Late Night Listening with John Mayall

October 31, 2013

We wore out several copies of this record back in college. This is one concert I really, really regret not attending. The way the band comes back in after the “chikka chikka” break will always send a shiver through me.

“Room to Move”



Happy All Hallows Eve!

October 31, 2013



Just in Time for the Holiday Season – a Cut in Food Stamps

October 31, 2013


Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a report that lays out the shameful details.

Last March, they issued an analysis of just how efficient and effective the program is.

The folks at the Food Research and Action Council describe the economic benefits (yes, you heard that right, economic benefits) of the program:

Just one dollar of SNAP/Food Stamp benefits creates a “ripple effect” through the economy. A study by industry research firm Moody’s looked at the potential impact of each stimulus dollar. According to economist Mark Zandi, “some provide a lot of bang for the buck to the economy. Others … don’t.” Zandi said that the study shows the fastest way to infuse money into the economy is through expanding the SNAP/Food Stamp program. “If someone who is literally living paycheck to paycheck gets an extra dollar, it’s very likely that they will spend that dollar immediately on whatever they need – groceries, to pay the telephone bill, to pay the electric bill,” he said. That single dollar helps to pay the salaries of the grocery clerks, pays the truckers who haul the food and produce cross-country, and finally goes to the farmer who grows the crops. Plus, USDA research shows that each $5 of federal SNAP/Food Stamp benefits generates nearly twice that in economic activity.

Why do this? Dr. Krugman suggests it’s mainly out of spite, and, frankly, I’m inclined to believe him.


No, “War on Workers” is Not an Exaggeration

October 31, 2013

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute documents the concentrated assault on organized labor, particularly in the public sector, that was launched in the states in the wake of the Republican takeover of many state governments in 2010. Such things as:

Four states passed laws restricting the minimum wage, four lifted restrictions on child labor, and 16 imposed new limits on benefits for the unemployed.

States also passed laws stripping workers of overtime rights, repealing or restricting rights to sick leave, undermining workplace safety protections, and making it harder to sue one’s employer for race or sex discrimination.

Legislation has been pursued making it harder for employees to recover unpaid wages (i.e., wage theft) and banning local cities and counties from establishing minimum wages or rights to sick leave.

For the 93 percent of private-sector employees who have no union contract, laws on matters such as wages and sick time define employment standards and rights on the job. Thus, this agenda to undermine wages and working conditions is aimed primarily at non-union, private-sector employees.

Taking over the House and having a working majority gummed up the gears in DC, but in the states, things are much more serious.


Late Night Listening with KD Lang and the Reclines

October 31, 2013

In honor of her getting her own Canadian postage stamp!


Lou Reed, 1942-2013

October 27, 2013


A great lossto the arts and to our collective souls. Of course, he’s best known for “Rock and Roll,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Heroin,” and “Venus in Furs,” but his body of work is much broader and richer, such as the haunting “I’ll Be Your Mirror” and the album, “The Blue Mask.” He ran with poets and artists and took the pop form and remolded it in his own vision. A lot of musician/writers become popular and famous; a few, like Reed, do something deeper, richer, and more important.

Thank you, Mr. Reed, for everything. Here’s my favorite song of yours:


Series So Far

October 27, 2013

Been out-straight on the income-producing side of Life, so have neglected blogging. Will try to catch up a little this a.m.

First, the World Series:

To date, not a classic, unfortunately. The Redbirds didn’t show up for Game 1. Game 2 was more satisfying (at least, from my perspective) with Michael Wacha dealing well with the pressure. He wasn’t at the top of his game, but his being on the second rung of his game is better than a lot of pitchers on the top of theirs. Sloppy Sox defense helped the Cardinals seal it.


Game 3, ugh. They jumped all over Peavy, but, after scoring 2 in the 1st inning, they still had 2 runners on and only one out, and they couldn’t get anything more out of the inning.

Holliday pulled a baserunning boner in the 3rd. In the 4th, bases loaded and nobody out, and they shut down, came away with nothing when they had a chance to put the game out of reach. Kelly was pitching well enough, but 2-0 wasn’t enough.

2 on, 2 out in the 5th. Freese, who’s 1 for 8 in the Series with 2 walks and 4Ks, flies out.

Holliday comes through with a double in the 7th, and the game turns over to the young relief corps, who can’t hold the lead, and the Sox come back in the 8th. Rosenthal returns to form in the 9th and burns them down. Sox fans everywhere will wonder why Farrell sent his pitcher to the plate when he had Napoli on the bench. They will remember Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in too long and (perhaps) John McNamara’s decision to send Calvin Schiraldi to the mound in the 10th and not replace Bill Buckner with Dave Stapleton (I saw that game, and even I said, “ouch.”)

Then the bottom of the 9th. Bang-bang defensive work by Pedroia cut down Molina at the plate, but Saltalamacchia, in the heat of the moment, overthrows third, setting up the unfortunate (but correct) call that hands the Cardinals the game. (Sox fans, don’t get too upset; we still remember Don Denkinger.)

At this point, though, there is something to be said for Allen Craig’s effort.


Out since early September with an injured foot, he isn’t able to play the field, so he’s a DH/pinch-hitter. With 1 on and 1 out, he puts Molina in scoring position, then, when Pedroia guns down Molina at the plate, he breaks for third, forces the error and, despite being tripped up by Middlebrooks, lumbers home and slides. Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz has an appreciation.

Cardinal fans should be as relieved as they are happy this morning. Buchholz v. Lynn tonight.