual dinner of the Federalist Society, a longstanding group dedicated to advocating conservative legal principles. Another firm that sponsored the dinner, Jones Day, represents one of the trade associations that challenged the law, the National Federation of Independent Business.

Another sponsor was pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc, which has an enormous financial stake in the outcome of the litigation. The dinner was held at a Washington hotel hours after the court’s conference over the case. In attendance was, among others, Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican and an avowed opponent of the healthcare law.

The featured guests at the dinner? Scalia and Thomas.

It’s nothing new: The two justices have been attending Federalist Society events for years. And it’s nothing that runs afoul of ethics rules. In fact, justices are exempt from the Code of Conduct that governs the actions of lower federal judges.

If they were, they arguably fell under code’s Canon 4C, which states, “A judge may attend fund-raising events of law-related and other organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event.“

Nevertheless, the sheer proximity of Scalia and Thomas to two of the law firms in the case, as well as to a company with a massive financial interest, was enough to alarm ethics-in-government activists.

“This stunning breach of ethics and indifference to the code belies claims by several justices that the court abides by the same rules that apply to all other federal judges,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause. “The justices were wining and dining at a black-tie fundraiser with attorneys who have pending cases before the court. Their appearance and assistance in fundraising for this event undercuts any claims of impartiality, and is unacceptable.”

Scalia and Thomas have shown little regard for critics who say they too readily mix the business of the court with agenda-driven groups such as the Federalist Society. And Thomas’ wife, Ginni, is a high-profile conservative activist.

O’ Christmas Tree…Oh Christmas Tax!

Now they want to add a tax to live Christmas Trees? I don’t know – the Dept of Agriculture hasn’t ever paid the black farmers – now they want to hit up the public at the corner tree lot…

A fee on thee, oh Christmas tree

The U.S. Agriculture Department, after debates that pitted one U.S. region against another, approved a new industry-funded Christmas tree promotion plan.

The 15-cent per-tree fee on growers will help fund the industry’s ad campaign promoting the merits of real Christmas trees over artificial ones, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

Growers estimate the fee will raise $2 million.

“As demographics and buying habits have changed, we have watched the market for real trees shrink drastically, requiring us to spend much more time and money on promotion,” said Don Cameron, past president of the California Christmas Tree Association.

Similar to programs that promote milk, beef and cotton, the Christmas tree program imposes a fee of 15 cents per tree on U.S. domestic producers and importers. A panel directs the money into ads, other promotions and research.

“We have good reason to believe it will be successful for our industry,” Betty Malone, an Oregon tree farmer and Christmas Tree Promotion Now president, told the Tribune. “We looked at what other industries have done, and how successful they’ve been.”

After three years, growers and importers will vote on whether to continue the program.

Doomsday Minister Confesses to “Erroneous Teachings”

This guy has convinced his followers and listeners for more than 30 years that…

The end was near.

Apparently, being a lot closer to the day he may well have to meet God – he’s trying to straighten things out before facing the “Pearly Gates”. I can think of a few more Televangelists who might want to consider following Mr. Camping’s example sooner…

Rather than later.

Family Radio Founder Harold Camping Repents, Apologizes for False Teachings

harold campingWith his speech sounding somewhat slurred and labored, Family Radio Stations Inc. founder and chairman Harold Camping sought to address in a recent message why Christ failed to return on Oct. 21 as the Bible teacher had predicted. Camping confessed, after decades of falsely misleading his followers, that he was wrong and regrets his misdeeds.

In addition to attempting to correct his erroneous teachings on the Rapture and God’s day of final judgment on the world, Camping, 90, also confessed, “incidentally,” that he was wrong to claim that God had stopped saving people after May 21 – the date which God’s so-called “spiritual” judgment had begun.

This is undoubtedly a radical shift for Camping, who has staunchly claimed since 1992 that he had discovered a special numerical system in the Bible that allowed him to calculate the exact dates of certain events, such as the Great Flood, the Crucifixion and the day of Jesus Christ’s return to Earth.

Camping first falsely predicted that the world would end on Sept. 6, 1994, then again on May 21, 2011, and finally on Oct. 21.

