Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Creepy Joe: Deaf, dumb and blind, but not mute

So Creepy Joe Lieberman doesn't like the partisanship in politics, yet he saves most of his complaints for his former party mates, as a group.

“I think either [Democrats] are, in my opinion, respectfully, na├»ve in thinking we can somehow defeat this enemy with talk..."

That's certainly non-partisan.

And he doesn't quite see that, in fact, several of his Republican friends are abandoning him on the President's Iraq policy.

"I’m disappointed that I am in so small a minority among Senate Democrats in taking the position that I have. "

That's convenient myopia.

And he doesn't understand why everyone is in such a huff about the Attorney General's lies.

“I fear that some people take this position also because anything President Bush is for, they’ll be against."

That's something called situational ethics.

And he wants to know why his Democratic colleagues aren't concerned about the fundamentalist Islamic threat.

“There is a very strong group within the party that I think doesn’t take the threat of Islamist terrorism seriously enough.”

That's because the Democrats would rather be pursuing Osama bin Laden then some Sunni insurgents who became insurgent when America arrived, unbidden, in Iraq. I guess it takes a fundamentalist to know a fundamentalist.

There's so much he doesn't seem to understand, but at least he's having fun.

The slow erosion of liberty

It can happen here.

I was talking to my friend Jim Chapdelaine yesterday and he noted that the Bush administration has stripped American citizens of liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, but they've done so in such small increments as to avoid notice by the average citizen.

Unfortunately, the average citizen is more consumed with Angelina, American Idol and Michael Vicks than they are with an obscure regulation which allows the President to seize all your assets if he declares you as an enemy sympathizer.

Just another executive order that flies under the radar so most Americans don't realize that the President is pickpocketing their liberty for the sake of fighting "terror."

Well, I'm afraid all right. But I fear the loss of liberty more than I fear terror.

Watching this President and his staff and advisors strip away our freedoms, beginning on 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act, makes me suspicious of what comes next. And I'm not the only one.

The Bush psychological profile is chilling.

I wonder if we'll look back ten years from now, just as we look back at photographs of glaciers that were once there, and are now gone, and wonder what it was like when we were a freedom-loving country.

Impeachment, even at its most disruptive, seems like the only way to stop a presidency careening out of control.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Concerts of the Week

Crowded House
Fri. Aug 3, Foxwoods, Ledyard CT

Sat. Aug 4, Calvin Theater, Northampton MA

When Neil Finn invited former Crowded House members Nick Seymour and Mark Hart to help him on what was to be another solo album, Time On Earth became the first new Crowded House album in nearly 15 years. The group seemed unlikely candidates for a reunion after the suicide of popular Crowded House drummer Paul Hester. The album, which is another lovely outing for the band, begat a tour, with new drummer Mark Sherrod, which began with tryouts at the Troubadour in LA last week, and in a secret concert at a NYC club a few days later, and officially kicks off Saturday at the Calvin with another "tryout" at an Indian casino on Friday. Finn's beautiful folk-pop songs have always been among my favorites, and it's a total mystery that they never made a dent in the US charts beyond Don't Dream It's Over. In some ways, this band would have been a perfect headliner for the Newport Folk Festival (see below) Forget the Police, this is the reunion concert of the week.

Dunkin' Donuts Newport Folk Festival
July 3, 4, 5

Newport, RI

There's a lot of history attached to this festival, founded by George Wein in the early sixties, but that never stopped producers from exploring what's new and exciting in "folk" music. There are big names like Linda Rondstadt, Emmylou Harris, the Allman Brothers, and Ralph Stanley, but there are great new bands to consider like the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, the John Butler Trio and Elvis Perkins.

Podunk Bluegrass Festival
August 2-5

Martin Park, East Hartford CT

An honest-to-God big time bluegrass festival in a city park in East Hartford. Who woulda thunk it. Great bluegrass from Doyle Lawson, the Hunger Mountain Boys, Jesse McReynolds, Lost and Found and Rhonda Vincent.

No golden boy of September

What will Petraeus say in September.

If Frank Rich is right, and he often is, then Petraeus has already said it. Further, if Rich is right, what he says may not be worth listening to.

