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Archive for October, 2010

56 S. Philly Cars Vandalized In Overnight Acid Attack

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

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NBC PHILADELPHIA: The vandalism happened around 3 a.m. leaving resident with a rude awakening Tuesday morning as they found that dozens of cars on the 200 and 300-blocks of Jackson and Wolf Streets in South Philadelphia were damaged. Paint-rotting acid was dispensed on driver and passenger sides of each car by two teens or young men believed to be using squeeze bottles out the side of a car, cops said. The vandals were brazen considering that a police van was parked on one corner, said police. Police had no suspects or motive as of Tuesday night. They were however focusing on two white teens or young men — the driver in a light-colored hoodie — who were caught on surveillance tape driving a smaller black four-door car with a lighter-colored hood, police said. MORE

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REALITY CHECK: Follow The Mysterious Money

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

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NPR: They have ambiguous names, like the 60 Plus Association and Americans for Job Security. They style themselves as independent, grass-roots organizations. But many of the groups behind this year’s political attack ads are tightly interconnected. MORE

RELATED: A year ago, two top Republican strategists sat down for lunch at the venerable Mayflower Hotel, five blocks from the White House, calculating how to exploit the voter anger they had seen at Democratic town hall meetings that summer. Today, the money-raising success of the GOP-allied attack led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Karl Rove-inspired American Crossroads has stunned opponents and even its own architects. It’s one big slice of the estimated $3.5 billion expected to be spent on this year’s campaigning, a record for a midterm election. http://static.greenpeace.org/int/images/deepgreen/0610-moneybomb.gifFinanced to a great degree by undisclosed donors — and helped by a new Supreme Court ruling — the deep-pocketed groups have become a dominant part of this election’s narrative. They have reversed past pre-eminence by Democratic outside groups and become a prototype for elections to come. Their effort has been a major factor in the $264 million in spending so far in this election by outside groups — organizations separate from the political parties and candidates. MORE

RELATED: For weeks, leading Democrats have castigated pro-Republican special interest groups involved in the current election campaign for what they describe as secretive fundraising practices. In an effort to call further attention to the activities of groups like American Crossroads GPS, a political fundraising committee which GOP guru Karl Rove helped to set up, some prominent Democrats and non-partisan election watchdogs have written law enforcement agencies demanding official investigations. In early October, the liberal activist group MoveOn.org sent a letter to the Justice Department demanding that it investigate allegations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had received election-related funds from unspecified foreign sources — something the Chamber emphatically denies. A similar request for an investigation was sent by Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, to the Federal Election Commission. Around the same time, two political finance watchdog groups, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service requesting an investigation into whether Crossroads GPS is violating its status as a tax-exempt organization by spending too much of its time and resources on electioneering. Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, also sent a letter to the IRS requesting that it conduct a broad “survey” of such tax exempt groups to see if they are following the rules or merit further inquiry. But there is little indication that any relevant agency is going to launch an  in-depth probe anytime soon. MORE

RELATED: American Crossroads, the behemoth conservative organization that has already spent tens of millions on ads targeting Senate races, will drop more than $3 million on ads targeting a dozen House districts over the next two days. MORE

RELATED: The wealthy donors who have poured millions into groups supporting the Republican effort to retake Congress include several http://static.greenpeace.org/int/images/deepgreen/0610-moneybomb.gifTexans who are go-to donors for every election. But one donor from Dallas is a new entrant to this exclusive club of politically active billionaires: Trevor Rees-Jones. A former attorney who went into the energy business and made a fortune in the Barnett Shale, Rees-Jones and his wife have given $3.5 million in the current election cycle to federal and state causes – all on the Republican side. Campaign-finance watchdogs say Rees-Jones wasn’t on their radar before he donated $2 million this year to American Crossroads, an independent group raising money with the help of Republican strategist Karl Rove. That’s because until 2008, Rees-Jones had donated less than $20,000 to federal candidates, and just $54,000 to state candidates. MORE

