Friday, July 03, 2015

Right or wrong

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Lining up for dinner.

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These ducks.

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Just waiting for the fish to come to them.

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* Why Chicago Won’t Go Bankrupt—And Detroit Didn’t Have To:

All of this uproar rested on a basic falsehood in the dominant public narrative around Detroit: that pensions played a key role in driving the city bankrupt. But those who studied the bankruptcy closely know that the reverse is true: The city filed bankruptcy so that it could cut pensions.
Detroit’s bankruptcy was not borne out of financial necessity and was not a foregone conclusion. It was a political decision made by state officials. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature chose to push the distressed city over the edge in order to accomplish two otherwise difficult political goals: slashing pensions and regionalizing the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. It was disaster capitalism at its finest.
Austerity hawks are now hoping to use the Detroit playbook in other cities to force the public to accept extreme measures to fix budget crises. And the bond markets seem to have finally settled on an answer to that question about which city will be the next Detroit: Chicago. Moody’s Investor Service, one of the three major credit rating agencies, just downgraded Chicago’s credit rating to junk level—the municipal equivalent of a subprime credit score, cautioning potential lenders that the city may not be able to pay them back—making it the lowest-rated major city in the country after Detroit.
Chicago is not an obvious choice. It remains the third largest city in the country, has a thriving downtown and is home to some of the largest and most profitable corporations and wealthiest people in the world. Chicago clearly has money, even though its distribution is wildly unequal.
But as was the case in Detroit, the talk of a Chicago bankruptcy has little to do with the city’s financial health and much to do with a broader political agenda to obliterate the social safety net and slash pensions. Even though there are numerous reasons why Chicago is not going bankrupt, the fact is that there has been a sustained effort by politicians like Mayor Rahm Emanuel to create a financial crisis and then use the threat of bankruptcy in order to usher in deep and painful cuts, just as the Right was able to do in Detroit.

Lots more there.

* Stanford researcher declares that the sixth mass extinction is here.

* Weak or strong............ (Neil Diamond.)

Posted by: Marie at 10:01 PM |

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When you believe in things

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Today's smoky sunrise with some heavy tuning.

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Tonight's smoky sunset with some minor tuning.

* Smoke from Canadian wildfires is extensive over the Midwest this morning. #ILwx

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* That you don't understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way....

Posted by: Marie at 9:30 PM |

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Was in the spring

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* And spring became the summer.... (Bobby Womack version of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline.)

Posted by: Marie at 10:55 PM |

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Here it comes

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* You just know the guy on the left spends hours standing in front of the mirror with no shirt on under his vest.

* It's a hot, windy Saturday afternoon in front of the Abraham Lincoln statue on the Second Street side of Illinois State Capitol Building. The tourists are milling about, taking photos, laughing, talking, pointing.

There's a beer-gutted, weed chewing, Fonzie-like character lounging alone on the steps, legs outstretched, leaning back on one elbow. Occasionally, he hurls insults at the tourists, mostly about their camera equipment, sometimes about their foreign languages.

A young woman on her wedding day pulls up with her parents in their vintage, baby blue Cadillac. The parents want to do a photo shoot at the Lincoln statue on their way to the church. The father lifts his daughter up between Lincoln's feet. The mother fluffs the skirts of her wedding dress. She sits there, ankles crossed, bored. Waiting.

The parents go back across the street to set the camera up on the tripod. They turn around to capture forever for history their beloved girl in the last moments before she's no longer theirs. But the space between Abe's feet is empty. Frantic, they look around just in time to see their daughter and the hick drive off in the Caddy. She never looked so happy.

This has been a production of the Sisterhood of Fictionalized Reality. All taxes apply. Do not flush. Void where prohibited.

* Your 19th nervous breakdown....

Posted by: Marie at 10:24 PM |

Monday, June 08, 2015

To see the evil and the good

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* When you read the following article, if you decide to do so, judge not the VA crisis hotline worker, or the VA police, or the U.S. Attorney's office who decided to prosecute, or the FBI agents who swarmed this man and his wife when they were picking up their little boy. Most of all, don't judge the service member for saying the wrong thing.

Instead, judge yourself. Judge us. Judge us for banging the constant drumbeat for war and more war. Judge us for wreaking havoc in the world. Judge us for our misguided desire to heal the world's ills. Judge us for creating a whole new set of ills of our own, which most of us just ignore, if we even bother to find out about them.

* Army combat veteran’s call for help lands him in jail.

* He got probation.

* Without hiding. You must help me if you can. (Doctor my eyes, Jackson Browne.)

Posted by: Marie at 9:33 PM |