He played chess with death

Ingmar Bergman spent a lifetime making movies worth watching. As a film fanatic in the seventies I devoured every one of his films I could watch (and at the time - - pre-VHS - - it wasn't easy). As a president of my college's film society, I booked a Bergman festival. Fanny and Alexander is still one of the best, ever. He leaves behind an impressive legacy.

Postcards from Congress

Much has been made of Iraqi lawmakers taking a long vacation in the midst of chaos.

Some have also questioned the August recess of our own noble US legislators. In the midst of a war spiraling out of control, a collapsing Department of Justice, a continuing attempt to consolidate power by the Executive Branch, an ongoing threat to our civil liberties, I think it would be appropriate for the House and Senate to abbreviate their August hiatus.

What harm would come in shortening their journey back to their home territories. I doubt there would be many complaints from constituents who want something done about the war, the Attorney General, the President and yes, when the Bear starts sliding, our economy.

In Connecticut, we know our Senators will be out of touch. Dodd's on his quixotic run for President, so he'll likely be visiting other home territories, and Creepy Joe Lieberman, he'll pop up in places he knows folks won't scream at him. Don't expect to find Creepy Joe at the local diner. He doesn't need your vote this year.

As for our Representatives, sure they deserve a week or two to visit Hammonasset, but will they be doing the work of the people for a month, or will it be junkets and margaritas on the Vineyard?

Sometime this week, give your representative a call and ask them to shorten the traditional Congressional break (instituted, by the way, in a time before air conditioning when DC was a fetid swamp in August...oh right, air conditioning hasn't changed that), and return to the life or death work that waits on their desks. At the very least, ask for a schedule of what your representative will be doing in August. Maybe they'll send you a postcard.

From a Vice President to the President of Vice

It's one thing for we regular observers of the executive branch power grab to complain about Dick Cheney and his role as Prince of Darkness. It's another when it's some who once held the office who makes the complaint.

Georgetown law professor Rosa Brooks skewered him too.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dr. Semmelweiss, they had me in stitches

I was wrestling with a rust-stubborn pocket knife today and ended up slicing a deep gash into the fleshy tip of my right middle finger.

The blood was spurting so I hightailed it to the nearest emergency medical care facility and was treated well, though not quickly (it was an unusually busy Sunday morning - the man in the next cubicle was hurt when, as he said, "I stepped off the curb and my prosthesis went one way, and my leg went the other.")

I needed five stitches, but the frightening thing was the lack of hand sanitation. I just made a video on the topic for a major medical facility in Connecticut, and I'm aware of the nightmares caused by antibiotic resistant staph infections. So I asked each of the three medical care staff who were about to lay fingers on my open wound if they had washed their hands before coming into the room. Each admitted they hadn't and proceeded to lather on some hand sterilizer.

This, of course, is horrifying and absurd in the 21st century, when hand sanitation was discovered to be the most effective means of staunching the spread of infection more than 150 years ago in Vienna.

Most hospitals insist that medical staff wash hands between patients. Many hospitals have horrible hand sanitation records. Many don't even monitor hand sanitation.

Do yourself a favor, and don't be shy, ask the doctor, "Did you wash your hands?"

My mouse-pad finger is throbbing as I write this, but I think it's important to know where your doctor's hands have been before they're placed on you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Appealing to the lizard in all of us

If it's one thing I know after years of producing video for people who are trying to raise money for one cause or another.

You can fill these videos with hundreds of facts, and get no response. You need to touch the heart. You need to get an emotional response. You need to touch the lizard brain. It's as easy as telling a good story.

Now it's something progressive politicians need to realize. Being logical, cerebral, reasonable ain't enough.

Dick Polman, a former Connecticut columnist, and now a nationally syndicated opinion writer thinks the same is true.

Quit being such thoughtful wimps, and go for the gut punch.

No, THESE are the same guys who attacked us on 9/11

If Bush ever wanted to make a 9/11 connection this would be one that would be a lot more direct, and a lot less specious than his Iraq al Qaeda link.

Instead he wants to send them a massive shipment of arms.