RELATED: There are various Tea Party connections to the nonprofit sector, as we’ve detailed in our “Starfish and the Tea Party” series Part I, Part II, and Part III. Sometimes the nonprofit links are personal and political, such as the nonprofit background of candidate Art Robinson running against Congressman Pete DeFazio in Oregon’s 4th district. Running as a Republican, Robinson is a favorite of Tea Partiers around the country, particularly because of his performance during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. On the personal side, he runs the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, a 501(c)(3), where he presides (with his two scientist sons who serve on the board of directors) over an agenda including attacking global warming as a human-caused phenomenon. He was a major activist behind the Petition Project, which purportedly enlisted 31,000 scientists to challenge the concept of human-caused global warming on scientific grounds. Robinson holds some other, one might say, interesting scientific ideas, including in 2003 recommending storing nuclear waste in the concrete foundations and insulation of homes and buildings, based on the idea that diluted nuclear radiation is actually good for people, and putting nuclear waste in people’s homes creates a “hermetic” radiation dose. Also a homeschooling advocate (the Institute produces homeschooling materials on science), Robinson holds other interesting perspectives on some topics. This one on education: “Public education (tax-financed socialism) has become the most widespread and devastating form of child abuse and racism in the United States.” The other “nonprofit” connected to Robinson is Concerned Taypayers of America, a PAC that is on record financing ads against only two candidates, both Democratic Congressmen, Peter DeFazio in Oregon and Frank Kratovil in Maryland. The http://static.greenpeace.org/int/images/deepgreen/0610-moneybomb.gifWashington PAC has only two contributors, New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and the Owing Mills, Md. concrete firm Daniel G. Schuster, Inc. MORE

RELATED: Back when Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) first ran for the House in 1998, he decried political action committees and the money they slosh into elections as the root of congressional evils. In his platform, he pledged to eschew all PAC money (via The Hill):

“Special interest PAC money corrupts our political system because it allows special interest groups to control elections and our representatives,” read the 1998 platform. “Jim DeMint will not take any PAC money and will fight for reforms that allow only individual contributions to campaigns.”

DeMint clearly had a change of heart. Now, not only does he have his own PAC, the Senate Conservatives Fund (“dedicated to electing true conservatives to the United States Senate”) but it’s easily one of the most influential on the right these days. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, SFC has outraised all other leadership PACs this election cycle. It’s poured $5.2 million into races this year, with most of that money going to support 11 tea party-backed Senate candidates, according to an update on “investments” the fund posted on Tuesday. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: The Kochtopus

TANGENTIALLY RELATED: A volunteer for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul faces a fourth-degree assault charge after the man stepped on the head of a liberal activist when she tried to pull a political stunt on Paul Monday evening. Police said Tuesday that a criminal summons would be served on Timothy Profitt, 53, of Bourbon County. MORE

RELATED: Last night, video emerged of a Rand Paul supporter wrestling a female protester to the ground and treading on her face. Today, gun advocate Mike Pezzano was outed as one of those men. Who revealed his identity? Other Tea Partiers. Meet Mike Pezzano, Rand Paul supporter and advocate for open carry gun laws. He’s the guy in plaid who pins liberal protester Lauren Valle to the ground in this video. MORE

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The Corporate Takeover Of The Supreme Court

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

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THINK PROGRESS: In an unfortunate interview with Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr, Justice Stephen Breyer rejected the notion that the Roberts Court is unusually pro-corporate because business interest “have always done pretty well.”  Yet a new empirical study by the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center demonstrates that Breyer is mistaken.  The study compares the right-wing Chamber of Commerce’s win-rate since Justice Alito joined the Court in January of 2006 to their win-rate twenty-five years ago, and the results are clear and undeniable. […] Significantly, this ideological shift in favor of corporations appears to be driven entirely by the Court’s conservative members.  While a member of the Court’s more moderate bloc still votes with the Chamber 43% of the time — a rate that is comparable with conservative Justice William Rehnquist’s votes in the early 1980s — the five conservatives have become consistent votes for the Chamber’s position.  In other words, left-leaning justices have largely stood still, while the Court’s conservatives sprinted into the arms of corporate America. MORE

