Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tiahrt Flunks Macroeconomics

Wichita Congressman and Senate candidate had an op-ed in the Eagle this week rationalizing his opposition to President Obama's economic recovery program.

Tiahrt wrote

Studies have shown and history has proved that when consumers get extra money in their pockets, they do one of three things: They save it, spend it or invest it. All three options would help to quickly increase growth in our economy.
Sorry, Todd, but increased saving --in the midst of a depression--will not increase growth in the economy. It will do exactly the opposite.

Here's a quick explanation from Wikpedia
If a population saves more money (that is the marginal propensity to save increases across all income levels), then total revenues for companies will decline. This decrease in economic growth means fewer salary increases and perhaps downsizing. Eventually the population's total savings will have remained the same or even declined because of lower incomes and a weaker economy.
Sadly, the stimulus debeate shows that for Todd Tiahrt and the modern Republican Party, the operative program is Party First! The Rich First!

Gallup Poll: Dems nearly equal Republicans in Kansas

Gallup has just released some poll results that should be extremely encouraging to Kansas Democrats. Just two percent more of Kansas adults identify themselves as Republicans than as Democrats.

Democrats 41.4%
Republicans 43.4%

Kansas Jayhawk has a good take on what these figures mean

there are potentially huge numbers of registered Republicans in this state who aren't really Republicans at all, who, instead, think of themselves as- and vote as- Democrats. Or that two-thirds of the unaffiliated voters in Kansas are really secret Democrats. Or something.

What this number really does tell members of both political parties in Kansas is that the Democratic Party has huge potential for registration growth- remarkable, remarkable potential- because the people of this state identify with the Democrats almost exactly as often as they do the Republicans. All it takes for a Democrat to capitalize on that fact and win is a smart campaign based on good ideas...

Here's the method behind Gallup's poll.

In 2008, Gallup interviewed more than 350,000 U.S. adults as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. That includes interviews with 1,000 or more residents of every U.S. state except Wyoming (885) and North Dakota (953), as well as the District of Columbia (689). There were more than 15,000 interviews conducted with residents of California, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida.

This large data set provides the unique ability to give reliable estimates of state-level characteristics for 2008. Each sample of state residents was weighted by demographic characteristics to ensure it is representative of the state's population.

In order to rank the states on partisanship, Gallup analyzes "leaned" party identification by state. This measure adds partisan-leaning independents to the percentage who identify with either of the parties. Thus, the Republican total includes Republican identifiers and independents who lean Republican, and the Democratic total likewise includes Democratic identifiers and independents who lean Democratic.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I'll Do on Final Friday

Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray

5 to 8 pm Final Friday Take one last look at Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nicholas Muray and Realistic Pluralism: The Art of Nicholas Trabue as WAM participates in Final Friday festivities. Also take time to view the colorful hand-made clothing in Central American Textiles from the collection of Jerry Martin. Enjoy live music with a Latino flair, light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Free and open to the public.

December 7, 2008 – February 1, 2009

This intimate exhibition features photographs of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, taken by Nickolas Muray during their close relationship. His photos pose Frida in native costumes and with the artists Diego Rivera and Miguel Covarrubias. Many of the photos are in the lush color process favored by Muray.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

West Bank village has Holocaust exhibit

At a time when Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists are openly calling for another holocaust against the Jews and when Western pseudo-leftists invoke the hoocaust to demonize Israel, it is extremely refreshing and encouraging to read this story

Naalin holds Holocaust exhibit

As the world commemorated the Holocaust Tuesday, a small village in the West Bank held a surprising exhibit memorializing the most tragic event in modern Jewish history.

Naalin, a village that has become the symbol for the Palestinians' battle against Israel's construction of a separation fence in the West Bank, erected a display of photographs purchased from Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and invited the public to learn more about the persecution of the Jews.

Residents gaze at Holocaust images in Naalin (Photo: Khaled)

Mohammad Amira, a member of the village's Land Defense Committee, said hundreds of people visited the exhibit by early afternoon. He said many had praised the initiative.

"People are surprised at what they see here; there are people who are seeing images of the suffering in the Holocaust for the first time. There are people who didn't know anything about Jewish history," Amira said.

Regarding the decision to present the exhibit to residents of Naalin, many of who have been harmed by the construction of the separation fence, Amira said, "We thought the public should understand the pain and suffering the Nazis caused the Jews.

"Unfortunately, we are paying the price for the immense pain suffered by the Jews during the Holocaust. There is no comparison between our suffering and that of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, but everyone should understand that we are suffering too, as a result of what the Germans did to the Jews."

'Jewish pain has strength'
Khaled Mahmid, who heads the Arab Institute for Holocaust Research and Education in Nazareth, said he believes the Arabs "must understand the Holocaust – the power and strength that the Jews' pain has."