This couldn't have something to do with the cozy relationship between the Bush family, the Carlyle Corporation, and the ruling elite in Saudi Arabia, could it?

Oh sure, and would you like a pony too, sir?

How the Democrats can even make a show of cooperating with this administration is beyond me.

This is a president and vice-president who have used fear to grab as much power as they can, and now they're asking for more. And what's even more incredible is that some Democrats seem to be taking the request seriously.

Listen to Russ Feingold. It's another serious grab for tyrannical power. Tell Bush you'll even consider something coming out of his office when he rescinds the executive order on all his henchmen and women testifying.

Do you wonder why Congress has an approval rating of 11%.

Many hands make light work...

There's progress being made on the new Habitat for Humanity house at 30 Pearl St. in Middletown, but because of a late start in the midst of vacation season, their hasn't been an outpouring of volunteer help.

I wasn't able to help this weekend myself, but I stopped in after getting back from a few days in Maine and I found Jamie and a small crew hurrying to install ceiling joists and flooring, as thunder rumbled in the near distance with the promise of a downpour (which has now arrived).

Work on the house will continue on Saturdays into September, and volunteers can either email Joyce Hatton Yarrow at habita@sbcglobal.net or call the Habitat at office at 860-343-9179 to indicate your availability.

They'll be trying to get the second floor interior and exterior walls up next Saturday.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pauline Chaples RIP

With the recent Petit family tragedy in Cheshire, another local murder was largely overlooked. Kevin Lynch sent along this appreciation for country music fan Pauline Chaples.

Pauline Chaples was a very hard worker for most of her life, "just getting by" she would say. Pauline lived modestly in a not-so-nice section of Plainville. She was a lifelong country & bluegrass music fan. She was obsessed with the music. Pauline loved "real country music...not that drivel you hear on the radio nowadays." Pauline became a close friend and pen pal of female country music pioneer, Wilma Lee Cooper. These two friends spoke to one another on the phone at least twice a month for over fifty years. They also had occasional visits through the years (until Wilma Lee's stroke in the late 90s). She idolized Mac Wiseman and loved Sara & Maybelle Carter, but didn't care much for "...that ol' sourpuss A.P. Carter." She knew many of the pioneers in country music, as well as those folks working behind the scenes. They always acknowledged her as well. Pauline stopped attending shows and traveling to the Grand Ole Opry & WWVA Jamboree years ago. She said she'd "had enough of that show business nonsense." She just wanted to "...know the music, the hell with the rest of it." I never could get her to tell me just what turned her off about the backstage scene, but knowing her it must have been a good story. Pauline listened to the 'U-H Radio Bluegrass' show religiously, and has tuned-in to the Bluegrass show on WWUH since it first came on the air some 38 years ago. She rarely failed to call me during the show each week, and occasionally at home. Pauline was a collector of country & bluegrass music memorabilia, with a fairly substantial collection worthy of any museum. About eight years ago I accepted her generous gift of some of the most valuable and historic items from her collection. She didn't trust anyone else to care properly for her lifetime collection. She wanted them to go to someone who loved the music and history as much as she did, and she chose me. Pauline wouldn't take no for an answer, and now I'm happy to have these great pieces to remember her by. We were supposed to "meet up pretty darn soon" so she could give me a few remaining boxes of goodies. I hate to think of what might happen to the remainder of her collection that she cared so much about. Pauline lived each day for her country music. I suspect her service, if any, will not be much. It's been three days and not even an obituary has been published. I hope someone will think enough of her to at least play a couple of good Mac Wiseman and Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper tunes for her.

Max Blumenthal attends another convention

I hope he keeps his lanyard polished, and continues more of this work.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Concert of the week

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
July 25-29
Dodds Farm, Hillsdale, NY

The annual gathering of the the tribe in the Northeast, where old hippies instruct young, and young hippies instruct the old in the uses of the internet. Just as scruffy as some of the audience members, this festival honors the craft of the song as it invites some of the best (Richard Shindell, Dar Williams) and some of the newest (Ellis) to demonstrate that "folk" music isn't some dusty tome to be pulled from the shelf. Other notable artists appearing include Arlo Guthrie, Eilen Jewel, Jimmy LaFave, Mary Gauthier. Polka hits the dance tent this year in the form of the incredible Jimmy Sturr. Just over the border from Connecticut, you can stay the day, or become initiated into the Falcon Ridge Family.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Contempt is putting it mildly

The Bush administration has shown complete contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution, and so, the House of Representatives appears to be poised to hold them in that contempt.

