Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Zombieween!

From John Lustig's excellent "Last Kiss" webcomic.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Early snow brings holiday motif to Milford Mayor's race

Red and green lawn signs in the snow are more reminiscent of Christmas than Halloween; but then again, there's nothing spooky about Ben Blake for Mayor of Milford!

(Photo via Alex Armstrong. Follow Alex on Twitter!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

#OWS march up Broadway

This is some great video from Wednesday night's march from Zuccotti Park to Union Square Park in solidarity with the #OccupyOakland protesters who were attacked by police during a peaceful march the night before in Oakland.

The movement is growing. And the continued non-violent actions of the protesters will only strengthen their position. America is waking up. Finally.

Footage via

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Malloy to sign bipartisan Jobs bill today

In a refreshing display of what a unified legislature can accomplish, the General Assembly passed the Jobs bill by a nearly unanimous vote of 147-1 and the Senate similarly passed the bill 34-1. The only two legislators to vote against the bill are, of course, Republican.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced he will sign the bill later today. The $626 million economic package will provide many ways to help business grow over the next two years. The plan includes offering matching grants or loans to small businesses, tax credits for employers who hire and train workers, requires the State DEP and other agencies to speed up the permitting process, provides tax credits for companies that hire veterans, the disabled, and the chronically unemployed, authorized $20 million in bonding to fund a training and employment program for small businesses, establish economic zones around several Connecticut airports, and other incentives. The legislation will be paid for by bonding for twenty years.

House Republican Leader Larry Cafero lauded the bipartisan effort:
"One brief shining moment or maybe a new chapter in the way we do business in this chamber, that's what I think this bill represents.''
House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey similarly applauded the bipartisan nature of the bill's passage.

This is what happens when our legislature actually works together on an issue, rather than trying to block it for no other reason than partisan politics!

Here is the press release from the Governor's office:
This evening at 6 p.m., Governor Dannel P. Malloy will sign into law the jobs legislation that was approved last night by the Connecticut General Assembly. The Governor will be joined at the signing by Department of Economic & Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith and a bipartisan group of legislative leadership, including Senator Williams, Speaker Donovan, Senator McKinney, Representative Cafero, Senator Looney and Representative Sharkey.

The legislation (HB 6801 – An Act Promoting Economic Growth and Job Creation in the State) was voted favorably by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and is aimed at reinventing Connecticut by spurring the creation of new jobs, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, and strengthening the state’s overall competitiveness.

In addition to signing the bill, the Governor will discuss the benefits that the changes in the law will bring to the state and his continued goals to reinvent Connecticut and encourage economic growth.

WHO: Governor Malloy
WHAT: Governor Malloy holds bill signing ceremony of jobs legislation
WHEN: TODAY – Thursday, October 27; 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: State Capitol, Old Judiciary Room; 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Citizen Journalism in Zuccotti Park

Sunday I was in the city on business, but I had my camera with me and my appointment was only a block away from Zuccotti Park, so I thought it would be interesting to stop by the Occupy Wall Street protest and see what's happening.

The drum circle was relentless during the time I was there, and it was nearly impossible to do any interviews because of the noise. Plus, it was starting to give me a massive headache.

So I decided to just walk around and take in the sights. I began to notice how many people were documenting the event with their cameras, cellphones, tablets, and other various electronica.

That became the story of this video:

This may be the best documented revolution to ever occur. Everyone is a journalist these days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photos from Zuccotti Park

I was in Manhattan yesterday for a video project in the Wall St. area, and I got there early to check out the Occupy Wall Street protest at Zuccotti Park. Here's some photos:

People and stuff.

More people and stuff.

"Last Generation Retiree?" great sign.

My very favorite sign of the entire day!

And, of course, I have to get my mug in the picture!
I'll post some video in a day or two.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lieberman "disappointed" that US to leave Iraq

Yesterday Sen. Joe Lieberman delivered a scathing critique of President Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of this year.

Lieberman said he is "profoundly disappointed" that we don't keep at least 10,000 soldiers in the nation for "a while longer" to complete "the mission". Much like our previous president, Lieberman didn't give details on how much longer they would be needed, or what the criteria is for claiming the "mission accomplished".