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RIP: Paul The Octopus Dead At Two

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

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[Illustration by CHRIS MOOLAY]

YAHOO: Paul, the oracle octopus who shot to fame in the World Cup this summer for his uncanny ability to predict the results of Germany‘s soccer matches, has died at his home in Oberhausen at the age of two. English-born Paul made headlines across the globe after he correctly forecast how Germany would fare in seven matches, before his psychic powers were tested again for the final. After Germany’s semi-final defeat, Paul tipped Spain to beat the Netherlands in the final, which prompted one news agency to report he had spurred a jump in demand for Spanish government bonds. Paul’s prediction duly came to pass: Spain won. Before matches, two containers of food were placed in the eight-legged creature’s tank, each one bearing the flag of one of the teams about to compete for their chance to become world champions. The container Paul picked first was seen as his pick. Staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in western Germany said in a statement they were “devastated” to learn of Paul’s death when they returned to work on Tuesday. “He appears to have passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes, and we are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life,” said the centre’s manager Stefan Porwoll. MORE

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REALITY CHECK: 8 Commonly Held Voter Fallacies

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

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[via TRUTHOUT]

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush’s last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama’s first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the “stimulus” was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the “stimulus” with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be “non-reviewable by any court or any agency.”) The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.4) The stimulus didn’t work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is “going broke,” people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget. MORE

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CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS: Shari’a And The Law

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

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STANLEY FISH: Law professors Rex Ahdar and Nicholas Aroney have now put together a volume, to be published in 2011, under the title “Shari’a in the West,” a collection of learned and thoughtful essays by some of the world’s leading scholars of religion and the law. The volume’s central question is stated concisely by Erich Kolig, an anthropologist from New Zealand: “How far can liberal democracy go, both in accommodating minority groups in public policy, and, more profoundly, in granting official legal recognition to their beliefs, customs, practices and worldviews, especially when minority religious conduct and values are not congenial to the majority,” that is, to liberal democracy itself?This is exactly the question posed by John Rawls in a preface to the second edition of “Political Liberalism,” his magisterial account and defense of liberal political principles: “How is it possible for those affirming a religious doctrine that is based on religious authority . . . also to hold a reasonable political conception that supports a just democratic regime?” The words to stumble on are “reasonable” and “just,” which at once introduce the requirement and indicate how hard, if not impossible, it will be to meet it: “reasonable” means confirming to rational, not religious, principles; “just” means respecting the equality of all, not just male or faithful, individuals. With these concepts as the baseline of “accommodation,” accommodation is going to fall far short of anything that will satisfy the adherents of a religion that “encompasses all aspects of public and private law, hygiene, and even courtesy and good manners” (A. A. An-Na’im). In liberal thought these areas are the ones in which the individual reigns supreme and the value of individual choice is presupposed; but, as Ann Black explains, “Muslims do not conceptualize Islam in terms of the Westernized sociological categorization of religion which places the individual at the centre of all analyses.” MORE

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PLUTOCRACY: The Useful Idiocy Of The Tea Party

Monday, October 25th, 2010

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MOTHER JONES: It’s unfathomable why a conservative, but still mainstream, business magazine would publish something so reckless, false, and bigoted? For a clue to the answer, consider a data point from the Congressional Budget Office (PDF). If you are in the bottom 80 percent of American households, you’ve gained essentially no economic ground in the past three decades. Those of you lucky enough to be in the top 20 percent ($100,000+) might be heartened by the trajectory of the red line on the chart at right—but sorry: The vast majority of those gains have actually gone to the top 1 percent (PDF) (average income: $1.9 million). And though the chart doesn’t show this because the line would run off the page, if you’re in the tippy-top 0.1 percent, your gains make the merely filthy rich look like chumps. (Click here to see the change in income distribution. Pour yourself a stiff drink first.]Obama isn’t proposing to radically redistribute these riches, mind you. Sure, he’s advocated letting the Bush tax cuts for the most affluent expire, bringing their tax rate back to where it was under Reagan (PDF). But that’s not why Forbes chose to demonize him; most of even its 5.4 million readers would not be affected. No, the reason Obama is being caricatured as some kind of latter-day Patrice Lumumba is simply that he took office at a dangerous moment for the wealthy and their enablers, coddlers, and bipartisan political minions. http://theteapartyisover.org/system/storage/126/159/logo.pngThey faced the kind of backlash that has greeted corporate and political elites in the past when they’ve driven the economy off a cliff. (Consider that the Depression realigned our political tectonics in a way that lasted well into the 1970s.) So, the defenders of the überrich pulled off an amazing bit of jujitsu. Just two years after the collapse, a vast percentage of those who got screwed are mad as hell—not at the bankers who did the screwing, but at a government that was left to clean up the mess. Anxious about feeling squeezed, they rail about being taxed (less, it’s worth recalling, than they were under Bush). Furious about what they have lost, they fume about those who have lost even more. Voila: Anger is not only being deflected away from the top, but deliberately redirected toward the bottom. MORE