We can only hope that that the Judiciary Committee and the full House vote to move this citation forward.

A spiritual calling

Songwriter, and label owner (Waterbug) Andrew Calhoun stopped by the show and talked about the fascinating project he's currently pursuing. After his mother's death in 2006, Andrew began reflecting on one of her favorite songs, All God's Chil'n Got Wings a spiritual, and he began to wonder about its origin.

This led to a journey in pursuit of African-American spirituals and their roots in West African religions, American Christianity, and slave life.

Calhoun has arranged some of the songs, and plans to record several of them for his next recording.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I am not smarter than the President. I am not smarter than the President. I am not...

Our plenty-courageous decider was out there again, in front of a completely cowed audience, repeating the words he would like to believe. And knows half of America will believe. Let's see him try this bunk in front of a youtube audience.

"Osama wants to wear my pajamas. Osama wants to wear my pajamas. Osama wants to wear..."

I guess we need to give him credit for his sheer doggedness. If only he showed such determination in tracking down Mr. bin Laden in the first place.

Whitehouse for the White House

Gotta love it when a freshman Senator digs in, does his homework, and shows the Attorney General to be a nincompoop who is complicit in letting the Vice President completely politicize the justice department.

You could smell the flop sweat from the third row in the gallery.

Now it seems essential that he showed good ole Lincoln Chafee the door.

Stanza loan

When Colin McEnroe heard that the Sunken Garden Poetry festival was sunk, he decided to take the matters in his own hands.

And in his inimitable manner, he created, in a matter of moments, the Lake Solhany Poetry Festival, which will take place in Farmington on the lawn outside of the broadcast studios of WTIC-AM. Lake Salhany, named sarcastically, after the General Manager at the station, is something of a holding pond poised on the edge of an industrial park.

Nonetheless, while the idea is presented with at least a touch of irony, the poetry will be offered, as poetry is, with touches of synecdoche and metonymy.

Here's instructions from Colin on how to reach the festival at the Off World Colony. Bring a bottle of zin, a dictionary and some bug spray.

Let's impeach the president for smirking

I don't know how many people it's going to take shouting "impeach the bum," before Congress actually gives the jerk his walking papers, but Jimmy Breslin has shouted it again. He is a populist writer, and has a sense of what people are thinking. And people are thinking, "enough is enough."

Fracasso and 50 friends

Michael Fracasso played his heart out for a packed house at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown last night. And I found out why the venue avoids concerts on a summer's night. As cool as the evening was, the tiny performance room, when packed with 51 bodies gets a bit steamy.

But that's all right when the music is good. And it was.

Fracasso pulled tunes from through out his career, offering originals from each of his extraordinary albums, several from his great new one Red Dog Blues, and even a lovely take on an old Stephen Foster classic, Old Susannah.

Lots of radio friends came out, and so did friends from Middletown.

Lucy and I had so much fun, we vowed to do it again soon.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The scourge of Fairfield County

Who could have imagined it would come to this. Wealthy suburbanites turning on Bambi.

Yes, it's true.

An organization called, Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance, is gunning for deer in the lush Fairfield Hills. Abetted by startling hunting advocates like Nick Kristoff and Peter Applebome, the group wants open season on bucks and does who frolic 'tween the mansions on the Metro North line. To the FCMDMA, deer are evildoers who will eat your rhododendron, step in front of your speeding SUV as they try to share your front seat, and infect you with debilitating disease.

According to the group, "a reduction in the deer population as the only sure way to reduce the number of cases of Lyme disease. "

Well...not exactly.

Since the deer tick, in its early stages, feeds on white-footed mice, the hunters of Fairfield need to stick their shotguns down all available mouse holes and blast away.