I wonder if the senator's "profound" disappointment comes anywhere close to the level of grieving that thousands of American families have suffered through the loss of a loved one fighting for Iraq? What I think is "profound" is Lieberman's inability to learn from the mistakes of the past and his profound capacity for repeating and expanding upon those faulty decisions.

Congressman (and senate candidate) Chris Murphy also commented upon the decision (from the Hartford Courant):
"I came to Congress as a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, which I believe was waged as a matter of choice instead of necessity, and which diverted our attention and resources from the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the true culprits of September 11th.

This is momentous news for all Americans, especially those brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country overseas. As we work to bring our troops home and end these wars, it is time once again to return to our country's highest priority: rebuilding our nation at home."
And Congressman Joe Courtney, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, is similarly pleased with the decision:
"This milestone was achieved through negotiations between our two countries that provided a clear path for the transition of responsibility to the Iraqi government. After eight long years, our brave volunteers have given that country the opportunity to create its own future with a sizable security force and the rudiments of democratic institutions."

"With the Fifth Fleet nearby in Bahrain and U.S. bases in Kuwait and Qatar, our ability to respond to any threat to American national security in the region is more than adequate. As the President said, our two nations will continue to have a special relationship for many years to come, built on the sacrifice and effort of our troops. Now is the time to pay particular homage to all who served in Iraq and their families - the "one percent" who have stepped up and volunteered to wear our nation's uniform through a difficult time in our history."
The time has definitely come to let Iraq govern itself. We can finally cut down on pouring untold billions of taxpayer dollars into that wasteful mistake and apply the money here at home, hopefully to create jobs and shore up our nation's economy.

By the way, it never fails to amaze me that Joe Lieberman, who doesn't have a single immediate family member in the military, and who personally used multiple draft deferments to avoid serving his nation in Vietnam, has been such a committed warhawk throughout the years. I guess it's much easier to send other people's kids to fight and die in the wars he supports than his own. I'm sure he sleeps soundly every night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Republican cage match in Vegas

Last night's debate was way more fun to watch than I anticipated.

And when I say "fun", I mean fun in a sort of horrified fascination at how extreme most of the candidates were. But I love to watch Republicans attacking Republicans, especially thinking of how the hallowed Saint Ronnie is spinning in his grave.

Herbert Cain ("Herbert"? Maybe I mean "Herman"?...I don't really know or care) was exposed as the naive dolt we all pretty suspected him of being when he blathered stupidly about how emptying Gitmo in exchange for a single US hostage was a really swell idea.

Now, I'm not against closing Gitmo and giving the suspected terrorists a fair trial under US law, but for Cain to say something like that in front of a Republican crowd and, worse yet, the other candidates, is simply not very smart. Plus, his "9-9-9" tax plan is obviously ill-conceived when he has such a tenuous grasp on the concept that he flings crippled metaphors about trying to explain it to his fellow Republicans. Who else besides me wasn't sick of hearing about "apples" and "oranges" by the end of the night?

Michelle Bachmann was seen stalking around the edges of the debate, her crazy eyes lit up like a nighttime flash photo of a wild panther in National Geographic. I suspect when she's at home she scrawls obsessively on the walls like John Nash from "A Beautiful Mind", only less coherently. But as far as substance goes, there just isn't much there.

Some other guys were there too, but besides me catching a fleeting glimpse of Newt Gingrich's weirdly bloated face, the main story was Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. Perry was in full attack mode last night. He (and the other candidates) hammered on Romney about his revolutionary healthcare plan, and his "hiring" of illegal immigrants to cut his lawn.

Romney pretty much dealt with the attacks and constant interruptions deftly, turning the charges of hiring undocumented workers back onto Perry with this uncharacteristically redundant counter-attack:
"Texas has had 60% increase in illegal immigrants in Texas," Romney charged. "If there's someone who has a record as governor with regards to illegal immigration that doesn't stand up to muster, it's you, not me."

Romney also countered the healthcare charges by explaining that the Massachusetts healthcare plan was right for his state but not necessarily for the rest of the nation.