RELATED: Consider, in the Socratic tradition, this syllogism. A. Recent polls have found that the economy is uppermost in the minds of voters ahead of the midterm elections. They have also found that many more Americans attribute the dismal economy to the former Bush administration than to the Obama administration. Gallup tells us that 71 percent of all Americans blame Republican policies for the bad economy, while only 48 percent blame the Obama administration. B. Americans dislike congressional Republicans more than congressional Democrats. A recent Washington Post-ABC poll shows that while disapproval of congressional Democrats stands at 61 percent, disapproval of congressional Republicans stands at 67 percent. C. Republicans are heavily tipped to wrest control of one or both houses of Congress from the Democrats in the upcoming midterms. MORE

RELATED: No, the existence of the Tea Party Movement is not “Astroturf” — these are angry voters who are indeed riled up, with a massive assist from the misinformation machine known as the Fox News Channel. What is “Astroturf” — and the worst kind — is the way that this grassroots anger then gets misdirected to do the bidding of the people who’ve actually been creating the root source of that anger by destroying jobs and crushing the middle class in this country. MORE

RELATED: A new Washington Post canvass of hundreds of local tea party groups reveals a different sort of organization, one that is not so much a http://theteapartyisover.org/system/storage/126/159/logo.pngmovement as a disparate band of vaguely connected gatherings that do surprisingly little to engage in the political process. The results come from a months-long effort by The Post to contact every tea party group in the nation, an unprecedented attempt to understand the network of individuals and organizations at the heart of the nascent movement. Seventy percent of the grass-roots groups said they have not participated in any political campaigning this year. As a whole, they have no official candidate slates, have not rallied behind any particular national leader, have little money on hand, and remain ambivalent about their goals and the political process in general. The findings suggest that the breadth of the tea party may be inflated. The Atlanta-based Tea Party Patriots, for example, says it has a listing of more than 2,300 local groups, but The Post was unable to identify anywhere near that many, despite help from the organization and independent research. In all, The Post identified more than 1,400 possible groups and was able to verify and reach 647 of them. Each answered a lengthy questionnaire about their beliefs, members and goals. The Post tried calling the others as many as six times. It is unclear whether they are just hard to reach or don’t exist. Many of the groups that were interviewed claim hundreds of members and some boast thousands, but most said they have fewer than 50. A number of them appear to be limited to family or friends – the Northern Connecticut Patriots, for instance, counts seven members; the Southeast Wyoming Tea Party Patriots has one. MORE

RELATED: BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama’s energy agenda, the Guardian has learned. An analysis of campaign finance by Climate Action Network Europe (Cane) found nearly 80% of campaign donations from a number of major European firms were directed towards senators who blocked action on climate change. These included incumbents who have been embraced by the Tea Party such as Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina, and the notorious climate change denier James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma. The report, released tomorrow, used information on the Open Secrets.org database to track what it called a co-ordinated attempt by some of Europe’s biggest polluters to influence the US midterms. It said: “The European companies are funding almost exclusively Senate candidates who have been http://theteapartyisover.org/system/storage/126/159/logo.pngoutspoken in their opposition to comprehensive climate policy in the US and candidates who actively deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by people.” MORE