He added, "All violence Palestinians perform on the Israelis is not effective, causes suffering, and summons Holocaust anxiety among the Jews."

"The Holocaust," Mahmid said, "was a horrible and methodical murder of six million innocents, which affects all of the citizens of Israel even today. The Palestinians need to understand that the Jews have a defense mechanism deriving from the horrid murder in the Holocaust."

He said the two-state solution would only have a chance to succeed if the Palestinians made an effort to understand this "profound pain", and relinquished all acts of violence "that stirs existential anxiety in the Jews." Mahmid added that the violence exhibited by both sides is a direct result of the Holocaust.

Regarding the exhibit Mahmid said, "The Koran orders us to acknowledge the Holocaust and understand it. The Jews must remember that many of them were saved during the Holocaust thanks to their brothers in the Arab lands. We must overcome Hitler's affects together."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Merle Haggard writes a song for Obama

The music is available yet, put Merle Haggard wrote in honor of Barack Obama just before inaugural day and posted them on his website. Maybe the Prez should have invited the poet of the common man to be part of the celebration.

Hope’s are High
Hope’s are high, faith is strong
If we all try we can get along
Cause there’s a new day and a brighter day
with a new song to sing along
And there’s Sunshine and blue sky
And Hope’s are high
There’s a blue bird atop a tree
singing loud for you and me
he’s got a new note and a brighter note
That we should sing and let ring
cause there’s sunshine and blue sky
and hope’s are high
We’ve got bad times behind us
and the good times up ahead
bet your money on the promise land
and the good things that he said
We got a new style with a sincere smile
and a new song to sing along
and we got sunshine and a new guy
and hope’s are high
Hope’s are high
We’ve got bad times behind us
and now we’ve got good times up ahead
Put your money on America
and the good things that He said
Cause there’s a new day and a brighter day
and a new song to sing along
And there’s sunshine and blue sky
and Hope’s are high

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hillary's smart move

Hilary Clinton made a deft verbal move during her Secretary of State hearing. Instead of talking about the importance of using "soft power" to achieve US foreign policy goals, she taled about smart power.

If you aren't familiar with soft power check out the link above or keep in mind this short definition

Soft power is the ability to obtain what you want through co-option and attraction rather than the hard power of coercion and payment.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

George Strait is cool and Charlie Haden is country

My brother Kent tells the story that he realized our family elders weren't hopelessly square when, as a teenager, he discovered a Bob Wills record in an uncle's collection. I'm not sure how my brother knew that Bob Wills was cool. After all, our tastes were typical of teenagers at the end of the sixties. Rock was in and we wouldn't be caught listening to country, except for Johnny Cash, but he didn't count. But somehow he (and I) knew Bob Wills was cool.

Which leads me to praise George Strait, who has drawn on, revitalized, and renewed the honky tonk and Western Swing traditions. Strait is not a Western Swing revivalist in the vein of Ray Benson's Asleep at the Wheel. My sense is that Strait is under-appreciated by non-country fans. I've just got his 1995 4-CD box set Strait Out of the Box. It richly deserves its 5 star rating from Allmusic. The only problem with the box set is that Strait has recorded 13 years of music since then and now on-and-off country fans like myself have to figure out how to easily catch up on that period in his great career. I guess George Strait is a country artist that even people who aren't country should listen to.

I've known that Charlie Haden is cool for a long time. He was the bassist on Ornette Coleman's revolutionary free jazz Atlantic albums in the early 1960s. He's recorded in a variety of jazz idioms and settings--from the politically charged Liberation Music Orchestra and Not In Our Name, to Haunted Heart (lyrical mainstream small group of Quartet West) to duos (Steal Away an album of African American spirituals with pianist Hank Jones).

Now Haden has done something entirely different--a country CD. Not country-twinged jazz or some hybrid. But straight out country. Rambling Boy is not even contemporary country, the music harks back to an older time, circa 1930s-1940s. Haden grew up in a family that was sort of a Midwest Carter family, making a radio debut at age two.

Here's what Allmusic says

Saying that Charlie Haden's Rambling Boy is a personal album is an understatement. In essence, this album is a tribute to his mother and father whose own vocal group -- made up of Haden and his siblings -- performed on radio programs in both Shenandoah, IA and Springfield, MO, where they hosted the live variety show Korn's-A-Krackin (sic), which was modeled on the Grand Ole Opry. Haden began his musical career at the age of two, singing live on the radio; he was fortunate enough to have Mother Maybelle Carter play in his living room, and to have met the rest of the Carters, Porter Wagoner, Chet Atkins, and numerous others on their way through town to play the show.