And since infected nymph ticks often attach themselves to cats and dogs, well....think of all the dog poop we won't have to scoop.

And since adult ticks take their blood meal from large mammals, including humans, if we exterminated all the humans in Fairfield County, it would guarantee there would be no new cases of Lyme Disease.

I think it's safe to say, that downtown Bridgeport could be spared the hunt.

Hackin' round with Hackensaw Boys

I spent a zany hour in the studio yesterday with some unrepentant Southern souls who call themselves Hackensaw Boys.

The band was in the area to play a Sunday night gig at Cafe Nine in New Haven. They play their traditional bluegrass punk country with a fierce, unfettered joy.

It's wonderful to hear a group of young people find the fire and rhythm in an ancient sound.

The results can be heard Wednesday morning on Caterwaul.

Stuff your hankies in the mite box

Please. Give me a break. A new pastor with less than a year's tenure in a parish makes a decision to tear down a historically-signficant building to be replaced by a Butler building, and we have to hear about how poor the Catholic Church is?

Let's see, this is in the archdiocese which, having protected abusing priests, found $22 million to shell out in damages to the unfortunate souls who will bear the mark of the religion in the darkest realms of their psyche forever.

Mea culpa, but I don't buy the financial martyrdom anymore.

There is a poverty in the Catholic Church, but it's a poverty of spirit, not of pocketbook.

A love letter to Creepy Joe

So Lanny Davis gets all teary-eyed when considering Creepy Joe Lieberman's voting record.

The first clue to Davis' impaired emotional state of mind is his reminiscence on the Pentagon-manufactured media moment when Saddam Hussein's statue was torn down in the public square in Baghdad. Davis recalls: "My heart sang as I watched on television." Ulp. Be prepared for the worst.

So Davis proclaims the wisdom behind Creepy Joe's public chastisement of Bill Clinton's private indiscretion and he champions Lieberman's call for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, and the junior senator's criticism of Bush's handling of the war. What he doesn't recognize is the shrewd timing of every Lieberman statement and vote. He's repeatedly voted on crucial issues only when it's politically safe for him to cast a vote which he can later champion in public. The problem for Lieberman now is that he can't hide. He's in a position as tie-breaker where we can see that he votes with conservative Republicans on nearly every issue where his (former) party needs him.

And please, don't tell me how liberal his votes have been. That's not a reflection of his liberalism, it's a reflection of just how conservative the Senate has been.

Credit to the Courant for identifying Davis as a friend of Lieberman in the byline, but why would they run this love letter as opinion in the first place?

By the way, Davis is a bit thin-skinned about the criticism thrown his way by liberal bloggers. What was it Truman said, "I you can't stand the heat..."

Colin McEnroe's thoughts on the issue here.

Worse still, I find Douglas McKinnon, former press secretary for Bob Dole, calling Creepy Joe, "one of the most decent people ever to walk the halls of Congress." Well, isn't that like saying. "Charles Manson is the best songwriter to walk the halls of San Quentin."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Did I just praise a Republican?

Our Democratic town committee lost my respect when they refused to endorse Ned Lamont in his run for Senate. Instead they stood firmly by that weasel Creepy Joe Lieberman out of loyalty or pragmatism or cronyism. And look where it got us.

Now they can't seem to find someone to run against Republican Mayor Seb Giuliano. No surprise. He dismantled a relationship with an indicted builder who was in the midst of constructing a new high school. He railroaded a developer who was going to turn downtown into big box heaven. He squeezed an ineffectual police chief into retirement. He breathed some fresh air into city hall.

So when Councilman Gerry Daley says: "I hope no one in this room or the public interprets the fact that we're not nominating a candidate for mayor as some form of endorsement for the current mayor," at the Democratic caucus, and claims that the current mayor doesn't have, "a single initiative that he has proposed that has benefited the city in his term" I think it shows a fear of losing power on some important boards and committees.

The mayor has spent some time undoing the misdeeds of the former mayor, and came to office too late to stop all of them (the Richland Group - Ferry Street complex comes to mind), and he's got to focus on a few more of those bad deals (he seems to be working on Kleen Energy, but not nearly as energetically as needs be), and that's signature enough on good works for me.