RELATED: It wasn’t until August, as the deadline approached for third-party candidates to file their nominating papers, that Jim Schneller says he began to realize he was an unwitting conspirator in a Machiavellian political ploy hatched by Delaware County Democrats. The plan was simple: Gather enough signatures to secure Schneller’s spot on the 7th Congressional District ballot so he could serve as a spoiler candidate, splitting the conservative vote with Republican former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan and propelling Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz to Washington. Except that no one told Schneller, 54, an unemployed right-wing activist from the Main Line, that he was the bait to lure voters away from Meehan, he says. He just thought that the “volunteers” who hit the streets for him were being helpful. “I’m a victim,” Schneller now admits. “I’m a victim of conspiracy.” Initially, the Democrats involved had said they helped Schneller, an anti-Obama “birther,” in the spirit of inclusiveness, not to cut into Meehan’s vote count in one of the nation’s most competitive congressional races. But transcripts of Commonwealth Court depositions reviewed by the Daily News point to an organized effort among Democratic leaders and committee people…MORE

UPDATE: The basic facts are undisputed: on 15 April 2004 Ilario Pantano, then a second lieutenant with the US marines, stopped and detained two Iraqi men in a car near Falluja. The Iraqis were unarmed and the car found to be empty of weapons. Pantano ordered the two men to search the car for a second time and then, with no other US soldiers in view, unloaded a magazine of his M16A4 automatic rifle into them, before reloading and blasting a second magazine at them – some 60 rounds in total. Over the corpses, he left a placard inscribed with the marine motto: “No better friend, No worse enemy.” Six years later Pantano is on the verge of a stunning electoral victory that could send him to the US Congress in Washington. He is standing as Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 7th congressional district, which was last represented by his party in 1871. With the help of the right-wing Tea Party movement, and with the benefit of his image as a war hero acquired from what happened on that fateful day in 2004, he has raised almost $1m in donations and is now level-pegging with his Democratic opponent, Mike McIntyre. MORE

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SPORTO: It’s Not Easy Being Green

Monday, October 25th, 2010

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http://www.phawker.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/sportsguycroppedthumbnail.thumbnail.jpgBY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY Sometimes you’ve got to envy the bandwagon fans, the ones that come along in the playoffs and manage to feel (or at least display) almost as much joy from success as the diehards. Their great advantage is that they really don’t care as much about the losses, since they aren’t that emotionally invested in the first place. These kinds of fans were able to look at the TV schedule this weekend, take a look at the weather outside and decide to enjoy one of the last quality weekends of the year. The diehards holed up inside our homes or cozied up to the bar, forgoing sunlight and foliage, and what was the reward? A double helping of depression with a side order of despair.

It really was a craptacious weekend for Philadelphia fans. Even the Union lost. The Eagles allowed a guy who didn’t even play in the 1st quarter (Kenny Britt) to rack up 225 receiving yards and three touchdowns. It’s the most yards a wide receiver has ever put up against the Eagles, and more yards than Britt had amassed in the first six games combined. After the Eagles had done a spectacular job of bottling up running back Chris Johnson, and seemed to have the Titans just where they wanted them, Britt singlehandedly destroyed the Iggles secondary. He was unstoppable. Based on that, I’ll hate to see what Miles Austin and Hakeem Nicks are going to do to that group.

The key moment came with six minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Birds up 16-7 and heading in for another score. The subsequent fumble at the 3-yard-line changed everything…the Eagles were outscored 30-3 from that point on. If you are looking to assign blame (and what Philly fan isn’t?), you might be tempted to direct your anger at Kolb or McCoy. But the real villain on the play was the Igs’ offensive line, which allowed the untouched Titan lineman to be right on top of Kolb a split-second after the snap. From a possible 23-7 lead to a complete 2nd-half meltdown, that was the play that made the game, and the responsibility lies with the center and the right guard.