This 19-song set features all the members of his immediate family -- daughters Petra, Rachel, and Tanya, as well as son Josh. The players and vocalists are numerous but they include guitarist Pat Metheny, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Bruce Hornsby, Stuart Duncan, Jerry Douglas, the Whites, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Elvis Costello, and Russ Barenberg, among others. Despite the wide range of players here, this album can only be called Americana in the strictest sense of the term as its selections are new readings of mostly traditional folk and country songs. There are numerous connections interwoven here too: highlights include Cash's moving and plaintive reading of "Wildwood Flower," a song that has roots in her own family -- via Mother Maybelle -- and Haden's, as well, as his mother had it in her repertoire. Metheny's and John Leventhal's guitars are devastatingly beautiful here

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kansas House and Senate Democrats Launch Pro-Worker Agenda

On January 22, members of the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses joined together to unveil a collaborative series of bills and priorities, all crafted specifically with the Kansas worker in mind. The Democrats for Working Kansans agenda addresses a number of important issues facing the everyday people who contribute and invest in the State of Kansas, including: improved worker benefits, fair wages, promoting Kansas-made products, guaranteeing health and safety in the workplace, implementing new immigration reform, and expanding educational and training opportunities.

“Democrats in the House and Senate are committed to Kansas workers, families and business owners,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. “These people are counting on us in 2009 and we have a responsibility to offer them the help they need.”

“In the last year alone, 2.6 million Americans lost their jobs, the highest number of job losses our country has seen since the end of World War II. During this difficult economic time, working Kansas families have born the brunt of this heavy burden,” €? said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka. “As large corporations such as Boeing, Cessna, and the General Motors Assembly Plant -- continue to scale back or go out of business, many more workers will be forced to cut back their hours, work for lower wages, or lose their jobs altogether.”

“Kansas will recover from this recession, but if we don’t protect our hardworking Kansas families now, the long-term impact of this economic downturn will be much more far reaching and have much more damaging consequences to the future of our state,” Davis continued. “That’s why we’ve joined here today -- to stand up for the people of Kansas by enacting responsible, proactive policies.”


Kansas Blue Green Alliance Formed

On January 8, 2009 in Wichita eleven labor and environmental organizations launched the Kansas chapter of the Blue Green Alliance.

"Wichita lost 1,300 jobs last year alone," said Emil Ramirez of the United Steelworkers. "By supporting a green economy, we want to bring manufacturing jobs back to Kansas."

BGA is an uncommon partnership born of a common goal: to realize the enormous opportunities of a renewable energy economy for the state.

Kansas stands to gain more than 11,000 family-supporting manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy industry, according to a recent report from the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research organization based in Washington, DC.

The report, which projects $1.97 billion of investment, spurred local labor unions, community and farm organizations, and environmental groups to form a Kansas chapter of the Blue Green Alliance. (See summary link below for full breakdown of the top 20 Kansas counties who would benefit.)

For more on this, click here

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Joseph Lowery and Big Bill Broonzy

The right-wing cretin Glen Beck is attacking Joseph Lowrey for calling America racist in his benediction.

Here's what Lowery said that got Beck and other cons all upset

LOWERY: Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.
Beck attacked then Obama, saying he “was shocked” that Obama “actually smiled when he said this and shook your head.”

It's likely that Obama was appreciating the twist that Lowery put on a classic blues by Big Bill Broonzy.

This little song that I'm singin' about,
people, you know that it's true
If you're black and gotta work for livin',
now, this is what they will say to you,

they says, "If you was white, you'd be alright,
if you was brown, stick around,
but if you're black, oh, brother, get back, get back, get back"

I was in a place one night,
they was all havin' fun,
They was all buyin' beer and wine,
But they would not sell me none,

they said, "If you was white, You'd be alright,
If you was brown, stick around,
but as you's black, oh, brother, get back, get back, get back."

I went to an employment office,
I got a number and I got in line,
They called everybody's number,
but they never did call mine.

They said, "If you was white, you'd be alright,
if you was brown, stick around,
but as you's black, oh, brother, get back, get back, get back."

Me and a man workin' side by side,
this is what it meant
They was payin' him a dollar an hour,
and they was payin' me fifty cent.

They said, "If you was white, you'd be alright,
If you was brown, stick around,
but as you's black, oh, brother, get back, get back, get back."

I helped build the country,
and I fought for it too,
now, I guess that you can see,
what a black man have to do.

They says, "If you was white, you's alright,
if you was brown, stick around,
but as you's black, oh, brother, get back, get back, get back."

I helped win sweet victory,
with my little plow and hoe
Now, I want you to tell me, brother,
what you gonna do 'bout old Jim Crow?

Now, if you is white, you's alright,
if you's brown, stick around,
But if you's black, hmmm, hmmm, brother,
get back, get back, get back.