When Camping’s final doomsday predication failed to come to pass, Family Radio soon removed its teachings regarding the failed May 21 rapture, which also included the claim that God had stopped saving people after that date and that the world was headed for a final judgment on Oct. 21.

On Oct. 24, 2011, The Christian Post also reported in anexclusive interview with a member of Camping’s Bible ministry that the Alameda, Calif., Bible teacher was no longer able to lead Family Radio or his ministry.

Rising Like a Phoenix? US Economy…

World power swings back to AmericaThis may well just continue to work and turn the US economy around…

As long as conservatives don’t get elected to screw it up.

The fact is, it has now become cheaper to manufacture many products in the US than in China. Those companies who haven’t made plans to “inshore” yet may well be holding losing cards. This could have a net impact on the US economy of over 3 million new jobs in 3 years. Foreign based companies have figured it out, with both Asian and European companies flocking to build plants in America. You add that to the two major “bleeding edge” chip foundries being built right here in America – and there are some fundamental economic changes afoot.

No small contributor to this shift is that energy independence thing. The US isn’t very far from being able to be self-sufficient. There are humongous reserves of Natural Gas in the Midwest, and oil reserves beggaring those in the Middle East in the Gulf of Mexico. This should mean stabilized energy costs, no longer at the whim of some crackpot oil-can Dictator.

China’s counterfeiting and Intellectual theft issues are huge for tech industries, it is also impacting firm’s brand names. I for one, have never been convinced it was ultimately profitable to move any high tech or leading edge product production to China because of the theft issue. It really doesn’t matter if you can make a big screen TV 15 cents cheaper – if the manufacturer is making knockoffs, using your logo, and selling them $100.00 cheaper. I think it’s time to cut the George Bush (pick one) support system for China. They have a huge internal market, and there is no reason their economy should not be strong once the necessary changes are made in how their government works, and business is conducted are made.

World power swings back to America

The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. Manufacturing will have closed the labour gap with China in a clutch of key industries. The current account might even be in surplus.

Assumptions that the Great Republic must inevitably spiral into economic and strategic decline – so like the chatter of the late 1980s, when Japan was in vogue – will seem wildly off the mark by then.

Telegraph readers already know about the “shale gas revolution” that has turned America into the world’s number one producer of natural gas, ahead of Russia.

Less known is that the technology of hydraulic fracturing – breaking rocks with jets of water – will also bring a quantum leap in shale oil supply, mostly from the Bakken fields in North Dakota, Eagle Ford in Texas, and other reserves across the Mid-West.

“The US was the single largest contributor to global oil supply growth last year, with a net 395,000 barrels per day (b/d),” said Francisco Blanch from Bank of America, comparing the Dakota fields to a new North Sea.

Total US shale output is “set to expand dramatically” as fresh sources come on stream, possibly reaching 5.5m b/d by mid-decade. This is a tenfold rise since 2009.

The US already meets 72pc of its own oil needs, up from around 50pc a decade ago. Continue reading

MSM Coverage of Obama Biased Negatively

News coverage of President Obama is biased towards the negative, explaining why he is having such a difficult time getting his message across, or getting credit for the accomplishments of his Administration. This isn’t the first time this has happened. If you will remember back to the 2000 Presidential Election cycle, the MSM all but crowned Bush President 11 months BEFORE the actual election. The MSM spent a lot of time tossing Bush softball questions and giving him the benefit of the doubt.

They are doing it again, this time in support of a stable of Republican mental midgets and moral degenerates who, under no circumstance could be considered “Presidential material”. It is time to fight back, at least for fair media coverage.

 

Study finds harsh media coverage for Obama

President Obama “has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment” of all presidential candidates over the past five months, according to a study released Monday from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Pew found that Mr. Obama was the subject of negative assessments nearly four times as often as he was the subject of positive assessments. It found he received “positive” coverage nine percent of the time, “neutral” coverage 57 percent of the time and “negative” coverage 34 percent of the time.

The study, which was conducted using a combination of “traditional media research methods [and] computer algorithms to track the level and tone of coverage,” cuts against the widespread conservative claim that the “liberal media” aides Mr. Obama and other Democrats while attacking Republicans.

Pew says it looked at coverage from more than 11,500 news outlets, including local and national broadcasts, news websites and blogs.