>And who can we blame for the Phillies debacle? My first instinct is to blame the Giants’ pitching…they’ve got some pretty good twirlers. The Phils just didn’t hit. It happened for long stretches during the regular season, and if it happens for a short stretch in the playoffs, sometimes that’s enough. Phillies pitching held San Fran to merely 19 runs in six games (barely over 3 runs per game), yet won only twice. Utley hit .182 in the series, Victorino .208, Ibanez .211, Ruiz .167. Ryan Howard had zero runs batted in. In a very tight Game 6, the Phillies had runners in scoring position in the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th innings, but never got that critical base hit. For a team that made its reputation by bashing the opposition, they were decidedly punchless. It was fitting for the game to end with Howard, their biggest slugger, striking out without taking a hack.

But wait! There’s always next weekend! When the Eagles are on a bye, the Phillies are on the golf course and the weather is going to suck. Have a happy Monday, Philadelphia!

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BOOKS: Keef’s Life Sentences

Monday, October 25th, 2010

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NEW YORK TIMES: “Life” has already attracted undue attention for a schoolyard-sounding anatomical swipe at Mr. Jagger. But this is a book that pulls no punches, and most of its disses are more serious than that. “Cold-blooded” and “vicious” are only two of the more printable words he uses to describe Brian Jones. Allen Ginsberg was an “old gasbag.” Mick Taylor, the former Rolling Stone, “didn’t do anything” after he left the band, and Donald Cammell, the film director (“Performance,” starring Mr. Jagger and Anita Pallenberg, Mr. Richards’s longtime lover and partner in crime), couldn’t commit suicide quickly enough to suit Mr. Richards. (He shot himself in 1996.) When Marlon Brando propositioned him and Ms. Pallenberg, Mr. Richards remembers replying with this: “Later, pal.” As for Mr. Jagger, the complaints are deep-seated. They involve credit hogging, social climbing, egomania, insecurity, unethical business behavior and — here comes a Freudian’s holiday for anyone who’s ever watched the bare-chested young Jagger and Richards vamp it up together — uncertain sexual identity. There’s also a cool condescension about Mr. Jagger’s contributions to the duo’s songwriting. And a nasty nickname or two, like “Disco Boy.” In conversation about all this, Mr. Richards is emphatically blasé: “It’s bound to be somewhat rough, but the point is I’m trying to tell the story from Day 1 to now,” he says. And sure: “There’s the odd conflict here and there. But if you weigh it all out, those things count for nothing.” MORE

EXCERPT: The 1972 tour was known by other names – the Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour or the STP, Stones Touring Party. It was the http://www.gibson.com/Files/aaFeaturesImages2010/Keith_Richards_book_cover_Life_08-10.jpgbeginning of the booking of whole hotel floors, with no one else allowed up, so that some of us – like me – could get privacy and security. It was the only way we could have a degree of certainty that when we decided to party, we could control the situation or at least get some warning if there was trouble. MORE

NPR FOR THE DEAF: Keef On Fresh Air

RELATED: It is one of the most intriguing chapters in the history of the Rolling Stones. The drugs raid on a party at guitarist Keith Richards’s Sussex home, Redlands, more than 40 years ago very nearly destroyed the band. And one of the 1967 episode’s unexplained mysteries was the identity of the man blamed by Richards and Mick Jagger for setting them up, a young drug dealer known as the Acid King. Crime scene: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards outside Redlands, the home that was raided by police in 1967. He was a guest at the party – and supplied the drugs – but vanished after the raid, never to be seen or heard of again. Jagger and Richards were arrested and jailed for possession of cannabis and amphetamines, though later acquitted on appeal.Richards claimed last week in his autobiography, Life, that the Acid King was a police informant called David Sniderman.The truth appears to confirm Richards’s long-held belief that the band was targeted by an Establishment fearful of its influence over the nation’s youth. The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Sniderman was a Toronto-born failed actor who told his family and friends he was recruited by British and American intelligence as part of a plot to discredit the group. MORE