It's shameful to have an election with no opposing candidate. It's shameful that the Democrats can't see beyond their old-boy network, and find a real, progressive candidate. It's a shame that no one is confident enought to step up to the plate to run against the Republican reformer. And it's an indictment of politics as usual.

The ridiculous strategy of asking voters to cast a ballot for "none of the above" just shows how bankrupt the local Dems are.

Unless a Democratic miracle occurs, in the fall I'll be voting against my instincts for a Republican candidate again.

And now that he feels unfettered by the Constitution, let's bring back the Inquisition

We haven't heard much lately about what his Jesus is whispering hin his ear, but our god-loving President, with his signing statements and his executive privilege is seeming downright papal.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear a claim of infallibility soon, as the CIA once again becomes the bishopric of torture once again.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Take me back down to Green River

As I sit on the bed of my bed at the Brandt House, a beautiful bed and breakfast in Greenfield, I can hear Buddy Guy finishing his set a few miles away at the Green River Festival.

It was the most glorious weather day I've experienced at a festival which I always consider the mark of the hottest day of the year.

Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem were uplifting with their agnostic gospel music. Erin McKeown has proven herself to be a charismatic and consummate stage pro, handily taming a guitar that is almost as big as she is. Southern Culture on the Skids led the crowd through the back roads of the South, and Neko Case was magnificent.

After a meal at the People's Pint, sleep will be welcome.

And what obscure form of executive privilege will they cite to wiggle out of this one

Bush is having his asshole examined, while his other asshole is keeping watch at the White House.

Neither of them have listened to anyone else. Should we expect them to begin now?

Going to charm school with Creepy Joe

Chris Shays is showing how hospitable we nutmeggers are.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Go and fight your war, yourself

We can only hope that somehow, someway, George Bush sees these special commentaries by Keith Olbermann.

And if we might add, "And take your chickenhawk friends and family with you."

November is the new September. Can April be far off?

I used to live a few miles from the Oscar Meyer plant in Madison Wisconsin, and they haven't produced as much bologna as this administration.

Time to kick them out.

Toward a democratic tyrant

We already have one Declaration of Independence. Doesn't seem like we need another. Maybe just a daily re-reading of the one that worked so well in 1776.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Amazingly straightforward and brimming with common sense. How then have we gotten here? An executive branch exerting authority that doesn't exist in the Constitution, and notable statesmen worrying about tyranny. Perhaps we should not be surprised that someone who grew up the fortunate son of a Senator and a President would have such disdain for the rule of law that he thinks it only applies to other people.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Some people who know the issue better than I have suggested that the wars of the future will be fought over water, and not over oil. In fact, just this week it was reported that the Darfur conflict may be solved because of the discovery of a gigantic aquifer. Though more recent reports indicate that aquifer has disappeared.

And with an editorial about the issues of water in the American Southwest brought to the fore as recently as this morning in a Hartford Courant editorial, it gives one pause for thought about the hometown doing a longterm water deal with a private company.

Fortunately, this is not the kind of deal where the town is selling public water rights to a company who will market the water.

However, Middletown is about to enter into an agreement with a power company which will allow the power company to tap a public aquifer for water needed as coolant. In return, the town will retain ownership of one of the wells drilled, and will receive a lease on the other well. The town, apparently, will also retain rights to sell the water to the power company, and to use excess water for its own purposes.

The reports in the morning papers are not completely clear on the terms of the deal. The deal itself will be discussed at a special Common Council meeting Monday July 23, at 6:30 pm in Council Chambers. I called City Hall this morning to try to get clarification of what seem like conflicting details as reported in the Courant (the article is headlined, Deal Would Give City New Water Source, but might be more accurately titled, Deal Would Give Energy Plant New Water Source), but haven't heard back yet. It's raised a lot of questions in my mind, among which are the following:

- How much water total does the energy plant need for cooling?
- How much will come from the Connecticut River?
- How much will be pumped from the aquifer?
- After it's used for cooling, where will the water be discharged?
- Of the aquifer water, how much excess will be pumped every day, and how will the city, practically, be able to use it? (Where will it be stored? Who will it be sold to?)
- Why will the city only own one pump? Why not own both? What's the advantage of a lease to both parties?
- At what rate will the energy plant be charged for water? Is this different than all other users of water?
- Why would aquifer water be used as a coolant when the plant is adjacent to a river?
- How will use of the aquifer affect town pumps which presumably tap the same source?
- Will the energy plant be allowed to sell excess water? Under what conditions?
- What will the city gain in free facilities (pumping station), and in taxes (doesn't the energy plant have a very generous tax abatement plan?)