Truth be told, out of all the Republican contenders, I think Mitt Romney will be the most difficult to beat should he win the nomination. I've long said that he is the most moderate challenger in the race, and while he'll have trouble with the GOP base in the primaries, in the general election he'll quite possibly receive a significant percentage of the unaffiliated vote.

However, this is just one more debate in a seemingly endless series of debates. I believe the next big GOP debate is scheduled for November 9th, and the topic will be foreign policy. This will be a golden opportunity for the extremist candidates to take their "crazy" out for a walk in public. If Romney manages to sound halfway smart in that one, it will likely cement his position as front runner going into the (early) January primaries.

Which, by the way, are already breaking down into another rush to "front load" the schedule, as several states have already done. I still don't know why they haven't worked out some sort of plan that gives the primary schedule some breathing room and allows voters in more states the time to actually see and hear the candidates in person.

But I've never accused the Republicans of being too smart.

And, judging from the talking heads this morning, the big winner of last night's debate was President Obama.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Iraq pullout almost definite by end of year

Well, I guess the Obama administration has grudgingly agreed to live up to its promise that all US combat troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by Dec. 31st.

From the Associated Press:
The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.

The decision ends months of hand-wringing by U.S. officials over whether to stick to a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline that was set in 2008 or negotiate a new security agreement to ensure that gains made and more than 4,400 American military lives lost since March 2003 do not go to waste. (emphasis mine)
I disagree with that last statement. Keeping Americans in Iraq to police their nation will only waste MORE American lives. You can't get back the 4,400 soldiers who died as a result of the deceptive Bush administration, and to keep the troops in that situation will only compound the error. This is absolutely a situation where it is permissible and even commendable to "cut and run", as our conservative brethren are so fond of saying as a pejorative.

Iraq can stand on its own two feet now. Time to let them walk on their own.

Also, there's the little issue of Iraq not backing down on their intent to make Americans responsible for any alleged crimes that occur after January 1st:
Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders have adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans have refused to stay without it.
The issue of military accountability is at risk here, with the US saying they won't stay if they have to actually answer for any potential "excesses" that they may indulge in.

So, I guess we're looking at an end to active military involvement in a war that was wrong from the day it was conceived. And it only took us about eight years to remedy it. Sheesh!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy New Haven this Saturday

The movement is spreading.

It is generating numbers that the Tea Party dicks can only dream about!

Saturday, October 15th.


New Haven Green (College Street side).

(...if the weather is really nice I may be sailing, otherwise I'll try to be there...)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lieberman (CORRECTION)

CORRECTION: OK, I guess I fucked up. I saw an article online that had Joe Lieberman and Jim Webb voting against cloture, but I just found out I was wrong. While my distaste for Lieberman remains as solid as the granite upon which the faces of Mount Rushmore were carved, I did indeed get this one wrong. And for that, I apologize most sincerely.

This apology technically ain't flowers I'm sending him; but then again, I never got flowers from Joe for all his broken promises to me.

The following is my amended article, which still accurately reflects my anger at the Senate that is being held hostage by a Republican minority:

The vote ended up being 50-49 in favor of the bill, but in our ridiculous Senate democracy you can't get a single fucking thing done without 60 votes.

I'd seriously consider supporting a "nuclear option" in the Senate (or as our Republican brothers are fond of saying, "noo-cu-lar") but I'm concerned that the Democrats' lack of leadership (thank you Mr. Reid) will result in the GOP winning a Senate majority in 2012, and the elimination of the filibuster will pretty much allow them to turn our nation into a repressive police/religious state that will rival Iran in its severity.

Congratulations to the wealthiest 1% of our nation. You once again avoided having your taxes raised to even a fraction of the rate that was in place before the George W. Bush tax cuts. You know, that period in the 1990s when our economy was incredibly strong and vital and we had near-record employment.

God forbid we ever return to THAT awful state again!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Sunday Night Music Club XIX

I never heard of this band, and I'm not a huge fan of this music (catchy though it is), but the video is absolutely enthralling.

"Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn?" by Evelyn Evelyn.

I just did some Wiki research on this duo. Really interesting and weird. The gal is married to Neil Gaiman.

(h/t to The Best Roof Talk Ever)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Occupy Hartford movement kicks off

(Cute coffee-themed protest sign in NYC photo by our own
native daughter "Caffeinated Geek Girl". Follow her on Twitter)

Today was the first organized "Occupy Hartford" protest in Bushnell Park, a local spin-off of the "Occupy Wall Street" phenomenon.

Finally, the movement is making enough noise that even the corporate-owned media can no longer ignore it.

From Yahoo News:
"More and more people are joining the Wall Street occupation," an article in the Occupied Wall Street Journal, the new house organ of the nascent protest movement, reports. "They can tell you about their homes being foreclosed, months of grinding unemployment, or minimum-wage dead-end jobs, staggering student debt loans, or trying to live without decent healthcare."

Here in Connecticut, CT News Junkie covered the local event this morning:

Around 65 people gathered on a sidewalk outside Bushnell Park Wednesday morning and identified economic injustice as the primary unifying principal of the Occupy Hartford movement.

The activity in Hartford represents the latest incarnation of a movement that began last month in Manhattan with the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations. Since then demonstrations have sprouted up in dozens of cities across the country. University of Connecticut students were expected to stage a walkout Wednesday afternoon to show solidarity for the movement.
The beautiful thing about this movement is how perfectly it contrasts to the obviously corporate-sponsored Tea Party events, like the Freedom Works-sponsored Tea Party rally (link to my awesome video) in Bridgeport two years ago on the 8th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. This well-financed event included a stage, professional sound system, bus rental, security (oh boy!), and whatever it cost them to get Ann Coulter to appear in Bridgeport.

Watch the video and see how well it turned out.

The "Occupy Wall Street" movement more accurately reflects the will of the regular PEOPLE of our nation, rather than those easily-duped FoxNews automatons that have made a habit out of mindlessly parroting the views of the privileged who control nearly all of mass media.

As a matter of fact, just today I was arguing with a conservative relative about politics (gently, because after all he is my blood) and he was totally ignorant of the fact that President Obama had not long ago signed a two-year extension of the awful Bush tax cuts. Because, when you get all your news funneled through one source, they quickly learn to tell you only information that benefits them! There's no upside to FoxNews admitting that a Democrat would do anything they consider good. Attack the Dems at any cost is their motto.

Not that the Democrats are anywhere NEAR blameless for the current economic meltdown we're facing. Years of being beholden to Wall St. and corporate banking interests (who, after all, are among their biggest contributors) has led to the unhealthy situation of legislators who wish to win re-election being obligated to pass laws that favor those very interests.

Finally, people are starting to realize that it doesn't matter if the guy has a "D" or an "R" after his name. It's the "$$$" that matters.

THIS is what the movement is all about. This isn't about partisan politics. This has nothing to do with political parties.

This is about letting the people we elect to represent us KNOW that we're fed up with the way they let their corporate masters write our laws.

And as grassroots movements go, this one is definitely growing some roots.

It's just people, after all.

Visit the Facebook page:
Occupy Hartford CT

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sunday Night Music Club XVIII

I wish I'd never started with that stupid roman numeral scheme. It actually requires conscious effort to come up with the roman equivalent to "18". I should of just stuck with plain ol' decimal. Or even binary, which is easier for me since I'm a bit of a computer geek.


Piece o' cake.

Although, in two more installments I'll be able to use "XX", which is cool. I'll have to come up with something special for that.

Much has been made lately of the 20th anniversary of the Nirvana album "Nevermind" being released in September 1991. And pretty much every song on that album is amazing. But I was looking at Nirvana music videos in the wake of all the recent publicity, and I came across "Heart-Shaped Box" from "In Utero".

I forgot how weird and subversive this video actually was! I watched it again for the first time in probably over 10 years, and I was blown away by it. The content and symbolism is wickedly anarchic, and the cinematographer's use of depth of field (focus) as a creative tool is amazing.

(if an ad pops up you have the option to skip it at the beginning of the video)