RELATED: It was recently announced that Disney hired Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow’s (Johnny Depp) father in the upcoming “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” Now, according to the Drudge Report, the studio is considering cutting all of Richards’ scenes out of the movie. Apparently, the musician’s new book, “Life,” talks about things that Disney doesn’t agree with, like teaching people that using high-quality drugs in moderation is a safe way to get stoned. MORE

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C’MON GET HAPPY: Today Is ‘Eddie Lang Day’

Monday, October 25th, 2010

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DAN DELUCA: From Django Reinhardt to Jimi Hendrix, the names that commonly appear on argument-starting lists of the greatest and most influential guitarists of the 20th century are familiar. But there’s one flat-picking virtuoso from South Philadelphia typically left out of the conversation, whose music has receded into obscurity despite a trailblazing career cut short by his tragic death in 1933: Eddie Lang. That’s an injustice an aggregation of local musicians and Lang enthusiasts are doing their best to redress, starting with a multi-act show that will bring Lang’s music to life at Chris’ Jazz Cafe in Center City on Monday. It’s the 108th anniversary of the birth of Lang, who died of complications from a tonsillectomy that his friend and collaborator, Bing Crosby, urged him to get. And it’s been declared Eddie Lang Day in Philadelphia in a proclamation from Mayor Nutter that “urges all citizens to be aware of Eddie Lang’s history-making musical legacy as well as the role of Philadelphia in the development of early jazz music.” And it’s about time, say ardent fans of Lang, frustrated that such a prodigiously talented and innovative figure could be all but forgotten by all but jazz cognoscenti. MORE

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KANYE WEST: Runaway

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

24-BIT: The best way, perhaps, to preview Kanye West’s forthcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, would be to check out tonight’s premiere of Runaway, a short film shot in Prague and written by Hype Williams, starring Yeezy himself with model Selita Ebanks as the phoenix and Nicki Minaj narrating. While the film does feature the latest single of the same name, there are a slew of other new (and generally excellent) cuts on the soundtrack. MORE

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STILL: It Was A Very Good Year

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

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“‘TIS BETTER TO HAVE LOVED AND LOST, THAN NEVER TO HAVE LOVED AT ALL.”

–Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

RELATED: Not to kick Phillies fans while they are down or anything, but shortly after last night’s season-ending loss to the Giants, Jon Heyman of SI.com tweeted that teammates don’t expect Jayson Werth to return next season. Of course, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Werth is poised to make big money in free agency, especially after hiring Scott Boras as his agent earlier this year. By the way, Boras has already likened his new client to Matt Holliday, another one of his clients. And as you may remember, Holliday signed a seven-year, $120 million contract with the Cardinals last winter. The Phillies already have over $143 million tied up in 18 players next season, so Werth will probably be too rich for their blood. MORE

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SAY IT AIN’T MO: Velvet Underground Drummer Explains Why She Joined The Tea Party

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

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RIVERFRONT TIMES: In April 2009, WALB-TV aired a story about a Tea Party rally in nearby Tifton, Georgia. About two-and-a-half minutes into the feature, one “Maureen Tucker, Tea Party Supporter” was quoted as saying, “I’m furious about the way we’re being led toward socialism. I’m furious about the incredible waste of money, when things that we really need and are important get dropped, because there’s no money left.” Eighteen months later, the news story somehow ended up posted on YouTube, and the blogosphere started buzzing. Could this actually be Moe Tucker [pictured above, far left], former drummer for the Velvet Underground, one of the most influential and iconic rock bands of all time? All signs pointed to yes. It certainly looked like Tucker, and it was well known that she’d moved to southern Georgia with her family decades earlier. The Huffington Post confirmed the story by reaching Tucker at home; she wouldn’t discuss the matter or her political views any further. For a few days – practically dog years in Internet time – the reaction was swift and furious. Liberals declared themselves depressed and shocked that one of their idols was caught on tape speaking out against a Democratic administration. Some conservatives, meanwhile, congratulated her on her courage and welcomed her to their presumptive fold next to noted right-wing rockers Johnny Ramone and Alice Cooper. We were curious to know more from Tucker herself, so we tracked her down and asked for an interview. She agreed to answer some questions via email. MORE

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