I'm sure a lot of these questions have been considered, and answered. I'm sure there are also questions I haven't considered.

Of course, this doesn't even begin to consider the degradation of the Maromas section of town.

We live in an area blessed by temperate weather, and infrequent drought. I think we need to be mindful of the proven notion that the climate is changing, and what we've taken for granted will not always be so.

I hate it when my worst, paranoid, conspiracy-theory thoughts are seconded

I will admit that I expected the last Congressional elections to be interrupted by a President who would find some emergency to declare martial law.

I haven't allowed myself to admit that he'd want to be president for life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Maybe his vertebrae are not all cartilage

Harry Reid is pulling the Defense Authorization Bill, until, he says, the Republicans stop that pesky filibustering. Now all he needs is a little testosterone to go with that new-found calcium in his spine, and maybe he'll have something worth respecting.

Go light on the testosterone, Harry, look at what it's done to Bush's brain.

Chickenhawks are hatched early

This is something you must watch and distribute - young college Republicans flexing their...intellects? Amazing work by Max Blumenthal (pictured at left).

National Intelligence Estimate

I can see the scorecards now.

National Intelligence Estimate for the American Populace - 2.5, 2.0, 3.o, 2.5, 1.5

National Intelligence Estimate for the President - .5, 1.0, 1.0, 0.0, 1.5

National Intelligence Estimate for the Press - 3.0, 2.0, 2.0, 3.5, 4.0

As George Carlin might have said, "National Intelligence. An Oxymoron."

The report released yesterday by the "always reliable" branches of government which monitor intelligence, makes it seem like this administration was very good at helping Al Qaeda recruit new terrorists. Of course the White House spun it another way. Now does the American public have the national intelligence to reject the spin.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Concerts of the Week

Michael Fracasso
July 23, Buttonwood Tree
Middletown CT

This is one I'm producing as a benefit for Gilead Community Services in Middletown. Fracasso, as they say, is a musician's musician. In Austin where he lives, he hangs with Patty Griffin, Eliza Gilkyson and Charlie Sexton. He's got a voice that's reminiscent of Buddy Holly (though he says his chief inspiration was Connecticut's own Gene Pitney), and he writes a mean song. To see a performance, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Green River Festival
July 19-21, Greenfield Community College
Greenfield MA

Jim Olsen, the chief booker for this event, has a great ear. This year the wonderful Eilen Jewell and the spirited string music of Crooked Still kick off the festivities in a free on-the-green in Greenfield show. Friday night it's Louisiana music with Terrance Simien and the Subdudes and on Saturday, it's Erin McKeown, Neko Case, Buddy Guy, Southern Culture on the Skids, James Hunter and Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem.

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival
July 19-22, Rothvoss Farm
Ancramdale NY

The grandaddy of all New England bluegrass festivals, this one features a lot of the new buzz bands of bluegrass - new young things lighting fire to the grass. Featured are the Duhks, Uncle Earl, the Sparrow Quartet, the Infamous Stringdusters, the Red Stick Ramblers, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice, Crooked Still, the Greencards, Marty Stuart and perhaps one of the last performances by Nickel Creek.

To bee or not to bee

A bit of anecdotal reason to hope. After worrying throughout the early summer about a complete absence of honeybees in the garden, and the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder, there seems to be a slight surge as we hit mid-summer. I've noticed, in particular, the attraction that the bell-shaped flowers on my hosta plants hold. Several bees, some honey bees, some bumblebees, and other wild bees, coated yellow with pollen, flitted in and out of the mouth of these flowers this morning.