Mr. Obama’s negative coverage could be explained in part by the fact that he is “covered largely as president rather than a candidate,” Pew said – and coverage of him is linked to the struggling economy.

Among the Republican presidential candidates, Pew found that Rick Perry has received the most positive coverage of all the candidates, with 32 percent positive coverage. He was followed by Sarah Palin (31 percent), Michele Bachmann (31 percent), Herman Cain (28 percent) and Mitt Romney (26 percent.) Palin, a vocal critic of the media, ultimately decided not to seek the GOP nomination.

Perry had the best ratio of any candidate, with 32 percent positive coverage to 20 percent negative coverage, a 12 percent net positive ratings in terms of coverage. He was followed by Palin (with 9 percent net positive coverage), Bachmann (8 percent net positive), Cain (5 percent net positive), Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman (both with 4 percent net positive coverage.) Pew found that Cain surged in positive coverage starting in late August – even before he did so in the polls.

The only candidate who received more negative coverage than Mr. Obama was Newt Gingrich, whom Pew found was the subject of negative coverage 35 percent of the time. That can be attrubited in part to his early stumbles, including his criticism of the House GOP Medicare plan and the decision by top staffers to abandom Gingrich’s campaign. While Pew found that Mr. Obama received just nine percent positive coverage, however, Gingrich received 15 percent positive coverage.

The candidates with the worst coverage ratio were Mr. Obama (25 percent net negative coverage), Gingrich (20 percent net negative), Rick Santorum (3 percent net negative) and Mitt Romney (1 percent net negative.)

As Politico’s Keach Hagey notes, Pew found that Mr. Obama had widely positive media coverage during his first 100 days in office, with 42 percent positive coverage and 20 percent negative coverage.

Calls To Investigate Clarence Thomas Intensify

Don’t expect any Republicans to stand up for whats right on this one – but 20 Democrat Congressmen have called for an investigation into the questionable finances of Clarence Thomas, and “pay to play” justice at the Supreme Court.

The 5-4 Supreme Court - All the Justice You Can Afford

Clarence Thomas Should Be Investigated For Nondisclosure, Democratic Lawmakers Say

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.

Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States — the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts — requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled “none” on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.

Slaughter called it “absurd” to suggest that Thomas may not have known how to fill out the forms.

“It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income,” Slaughter said in a statement. “To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas’s explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible.”

The letter also cites a June report in The New York Times indicating Thomas may have regularly benefited from the use of a private yacht and airplane owned by real estate magnate Harlan Crowe and failed to disclose the travel as a gift or travel reimbursement.

Current law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General any judge the conference “has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported.”

Slaughter’s press statement also notes that the Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, an issue the Supreme Court is expected to rule on by next summer.

“The Attorney General would be the appropriate person to investigate the issue of non-disclosure, and that is why my colleagues and I are making this request today,” Slaughter said. “I cannot determine guilt or innocence, but I can request that the government do our due diligence in investigating a situation that strikes me, and many other members of Congress, as suspicious.”

Other members of Congress on the letter include Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), John Olver (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).

Money, Honey… Indeed.

Two Killings… And a Suicide

Busy night on death row…

Georgia Executes Inmate Troy Davis After Supreme Court Denies Appeal

White Supremacist Executed for Texas Dragging

Oh yeah… And that suicide?

Hewlett-Packard investors like possibility of Meg Whitman as CEO

It just doesn’t get any dumber than that.

Paul Simon – “Sounds of Silence” at Ground Zero

This one strikes me as symbolic of the mixed feelings about what has become of 911, and the way it has been used to justify war and atrocity by the Bush Administration – and even today is used in political advertisement.

This 1965 song was written after the JFK assassination. It is widely interpreted as a peon of the willingness of people to buy into false leaders, and false causes – and the failure to listen and communicate because it is easier to follow a leader than think.

I think the “false prophets” in this version are the Giuliani and Bushes who used the event so cynically for political purposes,  in the case of Bush to lead us into another war, or the case of Carl Rove as another “wedge issue” to divide America.

This is the Ground Zero version -

This is the original Simon and Garfunkel version before an electronic background was added for the Album -

My favorite Paul Simon song?

Continue reading

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